OMG You Can Paint Grout

Y’all may know that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with our master bathroom. On one hand, we have an AMAZING big-ass shower (read that as “big ass-shower” and it’s extra funny). But on the other hand, our bathroom came without a door (weird right?), the pedestal sinks feel awkward, and the tile we inherited would not have been our first choice. Not to mention it was not the neatest tile job. After struggling with loose tiles and cracking caulk I was getting ready to give up on this tile ever looking nice.

But then the clouds parted and I discovered the $12 miracle that is Polyblend Grout Renew.

So let me back up a bit and explain why discovering this was so awesome. See, one of the reasons I think our tile looks sloppy is because the grout lines are super uneven. And before this project, the white grout lines against the dark tile made that unevenness very noticeable.

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It’s not absolutely terrible from far away. But when you get closer, you start noticing things like this:

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Hot mess am I right? So anyway, my theory was that if I painted the grout a darker color, the variation in grout lines would be way less noticeable. The recommended method is to clean your tile/grout really well and then apply the paint with either a toothbrush, paintbrush, or Q-tip. I chose to use 2 different size paint brushes, one for the itty bitty lines and one for the thick chunky lines.

We opted for the charcoal/black looking paint since it was closes to what we wanted. I just squirted a bit into the cap and kept that nearby as I meticulously painted each and every line in that dang bathroom.

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I started in the corner near the toilet (glamorous, I know) because if it turned out looking terrible, I wanted it to be in a more hidden spot.

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This is a good photo though because you can see the before and the after together in one shot. Already, the darker grout looks less jarring. It just kinda meshes with the darkness of the tile and makes any unevenness less noticeable.

It took several weeks to complete this project, mainly because I could only do it a couple hours at a time here or there. It was easy but boring and not super duper comfortable being on the bathroom floor.

We decided to do the shower surround, but we left the inside of the shower as is. It’s not as noticeable in there because of how the glass obscures things. Also, I was pretty tired of painting grout at this point. We also left the larger caulk seams around our tub as is (though we might paint over those too in the future, would be pretty quick! You’ll see the lines I’m talking about at the base of our tub later.)

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In the end it was worth the tedious work! To save you some scrolling here’s the “before” again…

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And after! (bonus new rugs and shelf items too!)

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And here’s another before shot of the other side of the room…

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And the after!

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It may not look like much, but that’s the point. Now you don’t notice the grout lines on the counter, backsplash, floor, bath surround, shower surround, baseboards… they just blend in with the tile, which is exactly what we wanted. Win!

DIY Simple Side Table

Evan here again! So for a while, I hate to admit it, we were using my old TV tray as a side table. Hey. It fit. But it was not a good long term solution for two picky DIY artists. By this time (back in 2013 actually, sorry for such a late update!), I had gotten my woodworking confidence up, but I had not done any major projects with woodworking yet. So let me share my first one with you:

DIY Simple Side Table

Muuuch better, right? This journey was not the smoothest… At first I was inspired by this pallet I found:

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It seems like they are all the rage in the DIY community. I must have had really bad luck. This was some super heavy duty super nailed together super pallet. But not super good for getting good wood from. I really did try. Then I put it in the scrap pile and went to Home Depot.

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Got some nice real wood (no plywood for my first big project!) All the same width. All I needed to do was cut them to length and start joining!

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This was before I had more toys tools in my arsenal garage, so I made do with some scrap wood to help me cut. Prooobably not recommended. A table saw would have been muuuuch better. Now that I have one (a shoutout of thanks to my brother and sister in law here for hooking me up for our wedding (yes, this project was that long ago)) I know how awesome it is.

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Once cut to size (measure, measure, measure, cut) I did a test fit! Looks good so far. I went with a nice basic shape (a blocky A?). To join them I drilled holes and glued in dowels! If I were to do this again, I would have used screws and counter-bores then capped them with tiny lengths of dowels on top (picture below sums it up better). I used dowels instead of just screws so that the entire outside of the side table would be wood (say that 5 times fast… wait, I just did it too and it’s not that hard, please ignore).

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But this was my first project so I just went for it.

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Not the prettiest work but that is why I bought wood filler.

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Katelyn helped me out with joining them all together with the dowels and glue (and therefore we didn’t get too many pictures of the process). But I did get this gem:

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Once everything was joined it was time to liberally apply wood filler.

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When it all started to look awesome is actually when I took the sander to the side table. It started to feel like a finished product. All the rough edges or mismatches were worn away and it came together into one piece.

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And if sanding is when it started to look finished, staining is when it really DID look finished. This might be the most satisfying step because there is such a large change for fairly low effort. I’ve adopted the wipe on, wipe off method. Get the stain on the wood and wipe it off right away.

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Since this was going to be a piece of furniture we would use regularly and possibly with drinks/spills/condensation, I went ahead and sealed it too.

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Hope this post helps people at the beginning of their DIY adventure like I was to jump in and try their hand at something new, or get a more experienced hand out into their workshop again :)

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

We took on a lot of very time intensive wedding DIY projects (I’m looking at you marquee letters, backdrop, photobooth, and chandelier). So in order to not make ourselves completely crazy, we tackled some quick and easy DIY projects too. That makes sense right? “We have so many big projects, quick, throw in some little ones too because we need even more work to do!” We are crazy.

Anyway, the good news about these projects is they were all SUPER quick and easy, and some can be used for stuff other than weddings- baby showers, birthdays, holiday get togethers, Diablo III parties (are we the only ones that have those?), etc. Today I shall be covering one of those projects: DIY paper heart straws

I’ll start by saying that paper heart straws are the most adorable things ever (aside from kittens). They are also super easy to make, and cheap! Though for a wedding-sized batch, the cost can start to add up. That’s why I was happy to find this box of 144 straws on Amazon for $7.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

One batch was the perfect amount for the whole wedding (about 150 people). This brand sells them in a few other colors, but gray was my jam. Mainly because it would be a great accompaniment to the pretty pink hearts I was gonna stick on ‘em.

This project was made WAY easier because I had one of those heart-shaped cutter things from Michaels (you can see it in the photo below). I also picked up some pink scrapbook paper that was stiff enough to be sturdy, but bendable enough to wrap around the straw without popping off.

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For each straw I punched out two hearts and then stuck double sticky tape on the straw and on the widest two points of one of the hearts. That way when I put it together, the hearts were taped to each other and to the straw itself.

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I would just pinch the sides together like so, not worrying that there was a little gap as the heart cutouts got closer to the straw.

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Boom. Straw complete. So very easy.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

Then I just did it to 50 more! I didn’t do it to ALL the straws because, a) not everyone would want to be walking around with a heart straw, b) it would have made it more difficult to fit them all in the little mason jars they were going to be put into, and c) I didn’t feel like it.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

My mom brought 3 large mason jars that we could put these into, but the jars were actually too tall, so we improvised and brought some ice cream salt at the grocery store to act as vase filler. It’s basically big chunky salt crystals, and was way cheaper than any actual vase filler.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

They were super cute at our drink station at the wedding! Just another one of those little details that made things that much more personal :)

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Plus it helps that our friends look like models so pictures of them with the straws automatically make the straws look awesome.

Easy DIY Paper Heart Straws

I plan on doing a few more quick and easy tutorials like this, so keep your eyes peeled!