Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spice Rack Labels

So I have a confession - this post has nothing to do with sewing. My last problem-solving post created an itch - an itch to solve all my problems on the cheap. What problem did this bring me to? My spice rack. I became the new owner of this old spice rack about 3 years ago. I was moving into the apartment and I thought it would make me look like a real chef right there on my counter for the world to see.

The problem? I never used it. It still had the old spices from the first owner, half the bottles didn't have labels, and most of the spices didn't actually come out of the bottles becasue they either created moisture and were stuck in there... or they were just too old to move. I searched and searched for labels that would fit the tops to no avail. So, this spice rack just followed me around from the apartment to the house, sitting uselessly on the counter.

Along my Pintrest travels - I came up with an idea. Chalkboard paint! I've been craving to use chalkboard paint for a long time. Pictures of grocery lists and cute, changeable sayings on my walls floated in my brain. Finally... I had a chance to put this in motion.

I went to Lowe's and the smallest container of chalkboard paint I could find was a quart. A quart was way more than I needed, so I guess I'll just have to use the rest of it for something else... oh darn *cue the sly smile*. This sucker was very specific on its needs - it needed to be painted on metal or wood with a brush of polyester bristles. So there I was, in Lowe's, staring at too large 2" brushes, none of which were screaming "I'm polyester!", with full intentions of painting my plastic tops. We're off to a great start.
As I'm pretty much on a first name basis with Joanne and her fabrics, I went there to see what could happen in the craft aisle in the way of brushes. After my sheer astonishment at the prices of single paint brushes wore away, I finally picked up a $3 dollar nylon brush. I had a 40% coupon so I didn't pay too much... and I was done with trying to find polyester. I figured nylon and polyester were both clothing fabrics, so they must work the same good enough.

First up, I removed all the tops and cleaned them off. I also removed the labels of the few that had labels left with some hot water. There was a bit of glue left over on the tops but no big chunks that the naked eye could see. I then set up shop in my dining room, as the weather was absolutely gorgeous for New York in March (in the 60's!) and the windows in this room are huge. It's kind of like being outside.
I then made sure to throw out all the old spices and wash the small glass jars as well. I did this bartender style - set up one sink of hot, soapy water and the other with a rinse and then just shook the hell out of the jars in each sink. Worked out pretty well, and didn't leave a residue. Too bad this doesn't work on the rest of my dishes.

I then painted all the tops with the chalkboard paint. I didn't do the sides because I wanted to keep those as my gripping areas. It took quite a few coats to get it the pure black that I was looking for and not seeing any white plastic show through. Don't worry, I wasn't bored waiting for the paint to dry (3 times). Extreme Couponer's on TV kept me company. Man, I'm way impressed with that show.

Once I had all the coats on, I noticed that I wasn't exactly "neat" when I painted the tops. There were globs of paint going all down the sides. I then turned to my craft room. Realizing I didn't have any small ribbon to line the sides, I did notice that I had plenty of washi tape leftover from our wedding that I had full intentions on using but never actually did. They fit the sides perfectly! I lined the sides with the tape, went around twice because it was see through, and called it a day.

I was pretty impressed with how it all turned out. I think sometime in the future I may replace the washi tape with some actual ribbon - even going around the top twice you can still see the drips, drops and globs of paint on the side.

At this point, I realized that I needed some chalk in order to actually fill the jars and know what is in them. So, back to my craft room I went. The only chalk I could find was the chalk that I use to mark cut marks on clothing, which is short and fat - but I rolled with it. My writing could certainly be neater, and I'll have to invest in a chalk pen with a finer tip but, all in all, it's slightly legible and certainly serves its purpose for now.

Next up - I promise some sewing refashions from something really ugly from the thrift shop!