A Tray is a Tray? One Style, Three Ways

Well, two styles. Anyway, the point is that I want to show you how one simple tray “style” can become three totally different things when finished! Trays can be a blank canvas (of wood) and be completely personalized. We like to build our trays … (and both of these are our designs!) but you could just as easily transform one that you purchased at the craft store (if you HAVE to …). 🙂 🙂

This first one is just for fun .. I had some reclaimed cedar fence boards left over from making a panel (for a friend) and the scraps were just the right size for a “serving” tray. I used quotations there because, let’s be honest – you can’t actually serve anything on a tray without sides. This tray is just for the table top – just for pretty things that you find make you smile when you walk by. Including, but not limited to, Mason jars, flowers, candles, shiny objects of any size … you get the idea. 🙂 barnwood tray 15barnwood tray close up

This tray is SO PRETTY, and it was a custom order we did for Christmas last year. The monogram really makes this classy and personal at the same time. I’m contemplating adding one to the tray above, as well … maybe for a wedding gift? The Red distressed look is very classic, in a way, and easy to achieve using three coats of a good quality paint, a hard sanding, and then a coat of stain (apply and wipe off) on the top. For extra durability, you should finish it with a coat of poly (over the monogram as well). Quintero Tray

And this one’s for the Huskers. Obviously. One coat of Minwax “Early American” stain, paint the logo, then finish with three coats of water-based poly. I used Matte finish poly on this one just because it’s a more rustic style overall. We have cut the handles instead of installing them on the sides, they are rounded off with the router too for a more comfortable grip. Perfectly practical with sides and everything. Perfect. husker serving tray ruler tray 2015I’ve saved the best for last. This one is the exact same build as the two above! Look how different it looks! 🙂 I simply left the body of the tray natural (it’s reclaimed cedar again, just with the age planed off of it) and used an assortment of antique rulers to fill the bottom. I stained a few of them dark to add color variation. They were simply cut and glued down with (gel) super glue. I weighted them down for a few hours afterwards to help the glue set and keep things in place. LOVE how it turned out.

One basic tray can be so many beautiful things, and so practical, too. 🙂 🙂

~ The Woodworker’s Wife


Reclaimed Wood Porch Pumpkins – Welcome, Fall!

There are so many beautiful things about Fall … cooler weather, evenings with loved ones around the campfire, a mug of hot tea in your cold hands, fuzzy blankets on cold nights … gorgeous rainbow colored leaves falling to the ground! Everything pretty and cozy comes into season for Fall. ❤

I’ve been scanning Pinterest for inspiration on Fall projects. There’s no lack of inspiring photos to get the creative juices flowing!! I found several different versions of reclaimed wood pumpkins (for the front porch!) and decided to give it a try. It’s no coincidence, either, that the very same week that I decided to try out this project, the Woodworker and I decided it was time to sort through our mountains of scrapwood and use it or lose it! 😉

This is PERFECT project for scrap wood odds and ends. I used a mixture of scraps (barnwood, pine value board pieces, etc.) and reclaimed cedar fence boards from our neighbor. 20-40 year old cedar boards get that gorgeous grey, worn look to them from living outdoors. The wood-grain sort of becomes “deep” and gives you this awesome texture to work with! But enough words … you want to see pictures, right? 🙂

porch pumpkins trio

I LOVE how these turned out. I truly do. Those nail holes are from the wood’s previous life as a privacy fence. Cool, right? Each pumpkin has a “stand” on the bottom, painted black, that holds it up nicely.

pumpkin duo

wood pumpkins in a row

The pumpkins were painted with acrylic craft paints, then sealed with two coats of water-based poly (which will not yellow over time). They stand roughly 15-20″ tall.

So that’s my version of porch pumpkins!! 🙂 What do you think? If your curious to see my “Pinspiration” you can find that here. I didn’t use her method in constructing mine, but she does have a great tutorial that’s easy to read with great pictures!

Happy Fall!

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Barn wood tool caddy show-off ….

So this might just be a shameless brag post, but I had to share. 🙂 Last Winter I made a few of these caddys and they were quick, easy, rewarding and very useful! I have three of them, one for paint supplies, one for extra paper plans and drawings, and one that just looks pretty upstairs.  There are endless uses for these guys … and they are so easy to build! 

Here they are, in all of their glory. They were constructed from local barn wood, salvaged by my husband and I just a few months ago. I took 80 grit sandpaper and hit all the boards on both sides to clean some of the dirt and grime off the surface. A light touch did the trick – without taking all of that beautiful, grey, old weathered look off the wood. The table legs were cleaned and prepped also – and that will be a separate post. 🙂 

Once the wood is ready, I simply cut the bottom and sides down to the same length (checking the width, but since these were salvaged boards, I didn’t want to cut any exposed edges). The larger caddy is 16″ long, and the sides I cut somewhere between 12 and 13″ high, cutting a 45 degree angle off of each corner for a more rustic look. Then fire up the nail gun and go to town! 🙂 

The handles were pre-drilled and then glued and screwed in from the outside of the caddy. Very strong and sturdy – our football-player-sized brother sat on it and it survived. 🙂 Seriously. 

But what you really want are the pictures… so here they are! This set of two were custom made for my sister-in-law. Doesn’t she have good taste? 





Don’t you just love how OLD they look? We rescued those table legs out of grandma’s basement and gave them new life. There’s nothing more satisfying than giving something beautiful a brand new life! 

~ The Woodworker’s Wife 

Our Rustic Coat Rack {a Fire Station Special Request}



I am really proud of these. This was something that grew out of a special request by my Woodworker’s Fire Station. They needed a rack for their coats in a small station, lacking storage. We had piles of barnwood. This was born. The hooks are completely unique – you’ll notice that they are made out of the same wood. You can’t find anything like this anywhere. We looked. 




Because this is real, 100% reclaimed oak, these are really heavy! Our solution for hanging was to install two, set-in, key hole hangers about 16″ apart on the back. They are metal, so they can handle the weight of the rack PLUS whatever you need them to hold for you. No way these are going to fail you! 🙂 




Here you can see the detail of the hook. I love that they “match” the rest of the wood. By the way, the nail holes are original to the barn wood, and the color is completely natural. All we did for the finish was three coats of high-gloss poly to really bring out the rustic beauty in the wood and keep it protected from the elements. 


ImageSee that shine? 🙂 Sorry for the glare  – but here you can see both of the finished racks and the real rustic beauty of the wood just the way it is. You’ll notice, too, that the one is darker than the other. That’s the character of the aged wood. Awesome, right? 


~ The Woodworker’s Wife 



DIY Ladder Quilt Rack!

This is one of those things that’s been on my wish list for some time… and once we got started on it, it was so quick to make! Why did I wait so long? Because there are so many good things to make… and so little time. For those of you who don’t know, quilting is my first love. I’ve been quilting for about eleven years now, and I have more than a few quilts to show for it. But where to store them? 

The only real contemporary way to display a quilt is a ladder rack. All those cutesy victorian-style things are just to, well, kitschy for me. My Woodworker has made me proud more than a few times by making quilt racks! I’ll have to share pictures of some of our “old” ones later this week … for now, here’s the newest addition! 

ImageFor those of you who are wood geeks, here are the specs:  The sides are re-claimed barn wood (as you can see), in this case Cottonwood. This is true 2″ x 4″ stock – and once we cleaned it up it ended up being about 1.5″ thick and 3″ wide. The rungs were fashioned out of 2x4s, cut in half and then rounded over on the corners for a softer look. We used a slight 1/8″ round over. Because we’re all about quality, we even cut through the sides and set in the rungs. {You can actually use this ladder as a ladder, people.} The rack is 6 feet tall, and the rungs are 18″ long. We had it together in one evening. 



Image          Yes, I did make all of these quilts. 🙂 These are the original nail holes in the barn wood – and I LOVE the look of them. 



This is the perfect marriage of my two favorite things – quilts and barn wood. Yep, this year is off to a good start! 

~ The Woodworker’s Wife 



3-D Icicle Ornaments

The Holidays may be over, but I am still excited about these little things. 3-D ornaments cut on the scroll saw? Awesome! My Woodworker tried this out for the first time after seeing some inspiration in a magazine. We often pour over the magazines in the bookstore (coffee in hand, of course!) and find loads of inspiration. This time it was too good to leave for “someday,” and we went home to figure it out. And so, these were born!

A few more beauties for you to look at - the middle one was cut from Walnut. When they hang on the tree, we poke a Christmas light through the cage on the top of them and they sparkle!

A few more beauties for you to look at – the middle one was cut from Walnut. When they hang on the tree, we poke a Christmas light through the cage on the top of them and they sparkle!

Two of my personal favorites. These are cut from cottonwood, and have yet to be "finished," with either paint or tung oil. Aren't the details beautiful?

Two of my personal favorites. These are cut from cottonwood, and have yet to be “finished,” with either paint or tung oil. Aren’t the details beautiful?


We have recently finished a project that I am very excited about sharing with you – hopefully later this week! It was one of those late-night things… spur of the moment… and they always end up being my favorites. 🙂

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Reclaimed {barn} wood caddy

I am proud to say that these are the first project I have made by myself! Mr. Woodworking could have done these in his sleep… but I am a bit proud of myself for figuring out measurements, using the miter saw, etc. I’m also very pleased with how this entire project was made out of reclaimed lumber! Southern Yellow Pine and Cottonwood, respectively. Two different barns, two different towns, re-made into something for our home. Merry Christmas to me!

The character of the wood is what makes these unique -  this is reclaimed cottonwood from a 100-year-old corn crib... reborn!

The character of the wood is what makes these unique – this is reclaimed cottonwood from a 100-year-old corn crib… reborn!

Southern Yellow Pine has a beautiful grain. This caddy is sturdy, a bit on the heavy side, but so gorgeous.

Southern Yellow Pine has a beautiful grain. This caddy is sturdy, a bit on the heavy side, but so gorgeous!

My little brother came over last week to work on some awesome wood projects for Christmas. Music blaring, good company to work with … and then these just sort of happened. I was scrolling through my Pinterest board for some inspiration and I found this.

Honestly, I like mine better than hers. The reasons are simple: I prefer to have the joinery flush and square. Hers are more rustic in their construction. I also left the real beauty of the wood to show through (nail holes and all!) and I think it lends charm and authenticity to the finished project. What can I say? I think wood-grain is sexy. The handles are antique table legs that we rescued out of Grandma’s basement.

Not bad for an evening of work... reclaimed, reborn barn wood ready for a new life in our home!

I think one of these will be my new gardening companion next Spring…

~ The Woodworker’s Wife