Spring Florals

Floral Pillows // Shibang Designs

I started Shibang Designs as a way to create functional pieces of art, in the form of purses and accessories, each embellished with my signature wool felt applique style. After working small scale for several years, I am now shifting my focus on my textile technique by creating large scale pieces. These large textile art pieces and cushion covers are part of the new line that I will be showing next week at the Toronto One of a Kind Spring Show.

These are some process photos and pieces that I have been working on lately.
Gold // Shibang Designs Shibang Designs Spring PillowsHand Dyed Wool Drying Rack Textile Art // Shibang Designs Shibang Designs Nursery Decor

For anyone in the Toronto area who is planning to come to the show I have a few tickets that I’m giving away from my Facebook page this weekend.

One of a Kind Show

Staining a Sofa Table with Steel Wool & Vinegar

Shibang Designs Sofa Table DIY //Rogue Engineer PlansDuring the winter months it can be hard to work on furniture projects that require chemicals and make big messes if you don’t have a heated workspace. I was determined to make a new sofa table and decided to build it right in the living room.

Shibang Designs Sofa Table // Rogue Engineer Plans

I’ve had my eye on this plan by Rogue Engineer and I adjusted the dimensions to fit our couch by making the table lower and narrower. Getting the wood cut at the hardware store and using the Kreg Jig (which makes pocket holes for easy and secure joints) made it come together quickly. I am a total beginner but thanks to the great plans available by talented people it is so easy.

IMG_8960

After building the table this is what it looked like unfinished. I decided not to add the x braces in the original plan because I liked the simplicity of it like this.

Since it’s too cold to do a wood stain in the garage and I didn’t want to leave it unfinished until spring I did a steel wool and vinegar stain. It’s not an exact science and from my experience there is not a lot of control in the colour. Each board takes the treatment differently and I’ve even had some cedar turn black. To make the mixture just put steel wool and vinegar in a lidded container and wait a couple of days. Then brush it on the wood.

IMG_8977 The photo above shows the contrast of the wood that has the vinegar and steel wool and the bottom part doesn’t. Shibang designs wood detail

I learned the hard way that if you miss spots and try to go back after and fill them in it doesn’t work too well.

Sofa Table Staining With Vinegar Before Whitewash

These pine boards took the vinegar pretty well but the board used for the legs was different than the rest of the table so I did a dry brush whitewash with leftover house paint. I went pretty conservative with the white dry brush because I plan to do a proper treatment in the spring with some stain over it. If you’re hesitant to use wood stains or don’t have the proper space to work then the vinegar can work if you plan to do washes of paint over top.

How to Stain Wood with Vinegar & Steel Wool // Shibang Designs Table Plan by Rogue EngineerDoing a dry brush treatment or doing a light wash of paint over top of the wood is the way to control the finished look and conceal flaws.

Vinegar and Steel Wool Wood Finish // Shibang Designs

This is a detail of the finished product and it’s already being put to use as a prop for photographing my spring pillow collection.

Spring Pillows // Shibang Designs

New Neutrals

Shibang Designs Textile ArtAs I find myself drawn to neutral home decor I have begun introducing cushions in that style. Here are a few that will be coming up on my new website at the end of the month. These have metallic branches in bronze, gold and nickel for some subtle shimmer too.

Shibang Designs Pillow

Shibang Designs Pillow Detail Brass Zipper
Shibang Designs Winter WhiteOf course colour also has a place in neutral decor and I’ll still be using colour in my new pieces.

Shibang Designs Dyed Wool

More process and photos that don’t make it to the blog can be found on my Instagram account @shibangdesigns.

Before & After French Provincial Dining Table

Some Tips on DIY Furniture Refinishing // Shibang DesignsThis is my latest piece of furniture that I’ve refinished. After doing the last dining room table I think that I was so happy with the results that I chose to forget how much sanding and time had been involved. I think that for people who see the potential in secondhand objects it can be hard to pass up a project. When I saw this French Provincial style dining table with queen anne legs and a pretty scalloped top I had to restore it!

This is a more process oriented post than normal because I documented all of the steps it took to get to the finished product. Hopefully all of this trial and error will help someone about to start a refinishing project or in the midst of one.

This is what I learned along the way…

Shibang Designs Table BeforeThis is the before and while the shape was beautiful, the scratches, worn edges and finish needed some work. What I didn’t expect was that this top would be very hard to sand down evenly and the staining process gave me more trouble that it ever has before.Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessAfter using a stripper (which did nothing) and sanding there were uneven patches.

Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessI tried the darkest stain I had to try to balance out the uneven colour with a red cherry stain I already had.

Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessThen I applied a light grey stain but this colour wasn’t the look I was going for.
Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessI ended up having to buy another stain, a dark grey which is pictured above. I also used chalk paint in graphite as a base layer for the bottom.Shibang Designs Table Refinishing ProcessThis is it after a couple coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in white. After all of the trouble with the stain not working how I wanted, the paint was so easy and enjoyable to do. I distressed the base with some sanding and then added a coat of light grey stain and sealed it with a matte varnish.IMG_8475Since this table was going up for sale after being completed I took some photos for fun.Shibang Designs Refinished Table Shibang Designs Refinished TableFrench Provincial Table Before & After :: Shibang DesignsI keep saying that this is the last time I’ll refinish furniture that isn’t for our house but I think that if I come across the right piece I’ll do it again.

Shibang Designs on Apartment Therapy

Thanks Apartment Therapy for the feature!

This is another table that I refinished in a different style if you want to see more.

Featured on Apartment Therapy

Holiday Greenery: How to Make a Boxwood Wreath

How to Make a Boxwood WreathHave you ever been to Chicago during the holiday season? The first time that I ever noticed urns full of evergreen boughs and pretty branches was when I went to Chicago. For three years I went to that gorgeous city around this time for the One of a Kind Show and a highlight was always seeing the elegant displays on every corner.

Ever since then I’ve been working to improve my skills to make my own wreaths, garlands and urns. I’m still figuring it out but I have learned some techniques along the way for beginners.

By purchasing the boughs from the grocery store (or collecting them in the forest after a windstorm) and having a couple of basic supplies to reuse every year makes it less expensive to do it yourself.

These are very basic instructions for how I made my wreath.

Materials Needed:

  • Wreath Form (I like the 18″ metal ones from Michaels it’s about $5 if you use the coupon)
  • Florist Wire
  • Garden Shears or Scissors
  • Greenery – Cedar & Pine is $5 a bunch at the grocery store and boxwood or oregonia is $10. I used one bunch but for a fuller wreath you’d need more.

Time to complete 15 – 20 minutes.

Oregonia/Boxwood Wreath Detail

Cut of pieces of the boxwood to shorter lengths and bundle about three together with wire, leaving some extra length of wire. How to make a boxwood wreathAttach the bunch to the wire frame using the extra wire at the end.How to make a boxwood wreath After you layer all of the bunches together around the frame loop the spool of wire around to secure everything. IMG_8157The key is using a wreath form to work with to get the nice round shape. I have tried in the past without a form and they were not as successful and they were more frustrating to make.

How to Make a Boxwood Wreath// Shibang DesignsLast year my wreath lasted more than 4 months and when it was all dried up I pulled out the old leaves and saved the wire to use again this year. Of course if you like ribbons and embellishments you could add them afterwards but I prefer to keep it simple.

How to make a boxwood wreath

Side Tables Refinished

Shibang Designs Autumn

This is the story of two bedside tables turned living room side tables that have been painted and refinished 3 times in the past 3 years but now they are done.
IMG_7122In our last home I painted them to blend in with the wall colours (light grey and dark blue) but this time I did them both the same. I never liked the look of the fake shadows sprayed on the wood veneer top but I had been apprehensive about refinishing it and ruining the top. 
This is how they looked when I first bought them from a secondhand store where they were originally part of a bedroom set. I thought that the shape was interesting and they had an interior shelf and lots of storage space to help keep the living room tidy.

Shibang Designs Side Table RefinishingFinally this summer I just went for it and used a stripper to remove the shiny varnish and stain. It took a lot of scraping and some sanding while being careful not to take off too much material.Refinishing Veneer Progress Then I applied my favourite stain that is a light grey so that the tables are lighter like the rest of the wood tones in our house and sealed it with a matte varnish.

Shibang Designs - Refinished VeneerDoing this quick refinishing project was actually what gave me the experience and some confidence to tackle the large kitchen table that was on Apartment Therapy. If you’re thinking about stripping and refinishing wood for the first time start with something small to get started, it’s not as hard as it may seem.

Side Table Refinished Light Grey Wood & Grey Chalk Paint

Sweaters Reinvented

Lately I’ve been back in the mode of repurposing garments into new cushion covers or new sweaters. These are a couple of my finished pieces but there is a pile of ripped apart clothes that I’ve started but haven’t gotten to yet. Usually I start cutting and don’t get a before shot of the sweater but these are the remnants left.

Pillow Made from Sweater  //Shibang Designs Toddler Sweater Made from an Adult Sweater  //Shibang DesignsThe good thing about making toddler clothing is that an adult sweater gives plenty of material to make something new with. (In my rush to make this sweater quickly one night I didn’t have enough buttons so that’s why it looks different in the photo below).

Shibang Designs Toddler Sweater

These were the cable knit sweater pillows that I posted last year:

Before & After

There’s good material out there in your closet or secondhand that can be made into something new plus there’s not a lot to lose.

Pink Velvet

IMG_6782With the cooler weather I’ve been adding more textiles around the house and just finished off some cushions with hand dyed mohair velvet.  These are some samples of wools and velvets I’ve dyed in different depths of shades to coordinate with each other with subtle variations. Shibang Designs Hand Dyed Fabric Samples IMG_6823 Shibang Designs Studio

While I was at my sewing machine I noticed that the pink was similar to the colours of the abstract toddler art framed above. Don’t you love how children create such beautiful artwork so effortlessly? I’m thinking about commissioning a larger piece again soon😉

Finding Inspiration

Shibang Designs Process

Over the past couple of years my interests have shifted towards interior design and decorating. I’ve been working on a lot of projects that are home related and now I’m getting back to fibre and rediscovering what I truly love most — dyeing wool. For me inspiration comes from working with the material. While I’m a big fan of neutral interiors, I love the power that textiles can have to change the feel of a space.

Shibang Designs ProcessThis is some wool yardage that I’ve just pulled out of the dye pot and now my mind is racing with ideas about how this will become a new part of Shibang Designs.
Shibang Designs Process