Saturday, October 29, 2016

Instagram Builder’s Challenge

Recently, I started following Wood Grain Girls on Instagram and saw that they were doing an Instagram Builder’s Challenge.  I signed up determined to actually build something “normal” for a change and to follow the plans exactly without throwing in a bunch of Make-Dos.

They sent out the plans, and it turned out to be the Shanty2Chic Farmhouse Table. I had been toying with the idea of rebuilding my kitchen table, anyway, as it was very unstable.

First lesson of these types of builds, “$50 in wood” means in their geographic region, and you should expect to double that if you have to buy screws, wood glue, stain, poly, etc.  Factor all that in when planning your budget, or you will be shocked.  Don’t get me wrong, building a nice wood table like this is still WAY cheaper than buying one from Pier 1, World Market or RH.  It just isn’t only $50.
First I went over to dad’s and used his table saw to cut down the 2x6s.  I was intending to do 5” boards, but….well, I’m still learning, so they turned out to be 4.75”.  Great, now I will HAVE to make-do things.  Speaking of make-do, what do you think of my out-feed table?

Then I took everything home and started cutting to length. I really tried to follow the plans, but after some measuring, realized that the length would be too long and the width too small, since I had made the cutting mistake.  I opted to add another 2x6 (2x4.75) to the width of the table top, and forego the breadboards across the end to save myself that 10 (9.5) inches.

The plans called for drilling pocket holes in all the boards, and then glue and screw it all together.  I really should have done a dry fit of the boards, first, to see which way they all fit together in the smoothest way without gapping.  But, I didn’t. So I started gluing and screwing and realized that a) I was on my patio and it wasn’t a smooth level surface and b) Some of the boards weren’t actually square so there were gaps in between them and the screws wouldn’t hold them tight.  BUMMER!!
I also realized that I hadn’t bought enough screws. 

I wrestled with everything for about 30 min, and finally got it all screwed together, then realized that it was TOO HEAVY for me to carry back to my shed by myself! :o That was my first clue of how sturdy this table was going to be.  It is a HUGE difference from the flimsy one I have used for 15 years. 

Once D2 helped me wrangle the top back into the shed, I started working on the legs.  The plans called for me to glue together two 2x6s for each leg. Except I got to cutting and made a mistake, so….

I happened to have a 4x4 that I was planning to use for something else, but, hey, it would save a bunch of gluing, so cut it down for the legs. I then did the measuring and cutting for the rest of the base, testing it all out by laying it out on top of the drying table top.

By that time, it was getting late, and I knew I was out of screws, so spent the rest of my day drilling all of the pocket holes in the base so that I could glue and screw those after doing a HD run the next day.


The next day, I came back to assemble the base and realized that I had measured the apron as all flush with the legs when I was cutting/drilling and the plans called for the aprons to be inset on the legs. Another mistake!!  But I persevered, glued and screwed everything else except for those and then went to work sanding the top.  Time for another HD run.  This time, I needed another 2x4, and some wood filler. YIKES!! 

I did a test patch of the stain I had picked out on the wood and decided it was just too dark. I wanted a lighter color table top, but I had spent $20 on it, so I was going to use it!

After the HD run, I finished putting the base together, and then I opted to use the black stain for just the base. I learned why people wear gloves when staining.  OH MY!  That stuff doesn’t come out. A week later and I still have it around my cuticles. 

While waiting for the base to dry, I filled in the cracks in the top with wood filler, then called it a night. The next morning, I sanded down the top, added some more wood filler, where needed, then moved the base outside.  After putting on gloves (see I learn!), I went over the base with one coat of poly. In the Texas sun, it dried really quickly! 

Gave the top one more thorough sanding to get the wood filler blended, then wiped it down with a wet towel and let that dry for a bit.  I was afraid to start staining the top.  What if I didn’t like the color?  What if I messed it all up?  GLAAAARRRGH!!!!!!

But, since time was wasting and I was on a deadline, I just went for it.  Only put on one coat of stain, wiping it off almost immediately after applying it, working in sections.  I’m so very glad that I actually did like the color.  Let that dry overnight, then sanded it in spots to give it that distressed look, wiped it all down again, then applied a coat of poly. 

In all, I put two coats of poly on the base and 3 coats on the top.  After the 2nd coat on the top, I let it sit for 24-hours, then hand sanded with 220 grit sandpaper to make sure there were no drip spots and put on one more coat of poly. 

After that dried, we moved the base into the house, then set the top on it, measure to get it all square and centered on the base, and screw everything in.  WHAT A RELIEF!!!!

And I love it.  It’s just the right size for us, and I know it will last for 30 years.

That said, go check out some of the other contest entries, and see the winners, over on the site. There are some really amazing and creative people out there!

Total Cost: Stain/Poly - $45
           Wood - $55.42
            Screws - $16.43
           Wood Filler/Brushes/Sandpaper/Misc - $30.01
All told, and including tax, I spent about $180.  However, I have enough leftovers to make at least one more project.
Total time: Two solid weekends, mostly drilling pocket holes and waiting for stuff to dry.
Outcome: HUGE SUCCESS!!!!!!

Now go Make-Do a success of your own.

I have now built my scraps from this project. With the additional purchase of 2 4x4s, and one 2x4, I also have two benches and 10 office gifts. Not bad for $200.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Pallet Barn Door

Over on YouTube, Sterling Davis hosted his annual Pallet Upcycle Challenge, and being the pallet lover that I am, I decided to participate. Besides, it was also a fundraiser for the Make A Wish Foundation.

I opted to replace this 80s-era cabinet door with a barn wood looking one. 

Here is a link to my entry.

And here is a link to all of the 2016 Pallet Upcycle Challenge entries

It was a lot of fun and I am thrilled with how it turned out. 

COST: New Clamps & Oil finish - $60.
TIME: About 15 hours

Now go Make-Do something of your own. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pallet shelf

Well, of course I’m using pallets, again. I collected a bunch a couple of years ago and need to use them up before I can pick up more! (Good thing I don’t have a hubby to gripe about my pallet hoarding problem.) HA!


You see ALL the time on Pinterest about how people take this old dirty ugly pallet and turn it into a shelf or art or something.  Well, I thought I would give it a try. Mostly because I needed to make room in my cabinets for other stuff and my mugs really didn’t need to take up the WHOLE cabinet, but partly because I wanted to see if it really was just that easy.


It IS just that easy, actually.   It’s all about knowing where to cut the pallet.  


Once you get it cut down, then it’s just a matter of sanding everything THOROUGHLY, then applying your paint of choice. 

Here’s what it looked like after I lightly spray painted it with some white.  It was a light coat because the paint can keptclogging and eventually just stopped entirely. After messing with it for a while, I just gave up and decided I liked it well enough.


Then, my tall tumblers didn’t really fit down into the space between the slats, so I just took some other leftover wood from the pallet wall I did, (I should write that up, also, eh?) and added the red accent shelves with my Ryobi Brad Nailer.  

Lastly, I screwed mug hooks into the wood, and called it done.


Of course, the hanging it part was pretty tricky.  I wound upusing my stud finder (wonder what would happen if I walked around Home Depot checking all guys with it) to locate the studs in the wall above my coffee bar, and then screwed it into the wall.  Remarkably, it is still hanging 24-hours later.


Total Cost: Mug hooks - $4.00

Total Time: About an hour, mostly for paint drying

Outcome: SUCCESS!!

No go Make-Do something of your own.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Painting Cement Floors

Another post!? And it hasn't been a month yet?! I know! I must be really rocking and rolling or something, eh?

I do stuff almost all the time. I have a hard time just sitting around. But it is so much easier for me to just post pictures on Instagram and keep going, then to stop and write up a blog with pictures and everything. However, I have had several people ask me about the pictures I have posted over the last several days of me redoing my bathroom floor, so here I am, posting another blog entry. 

Let me start by saying that I have really, really, REALLY hated my kids' bathroom floor for a while, now. It was white, linoleum squares. I have two teenage girls and two dogs. Not a good combination!

Back in September, when I repainted my college kid's room, I had extra paint. It occurred to me, then, that it would be a very easy thing for me to use the rest of the paint on the bathroom floor. Anything would look better than what was down. I figured I could probably pull it off in a weekend, so I mentioned it to the other kid. She was not very enthusiastic about the brown color, and really kind of hinted that it might not be the best decorating decision. Ha! 

She was right. I had redone the rest of the bathroom last spring, and brown wasn't exactly complementary. 

So, I used the brown to paint my front door, and headed to Home Depot to get black. 

First, I scraped up the linoleum and tried to get to just the cement slab. That was the hard part. I knew about the white tiles, but those typically come up pretty easily. After getting started, though, I found this. 

YUCK!! And that roll out stuff usually takes WAY more effort to get up. There is SO much adhesive, plus 20-years of traffic and dirt and countless water issues to only make it a big pain. 

I started scraping about 8:00pm, on a Friday night, and finished getting the bulk of it scraped and swept by around midnight. It was WORK and I was very tired and sore. 

Here are the tools I used.

Too late I realized that gloves were a MUST! 

As you can see, when I gave up and went to bed, there was still paper backing and glue on the floor. 

The next day, I used soapy water and the small scraper to slowly get the floor as clean and bare as possible. I almost gave up and just went to buy more roll out vinyl, but I was feeling cheap and paint is only $25, so I kept at it. 

All the experts will tell you to use an etching solution to clean the cement, or to sand the floor with a pole sander and very course grit. It's ALWAYS recommended as a MUST. I didn't do it. I just didn't want to spend the $$ or wait the time. Maybe it would have been easier that wearing out a pair of gloves, and my back, with the scraping. I just don't know. 

Once you have bare cement, the rest is easy. Sweep. Vacuum. Mop. Sweep. I tried really hard to be sure I got up as much stuff as possible. 

Then I put down the cement bonder/primer and let it sit for 8 hours.

This was leftover from when I first pulled up carpet and painted cement 3-years ago. I still have a bunch left. Considering doing my patio....maybe. 

I got the porch and patio floor paint from Home Depot and painted it on. 

I did a couple coats since they only sell it in gallon containers and I have a small space. And that's it.

I did something similar in my daughters room several years ago, but I was pulling up carpet then. For that, you have to fill in all the gaps from the carpet tack with cement patch. That will add another day to the turnaround time.

I did see this at HD, and I keep thinking how much pizzazz it would add, but does a bathroom floor really need glitter?? We shall see which side of my personality wins out. 

At any rate, the floor already looks insanely better than what was there, and I spent less than $30. Granted, if you are having to buy everything for the first time, you will spend more. Seems like the primer is about $20, plus rollers and painters tape… So for about $60. But I have so much left over that I can use for other projects, that I don't feel like I actually spent that much money for the bathroom.

Total Cost: just under $30 for paint and Dollar Tree rollers.
Total time: 2 full days. Scraping was one day, primer and paint another. 
Outcome: SUCCESS!

Now go Make-Do something of your own. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pallet pumpkin

It look so easy on Pinterest, doesn't it? You just take a pallet, use a jigsaw to cut it apart, and turn it into a pumpkin for your front porch. "It's so easy," they say. "Anyone can do it." If so, then I should be able to do it. And I certainly have pallets. 

So I pulled out my Reciprocating saw, and started cutting. I realized very quickly that it made good work of the wood, but whoever said it would cut right through nails must of had a different brand of saw.

I finally gave up on cutting through the nose, and just cut around the nails. Then I had a much more manageable section of pallet with which to work. So I took it over to my sawhorse.

I sketched out a pumpkin shaped using a pencil on the wood, then got out my jigsaw and began to try and cut out that outline. It works really well, except for when it got to the hall thicker cross pieces. For that, I had to get out my circular saw. By then, I had every saw I owned sitting on my sawhorse table for use.

Once you get it cut out, you really are pretty much done. That is the hard part. From there it was just spraying it with several coats of orange spray paint.

Oh, after gluing up the piece that did not have an anchor because I cut the nails in the wrong place.

When I first painted it, the kid said it needed a longer stem, so I went back and cut more off the top so that it would have a more pronounced stem.

Then I went back over the stem section with some green paint, let everything dry, and voilĂ ! A reusable pumpkin for my front porch.

Oh! Somewhere during all of this, I did sand everything thoroughly. At any rate, it's done and it was basically free, and I'm very happy with it. 

I will probably try and make larger versions or smaller versions for subsequent years so that I can have a grouping. But this year I'm calling it good enough.

Cost: free, materials on hand. 
Time: one afternoon
Outcome: SUCCESS!!

Now go make-do something of your own! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Summers Woodworking Birdhouse Challenge

Summers Woodworking is having a birdhouse challenge. Since they extended the deadline an extra two weeks, and I had an idea, I went ahead and built something. It is not Art, but it is pretty much all recycled or salvaged materials.

Here's the link to the YouTube video. 

Go watch mine, then look at my comments and get the link to watch everybody else's. There are some very amazingly skilled craftsmen out there!

Cost: 1 Can of spray paint $3.98
Time: 6-8 hours
Outcome: SUCCESS!!!

Now go make-do something of your own!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Saving $$

I have these free-spirited girls, who are really amazing to parent, most of the time.  Then there are the times when they do something so totally off the wall that there’s nothing to be done but laugh and paint over it.

Several years ago, my oldest was having all kinds of emotional adolescent angst and I figured it would somehow be therapeutic for her to have a couple of her friends over and let them repaint her room.  I provided them with several colors of paint, and they opted to go for the splatter-paint look.  Here’s a before picture of them investigating the paint.  See how innocent it all seems?

I go back about 10 minutes later to check on them, and all seems to be progressing as expected, so I close the door (to protect the rest of the house) and go back to baking cookies (I had a new recipe to try).  See the pic.  Just teen girls having a little fun.  No worries.

I come back about 20 minutes later to see if they’re done yet, and open the door to this. :o  :o  :o


The room looked like a crime scene!  What in the world happened here and what were they thinking?!  At that point, there’s nothing to do, but to make them shower, and promise to re-do it the minute she moves out.  

Fast-forward 3-years, and she goes off to college.  I get a 3-day weekend, Home Depot has a sale on paint, and it’s decided.  Repainting a room shouldn’t be that big of a deal, so I’ll just hit the highlights.  

First lesson learned is that you can make the room all one color again, but the texture created by the splatter paint still remains. See those drips!!??

Second lesson learned, is that the multi-colored floor really camouflaged how many stickers were also on the floor. I wound up putting down the first layer of paint, then scraping up the stickers and bumps that it highlighted.  

But the biggest lesson I learned is that spray painting the custom-fit blinds was much cheaper and easier than buying new ones.  I hung them from a post in my backyard and used 3 cans of black spray paint to get a very thorough coverage of the material.  After hanging them back up in the room, I’m so relieved I didn’t just throw them out!

I know the room is rather stark, now, but after all the color, I find it to be a relief.  Eventually, I will convert it to my craft room or something, but it works for now.

Total Cost: $17 for spray paint (with tax)
Total Time: 4 hours, mostly dry time
Outcome: Success! 
Now go make-do something of your own!