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Make a Cocktail Table

Well, Rose Bowl Madness has once again descended upon me.

You would think that, since almost nothing sold last time I’d be laying back and resting but apparently that’s not how I roll.  I’m running around restocking supplies and finishing up projects in hopes that this time will be better.

And while my blog is a bit young to be waxing nostalgic I thought it would be nice to revisit my very first Mod Podge Rocks project which was a tutorial for making this little cocktail table with a vintage Baseball theme.

I used to get frustrated with those people who were always doing projects made with “this old piece of wallpaper/wood/farbric/etc I had lying around.”

I never had an old piece of anything lying around but now I have become one of those people – Some would call it a late developing Hording Syndrome I prefer to think of it as being committed recycler.

Anyway, my buddy wanted some baseball themed tables for his man-cave and I thought this would be a fun, affordable project to do and share.

It’s made from bits I had sort of lurking in the corners of my garage (with the spiders – seriously, it’s like a science fiction movie in there) but I assure you can do it with some very affordable parts from any big box hardware store.

You will need:

 1) One table leg – mine was from the Habitat for Humanity ReSale Store (a great resource) but they come in all shapes and sizes at big box retailers.

2) Four (4) 7 inch wooden shelf brackets

3) A shadow box frame – you could also use a wooden tray or anything else that appealed

4) Five feet of shoe molding

5) 1 piece of ¼ inch wood cut square and just a little smaller than your picture frame

6) 1 piece of ½ or ¾ inch wood cut square and 2-3 inches smaller than your picture frame

7) Glue (I used Gorilla Glue)

8) Brad Nails (optional)

9) 1 wood screw

10) Sand paper

11) Spray paint

12) Mod Podge

13) Envirotex or any good Epoxy coating


Drill, saw (hand saw, miter saw, whatever you’ve got), hammer, foam brush

First off I cut the Table Leg to the height I needed

(they will do this for you at the hardware store if you ask nicely.  It probably helps if you are prettier than I am.  I cut mine at home.  Alone.)

Next I cut the shoe molding into eight (8) seven-inch strips and took the flimsy back out of the picture frame.

Now I was ready to attach the shoe molding to the Table Leg.

I centered a Shelf Bracket on base of the Table Leg and drew a line on either side.

Then I attached shoe molding on either side of the line creating a groove.  I repeated that on all four sides.

(I nailed my shoe molding in place after gluing but if you just wanted to glue them simply wrap rubber bands around the top and bottom to hold them in place while they dry.)

Next I just glued the shelf brackets into the slots I’d created and wiped away and glue that squeezed out and set the whole thing aside to dry.

After it dried I painted everything (leg, the edge and one side of both pieces of wood and the picture frame).  A quick coat of spray primer followed by the top coat made quick work of it and then it was time to get Mod Podging.

I placed the frame on the ¼ inch board and traced the inside edge so I’d know how much of the board to cover with my images and got busy.

Once the decoupage dried I attached my Mod-Podged board to the picture frame with some glue and nails.  My ¼ inch board had warped a little so I rested a heavy can on it to counter the warp and set it aside for a while. Now I wanted to assemble the table.  To find the exact center of my ½ inch board I drew lines from corner to corner.  After that all I had to do was drill a pilot hole and attach my the board to the leg assembly.    Make sure the wood screw is flat with the surface of the board or countesunk  just a little below it.

Attaching the leg to the picture frame was easy.  I just flipped everything upside down and glued the top of the ½ board to the bottom of the picture frame (I brought back my handy paint can to hold it in place and seal the deal)

After that I flipped everything back over and applied the Envirotex as per the instructions on the box.  It’s easy to use as long as you follow the instructions to the letter – but keep in mind it takes several days to fully cure.  It’s well worth the wait though – you get a  strong,  solid glass-like surface that’s  heat resistant and water proof.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Shall we link?

I need fewer outlets and more creativity

I wasn’t prepared for the photography.

You see beautiful pictures in magazines or on blogs (I’m lookin’ at you Miss Mustard Seed) and they seem  so natural and easy.  Just snuggle your piece of furniture up against a wall, add some stuff and viola – awesome picture.

Not so much.

I spent my morning trying to figure out where I could photograph this blue table I finished this weekend.

So I wandered from room to room wondering, among other things, why  there is never an electrical outlet where I need one but there is ALWAYS one where I want to take a picture?!  There is always either an electrical outlet or a vent.  And to add insult to injury the vents don’t even work anymore – a vestige of an old system.

I also speculated on why I am driven to paint things colors that don’t go with any of my walls or props.  Or the flowers that grow in the yard.

That was my morning.

Long story short.  I failed.  No blue props.  No wall that looked right.  But I haven’t given up!  So we can all look forward SOMEDAY to a charming picture of a blue table and its best friends the electrical outlet and the vent.  If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em.

In the meantime I’m going to show off a desk and a couple of chairs I worked on that are black and, therefore, go with the green wall in my sunroom.  I need to remember this lesson.

This desk arrived in pieces (well, actually I bought it in pieces so I really can’t pretend to be shocked.  But, bottom line.  Pieces).  It wasn’t the most elegant of things – one of those functional,  Ikea-ish numbers but it was solid pine and the price was right ($25!).

I’d also, fairly recently bought a family of chairs that were down on their luck.

So I got to work.

I have this thing about taking the backs off of desks and making some pattern back there.  It’s not the most practical of decorations – I mean, if you use the desk how often do you see the back of it?  Seldom.  But, I don’t know – perhaps it’s a nice little surprise when you clean it and say “oh, I’d forgotten there was that pretty pattern back there.”  Kind of your cleaning reward.

So, a little sanding, a little patterning, some minor upholstery work and……..

OK, now I’m off to find blue props….and a blue wall….. and the manual for my camera.


Shall we link?

My Friend Bondo (Not the story of a boy and his faithful dog, horse or dolphin)

Seriously, what do people do to their furniture?

My furniture sits quietly minding its own business and I, for the most part, leave it alone. The furniture I acquire for my business however always appears to have participated in Furniture Thunderdome: Two End Tables Enter One End Table Leaves.

But, since my business is more string than shoe I gotta take what I can get.

I used to kind of dread these repairs. Spackle and wood putty work great for dings and scratches and minor stuff but if the piece recently won a cage fight it was always a pain – particularly if there was some corner detail or intricate doo-dad that had been, um, wounded.

And then I found Bondo.

If you’re not familiar with it Bondo it’s made for auto body repair. It’s super strong, super durable and easily molded/sanded into whatever shape is needed. And, happily, it works beautifully with wood that you plan to paint rather than stain.

Perhaps this is old news to you (the blog equivalent of shouting “hey, have you guys heard about Annie Sloan’s chalk paint?!!!!!!) but I haven’t’ seen a post on it myself so I thought I’d share.

Bondo is found in pretty much any hardware store and costs about 10-12 bucks for a can that will last a veeery long time.  

I’m going to demonstrate using the corner of this end table that I just started working on.

Bondo wont’ stick well to old paint or finish so you need to sand the area as clean as possible.

Bondo is a two part epoxy. Following the directions on the can you simple mix a lot of the grey glob with a little of the red glob until they merge to make a mauve (I learned that word from the J. Crew catalogue) blob.

Then, working quickly because this stuff dries fast, you slough it onto the damaged area. I always go a little bit overboard so that I’ll have plenty to work with when it comes to the shaping and sanding.

Let it dry thoroughly and go to town. Start with a rough grit sandpaper to get rid of the excess then switch to finer grit to refine the details. I often create my own sanding tools. A dowel wrapped in sand paper is the perfect shape for recreating a curved edge. A scrap of wood wrapped with sandpaper gives you a great tool for making sharper edges. I’ve even been known to break out the Xacto knife and kind of carve away at it.

And you will quickly get this:

After that a quick blast of primer and – good as new(ish).

So, in about 45 minutes (mostly drying time) I went from this to this

I’ll show you the final table later – I still need to do some repair work on a wobbly quality to it.

Hey, I suddenly feel much closer to you!

I think we just had a Bondo-ing moment!

(sorry, couldn’t resist….althoughI probably should have)


Good Friends and End Table Makeovers

LA has a bad reputation.  Pretty scenery – vapid, self involved people.

So I moved here from New York with somewhat low expectations.

But, honestly, I am surrounded by an incredible group of friends here.

Tom C and his beautiful wife Brooke (really beautiful – I don’t want to be sexist here so I’ll say Tom is quite attractive himself but Brooke… there is some serious pretty going on there) are perfect examples- great friends – generous, fun and always there for you.

And I mean THERE for you.

They were 100% supportive of my new business but I didn’t really expect this phone call from an out-of-breath Tom:

“David, our upstairs neighbors threw out, like, an entire apartments worth of furniture.  I fought off all the other people that were trying to take it and dragged it all to my parking space!”

That may sound overly dramatic to you but, in LA, the second you put something on the curb some kind of Bat Signal goes out and people descend like furniture piranha.  And Tom somehow managed to haul not just one piece but eight out of that melee.  It can’t have been easy.

And because my Honda Civic wasn’t going to cut it he hauled them all to my house in his truck.  And my house isn’t anywhere near his house.

These are the kinds of people I know here in self-involved Los Angeles.

I’m very lucky.

First up was this set of end tables.  They were painted a truly ugly, pale yellow  flecked with specs of gold – basically they looked like King Midas had peed on them. (seriously people what the hell was going on in the 70s?  Did everyone just, collectively lose their minds for 10 years?)   

Even better, they had that faux leather top.

I hate those leather tops.  Have you encountered them?

They are always beyond repair; you can’t patch them or paint them so you have to remove them and that makes a huge mess.

So after ripping, and sanding, and cursing, and ripping and sanding and more cursing I ended up with…..a really, really ugly top.  BUT there was a nice inset so I had piece of glass cut and found some attractive paper at Paper House and here is the result:

I went with a nice, crisp white and chose not to distress it.  I love all the detail lines and carvings and some easy spray-painting took care of the handles.

Thank you Tom!

Linking over to:

Sofa Table Makeover – and petty crime

“It’s $1.99.”

 “Are you sure it’s not supposed to be $19.99?”

 “The tag says $1.99 – do you want it or not?” said the understandably fatigued, slightly belligerent, Salvation Army lady.

 The store was crowded.  The line was long.  There was no air conditioning and she clearly wasn’t in the mood for a pricing debate with some overgrown Boy Scout who wanted to pay extra.

 So, although technically it wasn’t my fault and I tried to do the right thing, I feel like I stole something from the Salvation Army (which seems like a really bad move Karma-wise).   

Because I got this for $1.99

The top was in seriously bad shape and, as you can see it was, um,… missing something there in the front.  But look at those awesome legs!  And I was convinced I could create a replacement part for that front piece.  Or maybe replace the entire front with a useful drawer!

 So I forked over my $2.00 (I put the penny change in the “need a penny?” basket which didn’t make me feel as unguilty as I’d hoped it would) stuffed it in my Honda Civic and took it home – – –

where it sat for quite a while because, unfortunately, my imaginary carpentry skills far outpace my actual carpentry skills. 

 I lack that key element of patience (“measure twice?!! But that would slow me down!!!). 

 After a couple of tries I had to admit that I couldn’t duplicate the missing part and that I would just need to create a whole new front.

 I decided to make this piece my homage to Miss Mustard Seed  and her amazing and awesome work.  So, after cutting a new front out, I painted the bottom, did a little distressing, stained the top and added a couple of doo-dads to make it fancy.

I’m totally pleased with how it came out. 

I do still wish it had a drawer but…..  Patience….patience…..


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