Saturday, January 16, 2010

I am, in fact, not dead

Life has gotten quite a bit less... interesting, so I have finally been able to return my focus to my hobby. I did not, in fact, enter the HBS contest this year, although I did buy the kit. And since my local mini club is having a show in the spring, I've set my sights on that instead... and have actually gotten some work done!

The base of this project is Houseworks' Garden Party Gazebo, which looks like this out of the box:

When I unpacked the gazebo, I was pleased. I loved the pre-assembled roof and the eight graceful columns, all of which are made of solid wood. However, I was less impressed with the platform, which is made of MDF. Clearly, I would need flooring.

My idea was to create an elegant outdoor room in a somewhat weather-beaten structure; this required a wooden slat floor. The smart thing to do would have been to buy some store-bought flooring, then stain and sand it to create a distressed look. Me, I'm more of an idiot, so I bought several pieces of 1/32" basswood and proceeded to cut individual floorboards with an X-Acto knife, carving out the post holes as I glued the planks down. Not the most fun thing ever, but I liked how it turned out.

The next step was to stain the floor. Since I was planning to rough it up anyway, I didn't bother with silly things like reading directions; I just grabbed a can of MinWax and a foam brush and started slopping stain. The resulting train-wreck was actually the look I was going for, so I added a layer of varnish to it and called it a day.

I gave the roof a similar treatment. It didn't turn out quite as badly as the platform, but it was close enough.

That left me with a minor problem: what to do with the columns. I felt that staining them might be overkill (or at least show a distinct lack of creativity). Marble would be too fancy, paint would be too... meh. Brick? I already had plans involving brick, so I didn't want brick on the gazebo, too.

Lucky for me, there's DecoArt.

DecoArt makes a wide variety of craft paints, including a line of textured paints. The "Terra Cotta" paint, applied with a palette knife, results in a very nice stucco texture. Once they dried, I stained and varnished the bases, then antiqued the columns themselves using a bit of brown acrylic paint mixed with antiquing medium. And here's the finished product, all glued together except for the roof.

More to follow (soon, this time!)...

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