Today's Project

It's been a busy few months, as we attempt to make our house into a home (and celebrate our first anniversary in it -- eek!), continue to work on client projects and deal with the hustle and bustle of family life! 

This is one of those projects that should have taken a few hours and instead has taken months to see through to completion.  My youngest daughter envisaged a room incorporating geometrics and vibrant, fluorescent colours on a white backdrop. 

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On a trip to B&Q she picked out some of these hexagon shelves, whose shape is not the most practical for storage and which I felt were a bit plain for her room — they needed a bit of an uplift!

My first thought was to use a difficult surface primer, followed by fluoro craft paints... Unfortunately, I couldn't get hold of my usual Zinsser BIN primer and settled instead for Dulux Super Grip Primer followed by some acrylic craft paints in fluorescent colours, which claimed to be suitable for all sorts of surfaces, including glass. Sadly, my experience was awful! Not sure which element was to blame, but it took many, many coats to get dense coverage and even then the finish was very uneven. They were too scrappy looking to put up, and I set them aside for a while as I tried to think what to do to improve them.  NB If I were painting larger areas in fluoro colours, I would use Rosco Fluorescent Paints, available from Flints Theatrical Chandlers.

Meanwhile, my daughter's room was half finished and she had totally lost enthusiasm for her initial vision!  This is a common issue — until all the finishing touches are in place, a room often looks unbalanced in terms of colour distribution.  It was her bleak mood that encouraged me to take a different approach and push things forward again.  We already had this rug from Zara Home with pops of bright colour in it, and some co-ordinating knobs on her wardrobe and window shutters,  plus the vibrant aqua colour on on wall (you can just see it in the images above), so I steered away from the dayglo fixation and focused instead on emphasising these colours in the room. 


We colour-matched the hot pink and orange, and used a pale grey tester pot I already had and used these to paint some hexagonal pieces of card I cut to fit the backs of the units (bonus of doing it this way: much easier to switch them as tastes change, plus much easier to get a good finish on card!). The card may begin to curl after the first coat, but this can be countered by running the strokes of the second coat perpendicular to the first.  I used the same testers, plus the aqua (Valspar Mineral Water), plus the yellow of the rug, to paint a heart garland that hangs on the other side of the room, so that the colours repeat across the space.


So far so good... but then I faced the prospect of getting the shelves onto the wall, so that they tessellate neatly; no mean feat when the hexagons are not completely regular and they rely on two fixings each, which need to be completely accurate if the shelves are going to hang straight. Not to mention that they are sited opposite the door so are the first things that catch your eye when walking into the room!   So they sat on the floor for a few more weeks (months?!), until today, when I decided to get on with it and get them out of the way.  And it was fine. I used a paper template to secure fixings for the first (top) hexagon, marking on the paper exactly where the screws needed to go and confirming with a spirit level that everything lined up.  Once I had this one in situ, I used the paper template, plus a ruler and spirit level to align the top of the grey hexagon with the midline of the orange one and took a similar approach with the lowest, pink hexagon.

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Sometimes the smallest projects are the biggest time-drains... which is why I rarely take an upcycling approach with clients, unless I know they are very happy to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in!