Making a rustic industrial dog bed

What exactly is a rustic industrial dog bed? Heck if I know. I just know that the furniture theme for my sitting and dining rooms is metal + dark or reclaimed wood. The sitting room has a low window that our dog will lay in front of, on one of her pillow style beds, and stare at the outside world. I wanted to make a dog bed that fit in with the furniture in that part of the house and that wouldn’t get pushed around by the pets or the roomba. After seeing a tutorial on a keen life where they made a set of shelves from some metal plumbing pipe and wood, I knew I found the perfect materials for my dog bed. It only took me a few months to finally get all the stars to align so I could finish it, and I’ve yet to make a new cushion for it, but at least the old dog bed cushion fits reasonably well. A preview of the finished product with my dog model:

Molly looking really sad, laying on her new bed in front of the window.

Molly looking really sad, laying on her new bed in front of the window.

After I got the idea in my head, I picked up 6″ pine boards, an assortment of brackets, spray paint, and the metal pipe and fittings necessary to make a rectangular frame for the dog bed. After bringing home the metal pipe and fittings, my husband and I assembled the rectangular frame with short legs. Because the fittings all have to screw together, and we were trying to screw a rectangle of parts together, we were constantly tightening one corner while loosening another corner. Eventually we got all the fittings to loosely screw together with the plan to glue the joints later for a firmer hold. After creating the rectangle, I measured the inside of it to determine what size wood boards I needed.

After refreshing my memory on exactly how to use the table saw, I got to work cutting my pine boards to size.

After refreshing my memory on exactly how to use the table saw, I got to work cutting my pine boards to size.

Laying out the boards in to a rectangle.

Laying out the boards in to a rectangle.

 

Spray painting the brackets and screws.

I put all the screws and brackets in a shallow box and spray painted them from all angles with Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. It took multiple coats to get all of the angles done so that no shiny silver metal was left showing.

After measuring the same length from the end of both boards, and using the brackets as a guide to mark my holes, I drilled pilot holes and then screwed in the screws.

After measuring the same length from the end of both boards, and using the brackets as a guide to mark my holes, I drilled pilot holes and then screwed in the screws.

For the corners I used L shaped brackets and for the tall sides I used flat brackets.

For the corners I used L shaped brackets and for the tall sides I used flat brackets.

After the sides were assembled, I attached the bottom with L shaped brackets that had 2 or 3 screws in a horizontal line on each side.

After the sides were assembled, I attached the bottom with L shaped brackets that had 2 or 3 screws in a horizontal line on each side.

 

A close up of the bracket varieties used.

A close up of the bracket varieties used.

 

The next step was to stain the wood.

The next step was to stain the wood.

I used Timbersoy wood stain, color walnut, from EcoProCrete that was left over from a previous project. The stain goes on thin, so I used a sponge applicator and applied multiple coats until it was as dark as I wanted. To seal the wood, I used Miss Mustard Seed Hemp Oil Wood Finish, also purchased for a different project. The oil is applied by rubbing it in with an old cloth. I used two coats for now. It gives the wood just a bit of sheen, which worked well for the look I was trying to create.

Leveling the legs.

Leveling the legs.

After that was done, I put the metal frame around the bed and used that as a guide to help make sure the short legs were straight before I glued everything in place. I used gorilla glue and a toothpick to try to force some glue into each joint. Gorilla glue expands as it dries so after I was done I had to use a box cutter to remove the excess glue from the top of the frame where it would easily be seen. It took me three tries to get all of the joints adequately glued. The next step was to spray paint the frame.

Spray painting the frame.

Spray painting the frame.

After adding the gaskets to the bottom of the metal frame, it was time to attach the frame to the wood box. I used some scrap wood to set the wood box on so that it would not be flush with the floor while I attached the brackets.

Getting the bed ready for final assembly.

Getting the bed ready for final assembly.

I used brackets that are meant to go with this pipe to attach it to the wood box. The only trouble was that the pipe doesn’t sit flush with the box because of the T and corner junctions. I improvised by using some large nuts and washers as standoffs for the brackets.

Spray painted brackets, with the washers and nuts used as standoffs to attach the wood bed to the metal frame.

Spray painted brackets, with the washers and nuts used as standoffs to attach the wood bed to the metal frame.

I also used brackets on the four short legs in case the glue didn’t completely hold in places. I used sticky rubber furniture pads on the bottom of the frame feet to keep the floor from getting scratched.

New dog bed, old dog cushion.

New dog bed, old dog cushion.

Finally, completion! A few photos of the sitting room so you can see how the new bed fits in:

A view from the foyer into the sitting and dining room.

A view from the foyer into the sitting and dining room.

The relatively new couch, coffee table, and side table with the ancient Ikea chair. Still need to replace that chair. Oh, and the dog.

The relatively new couch, coffee table, and side table with the ancient Ikea chair. Still need to replace that chair. Oh, and the dog.

 

Molly forced to be a model on her new bed.

Molly forced to be a model on her new bed.

What a rough life.

What a rough life.

 

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Make your own wooden Christmas ornaments!

*This post was originally published in 2011 on Pretty Handy Girl and I’ve been saving it to share with you this year!*

Every year, I make some percentage of my gifts rather than buy them. At first I started out with grand ambitions and would pick one or two recipients to get a labor-intensive gift like a crocheted afghan. In the last few years, I’ve scaled my efforts back and now make small gifts for multiple recipients. I typically will make a handful of one style of gift to boost my holiday time efficiency.

This year I started thinking about what type of ornament I could make from materials I had lying around. I settled on ornaments made from branches we cut off our trees a few years back. Basically, I cut thin slices of the branches, added a painted Christmas design and a ribbon for hanging and they are ready to go!

So you’re probably wondering how you can do this too… Well, you’re in luck because I’m ready to share!

Step 1: Cut your wood slices

Find a branch with a diameter of 2 – 3 inches (or large enough to fit your design) and cut thin slices. I used a reciprocating saw with a 9” wood blade on it to cut slices about an inch thick.  I just have a photo of the saw, but remember to securely clamp your branch before starting to saw it and to wear safety glasses while operating the saw.

Step 2: Sand your wood slices

The reciprocating saw left a rough finish so I used sanding blocks to create a smooth surface. I first used a very coarse grain sandpaper to get the surface level and then a fine grain sandpaper to create a nice finish. The sanding blocks were very handy – I held the block still while moving the wood slice to sand the surface.

Step 3: Drill holes for small eyelets

This is as easy as it sounds. Use a small drill bit to drill a hole in the top of your wood sliced and then screw in a small eyelet. This will allow your gift recipients to hang your ornaments. You can pick up small eyelets at any home improvement store.

Step 4: Create your designs

I like to create my own linocuts (a print-making method) so I decided to create reproducible designs by basically making holiday stamps for my wood slices. You could also simply buy stamps or paint a design if cutting your own stamps isn’t your thing.

I started by drawing my designs on paper – a snowflake, a Christmas light bulb, and a Christmas tree. I traced the outline of my wood slices so that I would be sure to create designs that fit on the slices.

After that, I transferred the design onto my carving blocks.

And then I used my speedball cutter to carve out my designs.

Step 5: Get that design onto your wood slice!

Whether you make your own stamp, buy a stamp, or paint your design free hand, it’s now time to get the design on to your wood slice. Because two of my designs were meant to have two colors, I used a paintbrush to apply my paint to the stamp before stamping the wood slice. Of course, before doing any stamping I first tested my carved stamps to make sure they looked how I expected and also tested the amount of paint that need to be applied. The snowflake design only used a single color so I used a small brayer instead of a paintbrush to apply the paint.

I found that it worked best to lay the stamp on the table, place the wood slice on top of it, and press down with firm (but not hard) pressure. This helped transfer the paint to the wood even if some small ridges remained after the sanding step.

The trick is getting the right amount of paint on the stamp so I recommend practicing on paper for a while before moving on to the wood slices. If I painted the paint on too thick, I would first light place the stamp on paper to absorb some of the extra paint. Of course if you are just painting directly on the slices you can just jump to that step! I made one freehanded design of a snowman for a particular snowman lover in my life.

Step 6: Embellish your designs

Because I felt that my Christmas bulbs and trees turned out a bit plain, I broke out some leftover red glitter glue to embellish them. For the red bulbs, I painted on the red glitter glue. For the trees, I added little dots to signify tree decorations.

Step 7: Seal your ornaments

I wanted to add some sort of sealant coat to my ornaments for protection. I settled on Mod Podge because I had some at home. Experimentation taught me that I couldn’t use a sponge applicator to brush on the Mod Podge or it would smear the paint even though it was dry. Instead, it seemed that using a paint bush to dab the Mod Podge on top of the paint worked the best.  When first applied, it looks somewhat white but it does dry clear.

Before drying:

After drying:

Step 8: Add a way to hang those ornaments

I used ribbon to create a small bow at the top of the ornaments and also to create a loop so that the ornaments can be hung. Hooray! They are complete and ready to be gifted!

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The start of an exciting project!

I’ve got plans for a natural wood end table that I picked up cheap from craigslist. I’m upcycling! It will be awesome, I promise. So far I’ve sanded it down to remove the coating and stained it darker to try to match the living room. Next up: sealing it. Then, the real exciting part that I can’t share yet. Stay tuned!

Sanded and ready to be stained:

After two coats of stain:

The stain I used is eco-friendly TimberSoy from Eco Safety Products. It’s easy to use and easy to clean up. No harsh chemicals involved!