Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Whole-house Humidifier Updo Tutorial

So here I am in Colorado, where the humidity level is so low, my skin has already started to mummify. So what has a gal to do, to avoid turning into Tutankhamun, may you ask? Easy. Ask Craigslist and you shall receive! * Insert butt-ugly-whole-house-humidifier here. *

I have been wanting one of these for a while now. I first saw this exact model when I came to visit one of my friends, here in Colorado, a few years back. I remember her filling it and spending time on its maintenance (which I am in no way looking forward to), but I also remember breathing easier inside her home than outside! So off I went, scouring CL for a decent priced unit to bring home. I found this one for $40. Hold on, hold on, before you jump the gun and think it's a steal, I have to inform you that it was absolutely and utterly nasty when I picked it up! I had not anticipated it coming from a SMOKING household...and it was too late to turn back by the time my nose gave me the hint (I had driven across town, and that was the only unit like this on CL). So, I took the foul beast home and proceeded to spend the following 4 hours, yes you read that right 4 hours, detailing this sucker from the inside out. Let me tell you that smoke, but in particular tar, and humidity do not get along in a dusty environment! The dust had mixed with the tar and turned into a gooe-gluey mess! There was a lot of toothbrush scouring action on all the nooks and crannies, especially in and around the fans. Can you say yuck? I guess that, if it wasn't for the fact that this model retails from Sears at close to $200, I would have been livid. Oh, who am I kidding? I WAS LIVID. But I didn't really have anyone to blame but myself. I should have known better, and asked if the item was from a smoke free home. I guess it's a lesson learned!

Anyhow, back to the humidifier. I knew, from the moment I saw the listing, that I would have to update this guy. He looked so sad with its fake woodgrain paneling look. I felt like I HAD to give him a new style. The upside to this piece was: hard plastic construction and flat panels. That makes a perfect surface for contact paper! So off I went looking for a nice, graphic, modern-print, self-adhering shelf liner. I happened to snag this 2 pack for $5.99 at one of my favorite stores: Marshalls! I know what you are thinking: "I will never find the same one now, discount stores only have one of a kind items"! Do not despair my peeps, this particular company has a website: 

They sell tons of stuff, including contact paper in awesome, colorful prints. So stop the whining, and go get yourself some cool, modern liner to start your own projects with! (and no, I did not receive any compensation to name this company. I am only writing this down for your benefit).

This project took about 1 hour total to complete. Although, I have to admit, I am quite experienced at using self adhesive liner from many projects I tackled during the years (an entire fridge, kitchen tiles, a steamer trunk, a backsplash for my first ghetto apartment and much more). I love contact paper because it's so easy to use, it's fairly simple to apply, it offers a drastic change to whatever you use it on, but most of all IT'S CHEAP! So here is the quick breakdown of this project:

I started with my ordinary ugly humidifier unit.

I gathered my supplies: a pencil, a ruler (I had my level handy so I used it instead), a pair of scissors, my adhesive shelf liner and an exacto knife. Yes, those are Mrs. Rufus' fuzzy boots you spot on the top right! She is always around helping me out when I start tackling a new piece ^__^

My next step was to measure the front panel for size, and trace my outline on the back of the paper. The graphs on the back are there to help you. Use them to your advantage. Make sure you cut a little more than you will actually need. The paper never really sticks EXACTLY the way you want it (you will see what I mean at the end of this post), so if you have a millimeter or two extra you can trim it down to size, rather than ending up short.

The next step is to stick your paper on your subject. In this case my ugly 'humidor'. I always start from the top left corner, and work my way down to the bottom left corner. Once you have an entire side stuck down where you want it, it seems easier to keep things straight. Make sure you gently smooth your paper down as you go. If you pay attention and work slowly you should be able to get the paper to stick without trapping any air bubbles. I do all of the above just using my hands and fingers, but you may find useful to use a smooth flat object, like a credit card. The backing of the shelf paper always has instructions as well. So you can rely on those for guidance. If you do end up getting some air bubbles, try to unstick  your paper and to smooth it back down again paying more attention this time. If those stubborn little suckers are still there you can carefully poke them with a needle and push the air out. Here is my front panel midway through.

Once you are finished adhering the paper to your surface, trim any excess with the exacto knife. Try to cut in one continuos motion, to avoid snags and jagged edges. 

So now that the front panel is done, it's time to concentrate on the top panel. Again, I measured out my needed piece, traced the amount on the reverse of my paper and I made sure I had excess to trim. Since this time I had a lot of excess (due to the rounded shape of the panel) it was harder to keep the panel straight. I used the frame of the humidifier to help me keep the paper lined up. This is a graphic print, so if I had stuck the liner askew it would have been noticeable. 
Again, smooth all of your paper down starting from the top left corner and work your way down first and then to the right. Once you are finished applying the liner, trim the excess.

And tadaa! There you have it. 
My job is done, and I can now enjoy my finished piece.

So, on my first post I said I was here to share my successes but also my failures. So here it comes. Are you ready? Here is my boo-boo on this piece. Because NOTHING in life is perfect...and we better realize it, and start dealing with it, and avoid disappointments of sorts. I tried my best to keep the paper straight but I ended up askew by a millimeter at the bottom right. I may be the only one to notice it, but here it is. 

The reason I let you in, on this 'faux pas', is because I want you to realize that often when you see a project online it only LOOKS perfect, but reality is, we all make mistakes and we all mess up. The important thing when you upcycle, like in life, is to just try not to focus too much on the negative but instead keep your eye on the positive and move on to your next piece. Never think that you don't have it in you. That you could not achieve what another person has. Remember, if you put your mind to it you can do it! Happy upcycling!

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