This is sponsored post created in partnership with Glidden Paint. I received compensation for my honest review and all opinions accurately reflect my experience with this product. I'm always thankful for the support of sponsors that fit the Smile and Wave DIY brand.
I love encouraging my kids' artistic abilities and hope they learn to think outside the box in all creative ventures but, as many of you moms and dads know, that can sometimes lead to tagging the wall purple stick figures or practicing their name in sharpie on your unfinished IKEA crib. In this specific instance, it was testing out crayons and washable markers on a custom made bookshelf that I've had for a few years. It has survived three moves and been used in a variety of ways storing kids' toys, a typewriter collection, baby paraphernalia, etc. It's recently been put to use in my studio holding most of my yarn stash. It was looking a little tired before the crayon attack but once it was marked up, I decided I may as well find a way to make it even more exciting than before.
When Glidden Paint asked if I was interested in trying out their new Glidden Complete-Stain Blocking, Paint + Primer with stain covering powers, I knew this was my chance to give my bookshelf the makeover it deserved. I cleared all of the yarn off to get a good look at the crayon and washable marker art work. You can also see the original lumber prints from the lumberyard. When the bookshelf was made, it was intended to sit horizontal on the ground so the lumber yard prints wouldn't show. Covering them up was another reason I was looking forward to hitting refresh on this storage piece.
The crayon and washable marker weren't all over the place-just in a few key places. Both Ruby and Smith had added their contributions in the last two years. Here's a before shot of one of the areas that were marked on.
Here's the same spot after two thin coats of Glidden Complete. You couldn't see the crayon at all after the first coat and you can just barely see the washable marker after the second coat here.
I added a third thin coat just on that shelf and it was finally completely covered. I was impressed that such a light paint color was able to cover over the washable purple marker. I also tested a thin black sharpie in an inconspicuous spot and it was covered up after only one coat.
This is the side of the bookshelf that had the lumber yard markings on it and they are ever so faint after one thin coat. I added a second coat for more even coverage and they are no longer visible. Woohoo!
Once the bookshelf was done, I added some inexpensive crates that I spray painted a neon coral to add a little more fun to this space. I then added a coat of polyurethane to the crates so the spray paint wouldn't rub off on the bookshelf. I'd seen a similar peach and neon coral color combination online somewhere and knew this would be a little unexpected but also really cheerful. The peach color is really warm and happy. It's hard to do it justice in photos but I love how it looks with the coral!
For someone who enjoys a good project, I also prefer the easiest routes possible. The best part about this bookshelf makeover was not having to purchase a separate primer and knowing my paint was going to easily cover over both the darker markings and artistic markings without me having to sand them down. Two coats of paint feels pretty standard on most things when you're going for even coverage and the third coat on just one shelf to cover a tiny spot felt more like a touch up than anything. I like that the paint was thick enough to not need a lot of coats but also settled out smoothly so that I didn't have ridges everywhere.
As always, it's a great idea to test something out in an inconspicuous spot or with a smaller paint purchase to make sure it's going to work for your project before committing your time and money to it. I've used a variety of paint brands and have enjoyed all of them but I appreciate the affordability of Glidden and the fact that this specific paint does what it claims to do.
I have a cute new bookshelf to store all of my yarn and my studio is feeling a little more exciting with these summer colors. It's amazing how a little paint job can make you feel like you have a new piece of furniture!
Because I'm sure some of you have your own summer projects you're eager to take on, I'm so thrilled to share that Glidden is offering four gallons of Glidden Complete-Stain Blocking, Paint + Primer to one lucky Smile and Wave DIY reader!
To enter to win, leave a comment below sharing what you'd do with a few gallons of Glidden Complete Paint and you could be halfway to painting your master bedroom or giving your own furniture piece a makeover!
A winner will be chosen on June 13th and announced here.
Here's to a weekend full of fun projects!
This woven leather bench will forever remain in my Top Ten Favorite DIY's list. It is one of those that worked out like a dream and could easily work in at least four rooms in our house. If you're not intimidated with purchasing and cutting up leather hide, you should add this tutorial to your list. Also, another to use your new weaving skills!
Check out the full tutorial and my best tips for choosing the perfect leather for this kind of project over at A Beautiful Mess. Also, thank you, IKEA, for having such fun plants.
Cleaning isn't my favorite part of managing a home but there's no better feeling than a freshly scrubbed floor that shines like the day we moved in and having everything in its place. Now that all three kids are out of school for the summer, I'm realizing how much harder it can be to keep it that way!
It's become my mission to find ways to both occupy their time so they aren't in front of a screen all afternoon, and delegate some of the extra chores that don't get taken care of on a weekly basis. I've found a few ways to do all of that without any whining or sour attitudes so I wanted to pass along my new tips in case you've been the only one at your house picking up the vacuum, too. It may not be quite as squeaky clean as the day we moved in but we're getting there!
Let It Go, Let It Go
Everyone knows it's hard to keep a tidy home when it's brimming with stuff. We're a little late to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up game but Brett read it earlier this month and then went to town on each room in the house. No closet was left untouched, no dark corner of a cabinet unturned. Seriously though, most of our excess stuff came from the kids' rooms in the form of outgrown toys, random art projects leftover from school, games with missing pieces, and clothing that won't fit next season. We bagged items to donate, set aside a few things to sell, recycled what we could, and trashed the rest.
Some of you may be able to get your kids to help declutter their own stuff but others just can't bear to let go of anything. Pre-parent the situation in a way your kids will respond best. If they aren't able to pass along a toy they've outgrown or a favorite shirt from two years ago, put those items in a storage container and tell them you're just going to move them to a new space for awhile such as the garage or attic. If they still miss them in a few weeks, assure them you'll bring them back into their room. This way they don't feel like their stuff is gone forever but can still enjoy the simplicity of fewer things to put away and clean. If they completely forget about that old shirt after your designated time, feel free to find it a new home.
Make Cleaning Appealing
Sometimes it's all in the presentation. Tell them you need a brave fairy to climb a mountain and vanquish the dust monsters on top of the fan with their magic wand and watch how quickly those blades get wiped down. We keep our ladder stashed away for safety reasons so it's always a treat for the kids to get to use it when we're changing bulbs or dusting window trim. They love the chance to get up high and I love that they want to help!
I've used feather dusters in the past and then had to vacuum up the dust bunny mess after finishing up the fan blades. This Swiffer 360 Duster keeps the dust mess to a minimum so its easy for me to let the kids use it without worrying about them getting covered in dust, too. This one is perfect for those messy jobs that aren't as accessible on a daily basis and really build up over time. My A/C vents are next!
Another tactic is having a scuff mark scavenger hunt. Ruby is old enough to help point out those marks on the walls that have been there for so long that I have stopped seeing them. Have your kids walk through a room with you and help you find all of those crayon marks on the walls or rubber scuffs on the floors that need the Magic Eraser touch. If there is a playful sense of urgency to find more than you, they might find themselves having a little fun!
Yeah, it'd been awhile since we'd cleaned the fan blades. I'm going to say over a year. Ewwww.
Assign Chores According to Age
If they can walk without falling, they're old enough to help in some small way. Now, this doesn't mean you won't have to redo it when they're done or clean up after they help a little too much but taking a minute to encourage their enthusiasm at any age will likely reinforce repeat behavior.
Smith is at that independent age where he wants to do it all himself so I try to offer him plenty of opportunities to tend to the upkeep of our home. Not all of our furniture is kind to the original hardwood floors in this house so he got to help me put these pads on the bottoms of chairs and tables. We also like to let him work on cleaning the windows and coffee table with a spray bottle of water so he can join in the busy work without me needing to tend to his every move.
Create An Easy to Reach Cleaning Station
We used to keep certain cleaning items in various parts of the house depending on what they were needed for. My problems started when I'd run out of bathroom or all-purpose cleaner downstairs and spend ten minutes searching which cabinet or bathroom I'd left the other bottles in upstairs. I'd use up the tiny amount of momentum I had working in my favor just hunting down everything I needed to get started.
I finally wised up and started to corral everything in one location. I made sure it was out of Smith's line of sight but still accessible for the big kids if they needed to clean up their own mess or get started on chores. Almost everything we use to clean is non-toxic so it makes it much easier to hand a spray bottle over to one of the kids when they are responsible enough to use them. It's also nice knowing that they can clean up their own spills without me having to hunt down the clean wash rags or find the only full bottle of all-purpose cleaner in the house.
Offer Incentives for Extra Help
Our older kids have daily responsibilities to help around the house but we also offer a list of chores they can do to earn some fun money. We want to teach them a good work ethic but also want to create a little room for them to have a choice in the tasks they put that energy towards. It has proven to be a more productive strategy for jobs that get finished with a good attitude!
They also really enjoy the tasks that involve using fun cleaning gadgets. We have always used a Swiffer Sweeper to mop our floors but the Swiffer WetJet is the new favorite because the big kids love getting to spray the cleaning solution with the touch of a button. It's like the cleaning version of a nerf gun to them! I briefly showed them how to pulse it twice or hold it down for two seconds to make sure they weren't going to use it up halfway through the house before they were unleashed. My floors have never been mopped with more enthusiasm.
Find Out What Motivates Them
If they are too cool to pretend they're fairies or don't feel the need to earn a few extra dollars, try scheduling a play date or sleepover depending on their age (and your sanity level). When my kids know their friends are coming over to play they are always more willing to tidy more than just their rooms in order to have some fun when they're done. Maybe a family trip to get ice cream or a movie night with a fort in the living room will spark that enthusiasm to finish their tasks. Sometimes turning on some Taylor Swift and having everyone do chores at the same time can bring a sense of teamwork that makes cleaning more fun.
At the end of the day, everyone wins. Your kids are learning practical life skills that they'll be able to use to make mom and dad's jobs a little easier and you'll someday send them out into the world knowing how to take care of their own spaces when mom isn't around to do it for them. Whether they keep their new spaces as clean as you prefer is another story but at least they'll know how to use a mop!
Swiffer and Mr Clean sent over a cleaning kit with a few of these products to enjoy and I welcomed them into my new cleaning corner because they are all tools we've purchased on our own in the past. It was perfect timing to get the kids pumped about summer chores! I also got to join in a Twitter chat hosted by Jonathan Scott! Between chatting with Mr. Scott and being featured in the same magazine as Chip and Joanna Gaines, I'm practically part of the HGTV family. Ha!
If you've got kids, how have you been successful (or not) in getting them to contribute with household cleaning and other chores? Share all of your secrets with us!
-How to push pause on the workload and just be with my kids
-How to jump back in to the workload even when I'd rather just play all afternoon
-How to rest (this will be a life long challenge, I think)
-At remembering to take pictures of all three kids together
-At making french bread
-At working a baseball hat on non-shower days
-My first and second weaving workshop of the year coming up soon (yay!)
-Brett finishing his first year of grad school
-Surviving Brett's first year of grad school
-A trip to Disney World that's RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER (Thanks, Grandparents!)
-To text my friends and tell them I miss them
-To find myself some cute walking around all day shoes for vacation
-White walls in my house. Just kidding, I have no room to complain. But if someone wanted to paint my walls warm white, I'm just saying I wouldn't be mad.
Has summer started for you yet? My kids are enjoying the freedom and so far I am, too!!!
This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. Because ICE CREAM CAKE!
The kids and I got to spend the weekend at my parents' house in Oklahoma City last weekend and played with some baby ducks my mom incubated in her 3rd grade classroom. It was so nice to take a little road trip and let everyone get spoiled by my parents and grandparents. We played catch until dark in the backyard while keeping an ear out for tornado sirens, held those fuzzy little baby ducks while they slept, ate lots of mom's cookies, and had ice cream three days in a row! You get to do that when you're on a road trip!
There's always ice cream in the freezer at our family get togethers because it's always a reason to celebrate when we're able to spend time in the same place. I'm also pretty sure ice cream has been a part of all the family get togethers since before I was born! One of my first ice cream memories with my family is pouring salt over the ice in our ice cream maker and having such a hard time understanding how that salt and ice worked. I also remember thinking it took FOREVER for that ice cream to get hard enough to enjoy but it was always, always my favorite treat. My mom made the best banana ice cream with chocolate as a close second.
This year we won't be in the same place to celebrate Mother's Day together but I made sure not to leave the ice cream fun out of our own Mother's Day celebration. I partnered with Cold Stone Creamery to try their Strawberry Splendor cake that's being offered for Mother's Day and have an easy way to make a store bought cake a little more personal.
First I wanted to share why I'm all about a store bought cake for this particular holiday! I make cakes for every birthday, special holiday, and sometimes just because I really want some cake. While they usually turn out tasting lovely, it's always more of a mess to clean up when I'm done. I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't have to do dishes on Mother's Day so a store bought cake, especially an ice cream cake, is my answer to a successful Mother's Day celebration.
One way to make a store bought cake feel a little more personal is to add your own beautiful floral topping. I bought two bouquets of carnations at the grocery store, cut off the stems, and arranged them on top of my cake so there was just about 1" left of space along the perimeter. Then I added a few smaller floral cuts near the base and suddenly it looks like I spent all day working on this number. Except my homemade cakes are always lopsided!
The best part is carnations freeze well so you can add your decoration and then keep it in the freezer until you're ready to enjoy it with your family or your mama. Or maybe you can send them out on an errand and enjoy a second or third piece of that strawberry glazed ice cream. I won't tell.
If you're able to celebrate with your mom this Mother's Day, savor that! And maybe show her how special she is by treating her to a Cold Stone Creamery Strawberry Splendor cake for Mother’s Day because ice cream cake is just a little extra special, too. Add her favorite flowers on top and you're golden!
I'm sharing a chance to win a $50 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery later today on my Instagram account @smileandwave so stay tuned!
Note: This post was created in partnership with Cold Stone Creamery. I was paid a sponsor fee for my work but all thoughts, opinions, and anecdotes are my own. I'm always thankful to get to work with sponsors that our family already enjoy when we're in need of a specific product!
Sebastian's room makeover has been in the works since January but I finally put the finishing touches on it last week and he is one happy kid! We ended up with a slightly Star Wars themed room but I made sure the main elements that we purchased were items that will last him through any specific phase he's in and still feel cool in his teenage years. Also, I can't believe we're even close enough to the teenage years to start thinking about that!
There were four main challenges that presented themselves with this space that I kept in mind while choosing pieces for his new room. The first was making sure it was designed so that he still felt like it was an accurate reflection of his interests while also feeling like it was put together with a plan. The second was introducing pattern without going with full-on preppy stripes or woodsy plaids. The third was to use darker colors without making this already dark room feel like a cave. The fourth was finding a way to work within the limitations of a rental home. As with all of our home projects, we were working on a bit of a shoestring budget so I had to stay flexible with my design, resourceful in finding new pieces, and patient in how quickly it all came together.
Here is a before and after of this corner of his room. It's a downstairs, L-shaped room on the dark side of the house. It has lovely high ceilings, an attached bathroom (you can see the door in the before image), and a large walk-in closet that used to be part of the porch (not shown). It was shared in the rental listing as a fourth bedroom that could also be used as another family room since it was so big. When we first moved in we used it as our master bedroom and had Smith's crib in here as well. Then we did some musical room switching and Sebastian ended up downstairs.
His original bed frame that went with the mid-century headboard lost some parts during our last move and then life got really busy really fast so we just kept his mattress and box springs on the floor with the headboard kind of propped up against the wall. With so much extra space, we would stash extra chairs or random big toys in here when company was coming over and then they'd just stay in here. We even had Christmas decoration boxes stashed in a corner for at least two months! We taped up his huge dinosaur drawing mural in one corner but there wasn't much else in this room that was done to either of our tastes. Thankfully he was patient as we came up with a plan and the time to execute it!
Here you can see the door that leads to the downstairs bathroom. It creates an L-shaped room that can be a little awkward for furniture placement but we finally came up with something that works.
This is the wall where his headboard used to rest against. It also dips down lower than the rest of the room. Old house problems! By finding a new place for his bed that would make better use of the unique shape of the room, I was able to carve out stations for lounging, homework, storage, and a gallery wall.
This space is now a little nook where we hung shelving from IKEA and created a little homework station. He now has a place to display some of his stuff without Smith getting into it! I went with white broadcloth and sewed my own curtains for these odd-sized windows. This one looks out into the backyard and offers great morning light on sunny days. By using pattern and color in other elements, I felt good about keeping the curtains white in order to avoid darkening the room any further with colored curtain panels.
There aren't quite as many easy patterns to incorporate in a pre-teen boy's room as there are for little men or girls at any age. You can fall back on stripes and plaids but then that can feel preppy, nautical, or woodsy pretty quickly. Nothing wrong with those if that's what you're into but I wanted something a little different. I searched for a rug for weeks knowing I'd probably inspire the rest of the room and finally found this Safavieh Handmade Cambridge rug on Overstock. The pattern was perfect and I knew the rug would last forever since it was wool. It was on a great sale so I jumped!
I then got the idea to do a similar repeat pattern on the walls with the Walls Need Love Easy Stripe. I had been overthinking what kind of wall design I wanted to add based on how easy it would be to recreate, how cost-effective it would be, and whether or not it would feel special enough to share. I thought about doing diagonal stripes across the whole wall and even entertained a repeating hashtag pattern (still love this one but I imagine it would be a LOT more work) before realizing this kind of repeating arrow pattern not only felt cool enough for a pre-teen room, it went well with whatever Star Wars vibe this room was starting to develop.
Having a pattern on the floor as well as the wall felt like a great balance to having a lot of solid colors in the bedding, curtains, chair, and other furniture items. I didn't want to go overboard but I do think patterns can make a space feel more layered. I'd like to eventually add in more pattern with a handmade quilt at the end of his bed and as many throw pillows as he'll let me get away with!
Designing without Losing Personal Touches
I utilized storage pieces I loved that added to the design of the room in order to stash away some of the special toys and keepsakes that had made things feel cluttered. The thrifted set of lockers now hold all of the Star Wars magazine posters that Sebastian had taped to his walls. He was really attached to them so we decorated the inside of the lockers like they do in all the jr. high sitcoms. I then let him pick out these two Star Wars posters from Etsy that felt a little more artistic and fit frame sizes we already had. Here are a few more of our favorites: Here, here, here, here, here.
We rolled up the mural of dinosaur drawings and will hang it up in the huge closet in this room (not photographed yet) and then made a designated gallery wall for new artwork he and a friend had made of themselves as Star Wars characters. I used more of the red Walls Need Love Easy Stripe vinyl tape to hang everything on the wall to add another bit of red and to add some consistency to the different drawings and paintings.
This shelf unit from IKEA was in our bedroom for awhile but felt out of place so I brought it to Sebastian's room and placed it over his vintage school desk to create a homework station that can also keep some of his favorite toys out of his brother's reach. The large acrylic letter S is vintage and has made an appearance in almost every room design we've done over the few years and the Washington license plate is from our brief but exciting time living in Seattle. Sebastian was born there but is religiously opposed to supporting the Seahawks since the Broncos are his team. It's one of those keepsakes I put out more for my own amusement than his.
When styling this space I made sure I didn't overfill it with everything he owns so it wouldn't feel too heavy. I also staggered items according to height and bulk to make it aesthetically pleasing. It was easy to find repetition in the colors red, blue, and black since almost everything he owns falls into that color story. Thanks Marvel comics.
Also, I'm not opposed to putting holes in the walls as long as they are secure and won't create larger holes down the road. Life is too short to have bare walls when you know you'll be in a rental for more than a year in my opinion! Learn how to patch them and enjoy the difference shelving and artwork make!
I did purchase a lounge chair at a wholesale furniture shop that I stopped by on a whim that I wouldn't necessarily have chosen for anywhere else in the house. It's not a piece of furniture that will outlast his teen years but it's comfortable and stain-resistant and a great spot for reading upside down or sideways with his legs hanging over the arms. He also has a neighborhood friend that hangs out over here after school and I wanted to provide another place to sit other than the bed or the floor.
I also attached one of his X-Wing Starfighter toys to a string to make that corner a little more fun. It's made from foam and I think has a few missing pieces so he was fine with me suspending it in mid-air.
This boy finally has a finished space to enjoy after such a long wait and I'm so thankful that I was able to work with Walls Need Love to make it special. Check out the tutorial for how I worked my repeating arrow magic here. If you're a renter and in need of something affordable and fun for your walls, I can't sing their praises enough.
Now that Ruby and Sebastian's rooms have had some attention, I'm thinking it may be time to start working on our own! Keep your eyes peeled for a wish list post in the next few weeks. Thanks for coming back again and again to see what we're up to over here. Your presence is appreciated!
The concept of designing a quilt for someone you love, even if you don't own a sewing machine or know your way around a fabric store, was my favorite part about the Stitched Kickstarter when I first read through their e-mail. They were offering a chance to review one of their printed quilts to help spread the word and my interest was piqued. After scrolling through their site, I realized the possibilities for designing a custom quilt were ten times what they first appeared.
I liked that they had some templates in pleasing colors but what sold me on this concept was that I could choose a traditional template and then drag and drop color options into each block to get an entirely different look. I was able to design a quilt that is really similar to some I've been wanting to make for the last two years that would've never passed through my sewing machine. It wasn't even until I came back to watch the Kickstarter video again that I realized there was a tool to customize a quilt from scratch using blocks! Talk about a fabulously versatile tool!
I got my quilt in the mail yesterday and was thrilled with the quality of the fabric and print. While it's not a hand or machine-pieced quilt, it still has the texture that comes with being quilted together with a long arm machine and the rich colors and patterns that come from factory printed fabrics. It was ALL I COULD DO to keep Smith and his applesauce-covered face from wrapping himself up in it when I pulled it out of the packaging. We cuddled on the couch as soon as I cleaned him up. We're both big fans.
After watching their video and reading more about their purpose, my new favorite part about this campaign was their excitement to offer flexible working hours and fair wages to refugees. I can always get behind a company that cares about their employees and goes the extra mile in working with their unique needs to help them improve their lives.
I love what Stitched is doing and I really want to see them fully funded ahead of schedule. These quilts would make the perfect gifts for new moms as they get all nesty in preparation for their new baby or for high school grads that might need a little comfort as they transition away from home. I can see some of the fun templates being popular with all of the ages in between as well! It's such a great concept for anyone who appreciates the beauty of an heirloom gift but doesn't feel like they can make one themselves.
You can learn more about their Kickstarter campaign and become a backer here. I'm going to go snuggle under mine after I pour another cup of coffee before a certain someone wakes up from his nap!
P.S. This sponsored post is in collaboration with Stitched but all opinions are my own. I'm always happy to support and share about companies that are doing special things and putting more beautiful products into the hands of those that appreciate them.
Need another weekend project? This open-concept wooden wardrobe is a much easier DIY than you'd think at first glance. You can purchase the wood pre-cut from Lowe's and put it together in less than two hours at home as long as you have access to a power drill and a flat surface! True story! Fitting this into our bedroom meant doing a little rearranging but the whole room feels so good now! Isn't it incredible what a little change in one corner can do?
Head over to A Beautiful Mess for the full tutorial and supply list to get started on your own. It seemed to be a pretty popular one this week.
Here's to making time to make things!
Photography: Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy.
Raise your hand if you've spent your weekend covered in dirt but have something pretty to show for it! This warmer spring weather has me ready to tackle a few projects to make our outdoor space more enjoyable and this planter was a great place to start. I've done raised beds and container gardens but this year I wanted to add a decorative, wooden planter to flank our house near the back door. It's designed so that it can rest against a wall and fill in some blank space but a pair of them in a straight line or at a right angle would work as great dividers in a yard or garden as well.
After visiting with one of the educated employees at Lowe's, I chose to use cedar over pine for two reasons. It's pest and insect resistant, which is important if it's going to be placed near your house. Pine is a favorite with termites and I didn't want to give them any reason to start chewing away at our rental. Cedar is also one of the more affordable non-treated options for outdoor use. It won't need to be replaced next season as it withstands rot and weathers nicely. It would've been beautiful left in its natural cedar color but I really wanted a black planter against our light gray siding. I knew paint would likely peel off in a year or two so I chose an indoor/outdoor stain in Ebony and applied two coats. The cedar took the stain so well you can hardly tell it's not painted. Winning!
The other best part about my design is that you can get all of your cedar cut to size at a store like Lowe's if you're patient and there isn't a long line behind you. The first two cuts are free but then each additional cut is $ .25. Since I don't have a place to store many power tools and gear at our house (no garage or shed), this is worth it's weight in gold. If you know someone willing to cut your lumber for you, maybe bake them some cookies in return for super precise measurements. And you'll want to be sure your front and back panels are cut evenly or your clean lined, mid-century planter will look a little more shabby-chic. Your end result will be a 3" x 4" planter with a planting depth of about 10".
1 - 1" x 12" x 10' cedar board cut into three 36" pieces
1 - 1" x 8" x 8' cedar board cut in half
2 - 1" x 2" x 8' cedar board cut in half
4 - 1" x 4" x 8' cedar board cut in half
3 - 1" x 3" x 10' cut into 4" lengths (keep the scraps for your interior support beams)
Step One: Rub a damp (not soaking) cotton cloth over your wood to help open up the pores to absorb more of the stain. Do this step for each piece before you stain it, not in one big batch or most of your wood will have dried before you get to apply the stain.
Step Two: Test your stain on a piece of scrap wood to make sure you like the shade and coverage. I was pleased with my first coat initially but wanted to see if a second coat would make a difference and it did. Once you're happy with your stain, apply a generous amount to your wood. I do suggest wearing gloves for this part as your fingers will get covered in it. Don't forget to stain the entire board as all sides will be visible from certain angles. I forgot to stain the opposite side of two of the large boards until the very end. You'll be able to do touch ups and a second coat once it's assembled but it's tricky to get full coverage in between the slats so I suggest staining everything before assembly.
Step Three: Make sure to wait the recommended drying time according to manufacturer's instructions before drilling. It's best to wait about 24 hours if you can. I may or may not have jumped the gun and started in after three hours but only because I knew it would rain the next day and I wanted to get my project finished before then.
Step Four: Place all three pieces of your 3' panels on a flat surface and mark 10" down from the top, short edge. Draw a line with a pencil. Then place one of your brackets about 3" from the long edge so that it rests just below your pencil line and mark where the screw hole will be on the 3' panel. Place another bracket 3" in from the opposite side and make a mark for the screw hole. These two brackets will attach your interior support beams in place. They are not going to provide much stability to the frame on their own but they will help support the weight of the dirt and plants.
Pre-drill pilot holes for the brackets but be sure you only drill about 1/2" into your 3/4" wood so you don't bust through the other side. Awkward! Put your brackets back in place and screw them in with the screws that came with them.
Place one of your 22.5" boards perpendicular to the 3' panel and center it over one of the brackets. Make a pencil mark where the screw hole is and then pre-drill a hole in your board. Repeat this with the second board.
Step Five: Use the same measurements to attach the brackets to the other side of the center panel but adjust them about 1/2" to each side so you don't screw into the screws on the opposite side. Finish up with the last two brackets on the third 3' panel.
Step Six: After you've pre-drilled all of your holes for your center support beams, screw everything together. It will not be sturdy enough to bear weight or move without help at this point. Also, your 3' panels should be stained on both sides but I forgot to do mine. Oops! I went back and took care of it after I assembled everything. You don't need to stain your support beams. They won't be seen.
Step Seven: Separate the rest of your cedar planks into two even piles so you know that the front and back sides will be matching. Set aside one pile. Place the other pile on top of your frame until you are happy with the placement of the different thicknesses. I spaced mine out about 1/3" apart and had the thinner planks up top and the thickest plank at the bottom with some variations in the center. You could even do this with the same thickness as long as you know how many you'll need to cover the same amount of space.
Make sure your top plank is flush with one of the side panels and pre-drill a hole through both. Attach your screw to secure it and then repeat with the opposite end. This will help secure your frame at the top while you continue working. For even spacing between your planks, insert the end of your paintbrush or use another tool to keep things consistent as you screw each plank to the frame. I suggest screwing in two or three planks on one side and then finishing up the other side of those planks instead of just doing an entire side at a time.
Step Eight: Once you've finished with the front side of your planter, carefully turn it over to the other side and repeat the process. To add further stability, you will want to add three screws down the center support plank on the back side. Adding these only to the back side adds support without interrupting the lines of your planter on the front side.
Step Nine: Stand your planter upright and make sure everything is looking straight. I had an overhanging board on one end so I sanded it down to be mostly flush with the 3' outer support.
Step Ten: Cut your hardware cloth to measure about 21" x 30". Fold it down into one of the planter boxes and staple it to the inside so that it is just under the lip of the top of the box. The wire should rest on top of the support beams. Staple it in as many places as you prefer. Repeat on the other planter box. I also suggest wearing gloves while cutting your wire and stapling it in as those edges can get sharp.
Step Eleven: Cut your landscape fabric to be about 36" x 36" long and fold it down inside your planter boxes. You'll have to do a little folding in the corners and tucking back at the top edges. It is almost like wrapping a present inside-out! It doesn't need to be too neat as it will all be covered in dirt but you do want to make sure there aren't gaping holes in the corners where the dirt could wash out. Staple the folded back edges as close to the top edge as you can and then staple down into the corners and in a few places along the bottom.
Step Twelve: Repeat with the other box and get your planter set up where you'd like it before filling it with soil and beautiful flowers or herbs. It's a heavy planter by itself but adding dirt will make it slightly top heavy. Be sure not to allow children to climb on it if they are eager to help water the flowers.
The cost of this planter came in at around $170 including the stain and brush but not including the soil and plants. It's still more affordable than purchasing similar sized planters from your favorite design stores as they can range anywhere from $120 - $370. You could also alter your design a bit for a shorter planter and skip the stain to cut off another $30-$50. Whenever I invest a little more money into a DIY project, it's usually because I know it's a piece that I'll use for years and I'm confident this planter will still be looking great this time next year.
I love the height and color it brings to this side of our house and I can't wait to have all of that green cascading over the sides in a few weeks! This is a great option for an herb garden, too, if you want something just outside your kitchen window. What would you plant in yours?
Photography: Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy.