Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The “This will be easy” curse

Today’s tale is one that started out with, “This will only take a few minutes…”

Dangit, I know better to say that – out loud or in my head. It’s the kiss of death my friends. From now on I’m just going to start out every project with “Oh this will take five times longer than I think it will!” and I’m sure it will be the opposite. It’s how I do.

This is one of those projects I wouldn’t have even blogged about but when it became a pain in my butt I figured I would share. It started with a mirror. I’ve been looking for one for our basement staircase for about six months. You may remember the wood planked wall I installed there last summer. I loved it as it was for a long time, but finally decided I wanted to put something on there. Specifically a white mirror in a fun shape.

So I looked for said white mirror in a fun shape for months. Finally found it about a month ago (at HomeGoods), brought it home, then realized there was a crack in it.

Wahhh wahhhhhhh.

I’d seen another one while there, so I took it back to exchange it but they didn’t have any more in white. They did have pink!:

painting a mirror frame

And I had to pay an additional ten bucks for the pink version! (Cat not included.) Pink is worth ten dollars? But now I was hooked and I wanted the dang mirror, so I got it.

This is where the “this will be so easy came in” – I saw there were little screws on the back, so I figured I could just remove them and the mirror would come out. Then I could spray paint the frame and have this sucker hanging 20 minutes later.

Well, 20-something screws later:

I realized the back was glued on. Wah. WAHHH. So why the screws I ask you? WHY.

So…I had two options. Spend an hour trying to tape off the curves and details of the frame so I could spray paint it, or just paint the thing. I went with paint. I should have just taped it off. :)

It took forever. I used white chalk paint so I didn’t sand or anything (just cleaned it well), but it took at least three coats:

painting a mirror frame

I stopped counting at three anyway.

And oh yeah, he’s not helping. I think he thinks he is.

OK, chalk paint is great, I’ve used it many times and love it. But the one draw back is it dries so quick. I think it dried even faster over the plastic. So you have to work quickly. Another thing about this paint is it leaves brush marks (which usually don’t bother me), but I wanted this to be smooth and shiny. Not happening:

painting a mirror frame

My paint kept “pulling” – I would go back over a spot to try to smooth it out and the paint would gunk up, even thought I had just painted it. It was a little frustrating. I did sand lightly between coats to get rid of a lot of it.

The good thing about this paint is that it is easily wiped off with just a wet rag. So no razor needed to get it all off the mirror when I was done – I just wiped it off. That kind of rocks.

All in all what I thought would take 20 minutes took an afternoon. I’d do a coat, go do something, sand it down, do another, go do something…you get the idea.

I’m not thrilled with the finished product either – it looks a bit messy to me close up. But from far away it looks great!:

Wood planked wall

And in the world of DIY sometimes that’s all you need!

I love the white pop on the dark wood! It makes me want to add more white things, but I’m keeping it to just this. We have enough going on down there with the gallery wall:

White mirror over wood wall

After I hung it my husband went down the stairs and told me how much he loved the new mirror. When my husband notices a project I feel like a get a gold star or something. (In his defense, things tend to change a lot around here.)

I think my favorite part is when I’m talking to my kiddo or husband I can see them either at the top of the steps:

Wood planked wall

Or at the bottom:

White mirror on wood planked wall

You can see the big map art there at the bottom of the stairs too. :)

I still have a few things I’d like to do this staircase – beef up the handles a bit and install thicker baseboards. And after that I think I can call this little area done. Wow. Can you believe it??

Do you have the “this will be a quick project” curse too?

50 comments:

  1. I bought a mirror at Home Goods that had the same problem, the back wouldn't come off!! No matter how carefully I painted it and taped off the mirror, you could still see the parts that didn't get painted in the reflection of the mirror!!! I hate it!!!

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  2. Ha! Yes, the reflection part is the worst!!

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  3. I am still obsessing over that wall!

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  4. I think if you googled "This Will Be a Quick Project Curse", you would find my picture. :-) I'm digging on the white mirror against the dark wood, and have already envisioned a gallery wall of sorts on this gorgeous wall. Complete with a white deer head. ;-)

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  5. Ha most of my projects are "this will be quick" and end up taking a few days. I love how it looks on that wall.

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  6. Love the mirror too bad it was such a pain in the hiney. I had a round mirror that I had to paint one time and I didn't want to try to tape it off. Circles are a paint in the booty to tape if you know what I mean. I noticed that I could slide paper up under the rim of the frame and so I did that all the way around and then taped the paper at the center part of the mirror so that when I used spray paint the paper wouldn't blow away. It worked great. Anyway that might be a tip for the next time you need to paint a mirror or any frame without the necessity of taping every nook and cranny, just slide some paper up under the frame. Have a terrific day!

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  7. I wonder if that curse is part 2 of the "Eve ate the apple, so we all suffer through childbirth" curse? I certainly seem to have gotten it. :)

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  8. All of my projects turn out that way, and still I have never learned to stop thinking "oh this will just take 5 minutes" The mirror looks great- I love that shape!

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  9. No way! I bought the exact same mirror from Walmart ($14.97!) to do what I thought would be a "quick project". It also had a million screws and hot glue to take apart (I actually cut the glue and pulled the mirror out. After I painted the frame (I used craft paint from michaels and it took 3 coats to cover the black plastic), I went to put the mirror back in and I broke it! My cheap/easy project ended up costing double when I had to go back and buy a second mirror. But it looks great now, so I guess those painful projects can be worth it!

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    1. Do you have the link to the one at Walmart or the brand name? I have been looking for a mirror like this for ages but can't find it on their site.

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    2. It was Better Homes & Gardens brand! Hope that helps!

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  10. Oh yeah, I am all to familiar with the 'this will be quick and easy' curse. Happens a lot around here! The mirror looks great on that wall. Perfect pick!

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  11. Isn't that always the truth? Sigh. We've all been there. At least it is a happy ending! I looove that planked wall. It also sounds like it might save you a few trips up and down the stairs!

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  12. I feel your pain Sarah.. i exact thing happened to me as i was making DIY canvases of our precious wedding pictures.... the online tutorials seemed so simple.. and i was like " oh this easy peezzyy" .. but it pretty much didnt turn out as I wanted... but like you said.. look great from far away.. but not perfect.. !!!! :) i guess these projects are important too... it keeps me grounded:P..

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  13. I love that mirror! We purchased a very similar one in black from Hobby Lobby and I wanted it to be grey, so I taped everything off (covering most of it with newspaper with the tape around the edge) and spray painted it. The taping was a royal pain but in the end it allowed me to be messy and not worry! Yours looks gorgeous even though it was so much work!

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  14. Love the mirror! It's perfect for your planked wall which I LOVE!

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  15. Oh, I had the same issue with a round mirror before! It's not fun. But after all the hard work, your mirror turned out great!

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  16. Yes, I absolutely have same curse! I usually apply it to my husband's projects and then he reminds me that I live in an alternate reality where everything should take less than an hour and it never does. :)

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  17. I feel you pain. I recently bought a mirror from Home Goods. It was creamy white...I really needed white white. I too thought, no biggie, I will just take the back off, remove the mirror and spray it. Ummm no. Same problem Okay, so I had already done another mirror (same shape as the one you have but only from lowes...was black, again needed white)...With it I just took some cardstock and was able to get it under the edges just enough so I could spray it. Well...this wasn't as easy because it was like a big flower in the middle....several different sections. So, I spent about an hour taping and shoving paper under where it would go. Go it sprayed...added a bit of silver rub and buff to the beaded trim. We go to hang it...the hangers are not even. No bigger...I will just move them. Ummm...no again. The mirror was hollow around edges...they had glued two little blocks of wood in two spots to screw the hangers into. And, they were not moving without breaking. So, I gave up. I now had a mirror, painted the exact way I wanted it, and no freaking way to hang the darn thing. End of story...found another mirror last week at Lowes, love it more, and it is no hanging pretty in my daughter's bathroom!!!

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    1. Oh my goodness, that is so funny...Although I'm sure it wasn't at the time.

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    2. Oh my goodness, that is so funny...Although I'm sure it wasn't at the time.

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  18. It looks really great now that it's done! Definitely worth the effort. Kudos for not giving up! After taking out all those screws to find the glue, I might've just left it pink. ; )

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  19. I did that same exact thing recently -- only my mirror was smaller and only have 9 or so screws -- glued down!! I did tape mine (it was a round mirror, so not as tedious).

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  20. I love it girl ... AND that wall that you HUNG IT ON >>>OMGOODNESS LOVE LOVE LOVE . I love your house !!! just beautiful as all your projects. xoxoxoxo hugs

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  21. Two thoughts/phrases that strike fear in my heart (and mind lol) are 'this will be a quick project" and "easy to assemble" - neither are true (in my world anyway) :-) Your mirror looks wonderful both in technique and placement. Neat shape.

    I haven't read all the comments so forgive if I'm repeating - but a trick I've found helpful for painting mirrors or glass filled frames is to put a bit of vasaline along the edge of the mirror or glass near the frame to repel paint. It's still a pain cutting in - I'm with you, remove the mirror or glass whenever possible. But in a pinch when painting a frame or mirror doesn't offer the option of removing the contents the vasaline allows you to wipe away any extra paint when the project has dried. I find it quicker many times than taping complex shapes for overpaint with a brush and it's worked well for me. (Just keep the brush free of vasaline, lol)

    Issy

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    1. I was just thinking the same thing only cover ALL of the mirror with Vaseline and then spray paint the plastic!

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  22. It NEVER fails, as soon as I say, 'This will be easy!' or 'This will be quick' or 'Just quick fix' it always ends up taking weeks or being a real pain in the you know what! I can empathize! Looks good from the pictures though.

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  23. I have a few small mirrors in that shape in black from Target. Still haven't done anything with them and it's been MONTHS!

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  24. Four letters. IKEA - Swedish for "DIVORCE" lol - I always think I can assemble that stuff easy peasy and then after 7 hours and hair loss, I give up.

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  25. Ugh... I've played the "this will be easy!" paint-a-mirror game before. Never again.

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  26. Hint for IKEA assembly. There are youtube videos for almost every piece of furniture that they carry! The save my life and sanity! Swedsih for"DIVORCE"--- LOL!

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  27. Oh man, I want that PINK mirror :) I need that for my daughter's nursery!

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  28. Oh my goodness! I did the exact same thing to the exact same mirror, except I distressed mine a little. Check out my blog to see it! :)
    www.basicallybrandy.com

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  29. You know that you're going to find a white mirror next week, right? Lol! I made a Thanksgiving magnolia wreath spray painted gold that I thought would be easy. It's a wreath after all. Three days later and every single finger burned from the hot glue gun, it was done. Then, I found a gold magnolia wreath at Homegoods for half the price I spent DIY'ing it. Of course!

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  30. Love the mirror--it looks AWESOME on that wall! Next time--you can try putting Glad Press N Seal over the mirror, then using an exacto knife along the frame to cut away the plastic. Just the mirror is covered and you can paint the frame. Works great (just be careful not to crack the mirror when cutting--don't ask me how I know!) That has worked for me. Love me some press n' seal...
    Amy
    www.11magnolialane.com

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  31. I totally have the "this will be quick" curse. In fact I just finished sewing placemats that I thought would take me an hour...they really took 4 or 5 hours. For me, it is a matter of my bad judgement on time and how long things really take, though i do have my fair share of projects that just take longer as well. I think it is the nature of the DIY beast! I love your mirror. It looks great! I can't see any of the flaws you can see, but I know what you mean about being able to see them.
    Take care,
    KC

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  32. Ha ha! I did this IDENTICAL project for my friend last year. Only here was black, not pink. And I was bound and determined to get it apart, because I wanted to paint the back of the frame that reflects in the mirror. We'll not only was the cardboard backing cemented to the back of the mirror, the FRONT of the mirror was cemented to the back of the frame! I had the damnedest time getting it all apart. The finished product looks perfect (hers hangs over glass tile above a vanity), but the back is a disaster of bent up cardboard and packing tape. Glad no one sees that part!

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  33. I totally know the feeling. I started this project with this mirror a while back.... and it just turned into drama. I never even finished it!! Ughhh... I suppose I could try again tomorrow.

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  34. This is really valuable post. Thanks a lot for sharing this………..

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  35. The "This will be easy" usually comes out of my non crafty bff's mouth when she wants me to do something for her! Great post, I can relate!!
    Kelly T

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  36. That dreaded curse, I've come to accept my the timeline in my head grows exponentially in reality. 5 head mins=5 reality hours, 3 head hours=3 reality days, 1 head day=1 reality week. BTW, I love the wood wall, is there a post on how you did that?

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  37. Good Lord, yes. Pretty much everything I do takes a kajillion times longer than I expect. Like that time I tried to do painted stripe curtains. I used a TON of ASCP in French Linen, ended up hating how it looked, and just sewed wide bands of alternating colored fabric to create the stripes. Yep, should have done that from the start rather than wasting all that expensive paint!

    Also, I haven't looked through all your comments, so sorry if someone's already said this. I learned from Shaunna over at PI that if you use some super duper fine grit sandpaper (I think we used something crazy like 600 grit at her workshop) you can get chalk paint down to an enamel-like smoothness and shine. I was SHOCKED by how well it worked; I couldn't believe how shiny that paint could get. No brush strokes left at all.

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  38. I love the mirror Sarah. I know what you mean about your husband noticing the mirror. When my husband comments on a project before I point it out to him...I know it's good!
    When I paint with latex paint and do another coat over the paint before it dries well the paint will pull and gunk up. I'm not very patient.

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  39. I had a similar experience once. I bought a clock that was perfect for my kitchen. Got it home, put in the batteries and the hands were stuck together and wouldn't move. I thought I could fix it in a jiffy by taking off the back and loosening the part where the hands were. This thing too had a million screws on the back and after getting them all off, I found there was no fixing the hands. I only put half the screws back on, and that was a LOT and returned it. There was not one other of the same clock to be had in all their stores, so my frustrating day was a bust. Glad yours finally did work out, but I just hate when it seems something should be simply and turns out to be a real ordeal. I feel your pain!

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  40. hope @ hopefulgardner.comNovember 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Our mantra here tends to be 'Nothing is ever easy!'. The wall looks GREAT!! Wish I had somewhere here I could do that treatment!

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  41. I love the look of the mirror. The white on the dark wall is perfect. I hate when we think we can do something in just a few and it turns out to be a horrible ordeal - such is life.

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