Monday, July 8, 2013

Gesso, String, a Mirror, and Springs.....Oh My!

Hey y'all! As you know, I'm away on a trip to Pennsylvania with my daughter and mother-in-law. I didn't want to leave my blog dormant for days, so I asked for some guest blogger volunteers and was so blessed to have a few fine bloggers sign up to share a little something, something with y'all! First to step up to the challenge was Donna from Distressed Donna Down Home! Donna was one of the very first fine ladies to welcome me to the blogging world and she and I have been good friends ever since! She is a wonderful lady and has a love for all things old and you will see in this delightful and informative post! 
Thanks for visiting and thank you Donna for sharing with us...:)

 Hi, I am Donna from Distressed Donna Down Home - a self proclaimed rust goddess. I am extremely happy to be guest posting here at Life On Willie Mae Lane.  Vicky is away on a trip, but she promises to bring back plenty of thrifty treasures and photos.

I love all things vintage, rusty, and crusty.  If I find something new, I will distress it until it appears to be vintage.

Today I am transforming a mirror with gesso, strings, and springs.

 I found this mirror at a yard sale.  Really nothing special about it except Ashley (whoever she is) is definitely a budding design diva.  She decorated with handpainted symbols around the petal frame.

Too bad and so sad, but I will be painting right over her artwork.

I used two coats of gesso.  Gesso is an excellent primer, but I will be using it for the final paint coat, too.  It covered all the symbols quite well.  I left a little of the coral peeking through.

 Next I located a spool of string, Elmer's school glue (there is no life without Elmer's - I buy it by the gallon), and a cup.

I added the glue with a little water to thin it to the cup and dunked in a length of string.

Let the string soak up the glue.

 Now the messy part.  Pull the string out of the mixture across the lip of the cup (so excess can run back in) and arrange in any design you want on the surface.

I did this free style, but you could lightly pencil in a design.

Use the spoon to lightly press the string into place.

Let this dry,
And dry,
And dry!

Plan on several hours if not overnight.

After the glue dries (and you have gotten a good night's sleep), coat with another layer of gesso.  At this point you could use a craft paint.

Add two coats of satin varnish with a foam brush.

I should have told you gesso goes on smoother with a foam brush and so does the varnish.

You could add an antiquing glaze at this point, but remember I left a little of the coral paint showing - that was enough for me.

The strings alone were not enough for me though.

So I went to my craft stash and found some bed springs.

Rusty and crusty.

A light sanding and a waxing.

They were ready.

I screwed tiny eye hooks around the edge of the mirror - one spring for each petal.

I inserted the top of the spring and twisted each into place.

TIP:  I used a nail to turn the eye hook into place.

 Wherever the spring touched the wood, I squeezed a dab of E-6000 to secure the spring.  Keep the mirror flat.

Don't want your springs spronging!

It dries clear, and can be touched up with paint.

I hung it inside of a frame as you come in the front door.

I like this summery look here in the foyer.

I am envisioning some flowers or photos or notes tucked into the springs.

One final close-up of the mirror with its springs and strings.

I hope you have enjoyed this mirror transformation.

A big "THANK YOU, VICKY!" for letting me guest post.

If you are ever in the neighborhood of Distressed Donna Down Home, come on over and visit.  To read about my painted country cupboard go here!

See y'all!

Thanks again Donna....:) I hope I am able to find some good thrifts on my trip! You know I will share if I do! Thanks to all my readers for visiting and be sure to go over and show 
Donna some love! 
Until next time.....


  1. What a brilliant idea Donna- no one - and I mean no one could have thought of this but you!!! ( not even Danni I don't think lol )
    I think it's fantastic to keep notes on/in !!!

    1. Thank you, Suzan, for the high praise. Better than Danni!?! WOW!

  2. Fabulous mirror - very unique :) You did a lovely job and have inspired me to look at all things as being craft-worthy :) Vicky is certainly missed while being away, but it's a delight to have you guest posting for her. Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea with us.

    1. Stephanie, I look at just about everything as a future craft project! Especially if there is rust involved. I have so enjoyed being here.

  3. Oh I love this Donna! What a great way to use those rusty springs! You're sooo clever! And that string idea is just amazing!!

    1. I managed to cram strings, springs, a mirror, and gesso all in one post. Thank you for the compliment.

  4. What a fun project. I would never have thought to use string for that effect.

    1. It is an old elementary school art technique! Thank you for the kind comment.

  5. Suzan is right! I would have never thought of this! Love it, Donna!!!

    1. I know you must have a way I can repurpose this mirror by adding some flowers! Thanks, Danni!

  6. Vicky, I hope you are having a fabulous time on your trip and that you come home with treasures and memories galore!

    Good one, Donna. The string pattern adds character and inspires ideas for other stringy projects. I know you will not be surprised (because I rarely have the important staples on hand that others have), but I do not own any gesso and I still have not bought any of that glue! Keep up these big ideas and I'll be forced to go to the craft store one of these days! At least I finally did get some graphite paper. You are rubbing off on me!

    1. Remember to buy the Elmer's glue in the gallon size - you will need it. Yes, everyone needs a little gesso in their life. Thank you for coming over to visit.


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