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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Zebra Striped Ceiling Fan

The Zebra-fied Ceiling Fan

My daughter is 10, which, in decorating terms, translates to all things hot pink and zebra striped.  Judging from the craft stores, this is a known affliction for the preteen crowd.  While I draw the line at painting black zebra stripes on the wall (I have no interest in applying three coats of primer two years from now when this fad is over), but I'm fine with some zebra-ish touches.  Bedding and curtains are easy, but what about the ceiling fan?  The one in her room is probably 10 years older than she is, and definitely looks it's age; what better candidate for some pizzazz?

I've found multiple examples of decorating ceiling fans on the internet (when I say 'the internet' read 'Pinterest'), where the blades have been covered in fabric or paper.  I considered going that route, but I'm imagining little folds and creases on the top of the blade, which is only going to make it harder for me to dust without ripping the fabric/paper down.  I could probably cut it to the exact size of the blade and trim any edges without folding them over the top, but let's face it, I'm too lazy for that.  Lucky for me the blades are already white, and I already have black paint, so I think you can see where I'm going with this.

First and foremost, it had to come down.  Be warned, I dropped every single screw that held the fan blades on.  Every last one, sooooo... before we could get started we had an impromptu screw hunt.  Then it needed cleaned.  Ummm....yeah.  The fan housing probably hasn't been disassembled since it was first put up, and a family of dust bunnies had moved in... and then multiplied.  I used plain white vinegar, but rubbing alcohol or some type of degreasing cleaner could also have been used.  Don't use a dusting spray, it has wax in it and the paint won't stick later.  Remove the brackets from the fan blades, the screw heads are on the back, or what is normally the top of the blade.  There should be a screw or two holding the cover to the fan motor, and once you have the blades off this is really easy to take off.

Yes, I had dandelion fuzz, it happens.
I did have to make a trip to the store to get some hot pink spray paint, because that isn't something I normally keep lying around the house. I didn't scuff it or sand it, I just cleaned it up and sprayed it with a can of 'Watermelon' Indoor/Outdoor Gloss Krylon.  Pay attention to the can, I prefer a gloss because I like the shine, and it will make cleaning it easier.  Satins or mattes are great as long as you never touch them, the smallest fingerprint will show up in glaring relief.  If you're going to spray paint, make sure you use newspaper or a drop cloth, that the temperature outside is within range of the recommendation on the side of the can (not too hot, not too cold), and that it's not particularly windy.  You don't want your neighbor's brand new car to have a lovely hot pink overspray (they won't like that a bit).  Also, if it's windy, you have a really good chance of getting dandelion fuzz, gnats, or other unwanted outside elements stuck in your paint, this will probably still happen to some degree if you're outside, but you can pick it out and spray over it, the paint will level back out.  If you've never spray painted anything before, don't be intimidated.  Just remember the rule, 'don't stop'.  Don't let go of the trigger while you're still spraying at your target, sweep past it before let off.  If you spray too much in one spot the paint will run, so keep the can moving.  Krylon dries pretty fast, so within 10 minutes you can flip everything over and go at it from another side.  And if you have to respray it, say, if you happen to drop the cover on your head while you're trying to put it up, and it falls to the floor and rolls around a little bit, you're only going to be a few minutes behind schedule.

I painted the blades while the cover and brackets were drying.
The blades were easy.  Zebra stripes aren't rocket science; if you drip some paint - oh look, that stripe goes over here now to cover that up.  I painted the stripes pretty large because I wanted it to be bold, and a smaller pattern would have been too busy.  I recommend laying the blades side by side while you're painting, to make sure your stripes are all the same size.  I did have to do a second coat of the black paint, because the white on the blades was a gloss, and the brush strokes were pretty evident.

Once your paint is dry, and hopefully you haven't lost all your screws, you get to put it all back together again.  Put the brackets back on the blades, and remember to put the cover back on first. (You don't want to spend 5 minutes putting the blades back on to have to take them back off to get the cover on.)  Truthfully, this was the hardest part. If my daughter didn't have a bunk bed so she was able to hold the blades while I screwed them back in, I would have required my husband to assist on another ladder.  As it was, I had her hold the blade I was attaching, and my son gathering the screws I kept dropping.  It was an act worthy of a three ring circus, but all told, this entire project only took about an hour.

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