DIY: Wood Mudroom Bench

When I shared a couple of weeks ago that we bought thirty common boards for our winter organization project, what did you guess we were making?

If you guessed a bench, you were right!

Our mudroom is a disaster of boots, shoes, backpacks, coats, gloves, hats and well, you get the point…

Walking in there, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed – the ‘stuff’ just doesn’t have a place to go. Shoes, coats and bags get shoved into the closet only to pour back out. Or, it all just gets left all over the floor (mostly that). None of us can quickly find what we need before to get out the door.

It is long past time for an organization solution.

The long term project will be a bench and lockers. But step one is the bench.

I love the look of a butcher block bench but its so expensive – especially 8 feet of it, so we can do 5 cubbies beneath and 5 lockers above.

I am grateful my adventurous husband agreed to help me make our own bench using common boards. It won’t be as flawless of butcher block, but I was confident hoped it would be lovely. In full disclosure, I desperately need his help (aka. tell me what to do) because although eager to learn, I’m just not experienced or savvy in this area.

The first post detailed the supplies used, purchased and borrowed, so today I’ll just share a bit of the process and where we are so far.

First, we picked the 27 best of those 30 common boards – pretty much every board was warped, had a big chip out of it, or had big knots. It’s good we want a perfectly imperfect benchthis will have character whether we like it or not.

We lined the boards up and arranged them so the wood grain on each board is oppasite the next. My husband trimmed each 9 foot common board to 8 feet.DIY: Mudroom Storage Bench Update | thisgratefulmama.com

Wood glue was used to secure the boards together – half the first night, then the rest the second. We used 4 clamps to squeeze them together for 24 hours. When the clamps are secured, lots of glue dripped out on the plastic table cloth – I’m glad we protected the table or it would have been a mess! clamps-collage

With the boards glued, it was even more evident just how not-straight common boards are. Even with effort to keep them lined up while gluing. Smoothing would take forever with a belt sander. What we really wanted was access to a large wood planer but we didn’t know anyone with the equipment. So, my husband suggested we try hand planing.

Hand planing is kind of fun, although my husband may not agree (he admittedly did more than me). It isn’t exactly a quick process, and requires persistence and elbow grease. We took turns – when one got tired the other took over. It took a couple of evenings after the kids went to bed to get it fairly even. We (read: my husband, with me on kid duty) sanded the boards using a belt sander. The change was amazing – honestly, the before and after pictures don’t do it justice.

So smooth.DIY: Mudroom Storage Bench Update | thisgratefulmama.com

Wood was sanded one last time using a palm-sander before using a pre-stain wood conditioner.  MinWax Espresso stain was applied using a stain pad. In the past I used a brush, but would consider using a stain pad again – less mess and even coverage. We allowed the stain to sit 1o minutes before wiping it off. We did reapply one time to try to darken the color but it didn’t add much. We used grubby old t-shirts to wipe the stain off and let it dry overnight before sealing it.

This bench is going to be used in the mudroom. We live in Minnesota – winter gear will be wet and snowy when it gets hung up, especially by the kids. We want this wood bench to be long-lasting and not be damaged by water. That is why we used Helmsman Spar Urethane to seal it – it is for indoor/outdoor use and is tough enough to endure heavy traffic and moisture.

Spar Urethane requires two coats, with a light sanding between coats. Surprisingly, the odor was less intense than expected. When I used the spray-version of Spar Urethane to seal the DIY Outdoor Vertical Stencil-Painted ‘Believe’ and ‘Grateful’ Sign, the aerosol spar urethane odor was much stronger. I think I may only use the brush-on version going forward.

Here is the top of the bench, stained and sealed with a satin finish.DIY Wood Mudroom Bench | thisgratefulmama.com

Isn’t she pretty?

This project is already so gratifying, even though it took quite a bit of elbow grease. And it was even better to make it with my husband – a gift to work on something together. It will be sweet knowing we made something for our family will actually use and enjoy for years to come.

Next we’ll build cubbies underneath for shoes and boots before adding lockers for backpacks and coats.

Until then…

A Multi-Purpose Solution: Quick DIY Two-Color Painted Storage Crate

A Multi-Purpose Solution: Quick DIY Two-Color Painted Storage Crate | thisgratefulmama.com

So I had these two problems that seemed unrelated…

Problem One:

We’ve been having a bit of a storage problem in our house. I bought this cloth basket with the intent of using it for either library books or blankets. I’ve tried using it for many things, and have stuffed many-a-library book into it.

Not Big Enough

Unfortunately, it is simply not big enough to really be functional – even though I wish it was.  So, it has been demoted to hold kids dress-up clothes until I find another functional use for it.

Back at square one, I am still in need of a storage solution to put under my living room end table for books or blankets.

Problem Two:

I like to use beverage dispensers when I host a large gathering – but I have no stands. I am always scrounging around before we host…for something, anything, that will raise the dispensers off of the counter.

Why not buy one? The sticker shock. Not only are they expensive,but they also serve no other purpose and take up space in my kitchen cabinets. They are not used often enough to justify it.

All that scrounging around for a solution always yields no results and I end up with the spigots hanging off the counter, with beverages dripping onto the floor.

Wet socks…sigh.

SO what do these two problems have in common? The solution.

Last week, while preparing to host a wedding shower, I stumbled upon this pin from The Better Half. Cleverly, they used a painted crate for a beverage station. Not only does the crate save me from floor puddles and lift the dispensers so they can be used, it also provides storage for the cups below – saving valuable counter space!

Genius.

On the same day (oh yes, this project was meant to be), the email title Easy DIY Library Book Crate from This Abundant Life caught my eye.

In a span of just a few minutes an inexpensive, multi-purpose problem solving solution was born – only I wanted mine to have two colors.

Lucky me, the unfinished wood crates were on sale and even less using a coupon at JoAnns. I bought the cheapest acrylic craft paint I could find ($0.69 per bottle) in two colors, and the project was funded and completed for under $10.

I used 2.5 bottles of white craft paint, and a half bottle of yellow. White paint was used as a primer below the yellow (becuase as I mentioned, I bought cheap paint and had no idea how well the yellow would cover).

A Multi-Purpose Solution: Quick DIY Two-Color Painted Storage Crate | thisgratefulmama.com

It took an hour to paint two coats, and then just a few minutes to seal it.

The painted crate was sealed with leftover indoor/outdoor Urethane sealer from the DIY Outdoor Vertical Stencil-Painted ‘Believe’ and ‘Grateful’ Sign I made this winter. Now the paint is protected from condensation on the dispensers, and won’t come off on the carpet.

I love a solution that solves more than one problem.

Beverage Station:

A Multi-Purpose Solution: Quick DIY Two-Color Painted Storage Crate | thisgratefulmama.com

Book Storage:

A Multi-Purpose Solution: Quick DIY Two-Color Painted Storage Crate | thisgratefulmama.comLibrary Book Storage

Blanket Storage:

A Multi-Purpose Solution: Quick DIY Two-Color Painted Storage Crate | thisgratefulmama.com

 

 

This post was shared on link parties at TheShabbyNest and ItsOverflowing. Check them out for many fun ideas worth exploring.

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