Monday, May 2, 2016

Turning Wood Scraps into a Garden Cage

We don't see many animals in our suburban backyard, however, when I plant lettuce and other spring crops, I swear a siren goes off alerting all the animals to come sample.  Last fall, it got so bad that I was unable to harvest anything.  If it wasn't the birds scratching in the soil, or the squirrels looking for seeds, then it was the rabbits and foxes coming to sample what had grown.  Fortunately, the deer were distracted by my neighbor's apple tree.  So, I sketched out a design for a mesh cage to sit on top of my smaller garden for the spring and fall crops.  It had to be removable for the taller tomatoes and cucumber trellis.  Here's the end result.
To build your own cage (which is also conventient for throwing a tarp on during those frost/freeze warnings at night) you only need a few supplies. 
We started with 6 pieces of 1x2s and 4 pieces of 2x4s.  They were cut down to size.  Since my 4x4 raised bed was not exactly 4x4, we had to cut the pieces accordingly.  So be careful to measure your bed first.  I also wanted to make the the back of the cage slightly taller than the front so that I could grow taller plants in the back like broccoli or romaine.

The final measurements and other supplies:
2x4s = 12" (2 for the back) and 8" (2 for the front). 
1x2s = cut according to my raised bed with the top side pieces being slightly longer to angle up.
2 exterior hinges
2 1/2' wood screws (and bolts to make it easier to remove for summer planting)
Deer resistant mesh
Staple Gun to attach mesh to the frame

Assemble the pieces on a flat surface.  We used the garage.  Then attach it to the raised bed.  Since I have a fence behind my garden, I can just rest my cage against the fence when it's open.  Otherwise, just get another 2x4 to prop it open while you plant/harvest.
 As of today, my spring lettuce is ready to eat and not a single critter has sampled them first!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Repurposed Dresser into Sitting Bench with Drawers

Before (dresser) and After (bench)

Sometimes you get tired of doing the same old thing, and in this case, dressers.  I seem to be drawn to dressers, and they find me, but the choices are to stain or paint.  This time, I decided to cut it in half!  I've seen this idea before but could never justify halving a dresser until now.  This dresser came to me looking pretty good on the outside (minus the crack and wear on top), but it was missing all but one center support for the drawers.  Not only would I have to rebuild those center supports, but most of the side supports were splintering under the weight of the drawers.  So, I decided to get rid of the top two drawers and keep what was not as broken.

Top of dresser crack that did not go all the way through

Missing finish and water damage on top
Pior to cutting the dresser, I sanded down the top, the sides to where the cut would be made, and the drawers.  And then process began, with the help of my husband to cut this dresser horizontally!  Using a piece of wood as a guide, we cut it in half.
Just Cut!
And the bench is beginning to take shape!
Just a shell for now
At this point, I had some work to do on fixing up the imperfections.  These included:
>Filling the crack on top with stainable wood filler
>Strengthening the side supports
>Adding back the center support
>Adding MDF to the underside of the top piece to distribute weight for a bench
>Adding a new piece of MDF to the back
Flipped upside down to screw in the MDF to the top support and the top of the chest

More fixing upside down
Ready for stain and drawers!
I always use the Minwax Pre-stain Wood Conditioner first, and then add 2 coats of stain followed by 3 coats of Polycrylic. 
Staining with Minwax
And the finished product!  Since the drawer pulls were needed by the previous owner, I added in new darker knobs for the finished piece.
Perfect height for a bench and plenty of storage!

The lighting made the close up look dark but it gives you a good view of the grain and knobs.
List Price: $125

In an effort not to waste the remaining pieces, the top drawer was already sold off as an underbed storage drawer.  With $2 furniture sliders added to the bottom, it sold for $30!  The other drawer and small side pieces will go in the wood bin for a future project.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Curbside Headboard to Repurposed Coat Rack

After completing my first headboard-to-coat rack project (see the other one here), the biggest question I heard was "Can you make one smaller?"  So I was on the hunt for a twin-sized headboard.  This one was curbside and perfect for repurposing.
The footboard is still waiting to be repurposed...
After sanding down to the beautiful blonde wood, I stumbled across an old horseshoe and knew it needed a home on this project.  I chose an antique white wood stain to keep the light color and allow the grain to be visible.  Then it was just the trim to be painted, all of it sealed, and added the hooks and horseshoe. 

The finished coat rack!

Look at the wood grain
Now it's ready to be hung by a horse-lover.   Maybe it will find a home in a barn, or a little girl's room, or an entryway...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Baseball-themed Dresser Makeover

This dresser, that was once used by another young boy, was needing an update.  The dresser was rock solid, but looked dated (since it was from the 1960s.).  That said, I live by "they don't make them like used to" so I prefer the older furniture over the new.  It was time for an update and a new home.  I can't take credit for this baseball idea since I pinned it on Pinterest over a year ago.  But I had to try it for myself.

The first thing to do was to make the drawer fronts smooth and remove the center hardware.  The decorative indented pattern on the drawers was filled in as well as the drawer pull holes (I would drill new holes later).

Next, I added the primer, paint, and began the baseball stitching.  To do this, I looked for the largest round object we had (a bungee chair in this case) and used it to trace the half-circle seams.  Using red paint, I began the stitches.

And finally, the finished product was coated in Minwax Polycrylic to protect it from wear and tear, and new drawer pulls were added.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sun Lover's End Table

Before and After
Awhile back I saw a tutorial on using contact paper to stain around a design.  I waited for the right furniture piece to be castoff to practice on.  When I stumbled upon this light colored end table, I knew it was my practice piece. 

I started by sanding down the top and choosing my design....a sun to hang on to summer a little longer.  After cutting the sun out of contact paper and laying it down, I first put down the MinWax  Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.  Next, I used a cloth to apply the MinWax Wood Finish stain in "Red Oak".   Once dried, I removed the contact paper to find the sun design. 

The table received 3 coats of Polycrylic to the top and "Sarsapairlla" color to the bottom (also with Polycrylic).  The end result is a table to make summer last well into the winter!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Salvaged Desk: from Curbside to Charming

Before & After
There's nothing better than saving furniture from a landfill and turning it into something more charming than imagined.  That's what happened to this desk that was saved curbside.  Upon getting it out of the car, I quickly realized that it was discarded for it's black mold, not it's age.  The bottom 4 inches were caked in black mold and water damage.  After several unsuccessful attempts to remove it, my wonderful husband and I realized that the moldy molding could be removed!  Off it went...
Remove a few screws, give it a good hit with a sledgehammer and it was off!
As for the rest of the desk, it was in perfect condition, minus a few knicks and a "'67" carved on a drawer front.  With the bottom molding removed, there was now the issue of how to raise the desk back up.  Drawing on my endless supply of freebies (the desk was free too!), I found some wooden table legs I cut down to size. 

New legs and new trim were added along the bottom
 Due to the new wood added, and the older veneer, I chose to paint the bottom of the desk and only stain the top.  It's a new modern beauty!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Easy Coffee Table Restoration (with Howard Restor-A-Finish)

Sometimes furniture is solid but on the less-than-pretty side.  I had been wanting to try Howard Restor-A-Finish but wanted an old "junker" to try it on.  So along came this FREE coffee table.  It was solid wood and ugly.  It was definitely in need of restoring!  This was the perfect guinea pig for my trial run with this product. 

To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement!  It was fast, easy, and came with phenominal results!!  Just look at the before and after!


It covered over all the scratches, blemishes, and water spots from glasses long ago.  The only thing it didn't remove was the dark circle stain near the center.  Look at that grain restored!
There are a few "rules" for using the Restor-A-Finish.  First, there can't be any kind of a seal on the wood.  This table's finish was long gone....if it ever had one. So the wood was able to soak in the finish.  Also, a seal afterwards is not an option.  Third, to clean/dust it in the future, use Howards Beeswax.  It's my go-to cleaner for solid wood these days. 

For an instructional video, click below.