How to turn a hideous wedding present into something you don't hate, in one easy step!!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Pretty wrapping, but who knows what lurks inside... {Via decor8}

I really, truly believe that it is the thought that counts when it comes to wedding presents. Even though the idea of asking for stuff makes me squirm, gift lists have made the process of giving so much simpler and less awkward for everyone involved, as well as minimising the risk of a seventeen-toaster calamity.

Sometimes people, especially those who aren't invited to the wedding but would still like to give you a token in celebration of your marriage (I LOVE those people), might get you something that wasn't on your list, and that's great too, because surprises are amazing and It's The Thought That Counts.

But seriously. What do you do when someone gives you a gift that is so ugly it makes you want to stab your own eyes out with a [designer, from-the-list] fork?

Behold: The Vase.

I know you're not supposed to say this. My mother will kill me. But I am confident that the very sweet person who kindly gave us this, erm, vase will never ever in a million years find this blog. (If only they'd never found that vase. Whoops, there I go again.)

I think we can all agree, it's "not my style". Otherwise known as, "ugly". And I'm not the type of person who can breezily ask for the receipt to exchange or return a present. The very thought makes me want to throw up. No, I'm the type of person who smiles sweetly, says thank you very much (and means it - I genuinely do appreciate the sentiment, if not the aesthetic), then shoves the offending item into the far depths of the wardrobe where it cannot assault my eyes any further.

And there this particular vase would have remained, were it not for a drunken conversation with my friend Yvonne about the most hideous gifts we had received for our respective weddings. Knowing that I could trump anything she had to offer, I delved into the wardrobe and emerged triumphant, brandishing the vase like a hero returning from battle clutching a severed head.

After agreeing that it was, indeed, hideous, Yvonne came up with the most shatteringly obvious solution to the vase situation: "Why don't you just paint it?"

Paint it, you say? Why didn't I think of this? Of course! I should totally paint it!

So I did. And here, in true before and after style, is the how-to.

Time: 36 hours (painting: 15 minutes; drying: 2 hours; thinking, planning and researching: 33.75 hours)

Cost: £5.19 (paint: £4.99; newspaper: 20p; never having to look at that chartreuse, black and silver combo ever again: priceless)

You will need:

Ugly wedding present.
 Paint. I used Humbrol Acrylic Hobby Spray in 22 Gloss White.
 Wine. I'd had a long day, ok?
 Pretty flowers to make your crappy spray-painted vase look better after it all goes a bit wonky.

Project essentials.

1. Find well-ventilated area in which to paint. This may prove harder than anticipated. You may end up doing it in the middle of your communal hallway with all the windows open. Sorry, neighbours.

2. Cover painting surface with newspaper.

3. Place ugly gift on newspaper. (Is this too detailed? Sorry, I'll speed it up.)

4. Spray with paint. Sherry of Young House Love swears by the "thin and even coats" application method, so that's what I went for. Unfortunately I've never done this before, so I don't know what thin and even coats look like. I suspect they don't look like this:

My paint is dribbling. Sigh.
5. Wait for what seems like four hours, but is actually 15 minutes, for the paint to dry. Touch paint. Realise it's not dry. Try to cover up finger mark with more paint. Fail. Sigh. Repeat.

6. When vase is finally dry, fill with cheap supermarket peonies and hope that people will be so distracted by the pretty flowers that they will not notice the big blobs of paint all over it. Be thankful that at least vase is no longer chartreuse.


The finished product is far from perfect, but can we just remind ourselves what the original product looked like?

I think we can all agree it's an improvement.

Anyone else received any dodgy wedding presents? What did you do with them?

15 boats moored

  1. I just laughed out loud. On the train. You are the funniest storyteller. Ever.

  2. I think if we all take a moment to behold The Picture Frame we will agree that I win.

  3. Cara, that frame is indeed hideous and no amount of YHL style painting is going to make it any better. What have you done with it?!

    Kirsty, excellent work my friend. :)

  4. This is brilliant. We got 3 clear glass jugs as engagement presents, but that doesn't even come close to this! Although, I'm afraid Cara now trumps you... xx

  5. Argh my work computer blocks flickr, but I am desperate to see this picture frame! If it's worse than the vase, it must be bad...

  6. Not married so no hideous presents (though I have a beloved friend who has a knack of bringing back hideous travel souvenirs). However, I think Cara wins, there is nothing you can do to hide that hideous. Charity shop?

  7. Speaking from my experience of being an artiste (ok, a rubbish art student) you got it just right!

    The only thing you need to make the experience more arty is at least a wine box and a half more booze.

    Also embrace the drip marks! I remember spray painting many dodgey/offending things at college and prodding them to see if they were dry resulting in finger prints/smudges/extra drips. After a while you just start saying it was all intentional and you wanted to "convey a sense of your identity in the paining".

    Or some other bullshit like that....

    But seriously - super job on the vase! It looks 1000% nicer now :) xxxx

  8. Wonderful....
    Oh yes we have a candle holder that you put in a wine bottle, and the box is a bit bashed so we're pretty sure it was recycled.... I knew Warmth wasn't one to easily throw things away when he replies 'No we should keep' when I suggested throwing away...
    Good DIY skills. Big Peony Love.

  9. Nice work! I'm planning to get out the spray paint soon for a wedding DIY project. I'm sure mine will be drippy and smudged too. It's artisan!

  10. I am seriously impressed, lady! And laughing, a lot.

    I was given a "forever friends" picture frame, and champagne glasses with "bride" and "groom" on them.

    No amount of spray paint is gonig to make THAT okay.

  11. Well done, it looks a million times better. Our worst gift (horrific dancing couple ornament) went to the charity shop after a year or so of hiding it in the spare room. Also, 'new' vase = excellent excuse to buy flowers (or get Fin to buy them for you).

    However - there are no words to describe the awfulness of that photo frame - so I think we got off pretty lightly!

  12. We have some rather terrible frames, too. I wish I could find them so I could share. I don't know that they're all as awful as Cara's, but one is definitely heart-shaped. (Cara, I actually thought of you when we got it, remembering your absurd frame.) Actually, now that I think about it, one of them - a gaudy, gaudy gold thing - can probably be painted! I should do that eventually.

  13. Haha! Love that story!

    We got a sugar bowl and creamer set that was umm... colourful and definitely not to our taste. We stashed them on the very top shelf of our kitchen cupboard and one time when a friend was over she noticed them (they are very eye catching) and went to reach for one and dropped it. She felt terrible but John and I just thanked her!

  14. Oooh it looks lovely now!

    I dont think we got anything trully hideous, most people who didnt stick to the list bought us useful things like a slow cooker!

  15. This is my favorite how-to ever. :)


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