How to Make Farmhouse Charger Plates

Over the past several months I’ve been hunting for some ornate charger plates that don’t cost a fortune that would work well in my dining room.  After all, anyone who watches Fixer Upper on HGTV knows that Joanna Gaines always sets the table with charger plates, cloth napkins and a sprig of something earthy.  I have seen chargers on-line that are outrageously expensive and this thrifty girl knew there was an inexpensive way to get the look I was wanting.  These chargers from Amazon.com are $15 each!

I saw a Pinterest idea of  collecting silver-plated round trays and painting them to use as chargers so I started hunting for just them.  Unfortunately, I have only been able to find about three over the past several months hunting thrift stores and garage sales.

This morning while browsing around our local Goodwill store I came across these red plastic chargers.  There were six of them which is exactly what I needed.  They were only .99 each so I grabbed them knowing I had a project ahead to make them fit into any season, not just Christmas or Valentines Day.   I like to keep my dining room table “set” (staged) and I really needed some chargers to complete the look.  I liked the scalloped edges even though I really want something a little more ornate down the road.  I figured these would work at least as temporary chargers with a little work.  Ok, they don’t look very “farmhouse” or French country… YET!

After washing them, I put my drop cloth over my counter and stove and got some chalk paint out that I had used in a previous project.

The paint I used was sort of Paris gray/taupe color.  I just used a small paintbrush and started painting each one with a thin coat to cover the chargers.

This is how they looked while drying after one coat of chalk paint.

After a second coat was dry, here was the result.

I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do next but just decided to rub some lighter paint on the edges with my finger (see photo below).  Project FAIL!  I didn’t like the look.  It looked like a little kid had painted on the edges and it looked messy.  I had to repaint that one and come up with a new plan.

I always think that a dry-brushed paint job comes out the best.  It looks rustic, old and farmhouse chic.  Perfect!  I dry-brushed each charger and let them dry.  (Dry-brushing is when you dip the tip of the paint brush in the paint and then wipe off most of it with a damp rag before dragging is across whatever you are working on.  After that step, I put on two coats of Polycrylic to seal the paint because chalk paint always needs to be sealed to prevent the paint from chipping.

The whole project only cost me the $6 (for the chargers) because I already had the other supplies in my stash.

 

This was an easy project that only took a couple hours (because of drying time) to finish.

I’m loving the new addition to the table.  I guess I should put some flatware on it now but I feel like it is a Practically Palm Beach success story now.

 

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Palm Beach Sparkles with a Thrifty Crystal Chandelier

 

Do you still have the builder-grade fixtures in your home?  Old, outdated fixtures are one of the first things people notice when they come into your home.  However, picking the lighting for your house can be challenging and expensive.  I tend to love some glamour in my house and the perfect thing to add was a pretty chandelier.

Below is the fixture from Home Depot that I put up 11 years ago when we moved into our house.  Although it’s not totally outdated, I wanted something with more sparkle.  I had attempted to add some “bling” by adding some crystals to the bottom of it, but it was definitely time for a change to add some more glamour.  But my question was, “Can I really afford one?”

BEFORE New Lighting

I started the search for a fixture.  I went to Capitol Lighting, Home Depot and Lowes (all the typical places to find fixtures).  First of all, I knew the prices at Capitol Lighting would be high but WOW I wasn’t expecting those price tags.  They are quality and you pay for that with about $1200 and up!  Anyway, that place was definitely out of my Practically Palm Beach budget but I still wanted a crystal chandelier that wasn’t whimpy in size. I checked the box stores but just did not like anything.

I discovered this one below on Amazon.com.  Although it doesn’t have authentic Swarovski crystals, I thought I’d order it and give it a try since the reviews were fantastic on it.  I couldn’t believe the low price of $159!

I ordered this Amazon chandelier and it arrived quickly.  I am blessed to have a husband that can put up light fixtures so the process began.  He had to literally build the fixture with the detailed instructions.  Here are some photos from the process where we put out all the pieces on the dining table.  All the bubblewrap below contained the millions of crystals that would later make me want to hire someone to finish hanging them.  It took some sorting and guessing to get them all on.  We also ordered a large medallion from Amazon to put on the ceiling.  Every chandelier must have a medallion in my opinion.

The first step was to turn off the breaker for that area and remove the old fixture.  Then we attached the medallion that I had already painted a few days before to the ceiling with two screws.  Since I had the white paint that I used to paint it, touching up the screws would be easy.  We have put up enough medallions over the years that we have learned it’s easiest to attach it to the ceiling before trying to hang the light fixture.

Hanging a chandelier is much easier with two people so we worked as a team on two ladders while my husband attached all the wires and attached it completely.  Below is the chandelier early in the process when I was trying to figure out how to hang all the crystals since the directions were not the best.  I think it actually took me about 5 hours to get them all on correctly!  It’s very tedious work but worth it in the end.

After attaching all the crystals, here is the chandelier.  I also added a chain cover (also from Amazon) which is a bit long so I’ll probably shorten it a bit eventually.

After it was all put together, I’m really happy with the look and all the sparkle it added to the room.  When the sun shines through the window, it creates a lot of little prisms around the room too.  For only $159 plus a medallion, I think it’s definitely “Practically Palm Beach!”

Did someone say “Beach?”!!!!!!

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