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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Furniture

Crate Coffee Table, part 2

Earlier this year I found a crate on my local Freecycle listserv that I scooped up, added some caster to and turned into a coffee table.

Crate Coffee Table

The crate sat as is for a while, but the wood was rough around the edges and the crate had been written on and scuffed up. I decided to take on the coffee table crate project for a second time, this time opting to stain the crate and make the piece a little more polished — well, as polished as an old wood crate can look.

The side of the crate was painted a dark, charcoal gray. I decided to stain the crate a gray to pull out the charcoal-colored sides.

Before I could start staining, I had to sand the hell outta the crate. The top was covered in nicks, scuffs, sharpie, old sticker goo…. It wasn’t pretty.

Crate

It looked like someone had kept score on the crate, or attempted math? Who knows. But the sharpie had to go.

CrateTop

Once the whole crate was sanded down, I applied a gray stain to the whole thing, including the painted sides. Since some of the paint was scuffed off, I wanted to make sure the exposed wood was gray, too.

CrateStained

The wood soaked up the stain lie crazy, turning the whole crate a charcoal gray with wood grain popping through. I love the color mixed with the natural wood peeping through.

Once it dried, I coated the whole thing in a polyurethane.

CrateGray

The finished product is still a roughed up, old crate — but a much nicer looking old crate. I like the gray a lot and how it tied the sides and the rest of the piece together. I also like the lack of graffiti on my furniture. That’s a plus for sure.

Crate iside

We aren’t currently using the crate as a coffee table, so I’m not sure what we’ll do with it. But I really like the cleaned up look for this neat old piece.

Craft Projects

Baby Brother sign

My good friend Carrie is expecting her second son in September and I am so excited for her and family. This baby has been dubbed “baby brother” throughout her pregnancy (her last baby was nicknamed “Kermie”) and she jokes that it should be his actual name.

Using scrap wood from my console table project, I made her a sign for her little one’s nursery using the nickname.

Spare Wood

I pulled out a piece of wood that actually broke off where it was laminated/glued together to the other boards. (Hopefully that doesn’t happen to the larger sheets of wood I used for the tables). I sketched out “baby brother” and then immediately sanded it off because I didn’t like it.

I opted to freehand paint it instead.

Baby

I did “baby” in off-white and cursive.

Painted sign

Then, I painted “brother” in navy and a print handwriting.

I added a few dots of the opposite color to each word as a cute little accent.

Drilled hole

Then, I drilled holes in the top two corners large enough to string rope through.

Before adding the rope, I stained the board with a light weathered gray stain.

Stained word

This really helped the off-white paint pop.

Stained sign

I put the rope through each hole and knotted it so it wouldn’t pull back through, then hung the sign up to dry. Since it will just be hanging on a wall, I didn’t bother with poly.

Hanging to dry

I gave her the sign on Thursday and she loved it!

Baby Brother sign Carrie

I can’t wait to see where she puts it in her nursery and I can’t wait to meet her little boy 🙂