For some of us, a spinning wheel is a thing of simple beauty all on its own – we’re called to the various wood finishes, and we love the clean lines and traditional wooden colors. For others of us, a spinning wheel is like a blank canvas, just waiting for our artistic touches. If you’ve ever considered putting some color on YOUR spinning wheel, Bonny Acklin visits the blog today to explain how she transformed a well-traveled wheel into the gypsy it always wanted to be.
When I came home with a 1970’s Country Craftsman and said, “I think I’ll decorate her!” my husband thought I was crazy to deface such a beautiful wheel. Well, I did it anyway, and the result pleased me.
Not being a painter, I didn’t want to jump into this blindly. I knew I needed some help, so I began my search for information. I found some valuable resources on the web, and I also got some great tips from my crafty friends. My main concerns were how to prep the wood, what type of paint to use and what kind of finish I should apply to preserve my work for years to come. Opinions on how to go about this varied, so I just settled on what I thought seem most logical and least complicated.
And so the process of giving this wheel a makeover began…
First, I had to come up with some inspiration. Since it seemed this wheel had moved around quite a lot, leading a nomad’s life, I settled on a gypsy theme. I did some research on gypsies to help me get a feel for colors and design.
I was able to find everything I needed at my local arts & crafts store. I used acrylic paints for my project because they’re durable and come in a vast array of colors. I also picked up some 400 grit sandpaper, denatured alcohol and a variety of paint brushes. A word of advice: when you pick out brushes, don’t buy the cheap ones; it’ll pay off in the end.
I began by lightly sanding all areas where I wanted to apply paint with 400 grit sandpaper. After sanding, I wiped down the areas with denatured alcohol, which removes residue, allowing the paints to adhere to the surface of the wood.
The hardest part was lying down that first stoke of paint. I started with the Mother-Of-All because it presented some decorating opportunities that I felt comfortable with. Once I’d accomplished that, things fell into place.
In areas where I accidently dripped paint, it was easily removed with a cotton ball saturated with denatured alcohol. For small areas, I wrapped a toothpick with a small piece for cotton ball and dipped it in the denatured alcohol. This was the perfect tool for removing drips from hard to reach places.
Once I felt the makeover was complete, I let the acrylic paint cure for a few days. I gave the newly painted areas a once over with some wood stain. (One of my crafty friends suggested this as a way to soften the colors. If you decide to do this, be sure to use a stain that matches the finish on your wheel. Just follow the directions on the can.)
The last step was to apply a sealer to protect my work. Before going forward I wanted to be sure that the wheel was clean so I wiped her down with a soft lint-free cloth. I gave it the entire wheel two coats of polyurethane – it’s important to let the first coat dry completely before adding the second one.
Decorating this wheel was a fantastic experience that created a bond between Gypsy and Me. That sounds so silly but it’s true. She’s got a personality that’s all her own and I’m the one who gave it to her.
Bonny Acklin learned to weave, knit and crochet as a child but really didn’t do much with fiber until her kids were grown. She had always crafted with acrylic yarn. Then one day, a friend took Bonny to her LYS… that was the beginning of the end. She became intrigued with all the wonderful, and very different types of yarns and fibers available. One thing led to another and before long she was dyeing wool and spinning her own yarn. This has become her passion: beautiful colors and lovely soft fiber.
If you’re interested in decorating your wheel or if you already have, check out Bonny’s Ravelry group, Decorate Your Wheel.