Friday, January 25, 2013

another curbside score: the up-cycled briefcase

Our neighborhood never ceases to amaze! People love to throw things out that are perfectly good (including myself) from this point on I'll never think of an item the same way again.

My wife scored this really cool looking briefcase curbside and immediately the thought of an end table came to mind. It was totally perfect for remotes, pens, etc.., with pouches and all, super nice.

final product

Stage 1, determine the height of your table and cut out legs. The optimum height for a side table is about 20-24" so you need to consider the height of the item you're going to use. My briefcase is about 5" so my legs will be 18". Using a 2x6 cut out (2pcs) that length.

stage 1, cutting material for legs

Stage 2,  decide on leg style and cut. A tapered leg is a great modern look and is actually easy to do. Take a piece your leg stock and scribe a taper, 2" at top into a 1" taper. Using a table saw carefully cut along the scribed line.

stage 2, scribing taper
stage 2, cutting on scribed line

Stage 3, giving your leg some flair. Cut a 15deg angle at top and bottom of leg (this gives a simple leg interest). Be sure to make both cuts in the same direction and make sure all legs are equal or your table will be rickety (not good).

stage 3, cutting the 15deg flair

Stage 4, sand the legs and finish. Depending on your desired finish determines how much sanding. I sanded with 80grit stopped and painted out the legs. If you stain go 80, 120, then finish out with 220, stain, poly, lightly sand again with 220 and poly again.

stage 4, sanding legs
stage 4, painting legs

Stage 5,  giving strength to your project. This can be done to vintage luggage a briefcase such as I have or what ever your imagination can think of. In just about every case you need to re-enforce for good structure. Cut out (2pcs) of stock the depth of your project (my case 12"pcs,) set in the bottom, pre-drill holes into supports and the legs, and screw it all together.
stage 5, re-enforcing with supports
stage 5, screwing on legs

At this point you can either cover the bottom of the project to finish it out or leave as is. Covering will definitely give your project a finished look. Cut out a piece of mdf or plywood to the dimension of the box, paint and be done with it.

Now I have an extremely cool, fun, and funky way to deal with my remotes and miscellaneous stuff that seems to always not have a home. It also double as a really cool table for my laptop when on the couch...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Restaoration Hardware style table done on the cheap

Making things out of shipping pallets or up-cycling a pallet is a huge trend in design. Why not, they're cheap and readily available if you want one. But a simple pallet in and of itself doesn't really say designer look. You have to kick it up just a bit. Maybe give it some restoration hardware look and do it on the cheap...

final product

Stage 1, get yourself a pallet, the sturdier the better. Remove the bottom to your pallet and set the pieces aside for later use. You'll need them so try and remove the pieces without to much damage.

stage 1, removing the bottom
Stage 2, attach (2) of the bottom pieces to the sides of pallet. Some pallets will need (4) pieces for the sides. My pallet only needed (2) pieces, attach with nails or screws whatever you prefer? Once the sides are all attached you will have built a skirt around the pallet.

stage 2, attaching sides

Stage 3, sand the entire pallet to achieve your desired look. I'm looking for a vintage cargo style box, something that came off a ship 80years ago. 80grit paper works great, it will remove material, dirt, and smooth out the edges.

stage 3, sanding the project
stage 3, top of project

Stage 4, cut out four simple but chunky legs from a 6"x6". I wanted the project height to be comfortable to put your feet up on 13" will give you the right height.

stage 4, cutting the chunky legs
stage 4, all the legs
stage 4, sand the leg edges with 80grit

Stage 5, attach the legs to your pallet. Again use your preferred method but a framing nailer works extremely well. Position the legs where they make sense to your style. i went flush against the 3x3" material and a couple of inches recessed from the edge of pallet.

stage 5, attaching legs

Stage 6, getting that restoration Hardware on the cheap look. You will need some aluminum roof flashing and self taping screws. Some flashing's have either a copper side or aluminum looking side. For this project we went with the copper side. Cut out square pieces about 5"x5" fold two of the opposing edges, pound down with a mallet, then fold in half.

stage 6, the supplies
stage 6, folding the two opposing edges
stage 6, folding the flashing in half

Stage 7, attach your cool looking hardware with self taping hex head screws. Place the hardware just off set from the corner and start fastening down each area corner by corner.

stage 7, attaching hardware
stage 7, the corner complete

Stage 8, let's give it that vintage cargo look. With a stencil and flat black spray paint start masking and spraying your project, we went with "FRAGILE" it looks authentic.

stage 8, first spraying

stage 8, second spraying
stage 8, the final look

Stage 9, adding the final touch. Take an old, well worn, leather belt and cut it in half. Attach it to the sides for vintage handles.

stage 9, adding the vintage handles

BAM, the project is done!!

This table no joke can be done in 3-4 hours and has that amazing vintage high end "Restoration hardware" look.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

the rainy day Barbed wire orb

I'm one of those types of people who has to be doing something. Cold rainy days are no exception. But sometimes you just have to take it inside where its a tad-bit more cozy. This project is perfect for a lounging around kinda day, "the rainy day barbed orb".

the final product

Stage 1, your supplies. All you need is 16gauge annealed wire that cost about $5 bucks at Homedepot, pliers (lineman work best), then get too it...

stage 1. the supplies

Stage 2,  creating the outer diameter of your orb. Cut eight length's of wire (all the same measurement) be sure to double your wire lengths by wrapping the wire around each other. After you doubled the wire you should have (4) lengths of wire at double thickness.

stage 2, cutting outer diameter lengths

Stage 3, make (4ea) hoops with your double thickness lengths of wire. The orb diameter is determined by these four length's.

stage 3, the hoops

Stage 4, connect your hoops together. (3) will go the same way and make up the sphere or orb and (1) will go around the equator of your orb holding securely with a space between each.

Start with the (3) hoops and make a connection at the top of the orb and the bottom of the orb with a 2" piece of wire (these act as the barbs) wrap them both in opposite directions.

stage 4, the orb and its equator

Stage 5,  make the "S scrolls." Your scrolls will all vary in size be sure to make them with a larger and smaller end. This will allow them to fit different area's of each section of your orb.

stage 5, making "S" scrolls

Stage 6, attaching scrolls to each section of orb. When attaching your scrolls the same method is used a 2" piece of wire wrap it around part of the scroll and part of the orb. Attach them in area's that naturally make sense for the scrolls position and shape.

stage 6, attaching "S" scrolls
close up of barb

Stage 7, all the "S" scrolls attached and the orb taking shape. once everything has been attached and each section of orb has its scroll you may need to shape it a bit.

Remember it's a handmade project and there will be imperfections in the shape. Shape it the best you can than leave it alone it's art...

stage 7, shaping the orb

I think these would be a super cool light fixture, but they can be hung as is, or simply placed somewhere next to other items and use it in a grouping.

This project is more of a crafty one for sure. It's super fun, pretty simple, and has that unique not so ordinary look I love!! 


Monday, January 7, 2013

Re-thinking your lighting 2

Several years ago my mother in law gave my wife this really cool vintage birdcage. We always thought of it and used it as a fun rustic outdoor piece until today... BAM another idea on pinterest!! Someone used a vintage birdcage as a light fixture and it immediately made me think of our very cool cage hanging in the yard.

A trip to Lowe's and well here it is a crazy cool custom light fixture.

Stage 1, take the bottom out of the cage. Removing the bottom from this cage was pretty simple i just shimmed a couple of flat-head screwdrivers and pry it open a bit to break each weld.

 Stage 2, run the light set up through the top of the cage. All we needed for this project was a light socket, canopy kit, a couple links of chain, and wire. Once you have your light kit wired from the bottom run your wire through your chain and tie a knot at the top to prevent it from falling through. Be sure to add a safety wire to help hold during installation and in case fixture falls it's kinda heavy don't chance it...

stage 2, running the light kit through the cage
stage 2, looking at the light socket
stage 3, the knot tied at the top and safety wire

Stage 4, install the light fixture. I recommend having someone help you hold the fixture. Positive to positive, negative to negative, and ground off the safety wire.

It just happened that my existing fixture's globe was a perfect fit on the inside of the cage hiding the simple rustic look of the socket light. I'm not sure if I'm going with this look or not?

stage 4, installed turned on with the globe
stage 4, existing fixture
stage 4, rustic simple socket look

This project took about 45 minutes, cost about $15 and is going to give the room we put it in a very unique and eclectic vibe. Very nice!! Oh and thanks Pinterest.

Friday, January 4, 2013

little girly glam bench

Something that's really stylish in design right now is distressed furniture. If that furniture has a bit of sparkle or bling it's really hot. This project the little girly glam bench has it all.

Although this is a diy project it will require a bit of skill set with power tools. If you don't have the tools or experience to work with them don't get discouraged. Improvise, find yourself an old piano bench or something that has the look you want and start at the painting and distressing stage.

final product

Stage 1, cutting your 2x stock to the right dimensions and getting the clean line look. Standard 2x material has rounded edges for this project we want to cut off the round edges from both sides of the lumber. Set your table saw to remove a 1/4" then cut it off. Flip the 2x and cut off the other sides rounded edges. This leaves you with 3" instead of the typical 3 1/2" from a standard 2x4."

stage 1, cutting off rounded edges of the 2x4's

Stage 2, determining the bench length. Our project is going to be 40" long and 13" wide. this allows for easy measuring and miters. Pre-cut all your 3" material to the determined lengths (2) @ 40" (2) @ 13." Once your material has been cut you need to miter the corners @45deg. Make sure all the ends are mitered inward to frame out a box.

stage 2, determining length and cutting miters

Stage 3, glue your box together. If you have a pneumatic finish nailer this is a great place to use it (shoot 2" nails) to each corner. If not use deck screws (3") to hold corners together. Be sure to pre-drill or you will split the wood.

stage 3, making the box for the bench

Stage 4, the box is together and needs a center support. Find center of the box and measure the distance, it should be close to 10" (if you used our 13" dimension for sides). Glue, nail, or screw with (3" deck screws) flush with box.

stage 4, adding center support

Stage 5,cut (2) leg supports. For this step use 2x6 material it has a bit more area than a 2x4 and will make for a stabler project. Set into location glue and attach. They should be flush to the bottom of the box opposite your center support. Use (6) total deck screws to attach each support.

stage 5, leg supports
stage 5, counter sink holes to hide 3" deck screw heads
stage 5, what project should look like at this stage

Stage 6, cut out legs. Determine your over all bench height and cut legs according to that distance. the bench box is 3" a comfortable bench height is between 15-18." To be within this height cut your legs at 16-17" square (use 2x6) material and you get 2 legs per piece. Measure over 3 1/3" turn to opposite end and measure out 3 1/2" scribe a line from mark to mark and you have a tapered leg. Add a 15deg cut to each end off the leg to give the legs a simple flair.
stage 6, cutting out legs

Stage 7, attaching legs. Turn box right side up grab one of the legs square off in corner and scribe the outline. This allows you to know where to pre-drill holes for deck screws (2ea) per leg.

stage 7, squaring and scribing

Stage 8, glue and attach legs to box. The pre-drilling of the holes will help you to locate the legs to the proper location. Be sure to glue then attach with 3" deck screws.

stage 8, all legs attached

Stage 9, sand entire bench. Plug holes with wood plugs the same size of hole (if you used 1/4" counter sinks glue 1/4" wood plugs in, let sit to dry properly. in the meantime fill in all holes with wood putty, let dry, then sand (course, medium, fine).

stage 9, prepping for sand

Stage 10, base coat. Paint out entire project with base coat (flat black) in our case, sit and let dry.

stage 10, base coat black

Stage 11, top coat. Distressing doesn't have to be difficult and doesn't necessarily require special paints. Because I want our project to have some sparkle the top coat is a Ralph Lauren metallic. I had left over paint from some other projects why not use it. Paint out project let sit and dry.

stage 11, top coat

Stage 12, distressing. Distressing rules can vary I try to keep it simple. Distress area's that are typical ware area's i.e., corners and edges. I also use a variety of distressing tools such as sanding pads, steel wool, and sand papers. Work area until you achieve your desired look. Once that look is achieved steel wool the entire project it really smooths and adds a great look.

stage 12, distressing side
stage 12, distressing corners and edges

Stage 13, cutting out seat from mdf and adding foam. Cut a piece of mdf to your projects over all dimensions. For example ours is 40"x13" that's my mdf dimensions.

With an electric knife cut your foam out to that same dimension and secure to mdf with spray adhesive.

stage 13, cutting mdf and foam
stage 13, adhering foam to mdf

Stage 14, upholstering the seat. Pick out your fabulous material and attach it to the mdf seat. Always start in the middle of your longest edge (it will allow you to stretch fabric evenly). Turn to other side and do the same. Finally you have the small opposing ends fold them up like a present and staple them down.

stage 14, attaching fabric
stage 14, fabric all attached

Stage 15, secure your seat to the bench. I used finish nails along the outer edge of seat they're just small enough to go all the way through the fabric without noticing or damaging your fabric.

stage 15, attaching seat to bench

Projects done!! Another cool, fun, one off  designer piece that had no problem finding it's way out of my hands into my daughters...