Wednesday, May 19

Candle Stands - A Freebie Find!

My parents were helping clean out our church basement, and found a couple wooden candle stands that were headed for the garbage. They were a little on the ugly side and definitely outdated, but they knew their daughter loves a good project and snagged them for me! I wish I had taken before pictures, but at least you can see the after!

The first job was cleaning them up and scraping off the old wax. Once that was over the fun started! The two taller stands started out the same size, so I cut one shorter for a little more variety. The shortest one wasn't even a candle stand. It had some little table top that I pulled off so I could just use the base. Remember, groupings always look better in odd numbers! Then all I did was give them a coat of glossy black paint, and viola! Freebie candle stands!

Well, I did buy the candles on after-Christmas clearance. But other than that I didn't spend a dime! And I spent maybe an hour fixing them up. You can't beat that! Never be afraid to snag something just because it is a little outdated. It just needs a little love!

I love that glossy black paint! It really gives them an up-to-date finish while keeping the traditional styling. And that is my favorite. A mix of traditional and contemporary. Perfect.

I can't wait to see your freebie finds!

Sunday, May 16

A Console Table Knock-Off

Update: it's over 8 years since I wrote this post, and this console is still one of my favorite pieces of furniture! We've moved it to different rooms (and three different houses) and it's never let me down yet. If you're looking for a first build, this is a great place to start!!

 Storage + Style! It's perfect for keeping my plants in our sunny South-facing window in what the boys call our "lego room." Naturally the drawer are full of legos. I never would have dreamed such a thing when I built it all those years ago!

  Original Post:

This console table was the first project I took on all by myself. I am so happy with how it turned out, and so proud of myself for pulling it off. I chose this table because it could serve as a landing spot just inside the front door and also provide some much needed storage! And there was just enough room underneath for all our shoes. Perfect.

I think I spent something like $70 on this table. Compared to the $700 it would cost to buy one, I think I did pretty good. And it's similar to the inspiration table (from PB, but discontinued years ago) but more rustic. I would love to have baskets to put below it!

With each building project I've taken on, I've been amazed at how simple it actually is. Not necessarily easy, but very simple. And Ana White deserves all the credit for that. She makes building so possible and shows women what they are capable of if they are willing to try. We can make better homes for our families on budget if we are willing to put a little work into it. And that is what I want. A home.

I truly believe that ANYONE can achieve that. Want to give it a try? Start with this console table. You can definitely do it.

Have fun making your house into your home! I know I am!

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Thursday, May 13

Simple Upholstered Headboard

My husband & I had never had a headboard. Since we live in a rental, we can't paint the walls or anything and I knew a headboard would be the best way to add a little bit of us to the bedroom. This was my first building project. I built it with my dad's help in just a few hours, in the basement because it was winter. And it was super easy. And I love it.

We spent about $50 and had a big piece of plywood left over (enough to build the coffee table). A big part of the cost was the foam padding, and all I can say is watch for those 50% off coupons for Joann Fabric! Let me know if you find someplace to get it cheaper!

Home Improvement stores will generally cut your plywood for you. Ask them to cut your shelves to size to save you some trouble. And don’t forget to check out Knock-Off Wood for more tips!

Shopping List:
1/2" plywood cut to 48x20"
1 1x8 @ 10'
1 1x8 @ 6'
2 1x2 @ 8'
4 small L-brackets w/ screws
1 1/4" screws
48x20" piece of foam (I used 2" thick)
1 1/2 yard fabric
6 buttons (with holes on the back)
stain or paint

Saw (and a triangle unless you have a miter saw)
Screw Driver
Hot Glue Gun
Needle & Thread

Cut List:
A) 2 1x8 @56 1/2" with top end mitered (legs)
B) 1 1x8 @ 60" with both ends mitered (top)
C) 2 1x2 @ 36" with top end mitered (side trim)
D) 1 1x2 @ 60" with both ends mitered (top trim)
E) 1 1/2" plywood @ 48x20"

1. Build the Frame
Begin by cutting the pieces specified above. Lowe's cut the plywood when I bought it, and I did all the other cuts using a hand saw, which wasn't too hard since there aren't many cuts. To make the miter corners I used a triangle to mark a 45 degree angle and cut it with the hand saw as well. Okay, technically my dad did most of the cutting. :)

Assemble the 1x8's as shown above, using the L-brackets on the backto connect them at the miter joints, using 2 brackets per joint as shown below. It will seem a little flimsy for now, but once the plywood is on later it will be sturdy.

Attach the 1x2's to the front, lining them up with the edges of the 1x8's. I did this by screwing through the back of the 1x8 and into the 1x2 so there are no screws visible from the front. I used 3 screws across the top and 2 down each side.

Stain the assembled frame and let it dry. You can also use a coat or two of polyurethane if you want a gloss finish. Or you can paint it. Whatever you like best!

2. Upholster the Main Panel

If you want buttons, you first need to decide how many/where and mark it on the plywood. Then drill a hole in each button spot using the biggest drill bit you have (shown above).

On the back of the plywood, put a screw on each side of each hole and leave it sticking out a little (also make sure it isn’t poking all the way through). When you add the buttons later you will use these screws to keep them on…it will make sense then!) Doing the buttons this way will make sure they are just where you want them at the end. Hopefully the picture above helps! If you want the buttons to match the headboard, cover them with the same fabric by wrapping it around and hot gluing it on the back.

Layer (face down) the fabric, foam, and plywood, lining up the edges of the foam and plywood, and leaving plenty of extra fabric around all the edges. Wrap fabric up to the back of the plywood and staple in place. I would start in the middle of a long side and work out to the edges, then to the opposite side the same way, then the short ends.

To add the buttons, sew through the hole in the plywood, from back to front, using a long needle and thick thread. (I used several strands of regular thread together) Then loop through the hole on the back of the button and sew back through the headboard, coming out through the same hole (that's the tricky part!) Then wrap the thread around the screws by the hole and tie the ends together. (It's nice to have an extra set of hands for this part if you can find some!) Hopefully the picture above helps!

3. Put it all together

Lay the upholstered panel face down and mark lines on the back, 1 1/4" in from each side. Now lay the frame face down on the top of the panel, lining up the inside edges of the frame with the lines you drew on the panel (this will leave an even 6" of frame visible, shown below). Now just screw them together from back to front where they overlap (remember they only overlap 1 1/4" (shown in blue above), so your screws need to be within that space!) I used 5 screws acros the top and 3 down each side.

4. Set it up and enjoy! Ours is simply standing at the head of our bed, but you could attach it to the wall or bed if you prefer.


The trim pieces (1x2's) don't go all the way to the floor, they stop just below the mattress. This is just because I would have to buy a whole extra 8' board to do each side (and you can't really see them down there anyway). If you want to go all the way down, just buy and extra board and cut the side pieces 56 1/2" long instead.

There is a gap (about 5") between the bottom of the upholstered headboard and the top of our mattress (our mattress is 25" high, so if might be different if yours is higher or lower) That is just because we have outlets up there that we wanted to be able to reach without moving the headboard, and when the bed is made the pillows hide the gap anyway. If you don't want a gap, just cut the bottom off the legs of the frame to get rid of the gap. (but be aware that that will change the look and less of the headboard will be visible above your pillows.) The other alternative would be to make the padded portion taller so that it fills the gap without affecting the overall height of the headboard, but that requires math. :)

Have fun! Let me know if you have any questions!

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Wednesday, May 12

Let's Build a Coffee Table

UPDATE: Because these plans are so popular, I rewrote the tutorial and redrew the plans (now that I have more experience with Sketchup). Check out the updated post: Rhyan Coffee Table.

We’ve been needing a new coffee table for a while. And I knew exactly what I wanted. This:

There is one problem though. It costs $700. Yikes. I had accepted the fact that that just wasn’t a possibility for us. I was coming to terms with the flimsy IKEA coffee table that had fit our budget. I thought this was the best I could do for our home.
Until the day I stumbled across Knock-Off Wood. That was the day that I knew I could do better, and I have been budgeting and planning and saving and building ever since! I have used Ana’s plans to build some other pieces, but she didn’t have this particular table. While I do NOT have the experience Ana does when it comes to furniture building, I studied her plans until I came up with a design of my own, and I knocked-off this coffee table:

We could not be happier! My husband and I built this table out of pine for about $60, not including hardware. That would be a $640 savings. Want to save that money yourself? In true Knock-Off Wood style, I drew up the plans you need to make this table for your own living room. If you need more inspiration or plans, be sure to check out Ana’s website Knock-Off Wood. She also has great tips on wood types, finishing, and building in general. (Check out her plan catalog to browse all the plans available)

Now, down to business! These plans are actually slightly different from the dimensions of the inspiration table & the table I built, but they use standard lumber sizes. I could have saved myself a lot of headaches if I’d thought all that through before I started. Oops. :) But don’t worry, I’ve corrected the plans to make it easier for you!

Please read all the directions before beginning, and cut your pieces as you go, measuring before each cut. Use 2” screws unless otherwise indicated. Always use glue. Pre-drill and countersink your screws. Home Improvement stores will generally cut your plywood for you. Ask them to cut your shelves to size to save you some trouble. And don’t forget to check out Knock-Off Wood for more tips!

Shopping List:
4 2x2 @ 8’
1 2x2 @ 10’
1 1x2 @ 10’
1 1x10 @ 10’
3 1x8 @ 8’
1 sheet plywood (I used ½” thick)
Several small L-Brackets OR Scrap wood

2” screws
1 ¼” screws
Wood glue
Wood filler

Cut List:
A) 4 2x2 @ 18” (legs)
B) 6 2x2 @ 20” (side rails)
C) 2 1x10 cut to 7 ½” tall @ 20” (side panels)
D) 6 2x2 @ 45” (front & back rails)
E) 4 1x2 @ 7 ½” (stiles)
F) ½” strips of scrap wood OR several small metal L-Brackets (shelf supports)
G) 3 45x20” ½” plywood (shelves)
H) 2 1x2 @ 20” (drawer dividers)
I) 3 1x2 @ 14 ½” (center divider)
J) 6 1x10 @ 12 ¾” (drawer bottoms)
K) 6 1x8 @ 14 ¼” (drawer fronts)
L) 6 1x8 @ 14 ¼” (drawer backs)
M) 12 1x8 @ 9 ¼” (drawer sides)

1. Start by assembling the short ends of the table. Cut the legs (A) and side rails (B). Attach the bottom rail between the legs leaving a 1” gap at the bottom of the leg. Then attach the center rail leaving 7 ¼” in between. Cut the side panels (C) and insert one in the gap between the bottom and center rails and attach through the rails, keeping panel flush with the outside front of the legs. Finally, attach the top rail keeping it flush with the top of the legs. If you have a Kreg Jig, you will be in good shape! I did this without, just screwed through the legs and into the rails but it was harder and we probably risked splitting the wood more. But it can be done.

2. Once the sides are complete, attach the back bottom & center rails (D) in between the sides. Leave a 1” gap below the bottom rail, and a 7 ¼” gap between the bottom and center rails as shown above. Repeat for the front rails.

3. Attach the stiles (E) between the bottom and center rails as shown above. There will be 2 stiles on each side, with 14 ½” between the stiles and the legs. Repeat for the front stiles.

4. Attach the top rails on the front & back.

5. Next you need to cut some ½” strips of wood (F) to use as shelf supports. Leave a gap above the supports equal to the thickness of the plywood you will use for the shelves. I used ½” plywood, so I left a ½” gap above the supports for the shelf to sit in. Attach the supports for the bottom shelf as shown above using 1 ¼” screws. I had a left over 1x12 laying around, so I cut ½” strips off the side of it, parallel to the grain. You could also use small L brackets like these:

Placed around the edges instead of wood strips. You’ll want to do the supports as you go. For now just do the bottom supports, then place the bottom shelf, then move on to the middle supports and shelf.

6. Next put the bottom shelf (G) into place and attach it to the supports using 1 ¼” screws & glue. Then attach the drawer dividers (H) to the shelf, placing one at each end and one running between each set of stiles, as shown above. Attach by screwing down through the dividers into the shelf.

7. Then attach the center dividers (I) to the bottom shelf as shown above. The dividers should be centered between the front & back of the shelf.

8. Repeat step 4 to attach supports to the center rails as shown above. (The top rails aren't shown in this picture so you can see better)

9. Put the shelf in place and secure to the supports using glue & 1 ¼” screws as shown above.

10. Repeat step 4 to attach the supports for the top shelf.

11. Place the top shelf and secure in place. The basic table is complete! Now you just need some drawers. (or you could use baskets, which would be sweet!)

12. Now assemble the drawers. You will have 6 drawers total. Start by attaching the sides (M) to the short ends of the bottom (J).

13. Then attach the front & back (K&L).

14. Fill holes, sand and finish as desired.

15. Attach hardware to the drawers and you are done! To get the same look as the inspiration table we ordered hardware like this but a little bigger (I can’t find it anymore!) and used some matching label holders. We got both in brass and antiqued them ourselves. The beauty part of home-built furniture is that you have no limitations! Make it your way and make it beautiful!


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