Category Archives: Repurposing

Finally! A beautiful nightstand makeover.

By: Minwax

Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick loves sharing simple, inexpensive ways to decorate your home. Check out her latest project using Minwax® products.

This post is sponsored by Minwax®. I only work with and share brands I know and love!

Hey there!! I’m SO excited about this project my friends! It’s been so very long since I’ve been able to focus on a DIY anything since my back injury. And this one has been such a long time coming — I finally finished this up with the help of Minwax®. I work with throughout the year and their stain made this project shine!

We’ve had these nightstands for years! Goodness. I mean…this is one of my biggest procrastinations ever. 🙂 Here’s a reminder of the Tarva dressers (from IKEA) I started with:

These are small dressers but were the perfect size for a nightstand as well. I really wanted something with storage. 👍 When I put them together years ago I cut down the legs with my saw. It makes them the perfect height for by the bed and I just prefer the shorter look.

I went back and forth on a look for these forEVER. Here’s a reminder of how they looked in our old master:

I replaced the wood knobs with random IKEA ones we already had — not sure why cause it didn’t do a whole lot to help it out. 😉

I always knew I’d use stain somehow and add some trim. The exact details I wasn’t sure of. But when we moved into this house it all fell into place. My inspiration is a project for our master I haven’t even started yet — I’ll share with you (hopefully) soon!

I wanted to use a deep blue color and a dark stain. I went back and forth on whether I should stain the front of the drawers or stain the trim and top. I decided on the latter mostly because the pine these are made of isn’t necessarily the best. Lots of knots I didn’t want to accentuate.

So I started painting with no primer. I’m a total rebel! I knew I was going to have to do multiple coats no matter what. After the first coat it’s important to do a light sanding to knock down the texture that pops up with paint:

You’ll have to do that with primer as well. No need to go crazy with it — just a light going over is fine. Wipe it down with a rag or tack cloth before moving on to your next coat! (This pretty blue is called Gale Force.)

What a difference another coat makes! The grain becomes less and less noticeable:

I started on the stain while I waited on the paint to dry. I wanted to go darker this time and went for an old favorite, Jacobean by Minwax:

It’s just a yummy color! I used it on our hardwoods in the old house and it’s a beautiful dark brown without any red tones.

I use gloves and a rag to stain. Makes it super easy to apply and I find it quicker than using a brush:

It really gets the stain into the wood too — you’re really rubbing it in.

I only do one coat of stain but if you want to deepen the color you can do one or two more. Do be sure to wait till it’s dry in between coats or you’ll have a gummy mess.

Make sure your stain is dry before starting the protective coat as well. I used their fast-drying semi-gloss polyurethane because I have absolutely zero patience. 😂 Never shake your poly — it will create bubbles and bubbles are the enemy of a beautiful, smooth finish. Always stir:

Staining is my favorite because it’s immediate gratification, but poly is a close second because it really brings out the beauty of the wood:

You want to smooth out that finish as much as possible. It’s helpful to use your light source and look at the item from the side to see what needs touching up. I find a few lighter coats work much better than one heavy-handed coat.

It already looked SO good! But I knew the final addition would make it even better. I used this inexpensive lattice wood trim I’ve shown you a million times to trim out each drawer front. I stained the pieces first and then cut them down to the correct size:

A nail gun makes for quick work (I used very short nails — make sure they won’t go through the back!) but you could absolutely use glue too!

You’re going to have a rough edge if you trim them out like I did. I could have mitered the edges but I’m still using my handheld saw and miter box. (You can (affiliate) get your own here!) I knew the mitered cuts would take little more finesse. Turns out our saw was lost in the move and I need to get that figured out with the movers.

I preferred to have my rough edges facing to the side of the drawers, so I did a long piece along the top and bottom. A bit of stain covered them right up!:

And then when dry, it was time to poly these as well. See how using the light helps?:

I’m absolutely THRILLED with how this came together! Gah! I love it!

The top of the dressers stained up much prettier than I thought it would!:

I’m impressed because we’ve been using these for years without any protection. I tried to stay on top of any spills and avoided leaving drinks on them, but still, I was surprised.

I used pine trim to match the top. Different woods will stain up differently and even the same will have small differences. Pine is definitely a more rustic look, so plan accordingly:

I got the hardware half off at Hobby Lobby weeks ago and just LOVE them on here! My whole plan for this space is kind of a rustic elegance design and the nightstands fit that perfectly:

The blue looks navy sometimes, sometimes a blue green. I like them both. 🙂

I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve been looking at the pine dressers for so long or what, but I’m smitten. They’re just so pretty and…finished. 😉

I still have to finish up my husband’s side though — so close to having these done after years! Sometimes it’s a good thing that I procrastinate. I didn’t have a great vision of what I wanted until we moved into this house.

I had the lamps — I thought I had returned them and went to the basement looking for something else and there they were! I must have known they’d work perfectly!:

Of course, like usual, one finished project starts a series of changes. I plan to change out the bedskirt eventually. It looked great with our old wall color but I don’t like it in here with the drapes and dresser color:

But that I can deal with!

That photo above makes the dresser look really navy, but this one is the more true color. I am obsessed with it! It’s such a pretty blue:

Because you know I have to do it…here’s the before of this dresser:

And this is the after, with some paint, stain and beautiful hardware!:

YAY!! I’m not going to celebrate too much till I finish the other one — but YAY. 😉

If you have any questions about this project let me know! It feels so very good to get things done again after nearly six weeks!!

A Rolling Holiday Serving Cart

The holidays are always a time for parties, so when I took a closer look at this 1990s rolling microwave cart Leigh Ann had been using to pot plants in our garage, I got an idea.

All it had was a thin natural finish over the birch boards, so a light sanding with #150-grit sandpaper quickly removed it, along with the unsightly water marks.

Inside the cabinet was a single shelf and an open storage area, which I decided to use for a wine rack. Needing just four boards, it was easy to cut and nail together.

Under the shelf, I wanted to hang glasses. Using some scrap wood, I made some simple glass racks.

Birch boards always look great when kept natural, so I knew this was an ideal project to finish with four coats of Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer. Note: see how I have my garage door open for ventilation? You can see, too, how the Aerosol Lacquer brings out the natural rich color of the wood.

Remember those dated round, white porcelain knobs? I replaced them with a more contemporary pair of square knobs.

When I was done, the rolling cart looked like this when closed….

And like this when open. The white center section is the original formica, after I scrubbed off the dirt from Leigh Ann’s potting projects. And in case you want a closer look at the interior….

Here it is.

So, the next time you are out hitting the thrift shops, keep an eye out for an out-dated kitchen cart you can easily transform into a contemporary serving cart.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


A Workbench Transformation


I enjoy working on old furniture, which means I need wide workbenches. This maple workbench proved to be too narrow for many of my projects, so I moved it over to a storage room. But Leigh Ann decided it would be a perfect addition to her new potting shed, so we loaded it into our truck and brought it back home.

I knew this would be my best opportunity to give the maple workbench a quick makeover, removing the two woodworking vices that would only get in her way and refreshing its worn finish.


After washing off the dust and dirt, I lightly sanded the legs with #220-grit sandpaper. I then used the aerosol version of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane to replace lost finish around the feet and to strengthen the finish on the legs, shelf and drawer.


The top had some more serious issues, but Leigh Ann reminded me that she was going to be using it to re-pot plants, not fix dinner, so I opted not to give it a complete refinishing.


Instead, I cleaned it thoroughly, scuffed it lightly with #220-grit sandpaper and brushed on a coat of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane to protect the wood against dirt, water, trowels and flower pots.


When Leigh Ann came home, the workbench was ready for us to carry it across the yard and into her new potting shed. She will give the new finish overnight to completely dry, cure and harden, but we could already see that the narrow workbench is perfect for her 8’ x 12’ potting shed.

Until next time,

Refinish, recycle, repurpose.


Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Driftwood Sculptures with City Farmhouse

By: Minwax

Guest Blogger Jen of City Farmhouse is back with a fun DIY project that allows you hold on to your summer memories in a unique and beautiful way. Follow along as she demonstrates how to create these stylish driftwood sculptures. 

I am so excited to share this fun, easy & super stylish summer project with you today! Our collection of driftwood has grown each year, as “hunting for treasure” is a favorite summer pastime. No matter how old my boys get they still like the adventure, you honestly never know what you will find washed up ashore. We have found some pretty awesome pieces lately and it got me thinking, what else could we make with them? I love dimensional & sculptural objects, they add a flavor to open shelving & vignettes that no other accessory can. As I began to see some of the driftwood we found together as art, we all agreed these would make beautiful wood sculptures. Plus it’s a great way to hold onto those summer memories for all to appreciate for years to come.


This project is part of the Minwax® Made With Love campaign that encompasses the concept of something found, finished and loved. I thought this was the perfect project since it’s found pieces from special moments shared together and created with such care, thought & LOVE:).


We usually go for walks along the ocean once a week, we bring a few bags and collect what we like and feels unique to us. The trick is to sort through so we don’t bring the whole beach home with us. Sometimes we will sit with all the pieces if we have too many and give a reason why we should keep it, you can’t imagine how much 2 boys can collect in 30 minutes, lol. This piece below we knew was a keeper from the moment we found it, you can see the reveal in my bookshelves, it’s something special!


They use long sticks to sift through the debris.



Some beach gems….



If you would like to make some of your own driftwood sculptures this is what you need….

  • Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish
  • drop cloth
  • latex gloves
  • mask (if indoors)
  • saw box
  • sander with medium grit sand paper
  • wood glue
  • poplar dowels (I used 1/4″ & 3/8″)
  • poplar craft wood (I used 1.5″ x 3/4″ &  2.5″ x 1.5″)
  • wired brush
  • foam brush
  • flower clippers (to cut the dowels)
  • wood glue
  • drill & bits (1/4″ & 3/8″)
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • stamps or marker (optional)

STEP 1-Cut your bases. I mixed these up cutting both square and rectangular pieces from both lengths of poplar with my saw box. Be sure your wood is secure before you cut to prevent any injuries.



STEP 2 – Sand your bases. You can use sandpaper, a sanding block or an electric sander to smooth the rough edges.



STEP 3 – Clean your wood. Take a wired brush or any large brush and work into the wood removing any particles, sand or debris.


Step 4 – Cut your dowels. I waited until I had each piece in front of me to determine the length I wanted each vertical piece to be. Be sure to leave a little extra to fit into the base and your driftwood. You can use a flower clipper to cut these dowels or the saw, just be sure it is secured first.



Step 5 – Drill into your driftwood and base. Take your drill & bit matching the diameter of your dowels and drill into both pieces. Measure for the middle of the driftwood piece and the base & mark with a pencil.





Step 6 – Glue dowels into both ends. Put a little wood glue on each end and secure it into your piece at the base and bottom of your piece.


Step 7 – Protect your piece. Be sure your wood is completely dry, if in question, leave in the sun for a few days. Seal your sculpture with Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish. Use latex gloves & mask for this part. Take your foam brush and apply, making sure to get into the nooks & crannies. Let dry for a few hours.



Step 8 – Add a personal touch. Using a stamp or marker record the date and/or names to appreciate for years to come. Shane & Jack both made ones for their rooms from pieces they found so it’s nice to have a personal note at the bottom. Who knows maybe these will be in the family for a while, one can hope right?


We made about 8 in all and just to show you different styling options I layered them throughout my den.


Of course no post would be the same without a little photo of Denver.


This is the piece from above, it’s my favorite, I love the contrast, shape and texture, it all works.



I kept the base natural, without stain because I didn’t want it to compete with the organic beauty and tone of the driftwood.










What do you think of the art we made with love from the found driftwood from our little beach adventures? I can’t tell you enough how much I LOVE this project!!! Not only was it easy but it was so cheap, it was under $25 for all my supplies. You can make about 20 with the purchased supplies.

From now through September 30th, take advantage of our Fall Home Celebration rebate and save up to $15 on select Minwax® products that make and keep your floors beautiful. These specially formulated products enhance the natural beauty of your floors and can help protect them so they look great for years to come.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.