Wednesday, March 26, 2014

diy post! prettify your stupid old knife block!

it's that time again!  another DIY post.  awesome husband @_antgas and i got married about nine and a half years ago.  ten years ago this spring/summer, we were getting our bridal shower gifts.  i registered for my first set of knives, and they've served me pretty well.  a set of calphalon knives with a useless sharpener and one of those big forks you only use when carving meat.  which i never do any more.  but still.  

it's definitely seen better days.  it has little chips and marks where i stabbed it unceremoniously trying to place a knife back in it's little home slot.  it's been exposed to water and oil and yuck.  while perusing the interwebz looking for ideas for a craft party i'm hosting (yup, that's happening too) i came across painted or refinished or decorated knife blocks.  DING! went the bell in my head.  i can do that and make it SO BRIGHT to fit in my ridiculously colored kitchen.  i made a list of crap i needed and had awesome husband @_antgas on hand for elbow grease (well, hand grease because my hands aren't doing so well) and off i went....

so first i had @_antgas remove this little metal plate thingy on the front of the knife block.  we realized we'd need wood filler for the screw hole thingies, along with sand paper, spray paint, and clear polyurethane.  so off to the craft stores we went... (now i know that i can get the paints cheaper at the home depot or lowes.  which i'll do if i ever spray paint craft again.  which i probably will because it was fun and easy).

you will need:
  1. your old knife block.  or someone's old knife block, preferably with their permission.  or thrift one.  
  2. wood filler if you have teensy holes to fill in.  some people online used spackle too, but i wanted to get wood filler because we have another potential project in mind that will require wood filler.
  3. whatever color spray paint you're interested in using.  i like krylon - we've used it before and have always had good results with it.
  4. clear polyurethane to help seal it and protect it from water and other damage.
  5. sandpaper - we got a packet at the craft store that had three grades.  i threw out the packet, but i think it hat 60, 100, and 150 from roughest to finest.

so this is what my newly cleaned and naked knife block looked like after awesome husband @_antgas removed the calphalon plate on the front.  i wiped it down with a mild solution of water and vinegar to remove all the grease and dirt and whatnot.  

i smushed a bunch of wood filler in the holes and smoothed it as best as i could.  wait until it's safe to sand and paint - the info for that should be on the packaging of whatever wood filler you choose.

sand the entire thing down, starting with the roughest sandpaper.  the 60 grade was perfect for getting off whatever old sealer stuff was on there and helped smooth out the area where the metal plate was.  because my hands and fingers were not cooperating this day, i had @_antgas help sand it all down.  we sanded all the areas we planned to paint and paid special attention to the rounded edges.  i wiped it down with a damp rag between each grade of sand paper to get rid of all the dust.

all sanded down and ready to go!  run your hands over all of it to make sure there aren't any rough spots, hard edges, whatever.  it should be nice and smooth.  be sure it's free of dust before you paint.

at this point you can prime.  if you have a darker wood or are painting with a light color, priming would be a good idea.  you can buy a spray primer or use a canned primer.  if you use a canned one, i'd apply it with a sponge brush.  after priming you may want to sand it a little more to make sure the brush strokes are not obvious.

set your shit up outside.  spray paint smells A LOT and can be super bad for your lungs.  if you have a well-ventilated garage, feel free to paint in there.  we set up some old magazine stuff on the patio and spray painted out there. i may or may not have gotten a bit of orange on the patio.  i'm sure it will come off..... eventually.

a few things about spray paint:  don't do it when it's too cold or too hot.  don't do it when it's super humid.  this can cause the paint to run or not dry/cure properly.  hold the can 6-8 inches from the item and use short, sweeping motions.  all of this crap is listed right on the back of your can, so, you know.  read it.  i didn't worry too much about spraying IN the slots or holes; you won't see that.  and we didn't paint the bottom for the same (obvious) reason.

read your polyurethane too and make sure the paint is dry enough to seal.  do the same thing - outside, well-ventilated, sweeping motions, etc.

i let mine sit for two days before putting anything back in it to make sure it was cured enough that the knife handles sitting on the wood face wouldn't damage or nick or imprint or anything.

then just this morning, i put all my sharp things back in my knife block and put it back in its home on the counter.  and i love it!  it's so bright and looks great.  the color is krylon bauhaus gold.  it's orange yellow, not too orange but not straight yellow.

i love having bright colors.  i have a yellow mini keurig, poppy red paper towel holder, a red kitchen aid stand mixer, and now this.  i'm already planning on replacing my old and worn toaster oven with something spectacular.

some of the other tutorials i saw online had people putting little decorations or monograms or designs on the knife block.  i couldn't really find a stencil i liked and i didn't want to put something 3d on it.  i figure if i come across something i would like to stencil on, i can do it whenever and just put another coat of polyurethane on it.

if you have done this or do it, share!  let us know how it came out and if you have any other tips or tricks on upcycling stuff from the kitchen.

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