Category: DIY

Painted Bench Turned Kids’ Table

Over the weekend, while Chris was working like a busy bee on insulating our house, moving electrical, and figuring out how to put up new siding, I worked on a little pet project.

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I decided to take an old bench that had been sitting in the master bedroom, where it had been covered in a giant pile of clothes for the past 3 months, and turn it into a little activity table for Baby Brownie.

(The giant pile of clothes is now happily sitting on the floor.)

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We bought this bench for $10 at a thrift store and had sanded down the top in anticipation of refinishing it. It has been in the above state for over a year.

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I decided it would be easier to paint it than to refinish it, especially since the legs were all chipped, dented and dog-chewed. So I primed it with 2 coats of Zinsser Cover Stain, and then painted it with 2 coats of Martha Stewart’s Duck Egg (Glidden). Then, I painted on 3 coats of Polycrylic to seal and protect the top. Because I know this piece is going to get a lot of abuse use.

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It turned out really nice! And it’s just the perfect height for Baby Brownie to stand at and play with the new wooden tea set I got her.

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I kind of like how you can still see the metal bolts.

Baby Brownie noticed it right away and went over to it and stared at it for a long time. I asked her if she liked it and she nodded yes. That’s a big deal since she’s in her “no” phase right now!

I just ordered a couple of little chairs on Amazon and I’ll share with you when they arrive.

Another cool thing is that if we ever want to get all the kids’ stuff out of sight…

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The table/bench works really well as extra seating! The teal/aqua color isn’t so bright that it can’t be used as adult furniture.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is what the bench REALLY looks like after it has been played with:

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Just a note of warning for single/as-yet-childless folks out there…this is what you have to live with when you have a kid. Enjoy.

UPDATE: The chairs have arrived and they are adorable!

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Sharing at MissMustardSeed

Another Refinished Table (This one’s a Pedestal)

It’s so funny. A month ago, we were eating off the coffee table in front of the TV because the dining room table that Chris built was not quite done (the top needed to be bolted down and we were waiting for the polyurethane to finish curing). The kitchen table was also MIA. We had sanded down the top and it was sitting in the garage waiting for its new finish.

Now, we have not one, but TWO newly finished tables. I am kind of in heaven.

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This oak table was passed down to us from Chris’ parents. Honestly, I’ve always loved it, even in the original finish. But after having it for a while in the kitchen with the honey oak floors, it was just looking too oaky. I wanted to have an airier, lighter feel in the breakfast nook.

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It started out like this. Pretty typical oak furniture from the 70s. Solid oak top, solid oak pedestal. The only thing not solid wood was the apron around the tabletop, which was plywood with veneer.

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I held out for a long time because I felt it was a shame to paint solid wood, but I eventually decided to go for it. Life is too short to hold on to something that isn’t working. The color just wasn’t my favorite. I also knew it wasn’t worth much because I’ve seen almost identical dining sets on Craigslist for $100.

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I waffled back and forth on the finish I wanted. Originally I was thinking of doing the whole thing in white paint, but we were worried that a painted finish on the top wouldn’t hold up as well as a stained one, so we decided to sand down and refinish the top.

It was so awesome that the tabletop was solid wood because we were able to sand the heck out of that thing! We rounded the lip of the top and sanded the whole thing down to raw wood with the belt sander. A belt sander is a powerful tool. There was still a tiny bit of stain stuck down deep in the grain but it just turned out to add extra dimension to the finish.

I used one of Minwax’s new colors, Weathered Oak. It’s a slightly grayish oak stain, not as yellow as before. Finished it with 3 coats of Varathane oil-based polyurethane in satin for a strong finish.

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On the apron and pedestal I brushed on two coats of Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain Primer. I needed something really stain-blocking to keep the old finish from bleeding through. Then one coat of Behr’s Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel. I can’t remember the color but it is very close to white (Update: The color is Rushmore Stone). It probably could use another coat of the enamel but that’s a job for another day. The Behr Alkyd Enamel went on super smooth and is not tacky at all, which I love.

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As you can see this table is meant to be pulled apart and there are a couple extra leaves that can be inserted. However, we’re only really going to use it as a round table since it’s in the little breakfast nook. And now we have the new dining room table if we need more room.

I was thinking of painting the chairs too, but now that the table is painted, I kind of like the darker wood finish in contrast. What do you think? I’ll leave them as is for now until I decide what to do with them. I am not a huge fan of the shabby chic look and in every picture I’ve seen of those pressed-back spindle chairs painted, they are distressed and too shabby for me.

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Oh yes, the table is sitting on cut-up Trader Joe’s bags because I don’t want the paint to stick to the floor. It probably wouldn’t (the alkyd isn’t tacky) but just in case. I’m going to get felt feet for it one of these days.

This weekend I’m planning to tidy up around the house and decorate for fall. Then maybe I can show you some full room pics, haha.

Have a great weekend!

Camilla

 

Linking up at TatertotsandJello, MissMustardSeed, TheShabbyCreekCottage, DomesticallySpeaking, Remodelaholic

DIY Dining Table is DONE!!!

I feel like the name of this blog should be “Everything takes longer than you think.” Chris started this woodworking project as a side project, and sure enough, it took several months to complete. Not that it was that hard. But after starting it and doing the bulk of the work, other work around the house needed more urgent attention. Basically, 70% of it was done within a few weeks and the remaining 30% took another 2 months to complete. But the DIY dining table is finally, finally, 100% DONE.

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And we love it.

It’s so amazing to see an awesome piece of furniture come from just a concept like this:

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To an in-progress project like this:

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To finally, this:

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We did change a few things along the way. We added the cross beams at the top of the legs, which I think give it a modern pseudo-Asian feel and also make the table feel more substantial.

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Sorry about the mess of boxes and tools. I wanted to show this to you guys and didn’t have time to make everything look perfect. I only have about 30 min before the baby wakes up!

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Chris spent so much time planing the wood (it’s construction grade lumber, so he evened it out and squared it off using a planer) and fitting it all together tightly. This really was a labor of love for him =).

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We finished it off with Minwax Special Walnut stain (my fave!) and a coat of Varathane Spar Poly on the top. I was originally trying to finish the table with Minwax fast-drying Polyurethane but I was getting some weird gray patches on the legs (probably my can of poly was too old) so I switched to Spar Poly for the top.

People disagree on whether spar poly is good for dining tables (it’s used on ships and has more give/flex than regular Poly), but it’s just what I had. I think it looks wonderful and if it dents easier than regular poly, I don’t really mind.

diy dining table 3  Dents just add “character” anyway ;p.

I can’t wait to get the living/dining room cleaned up and styled. The Goodwill chairs I found that I recovered will be living here. I also need to get some window treatments up over the sliding door that we added. MAYBE everything will be ready by Thanksgiving? No guarantees though. Everything takes longer than you think.

But it is soooo worth it when you get there.

Check out this dining table styled with an easy fall centerpiece!

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Linking up to  SavvySouthernStyle, ShabbyCreekCottage, MissMustardSeed, Remodelaholic, ThriftyDecorChick

DIY Travel Felt Board

My toddler and I are planning a trip to see my folks in Toronto pretty soon. It’s about a 5 hour flight, but we have a layover in Chicago for about an hour and a half. I’m thinking, the layover is probably a good thing so Baby Brownie can run around and work out her excess energy. But I’m still dreading the flight.

Now that she loves to run around and play, Baby Brownie can’t sit still for long…especially not in my lap (we didn’t buy her a seat). And she loves to get into trouble and play with stuff she shouldn’t be messing with. Other moms I’ve talked to say to bring lots and lots of activities to keep her busy, so I’ve been putting together a bag full of travel activities. New toys, crayons, stickers, books… and I saw this awesome idea for a DIY felt board so I made one to bring along.

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I got this idea from a friend who got it from a blog but I can’t for the life of me find that blog again!!! So I’m very very sorry if I stole your idea. Just let me know and I’ll give you the credit!

Also, this felt board is NO SEW, which makes it really easy.

Materials:

Various colors of craft felt, including at least two (2) 8.5 x 11″ pieces.
Scissors
Fabric glue
Batting

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I decided to stuff my felt board with batting to stiffen it a little but still keep it soft and plush and foldable. I just cut a rectangle of polyester batting a little smaller than my two 8.5 x 11″ pieces of felt, sandwiched it between the felt, and glued the edges of the felt with a bead of fabric glue.

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The rest was super simple. I just cut out some triangles, rectangles, and squares to make a house. I cut out other shapes to make a sun, moon, star, cloud, and tree. The components of the tree and the sun are glued together to make it easier for my daughter to recognize. The grass is glued down too. Everything else is loose so she can place them wherever she wants. When I have time I want to make a little cat and dog too.

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For the other side of the felt board I cut out a head shape (yes it’s silly-looking, but Baby Brownie doesn’t care) and eyes, nose, mouth, and eyebrows. The components of the eyes are glued together.

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Also, this silly bowl haircut. When I have time I’m going to make other versions of mouth, eyes, hair (maybe with yarn glued on) so she can change it up.

Everything fits really nicely into a large freezer bag, and it’s lightweight so it’s ideal for bringing traveling. You can make all sorts of scenes…your imagination’s the limit! I might also make a barnyard scene with animals, although animals are quite a bit harder to cut out than simple geometric shapes.

Any tips for traveling with toddlers? Any must-bring toys? Any advice would be appreciated!

DIY Roman Shade in Breakfast Nook

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I must be the last blogger in Blogland to make a DIY roman shade from a mini-blind. There are so many tutorials out there on how to make this frugal alternative to a pricey roman shade, like this one, which I think might be one of the earliest ones (or maybe the original?). But perhaps you DIY-ers out there will benefit from seeing how I did it and what issues I ran into. I’m ultimately pretty happy with the result. I know my DIY shade won’t last forever but I’m happy with it for now, and realistically, by the time it’s ready to be retired, I’ll probably be ready to change the look anyway.

This is, by the way, the reason I still shop at Forever21.

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After we removed the mini-blinds from the window in order to paint the wood trim and wainscoting, we were constantly being blinded (heh heh) by the sun shining right into our eyes at dinner time. So something needed to be done.

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I picked up a 70″ mini-blind at Home Depot for about $30. I cut off the ladder cords, being very careful not to cut the pull cords. I then cut the pull cords right at the bottom, removed the slats and put 6 slats back on, along with the thicker bottom slat. I knotted the pull cords at the bottom to secure the slats back on.

NOTE: When I put the slats back on, I reversed them so the concave side was oriented towards the top of the blinds. This makes it easier to glue the convex (domed) side down later, as you’ll see.

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I laid the mini-blinds out on my fabric (back side up). This fabric is actually a cotton shower curtain I picked up at HomeGoods. I loved the color and the pattern, and that it was just exactly the width of my window so I wouldn’t have to sew any seams up the middle or worry about matching up the pattern.

The hardest part here was squaring off the fabric. The shower curtain wasn’t perfectly straight long the edges, and it was slightly larger than my mini-blinds. So I used fabric glue to hem the edges and even them out.

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I wanted the roman shades to fold up small. They will be inside-mounted so I didn’t want them to block too much of the window when folded up. I spaced the slats 7 inches apart.

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Then I carefully glued the slats to the back of the fabric, domed-side down, using a bead of fabric glue. I made sure to leave a gap around the area where the pull cord was! At the bottom, I wrapped the fabric around the thick bottom slat and glued it down (no picture of that, sorry).

This was my first time using fabric glue and I was really impressed at how well it stuck! It definitely works better fabric-to-fabric than fabric-to-plastic though. I had to touch up a few loose areas after I hung up the mini blind.

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You can see the slats through the fabric, but I don’t mind. In fact it makes it look more tailored. I can always add a liner later if I feel like I’d like to hide the slats and block more sun, but for now, I like how it filters the sun while allowing plenty of light through.

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And as you can see, it folds up nice and small to maximize our window space.

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The only downside is that the cord hangs behind the shade, which makes it a little more difficult to pull up or down, but it’s not that hard. I guess what I could do is to bring the cord through to the front through a little buttonhole in the fabric, and then add a flap of fabric (like a mini valance) over the top of the shade to hide it. I might do that later if the pull being at the back ends up bothering me.

Sharing at Remodelaholic, ShabbyCreekCottage, SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee

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