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 …). πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚Β 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).Β 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.Β 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! πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

~ The Woodworker’s Wife


A Little Bit of Husker Curb Appeal …

Husker Football is kind of a big deal around here. Okay, that was an understatement: it’s part of our identity. We’ve made a lot of different (adorable) doorhangers, but these two are my personal favorites. Why? There’s just something about chevron and Huskers, right?

A touch more subtle in grey chevron, the message is still clear: Forever a Husker!

Both of these designs were dictated by the customer – and both of them are beautiful! I painted them with your standard acrylic craft paint, then sealed both sides with three coats of matte spray sealer. Just in case you can’t protect them with a storm door, the sealer keeps the moisture out (and the wood underneath from warping!). Β The finishing touch is a simple knotted twine hanger. Rustic perfection. πŸ™‚

Red chevron screams "Huskers!" and we added the perfect bit of silver sparkle on top.

We’ve Been Framed!

I must apologize for the long silence here on the blog. Since we opened our shop last February, things have been busy!! πŸ™‚ Yes, in the best possible way… but busy nonetheless. On the bright side, I have quite the assortment of cute projects to share with you all ~ so let’s get started with picture frames!

Picture frames are one of those things we all need, but hate to spend big money on. Big box stores only carry a few {trendy} styles, and frame shops can be over-the-top if you’re looking for something rustic. Our solution is simple = we build them to suit. Our favorite challenge? Framing stretched canvas! These canvases we framed are 3/4″ thick – which isn’t something that would fit into any garden variety frame. πŸ™‚ Challenge accepted!

A simple barnwood frame makes this winter scene complete.

A simple barnwood frame makes this winter scene complete.

This frame is also made from re-claimed wood, one piece, mitered corners.

This frame is also made from re-claimed wood, one piece, mitered corners.

This is my personal favorite! We built this frame from value pine boards, in three different "layers" and then I chalk painted it cobalt blue with grey on top.

This is my personal favorite! We built this frame from value pine boards, in three different “layers” and then I chalk painted it cobalt blue with grey on top.

A simple two-layer barnwood frame makes this primitive stitchery the perfect wall art for Fall!

A simple two-layer barnwood frame makes this primitive stitchery the perfect wall art for Fall!

Here you can see the detail of my chalk paint finish. Love how the frame melds into the Sea in the painting!

Here you can see the detail of my chalk paint finish. Love how the frame melds into the Sea in the painting!

What do you think? Leave us a comment below! πŸ™‚ We’re back!!

Still sweeping up sawdust,

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! πŸ˜‰

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? πŸ™‚

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!! πŸ™‚ 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

DIY Repurposed , UPcycled frames into chalkboards!




I rescued these from Goodwill on a rainy day for $7.99 per frame. They were dirty, dingy, missing the glass inside, and well, not something I would hang on my wall … but I saw some potential! What if they were chalkboards? What if they were white frames with distressed colors peeking through?

So I took out the rusty little nails and the old dingy “artwork” and sanded down the frames a bit. After wiping off the gross nasty dirt that came off … I painted them each a different color – one with “Pistachio Mint,” {Americana Acrylic Paints} and the other “Bimini Blue,” {Apple Barrel Acrylic Paints}. After that was dry, I coated them with basic white acrylic paint, lightly brushing over the high points of the frame. As you can see, the details on these old frames really lend themselves to distressing! πŸ™‚

Using 120 grit sand paper, I took it in my hand and just lightly sanded over the surface of the frame, the edges… as you can see, what’s left is some of the gold peeking through (original paint), and the colors are left in the grooves. So pretty!! I finished with a clear, water-based poly so that it would be dry in a mere two hours (and not smell so bad). I LOVE the results.







See the pretty teal peeking through? I love how it brings out the beauty of the wooden frame!

If you’ve read my post on making chalkboards, you know how seriously I take the chalkboard-painting process. πŸ™‚ In case you missed it, go read it now! You’ll love making these things!! πŸ™‚ Β We used 1/4″ mdf for these chalkboards, cut to fit the frame (about 10″x13″). I used a fine foam roller to keep the texture on the chalkboards nice and smooth and even. Mdf is a dream to paint! Just make sure to finish the back so that it’s water proof. I used Rustoleum weatherproof paint on the back to keep all my hard work safe.

So… here you have it — my BEFORE and AFTER.




Keep hunting the thrift stores for wonderful finds like these!! Have you re-purposed anything lately?


~ The Woodworker’s Wife


{None of the products in this post were sponsored or influenced my opinion in any way. Just sharing what I use and what works!}

DIY Shaped Chalkboards

I’ve been painting and cutting out chalkboards for the last few weeks and I’ve learned more than a few things in the process. πŸ™‚ What could be cuter than a shaped chalkboard for a kid’s room? Or in the kitchen? What about one just for leaving notes to your sweetheart in the morning? I saw one on Etsy and just had to try it for myself.

We started with 1/4″ plywood… I penciled the outline of something that resembled my inspiration, and traced it onto the wood. In the same process that used to make the LOVE doorhanger (see my post here), I cut out the shape and then sanded the edges of the shape. There were a couple problems with this method, one of which is splitting veneer. As soon as you cut around the outline, the veneer on the plywood splinters off around curved edges and corner cuts. Then you have to sand/fill to make the surface smooth enough for chalk paint. My solution? Use hardboard instead! Cuts beautifully, no splintering, and the surface is perfectly smooth because it’s a composite product. Also, it’s about half the price. Winning.

Before we get to the pretty, here are a few of my other tips on using chalkboard paint:

1. Apply chalkboard paint (I love Rustoleum, personally) with either a sponge or a dense foam roller for a smooth finish. A roller will give you a more textured finish, where the sponge will give you more “lines” in the finish. It’s whatever you prefer.

2. Apply at least three coats of paint for a good working, erase-able finish.

3. When finishing the back of your board, using a foam roller will be faster, and give you a more even color. You can finish the back in any way you like, but I recommend Rustoleum indoor/outdoor water-based paint. It’s water resistant, dries quickly, and covers well.

4. When you finish painting your three coats (or more if you like), let the paint dry for a good 24 hours. Rub down your entire piece with chalk and then wipe clean. You’ve conditioned the chalkboard paint and it’s ready to use!!

So, how did ours turn out?




What do you think? They look adorable on the easel stands, but honestly they are not sturdy enough to write on while sitting on them. My next one is going to either get a ribbon hanger, or maybe get mounted on the wall with command strips. Live and learn, right? But I couldn’t be happier with how CUTE they are!!

What other shapes would you make? We made a house, a flower … and I’ll share those with you soon!

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

How to use crates – Inspiration for home organization

I have a stack of TEN wooden crates in my living room right now. Is this a problem? No. Do I know exactly how I want to use them? Not yet! I know, don’t get me wrong… I’m not ungrateful, I just want to make the very best use of them that I can. They are a beautiful, blank canvas –> and I have SO many ideas for how to decorate them/with them.

Here are some great ideas for using crates … everything from bookcases to to shadow boxes and mudroom storage. Pinspiration!

Easy Entry Upgrade with DIY built-in coat hooks and wooden crates via @Jenna_Burger, www.sasinteriors.net

I love how she used a few crates to add storage to a small entry way. Great tutorial, too! Read it right here.

DIY Vintage Crate Boot Rack~Tutorial

Another cute use of crates for a mudroom – although I have to admit that I feel like using pre-made (purchased) crates is cheating. Making them is so much more rewarding. πŸ™‚ Anyway, you can see how she hooked them together here!Β 

Painted Crates for Shelving

This little beauty is from flikr – I love all the bright colors!! It might be a little too elaborate and busy for our home, but the idea of painting just the inside of the crates for a splash of color is brilliant, and easy. πŸ™‚

More bookshelves...

And finally, a simple idea for storing extra books. This is what most of my crates will be used for, no doubt. {Library book sale, anyone?} I love the dark stain – it can add age to crates that are really “new.” What could be better?

There are hundreds of other great ideas for crates out there {coffee tables, entertainment centers, toy storage for the kiddos, rolling crates for blankets and living room odds and ends…} Β and I have pinned a LOT of them. Yep, it’s true. If you want to check out my boards, be my guest. πŸ™‚Β 

What would you do with crates in your home??

~ The Woodworker’s Wife