Monday, September 24, 2012

Adventures in Woodworking!

I apologize ahead of time for the excess of photos in this post but I have lots to share today.  

Thanks to the internet & my favorite DIY blogs as well as Pinterest, I have found a large number of amazing ideas for home decor & furniture building/refurbishing (many are knock offs from my favorite stores), made by women, for a much more budget friendly price!  What's not to love about that?!?   

So I started talking to my husband about power tools, garage workspace, and ideas for things we need.  I know he thought I was crazy but I kept telling him that "if all these women on the internet could it, why could't I"?  With a new home & two growing boys, our budget is sometimes (ok, most times) pretty tight, so places like Pottery Barn & Restoration Hardware are not quite in our budget.  This was a perfect compromise.  

Let's start at the beginning.  I had grown tired of our living room coffee table & side table.  They were, like most of our other wood pieces, a light yellow, pine looking wood color.  Very nice, just not my style anymore.  Too much in our home was that color.  But the tables are in great shape & I coudn't justify spending good money to buy new when what we have worked.  So where does a girl on a mission go looking for a way to make over my tables?  Yes, you guessed right if you guessed Pinterest!  I came across this pin from Mallory Jane. It was seriously meant to be because she had the EXACT same table as I did and she had re-stained it & it looked amazing!  Exactly the look I wanted to go for.  So again I thought to myself, if she can do it, so can I.  Off to Home Depot I went with a list of the supplies she recommended (I did have to make some substitutions because I couldn't find the exact item for several listed) and came home & got to work!  

Here I am working on Step 1:  removing the old varnish & stain.

After I removed as much of the stain as I wanted, it was time to apply the first coat of the new stain.  I used Minwax in dark walnut.  I was going for a darker, rustic, old barnwood sort of look.  Since not all the previous stain came off (I intended for that to happen but had hoped to get a little more off the legs) it came out just like I hoped.  Good so far!  

This is both tables after the first coat of stain.  After it dried real well, I sanded it lightly and then applied the second coat of stain.  I wasn't sure at this point how many coats it would take to get the look I was going for, so I just applied it until it looked right.  It ended up being 2 coats.  After the tables were dry & I had achieved the look I wanted it was time to spray them with a coat of polyurethane.  I didn't want a real shiny look so this was perfect.  

Here is the AFTER photo!  I couldn't wait to get them inside and see how they looked!  I'm so pleased with how they turned out.  They make a nice contrast to the wood floors, the color of our furniture & the paint we chose for this room.  

With this first project under my belt, I made a list of several other small building projects I wanted to take a shot at.  I started with 2 that were very simple with not a lot involved and not many tools needed.  Thanks to Jenna Sue's blog via Pinterest, I found a shelf for our entryway that was perfect.  I wanted a space for the boys to hang their backpacks, coats, my purse & work bag, etc...   But our entryway is quite small & wouldn't allow for all the many plans I had for a perfect entryway, so I had to make the most of the space we do have.

I started with a piece of 1x6 wood that I cut to the measurement I took (several times, just to make sure it was accurate) of the space where the shelf would hang.  The I sanded it down really well and painted it the same white as our trim.  

After the second coat had dried, it was time to add the hooks.  I had my son help me with the measurements since I am definitely not a math genius.  I had bought 5 hooks & wanted them evenly spaced out on the shelf.  I did make one mistake but thankfully was able to fix it pretty easily with a little wood putty & some more paint.  

It is a pretty simple project but I wanted to do it right, so I really took my time and I'm so happy with how it turned out!  Here is an after shot of the completed shelf.   I still need to putty over the holes where it attached to the wall & then paint over that small area, but I love that it is now functional.  It's nothing fancy and I have visions of adding a little board & batten under the shelf to spice it up, but am not sure that I have enough space for it to look right.  So for now, we'll live with it this way.  I have plans to put a few of my own framed photos from Bodie, CA (a great place to visit if you've never been) above the shelf, hoping to get to that today in fact!  

Once I had that project tackled I moved on to my next project.  Again, thanks to Pinterest, I had a plan for a ledge shelf to hold some photos & small decor items.  The original pin came from the Shanty 2 Chic blog and looked fairly easy.  It is a knock off of this much more expensive ledge shelf from Pottery Barn.  The PB version is outside my budget at $79 for the 3' shelf.  But the Shanty 2 Chic version was $15.  Much better!!  Once again I went to my local Home Depot and picked up the wood I would need and, since we didn't have a saw at this point, had the super nice gentleman in that department make the cuts for me.  

I also picked up the supplies for the next 2 projects on my list while I was there (details to come later).  Armed with my cut pieces I headed home & got busy.  I did a little sanding to smooth up the cut edges then broke out the Kreg Jig I'd bought for my hubby last Christmas (he hadn't even used it yet, ha!).  The blog had said it was super easy to use...and she was 100% right!  So simple and seriously!  

It makes perfect pocket holes for screwing your boards together.  Along with Gorilla Wood glue, your pieces will hold nice & tight using this system!  

Once I had the shelf put together, it was time to sand & stain it.  I was doing a two step process just like the inspiration piece.  First I stained the shelf using Minwax dark walnut stain.  I just did one coat since it would only show through where I distressed the piece.  Once that dried, I used Rustoleum's Heirloom White spray paint to make the shelf a country looking white color.  It took several lightly sprayed coats of the spray paint to get good coverage.  Once it was dry, I took my little hand sander & distressed the edges until I had the look I was going for.  

So there is the finished product!  I am so excited to hang it up & even more excited that I made it myself and that I saved approximately $60!  Awesome!

Unfortunately I don't have any really good before & during shots of the next project I tackled.  It was done mostly in the evening in our garage so the lighting wasn't the best.  But if you look really close at the photo of my shopping cart in the above photo above, you will see the pieces I had them cut to make this next project.  Once again, this idea comes from the Shanty 2 Chic website (are you starting to see a theme here??).  While looking through their project gallery I came across this tutorial for some really cool vintage style dominos made of wood.  I loved the way they looked and decided I had to make some for my home!  I even had the perfect spot for them.  And the cost?  About $5 for the wood & about $10 for the paint & glaze (which I still have tons leftover to use on other projects). That's perfect for my decorating budget.  

It only took one 2x10 and my friendly Home Depot staff who cut the pieces for me plus some sandpaper & paint to make them.  So easy!   I started off by sanding the 16" pieces and rounding all the edges.  Once that was done, I used some tack rags to get all the excess sawdust off and set up a little area to paint them.  

First I applied 2 coats of Behr's Cozy Cottage paint to the front & sides of the wood pieces.  Once that dried I used painters tape to mark off the area for the middle line & dry brushed a line with Behr's Forever Black paint.    As a template for the dots, I used my 1 1/2 inch circle punch on a piece of kraft card stock.  It worked great!  I used the same paint for the dots and dry brushed these on as well.  The paint dried rather quickly so next I sanded down the edges really well to get the desired look.  I used a foam sponge to add a little dark stain to the edges I had sanded.  

Finally, once all that was dry, I used a paintbrush to paint on the glaze and wiped off with a clean dry towel.  It gave them the perfect vintage look.

Pictures of them hung up will be coming soon.  That is also on today's to-do list! 

The final project I will show off today is our biggest one yet!  After seeing what I was creating, my husband got the fever and decided he wanted to build something big.  Yes, he's a little crazy like that; he doesn't know how to start small.  He has been wanting a set of nightstands for our bedroom for quite awhile but we had never found anything we really liked that was in our budget.  So I turned to Ana White's blog which is full of amazing plans for all kinds of furniture!  She is the guru of all things furniture building!  

We quickly realize we would need a saw to make the piece we had picked out and figured we would either rent one for now or beg & plead the friendly guys at HD to make our cuts for us.  But Mark wasn't real happy with either choice so while I was at the gym that morning, he headed over to Lowe's (I had a 10% off coupon to use there) to check out the miter saws.  He surprised me (and was as excited as a kid in a candy store) by having me meet him up there where he was in the process of purchasing a new DeWalt miter saw!  We were both so excited to get it home & try it out.  I never thought I'd see the day I was excited about using power tools!  

We went home & found a plan we both liked and printed out the directions & shopping list & headed out to Home Depot for the supplies.  Once home we got right to work!  

First up was making all the initial cuts for the sides of the table.  It went pretty quick & let me say, using that saw was incredible!  

Once the pieces were cut we used Gorilla wood glue to hold them in place & also used the kreg jig to lock them into place.  Mark was so excited with how the first side turned out.  We were both grinning like fools! 

After both sides were done it was time to add the trim & attach it all together.  We were cooking right along.  

It was great to stand it up & see that it held together so well & was flat with no wobbling!!  We could already tell this piece was going to be solid and sturdy!  

Next up was the top, which was planked just like the sides.  Before we finished the top part, Mark decided we each needed to sign the inside of our first piece of furniture!  You can see I already signed my side & Mark is signing his here.  Yes, I know, we are kind of dorky that way, but, hey, we were pretty ecstatic about what we were accomplishing!  

Once we got the top on, it was time to move on to the drawers.  I was the most nervous about this stage because the drawers have to be perfectly cut & perfectly square!  Mark was awesome on the saw & his cuts were right on.  

The drawers went fairly quickly once the cuts were made.  We used the Kreg Jig again as well as the Gorilla glue to hold them in place.  Here are the 3 drawers waiting for face plates & installation.

Last step was adding the face plates & putting the rales in place to hold the drawers.  This was the step Mark was most nervous about but he did a great job (as always) & they fit great!  They slide nice & smooth & we love the hardware we chose as well.  All that's left now is to sand & stain it and make another just like it for my side!  We haven't decided yet how we want to stain or paint them yet, so we are still playing around with ideas right now.  I will post more photos once we have that step complete!  

And if you've read this far, first off, THANK YOU!!  

Secondly, for the price info on this project.  This nightstand is a knock-off of a Pottery Barn Mason style nightstand and retails for $399-$449.  All together our supplies cost us between $130-$150.  What a savings!!!  At that price we can build 2 for less than the cost of 1 from PB! 

Now that's my kind of deal!  

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