Creators Say Gay!

I have joined Charlotte from @atcharlotteshouse and over 50 other creators on Instagram in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

As of this writing we have raised over $2,000! Head over to Charlottes Venmo and donate HERE

For my contribution I came up with the free download below.

Want to see how to picture came together? Check out my Instagram reel HERE!

DIY Custom Table Top

So back in June my very dear friend reached out to me on Facebook asking if I was making dining room tables yet because she had just purchase her first home and wanted a table… I having only 4 months of wood working experience under my belt did what any sane person would do… I told her “Of course I can build you a table.. what kind of table do you want? I can have it done in 2 weeks”

I’ll just let you know now that obviously I finished the table but it took WAY longer than 2 weeks… Thank goodness my friend has a heart of gold!

So now on to what you came to this post for.. the directions! *The entire process is saved in my highlights as well on Instagram

The entire table top was built out of 2×4’s.. (the base pictured below) and 1×4’s for the top, along with 1 sheet of 1/4 in. plywood to attach your top pieces too (believe me it makes it MUCH easier).

Start off by determining what dimensions you your finial table to be, the measurements for the table I built were 3×6.

The first thing you want to build is the base frame (two lightest tan colors in the pictures below) based off of your dimensions… minus an 1.5 inches on each side (3 inches total) to accommodate for the boarder pieces (darkest tan color below).

If your table it smaller you may only need one support piece or you may need more if you table is larger.

All of the tiny black lines in the second photo are where I placed my Kreg jig screws to attach the pieces and don’t forget to wood glue your joints before screwing.

Now before you jump to the boarder pieces you are going to want to sand the base now. Since you will be putting the top boards on you only need to do this with one side, sand the smooth side (not the side with all the Kreg jig screw holes) so that once you put your top on, it will be clean looking from the bottom side… I did 60, 120 (then spritzed them down with water to raise the grain, once dry) 120 again and then 220.

Here’s where you can take it up a notch if you choose to. The boarder gets attached on its side to the base so that the top just “sits in”. However I didn’t like that the edges of the 2×4 are rounded and the edges of the 1×4 are squared so I cut out a notch running the length of the 2×4 (1/4in and just deep enough to accommodate your 1×4 plus your 1/4in plywood… measure your wood before you cut!) Next cut and sand your boarder pieces. Just remember that the notch should be on the same side of the base as the Kreg jig screw holes 😀 and they should all be facing the center.. and of course lined up.

Now the FUN part!

Heres where you get to have loads of fun… I divided the opening (between the boarder pieces) into 3 parts and decided I wanted the middle to be slightly larger to act almost like a table runner.

Cut down your plywood into the 3 separate sections and dry fit them into the table (if anything needs to be fixed now is the time to do it).

For the long sides simply cut down your 1x4s to the same length as your plywood, sand then glue to your boards.

Ready for fun?!?! For the center board decide what design you want and *Sand your boards before you start cutting.. I promise it makes it easier* cut your boards and lay our your design WITHOUT ANY GLUE. Its ok if the hang over, once everything is where you want it and glued down you can cut the edges off using the circular saw.

With all 3 of your sections complete do ANOTHER dry fit, again if anything needs to be trimmed up, now is the time to fix it.

Take the boards back out and (Spoiler Alert) GLUE all of the places that wood touches wood 😂

You guys have a table top!

Now you can wood fill any spots that need it, and finish however you would like.. just make sure to seal it. I used Early American stain and 3 coats of polyurethane.

If you make the table top please make sure you tag me in your photos, I would love to see your work!

And if I have mucked up the waters on any of the details and you have questions please let me know and I would be more than happy to help!!

Fails To Fantastic.. and so it begins

This idea if you will was born out of a REALLY bad day, you see I’m a self proclaimed protectionist and up until October 6th (my REALLY bad day) I was “ok” with DIYing all the things and throwing a giant temper tantrum (not on screen for Instagram) and then picking myself up and moving on.

But something inside me broke along with my vase that day and I couldn’t be more grateful! That day and that vase the amazing community that has been following my journey on Instagram came and lifted me up and let me know they too had been there!

The whole thing really got me thinking… We work so hard on projects. Wither it’s big or small it doesn’t quite matter, but with Instagram we style it and do everything to get the perfect picture and then… we move on.

Maybe we turned it around so you couldn’t see the edges that don’t exactly line up or we cropped the picture so you can’t see the uneven edges, or it could be the simple fact that we didn’t get around to caulking the seams before we wanted to get the picture up.

Now don’t get me wrong there are some projects that go off without a hitch but I’m not sure that I’ve personally had any of those so far.

So I came up with #FailsToFantastic

The first Sunday of every month I will pick a project that I have completed (or one the lovely folks that flipped my home did) and I will show you how/why it is a “fail” and then I am going to show you how to fix it and make it “fantastic”.

On that same token, I want YOU to share your projects with me. Maybe it’s a project you’ve already completed or one that you need some guidance on. Use #FailsToFantastic and tag me in your pictures so I can see them.

Restoration Hardware Heston Coffee Table Dupe

I just couldn’t get the Restoration Hardware Heston Coffee Table out of my head (See photo below)… but I also couldn’t fathom spending $1,500+ either, so I built it for 90% less than what the sell it for 😂 I have the whole process documented in the highlights over on my Instagram under “DIY Concrete Coffee Table” if you want to see exactly how I did it. If not keep scrolling for the step by step instructions.

Supplies Needed

Table Top Steps

  1. Cut each one of the sheets of plywood into a 36″ diameter circles
    • You can do this a few different ways. I started out by putting a nail in the center of the board and measuring out 18″ and tying a string to the nail and drawing the circle. Next I cut out the circle with my Jigsaw. Repeating for each of the pieces of plywood. Now depending on how good you are with the Jigsaw this may be the easiest route for you. I however had some inconsistencies with my circles so I went back with our router and and evened out the edges as best as I could before attaching all three of the circles together.
    • They do sell router bits that will cut the 36″ from the start and you will end up with a better product but no-one has come over and said anything about my uneven circles 😂
  2. Now to connect them together.. here is a step I DIDN’T DO but you SHOULD… GLUE AND CLAMP the pieces together and then use 2″ screws from both sides. I only used screws and this created a little bit of a headache for me down the road but I was able fix it. I used 8 screws on each side but you probably won’t need that many if you use the glue.
  3. Once your glue has set up and everything is solid its time for the cement! I mixed small batches as I didn’t want to buy another box if I didn’t need to. Mix 24oz of Feather finish with 12oz of water, I used my hand paint pale with the liners so it was easier clean up. With mixing such a small batch it will dry quicker as well so you will want to work quickly.
    1. Apply a thin coat, starting around the edges and then the top.
    2. You want it as thin and smooth as possible. I found it easiest to achieve this by tilting the trowel outwards (top away) and spreading the product out and then tilting the trowel the opposite direction (bottom away) and pulling the mud towards me. While working in a circular motion around the table top.
    3. Once it is dry you will need to VERY lightly sand it with 220 grit, you are just trying to get rid of the rough edges and semi smooth.. that is it. You are not trying to get it like a baby’s bottom.
    4. Wipe it down and apply your second coat, try to make it as smooth as possible, so there is less sanding to do.
    5. Let it dry and then sand again.
    6. Repeat the process one final time with the 3rd coat.
  4. Now that you have 3 coats and the table is smooth.. your almost done 😀
  5. You can go straight in with the polyurethane, but… I took White Wash Stain and cut it with Willow Grey Stain until I got a light grey color that I liked and then I painted it onto the table (and then I PANICKED.. lol) This why the Instagram highlights stop right before this 😂
    • I thought the stain would still let the concrete show through but it didn’t.. so I let it dry and then we back in with the 220 grit and sanded until I got a weathered/worn look that I loved!
  6. Wipe down and apply the polyurethane.
  7. Once you complete the legs and the top is dry, attach from the underside with glue and screw, I did 2 screws per leg (so 8 screws holding the base to the top).

Table Base Steps

  1. Cut down your cedar boards 4 boards at 30″ at the long end of the 45 and 4 boards at 14″ at the long end of the 45
    • If you are not comfortable with Half Lap Joints (how I did it) you can make the base following the below steps.
      1. It’s easiest if you make 2 pairs for this method
      2. Find the center on 1 of the long boards for each pair, and mark it.
      3. Now measure the width of the other long board (not all 2×4’s are 1.5×3.5’s) in each pair.
      4. Take the width of the board you just measured for the corresponding pairs and divide that number in two.
      5. Take the first board you measured (the one with center marked) and measure out the distance you just found in step 4.
      6. You should have 3 lines on the board now, the two other lines should be the width of the other long board in the pair. You can check this by laying the “width” board on-top of the “marked” board.
      7. Once you know the marks are correct. Cut on the two outer lines.
      8. Now connect the two shorter boards to the long board (center to center) using wood glue and a Kreg jig and Kreg screws (Make sure to drill your holes on the long side so that the top/floor will hide them).
      9. Repeat with the other pair.
      10. To connect the short pieces to the long pieces, apply wood glue to the edges and screw together (again screwing from the long boards so they will be hidden once the table is done).
    • Ok so now onto how I did it.. I did half lap joints, but I haven’t been doing wood working long enough to feel confident in my ability to talk you through it, but you are in luck! Dusty with Dusty Lumber Company has a video showing you how it should be done.

Quick Feature Wall

So I have to tell you a little story as to HOW I got to the day I ended up doing my very first DIY project.

You see, my husband had started our built in fireplace, and I thought it would only take 2 weeks (clearly I have no concept of how long projects take.. I am aware of this NOW)… Well after 2 MONTHS the fireplace was done but not the shelves.. the left side shelves took another 4 MONTHS!

My husband is more of a big picture guy while I’m a details person.

So the original plan was to have the right side shelves be removable so that our Christmas tree could go there and I think that might have had something to do with the halt in progress.

It was now February and the right side shelves were still not even on the radar of being started and the fireplace had been started 9 MONTHS prior.. I knew I needed to do SOMETHING (I am NOT the wife that pesters their spouse.. clearly 😂) and I didn’t feel confident in my ability to make the shelves myself so I needed to come up with something that I felt I could do 100% by myself… I DID NOT WANT TO ASK FOR HELP!

  • So I came up with an easy slat wall.
  • I knew I wanted cedar because all of the shelves on the left side were done with cedar and I wanted it to be cohesive.
  • So I measured the width of the space and added up how many boards I would need (I used 1×6 boards)
  • Then I decided that I wanted more dimension so I ripped them down 2 1/4″ strips, after cutting them down to length so they were easier to handle. *** This is a step I would do opposite if I were doing it again, because I learned very quickly that walls are not square so I have larger gaps on the end in some spots and no gaps in others.
  • Once the boards were all cut to length and width I was ready to install! I borrowed my husbands nail gun and used tile spaces so that you could still see the black peek through (again to tie the two sides together). It was a tough holding the boards and spacers and nail gun.. I should have asked for help, but I didn’t.. I struggled through and it got done 😊
  • I’m proud of this wall even with all its imperfections!

Was this wall part of the original plan? No

Do I love it even more than what was originally planned? Yes, because…

It started me down a path that I didn’t know I NEEDED! I have always loved home decor and renovation, but I didn’t know that I could be the one doing the renovations until I attempted to do it. If my husband had finished those shelves.. who knows, The Gutsy Homemaker may not even exist! I am so very grateful for this wall and all that it has come since then.