Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Trees in Boxes, Oh My!

Just thought I'd pop in here and share all these beautiful customer photos with you all! Their trees look so beautiful in my boxes!

I love to see what different people will do with similar items. All of these trees are so beautiful, and totally unique!

Want one? You can make your own! Find my instructions here.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

DIY Nativity Stable

How many of you have a nativity set and no stable? I did, for years! I loved my set but the stable that matches is so expensive, and I just didn't love it enough to want to spend the money. Last year, I finally built myself this DIY stable, and I could not love it more!

Of course, It's on my list of holiday builds for my business, and I sold several last year, and this year, so I decided to whip up a tutorial for you all. It's a simple build. If you have a miter saw (and maybe a table saw) you can do it!

You will need:

  1. A 1x4x6 board for your frame. I used pine. 
  2. A thin wood for the back. I used scrap wood but you can use anything you like. I suggest a small piece of 1/4" stainable plywood. You can rip it down to strips like I did, or just cut it to fit the whole back. 
  3. Wood Glue
  4. Finish nails and a nail gun (I used 1")
  5. Stain or paint of your choice.

Step 1.  Cut all of your framing pieces. Then give them a light sanding.

  • 1  18" Cut ~ This will be your floor.
  • 2  10" Cuts ~ This will be your side walls.
  • 2  12" Cuts ~ This will be your roof. 

Step 2.  Cut a 20 degree angle on one end of both 10" and both 12" boards. Give those angles a light sanding.

Step 3. Attach Side walls to Floor. 
  • Lay it out so the angle is up, and facing the outside of the frame, and the bottom of the side wall is sitting on top of the floor piece. (Both Sides.)
  • Add a strip of wood glue to the bottom of the side wall piece, and nail it in. 
  • *Note: Be careful not to add too much glue. You don't want it to seep out when you put the pieces together. If it does, be sure to clean it up thoroughly. Stain will not penetrate where there is glue on the wood. 

When you stand it up, it should look like this.

Step 4.  Assemble the roof. 
  • Add a strip of glue to the angled part of the roof pieces, and put them together.  Add a couple nails.  It should look like this:

Step 5.  Attach the roof. 
  • Add glue to the angled parts of the wall pieces, and center the roof on to them. Then add some nails straight down from the top of the roof, into the wall pieces. 

Now your frame is complete. 

Step 6. Prepare your back boards. I used scrap wood that I ripped down to 2.5" strips, 1/4" thick. 
  • Lay them down on the table, and give them a light sanding. 
  • Lay your frame down on top, and trace around the edges. 

  • Then cut the pieces down, just inside the lines you have traced. You don't want the ends showing from he front. 
Step 7. Attach the back pieces. 
  • Flip the frame on it's face (It doesn't really  matter which side is the front), and nail the boards on the back, one at a time, starting from the bottom and working your way up. All the nails will be along the sides, except for the bottom. 

Now your build is finished!

Step 8. Apply the finish of your choice. I went with stain. 

ALL DONE! Now you can add your nativity. I hope you enjoy!

Thank you for reading! As always, comments, suggestions, and questions are welcome! Share, pin, and subscribe if you'd like!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Christmas Tree Box Tutorial

I absolutely love Christmas Trees in boxes! I have seen them in baskets, and tins, and crates, and all sorts of creative places over the last couple years, but the boxes are my favorite!

Last year, our first Christmas in our new home, I really wished I had a taller tree. I now have 20 foot ceilings, and a 7 foot tree. While I'd love a new taller tree, I haven't been able to bring myself to spend $300+ on a 12 foot or taller tree. Everyone who knows me well, knows I'm cheap, and I do nothing if it's not a bargain! Plus, my hand-me-down tree is really beautiful. It's full and has great shape. I just love it.

So I built myself a tree box, and made it taller than average, with a shelf inside, so my tree became 2 feet taller. I'd still like a taller one someday, but for now, I'm happy. I'll be putting up the same tree at the end of the month, and even if I do find a bargain on a 12 foot tree, I have space for more height, so I can keep using my taller box.

Customer Photo
Standard Height
Last year, I also made some standard size Christmas tree boxes (so the trees just sit on the floor, and don't gain height), and sold them. They were a huge hit! I did a bunch more this year, and they are improved! Lighter, a little taller, and still gorgeous. I have to say... Part of me wanted a new one after seeing these!

Just because I know you all love a tutorial, I did my best to share my process. Hope you enjoy! These instructions are for the standard size box, where the tree sits on the floor, not on a shelf.

I decided to go with Cedar Fence pickets. They are inexpensive, rustic, and wide. I bought 1x6x8. I wanted my boxes 24" square inside. Most tree stands are 24" wide. Definitely wear gloves and safety goggles for this project. And avoid shooting yourself in the finger like I did!

First I ripped some of the boards in half. I needed two full width boards, and one half width board for each side panel. Then I cut all the boards to 24.5" length. The extra half inch ensures that the inside of the box will be 24" wide exactly. Then I laid out all the sides on the ground for a visual.  Notice I put the thinner boards in the middle. This way when it's all trimmed out, they will all look the same size.

Next, I used scrap wood to cut some boards to be the back braces of my panels. About 1x1x22". I pre-drilled some holes, and then screwed them in to the back of each panel, to create the sides of my boxes.

Once all 4 sides were assembled, I sanded them smooth, and pre-drilled holes on the right edge of each panel. Sanding was a bit of a job, since these boards come so rough, but the do smooth out nicely. 

Then I lined them up in a square, so that the side with the holes overlapped the next board, all the way around. (I hope the pictures help make sense of what I'm saying. I'm really struggling to find the right words to explain all of this.) Notice in the picture, that you can see screws on the left side, and on the right side, you can't.  All four sides should look like this. 

Here is a top view of the assembled box. 

Now it's time for trim. I ripped some more boards in half. Then I started with the corner pieces. For these pieces I used my table saw to create a 45 degree angle along one side. I measured how tall my box is, from top to bottom, and cut 8 pieces to length. Then I used my finish nailer, and assembled one corner at a time. 

Next I cut straight pieces for the tops and bottoms, and used my finish nailer to attach them. (If you are paying close attention, you will see that this box has angled cuts all around... It is an older photo, and I forgot to photograph this stage this time. You get the idea though.)

Then all that's left to do is sand the trim, and stain or paint to your liking! I built six just like this, and then one larger one with a shelf (adds height to the tree). 

I did not do any tutorial photos for the larger one, but I followed the same process, except I made it taller, and then built a shelf on the inside for the tree to sit in. I also added the X. It's obviously harder than the straight cuts I described above, but still doable, though I may have wasted a few pieces of wood, and said some swear words... Maybe... I'm actually kind of jealous. I kind of want a new one for myself, but I'm also tree boxed out for now, so I think I'll stick with what I've got;)

I hope you enjoyed! Please share with me if you decide to build one for yourself! You can find me on Facebook @sealedwithluv or Instagram @sealedwithloveonsundaydrive

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Faux Brick Wall

I have been in LOVE with brick walls lately. I actually dream about doing one on the largest wall of my home, sigh, but that would be a BIG job, and I'm not sure it will happen. I did, however, do a faux brick wall for staging my pieces, and I could not be happier with it!

The good news is, it was so easy, pretty inexpensive, AND you could follow the same technique to do this in your home!

So here is what I did. I bought two faux brick panels from Lowe's. Here is the link. They cost me just over $27 each. I also bought spackle, because I was going for the German Smear look. I only bought one, but had to go back later for another one. So a good rule of thumb is one for every panel. Here is the one I bought. You can buy whatever kind you like. This one is inexpensive and comes pre mixed, and even has a putty knife. So all in all, I spent about $75 on the wall.  (I also bought another panel, that looks like a  wood floor. It's awesome, here is that link if you are looking for something similar.)

The first thing I did was mount the panels to the wall. I did not worry about the seam, because I am only using this for photo staging, but, if I were to do this in my home, I would have cut the half bricks out and fit the two pieces together in a staggered pattern, being careful to leave the grout lines spaced like the rest of the bricks. This would help you get a seamless look. Since the is a garage wall, and the cement footing sticks out, I just screwed some 2x4s in to the studs of the wall, and then used my finish nailer to attach the panels to the 2x4s. at the bottom, I used some liquid nails to glue the panels to the cement.

Now it was time to begin spackling (I don't know if that's an actual word, but I don't know what else to call it...). I wanted to get the technique down before I tried to teach anyone,  and I hate climbing on a ladder, so I decided to do the top half first. It was after the top half that I ran out of spackle, so I took a break to get some, and then I got back to work. I did not know how to explain this, so I created a small video clip to provide a visual. I am very self conscious sharing this video, so please be kind! I am not a person who is comfortable on camera. You will see that it really is simple though, and hopefully this video makes you feel like you can do this on you down, because anyone can!

So, I did the whole thing. And here it is finished, with my floor panel in front of it. The seam is definitely visible, but it's fin for photos. This is why I would do it differently inside my home. 

Note: when it's all dried you will need to seal it somehow. If you don't it may become discolored, and it may begin to fall apart. Some people do a paint wash, but I didn't want to change the color, so I just sprayed mine with a clear matte sealer. This is what I used. You will want to make sure that if you use a clear sealer, it is water based. Oil based polyurethane products yellow over time.  If you don't have a sprayer, you can brush it on. I just choose fast and easy because I can. =) 

Here it is from an angle.

I was so excited, I just had to test it out. These chairs weren't quite finished (they needed cushions, obviously), but these are the first two photos I took. I love my wall! So much better than ugly garage photos! You will be seeing a lot more of this wall!

Thanks for reading! 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Deconstructed Upholstery

I got these chairs a while ago from a friend. They had belonged to his parents, and they were lovely. Just old. I have had them in my basement for well over a year, and I had wanted to send them to someone else to be upholstered.

Well, that can get expensive, and the only way to improve my own upholstery skills is to practice, right? So I went for it! I decided on the deconstructed look for two reasons. First, because I like it, and second, because it's less work. Win, win, right?

Here is what they looked like before. For some reason I can only find a photo of one. You can't see it well, but the wood was pretty beat up.

I actually started tearing the old upholstery off at one time, months ago, and then walked away from them only about 20% finished, and didn't start again for a LONG time. In my opinion, tearing down upholstery is one of the worst jobs on the planet! Thank goodness when I decided to go at it again, my husband was willing to help me. Even so, the two of us probably spent a good four hours tearing of fabric, and pulling out staples. So here they are, finally all ready to get started. Luckily, the foam and padding was in good condition, and didn't need to be replaced.

The next step was painting. I really wanted to keep some wood grain, but the wood wasn't in good enough condition to fully strip and stain. Especially the parts that used to be covered with upholstery, that would now be exposed. So, I did some really thin paint layering, and glazing. I used some washing technique, some dry brushing technique, and also some distressing, and was really pleased with the finish. You can still see some wood grains, and it looks perfect for a deconstructed chair.  I didn't actually plan to blog about this originally, so my photos are not the best, but here are the photos I took for my social media.

At this point I had to wait for my fabric and coffee sacks to be delivered, which was perfect, because it gave my finish a few days to cure before I stared upholstering. I ordered my coffee sacks from Amazon, in a variety 10 pack, and I shared the variety in a video on my instagram. If you aren't already following me there, go check it out! @sealedwithloveonsundaydrive

Once I got my fabric, I got right to work. I started with the seats.

The seats were the easiest part. At that point I forgot to take pictures until it was finished. I'm Sorry! I wish I was better about that, but I was in the zone and working toward the finish line. I can tell you that I did the coffee sacks next, and then I put the padding back on the back, and did the back. I used plain canvas for the back. Lastly, I glued thick, jute trim to finish it all off, and I love the way they turned out! 

You might be noticing my stunning staging wall! That was another recent project, and hopefully I will be blogging about it soon. Don't you love it?!