Thursday, July 12, 2012

not a TOTAL waste of time

So if you haven't heard of pinterest yet, get out from under your rock.  Just kidding.  But seriously it's one of the most addicting things on the internet.  It's an online pinboard; basically a place to give you a billion ideas for the zero time most of us have.  And we have even less time because so much is spent pinning away...

However, I have found a little time to do some projects I have 'pinned'.  You saw this one, but I stepped my game up for this more recent one...

With our ever-mobile baby boy we I have been baby proofing.  One of the worst spots was our fireplace.
Cute upon first glance, right?   Well look closer... biggest problem: no hearth.  AKA straight-on, baby-level entrance to the death trap.  It also features lots of filth and big metal posts capable of pucturing sweet baby skin and organs.

At a loss for how to block it off (glass doors to put in front are still dangerous and expensive) I took to pinterest and found this from
So I came up with a plan to recreate it, ran it by Pat, and he shot it down.  He said no way it would work.  I was still convinced I could do it so off to Lowes I went.  My basic idea was to have a board of plywood cut to the size of the fireplace opening, glue some industrial strength magnets on the back (to stick to the metal surrounding the fireplace), paint it with magnetic paint (a chalkboard will be pretty messy indoors) and VOILA! death trap turned kid friendly.

Well I found the thinnest, lightest board I could and had it cut to the size I needed.  Found all the other supplies I needed and off I went.  At home I quickly discovered the saw at Lowes wasn't cutting exactly straight because one side measured correctly but the other side was about a quarter inch wider.  So I had to use a hand saw to to cut a tiny sliver off one side of the board.  It worked well enough, and then I sanded down the other areas that were just a little too wide.

After that was done I glued the magnets to the back to hold the board up.  Big mistake, you'll see why... Then I wanted to paint the board black as a background before the magnetic paint went on.  I figured I would use the spray paint left over from this project.  It was a pain in the butt, and all I'll say is that I would end up with nerve damage from pushing down on the sprayer too hard.  How do I know it's nerve damage you ask?  Well, remember this story?  I still don't have feeling in my left thumb, and now my right pointer is in the same boat.  I digress...

It was all for nothing because I ran out of spray paint before I could get the board coated evenly, so I sanded it down and decided I would make it a magnetic chalkboard, thinking the chalkboard paint would cover any icky areas.  I had to start with magnet paint, since it's a primer.  If you think you want to try a project with magnet paint, rethink it.  Here are my tips if you decide to go through with it:

-Have them shake the paint at the store, otherwise you will spend over an hour stirring it.  All of the magnetic particles glob together and make it ridiculously thick.
-Buy cheap foam brushes for each coat of the paint (you will need at least 3).  I got a bag of 10 for $1.50 (of course that was after I had to throw out our $7 brush)
-Don't try to clean the brushes, just throw them away!  You need paint thinner to clean them properly, and if you think you can just do it your own way you will end up throwing out your adorable watering can that you used to soak the brushes.

So four coats of magnet paint later, I was so over it.  Especially since it clumped where there were magnets glued to the other side of the board.  Ugh.  I didn't even care how magnetic or not the board was... I was done with it.  So I threw on 2 coats of chalkboard paint over top and thought I was done.  Wrong!  I had to take a razor to the edges since the paint dripping over the sides made the board too thick to fit in the opening. 

Once that was done, we had a perfect fit!  I threw some magnets on it, and let the boy have at it.  He liked chewing on them best.  Probably because when he touched the board they all fell down.  That's what I get for buying cheap/weak magnets.  But Guns still had fun so overall it was a success!

Then, I didn't make these, but pinterest did lead me to where I could buy them.  From

Here is my very own pair, love love love:

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