Adventures in Garbage

Posts in category Nickel and Dime Decor

Farm Style Pallet Table

In the garbage business, pallets really are a dime a dozen. Except cheaper. They are also so versatile that they frequently masquerade in all kinds of other designs. One difficult thing about pallet furniture, or any rough wood for that matter, is that can be difficult to clean. That’s why sanding, resanding, and thick sealant is always important.  So, when I had a giant piece of glass left over from a different piece, I knew I wanted to build a pallet table for it.

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I had this partially cut pallet left from an old project.

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I added a simple frame to bring the surface area to match the glass.

I had taken these old spindles from my parent's shed earlier this summer, and they worked out great here.

I had taken these old spindles from my parent’s shed earlier this summer, and they worked out great here.

Next I added some more framing. Some for strength, some for decoration.

Next I added some more framing. Some for strength, some for decoration.

And a coat of paint.

And a coat of paint.

Lastly I added that piece of glass. And here it is in the outdoor display at Dover Antique Mall.

Lastly I added that piece of glass. And here it is in the outdoor display at Dover Antique Mall.

Old Tire = New Ottoman

 A few people have asked about the recycled tire ottoman I have featured in the gallery. It is one of my favorite projects because tires are EVERYWHERE and because it is a GREAT beginner project. So, here is a step by step approach to making your own tire ottoman. A note before we begin- the burlap ribbon that I use is generally $6 per roll. I used 2.5. I recently discovered my craft store began selling used coffee bean sacks for $3 a piece. I have not done it yet, but I would like to redo this project again using of of those since it would cut the materials cost.

First, get a tire.
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Begin by wrapping the tire tightly with ribbon. Securing it with staples. I am using black burlap ribbon, the widest I could find.20150725_082619

Next, for the top, you will need a 24″ square of plywood (or similar) at least half inch thick. Trace a large circle on your board. Then cut it out with a jig saw. (If you would like to add a base with legs or casters, do this twice)20150726_162154

Next, wrap your cut circle in quilt batting and secure with staples.20150726_163426

Now, cover the batting with your choice of fabric. Again securing with staples.20150726_165150

Flip your covered circle upside down and place the tire on top of it, centered. Now using a drill and screws, separate the folds in your ribbon and drill through the tire into your board. Do your best not to sink the head of the screw into the tire or to drill all the way through your plywood.20150726_165609

If you don’t wish to add a base, your job is done :)

To add a base, you will use an identical circle to what you cut for the top. For splintery reasons, I wrapped the edge in leftover fabric. It will be barely visible.20150726_172233

Next fasten casters or legs, if you choose, to the base20150726_172754

Finally screw your base onto the tire.20150726_173438

And Enjoy DSC02711

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.

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?

Using what you’ve got.

I recently did a few updates in our guest bathroom; Hiding the ATROCIOUSLY pink, grey, green marble floor with a beautiful and cost effective vinyl and making a few decor changes. This project was not really on our home improvement radar, but I have REALLY hated those floors ever since we did our first walk through of the house last year.

a peak at the old floor. Ok, if you're going to shell out the cash for MARBLE why in the world would you choose rose pink and baby poop green!?

A peak at the old floor. –Ok, if you’re going to shell out the cash for MARBLE, why in the world would you choose rose pink with flecks of baby poop green!? Yes they were that bad that I would dare to cover marble with vinyl. Anything to make me not want to vom the second I walk in there! Although, the old floor would have hidden that rather effectively.

Of course, I had more ideas for changes along the way. But the budget was really only for flooring. So, I had to tap into my resources to pull off the look I was going for. First I wanted a large, and decorative towel rack. Those run around $60+ from Target. That was essentially the entire budget. But my husband HAD recently brought me a couple of headboards that he found on the street. (romance at it’s best. no, really). Anyway, I chose the largest one, painted it white and added some hooks.

Cost - $12

Cost – $12

Super simple, super cheap, and even more of a statement piece than the typical store bought variety.

I am totally kicking myself for not taking a before picture last year when I stripped the aqua speckled wall paper!

This bathroom has a pedestal sink (unfortunately it is seafoam green. As are the toilet and tub, hence the current color choices- At least until a total reno is done in like 5 years). So, there is no vanity or even any surface for guests to set a bag. The only available space is in front of the window, so I didn’t want to bring in a big clunky shelf or table that would block light. But! I remembered that months ago, I snagged this little chair from a friend when they were moving and didn’t want it because it was worn out and cracked. A quick fix and paint job and I’ve got myself a great little accent piece / place to set things! $0 because it was leftover paints.

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Wendy, this is from your old kitchen. Looks a little different, I know. Thanks! ;)

The other item I was eyeing was a large woven basket at Target. It cost $30. If redoing the floor cost $60, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend half of that on a basket. So, I hit up the nearest Goodwill Store and found this.

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-for a savings of-

can

I have watched a lot of HGTV and DIY network in my time. I have a love/hate relationship with many of the hosts / decorators. Specifically decorators who make people think that spending $300 on a lamp is a good idea or even normal (“but it’s imitation rhino hyde!”. No. it’s hideous, over priced, and you seem to be lacking in street smarts. “But look at the crystal pull chain!” My kids will break it. And how did you get here anyway?!).

Just because you’re working with “normal” budget doesn’t mean you can’t end up with the high end look. Sometimes you just have to pay the difference in elbow grease and ingenuity!

Got any fabulous thrifty flips or ingenious substitutes to share? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. literally.

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I’m a bit of a thrift shop addict. *begin catchy saxophone jam here* I love everything about them: The hidden gems, the pricing (usually), The quirky and bazaar items, and the fact that my kids can bring along 4 quarters from their piggy banks and buy some 6th hand toy with which they are more delighted than if I bought it new. The thrill of the hunt!

Obviously my eye is usually out for unique furniture pieces. But, another go-to item that I love is books. Yes, it is my custom to buy any used copy of Harry Potter, but also, “decorative books”. I frequently use books when decorating, in various capacities, as features or as filler. So don’t judge a book by it’s cover, I judge it by it’s spine- color, texture, and lettering.

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Take for instance The Mentor Leader; excellent book! kind of tacky cover for decorating purposes.

But remove the cover of that and a few others, and it makes a very classic looking display. Which cost about $1.50. Plus an old baby food jar with some feathers found in our driveway.

But remove its cover and that of a few others, and it makes a very classic looking display. Which cost about $1.50. (Plus an old baby food jar filled with some feathers found in our driveway).

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Filling a decorative frame (also an easily thrifted item) with a page from a book is a cheap yet elegant decor option. Plate hangers, such as the one on the right are always at the thrift stores and usually under $3. Making that display cost around $4.

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I use them as a basic means to create depth and add a splash of color.

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Or, really go for broke and use them as building materials. i.e. The “book shelves” in our half bath.

 I’m not sure if Levar Burton would love or hate the fact that I drilled holes and mounted brackets onto perfectly good books. And I may or may not have PURPOSEFULLY included The Grapes of Wrath in that line up (I’m sorry Mrs. Nebbia). But $20 to liven up an otherwise boring bathroom was totally worth it to me!

Do you have any specific items you are always on the look out for at 2nd hand stores?