Our dining area is next to non-existent in our small little duplex. So we needed a smaller dining table than what we had to fit in that small space. On a Saturday shopping excursion with my extremely patient husband, I found a small rectangular pine dining table at DAV Red Racks Thrift Store for $20. I love transforming old furniture into something new.
I sanded it down using coarse sandpaper. I chose this because I wanted a unfinished textured, slightly “rough” looking product. If you want something more slick and smooth, then you’ll want to either use a stripper to remove any previous finish. Or if you choose to use sandpaper, use a coarse grit to cut the finish or existing paint layers, then a medium grit, then a finer grit, etc…all the way to a super fine grit, so as not to leave marks.
I then used the same Edge-lock painter’s tape to create a design (another tree). Instead of painting it, I wanted to use a wood stain. I applied the Minwax® Jacobean wood stain with a paintbrush (you can also apply with a sponge brush or even an old rag - but you will have to throw the rag out when you’re finished so use one that you’re not attached to!). I wasn’t exactly sure how that would work since the stain is so much thinner than paint. But for the most part, it worked out pretty well. It bled a little bit in a few areas, but I was able to rub those parts out enough so it didn’t show too badly.
After I removed the tape, I got a rag and dipped my finger into my Minwax® Red Mahogany wood stain and gently rubbed it into the tree, to make the tree more subtle, as if it were in a haze. This also helped blend in the few parts that had bled through the tape.
I then applied Minwax® Polyurethane Gloss finish to the top with a paintbrush. Since we were going to be using it for every day use, and we’d have dishes sliding across the top of it as well as normal wear and tear of a dining table, I applied 5 layers of finish with a paintbrush, sanding in between each layer with an ultra fine 320 grit sandpaper.
It’s a perfect fit in our tiny kitchen.
Wouldn't it be great if people actually wrote real letters (ya know, like on paper?) instead of only emails? There's something romantic about a handwritten letter. It's like there's a part of that person in those letters. A connection that you don't get in an electronic impersonal email. I'm not saying we should go back to not having the accessibility and convenience of email - because that would be silly. And let's be real, there are amazing things that are now possible through ever-increasing technology. But nevertheless, there's something magical about holding a piece of paper in your hand in which someone has poured out their heart and soul through parchment and ink...
Okay, so maybe I've watched Pride & Prejudice too many times. But you have to admit that when you get something in the mail other than bills and advertisements, there's a little something inside you that smiles. And you probably rush to open that one first, before the bills and other un-fun parcels.
However, realistically, most of what we receive in the mail is bills. But nevertheless, I need a spot to put those bills instead of on my kitchen table.
So on an afternoon shopping excursion with Meg, I found an old letter holder at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $1.50 (score!). I knew that I wanted it to be purple and green (the soon-to-be colors of my kitchen), but I also knew that I wanted to use stain instead of paint (I prefer the natural wood grain behind the color). So I talked to Morgan at the paint counter at Home Depot® down the road and she whipped up a Behr custom purple stain for me. I also bought another Behr wood stain – “avocado” for the front panels. I sanded it down, using an 80 grit sandpaper (you could probably also use something less course depending on how thick the finish is), and then using a rotary tool to sand the beveled areas (this isn’t a necessary tool to have for this – it just comes in handy for small spaces). I taped off the edges and applied the green stain first. It was a lot thicker than other stains I’ve used (I usually work with a Minwax® Wood Finish stain), so my layers were probably a little thick, which showed less wood grain. But regardless, I like how it turned out so I didn’t sand it off. I then taped off the center to stain the sides. The custom purple stain was slightly thinner, but I still had to make sure that my layers were thin (I applied about 3 coats). I put a couple pieces of scrap paper in between the panels, using an Elmer’s Spray Adhesive, then a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top to seal it. I added some designs to the panels with rubber stamps and an embossing kit. Because the base was a wood stain instead of a paint, the heat from the embossing tool didn’t make it bubble. So I was able to apply the design directly to the wood. And voila! Old letter holder = wall worthy once again.
Every day is a new experiment, a new artistic and crafty journey. I love taking old things and making them new, and I love creating something out of nothing. Be inspired. Be creative. Invest in yourself. Invest in your creativity. And enjoy your life.