Farmhouse rustic on the CHEAP!

For the last few years, farmhouse rustic/distressed furniture has been the desired trend.  Buying furniture pieces with this desired finish can be quite costly.  So, how can you get the same look for less?  I put my creativity to work and this is how I successfully gave my furniture pieces a farmhouse rustic look on the cheap!

When you think farmhouse rustic or distressed, you think chippy peeling paint and a tattered appearance.  Your desired finish should look old, worn, and weathered.  It’s easy to achieve this look even if you’re not artistic….I’m certainly not an artist!  For years I was a stay-at-home caregiver living on only one income.  I didn’t have the luxury of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a distressed piece of furniture.  Using my lack of funds as inspiration, I decided to test my DIY skills to achieve my shabby furniture goal!

1.)  Choosing A Project Piece

Trying to decide what type of furniture to distress is an important question.  Too big of a project….you may lose interest; too small of a project….it may require too many details.  As for me, when chosing my starter piece, I chose a functional piece of furniture that would serve a purpose in my home.  Unlike some, I don’t have a huge house.  Therefore, whatever furniture I decide to makeover needs to serve some purpose….storage, accent table, end table, ect.

2.)  Where To Find It?

Once you figure out the piece, GO FIND IT!  I visit thrift stores, yard sales, free classifieds online….you never know what you may stumble across.  Remember, the least amount of investment possible is preferred.  I set my limit at $10-$20!  Try to find a project that doesn’t involve a lot of fixing….missing legs, missing half of a tabletop!  Make a smart purchase!

3.)  Supplies

Now that you have project piece, what do you do with it?  Go to a local store and pick up some cheap primer (latex), paint (latex), brushes, sandpaper (160 grit and fine grit), and polyurethane (water-based).  These five basic supplies are all you need to successfully finish many distressed furniture pieces.  I prefer to use latex or water-based primers, paints, and sealers.  They are SO much easier to clean-up and you can wash and reuse your brushes!

4.)  The Process

Clean your project piece with a damp rag and remove any dirt.  Now, lightly sand your piece with any grit sandpaper just to rough up the surface.  This will allow your primer to adhere better.  After sanding, wipe down the piece again and remove any dust.

Ready to primer!?  Using any type of paintbrush, apply the primer to the piece.  Let the brush strokes show!  I prefer using only one coat of primer.  This allows for easier sanding and a better finish.  Let the primer dry for 24 hours.

It’s primed, so LET’S PAINT!  Again, apply your favorite paint right over the primer.  Go crazy here!  Paint in all directions!  Show a lot of brush strokes!  These techniques add to the distressed look of your piece.  After you finish applying the paint, allow it to dry 24 hours.  At this point, it’s entirely up to you if you want additional coats of paint.  I usually apply two coats, but it’s all individual preference.

Finally we can sand!  Using your coarse grit sandpaper, start sanding your piece until you get your desired look. Don’t worry about messing up, it’s only paint!  You may want to wear a dust mask when sanding….it can get a little messy!

Everything is sanded down and you have your rustic look. Let’s preserve it for years to come!  I prefer a water-based polyurethane.  Some people prefer other sealers, but again it’s personal preference.  For me….whatever is on sale or the cheapest!  Remove any dust from your piece and brush on your sealer.  This is the only time I recommend trying to reserve your craziness and take it easy on the brush strokes.  Try to be consistent and go one way with your strokes.  It gives a more finished appearance.  After applying your topcoat allow it to dry at least 24 hours.  At this point, I prefer to gently sand the entire piece with fine grit sandpaper, wipe down, and apply a second topcoat.  This ensures a nice appearance and better preservation.

All done!  Now step back and admire your farmhouse rustic furniture piece.  Let’s not forget, you completed this project on the cheap!  Using my secrets to achieving that shabby look, get creative and showcase your DIY skills on more projects!  Let me see those finished projects by commenting below.  Do you have tips to add?  Comment below. Talk to you soon!

That’s all I NEED to succeed in Chemistry?

You have registered for CHEM 101 and class starts next week….what do you need to pass the Chemistry course?  What supplies are going to help you ace this class?  Words of advice, “Don’t get caught up in technology.  Don’t overthink.  More isn’t always better!”  When taking a General Chemistry course, just stick to the basics.

1.)  Textbook and Solutions Manual

If you have read my other posts, I put a lot of emphasis on note-taking and practice problems.  Therefore, it’s logical that the two most important supplies for any Chemistry course is a textbook and the supporting solutions manual.  Most, if not all, of your course study will be contained within these two supplies.  Oh, and while you’re at it, invest in a few highlighters.  For those of you who own your CHEM 101 textbook and solutions manual, feel free to highlight key aspects of each chapter during lecture.  You bought it, use it!  If you don’t own the book and manual, highlight important chapter components on your notes.  The hidden gem that most students forget about is the textbook solutions manual.  It’s vital for passing any Chemistry course.  The manual doesn’t just contain answers; it contains the logical progression of any given problem in its entirety.  This step-by-step presentation enables the student to see the method for the solution.

2.)  Periodic Chart

Yes, yes, yes….I know a periodic chart is located in either the front or back of your textbook!  But, honestly, who wants to flip back and forth while trying to read and understand the chapter or complete assigned practice problems?  And, who wants to open your textbook every time the periodic chart is referenced?  No one.  Invest in a simple and inexpensive periodic chart.  Laminate and take it with you to every Chemistry class for easy reference.  This small hassle is definitely worth it!

3.)  A Simple Calculator

Remember when I said, “Don’t get caught up in technology.  More isn’t always better!”?  This advice is extremely evident when choosing the proper calculator for General Chemistry.  When deciding the make and model of your calculator, simple is better.  Choose a device that can perform all simple mathematical operations, including logarithms and exponentials.  Technological advances have enabled calculators to perform extremely complicated tasks.  However, for General Chemistry, opt for a calculator that is simple, inexpensive, and easy to use.  Chemistry can be an intense subject.  Focus on learning the subject, not the calculator!  Oh, and please do not depend on your smartphone for a calculator.  Many teachers and professors do not allow the use of cell phones in class.  I’m speaking from experience!

4.)  Notebook and Pencil

Really….notebook and pencil?  Yes, really.  Having observed a broad range of students in my Chemistry lectures and labs, I was always in awe of how unorganized and unprepared students were during class.  A notebook and pencil seemed obvious as supplies needed for any given Chemistry course.  But, to my surprise, students would show up to lecture or lab with a permanent marker and a sticky-note pad!  Invest in a good five-subject notebook.  Dedicate that notebook to General Chemistry.  Use a pencil instead of pens and markers.  Mistakes can be erased and your notes will not consist of white-out and scribbles.  Chemistry makes a lot more sense when you have legible notes!

Stock up on these basic supplies and you will be on your way to passing that General Chemistry course.  Don’t over-complicate the subject and the supplies needed to succeed.  I hope you found this post helpful.  Leave me a comment and let me know how you’re doing in those Chemistry courses.  If you have a minute, view my other posts covering study habits and exam preparation for General Chemistry.  Happy studying!  Thank you and take care!