Monday, July 1, 2013

diy: barn sale window transformation

I know I promised this barn sale window transformation months ago, but life happened. Days turned to weeks....weeks to months...ooops! Anyway, we absolutely love the finished product! Hope this inspires you to hit up some yard sales and rummage through someone else's junk and find a treasure of your own.

The challenge: to transform an old window by eliminating flaking paint and dirt, but still keep its original rustic beauty. Here's how we did it:
Start with an old window. If it's from the 1920s like ours then proceed with caution, the paint and window caulking most likely contain lead. Prepare a well-ventilated area with a plastic drop cloth and wear a mask and gloves. If you are claustrophobic, work as quickly as possible and try not to focus on the whole mask over your nose and mouth part...
Grab a wire brush and get working. Brush with the grain until all the peeling paint is gone. The goal is not to take off all the paint, but simply to have a smooth surface that will allow the shellac to adhere well. Use a knife and carefully remove the old caulking. I took out the window panes completely because I was worried the glass would get scraped in the wire brushing process. 
Roll up the drop cloth when you're finished and throw it out. Then grab your handy dandy shop vac and carefully vacuum any remaining dust off the window and any that might have escaped from the drop cloth. 
Wipe the frame with a damp cloth to remove any barn dust, bird poop, or any other disgusting things it might have accumulated in the course of its life.... Let the frame dry and any remaining dust particles settle. This is a great project to do outside on a nice day. Unfortunately, it was cold and windy on this Saturday, so I worked on the window in the garage and then opened the door to let the garage air out before I shellaced.
Apply a coat of shellac to seal the remaining paint and wood. Use a cheap foam brush that can be throw out when you're finished. Allow the shellac to dry then flip and coat the other side. We used the same can of shellac from our other two diy projects: the dresser and nightstand.

Decide how you would like to use your window - Do you want to hang it on the wall as is? Would you like to put the windows back in with new caulking? Will you be putting a different picture in each of the panes? Or will it be one giant picture? We opted for one giant picture without any window panes. 
I love that we wake up with a view of Frenchman's Bay each morning. If only our bedroom had this view of Bar Harbor for real!
Stay tuned: a dresser turned kitchen "island" diy project coming your way in the next few weeks.

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