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.









Continue Reading

Painting and Waxing Over Painted Furniture

One of my standard rules as a furniture recycler is that I really only want to touch (paint) a piece of furniture once.  I usually put too much work into it the first time that I do not want to think about changing it another time.  However, I do get asked, “Can you repaint a piece of furniture that you have already painted?”  The answer is yes!   I have done it to several pieces, but I usually do it “kicking and screaming.”  I try to not do this much but sometimes it is just easier than trying to find something new, especially if  it is a solid piece you love.

You may remember a previous blog that I did on this wood yard sale coffee table that went from medium brown wood to white which made it look “shabby chic French” style with distressed areas.

The coffee table was white for several years and worked pretty well in the space.  However, recently I spotted a couch on a local Swip Swap sale site that I purchased and put in my family room to replace my other dark leather couch and it is a cream color. I fell in love with it and had been looking for this type of sofa for a while now.

When I put the two pieces together, something just wasn’t right.  Everything in that room was a vanilla color with no contrasting colors.  I now needed to get the table to contrast but still work in that room at least until I find something else I like better.  I started by taking some dark brown paint and dry brushing some strokes on the top (photo below.). It just wasn’t looking right and still had too much of a white background.  I knew I needed to make it darker to work with the new couch.

I found this dark wax in my garage that I had bought at Lowes and had never really used it on anything.  At one point I must have bought it for a project I had but never used it.  I also pulled out my Polycrylic to put on as a seal coat to protect it when it was the way I wanted it.

I took the brush and started very lightly brushing on the dark wax and wiping it lengthwise with a clean cloth which made some interesting stroke marks.  This was going to be totally experimental for me and I didn’t know what I was doing not having used this type of wax before.  This was a tedious, but necessary job to get the look I was wanting.  I stopped a couple of times just to give myself a break and come back to it for another look.  I liked where this was going!  The color it was becoming was exactly what I wanted.  It had a brown tint but I still wanted some lighter areas showing through.  I started rubbing the wax on the sides and legs with just the rag and it worked great.  After I had finished the look I wanted, I let it try for about an hour.  I then put two coats of polycyclic on with a brush to protect it letting it dry fully in between coats.  The thing to remember with the dark wax is to just apply it and wipe it off right away.  Don’t worry too much about getting things perfect.  It’s not supposed to look perfect.  It is supposed to look blotchy, worn and old.  I finished it in one day so it really did not take long at all.

I think it turned out sort of in a Restoration Hardware look.

I just love the carved detail in this piece of furniture.

Here is the final outcome.  I will definitely use that can of dark wax again on another piece.  The table contrasts and blends in so well now with the new cream couch and I am so happy I was able to give this table a new look and keep it.


Sunrise photo taken from our balcony on vacation this summer.
Continue Reading

Creating a Restoration Hardware Look with Thrift Store Furniture

Creating a Restoration Hardware Look with Thrift Store Furniture

Who doesn’t love walking into a Restoration Hardware store?  Do you dream of purchasing some of their fantastic furniture?  Today I want to share with you how to create a Restoration Hardware look on thrift store furniture.  For many years, I have browsed around RH and drooled over that pricey, weathered look.  Since I can’t pay those prices and I love being creative, I decided to go in a different route – to the thrift store!

Finding old, quality, wood furniture with good bones is actually pretty simple.  Plus, they just built furniture better back in the olden days so it will be much sturdier than a piece from Ikea or Target.  I was able to pick up real wood pieces to duplicate this look with just some paint and new hardware.

Remember to look beyond ugly colors or dated looks.  Here are some examples of the RH furniture.

Restoration Hardware Photo
Restoration Hardware Photo










Wanting an expensive look with a tight budget can be challenging, but if you keep an eye out for furniture with “good bones” you just might find a Practically Palm Beach piece.  Making frequent stops at local thrift stores became a weekly routine for me, and I love the hunt!  Don’t give up if you don’t find something right away. Consistent searching pays off eventually. One particular store became very useful in finding some major pieces. I hate to give away my secret, but it’s called Faith Farm.

I found two matching nightstands for around $50 each.  They didn’t look like this when I bought them but unfortunately, I never took a before photo.  But they were similar to the headboard that I got at Faith Farm too (see photos below).

To replicate the woodgrain look, first remove all the drawers and hardware.  Using a Purdy 1.5″ paintbrush, I painted on a light butter-colored latex basecoat to cover the entire piece.  I painted it on working in the long direction of each drawer, top and sides.  You don’t have to be too fussy at this point.  Just avoid any drips.  I then took another 1.5″ brush and “dry-brushed” over it with a dark brown latex paint to create the rustic wood look.  I’ve found the trick to this is just dip the tip (about 1/4 inch) of the brush in the dark brown paint and when wipe off most of it with a wet rag, swiping the brush on the wet rag before touching the furniture and a angle.  It will be best if you practice on an old board first to get the hang of the “faux wood” stroke.  The lighter touch you have, the better.  I sealed it with a polycrylic sealer to protect the paint finish using a brush.  I think I put on two thin coats, but three would be even better.  Let each coat dry completely before putting on another one.  I’ve had a couple places of wear because my cat loves to jump up on my furniture and dig in his claws when he makes contact.

Put on Thin Coats of Sealer to Protect the Finish

To give it a better rustic feel, I ditched the shabby chic handles that came with the nightstands (to be used on other furniture later) and replaced them with bronze cup handles that I purchased at Lowes.  

On a separate occasion shopping at the same thrift store, I found this huge wood headboard and could just envision it fitting into the RH look as well. It was massive, but I purchased it for only $50! I did the same “faux” paint job on it.

Before painting it


After Faux-Painting

Two dressers were given the same look.   Remember, it takes time to find several pieces that can work together so just be patient.  One dresser was found on the side of the road in our neighborhood on bulk pick-up day (in perfect condition!) and the other dresser I’m sure was found at the same thrift store for little or nothing.  My best “trick” is remove all the handles and spraypaint them with Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze

Found this dresser on the side of the road for FREE!

Basically, all five pieces that I have in our bedroom were purchased for a fraction of the cost of ONE piece of RH hardware. With a little paint and a bit of creativity, you can have the RH look.


Continue Reading