Thursday, January 12, 2012

From Throwaway Plant Stand to Posh Pet Steps!

Hi there!

I'm going to start this blog off with a small job I did over the holidays. This is going to be a simple project, but an example of finding a way to fill a need in a hurry. And, believe me, this qualifies as a refurbishing project if anything ever has!

A little backstory: my daughter got a Teacup Yorkie as a early Christmas present. Her original owner needed to find a new home for her and my daughter had wanted for a pet of her own for a long time (as if the three dogs we had weren't enough!) So, this tiny little precious bundle of fur joined our family!

While she's big on personality, she's small on stature and she couldn't get herself up on my daughter's bed, where they both wanted her to sleep. I was already tallying up the expenditures of adopting yet another dog, while I marveled all kinds of expensive dog steps, pet beds, etc - all marketed to the toy dog owner.

They were either plain or ugly and all of them were expensive. And my daughter has a definite style. Her room is Steampunk-inspired. It's red and black. She wears funky clothes, half of which she creates herself. She carries an old "I Love Lucy" purse. Plain, carpeted, cream-colored dog steps would probably kill her. And if I bought them, I knew she'd kill me.

Then I remembered. 15 years or so ago, when I was deep into my own Victorian period, I had bought a set of overpriced wooden bedsteps at an antique store. They had long since been relegated to my back deck as a tiered plant stand. They had been watered, sun-bleached, chipped, and chewed on. In fact, I had considered tossing them in the bin. But, my tiered plants look so pretty, so I didn't.

Pretty ratty, right? But, still, free! I decided to get to work and see what I could do. The first thing I noticed was that they were wobbly. A cross bracing piece had long since disappeared. You can see the light spot at the bottom where it was supposed to be.

The first thing I did was replace the cross brace.

I ran up to Jo-Ann's Fabrics, after eyeballing the step size, and grabbed two fabrics that I knew my daughter would love. The poor lady at the cutting station looked at me a little askance when I told her just to lay the fabric out and cut where I asked. (She even said, "Don't you know how much you need?" I said, "No, I'm just making this up as I go along. I'll tell you what I need and you just round up to the nearest quarter-yard." LOL) 

When I got home, I sanded the entire thing down thoroughly. Even the rough chewed corners and chipped sides. The steps themselves I knew I was going to upholster and I didn't want any sharp points working through the fabric.

Make a note of that paint! It's one of my favorites for these types of projects. It covers great, comes in lots of colors, and makes the job go a lot quicker! My daughter's furniture, at her request, is flat black, so that's what I chose for this little project, as well. I gave everything that would show two coats, but didn't worry about the step themselves, just the risers and cross pieces, as you can see below:

I gathered my handy staple gun, batting, red fabric, black lace overlay, tassels, cording, and my glue gun (and, of course, my cup of coffee!)

I stapled the batting into place. I was careful not to overkill on the staples for this step, since I was going to be stapling two other materials on top. This was a staple-intensive project! I folded the corners in from both sides, to distribute the bulk evenly. In sewing, you trim out a wedge for the corners, but here I wanted that extra little bit of protection.

After I had the batting, the red base material, and the lace overlay in place, I carefully trimmed away the excess. I threaded the loops on the gold tassels onto the black and gold cording, then, Using my glue gun, I glued the cord, carefully positioning the tassels at each corner before I glued. The cording here does more to cover the staples than as a design element, since the step overhang makes it somewhat hard to see.

At some point, I may go back and exchange the individual tassels with a full strip of tasseled trim. I'd like it better, but this works for now.

After I finished, I have to say, I was pretty pleased with the transformation and my daughter loves it! It goes with her room, looks "cool", and little Abbey took to them right away. This was a quick and easy fix. I did this project in one night. If you don't have bed steps premade, I believe they even have pre-cut riser boards you can buy at Home Depot. I'm so glad I didn't decide to just buy something. This keeps with my daughter's decor, cost me about $15 in fabric and trim, and turned out better than anything I could have found in a store!

Let me know what you think!

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  1. I think it's much did the nutcracker get paid to supervise?? :D

  2. LOL! That poor Nutcracker is on the bench for a repair himself! Maybe I'll blog that someday! Poor guy!

  3. That's beautiful, Kristy! Look forward to more projects!

  4. Great idea and I love the gold tassels for Abby. She looks like a little princess.

  5. Another great project! The dog is soooo cute, too!! You're really great at repurposing things!!

  6. Thank you so much! This one was really a scramble, as little Abbey was a "surprise" (to us as well as our daughter). LOL

  7. Hi Kristy, you did a fabulous job with that step and Abby looks so cute on it. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

    1. Chris, thank you so much for following! I'm heading over to your blog now! I'm a certifiable blog-addict myself!! Hope to touch base with you often!


  8. This came out really nice! Wow you have a great eye :) Will be following your blog now!

  9. Oh what a great transformation and your little one obviously approves!

  10. Kristy, you did a beautiful job of restoring that piece to looking even better than it must have looked originally! I love the tassels, and your daughter's little Yorkie is positively precious!

    Thank you so much for linking up to "A Little Birdie Told Me..." last week. I'm sorry it took me so long to make my way over. I hope you'll join the party again this week -- it's in full swing.

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  11. What a clever upcycle! So glad you shared it at our Shine on Fridays party!

  12. Looks great! I really need one for my dog Lance, he's twelve and not as limber as he used to be! Fantastic job!

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