How to make wood stairs treads for cheap

DIY stair treadsIf you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram then you already know that we have been tackling a makeover on our kitchen stairwell. I originally intended to just make one big stair makeover reveal post, but then I realized that it would be a ridiculously long post and pretty boring for those of you who just want to see the pretty “after” pictures. So, instead I decided that this post  would be about the more technical aspects of building new wood stair treads and finishing them. Look for the whole stair makeover reveal later this week.

If you are just joining us this is what we started with:

kitchen stairs beforeI had hoped that when we ripped up the carpet that we would find nice wood stair treads that we could refinish underneath, but like many 1980’s era track homes we found particle board instead. I was pretty bummed, but Cody was actually relieved. He had already decided that building new treads would actually be less work than trying to revive old ones full of staples and nails.

Now, you can buy pine stair treads at Home Depot for about $10.64 a piece.  These treads are basically a pine board that has been routed to be round on the front of the tread. We needed 10 treads, so that would have brought us to $106.40. That’s not terrible, but there were a couple of issues with these treads. 1) they are only 1 in think which we decided would look pretty puny once installed and 2) ours stairs have exposed sides which means we still would have had to route some of the boards.

I found these nice chunky 2 in stairs treads, but at $123.75 a piece for “paint-grade” ($1237.50 total!) they totally blew the budget. So, we decided to just make our own stair treads.

Building stair treads

The treads are built from 2″x12″ pine boards that were 12′ long.  Look for boards with the least amount of knots and that are not warped.

make your own stair treadsCody started by securing a 12′ board to a table and routing the front of each board with roundover bit.

routing stair treadsHere’s an idea of what it will look like when it’s done. Don’t worry about any imperfections now. Those will be sanded out later. If any of your steps are open on the side (like our bottom 5) you will also have to route the side of those steps.

how to make your own stair treadsOnce the routing was complete, Cody used a table saw to cut 1″ off the back of each board to make the steps the depth that we wanted.

how to make stair treadsFinally, he measured and cut each board to the appropriate tread length using a chop saw.

how to make your own stepsCody measured and cut each step individually as there were some slight variations is lengths. We dry fitted the steps as we went to make sure everything fit perfect. The bottom 5 steps also required some fancy cuts to account for the newel post, exposed sides, and hand rails.

how to make wood stair treadsFinally, we sanded the crap of of each tread with an electric sander to get the boards as smooth as possible.

Staining and Installing

We are finally at my favorite part: staining the treads! I knew from the beginning that I wanted to stain them Mission Oak. It’s my favorite stain color and the same color we used on our industrial console table.  Cody didn’t want to take any chances with the color though so I tested out a few options we had lying around on a leftover piece of pine.

staing wood stair treadsOur goal was to match the laminate floors in the kitchen as much as possible. The dark walnut (same as we used on the kitchen counters) and the Jacobean were both a little too dark and didn’t have enough of a honey tone as I would have liked. We decided that mission oak was the winner, but we didn’t want the kind with the polyurethane in it (which is what I had on hand), so off to the store I went only to find out that Mission Oak is only sold as a Polyshades. Sigh….. So, I scoured the shelves for a color that was the most similar to Mission Oak and settled on Special Walnut. I tested it on the pine and we were sold!

Before I started staining the treads I removed any dust with cheesecloth then applied a coat of wood conditioner.  Wood conditioner allows the stain to penetrate the wood more evenly. I always use it when staining a highly visible area such as a table top or in this case stair treads.

pre stain on tableI allowed the wood conditioner to dry to the touch then using an old rag applied the first coat of stain making sure to go in the direction of the grain. I set up a staining station in the dining room because it was too humid in the garage to get the stain to dry properly.

staining stair treadsI applied two coats of stain over the course of one day than allowed the treads to dry overnight before applying the sealer. Finally the treads got two coats of Pro finisher Polyurethane for Floors. I choose a satin finish to keep the treads looking a little rustic like our floors, plus they are easier to keep clean. I sanded between coats then let them dry overnight before installing the treads.

To install the treads Cody started by applying liquid nails to the stair braces (just made up that term). We did this to reduce noticeable nails on the treads and to keep the steps from wiggling.

installing wood stair treadsNext, Cody shot in about four finishing nails on the sides of the treads. This helps them stay in place as the glue dries. We opted not to fill in the nail holds as they were hardly noticeable and added a little more rustic glamor to the steps.

installing stair treadsAnd with that we had working steps again! Building our own steps cost about $100. The same as the off the shelf Home Depot treads except ours our 1 3/4 in thick (that’s $1100 less than the 2 in treads we found online!)

Update: The stairs are done! Check out the complete reveal here!

Update 2017: We used the same treads for our foyer stairs. Check out the whole makeover here!

 

Has anyone else tackled a stairway makeover? Do you prefer wood or carpet stairs?

Outdoor Reclaimed Wood Floating Buffet

reclaimed wood outdoor buffetI’m finally ready to share our first real completed project on the screened in porch with you. It’s a floating buffet made out of reclaimed wood that actually hinges up for storage. And the best part is that is cost us basically nothing (we only had to buy the hinges!) Let’s back track a little to where this project started.

porch beforeThere was this nice empty spot between the french doors and the windows on our porch that was just begging for a table. And there was the nice pile of wood sitting in our backyard from when we took down the old play set.

reclaimed woodWe decided to build a rustic industrial buffet that would float or hang off the wall and could be hinged up for storage in the off season. It’s super easy to construct, but I’ll break it down for you in a couple of pictures.

rustic outdoor buffettWe started by picking out 3 of the best pieces of reclaimed wood then screwed in 3 pieces of scrap wood vertically to hold the table top together.

industrial pallet buffetNext we added three more pieces to the underneath of the table.

reclaimed wood tableFinally we finished off all of the edges with cedar left over from the reclaimed window pane window box project.

reclaimed wood buffetIn order to secure the table to the vinyl siding we added a piece of wood at the height of the table making sure to screw it into studs. I then painted the white board the same color as the siding.

reclaimed wood outdoor buffetThe table is hung  from two places. Its secured directly to the house by two hinges that are hidden underneath the table top and from two chains that we simply screwed into studs behind the siding. The chains were also left over from the window boxes.

Outdoor wood buffet for porchThis view really allows you to see the character of the wood. We sanded it down lightly to remove the dirt and grime then I finished it with a coat of coconut oil (because that’s all I had).

DIY reclaimed wood industrial tableIt’s really amazing how much more functional the porch is now. We love being able to put drinks and snacks on the buffet while we’re entertaining guests outside. It’s also a much nicer view now from the outdoor furniture. Remember this is what is looked like before:

porch beforeAnd now!

Porch after buffetYou might also notice that the doors are now the same color as our shutters and the trim got a nice white paint job. The windows also received some window treatments (more on that soon). For now please ignore that tiny outdated light fixture and the terrible metal storm shutters. Those are both updates for another day.

We’re continuing to finish up the trim on the outside of the porch as well as lay a new floor, so look for more porch updates soon!

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A new idea for old windows

I’ve been teasing all of you about a new outdoor upcycle project for a while, and I am so excited it is finally done! It was actually a really easy project to do, we’ve just been extra busy lately! Well without further ado here it is:

what to do with old windowsLet’s take a quick step back and I’ll tell you how this project came into fruition.  I had two problems that had been plaguing me:

  1. I had two old windows from our kitchen just sitting on the patio begging for a new life.
  2. The view into our back yard is ugly! There are no gardens and because we have plans to gut the whole area and put in a pool (in like 3 years) we don’t want to waste the time or money to install any.

Here’s the view from our screened in porch.

backyard beforeI was stumped with what to do with this space until I saw this pin! All of my problems seemed suddenly solved. I had a purpose for my old windows and a way to add color and dimension to our old shed,  I was lazy and didn’t take pictures of the whole process but basically we built a box out of cedar and attached it to the front of the windows.

hanging window boxesWe drilled hooks into the overhang on the shed and hung the windows with chain. The chain is simply attached to the window with a screw.

faux windowsAnd here is a window going up.

window boxesOK, you caught me. I really just wanted to show off my hot hubby. But you have to admit that the new (old) faux windows really jazz up the old shed.

how to make window boxesIf you want my secret for making window boxes look lush and full right away check out this post.

flowers in window boxesAnd look how much the view from the porch has improved!

faux windowsIf you want more window box inspiration don’t miss my 17 dreamy window boxes you can easily create yourself and my trick to getting gorgeous window boxes.

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$11 Pantry Makeover

budget pantry makeover with basketsAll of those beautiful and organized pantries on Pinterest (like this one, this one, and this one) had me itching to get my hands on ours. When we originally painted the kitchen, I painted the outside of the pantry doors and replaced the knobs, but the inside was 100% original to the house including the peachy orange paint that used to be in the whole kitchen. A pantry makeover wasn’t exactly high on the priority list so from the get-go I knew there were two driving principals for this projects: I had to sneak it in between our higher priority porch makeover and it needed to cost basically nothing.

problems with the pantry

 

Besides the horrible paint color I also had these problems to contend with:

  1. Dog food storage that didn’t fit under the shelf.
  2. Brooms and mops that flopped all over the place.
  3. Potatoes and onions rolling wherever they wished.
  4. Dark wood and dated striped contact paper.
  5. No storage for paper products.
  6. No rhyme or reason to the placement of any products.

Painting the pantry

 

 

pantry makeover

 

To start with I removed all of the shelves and ripped off the old contact paper. It came off easy enough, but was still time consuming. I originally planned on recovering the shelves with the fun teal and white chevron contact paper (affiliate), but not only would I have needed about 5 rolls, but according to the reviews the dark wood would have shown through the paper, so I decided to save some money and paint them instead. Pantry makeoverNext, I cleaned the shelves with my tsp substitute (affiliate), then primed them once and painted them bright white.  The shelves were actually suppose to be the same mint green as the dining room, but  Cody took it upon himself to paint them while I was at work; and I just didn’t have the energy to re-paint them. While the shelves were getting painted I also painted the pantry walls white (Valspar Ultra white in semi-gloss).

painting a pantry

See how much brighter it looks already? You can also see that we bumped up the bottom shelf up about an inch so that the dog food storage could easily slide under the shelf now.  It’s hard to tell in this picture but I also painted the fronts of the shelves the mint green (B.M. Palladian) to give the space a little bit of charm.

wax shelvesBefore I started placing items back on the shelves I rubbed the shelves down with Paste Finishing Wax to make sure the paint didn’t get chipped up by cans or baskets being dragged across the shelves.

Pantry Labels

DIY pantry lablesNow that the pantry was painted, it was time for some organization, and I knew I wanted super cute labels for the baskets I had rounded up (here’s similar ones from one of my affiliates). I found these unpainted clipboards and chalkboards for $.88 a piece at A.C. Moore.

DIY pantry tagsThey were a little plain, so I painted the clip boards the same mint as the shelf fronts, and gave the chalkboard a quick swipe of my favorite stain (Minwax Mission oak- affiliate).

make your own pantry lablesNext, I hot glued the clip boards and chalkboard to the front of the baskets. I also used a white paint pen to label the chalk board.

pantry lablesThe most time consuming part of this project was creating the labels for the chalk boards. Mostly because I spent an hour deciding on fonts (something I’ll save you the hassle of). I made these in MS Word by creating a rounded rectangle slightly smaller than the clipboard. Next, I came up with a cutesy saying to describe the contents of each basket. The saying is in Lane-upper font while the contents are written in Moonflower bold. Once I got the look I was going for I printed them onto card stock and cut them out.

DIY pantry lables Here’s how the labels look all put together. Aren’t they cute? P.S. all the baskets were orphans I had laying around the house after our move.

pantry lablesFor the produce baskets, I made circle labels in the same moonflower font that I attached to the baskets using old clothespins that had been painted mint on the front.

clothespin pantry lablesOne thing I really love about the clothes pins and clipboards is that it is super easy to change out the labels as our needs change.

budget pantry makeover with basketsAnd Voila! It’s done. I spent some time moving things around to get the right feel/look, but I absolutely love it!

broom holder pantryIf you are wondering where I spent the $11 it was mostly on this new broom and mop organizer which I bought at Target for $8.98 (here’s a similar one from my affiliate) I can’t tell you how nice it is to open the pantry and not have to fear getting hit in the head by a falling broom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As I mentioned before all the baskets were cast-offs from our last house that had yet to find a place in the new house. The paint was also all leftover from other projects.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love that everything now has it’s own place, and that like items are now grouped together in the baskets.pantry makeoverI’d still like to create labels for the glass jars holding my tea. Maybe something like this.

before and after pantry makeoverOverall, I’d say not bad for $11! Actually I’m so in love with my work that I keep opening the pantry and staring at it, Even more surprising is that 2 weeks after taking these pictures, it’s still just as organized.

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“Hey there beautiful” glitter art

hey there beautiful artwork

When I first envisioned a vignette for the foyer I knew I wanted a welcoming piece of typographical art. Then I saw Stephanie Creekmur’s “Hey Y’all” gold print and fell in love. You may remember it from my Industrial Chic foyer mood board.  I was hoping that the sophisticated and shimmery gold would help balance out the raw metal and wood of the industrial table.  After showing it to my mom, she convinced me we’re not southern enough to pull off “y’all” (despite the fact we live in Virginia and I use the term all the time), so I decided to make my own version.

I wanted an uplifting and welcoming phrase to great visitors, and I eventually settled on “Hey there beautiful” for no other reason that it makes me happy. Using PicMonkey I created the text the way I wanted it to look.

picmonkey artworkI printed it onto card stock in a golden color to ensure that no color would bleed through the glitter. Next, using a fine tip paint brush I painted matte modge podge (affiliate) over the letters.

hey there beautifulI did one letter at a time then sprinkled extra fine gold glitter (affiliate) over it. I continued going one letter at a time while going back and filling in bare spots.

typographical artworkThis is a super easy project. Just make sure to use the finest tip brush you can find. I actually used two different ones to get the wider and thinner parts of the letters. I let it dry for 2 hours before framing.

hey there beautiful artworkI got the frame from Target on clearance for $7. I love the juxtaposition of the slightly rustic frame with the gold glitter.

how to make a rustic tableAnd the foyer is officially done! I love how the vignette looks paired with the wainscoting behind it. And doesn’t it look just like my inspiration board? I still need to get something for the owl vase. I’m thinking a cotton branch.  The final touch to this space will  be the stairs makeover which will hopefully be later this summer.

Anyone else using glitter to light up their house?

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