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In the Part one of this post I described building the unit and in this post I’ll mainly be focusing on the decoration we added to the tent before a final post about the rest of the room. However, before I get started on the decorating I’ve one more part of the build I need to cover.

Shabby update 001My brief, from our 5 year old daughter, was to build a princess tower with a balcony like in the stories. It’s not actually that easy to turn on old IKEA unit into a balcony but my plan was to add a balustrade to the top to at least give the impression of a fairy princesses home. 

The construction of the balustrade was fairly simple in theory but quite tricky in practice. The handrail was simply from timber which I used the router on to give a nicely contoured face. Each of the balusters were pieces of dowel cut to equal lengths. I used a thicker piece of dowel for each end, I didn’t have enough of the thicker dowel leftover to use all the way along, to give more stability but to be honest I’m not sure it needed it. In both the under surface of the handrail and the upper surface of the timber frame I’d added to the top of the unit I drilled holes slightly smaller than the diameter of the dowels.

You have to be really careful at this point to make sure you centre the holes very precisely so they align perfectly when everything is assembled. You can see on the shorter rail, which I did first, a couple of the balusters weren’t perfectly aligned so look a little higgledy piggledy but I’m just calling that charm. To assemble the balustrades I glued and hammered the dowels in place and added screws from below into the larger dowels at each end to make sure it was all anchored.

The picture above showed everything just after a coat of primer which goes to show I’m learning from my mistakes.

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The tent canopy was painted a purple (I call it purple but my wife will have a special name for it) called King 14 which goes to show it really does have regal ambitions and we picked it specifically to work with gold. You can also see in this picture the mattress for the day bed which was made by cutting down a foam mattress from an old foldaway IKEA Sandvika bed guest bed.

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First I used some gold  spray paint, which we had leftover and a shop bought stencil to add fleur de lyle around the tent skirt. Then I used a hot glue gun to attach some gold braiding around the top. We had this left over from trimming some cushions my wife made.

Updates 010Next we added a golden J, which is my daughter initial, and used the same gold wax I painted the J with to stencil a princess crown above it. The gold wax/paint seems to work great with the stencil as it builds up to the same level as the plastic so when you remove the stencil the image stands proud of the surface.  I then used the hot glue gun again to attach strips of braiding, left over from reupholstering chairs, to the roof of the tent to create panels and to hide the less than perfect joins between the hardboard sections.

020Next up we tried my hand at decoupage which not only had I never tried before but hadn’t even heard of. We had some really cool serviettes from Fortnum & Mason which depicted the Queens Beasts the ten heraldic animals marking the genealogy of the Queen Elizabeth II. Initially we were looking for ways to make transfers out of them using some sort of “special printer paper” when my wife found out about serviette decoupage and I got to try it.

I’ll defiantly do another post on serviette decoupageand the process in detail , and we’ll certainly be adding some more animals to her room (when I’ve finished the bookcase I building and the apartment is back in order!). However, briefly in this case I very carefully cut out the crown and horse removing any white around the edge as it was going onto a grey background.


Then very carefully you need to peel away the layers of the serviette so you remove the two plain layers and keep the very thin coloured layer. Next you use a combined glue/varnish to attach the tissue paper to the paint.  It’s a little tricky to get it totally flat but you can move it around with your fingers while it’s still wet. Once it’s dry you can then add additional coats of the varnish to protect the surface.

Shabby update 006I have to say we were really pleased with how the decoupage turned out so much so that I did an entire windowsill using the same technique which I’ll talk about in the final part to this makeover trilogy.

Thanks for reading the Shabby Side of Chic.