Category Archives: Guest Blog

Take Gardening Indoors and Create a Wall Garden with MyFixItUpLife

By: Guest Blogger

April is Minwax National Woodworking Month®! Download the Minwax National Woodworking Month® mail-in rebate form and you could save up to $17 on select Minwax® products. 

Guest Blogger Theresa of MyFixItUpLife is back with a great project allowing you to show off your green thumb inside your home. Follow her step-by-step instructions to learn how to create this gorgeous indoor wall garden to put your succulents on display.

Enjoying pretty little plants can be a year-round pleasure with a custom-stained pallet indoor wall garden.

1-measure-succulents-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtThe size of the succulents dictated the size of this indoor wall garden.

I’ve been a little obsessed with making projects from pallets and finding new ways to display succulents around my home. Those little bulbous plants are so perfect for a busy family lifestyle, as they don’t require much maintenance beyond watering. And they only like to be re-watered when their soil is dry.

As I was thinking about new excuses to incorporate succulents into my formal-farmhouse home decor, I landed on the idea of creating living wall art as an indoor wall garden. Vertical gardens can be any size and shape, which makes creating them so much fun. And a wall garden can be customized to the style of your home, just by changing the material, shape, and the stain color.

For this project, I immediately envisioned using a charming color that I’ve chosen before for our dining table makeover. I smile about the Antique Jade from the Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain collection every time I sit down to eat. After months of use, the joy still hasn’t faded into the background, and I suspect it never will.

Supplies for the indoor wall garden.

Succulents. Before I started on this DIY project, I ordered a collection of succulents from Amazon in 2-inch pots. The two inches became the measurement that dictated the rest of the project.

Pallet wood. We have been building a variety of projects with pallets over the past few months, so I was lucky to have a collection of cut-offs in our wood pile. Finding a pallet can be easy or tough, depending on where you live. Typically your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore has pallets.

Stain. I chose Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in Antique Jade, and used a synthetic brush to apply the stain.

Tools. For this project I used a cordless miter saw (an oscillating tool with clamps also would work), tape measure, impact driver, pencil, square, oscillating tool for sanding (sandpaper works fine, too), and all-purpose glue.

How-to for the indoor wall garden.

2-measure-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtThe first step to this project is measuring the pieces.

2d-measure-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtAfter marking each triangle, I checked the hypotenuse of the triangle.

3c-cut-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtCutting each triangle is fairly easy on a miter saw, but it isn’t the only saw that can cut the pieces.

5-layout-the-pieces-for-the-planter-boxes-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtAfter cutting each piece, I lined them up to check that I cut everything I needed.

6-create-the-backer-for-the-planter-from-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtThe next part is creating the backer for the wall garden. We have a collection of small pieces of pallet wood, so it was a patchwork project fitting them all together.It would be much easier with long boards.

7-sand-the-backer-and-pieces-of-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art

8-wipe-clean-pallet-wood-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art

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12c-ready-for-stain-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art

IMG_2830The first step in staining involves some Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, which helps promote a uniform acceptance of stain. When working with pallet wood, I definitely recommend using a pre-stain. After the pre-stain is dry, which is about 15 minutes, lightly sand the finish before applying the stain.

13-first-dip-into-stain-antique-jade-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtThere’s something magical about opening a can of color. I chose Minwax® Based Wood Stain in Antique Jade. I always make sure to carefully dip the brush so not to get too much on the brush for the first few passes.

Screenshot-2017-02-22-11.36.50The Cottage collection from Minwax® has a really sweet color palette of charming colors, perfect for a farmhouse style home.

14b-brushing-on-stain-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-ArtWhen staining wood, I like to go slow. Rushing a stain project can compromise a really good finish, and this stain will make the project last a very long time.

15-lining-inside-bottom-of-the-planter-boxes-for-water-sealing-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art-gorilla-glueI lined the bottom of each planter box with clear tape, so to add a bit of extra protection against water in the planter boxes.

IMG_2832-2The next step is sealing the stain with a protective finish. I recommend using Minwax® Polycrylic™ Protective Finish. It is ideal for sealing light-colored stains.

IMG_2271My little wall garden makes me very happy. The stain elevates the look from feeling like a rustic pallet into a sweet little wall art that warms up the room.

16f-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art-e1487787068146Filled with little succulents, the wall art is a little pop of bliss in my home. Enjoying succulents in a new way, I’m happy to have spent the afternoon creating this project for my family to enjoy year-round.

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16b-after-Minwax-Succulent-Pallet-Wood-Wall-Art

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.

Create a DIY Mid-Century Planter on a Budget

By: Guest Blogger

April is Minwax National Woodworking Month®! Download the Minwax National Woodworking Month® mail-in rebate form and you could save up to $17 on select Minwax® products. 

Guest Blogger Jen of City Farmhouse is back to show you how you can have high-end home decor without the high costs that come along with it. Follow along with her tutorial to learn how you can create your own chic, mid-century planter for a fraction of the price.

West-Elm-Knock-Off-Planter-Save-over-100

Hi there friends! If you are one to spot trends then you have probably noticed the wood leg planter around town. I found them for the first time last year at Target and fell in love. I waited for them to go on clearance, then snatched them up. They have a clean, mid-century modern look that is super stylish & chic but can be a bit pricey. I found the ones I used for this project a few weeks ago at West Elm and knew right away that they were a great look. The mix of wood and cement were a perfect pairing of textures. Once I saw the price I knew a DIY was in order.

Growing up my dad would always joke with me that I had caviar taste on a McDonald’s budget and I am not going to lie, I did. But the most wonderful thing was that I had a mom who encouraged me to be resourceful.Anytime I wanted something expensive, which god knows we couldn’t afford it, she would help me get the look for less. So often it was easier than I thought and this project is no exception.

West-Elm-Planter

 

I am thrilled to be partnering on Minwax on this project as a part of their Blogger Brigade in 2017. The retail on this Wood Leg Cement Planter is $149 and I was able to make it for just over $20. This project is so simple, anyone, at any DIY level can do this.

Here is what you will need to tackle your own West Elm knock off planter….

cement planter

2-36″ lengths of square 3/4″ poplar or pine

Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths in Natural Oak & Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Puritan Pine. 

  • Wood Glue
  • 1.5″ finishing nails
  • 4 clamps
  • drill with small bit
  • sander or sandpaper
  • cotton cloth
  • latex gloves

Modern-Finish-With-Minwax

Now you are ready to the make your “x” base after the stain is dry. You are going to attach your pre-stained pieces with wood glue and a clamp. Once the glue has dried you can flip it over and attach the fastener with screws and wood glue. See below images to get a visual.

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West-Elm-Knock-Off-Mid-Century-Planter-Securing-the-Supports-683x1024

Once your “x” brackets are fully dried you can attach the legs using glue and clamps. Once they are fully dry you can nail in a finishing nail, be sure to pre-drill first.

West-Elm-Knock-Off-Mid-Century-Planter-Gluing-Clamping-683x1024

1-West-Elm-Knock-Off-Mid-Century-Planter-Base-731x1024

You can sand away any residual glue with sandpaper or a hand sander.

Measurements-West-Elm-Knock-Off-Mid-Century-Planter-Sanding-682x1024

Tada….

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Thank you for stopping by! Have a happy day!

Jen shares DIY projects and thrifty decorating solutions. Her design philosophy is that bringing style to your home doesn’t have to break the bank. Learn more about Jen and visit City Farmhouse. You Can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Closet Makeover! with Not JUST a Housewife

By: Guest Blogger

Guest blogger Stacy Risenmay of Not JUST A Housewife is back with a fun project to help you get organized and liven up your storage space. Follow her tutorial on how to give your closet a stylish makeover.

My Saturdays have been spent doing other things rather than DIYing. But here and there I have been working on a project that I have been putting off for a year. I decided it was high time to get my office closet made over to match my new home office!

This is also my first Minwax® post of 2017. I am so excited to be teaming up with them again to bring you tons of projects this year.

If you want to see how my office closet was supposed to look like when people actually put things away when they were finished, you can see my original office closet post HERE.

This is what it looked like after 4 years of use. Pretty close to the same, but we did get lazy over time.
Before image of the closet before the makeover

Here is what it looks like now!

The peacock blue walls were pretty but didn’t match my new office so I painted the walls and shelves black. I kept the trim and ceiling white.

Office-closet

I think my favorite thing is the new pegboard with actual pegs instead of metal hooks. I’m going to show you how I made it today :)

I didn’t change a lot of the functionality of the office because it has worked for 4 years and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The one thing that didn’t work for us was having every single little thing hanging on the pegboard. My boys (and even me sometimes!) didn’t take the time to carefully hang up the screwdrivers and pliers after each use. They would get tossed in a random box instead. I decided to hang things that were too big for the pegboard boxes and things like paint brushes that would get their bristles messed up if tossed in a box.

There is a box for tape measures, a box for box cutters and other sharp tools (the highest one), and one for screwdrivers, pliers, allen wrenches, and other small hand tools.

office-closet-makeover

I added pegs to the baskets so they can be moved around too.

office-closet-pegboard

Since the closet is in the corner of a tiny room, we opted to keep the door off so it would be less awkward. Because of that, the closet needs to not only match but needs to be organized and nice to look at. I even added a couple of snake plants :)

tool-closet-in-office

To make the pegboard, I bought a 2 foot by 4-foot piece of 1/4″ plywood. I originally was going to make the holes 2 inches apart so I measured it and marked it off that way. After looking at how close together they would be, I opted to only mark every other corner to make them 4 inches apart. If I ever decide I need more holes, it will be easy to add them :)

I used a 1/2″ drill bit to drill out the holes.

TIPS:

  • Choose a bit that has a point so it won’t slip.
  • Go slowly so it doesn’t rip the plywood and splinter around the hole.

If you do have some that splinter, don’t panic. Use a stainable wood putty that closely matches the stain you are going to use to patch it up.

measure-for-holes

I wanted the pegboard, the small boxes for the pegboard, and the larger storage boxes to all be the same color as the IKEA baskets. The baskets have a weathered wood tone that I love. I have used Minwax® Wood Finish™ in Weather Oak many times (I love it!) and knew it was more on the grey side. You can see my bench I made a few months ago to see the stain color. I decided to add a little bit of another stain to brown it up a bit. I chose “Provincial” but “Early American” would also work. I added one tablespoon to one quart of Weather Oak.

Make sure to test out any stain on a scrap piece of wood (the same type of wood you will be using for your project) to make sure it is the color you want. This goes for any color, not just custom mixes.

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Once the pegboard was done and stained and I had built simple boxes, I needed to measure and mark where the holes needed to go for the pegs. Do not drill all the way through. Drill slowly and keep checking as you go. Use wood glue to secure the pegs to the back of the boxes.

drill-holes-for-pegs

Just like my crate I made for my corner shelves, I cut out vinyl to make a custom stencil for the bigger storage boxes. The one that says “Tools” will hold all of the smaller miscellaneous tools like laser levels and pipe cutters.

DIY-closet-organized

With crafting or DIY, there are so many little items. It is so nice to have so many bins and baskets to hold them all and keep them from being a jumbled mess. Now I just hope the boys put things back where they go after they use them!

tool-closet-makeover

I wanted to add a sign to the top of the pegboard and thought this quote seemed appropriate. I just used scrap wood from the garage, a little paint, and another custom stencil.

closet-after

build-your-dreams-sign

The part of the closet that you can’t see from straight on is actually the biggest part. This closet is over the stairs so it is angled. The top shelf is almost 5 feet deep. The second shelf is over 3 feet deep and the bottom shelf is about 2 feet deep. I keep the things I use frequently towards the front and things I rarely use get put in labeled boxes in the back so it is easier to pull and slide them out when needed.

HR-tool-closet-organized

I didn’t want the slanted space under the bottom shelf to be wasted so I got some empty paint cans (you can buy new empty ones at Home Depot) and used small hooks to hang them from the underside of the shelf.

DIY-supplies-in-paint-cans

I am really happy with how it turned out! It was quite the chore to empty, paint, build, and fill it back up but it was worth it!

office-closet-makeover

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

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.