Chalkboard Shapes – our DIY gallery

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What do you think of our shapes? I love them all – especially the quote bubble. We’ve sold more than a few of these in the shop already and we’re working on more! Chalkboards are fun and easy (if you have the patience with painting several coats!) and they are so great to use around the house. I’m thinking the nieces and nephews might be getting these for birthdays this year…

What other shapes should we add to the gallery? Trains? Fire Trucks?

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

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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. 🙂 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?

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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

Crates — born from old door casings!

I have something special to show you here! I know, to the average person it just looks like more crates… (How many can one house use, anyway!!!) but these are unique. They are a mere 12″ square, which makes them the PERFECT size for magazines, books, kids stuff, groceries … the list goes on! But the really neat thing about them is that they are constructed from Fir boards that were grooved and cut to fit at the top of door casings. We found them in bundles down at our favorite hardwoods store. 🙂

Aren’t they adorable?? I’m just in love. Can’t decide if I want to stain them (to bring out those cool grooves) or paint the inside a bright color like some of my inspiration photos! What do you think?

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Fir has a strong grain, and normally it would be a terrible choice for nailing together like this. In this case, they are all straight grain since they were prepared specifically for a doorway. Perfect! They went together quickly and easily, unlike barnwood, which has to be straightened, planed, and cut before assembly.

Would you paint these or stain them? Leave me a comment below!

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Wood Crates- to stain or not to stain?

So I’ve been having this mental debate with myself for months… should I stain them? Will it really look different? is it worth the extra time and smell? Does anyone else even notice these kinds of things? Or is this just a wood-nerd thing? 🙂 

I decided that it was best just to try it out and see. I have three of our “early” crates that we built last summer, and they are definitely not the prettiest ones we’ve made. On the other hand, they have screw heads exposed and the ends are solid, so they have a very tough, rustic appeal. The problem was that they had stamps on the ends (from the lumber yard, only the slats were reclaimed wood), and some neon orange markings of some kind. Yuck! 

You’ll have to forgive me… my computer is in the shop so I don’t have a “real” before picture, but this is basically what plain, standard pine looks like in it’s natural state:

 

I took the plunge. I love the result!! 

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The ends got sanded with the palm sander until the markings were (mostly) gone. Then I applied a really heavy coat of Minwax Stain (Early American is the color, if you’re wondering). I let the stain sit on the wood while I worked over the rest of the crate – so that when I went back to wipe off the excess, there was hardly anything left to remove. What a difference it makes! 

You don’t have to seal over the stain – it’s a moisture barrier on it’s own. Just be sure to let it dry overnight (or at least 8 hours) before handling and storing things inside. 

I like them so much now they are in the living room, full of books. 🙂 

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What do you think? To stain or not to stain? 

~ 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. 🙂 Anyway, you can see how she hooked them together here! 

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. 🙂

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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…}  and I have pinned a LOT of them. Yep, it’s true. If you want to check out my boards, be my guest. 🙂 

What would you do with crates in your home??

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Rustic Coat Racks Find a Home.

I just had to share these pictures with you. After making a coat rack for the Fire Station, we made two more for one of the Fireman who is stationed there. He was kind enough to share some pictures of the coats racks in their home. I love it! 

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There’s nothing better than seeing your hard work being enjoyed by a friend, in their home. 🙂 

~ The Woodworker’s Wife 

 

 

Want to buy things you’ve seen on the blog? Our shop is open!

Want to buy things you’ve seen on the blog? Our shop is open!

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I’m here to tell you about our “shop.” More specifically, our “Adoption Shop.” Yes, we are actively seeking to adopt an infant (domestically)! We are so excited – in spite of the mountains of paperwork ahead. 🙂 As a means of helping to pay for our adoption, we’ve opened a shop where you can purchase things that you’ve seen here, on the blog, and all the money will go into our fund. Yep, it’s good for everyone.

So take a moment to go “like” our page! It would mean the world to us. Plus, you might find something awesome that you need… or want … and that would be awesome too.

Thanks for all your support!

~ The Woodworker’s Wife