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!

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

Summer Swing Tassel Layering Necklace

Summer Swing Tassel Necklace: My Weekend WorkshopTassels! I’m seeing them more and more as the weather continues to warm up, and I don’t think I’m just noticing them because I love them so much. The world really has gone tassel-crazy! And just in case you were wondering, I’m completely, 100% on board with this festive trend. Or a little overboard maybe, depending on how you look at it. I may or may not have created an entire Pinterest board just for tassels, and that board may or may not be filled with adorable be-tasseled (is that a word? It is now.) shoes, bags, accessories, and the most sassy jewelry you’ve ever seen.

After a few weeks of longing for something be-tassled to call my very own, an idea struck me. I decided to try my hand at making my own playful tassel necklace that would be great with all of the fun outfits I have planned for the warm summer days to come.

 

Materials:

Summer Swing Tassel Necklace: My Weekend Workshop

{Please excuse the well-loved wire cutters – they were self-conscious and didn’t want to be photographed up close, but agreed to appear in just this one shot}

  • Chain (I chose a basic style, but a more ornate chain would work just as well!)
  • Ruler
  • Wire Cutters
  • Lobster Claw Jewelry Clasp
  • 5mm Jump Ring (1)
  • 4mm Jump Rings (16)
  • Tassels
  • Small Needle-nose Pliers (I included both round-nose and flat-nose jewelry pliers in my materials shot, but ended up only using the flat-nose)

Most of these items, with the exception of the tassels, can be found at big craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s for pretty cheap. There’s a great selection of tassels on Etsy, and you can find the exact tassels I used here

 

Step 1: Choose your chain length.

Use your wire cutters to carefully snip your chain to the length you prefer. I wanted a long necklace that draped to just below my chest, so I made my chain approximately 38″ long.  The easiest way to choose your necklace length is to stand in front of a mirror while you adjust the chain until you get it perfect, then snip!

 

Step 2: Add the clasp to your chain.

Summer Swing Tassel Necklace: My Weekend WorkshopGrab your 5mm jump ring and use your pliers to gently open it. Then thread it through the last link on one end of the chain and close it back up. I typically just use my fingers to pull the ring closed while I hold it steady with the pliers, but you could also use another pair of pliers to bend it back in place if you find that easier!

Summer Swing Tassel Necklace: My Weekend Workshop

Next, grab one of your 4mm jump rings, open it with your pliers and thread it through the last link on the opposite end of the chain, and then the loop on your clasp before bending it closed.

 

Step 3: Plan your tassel spacing.

Summer Swing Tassel Necklace: My Weekend Workshop

Before attaching your tassels, spend some time playing around with spacing and color patterns. I started this project with six sets of four tassels in multiple colors: deep purple, hot pink, light pink, orange, lime green and bright aqua. After spending some time arranging and rearranging my necklace, I opted to save the lime green and bright aqua tassels for a future project, and stick to only warm colors for this necklace. This meant fewer tassels, spaced further apart, so I ended up choosing to have about 1″ of chain length between each tassel.

 

Step 4: Attach your tassels.

Summer Swing Tassel Necklace: My Weekend WorkshopI opted to attach a tassel at the dead center of the necklace, and build the rest of the tassels up from there, towards the clasp. The easiest way to find the dead center is to hold your necklace chain up by the closed clasp and let it hang straight. The bottom of the hanging chain will be dead center. Once you find that point, attach your tassel there using one of your 4mm jump rings. Use your ruler to keep your spacing consistent as you attached the rest of your tassels.

 

Optional Step: Add a bonus tassel.

Summer Swing Tassel Necklace: My Weekend WorkshopBecause I opted to start with a single center tassel and build the necklace from there, I ended up with one leftover tassel in my favorite color of the whole lot: deep purple. I wasn’t sure what to do with the little fella until G suggested that I add it to the clasp just for fun. Such a smart one, he is!

Summer Swing Tassel Necklace: My Weekend WorkshopSo there you have it. A swingy little necklace that’s always ready for a party!

XO, Sarah

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