Sawhorse Standing Desk

I’m constantly searching “workspaces” on Pinterest and pinning to my space board. Two things I found in common with almost every space I love: plants and standing desks. The idea of standing up while writing, doing projects, and working on homework really appealed to me. Plus, I love how standing desks look and the amount of work space most of them provide.

Determined to make my own standing desk, I set off to a couple of my go-to project places: Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity Restore.

Here’s what I bought:

  • Old wood door- Habitat for Humanity, $1 (dollar door section) Side note: At first, I was concerned about the hole in the door where the doorknob used to be, but my sister pointed out that it’ll be perfect for my laptop cord to go through!  
  • Five 2×4 pieces- Lowe’s, $8
  • Sawhorse Brackets– Lowe’s, $7
  • Wood Finish in English Chestnut- Lowe’s, $4
  • Liquid Nails, $3

The height of the wood depends on your height (first 4 pieces) and the length of your door or desk top (fifth piece). Everyone is always friendly and patient at Lowe’s and will cut the wood for you for free.

I told the man that helped me that I wanted the “legs” of my desk to be standing height. We held the wood up and I put my hands where I would rest them on a desk or laptop. The fifth piece of wood should be length of your desktop (or door) minus about 4 inches. I was able to buy a scrap piece of wood for the fifth piece for only 75 cents!

Once I had all of my supplies, the desk went together in 4 simple steps:

1. Paint the top and sides of the door and stain all 5 wood pieces

2. With liquid nails, glue the fifth piece of wood (the one different than the other four) to the bottom of the door *let dry for 1-2 days*

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3. Slide the other four pieces of wood into the two sawhorse clamps (they’ll fit perfectly, but might take an extra oomph)

4. Attach the sawhorses to the piece of wood on the bottom of the door

My last step was to to find a stool on Craigslist for $5 and paint it white to match the door. This project started off completely as an experiment, but I am so happy with how it turned out!

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‘Create’ Nail and Wood Art

It turns out that crafts and winter have not been friends this year. However, the closer it gets to spring, the more inspired I feel! The inspiration for this project came from Anna Maria Island, Florida, where I spent spring break with my family. I saw a similar piece with the word “LOVE” and immediately started planning how I’d recreate it (for less than its 200 dollar retail price.) Here’s what I used:

  • One piece of wood (size depends on the length of the word and size of the font)
  • About 150 medium sized nails
  • Small hammer
  • Paper and a pencil for tracing

The wood is from Home Depot. For projects like this one, I always ask someone working if they have scrap wood. About 50% of the time I get lucky and they have some! This piece was 75% off and ended up being about a dollar. They’ll even cut it for free. The nails were about 4 dollars for 200.

The first step is to cut out the letters you need. The easiest way to do this is to print them out, but if you’re like me and don’t have a printer, you can trace letters from your computer screen with parchment paper and a thin market. I suggest using a typeface with as many straight lines as possible. In my trial run, I used a script typeface and it was harder to read and harder to follow the lines.

Once you’ve cut out the letters, lightly trace them onto your wood with pencil.

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Now you’re ready to start hammering! I suggest finding a very flat surface. The sturdier your wood board, the easier it is to get the nails to stay. My last tip is to be patient (something I am terrible at!) The project took me about two hours and I ended up hammering many of the nails twice. Depending on the kind of wood you choose, some nails might loosen as you hammer others.

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I’m really happy with my final product that now lives on my bookshelf! It cost me about 5 dollars to recreate the piece I saw for 200. It will remind me every day to continue to create and be inspired.

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Happy crafting!

-Kat

The Thrifty College House

After a summer of decorating, crafting, and planning, the thrifty college house is complete. The goal was to transform an average, run down college house into somewhere where my best friend and I can study, relax, and escape from our crazy schedules. Without spending more than $35 on a single piece, we turned our boring little house into a cute, eclectic home that we love and can’t wait to share with our friends. Most importantly, we now have our own little niche where we can learn, grow, be inspired, and finish our last couple of years as Spartans.

Chalkboard, DIY $3

We decided to use the chalkboard as a calendar for upcoming concerts we are planning on going to.

Table and Chairs, Kat’s Grandma

White Mugs, Thrifted $ .85

Lamp, Ikea $10

End table, Backyard tree stump

Couch, Thrifted $35

Map Wall Art, DIY

Loveseat, Craigslist (free)

“Best Day Ever” Pillow, DIY

Wood Crate, Estate Sale $ .50

Yellow Mug, Thrifted $1

Bookshelf, Estate Sale $20

Big Wood Frame, Estate Sale $1

Painted Antlers, (Thanks, Dad!)

Green Chair, From family friend (free)

Repurposed Wood Pallets

Wood pallet projects seem to be the new trend on Pinterest- and when a friend offered me some for free, I couldn’t resist! My first project was a table. Let me warn you, this was a project of improvisation and “Dad’s not home so no power tools”. With that being said, my supplies included:

  • One wood pallet
  • Wood blocks for legs (1.29 x 2 at Lowe’s)
  • Stain
  • Sand Paper
  • Liquid nails (wood glue or gorilla glue should work too)
  • Bungee cords (Hey, it did the trick!)

I started off by sanding down the pallet to avoid slivers. Next, I turned it upside down and glued the legs on with liquid nails, one by one, securing them with bungee cords. Obviously, clamps would be more ideal, but I couldn’t find any.

   

Next, let it dry. The liquid nails probably should dry for 24 hours, but I lasted about 5. The longer the better! When the table was dry enough, I turned it over and finished it off by staining it with maple stain that I found in the garage. Even with limited supplies and tools, I’m excited about how the table turned out!

After the construction of my (somewhat awkward) table, I still hadn’t had enough of wood pallets. I was, however, ready for a simpler project. I looked at the next pallet, turned it around, leaned it against the wall, and eventually decided, “This is going to be a bookshelf.”

I recently found a distressed painting tutorial I’ve been wanting to try out (sorry I can’t remember the link!) and so I used that for my new bookshelf. Simply clean the wood, sand, paint on color, dry, paint over with another color, dry, stain, and wipe off. The key is to paint very lightly leaving traces of wood.

After the paint was dry, I stenciled on “Read More Books”, painted the letters, and added books!

After spending some quality time with my wood pallets, I see what all the hype is about! In a lot of ways, using pallets is like starting mid-craft. Happy crafting, friends :)

Map Wall Art

With only one month until Kat and I move into our house, I’m starting to cross projects off of my to-do list. I recently saw this picture on pinterest, but I was disappointed that there was no tutorial. After unsuccessfully looking around for one, I figured I should just make my own:

Supplies:

  • 3-4 pieces of barn wood (I found 4 pieces at my cottage)
  • Modge podge (Make your own! 1/2 elmer’s glue, 1/2 water, shake)
  • Medium sized paint brush
  • Map poster (I bought mine here for $5 with shipping!)

    

The first step is to cut the map into strips the size of the boards. One reason I bought such a cheap map is because it killed me a little having to cut it up.

Next, pick one of your boards and apply a coat of modge podge right onto the wood. Lay your piece of map on the board and add another layer on top. After you’ve added a layer on top, use your hands to push out any air bubbles. You can also use the paint brush, but I found it wasn’t as effective as hands. The last optional step is to rip the edges. The edges look more natural if they are ripped when the paper is wet from the modge podge. There’s no specific way to do this, it depends how distressed you want it to come out.

Repeat the steps with each board, let dry, and that’s it! The final product has a nice matte finish and the map appears to be printed on to the wood boards. I plan to hang this in our living room using command strips.

Ampersand Pillow

Ready for the world’s easiest DIY? You’ve probably seen the minimalist ampersand or other symbol pillows around. As a writer (and crafter) I love them and decided to try to make one myself. Here’s how:

1. Print out the ampersand (&) symbol

2. Pin it to your fabric (I used muslin, which is only $1.99/yd)

3. Trace and fill with a fabric marker

4. Stitch up your pillow!

Now I have a new pillow addition! Click here for the quote pillow tutorial.

Coat/Purse Hanger!

I was inspired by this tutorial of how to make your own coat hanger. I love the idea of using mix matched knobs, plus they are a lot easier to find if you’re not set on having them matching. I found three knobs and a pull at the Grand Rapids Habitat for Humanity Restore. This is a great store if you’re looking for something really specific (like a door or knobs!) All together, the knobs and pull cost under $2; compared to a hardware store where they cost anywhere from $2-$10 a piece! The piece of wood was found under the desk at my cottage- the more beat up the better!

Supplies:

  • knobs/pulls
  • piece of barn or drift wood
  • screw driver
  • sand paper, paint (optional)

After you have your supplies, the coat hanger is really simple to make. Just drill holes where you want the knobs, screw them in, and you’re done! The tutorial I found didn’t use a pull, but I found that mine is perfect to hang an umbrella. I beat up the wood a little more with some sand paper and a hammer and you could paint it too. For $2 I have a cute little coat hanger for the doorway of my new house!

Stencil Pillow

I found this tutorial on tumblr a while ago and finally gave it a try. One of my biggest pet peeves is how EXPENSIVE pillows are; they’re two pieces of fabric sewn together! With left over fabric, a fabric marker, and a little thread, this pillow cost me close to nothing.

The first step is drawing on the quote of your choice. The only tricky thing is making sure to space out the letters how you want them. I started with an extra big piece of fabric so that I had plenty of room for all of the words.

After that, just sew it up like a regular pillow (turn inside out, pin, sew three and a half sides, turn to the right side, stuff, and hand stitch the last half!) After about 30 minutes here is my final product:

Update: Here is another one I’ve made recently. I’m loving the look without filling in the spaces of the letters on my stencil.

Chevron Painted Table

I’m loving the new chevron stripe trend, and I was excited to give it a try today! I began with an old sewing machine cabinet from my Grandma’s attic, painted it white, and then started the fairly easy chevron process. I first printed out a pattern; I used this one, but you can use whatever size you want or draw your one. Next, I used painting tape and taped the pattern right on to my table like this:

I wasn’t too worried about making the lines perfect, but perfect is definitely doable! I painted the areas outside of the tape, waited for it to dry, slowly removed the tape, and wa-la chevron!!

I finished off by priming and then painting the drawer pull turquoise. Because the table was given to me for free and I used left over paint, the project ended up being very inexpensive (less than 5 dollars!) Here is the before and after:

DIY Distressed Desk

I’ve been wanting to try out the “distressed” paint look for a while now, but haven’t had anything to paint. Until yesterday! My mom and I spent the morning at garage sales and found a small wooden desk for 5 DOLLARS! I then spent the afternoon going through different blogs and collecting various distressing techniques.

My supplies included:

  • turpentine
  • about a pint of paint (I asked a sample quart at the hardware store)
  • sand paper
  • crumpled up paper
  • hammer
  • small paint brush
  • spray sealer
  • my desk

Overall, I found that the most important thing is to not try too hard. I used what I found and made up some of my own techniques. Some that worked the best: lightly painting leaving some wood show, rubbing half dry paint with crumpled up paper to add texture, sand papering dry edges, and hammering dents. Here is what I ended up with:

First Day of Summer

My first day of summer started off at 9am with a big cup of coffee and a burst of inspiration. It’s free paint and couch day! It also marks the first day of my thrifting adventures to furnish and decorate my new house in the Fall.  It has become a hobby of mine this year to browse craigslist and imagine what furniture I would buy, refurbish, or even pick up for free. When I saw the little gem below, I emailed the contact right away. Come to find out, this couch was located at a church not far from my house. I fell in love with the pattern and cute home-y structure. The pastor at the church agreed to hold it for me until I came back from school- today! My new friend Pastor Michael and his little helper loaded my CRV with my free couch and I was off.

Next stop was Ace Hardware for free paint day! I will admit, I thought it might be too good to be true. But, I put my doubts behind me and printed the coupon from Ace Hardware’s Facebook page. I walked in, and ten minutes later walked out with a free quart of paint that will perfectly compliment my new couch.

So, here’s to the weekend, a new blog, adventure, and Summer!