Doily Stenciled and Stained Desk

This DIY was a labour of love for about 3 months! When I moved into my new place I couldn’t take my old desk because it was too big. I had seen a post on Pinterest – Paisley Stenciled Table – that I had fallen in love with and knew I wanted to find a way to make it happen for my new desk. There was some trial and error with it but in the end I love how it turned out. I looked into buying a similar stencil but they are pricey! So I found another way to make it happen. I own a Cricut, so I started looking through my cartridges to see if I had anything suitable to use for a stencil. I found a cute “doily” like cutout that I thought would work. Below is my final product. I love it! It was a lot of work but totally worth it!

Stenciled Desk

I chose not to do an all over pattern on the table because I thought it would be too overwhelming with the small stencils I was using. Here are the steps and materials involved:

Materials Needed:
– a table (I bought a pine table top and legs from Ikea. I had looked into getting a table second hand but couldn’t find one that would work for this DIY.)
– white paint (I didn’t need very much so I bought a Behr interior/exterior paint sample size at Home Depot)
– pre-stain treatment for the wood
– wood stain in the colour of your choice
– foam brushes (1 and 2 inch sizes)
– cotton cloth
– sand paper and sander

Step 1

You will need to start by sanding the table and legs. At first I had thought I could sand it by hand, I quickly realized that would take FOREVER, so I moved to plan b. I borrowed an electric sander from my grandfather and also got some help from Leanne with her heavy duty sander! Its important to have a smooth surface when you apply the stain. Don’t forget to sand the legs as well. (I didn’t and learned the hard way that I should have.)

Step 2

Cut out your stencils. I knew I wouldn’t do an all over pattern on the table because it is such a large table but I knew I wanted a mirror effect from one side to the other. So I cut out my stencils in 5 sizes so that I had some variety. I used 5.5″, 5″, 4.5″, 4″ and 3″.

cricut cartridge
I laid out my stencils as I went to figure out the pattern I wanted. I used a 1″ foam brush to apply the paint and used a daubing technique to get in all the holes on the stencil. This definitely requires patience! It helps that I am a perfectionist so this tedious step was right up my alley.

step one

Yes that is a glass of wine in the photo on the floor. 😉 I often have a glass of wine while I am crafting! You can see I used alot of stencils. Even though I used the heaviest card stock I have I still found I needed to cut new stencils often. The paint got caked on the stencils pretty thick and it made it harder to use the stencil. I also made a map as I went (that’s what the notebook in the photo was for). I wanted to make sure I could mirror the exact pattern on the opposite side of the table. Tip: use only white paper for the stencils when applying the paint. I used the red ones just for placement value of the pattern.


Step 3

Take your table outside or into a garage if you have one, to start the staining process. You need good ventilation for staining. First you will need to apply a coat of the pre-stain treatment (red can). Read the can for proper directions. If I remember correctly – apply with foam brush, wipe lightly with cotton cloth and let it dry for about 15-20 mins.

stain materials


Step 4

First coat of stainFirst coat dried

Apply the stain. I did 3 coats and stopped because I was happy with the look. You many want it darker, it will all depend on the colour stain you buy and the look you want. I used a 2″ foam brush to apply the stain. I would do one whole coat and then go back to the beginning and start to wipe the stain with the cotton cloth. The photo on the left was taken after I had applied the first coat. The photo on the right is after the first coat had dried. I took these photos to show how different it looks after it dries. This is why you need more than one coat.

Step 5

Last step will be to apply a few coats of polyurethane or varathane. This helps to seal the stain and protect the wood. I knew this desk would be used daily so I wanted to make sure it was well protected. I applied 4 coats to the top. Between each coat you will need to do a very light sanding to make it smooth. And I mean LIGHT sand, a very gentle swipe and that’s it. On the bottom of the table top and the legs I only did one coat because I knew they would be ok with less. I allowed the varathane to dry 24 hours between coats. (Not because you have to but because I had to due to my work schedule.)

Here is a close up of the pattern:

doily pattern

I learned alot in this project! I thought I’d share a few of my trials and tribulations with this DIY…

1. My original plan was to use a piece of lace and use a paint roller over top and have this beautiful lace pattern show up on the wood. Well it didn’t work at all! It looked awful. That was when Leanne came in and saved the day with her heavy duty sander and got rid of my mistake. Here is the evidence of my “craft fail”… it’s hard to see but I assure you it looked bad and nothing like lace! Leanne and I even tried using a spray can over the lace and that didn’t work either.
craft fail!

2. This is definitely easier to do if you have a garage! I do not have one, so I was propping up the table top on tupperware containers outside in my driveway to do the staining. This is okay as long as you have nice weather. I started this project at the end of summer into the beginning of fall. So this is what caused my biggest delay in getting this done. It also didn’t help that I got sick and it rained for a few weeks. I finally took the table over to my grandparents and used my Grandad’s garage.
3. I wish I could have found a good second hand table like the one that had inspired this DIY but alas I couldn’t. I ended up having to wait about a month to get the pine legs from Ikea because they didn’t have them in stock! Just another delay in this project. By this point I was so frustrated, I gave in to the fact that this table was going to be the longest DIY I had done yet.

I may have had alot of set backs with this project but in the end I am very happy with the outcome. I love my desk! And I can proudly say it is an original. 🙂

~Made beautifully by Heather~


Vintage Suitcase made into a Table

I saw a post on Craftgawker for this idea months ago and was so inspired by it, I just knew I had to have one of my own! So I was soon on the hunt for some old vintage hard case suitcases. I was lucky enough to find a small 19″ one at a consignment store downtown in the antique and textile district.

I also found this awesome trunk! I knew right away that I would use the small suitcase for a hall table/side table. And the trunk I plan on using as a coffee table. My grandfather had extra glass lying around that he was nice enough to cut into 3 pieces for me that I will put on the top of the trunk as a bit of protection. I haven’t decided yet if I will be adding small legs to the trunk or leave it as is. And I plan on lining the inside of both with fun material. I haven’t got to the lining yet but I will eventually!

Here it is before I painted it. I can’t lie I didn’t do much of the hard work myself. My grandfather did. He lined the bottom of the inside of the case with wood so that there was something solid and sturdy for him to drill the legs into. The legs are staircase pegs! My mom’s husband had some extra ones lying around from a job he had done. And Grandad had a scrap piece of wood he used for the base/shelf. I could tell whoever had owned the case before had painted it this cream colour. I was very disappointed they painted over the hardware! I much prefer the look of the silver/brass/metal. But I made it work.

I painted it this grey colour. My mom had leftover paint from when they did their family room. I’m so happy I chose to leave the hardware the cream. I love the look of it! I did 2 coats of paint and then did a sealing coat with polyurethane. In the end the only thing I had to buy for this DIY project was the suitcase! 🙂 I love it when you can up-cycle old stuff into something new and unique! I love this project and can’t wait to make another. Once I get the inside of the cases lined I will post pictures of that as well. ~H.

Follow this link for my inspiration on this project: diy-vintage-suitcase-table.html

Chalkboard Table for Kids

Sprucing up an old object that was destined for the dump or a bonfire is so fulfilling. This table was so close to being burnt in a summer bonfire that I was there in the nick of time to save it. Though it sat in the garage collecting dust for a long time before becoming something great… that matters not.


First, this table needed a very good sanding. Ideally, it would have been best to take it all apart to sand everything down, but the table was so old that I wasn’t sure it would fit back together and I didn’t feel like wrestling with rusty nuts and bolts. So it got a good sanding with a palm sander using a rough grit sandpaper and then a hand sanding with a fine grit sandpaper.

Next I used a wood filler to fill in all the holes, dents and large scratches on the surface of the table. I wanted a somewhat smooth finish so it would be nice to draw on with chalk later.

ImageThe next step, is one you don’t want to skip. Primer. I’m not a patient person, so I’m regularly tempted to miss the priming, but it’s really what is needed to prep your work surface.


The chalkboard paint was next. I used a spray paint version of the chalk board paint that you can find most anywhere they sell paint these days. The other day I came upon some at a “Dollar Tree” in a craft paint sized container! I did three light coats of the chalkboard paint on the top and sides. It was important to do the chalkboard paint first because I knew with the spray paint that I would overshoot it a little so I didn’t have to worry about masking any of the legs off since I was just going to paint over it anyways. Multiple light coats are best. You only have to rush a spray paint job ONCE and you won’t do it again. If you rush and put it on too thick or spray too closely to the surface you are going to get drips and pools of paint and not get a nice even and uniform finish. Follow the instructions on the can, jar, tin, etc… and you’ll do fine.


Hahaha… After this photo, I turned the old Christmas table cloth over!

I wanted to paint the bottom a bright pink. So I had to turn the table over to do this. I put on three nice full coats to make sure I had great protection for the wood and a good smooth finish. I just used a foam roller to do this. Just as it goes with the spray paint, doing multiple light coats is better than one thick heavy coat to prevent drips and an uneven finish.


Once thoroughly dry, I mean leave it out to dry for a minimum of 24 hours. For impatient people, this is hard… especially little ones. I had to put it out of sight until it was dry so we weren’t tempted.

Then run a piece of chalk sideways along the chalkboard surfaces to “prep them” and use a chalkboard eraser to wipe off. Then you are good to go!

Chalk away and enjoy!


Repainted Outdoor Table

I picked up this great table and chairs a few years ago. It’s stayed out in our yard through about five years of summer sun and winter snow, so it’s no surprise that this year I had a look at it and thought we should get a new set soon. Instead, I went to Walmart and bought some inexpensive flat black outdoor spray paint to see if I could buy another season out of this set for under $3.00.

Here are the chairs before…

Here is a picture of one of the chairs. The arms were all rusted and the paint bubbled up because of water that sits on the flat handles and permeates the paint causing much damage. I took a paint scraper and worked away at the bubbled paint and I used sandpaper to sand down the edges as best as I could.

Next I took the spray paint and applied 2 light coats.

I think I could have taken more time and sanded and repainted again. Or I could have used a palm sander or other power tool to get a more even finish but in real life they look just fine to me. The table had much more damage at the edges and I chiseled and sanded as much as I could to get the loose flakes up and to try not to have any raw edges. I am going to have a look around a Home Depot or Lowe’s to see if there’s a filler product that I could use like spackle or caulking that would fill this area in better. But for now I just did two coats of exterior spray paint over these areas. This made the table look a million times better and sealed up the raw and rusty areas.

Here are my table and chairs now. Surely $3.00 is a good deal to buy another season out of my existing furniture. I think I’ll consider doing this until they fall apart.