Roadkill Desk

So my dad used to call my boyfriend in high school Roadkill bc he rode a bike and my dad drove an SUV. My dad loved to traumatize me as a child. Anyway, this post has nothing to do with that. Its actual road kill. Not really but kind of. Last week i was cruisin around a neighborhood down town to meet a friend and i slammed on the brakes because i saw this baby on the side of the road:

Free. Solid wood. Adorbs yellow. And freakin dirty. I HAD to have it. And no, i didn’t take the tv.

So i threw it in the back of my car. By myself. BAM.

Yes, i know… i even impressed myself. I really enjoyed meeting up with Kenny later and saying “BTW, i might have a very large piece of furniture in the back of my car.” I dont know why things like this suprise him anymore…

Can i take a moment to just tell you how much I love my car (Scion TC)? Seriously, who else with a two door vroom-vroom car can fit a 7 drawer desk into their car? By themselves? This girl can. Go buy one.

Anyway, back on topic – so where on earth am i going to fit my brand new dirty but cute desk? Especially in our tiny one bedroom already full of furniture apartment. Honestly who cares? I’ll make it fit or give it to a friend to hang on to. Because when you’re in between apartments and a house – you need all the furniture you can get! Especially the free kind. So i brought her home in search of a good spot. Here she is in the hall. Just look at her dirty self…

So after shimmying things around the apartment, i found a good spot for her right around the corner. And then cleaned the sh*! out of her. Eww. Lets just say it was a bad idea to use paper towel… almost went through a whole roll.  And then… voila!

From roadkill to adorable! Yes, she is in need of new knobs, and yes, she has one really wonky odly placed knob… yes shes still dirty and beat up, but nothing some good TLC wont fix. I’ll keep yall updated with what i decide to do. Step one: get her some pretty (anthro?) pulls… or DIY? who knows?!

Have you found any good roadkill lately? Or bad roadkill? Ok, dont share about that last one if you did…

Till next time!

-Rach

DIY Reupholstery Bench

I’ve been wanting a good reupholster project for a while now. I have done exactly ZERO reupholstering but I have a love for it (and a respect for those that do it well!)  I’ve seen a lot of bench re-dos and it seemed like a good starter project. So i found a storage piano bench on craigslist for 10 bucks!

Here is the before and After. Scroll down for the full step by step how to!

This piece has a great structure, nice storage and was very sturdy. But the velvet brown fabric was just begging to be thrown in the trash. First off, i unscrewed the cushion from the bottom.

Once the cushion was off, i started removing the 50,000 staples. ok there wasnt that many but AT LEAST 100 of them. it was pretty nuts.

Remove more staples for the piping..

And MORE staples for all the fabric. Seriously they used up a whole box of staples. I removed the sick nasty brown velvet fabric and was happy to find the foam in great shape. I was worried about stains or smells and needing to get new foam but thankfully it was perfect-o!

I then attached the fabric i wanted to use. Since i have a lot of fabric left over from the wedding, i decided to use that! Nothing better than paying zero bucks for fabric.

The buttons were the fun part. I got a button making kit from Joanne’s and it was pretty self explanatory. Plus they look so schnazzy with new fabric on them. I tried to use the old buttons but they just weren’t having it. It was only a few bucks for the kit so it was worth it. I also used scrap fabric left over from trimming the edges. I couldn’t take out the old staples without damaging the wood so i just cut the string to the old buttons and took them out. For the new buttons they suggest getting an upholstery needle… i definitely wish i bought one because it was difficult to get a piece of string through wood, foam and fabric. But i managed. Six times. Once I got the string through, strung through the new button and back.

I flipped it over to the other side to make sure it was tight enough. The tighter the string, the deeper the button. Once i got it to where I wanted it, i stapled the string to the wood.

Once i threaded all six buttons and stapled it once, I’d flip it to the front and make sure the buttons were at the same depth. If one was too shallow, i took pliers and tugged on the string until it was where i wanted it. then flipped the string the other direction and stapled it again.

I then added fabric to the underside to hide all the wood and staples. I just used the same fabric because I have so much of it. I also decided to go to the edges for a clean look.

Then I strewed the cushion back onto the base.

And Voila! Fancy new bench! I love the storage capability and the height. Its perfect for an entry bench, an ottoman or the end of your bed. Definitely going to get a ton of use out of this $13 project!

I really want to encourage you to just go out and try something. I never would have thought i could build furniture or reupholster but you never know till you try. This project was much easier than I thought it would be and maybe took a total of 2 hours (minus driving to joanne’s for the button kit and new staples from Lowes!) I love a project that makes you smile every time you see it!

-Rachel

DIY Vintage Trunk / Filing Cabinet

If you read my last post, you know that i hate filing cabinets and also that i decided to turn this vintage trunk into a filing cabinet and coffee table.

Step one was to wrap the leather handles. I waited until after i was done to decide what to do with those…

Here is what i used:

  • Paint – Olympic All in one paint + primer in semi gloss
  • Minwax Polycrylic protective finish
  • Small foam roller (get a high quality dense foam. trust me, its worth it)
  • Paint tray
  • Small angled brush
  • screwdriver

The trick is to do multiple THIN layers. Lay it on thick and you’ll get lots of bubbles and drips. Eww. So here it is after 2 thin layers.  You can see why you need an angled paintbrush… to get in all the nooks and crannies.

Ok so want to hear a funny story? Ok its not so funny for me, but now it is a little bit. So i tend to do all my woodworking on the porch but a lot of the projects i do in my living room. Including this sucker. Its just whatcha gotta do if you have a tiny apartment and no garage. Anyway, i had JUST finished the last layer of paint, id cleaned up the roller and brush, put the lid on the paint and stood back to admire the splendor. I wasnt sure if it would need another layer or any touch ups so i didnt seal the lid to the paint. Bad idea. It was sitting in the living room on the paint drop cloth you see above. Now it was Valentines day so I was eating dinner and enjoying the boob tube when Maggie came in from the porch. Now, shes a pretty clumsy dog. She actually just recently got rid of the “cone of shame” which was even worse… ok, heres a picture because its just too dang cute not to share:

And yes, that is a tree branch stuck in the cone. Awesome. Anyway, Kenny walked to the kitchen for seconds (because im the best cook there is) and he started freaking out and yelling for me to come over. Mags had knocked over the entire can of paint onto the paint drop cloth. Thankfully it wasnt directly onto the carpet… but the drop cloth is meant for drips. Not an entire quart. So i dive to the ground and lift the drop cloth off the ground trying to keep the paint from soaking into the carpet while kenny grabbed a plastic trashbag to put in between it and the carpet (good thinking, hubs!) He then took the trunk off, and wrapped up the drop cloth and threw it on the porch (getting paint all over the porch carpet and pavement). Here is my arm after i had it under the drop cloth trying to avoid getting paint all over the carpet. We then used up an entire roll of paper towel trying to get the paint off the carpet. Miraculously, the spot is actually behind my arm. Where you might ask? I dont know. We should be professional carpet cleaners. We got maybe 98% of it up! Crazy right? Moral of the story… A. Seal your paint when you’re done painting. B. Dont paint in your living room. C. Dont own a clumsy dog.

Now that i went off on a complete tangent, lets continue…

Here she is after a little sanding. I wanted a little more dimension and character so i sanded all the edges, made all the bolts shine a little bit. Some of the white underpaint showed up too which had a cool effect.

For sanding, its best to use a foam sanding block with a fine grain. I used a 220 grit block which just makes it just look more natural. If you use 60 grit for example it will just damage the piece and it will obviously be sanded instead of a more natural “over time” look.

Heres the edge detail. You can see the white under paint and the metal as well. Love that effect!

Once i was done sanding, I decided to go with the minwax finish because its going to be a coffee table. High traffic = lots of paint coming off if you dont. So i did. Threw on three layers on the top for good measure. I chose a semi gloss but you can choose a Satin or a high gloss. It starts off looking almost yellow but it dries completely clear.

Here she is open up with my new file organization. I’ll post soon all about what i did with the files. As far as the plan for the interior, if it was in better shape, I’d love to keep it as is – it has a great texture and a vintage feel to it, but it has sections missing, stains, etc. We could definitely throw a cork board in the lid which would cover up most of the stains, but I’ll definitely let you know when we decide! Theres also a trey that goes on the inside that can hold remote controls, still that needs to be filed, etc.

See? How cool is that white/brown linen texture?

And here she is as our fancy new coffee table! Have you ever seen a more beautiful filing cabinet? The other great thing is, if we decided to use something else as a filing cabinet later, we can jut use this to hold the 57 blankets that we have hiding behind the couch. Hey, i get cold very easily, ok?

I am definitely loving it, the grey really helps balance out all the other crazy colors in the room.

Horrible Ugly Filing Cabinets

First off, i have to vent for a sec. Why on earth are there two types of filing cabinets in the world? Metal, beige, ugly as hell… or 400 bucks? I scouered Craigslist, considered repainting an ugly metal one, considered sanding an ugly metal one, considered building a wooden one from scratch… this went on for maybe a month. I’ve been looking all over the webs to find an awesome filing cabinet for cheap. Let me tell you… its non existent. Since getting hitched three months ago, we’ve had the dreaded filing issue… we both used small accordion folders to hold our paperwork but it just wasnt cutting it. My office started to look like a place where paper goes to die. There was paper piling up on my desk, on the floor, in nooks and crannys. With tax time coming up, we started misplacing W-2s, losing papers, misplacing bills… it was just not going well. I just cant have something looking ugly like this in my pretty office:

Can we say eww? So I had the idea to just bite the bullet and buy an ikea solid wood cabinet and hack it into a filing cabinet. Until i remembered seeing this on pinterest:

This was from the oh so creative Martha Steward and her “office in a chest”. I love this idea because its not a huge metal eyesore in the middle of your living room. Also there is a TON of space… i dont think we would ever be able to fill all of that with our paperwork. It also gives you the ability to have a trey for organization and the pinboard idea is pretty convenient as well.

But that involved buying a large ottoman. Not really a money saver. Until i saw this picture…

Holy cow… i have that EXACT trunk in storage! I didnt even think about it… but i stumbled across Jenna Sue’s design blog and was super excited. I bought the trunk a year ago from goodwill for maybe 10 bucks. I had great aspirations for that sucker but just never got around to it.

So here she is… aint she a beaute? Nope. Not yet. But she will be!

Its actually on its second coat of paint so i should be able to post before and afters soon! A vintage trunk / Filing cabinet is underway! Woot!

16¢ Coasters

So since this ISN’T a wedding blog but instead a DESIGN/DIY blog.. how about some design, shall we? As you know, my obsession love for pinterest gets stronger by the day. So heres a simple project I’ve been wanting to tackle for a while that is cheap and adorbs. By cheap i mean 16 cents. I tried to find the little icon for cents with a C and the line through it, but it doesnt exist on my computer. Because projects whos price total price tag in the cents category really doesnt exist. Except this one. COASTERS!!

I have been either A. ruining all my wooden furniture with rings or B. been using odd objects such as DVD cases or old paint chips as “coasters” which are rather unattractive and usually would end up causing more harm than good. Plus who on earth wants to spend 20 bucks on some coasters?! How about 64¢ total. (yea, i found the cent sign. What up now?) Anyway, so check it… buy how ever many tiles you want – i decided just 4 for now – dont need to get too coaster crazy just yet… I found mine at ol Home Depot though I’m sure they are just as cheap almost anywhere.

You will need: 16¢ tiles

I really dont think it was necessary to photograph tiles…. I’m pretty sure you guys know what 4×4 white tiles look like….

Mod Podge

Paper

Try and get some nice paper in the same color theme… aren’t these so great?! Love em…
 

Step one:

Cut out paper to desired size. Either you can cut a square smaller than the actual tile and center it or cut the paper larger and cover all the edges with paper as well. The top photograph shows what it would look like leaving the sides white. I opted to try out covering the edges as well and it turned out pretty awesome.

Step dos:

Glue the paper on. Do i really need to do all the steps? Pretty sure you can figure those out on you own… but i’ve already started and the steps look so professional all typed out like that…

To avoid bubbles its a good idea to let them set with something heavy on them. I decided to throw on my pretty new hurricanes to have them all dry flat.

Step three:

Once the glue was dry i started to glue the edges. I used a utility knife to trim the edges since scissors just wouldn’t cut it. Bad pun? Yea i thought so… anyway, honestly i just held the edges on till they stuck. No real science there.

Don’t you guys just hate using double sided paper for stuff like this? Always feel like I’m wasting a good side of paper… oh well! So i guess if your impatient you could just wrap a rubber band around them to keep the edges glued down but it really didn’t take more than a minute for it to set. I repeated to all the edges for a nice smooth edge.

Step Four:

Felt feets! I had left over felt so instead of buying felt pads i jut cut out lil feet.. they arent perfect but thats part of the beauty of DIY….

Step Five:

Mod Podge the tops. I did a few layers since my cups tend to get super condensation and i would hate for the paper to get ruined from not being completely covered. By the way, did anyone else think it was “Modge Podge”? Just me? Ok… hmm…

Last step:

Spray with a coat of clear spray paint. Mod Podge tends to get sticky and might cling on to your cups and not want to let go. So just do it… trust me, it works. And voila! You have some unique one-of-a-kind-make-your-friends-jealous coasters! Now you can drink all day! Drink at work, drink at home, drink drink drink! You can drink in the car, you can drink in the shower… Who knew!? Oh the possibilities!

Whelp! I’m going to go have a drink with my spiffy new coasters! *Note: when i refer to drinking, know that i mean water. Oh come on… I’m a bride to be… i’ve gotta get into hot bride shape! Can’t do that drinking Duffys. Yes thats a Simpsons reference. Off to plan more wedding stuff. Hooray!

-Rachel

DIY Map Painting

I got a request from over on this post to share a How To on my Map Painting. I have a huge love for globes and geography and I’ve always wanted a modern map but never was able to find one. So i painted it!

The blue/green background was left over test paint that i decided against using in my bedroom.

And here are the tools i used. please dont judge…

Yes kids. Its true. i painted the whole thing with a paint pen. AND this canvas was by no means tiny…. at  24 x 36 you would think I’d go through 12 paint pens to get all of it (dang russia!) but no! Just one… and i’ve used it on other projects since! I will be honest, it took me quite a while, but once i finished all the coast lines, i considered going and picking up some silver paint but i was worried the color wouldnt match and then it would just look odd. Plus, i’m stubborn! Once i get something started, I’m determined to finish it there and then without a craft store stop in between. So rather than call me “impatient” and slightly ridiculous… lets just stick with determined and perfectionistic.

There is a bit of a downside too, folks… to get the outline with the sharpie…. i used a projector. Duh da DUH DAAAAaaAaA. Sorry guys… its true. But i did find this little guy on The O for only $52.58 (is that a random # or what?):

Or throw down a little more coin with this beauty:

Isn’t is so cute?! You could just throw that sucker in your pocket!

But i do think a projector is a good investment! I also painted this stud with it:

So theres unlimited numbers of projects you could accomplish with one of these guys… PLUS: instant big screen everywhere you go! Anyway… here is some more detail shots of it:

I almost forgot! I picked silver because i really wanted to have some depth to it… its interesting – it really does look like the water is deeper than the land… it just really POPS!

Also, in this shot you can really see the texture to the piece –  when i painted on the teal background, i laid it on pretty thick and well… i finger painted : )  My roommate walked in and looked at me like i was crazy with all that paint covering my hands. Let me tell you, that was super fun! Plus i think it adds just a little bit more depth and dimension to it! Till next time!

-Rach

Furniture Stripping!

Thats right, i spent my sunday strippin my Stereo Cabinet. Track my progress so far and what i have left to do here.

Here she is in her craigslist add… doesnt look too bad from far away, but up close she was a wreck. Read about tearing out her insides here. It’s pretty amazing how much of a difference a little stripper and sanding will do to bring a piece back to life! Meet the helpers:

Sidenote: No, that is not sorbet. That orangyish goop is the Strypeeze (not striptease like i thought it said) Other side note: Don’t you love my cute new chucks?!

Ok, before we move on… beware! if you have an unusually pansy-ish stomach, you may not want to read on. Stripping was actually pretty yucky. The varnish came up in a bunch of gunk. Anyway, step one: just start paintin!

I threw on two fairly thick layers because it was unusually tough varnish. I actually attempted to use the refinisher first and epic fail. But lo and behold, the varnish had nothin on this orange goop. 15 minutes later and you’ve got this:

Those beautiful little bubbles and wrinkles are from the varnish getting whooped by the sorbet stripper. booya. Next step, get your scrapper and just go crazy. It should come off pretty easily, if not, either wait an extra 10 minutes or go back over the splotchy areas a second time. Usually if it doesnt come up right away, it’s just because you were too excited to wait the entire 15 minutes (might have happened to me a few times!)

Oh i know, that stuff looks like Dino snot. Still, very exciting how effective this stuff is. Here is the lid to show you a good before and after:

Now I know what you’re thinking… “wow, the before looks so much better!” Well of course it does! We are stripping, not finishing! This is a bit of a process but keep in mind, you are stripping down to the bare wood to then refinish and restain to make her look brand stinkin new. Just wait till this next part… After i stripped all the wood, i went back over it with the furniture finisher and steel wool. It helped take more of the stain off as well.

That part was pretty rough because i was really scrubbin the crud out of it. My sweet boyfriend even helped:

And check out the oh so pretty results:

Who knew there was actually wood under all that crap?!  i went on to sand it to get out some of the deeper scratches. I sanded pretty lightly since it was veneer but enough to smooth it out more. Most likely there will still be some scratches (she was pretty beat up!) But really that just adds a little vintage character, but i also plan on a slightly darker stain which will make the scratches less noticeable. Don’t forget to always, always, always, always, ALWAYS sand with the grain! No circles, no angles… just straight with the grain. Just trust me on this one. Well there ya have it!

Next week: rebuilding the inside and front panels! Super excited and I plan on doing it all for free with scraps! What what!

Before & After: Stereo Cabinet Inspiration

If you’ve kept up with my blog you know I’ve dreamed of refurbishing a vintage stereo cabinet with updated gadgets including new receiver, speakers, ipod dock and a working record player. Eventually maybe finally purchase a tv (its true kids, i dont own a television! duh duh du naaaa!) maybe a flat screen to put above it attached to the wall. Well i found a great buy on craigslist that needs a lot of love… the pictures are rather misleading – looks like a quality piece but the front panels are actually plastic and all the electronics are about as useful as an ejector seat in a helicopter.

Anyway, here is the first stage of Gregory’s project. It actually looks very similar to my cabinet at step one (there is hope!)

Here he guts the cabinet (the stage where I’m at currently)

and then he sanded it…

Sadly I’m having to take a much longer route and use a chemical stripper to remove the varnish. The issue is mine is veneer so sanding is always a bit of a gamble incase you completely sand off the veneer!

And here is the final piece!

I love the mix of vintage with modern. Sadly he just turned this into storage and never put the electronics back in (which is really that part I’m struggling to figure out!) I’ll post pictures soon! I plan to work on her more this weekend.

Heres links to Gregorys whole progress on the piece:

Part #1

Part #2

Part #3

Part #4

Part #5

Part #6

Part #7

Dining room table update!

Well guys, i decided against building my own table and chairs… as cool as that would be to say “hey, i built that!” there are SO many choices on Craigslist popping up daily for less that what it would cost for me to build. So instead… i plan on finding a piece of junk and refurbishing it! Theres nothing like breathing some life into old furniture. PLUS, its recycling! Hooray! I’ve also decided now on with whatever i build to not buy new wood. Instead i will do what i can to find used. You can use palates, find old barn wood, fences or even deconstruct old furniture. It might take longer to find the wood but if that means one less tree gets chopped down, its worth it, right?! Just make sure that the wood is not rotting or termite infested… that would be pretty awful to build an awesome chair and then have it break in half with your grandma in it sending termites running all over the dining room! (ok, a little overdramatic but hey! i could happen) Here are are some examples of furniture build from reclaimed wood. The last dining table is actually build out of old railroad wood! Talk about a conversation starter….

Older woods are great for that rustic look but also work out for modern or shabby chic… All depends on how you treat it. Till next time!

-Rachel