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Eco-Art Crafts Made by You

Turning Furniture Finds into Folk Art

Abby Ruoff likes to revamp furniture and has the imagination to renew and recycle garage sale finds. She also has spent a great deal of time in the trenches: "Years ago I spent countless hours stripping and refinishing furniture to furnish our houses. Today's move toward worn and painted finishes has liberated me and I have sworn I will never strip again." over time, and using modern paints and materials, she has developed new techniques using water-based paints that mimic folk art. This enables her to complete a project in a few hours, compared to the week or two required by traditional techniques using oil-based paints.

Making Rustic Originals In Making Rustic Originals: Turning Furniture Finds Into Folk Art, by Abby Ruoff, offers 62 projects of varying complexity that are appropriate for every room in the house. The publishers, Hartley & Marks, have permitted us to use one of the projects and illustrations from this stimulating book. Watch out--you might bring home more "possibilities" once you know more techniques to try out.

Footstool with Persian Carpet Upholstery

Covered with a scrap of very worn rug and trimmed with a marvelous piece of patterned trim, this versatile ottoman provides additional seating or will serve as an end table. A walnut polyurethane gel stain and gilding were used on the legs.

The variety of stains available today makes it easy to achieve any look you want. Today's stains come in different consistencies and a wide variety of colors, from thin watery liquids that are brushed on, to thicker pastes that are wiped on.

The paste stains both color and protect the surfaces they coat in one easy step. These paste stains are polyurethane resins, with the consistency of petroleum jelly. A textured look can be created using these stains by pressing into them--while they are still wet--with a rolled rag or even a paper towel. These wipe-on stains are made to be used on new or bare wood, but I have used them successfully on top of previously stained wood as well as on freshly painted surfaces which had been lightly sanded. These paste stains are available in a variety of colors and can be blended to create custom shades. To use them, follow the manufacturers' instructions.

Gilding is an overlay technique in which a thin covering of gold, real or artificial, is applied to the surface of an object. True gold leaf is complicated and expensive and not likely to be used by the average revamper on a yard sale treasure. There are, however, many wonderful new and easy methods to gild your work. Available materials for faux gilt include: gold paint in the acrylic or spray-on variety (available at art supply stores, craft shops and hardware stores), liquid gold leaf (available at art supply stores and some craft shops), and simplest of all, liquid gold markers (available at art supply stores, craft shops and stationery supply stores). For use, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

How to Cover the Footstool
The original upholstery was very clean and required only a swish of fabric shampoo and vacuum cleaning before it was covered. The rug was simple to attach. It was cut to size and hand sewn in place to the existing upholstery with heavy-duty thread and a curved upholstery needle. The trim was attached in the same fashion.

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