Sometimes, a project just needs a good kick in the pants from an unbiased person who has absolutely no investment or care for the outcome.
Last post I shared how I was creating some shelves for our dining room. The wall we want to put them on is fairly wide, but not super deep. When we saw the DIY pallet shelves, we knew it was the perfect fit for our space. Plus, we loved the look and feel of them. So, I got right to work cutting, sanding, nailing. All was going swimmingly...
until I realized I had to get more wood off the second pallet to put bottoms on the shelves
Now, this might not seem a huge problem and, with hindsight, it wasn't. But it sure seemed it to me when I first tried tackling it. See, pallets, especially these weather beauties, are made of hard wood that can get really dried out. These lovelies were nice and dry, and brittle. Every attempt to pry off a piece of wood ended in a split piece with chunk flying off and the rest still nailed to the frame. Talk about frustration!
Thankfully, over the holidays we had visitors...lots of visitors. We were fortunate to be three weeks straight with friends and family in the house. The day one left, another showed up. It was pretty fantastic. Our girls love having friends in the house and saying goodbye is no fun, though luckily for us, it hasn't ever ended in tears...yet.
My good friend and teaching comrade, Carmen, stopped by with her daughter and another friend, A. These three individually are pretty dang good problem solvers, and together, well, you can just see the wheels turning. Plus, A carries tools with him. I mean really, that's problem solving right there! So, like the good host I am, I put my friends to work to help me solve me problem.
And they did.
He took one look at the nails and pointed out that they were coil nails. They have a screw shank, which allows for greater holding power in hard wood. They are also a b$*%* to get out because of that, which is why I was having so much trouble. See those little swirls on the nails? It's like a mini screw. I'm sure they are great for making pallets, but for taking them apart? All I can say is I shake my fist at you!
Using a crow bar and a hammer, A was able strip off more wood from the extra pallet. What worked best was to knock it off from the other side with a hammer. Because the wood was so hard and brittle, we (A) had to bring out a drill to pre-drill holes, then he and Carmen proceeded to assemble and finish the remaining three shelves for me. This was such an unexpected gift! It also enabled me to keep moving forward.
So, we got to painting.
Yup, we decided a paint wash was the best bet for us. I experimented with a few different colors and dilutions, then used a craft sponge to sweep it on. Here's a look at our options.
The far left was mix of Down Pipe and Black Blue by Farrow & Ball we used in the office. I watered it down A LOT. It doesn't look too bad on the picture, but it just looked dirty in real life. The middle board is Black Blue watered down. It looks kinda bright here, but it turns out actually really nice. The board to the immediate right has watered down Down Pipe on the top, which was a really pretty dove gray wash. Below is a watered down Cypress from Behr. Went on super chalky white at first, then toned down as it dried. The boards to the farthest right were variations of Black Blue and Cypress mixed with varying amounts of water.
After hemming and hawing, getting multiple opinions, we finally decided to go for the Black Blue watered down wash. I made a big batch in a paint cup to try to ensure at least some kind of consistency. I also had some helpers for this project. I figured I wasn't really going for perfection, since this was a rustic looking shelf, so I enlisted my two girls to get their DIY on. My oldest, who I call my little bird, has a longer attention span, so she did more of the work, but my youngest, my stinker belle, gave it her best shot, too.
By the way, winter in Colorado is AMAZING. I do not miss Minnesota winters, not one bit. The paint wash worked out well, until I turned the shelf up to rest on the bottom. Can you see the drip marks?
Note to self about paint washes. Long, smooth strokes are best and, while little helpers are fabulous, make sure to check what they are doing, at least a bit! This was pretty easy to remedy though. I just went back over it with long strokes, then added a few thinner sweeps for "depth and texture" but really, the wood itself had so much, it didn't need any help! Here's how they turned out.
I included a before and after pre-paint wash and post. What a difference, right?! I used the exact same cup o' paint for all four shelves, but I love how different they turned out. Totally didn't need to think about trying to add depth or texture with paint because the wood really did it for me. Needless to say, I love them and can't wait to get them up. We've narrowed down our options and my MIL is expecting them up by Sunday. So, that means updated post sometime early next week!
Have you used a paint wash before? How did it turn out?