We’re finally ready to show you the second makeover of our Singer sewing table: a Hudson’s Bay point blanket inspired desk – helped out by an Ikea hack along the way. That’s a lot of DIY influences for one upcycle!
If you’re a visual learner and would rather skip the tutorial, head to the bottom of this post to watch the video.
The Inspiration Behind the Makeover
Growing up, I always admired the Hudson’s Bay point blanket that adorned my Great Aunt’s bed – with it’s iconic stripes! When I saw this knock-off at my local Value Village, I grabbed it and knew then and there that Hudson’s Bay stripes would make their way into our project.
During the summer, I was keen on turning everything into a planter and the sewing table was no exception. My original idea was to plant INTO it:
We went to Ikea and found this container that I was planning on under-mounting below the table (much like an under-mounted sink).
However I nixed that idea when we found another item at Ikea and I started thinking ‘outside the planter’. My new idea was to add plants to the table using vertical space, but still leave it as a functional desk.
When I spied these copper cups, during the same trip to Value Village that I found the blanket, I loaded them into the basket too.
About the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket – a Canadian Icon!
By 1700, wool blankets made up over 60 percent of traded goods with North American Indians in the Canadian fur trade. The ‘points’ in the point blanket are short indigo stripes woven at one end of the blanket as you see below. Because of the points, it was easy to determine what the overall size of the blanket was when it was folded; a brilliant aid for the traders. These days, an 6-point blanket will fit a Queen-sized bed.
It wasn’t until the end of the 18th century that the iconic multi-stipe was introduced. While a variety of colourways and special editions colours have since come and gone, I still always crush on (and prefer) the four traditional colours: indigo, yellow, red and green! You can read more about the history of the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket here.
Where We Left Off with the Singer Sewing Table
If you saw our previous two posts of the sewing table, we first repaired the veneer and then painted it (you’ll find those links at the end).
I was originally going to do a striped treatment on the table itself, but if you look closely at the table, you’ll see that there’s a larger space on the left side, than on the right of the lid. I wanted the table to be exactly symmetrical so came up with an idea that would allow it to have multiple different looks and the flexibility to switch it up on a whim!
Our first step was to remove the lids from the sewing machine so I could trace out a pattern of the top. Hubs used my template to cut a piece of very thin wood board to function as a new tabletop. He primed and painted it for me in an off white. This is what will show through as the background colour.
I also created a pattern of the striped layout so I could refer to it as I taped off each stripe. As it turns out, the EXACT same width as one set of stripes on my great aunt’s Hudson’s Bay point blanket fit perfectly onto the width of the board. Is that serendipity or what?
Masking Off the Stripes
Did you know that when you unroll green tape the edge stretches out of shape? So when you mark the top and bottom of the board and lay down tape between those two marks, you won’t get a straight line if you just go end to end! I didn’t believe this until I tried it and got a wobbly line! Hubs schooled me on how he does it!
For this step we used FrogTape because we always get crisp, clean lines with no paint seepage underneath!
Lay out a straight edge (in this case a ruler) between your two marks. I weighed it down with a few antique irons so it wouldn’t shift. Align the edge of the tape along the top edge of the ruler and butt the tape against it inch by inch as you steer it to the other end. Burnish the tape down. The ruler acts as a guide to achieve an absolutely straight-edged line.
Add more FrogTape in the areas you want to remain white and burnish that well too.
Once the taping was complete, we lined up the centre of the board with the centre of the Ikea SKÅDIS pegboard shown below. The marks of the stripes were then transferred so they would line up exactly.
As the SKÅDIS was wider than the table top board, we switched to a larger ruler to lay down the FrogTape. Be mindful of which side the line you’re taping on! It’s easy to get mixed up – which is why I kept my printed diagram close at hand and referred back to it constantly.
Tape the Underside
On the underside of the SKÅDIS, apply green tape on the back where you will be painting the stripes. I was trying to leave the other side of the pegboard clean of paint so that I could turn it around – giving me the option of displaying the white side if I ever wanted to. As you’ll see later, I used a cheaper painter’s tape and got some bleed through even though I burnished well. I should have used FrogTape instead – it would have prevented that!
Here are both pieces taped and ready to paint!
Colour Match Stripes
I printed a colour version of my point blanket stripe template so I could choose the paint colours. The custom colour Hubs mixed to approximate the creamy white background is shown on the boards above.
I think I came pretty close with all but the indigo. I could have added a touch of black paint to it because it’s not as ‘inky’ as I would have liked. However I couldn’t get the container of black paint open and gave up. By the way, that’s exactly why you should always wipe wet paint off the rim of the container after you’ve used it – so you can get it open again without a struggle!
At this point we gathered our paint colours.
Then we took everything outside and set up a spraying station in the driveway. An adjustable height table is very handy for spray painting. Here it’s set at the lowest height. Add a piece of cardboard on top to protect the table surface (this is a shot of the overspray after we painted)!
Hubs hooked up a cup gun to our air compressor.
If your paint is old and lumpy (ours was left over from other projects), take the time to strain out the lumps before putting the paint into the cup gun. Also, line up your paints according to your printed template, to ensure you get the order of the colours correct. If you don’t do this step, you could end up with stripes that are mismatched to the HB point blanket 🙂
Take the time to put plastic and/or poly coated paper onto the areas you aren’t painting so overspray can bleed through and ruin your work. We repurposed a piece of Home Depot plastic we used to line the trunk of our car during planting season, in combination with the poly-coated paper.
Before we started to paint, we lightly scuffed the base coat on the first stripe.
Hubs wiped the dust away with a damp cotton cloth. This will provide a bit of tooth for the paint to stick to – some added insurance.
Hubs sprayed the first stripe and let it dry. We worked on another project simultaneouly, but I spent most of the time we were waiting for paint to dry chasing away wasps that wanted to land on our freshly painted surfaces!
In between coats, wash the paint cup out thoroughly.
Run extra water through the cup gun outside to clean out any remaining paint before loading the gun again with the next colour.
Untape the plastic and slide it back. Uncover the next stripe to reveal an unpainted area, re-tape the plastic over the areas still covered with paper and then protect the just-painted stripe with poly-coated paper.
Start the process all over again with sanding, wiping and….
….the next paint colour.
While I managed to keep off the wasps, we didn’t tape the plastic covering our make-shift spray table well enough and the wind blew the plastic into our fresh paint. I could have touched it up while it was still wet, but I chose to leave the ‘imperfection’ alone. I used to be quite the perfectionist, but I’ve learned to chill – and even leave our mistakes as reminders that nothing’s perfect!
Here’s Hubs in action spraying the last stripe.
The beauty of a cup gun, other than how fast it is at painting, is that leftover paint can be poured right back into the container; very little waste. Clean the cup gun thoroughly.
Wipe any drips around the container before it’s stored again so you can get the top open next time you use it!
Here you can see the finished stripes up against a Hudson’s Bay point blanket on our iPad. It’s pretty exciting when you’re at the stage where your vision is coming to life!
As a general rule, one the paint is dry, peel off the tape. I left it for a few days and didn’t have a problem with ‘tear-out’. I got clean, crisp stripes because we used the FrogTape.
However the back of the SKÅDIS was a different story. Where I didn’t use the FrogTape, and settled for cheaper painters tape, I got bleed-through around the holes on the back.
We covered the table top with the striped board first. To attach the SKÅDIS pegboard to the table, we purchased these connectors separately. Pay attention to the thickness of the table top: the Ikea instructions suggest two different positions in joining the l-bracket to the connector, depending on thickness.
Once assembled, the connectors just screw on through the holes in the pegboard.
The connector joins the pegboard to a table surface by way of a clamping mechanism.
We put a piece of foam underneath the table to prevent scratching as we tightened the connection.
The SKÅDIS series boasts a lot of accessories but for this configuration I kept it pretty simple with two white SKÅDIS shelves, these Korken glass jars (minus the lids) and, of course, those copper cups you saw earlier that we picked up at Value Village.
I placed air plants in the glass mason jars and….
….succulents in the copper cups. Note that copper and succulents DON’T play well in the sandbox together, so make sure you have them planted into a plastic container first before placing them in the copper cup.
Here’s a reminder of how this sewing table started out. We took it from drab, humble beginnings in a state of missing veneer and water damage….
…. to this updated painted makeover…
….to this Hudson’s Bay point blanket-inspired desk! With this project, I can have my cake and eat it too – so to speak. I have a vertical space to display plants, but I also have a practical desk top on which to work! However, since the new table top is thin, if I use this as a laptop table, we’ll likely add a piece of wood to fill in the gap left from the sewing machine. I also have the option of switching it back to a sewing table any time I want!
The two transformations of this vintage sewing table are equally dramatic! Which one do you prefer: the icicle-blue painted version or the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket-inspired one?
We’re still searching for a suitable chair to make over and pair it with, but for now we’re pretty stoked with the outcome!
If you enjoyed this Hudson’s Bay point blanket-inspired makeover and Ikea hack, please pin!
Previous Posts in the Singer Sewing Table Series
The Singer sewing table makeover series can be found at these links: