How to be BOLD with DIY Ideas


Do you ever have little visuals that pop into your head that get you briefly excited, but then you laugh it off? I'm talking stuff like gerbil-sized elephants and holographic carpet (I can't be the only one).

Or maybe it's an idea that's possible in this dimension/century, but it's still a little kooky...  It's really easy to dismiss it with a sensible "harumpf" and move on to more reasonable pursuits. I know there's an invisible arsenal of weird but awesome ideas I've had that I glossed over and missed out on something amazing.

BUT. I actually decided to try one of my weird ideas. And, guess what, I DIG it. I'm not guaranteeing a 100% success rate here - believe me, I know - but who're we trying to impress anyway?

It's a palm leaf patterned side table. Okay, so not as earth-shattering as mini Safari animals.

My inspo:


That's a gorgeous wallpaper from Hygge and West. I'm not advertising them, just love their stuff big time. And, bonus, this particular design is by Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow. I absolutely CRAVE her blog and style. She does Bohemian right. Check it.

So, funny thing, planning a pattern is SUPER technical. This is not to be taken lightly, people. When I actually sat down to figure out the design, I felt like I was short circuiting.


Like, what direction do the fronds go?? How does a pattern repeat?? I wanted something more wild than the wallpaper above, but not random. I'm so glad I plotted this project out (for once).

Here's the patient who'll be receiving the bold treatment:


Aw, she looks so surprised. This is a beautiful antique table I scored at a local thrift shop: it's sturdy, has the beautiful, straight lines I look for, and that 1940s-50s leather top we all know and love. Mostly. This poor thing may have been a rescue from an underground antique table fighting ring, because that leather top was in terrible shape. I don't have the savvy to refurbish it and I'd honestly bet it wouldn't be possible anyway considering the extent of the damage.

Confession: I was actually a little hesitant to post this since it's obviously a high-quality antique table, so painting it may be akin to defacing it in some circles, but here's my reasoning when it comes to making over antiques:

  • There are hoards of antiques stuck in attics and storage rooms and stores that already not being appreciated and may never be because it's "taboo" to alter them.
  • There are certain design elements that make a particular antique truly special (for this one, the gold leaf paint lines on the legs, top, and front drawer). The piece as a whole is just furniture. I chose to stay true to the uniqueness of this table and leave the gold leaf be and design around it.
  • At the end of it all, it was a person who crafted this piece with creativity and love, so what better way to honor that than use your own creativity and love to give it a better life full of appreciation than it would have had huddled in the corner of a vendor booth?

I understand that there are exceptions (like, historic kinds of exceptions) to this...


SO. You have this intriguing idea and you have no idea if it'll actually work out. Ask yourself: "Is this a priceless 19th century Spanish fresco I'm planning on making over?" No? Then you're good. And hey, if you don't run a DIY and creative blog, you have even less risk here! ;)


First order of business: tape off anything you don't want any paint lovin'. I'll admit, keeping the gold leaf design on the top was an iffy decision for me... I really had trouble visualizing how that would turn out and hoped I wouldn't regret it; but this is about being BOLD.


I went the enamel route instead of latex primer and paint. It went on nicely and seems to be pretty durable!





After the enamel had dried after two coats, I used a small round brush to paint on the gold stems (the paint is normal acrylic) and get a decent layout of the pattern.


Then it was just a matter of mixing greens, whites and blues and carefully painting on the branches. Hint: Three colors of similar hue (in this case, green) seem to be the best choice for busy patterns like this. It keeps it interesting but not crazy.


This was before I peeled the tape up. I'll admit there was some frustration with "wrapping" the branches around the edges and sides (you can see a little of the attempt on the front there), but then realizing it looked awful and trying to paint the entire top edge with green to cover it up and realizing that looked more awful. If I had a mustache, I would've torn it out.


And done! Wooty woot. I seriously love it more and more every time I look at it. It's the first thing you see when you walk through the door, and I think it's a perfect little welcome wagon that showcases that this is a creative place, and it's got an elegant yet Bohemian vibe that I'm starting to dig big time.

Do you have any wacky, zany, outrageous ideas rattling around? Take it from me, your friendly internet blogger and her pal Shia, and just DO it!