How to Make a Wooden Coffee Bar Sign

Like many others, I love coffee!  I grew up dunking cookies in coffee and I guess I acquired a taste for it early.

I recently decided to create a coffee bar for the holiday season.  As I was putting it together, I wanted to have a coffee sign but didn’t want to spend a lot of money or time getting one.  Plus, I didn’t want a store-bought sign with no personal touch.

One night when I was having trouble sleeping, I started brainstorming on whether or not I had something in my garage that I could use to create the sign.  I remembered that I had picked up a couple of wooden wine boxes at a yard sale a while back and immediately sprung out to the garage to take a look.  (I pick up unique items at yard sales just for times like these!)

  

Yes!  I can work with this!  I grabbed a plyers and pulled the hinges and latch off and decided that the top of the box would be perfect for my sign.

I dug out some antiquing wax that I had in the garage and started painting it on and rubbing it off like a stain to darken the wood.

   

  

I left the project to dry and decided I needed to come up with a plan of what I wanted it to say.  These were some of my ideas below.  For those who don’t know what “Fika” is, it’s a Swedish term for a break in the day for coffee, something sweet and friends!  I LOVE Fika Time!  I also liked personalizing it with our last name.  I did that one in Powerpoint.

I also decided that I wanted to lighten my sign and also it would be easier to rub a transfer on if it were a lighter color.  I grabbed some sample paint that I had in the garage and just painted the inside part, leaving the wooden frame.

I found this “but first, coffee” transfer on-line and tried that as a test by following a Pinterest instruction on-line.

This method was done by wetting the paint brush and then rubbing off the ink with the blunt edge of a sharpie.
 

The “wet paintbrush” idea was a Pinterest FAIL.  The letters were simply just not dark enough with this method.  I repainted the inside again and let it dry.

Since this first method failed, I thought I’d try again with another look I had created on Powerpoint.  In order to “flip” the words so that they can be applied ink down, you have to select the horizontal flip in the print menu.  I printed it on some photo paper I already had in a drawer and figured I would just try that before running out for transfer paper.  What’s the worst that would happen?!!  I would have to repaint it again and try again?

  

I placed the paper face down on the wood and was careful to hold it still with my left hand while I rubbed the back of it applying pressure with the sharpie edge.  I rubbed back and forth as long as I could and then removed the paper and it worked!  I could have rubbed even more on the outside letters to darken the ink a little, but I’ll try again with another project.  I like the slightly distressed, faded look.  I may eventually seal it to protect it but since it won’t get touched very much, I am just going to leave it alone for now.

I want to “hang” or attach is to the mirror but here it is at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Make Farmhouse Charger Plates

Over the past several months I’ve been hunting for some ornate charger plates that don’t cost a fortune that would work well in my dining room.  After all, anyone who watches Fixer Upper on HGTV knows that Joanna Gaines always sets the table with charger plates, cloth napkins and a sprig of something earthy.  I have seen chargers on-line that are outrageously expensive and this thrifty girl knew there was an inexpensive way to get the look I was wanting.  These chargers from Amazon.com are $15 each!

I saw a Pinterest idea of  collecting silver-plated round trays and painting them to use as chargers so I started hunting for just them.  Unfortunately, I have only been able to find about three over the past several months hunting thrift stores and garage sales.

This morning while browsing around our local Goodwill store I came across these red plastic chargers.  There were six of them which is exactly what I needed.  They were only .99 each so I grabbed them knowing I had a project ahead to make them fit into any season, not just Christmas or Valentines Day.   I like to keep my dining room table “set” (staged) and I really needed some chargers to complete the look.  I liked the scalloped edges even though I really want something a little more ornate down the road.  I figured these would work at least as temporary chargers with a little work.  Ok, they don’t look very “farmhouse” or French country… YET!

After washing them, I put my drop cloth over my counter and stove and got some chalk paint out that I had used in a previous project.

The paint I used was sort of Paris gray/taupe color.  I just used a small paintbrush and started painting each one with a thin coat to cover the chargers.

This is how they looked while drying after one coat of chalk paint.

After a second coat was dry, here was the result.

I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do next but just decided to rub some lighter paint on the edges with my finger (see photo below).  Project FAIL!  I didn’t like the look.  It looked like a little kid had painted on the edges and it looked messy.  I had to repaint that one and come up with a new plan.

I always think that a dry-brushed paint job comes out the best.  It looks rustic, old and farmhouse chic.  Perfect!  I dry-brushed each charger and let them dry.  (Dry-brushing is when you dip the tip of the paint brush in the paint and then wipe off most of it with a damp rag before dragging is across whatever you are working on.  After that step, I put on two coats of Polycrylic to seal the paint because chalk paint always needs to be sealed to prevent the paint from chipping.

The whole project only cost me the $6 (for the chargers) because I already had the other supplies in my stash.

 

This was an easy project that only took a couple hours (because of drying time) to finish.

I’m loving the new addition to the table.  I guess I should put some flatware on it now but I feel like it is a Practically Palm Beach success story now.

 

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From Bombay to “Fixer Upper”

From time to time I find just the right thing I’m looking for.  This summer I found a pair of matching Bombay dark wood nightstands on a Facebook selling site in our area for only $40/both.  Finding solid wood nightstands for that price was a steal!  I had been searching for some nightstands for some family and these two Bombay nightstands were just the right height and size for their “Fixer Upper” style master bedroom which I was helping to decorate.  Keep in mind that no matter what the color of a piece of furniture is, it can always be changed to something else.  Don’t let any color keep you from buying it.

I forgot to take a before photo so this is one of them while I was taking out the drawers to paint them.  The wood is very dark and the pieces are actually from the Bombay store (if you remember that store that used to be around).

They also have this cool pull-out shelf at the top.  What the heck is that for anyway?

After removing all the drawers and hardware, I washed it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt.

I bought some white chalk paint from Home Depot and started the painting with a brush.  Here is what it looks like with just one coat of chalk paint.  I found Home Depot’s chalk paint a little harder to paint with than Lowe’s paint.  However, they now seem to have the same paint which I was not happy about.  Lowes had a very nice paint this summer that was a lot more “chalky” and painted on easier.  Now their paints seem to be very similar and I miss the former mix.   This piece actually ended up taking about 4-5 coats to cover up the dark wood.  You have to be patient and determined when you are changing something this dark to white!  Just stay at it!

I sanded with a fine grit sanding block in between coats (well, after most of the coats) and got off the dust each time to get a smoother finish. I actually used my vacuum hose with an upholstery brush to get off the sanding dust.  I also lightly sanded the edges for a distressed look.  I dry-brushed the hardware as well to cover some of the brassy finish.

Then I coated it with my favorite Polyacrylic clear coat to protect the paint job.

The room is coming together and these two nightstands were the perfect size to fit in this master bedroom.

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Yard Sale Candlesticks Get a Facelift with Chalk Paint

Something will catch my eye at a yard sale and I’ll just have to pick it up.  This was the case for these large green ceramic candlesticks that I purchased for $5 right in our neighborhood.  I didn’t necessarily hate the color, but I wasn’t sure I would have a place for them either.  They just were large candlesticks with a cute “shabby chic” design and for $5 they went home with me.  The price tag on the bottom of just one was $39!

I couldn’t find a good place for them in my house so when my son and his wife bought a home in the development across the street from us, I brought them over to see if there would be a place for them.   I always try things in various places and move accessories around a room to see where they might work best.  Sometimes they stay and other times they end up in another room.  I started by putting them on the mantel but they just didn’t seem right there.

Later on I added a mirror above the mantle and they were just too large.  I took them back home and put them in the garage to sell.  I even had them out on a site posted for sale but I didn’t get any buyers.

While working on ideas for their master bedroom, I came up with a new plan for them.  Why not get out my chalk paint and just give them a nice neutral coat.  It literally took me less than thirty minutes to transform them into what you see below.  Both of the chalk paint colors were purchased from Michaels and were already in my garage so it didn’t cost me anything.  I put one coat of the taupe/grayish color on first with a brush and then highlighted the embossed areas with white to bring that out.  I also added some white brush strokes to the body to make them look old.  The good thing about this project is it is better if the paint job isn’t perfect as I wanted it to look old and worn.

Since I was helping them decorate their master bedroom, I purchased some antique dressers on Craigslist and planned on going in the direction of a farmhouse chic style.  These would work very well.  I will share more photos of the bedroom when it is all finished but here is where the candlesticks landed!

It’s a beach kind of week!

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