I knew what I wanted to do with the balcony/party patio. I’d known before I even started the outside. Its probably the only part of this house rehab that I’d planned ahead.
I just didn’t know exactly how I was going to accomplish it.
So now I’m going to introduce you all to the world of Cross Training Crafts or Cross Crafts. Hey, its good enough for pro-athletes, its good enough for us, right?
Like most crafters, this isn’t my first rodeo. Not by a long shot. I’ve still got a lot of irons in the fire. Who doesn’t? Is there a square inch at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or Joann “Fabrics” that you don’t walk through, even just aimlessly browsing? I thought not.
My personal craft journey started ages and ages ago. Probably with preschool finger painting. Heh. But in closer memory, I was into Dungeons and Dragons as early as Junior High so the first full-on art I remember being interested in was painting miniatures. I was already restringing some beads around that time. Later, I combined the fine brushes of miniature painting with a friend’s wire twisting and made jewelry for sale for the first time in college. I then branched off into bead-weaving and then later into my own bead-stringing designs with gemstones. Yeah, I still have quite a few beads lying about the house, but that’s another story.
I am hoping to make the railing look more like wrought-iron. That part ought to be easy enough; paint it black, right? Oh, and one of my favorite YouTubers, Fun and Crafts, made a railing incorporating old-school hair pins that was dead on what I’m wanting. Then I found some lovely square dowel rods, so I believe I’m all set. The railing is now in pretty bad shape; the years of storage weren’t kind to it.
Probably the only thing I knew for sure I wanted to do, before even starting to look for materials, was some sort of faux stone for the patio. On this concept, I got really lucky.
I was browsing around YouTube, not really with any purpose in mind, just letting it recommend what it would. And wouldn’t you know it, the Mighty YouTube Randomizer (which isn’t really random, I know) came up with Black Magic Craft. Now I don’t remember which of his videos came up first, but I remember being fascinated because, like both My Froggy Stuff and Fun and Crafts, he was using foam board as the basis for building most of his creations. Of course, they’re on a much smaller scale but the fundamentals are the same. And wouldn’t you know it, he did a faux stone with cardboard egg cartons. YES!!! So convenient–easily available, free, and I even happened to have a couple lying around. I set to work immediately, excited beyond belief and…
You’ll be happy to know it didn’t stay like this. I began with the floor, which as you can easily tell isn’t all that great. By the time I got to the walls, I had gotten the technique down a little better. This was probably after the first round of dry-brushing. I just felt it needed some additional coloring to bring it all together and make it look more natural. It definitely needed something at this stage, as it looked, well, awful. So I kept going.
If you’re thinking of attempting this, let me warn you…the glue you use and the texture of the egg carton will make a difference. Not all egg cartons are as hard, thick, or whatever. I used what Black Magic Crafts suggested for glue, which was Mod Podge. It worked great, but I think my container might’ve been a bit on the older side. The torn bits of egg carton were, well, stiff and hard, and ended up being pointing and almost dangerous to touch. I watered down the Mod Podge a bit, almost soaking the cardboard in it, and that seemed to negate that at least a little. By the time I got to the walls, I was almost using the Mod Podge and cardboard as if it were Papier Mache…soaking it in a dilution of Mod Podge and water. But hey, it worked, and that was the point.
So here’s the final effect. Minus the railings, of course, which will be next. The floor is still a bit messed up, but I’m hoping that with some furniture and so forth, it’ll hardly be noticeable. Hoping. Because there’s like 3 layers of Mod Podge on this now, so those stones are not coming back up easily!!! Honestly, it looks a lot better in person, mostly because I’m a horrible photographer. That, I’m sure, I’ll get better at as things go along…