We did a thing! Not an amazing thing, but a thing nonetheless.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I have been trying to get back to the creative side of myself that I love but felt that I had not been engaging with as much as I would have liked too. I was feeling a little drab and we had recently moved into a new place with more outdoor space than our previous place. I was excited to have something to decorate again and keep me busy as we are in Melbourne and like a lot of places have been in and out of lock down, but didn’t want to spend much money as we are trying to be more conscious about recycling materials rather than buying new all of the time and also we are saving money for future (and depending on restrictions our combined income varies). So I was a little unsure how I was going to do what I wanted, be more creative, enjoy myself and keep within a budget…… Then I remembered my partner is a carpenter and I do have quite the imagination and well hello hello I was back on my DIY bullsh*t! (insert partner groan here but how you think a thick glaswegian accent would sound)…..
I am not what you would call a diagnosed hoarder.. but I do like to keep things that may actually get used again in the future… so I had a few things already lying about like old sample paints, and decided to re-use some old pallets we had previously been using for seats to build a corner lounge for our deck. I do all of this for fun so there are no sponsors behind the scenes either, I just find being creating and making things with my hands the best therapy for my soul. It also is a great mindfulness activity if you think about the 5 senses and how many of them you can use all at one e.g. sight, sound, touch, smell and taste (especially if you forget to wear you masks and end up with a mouthful f sawdust from sanding).
We did have to buy a few things, but made sure we kept the costs low by only buying what we really needed. We did go to our local Bunnings and buy some good pieces of wood just for the frame.. we dont plan on getting sued because we host a party and someone has too much of my fruit punch that may mostly be alcohol and not so much fruit punch (although it does pack a punch) and then fall through our seat because it wasnt strong enough… so first things first my partner and I came up with the measurements for the seats using all of the usual methods.. how many steps is this length.. guess… actually why dont we use the tape measure… where is it… I dunno you had it last… is this millimetre or center meters… inches? did you write it down.. dang it.. do it again… until we knew how much wood we would need. The it was off to Bunnings to pick the wood for the frame and get them to chop it to size to start with just so it would fit in the car.
My partner also has his own tools so it was handy that we could then cut the wood further to size and use a nail gun to put the frames together… I also learnt that I am petrified of nail guns especially when it comes to nailing the corner pieces of wood together, as one wrong move and you will shoot the nail in the wrong direction so that it comes out the other side of the wood and nearly into your partners finger! Lesson learnt.. luckily no fingers were harmed in the making of this lounge.. We also used wood glue to assist with the corners for that extra hold. We got lucky in that my partner was pulling down a balcony as part of an insurance job and there was some pieces of wood we could salvage and use for the seat covering, which was fantastic as wood in Australia right now is super expensive and as I mentioned we are trying to recycle more than just buy outright. The recycled wood was already painted white with some dirt and mould on them.. so I got out my trusty $20 second hand sander and got to work sanding them back.
I actually love sanding, I find it so therapeutic to feel the vibration of the tool in my hands, going up my wrists, into my elbows and along my upper arms to my shoulders (although I need to take regular breaks otherwise my hands and arms get too tingly and start to feel funny). And whilst it may sound strange, I love looking at the paint and wood that is coming off from the sander like vibrating sand patterns on the sheet or ground underneath.. it is quite hypnotising along with the vibrations.. trans like almost if you stare at it too long and really focus on the patterns, what they are doing, how they look, how they are changing and also listen to the sound of the vibrating tool.. again 5 senses really getting used here and a great way to just be present in that moment.. although taste probably shouldnt be included in this one so try to remember to use a mask when sanding especially if sanding pre-painted wood.
Now most little DIY projects I have done have involved painting to spruce up the old furniture.. and I love a whitewash (or any colour washed out look) not only because it has that boho rustic vibe, but also because you can be a terrible painter and no one will know, it hides weathering well and is cheap! There are so many quick and easy you tube clips you can follow, but the basics are you buy the paint colour you want (I just get sample pots $15 Bunnings lasts so long) and then mix paint and water in a mixing tray so it is thinner than the usual paint. Depending on the effect you are after you can do 2/3 paint 1/3 water or equal parts paint and water. The water really things out the paint and you get so much more, but depending on the colouring and the wash effect you are after, you will need to do several coats.
I also really enjoy this painting technique, not only because of the benefits I mentioned above, but also it is quick and easy and a great way to relax and see your creative side come to life without having to actually paint portraits or pictures. You can be creative in deciding how much wash effect you will have and where, so if there is more of the wood grain showing through in one spot you can either add more paint to it to cover or less to really make them a feature and pop through! I should have also added that during the sanding process this is also where you can be creative. I never sand it right back to just the raw wood underneath as I want this effect of the differing colours to show through when I am painting, depending of course what the colours are and if the furniture was painted previously or just stained. If I am doing a whitewash then I like there to be darker patches of wood that comes through.
This however, is the first time we have made the design of the furniture from scratch and not that it was particularly intricate or hard, but we choose to do a corner lounge to well fit into the corner space of our deck. But rather than making it all connected, we did choose to do two separate seats that just sit next to each other so that if we ever need to move them into a space that is not the corner we can do so easily. Although, my partner had a good point, we didnt want them to actually look like they were separate seats and so he designed the wood style and spacing to be the same so that they looked like they flowed as if they were attached and indeed the same piece of furniture.. so clever. It was such a fun thing to do together, although I must say, couples that DIY together, swear alot together ha!
A couple of things that you need for this project are below;
- sander (electric much quicker and easier but you can also use a hand sander too)
- filler/putty (if you are using pre-loved wood like us, you may want to fill any of the old holes from bolts and nails, filla is quick and easy)
- paint samples
- paint mixer tray/wood
- paint brushes (several different sizes)
- bio degradable drop sheet
- measuring tape
- spacers (so you can make sure you have the same size space between the wood)
- saw (hand or electric)
Many of the above things you will keep for other projects so they are hand to have around and any tools that my partner didnt have we got second hand off gumtree or facebook market place rather than buying first hand through a store. I also really like going to Mitre10 over bunnings, there isnt much of a reason for that other than they are closer to my home and I like the products in my local one. If you are really into researching about the companies you buy from there is a website ‘shop ethical’ where you can search companies and they provide you with a rating and some information on them.. I think Bunnings is more ethical than Mitre10 but then are owned by Westfarmers who have some issues so you need to dig deeper into the actual owners too. But I dont get too much into all of that, and just try my best here and there, perhaps this is something I can be more conscious of in the future.
Anyway, I digress and what I also wanted to mention was one of the other reasons I really wanted to make a corner lounge for our deck…not just to help me along the way to becoming the hostess with the mostess (although I will one day take that coveted title) but to give us a place that we can soak up the sun and relax, particularly in the winter mornings when there is a little bit of sun poking through the clouds! It s so hard to get outdoors and get some vitamin C in a Melbourne winter (particularly during this past year and a bit) and having a deck that gets the sun all year round is close to unheard of in melbourne soooooooo, now that we have that we are going to make the most of it! It is such a great way to start the morning in winter with a cup of tea and a spot of sun sitting outside.. crisp air with a touch of heat both on the inside and out makes for a beautiful morning… which makes it that much harder for work to then suck the full life out of you.. so it just sucks half of it 😉
Anyhoo, we did a thing and that thing was fun (although at times there was swearing and arguing.. to be expected with a strong spirited Aussie and Scottish couple).. and now we have a sweet corner lounge big enough for both of us and some friends to hang out on. we are now onto cushion shopping which will actually be the most expensive part of the project.. who would have thought!
So bye for now and keep smiling 🙂