DIY Decorative Tray

I recently made a 14″ x 21″ table tray for a friend. She wanted something to go on her rustic/farmhouse table for decoration, and she liked the tray I had previously made. It was super easy, so I wanted to share how I did it!

Supplies needed:
-one 10-foot piece of 1×4 wood
-two 4 inch handles
-wood glue -8-16 screws, depending on what is needed for the handles -paint or stain of your choice

Cuts: I cut the 1×4 into four 21 inch pieces, which would be the size of the length of the tray. I then cut the 1×4 into two pieces the size of the width. Since 1x4s are really 3.5 inches wide, the total width of the tray was 14″.

I wood-glued the four 21” wood pieces together, connected on their sides. I smeared wood glue along the sides of the wood and clamped them together for at least 30 minutes.

Once they were dry, I did a coat of paint. My friend wanted it to be white, so I used my white chalk paint. I then wood-glued the pieces that went across the width of the tray in place, and held them down with clamps to let them dry.

To ensure that these ends were on there really well, I screwed them in on the bottom using 4 screws, one per piece of wood. The handles would be on these pieces, so I wanted to make sure they were secure when the tray was picked up.

I screwed in the handles, making sure they were in the middle and even on both sides. It was that easy! Now you have a cute, rustic tray, all for less than $10!

DIY Coffee Table

Stephen has been building a lot of end tables lately, but decided to switch it up and try building a coffee table. And it is beautiful!

He used a free Ana White plan… it was super easy, but her “under $40” statement is definitely not accurate today. If you’re a DIY builder, have you noticed that the price of lumber has more than doubled in the last year?? It’s insane!

Anyways, back to the coffee table! The wood he needed for this project was:

-four 8-foot 2x6s
-one 8-foot 2×4
-three 8-foot 2×2 furring strips
**The 2x6s are almost $15 right now, each!

Stephen made the cuts and built the frame. He built the side “Xs” and built the top (using pocket hole screws) and then connected it to the frame. He attached the 2×4 slats on the bottom, spacing them out with an inch between the slats. He cut a piece of wood the one inch width and used that to ensure all the boards were spaced equally.

Here is the put-together coffee table!

Next up… painting! I went with the trustworthy stained top/white on bottom look.

The top is stained in Minwax Provincial, and the bottom is Rust-oleum Linen White.


This coffee table is super heavy and sturdy, and is a great size! Check out the Ana White site for detailed instructions if you’re interested.

The Verdict is In… (on the Paint/Stain Debate)

What debate? Ok, maybe the one I have in my head. 😉 I had posted earlier about end tables that Stephen made and put on FB Marketplace to sell. We had, at first, stained both end tables brown, and they sat and sat… I then painted the base of the table white, leaving the top stained, and we had several people contact us right away about purchasing them.

The next set he made, we painted the bottom white and chalk-painted the top gray…

Again, they sat and sat, so we decided to sand off the gray and stain them brown.

And no joke, within 10 minutes of him posting, we had 2 people message him. The first person bought them both the next day!

So, as of April 2021, I can tell the brown stained top and white bottom look is a clear winner. I wonder what color trend will be “in” next?

The Table is Done!

If you read my previous blog, you would know that Stephen built a dining room farmhouse table for our friends! The next step was staining and painting the table. Our friend wanted the base to be white, and the top to be stained kind of an orange/brown color. This was a table she had seen in person and liked, and we were trying to get it close to this color.

As I’ve probably said about 50 times on this blog, staining is much harder than painting, because you truly never know what the color is going to look like until you try it on the wood itself. In our case, the color on the can; the “example” color in Home Depot; and what actually came out on the wood were three different colors!

Don’t trust these! 😉

One great tip a guy gave to Rose, since we were using pine, was to dip a paint stick into a stain color and let it dry. I didn’t know paint sticks were made out of pine! It gave us a better idea of what the colors would look like.

What we did next was get a few sample-sized stains, and I tried them out on excess pine pieces of wood that were cut from the actual wood we used on the table. I labeled them with a sharpie so we would remember what was what. Rose gave me a sample piece of her new flooring… she didn’t want it to match perfectly to it, but it was a great reference to have to make sure the stain color we chose blended with the flooring.

I bombarded Rose with a lot of text messages and pictures, and we decided on one… the one above on the right that was a mixture of ZAR Modern Walnut and ZAR Early American. The staining process is super easy to do; it just requires several hours of drying time between each coat. I ended up doing 5 layers of the ZAR combination, with one coat of Minwax Red Chestnut on the top! The Red Chestnut added a more brown tone to tone down the orange shade of the other combination. Check out the progress…

When pine settles under pressure, it forms cracks on the exterior. Luckily, these cracks don’t affect the sturdiness of the wood- they are just cosmetic. You can see the difference in the left leg from the last picture to this one. We used wood filler to fill in the crack, and then painted over it!

Different lighting brings out different colors of stain, too. The above picture and the below picture are with the same amount of stain on the table. One is under a workshop LED light, while the other is in the natural sunlight. Crazy, huh?

Below, you’ll find the finished product- Stephen attached the table top to the base using pocket hole screws. I added the Red Chestnut stain coat and two coats of polyurethane over the top and the legs, and… voila!

Let’s compare it to the table she originally found…

I can’t wait to see a picture of it in Rose’s house!

DIY Sharpie Herringbone Pattern

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Remember when I added the green shiplap in my office? I did a lot of thinking (and looking!) about what to do for the top part of the wall. I wanted to do some kind of pattern, but I didn’t want it to overwhelm the room or take away from the shiplap. I am also not a very “daring” decorator, and I didn’t want anything that would stick out like a sore thumb in my house.

I finally found an idea that I thought would: a) add a little something without being too much b) be fun and more daring without being too wild and c) would be pretty easy and cheap to do… a herringbone pattern done with a stencil and sharpies!

I first ordered a herringbone stencil from Amazon. They have these on Etsy, too, but I found the best deal on Amazon. You can also print some at home for free, but they would have a paper backing, and I’m glad I went with the plastic stencil. Just an FYI for you, though, if you’re interested!

I also got some water-based sharpies from Amazon. I read that the water-based part was important because that helps the sharpie go over paint easily. This was a 2-pack and I ended up needing 3 (they each got worn down after about 1/3 of the wall). I ordered two of these packs in total.

Then, I got started! I used some tape to keep the stencil at the very top of the wall by the trim. I colored in each section with the marker, and then used the guidelines at the top of the stencil to line up the stencil each time. It was really easy, just took some time! (I spent about 3 days, maybe an hour each day, to finish this up)

A few times, I would smear the line I just did with the stencil. You can see one in the above picture, on the left side, 4 down. At the end, I pulled out our wall paint color and touched these spots up!

I kept chugging along, until I finally finished! I will say that this pattern can mess with your eyes… it almost looks 3D or like the wall is distorted. I thought it was just me, but my husband agreed. I added this sign to break up the wall, and it thankfully doesn’t bother me anymore!

It was even hard to know if this sign was straight… those herringbone lines mess with your eyes! 😉
The final product!

This was an easy, just time consuming, update! It cost me about $11 for the stencil and $18 for the 4 sharpie markers… so about a $30 update. The plus about this is that it’ll be easy to cover over this if I decide I don’t like it anymore! (versus something like wallpaper or a wood pattern). Now that my office update is done, I guess it’s time to go organize my desk…

DIY Farmhouse Dining Room Table

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My friend Rose (the half-bath DIYer!) has been looking for a farmhouse dining room table… but couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for- either the size was off, the coloring was wrong, etc. She had asked if Stephen could build a farmhouse dining room table and gave us an idea of what she was wanting. We looked up some table ideas and she found one she liked, and Stephen got to planning/buying/building!

We planned to make the table 78 inches in length, 38.5 inches in width, and 30 inches in height. Stephen got a combination of 4x4s (for the legs); 2x4s (frame); and 2x6s (table top). It was a fairly quick process of building the frame. He did the measurements, made the cuts, and connected the 2x4s to the 4x4s and made the outline of the table.

Making sure the cuts were exactly precise was the toughest part of building the frame!

He put two 2X4s across the width of the table to offer more support. He used pocket holes and pocket hole screws to connect all the wood pieces together. This table isn’t budging!

He then built the top. He used seven 2x6s (which are really 5.5″ in width each, adding up to 38.5″ total). He drilled the pocket holes ahead of time, and laid the wood upside down one piece at a time on the table frame. He would then get the next piece, wood-glue it on the side, line it up perfectly, and he would screw it together with its neighboring board. He repeated this for all seven boards.

We were super careful when we flipped the table top over to the right side up. We slid it off the end of the table, let it sit on the floor, we both held it while we rotated it on the floor, then rested it back up against the table, and then slid it back on. It was wood-glued and pocket-hole screwed together, but we didn’t want to take any chances! And that sucker is pretty heavy!

He then sanded the table 4 different times. He started off with lower-grit sandpaper for heavier sanding, and went lighter each round. It feels so smooth now!

Doesn’t it look good?? Obviously, it’s missing a little something… some color! 😉 Stain on pine is very difficult to choose… the color comes out looking very different from what the samples look like, or what the color on the can looks like. However, the stain has officially been picked out for the table top (we’re going to mix two different stains!) and the chalk paint has been picked out for the base, so we will be getting to that soon. Once the table is stained/painted, Stephen will attach the top to the table frame using pocket hole screws (again, that makes it so you can’t see the screwheads from the outside of the table!). I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Oh, don’t you worry- you’ll be getting an update sometime soon!

What’s Your Paint Style?

When you build something from scratch, you’re all caught up in the planning, buying of the materials, making sure things are cut correctly, actually piecing it together, etc. Once it’s done, the matter of painting or staining the project is a major thought process that you usually overlook… until it’s time to do it!

My job is usually to paint/stain the projects. I am NO expert, by any means, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you get with it. I prefer using chalk paint, though I usually love the way stain looks. (It’s just so messy, and also unpredictable- the stains look completely different on different types of wood!)

Paint and stain preferences definitely depend on taste and on current trends. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up!

A few months ago, Stephen built two end tables like the ones we have in our house, to see if he could sell them online.

We decided to “play it safe” and stain it all brown, thinking it would appeal to the most people.

We did 2 just like this.

He listed the two on Facebook marketplace, and they sat… and sat… and sat. After a couple of months, Stephen suggested that we paint the bottom of the table white (and leave the tabletop stained). I finally got around to doing it, and he relisted them.

Comparison- old (right), new (left)

No lie, he had about 6 responses within a couple of hours! They were picked up the next day.

He built two more and we decided to try a new trend… gray on the top and white on the bottom. I used gray chalk paint on the top instead of stain.

The jury is still out on this one, as he just listed them today. Since gray is very “in” right now, I’m curious if they’ll sell quickly or not!

What is your paint style? What shades do you like in your house?

Mine has definitely changed with the trends over the years, but right now I think I like the white bottom/brown stained top the best. The good news is… it’s not too hard to change up furniture if you don’t like the color!

A Few of my Favorite (Amazon) Things

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Amazon brings out the laziness in me. When I realize I need something, I think… I could drive 10 minutes to Target/Home Depot/Lowe’s/(fill in the blank), or… I could get it sent to my door in 2 days! I choose the second option about 95% of the time. 😉 I know, I know- it’s kind of sad.

But I do love the convenience that Amazon offers, especially when you need something soon, but not necessarily immediately. I’ve also found that Amazon mostly has the same, if not better, pricing on most items than stores like Home Depot and Walmart.

I link a lot of items that I have purchased from Amazon to do a lot of our DIY items in my individual blogs, and I thought I would condense them into one site. That way, if you ever see something you like, you can bookmark this page and come back to it. I’m a big believer in recommendations and reading the reviews of items, so I’ll only list things that I would recommend, friend to friend.

Regular Paint:
-Krylon Spray Paint in Satin Sea Glass: Click here
-Rustoleum Spray Paint in Black: Click here
-Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Black: Click here

Chalk Paint: (**I would highly recommend any Rustoleum chalk paint!!! It’s very sturdy and easy to use)
-Rustoleum Chalk Paint: Linen White: Click here
-Rustoleum Chalk Paint: Aged Gray: Click here
-Rustoleum Chalk Paint: Country Gray: Click here
-Rustoleum Chalk Paint: Serenity Blue: Click here
-Rustoleum Chalk Spray Paint: Country Gray: Click here
-Rustoleum Chalk Spray Paint: Aged Gray: Click here
-Rustoleum Chalk Spray Paint: Linen White: Click here

Sealers:
-Minwax Polyurethane- Water-based: Click here
-Mod Podge: Click here

Wood Glue: (Titebond is our go-to and works amazingly well! Gorilla glue we have used a few times and also does great.)
-Titebond Wood Glue: Click here
-Gorilla Wood Glue: Click here

Wood Filler:
-DAP Plastic Wood-X: Click here

Stain:
-Minwax Stain in Mocha: Click here
-Verathane Stain in Ebony: Click here
-Minwax Stain in English Chestnut: Click here
-Minwax Stain in Jacobean: Click here
-Verathane Stain in Kona: Click here
-Minwax Stain in Mocha: Click here
-Minwax Stain in Provincial: Click here
-Minwax Stain in Classic Gray: Click here
-Minwax in Dark Walnut: Click here

Screws:
-Pocket Hole Screws: Click here

Sandpaper:
-60-Grit Sandpaper: Click here
-220-Grit Sandpaper: Click here

Decorative Wall Items:
-Art 3D Wood Grain Tiles: Click here
-Peel and Stick Brick Wallpaper: Click here
-Herringbone Stencil: Click here
-Arrow Vinyl Stickers: Click here

Accessories:
-Coat hooks: Click here
-Shed Door Handle: Click here
-Crystal Drawer Pulls: Click here
-Sterilite Baskets: Click here
-Cord holders: Click here
-Outlet for Charging Station: Click here
-Charging Station: Click here
-Chalkboard Stickers: Click here
-Wood Touch-Up Markers: Click here
-Poster-Paint Sharpies: Click here

Decorative Items:
-11×14 Frames: Click here
-Botanical Prints: Click here

Craft Room Hacks:
-Pegboard: Click here
-Peg Board Accessories: Click here
-IKEA Spice Racks: Click here
-Vinyl Holders: Click here

Cricut/Silhouette Accessories:
-T-shirt Guides: Click here (These are amazing!!)
-Cutting Mats: Click here
-Transfer Paper: Click here (This is a fantastic deal, for the amount you get)

I will most likely be updating this as I find more things to add, and re-posting it when I do. Hope some of these can help you with any of your own DIY projects!

Small Drawers Update

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My daughter with the farmhouse bedroom had a nightstand that she just kicked to the curb. It was one we got years ago that was originally light brown, and I had painted it coral/pink with turquoise handles to match her bedroom at our old house. I didn’t really have a place to put it, but didn’t want to get rid of it- I feel like you can always put a set of drawers to use! The only problem was, coral/pink won’t go anywhere in our house.

The original drawers (top), how they’ve been lately (bottom)

I decided to update it on a whim. I had my Linen White chalk paint out already, so I hastily started painting the drawers. Once you start, you’re committed, right?? I painted the base and the drawer fronts white using 3 coats. (Luckily, these drawers aren’t that big, so the painting was pretty quick!)

The top had stickers and chipped paint marks on it…

I’m sure I could’ve hidden them with sanding and paint, but I decided to check out our spare wood, just to see what we had. I found some wood that, if doubled up, made a perfect fit to cover the top! I did a quick stain (and whatever kind of wood this was, the stain dried almost instantly!), wood-glued the two pieces together on their sides, and let them dry. They were now one solid piece! I covered the top with wood glue.

I centered the wood, placed it down, and weighed it down with some dumbbells for about 30 minutes. This wood glue is incredible- the wood doesn’t budge! (By the way, the stain color I used was Minwax Provincial– it’s a pretty medium shade of brown!)

I was going to use some funky knobs my neighbor had given me, but they just didn’t go… so I ended up spray-painting the original pulls black!

Here it is… my new, farmhouse-ish looking drawers!

The only thing I may do additionally is have Stephen route the edges of the wood, to give them a smoother look. Otherwise, I love it! Now… where to put them?

Vertical Shiplap in the Office

Having my new office desk has inspired me to do a little office makeover. I’ve been doing a lot of researching online and have discovered that I love the idea of a “feature wall”. It’s kind of like an accent wall with flair! Many people do full-wall shiplap, board and batten, cool geometric designs, etc. I’m too practical and wanted an idea that looked good, but that could be changed easily when the trends change.

Hot mess office

When doing my researching, I also discovered that I am absolutely DIGGING this certain green color! It’s kind of forest-green with a hint of blue.

I had purchased some of the peel-and-stick shiplap (like I used on the fireplace) from a local overstock store. I got 4 boxes for $21 each. I was planning on using it in our guest bathroom, but thought I could do a half-wall of shiplap in the office instead!

Besides the shiplap, I purchased two 8-foot 1x4s ($4.50 each), an 8-foot piece of quarter-round trim ($6.24), and a quart of paint: Jack Pine by Benjamin Moore (I got this color-matched at Home Depot using a Behr semi-gloss paint for $16). So I spent a total of about $115 on this makeover.

Check out the progress:

The first few boards.
Instead of a “penny gap” for spacing the shiplap, I did a “paint stick” gap. 😉 it was a little bigger than normal, but see what you think with the final product!
Almost there.

One thing I had to do was cut around the two outlets we have in the middle of the wall. This was really easy. I put the piece of shiplap up to where it would rest, and marked where the outlet would be and drew an outline of it.

I then took a razor blade and cut this shape out. I had to go over it a few times before the shiplap would break off.

I then started painting. I focused on making sure the cracks between pieces were painted well before painting the rest of the shiplap pieces.

I did two coats of paint in total.

I painted the two 1x4s and let them dry. Stephen helped me hold them up and level them. We used our nail gun to install the wood.

I cut and nail-gunned the trim in on the two sides.

What do you think about the “paint stick” gap?

We caulked where the two 1x4s met! (I let Stephen do this, after my last caulking debacle 🤪).

Here is the finished product!

Next up, I’m going to add something to the wall above… I had to order a stencil and some sharpies for it (hint, hint!). Be sure to check back soon!