Dec 26, 2015

Before & After >> Marzipan Workbench

A few years ago I built two vintage inspired workbenches for my barn. You can see the posts for those workbenches here & here. At the beginning of 2015 I started selling my hot/cold packs which really took off and I found myself working from inside the house more and more.

I already had a vintage oak desk (painted in Miss Mustard Seed's Typewriter) that I was using as my office desk so I decided to add an old farmhouse table for my sewing table.

This arrangement worked for a little while, but I found that I work better if I am standing and needed more work space and more storage. I realized that I hardly ever use the second workbench in my barn so I took it apart and hauled it inside. The drawers and shelves were built as removable units and really didn't fit my needs so I decided not to install those.

Here's what the workbench looked like in the barn ....

... and what it looked like after removing the shelves and drawers and moving it inside.

Obviously the bench needs a little help cosmetically. I love light neutrals for my home mixed with woods and natural textures so I choose to repaint this piece with Miss Mustard Seed's Marzipan Milk Paint. It was originally painted with a custom mix of Dried Lavender, Linen, and Typewriter.

Here's how the workbench looks after three coats of Marzipan.

Since the workbench is not going to be near water I decided to leave this piece unsealed.

The natural wood crates, dark brown bench, and natural basket are all from IKEA.
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Oct 30, 2015

DIY Drawer - How to Handle a Missing Drawer

Wow! Things have been crazy busy around here. I had meant to share this blog post about two weeks ago. I have been busy getting ready for some shows coming up in November and today we had tons of rain and flooding. The kids even found a coral snake. Luckily no one got bit.

So onto the main reason for this post ...

Sometimes we find furniture we love but it's missing a drawer.

Adding a shelf in place of a missing drawer seems to be all the rage right now, but adding a shelf would have changed the style of the piece so I chose to build a drawer. I don't know about everyone but building a drawer can be a little scary for some people and I wanted to provide a tutorial to help take some of that fear away.

The first step is to measure the height of your drawer taking account for a 1/8" gap on all sides. If you are up to using a table saw you can get a better fit if you start with a piece that is wider than what you need so you can rip it down to the exact size you want. So if my drawer needed to be 6 inches tall I would rip it down from a 1x8 to be an exact 6 inches tall.

The next step is to measure and cut the front and back pieces and then the sides. Measure the drawer opening and then subtract 1/4" to allow for a 1/8" gap on either side. To measure the sides make sure you include the thickness of the wood you are working with and take away that amount x2 to account for the front and back. For instance if the depth of my drawer needs to be 12 inches deep and I am working with 1x material the thickness of the wood is 3/4 inch. I would subtract 1 1/2 inches from the 12 inches I need and cut two pieces that are 10 1/2 inches long.

Front & Back


Since this is a wide drawer and I want to the drawer to hold any number of different items I went ahead and cut a middle brace from some extra 1x3 material. Cut this piece to the same size as your sides


Another way to add strength to you drawer is to route a groove for your drawer bottom to slide into instead of just nailing it to the bottom. I measured the thickness of my drawer brace and cut the groove just above that. In this case 3/4 inch. I used a 1/4 inch straight routing bit and set the bit to cut a 1/4 inch deep groove. Make sure that you stop short of your edges on the front and back.

I had several joining options, but the strongest method available to me was to use pocket holes so the next step was to drill holes into my side pieces as well as the bottom brace. If you are using this method make sure that your holes are positioned on the side of the wood that is going to give you the most bite into the wood. In this case the pocket holes need to be on the outside going inward.

Attach both sides to the front of the drawer with pocket hole screws making sure your routed grooves all line up.

Next measure and cut your bottom piece from 1/4 inch underlayment and slide it in place. When measuring your bottom piece you would measure the inside of the drawer and then add the depth of your groove. In this case 1/4" all the way around.

I just realized that the above picture shows the bottom piece being flush to the back sides, but it should actually jut out about 1/4 inch to fit into the groove in the back. Slide the back over that jut and secure with pocket hole screws.

Flip your drawer over and attach the bottom brace using pocket hole screws.

Now all you have to do is drill some holes for hardware and paint or stain to match the rest of your piece.

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Oct 19, 2015

3 Steps for Working With Old and New Wood

I bought this old oak washstand at a flea market a little over a year ago.

The main reason it took me so long to get around to fixing this piece was I did not know what I wanted to do about the missing drawer. I decided that building a shelf would be more labor intensive and less useful so I opted for building a new drawer. I forgot to take a picture of the new drawer in place before painting so .... here's a picture of just the drawer. I posted a tutorial on how I made the drawer here.

Milk paint behaves differently on raw wood than it does on finished wood so one of the challenges I faced was making everything look like it was all one original piece.

To do this I followed these steps.

Step 1: Apply 1 coat of stain to the raw wood and allow to dry. Try to match your stain as close to the original finish as possible.

Step 2: Now that the raw wood has been conditioned with the stain it's time to give the entire piece an undercoat of paint. I added two coats of Miss Mustard Seed's Shutter Grey milk paint. I had intended on just using one coat of paint, but I was having some issues the wood filler I used. You could choose to do one or two coats of the undercoat.

Step 3: Add your topcoat of paint. I love the Swedish look that Schloss MMS Milk Paint gives so that's what I opted for on this piece. Schloss is one of those chameleon colors. If you compare my cabinet to the sofa that Marion painted in her Say Hello to Schloss post you would see there her sofa is a deeper warmer greige where mine is lighter and more grey than greige.

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Sep 29, 2015

5 Easy Steps to a DIY Restoration Hardware Finish

I recently posted a before and after of this table that was inspired by Restoration Hardware.

I wanted to take a few minutes to show you how you can achieve a Restoration Hardware inspired finish using Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint and White Wax.

Step 1:

Choose a medium to dark neutral color such as Miss Mustard Seed's Typewriter, Curio, Trophy, Schloss, or Shutter Grey milk paint. For my examples I choose Schloss and Curio.

Step 2:
Apply one to two coats of paint depending on the existing finish and how worn you want the finish to look. Normally I would use a high quality brush, but since the finish we are going for is a weathered finish I chose to use my chip brush. The Schloss turned out really light on the raw wood, but would take on a darker tone if it were painted over an existing finish.

Step 3:
Mix clear and white wax with a ratio of 3 parts clear wax to 1 part white wax.

Step 4:
Apply the wax completely covering the surface. The below picture is the wax mixture over Curio. A little white wax goes a long way. That's why I like to mix it with the clear wax. The clear wax also makes the next step a little easier.

Step 5:

Allow the wax to sit for just a minute and then wipe it away and buff until you have a smooth and consistent finish. If you need to "erase" any of the white you can do so by going back over the area with just clear wax.

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Sep 25, 2015

Restoration Hardware Inspired Table

Back in July of 2014 I found this gorgeous table at Goodwill for $16. I bought it to fix up and sell, but I knew it was something I really wanted to try and fit in my own home so in my barn it sat ... for over a year! We recently took our breakfast table out to our lake house so that opened up the room for this table.

I don't have an untouched before picture, but here's a picture of the table after I sanded down the top.

I really like the look of natural wood so my original plan was to just seal the top with Miss Mustard Seed's Hemp Oil ... but the wood was orange!

I really had a Restoration Hardware style finish in mind for this table and the orange wood was just not fitting with my vision so I opted to paint the top with Miss Mustard Seed's Ironstone Milk Paint.

To achieve the weathered look I mixed up some Mocha Real Milk Paint at a 50:50 ratio of paint to water and applied it to the base of the table. Once dry I sanded the base smooth using a fine grit sanding sponge and applied a mix of Miss Mustard Seed's White and Clear Wax. I typically mix up 1 part white wax to 3 parts clear wax. Once dried and buffed I went back over the areas that were too white with some clear wax and buffed again.

The chairs are also a Goodwill find at $5 a piece. The bottoms were busted out and the fabric was very worn, but nothing a little plywood and canvas couldn't fix.

Shared with:

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Aug 3, 2015

Building Plans >> Ladder Style Bookshelf

I have been designing building plans on graph paper for several years now, but just recently decided to look for a software that would allow me to share my plans with you. Jen from The House of Wood pointed me to Google Sketch Up and I was able to download free version of Sketch Up that is perfect for designing woodworking plans. I found some great tutorials on YouTube that showed me how to use the program and now I am sharing my first set of plans with you.

About This Project:
This shelf was inspired by an old shelving unit that I saw in an antique mall. I wanted it to be portable so I could easily transport it back and forth to vintage markets and craft fairs so my top and bottom shelves are attached with pocket hole screws and I added a brace on the back to keep it square and sturdy. When it’s time to set it up all I have to do is screw in 16 screws and slide in the middle shelves. The whole process only takes about 5 minutes. If you are looking for a more permanent solution you can add pocket holes to each of the side braces or opt for wood glue and brad nails to secure your shelves in place.

Required Skill Level: Beginner
Estimated Time Investment: Day project
Estimated Cost: $75

It still needs to be finished, but haven't decided on how to finish it yet. If you would like full plans you can download them here and please feel free to pin and share. Please feel free to e-mail photos of your creations or share a link in the comments section. #ArdentHandsPlans

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Jul 31, 2015

Before & After >> Flip Top Table

I wanted to pop in real quick to show you a piece of furniture I finished up a few weeks ago, but haven't had the time to share here yet.

I have one very poor before photo that I took with my phone, but it's not something I am going to try and share at this time. Even my photo editing software is telling me no.

This is just a little flip top table that I fell in love with at Goodwill. I think I paid something like $38 for the table. If it were not for the scratches in the table top itself I would have left it in its natural state, but I decided to just sand down the table top and seal it with hemp oil.

For the Bottom section of the table I used MMSMP in Mora and sealed it with antique wax. By the time I was done I felt it needed more so I actually painted typewriter over the entire piece , let it dry, and then wiped it away with a wet cloth leaving a very cool layered effect.

One of the coolest features to this table is that it sits like a slightly over-sized sofa table but the top flips over on hinges and a leg swings out so that the table can be turned into a larger eating area. These kinds of tables are great for apartments and college students.

Shared with:

Patina Paradise
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