A Primer In Pegboard Preparation

September 16, 2011   //  Posted in: DIY, Office Space, Tools   //  By: Emily   //  14 responses

I have this half-fleshed-out plan to use a pegboard in the office as an alternative to using the more expected cork board, whiteboard, or chalk board for utility.

Remember, I’m only half-way there and in foreign, holey waters. And that’s not to be confused with holy water. Just confused, period.

Lots of pegboard holes to paint. Lots of confusion.I’ve seen the material used in several very cool organizational applications recently, some of which I’d love to share here eventually, but I’m taking that inspiration and figuring out a way to make it work in a non-workbench setting. The plan in my mind would be for it to be installed above the desk, overhanging each edge to serve as a multi-functional office piece-slash-backdrop for wall decor.

Think: 2′ x 8′ in dimension. Extending right in front of your face while you sit and work.

First things first: Find pegboard.

My searches for second-hand pegboard led me to believe that almost all previously used pegboard was dirty and overpriced, so I decided to buy new. At Lowe’s. It was notably less expensive than the boards sold at Home Depot, and (in my local stores at least) also came in a not-already-finished-in-white option, which is only important because I wasn’t sure if the glossier, pre-finished white would be harder to paint. And I wanted to paint it. Plus, the pre-finished variety cost more.

One factoid: It was surprising to learn how economical it is to buy pegboard in sheets so big that that you imagine only having been able to find them at Sam’s Club. I was going to buy two 2’x4′ panels for a total of $9 and match them up in the center, but a single uncut 4’x8′ panel of pegboard cost $10. Do some math. That’s almost twice as much pegboard for $1 extra. And, once I had the friendly guys at Lowe’s cut the board right down the middle length-wise, I had two 2’x8′ pegboards, which is just what I wanted, and seamless too, and also fit easily into the back of the Jeep without being forced all bendy. Plus, now we’ve got this whole bonus sheet of pegboard for another project (we’re thinking basement or garage traditional, practical storage in due time).

Big ol' piece of pegboard. Half of the 4'x8' sheet, equivalent to $5. Next: How the heck do you paint pegboard?

Yes, so the plain, unfinished board needed something. I was glad to be working with a clean surface, which I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten second-hand. I was mostly concerned about how I would properly prime and paint it thoroughly.

Q-tips covered in paint, maybe that would get me into each of the little holes easily?

Holes. Lots of holes. A traditional paintbrush definitely wasn’t going to do because those holes were bound to get clogged like teenage pores (sorry for forcing that visual), and I couldn’t quite see myself hand-painting 3,220 individual holes with an artists brush (because in all honesty, I’d lose interest after the first 100 and the next 3,120 would end up looking like a kindergarten class took over the job).

Yeah, basic math tells me that there really are 3,220 holes in my single 2’x8′ sheet. Wow.

The better answer? The paint sprayer. It was something that neither Pete or I had never used before, but was high on my list of tools-to-try. Pete claims to have bought it on the cheap at Harbor Freight many, many moons ago, but never took it out of the box or had a reason to use it. Until now. When I came home with a lot of pegboard. And told him I planned to paint it. The gun is no high-quality model, but it’s perfect for my little test.

Harbor Freight spray gun. Let's see how this baby rolls.I’m working through another project that you’re bound to see next week that required me to search out and purchase a gallon of high-adhesion primer, so I figured I should try it out on the pegboard too; after all, I would definitely need the paint to adhere nicely to the board.

Smart Prime, a high-adhesion primer.Setting the pegboard on cement blocks and recycled cardboard signs from our garage sale kept the edge of the board out of the grass, and leaning it against a set of sawhorses let me operate the sprayer in an upright position. It was a breezy day and I pulled everything into the center of the yard, including the pancake compressor via extension cords so I didn’t accidentally spray down the house. Or deck. Or the tomatoes.

Spray gun painting setup. The spray gun itself worked pretty easily right from the get-go. In hindsight, we should have practiced with the settings of the gun beforehand with water in the tank, but we learned gradually as we went on what intensity and direction the paint was spraying. The primer didn’t require much dilution; only about 1 oz. of water was added to thin it out well enough to achieve an even stream. I was being sensitive to the fact that the formula was high-adhesion – I didn’t want to chance weakening it.

I was clearly very focused in this photo, even though I sort of look like I’m sleeping. Or bored. A surprise shot by Pete out of my line of sight, since I’m usually the one workin’ the camera. Thanks dude.

Spray priming the pegboard.Remember, this was just primer that we were applying before we pick paint colors, so as long as it was reasonably even, not drippy or gunky, I was a happy girl. A little unevenness could be resolved with the topcoat.

Spray priming the pegboard. After the pegboard had been coated, I also spray primed some of the boards that would serve as the frame for the piece in the office.

Spray priming the pegboard and some of the framing that will mount the board to the wall.Best of all, the whole filling 3,220 holes issue seems to have resolved itself. The spray did just what I hoped for, gently lining the inside of each peg hole. Perfect staging for the next step… paint.

Filled pegboard holes, woot!

And that is that for now. I’m in the paint-color-picking process, and hope to have this baby wrapped early next week. Because a girl’s in serious need of some office utility space.

Before I pick a color and finish, do you have any recommendations on what type of paint I should go for? Oil-based? High-gloss? Something uber-durable like cabinetry paint?


Zig To The Zag

September 15, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, Helping The Economy   //  By: Emily   //  14 responses

Sure, I went to Target for the much-publicized Missoni opening day. I had to. Didn’t I?

I wasn’t expecting any grandiose surprise awaiting; I knew what products and patterns were part of the collection thanks to facebook and blog updates, and I’m sure it was like Black Friday in some cities with hundreds of customers waiting to clear the shelves at 8AM, but it wasn’t like that in Rochester. In fact, the shelves were pretty much still full and organized when we stopped in during the late afternoon on Tuesday, which was a good thing because we got to see so many products in person, but you know that me and the whole decision-making thing… one tote? Two totes? Can I get two totes?

This tote? Or this tote? Or both?

I didn’t buy either, for the record. I have enough travel bags to tote around with. Plus, we rode the scooters to Target and that puts a limit on how much you can buy.

I spend less when I scoot everywhere. My bank account loves the Ruckus.

I did immediately covet most of the office materials, especially the pink-lined paper of this clipboard (with rubber band placeholders, score). If I had to write on pink paper for the rest of my life… I think I’d be OK with that.

If all of my lined paper was pink... I could deal with that.

I didn’t buy that either though (because I don’t use memo pads or clip boards now that I’m not in an office environment) but I did snatch up some bulldog clips for the office and small journals that I use on a day-to-day basis for shopping lists, project notes, and conference call doodles.

Missoni notebooks and bulldog clips.The journals are a set of three (and were priced at $7.99 which is just about what I’m used to paying for my little trios at Target). Each has its own identity, looking pretty adorable with the prints and clean binding.

If I had to choose, I actually think the black ziggy is my favorite.

Missoni notebook trio.

There was another trio of notebooks too if you don’t like the set I bought; the colors on that set would have more perfectly matched the coffee mug that I added to my collection for $4.99.

Missoni coffee cup. With the notebook trio in the background.

The clothes didn’t keep my attention very long, but the housewares were right on. The coffee cup was my only splurge for now, but I really liked the tall tumblers (and will buy if they go on sale from their listed $4-ish price); my current set of tumblers from my (still favorite) Orla Kiely collection circa 2009 are still holdin’ strong.

We both really liked the large glass bowl on display. It was a standout in the collection, especially sitting next to the melamine plates and bowls.

The colors in the glass were beautiful, and the overall weight of the piece made it seem like it should cost more than just $30.

Tap tap. Glass Missoni bowl.

There was just one thing holding us back from bringing it home (besides the whole scooter space limit thing). Inside each of the bowls on display, there was a light ring in the glass. Kind of like someone left tea sitting in the bottom of the bowl for awhile. A definite production woe that made us feel like we’d always be trying to get it clean.

Weird discoloring in the glass Missoni bowl.

I’m not confident that it’ll all make it to markdown mode, but I’ll be checking back in on it in a little while to see. Speaking of markdown mode, I hope everyone’s enjoying the home decor/back-to-school sale prices. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much stuff in Target marked 50% off at once.

What did everyone else score from Missoni?

The Hardwood Floor Safety Squad

September 14, 2011   //  Posted in: Being Thrifty, DIY, Gardening   //  By: Emily   //  4 responses

I keep finding myself going smaller and smaller with the DIY-ed portland cement planters. My latest one is a mini, and the perfect size for my newest baby-succulent that I brought home from Home Depot a few months ago (read about that excursion here). It sits right at home in an ornate Japanese dish I acquired at a tsotchke shop years ago.

Note: You always need something underneath a concrete planter – do not just let it sit freestanding on your windowsill and expect it to hold in moisture.

Mini-planter. A more managable 2-pounder and perfect home to my new little succulents.

The first cement planter was a monster, and even though it had broken into multiple pieces after I had shot putted the mold through the yard dozens of times, gluing it together with E-6000 seemed to be the cure-all.

The jumbo cement planter. Heavy - at least 40 pounds.

The second one I created was on a smaller scale, making use of a few recycled 3-gallon planters from previous Home Depot purchases. More manageable in size and weight, I also had better luck when removing the form from the mold: No crackage. I completely attribute it’s solid structure to the fact that the mold was very maleable and could be flexed away from the cement (once it had tried) and torn off with practically no struggle. So far, that little fern that was a $1 end-of-the-season find at the neighborhood market is doing very well.

Planter #2, molded by a maleable 3-gallon Home Depot planter.

But both of my first planter attempts were still big. And furthermore, neither of those planters were ready to live in the house full-time because I was concerned about the cement absorbing all of the moisture from the plants when I watered, and redistributing it into my hardwood floorboards through the bottom (also, yes, there are drainage holes drilled in the bottom so it was more likely to drip right on through to the floor, no obstruction). For the biggest planter at the very least, I needed to come up with an indoor living solution because the base of the pot was sizably larger than any plastic planter trays I already owned.

The perfect fix appeared before me before I really had a chance to give it much thought or shop around; very simply, I found my treasures in Pete’s parents attic when we were helpin’ out with a Labor Day weekend clean-out. The basic plastic trays caught my eye, and found their way home with me instead of being thrown into the dumpster. I couldn’t be sure at the time, but I definitely thought there was a slight chance that they might be exactly the same size as the ginormous planter with tropical-ish leafy plant that was still hanging out on the porch slowly taking a beating from the cooler night air.

Big, clear planter bases. One man's trash...

And twa-la, wouldn’t you know that my spider senses were spot on? The planter fit perfectly in this tray (while the previously-largest tray in my stash that wasn’t quite big enough looks on in jealousy).

Yesss, the new plastic base is the perfect size for the monsterous planter.Of course, the reason I didn’t rush right out and get a new big plastic faux-terra cotta planter at Home Depot was because it didn’t really vibe with the straight-lined, wants-to-look-totally-au-natural cement planter. The clear plastic one is a much more simplistic alternative (and low profile, kind of like low-rise socks of the indoor gardening world), but still a reliable alternative to keep my floor dry and keep the clean lines of the planter exposed.

I thought I could take it one stage further though, by taking the walls of the planter down an extra half an inch to minimize the plastic lip but still be suitable for floor protection.

Trimmed down the lip of the tray even further, leaving a 1/2" edge to hold the planter.

I even tried spraypainting one of the trays with the same specific-for-plastics paint that I used on the office chair because the shiny transparent plastic in person has a hint of that “just bought and forgot to take the price tag off it” feel. White seemed to correct that look without being too stand-out-ish.

White paint to take the glare off of the plastic planter tray.

It worked (of course it would, this isn’t anything revolutionary) so the gigantic plant is happily living inside once again, protected from the encroaching fall elements but still getting lots of natural sunlight through the living room windows. Although I’m kind of starting to think maybe I should match the tray to be the same color as the cement… oh the things you wish you had done differently once you see your photos…

Planter and streamlined new tray. Wonderous.

And just for kicks, my dad would love to point out that the plants that would do best in these cement planters are species that are categorized as “foundation plants”… as in, plants that you’d be directed to use in the landscaping closest to your homes exterior foundation.

If you’ve made cement planters and found a great way to make custom-sized trays to match, I’d love to know more.