Category Archives: Guest Blog

Turning a Dingy Dining Table into Something Awesome with MyFixitUpLife

By: Guest Blogger

This week’s guest blog comes from Mark of MyFixitUpLife. See how Mark was able to make his wife, Theresa’s, table pallet idea come to life.

Finished pallet table

The carpenter in me always has to do a gut-check when my designer-wife says, I have pallet ideas. Oh no, I say. Then three things happen…

I love her, I trust her, and as a guy pretty much wandering around lost on the path less traveled, I swallow hard and try to find a way to make her vision come alive.

With the table done—we did this as part of the Minwax® “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax®. program we’re lucky to be part of—now I am amped to show you how this thing happened.

It started with a table that was pretty much a mess. Theresa liked the shape, but the finish was jumping off it, it was hard to keep clean, the leaves didn’t work right. You know, a mess.

Table Before

Doing the reverse gymnastics of taking the table top off the base is minimal fun. I found that I had to be really careful to not strip the screws.

Mark under the table

Pallets look good in photos, but in real life, they’re like a quarter you find on the street. You don’t know where they’ve been. So before assembling the table top, we applied a coat of Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish to seal the boards.

Mark applying Minwax Polycrylic

We still wanted to be able to fold down the table leaves, so I set the first board tight to the hinged seam. A pneumatic finish nailer with 1-inch nails was awesome for this job. You could also use a pneumatic stapler—a tool I love enough to write a poem about—but the nails looked better.

Placing the first board on the table

Sometimes you need to remove a bent nail or a nail that is sitting too high (in carpenter lingo, that’s called ‘proud’). My go-to tool for this is often my diagonal cutting (dikes) pliers. Once you pull nails with these you’ll never go back to how you used to do it.

Removing a nail with pliers

We left most of the nails in the pallet wood. However, some were a problem so we took them out. In addition to the pliers, another option for dealing with nasty nails is to drive them—or at least get them started—out from the back side with a hammer and nail set.

Removing a nail by hammering

I sometimes complain that my wife makes things too complicated. I can be accused of the same thing. I got inspired to add—and then notch around—a center square to shake up the texture. I’m glad I did it.

Center square piece

Sometimes pallet ideas becoming pallet reality requires a little hacking. Since we really wanted to hide the old table top beneath this new texture and color, I chose to straighten some of the really warped pallet wood boards on the table saw.

Cutting pallet edges on a table saw

By flipping the table top upside down, I was able to use it as a guide for my jigsaw. It’s a little tricky to get perfect. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t force the saw. Take your time and let the saw do the work. And use a sharp blade.

Using the table to guide cutting

I wire-brushed the table top before applying color. It was the absolute perfect solution (this one is a Hyde Tools wire brush, that also has a scraper on it) for opening the grain, dislodging dirt and cleaning up little pieces of glue left over from the nail gun nails. Make sure to clean the dust and debris off after wire brushing. I used a whisk broom for this. Easy.

Scouring the boards with a wire brush

I wire-brushed the table top before applying color. It was the absolute perfect solution (this one is a Hyde Tools wire brush, that also has a scraper on it) for opening the grain, dislodging dirt and cleaning up little pieces of glue left over from the nail gun nails. Make sure to clean the dust and debris off after wire brushing. I used a whisk broom for this. Easy.

Staining with Minwax in Antique Jade

That’s a real smile! Theresa jammed Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in Antique Jade on this and it is clear to me why she is the designer and I am the carpenter.

The stain went on smooth, dried quickly and the brush was easy to clean with soap and water.

Pallet Ideas Tip: For rough-textured stock like pallet wood, I like to work the brush back and forth to help the stain cover evenly.

Staining the side of the table

Let’s talk about Minwax® Clear Brushing Lacquer, OK. It is one-quart of clear coating awesome. It set up in about 30-minutes, so I could zing two coats on in a day and the clear gloss finish…yeah, love affair.

Brushing on Minwax lacquer

We couldn’t add new wood to the table base and the factory finish was impenetrable. And it, too, was a mess like the table top so—again proving why she’s the designer and I’m Nicky Nail Gun—Theresa chose Krylon Chalky Finish New Leaf spray paint. It’s a perfect match for the table top and easy to apply to a multi-faceted assembly like this base.

Using Krylon to paint the table base

And that’s really about it for this pallet ideas project. A few things I’d recommend thinking about: Once you add the pallet wood to the table top, it’s heavy, so help moving it might be necessary. Also, with the lacquer, make sure to brush it nicely into the edges to get good coverage. And, get some lacquer thinner or acetone to clean your brush.

Staining the edge of the table

MyFixitUpLife shares design inspiration, DIY tips, and behind-the-scenes interviews MyFixitUpLife’s husband-and-wife duo, Mark & Theresa, design, renovate, and share how-to tips to make your projects easier and more fun.

Creating a Wood Bead Planter with Not Just A Housewife

By: Guest Blogger

Guest blogger Stacy Risenmay of Not JUST A Housewife is back with a creative and fun project. Follow her tutorial on how to create a wood bead planter.

I drew a sketch of this project months and months ago but it kept getting pushed back. When I partnered with Minwax® for several posts, I knew this could be one of the projects which gave me the opportunity to finally cross it off my list :)

Wood Bead Planter

I put it up in my dining room and I like it there but it really is for my future bedroom. Since I don’t know when that room will get done, It has a temporary home that works for now.

Close up of wood bead planter

Here is what you will need.

Supplies:

(3) 3/4″ square dowels

(8) 1″ wooden beads

sandpaper

wood glue

cotton rope ( I used clothes line)

foam brush

Minwax® Wood Finish™ stain

drill & drill bit the same size as hole in bead

Step 1: I cut six pieces 7.5 inches long and six more pieces 6 inches long.

Pieces for wood bead planter

Step 2: Two of the 7.5 inch pieces and two of the 6 inch pieces will be glued together to form a square.

Gluing pieces to create box for planter

You will end up with three squares.

Square pieces for planter

Step 3: Trace the inside of one of the squares into a thin piece of plywood and cut it out to act as the bottom of the planter. It should fit snugly inside one of the squares. After you sand all the pieces, you will glue along the inside seam of the bottom piece. Wipe away excess glue with a damp paper towel since even the “stainable” wood glues don’t stain as well as bare wood. The glue seams will be on the inside and won’t really be visible once the planter is hanging.

Sanding the planter boxes

Step 4: It is time to stain! I chose my old time favorite,  Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Dark Walnut. I like to use a foam brush to apply the stain.

*TIP* I used a paper clip that I straightened out a bit to dip the beads into the stain.

Dark Walnut Minwax Wood Finish and square piece

Step 5: Once the stain has dried, stack the squares up and using the bead as a guide, drill all the way through. Put a scrap piece of wood underneath to protect your work station.

Drilling stained square piece for rope

Step 6: Cut four pieces of rope to your desired length. Knot one end and add tape to the other end so it won’t fray and so it will thread more easily. Thread the rope through the holes of the bottom piece.

Rope threaded through box planter

Turn it over and start threading the beads and other squares.

Beads added on rope

Now it is ready for you to add a plant and hang it up!

Finished planter hanging

Here is a quick video recap of the process:

Stacy Risenmay is a DIY enthusiast. In her blog, Not Just a Housewife, she shares her adventures of fixing up her 1938 cottage. She believes that whether it’s big or small, everyone should love their space. Learn more about Stacy and visit: http://www.notjustahousewife.net/about. You can also follow Stacy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Creating a Simple DIY Frame with Not Just a Housewife

By: Guest Blogger

Guest blogger Stacy Risenmay of Not JUST A Housewife uses Minwax® to create a simple frame.

I have a picture frame addiction. When Shane and I first were married, I would save my money and then pick out a new picture frame. As poor newly weds, a frame was a total splurge. Sometimes when I find a cute print or my kids draw me a picture, it will be an odd size and won’t fit into the standard size frame. That is when it is handy to know how to make your own frames!

There are many different ways to make a frame but I tried to think of a way to show you that used minimal tools for those of you who may not have a joiner or a router. I have partnered with Minwax® to bring you this simple DIY tutorial :)

Finished frame

I had a long skinny piece of 1/8″ plywood that got stuck in the back corner of my garage because I wasn’t sure what I would be able to do with a piece that size. When I was thinking of this frame, I knew it would be a good choice for this project. I cut two sets. One set was wider by about half an inch. I used my miter saw to cut the ends at 45 degree angles. You could also use a miter box.

frame pieces with dimensions

I sanded all the pieces with a fine grit sandpaper. Be careful not to round the edges.

sanded frame pieces

You will glue the skinny set to the wider set which creates a grove (that normally a router would make) for the glass to sit in.

gluing pieces together

After the glue dries, you can now glue the frame together at the corners.

gluing corner pieces

You can use corner clamps to hold them together or if you don’t have them, use heavy books pressed up against the edges to keep it together while it dries.

After it has dried, add some thin trim to the edges for added detail and to hide the edges of the two pieces of plywood.

glued frame and trim

Clamp or use the book method again to hold it together while it dries. If you need to putty any gaps, use a sandable, stainable putty.

frame with trim added

Choose a stain (or paint) you would like to use on your frame. I went with Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Early American this time. Apply it liberally and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes.

staining frame

After the 10 minutes are up, remove the excess stain with a paper towel.

wiping excess stain off frame

Once it has dried completely, add a sealer. I chose Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane. I applied it with a brush but for a small project like this, it might have been easier to use the spray polyurethane.

applying polyurethane

To hold the glass and photo in place, you need to add these little guys. I never knew the real name until I did a search on Amazon for them. They are called turn buttons. They are handy to have for when your other frames lose their little metal bendy tabs. Or am I the only one who accidentally breaks those off?

attaching drill buttons

See how the glass has a place to rest? Now you can customize not only the size of photo your frame holds but you can make your frame thicker than the 1/8″ plywood I used. The piece you add to the back (that is 1/2″ less in width) does need to be 1/8″ thick though. For example, you could use a 1×4 board to make the frame. A 1×4 board is 3.5″ wide so the 1/8″ plywood for the back would need to be cut to 3″wide.

close up of frame with turn buttons

Then your frame is ready to display your favorite print!

finished frame on shlef

I saw this quote by Mark Black last week and it really resonated with me. I have a very hard time relaxing. I feel like if I am relaxing then I am not being productive and being productive is really important to my personality type. But if I don’t force myself to relax, I get burned out. I thought having this in my office would be a great reminder. Relaxing is important :)

Make sure and check out the Made For Love campaign that Minwax® has going on right now. Remember that sweet video from my last post? I just love it!

Stacy Risenmay is a DIY enthusiast. In her blog, Not Just a Housewife, she shares her adventures of fixing up her 1938 cottage. She believes that whether it’s big or small, everyone should love their space. Learn more about Stacy and visit: http://www.notjustahousewife.net/about. You can also follow Stacy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

How to Make a Giant DIY Chalkboard with Thrifty Décor Chick

By: Guest Blogger

Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick is back with another amazing DIY project. See how she created a giant chalkboard to create a school house look for the perfect space. 

Hey there! I’m still in beast mode as I work on finishing up the loft/craft room/office makeover. I’m determined to get it done by the end of the month and I think I’ll make it!

I got a TON done in the past few days. I’m excited to share the little DIY project I added above the cabinets.

Craft room before the chalkboard

I’ve always known what I wanted to put up there. A massive chalkboard. I knew it would be a fun place for organization but also would look great against the white background.

This was a fairly inexpensive project for the size and I’m loving how it turned out. I joined up with Minwax® as I do occasionally to share how I use their stains, which I used on this project as well.

The first thing you’ll need to do is get a SMOOTH board. This is important, obviously, as you’ll be writing on it. :) You can spend $50 on some nice smooth stuff but I didn’t want to spend that much, so I kept looking. You know I love the luan for the DIY shiplap look I’ve added in here, but it’s not smooth enough.

I ended up finding a higher grade luan/plywood that was $19 for the sheet. I had it cut down to the size I needed — this is how the smooth side looks.

Plywood used for the chalkboard

We held it up, made sure it was leveled and then nailed it in.

Close up of plywood being nailed in

You can paint before hanging or after, I prefer standing up to do it. I taped off the edges (although I was adding trim so it wasn’t really necessary) and did two coats of a dark paint as a primer (I don’t have any tinted primer right now) and then two coats of the chalkboard paint.

Finished painted chalkboard

I loved it right away! It was the perfect contrast against the planked walls and I love it with the sconces!

Here’s a tip that some don’t realize — you really need to “season” a chalkboard before using it. This will make it easier to erase the chalk down the road. I haven’t always done this and the chalk still wipes away with a wet rag, but if you are using a real eraser especially, I always suggest doing this.

You just take some chalk on it’s side and rub it over the whole board until it’s covered.

seasoning the chalkboard

Then wipe it away — if you want a real cloudy board you can use an eraser or dry rag. I use a wet one because I like how it looks after the fact. :)

Then it was time to stain my trim. I found a pretty chair rail to use — before I started staining I made sure to pre-stain with Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

pre-staining the chalkboard trim

I can’t express how much better your staining projects will turn out if you take the extra few minutes to use this. I used to be too impatient every time and some wood would turn out crazy blotchy. You just wipe it on with a foam brush and then let it dry. You can stain almost immediately.

I went with my favorite Minwax® Wood Finish™–dark walnut. It’s a classic, darker stain that is really brown — no red tones to it at all. I use these foam brushes (at a great price!) to apply all my stains.

Staining chalkboard trim

Be sure when staining to not let any part of it dry — so don’t stop one part and then start up again later. You need to keep what is called a “wet edge” while staining. With smaller projects like this it’s not hard to finish up, but if you are tackling something large, be sure you have time to focus on it.

Don’t worry if the piece looks a little iffy while you stain. See how uneven it looked while I was staining? Let it sit for a bit (I usually only let it sit for a minute or two, but the longer you wait the deeper the stain) and then wipe with a clean towel.

Wiping off stain

The more you wipe the more it will even out. If it’s still not right you can add more stain and do it all again.

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out. You know how much I love contrast (if you don’t know, I DO) and it looks lovely. The stained trim just makes the whole thing.

Chalkboard with trim

I was on a roll and got the cabinets painted too. They turned out great, I just have to do a few touch ups.

painted cabinets

I love love love the sconces with the chalkboard.

Chalkboard with sconces

I have a few ideas in mind for this — one is a permanent calendar I can write on each month. I also plan to dress it up with photos and other fun stuff to bring in more color.

Finished chalkboard with banner hanging

The whole space is very white right now (which I’m actually quite liking) BUT there will be plenty of color coming in with art, pillows and accessories. I picked up some bright knobs for the cabinets last night but I have to see them on before I decide on those.

These were two of the last big projects, whoot!! Some minor stuff is left to do and the desk and countertops, which a big element in here and also the most expensive. I’m just so happy that this room is so close to done and that I love it as much as I hoped I would.

Finished product

I’m loving the nod to a school house look the chalkboard creates — this room will be used for homework and projects, so it is fitting. :)

Just for kicks let’s look at how far this room has come. I’m dying to decorate this space but will hold off till the counters and desk are in. It’s so close!! This is going to be such a fun room. :)

Unfinished craft room

Sarah’s blog, Thrifty Decor Chick, features more great DIY projects that will help you have a lovely home without spending a ton of money. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more.