How to Make a Wood Sign

Last week, I recorded a #Live on the Prairie Pine Designs Facebook page to show you how to make a wood sign! If you missed it, no worries, because I will be going #Live again to show you how to create one. 

In the video, I mention a number of materials and supplies I use. I wanted make this post so that you will be able to use it as a resource to use when creating wood signs for the first time! 

Here is the list of the products I used!

Silhouette Cameo 3 – The Silhouette cameo is the ultimate DIY machine. It uses a small blade to cut over 100 materials, including vinyl to make vinyl stencils! You create you need design in the Designer Studio Software and send it to your Silhouette machine to cut. Most designs take 1-3 minutes to cut.

ORAMASK 813 Stencil Film or GreenStar Sign Vinyl – This is the material used for your stencil.

Vinyl Transfer Tape – This is used to transfer your stencil to your prepped wood.

Painters Tape 

Chalk Paint (Folkart, Waverly, or homemade brands) or Latex Paint

Miniwax Stain

Pine Common Board – found or bought at your local lumber Store or department store such as Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards.

Also check out the FAQs & Resources page to learn more about the process and materials used or sign up for our newsletter to get DIY inspiration and info straight to your inbox!

Happy DIYing

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Our DIY Wedding on a Budget

In honor of our FOUR year wedding anniversary!

August 17th, 2013. One of the greatest days. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been FOUR years. It seems like both yesterday and a lifetime ago. So much has happened within those years, and yet, it has gone by so fast! Since being married, we both finished school and graduated with college degrees, we found full time jobs and  bought a house, and we also welcomed our son, Arlan James, into the world 🙂 As we began planning our wedding and life together, we knew major life events were going to happen quickly after we got married, so we tried to prepare for them as best we could. That’s one of the many reasons why we decided to go with a very small budget friendly wedding.

SIDE NOTE: We got engaged on May 24th, 2013 (exactly four years after becoming a couple) and set our wedding date for August 17th of that same year. We had less than THREE months to plan and prepare. With such a small engagement (and budget), we didn’t have much choice other than to DIY as much as we could! Even though I loved our wedding day and all the planning that took place, I do not advise having a three month engagement, unless you plan on eloping! Lol. It was sure tricky trying to DIY everything with such a short time span to do so.  But, it was obviously all worth it!

Watch the first 1:00 of the video to get a glimpse into our wedding day. Photography credit: Jennifer Skoog Photography

The first thing we did  was book our wedding reception venue. We already knew before getting engaged where we wanted to get married and that we wanted a small wedding. So, booking our venue was a pretty easy task to check off the list right away! We got married outside on the lawn in front of the lighthouse at The Shores of Leech Lake Marina in Walker, MN. A place that is near and dear to my husband’s family. They grew up going to this marina every summer to enjoy their summer weekends sailing across the lake. The scenery of the landscape and Leech Lake in the background provided such a beautiful atmosphere that we didn’t feel the need to decorate for the ceremony.

We borrowed benches for the ceremony from a local Amish family! They couldn’t have worked more perfectly 🙂
The ceremony music, including the song I walked down the isle to, was played from a wedding playlist that I had created on my Ipod.
Saying “I do.”

There were only two things we didn’t DIY or worry about the budget with – our reception dinner and our wedding photography. We wanted our guests to have a memorable experience and enjoy. Plus, we thought this was a place we could splurge a little bit since we did only have 30 guest. We also wanted photos that we would be proud to show others and display in our home. Photos that we can look back on for years to come and remember every moment of our special day. Because we knew  we wanted to have our ceremony at Shores of Leech Lake, the only other “big” thing left to figure out was where we wanted to have our reception dinner at. Since the resort is only a few miles from the town of Walker, we started brainstorming. The first place we both thought of right away was Chase on the Lake.  This venue was perfect for our needs. It offers hotel stays, the 501 Restaurant, the Aveda Copper Door Spa, lake front access with a sandy beach, dock access to tie the sailboat to, and the perfect sized room and menu for a 30 person wedding reception that was within our budget! (they also have a larger reception hall to accommodate larger weddings).

Chase on the Lake
Our sweetheart table. All the tables were provided with the dishware, napkins, and table cloths.
The Chase catered our reception with prime rib, baby red potatoes, and asparagus. It was as delicious as the picture looks!
The Grand Send Off!
Sailing back to Shores of Leech Lake from Chase on the Lake

I found my wedding dress in June of 2013 at The Bridal Boutique in St. Cloud, MN off the rack for $450 (with no alterations or fittings needed!).  Charlie wore a tan suite that we rented from Randy’s Menswear in Alexandria, MN for $70 (for just the jacket and pants). He also wore a white shirt and navy tie which were items he already owned.  We both wore our Sperrys for shoes. The navy blue bridesmaid dresses were all bought at JC Penney for a fraction of the price of “real” bridesmaid dresses you would find at a bridal store. The best man, and only groomsman (Charlie’s brother) wore khaki colored dress pants and a white t-shirt (which were both items he also already owned).

My  “off the rack” wedding dress
The Bridal Party
Our comfortable footwear.

We made most of the wedding decor ourselves (except for the flowers & and a few items we found on sale). Like mentioned above, we didn’t do or spend much on decorating. That was one of the many reasons we wanted to get married outside. We did have a little cocktail hour for our guest while we took pictures in between the ceremony and reception. To do so, we had wonderful help from the owners of the resort. They decorated the picnic tables and lighthouse with candles, lights, gems, and tables clothes (all of which were their items)!

Cocktail Hour during family pictures included a picnic tables with tea candles and a table cloth.

When it came to the reception, we did decide to step up our game. We were fortunate enough that the venue provided all of the linens and dishware. That was one less thing we had to worry about. Right outside of the reception room, we decorated a table with our guestbook and seating cart.

Our guest book was handmade by me. FIY – make sure you get washable ink for fingerprinting if you go this route. We made that mistake!
Seating chart made from scrap paper and an old barn window.
Table decorations included a vase of flowers and votive candles.
Our centerpieces were also handmade by both Charlie and me. He made the monkey knots out of jute rope, and I made the table cards our of scrap craft supplies.
Charlie’s mother, Donna, has one of the best homemade cheesecake recipes. She was kind enough to make a few for our desert! Yum!
Our budget friendly wedding bands. Charlie’s band was bought at Riddle’s Jewelry for $70 thanks to a discount and a 15% coupon. My engagement ring and wedding band were bought at Kelsey’s Jewelry, a mom and pop shop in Bemidji, MN (Which is no longer open) for $1500.

After sailing back to The Shores of Leech Lake from the reception dinner, we enjoyed the rest of the evening by a bonfire with live music entertainment and more good food including cupcakes, hot dogs, and s’mores.

The cupcake stands were made for FREE by me out of a tree trunk and a wooden crate that I had found.
The evening ended with a final send off under a sparkler arch of friends and family.

The Final Tally:

Wedding Ring &  Bands : $1570.00

Invitations: $23.00 (including postage)

The Dress and Veil: $450.00

Tux Rental: $70.00

Officiant: $200

Venue Rental and Food for 30 guests: $2,000.00

Photography: $1,100.00

Flowers including bouquets and boutonnieres: $400.00

Cocktail Hour Drinks: ~ $130

Music Entertainment: $200

Bonfire Munchies: $175.00

Cupcakes and Wedding Cake : $75

A Case of Votive Candles: $25.00

Wedding Gifts to each other – Pearl Necklace: $99.00  Custom Cuff Links: $30.00

Two Night Stay at the Chase + Couples Message: $250.00

Everything else was made or used with things we (or friends and family) already had!

It is said that the average cost of a wedding today in the U.S. is between $19,000 and $33,000 (not including a honeymoon or the rings) and that one – third of American couples go into debt for their special day.  We didn’t have an exact amount set aside, we just knew we wanted to keep it as low as we possible could. After adding up all of the expenses, I’d say we accomplished our goal of having a small intimate outdoor wedding that we LOVED without breaking the bank or going into debt to do so.

Other tips and tricks that helped us keep our wedding cost low:

borrow what you can

have a small bridal party

cut the size of your guest list

buy seasonal flowers

buy flowers online

Make your own invitations and have guest RSVP via email, phone or wedding website

skip save-the-dates

consider an outdoor wedding at a scenic location (no decorations needed)

buy your dress off the rack (or even secondhand)

ask for wedding help instead of wedding gifts

If you found our wedding tips and tricks helpful, please pin this post by hovering of the “pin” tab! 🙂

I’d also love to hear what tips and tricks you did to keep you wedding costs low! Comment below 🙂

*This post is dedicated to all the wonderful people who made our wedding day so special that are no longer here with us including Kevin Kleve (Bride’s Father), Scott Nocton (Family Friend and Wedding Officiant) and Randy Swchinghamer (Family Friend and Music Entertainment).

Happy DIYing,

*To get updates on new blog posts and DIY inspiration, subscribe to the Prairie Pine Designs Newsletter!

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50% off Steals at Hobby Lobby

This week, Hobby Lobby is having a 50% off sale!

(Now through August 12,2017)

Hobby Lobby decor items for half the price?! I couldn’t help but get my hands on some of these steals, so I wanted to share with you all some of my awesome finds. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Hobby Lobby store near me to shop at. Come to think of it, maybe that’s a good thing?! Lol. I know I would spend way too much time and money in that place. 🙂 But, thank goodness for the internet. I just finished ordering some really nice chalkboards for my home and to use at future crafting events along with some cute fall decor items for a great price. Here is a little of what I found!

37″ X 27″ Rustic Wall Chalkboard – $39.99


Water Succulent Framed Art – $7.00
Metal Decorative Sphere – $5.99


Metal Windmill – $39.99


Corrugated Metal Rooster – $2.50


Faux Concrete Decorative Box – $4.50


Chicken Wire Storage Box – $25.00
Hello Fall Wall Hanging – $3.59

There are so many great home decor accent pieces at Hobby Lobby, and with their 50% off sale, this is the time to go shopping! 🙂 So, head on over to the nearest Hobby Lobby, or jump online like I did, and let me know what you find!

Happy DIYing,

Fall Finds at TARGET!


It’s fRiYaY!!

Not only is Friday one of my favorite days of the week because the weekend is so near, but it means it’s another weed of Friday Finds! This week’s finds were so fun for me to share with you because Fall is my favorite time of the year! Anyone else? I love all things pumpkin spice (yeah, I’m one of those people) or hot cocoa by a bonfire and all the beautiful colors of the leaves here in Minnesota.

It is hard to believe that this time of year is soon approaching, where did the summer go?! Well, I’m not sure either, but I’m not going to complain about it, because I am excited for this season to approach! Preparing your home  for Fall is a difficult for most of us. It’s like it sneaks right up on us in between trying to get your children ready for the new school year and summer activities not coming to a close yet.  The last thing on your list is to is try and figure out what to get to redecorate! But, when you do get a spare moment, check out this list of finds that are all very affordable because each one of these can be found at Target! Who doesn’t love Target?!

Throw Pillow
Spiced Orange Cider Candle
Mushroom Mustard Yellow Wreath
Wall Hangings
Serving Bowls
Mustard Yellow Throw Blanket
Acorn Measuring Spoons
Assorted Cloth Napkins

What I love about these finds are that not only do they work awesome for fall, but all these items are neutral and versatile enough that they can be used year round….but when used all together, they make your home warm and cozy for the fall 🙂 Plus, they are all so affordable! So, I want to know, do any of you have any of these finds?! I personally don’t have any of them….yet. But, they are all on my list!

P.S. There’s no such thing as too many throw pillows and blankets and who doesn’t love a great smelling candle?

P.S.S. I have some new and fun exciting things happening, and I can’t wait to share them all with you!! You don’t want to miss out on what I have up my sleeve…I just can’t share yet. So if you would like a front row seat to what is happening here at Prairie Pine Designs, please subscribe to my email list down below!

Happy DIYing,


Friday FARMHOUSE Finds – July 28, 2017

*This post contains affiliate links

Happy Friday all! This week’s Friday Finds is all about finding FARMHOUSE inspired home décor on AMAZON! There’s a never ending list of amazing home décor finds on Amazon that it can be hard to find great décor at a great price. Since beginning my business of handmade signs and design, I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who loves and leans toward a modern farmhouse style! Today, I am going to share my TOP TEN favorites that are under $30.00 that I have come across just this week. All these items are those that I either have already or want NEED to get for my home. 😉


Salt and Pepper Caddy

*Update: After asking friends and followers along with reading more reviews on this product, I have decided not to order it! Even though it looks so cute and perfect for any farmhouse table, it doesn’t sound like it is great quality. I am on the hunt for a different set, and will update this post when I find it!

Burlap Cream Lace Hessian Table Runner

Grid Home Body Pillowcases (in black)

Metal Windmill Wall Clock

Artificial Lavender

Word Metal Wall Décor

Vintage Metal Bucket


Water Pitcher

Dinner Bell

No true farmhouse can be complete without a dinner bell! When supper was ready when my siblings and I were young, my mom would whistle so loud that we could here it across the school yard where we played. Unfortunately, for me, I cannot whistle if my life depended on it. So, I will be resorting to this cute and functional dinner bell!



Removable and Washable Dining Room Chair Slip Covers

I couldn’t resist adding in this bonus find! I’m not one to like fabric on dining chairs, but sometimes you don’t have any other option (thanks to a budget and hand-me downs). If you have upholstered seating that needs to be re-done or you simply do not like the style or the color, these slip covers are definitely the way to go! They come in multiple colors to fit any color scheme or dining room theme. They are removable and washable, and they slide on and off like a glove! I don’t have any of these myself, but know of many who do, and they continue to share how much they love them (especially with little ones making a mess at meal times).

I hope you all enjoyed my finds for this week! If you have any Amazon Farmhouse Favorites of your own, please share a link to in the comments! I love to engage with my readers, so any finds and/or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Happy DIYing,

Prairie Pine’s Friday Finds


This blog post may contain affiliate links

Welcome to the very first post in the “Friday Finds” series! I am continually on the hunt for good deals and great home décor finds. I often dream of a home that is warm and inviting, but also practical that can function smoothly with a toddler and a dog running around (if any of you have mastered this, PLEASE share your secrets).  In searching for inspiration and deals, I thought it would be great to write about what I find in hopes to inspire you all as well! So, every Friday, I will share what I have found to be eye appealing and esthetically pleasing throughout the week. With that, it you happen to find a great steal of a deal on some awesome finds, let me know! I’d love to share with my audience so everyone can share in the find!

Without any further ado, here are this weeks Friday Finds:


Wall Mount Cup Rack

This cup rack is a signature piece in almost every Fixer Upper home. If you don’t know what Fixer Upper is, have you been living under a rock?! Lol. If you don’t know, I’ll still forgive you and advise you to stay tuned for my last Friday Find of this week to learn more about the infamous Chip & Joanna Gaines. I really love this cup rack because it is so simple, yet brings a big impact into a room. You can use it in your kitchen to hang coffee mugs or mason jars from, or you can use it in any other room of the house to hang plants, wreaths, and other knick knacks! The possibilities are endless. If you would like to get your hands on one of your own, you can find them here.

Vintage Ice Cream Scoop

What can be better than ice cream in the middle of July?! Yeah, I can’t think of anything better either! Ice cream is a summer staple, and so should these vintage ice cream scoops! They’re crafted from copper and antique brass to give it that perfect antique look! Not only do the actual scoop look so elegant, so does the ice cream it scoops. These scoops give you that great rounds shaped of ice cream, which is so perfect for on top of cone 🙂 It’s making me crave sweets just thinking about it!

Pray Big Throw Pillow

I don’t believe anything can add to a room with such ease and impact as much as a throw pillow. You can swap them out when ever you want or change them with the seasons without breaking the bank. This pillow is less than $20 and would go great on almost any couch in any living room as it is neutral in color and would go with any season of the year. There’s never a time where you shouldn’t PRAY BIG. 🙂

Lounge T Shirt

This t-shirt counts as home décor because it talks about French Doors and Shiplap, right?! As soon as I get home from my 9-5, I change straight into lounge clothes that I don’t mind getting a little paint and dirt on. Although I think I’d be a little sad if this shirt got stained, I still NEED it!! You can find it here, if you are as interested in it as I am!

The Magnolia Story

I read The Magnolia Story in ONE day! First, let me explain to you that before this year, I hardly read ONE book in one YEAR.  I wanted to change that, so I made it one of my goals this year to try and read one book a month. I am one book behind as I have read six books so far. I’d say that isn’t too bad considering my past record. With that being said, I couldn’t put this down! I actually listened to a lot of it via Audible (read by Chip and Joanna themselves!) while I worked on filling custom sign orders (I like to try and multi task when I can). Chip and Joanna’s story is very incredible and their faith throughout there whole Fixer Upper journey is very admirable. Their autobiography has inspired me to keep going with my creative business and to keep God first through it all. Whether you what their show or not, I highly recommend their book!

These are my top FIVE for this week, and I look forward to sharing more with you next Friday! Until then, stay tuned for some more DIY tutorials and let me know what you find for some of your favorite Friday Finds! 🙂

Happy DIYing,


Transform a Shabby Highchair Into a Chic Keepsake

This post may contain affiliate links

In January of 2015, my husband and I found out that we were pregnant with our first child. It was a very exciting day! We quickly began to acquire “all things baby” when summer arrived. We waited until the summer season to buy what we thought we would need because that is when all the garage sales are here in Minnesota. I am a huge bargain shopper, and I get excited when I find a great deal. Garage sales are no exception.

Every year in June, a near by town has a huge city wide garage sale event. I purposely cleared my schedule to make sure I could make it to as many sales as I could, and I am sure glad I did. I scored many useful things for when our little bundle of joy arrived, but one of the best deals I found was for a wood highchair for $5.00. At first, I debated on whether or not I wanted to buy it because I had thought I had wanted to buy a chair that could fold up easily (for storage purposes) because we live in a 600 sq ft home. But, once I saw it, I knew I wanted to refinish it!

After using it for almost two years, I finally got my chance to do so! I am so happy with the results, and I can’t wait to share with you how easy it is. If you have a little one on the way or are on the hunt for a stylish highchair, I highly suggest finding a wood highchair and following these steps!

The highchair before refinishing it.

 You will only need SIX things to turn your shabby chair into a farmhouse chic keepsake.

Material Needed:

(2) 12 oz cans of spray paint

I really like using Rust-oleum brand, so that is what I would suggest using. I also suggest finding a paint that also is a primer. That is why I love this paint so much! Their is no need to prime your furniture before painting, and it goes on so smoothly. You will need at least TWO 12 oz cans. I was able to spray my chair with exactly two cans. But, if you wood takes the paint differently, you may need THREE.


(1)  1/2 Pint sized can of stain

I used Minwax Dark Walnut for the tray. Dark Walnut is one of my all time favorite stain colors and my go-to for almost anything. If you don’t already of a can of stain on hand, I highly suggest this brand and color.



(1) 11.5 oz Spray Can of Clear Semi-Gloss Polyurethane

If you already happen to have a can of clear polyurethane or varnish on hand, please use what you have! It doesn’t make a big difference if it is gloss, semi gloss, or satin finish. This step is important though, and I wouldn’t go without it. A polyurethane or vanish ensure that the tray of the highchair will hold up to spills, scratches, and stains for years to come.




You will need a sander to sand off any and all finishes on the tray of the highchair. I love using my Black & Decker Orbital Sander, but anything will do. If you plan on hand sanding, I suggest using one of these.



(1) 80 grit sheet of sand paper

It will depend on how much sanding your tray will need, but I only needed to use ONE sheet of sand paper to sand the entire tray before staining.




Lastly, you will need masking/painters tape. This will be used to tape off any metal parts and/or safety straps that you do not want to get paint on.


Now that you know the SIX things you will need to refinish your highchair, it’s time to get to work!

  • First, you will need to give your chair a good cleaning. I did this by taking it outside and spraying it down with the garden hose. I then took a bucket of hot water with some dish soap and a rag and started to scrub. If you happen to have a chair like mine, you will want to make sure you get in between all of the nooks of the back rest. This was the most difficult part of the whole process.
  • Once your chair is nice and clean, dry it off with a towel or let it dry in the sun.
  • Next, find a safe spot to spray paint. Since it was so beautiful out this last weekend, I went ahead and did this project on my lawn. If you are contained to an apartment or garage, make sure you lie down newspaper or a drop clothe to protect your floor!
  • The final piece of prep is to tape off any parts of the chair that you do not want to spray paint. I taped off the safety harness strap and the side rails (the metal part) that the tray slides onto.
  • Now it’s time for the fun! Start painting! I started at the legs and worked my way up making sure the inside dowels and the bottom of the seat were all painted. As stated above, you will need at least TWO cans of paint, if not THREE to cover the entire chair in 2 or 3 coats of paint.
  • While your chair is drying, you can now sand down the tray with your sander and 80 grit sand paper. Make sure everything is sanded off, including the bottom and sides like the example shown below.

  • Once everything is sanded off smoothly, take a shop rag (old towel, t-shirt, or sock) and stain the top and bottom of the tray. Place in a safe place for drying. Allow at least 24 hours for complete dry time.
  • After the paint is dry on the chair (a few hours or overnight), it’s time to polyurethane it. This doesn’t require a specific technique. I personally started at the bottom and worked my way up just as if I were spray painting it making sure I coat the seat really well as that is will be the area with the most wear and tear. Allow for an hour or two between each coat. I applied three coats on mine.
  • The last step is to clear coat the tray. Once the stain is dry, coat the bottom of the tray and let dry. Once the bottom is dry, coat the top with 3-5 coats. It is important to coat the tray with as many coats as your can to protect it from the moisture of spills and colors of stains from food.

After buying the chair for $5.00 and all the supplies needed, I spent $19. I’d say that’s a great deal for a “farmhouse chic” highchair that you can use for generations to come!

*If you would like more of a visual step by step process of this DIY, come check out my LIVE video on Prairie Pine Designs Facebook Page here or sign up for the Prairie Pine Designs newsletter to recieve DIY inspiration and new blog posts straight to your inbox!

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Happy DIYing,


Featured on

Five Things Every DIY Newbie Should Know….

Entering the world of all things do-it-yourself can be a daunting idea if you’re a newbie, but don’t let all the tips, tools, and tactics scare you!  

Wood working is a great place to start if you are wanting to tackle a few of your very own projects. The following five basic guidelines will help you stay safe and conquer any project!

1.Safety First

Never forget to wear your personal protection equipment (PPE)!

  • Eyes

Safety glasses are one of most important pieces of PPE. It is very important that you wear eye protection when handling power tools and wood. I personally like using these ones here. Any eye safety glasses brand will do, just make sure you have a few pairs on hand! If you need to wear prescriptions, you can get safety glasses to go over your normal eye wear. I personally do not use this type of eye protection, but if you need a pair, they can be found here.


  • Ears

When working with power tools, it can get loud. Especially if you’re working inside a shed, garage or shop building. That is why wearing hearing protection is always a good idea. There are two different ways you can do this, and it all depends on your preference. I personally use ear plugs as they are light weight, I can have multiple pairs in multiple locations, they are easy to store, and easy to travel with. Otherwise, you can also use ear muffs. Ear muffs are great for long term wear and blocking out all the noise.

  • Mouth

Sanding masks are a great way to block out all of the sand and dust in the air when working on any project. You can find disposable respirator masks at any hardware or department store. I personally use these ones.

  • Hands

Many people, especially DIYers, don’t think of hands as something they need to protect when wood working. But, in certain situations, gloves and other hand PPE could save you your skin, fingers, and hands! You can find every day work gloves here. Another great tip is to wear rubber gloves while painting and staining. This will protect your skin from absorbing any of those paint or stain chemicals, and it will make clean up time a breeze.


  • First Aid Kit

Always have a stocked first aid kit near by. If you do most of your DIY projects at home, be sure to have one in your garage and/or shop. If you are working on a project away from home, have one in your vehicle. Even if you don’t do many projects of your own or use power tools that often, it is always a good idea to have one of these around!

1A. Safety Habits

  • Clothing

Your safety habits around your materials, tools, and environment are just as important, if not more important, that your PPE. It is imperative that you are aware of your surroundings when handling any time of wood working tools and equipment. To start, make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing for the job. Avoid any loose fitting clothes including hoods and big jackets. Also, before starting anything, make sure you don’t have any dangling jewelry such as long necklaces and/or bracelets.

  • Distractions

Distractions are inevitable. They are going to happen! Just remember to finish whatever it is you are doing (especially if it involves a power tool) before you leave. Taking your attention away while making a cut or drilling in a screw can be a recipe for a big disaster.

2. Wood

  • Wood Types

There are an endless number of woods and cuts you can find at any lumber yard or home improvement store. I personally like working with common pine boards the most, as they are inexpensive, durable, and easy to find. You can use whatever wood you would like for what ever project you are attempting. I would suggest doing your research on what types of wood work best for what project you are accomplishing.




  • Standard Dimensions


A lot of you probably already know this, but many of you may be unaware, so it’s worth sharing! When you buy a 2X4 or any other sized boards, one would think that would be their actual measurement and size, right?! But, it isn’t. That’s why I attached this easy to read “Cheat Sheet”. This chart will show you exactly how each cut is measured. Hopefully, this will help you when figuring out what you will need for your projects.



3. Measuring

  • Measuring Tools

A measuring tape, square, and level will be your best friends. These are the tools I use and recommend.

  • Marking

Carpenter’s pencils are awesome for marking your measurements before you have to make any cuts. I love using these Craftsman carpenter pencils here. If you don’t have pencils such as this, you can use any other type of pencil (not pen or marker). If you make a mistake and mark you measurements wrong, it is much easier to erase it and make a new mark than it is to make several other marks and get confused as to which one you are suppose to cut on.



4. Cutting

  • Different Cut Types


The most common cut is called a cross cut. This is where you make a cut with your saw that is perpendicular to the grain. A rip cut occurs when you cut parallel with the grain. A miter cut is an angled cut that occurs across the grain and is a popular cut for making frames. Finally, a bevel cut is any sloped cut made at an angle other than a right angle. Most projects will only require a cross or miter cut, but more skill full projects will request a rip or bevel cut.



5. Tools

You can’t do too many projects without the proper tools! Below is a list of all the tools I use on a regular basis to achieve DIY projects including my custom signs (click on the pictures for more details on each product).

  • Miter Saw

  • Circular Saw

  • Sander

  • Power Drill

  • Nail Gun

  • Hammer

  • Wood Glue

Entering the world of all things do-it-yourself can be a daunting idea if you’re a newbie, but now that you have the tips and tools you need to know to start, there’s nothing stopping you! So, what are you going to conquer first?! I would love to hear what you are currently DIYing and how the process is going for you. Just comment below!


DIY Chalk Paint


How to make you very own chalk paint for half the cost of name brands

Chalk paint has become really popular over the past decade for many reasons. It works best for repurposing and painting furniture, it can be diluted with water to make a wash to show wood grains,  it easily washes off of your paint brushes so that they can be used multiple times, plus there is no need to prime or prep your pieces before painting. Need I say more?!

There are all sorts of wonderful reasons to use chalk paints other than just what it looks like. But, if you’ve ever gone shopping for it before, you will find that most brands carry a high price tag. This can veer DIYers like yourself in the other direction! That is why I love making my own!

Materials Needed

Plaster of Paris

Latex Paint  With a Flat Finish


Sealer/Wax Topcoat 

A container to mix in (empty plastic yogurt or sour cream containers work great!)

A paint stick or plastic spoon to stir.

The Recipe

  • 1 – 8 ounce (0.5 pint) can of paint (latex or acrylic)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris
  • 2 tablespoons of  luke warm water

Mix the Plaster of Paris and water in a small dish or glass making sure it is stirred until smooth. It should resemble pancake batter. Next, you with dump this mixture straight into you container with the paint. Stir with a spoon or paint stick until the complete concoction is completely mixed together. If you want to make more than this batch makes, then just simply double or triple the measuring amounts for each material.

*Tip: I like to use white paint as my base color no matter what color I need. Once I have a batch of white chalk paint mixed together, I then add other colors separately. By doing it this way, I am able to use one batch for multiple projects and colors!

Time to Paint

Grab a bristle like this or foam brush and start painting! The painting process is just like any other. You don’t have to do anything special other than making sure your piece is clean and sanded if needed. Chalk paints are designed to be applied with a bristled paint brush, but don’t worry if you don’t have a designated chalk paint brush like the one listed. You can certainly use a regular brush, but the application of the chalk paint may not go on as consistently as it should.

Name Brand Vs. Homemade

I bought a  full container of plaster of paris for just over $8.00. It’s 4 pounds, and I used 2 1/2 tablespoon so according my conversions, it cost about $.15 for each batch for the Plaster of Paris. Add that to my $9.50 for an 32 ounce container of paint (Apple Barrel) that I found on sale at Walmart, the total comes to $8.75. In the past, I’ve spent over $15 plus shipping for a chalk paint that contained less paint than this homemade recipe! So, I can now have 8 ounces of paint for $2.52 vs the $15.00-$25.00 cans you find in any paint store or online.

Waxing over Chalk Paint

To wax or not to wax? That is a question I ask myself a lot! It isn’t required to wax over chalk paint. Your paint and furniture will look and do great without it (most of the time). Wax also has a durability issue. It only last so long before you have to re-wax it (a couple times a year). It isn’t permanent or even semi – permanent. But, it does give your furniture a soft and rich finish. So, posted a finishing wax that I use if I do decide to do so, but I am going to leave this debate up to you! 🙂


Waxing your furniture, signs, or anything else you painted is a form of sealing the paint, but like mentioned above, it doesn’t last forever. This is why I prefer to use this seal spray. It does require any fancy applicator brushes, and it is extremely affordable. The only downfall is that I can only find it in an aerosol can format.

Your Thoughts?

Let me know how your DIY Chalk Paint turned out for you! What did you use it on and what colors did you mix? Were you satisfied with the quality of this recipe? If so, please pin! 🙂


Happy DIYing,