Furniture

DIY Poplar Trestle Desk

A couple of months ago I wrote about starting up my Etsy shop. I got great feedback on my designs, and even better advice for opening up a shop. I was inspired to buy myself a large format printer so I can start designing and selling prints on Etsy! Woo!

So I bought my printer, then quickly realized I have no place to set it up. As our office was set up, there was a desk for Brian, then a reading nook for me. I made the (surprisingly hard) decision to sell my comfy red chair and ottoman to make room and fund a desk.

Reading Nook

I had so many ideas when it came to building the desk — so much so that I acted too quickly on one of them.

Let’s start with the top:

At first I wanted to get a butcher block countertop from either Restore or Ikea. My coworker and friend Carrie talked me out of that, encouraging me to instead build the top myself. She let me borrow her Kreg Jig so I could join two pieces of wood to make one nice top.

Once I scrapped the butcher block idea, I went to Home Depot to select wood for the project. I’d used pine before on my console table, so I knew how soft of a wood pine is. Not my best bet for a desk top. I had two additional selections: Poplar and Oak. Oak would have been the best choice, but at $12/foot, so not affordable. I opted to buy 12 feet (cut into two 6-foot pieces) of poplar at $5.XX (can’t remember exactly) per linear foot. Sidenote: Thank goodness for the Home Depot employee and a fellow customer who helped me make the decision to go with poplar. I was heading down a whole other route and they steered me clear or that disaster.

I got the poplar home and broke out the Kreg Jig — take your time and make sure you measure correctly, then have at it. It is a super easy tool to use and I loved it. It’s on my wishlist 🙂 For those who don’t know, the Kreg Jig is a tool that allows you to drill angled pocket holes into wood. For the top, I drilled pocket hole into both pieces of poplar for extra strength. (I swear I took a photo of this, but I cannot find itanywhere. Le sigh.) I clamped the two boards together, then screwed them together using Kreg screws.

Poplar_Unjoined

I ended up with a top for my desk that was sturdy, but needed a lot of sanding. I cut down the ends so the boars were even, then got to work sanding. You can see in the photo in the middle of the two boards where one board was a little bowed compared to the other. I spent hours sanding away to make the whole top flat.

Desk_temporary set up

I finally got the top sanded so the seam was flush. Then I stained it a mixture of black and walnut. I only left the stain on for about 30 seconds because I didn’t want a dark finish on the desk. After that dried, I did three coats of poly.

Check out this color and wood grain. Yowza!

stain

Now for the legs:

Ideally, my desk would have four hairpin legs. And in reality, I’m not convinced I won’t eventually splurge and buy them. Brian hates them, and they are pricey — so that was enough for me to avoid them for now.

I thought instead of hairpin legs I’d buy cabinets for the base of the desk, so I hunted and hunted and found two 30-inch cabinets from Restore. Ugh, best of intentions. They were the right height, but the depth so did not work. I quickly realized this and promptly abandoned ship. Anyone want two old, crappy cabinets that have been rained on a few times? No? Yeah, me either.

Base Cabinet

I cut my losses with that idea pretty quickly, moving on to plan b: Ikea trestle legs.

Desk_temporary set up

You can see in this image the legs I bought from Ikea. $10 each, $20 total. Not too bad. The downside: They are a little shorter than I’d like, the middle leg kinda gets in the way, they don’t screw into the desk and the color.

Well, I fixed the color pretty quickly, and tried to fix the screwing in issue:

Legs_Before and AFter

Gold legs! Oww owwwww! And some freshly drilled holes in the top bar. For some reason, I still couldn’t get a screw to stay in the poplar from that angle, so they are only screwed in with one screw… total. Haha oh well!

Ready for the reveal?

Desk_Sideview

Check out that pretty desk!

Desk_New1

If you look to the right, you’ll notice a smaller side table with my printer on it! Originally, I thought I’d have the printer on the desk. But it takes up a ton a room (26-inches wide). Plus, with the legs not screwed in I’m wary of having the expensive printer on it (not that I think the desk is about to fall apart). Now I can set up my printer and my shop 🙂

OK, one more view of the desk:

Desk_Side

You can see my turtle print I got at graduation and my Maryland quilt. Go Terps! It’s basically like I’m still on campus when I’m working from home. Except my view from home is sweeter.

I also took my office invasion as an opportunity to purge items from our closet and refresh our bookshelves. Hello, rainbow books 🙂

ShelfThere’s a special place in heaven for husbands who let their wives organize their bookshelves by color. And yes, my Harry Potter books get their own spot on the bottom shelf. Duh.

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Craft Projects, Furniture, Pallet Projects

Pallet Ottoman

I feel very accomplished writing this post. I’ve been saying for about a month now that I planned to build an ottoman out of shipping pallets all on my own. Well, I finally did it. And, it’s cute!

After a busy morning yesterday, I had the perfect opportunity to make my ottoman. The house was clean and decorated, dinner was cooking in the crock pot, the hubbs was busy watching football…. the only thing left to do was tackle my project! And the weather was perfect.

So I lugged four pallets from the front of the house to the backyard and pulled out my arsenal of tools and got to work.

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When I had the idea to make this ottoman, it was simply that, an idea. I had a plan in my brain, but wasn’t sure where it would go in the house or who would use it. So I trucked on over to JoAnn’s last weekend to look for some inspiration. Lo and behold I found a beautiful piece of fabric in the home decor aisle (that of course wasn’t on sale) that immediately became my inspiration of the project. The fabric was navy with cherry red  flowers on it, and it would go perfectly in our blue den in front or our red chair.

Now that I knew where I was making the ottoman for, I stood in a miserably long line to get a piece of foam cut for the project (24 in. x 16 in.) and my yard of fabric. The fabric was $45, but I had a coupon for 60% off. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I waited in the 30-minute line…. that was a sweet discount.

Anyway, my foam and fabric sat around the house for a week before I had the chance to get my hands on it. I pretty much built the ottoman around the piece of foam, so it was pretty important.

Onto the building part…. I tore two different shipping pallets apart to make this piece. The first I had already mostly used in my pallet sign project. With this project complete, that pallet is totally donezo. I took the top boards off of the second pallet by cutting them with my jigsaw (not quite the appropriate tool to use, but I had to work with what I have). The pallet boards were about 5.5″ wide, so I cut three of them down to the length I needed (24 in.). These boards were the surface on which I adhered my foam.  Then, I cut two 2×4 boards to go beneath the ottoman top to support the top and allow the boards to be joined. These two boards were 16 inches long, that way they spanned across all three boards (the short length). I screwed the three top boards into the two supports to start my structure.

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Once that was complete, I flipped my board over to measure the distance between the two support boards. I wanted to add support lengthwise as well, so I had to determine the size I needed of the 2×4.

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I cut two boards to fit along the edges, then screwed them into the structure from the top down.

As a final measure of sturdiness, I ran three boards opposite the three top boards (only in the center of the structure), and one final board along the middle.

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With everything screwed or nailed into place, my base for my ottoman was complete. Since none of the pallet wood would be showing, I didn’t sand or stain any of it.

Next, I took some spray adhesive and sprayed the top of the ottoman base. I firmly placed my foam (4 in., high density) on top of the glue and let it sit for a minute. Once I couldn’t pull the foam off, I brought the project inside and began to cover the ottoman. I started with a layer of batting, which I wrapped around the long edge of the ottoman and stapled underneath. Then, I did the same thing width-wise. When I was finished with the batting, the entire top and sides of the ottoman were covered and plush.

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Next up, fabric!! I ironed my fabric, then laid it out on the floor to position the ottoman. Then I tightly (but not too tightly) wrapped it around and stapled it to the ottoman base. I did triangular folds around the corners to be a bit fancy. Oh la la!

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Once that was completed, I went the extra mile and added another fabric to the bottom so no pallet wood was exposed at all. For this step, I simply folder the edges of the fabric into a faux hem, then stapled them on top of the existing fabric. It turned out great!

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With my ottoman all covered, it was time to add the legs. I bought four heavy-duty leg plates at Home Depot that I screwed into the base. I definitely recommend this because it saves you from having to bore a hole into your base itself and makes it a little more secure and stable. Not to mention they are $2 or $3 a pop. Win.

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Meanwhile, I stained the legs black and gave them a quick coat of poly.

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When all of that was finished, I assembled the whole thing and was done. Time to relax on my fabulous, new ottoman. Or should I say, time for Remmy to relax (so spoiled!).

Remmy on Chair

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Finished Ottoman

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To say I am pleased with how this turned out would be the understatement of the century. I am still slightly shocked that I pulled it off having never built anything from scratch before and totally winging the plans, which I created in my non-mathematical brain of mine. Wow.

It looks great in our room and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. And now that I know I can do it, appropriate tools or not, I will happily tackle another ottoman project as soon as we buy a new couch for our family room. I don’t want to build it without knowing the style of couch we’ll end up with, but I am now confident I can do it.

Happy Monday, everybody 🙂