Two houses in one month! A week after moving to our new house, another one arrived in the back of a van, not just any house but a Honeypot Honeysuckle Playhouse.
It was kindly sent by shed people Waltons as part of their Make It Your Own Challenge. All we had to do was make it our own!
The challenge was to customise it for under £50. As we’re now living a pebble’s throw from the sea (beats the inside of the M25) we decided to go for a beach hut theme.
Here’s how: (just add your own ideas. )
1. First thing – get some wood paint (that’s wood, not walls.) We selected blue and white to go with our seaside theme. Fortunately, there was a tin of white lurking at the back of the shed. For the blue, we choose Cuprinol Forget-Me-Not (£22.99 from Homebase – we’ve got loads left to use for something else.)
To make the flower detail on the door stand out, we went for a vibrant Sunny Lime by Cuprinol. As we only needed a tiny amount, we just bought a tester pot. (£1.59 from Homebase.)
2. If you’re using more than one colour, start with the lightest colour (in our case white) and begin with the least visible part of the playhouse (ie. the back) to perfect your technique. Then move on to the sides and finally the front. The wooden slats make it very easy and forgiving to paint. We didn’t even need to use masking tape.
I was helping, honest – just taking photos here!
3. Once the first coat of your first colour is dry, put a second coat on top.
4. Once you’ve finished your first colour, start painting the remaining slats with your second colour. Our first blue coat looked very thin and we were worried it would look more like a wash than a colour. However, we needn’t have worried, the second coat made all the difference.
5. Window frames. The styrene window panes come with a protective film, which means you don’t need to worry too much about painting over the lines – just leave the film on while you paint, then peel it off to reveal perfect edges. Note: paint the pieces to make the cross inside the window before nailing them to the frame!
For corners and fiddly bits, use a child’s, or artist’s paintbrush. This makes it much more precise.
Keep a damp cloth handy in case of any slip-ups.
Don’t dip the paintbrush too deep – it gets very messy and you’ll end up with paint running where you don’t want it to. I learnt this the hard way!
Don’t paint if it’s raining (unless you want to do the whole thing again) or if it’s particularly windy (unless you want autumn leaves stuck to your design.)
Once the paint is dry, add your own features. Why not try using recycled or natural materials?
We took a trip to the beach to gather shells, driftwood and old rope. We used dabs of craft glue to stick the shells to the ‘arms’ of the playhouse. Then, we created a hanging driftwood ornament by drilling holes in the pieces of wood and threading them onto the rope we’d found. Masterpiece complete, we hung it from the highest point of the roof to sway in the wind.
We also discovered some kind of random tool trolley (don’t ask!) in the shed, with two pieces of deckchair type material on each side. We removed this material and nailed it to the inside of the playhouse to use as hanging storage. Got to put those buckets and spades somewhere.
For a bit of wow-factor, we added a string of battery-powered seagull lights – a bargain from Wilkinsons (£2.50 reduced from £10) We attached them using some funny nails – I’ve no idea what they’re called, so there’s a picture below. The lights look lovely, especially at night. I also couldn’t resist a ”beach” sign from This Is It (£3) though we probably could have made one ourselves. Finally we spread an old rug inside the house and scattered some spare cushions, to make it cosy. We also put an old flower lampshade on the back wall (minus the light) just because.
So that’s it – our back garden beach hut. Cost: £22.99 (blue paint) £1.59 (green paint) £2.50 (seagull lights) £3.00 (beach sign.) The rest we found in the shed or on the beach. Total: £30.08 And here she is. We love!