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

Low-sew pillows

I’ve seen a lot of post lately on no-sew pillows that look really cute. I needed a pillow or two for my painted yellow chairs, so I decided to try my own version of the no-sew pillow. I’m calling it a low-sew pillow because I hand-stitched them a little so they’d be more permanent. I used the same ideas though, and stayed far away from my sewing machine!

Low-Sew Pillow No. 1

Years ago I made a bunch of pillow to match my Paris-themed bedroom at my dad’s house. My step mom made me cute pillows and a matching bed skirt, too. On the way home yesterday, I stopped by and grabbed the old pillows to give them a new look so they’d match our yellow chairs perfectly. The first pillow I tackled was this long, cylindrical pillow.

First, I ironed out all of the creases in the fabric and laid the pillow on top. I cut off the excess fabric, leaving enough to wrap around the pillow and then bunch at the edges.

Once I had the fabric cut down to size, I ironed flat the ragged edge that would be exposed on the pillow.

With the edge ironed flat, I pulled the remaining raw edge up over the pillow and stitched a few stitches directly into the pillow to hold it in place.

Then, I folded the nicely ironed side up and over the pillow and did a stitch all the way down the seam. Since I have no plans of this pillow sitting anywhere but on my yellow chairs and I don’t anticipate the chairs themselves getting too much use, I was fine doing a raw stich on the underside of the pillow. If I were to make this pillow for my couch and it was to be tossed around all of the time, I would have stitched this part on a machine so it looked cleaner. Like I said, I am going for a low-sew pillow, so this worked just fine for me. I also really like seeing stitches in some things. I think they look neat.

With the pillow covered lengthwise, it was time to finish the edges. I flipped the pillow vertically so the white pillow underneath the fabric was showing. I placed a stitch in the center of the top of the pillow then started folding the fabric down onto the needle. This gave the pillow a bunched look at both ends. When the fabric had all been bunched, I folded down the top of the last flap of fabric so no raw edges were exposed. I then did a quick stitch to keep that part down. I did this for both ends of the pillow.

Now comes the fun part. I wanted to add an accent to my pillow, so I created a teal flower out of fabric. To do this, I cut eight circles out of my teal fabric and folded each circle into eighths.

Once all of the circles were folded, I stitched them together joining each folded circle at the pointy base. Once all eight were threaded together, I looped back around and put one last stitch into the first circle. That left me with a ring of fabric petals. I started to stitch that onto my pillow, spreading out each petal to give the flower dimension. Once I was happy with how that looked, I sewed a navy button onto the center of my flower. With that, my pillow was complete!

 

So cute, right? I was excited to pop it onto the yellow chair to see how it looked.

Cute, but something was definitely missing. With that, I started on my second low-sew pillow.

Low-Sew Pillow No. 2

For my second pillow, I picked a gray polka-dotted fabric. I also decided to go with a square pillow. I ripped off the cover of an old pillow and got to work.

I did a similar technique as I did with the first pillow, folding the raw fabric up to the center of the pillow and stitching the fabric to the pillow.

Once that was tacked into place, I folded one of the remaining tides and tacked onto the pillow as well.

Looks really nice, huh? For the final flap, I folded all of the raw edges under before folding the flap onto the pillow. I then did a stitch around all of the exposed seams. Once the pillow was all low-sewn into place, I added a big ol’ yellow flower to the top corner using the same technique as on the first pillow.

LOVE IT! Back to the chair!

Adorable, right? I like it so much better with two pillows!

Two pillows down, two to go.

Low-Sew Pillow No. 3

This was the last pillow I made last night — I got all tuckered out after three of them. This one is way different!

I started with a small rectangular pillow.

Like the other pillows, I folded up the long sides and stitched them together.

Now comes the fun part! With the excess fabric, I took up each end of the fabric and tied it into a knot in the center of the pillow.

If the fabric I was using didn’t fray, I could have simply cut off the white edges and went on my merry way. But I chose a fabric that would fray if I left it cut, so I trimmed off the white edges and tucked one half of the bow underneath the left side of the pillow, and the other part of the bow under the right side of the pillow. Then, I tacked down the corners underneath so the stitches were hidden and the edges od the bow wouldn’t pop back out accidentally.

Super cute! But it was missing an accent color. No flower for this pillow — I sewed a yellow buttons on top of the polka dots. Then I decided that was ugly, so I removed all but one little accent button. So cute.

Low-Sew pillow No. 3, complete!

I love my yellow chairs even more with the accent pillows — the pillows do a nice job of toning down the crazy yellow of the chairs.

I also think I’m going to move them chairs upstairs into our gray living room. They look nicer against the gray than they do against the greenish-blue.

Thanks for stopping by!