Monday, January 31, 2011

Lovebirds Tutorial

While in the Dollar Tree the other week, I spotted some ceramic birds that caught my eye.  For a mere dollar apiece, I picked up two.  The color wasn't doing much for me, nor was the sandy texture, but I liked their overall size and the motif on the wings.

On my kitchen windowsill, I keep this cherub my mom gave me a few years ago. I'm not sure if it's made of concrete or resin painted to look like concrete, but regardless, I love the texture and color.

Then it occurred to me to paint the birds to resemble the cherub's finish!

Plus, seeing as I bought a pair, I thought they'd make adorable Valentine's "lovebirds" to go atop the pine armoire in the living room.

Besides yielding a cute pair of lovebirds, this craft and decor project was completed during one of my son's naptimes so it has the instant-gratification aspect going for it, too.

Lovebirds Tutorial

  • Pair of ceramic birds from Dollar Tree
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Craft paint in black, white and dark brown (I used Folk Art paint in 936 Licorice, 901 Wicker White and 462 Burnt Umber since that's what I had on hand)
  • Craft brushes
  • Newspaper
  • Wax paper (to set on top of the newspaper so the birds won’t stick to the paper when wet)
  • Plate on which to mix paint
  • Napkin or rag
  • Small bowl
  • Matte or satin clear spray sealer if you want to seal the birds
1. With the 120 grit sandpaper, sand the texture off birds until they are fairly smooth. Leave a little bit of texture to make for a more interest final finish, but get the majority off.

2. Mix some of the white and black paint on a plate to a medium grey and apply a thin coat to each bird.

3. Dry brush a light coat of dark brown paint over the dried grey paint. I found that once I finished coating the second bird with grey paint, the first bird was dry and ready for this step.

4. Mix the white paint with a bit of the dark brown paint to create an antique or off white color, and brush on a coat to cover most of grey/brown layer.

5. While the off white paint is tacky, take a dry brush and hit the paint with short, fast strokes to remove a bit of the paint to expose the undercoat.

6. When white paint is dry, further distress the birds with sandpaper until you achieve the effect you like.

7. In small bowl, put a teaspoon or so of water, along with a bit of the white/dark brown mix (I had plenty left on my plate so I used what remained of this mixture), then add more dark brown until you have what looks like chocolate milk. This is your antiquing glaze.

8. Brush on the milky brown mixture to antique the birds, wiping off the excess as you go.  Be careful, though, and don't wipe too hard or else you may rub off all the under layers of paint.

9. Let dry completely and seal with your choice of sealer. Or skip this step as I ended up doing!

And here are a few shots of the lovebirds in their new home...


Say buh-bye, little birdies!

Let me know if you try this project!  I had quite a lot of fun doing it and am so pleased to have a sweet little pair of birds to add to my home's decor.  Hope you like it, too!

Linking to:

Domestically Speaking

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

V.I.P. (Visually Inspiring Projects) Party at Designer Garden

Frugal Friday at

Frugalicious Friday at

Valentine's Day 2011 Inspiration Party at

Passionately Artistic


  1. I have the honor of being your "linky neighbor over at Coastal Charm. Your birds are darling, before and after. I love the dollar stores, so much fun for so little money. xoxo tami

  2. I just picked up these same birds at dollar tree a few days ago with the intention of giving them a makeover. I love what you have done with yours!

  3. you should totally send this to Dollar Store crafts blog. i may give these birdies a makeover with blacklight reactive paint. since I have so much left over from Saturday...

  4. Really like the way your little birds turned out. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. Great tutorial! And what a transformation from the dollar store finish!

    Would love for you to drop by this weekend and link up to Passion for Paint!

  6. Cute idea and so economical! Thanks for the how to!

  7. Very cute! I love how they turned out! Thanks for sharing the tutorial.


  8. This was a fantastic tutorial. Thank you so much cos I'm a total paint novice! It was really clear....even to me!!

    Those li'l birds are extremely cute!


  9. these are adorable! i actually saw them at the dollar store as well. i wish i would have picked them up! i might have to make another dollar tree run! thanks for posting!

  10. So clever and well done! The birds look so vintage and worn, just wonderful.

  11. I just bought these birds last week with plans to paint them... nice job yours look great!

  12. Love the finish you created on the birds, so lovely. I passed up some white birds at HOMESENSE last month and I've been kicking myself ever since. Stop by some time.
    Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD

  13. what a fabulous transformation...
    Don't forget to link it in our linking party this week.


  14. I have several of these birds around my house which I've redone...but I like your technique MUCH better!! I think I'm going to give my birds another redo using your method! Great job!! :)

  15. Oooh, so cute, I love the way they turned out!

  16. Oh I LOVE these! So much infact I'm going on a hunt for some today lol! I would be delighted if you could link this up to my VIP party today =)

  17. I love them! I have been oodling over cute little birdies for weeks! I may have to go and get a couple! Thanks for the tutorial!

  18. How cute, I love your cement take on the birds. I never would have thought of sanding them. Blessings, Kim

  19. Oh how darling- those little birds are so sweet and I love how they came out! Thanks for sharing this at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

  20. Erin--I have several "knick-knacks" I need to do this with... Thanks for the idea and instructions. You had visited my blog and asked about turquoise cabinets. I used Lowes' Valspar HD "turquoise sea" in semi-gloss. I could not get this color in a kitchen/bath paint but I think it will hold up fine and it's coverage is amazing!

  21. This is wonderful! I am going to have to find these delightful birds and try it!

  22. What a cute project...I'm going to have to try this! Thanks for your sweet visit...and yes Carmel does resemble a European's beautiful!

    Miss Bloomers

  23. Hey Erin! What a great project! And a great price tag to boot! Thanks for stopping by Temporary Nest! I cant wait to read more about you and your great projects too!! <3Gina

  24. I am going to the Dollar Tree today!

  25. Erin- How cute! What a great idea!!! Also I wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog!!

  26. so cute, i love how you arranged them to be almost kissing! perfect!

  27. What a difference paint makes! You would never guess that those cute little birdies came from the Dollar store:) Great tutorial, too! Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. Gotta love the Dollar Tree! Great job revamping the birds. I've got the same cherub. Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  29. Love your blog! I have awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award... Head over to my blog to claim your award!

  30. Hey Erin! Have you considered selling some of your sweet birds? I'd be interested in having a couple for my farmhouse, since the Dollar stores in my area don't carry them! :)

    xoxo laurie

  31. Been looking for little birdies and all I've see were way to pricey for my pocket book.

    I'm off to Dollar Tree right away in hopes they still have some!!


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