Category: Woodworking

Time and Money Saving DIY Floating Book Shelves

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved reading and owning books. That’s why I could totally relate to my oldest daughter’s request for book shelves. In our previous house, I had built her a recessed bookcase we both loved. As this Christmas inched closer with the expectation my daughter would be gifted more books, it was time to buckle down to give her a way to organize all the book stacks she had lined up on the floor. Although, I love a recessed bookcase, I didn’t want to dive into wall cutting and shelf building while caring for a newborn. That’s how I came to constructing easier and time effective floating book shelves. If you’re looking for a way to organize your own stacks, follow along below!

Floating Book Shelf Basics

Many of the floating shelves out there are quite thick for the elevated look of it and/or the hardware that is likely needed to support the shelf. Generally, I like the look of those shelves more than a thin wood shelf. As I was looking at examples of floating book shelves on Pinterest, I saw a post about L brackets, which really sparked for me. While considering how many shelves were desired in combination with the height of the wall and the cost, I ended up using a 1 in width instead of 2 in. After purchasing 1″ boards from Lowes, I was slightly concerned the boards would bow from the weight. After doing a quick test of the board strength by sitting on it while propped on two saw horses, I was confident the board would be fine. 

The other decision I had to make was the size of the brackets to get. L brackets are definitely cheaper than a decorative shelf bracket, which was part of the draw for me. I wanted to be sure the shelf had enough support while keeping cost down, so I ended up choosing the 6″ x 6″ brackets. 

Supply List

I determined the amount of length I would need for 9 shelves would be three 8′ boards or two 10′ boards. Lowes apparently doesn’t sell 10′ boards as a 1″ x 8″, so I had to get three 8′ boards. Then, I cut the boards the same width as the wall space, roughly 29″.  A word to the wise, it’s worth measuring the wall space several times. This is my second project using wall space to find that they weren’t exactly square. This meant the width at the top of the wall was 1/4 in wider than the bottom of the wall. 

The prep steps for this project were quite minimal, spray painting and staining. I used Rust-oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze I had from my Live Edge coffee table project. The screws should likely be sprayed as well to match. I should have sprayed them at the same time but didn’t. I ended up leaving the screws silver, because my daughter was hard pressed to get the shelves up. 

From there, it was just a matter of staining the shelves. I used a stain I already had on hand, Minwax Chestnut. I tend to like the darker colors better for most of my projects. When it comes to staining, you can use either a clean rag or a foam brush. I learned long ago from my mom to save disgarded white t-shirts for staining projects. Free is always fabulous. After many a stained hand, I have decided it’s worth buying a box of gloves for easier clean up. 

Shelf Attachment

The shelves were hardly dry before my daughter was carting them to her room for me to attach to the wall. This made for a very pungent upstairs since the smell lasts for days. I toggled between attached the brackets to the shelf first or to the wall first. I ended up attaching to the wall first with the thought I wouldn’t be able to screw in the bottom screw with the shelf attached. The easiest method, is to place the bracket against the wall, then draw the holes onto the wall. With the bracket off the wall, drill a hole into the stud. I didn’t necessary want to put the brackets at the end of the boards, but that’s where the studs were in the wall. Using anchors in the drywall wouldn’t be a good way to support the amount of weight books would create. 

After the first bracket was secured to the wall, it was important to level the shelf to ensure the right bracket would be in the correct spot. For me, the right bracket was so close to the connecting wall that the inner screw hole was just outside of the stud. Given I had two screws secured into the stud, I felt okay about one of them going into a drywall anchor. 

With the brackets secured to the wall, it was just a matter of screwing in the shelves. Wood screws are self drilling, which means you usually don’t have to pre-drill the hole. I didn’t want to risk creating a crack so close to the end of the board, so I opted to drill a hole prior to placing the screw. 

While I finished up the last of the shelves, my oldest and youngest daughters, shared some bonding time on the bed. How adorable are they?!

A Floating Book Shelves Must: Book ends

I would venture to say that floating shelves aren’t the first choice for books simply because there’s nothing to keep them from falling off the end. With this being the case, you either buy some book ends or you can go the cheap route of using the extra wood to make sliding book ends. I cut into the wood with the radial saw to knotch out a 13/16″ width. Then using a router, I cleaned up the cut, leaving about and inch or so at the end.

That’s all it took to keep the books from falling off the shelves.

Final Product

That’s all there is to creating your very own Floating Book Shelves! Go ahead and give it a try this weekend! It’s a given you will feel great for accomplishing a project and creating a way to organize your space. As noted in Can organizing impact your mental health?, “Your disorganization, unfinished projects, and piles of “to-dos” may be contributing to your stress and depression. As you work hard to clear away the piles and never-ending projects, your brain will rest easy and make it easier for you to feel relaxed and happy.” For this particular organization, you may also enjoy the chance to organize the books in a particular way. My daughter was excited to organize her books by author’s last name. Whatever floats your boat!

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

DIY Resin Coffee Table Anyone Can Do

In the spring, I went to scavenge at a lumber yard at their free scrap day with my oldest daughter. I had been hoping to find some boards to use for a tree house for my three girls. Instead, I found some other boards to use for various other future projects. There were two boards that inspired me to want to try a wood and resin coffee table. I’d also been following Black Diamond Pigments on Instagram and couldn’t wait to try their powder dyes with the resin. After finishing my deck sectional, it was time to try my pigment dyed resin coffee table!

Supplies and Tools

  • Scrap wood for frame
  • Wood for table top
  • Resin kits
  • Black Diamond Pigments
  • 2 – 2″ x 2″ x 8′ wood
  • wood glue
  • Tape
  • Clamps
  • Screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Router & router bit
  • Sander
  • Heat gun or hair dryer
  • 3/4″ drill bit
  • Wood button inserts
  • Stain

Board Prep

The one board was a bit warped, so I tried a technique I’d tried before to straighten it out. To be honest, I didn’t do it all the way correctly, which is likely why it didn’t work well. If you put a wet towel before a straight board and warped board, then clamp them together for a day, it will help to straighten the warped board. I sprayed the bottom of my warped board instead of using a wet towel.

After trying to straighten the board, I sanded the front and back of the boards with a hand sander to smooth them out a bit and clean the grit off. I wasn’t set on which side I would use face up. The sanding solidifed my decision to show more of the bark. From there, it was time to build the resin reservoir with scrap wood. 

Resin Coffee Table “Mold”

I did a fair bit of internet searching to find out what materials wouldn’t stick to the epoxy resin. Wax paper, packing tape, and Tyvek Tape were some of the top recommendations. I wanted to give Tyvek a try but ended up finding it difficult to locate in local hardware stores. I was about to order the Tyvek from the internet when I decided to save the money. During my search, I also found this Epoxy tape which I thought was interesting. I already had packing tape on hand, as well as wax paper, and was nervous about the wax paper covering the large area evenly. 

With the packing tape dispenser in hand, I lined the bottom and sides of all the mold pieces. From there, it was just a matter of attaching the side boards to the bottom. I noticed some separation and the seams, so I covered them with tape as well. 

Time for Resin Fun!

I grossly underestimated the amount of resin I would need to fill the reservoir. I started off with two smaller resin kits from Hobby Lobby and Michaels. After figuring out that wouldn’t be enough, I ordered a large kit from Amazon. I quite liked the kit, because it came with the mixing cups, stirrer, and spreader. As I said at the beginning, I was excited to try the Black Diamond iridescent pigments with the resin. I opted to go with a variety set for future projects.

The instructions are pretty explicit with all the kits, so I won’t go deep into that. The best way to get it done is to use the right size cup with the measurements on the side and use a timer. I used roughly a teaspoon of silver pearl powder.

After pouring the silver pearl, I had to quickly mix the next batch to stir in the jungle green.

I swirled the green in with the silver pearl and left it to settle. Then, I popped the presenting bubbles with the heat gun and let it dry overnight. 

After the layer with the powder dyes, it was time for the clear resin. I used the larger kit for the first layer and found that it was not enough. Back to Amazon I went to order another kit. The heat gun removed the air bubbles, but I had to check every 20 to 30 minutes to make sure there weren’t anymore bubbles appearing.  I learned a little (or rather big) lesson with this project. The wood continues to release air as the resin hardens. To preventing having to check it repeatedly, it’s best to cover the wood surface in a thin layer first. After it’s hardened, pour the majority of the resin into the reservoir. 

Table Legs

It took a bit for me to figure out how I wanted the legs to look. My initial plan was to use limbs or half stumps, but I didn’t fully like that idea. I ended up going with 2″x 2″ wood boards for crossing legs. Eventhough these legs were going to consist of only two cross sections, it was much harder to configure than I anticipated. I knew I wanted the height to match with the couch it was going to sit in front of, which would be 16 inches from floor to bottom of the table. 

I did quite a bit of measuring and re-measuring to ensure the angels would be correct and then that my cross section would be routered at the right angle. It was also important for the base to be wider then where it connected to the resin coffee table top. I was trying to avoid the screws showing through the resin by trying on to screw into the wood sections. This was really the most daunting part of the whole project. The arm saw was used to cut the table legs angles. I mostly eyeball but should really be better about using those equations my kids are learning in school. It’s a lovely way to be able to reinforce with them that math is important. 

Time to Break out the Router

The router is really becoming my best friend with all the recent projects. I used a half inch trimming bit to cut the groove for the cross section. When making these cuts, you should cut half of the depth into both pieces so they will be flush on the outside. I measured from the top of the router plate to the top of the bit to make sure. 

With the cross sections glued in place, it was time to drill a 3/4″ hole on the outside of legs for a decorative wooden button to cover the screw that would connect the legs to the connecting beam. 

Leg Mounts

I cut three connecting horizontal beams to connect the cross legs to each other for more stability. These were fixed in place with wood glue and wood screws. To ensure the legs would be securely affixed to the tabletop to support the weight of the resin and wood, I made wood rectangle mounts. Using wood glue and screws, I attached the mount to the legs by screwing from the top. 

Then it was just a matter of staining the legs and coating them with clear polyurethane to match some of the shine of resin. 

I didn’t get pictures of the last step, but it was to affix the leg mounts to the bottom of the table. With the tabletop lying face down, I drilled holes into the wood and resin to ensure I wouldn’t crack the resin. Then, I used 3 to 4 screws in each mount to secure the mounts to the table top. 

Wood and Resin Coffee Table Completion

I was really quite excited to be able to put this coffee table in it’s place in my enclosed porch! Every since we’d purchased the couch from Lowe’s and pillows from Amazon, I was itching to make a coffee table for the space. Also on this porch is my refinished antique hutch, which includes a shade of teal/green. That was one of the reason I chose the jungle green from the variety pack. It was the closest I could get. I hope you found the walk through useful and it gives you courage to try your own!

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Use that Hidden Wall Space for a Recessed Bookcase

During our many visits to the build of our new (and now previous) house, I took notice of the framing of an odd space. It seemed like an odd notch to leave, so I assumed it was intended to house ductwork or something of that nature. I kept it in the back of my mind for a future possible recessed bookcase project. As my oldest book-loving daughter crept into her teenage years, she was ready for a change in bedroom scenery. When I mentioned my idea, she wouldn’t stop asking when I was going to complete it. I was finally able to put it on the to do list to complete it over a weekend while my husband was away. That’s incidentally one of my favorite times to get things done because messes stress him out.  This project definitely generated some dust and mess.  

Before Book Shelf

The then existing bookshelf came from my sister when she moved across the country. It certainly served its purpose but wasn’t the nicest piece of furniture.

Blank Canvas for a Recessed Bookcase

I started off by drilling a hole at the bottom of the wall to check the depth of the space. It would have been terrible to start going crazy cutting away the drywall to find I wasn’t actually able to use it. The depth was about a foot, so I was safe.

My dad showed up to lend me some tools to make this job a little easier. One of those tools was a drywall saw. Using a square and tape measure, I penciled the line for sawing. It was essentially the edge of the wall’s 2 x 4’s. The top edge aligned with the door frame. My dad is not great at sitting idle, so he helped with sawing the drywall. I’ll rarely complain about free help. 

And of course, the kid crew sat and watched us work. The oldest monitored the progress to gauge how long until she’d get to load the shelves. 

Look at all that dead space behind the wall! I could have gone with a pull out bookcase with a hidden nook. 

 Can’t forget about the drywall behind the trim! I admittedly did at first but quickly realized it when fitting the shelf frame into the space. Certainly, the other option would be to cut out the trim as well, but I didn’t want to have to mess with cutting and all that extra stuff. 

Recessed Bookcase Shelf Build

Tools & Supplies

  • 3/4″ Plywood
  • 1/4″ Plywood
  • Wood Trim
  • Wood Glue
  • Screws
  • Square
  • Tape Measure
  • Nail Gun
  • Level
  • Clamps
  • Sand paper
  • Stain or Paint

Thankfully, this project didn’t stress the wallet (since it was pre-COVID wood price spike). The side pieces were cut to the height of the opening from floor to top. Then it was just a matter of cutting the top and shelves all the same size to fit in between the side panels.

As to be expected with any build, the level and square were necessary to ensure all the shelves would be level to the floor. The bottom shelf aligned with the height of the trim, so the trim would serve as the front space coverup. I stained all of my pieces with a white stain before putting them all together. With some glue and screws drilled into the shelf from the outside, the bookshelf was almost to the finish line. 

The 1/4″ board was cut to the full width of the shelf and nailed down with the nail gun. Let me tell you what; a decent nail gun makes a ton of difference when compared with a cheapy. It’s on my list of tools to geta better version. There are two types, a brad nailer and a finish nailer. A brad nailer would be best for the structural builds, while the finish nailer is best for baseboards or trim. The higher priced versions are both are likely to be battery operated as opposed to the less expensive, which require an air compressor. Just depends on what level of mobility is desired. 

Final Finishings of the Recessed Bookcase

With the constructed bookshelf in place, it was just a matter of affixing the sides to the existing studs with wood screws. I chose to cover the screw heads with wood filler that I then stained white to keep them from sight. 

Some inexpensive trim was last up. I cut the trim ends at the top at 45-degree angles with the miter saw to create the 90-degree angle. I used the finish nailer to secure it to the stud and bookcase edges. A bit of spackle and white paint was all that remained on the project to-do list.

Later, when I wasn’t as happy with the floor ends of the trim being uneven with the floor trim, I decided to fill the space with wood filler. I used the dremel to sand it to a similar shape that melded with the floor. I was glad to have another project on which to practice my dremel skills. It definitely wasn’t excellent, but it did the job well enough.  I also covered the screw holes with wood filler as well. After a coating of stain on the screws and paint on the trim, it was good to go. 

After years of contemplation, it was super exciting to have finally pulled the trigger on the project. The outcome was visually more appealing than the previous bookshelf, a space saver, and my daughter absolutely loved it. Sometimes, I kick myself for waiting too long to try something new that is somewhat scary. I know the project may not always come out the best, but the win is in the free-fall plunge. Check out the rest of the room makeover here and revamp of the old bookcase into a Bakery and Lemonade Stand my 11-year-old used to make money for donation.

Go Ahead and Try Something New Today!

Studies suggest we fear an unknown outcome more than we do a known bad one.

Trying New Things. Why new experiences are so important to have

Benefits of trying something new:

  • Trying something new often requires courage
  • Trying something new opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new.
  • Trying something new keeps you from becoming bored
  • Trying something new forces you to grow

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Ikea Desk Hack for Added Storage and Organization

Last year, my youngest was saddened by the fact that she was the only sister in our house not to have her own desk. As a 6-year-old, it hadn’t been that big of a need in my mind. Regardless, she desperately wanted a place of her own to draw and craft. My sister ended up having an extra Ikea desk ready for the taking. It was thankfully small for her fairly crowded room. My little gal happily filled the one drawer to the max with pencils, crayons, papers, erasers, and all the things.

It didn’t take long for the contents of the drawer to start overflowing onto the desktop and the floor. With the start of virtual school, she needed for it to be clear enough to work off. She loved the idea of adding a little extra storage so away I went with creating a plan for this Ikea desk hack.  

Ikea Desk Type

This revamp is specific to the Micke Desk from Ikea available for the low price of $49. If your child is anything like mine, the drawer will simply not suffice for the amount of stuff desired to be shoved into a desk.

Ikea Desk Hack Supplies

I took my oldest with me to purchase the supplies. While we were there, she accidentally kicked her croc onto the higher stack of wood. I had to ask for a worker to get it and she was mighty embarrassed! Just goes to show that not every Home Depot/Lowes trip is run of the mill! I was just glad the trip didn’t involve a string of complaints about the store and how long I was taking.

  • 1/4″ plywood
  • 1/4″ x 4″ X 6″ Pine board
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint
  • Metal Wire Basket
  • 4 small hinges
  • knob

Tools

  • Sand Paper
  • Clamps
  • Saw
  • Nail Gun

Measurements

  • 1/4″ x 15″ x 13 5/8″
  • 3- 1/4″ x 4″ x 18 3/4″
  • Lid – 1/4″ x 4″ x 19 1/2″
  • Long side – 1/4″ x 4″ x 29 1/4″
  • Short side – 1/4″ x 4″ x 13 11/16″
  • Bottom – 1/4″ x 4″ x 19 1/8″
  • 1/4″ x 4″ x 10″
  • 2- 1/4″ x 3″ x3 3/16″
  • 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ x 3 2/8″
  • 1/4″ x 4″ x 5 3/8″

I purposely chose the four-inch width wood, so I wouldn’t have to cut the depth. The project was a lot easier by primarily only needing to cut the length. After cutting all my boards, it was only a matter of gluing the boards together and clamping them while they dried. Once they were dry, I used the nailgun to secure them together. 

I had to do a bit of searching for a four inch basket that would fit an acceptable amount in it. I finally found a Metal Wire Hanging Basket from Hobby Lobby. Then, I based my measurements on the basket.

So a few cuts with the saw, some wood glue and fires of the nail gun and the build is complete. I affixed it to the desk using only wood glue. I was fully expecting to have to use nails or screws but didn’t want to mar the inside surface of the Ikea desk. I’ve been amazed at how well it’s stayed together with only that! It survived a move, but I’m still waiting for when I’ll have to use some hardware. 

The Disastrous Before…

Aye caramba! All the little pieces!

My youngest struggles more than any of them to keep her room in any semblance of order. As the youngest, she’s generally had a helper for most things and readily provides the excuse “she doesn’t know how”. Such disasters can wreak havoc on your mental wellness, especially when trying to navigate the mess just to say goodnight to them. Routine and set visual instructions (like pictures on bins) will be a great help for any children who struggle with this. It’s also going to be really important to start them with small and easy steps, “like pick up the dirty clothes first”. Anyway, Printable Parents has free printable visuals on the topic if you’re interested! 

The Glorious After

Polka dot paper sorter and rotating pen sorter curtesy of Home Goods! I can’t get enough of them.

A tall paper and book slot. She uses a lot of my 12×12 scrapbook paper so that was why I chose to make it the size I did.

Side Project

My little one picked out some fake flowers on a trip to Walmart and then wanted a vase for them. We had a bunch of fire limbs, so I cut one to size. Using a Dremel, I carved into the wood and used a large 1/2″ drill bit to create the hole for the flowers. It was a snap!

And that is a wrap on this easy Ikea Desk hack. A wallet-friendly desk and wood purchase that will give your self-esteem a little boost every time you see what you were able to do. If you’re looking for more ideas for kids’ rooms check out Successfully Controlling Stuffed Animal Clutter with a Craft, Imagination Closet for a Child’s In House GetawayBrilliantly Beautiful Kid’s Rainbow Room Idea, or Crafting a Calming Corner to Assuage Parent and Child.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Capture Nature’s Beauty with a DIY Live Edge Coffee Table

As we were starting to furnish our new living room, I was really hoping to create something more unique. I refinished my grandmother’s antique trunk to use as the coffee table but ended up using it as a side table due to its height. I happened to come into possession of a thick cut of large tree trunk that became the inspiration for this Live Edge Coffee Table. The first step in the monster process of leveling out the thick-cut can be found in my other post. This post is about creating the base and top finish.

Live Edge Coffee Table Steps

Materials

  • 2×4’s (likely only 1 is needed but depends on your slab)
  • Decorative Metal sheeting
  • Pocket Screws & Kreg Jig
  • Spray paint
  • Resin
  • Wood screws
  • Stain (if desired)
  • Wood glue

Live Edge Coffee Table Finish Options

Version One

After much belt sanding and subsequent backache on my first slab, I was ready for putting on the finishing touch. For this one, the finishing touch was going to be the polyurethane coating.

When doing a clear coating, one coat is almost never going to suffice. For this slab, I believe I did 5 or 6 coats. The more you do, the more durable it becomes. Obviously, this means you’re in for a waiting game. No special tricks needed here; brush on the poly and wait the appropriate time to dry. Then, do a light sanding and another coat. Repeat.

I used to think it would be necessary to stain to get more color out of the wood. Unless you desire a totally different color, staining is not necessary. The polyurethane brings out the natural tones in the wood. Below you see the difference in the raw wood and the poly-coated wood.

After the polyurethane dried, the top was at long last complete. I can’t begin to describe the pride and relief in finally completing it. After having the huge slab resting against the wall for well over a year, while I tried to figure out how to tackle it, I didn’t know if I’d ever get it done. My husband had asked when we could get rid of it and I had told him I was giving myself one more month to find a way to do it. That was what I needed to kick myself into gear.

Version Two

By live edge coffee table number two come onto my must-do project list, I was ready to try a “brand new to me” technique, EPOXY! Epoxy (or resin) is essentially like doing 40 coats of polyurethane. I was admittedly a bit scared thinking about how it could go astray. After completing it, I can tell you it’s not that scary if you simply follow the directions. As the instructions will tell you, you have to mix exact amounts of the two chemicals and have two containers to use for mixing. The silly struggle for me was finding the containers because I didn’t feel like running to the store for something minuscule yet again. FYI, it’s much easier if you get these: 

My other unknown was how much would be needed. I decided it’d be better to have too much than too little so used the whole kit. Then, it was on to my very first pour!

The anxiously anticipated epoxy pour….

It was definitely necessary to use a flat scraper to spread it around the full surface. Speed is important here folks. The epoxy doesn’t take long to start drying on you. It’s also important to cover your floor to prevent it from adhering as it drips. I wanted it to go over the live edge to protect the bark. 

A smile because it was going well!

After the pour, it was necessary to blow on the air bubbles to get rid of them. A heat gun or hairdryer works, as does going “ha” on them with your breath. I went with the last method. My girls were perplexed by what I was doing. Thank goodness this project was prior to the pandemic!

The biggest issue I ended up having with version two was the extra porous edges. The epoxy completely absorbed into the edges. I ended up having to do another layer of epoxy to finish it off. FYI, epoxy is not cheap, so I was not thrilled by having to do another layer. My other recommendation (based on this experience) is not to do it in the garage where there are gnats. I kept having to fish those little buggers out of the sticky epoxy. 

Version 2: Beautifully Glassy Finish

The Base

I made two tables that needed slightly different bases based on the uneven bottom of one of them. The basic idea here was to create two interlocking rectangles.

Version One

The height of the leg is dependent on the thickness of the slab of wood and the desired height of the table. I wanted a height of 19 inches, so it would be at the height of the couch seat. The measurement of the ‘leg’ should be from floor to tree slab to hide the ‘base’ 2×4’s. The base 2×4 measurements depend on the width of the tree slab. I decided to make it about 4 inches less than the slab diameter, so it provided enough support for how heavy it was and the top of the legs would be slightly hidden. 

Although the four legs will be the same height, the four base pieces will not be the same. Two will be the full length. Then there will be four short pieces. In the photo above, you can see I have the right length of the short pieces when I place a test piece in the gap. With all the cuts complete, the next step is to create the pocket holes with the Kreg jig in the base pieces and drill in the pocket screws. Below, you can see I measured the midpoint on the cross-sections to ensure it would be square before screwing in the pocket screws.

With the pocket screws in place, this table base build was complete! It was so much easier than having to level the tree slab with a router; to that I’m certain. It was then just a matter of attaching it to the tree slab with long wood screws.

Version Two

Since my other slab was thicker on one side than the other from the chain saw cut, I used a board from a crate table I had made and repurposed. I had to adjust the height of the table lengths based on that difference to ensure the top would be level. (Talk about a pain in the behind.) Then, I built the base in the same way as version one.

Gotta make sure that table is level before you screw it all in!

Version two was actually the one I started with, so I thought the legs would be just as they were. I stained the base with a dark stain and thought I might have been complete. It looked quite blah, and my husband said he thought it would be better to have more of a solid base. That comment inspired me to consider decorative metal sheeting and away I went to the hardware store. Metal sheeting; another first!

Metal Sheeting

The first time I did this, I used metal cutting sheers (borrowed from a coworker) to cut to the appropriate height for coverage of all legs. It worked alright, but it was definitely difficult to keep from catching my skin on the cut metal. I cut three sides to fit the width of space leaving the stained wood leg exposed.  

The second time around, I learned my lesson with the sheers and used this handy dandy little tool to saw through the metal. I also decided on a different method for the edges of the metal sheeting. Given there was a border on the metal sheet, I didn’t want to cut more than one side. This desire gave me the idea to use the whole width of the sheet as-is for each space between legs and wrap around the leg.

Using glue epoxy and clamps, I held the sheeting in place while I screwed wood screws into the available holes to secure it to the legs.   

I hammered the edges of the metal edging so it wouldn’t be a hazard.

Metal Sheeting Version 1: Exposed Wood

Metal Sheeting Version 2: Covered Wood Leg

I hammered the overhang to fold over the edge to meet in the middle with the other side. I tried using some epoxy glue here. It didn’t work very well, so I recommend skipping it. My last step was to hammer in flat head nails on the outside edge to keep it from flaring out. 

Last of all, it was time to spray paint the metal sheeting for my desired bronze look to compliment the bark. It took two coats and then I was finished. Thank the LORD!!

Two Completed Live Edge Coffee Tables

I hope you enjoyed the rundown on how I created these two tables and it inspires you to overcome some of your own fears of taking on bigger projects. As you overcome those little fears, you are sure to build that self-confidence in yourself and your growing skills. For me, it expanded my creativity as well to think of new ways to get to a great end product.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Seriously Simple One Hour Wooden Blanket Ladder for $10

With the winter season, comes an abundance of throw blankets needing living room storage space. I know my family and I love to snuggle up on the couch with a good throw blanket. When the snuggling is over, the blankets get stacked up in a basket that is now too small for all of them. If this scenario rings a bell with you while you are trying to stick to a budget, then you can choose to buy one or make one.  A quick Google search will provide you with a great many options to purchase. The cheapest I saw was on Etsy for $40. If your life has to abide by a budget as mine does, then follow along to make your very own thrown blanket ladder for $10 (depending on what you already have on hand). 

Throw Blanket Materials & Tools

  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 6′ pine or desired wood type
  • 2 – 3/4″ x 4′ round dowels
  • Wood Glue
  • Clamps
  • Nails
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • 3/4″ Drill Bit
  • Stain or paint

Blanket Ladder Build

Using whatever saw you have available for a straight cut, cut the dowels at 15 7/8″. This will allow for three equal pieces within that 4′ dowel. I choose to do 5 rungs, which obviously leaves one extra segment for you to start on a ladder for a friend! 

For the 1″ x 2″ boards, cut one end of both boards at a 15-degree angle. This is most easily accomplished with a miter saw. The 15-degree end is the one that will rest on the floor. 

For the other end, I found it easiest to lean it against the wall at the correct angle and then draw a line parallel to the wall. You could certainly leave the corner as it, but I prefer the straight edge to lean against the wall to prevent scraping and sliding. 

Then, it’s just a matter of cutting it on the line!

Rung Holes

Measuring from the bottom, measure the first section at 16″, then 11″ for the four other rungs. The spacing was based on what I thought would work best with blanket size and keeping the bottom blanket off the ground. Then at each line, measure to 3/4″ to make a vertical line to create an x for where you need to drill.  

Use a 3/4″ drill bit or router bit to drill all the hole. I would have preferred to use a bit without a pointed tip on it but that was all I had. Anyway, drill down about a 1/4″ of an inch to 1/2″ depending on the bit you are using. I stuck to 1/4″ depth with this bit. 

From there, it’s just a matter of squeezing wood glue into each hole and clamping it together to dry. I also secured the rungs with a nail from the outside. 

Completed Blanket Ladder

After staining it, this blanket ladder was ready for to be put to use. Presto!

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

The Easiest Way to Even Out a Wood Slab with Basic Tools

I find it a bit amazing how as life happens, you can stumble onto the opportunities for projects you have wanted to do. This project was spurred by just such an event when I went to a Christmas party hosted by my husband’s coworker. She was much like me and as she gave me a tour of her outstanding house, she explained she had a huge log she was hoping to make into a variety of things. It was quite serendipitous to say the least. I had already had thoughts about things I would make if I could get my hands on a wood slab or stump.

The above photo was the slab her husband cut for me. It was enormous and heavy. They had a lot of other log sizes, so I thought I’d grab a few other wood slabs with a smaller circumference. I hadn’t ever used a chainsaw so cautiously went into trying to cut a piece. It was super difficult, so we came to the conclusion the blade needed to be sharpened. 

The two of us lifted this huge sucker into the back of my Honda Odyssey by bending from those knees. I felt pretty powerful after that. Definitely small but mighty. 

Wood Slab Struggles

The wood slab was just too tall for what I intended. I searched around to try to find a sawmill to cut it in half. I finally found one in Pennsylvania who said they could do it. When I got there, it was too wide for their machine, so they used a chainsaw to cut it in half. It looked quite difficult and took much longer than expected. $50 later, I had two wood slabs, one that was relatively even and another in a fairly rough uneven shape. The rest of this story is about the one in rough shape. 

One side was about 2 inches higher than the other. The best side still had chainsaw divets in it as well. Even trying to use a chain saw to even the height would be quite difficult. This is when the router came into play. A router can be used for a variety of projects and it seemed to be the only option for this one. 

Materials for Evening it Out

The first task is to create a square from the 2×4’s just larger than the size of the wood slab. Then cut the legs for the stand just a smidge taller than the tallest point of the wood slab. 

Next up, creating the router sled. Initially, I used some scrap wood. The boards were not quite long enough, which made it difficult to maneuver. I can verify for you, it’s much easier if you use boards that extend well beyond the frame perimeter. From there, it’s just a matter of setting the height of the straight router bit. I used a 1/2″ straight router bit but would’ve gone with a 5/8″ bit if I had it. Then, it’s just a matter of sliding the router back and forth on the sled, which is meant to keep it level. 

SOOO MUCH SAWDUST

Sawdust is going to go everywhere with this project. Make sure to do it in a fairly clear space for easier cleanup.

Smoothing the Wood Slab

The router did a great job of leveling the whole wood slab out. It definitely kicked at times creating a few nicks. I decided to try using a handheld planer to smooth it out as a first step. It was just a matter of running the planer over the surface. I eventually paused on that to see how the sandpaper would work out instead.

The look of progress

Time to Sand

After the router, it was time to put the muscles to work to sand the wood slab with extra coarse sandpaper using the belt sander. That 36 grit coarse sandpaper was wonderful at smoothing it all out. Just be careful not to create a ton of sandpaper grooves while you are going. From there, it’s necessary to sand it with a higher grit to smooth out the coarse lines. 

Look How Smooth It Is!

Not a ton of steps but definitely a lot of effort goes into this method. That was the reason I procrastinated so long on starting it. My back was aching after being bent over the slab for so long. When you don’t have all the special tools, it becomes necessary to find affordable ways to complete tasks using tools you may already have or would be useful in a variety of projects. I rely on this toolset quite a lot, so you can’t go wrong with purchasing at least a router, saw, drill, and belt sander. I hope this quick rundown helps you with your own wood slab project!  Check out some other wood projects you could create with a router, like a Paddle Platter.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Free DIY Desk Plan Download for Your Virtual Learner

A week before our virtual learning school year started, my friend texted me to ask if I could build a desk she had ordered but had never arrived. I took a look at the pictures and the measurements she sent and agreed to building it. From my perspective, it was going to be a pretty simple project. I had already been planning to start making my niece a nightstand for her upcoming birthday, so drawing out a desk plan and putting it together could be done at the same time. With the plan in my head, away I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Supplies

  • 1- 1″ x 2′ x 4′ plywood piece
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 6′ pine
  • 3 – 1″ x 3″ x 6′ pine
  • 1 – 1″ x 10″ x 4′ whitewood board
  • Pocket screws
  • Dowels
  • Veneer Edging
  • Wood Filler
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain or paint and/or wax
  • Basket

Measurements and Cuts for this Desk Plan

The desk is 42″L x 24″D X 30″H.

  • 1 – 1″ x 42″ x 24″ 
  • 6 – 1″ x 3″ x 29 1/2″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 17 3/8″ 
  • 1 – 1″ x 2″ x 26 1/4″
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 8 1/4
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 11″
  • 4 – 1″ x 2″ x 9 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 8″ 
  • 1 – 1″ x  13″ x 9 1/2″
  • 1 – 1″ x 19″ x 9 1/2″ 

Cutting a Straight Edge

If you’re like me, you don’t have the fanciest of tools…yet. I would really like to have a table saw but am waiting for garage space and the affordable option to cross my path. I am not good at cutting completely straight without a guide. This inevitably means using older methods (aka pre-table saw invention methods) of getting to the desired end result of a straight cut. There’s no getting around that being a tough task.

I got a maple plywood piece that was the desired width to save me having to make two long cuts.

So, this “older method” includes using a straight edge and a circular saw with a rolling square guide on it. Measure out where the cut needs to be made and use a square to draw it across the full length of the board. Next, measure the distance needed from the edge of the board to the straight edge, so the blade will cut on the line. To keep the straight edge in place, you will use short clamps to clamp the straight edge to the board. 

If all you’ve got is a circular saw and board, you can accomplish this same setup. 

Ready to cut!

Cutting the legs

I went with a 10 degree angled cut for the legs (and subsequent cross beams). To do this, use a miter saw set to the appropriate degree. Both ends need to be cut at this degree for the desk top to be level with the floor. The length of the leg is 29 1/2″ on one side.

I used a flat board to check the length of the legs and to figure out how wide the top connecting piece would need to be. The bottom beam was cut to 17 3/8″.  I decided on this length to be at 2 1/2″ high from the floor. This would be the same for all three of the bottom supports. 

List of pieces cut at 10-degree angle

  • 6 – 1″ x 3″ x 29 1/2″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 17 3/8″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 8 1/4″
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 11″

Time for Pocket Holes

Pocket holes are an easy way to attach boards together, so you can’t see the hardware from the outside. It’s faster and easier than doweling. Check out some of my other projects highlighting the Kreg jig and pocket holes; Composite Bookcase, Living Room Table set, and Shoe Box.

I put two holes in all of the leg and shelf pieces, including the 1″ x 2″ pieces. The hole placement was wider than the 1″ x 2″, which meant having to reposition after the first hole.

Putting the Desk Plan Together

I opted to clamp the legs to a sawhorse to keep it in place. There are tools that will hold corners together securely, but again, I don’t have those. The clamps did the job well enough while I screwed in the pocket screws. FYI, pocket screws are different than regular wood screws, so you do need to buy those specifically. As with any wood project, it’s also best to glue before you screw. 

I marked the 2 1/2″ mark on the legs to make sure the cross beam was in the correct spots prior to drilling.

Finishing Touches

Here’s a little trick for sanding that I learned from my parents. Wrap the sandpaper around a scrap piece of wood to make it easier to sand. I much prefer it to holding the sandpaper and to paying for the more expensive sanding blocks. Using an electric hand sander is also an easier option. 

I didn’t want the holes at the bottom to show, so I filled them in with wood filler. This particular wood filler dries pretty quickly, which is excellent for wanting to get a project completed quickly. Then it just needed to be sanded smooth. 

Desk Plan Wood Filler

Desk Plan: Putting it Together

I didn’t take photos of the assembly, because I was also trying to help with a bakery and lemonade stand sale that was going on at the same time. Life is never simple with three daughters in the house. To explain what I did; I attached the cross beams for the shelves to all legs prior to attaching the top. The shelves can be put on before or after the desktop is attached, just know that it’s hard to get to the pocket holes if you attach the top-shelf before the top. The base was completely together, so it was easy to just put the top on and attach it. For added security, I also drilled dowel holes in a few spots. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but I felt more comfortable with it. All that was left was to put the glue on the top of the legs and secure the top with the pocket screws.

From there, it was time to put on the veneer edging to give the edges a finished look. This is necessary when using any plywood, unless you prefer the raw edge. This veneer edging is really simple to use. Cut it to size, iron it on, and sand it flush. That’s it! One tip; give it time to cool and set before sanding it, so you don’t inadvertently loosen the hold.

Finished Raw Wood Desk

A frame desk plan

I painted it white and applied dark wax to the edges and top with a paintbrush to give it a rustic or chabby chic look. It’s really up to your personal style what you do with it. 

This Desk Plan is Ready for Virtual School

If you’d like the download of instructions, click the download button:

Check out some other projects:

Faux Wood Plank Shoe Enclosure to Keep Shoes Out of the Way

We got a Greater Swiss Mountain puppy this past year, which ended up meaning our shoes were no longer safe. I decided to use some extra wood sitting in the garage to create a shoe box to keep them safe by the back door. It’s also served to keep the area cleaner and trip free. Rather than keeping the plywood as is, I opted to do a faux wood plank technique to the top.

Our puppy Skye, particularly enjoyed our flip flops.

My Materials

  • 3/4″ plywood
  • 1/4″ plywood
  • 2 hinges
  • Spray paint
  • Stain
  • Drawer knob
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Screws

Tools

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Nail gun and nails
  • Kreg jigs
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Saw horses

Using the circular saw, I cut the plywood to the width of the wall space and the depth of my husband’s shoe. If I had had enough 3/4″ plywood in my scrap pile, I would have done the bottom with it as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t, so I used 1/4″ plywood instead.

I decided to use this Rustoleum spray paint I had from an ombre project I completed for my niece. The pop of color was a nice surprise on the inside. Rustoleum has good coverage.

I used some inch long wood screws to attach the bottom to the sides. Since it was just a simple project to keep our shoes safe, I didn’t worry too much about having 1/4″ board on the bottom being attached with glue and screws.

Faux Wood Plank Time

I thought it’d be fun to give the top the look of panels. To achieve this, I taped it to allow for the stain to create lines. The darker stain was first with two coats to make sure it would be dark. I switched the painter’s tape to cover the dark stain and then did the lighter stain. After that, I did a second coat on a few of the spots to have a third variation.

I put on two hinges I had handy. It seemed better that we’d have to pull up on the door to open it and make it puppy proof, so that is what I went with doing. I drilled an easy hole in the middle of the front panel and screwed in a knob to finish it off.

Safe and sound

The finished product for family shoe organization and safe keeping! If your looking for more organization ideas, check out the Family Command Center above the shoe box here.

(more…)

Super Simple Succulent Decor Ideas for a Struggling Plant Mom

This quote pretty accurately describes my feelings about succulents and other plants. In doing some research, I found this article on the 11 Ways Plants Enhance Your Mental and Emotional Health from Psychology Today. Take a look at #7; Higher levels of creativity! Who doesn’t love succulents and cacti? This article on the Top 8 House Plants to Help with Mental Health explains why those plants in particular help with your mental health. During these uncertain times, it’s definitely necessary to do what you can to keep stress and anxiety at bay. With that being said, who’s ready to put together some succulent decor?!

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy succulents! And that is pretty much the same thing.

-Unknown

Time to Run through Three Succulent Decor Ideas

Simplicity at it’s Best

Cacti Succulent Decor

This simple set up comes by the way of Lowe’s gardening center, Michaels’ rocks, pots from a failed potting present and Target. The rocks were my attempt at creating a more prosperous environment for hen and chicks after many deaths. It sadly failed just like those before it. At some point, I will figure out how to keep them alive, but for now, I decided I’d be best to stick with simpler cacti for a bit. This bluish-gray platter was on clearance at Target and a perfect fit for these pots. So far, I’ve been able to keep these cacti alive by spritzing them with water I spray these cacti with a spray bottle once a week. The flowers have stuck around for months, so I’m at last doing something right. 

Long Lasting Succulent Decor

When my daughter said she wanted to have succulent decor in her ‘new’ room, I pushed for the fake variety for her. I initially found some individual stems at Big Lots months before, but we needed more than what I’d gotten. We went on a little mother-daughter shopping trip to Michaels. My oldest is talented in a great many ways but doesn’t typically go the crafting route with me as my other two girls do. It was a nice time to get away and pick out some items for her to put together. She picked out the extra succulents, the glass container, and the sand color. 

All that was needed was to throw the sand into the glass and arrange the succulents as she liked. I enjoy the look of this angled bowl combined with the varying heights of the succulents. In order to achieve that, we had to cut the thick stems with wire cutters to make it all work together. You can see it in her renewed room here…

Easy Square Plant Hanger

A little woodworking never hurt anybody…. Just kidding, it definitely could, if you’re not careful. This square hanger is super simple and involves a wee bit of woodworking.

Materials

  • 1″ x 3″ x 6″ pine
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint or stain
  • Hook
  • Small planter hanger
  • A Plant
  • Nail Gun
  • Saw (I used this arm saw, but any variety of saws could cut the 4 pieces of wood.)

There are only a few steps for this project. 15 minutes and you could be finished with all four steps

  1. Cut the wood to size. Two 10 inch long pieces and two 8 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Put wood glue on the ends of the top and bottom pieces.
  3. Use a nail gun to nail the top and bottom in place.
  4. Stain/paint it

I found this wood tint and plant holder (seen below) at an A.C. Moore going out of business sale. Those items inspired me to make this rustic wood holder. I hadn’t used ‘wood tint’ before this, so figured I’d give it a go. Even after using it, I’m wasn’t quite sure what the difference was between it and stain, because they seemed mostly the same to me. Given that, I did a quick internet search. I found a post from Repurpose and Upcycle that provides an awesome explanation of the two and when to use one over the other. The wood tint seemed to provide good initial coverage based on this first experience. It also dried quickly, which keeps for the quick and easy strategy here.

I found these river rocks at Lowe’s as well. Simple is the name of the game. Put the plant in and spoon the rocks in around it. Then, it’s ready to put the hook into the ceiling of the square. It’s best to pre-drill a hole for the hook but it can also just be screwed in without it. The rope that came with the glass globe was too long, so I used some twine I had on hand. I also preferred the look of the twine, so it was a win-win.

Final Succulent Decor

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the simplicity of these ideas. Two of them can be found in my daughter’s newly made-over bedroom. To read more, click here…

Don’t forget that plants help with stress reduction, so go ahead and place them in areas where you tend to feel a little more stressed. I guess that’s why I love keeping them in my office.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

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