Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lipstick and Sawdust Shabby Chic Herb Garden Tutorial

Shabby Chic Herb Garden Tutorial 

~Reverse building project~ 
~Even if you don't have a pallet, make it look like a pallet~

Please enjoy my newest tutorial for this super cute herb garden. I used mostly one scrap piece of 3/4 inch plywood to build this entire project. It's funny that I kind of call this project my "reverse build", and here is why: everyone these days are making furniture out of pallets... pallet beds, pallet tables, pallet shelving, pallet rolling carts,  pallet chairs, pallet couches, pallet outdoor furniture, pallet name it- someone has made it out of a pallet. A pallet is a wooden structure used for shipping items constructed for a forklift to easily pick it up and move goods around. There are 6 standard pallet sizes, and many people can get their hands on one and spiff it up and build furniture out of it. Mostly made of pine, and not the greatest quality wood it is made to withstand 1,000 pounds of goods. Us "furniture builders" usually cringe when seeing these types of projects, because making something out of a pallet is not really "building", but the truth is you can still make some pretty cool looking stuff from a pallet. Since I don't make it a habit of collecting pallet's. I made my own pallet from the plywood and a few 1x pieces. 

This project is for my son's class project for the school's annual Gala auction, since I am usually the project doer for my kids' classes- I took on this project no problem. The picture I was sent to recreate was this one- made from surprise!  A pallet.

I had to recreate it so - up next find scraps and a buy few new pieces and make a pallet herb garden. 

Here is my version: 

Final dimensions, 49 inches tall x 26 1/4 inches wide x 4 1/4 inches deep 

Here's what you need- 

1 piece of plywood 3/4 inches thick about 4 feet wide and 5 feet long 
3 pieces of 1x2's one at 6 foot and one at 4 foot 
1 1x6 at 27 3/4 inches long 
nail gun w/nails 
old nails with pretty wide tops (to give the piece character)
gorilla/ wood glue
kreg jig and 1 1/4 inch coarse screws 
clamps, paint 
pots for herbs
varnish or sealant if being used outdoors
router (if desired for adding detail)

Cut list- 

3 pieces of cut plywood @ 3.5 inches wide x 49 inches tall x 3/4 inches thick (same size as a 1x4) for side legs and middle 

3 pieces of cut plywood @ 3.5 inches wide x 26 1/4 inches wide x 3/4 inches thick (again, same size as a 1x4 ) for front rails

6 pieces of cut plywood @ 3.5 inches wide x 12 1/8 inches for shelves 

1 piece of 1x6 cut @ 27 3/4 inches wide for front footer

1 piece of plywood cut at 3.5 inches wide x 25 7/8 inches long (same as a 1x4) for back of footer

2 pieces of 1x6 cut at 3.5 inches wide for footer sides

3 1x2's cut @ 26 1/4 inch long 

Starting off- I cut my lumber 

Original plywood scrap

Used circular saw to cut down.

Set my fence at proper width and ripped with my table saw. 

Ripping and more ripping

 Then use your keg jig to drill holes in the sides of the shelves only, these will be installed holes down.

Shelf piece with two sets of keg jig holes drilled. 
You will need 6 shelves. 
Next start to build your first "ladder" Using a speed square and 90 degree angle clamps. I set up my shelves at 15 inches from top, then another 15 inches below that then at about 19 inches from the bottom to allow for the footer to be stable. I am aware these are not spaced "perfectly" but it works.

Use wood glue and screw in the shelves to the side and middle rails. Use a clamp to help strengthen the glue and tighten the integrity of the piece. 

Kreg screws you will need

Wood gluing all joinery with an old little paint brush. 

Underside shot of joining the shelves to the side legs. 
Next, lets give the front rails some character. I used my router to route the wood and give it some coved detailing. I started with the footer and routed each long end of the 1x6 footer to add detail.

A cove router bit looks like this and makes this shape in the wood.

A dangerous picture - holding router while trying to take a pic = prob not the safest. 

Can you see the detailing? 

Then, I attached the footer of the front of the frame. Please note this footer must leave 3/4 of an inch on each end in order for the footer sides to be attached.

See overhang for side footer??

And now the side footers. 

Nail and glue them on. 

Stand her up. 

Very solid- but needs a back to the footer to counterweight.
For the back of the footer. I have no real specific pic of this. But I realized when standing - there needed to be more weight on the back of the piece to steady it. This is when I glued and nailed in the back footer piece. This piece is 25 7/8 inches long and only reaches the top of the bottom shelf. No back overhang. This is mostly for weight and structure. I did not do any fancy routing for this piece. 

Next the front rails. I routed the same cove pattern to the top of each rail and glued and nailed on each rail. Please note there is about 1/4 of an inch hanging over to cover the bottom of each shelf, and about 2 inch lip over the shelf to hold the pots. 

Looks great!

Next for the "let's make it look like an old pallet". I found some old nails that I had pulled out of an old wardrobe and used 2 on each side of the rails to make it look old and like a pallet for real. See? 

Old rusty nail to add character **

**Note I predrilled the holes for these and tapped them into the wood with a rubber hammer. Hammering them in would have bent them or split the wood, they were pretty thick. 

Predrilled and tapped in. 
Then I sanded the entire piece down,  just with 120 all over and with 120 and 220 on the front rails. I wanted this to look like a pallet so not a ton of sanding was needed.

Now to paint. I used a mix of 5 parts Provence and 2 parts French linen Annie Sloan chalk paint that I had on hand. I mixed it in my kitchen with a spoon - it was the perfect amount!

Start painting-
Nice. This thing only needs about one coat. 

Mid painting -

And painting finished! 

And a little light sanding on the corners for distressing. I used a 220 sanding block to sand the edges and some corners, also I sanded over the painted nails so that they would show through- again - trying to make the piece look more shabby.

I bet you are wondering about the back rails the 1x2's huh? Well, I could not add those yet until I purchased the pots, so I just painted them ahead of time while the paint was still mixed and went out to purchase the pots.

I got them at BIG LOTS for 6 dollars for 2. The size are 4.5 inches wide on top to 2 3/4 inches wide on bottom. They are 4 inches tall. Once I brought those home I set them on the shelves and nailed the 1x2's under the rim of the pot snugly so that they would not fall back. 

Next for those purdy names of herbs I added to the garden frame. I wanted to have accurate information on the herbs one could plant in the garden in our area of the country so, I googled "best herbs to grow in _______ (state). Found the top 6 easiest and best to grow together and came up with the following: Chives, Mint, Dill, Rosemary, Parsley, Basil.

I went to a stencil maker program online and printed out these words, then took hours and cut them out with a pair of eyebrow scissors that my German cousin gave me. Turns out Germans make some awesomely sharp little tiny scissors.
Scissors best used for eyebrows, thread, and paper stencils. 

Next I taped the stencil to the dried herb garden frame and stenciled the words carefully using old black spray paint that I dabbed with a q-tip.

That took forever and it was a short word! 
All the words done! Praise God! 

And for the last two parts, I got the terra cotta colored pots in to school for the Pre-K class to paint and then it was time to seal the frame somehow.

At school: We used some extra cream paint I had sitting around for the pots and the Pre-K kids loved painting them with sponge brushes. We let them dry then sprayed with a poly coating for outdoors.

At home in the shop: Now for the sealant. I decided - because I did not want to go spend more money on the project on a varnish I had left in the garage that is made for outdoor projects like my picnic tables I built and for boats etc. It's some pretty tough stuff for the elements, and it's smells very potent. My daughter thought she would die when she caught a whiff of it in the garage. I dipped a rag in the varnish and covered it thinly and quickly to coat and allowed to dry for 2 days.

Wearing my OJ Simpson gloves.
Sorry not a clear pic but hard to do using
varnish this strong. 

Cabot varnish I used actually it did not yellow the paint as I was afraid it would
it was just light enough to coat the frame but not so caked on to discolor the paint. 

And a glam shot!

LOVE THIS PROJECT. It will be auctioned off at the end of April with the seed 
packets for each herb.

Thanks for checking out my tutorial!

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