Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Redoing An Old Baker's Rack; Paint, Tiles and Grout Help to Make a Useful and Attractive Addition to My Backyard Deck

I had an old, brown baker's rach that had been banished to the garage when our kitchen was redone a couple of years ago.  It became a handy shelving unit for paint and brushes but I had another purpose in mind.

On our deck, my backyard set is charcoal gray and it's more than a couple of years old. Last year, I purchased a new umbrella, seat covers and pillows from Pottery Barn to give the set a new look. It was then that I thought of redoing the kitchen piece to complement the set and serve as an outdoor buffet. The unit had a bottom shelf and two top shelves in a grill style. The main shelf (at counter height) was wood and was a little beat up. I decided to mosaic tile the wooden piece so that it would wear well in summer and fall weather conditions.

I  looked in some craft stores for mosaic tiles, but was unable to find the colors I wanted. Then I accidentally came across bags of glass and ceramic tiles in the Christmas Tree shop for the attractive price of $1.00 a bag! Some of the tiles were shell shaped, others flowers or just circular or square. I chose clear, iridescent, turquoise in light and dark shades, spring green and tiny orange tiles, all colors that appear in my backyard cushions and pillows. I needed about 10 bags to fill the shelf so the investment was pretty minimal. It was really a lucky find!

Painting the piece was easy, tiling more of a challenge. I couldn't locate a charcoal colored spray paint so I had to work with black. I'm hoping time and sun will fade it a bit to look more like the table and chairs. Immediately the piece looked so much better!

In the evening I worked on the mosaic. I created a centerpiece and corner designs first, then laid out the rest using the variety of pieces to their best advantage. After I had my pattern, I glued each piece in place using a mosaic tile glue available in craft stores. Before grouting, the tiles had to dry for 24-48 hours. I gave it a bit more time to dry and finally got to the grouting part today. I chose a charcoal grout color and followed the instructions on the box but honestly, it wasn't as easy as it sounded and I made quite a mess. One of the problems was that the tiles themselves were at varying heights so when I applied the grout, I had to dig down a bit to expose all of the tiles. My nails will never be the same!

But upon completion, I was pleased with the result and rushed to put it in place tonight so that I could take a picture. It's not completely dry and not completely cleaned but I hope you'll agree that it's an attractive use of an outdated cast-off. I love the fact that it will hold many of the supplies used during a barbecue and look forward to many deck parties this summer.

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