Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Painting Bamboo Blinds

Painting is a task I love. But I have always dreaded the mess, smell, and preparation. All these years I have stayed away from painting for these reasons and many more, such as lack of knowledge, space constraints, difficulties of painting with a toddler at home, and even the impatience of having to let dry between coats.

We have an open balcony facing the busy road. We had to cover it up for some privacy and dust control. After some basic research, we decided to put up bamboo blinds, which we thought would look very pretty. Husband had the task of contacting the vendors, getting quotes and getting it installed. We decided we would not get it colored as the options they provided did not suit our taste. So we settled for the natural tone with a sealant coating. And it was finally delivered.

I was the happiest when it was installed. It really did provide all the privacy we needed and was still airy and see-through.

This is how it looked from outside.

Notice the blinds at the back and the evening sunlight falling on my baby's face and right shoulder.

Off went few months of dusty summer and wet rains. One day I noticed that the blinds did not look too clean. The required coats of sealant was not applied or it had worn out too soon. I could see thin dark lines running along the length of the blinds. Dirt? I was not sure. One round of spray washing did not resolve it. The ugliness of it clung in the back of my mind every now and then. I was not sure of what had to be done. And handling it is pretty much of a task owing to the dimensions and weight.

Then one day we decided to paint it. We settled on white. My parents had come down for a few days and luckily was our option of toddler control. Me and hubby took down the blinds one-by-one, painted a coat of white paint on both the sides, let it dry and hung it back.

It was a hurried and not-too-neat job. We wanted it to be done at the earliest. That was the primary concern. Not to mention the paint blotches all over the place, our hands and feet, and the numbness and tiredness. Well, I just wanted it to get over.

Somehow done, it was put back in place and looked kind-of-okay. As we applied only one coat of paint, when it dried up few dark lines were visible here and there. Well, I did not want to worry anymore! At least, any time soon.

There it hung for another year, protecting our balcony from the dust, sun, and the cold weathers. During the heavy rains I would spray wash it down from the inside as well.

Excuse me for the very blurry picture... This is all what I could get for the moment.

You can see a glimpse of it in the background in these pictures.

But again, two months back, I started noticing the weathered look it had. This time since the base was white, it actually looked a dirty brown shade. Every time I passed by the gate and saw the dirty blinds, my heart twitched in embarrassment and the intense desire to do something about it.

Painting was something I still dreaded. And I was sure that hubby would not be very eager to help. My very-inquisitive toddler would be the happiest to help and the most problematic to control when over-excited. I popped the question to hubby a few times but never reached a conclusion.

Over one weekend I decided that I had to take the step and pestered my husband to get the paints. This time we decided, a dark shade would be the best option. And we zeroed on a dark walnut finish enamel paint.

This time I did not want to make any mistakes. So I decided not to do it in a hurry and give time for prepping and curing. I kept telling myself, not to be the impatient self that I always am when it comes to crafting and other home improvement projects.

Once hubby brought the blinds down, I spray washed it and wiped it down with a thick towel. The towel soaked up all the dirt and water. I rolled and kept it upright to drain the water. Meanwhile, I prepped my work area - the passage corner. I stuck up newspapers all over the wall and even for a few inches on the floor.

Then I spread out an old curtain on the floor to catch any paint spills.

By then, the blind was drained of water. I brought it out and spread it out on the prepared area to dry and left it there.

It looked like this.

Looks fine right? Check this out.

And this.... now you can see how distressed it looks with the paint stripped off almost everywhere.

Then when I could slip out without my kid noticing, I carried out the paint, brush, and a piece of cloth and started the painting.

The painting continued for hours, days, and perhaps over a week. I would wake an hour earlier than usual and stay up an hour late to get the task accomplished. And this time, I was the only one doing the job. Hubby and kid joined for a little while one day, but I did not encourage it as it was getting crowded and a little messy.

It was a stress buster at times. I could go on and on without having to worry about anything. My hands ached a lot at times but I loved how it was turning out. So I did not stop. And this time, as I said, no mistakes - I painted two coats on each side.

I did not keep the count of hours that was taken to complete the job but after lots of sleep deprived mornings, mosquito bitten nights, and toddler-attack anxiety filled days, I finished the job!

We hung up all the blinds back on the balcony and I must tell you it looks way much neat now. What others think, I am not sure, but I admire it each day I pass by. :-)

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