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make something

WCNC Upcycled Serving Trays

DIY Upcycled Cutting Board Serving Trays

By | clever, diy, make something, step away from the screen, video | No Comments

Have you ever found yourself with an old cutting board whose cuts and grooves are too deep for comfort? I have. And I know I’m supposed to stop using it with food, because bacteria. But I hate having to just throw away such a great piece of wood. When this happened to me recently, I decided to upcycle the cutting board into a serving tray. It’s a pretty simple project — once I had all my supplies, the whole thing took less than an hour. So easy.

And I got to share my creations with Colleen and Eugene on Charlotte Today. So I have some video for you, too. Watch here. (P.S. Be sure to laugh at and with me when I totally bungle screwing in the handle!)


(Video not working? Click here.)

This project does involve using power tools, but don’t be nervous. You don’t really need to do more than drill a couple of holes. I know you can do it! Especially if you aren’t on live tv when you do it 🙂

As I mentioned, the inspiration for this project came from my own, ready-to-be-retired cutting board, but of course, if you don’t have any beat up cutting boards lying around right now, you can easily do this project with a new cutting board. My old cutting board was the APTITLIG from IKEA, so I went out and got a couple more of those same ones for $7.99 each. I love bamboo cutting boards, and these don’t have any cutouts to deal with. They’re just a solid piece of wood: perfect for a serving tray.

So here are the supplies you need:

  • Drill with drill bit and phillips head bit
  • 2 Drawer pulls
  • Used or inexpensive cutting board
  • 220 grit Sandpaper
  • Can of spray Lacquer or Clear Enamel
  • Scrap wood to protect your tabletop when you drill
  • 4 Adhesive felt pads

Here are some extra supplies you may want:

  • Spray paint + painters tape
  • Wood-burning kit
  • Stain or Colored Glaze
  • Washi tape + Mod Podge
  • Etc!

And here’s how you turn a cutting board into a serving tray:

Step 1: If you’re using an old cutting board, give it a good sanding with the sandpaper so the grooves aren’t as pronounced or noticeable.

Step 2: If you are going to do anything to alter the look of the board (wood burning, painting, etc.) this is the time to do it. I created 3 boards: on one I painted it with green glazing paint (which is like stain, but color, so the wood shows through); on one I spray painted a single, white stripe (here are 7 tips for successful spray painting); and on the last one, I wood-burned a design into the board.

(This would be a super cool opportunity to do a wax-paper transfer of artwork, too. Here’s a video with instructions.)

Step 3: Spray the board with a few coats of spray lacquer or clear enamel. This will protect the wood and also anything you’ve designed on your board. Let this dry completely.

Step 4: Measure the space between the holes of your drawer pull and mark your board. Then decide how far from the edge you’d like your handles to be and mark this. Once you know where you’re going to drill, place the cutting board on top of the scrap wood. This will ensure you don’t drill through the board straight into your table (unless you have a workbench that can take that kind of abuse).

Step 5: Drill baby drill! Four holes total. Carefully clean away any splinters (you may need to sand a bit, depending on how splintery the board is — bamboo is pretty splintery).

Step 6: Insert the screws from the underside of the board and screw them in part way. Place your handle on top of the screws, and finish screwing them in.

Step 7: Apply felt pads to the underside of the board, one in each corner.

And voila! Your new serving tray is ready! Invite people over and serve them something delicious!

Time and time again

By | color, design, make something, step away from the screen | 3 Comments

So, once upon a time I had babies. Little baby babies. Who had teddy bears, and rocking horses, and all the baby trappings of babydom. Before these babies were born, someone gave me a clock. The clock below. A very baby nursery clock, which we put in the babies’ nursery. Since that’s where the baby things went.

Over the years, weirdly, the babies have been growing up. And now there’s pretty much nothing left in our house that resembles anything that this clock represents. Not even in their room (they actually asked me to take this clock out of their room. So I hung it in the kitchen). Which means it’s probably time for it to go. Except I had gotten used to having a large, not-digital clock in the kitchen. So I decided, rather than get rid of it, I’d fix it and make it match our house better.

Step one: Design design design design.

This was no small task. I’m nothing if not compulsive. And having the whole world of possibilities to choose from is about as overwhelming as it can possibly get for me. So I designed clocks for about 3 months. Maybe longer. Because apparently that’s how long it takes to design ALL THE CLOCKS.

Eventually, I found myself veering toward certain looks and started refining the design and colors. I originally thought I’d be working mostly with red, as you can see above. Our kitchen has dark brown walls and I typically choose red stuff whenever I have to buy or make something for that room. So, red kettle, red dish drain, red Soda Stream, red silicone whisk, etc. But when I cut these designs out and put them on the wall, the red was too much. So I shifted to other colors that I like with brown.

Lo and behold, I actually chose a design!

But then I had to figure out how to make it happen. I was worried about the circles since it’s hard to make a perfect circle, let alone 13. And if they weren’t perfect, the clock would drive me crazy. Which meant trying to paint circles would probably put me on the fast track to crazy. While mired in puzzling this out, I decided to start prepping the clock itself. I figured if nothing else, that would motivate me to work through the puzzle as quickly as possible.

Step two: Primer

I wanted to be sure to cover all the old art completely so priming was important to enable a fresh start. I blew through this step, so I only have the tiniest portion photographed. Whoops. Needless to say, I completely covered the clock face with primer. I think I did two coats.

Step three: Paint

This was the fun part. I like mixing my own colors, so I started with a basic set of acrylic paints in blue, yellow, red, white, and black. The first blue I created was a little too dark, so I ended up painting about 4 coats. The hands of the clock are a little ornate — and brass — but I decided to stick with them and just painted them white. Also! The clock also had a pendulum. With an insert that continued the design of the clock. I ended up keeping the pendulum — painted it white — but got rid of the insert. So now it’s just an open circle, white, with the dark brown wall behind it.

Step four: Circles

I ended up buying a Fiskars Circle Cutter which worked like a charm for creating the circles. For the large, white center circle, I just took a piece of heavyweight bright white paper (I love Epson Matte Presentation paper) and cut the circle out of the center. It was a little challenging to get the green number circles perfectly centered, but I eventually figured out a method that worked. I used the typeface ITC Blair which has great, clean, retro feeling numbers.

Step five: Mod Podge

I applied all the circles with Mod Podge (on the backs and the fronts) and then, when it was all dry, I Mod Podged the whole clock face. Twice.

And voila! Our new kitchen clock! With a pendulum!

In keeping with my original challenge to myself — stepping away from the screen and making something: one thing per month — I stopped here and counted. And at the end of September, I’m pleased to report that I have actually made TEN THINGS! I’ve got some more to share with you soon, so stay tuned. Until then, YOU step away from the screen and go make something. And share it with us over here on Facebook.

House Rules

By | design, happy, make something, step away from the screen, typography | 13 Comments

Hey kids! Not sure if you noticed or not, but I haven’t been here in a while. My 365 project got derailed a little bit. First it was because I was busy. Then it was because I was actually spending a lot more time away from my screen.  Then I got busy again, and somewhere along the way, I decided to let myself off the hook and pick it back up when I had the wherewithal. Or not. We’ll see.

Meanwhile… I thought it might be time for another story about something I stepped away from the screen and made. Yeah? Okay! This story has a few “parts” to it, so I thought I’d break it down into bite size pieces.

Act 1 —

Scene 1:
About a year and a half ago, I started writing our family’s “house rules.” I had seen a few of these lists floating around the Internet and really liked what they were all about. Especially in a house with kids. So I started working. Not diligently, but whenever something occurred to me, I would add it to the list. I kept the list on Evernote so it would be with me wherever I was.

Scene 2:
One night I was sitting on my couch looking around the living room. The staircase is a dominant feature of that room because it is right smack in the middle of it. All our walls are painted different colors, but the stairs are white wood. It occurred to me that I needed to do something creative with the stairs. I mean, here it was, a giant canvas right in the middle of the living room and it was just plain white. So I added that to my ever-present, ever-growing list of “things to think about and do someday.”

Act 2 —

Scene 1:
The house rules were coming along nicely, but there was a problem: Where was I going to put it once it was finished? We don’t have a ton of walls in our house (years ago previous owners knocked down most of the walls turning a boxy, compartmentalized, 1930’s era bungalow into an open, airy, modern feeling home. We love it, but we don’t have as many places to hang things as we might like.), and most of those walls were already exhibiting art, as we’d lived in the house for 6 years.

Scene 2:
One daydreamy afternoon, I’m thinking about our stairs, and what fun thing I could create for them, when suddenly it all comes together for me. The house rules! On the stairs! One rule per step. I counted the steps (13) and opened the house rules document. I had 9 rules. Surely I could come up with 4 more.

Act 3 —

Scene 1:
The stairs were, upon close inspection, pretty banged up. 6 years of a family of 4 on white stairs? Yeah. Might need a little paint. So that was the first part of the project. meanwhile, I was trying to figure out the best way to get the words on the stairs. I considered freehand painting, sharpie, and stencil painting, but I’m a fairly compulsive person (understatement), and I know that any imperfections would drive me crazy. Finally I decided on vinyl. Choosing the typeface and, more importantly, the color took a while — the stairs are surrounded by yellow, sage green, red, and brown walls. What color would work with all of those? We ultimately decided on a steely blue grey. And practical, clean DIN for the font. I designed the words and had them printed at my favorite sign company for about $40.

Scene 2:
Got the vinyl back as one big sheet. While I cut the lines apart, I also stressed about how to apply them so they’d be straight and also spaced the same distance from the wall (remember — compulsive). I decided left-aligned would work better than centered, and would also look more modern.

Act 4 —

They came out about a million times better than I even hoped they would. And the kids love them. And I love them. And we have even invented a game around them. We frequently find our cat, Mark, hanging out in the middle of the stairs. So we decided he would choose our rule of the day. Any time someone walks by the steps and sees Mark there, they yell out the rule he’s sitting on: “Mark says WORK HARD!!” Or “Mark says, SHARE!”

Here’s the complete list of our house rules. I strongly encourage you to think about what yours would be, even if you don’t turn them into something on display. It’s pretty interesting to consider which behaviors are important enough to you and your family that you would classify them as “rules.”

Be Kind.
Laugh. A lot.
Apologize.
Work Hard.
Play Fair.
Tell the Truth.
Listen.
Offer to Help.
Share.
Ask Nicely.
Hug and Kiss.
Say Thank You.
Respect Others.

shrinky dink valentines

By | design, make something, monkeys | 2 Comments

When you’ve got that creative, um, inclination and you’ve got Elementary School aged kids, Valentines day can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Oh the possibilities! But oh, the work to get them all made for every kid in each of your kids’ classes.

This year we went Shrinky Dinks. 54 of them. Zoe and Lucy decided we would make hearts for the girls and stars for the boys.

We punched holes in them all. Then added some beaded chain.

Lucy and Zoe love hanging things on their book bags, and they had that in mind as we created these. So we made paper hang tags with “hang” messages on them: “Wanna hang out?” and “I like hanging around with you!” and “Hang in there!”

A little goofy, but perfect for 7 yr olds. And they looked great all together on our coffee table!

Where else is Laurie?

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