Introduction: How to Paint Perfect Stripes: H.B. Point Blanket Inspired
Growing up, I admired the Hudson’s Bay point blanket that adorned my Great Aunt’s bed – with it’s iconic stripes! I now own it, but had it tucked away for years when I saw a knock-off at my local Value Village. I knew then and there that Hudson’s Bay stripes would make their way into our next paint project. There's a trick to getting perfectly straight stripes and we'll show you exactly how we do it! In this 'Ible, we'll also show you our tips and tricks in working with a cup gun to spray these stripes.
- Vintage sewing table (try thrift stores etc.)
- Frog Tape
- SKADIS pegboard
- 1/8" plywood
- Painters tape
- Paint colour matched to Hudson's Bay Stripe colours: White or Cream, Indigo, Yellow, Red and Green
- Mesh paint strainer
- DeVilbiss Plus Spray gun
- Air compressor
- Cotton cloth (for wiping dust)
- Fine mist spray bottle
- Plastic and/or poly coated paper (i.e. freezer paper) to protect just painted stripes
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Step 1: Starting Point
We started with an old sewing machine table. We did a lot of veneer repair work first and also did a base coat of light blue paint which you can read more about in this 'Ible.
I was going through a period where I was keen on turning everything into a planter and the sewing table was no exception. My original idea was to plant INTO it (second picture). However I nixed that idea when we found an item at Ikea that started me thinking ‘outside the planter’. My new idea was to add plants to the table using vertical space, but still leave it as a functional desk.
When I spied the copper cups during the same trip to Value Village that I saw the blanket, I loaded them into the basket.
I was originally going to do a striped treatment on the table itself, but if you look closely at the table, you’ll see that the lids throw off the symmetry. So I came up with a removable treatment would give me a symmetrical look but still allow the flexibility to switch it back on a whim!
Step 2: Removable Table Top
Our first step was to remove the lids from the sewing machine so I could trace out a pattern of the top. Our top has rounded edges at each corner and measures 33.75" wide x 15 3/4" deep so a template was necessary to capture the shape accurately. Hubs used my template to cut a piece of 1/8″ thick wood board to function as a new tabletop surface for the stripes. He primed and painted it off white as a base colour.
Then I created a pattern of the Hudson's Bay stripe layout with dimensions for each stripe so I could refer to it as I taped off each stripe (last pic). As it turns out, the exact same width as one set of stripes on my great aunt’s Hudson’s Bay point blanket fit perfectly onto the width of the board. Is that serendipity or what?
Step 3: Masking Off Perfectly Straight Stripes
Did you know that when you unroll green tape the edge stretches out of shape? So when you mark the top and bottom of the board and lay down tape between those two marks, you won’t get a straight line if you just go end to end! I didn’t believe this until I tried it and got a wobbly line! Hubs schooled me on how he does it!
For this step we used FrogTape because we always get crisp, clean lines with no paint seepage underneath!
Lay out a straight edge (in this case a ruler) between your two marks. I weighed it down with a few antique irons so it wouldn’t shift. Align the edge of the tape along the top edge of the ruler and butt the tape against it inch by inch as you steer it to the other end. Burnish the tape down. The ruler acts as a guide to achieve an absolutely straight-edged line.
Add more FrogTape in the areas you want to remain white and burnish that well too (2nd pic).
Step 4: Transfer Markings to Pegboard
Once the taping was complete, we lined up the centre of the board with the centre of the Ikea SKÅDIS pegboard shown above. The marks of the stripes were then transferred lightly with pencil so they would line up exactly.
As the SKÅDIS pegboard was wider than the table top board, we switched to a larger ruler to lay down the FrogTape.
Be mindful of which side the line you’re taping on! It’s easy to get mixed up – which is why I kept my printed diagram close at hand and referred back to it constantly.
Step 5: Tape the Underside Too
On the underside of the SKÅDIS, apply green tape on the back where you will be painting the stripes. I was trying to leave the other side of the pegboard clean of paint so that I could turn it around – giving me the option of displaying the white side if I ever wanted to. As you’ll see later, I used a cheaper painter’s tape and got some bleed through even though I burnished well. I should have used FrogTape instead – it would have prevented that!
The second picture shows both pieces taped and ready to paint!
Step 6: Colour Match Stripes
In the first picture is my colour template (without dimensions) to help choose the paint colours of the point blanket stripes.
I planned to add a touch of black to darken the blue. But I couldn’t get the container of black paint open and gave up. I'm often not diligent when it comes to cleaning around the rim and lid. So here's a tip so you can get access to the paint if it ever gets stuck like mine. Simply drill a hole through the lid, then keep it covered with tape to store it. You'll have easy access to pour it out without having to clean the rim of the lid! Just clean up around the hole and re-tape over it. Although I didn't add black, it worked out for the best; after painting I liked the blue as-is.
Step 7: Cup Gun Spray Paint Tips
We set up a spraying station outside on the driveway. An adjustable height table is very handy for spray painting. Here it’s set at the lowest height (last pic). Add a piece of cardboard on top to protect the table surface (this is a shot of the overspray after we painted)! In the next step we'll give you some spray paint tips for using a cup gun.
Hubs hooked up the cup gun to our air compressor. Normally for spray painting we'd use a larger compressor. But we only used our 6 gallon compressor for this job. That's because we had to stop between stripes to change paint and allow for dry time so it didn't need to be constantly running.
If your paint is old and lumpy (ours was left over from other projects), take the time to strain out the lumps with a mesh paint strainer before putting the paint into the cup gun.
Line up your paints, according to your printed template, to ensure you get the order of the colours correct. If you don’t do this step, you could accidentally end up with stripes that are mismatched to the HB point blanket.
Step 8: Prep
Take time to put plastic and/or poly coated paper onto the areas you aren’t painting so overspray can’t bleed through and ruin your work. We repurposed a piece of Home Depot plastic we used to line the trunk of our car during planting season (clean side against the work), in combination with the poly-coated paper.
Before we started to paint, we lightly scuffed the base coat on the first stripe. You can do all sanding before you start, or as you go. This will provide a tooth for the paint to stick to – some added insurance. Wipe the dust away with a damp cotton cloth. We use a fine mist spray bottle filled with water for this purpose to add just a little dampness to the cloth.
Hubs sprayed the first stripe and let it dry. We worked on another project simultaneouly, but I spent most of the time we were waiting for paint to dry chasing away wasps that wanted to land on our freshly painted surfaces!
Step 9: Get Ready for the Next Colour
In between coats (and when you’re done), wash the paint cup out thoroughly.
Run extra water through the cup gun outside to clean out any remaining paint before loading the gun again with the next colour (2nd pic).
Untape the plastic and slide it back. Uncover the next stripe to reveal an unpainted area, re-tape the plastic over the areas still covered with paper and then protect the just-painted stripe with poly-coated paper. The paint we're using is PPG Break-Through; it drys extremely fast so there's no problem covering it up when you paint the next (and remaining) stripe(s).
Repeat the process all over again with each stripe; sanding, wiping and applying the next paint colour.
While I managed to keep off the wasps, we didn’t tape the plastic covering our make-shift spray table well enough and the wind blew the plastic into our fresh paint. I could have touched it up while it was still wet, but I chose to leave the ‘imperfection’ alone. I used to be quite the perfectionist, but I’ve learned to chill – and even leave our mistakes as reminders that nothing’s perfect (2nd last pic)!
The last pictures shows Hubs in action spraying the last stripe.
Step 10: Clean Up
The beauty of a cup gun, other than how fast it is at painting, is that leftover paint can be poured right back into the container; very little waste.
Wipe any drips around the container before it’s stored again so you can get the top open next time you use it! Or use the trick I mentioned earlier about drilling a hole in the lid and covering it with tape.
In the 3rd pic you can see the finished stripes besides a picture of the Hudson’s Bay point blanket on our iPad. It’s pretty exciting when you’re at the stage where your vision is coming to life!
Step 11: Untape
As a general rule, once the paint is dry, peel off the tape. I left it for a few days and didn’t have a problem with ‘tear-out’. I got clean, crisp stripes because we used the FrogTape.
However the back of the SKÅDIS pegboard was a different story. Where I didn’t use the FrogTape, and settled for cheaper painters tape, I got bleed-through around the holes on the back. If that bothers you, just use the FrogTape for everything.
Step 12: Ready to Assemble!
We covered the table top with the striped board first because the pegboard has to attach over it.
To attach the SKÅDIS pegboard to the table, we purchased the connectors shown in the first picture separately. Pay attention to the thickness of the table top: the Ikea instructions suggest two different positions in joining the l-bracket to the connector, depending on thickness.
Once assembled, the connectors just screw on through the holes in the pegboard (2nd pic).
We put a piece of foam underneath the table to prevent scratching as we tightened the connection but it's not necessary (3rd pic).
The connector joins the pegboard to a table surface brilliantly!
Step 13: Accessorize the Pegboard
The SKÅDIS series boasts a lot of accessories but for this configuration. However, I kept it pretty simple with two white SKÅDIS shelves, Korken glass jars (minus the lids) and, of course, those thrift store copper cups you saw earlier.
Step 14: Stripes, Glorious Hudson's Bay Stripes!
Our a Hudson’s Bay point blanket-inspired desk is done! With this project, I can have my cake and eat it too – so to speak. I have a vertical space to display plants, but I also have a practical desk top on which to work! However, if I use this as a laptop table, we’ll either fill in the gap left from the sewing machine or add a piece of glass over top to strengthen it. There’s also the option of switching it back to a sewing table any time I want! All-in-all, there's lot's of flexibility with this design.
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