So I never got to share this before the holidays were officially "over", but since I'm still listening to Christmas music (yes, in mid-January) and there's snow on the ground outside, I'm going to post one more Christmas-y thing. This tree is a little less "random" as it's made from all the same type of wood (just slightly different sizes to create a little dimension) and stained all the same color. It would be a perfect addition to a living room that has a more "put-together" feel, and would look great with color-schemed ornaments hung on it. I actually made it with the intention of doing a craft show and hanging handmade ornaments on it to sell. It's about half the size of the one in my living room so it's easy to transport or sit on top of a table or something. The process of this project was very similar to the bigger wood scrap Christmas tree that I made and posted - you can read about it here. Except with this one, I used a Minwax Wood Stain - Jacobean was the color. It was untreated wood, so I only used one coat because it was so porous.
So there you go. Another useful purpose for wood scraps!
Our dining area is next to non-existent in our small little duplex. So we needed a smaller dining table than what we had to fit in that small space. On a Saturday shopping excursion with my extremely patient husband, I found a small rectangular pine dining table at DAV Red Racks Thrift Store for $20. I love transforming old furniture into something new.
I sanded it down using coarse sandpaper. I chose this because I wanted a unfinished textured, slightly “rough” looking product. If you want something more slick and smooth, then you’ll want to either use a stripper to remove any previous finish. Or if you choose to use sandpaper, use a coarse grit to cut the finish or existing paint layers, then a medium grit, then a finer grit, etc…all the way to a super fine grit, so as not to leave marks.
I then used the same Edge-lock painter’s tape to create a design (another tree). Instead of painting it, I wanted to use a wood stain. I applied the Minwax® Jacobean wood stain with a paintbrush (you can also apply with a sponge brush or even an old rag - but you will have to throw the rag out when you’re finished so use one that you’re not attached to!). I wasn’t exactly sure how that would work since the stain is so much thinner than paint. But for the most part, it worked out pretty well. It bled a little bit in a few areas, but I was able to rub those parts out enough so it didn’t show too badly.
After I removed the tape, I got a rag and dipped my finger into my Minwax® Red Mahogany wood stain and gently rubbed it into the tree, to make the tree more subtle, as if it were in a haze. This also helped blend in the few parts that had bled through the tape.
I then applied Minwax® Polyurethane Gloss finish to the top with a paintbrush. Since we were going to be using it for every day use, and we’d have dishes sliding across the top of it as well as normal wear and tear of a dining table, I applied 5 layers of finish with a paintbrush, sanding in between each layer with an ultra fine 320 grit sandpaper.
This was the smallest of three in a nesting table set that used to be my grandma’s. I simply sanded it lightly, then taped off a tree design with Edge-lock painter’s tape and used a small craft knife to carve out smaller details. I then spray painted the entire thing with a Rust-Oleum navy blue spray paint, let it dry, then peeled off the tape. I put a couple coats of Minwax® Polyurethane Gloss Finish over the top and that was it. Cute little pop of color to add to any room!
I love garage sales. Even more than thrift stores. Especially when you find that good moving sale when the owners really aren’t interested in making bank - they just want to get rid of their “junk”. You have to do some searching & striking out, but when you find that one perfect piece, it’s all worth it.
I found these two tables at a garage sale in Springfield, MO with my mom. They had cobwebs all over them and one of them had a split in the top - but with a little wood glue and stain, I thought they would be perfect for our front porch.
I used some Gorilla™ Wood Glue to mend the top of the one, then sanded them both lightly. There was no previous finish on it, so it didn’t take much. I then used some stencil letters and white acrylic paint for the text. I used Elmer’s Spray Adhesive (a temporary bond) to ensure that the letters didn’t move while I was painting. When the paint dried, I used a Minwax® Red Mahogany stain (I only needed one coat because the wood was so porous) over the entire thing. The stain tinted the letters slightly to make it almost a purple-ish color. I wiped the stain off and it was done. Easy breezy.
Wouldn't it be great if people actually wrote real letters (ya know, like on paper?) instead of only emails? There's something romantic about a handwritten letter. It's like there's a part of that person in those letters. A connection that you don't get in an electronic impersonal email. I'm not saying we should go back to not having the accessibility and convenience of email - because that would be silly. And let's be real, there are amazing things that are now possible through ever-increasing technology. But nevertheless, there's something magical about holding a piece of paper in your hand in which someone has poured out their heart and soul through parchment and ink...
Okay, so maybe I've watched Pride & Prejudice too many times. But you have to admit that when you get something in the mail other than bills and advertisements, there's a little something inside you that smiles. And you probably rush to open that one first, before the bills and other un-fun parcels.
However, realistically, most of what we receive in the mail is bills. But nevertheless, I need a spot to put those bills instead of on my kitchen table.
So on an afternoon shopping excursion with Meg, I found an old letter holder at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $1.50 (score!). I knew that I wanted it to be purple and green (the soon-to-be colors of my kitchen), but I also knew that I wanted to use stain instead of paint (I prefer the natural wood grain behind the color). So I talked to Morgan at the paint counter at Home Depot® down the road and she whipped up a Behr custom purple stain for me. I also bought another Behr wood stain – “avocado” for the front panels. I sanded it down, using an 80 grit sandpaper (you could probably also use something less course depending on how thick the finish is), and then using a rotary tool to sand the beveled areas (this isn’t a necessary tool to have for this – it just comes in handy for small spaces). I taped off the edges and applied the green stain first. It was a lot thicker than other stains I’ve used (I usually work with a Minwax® Wood Finish stain), so my layers were probably a little thick, which showed less wood grain. But regardless, I like how it turned out so I didn’t sand it off. I then taped off the center to stain the sides. The custom purple stain was slightly thinner, but I still had to make sure that my layers were thin (I applied about 3 coats). I put a couple pieces of scrap paper in between the panels, using an Elmer’s Spray Adhesive, then a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top to seal it. I added some designs to the panels with rubber stamps and an embossing kit. Because the base was a wood stain instead of a paint, the heat from the embossing tool didn’t make it bubble. So I was able to apply the design directly to the wood. And voila! Old letter holder = wall worthy once again.