Sunday, 16 January 2011

New verbs and pianos

This week has not been incredibly productive for two reasons.  My plan was to 'Lydia-Pick-ify' a cheap baby grand piano that I got for $7 on a trip to America (that's the new verb, in case you missed it... :)  I want to put this on the mezzanine floor, behind the balcony.

Step one, after unscrewing the hinge and removing the keyboard, was to start sanding down the high gloss black paint.  This is when I discovered that a) this is incredibly messy and gets black powder everywhere, and b) this is not a good thing to do when you have a gaping wound on your index finger.

Therefore I needed to wait until I could do the sanding outside, which needed daylight, which needed it to be the weekend.  Luckily by this weekend, my cut had almost healed and just needs a token bandage on it to keep the skin flap from catching on things (ok, sorry, not trying to be gross, but you know what I mean if you have ever cut your fingers).

As part of Step one, I resurrected a vertical belt sander that I bought about 15 years ago, which has been languishing in the attic.  As soon as I turned it on (outside on the patio) and held up the piano to the sanding belt, I remembered why it was no longer in use.  The sanding belt (only 180 grit) basically ate the piano.  In a split second, not only was the black gloss coating gone, but so was part of the piano.  After recoiling and recovering, I realised that I now had no option but to grind off the rest of the black coating to try for an even result.

Then I sprayed it with white primer, having previously covered up the 'strings' with some card and masking tape, and gave it a base coat of Games Workshop Bleached Bone acrylic paint.

After the first coat of Bleached Bone, I removed the protective card so I could paint carefully down the inside around the 'string' area.  It took about four coats to achieve an even result all over the piano.

I had previously photoshopped some toile paper to look a bit like the Lydia Pickett artwork.  I'm not great on Photoshop, but I copied an image of toile from the internet, shrunk it down to approximately 1/24th scale, tiled it to make a bigger area of toile using copy/paste, then used the Photoshop colour management to lighten the green and to lay over a beige screen.  I printed this on the colour printer at work, and then sealed it with some DecoArt multisealer.  I then tried to channel Robin Betterley to cut out pieces of toile to decorate the piano.

The above is a picture after applying the toile paper, but before applying gloss varnish.  I'm going to apply a few coats of gloss varnish to help it all blend together.  It's still a bit crude (the strings aren't going to convince anybody) but I think it will look nice on the mezzanine until such time as I spot something better at a show.  Not bad for $7 / £4 anyway.


  1. You did a great job! Very 'Lydia-Pick-ified'

  2. I think it turned out great!

  3. What a informative, enchanting and whimsical blog. Your creativity seems to know no bounds ... I'm so happy to have found you!

  4. The challenge you set yourself to adapt the Fairfield has resulted in a wonderful creation, full of imaginative use of items. Congratulations on another lovely item for your 'Pickett Fairfield'. Mini hugs, Sandie


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