DIY Advice: Children’s Bedrooms

childrens bedrooms

Children love their bedrooms, it is the place where they play, sleep and entertain their friends, real and imaginary. Whether you’re sprucing up your tot’s room, or preparing a nursery for your impending new arrival, we have some great DIY tips and painting advice to help you turn their room into their favourite part of the house!


A new coat of paint easily transforms a room. Chat with your little one, if they are old enough, and find out which colours they would like to feature in their room. Varying shades of blue work well in a little boy’s room, and you can even get creative with masking tape and paint strips of navy blue to emulate a nautical theme. Little girls will enjoy most pastel colours, perhaps with a more striking trim. If you are painting for a nurseryyou don’t need to be gender-specific in your colour choices. The trend lately is to make use of cool colours in the form of whites, pale blues and greens, yellows and even grey, complemented with splashes of colour in your décor.

Get creative

Chalkboard paint can also be an amazing feature in a child’s bedroom, giving them an entire wall space on which to draw – and this can help stop them from creating a masterpiece with kokis on the walls in the living room! Get creative in your little one’s room, perhaps painting a blue sky with sponged-on fluffy white clouds on their ceiling. If your little one wants to gaze at the stars, you can paint them a beautiful night’s sky with black paint dotted with stars using our Glow-in-the-Dark paint. There are various other ways to get creative with painting techniques, from sponging and colour washing to cool stencils and wall art.


Creating storage space in your child’s room is very important for creating a neat-ish (they are young after all) and fairly orderly space. Install sturdy floating shelves for storing small stuffed toys and knick knacks. If you’re up to using your DIY skills, you can even buy some wood and build a special box just for your tot; something beautiful and handy to perhaps pass down to their own kids.


Get that drill out and hook up a mosquito net over your child’s bed. This creates a beautiful ‘princess-bed’ feel for little Queens-in-the-making or a safari/adventurer sleep sanctuary for your little gentleman.

A small table next to their bed with a nightlight will create a cosy atmosphere for nightmare-free nights, and a low, easy-to-access bookshelf that will work fantastically for storing books and other toys that need to be on hand.

Get your little one involved in the decorating of their bedroom! If you are stencilling on murals or using the sponging technique, this is something that they can easily be taught. And you can simply paint another layer over it if their Van Gogh attempts land up looking more like a skewed Picasso. Sometimes all a room needs to be transformed is a new lick of paint; and this transformation is only enhanced if you bring new life to the bedroom’s furniture with paint. Don’t forget to include a snug reading corner in their room, with a comfy sofa or bean bags. A cosy reading area means more reading!

If you’re going to redecorate, put on your DIY hat and pop down to your nearest Jack’s Paint & Hardware store to create your little one’s mini-paradise.

The Truth about Lead Compounds in Paint

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The Truth about Lead Compounds in Paint

The truth is that lead in paint is a very emotive subject. Every now and then, sensational tabloid articles announce something along the lines of:  60% of all paint sold in South Africa contains illegal levels of brain damaging lead! This makes the paint industry in South Africa seem as though they are either oblivious to the lead levels in paint or disinterested in owning up to the responsibility of trying to poison our children.

The truth is also, that when it comes to paint, lead compounds are commonly used the world over in the form of pigments, which are used to colour paint. Some countries have agreed on “safe” limits for paint manufacturers to use as a guideline, and it’s widely agreed that the elimination and reduction of the use of lead compounds in consumer products like paint forms part of adhering to a responsible company policy.

There is, however, more to lead poisoning than the tabloids are telling us and what follows are some facts that will help you gain perspective.

Get educated

A summary of the current, up-to-date information on lead is necessary to get the proper perspective. Firstly, it should be understood that lead has accumulative (chronic) toxicity and can collect in the body. Lead is a naturally occurring element and is found throughout nature. Our bodies can handle small amounts of lead and if we intake a small amount our body simply excretes it. If, however, the intake is excessive, the lead will accumulate over a period of time and there will be side effects.

Metabolic differences affect lead absorption

A same amount of ingested or inhaled lead will not affect adults and children equally, because of the physiological differences between them. Metabolic differences between children and adults also mean that the effects of lead upon children are exacerbated. Lead causes irreversible nervous system damage and decreased intelligence in children, even at very low doses.

Curiosity can be a killer

Children have a tendency to put strange things in their mouths, and many years ago, children were in the habit of chewing on painted wooden windowsills, because the compound of the lead in the paint used as wood primers had a sweet taste. This resulted in many deaths and raised the concern about the effects of lead in paint on children.

Soluble… or not?

Lead is easily soluble even in water, which makes it very toxic. It is the solubility of certain lead compounds in the acid of the stomach that makes it so dangerous to us. If the lead is in such a form that it is not soluble in stomach acids, then there is no danger. It is therefore perfectly safe to continue using Granny’s beautiful lead crystal glassware. It has been established that lead solubility in acid is the deciding factor when determining the danger levels of a lead compound, because the stomach acids can render the lead soluble and in doing so, make it toxic. In this way it is not the total amount of lead that is found in paint that’s important, but the amount of soluble lead, and accordingly, this is the definition given in the lead regulations.

Manufacturers take a stand

Manufacturers belonging to SAPMA (South African Paint Manufacturers Association) have acknowledged that 0.01% is the suitable limit of leads in dried paints. Lead is so widespread that it is virtually impossible to call anything ‘Lead free’ and for this reason most manufacturers prefer to use the term ‘No added lead’ when referring to this subject. Paints outside this limit are generally safe for ordinary use, but should be excluded from use on articles that could be chewed on by children and babies. Products over this limit should therefore be clearly labelled with a warning that the paint is not suitable to be used on anything that can possibly be chewed or sucked on by children.

Lead in paint stabilises bright colours

Besides the use of red and white lead in primers or undercoats, lead based pigments still remain to be the most cost-effective method of obtaining stable, bright and durable paint colours, particularly for colours such as yellow, red and green.

Lead is all around us

What needs to be understood is that thousands of tons of lead are distributed through car exhausts. The plant life that surrounds us absorbs some of it and so it gets integrated into the food chain. In addition, the lead content in the ground, particularly in areas where gold mining and uranium extraction have been prevalent for decades, exacerbates the issue even further. Attempting to draw attention away from this fact by blaming paint is counterproductive. The damage has already been done and the emphasis now needs to be placed on minimising the effects.

If you’re in need of paint and are looking for paint that adheres to all necessary safety regulations visit your nearest Jack’s Paint & Hardware store.

Click on our store locator to find a store near you or phone 0860 522 577(toll free).

Winter Work in the Garden

Winter Work in the Garden

With less maintenance required in general gardening in the winter months, it’s the perfect time for homeowners to catch up with other small jobs in and around the home and garden.

Clean Up.
Before the summer rains starts and you can hear the grass growing, take the lawnmower in for a service and get new, sharp blades. Clean and oil all your tools, replacing those that are past their best working years. Now is the time to sort out your garage and garden shed so you are ready for the busy spring months ahead of you.

Wood Work.
Your wooden outdoor furniture and decking needs to be maintained on a yearly basis. Begin by sanding down and then sealing or waxing the wood in order to both feed the wood and provide a waterproof barrier. Modern products include a UV protection to make wooden furniture last longer if left exposed to strong sunlight.

Perfectly Painted.
No matter what it is, a new coat of paint will do wonders for it. Patio furniture, walls, trellis work and cement or asbestos planters will all enjoy a new lease on life with a fresh coat of paint. The surface must be prepared by sanding lightly and then wiping clean, making sure items are dry and free of dust before painting with either acrylic or enamel depending on what the painted surface is being used for. Repainting planters is a cheap and easy solution to brightening up your patio or entrance area in an instant. You can now even revamp those old fashioned plastic planters and patio furniture. Refer to our article “Fantastic Plastic” to learn more about the modern advances in painting on plastic.

Gone to Pot.
Repotting those freshly painted containers with bright, beautiful spring flowers will make all your hard work worthwhile. Empty out all plants that have been in their containers for longer than a year or that have become pot bound. They will thank you for your effort by sending out new shoots and pretty flowers in the spring. Give them an attractive and effective mulch with bark chips, shells or pebbles to complete their new look.

Water, Water Everywhere.
This slower winter months are the perfect time to tackle the cleaning out and repairing of water features, pumps and filters. If you have a swimming pool that needs attention, get to the repairs now before the weather heats up and everyone is nagging to get into the pool. We may be cold now but the mid summer heat will be upon us before we know it!

Pebbles and Stones.
Another winter chore to be done is the tidying up of pathways and renewing of graveled areas. Gravel is one of the least expensive path materials available. It feels relatively soft underfoot, but it’s solid enough to handle a fair amount of traffic – including a loaded wheelbarrow. If you want a more formal look, simply adding a flagstone border immediately makes your pathway more stylish. Lay down a good weed guard first to minimize those annoying weeds from creeping up between you pretty pebbles.

Walkways and Driveways.
If you have a pressure cleaner, this is the time to get all the paving around your home looking fresh and new. Give it all a good clean, looking out for any loose joints that will need to be repaired or reinforced while you are busy. A bag of ready mix cement is often all you need to purchase for these little paving repairs.
Visit your nearest Jack’s Paint & Hardware store for expert advice, the right product at the right price on the above mentioned topic(s) and other DIY projects.
Click on our store locator to find a store near you or phone 0860 522 577(toll free)

Just an Old Bookshelf? Think Again

bookshelf 1

At some point or another you may have had a sturdy bookshelf somewhere in your home. Perhaps at one point in your life it was filled up with books, sometimes assorted knick knacks. Before you decide to toss it out for a newer version or some floating shelves, think again. With some hardware and creativity, and these DIY makeover bookshelf tips, you can give your old bookshelf a drastic new lease on life.

Paint job

The first and simplest DIY makeover you can give your old bookshelf is to cover it in a fresh lick of paint.

  • Step 1: Use a good piece of sandpaper from your local paint and hardware store and sand the bookshelf down, removing any paint and varnish.
  • Step 2: You can then paint the wood with whitewash for a vintage feel, or even a bright colour of your choice.

The backboard of your bookshelf can transform its entire look all on its own! Get those creative juices flowing and paint a beautiful stencil pattern on the backboard of your bookcase.


You can even remove the backboard piece and cover it in a beautiful fabric; although even a brightly coloured backboard against a white framed bookcase is stunning. Transforming the backboard of your bookcase can really turn it into a statement-piece display case. After all, you won’t want to be covering up that beautiful pattern with too many books!


bookshelf 2


Sometimes bookcases are discarded because they simply don’t have a purpose anymore. Before you send this versatile piece of furniture away, bear its other potential uses in mind:

  • Kiddies’ storage: Children keep their rooms tidier when they have storage on hand. In addition to this, being able to reach their toys and such makes playtime a lot easier, and fosters a great sense of independence too. Consider turning your bookshelf on its side, and voila! You have a lovely set of cubes where you can store wicker baskets containing toys, easy-to-reach books and teddy bears – all at a child-friendly height. The best part? Add some pillows on top and you have extra seating or space for extra plush toys.

bookshelf 3

Room division: Many modern homes are designed in an open-plan fashion. Although this is widely popular, sometimes a space is enhanced with division and cordoning off. A large bookshelf can be an excellent room divider and an attractive one too. Bookshelves with or without backing look good for this, and for a true room divider all section of the shelves should be decorated differently – with books, ornaments, vases, photo frames – however you see fit.

bookshelf 4

  • Storage space: You can simply move your old bookshelf into the garage and utilise it as somewhere to store tools and other DIY bits and pieces. One shelf can have a box containing paint brushes, another with a basket full of the bits and pieces that every DIY fanatic needs but has nowhere to keep, and so on.

As you can see, transforming your bookshelf can not only be easy, it can be fun, too! Get creative with your painting techniques, and even more so with the decorative appeal of your bookcase. Simply pop down to your local Jack’s Paint & Hardware, get all your hardware and paint supplies, as well as some valuable painting advice to take your old bookshelf from drab to oh-so-chic.

Contact us today on our simple feedback form or call us on 0860 522 577 to find your nearest store.



After all your winter pruning is done and all those deciduous trees have finished shedding you may be at your wits end as to what you can do with it all. Landfill sites are filling up way too fast and refuse bags for disposal of garden waste can be very expensive if you have a lot of garden refuse to dispose of. The answer is to start a compost heap. By doing this you will be recycling all your garden and kitchen waste and be able to watch natures most basic process unfold before your eyes.

Making a Compost Corner.
Once you have thought of a good place to set up your compost corner, close enough for it to be convenient but not too plainly in view, you can begin building. Wire mesh from your nearest Jacks Paint and Hardware store is probably the easiest and cheapest material to use for the sides of your heap. Use a couple of metal or wooden posts as supports. Look around and see what you can recycle. Unused wooden pallets or wood left over from previous projects will all work. Leave one side open so you can get into your compost heap in order to add more material and turn it over with ease. Do not make the sides too high as this will make turning the pile difficult. Ensure that all stakes are securely driven into the ground so they can support the load of the matter to be added. Attach the wire mesh to the posts with wire or cable ties, making sure you don’t have any dangerous sharp edges that can cause injury.

Take Two.
Having two compost areas adjacent to each other makes turning and adding extra garden matter much easier. One area can be used for collection while the other can be used for actually composting. Try and achieve a balance of one part green debris (grass cuttings, old annuals) to two parts brown debris (dry leaves, soil).For faster results chop up all material as small as possible before adding to the pile.

Begin at the Beginning.
Begin with a 10 cm thick layer of leaves in the bottom of your heap. Then add a couple of centimeters of good quality garden soil. Now add 5 cm of grass clippings or old plants. Continue alternating the layers of brown and green debris interspersed with garden soil. Turn the heap regularly after this initial construction. You may want to start adding coffee grounds, eggshells, and green kitchen waste into the heap. Before the next season has started you will begin to have compost. You can begin using the compost from the bottom of the heap once you can turn it over and can no longer recognise the individual components.

Turning and Water.
The only work that needs to be done regularly once the pile has started is regular turning (about once a month) so that all material spends some time in the middle of the pile where the heat is. During dry periods remember to water the pile as you turn – but only enough to moisten it – don’t saturate the heap. A successful compost pile should not stink but have a satisfying earthy scent– turn it more often and add more dry soil and dry leaves if yours begins to smell bad.

What Not to Compost.
As much as 70% of household waste is compostable but there are some definite things that must NOT be put into your growing pile of compost. Wood that has been chemically treated must be avoided as these chemicals can leach into the soil. Do not include sick or diseased plant cuttings as you stand the risk of re-infecting your garden with the same disease. Weeds of any kind must be avoided, if you never wanted them in the garden the first time around you don’t want them popping up all over the garden next year! Likewise both human and animal faeces can contain diseases that can infect humans. It is best NEVER to use them in compost piles. Meat and bones will attract vermin and your dogs may “help” you turn over the compost heap when they try and get to them.
Once you have beautiful, nutrient rich compost you can add it to your entire garden with that smug sense of self satisfaction that comes from a job well done!
Visit your nearest Jack’s Paint & Hardware store for expert advice, the right product at the right price on the above mentioned topic(s) and other DIY projects.
Click on our store locator to find a store near you or phone 0860 522 577(toll free)