Holiday decorating is in full swing in my house. We bought our tree today and Pretty Handsome Guy and the boys decorated it today while I worked on the cute little scrap wood Christmas tree above.

When I saw the scrap wood DIY Christmas Tree made by Creative Chaos, I fell in love and knew I had to make one too.

Having an ever growing scrap wood pile also helped convince me to make it.

I decided to try dyeing the wood scraps! You read that correctly, dye the wood. Did you know that you can use RIT dye to color more than just fabric?! Check out the RIT Dye website to learn more about all the techniques and materials you can dye. You will be amazed! Plus, RIT created a RIT Formula Guide that will give you 500 formulas to mix your own custom colors!

Seriously, that is an amazing array of colors!

Building the scrap wood tree is a super easy project that doesn’t take much skill. There is a fair amount of waiting time (waiting for the wood to soak up the dye and waiting for concrete to harden) but I’m sure you can find something more productive to do than watching cement dry.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


Cut your wood scraps to create a triangular form when stacked on top of one another. Cut one long strip to use as the tree trunk.

Dyeing the Wood:

Lay out three 5 gallon buckets (or mix the colors one at a time and use the same bucket.) Set out the dye colors (dark green, apple green & teal) and salt or vinegar onto a plastic sheet. RIT Dye works best when mixed with hot water. Our water heater is set on a safe hot temperature so as not to burn our boys’ hands. Therefore, I decided to add a little bit of boiling water to my mixture to increase the temperature.

Follow the directions on the RIT container. I added 1/2  bottle of RIT Dye to 3 gallons of water (1/2 gallon of which was the boiling water.) Then mix in 1 cup of vinegar (or salt) in each bucket. (I tried both and didn’t notice any major differences between using salt or vinegar, so you can use either for dyeing wood.)

Put on rubber gloves. Stir until the dye is well mixed.

Split up your wood and dip each into the desired color. Because the wood will float, you may need to clamp a piece of wood to hold your larger scraps below the liquid. Then flip the wood to dye both ends of the scrap. The smaller pieces can be floated right side down for color absorption on the side you’ll see.

After 30 minutes remove the wood and let it dry. (Look at that scrumptious color! And the cool thing is that the grain still shows through.)

While you are waiting for the dye to dry. Stain the tree trunk strip by dipping a paper towel into Minwax Early American stain and rubbing it on the wood. Alternatively, you could stain the trunk with RIT Dye in a brown color.

*A note about pre-painted or sealed scraps. The wood needs to be unpainted, unsealed, or unstained in order to accept the RIT dye color. I tried dyeing these two strips and obviously it didn’t work too well.

No worries though, I mixed up some green acrylic paint and some water and then painted them separately.


Building the Tree:

Position the scraps in the desired location on the trunk.

Gently hammer the scraps to the trunk strip with brad nails. Make sure the nails will go through the scrap and about halfway through the trunk.


Making the Cement Base:

*If you want to stake your tree in the ground, feel free to skip this step.

Wash out the plastic container. Fill the container with cement mixture from the stepping stones kit. Follow the directions on the package. (I ended up using only half the kit, so I halved the directions.) Slowly add water and stir the cement mixture until it is thick and heavy, but not crumbly.

When you have the right consistency, gently bang the container on the ground to get some of the air bubbles out and to level the top. Slide the tree trunk stake into the cement.

Level the tree from side to side and front to back. Then secure the tree with clamps (or other props) while it dries overnight.

In the morning, squeeze the sides of the container to release the cement base. Remove the container and brush off any cement crumbs from the base.

Cut a piece of fabric in a circle large enough to cover the base.

Gather the fabric up and tie it with a ribbon to secure it in place.

 

Adding the Star:

Trace a star shape onto a scrap of sheet metal (duct material) or a metal can. Cut out the shape using tin snips. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges.

Position the star so it overlaps the top piece of scrap wood on the tree. Hammer two brad nails through the star and into the wood.

Decorate your tree with some holiday lights. (I found a set of battery powered LED lights at Target. They aren’t as bright, but it eliminates having to plug in a light cord and having a tripping hazard.)

I like the variety in color I got from using the three different colors of RIT dye. I am really loving my little table top tree. He kind of reminds me of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but I’m not sure why.


I have to tell you that I was so excited when I saw the color of the Teal RIT Dye, that I couldn’t resist throwing some old scarves into the bucket with the wood.

I had two scarves, one was light green and the other light blue. The green one never accepted the dye even after an hour of soaking. Obviously, the scarf was made of polyester, which will not accept dye. The light blue one came out beautifully. I attempted to recreate an ombré technique as described on the RIT Dye website, but didn’t read the directions until after the scarf had been sitting still in the dye for about 10 minutes. This gave me a sharp dye line, but it isn’t really noticeable when wearing it.  Next time I’ll know to keep dipping and moving the fabric.

This forgotten scarf has now been relegated to my wear almost everyday scarves!

 

 

 

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by RIT Dye. I was sent several bottles of RIT Dye and paid a small fee in return for writing a post about my experience using their product. The ideas and opinions are strictly my own. I will never let any compensation (monetary or free product) keep me from giving you (the reader) a straight up and honest review.

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We had a great turnout at the Habitat ReStore demonstration on Saturday! Thank you to everyone who showed up. It was nice meeting some new friends. There will be another talk at 1 pm on Saturday, December 10th at the Cary, NC Habitat ReStore! I hope you can make it, because I’ll be showing how to turn some common ReStore items into holiday gifts and décor.

And now for the tutorial that you really wanted to see — but couldn’t make it to see — making a shoe storage bench out of an kitchen wall cabinet!

Wall cabinets that fit over your fridge or stove work really well for this shoe storage bench project. Ideally the cabinet will be 18″ in height (standard seat height). If it is shorter, you can build a base for your bench to raise it up a little.

It is more than likely that these cabinets will be coated with about 5 lbs. of grease. But, have not fear, I found THE BEST cleaner for removing grease. Hot water and ammonia! You must work in a well ventilated area when working with ammonia. Sponge on the ammonia and hot water concoction and wait about 10 minutes. Wipe off the cabinet and repeat until clean.

Materials:

  • Ammonia, hot water and a sponge or rag (to clean off grease)
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Miter saw
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Construction or thick wood glue
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • 2″ finish nails
  • 1 and 1/4″ finish nails
  • Quarter round moulding for base of cabinet
  • Cove moulding for top of cabinet
  • 1″ thick board (cut to fit inside cabinet dimensions)
  • 1×4″ pine firring strips
  • Plywood or pine board cut to fit 3″ wider and 1.5″ deer than finished dimensions of the cabinet (after moulding is added.)
  • Optional: Thin plywood to use as a filler strip

 

Remove all the hardware and the doors. Remove any nails that are poking out or hammer them flush with the wood.

Measure the inside depth of the top of your cabinet.

Cut three 1×4″ boards to sit on top of the cabinet and use for the bench support and to give your nails something to grip when attaching the bench top. (Without these supports it would be very difficult to nail or screw into the particle board cabinet without it flaking and chipping.)

Use thick construction glue to attach the boards. (Glues that have a toothpaste consistency.)

Nail finish nails into the boards at an angle to secure them.

For good measure, nail two more finish nails through the back of the cabinet and into the ends of the support boards.

Measure your cabinet sides and front. Cut quarter round (convex shape) for the base of your cabinet and cove moulding (concave shape) for the top of your cabinet.

Here is a close up of the moulding I used for the base and crown of the cabinet.

If the face frame of your cabinet juts out past the side, you’ll have a gap (see below). No worries, we can fix that!

Slip a piece of thin plywood to fit behind the quarter round (and cove moulding). Draw a line at the top of your quarter round (and bottom of the cove moulding). Cut the plywood piece with a jig saw.

Glue the thin plywood strip onto the cabinet.

Rest your moulding on top of the filler strip.

Predrill holes in your trim moulding, then hammer finish nails to secure the trim. If you are using a finish nailer to secure the moulding pieces, you won’t need to pre-drill.

Fill any nail holes or cracks with wood putty.

Fill the seams of the filler strips with wood putty too.

Allow the wood putty to dry and then sand it smooth.

Your cabinet should look something like this:

For the top of your bench, cut a piece of wood that is 3″ wider and 1.5″ deeper than the top dimensions of the cabinet (be sure to measure to the edge of the crown moulding.) Sand it smooth. Stain or paint the bench top.


At this point, you can attach your bench top by screwing a few screws from inside the cabinet up through the support pieces and into the bench top.

*For demonstration purposes, the video will show how I attached the bench top with glue and finish nails from the top: Add some construction glue to the wood supports. Then, nail the top into the three support boards on top of the cabinet. Fill the holes left by the nails. And touch up the spots with stain or paint. Either way will work, but the screws from below will save you the work of adding wood putty and/or touching up the nail holes.

To install the shelf, level the board you cut to fit inside the cabinet (or shall I call it a bench since we are almost done!)


Use either “L” brackets inside the cabinet to hold the shelf or hammer nails from the side and into the ends of the shelf to secure it. Luckily shoes aren’t super heavy, so you can get away with using finish nails to hold the shelf in place.


Use a nail set to sink the nail below the wood surface.


Add a small amount of wood putty to the nail hole.


Gently sand the cabinet and shelf to scuff up the surface and give it a “tooth” for the primer to adhere to. Prime the cabinet and bench.


Paint the cabinet, shelf and bench.


Protect your bench with a few coats of polyurethane and you are done!


Room for about 8 pairs of shoes! If you wanted a larger bench or more storage, you could attach two cabinets side by side.


Here is the video from my Habitat ReStore talk. (I apologize about some of the background noise.)

By the way, thanks to my sponsors Bogs Footwear (boots) and Tomboy Tools (tool belt.) I need to lower that belt a little ;-). I was rushing in and just buckled it on me without adjusting it.

 

 

 

Sharing this tutorial with Home Stories A2Z Tutorials and Tips Link Party and The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday

Happy Monday morning y’all! I’ve been working like a busy bee this past month. So many projects! I need to clone myself so one of us can work on the projects and the other can write the posts. (Luckily I had an extra hour yesterday thanks to switching back to standard time.)

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that I will be giving my first demonstration at the Raleigh Habitat for Humanity ReStore this Saturday at 1pm. If you are in the area, I’d love to see you. Here is the address and more information about the  ReStore. I will be demonstrating how I turned a truly nasty greased wall cabinet into this charming shoe storage bench.

I’m not the type who can throw something away, so when I removed the cabinet doors to make the shoe bench, I decided to salvage them and make message boards. The first one was transformed into a cute chalkboard frame.

The other one was turned into a — you guessed it — dry erase board!  And of course (because I love you), I’ll share with you how I made it.

 

Materials:

  • Cabinet door (pre-primed and painted)
  • Plexiglass cut to the interior panel dimension
  • Scrapbook paper (choose a light color that dry erase marker will show up on top of)
  • 4 Nail head trim tacks
  • 3 Cup hooks
  • X-acto blade
  • Metal ruler
  • Sharpie marker
  • Drill and bits
  • Scrap of wood
  • Hammer
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Dry erase marker
  • E-6000 glue

1. If you haven’t already: clean, prime and paint your door. It isn’t necessary, but if you want to give your cabinet door a new look, go ahead and paint it any color you like! The sky is the limit on color. I used American Accents Antique Black.

2. Cut your scrapbook paper to fit inside the cabinet door panel. As always, be sure you are using a fresh new x-acto blade and a metal edged ruler.

3. Mark a dot 1/2 inch from the corners of the plexiglass.

4. Drill a small hole through the plexiglass at each dot. Use a drill bit that is slightly larger than the nail on your nail head tack.

5. Lay your scrapbook paper into the panel, then rest your plexiglass on top of the paper. (I purposely didn’t glue the scrapbook paper so I could change it out when I want a décor change.)

6. Set a nail head into each corner hole in the plexi. Hold the nail with the needle-nosed pliers as you hammer each tack into the cabinet door.

7. If your tacks go through the back, flip over the cabinet door. Set the piece of scrap wood (red arrow) under the nail head and hammer the point of the nail to bend it to the side (so no one gets poked!)

8. Use a ruler to mark where you want your cup hooks mounted. Pre-drill holes for your cup hooks using a drill bit slightly smaller than the cup hook screw end. Then screw them into the holes.

9. Attach D-ring hooks to the back of the door.

10. Attach a dry erase pen to the board using string. Or if you find a marker with a magnetic cap, you can glue a magnet to the board using E-600o. Now you can hang the marker back on the board when you’re done writing a message.

11. Hang that cute little dry erase board up on the wall! Did you see this and this tip for hanging frames that have two hooks? Genius!

That is how you can make a custom dry erase board out of an old cabinet door! I love how it matches the bench colors and can match anything I want it to by changing out the scrapbook paper. Shoot, I could probably put photos behind the plexi too!


Okay, so who is coming out to join me on Saturday? Please don’t let me show up and give a talk to the crickets. 😉


My kids like to raid our recycling bin. They make the most imaginative things out of milk jugs, strawberry pints and toilet paper rolls. In fact, my five year old has been making his own Halloween costume from paper bags and tape. So, when #CollectiveBias sent out a challenge to make trick or treat bags with Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Spots and Elmer’s Foam Board, I knew right where to head for supplies: Walmart AND the recycling bin! I hereby invite you to join me (and my escort) as we gather the supplies for this project.

Materials:


Instructions:

Start by removing the handles from the paper grocery bag and then cuff the top of the bag by rolling it under two times.

Pick out two sheets of newspaper (I used the obituaries. Truly Halloweeny don’t you think?!) and bring the paper bag and newspapers outside and spray them with spray adhesive.

It is important to wrap the paper bag with the newspapers as soon as possible for a maximum bond.

Wrap the bag neatly like a present with the newspaper. Use clear packing tape to tack any loose edges down. Also add a strip of packing tape to the inside of the bag cuff for extra support for the handle (should your child bring home pounds of candy!)

Take out your sharpie pen and draw lines in a spiderweb pattern on the bag.

Set the bag aside and collect the orange foam board, x-acto knife (with a fresh blade), pencil and the letter print out.

Set the letter on top of the foam board. I usually line the edge of the letter up with the edge of the foam board for less material waste.

Press firmly with the pencil as you trace around the letter. When you remove the print out you should see an indented outline.

Using the x-acto knife, cut out your letter shape. Use a metal ruler to cut straight lines. If your knife starts to tug and pull at the foam board, put a new blade in.

Clean up any ragged edges with the x-acto knife.

Use a few Elmer’s Craft Bond glue spots to affix the Elmer’s foam board letter to the bag.

To create a little spider, glue two pom-poms together with another glue spot. If you have black twisty-ties you are good to go aren’t you special, you don’t have to color them. (I only had white ties so I colored them with the black sharpie.) Wrap four twisty-ties around the middle to create the spider’s eight legs.

Use another glue spot to glue the spider to the bag.

Print out a bat silhouette downloadable template and layer it on top of black poster board. Cut out a few bat silhouettes.

Use a glue spot on the center of each bat to glue them to the bag. Fold the bats wings up for more dimensional interest.

Add stickers (or pre-punched paint chip stars using Elmer’s Glue-All multi-purpose glue) to the bag.

I incourage you to decorate your bag anyway you like. Bust out your craft supplies for inspiration.

If spiders and bats aren’t your thing. How about spooks and spirits?

To add the handles, follow the directions on your grommet kit. 1. Punch a hole in the bag at the top of the bag using a hole punch. 2. Insert a long grommet through the hole. Lay a short grommet on top. 3. Hammer the grommets together using the metal rod tool that came with the grommet kit.

Cut off the sleeves from a t-shirt. Cut two 2.5 – 3″ wide strips. Then stretch the sleeve loop in opposite directions. This will make the shirt material roll.

After you have stretched and rolled the sleeve loops, cut them at the seam. Then thread each end through the grommets on the bag and tie a double knot on the inside of the bag.

Now gather up your little trick-or-treater and give him this unique candy collection bag! My sons’ had the biggest smiles on their faces. Definitely worth the effort to make these bags.

This eency weency spider is my favorite!

Way more personalized than these generic plastic pumpkins, don’t you think?!

Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide, because I love them equally as much. Spook or Spider?

Eeeeeekkk, we can hardly wait for October 31st!

Disclosure: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #CollectiveBias #CBias. The ideas and opinions shared in this post are purely my own from my own crazy creative head.

Follow up: Well, my youngest loves his bag so much that he told me, “Mom, we should decorate every side with a different holiday.” And that is exactly what he did today during quiet time. I just want to stop time and keep him five forever!

Our preschool silent auction is today. Every year I donate a one-of-a-kind birdhouse to be auctioned off. I never spend more than $3 on the birdhouse and usually buy the unpainted versions at Michael’s or ACMoore. Then I get creative by hand-painting a scene and add unexpected touches to the house – thus creating birdhouses with style.
2008 – Jardin da Girasoli de Vendere “Vendor of Sunflowers”

Painting sunny sunflowers and some green grass gave this birdhouse a sunny garden look. I added a gold spigot for the new perch. Using a spade bit in my drill, I cut a hole slightly smaller than the spigot, then simply screwed the spigot in place. For added stength I coated the threads with some E-6000. Can anyone guess what the roof tiles are made from? They are canvas shims! Those are the freebie scraps if wood that come with a painter’s canvas! Painting them bright red took the little birdhouse from cute to bidding war worthy!

2009 – Red & White Bird Silhouette Round House

I apologize right now for the condition of this picture! Obviously this is the only picture I took of this cute little abode. The birdhouse was a $2 find at my local Goodwill. The roof was detaching and it was painted an ugly 90’s hunter green and burgundy. I gave the house a good cleaning, then glued and nailed the roof back on. After a fresh coat of primer and white paint, I hand-painted the bird motif and the roof and base. The perch is a curtain rod screw (that holds the rod in the curtain rod bracket). Then she received a little green ribbon and a silver bell on the top. So simple, but one of my favorites!

2010 – Christmas Time, Snow and a Pinecone Roof
Another unpainted house picked up at Michael’s. This house got some serious head turning attention with a pinecone plank roof, white snow, glitter, and a stick for a perch. The tutorial to make this birdhouse can be found here.

The back has a large Christmas tree decorated for the holidays. I hope the birds appreciate it.

To protect all my birdhouses from the elements (should they really be “for the birds”), I coated them with a few coats of polyurethane.

I know that some of you might be thinking you can’t do this, but let me float some ideas for you. Instead of decorative painting try:
  • Mod Podge Wallpaper on the sides
  • Mod Podge Fabric to the sides
  • Use a stencil
  • Search the web for picture inspiration and trace it onto your birdhouse.
  • Use painters tape to create stripes
  • Let your little ones decorate the house with paint

So, how much do you think my pinecone roof birdhouse will fetch today? I hope more than $3!

Do you remember that cute little blue striped bin in Renee’s storage unit? The one that she uses for junk mail and recycling.

How much do you think she paid for that? Would you believe nothing?! I made it for her out of a cardboard box and art supplies I had on hand.

Materials:
Cardboard Box
Black Spray Paint (or other color)
Spray Mount (Spray Adhesive)
Elmer’s Glue
Scissors
4 sheets of scrapbook paper (wrapping paper, fabric or wallpaper)

Instructions:

1. I started with a square Huggies Pull Ups box. I knew you wouldn’t believe me, so here is the picture to prove it.

 

2. Spray paint the inside of your box (be sure to wear gloves because the spray will coat your hand since it swirls around inside the box.)

3. Spray adhesive on the back of 2 sheets of scrapbook paper.

4. Attach them to opposing sides of the box.

5. If your scrapbook paper wraps around the sides, that is good. Be sure to snip the top of the paper at the corners of the box so it can fold over inside the box.

6. Cut your other two sheets of scrapbook paper to the exact width of the uncovered box sides. Spray adhesive on those two sides and attached them to the box. Then fold over the top edges of the paper.

7. If the folded top edges don’t stay glued, put a little elmer’s glue underneath and then use a book, clothespins, or binder clips to hold it down while it dries.

And you are done! Cute, easy and cheap! That’s how I like my men projects.

If you are an addicted blogosphere surfer, you are probably aware that there are two contests being sponsored by Home Goods right now. If you blog or write about your own personal Mom Cave, you could win $250 to spend at Home Goods! And what Mom couldn’t use that?!

Enter Your Mom Cave at Centsational Girl or at Between Naps on the Porch.

So, I wracked my brain trying to think of a space I could makeover into my own personal Mom Cave. Then I realized – HELLO – I already have a Mom Cave! My guest room is just that, a retreat from the 3:1 boys to girls ratio in our home!

From the moment I enter my Mom Cave I smell sweet blooming roses,

and a potpourri of floral soaps in a dish by the window.

This is the room where I sit to sew and create,
or read a new design magazine.
This is the room I can lock myself inside and stop being Mom for a while.
Among the fluffy pillows is where I sleep…
…when Pretty Handsome Guy is sick.
(Secretly, I can’t wait for him to travel for work so I can sleep in my girl’s retreat again.)
 
The walls are the perfect english cottage garden green.
A perfect palette to display fresh flowers and greens against.

Lest you think I spent a lot of money in this room, you will be surprised to learn that almost everything in this room was a trash-to-treasure creation. You can read more about my finds for this special room here.

 

A small desk and chair both broken and discarded.

 

And this little trash bench was made new again and given a  home by the window.
 

So, do you have a Mom Cave? If so, definitely show it off! Give us mamas something to drool over!

Whether you do have a Mom Cave or not, I encourage you to enter the Mom Cave contest here or here. Good luck y’all!

I am in love with those adorable french provincial dressers. The flourishy handles are what really get my heart pounding.When I saw this dresser on Craig’s List for $35 dollars, I pounced!

 Disclaimer: I stole this picture from the previous owner’s Craig’s List Ad.

Oooo baby, don’t you just love that faux gold outlined accents and off white laminate top. Yes, I said laminate. But I wasn’t afraid of it. For $35 who cares if it gets messed up. If you never take the risk, you’ll never learn anything new, right?!

The drawers were still in good shape, but a little loose around the joints, so I squirted my new favorite Gorilla Glue into the joints and clamped lassoed them up!

Then I used newspaper to protect any of the areas I didn’t want sprayed.

After sanding all the surfaces to rough them up, I put a coat of primer on everything. Loving that crisp clean white, but the dresser told me to “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  So, I cooperated and continued on to another color.

Next, I sprayed Rustoleum Heirloom White and distressed the surface with a wood stain.

The drawer pulls got their own treatment of automotive primer followed by Oil Rubbed Bronze paint. Thank goodness they were happy with their new color because – I’m telling you – that dresser was certainly acting like a diva! She was still demanding a new color.

I have seen many Nantucket Fog makeovers and decided to make a run to Ace Hardware to pick up a small sample of that blue gray color. And I grabbed a can of artistic glaze.

After two coats of the Nantucket Fog glaze, that little dresser still wanted something else. Sheesh! So I pulled out some leftover blue paint from my dormer window shutters.

Finally, she shut up! It’s a good thing too, because I LOVE this color. I love it so much that I hauled my tired hiney back over to Ace to match the color just for you.

Does anyone else get starry eyed and entranced by all these fabulous colors?

The closest match is Buxom Blue from Benjamin Moore. Not too far off from Nantucket Fog, but you know those divas they want what they want!

Now, all important divas need something to wear that gets them noticed. Thus, I decoupaged some wrapping paper on the side (tutorial is here.)

And then because I liked the pattern so much, I blew it up and added it to two corners of the dresser top (tutorial for adding a sharpie stencil.)

I added some beachy blue glaze over the wrapping paper and the top graphic.

And I have to tell you that – halleluiah – I finally figured out the proper technique when using the valspar glazes (the tutorial is here.)

I finished up with three coats of a semi-gloss polyurethane.

And here is that stunningly beautiful diva of a dresser. Transformed from Cinderella to the Belle of the ball!

Isn’t it amazing what a little oil rubbed bronze can do!
 
 Hard to believe this was wrapping paper in a previous life!
 Peek-a-boo I see a cute stencil.

Now, I have to convince Pretty Handsome Guy that our master bedroom furniture doesn’t have to be all matchy matchy!

 Because I LOVE our Pottery Barn Sleigh Bed. 
But not the matching dresser.
 I love the new-old dresser! What do you think?

Any helpful hints on using Jedi mind tricks on unsuspecting Pretty Handsome Guy?

Update: Thank you to my readers that pointed out that I installed the handles upside down. They have been fixed now ;-).

Okay readers, so the truth is out, I just can’t seem to pass up discarded furniture. They look so sad and pitiful awaiting the trash trucks. They plead with me to rescue them from life in the dump. That is how I found this coffee table.

It was resting against a dumpster. The legs and skirt of the coffee table were in good shape structurally, but the top was cheap masonite (compressed and glued fibers of wood.) This type of wood will swell and absorb water like a sponge. I’m one of those unfortunate homeowners who’s house is sided with hardboard (essentially the same as masonite.) Now you can see why that isn’t a good thing:

Moisture causes mold to grow, and the retained moisture also causes the wood to swell, become misshaped and will eventually rot away. The first thing I did was unscrew the top and throw it away! Yuck.

Sorry Mr. Tabletop, there was no rescuing you.

I also removed the hardware from the table skirt and saved it with the screws.

I cleaned the base of the coffee table with bleach cleaner to get rid of all the mold.

After it dried, I roughed up all the surfaces on the legs and base.

Then I primed it to seal the wood and prepare it for painting.

I painted the legs and skirt with two coats of Benjamin Moore Impervo white paint (leftover from our living room trim.)
I always paint the undersides or the hidden side first, then I use a technique for elevating my object and keeping it from sticking to the drop cloth.

Simply tap a nail into each leg after you have painted the foot. Then turn the table over and continue to paint. Some other bloggers have found the Rockler painting pyramids, but I have yet to find any in my local stores to try them out. Hey Rockler, if you are reading this, send me some painting pyramids so I can give them a spin and see if they work better than my nail technique!

After the paint dried, I removed the nails from the bottom of the legs and hammered floor protectors in their place.

Now, to replace the masonite top with something with more age and character. I searched through my wood stash and found these two discarded boards that I think used to be in someone’s closet or pantry.

The boards fit well on the skirt of my coffee table, but it had a funny cut out on the edge of one of the boards. It was probably a profile cut.

It didn’t look very old or interesting to me, so I drew a line diagonally along the board and cut it off with my jigsaw. That looked much better! More like a salvaged board. Then I flipped the cut board to the inside edge.

I distressed my new table top with a heavy chain, pry bar, and hammer (read more here.)

At this point, I went to my “oops” paint stash and chose this gallon of $5 baby blue color.

I know it looks like a nursery color, but I wanted something vibrant to show through after glazing and antiquing. I painted the whole table top this light blue color. Luckily I was able to skip the priming step because the boards had previously been painted.

After the boards were dry, I sanded, glazed and then applied a stain to antique it (more on these techniques here).

Then I turned the boards upside down, and used the screws I set aside to attach my boards to the table skirt.

I decided not to re-use the handle hardware that was originally on the coffee table.  Instead I wanted to give this table a beachy look. So, I added some shells to the front of the coffee table using my new favorite glue, E-6000 glue. This glue holds super strong, I even set the table down on the shell edge (forgetting they were there,) and the shell broke, but all the shells remained glued to the table. Now that is a strong bond!

My last step was to put a protective coating of polyurethane over the whole coffee table. I used an old can of oil based polyurethane that had yellowed. This added the perfect age to my coffee table.

And here is my Trashy Coffee Table turned into a Beautiful Beachy Babe!

Uneven boards = instant character

 

Glazed legs and table skirt

 

Now isn’t she beautiful?
One more look at the before and after:

Not bad for a new coffee table for our porch that essentially cost me NOTHING, since I already had all the paint and supplies leftover from other projects. What do you think? Do you like her color? Or too baby blue for you?

Next Up: More tips on antiquing, distressing and adding age to objects. I hope you come back soon.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Welcome! If you are a friend, you know that all our friends and family enter through our mudroom. This door is the closest to our driveway. Only the door-to-door salesmen go to our front door (heh, heh, heh!)

Come on in! This blackboard, mirror and memory board used to be a discarded window.
Make one of your own! Tutorial here.


This is my pride and joy! My mudroom bench and coat rack. Yes, I made it myself.
And no, I didn’t have any help from my husband. I am the handywoman of our home.


I’ll give you a little background about how this bench came to be. I really loved having a mudroom to begin with. But, the piles of shoes and coats that accumulated behind the door were making me nuts! Who knew that a flip flop could double as a door stop, not allowing me to enter my own house!

My son tried to help out by piling all the shoes on top of the coat rack. Better, right?!


Sure, I could have hopped over to Pottery Barn and bought a mudroom bench and shelf, but I balked at the price tag. So, I continued to ponder a solution. I dreamed of having a perfect storage solution to streamline my mornings of getting two little boys out the door to preschool. A bench to perch the kids on while putting on their shoes. (A task I know someday I will miss doing, but for now I can’t wait for them to learn to tie their own shoes.)  Everyone’s socks and shoes would be at hand but not in the way. And a place for every jacket, book bag, and hat. The final product was beyond my dreams. I love it more than any other piece of furniture in my house. It is my sanity saver!

My dreams began to form when I stumbled across some kitchen wall cabinets on clearance at Lowe’s. These are the short cabinets that mount over your fridge. They were marked down to $45 each.

The wheels in my brain began to turn. I started to see how I could use these cabinets to solve our shoe dilemma.

I bought some lumber. I also had some salvage pieces that had been collecting dust in our attic. An old door with recessed panels, four ornate old coffee table legs, and some shelf brackets from a yard sale.

After a few days of distressing and staining boards, cutting lumber, rounding some edges, hammering, nailing, driving screws and sweating, this is what I ended up with!

Chain throwing and hammer marks add a distressed look to new wood.

Decorative shelf brackets add nice character to the back rest.

Salvage coffee table legs add that much needed detail.

The finished bench (the only time it was ever empty.)


Loaded with shoes and with the salvage door on top as a coat rack. A mudroom bench with shoe storage and a clear floor! My sanity has returned.

If you are intrigued as to how I constructed this bench – keep reading. If not, thanks for stopping by. I hope you will come back again soon. And, the tutorial for the coat rack is here!

 

Building the Shoe Storage Bench (the Tutorial)

I have to apologize up front for not having the usual step-by-step tutorial for this bench. But, I built it pre-blogging days when I didn’t have to stop and start after every step to take a photograph. I hope you’ll forgive me. And now the abbreviated tutorial:

Here is the bench flipped on its back to show you the base construction:

I built the base frame by nailing 2x4s together.

Added a 1×4 board (toe kick) to hide the cheap 2×4’s. Then finish nailed the toe kick to the base frame.

Now the upright view to show you the bench construction:

I attached the two wall cabinets to the base frame with screws.

Added a 1″ thick pine board cut to size to fit between the two cabinets. This board also hides the base frame.

Used two 1×4 pine boards with rounded top corners for the back rest.

Mounted decorative coffee table legs by driving a screw down through the bench seat.

From the back, the bench looks like this (not pretty, but no one sees it.):

You can see the two wall cabinets from the back side.

Another view of the two 1×4 back rest boards.

Shelf brackets were used to mount the back rest to the bench seat.

Screwed 2×2 cleats to back of cabinets, then attached the bench seat by driving a screw down through the seat and into cleats.

Now to show you how the pieces were attached, the close up below is a view of the shelf bracket and corner section:


This corner shows how I used screws and nails to attach the parts (definitely ignore my sloppy nailing skills. I’m still working on perfection y’all.)

Base cabinets had particle board construction, so I added veneer end caps.

Close up of end cap veneer with base moulding profile cut out.

Read more about scribing and cutting a profile here.


Then I added L brackets inside the cabinets to support a shelf.

Add the shelf and you’ve got double the shoe storage.

Hmmm, but if you have shoes, you need to have sock storage as well. I purchased one magazine basket at Target.

And filled it with our socks. Old baby wipe containers are used to divide the socks for each of my sons.


And voila, I have an efficient sock storage spot.

Here is the final result loaded with socks, shoes and coats! The coat rack is made from an old door, antique hooks, and yard sale shelves.
Coat rack tutorial is here!

Not bad for about $200 in materials! I love my mudroom bench and get oodles of compliments on it.

See y’all later.

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