Thursday, November 26, 2015

Don't Fence Me In: Rustic Reclaimed Wood Trough Tabletop Centerpiece

Today I'm going to show you all a fifth grade woodworking project. Ha! Not really. But as I was working on this particular project that is totally how I felt. But hey, regardless of whether or not this is a school project a ten year old would do, I never got to do any cool woodworking stuff when I was a kid (so unfair, right?). When I was younger I was a girly girl, for sure, glittery pink unicorns oh my (some things never change ;). I was also in Girl Scouts for years but I don't remember us dabbling with wood and tools. I just remember doing tons of crafty projects, oh, and cookies, lots and lots of cookies...

Ok enough about my misspent youth ;). Today I'm giving you all a quick tutorial on how to make a rustic tabletop trough. I've wanted to make one for quite some time now, I was just waiting for the perfect wood to fall into my lap. A good amount of free fence pickets that look like barn wood became all mine as you know if you read my previous post on a DIY reclaimed wood frame on a builders grade mirror. So of course that would naturally be the wood I would use for my trough.

Cory had found me a wide wood piece that had been a part of the fence gate. I figured it would be perfect for the base/bottom of my trough. I trimmed it up so that the edges were flat. I hemmed and hawed about putting the frame of the trough over the base piece (covering it) or on top of it (letting the bottom wood show). In the end I decided I wanted a taller trough and it would look more like the farmhouse rustic look I was going for if I constructed the frame on top of the bottom piece of wood.

 I then cut two pickets to that same length for the sides. Then I cut two little end pieces to the width of the bottom piece of wood minus the longer side board end pieces so the little pieces essentially slipped in between the long pieces. I only did this because I wanted the ends of the long pieces to show next to the small pieces, again I was going for the most rustic look possible. My boards were by no means perfect since they not only had been outside in the elements for years giving them a slightly warped, not so straight and perfect look but I also have the cutting and measuring skills of a ten year old (just kidding ;) I'm getting the hang of it!).

Now I was on to construction. I hand nailed a couple nails to attach the long side pieces to the small end pieces. I had planned on just gluing the whole thing together with no nails because I wanted to keep it very rustic, that and I don't have a nail gun (it would make a great Christmas present ;) hint, hint, wink, wink) but I figured the nails would help hold the frame together and provide a little stability while the glue dried.

After hammering nails (which by the way made the wood look even more rustic when my sad, non-straight hand nailing skills chipped off some wood) it was on to gluing. I used liquid nails glue and frog tape (my new fave tape) to hold everything together.

 I put a thin bead of glue on all the connecting spots, pressed it all together and taped all over the place to keep the joints tight while drying. I flipped the trough over onto the top and placed some heavy objects on the base to further hold the wood together.

Throughout the entire process Cory voiced his doubts about the construction of my trough holding up. I did not let it faze me. The trough was not going to be holding boulders, or used as a toddler toy box, farm animals were not going to be eating out of it, it was purely for decoration. It was literally going to sit there and look pretty. I saw no need to make it hurricane resistant. I definitely appreciated his input but I was going for form over function. 

The true test to see if my amateur construction skills worked would be to see if my trough held together after the glue dried. I let the trough dry all day and then flipped it over. It held together! I took the tape off. It held together! I picked the trough up and set it on the table. It seemed very stable. I even tried to move the wood and it wasn't budging. Yay! It worked!

Here's some pics of the finished trough. I put in some mini pumpkins, a light up leaf garland I got for $1 at Walmart on clearance and some of my wax paper leaves to fill her up. I got my trough done just in time for Thanksgiving so I can use it as a centerpiece to decorate my Thanksgiving table :).

Since this is my last "fall" post I'll share with you all one of my other crafty fall projects, a stained and stenciled crate I used to hold a mum on the front porch :).

Obviously these pics were taken around Halloween, before the weather turned cold and before I killed that poor mum with my black thumb.

I also stenciled a North Pole crate for our elf on the shelf, Oso (yep, Jackson named him), for his arrival on our front porch on Thanksgiving night. We started the elf on the shelf tradition last year when Jackson was 2 1/2 and it really was fun stashing him in crazy places and positions and it added some magic to our holiday ;).

I used a couple of different sized circles and triangles I found in my stencils to make the compass since free handing a perfect circle is not one of my better talents.

I killed two birds with one stone with this crate by using it for Oso to show up in and for a Christmas decoration. I'll definitely be stashing it somewhere with maybe some greenery, ornaments and battery operated lights to add to my holiday decor.

Hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends!! XOXO!

A Christmas post that I have been planning since this past summer is up next!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mirror Mirror on the Wall: Easy DIY Reclaimed Wood Frame on a Builders Grade Mirror

I would love to tell you all a romantic story of how we were taking a lazy Sunday afternoon drive through the country to see the beautiful autumn foliage and just happened upon a farm having a barn sale with country treasures galore including the most awesome, rustic, chippy barn wood ever.

But that's not the case.

For this post on the continuation of my toddler son's/guest bath renovation I'm going to show you all how I framed out the builders grade mirror, for free, with fence pickets.

Yes, that's right. Fence pickets. Beat up, old fence pickets that were headed straight to the garbage or quite possibly a bonfire...

Lately we've been over at the apartments sprucing up the lower unit of the grey building. Oddly enough the tenants put in their notice about a week after I posted A Before and After Tour of the Lower Unit in the Grey Apartment Building. So Cory decided some minor painting and renovations should be done to freshen the place up. 

While we were there I couldn't help but notice the fence in the backyard. The fence is a project Cory has been meaning to do for a while but fences are kind of pricey so it has been put on the back burner while other more important projects get done first. The poor fence has more pickets missing every time we stop over. Quite a few were laying on the ground just begging me to take them and repurpose them into something great :).

So that's just what I did. I took a few home just to see if I could use them for something. The more I looked at them, the more I loved them. They looked like old rustic barn wood. The fence had been painted dark red at one time and was completely worn and chippy. 

I had been throwing around using some cedar wood (that the dogs had chewed on) from Jackson's playset as a frame for the bathroom mirror. I also wanted to whitewash it so it would flow in the bathroom. I was just waiting for Cory to tear off a couple more long pieces that needed to also be replaced. But now that I had these awesome fence pickets I need not wait anymore.

I brought up a short piece and held it up to the mirror. It looked to be a good size for the job and was even more worn and rustic looking than the wood from the playset. Yay! So I immediately got to work planning my mirror frame.

Before I could do anything with the frame I had to clean the dirty wood since I didn't want any dirt, pieces of wood or paint chips anywhere in the bathroom (or my home, for that matter). I took a bunch of pickets outside to the patio table. I used a tupperware container of warm water with dawn dish soap and a scrub brush to scrub the boards clean of all the dirt and loose wood and paint. After scrubbing I rinsed the pickets with a bucket of water and laid them out flat to dry in the sun.

Now that I had clean pickets I started measuring and planning out my mirror frame. Since I'm such a novice at woodworking of any kind, I drew out my plans :).

I decided to go with a butt joint since not only is it the easiest to do (beginner logic at it's best here ;) but I thought it would look the most rustic of all the different joints. I cut two pickets down to 37" and two down to 35 1/2". I'm proud to say I used the miter saw all by my lonesome while Cory was at work and didn't mess up at all on any measurements or cutting, and I still have all my fingers (totally  joking, safety first guys)!

I did a dry fit and taped the pickets up on the mirror to see how it would look. They looked pretty darn good just the way they were. And yes, that is my son playing in the sink with about 25 owl cups (the things you'll let your kids do to get some work done ;).

I white washed a small sample piece of wood along with trying a couple of new techniques out, but in the end I decided to just go with the chippy red barn wood look that the pickets already had (someday I'll show you all the techniques I tried ;). The barn wood look flowed quite nice since I have cherry picture frames and a cherry wood etagere type shelving unit in the bathroom. I used the clear coat from my cabinet transformations kit to seal the wood and prevent any pieces of wood from coming off that I might have missed while scouring the pickets clean.

I then debated on how to attach the wood to the mirror. I thought about gluing them but I had no idea which glue was the best for this project and some of the pickets were slightly warped. Then Cory suggested velcro. Of course!! I can't believe I didn't think of that! That completely solved all my "attachment" problems plus I still had a bunch left over from my DIY storage ottoman from a thrifted end table

I gathered up my supplies: pickets, velcro and scissors and got to work putting the velcro on the mirror and then matching it with the pickets. This part of the project couldn't have been any easier! The pickets were very lightweight so I have no fear of them falling off the mirror.

I simply pressed the board to the mirror to attach and if need be I can pull it off at any time. Easy peasy.

After I was done, I decided that one of the boards didn't look quite right, it was really warped and stuck out in all the wrong places. So thankfully (since I used velcro, woo hoo!) I was able to just pull it off, re use the velcro from the bad piece and put up a replacement piece.

Here's the finished look. I just love the mixture of rustic and traditional. 

Here's a couple of close ups to show the awesome chippy, rustic, barn wood look of the fence pickets.

Obviously my mirror cleaning skills leave a tad bit to be desired...But ignore that and check out the fabulous wood grain!!

For this project I spent a grand total of $0. I used reclaimed fence pickets, velcro I had stashed for projects such as this and poly that I already had to seal the wood. I think my fave thing about this wood frame is that it's removable. If we decide we want to change up the look to be more traditional we can just pull the wood off, no harm, no foul.

I still have another project up my sleeve for this bathroom before she's finished so look for that soon!!

Up next, a crafty Thanksgiving, or well pretty much anytime, decor project ;)


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