how to-chalk paint-secrets

My Biggest Chalk Paint Secret-Revealed [How to]

I’ve been working with chalk + clay paint for a many years now, and I think it’s safe to say that I have a (mostly healthy!) obsession with it’s simplicity and beautiful finish.  I chalk paint just about everything, from furniture to fabric & home décor (all of which you can find at my shop, Picklee on Spring).  I’ve shared many chalk + clay paint tutorials in the past,  but today I want to share some information on one of the simplest chalk painted finishes imaginable, THIS is my biggest chalk paint secret.  The technique is referred to as “dry brushing”, and it works pretty much exactly like it sounds!

how to-chalk paint-secrets

You can see above how this antique Serpentine chest looked before it’s transformation, not so nice!  However, I can assure you that this was one of the easiest chalk paint transformations ever.  I used a “dry brush” technique on this chest for two reasons; first, because I wanted it to have a super aged/distressed look, and second, because it had a very dark & oily finish that I knew would “bleed” (which actually can work with and enhance this finish). In short, the dry brush technique uses a super light coat of one paint color on top of a raw wood surface.  This technique can however be used on top of previously painted surfaces too, you just won’t have the same naturally aged wood finish.

Dry Brushing with Chalk Paint- How To:

1. Select a paint color. As noted above, this finish works best when you use a light paint color on top of an extra dark piece because the dark wood tone brings out lots of color variation in the light paint.  I used CeCe Caldwell’s Nantucket Spray on my Serpentine chest.

2. Make sure your piece is clean and dry.  Wet just the tip of a thick bristle paint brush with very little paint.  Chalk paint tends to run on the thick side, so adding a touch of water to the paint can make this process a lot easier.

3.  Apply the paint to your piece very lightly and in a somewhat sporadic motion, the point of this process is that you won’t be covering all of the exposed wood. You can rub off any areas that have covered too heavily with a damp cloth.

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4. Once you’ve covered the entire piece, allow it to cure overnight.  It will be dry within about an hour, but the paint will need time to cure to the wood before sealing it.

5. To seal a piece with this type of finish, I typically use CeCe Caldwell’s Clear Wax.  The clear wax top coat hardens and protects while adding depth and dimension to your piece.  The clear wax is applied with a wax brush (or non-pilling cloth).  Simple dip the wax brush into the clear wax and buff it onto your piece in a circular motion.  You’ll begin to see the color of your piece darken as the wax soaks in.  Once the clear wax dries (after about 2 hours), you can use a clean, pill-free cloth to buff and smooth out the finish.

chalk paint wax brush

Your “dry brushed” piece is now complete!  I told you it was easy!

The deeper colors on the piece are where the natural wood is peeking through.  The dark stain on the natural wood is working with the chalk paint to create multiple shades of pale greens and blues…


This piece is perfectly imperfect!


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diy fish stamp painting

Fish Stamp Painting {DIY}

Living on the coast, I’m constantly inspired by unique beach art.  Of course it’s mostly art I could never afford, but that’s why its called inspiration ;)  A few months ago, I came across this amazing piece of art at a local shop, it was a gorgeous painting of a fish.  When I inquired, it turned out that the artist actually took a (dead, eeek!) fish, dipped it in paint and then stamped it on a canvas.  Now this had me thinking…I had to try to recreate this myself!  First, let me preface by saying I am not an artist by any sense of the word, I can just barely draw a decent stick figure on a good day.  This is why a “stamp” painting appealed to me, it seemed perfect!  Except for one part, the real fish…I just could not bring myself to use a real fish.  So for weeks I searched and searched for the perfect rubber fish to use on my painting.  I finally found it when I turned into a fish store on a whim one day.  The awesome staff just so happened to have a rubber fish sitting on their register that they graciously offered up to me when I told them about my project, it was perfect!  I went home and started on my fish stamp art right away and it turned out better than I could have imagined, here’s my Fish Stamp Painting DIY…

Fish Stamp Painting {DIY}

Gather up:

one rubber fish, try ordering one online (or a real fish if your up for a challenge!)

a sheet of poster board (I chose black and blue paper for my prints)

paint (use a contrasting color to the poster board, I used white paint)

a small paint brush (for touching up spots and applying paint to the fish)


Set up the poster board and prepare your fish for it’s task.  This can get messy, so lay down paper to protect any surfaces.

Using a paint brush, apply a generouso layer of paint to one side of the fish.  Make sure to fill in all of the spots you want to appear on your print.

Flip the fish over and lay it down on the poster board.  Be careful not to drag it, this will smug the paint.

Carefully pick the fish up off the paper.  Use your paint brush to touch up any spots that did not stick.  You’ll have to use the best of your artistic ability here ( I really had to dig deep for this one!)  Let the fish dry for a bit, then use two colors of paint (I chose black and yellow) to paint on the fish’s eye.  This is just two circles, that’s art I can handle.

Allow your fish to dry, then sit back and marvel at your work of art!  I ended up with three prints, two single fish prints on black, and one double fish print on blue.  These prints now hang proudly on either side of my fireplace :)



Modern & Reindeer Printed Hand Towels [DIY]

Who doesn’t love fun hand towels?   I love to get festive with my kitchen towels this time of year, it’s nice way to bring some holiday flair into the kitchen without going too overboard.  Rather than buy traditional Christmas hand towels this year, I decided to create my own!  I wanted to do a fun, modern print and of course, a reindeer, so I made two hand towels.  These DIY Christmas towels make for the perfect hostess gift, or you could just keep them all for yourself =)

DIY Reindeer Printed Hand Towels


Gather up:

one package of white flour sack towels (I bought mine from Bed, Bath and Beyond)

Deco Art’s Turf Green, Lipstick and Cocoa Brown Multi-Surface paint

Small paint brush

Americana Mixed Media stencils


Start by laying your towel over a prep surface, preferably one you don’t mind getting paint on, because the paint will seep through the cloth a bit.

diy-painted hand towels

Lay your stencil down on the towel, then dab the red paint into the open areas.  I made two red areas on my towel.

diy hand towels

Next, clean and dry your brush, then do the same technique using the green multi-purpose paint.  Allow the geometric printed towel to dry overnight.


Now its time to paint the reindeer towel.  Using the Cocoa Multi-purpose paint, draw a horizontal oval on the towel.

Next, draw a vertical oval attached to the first oval, this is by far the simplest way to draw a reindeer!

Finally, paint on your reindeer’s antlers and then his nose using the Lipstick Multi-Purpose paint.  Allow the reindeer hand towel to dry over night .

diy-painted reindeer-towels

Enjoy your DIY reindeer printed hand towels!

printed-reindeer-hand-towels   diy christms towels


diy hand towels

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diy-frosted wine glasss

Funky Frosted Wine Glasses [DIY]

There’s nothing I love more than mixing up a nice refreshing skinny cocktail on a Saturday afternoon. The best part about experimenting with unique drink combinations is enjoying the end result in a fancy, fun cocktail glass… Because sometimes the glass you sip from is just as important as the drink itself! I fell in love with a pair of frosted cocktail glasses I came across the other day, so I decided I had to make some for myself using a couple old boring wine glasses I had at home!  diy-frosted wine glasses

DIY Frosted Wine Glasses

step 1

Start with two glasses of your choice, I chose to use bubble base wine glasses (which I LOVE drinking cocktails from =) ).  Next, you’ll need a small bottle of Deco Art’s Frost Gloss Enamel paint, along with two colors of Deco Art’s Gloss Enamel paint and of course, a small tipped paint brush.

diy-frosted wine glasses-5

  step 2

Use a small tipped paint brush to create a design around the rim of your glass.  My artist skills are extreamly limited so I painted a simple zig-zag pattern ;)  Next, I painted the stem of my wine glass in the same color.

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diy-frosted wine glasses-3

step 3

Now that you’ve added a little color and funky design to your glasses, it’s time to frost them!  Creating frosted glass is super simple with Deco Art’s Frost Gloss Enamel paints.  Simply fill in all the areas you’d like to frost with a light coat of paint.  I chose to frost the base and body of my glass…

diy-frosted wine glasses-2

The only area I didn’t frost was the rim above the painted zig-zag…

diy-frosted wine glasses-1


Once you’ve got your cocktail glasses looking good, go ahead and bake them in the oven at 275 degrees for 30 minutes.  This will make the finish dishwasher safe!

   diy-frosted wine glasses-6 diy-frosted wine glasses-7

diy-frosted wine glasss

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5 Mintute Spring Wreath [DIY Tutorial]

I was whirling around my house last weekend trying to tackle some much needed Spring cleaning when I opened up my (rarely used) front door only to find I STILL hadn’t taken down my red rosewood Christmas wreath! AHHH!  I felt like one of those people that leave their Christmas lights on in July…not a good look…as I pulled down my Christmas wreath, I remembered that I’d bought a garland of “greens” on my last trip to the Hobby Lobby (love that place!).  I had an old branch wreath frame laying around too, so I quickly threw together this simple, yet beautiful Spring wreath!  When I say quickly, I mean record timing…this entire Spring wreath took me no more than 5 minutes to make!


[5 Minute] DIY Spring Wreath

Gather up:

one medium wreath frame (the twisted branch wreaths are only $1 at the Dollar Tree =) )

one 6′ garland of greens (I purchased mine from the Hobby Lobby, on sale for $7.50)

at least nine round white coffee filters

twist ties


First things first, we’ll make the faux hydrangeas for our Spring wreath.  Last Spring, we made en entire wreath using coffee filter hydgrangeas.  The coffee filter flowers are super easy to make!

First, flatten out three coffee filters, layered on top of each other.


Next, fold them all together in an acordian-like method…


Cinch the middle of the filters with a twist tie…


Starting with the inside pedals, pull up the sides of the coffee filters…


Your flower should now look something like this…  I made three of these for my wreath, but you can make as many as you prefer!


Now the your faux flowers are done, set them aside while we move onto adding the greens to the wreath.  Simply wrap your garland of greens around the wreath frame. Secure it to the wreath by wedging pieces of the garland between the wreath branches every few inches.


The last step is adding the coffee filter flowers to your wreath! You should have pieces of twist ties stemming from the inside of each flower, simply secure the flowers to the wreath by wrapping the twist ties around the wreath’s branches…


That’s it!  Your 5 Minute DIY Spring Wreath is complete! 

diy-spring-wreath-greens2 spring greens wreath-diy diy-spring-wreath-greens

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DIY Tooth Fairy Pillow-Wally Whale [tutorial]

There are many fun traditions I miss from my childhood, waiting up at night for Santa to come, waking up to a basket full of chocolate from the Easter Bunny, and of course leaving notes for the Tooth Fairy under my pillow with every tooth I lost.  The angst of waiting to find out what the tooth fairy had left me in the morning was almost unbearable!  It’s the memories of traditions like these that inspire me to create fun DIY’s like today’s “Wally the Whale” Tooth Fairy Pillow!  Not only was this whale pillow fun to make, it was made with lots of love for my future nephew who will be born this August :)


“Wally the Whale” Tooth Fairy Pillow [Tutorial]


step 1

Deco Art’s Ink Effect paints are great because they allow you to paint any image onto a regular piece of paper, then transfer onto fabric simply by ironing! The first step in the project is to paint a picture of a whale onto a standard white piece of paper (I used graph paper because it was all I had).  Paint the whale the same size that you want your pillow to be.  

tooth fairy pillow-whale 2 tooth fairy pillow-whale 3

Use this template if you’re working with standard 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper.  Simply click on the image, save it to your computer, then print it out as a full page.  I created this template for the whale I painted =)


whale pillow-template-diy step 2

Allow your painting to dry for about 20 minutes (or until it’s dry to the touch).  Now it’s time to transfer your painting to the fabric you selected (I used a cream colored linen fabric).  Place a piece of cardboard down on a flat surface (this will catch any bleed through), then the fabric with the painting face down on top of it.  Iron the painting on top of the fabric, this will begin the heat transfer.  Continue to iron for about 2 minutes until you can clearly see the painting transferred onto your fabric.

tooth fairy pillow-whale 4 tooth fairy pillow-whale 5

Next, use a pair of fabric scissors to cut out the whale shape.  You need two sides for your pillow, so make sure to double up the fabric to cut out the pillow’s back as well.  Leave 1/2″ around the outside of the painted area.

tooth fairy pillow-whale 17
step 3

Now that we’ve created the whale pillow shape, its time to stitch it up!  Flip the front and back of the pillow sides around with the good sides facing in (the painted side of the fabric should be facing in).  Then, take it to a sewing machine and stitch all around the outside of the pillow, leaving a small 2-3″ section open at the top of the head (this is where we will stuff it, and hat will eventually sit).

Once you’ve sewed around the outside of the whale, flip it right-side-out and stuff with polyester pillow fill.  Then stitch up the open area on the head!

tooth fairy pillow-whale 18 step 4

Now the body of the whale pillow is complete, set it aside while we move onto the whale’s hat!  Cut out three squares of fabric, each about 6″ in length, into the shape of the whale’s hat.  Use the template below for tracing and cutting out your whale pillow’s hat.  Simply click on the image then print.

whale pillow hat template

step 5

Now that you’ve cut out the whale’s hat shape from three small pieces of fabric, we’ll start with creating the pocket that will hold the lost tooth and gift from the Tooth Fairy!  Fold over the top of one of the fabric pieces and stitch it across.  This will be the top of the pocket.

tooth fairy pillow-whale 11

step 6

Lay the pocket piece you just stitched on top of another piece of of the cut.  You will be flipping this inside out after stitching, so make sure the clean side of the stitched pocked is facing inward.  Stitch all around the outside of the pocket, attaching both pieces together, make sure not to stitch the top pocket opening!  Your hat should look like the photo below after this step.

tooth fairy pillow-whale 12
Now flip the pocket right-side-out…I know the corners on my hat are far from perfect, but we’ll look at it as “added character” ;)

tooth fairy pillow-whale 13

step 7

Now we need to attach the pocket portion of the hat to what will become the back of the hat.  Flip the pocket over (with the pocket facing down) and lay it on top of the back of the hat.

tooth fairy pillow-whale 14

Now stitch around the outside of the pocket, attaching it to the hat’s back.  Make sure to leave a small (approx. 2″) section open on the bottom of the hat for flipping it back around and stuffing it with fill.  Again, my sewing skills are seriously lacking, but trust me, this won’t effect the end result ;)
tooth fairy pillow-whale 15

Now, go ahead and flip the hat back so it’s right-side-out…

tooth fairy pillow-whale 6

See, now my horrid stitching job isn’t so noticeable anymore!

step 8

Stuff the hat with pillow fill through the opening that you left on the bottom.  You’ll notice that the opening I left is much larger than what I originally left…I removed some threads and widened the opening to get more fill in. 

tooth fairy pillow-whale 7

After stuffing the hat, stitch the bottom back up!

tooth fairy pillow-whale 8
step 9

I decided that I wanted my whale to have a funky red and cream striped hat!  To paint the whale’s hat I used Deco Art’s So Soft Fabric Paint.  tooth fairy pillow-whale 10
For this step, simply use a small paint brush to paint stripes (or whatever design you choose) onto the whale’s hat.  Let dry for about an hour.

tooth fairy pillow-whale 16
step 10

Last, but not least, attach the hat to the whale pillow!  You might be able to use a sewing machine for this, but I hand stitched it…you’ve seen my limits when it comes to using a sewing machine ;)

whale tooth fairy pillow hat

….there you have it folks, your new Whale Tooth Fairy Pillow!


tooth fairy pillow-handmade-whale

whale tooth fairy pillow tooth fairy pillow-whale unique-tooth-fairy-pillow

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diy shelf tags

Get Organized with DIY Shelf Labels

If there’s one department I’m seriously lacking in, it’s organization…I’m constantly re-arranging and searching for ways to organize & de-clutter.  The problem is that I’m so bad at organizing, most of the time I end up with a bigger mess than I started with!  It’s super frustrating.  Now that I have the Picklee shop, it’s really forced me to search out organizing solutions that really WORK.  A couple weeks ago, I was faced with the challenge of creating a display for our fabulous aromatherapy collection (if you’re not familiar, it’s an amazing collection of essential oils used for healing from within).  I tossed around lots of ideas until I came up with a thought to create DIY shelf tags using just clothes pins and cardboard! 

These worked perfectly for my display, but they would be great for organizing shelves at home to! Think shoes, clothes, toys, cleaning solutions, toiletries…everything!


DIY Clothes Pin Tags

I started out with a few strips of cardboard, cut from some boxes I had laying around.  First, I created labels for each of the products and printed them all out on heavy weight paper (regular copy paper will do too), my labels were 3″ L x 2″ W.


Next, I cut out a piece of cardboard (3″L x 2″W) for each of my labels….


After every was cut, I used just a bit of hot glue to attach a cardboard back onto each tag.

Using the hot glue again, I attached the clothes pins to my self (one for each tag)…

Simply open up the pin and insert your tags!  This is great because you can change out your tags anytime as needed!

Here’s how the entire display turned out! 

I needed some of that stress relief essential oil after tackeling this project ;)


how to paint striped walls

How to Paint Simple Wall Stripes [DIY]

I’ve had my heart set on painting stripes in my dining room for a while now.  I  love the clean, refreshing look of vertical stripes…they make ceiling look taller too =)  I finally got the chance to make my striped wall dream a reality when I was stuck at home for three straight days during the Nemo blizzard!  I can say with certainty that my striped wall was the best thing to come out of that storm for me…it definitely trumped losing power for 72 hours, getting stuck in a snow bank mid-blizzard (and I’m referring to myself, not my car), eating cold hot dogs, the list goes on…Anyway, I am super excited with how my striped wall turned out, here’s a little tutorial for painting striped walls of your own!

Here’s what my dining room looked like before the stripes….

To get started, I mixed up a new custom wall color.  My walls were already painted a dark blue/gray but I wanted them to be a few shades lighter so they’d blend better with the cream colored stripes I had planned.


Here’s the wall, freshly painted and drying…

Once the walls had dried (which should be at least 6 hours, but I have no patience so I waited 2), I began taping them off for the stripes.  It’s extremely important that you use painters tape for this part.  Painters tape is designed for this purpose so it will not pull off your first coat of paint.

I wanted my stripes to be 12″ wide, and I was using 1.5″ painters tape so I taped off the wall in 12″, then 9″ sections (by sections, I mean the area inside the tape lines).  The 12″ sections would be filled with paint, and the 9″ sections would be the wall color.  The reason the wall colored stripes are only measured at 9″ is to account for the 1.5″ of tape on either side of the stripe (3″ in total).  This will make for perfectly even 12″ stripes.  You will have to vary this equation depending on the width of your tape (ie. if you’re using 1″ tape, your stripes will be spaced at 10″ and 12″)…

*Since there was no tape on the right side of my first stripe (it was the start of the wall), my first stripe was 10.5″ wide.

Once my wall was taped off, I rolled the stripe color onto the 12″ sections.  I mixed up an off-white creamy color, then added some pearl white paint to give the stripes a little shine.

*Make sure the tape is pressed down tightly to the wall to ensure clean lines!

Here’s a close up of the paint color…

Once my stripes were painted, I peeled off the tape carefully.  I think it’s best to peel off the tape while the paint is still slightly tacky…I’ve always done it this way, but that could be out purely out of impatience..

Here’s my new striped wall!

I just love the contrasting color!

Now you know how to paint wall stripes, it’s your turn to give it a shot!

diy painted books

Old Painted Books for the Valentine’s Mantle Display [DIY]

To warm up the house a bit for Valentine’s Day, I made these great faux antique glass candle holders to put on my fireplace mantle…but I knew I wanted to add a little more to the vignette.  I don’t like to go all out with pink and red Valentine’s decor scattered around the house (I’m really just not into the color pink), but I figured one little splash of it wouldn’t hurt!  I completely obsessed with elephants, and I got these amazing white lacquer elephant bookends as a gift recently…I knew I wanted to display them on my mantel, but I wanted to use books that had a nice, clean look.  I had nothing of that sort in my house…so I decided to create it!  I used basic, old books and simply painted the spines!  I love the way my old painted books turned out!

Creating this romantic Valentine’s mantle display was literally the easiest project ever…

Old Painted Books DIY

I started out with three vintage books that I didn’t mind painting, a little coral pink acrylic paint, and a number stamp

Next, I used a small paint brush to brush the paint onto just the spine of the books…

To tie the books together, and add a little extra detail, I decided to use a stamp to number each book, 1, 2 & 3…Once the coral pink paint dried, I applied a light coat of white mixed with silver paint to the stamp and stamped each book…

Here’s the books stamped with their numbers….

That’s it! Here’s how the books now look on my romantic Valentine’s mantle!

These DIY Painted books are part of our 10 Minute Transformation Series!

diy painted books

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!


Romantic Faux Antique Glass + Giveaway [Valentine’s DIY]

Like it or not, the most romantic day of the year is approaching!  With just a few short days left before Valentine’s Day arrives, why not add a little romantic touch to spark up some romance at home?  In my opinion, there’s nothing more romantic than a little candle light…just add some Norah Jones and a bottle of wine and now we’re really talking ;)  Hint, Hint to all the men out there that say they’re not the “mushy” type…it doesn’t take that much!

Today’s DIY will help you create that subtle Valentine’s ambiance in your home on a dime…you’ll even have a chance to win a special something for yourself too ;)

DIY Faux Antique Glass [Valentines DIY]

Grab some basic glass pieces, I picked up two round votives and two glass candle sticks from my local dollar store for under five dollars.

Next, apply a messy coat (yes, I said messy, this paint job should not look perfect since we are aiming for the antique look) of gold metallic paint.  I used Americana Gloss Enamels Paint in Glorious Gold.  Americana Paints are should be available at your local craft store.

Once the gold paint has dried, apply a very light, messy coat of silver metallic paint over it.  Don’t cover all of the gold, try to leave some gold spots showing.  For this step, I used Americana’s Silver Sage Metallic paint.

Once the silver coat has dried, use steel wool to rough up the painted surface on the glass.  Allow some of the clear glass to peak through, make for a beautiful effect once you have candles lit inside the votives.

Once you get the glass looking nice and old & scratchy, it’s time to add the candles!  Light em’ up, dim the lights and crack open a bottle of wine…bring on the romance!

Now it’s my turn to share a little love with all of you!  In honor of the most romantic day of the year, our good friends at Deco Art offered up this fabulous Valentine’s Day paint package!  Just in time to create some romantic V-day crafts!

Enter to win this wonderful package!

1. Leave a comment below telling us your favorite part about Valentine’s Day.

2. Like Picklee on a social platform you don’t already like us on, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, then tell us you did so in your comment below!

A winner will randomly be selected announced tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Good luck!


The winner has been selected!  Congratulations to Samantha Ellis of Petersburg, VA!  You will receive this fabulous Valentine’s Day paint package from Americana Paints!