March 2014 archive

DIY Covered Sandbox

This will be more of a “look what we did” post rather than a how-to. I just dug up these pictures from several weeks ago and sorta went, “oh yeah, we did that too!”. But if you’re thinking of making a sandbox for your child, maybe this will give you some ideas.

DIY Covered Sandbox

(Since Baby Brownie isn’t really a baby anymore, I’m just going to call her Brownie from now on.)

So, Brownie likes dirt (doesn’t your 2-year-old too?). And our yard has a lot of it. We’ve been in the midst of installing irrigation and other landscaping projects for a while, so there are literally big piles of dirt all over the yard. So to indulge her love for playing in the dirt, while at the same time keeping her clothes a LITTLE cleaner, we decided to build her a sandbox.

I’ve heard horror stories about sandboxes and cat poop though, so it had to be a covered one!

(Please ignore the neon green pool. We had a little algae overgrowth that we took care of right after we took this pic!)

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We started by digging up the area we were going to make the sandbox in. There used to be a fence here with a cinder-block footing, so we were able to use some of the concrete footing as 2 of the walls of the sandbox. For the other two walls, Chris put in some 4×4 footings in the corners and nailed on a couple of 2×6 redwood planks. Then, he used redwood fence pickets and cut them down to size to make the edge framing and the lid. He lined the hole with a weed-resistant barrier before filling it with playground sand.

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As you can see, the lid is super simple — just a row of fence pickets held together by a couple of stringers. We sanded down the redwood (which is quite splintery) quite a bit and then sealed it with our homemade Danish oil mixture (1:1:1 Oil-based poly, mineral spirits, and boiled linseed oil).

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The below pictures were taken about a month later, so you can see the red color of the wood has faded quite a bit.

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When the lid is open, we secure it to the metal fence behind it using this little loop, to prevent Brownie from pulling it down on herself.

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When it’s closed it’s just a little pad that looks like a mini-deck. I threw some mulch around it but I’m working on some ideas to pretty-up the dirt all around it. Probably some plants on the right side, and maybe some stepping stones in front.

I’m not gonna lie…Brownie still likes to play in the piles of dirt. Maybe a little less now?

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A New Project

There really aren’t any pretty pictures in this post, sorry! I picked up this sad little chair for $40 at the Habitat Restore a few weeks ago. The 90’s fabric was HORRIBLE but the wood frame was sturdy and a charming shape, and I thought I could update it and have a fun experiment with upholstering without risking too much $$$.

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Chris thought I was crazy when I brought it home. He also hates the caning, but I like it. The caning can be removed at some point if it tears without detracting too much from the chair, but for now I’m going to leave it.

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I spent a couple of hours on Saturday pulling the chair to pieces and seeing what of the upholstery I could salvage.

Chris helped me with some of the muscle work. I hurt my back last week and pulling a gazillion staples out wasn’t going to help!

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Under the layers of hideous 90’s fabric I found older 70’s velvet fabric, so this chair is older than it first appeared. Which totally makes sense. I had thought it strange that the chair’s style was older, and that it was so well-made…it didn’t seem like 90’s furniture.

The professional reupholstery job that had been done on this chair was a little TOO good. It was extremely difficult to pull off the literally thousands of staples, tacks, and upholstery thread. But the good thing is that the cushions and webbing were in excellent shape so I can reuse them. This is kind of as far as we got…

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I’m planning to use this fabric…

dwell studio vintage blossom

It’s Dwell Studio Vintage Blossom in Jade.

I’ve always liked this fabric. Although I think more contemporary birds are a cliche on its way out, I like the vintage look of this bird/blossom fabric that makes it more classic and more suitable to the style of the chair.

Also, it didn’t hurt that I found it at Home Fabrics (a discount fabric store) for $7.99 a yard. Yup, that pretty much clinched it.

So now, I still need to remove the padding on the arms and then I’m planning to stain the pecan wood darker with a Poly + Stain product. This will hopefully also cover up some of the dog teeth marks on the lower legs =p. Fortunately the wood was pretty hard so it’s not too chewed up.

I’m excited! This is the first “real” upholstery project I’ve attempted. I don’t count recovering the dining room chairs or the upholstered headboard, cause those were pretty much just pulling and stapling. Hopefully it turns out well. I’ll keep you updated!

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