Gypsy cottage style
Have you been following the new “unicorn” color craze? Unicorn cookies, coffee, ice cream, even fingernail polish. It just means to throw the whole rainbow of colors at a project. Well … let me add one today: the unicorn deck.
The Unicorn Deck … made of old wood and would probably have rotted by now, but every couple of years I use “rainbow paints” on it and it has reconditioned the surface. This was the first time after a year or so … see how it weathered away where we walked the Most. I didn’t mind, I like that look. But it will last a lot longer on vertical surfaces. Or … thre times as long with outdoor paint.
Purdy as a June bug. Just wait until my flowers are blooming!
What is “rainbow” paint? Just regular paint?
I used left over latex paints in greens and blues … from the marked-down paint shelves … disposable paintbrushes … and a bunch of those little bottles of paints that are $1 each: pink, purple, gold, fuchsia. Blend as you go, random colors, use water to smooth it out. It fades off pretty quickly. Disappears in a couple of years, leaving traces of rainbows here and there.
It’s keeping the wood clean and dry, that’s the main thing. And stain would be just so boring, over and over again.
All I did was sweep it, slap on blue or green paint from the big cans. I dipped disposable brushes in water to thin it out and help blend. I used these leftover mini bottles of color. Dribble, dribble, blend, blend. I did a section of the deck each time, to minimize the chance of dog and cat paws.
I still got dog and cat paws, but decided I like them! All these brilliant colors will fade off in two years, leaving traces of color. Reconditions the old wood, reverses deterioration. I just do the inside of the deck … the outside is not as weathered and has a normal brown stain. And none of those adorable paw prints.
The painted surface wears away nicely so it looks like antique wood … blends into the environment … I stick to “tropical colors” We painted the front railing facing the road, turquoise, but otherwise all the Unicorn colors are hidden so only we can enjoy them. it looks pretty, then wears away gracefully. It’s not like a total commitment forever … it’s a lot like hair dye that way
The paint I use is just left over latex from the “Oops” paint department. This is exposed to all weather and flooring, so even exterior paint would be wearing off quickly. It lasts on the railings and balustrades a lot longer.
There was a big slimy spot on this porch when I first moved here 11 years ago. It took a while, but now it is totally reconditioned, all the old slime was purged from the wood. It’s one clean, sweet, colorful deck now. I swear every time I look out the window, especially at the railing, I LOVE it. It is like a big rainbow.
It is surprisingly fresh looking, will all fade off in two years, though. But keeps me more “awake” than plain brown stain.
Max likes the “unicorn” colors on the deck. Paint seems to condition old wood and bring it back to life, but wears off, leaving traces of color. I did just 10 square feet at a time and was constantly trying to fend off paw prints. Now just waiting for flowers to bloom!
I add a lot of water to paint and I build it up where I want it to look more solid. I don’t mind it looking weathered or stained. I’ve become a fan of imperfect surfaces. It’s a great way to recondition old wood. I’ve done this to some pretty stressed out wood, and over the course of about eight years, it toughens it up again. Must be something in the latex.
I’ve only done the unicorn paint 2-3 times in eleven years (I started about 8 years ago). You’ll find it lasts a lot longer on vertical surfaces. But on decking like this, it fades over the winter when you use Oops paint like I do. If you use Exterior oops paint, it’ll last longer. That’s what I plan to do on my front”Civil War” era porch at the old house. I’m glad to see that any kind of paint is great Rx for fragile wood.
Ammie tries it out!
Inspired by Stephie McCarthy when she posted a picture of her Rainbow Painted Porch , Ammie Peters knew she wanted to do something similar, so one morning she painted a throw rug in front of a chair on her back porch. She loves it and says, “Thanks for the inspiration Stephie!”
Living in Stephie’s fairyland
Another rainy morning. I’m making these “petticoat pillows” for the unicorn deck. I used wood stain on the metal chair so it would look sort of rusty but be clean … I wasn’t sure it would work, but it worked like a charm.
This was easier and way cheaper than spray paint!
This was Varathane Red Mahogany, the kind that cleans up with mineral spirits. I used a disposable chip brush. It’s a one coat stain and I only need a ounce or so to finish the job. Lots left over from one of those small cans.
I sanded a couple of really dirty spots and wiped it with baby wipes. I could tell by the aged surface that the stain would bond very well.
This is the same stain that I used on some paneling inside. The paneling always looked so cheap, but I put this over the existing stain and now it looks rich. Varathane red mahogany is a one coat wonder, but you can thin it down on wood with a lot of rubbing.
This probably has some poly in it though. As an experiment I am being really rough on this finish, and it is holding up amazingly well. It completely bonded to the powder coated paint job. I didn’t do the seat though, it was made of vinyl straps.
I cut panels from some gypsy petticoat skirts, hemmed the sides by hand and whip-stitched them to the edges of a Walmart cushion. I didn’t have to hem the petticoats because I used the hem as the bottom edge. Takes one hour per pillow, by hand. The cushions have ties to hold it on the chair. I bought a can of Scotch-guard to use on the red cotton, but the white petticoat (and the new blue one I’m making today) are polyester so they will repel water on their own, I think. I save lace curtains too, never know where you can use them
More from Stephie’s garden
My tips for when you are adding paint/color to a flea market find:
1. give yourself a full hour to work … it takes time to build up and wipe away the layers,
2. keep a stack of baby wipes on hand, they are great for wiping away excess color.
This is a drawer and a piece of gingerbread wood nailed together. I enhanced the color with craft paint.
Foxgloves … glory be!!! I go outside and there is a jungle of them. I read somewhere that Foxgloves will bloom up to 6 weeks! This is my 3rd year, so I’ll keep track this year for sure. They like West Virginia, it seems. I never imagined a garden like this would grow for me.
These came up from seeds in peat pots. Now they are spreading all around. I’m letting them self seed because they’re really easy to dig up and move if you don’t like where they come up. They don’t have runners or deep roots. They look like big green crowns, and are pretty much evergreen all winter, so easy to locate and relocate.
Oh, no! New patio umbrellas are three times what I paid for this one 3 years ago … so … sprayed this one with foaming bleach cleaner and it looked like new! So we painted polka dots for an hour yesterday, just for fun. I say “we” because Luna was hiding under it, and my dog, Jesse, was licking up spilled paint water on the floor below.
I hope you’ll go crazy with a little paint in your garden and outdoor area. It is fun … I call it unleashing your inner Picasso. ~~ Stephie