Hairpin Leg Coffee Table Hack (+ bonus side table!)

My interest in mid-century modern style was sparked while reading a Smithsonian article about Frank Lloyd Wright back in 2009 (the article is pretty ancient now, but still a great read!), and since then my love for the clean lines and nature-inspired elements of the style that defined the 40s and 50s has only grown. I had been hunting for the perfect hairpin leg coffee table at the right price for a while, with zero luck, when the idea occurred to me to make my own. Riding a high of equal parts inspiration and caffeine, I parked myself in our spare bedroom, and started researching. When I finally emerged, empty coffee cup in hand, I had a plan.

And I can’t wait to share it with you!

This is seriously the easiest hairpin leg coffee table tutorial ever, and as the title suggests, you also get a sweet little side table out of the deal. And the final product looks slicker than Don Draper’s hair before his pitch to the boys at Lucky Strike.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Materials:

  • “Project Panel” from The Home Depot (we used their 6×2 ft., 1/2 in. thick Birch panel)
  • Hairpin Legs (I picked up one set of 16″, and one set of 28″ legs from here)
  • Cordless Drill
  • Stain (I used Minwax Oil-Based Wood Finish in Dark Walnut)
  • Polyurethane Clear Coat
  • Brush (I snagged a cheaper one for about $6 from Home Depot while I was picking up the wood)
  • Old Sheet or Drop Cloth

 

1. Gather Your Materials

The Wood Panel

You can certainly use any size wood you want (and you can get it from anywhere you want), but the ease of this particular project is due in large part to the “Project Panel” I found at my local Home Depot. It was a great price because it’s made up of a cheaper core with an outer layer of nicer wood (called a veneer). The outer veneer on our birch panel was smooth and solid, and the panel was just thick enough to hold the hairpin leg screws, but not so thick that your table lost it’s mid-century sleekness. This is not an ad I swear, though I’m absolutely game if you are, Home Depot…Call me?

I chose the Birch panel because I liked the grain the best, and I asked the nice man in the lumber department to make one cut for me right at the four-foot mark. This gave me two pieces: one 4×2 ft. (for my coffee table top), and one 2 ft. square (for my side table top). Leave no wood behind!

The Legs

You can find hairpin legs for sale all over the internet, but I’m an impatient millennial. After some savvy googling, I found these sets at the Rockler Hardware near my apartment and was able to pick them up the same day. If you don’t have a Rockler near you, try calling your local hardware stores (I’ve found that big chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s don’t carry this sort of thing). If you have no luck, ordering online isn’t so bad and the selection is great (I love these, these and these on Amazon, which you won’t have to wait long for if you have Prime!).

2. Attach Your Legs

Lay your table pieces on your drop cloth so that the side you want to use as the top is facing down, and the underside is facing up. Carefully measure where you want to attach your legs, mark using a pencil, and drill your pilot holes.

I chose to attach the L-shaped leg brackets about an inch from each corner of the table top. Hairpin legs slant slightly outward as they reach the floor, and I wanted the tip of each leg to hit the floor directly under the corners of the tabletop. Where you place your legs is up to you, just make sure they’re symmetrical so that your table is sturdy.

Screw your legs on, and your tables are done!

Helpful Tips: 

1. Use masking tape to mark where to stop when drilling your pilot holes.

2. If your table legs come with longer screws, use washers to ensure they don’t poke through the table top. We used washers just in case, but our wood was thick enough that we could have gotten away with skipping this step.

3. Add a dab of wood glue to your drill hole before you put in the screw just to give it a little extra hold.

4. If a hunky husband and adorable pup volunteer to help, let them! Trust me, it’ll be cute.

3. Stain and Seal

When it comes to stain you’ve got a few options:

  • Oil-based: stinks quite a bit, takes FOR-E-VER to dry, but provides smooth, even coverage
  • Water-based: stinks slightly less, dries quickly, coverage can turn out uneven if you’re not quick

I went with the oil-based option (Minwax’s Dark Walnut) because I’m not quick with a brush, and I really wanted a nice, even finish. Whichever option you choose, be sure you’re working in a well ventilated area. A garage or driveway would be ideal, but if you’re in an apartment like me, open all the windows in the room you’re using as your workspace, and set up fans to create a cross breeze.

To seal the stain in I used Polyurethane (also by Minwax). I applied two coats on every surface of each table, with ample dry time and a light sanding between each layer. I added one extra layer for good measure on each of the table tops because who really uses coasters, I ask you?

Polycrylic (the water-based version of Minwax’s Polyurethane) would also work for this step. Just make sure, if you used the oil-based stain, that your stain is completely dry before applying the Polycrylic, or the water/oil combo could cause peeling. Polycrylic has held up really well for me when using it on painted furniture, and if you chose the water-based stain, this is the sealer for you. Follow the directions on whatever stain and sealer you choose, and make sure to allow the proper amount of drying time in between coats.

Once your new coffee table and side table have fully dried it’s time to set them up in your living room, give yourself a pat on the back, and enjoy!

I’d love to hear how your tables turn out in the comments below!

Gold Embellished Smoking Slippers

Gold Embellished Smoking Slippers

Smoking slippers are such a classic style, and they go with just about everything. I have a few pairs in different colors, and have been wearing them more and more lately. I most often find myself reaching for them when I’m rushing to get ready and don’t quite know how to finish my outfit. They lend polish where needed, but I think they offer just a bit more edge than other slip-on shoes (I still love you, ballet flats!).

I’m absolutely obsessed with these, these and these, but, alas, C. Wonder is no longer in business, and the Miu Miu and Marc Jacobs flats are waaaaay out of my price range. So, to hold me over until I win the lottery and leave all you suckers in the dust, I decided to try making my own version using the C. Wonder Evil Eye design for inspiration. They turned out even better than I thought they would, and I may now be addicted to ironing vinyl onto things. But I’m pretty sure I can quit anytime I want to…

See the full tutorial and list of materials after the jump!

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2-Step Moss Letters

2-Step Moss LettersIn an effort to save up for our dream house, G and I opted to pack up and leave our tiny apartment near Buckhead, and live for a year or two “OTP”. that’s Outside the Perimeter for you non-Atlantans, meaning we’re just outside of the highway that surrounds the city. I knew I would miss being close to the action of the city, but we were able to get a much larger apartment for less money. Great, right? Yes! BUT, as soon as we moved in I realized that we only had enough furniture and wall decor to fill our teeny tiny closet of an apartment in Buckhead! I’ve been working hard ever since make this space our own on a shoestring budget, and that means lots of DIY projects and bargain hunting.

The key for a rental space is to decorate with items that can easily be removed, so you get to keep that security deposit. I find the best ideas on Pinterest, and sometimes even take key elements from bigger, more permanent projects and recreate them to work for our space.  That was the case for these moss letters in our apartment. I have admired this live moss lettering project for a while, and I know one day I’ll use it in a space we own. But for our current living arrangement, I needed to figure out how I could capture the look and feel of live moss on the wall without causing actual property damage. Then I saw a bag of moss on one of my Hobby Lobby aisle-wandering trips, and boom, simplest DIY post ever was born.

Ready? Let’s get started!

2-Step Moss Letters: My Weekend Workshop

Materials:

Preserved Moss (mine is The Moss Collection brand from Hobby Lobby)

Glue (I LOVE Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue for simple projects like this)

8″ Cardboard Letters (Buy them, or make your own using this tutorial from Poppytalk!)

Scissors

Optional: A sizeable scrap of wrapping paper or newspaper placed over your work surface for easy clean-up

Not optional: a piping hot cup (or three) of strong coffee

 

Step 1: Glue the moss to the surface of your letters.

Easy Moss Letters: My Weekend WorkshopUse the tip of your glue bottle to spread glue all over a 2″-3″ section of the front surface of one of your letters. Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue stays, well, tacky for a while, so if you stick (ha!) to spreading glue in 3″ segments, you’ll have plenty of time to place your moss and even move it around a little before the glue dries.2-Step Moss Letters: My Weekend WorkshopPinch small sections of moss and work them with your fingers to arrange them in a semi-flat clump. Place this clump onto the glue and press down gently. I found it easiest to place larger clumps like this down first and get pretty good coverage over the sticky glue, then pinch of smaller bits and poke them in where needed, filling in any in any gaps where you can see cardboard.

2-Step Moss Letters: My Weekend Workshop

2-Step Moss Letters: My Weekend WorkshopContinue working in sections until you cover the whole front surface, then move on to the sides, and the back. I have plans to include my little moss letters in a future living room gallery wall, so I chose to leave the back of each letter moss-free. If you’re using your letters in any open setting (example: as a table centerpiece), you’ll definitely want to cover the back, and maybe even leave a little space on the bottom bare, so that they’ll remain stable enough to stand on their own.

2-Step Moss Letters: My Weekend WorkshopOnce you’ve covered each surface, your letters will look like two characters from Sesame Street. Slap some eyes on those badboys and they could be Oscar the Grouch’s long-lost cousins. This tutorial is brought to you by the letters D, I and Y…you get the idea.

 

Step 2: Trim!

Easy Moss Letters: My Weekend WorkshopGive your letters a quick haircut, snipping off the moss bits that stick out too much. How much you cut is entirely up to you, but the idea is to snip enough so that you’re safely out of Muppet territory, without snipping all the way down to the cardboard.

And, you’re done! Now all that’s left to do is find a great spot to display your beautiful moss letters.

Easy Moss Letters: My Weekend Workshop

For now, until I finally get my butt in gear and hang my living room gallery wall, I opted to show my moss letters off on the mantel above our fireplace. I added this adorable mini lantern that I picked up at Anthropologie last week, and I think they go really well together.  What do you think?

As I was making my moss letters, I started thinking of all the different ways they could be used. They would look great as monogram centerpieces at a DIY wedding, or could be used to spell out the bride’s soon-to-be last name for the gift table at a shower. It would be so simple to attach a mini moss monogram to a grapevine wreath and give as a thoughtful housewarming gift, too!

I’d love to see pictures of your moss letters and hear how you plan to use them! Let me know down below in the comments 🙂

 

XO, Sarah

Recycled Wine Cork Succulent Planters

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

I fell in love with this idea when I saw it on It All Started With Paint and Pop Sugar, and recently I decided it was time to try my own version. Tiny little adorable green plants you can stick on the fridge? Sign me up! As an added bonus, you basically HAVE to drink wine to make this work (at least that’s the story I told G). Added double-bonus: those of you out there lacking a ‘green thumb’ (#ifeelyourpain) will find this just as easy to handle as the gardening pros. Added triple-bonus: these make great little last-minute gifts for moms!

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

Pro tip: when setting up your work space, first lay out a few pages of old newspaper, a place mat, or an old box lid. You’ll be working with dirt, and this will make for super easy cleanup. (I used a piece of scrapbook paper for cute picture purposes, but probably would have had an easier time with something larger.)


Materials:

  • Small succulent plants or clippings from plants you have around the house (I bought mine at Lowe’s for about $3 each)
  • Wine corks (drink up!)
  • Glue gun + glue stick
  • Semi-strong magnets (I picked these up at Lowe’s as well, for about $4)
  • Sewing scissors, or other small scissors
  • Potting soil (not pictured)

Optional:

  • Washi tape for decoration
  • Small terracotta pots or other small vessels


Step 1: Prepare your clippings.
Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

Use your scissors to carefully snip small branches off of your succulents. Try to pick stems that will be long enough to extend into the cork planters a bit so that they can absorb the nutrients they need from the soil. If necessary, you can gently wiggle the lower leaves on the clipping until they fall off to create a longer stem. Don’t worry about leaving a stump behind on the mother plant, those stumps should grow new succulent buds over time.

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

Now set your clippings aside for a day or two to scab over. Is that word absolutely disgusting? Yes, it’s 100% gross. Is it absolutely necessary? Yep. Succulents can go long periods of time without being watered because they absorb whatever water they can find around them and store it in their squishy leaves. So you’ll need a good scab (*shudder*) formed on each of your clippings to regulate their water absorption upon planting in the moist potting soil.

 

Optional Step: Replant your mother plants in small pots.

Pack your potting soil into each pot, then add water so that the soil is slightly moistened. Grab what’s left of your succulent plants (roots and all) after clipping and place into the soil. Gently pack more soil around the base of each plant to secure them in an upright position. Boom! Done!


Step 2: Carve your wine corks.

This step is pretty easy, but it’s also pretty tedious because you’ll want to be extra careful that you don’t slip and cut yourself. You can use the tip of your sewing scissors, or grab a knife from your kitchen to carve out a deep hole in each cork. You want the hole to reach about 3/4 of the way to the bottom.

Grab an extra cup of coffee for this one and pop on some Netflix (suggestion: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – you’re welcome.), because it will take you a while. My five corks took me a little over an hour to carve, but I didn’t discover my secret cork carving weapon until late in the game, so I’m sure next time it’ll go faster.

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

Secret Weapon: about halfway through my carving session, I discovered that the little knife on the end of a wine key works really well for carving. I think it’s so perfect because the blade is just the right size, and it’s not as sharp as a kitchen knife, so I wasn’t as worried about slipping while I carved.

Your finished corks should look like this:

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

 

Step 3: Decorate your corks (optional) and add your magnets.

The printed wine labels on each cork make them really beautiful on their own, but to add some visual interest (and because I just LOVE polka dots!), I added a strip of washi tape around two of my corks. Washi tape doesn’t adhere well to the cork’s texture, so I had to use a tiny bit of hot glue to make it stick.

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

Washi tape makes for easy-peasy, quick decorating, but you could also add glitter, ribbon, paint, or jewels to make these your own.

Next, glue your magnet to the side of the cork. I started this project with some magnets I bought at Lowe’s that were about the size of a penny. Once I held them up to the corks, I knew they would be too large to give me the look I was going for, so I went back and swapped them out for a smaller version that’s still strong enough to hold each planter.

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

If you chose to decorate with washi tape, you can use the magnet to cover the tape seam.

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

 

Step 4: Plant your succulents.

Now that you’ve dried your succulent clippings for a few days, it’s time to plant them in your new planters. Fill each cork planter about 3/4 full with potting soil and pack firmly using your finger. Then, place your clipping on top and hold it gently in place while you pack dirt in around the stem. I used the flat end of a kabob skewer for this part, but a pen cap, or tooth pick would work just as well for getting around the tiny leaves and packing the dirt in without damaging the delicate plant.

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

 

Step 5: Enjoy!

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

Find a prominent place (like your fridge) to display your tiny forest! Succulents like a lot of diffused light (think: a bright window with the blinds down), and they only need to be watered thoroughly when the soil is completely dry (this simulates the desert climate where they naturally thrive). I added a few drops to each clipping right after planting, but will not water again for a while.

Wine Cork Succulent Planters: My Weekend Workshop

Pro tip: use a dropper (I got mine for about $2 at Whole Foods) or a straw to water your new planters.

 

I’m proud to say, I made this set of planters about a week ago and they’re still alive and kicking. (They alive, dammit! It’s a miracle!) If I can do it, you can too!

XO, Sarah

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