Adventures in Garbage

Monthly archives for June, 2015

Building a Pallet Table

As I’ve said before, if you can successfully dismantle a pallet, you basically win a free stack of lumber. Which means, anything you can build with 1×4’s and 2×4’s  you can build with the pieces of a pallet. If you already know that you will not be needing the pallet shape for your build, and if you don’t need the full length of the planks, a (sometimes) simpler way to remove them is to just cut them free with a saw.

Simply run your saw along the  cross pieces. Depending on the lengths you need, you still may need to pry off one or more.

Simply run your saw along the cross pieces. Depending on the lengths you need, you still may need to pry off one or more.

After  freeing everything up, select what you need for your piece. (Not pictured: 2x4's removed from a different pallet, split into  2x2's to become the legs)

After freeing everything up, select what you need for your piece. (Not pictured: 2×4 cross pieces removed from a different pallet, split into 2×2’s to become the legs)

I begin with a basic frame.

I begin with a basic frame.

Then lay out  and square up the top.

Then lay out and square up the top.

Using what's left, I beefed up the frame to secure the legs a bit more.

Using what’s left, I beefed up the frame to secure the legs a bit more.

Now, sand EVERYTHING.

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Then we can add a bit of color. Stain, or paint, or both.

 

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Lastly, place your top planks, and tack them down (I use a nail gun).

Add a sealer coat – And we’re done!

Cute little accent table- built for about $6.

Cute little accent table- built for about $6.

Super Simple Pallet Uses.

Before I add more in depth pallet projects, here are a couple of super simple ideas that are in use at my house. They all evolve from the same concept: removing the planks, reattaching them side by side, then sanding and painting/staining. They vary in size and function, but they are all very similar in design.

The headboard I made for my son's bed.

The headboard I made for my son’s bed.

The time that clock looked too bland on it's own.

The time that clock looked too bland on it’s own. Pallet plank backdrop.

As art itself.

Creating art for a blank wall. Pallet backing and frame then a simple paint stamp. 

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As a coat or towel rack. Splurging on unique hardware really adds character to even the most simple designs!

The biggest challenge in working with pallets is often the dismantling. If you can successfully remove the planks without splitting them, you’ve basically earned a free stack of lumber. And! It’s lumber which often has far more character and texture than your standard store bought white woods.

Have you completed any projects by recycling pallets? I’d love to hear about it!

Pallet Kitchen Rack

I’m going to be adding a few posts into a series about the versatility of shipping pallets. There is no shortage of pallet projects on the internet, but I hope to go a little more step by step in case you’re actually wondering how to create some of these simple projects on your own. — Firstly, a PSA, if you have not looked into it before, please do a Google search about identifying pallets that have been chemically treated. Please do not use them. Without knowing what a pallet may have been used for, even untreated ones, you should always wear a mask when sanding.

OK- I’ll start off with my most recent- this Kitchen Wall Rack. First find a pallet.

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Decide how tall you would like the back of your rack to be. Then cut through the pallet.

Decide how tall you would like the back of your rack to be. Then cut through the pallet.

Carefully remove 2 of the planks on one side, trying not to split them. I prefer to use a hammer and pry bar.

Carefully remove all but 1 of the planks on one side, trying not to split them. I prefer to use a hammer and pry bar.

Reattach one of the planks onto the open bottom of the pallet. And pound in or remove any stray nails.

Reattach one of the planks onto the open bottom of the pallet. And pound in or remove any stray nails.

Meanwhile. :)

Meanwhile. :)

Sand and stain (or paint)

Sand and stain (or paint)

Add some hardware- I did 2 screw hooks into the base and 3 standard coat hooks on the front. I added brackets and a shelf on the top as well.

Add some hardware- I did 4 screw hooks into the base and 3 standard coat hooks on the front. I added brackets and a shelf on the top as well.

There you have it. Turn empty wall space into functional storage and organization for any cramped kitchen.

There you have it. Turn empty wall space into functional storage and organization for any cramped kitchen.

World War 3- Moms of the Internet.

I’m almost hesitant to keep updating the “at home” portion of my blog, even as young as it is. I already had one ‘”anonymous commenter” whom I wouldn’t approve. If/when this page begins to get more outside traffic, I refuse to play host to Mom Wars. And when you write about parenting, from any perspective, it’s almost a given. If you are currently a mom of small children, or a frequenter of The Google, you are probably well aware of mom wars. You need barely to announce a pregnancy before opinions and suggestions just start rolling in, quickly followed by a countering suggestion, another opinion. Before you know it, someone is ALL CAPS shouting about how someone else is a terrible parent because “DID THEY EVEN READ THE LABEL OF THAT CHEESE STICK!?”  But first you probably have to decipher the 85 abreviated words about how “LO never wanted to CS with DH. They tried FF at SILs but ended up just letting LO CIO.” – I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

I am open and honest about the difficulties involved in this job.  I will not pretend to have it figured out. I will not pretend that I am not eating peanut butter out of the jar for “dinner” right now because it’s been that kind of exhausting day. I will happily share any of my abundant examples of how quickly and crazily things get out of hand in my house.

like this episode.

like this episode.

 I hope to promote a sense of humor about otherwise stressful situations because we’ve all been there.  We have all just wanted to get out of the store as quickly as possible. We have all felt as tantrumy as the boneless 2 year old you’re carrying through the Target parking lot, screaming because she dropped the Starbucks receipt somewhere inside the store. We have all wondered, at one time or another, if we are handling something the right way. I want my mom friends to know that we all experience chaos, confusion, and frustration, as well as peace, love, and joy (sometimes simultaneously).

case in point- that time my son dumped hot chocolate powder all over the ottoman, licked it off, then ran outside on a pantsless sugar rush.

case in point- that time my son dumped hot chocolate powder all over the ottoman, licked most of it off, then ran outside on a pantsless sugar rush.

My way is not yours,  your way is not mine. But I value the army of diverse mothers that we are; That we each nurture wonderfully unique children who will get to experience the beauty of those differences when they interact with each other.
It doesn’t matter to me if your baby was delivered via c-section, with or without meds, or at home . I care that you’re both feeling well.  It doesn’t matter to me if you’re co-sleeping or crib sleeping. I care that you’re getting enough sleep. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re breast or bottle feeding. I care that your baby is loved and nourished. It doesn’t matter to me whether you work in the home or out. I care that you feel the value of your unique position in the lives of your family members.

I always cringe when a new mom posts a light weight question on the Internet and is bombarded with 200 forceful answers. As if she needs more to overwhelm her with a collicky 8 day old. I know we are all looking to have our choices affirmed by the decisions and actions of others. But, as moms, we MUST know the value of mutual grace and support! The truth is, New Mom, you will have doubts. You will not know what to expect until you have experienced it. And still your children will continue to shock and amaze you. You know your child better than anyone. No one else’s experience is your experience and your intuition is one of your most powerful tools. But on the day that you just can’t take another second of it and you feel like you need to scream into the couch, my door is open. Drop your kids off or stay for cup of coffee. Just know that when you enter, you’re likely to find a scene like this.

Make yourself at home.

Make yourself at home.

 

Upcycle a Side Table Into a Unique Shelf!

Shabby side tables are among the most common items that I find discarded in the trash. In an effort to not become complacent in my basic flip jobs, (Heaven forbid I lose interest in garbage) I’m always looking for a creative new spin for everyday objects. Here’s a fun one I did yesterday with one such side table.

Just a basic, but large, wood side table that was missing its drawer.

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So I cut it in 2 with a circular saw.

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Next, I stacked them and tacked 1x2s on the cut edges.

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Drop in some boards in the old drawer face. And we’re ready to sand and paint.

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A simple and unique accent piece. For $8.

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I’m almost tempted to keep this one! :)

 

Repurpose A Side Table Into A Kids Play Table

This is a great starter project for anyone looking to repurpose old furniture- for 3 reasons- A. It’s simple enough to not be over whelming. B. This table style is a dime a dozen these days in thrift shops and sidewalks. C. It looks way craftier when it’s done!

This one is made of super light weight fiberboard. Fortunately, it had suffered no water damage. Theres no turning back from that.

This one is made of super light weight fiberboard. Fortunately, it had suffered no water damage. Theres no turning back from that.

Many of you have probably seen these tables converted into a Lego play station. This is that idea but more generalized. I have made the Lego table before (it currently resides in our playroom). But the only downside of the Lego design is that the base plate costs like $20. For selling purposes on this table, I am not adding the plate. So, that opens the door for it to be used for regular blocks, play-doh, art supplies, action figures, or whatever!

 We start by choosing a bin or basket that is smaller than the top portion of the table. Preferably one with a lipped rim or tapered design. Then trace it’s outline on the top of the table.

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It’s a rectangle. Riveting.

Next, use a spade bit or large drill bit to drill a hole inside the traced shape.

Next, use a spade bit or large drill bit to drill a hole inside the traced shape.

Trust jigsaw and I have come a long way from our Box-Mobile glory days.

Trusty jigsaw and I have come a long way since our Box-Mobile glory days.

Starting in the drilled hole, use a jig saw to cut our your traced shape. Then use sand paper to smooth the edges of the cut.

Starting in the drilled hole, use a jig saw to cut out your traced shape. Then use sand paper to smooth the edges of the cut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next add a coat of paint.  I added enamel as well to help prevent scratches.

Next add a coat of paint. I added enamel as well to help prevent scratches.

Lastly, just drop in your basket and fill it up with something fun!

Fancy fun for $4.

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Repurposed Headboard

A couple of days ago I picked up this headboard and footboard out of someone’s garbage.

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Headboards are a fairly common trash item. But having a matching foot board and both being solid wood, was really exciting for me!

The idea quickly came to repurpose these pieces into a bench. Which I’ve seen a few times on The Google but haven’t yet tried myself. A couple of 2×4’s and 30 minutes later it was framed out.

I've recently realized that it is easier for me to build out my own idea rather than follow someones instructions. If this was an  Ikea bench, I'd probably still be out there.

I’ve recently realized that it is easier for me to build out my own idea rather than follow someones instructions. If this was an Ikea bench, I’d probably still be out there.

Right around this point I decided to make it an enclosed storage bench. I was able to cut down a different head board I had collected to make the inside base. And I had enough plywood on hand to enclose the sides. But I needed a good, solid, LARGE, plank for the seat and a lauan sheet for the back – So off to Lowe’s.

The good thing about traveling in this notable pack is people remember "that mom" and come to find you when they find your kid's headband and/or Rubble action figure in the lumber section. It takes a village.

The good thing about traveling in a notable pack like this is people remember “that mom” and come to find you when they find your kid’s headband and/or Rubble action figure in the lumber section. It takes a village guys.

Anyway, back at home-

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A quick coat of stain on the seat portion.

Then I used some extra paint that I had leftover from my bedroom for the frame of the bench. Let everything dry. Attach the seat with some bold hinges. And done!

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This is definitely one of my more pricey flips because of the lumber. Large planks like the one on the top run around $12-15 a piece. In total this one cost me around $30 to make.

So,  all that clutter under your bed? Pull it out. Turn the bed into a storage bench and then put everything in it! Problem solved 😉

All Play And No Work.

This side table has been driving me insane for the last few weeks as it has sat, untouched, in my garage. I was almost to the point of letting my son hammer roofing nails into it (as he always wants to do to anything when we are “working together” in the garage).

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Turns out his request was precisely the stroke of inspiration I needed. — BINGO!

BANGO!

BANGO!

BONGO!

BONGO!

Because I’m the weird type of person who would have all this stuff “lying around” this project cost me about 75 cents in wood grain contact paper. But, the non-building supply hoarder  average person would probably be looking at like $15 to convert a table like this.

Mom built. Kid approved.

Mom built. Kid approved.

Cheap Trick- The fabric edition.

I know you’re all too smart to make the same mistake I did, having fabric seat dining chairs and small children in the same house. But just in case anyone else suffers from similar problems, maybe you’ll appreciate this cheap tip. If you are unsure whether you are one of these people or not, ask yourself this question – Do your dining chairs look anything like this?

Maybe you don't have kids. Maybe you just make a regular habit of eating gravy directly off your dining chairs. Let's be friends.

Maybe you don’t have kids. Maybe you just make a regular habit of eating gravy directly off your dining chairs. Let’s be friends!

We got this set with our house. Which means we’ve had them for just about a year. This will be their 3rd recovering. You know how the government reminds you to change your clock and check your smoke detectors? I have a similar relationship with these chairs. -“Look! it’s almost the summer solstice! Time to cover them chairs again!” “Look! the kids are eating baked beans with a whisk again! Time to cover them–eh, well, it’s brown. We’ll hold out for the winter solstice.”

Anyway, as you can imagine, re-upholstering four chairs 3 times a year adds up to a lot of fabric. And fabric can be pricey. Plus, when you’re just looking at fabric that’s going to get “baked beaned” in the next 72 hours, it’s really hard to justify the cost.

Unless the cost is this

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This is a beautiful curtain I found at Goodwill. At that price, it’s less than a dollar per chair!

Most second hand shops have a large selection of curtains, sheets, and blankets and such. It is always worth a look if you’re in the market for cheap fabric!

Maybe you’re new to this DIY game, but if you can wrap a present, you can reupholster the fabric seat of a dining chair!

Step 1- remove the seat from the frame (usually just a few screws. Step 2. Covert the seat portion in the new fabric. Folding the corners  and edges tightly and stapling to secure. Step 3- Reattach seat to frame. Step 4- Boom.

Step 1- remove the seat from the frame (usually just a few screws).
Step 2. Cover the seat portion in the new fabric. Folding the corners and edges tightly and stapling to secure.
Step 3- Reattach seat to frame.
Step 4- Boom.

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They’re looking as good a new! And since I did this project at 9pm, they’ve got about 10 hours to stay looking like this!

And there you have it- renewing 4 chairs for $3.50. Almost as much as a large can of baked beans!

Have you repurposed any thrifty items recently?

Flippin’ Tables

I found this table on the sidewalk a few days ago. I love pedestal tables and have never found a dining table thrown out before. I was super psyched to get started on it!

Some obvious problem areas, but I love a good challenge!

Some obvious problem areas, but I love a good crusty challenge!

I did a good, first sanding to smooth it out and to buff out as much of the staining as I could. Then brought in some wood filler to fix some cracking and separation.

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This table once had additional leaves. But the locks that hold the 2 halves together were no longer functional. That’s why I joined them together permanently and sealed the gap.

After a light sanding to smooth the wood filler, it was ready for paint. I brushed on the first coat to get thicker coverage.

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I let this dry over night and then did a light 2nd coat in spray paint to help hide the brush strokes.

I started distressing the table top and quickly realized that I hated how it was looking. It looked too busy and made me see that it would be better to just have accents on the edges. SO, I patched up the paint, let it dry again, and went with something slightly more subtle . And after a thick enamel coat–

— here it sits!

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From crusty to classic for $8!