If you're anything like me, you get this great idea for a project. You go out, get all your supplies. You might even get started and be going along a happy pace. And then someone wakes from a nap, or needs a drink, or has a diaper in need of changing, or just wants to play hide and seek for the twelfth time that day. But like any great idea or project, the potential of it coming to fruition totally has a shelf life. Which is why I needed to get this project finished. And because my MIL gave us a deadline, which, I'm happy to say, we made...kind of...well, a third of the project was finished by Sunday. Does that count?
When we left off with these pallet shelves, we had finished painting them and were trying to decide the best way to anchor them on the wall. We also had to figured out how we wanted to place them. I had made four shelves, but that felt too crowded for the space. The wall itself was 115 inches and each pallet shelf was 40. Here is a look at some of our options with a little color behind them to make them easier to differentiate.
The last one kinda looks like the little face that pops up saying "Aww snap!" when there is something wrong with your computer, no? We didn't want the shelves too high or too low (little hands) so the middle option didn't make sense for use. I can't reach top and our littlescould too quickly reach the bottom. The first just looked a bit unbalanced to us. The third was our winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Now, how to anchor these lovelies?
My husband and I are not your most seasoned home owners. We used to live in a condo so the HOA took care of all the outside stuff. I'm pretty handy, but a condo doesn't need much. Then we bought our first house and quickly learned how many leaves can fall on half an acre, along with many more home-ownership lessons. However, I'm a pretty good researcher and he trusts me, so there ya go. After lots of trials and errors, I'd like to think we've finally learned how to think through a project before getting so far in that we look at each other and say "shit".
After looking more pallet and shelf hanging tutorials than I care to admit, I found these Ook mirror hangers that work like a French cleat. If you haven't used one before, I highly recommend them. They are so easy to install and can hold a lot of weight. I picked them up from Home Depot for around $15 for the 200 lbs capacity cleats and $10 for the 100 lbs capacity cleat. Do I really think that we were going to put 200 lbs on the shelf? No, but I figured better to err on the safe side than have a little one get conked on the head by a falling shelf. One side of the cleft attaches to the shelf, the other side to the wall, and then they slide into each other.
We used painters tape to get an idea of the height at which we wanted to hang them, then measured everything out to be sure there was some sort of symmetry. Remember, these are rustic, uneven shelves, so they were bound to look a little off anyway due to varying widths of the wood and such. We hung the lowest shelf first, installing the first part of the cleat to the back of shelf.
Then we found the center of the wall, placed the wall anchored cleat up, and marked the holes for the screws with pencil. To be even safer, we decided not to drill into the drywall itself, which these DO say you can do. Instead we used drywall anchors. Now, we had the kind that you hammer in. Probably not the best idea since we were doing this at 8:30/9-ish with the girls sleeping upstairs. I made such a racket I couldn't believe they didn't wake up. Not a peep on the monitor! Parental win there. With the anchors hammered in, we put the cleat back up, placed the first screw in the middle, then level out the cleat before drilling in the rest of the screws.
Pretty simple, right? Now, the moment of truth. Would it turn out as we intended? Would my MIL like it? I'd say yes, on both accounts.
I went ahead and marked out the remaining two wall cleat positions while my husband drilled and prepped the two shelves. That meant today all we needed to do was hammer in those anchors, screw on the cleat and hang them right?
Things always pop in project, don't they? We don't own a stud finder, though I like to take a spoon and pretend it gets crazy beepy when I point it at my husband, but that's a whole other conversation. As I was making dinner,and our stinker belle was crying about a owie tummy, and my husband was trying to get those screws in the wall
he kept hitting something
in more than one hole
We're not sure if it was a stud or perhaps (our bad) an air duct or something important behind the drywall. However, we were able to readjust the placement of the screws and get those cleats on the wall. And take care of stinker belles tummy. I'll share that on another post!
And so, one day off our Sunday deadline, we were able to hang our three shelves.
Three? But I thought there were four! There are and the fourth one is getting a new home soon. ! For the meantime, we are deciding what to put in our new shelves, and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done. Definitely saving the upper shelves for wine and other libations, maybe another plant or two. I love how each one is just a little bit different and I adore the pop of green life I can hang on the wall now. Any other suggestions for what we could fill them with? And G'ma, what do you think?
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?