Category: Interior Design

Weekend Projects: 5 Hardworking DIY Desks

Settle into your new routine (and organize all that homework) when you build one of these 5 easy computer desks this weekend.


It may not fall on the standard back-to-school supply checklist, but a simple and comfortable computer desk should definitely be a top priority once class is back in session. It’s the perfect spot for kids to get homework done and for parents to organize the various permission slips, flyers, and other papers that start to pile up come fall. While computer desks seen in stores and catalogs may come with a high price tag, many DIY alternatives are both easy to build and easy on the wallet. Check out these five achievable DIY desk ideas to get your inspiration flowing.



DIY computer desk - bookcase


If you’re looking for an option that’s equal parts cheap and sleek, look no further than this cleverly assembled design from Pretty Providence, constructed using a couple of Target bookcases and a tabletop from IKEA. The beauty of this arrangement lies in its simplicity: Just lay your tabletop on the floor and use a screwdriver to anchor the shelves into place. After that, all that’s left to do is flip the table over and fill it up. Easy!



DIY computer desk - wood build


This custom-made desk from We Lived Happily After is built for two, making it an easy side-by-side workstation—or simply an ideal spot to spread out with a big project. The success of this project relies on careful measurement (and patience!) when screwing the wooden 1x4s and 2x4s into place. But once you have the frame built, the rest of the assembly will be easier than any of the work you do on it.



DIY Computer Desk - lapdesk


If you’re on the hunt for an option that’s portable and boasts a secret storage compartment, then this DIY laptop desk from The House of Wood is the genius solution for you—and it takes only about two hours to re-create. Round up a couple of 1×12 wooden boards for the storage bottom and hinged top, plus wooden boards for the legs, aprons, and trim. Once you’re done assembling, apply a thin coat of Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain (shown here in Dark Walnut) to give the design a luxe finish.



DIY Computer Desk - cabinets


This DIY desk idea from Drab to Fab Design requires a bit of advance planning, but the end result is well worth the wait. The design team scoured Craigslist to find a matching set of filing cabinets that they could then turn into a custom-built desk for two. Once they found the perfect pair, the two got to work, attaching frames to the top and bottom of the cabinets to add a bit of height and hold the desktop together. After that, all that was left to do was add a tabletop, which can be created with a few 2x10s.



DIY Computer Desk - standing desk


If you want a space-saving option that’s still an actual anchored-down desk, this wall-mount design from A Beautiful Mess is the perfect choice. All you’ll need are a few slabs of pine board, some shelf brackets, screws, and polyurethane. Using a saw, cut the boards to suit the size of the space where you plan to set up the desk. Then, sand down each board (this will help the polyurethane go on smoothly), and use the wall brackets to mount your desk to the wall. The next step is simply to pull up a chair and get to work!

Genius! Bring Gutters Indoors for Simple Storage

With a cheap hardware store staple and a handful of screws, you can mount your own DIY bookshelf on any wall in the home.

DIY Book Shelf - From a Rain Gutter


As the first leaves begin to litter the lawn, we’re reminded that it’s once again time to dig out the ladder from the back of the garage. That’s right, homeowners: Gutter-cleaning season will soon be upon us! But gutters can be more than a source of unrelenting home maintenance guilt. As Liz, the DIY mind behind See-Saw, discovered, gutters can inspire some striking creativity. Just see how she brought this boring outdoor essential to new life as a unique wall-mounted organizer.

Looking for a way to add storage for her toddler, who had already amassed quite the collection of bedtime reads, Liz saw the potential in the gutter’s trough-like structure to serve as an attractive—and cheaper—alternative to shelving. Gutters are customizable in length, super affordable, and light enough to mount on the wall with just a few screws. Plus, the shallow channel that funnels water off your roof also tidily holds books face out, and the small lip keeps them from falling. This simple ledge is a perfect storage fix to mount on nearly any wall. It’s also wildly versatile, as useful for displaying framed artwork in the living room as it is keeping a cookbook open and safe from splatters in the kitchen.

Want to make your own? First, grab a tape measure. Once you know the length you’d like your shelf to be, head to your local hardware store to pick up the gutter of your choice. If what you find is a bit longer than you need, you can ask an employee to cut it down to size, or you can cut it at home with a hacksaw. Use sandpaper to smooth down any rough edges, then screw the gutter to the wall.

This DIY’s low cost is as big a draw as its practicality: One 10-foot vinyl rain gutter will cost you about $6. Even with a wall’s worth of shelving and a new pack of screws, that’s about as budget-friendly as it gets—so there’s no need to save this project for a rainy day!


DIY Book Shelf - Gutter Holding Children's Books


Weekend Projects: Reboot with 5 DIY Charging Stations

Finally, minimize chord chaos and get your phone's accessories under control when you make one of these 5 easy charging stations this weekend.


Smartphones have become an everyday necessity—as have their chargers. It’s easy for those cords to pile up (and tangle up!), especially when every member of the family leaves cords plugged into outlets scattered throughout the house. Banish those unsightly cables from view with one of these easy and inexpensive DIY organizers that corral cord clutter.



diy charging station - repurposed books

In a bedroom that features a vintage or eclectic style, this charging station crafted from an old book will make a seamless, decorative addition. Choose a volume that has an interesting or attractive spine, and then, following these instructions from Little Lovelies by Allison, use a drill and a utility knife to carve a spot to feed your charger through. The careful construction may take some patience, but the homey and functional result will be well worth it.



DIY charging station

If your nightstand is overrun with everyday clutter, look to this repurposed organizer from The DIY Playbook to fulfill all your bedside storage needs. Take a container with two or more drawers, remove one, and drill a hole in the back of that compartment. Feed your cords through the holes, and then plug in your electronics so they can rest on the open shelf. Your remaining drawer can store (read: hide) remotes, reading glasses, or other little accessories you’d like to keep close at hand.



diy charging station - family

As a family grows, so does its phone-cord clutter—and the confusion about where all those cords lead. Solve that problem with this family-size charging station. After easily converting a standard electrical outlet into a USB port, Kris from Driven by Decor cleared away the chaos by drilling a few holes in the bottom of an ordinary letter organizer and stringing the cords through. Not only does this unit keep charging equipment close by, but the various compartments can also house other electronics or items you need as you dash out the door.



diy charging station - bucket

This little, portable recycled wonder will cradle your charging phone wherever your day takes you. Cut from an old baby lotion bottle, it’s the just-right size for toting your phone—plus, the sculpted handle conveniently hangs from your cord’s plug while the phone is charging. Decorate it with fabric, decals, or whatever your imagination desires. See how Ashley at Make It & Love It put it all together.



diy charging station - living charger via theREALcybercat

Your decor can always benefit from a hit of nature’s beauty, and this faux-greenery DIY charging station brings in just the right touch. Requiring little more than some artificial turf and a vessel of your choosing—a shallow bowl, small dish, or even a ceramic pot that plays up the foliage—this simple, grassy home for your phone can be crafted in no time flat.

Meet the Man Behind Your Favorite New Home Accent

From the heart of the Catskill Mountains, one man is creating a sense of wonder in rustic, handcrafted home goods.

Photo: GrayWorks Design

Many homeowners turn felled landscaping trees into cheap firewood, piling up split logs by a backyard shed or in front of the living room hearth. But for Andrew Gray, these old trees are the beginning of something a little more magical. With a wood drying and milling operation out of Woodstock, New York, his company turns ordinary reclaimed lumber into stunning housewares and furniture. Distinguished by a meticulous yet rustic sense of craftsmanship, GrayWorks Design has become one of the Hudson Valley’s leading makers. Here’s what Andrew had to say about how he got started and the surprises he’s found along the way.


Photo: Grayworks Design

How did you get involved in this line of work? How long have you been at it?
I had a background as a carpenter and worked for general contractors. Around here we call it a hired gun carpenter. I’d jump from one crew to another. I struggled to reinvent myself a bit. And the reinvention was to go into sculptural furniture making. There’s this desire to take trees that landscapers and tree services people cart away and do something with it. That’s a big part of how I got involved with this type of woodworking.

It’s been about 10 years since I started making furniture, and the main product has been this footed platte that we sell on Etsy. Yesterday, I had this couple come into my shop and it was the only thing I had to show them but they walked out with 6 pieces, so it’s a good seller.


Photo: GrayWorks Design

You’ve been featured in a lot of places like Martha Stewart Living and O, The Oprah Magazine. How did that happen?
I had sold my product pretty successfully at crafts fairs but when I brought it to Etsy I had a friend who helped me with the photography and the copy. Etsy really responded to the effort and they gave us a featured seller position within 3 months of being on the site. After that they put publishers in touch with us. At first it was hard to tell what people were responding to. I think people were definitely responding to the good photography, but also the products that we’re making. They come from a place that I think resonates with a lot of people.


Photo: GrayWorks Design

These products are clearly very carefully made. What kind of place do you think handcrafted home goods have in today’s market?
One of the things I can’t do at this scale is offer a production line where I can make thousands of products at a time. I haven’t built that kind of a business. But what I can do is give a sense of luxury to the buyers. That luxury is really more about evoking a feeling; it’s more than just the primary function of the piece. These are products people can use daily that give them a feeling that they’re connected to nature.

I’m trying to offer these products at price points that are not exclusive. Handcrafted furniture can be much more expensive. But housewares are sort of this meeting ground that’s much more accessible. A lot of people can, at some point, comfortably afford to buy a $100 to $300 item for themselves or for others.

I like the idea of creating objects that can transform an entire room without the homeowner needing to redecorate everything. This is sort of how sculpture works. It augments everything else in the room but you don’t need 10 of them. One of them does the job.


Photo: GrayWorks Design

You show your work at craft shows in the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires. What kind of reaction does your work receive?
I do about six shows a year. What it does is it punctuates my year. I know a lot of these vendors, so I almost feel embarrassed if I show up with stuff I had the last time. I’m there to show people what I’m doing now, and I’m able to gauge the reactions I’m getting from people. A lot of times I make things that are sort of whimsical, but people get it right away.


hand carved bowl

Photo: GrayWorks Design

Have there been any surprises along the way?
The footed platte was a bit of a surprise. The first one I ever made was done on the fly for an art show to serve cheese and hors d’oeuvres. I actually gave the first ones to the couple that had put on the show. Then people kept asking me about them for the next year.

For a little while I was selling a 3-foot-long by 14-inch-wide footed platte. It got picked up by the Kitchn and they were calling it a polenta platter. I guess the idea is to pile a bunch of polenta on it, vegetables, meats off the grill—it’s an old Italian tradition to serve these meals on a wooden platter. There have been a few different things like that that have happened where I’ve worked on a design in isolation, brought it out into the world, and then people identify it for me.


Photo: GrayWorks Design

What’s ahead for GrayWorks Design?
For a while I was holding onto the idea of getting my architecture degree and trying to elevate myself in the design field. Over the last year some architects have reached out to me looking for accent pieces. Right now it feels like the architects in the design field are reaching down to me and lifting me up and bringing me into their world, which is really exciting. Every opportunity I get to collaborate with an architect is like going back to school. It’s a great way to pick up a lot of information quickly and learn about other possibilities.


Photo: GrayWorks Design

To see even more work from GrayWorks Design, check out their website and Etsy shop.

A Former Art Teacher Starts a New Life Building Furniture

A twist in fortune prompted this maker to create the quality furniture company of her dreams.

Urban Wood Goods - Erin and Jason


Erin True needed a job. She had recently moved from Detroit to Chicago with her husband, Jason, and was striking out on finding a position as an art teacher. Fortunately, this down-on-her-luck moment led Erin to discover her real passion and start an unlikely business: Urban Wood Goods. Though she was an inexperienced woodworker at the time (and didn’t even own a table saw), she was dedicated to learning about her newfound love for reclaimed wood and all its possibilities. Now, Erin’s hard work has paid off in spades—she’s a successful entrepreneur who’s managed to carve out her own niche in the custom furniture market.

Today, Urban Wood Goods employs a host of dedicated makers and fulfills orders throughout the country, for corporate clients and homeowners alike. We spoke with Erin to learn a bit more about her story.


Urban Wood Goods - Bench Hairpin


How did you make the transition from art teacher to full-time maker?
I moved from the Detroit area to the Chicago area. I was trying to find a teaching job, though in my heart I had hoped to start my own business—after all, I was already using my idea for a bench and Etsy shop as part of my portfolio in an attempt to land an art teaching job. When I didn’t get the job I thought I would get, I decided to pursue my reclaimed wood furniture experiment on Etsy.

After a few sales, I started to think I could maybe make a real business out of Urban Wood Goods. Thankfully, I had the support of my husband, who finally kicked me out of the garage and told me to find a new workshop—after I took a Shop-Vac to the sawdust-covered walls of our garage.


Rustic Dining Table - Urban Wood Goods


What was your background in woodworking when you got started?
Funny enough, I didn’t have a woodworking background. I took one class in high school, and that was it. The only thing I remember making was a CD rack. I didn’t even own a saw when I started selling benches online! I once had to take the slab of wood I purchased to a local home improvement store and convince them to cut it down from five feet to four feet long to fill an order.

Being new to woodworking, have you found any surprises along the way?
I have learned that reclaimed lumber has a mind of its own. Nails, warping, and movement common to dimensional lumber all make it a material that takes some adjustment when working with it. We have managed to figure it out and make beautiful furniture with the help of our kiln, state-of-the-art woodworking equipment, and a team of individuals who care about every table and desk they create.


Urban Wood Goods - Desk Hairpin


Do you have a favorite tool?
My favorite tools are our JLT clamp racks. They allow us to get better glue-ups on all our pieces. Our lumber kiln is also very important. Having perfectly dried lumber is a beautiful thing. We used to have some warping when the moisture content wasn’t exactly correct; with this kiln, it’s no longer a problem.

What is your favorite thing about reclaimed wood?
My favorite thing is its history and character. I love seeing the wood still in a structure that is standing and then again the next week in our shop being turned into furniture. It’s nice to give it a second life—or third life, you could say.


Urban Wood Goods - coffee table


What kind of response has your work received?
It was a surprise when large companies had us building furniture for them! A few notable ones include HGTV, Google, Kraft, Ralph Lauren, and Lululemon.

What is your favorite piece?
The first bench I made was my all-time favorite. I loved that bench, and it was also the first one I sold. It had amazing character. It was perfectly weathered; I hardly had to sand it. Part of me wishes I could get it back, but Urban Wood Goods wouldn’t exist today if I hadn’t sold it.


Urban Wood Goods - Dining Table Chairs


What is the most challenging part of what you do?
It changes from year to year. There are many challenges that come with operating a small business. We recently discovered there is a business selling plastic wood furniture on Craigslist using our trademarked logo and warehouse address. That was pretty shocking—we don’t sell on Craigslist and never have. But we tackle the obstacles one at a time. It’s much easier to approach things that way, and we don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.


Find out more and shop the online store at Urban Wood Goods.

Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Teepees for Indoors and Out

For a cozy hideout that's a big step up from the standard blanket fort, craft an indoor-outdoor teepee inspired by one of these 5 imaginative designs.


With a design that evokes images of dream catchers and fort-like fabric walls, teepees have grown to be a favorite hangout for kids, adults, and even pets! A wealth of options when it comes to construction—from simple no-sew tutorials to the more involved machine-required projects—make it easy for DIYers of any skill set to tackle this trendy hideaway in a weekend. Let these five crafty projects inspire you to build your own imaginative retreat.



DIY Teepees - No-Sew


To skip sewing and ultimately shrink the total cost of this large DIY, the savvy blogger behind The Handmade Home raided her craft closet for a bundle of fabric scraps she had saved from previous projects. Each pattern was cut into strips of various sizes, wrapped around the DIY teepee’s six poles, and glued into place—no stitches required! At the top, string lights woven around the poles make this hangout a magical spot for playing, both day and night.



DIY Teepees - Outdoor


Mark your calendar for a slumber party under the stars when you craft a larger-than-life backyard teepee like this one from Boat People Boutique. Thoughtful details including textured muslin fabric, 12-foot-long debarked branches for teepee poles, and scrap wood pins to hold the flaps shut will fuel your imagination, transporting you out of your own backyard and into the woodsy settings of your favorite childhood stories.



DIY Teepees - Lace


Hello, living room hideaway! Even with the door rolled down, this lace-cloaked DIY teepee lets in lots of light so you can color, craft, read, or play in these cozy quarters. You may have to brush up on your sewing skills before you dive in, as you’ll need to measure and stitch together the paneled slipcover for your frame of 1×2 poles. Fortunately, the detailed instructions from A Beautiful Mess are there to guide you as you complete this pretty project.



DIY Teepees - Pets


Why not let your furry friend in on the fun? These whimsical designs from FudgeJoy can be recalculated to fit a pet of nearly any size, whether it’s a cuddly cat or a petite guinea pig. Fluffy will certainly enjoy a new snug sleeping spot, complete with a cushy fabric floor—and you’ll love an amusing pet accessory that’s a far cry from a carpeted cat tree.



DIY Teepees - PVC


For a lightweight and light-on-the-wallet option, follow the lead of the crafty mom at Strawberry Swing and Things who structured her children’s teepee using a large drop cloth and cut-to-size PVC pipes. After you’ve saved on the bulk of the project by relying on hardware store basics, dress up the front doors and tie-backs of the indoor shelter with your favorite patterned fabric. Depending on the print you choose, you can complete this DIY teepee for less than $50.

DIY Farmhouse Bench

Building your own home accents is easier—and more affordable—than you ever thought possible.

DIY farmhouse bench

With a little help from Ana White and Shanty 2 Chic, Natalie at The Creative Mom crafted this stand out bench. What’s more, all in all it cost less than $20.

Using little more than a handful of 2 x 4 boards, screws, wood glue, filler, and stain, Natalie was able to transform some hardware store basics into a classic look for her foyer.

Entryway Bench DIY

One of the great things about this project is that you don’t even need to own a saw. Simply take your measurements to most any home improvement store, pick out your boards, and take it to an associate who will cut it to your specifications.

how to build farmhouse bench

After that, this project can be accomplish with some basic DIY skills and a free afternoon. You can read the full tutorial at The Home Depot blog.

Thanks, Natalie! For more DIY ideas, check out The Creative Mom.

How To: Make a Concrete Bowl Lamp

Add a playful, industrial note—and a little light—to your home with this simple DIY.

How to Make a Concrete Lamp


Everyone knows this about concrete: It’s one of the most durable building materials on earth. What’s not so widely recognized is how versatile concrete can be. Yes, it remains the go-to choice for large outdoor projects, such as driveways, walkways, and patios. But at the same time, do-it-yourselfers have been finding more and more creative new ways to use concrete for smaller, often decorative projects inside the house. Take, for example, this quirky concrete table lamp. Though it’s made from the same stuff as your neighbor’s pool deck, the lamp requires a dramatically more modest commitment of resources. In fact, the project takes only about eight dollars and can be completed in under an hour, even if you’ve never worked with concrete before. Besides the willingness to get your hands a little dirty, all you need is QUIKRETE® concrete mix and some basic tools and materials, most of which you probably have on hand. Ready to get started?



How to Make a Concrete Lamp - Partial Materials


- QUIKRETE® 5000 or QUIKRETE Countertop Mix
- Glass jar with metal lid
- 2 wood pieces of equal size
- Pen
- Electrical cord with light bulb socket
- 2 bowls
- Hot-glue gun
- Cordless drill
- Utility knife
- Hammer (optional)



How to Make a Concrete Lamp - Outlining


Gather your materials together and double-check that you’ve got the right components. Note that because there’s a risk that one or both bowls may be destroyed in the course of the project, you may not want to involve your favorite dishes. If you happen to own two matching plastic bowls, consider using those; their flexibility may come in handy for a later step. Also, while you can certainly use any type of metal-lidded glass jar, it must be tall enough to rise up above the lip of your chosen bowls. Before deciding to use this or that jar, confirm that its interior comfortably accommodates both a smaller-than-standard light bulb and its appropriate socket.



How to Make a Concrete Lamp - Insetting


Place the jar, with its lid facing down, into one of the two bowls. Trace the outline of the jar on the bottom of the bowl. Next, place a generous, quarter-inch-high bead of hot glue along the ring that you drew. Having done so, add another similarly generous bead of glue in a straight, three-quarter-inch line projecting out from the initial ring. This line creates a channel through which the electrical cord can eventually run out of the jar and away from the lamp. Now, press the jar firmly into the glue (lid side down), but not so firmly that it displaces the glue and makes contact with the bowl. In other words, the jar should sit on top of the glue, not on the bottom of the bowl.



How to Make a Concrete Lamp - Quikrete Mixes


It’s time to mix the concrete. Here, you can use either QUIKRETE® 5000 or QUIKRETE® Countertop Mix. Readily available at low cost, QUIKRETE® 5000 is specially formulated for high early strength; for that reason, it works well for any casting project. QUIKRETE® Countertop Mix is equally appropriate, though slightly more expensive. With no large pieces of stone or gravel, it’s particularly well suited to smaller and more intricate projects. Following the instructions for your chosen product, mix at least enough concrete to surround the jar and fill the bowl all the way up to its lip. Vibrate the bowl to release any air bubbles, then let the concrete cure.



How to Make a Concrete Lamp - Second Half


Allow at least 20 hours for the concrete to cure. If the bowl being used isn’t flexible, allow up to 48 hours. Once sufficient time has passed, remove the concrete from the bowl. To do so, twist the jar and pull. If the concrete refuses to budge, it may be necessary to break the bowl with a hammer. When the concrete comes out, expect the jar to be lodged within a half globe of concrete. At this point, mix another batch of concrete and add it into the second bowl. Next, pick up the half globe with the jar embedded in it, turn it upside down, and position it so that the jar protrudes into the center of the second bowl, right into the wet concrete. Use two equal-size pieces of scrap wood to maintain separation between the halves.



How to Make a Concrete Lamp - Bulb


Again, wait long enough for the concrete to cure in the bowl. When the concrete has dried, proceed to remove it from the bowl. Once you’ve done so, your lamp is nearly complete. All that’s missing is the bulb. To fit the bulb and socket into the lamp, drill a series of holes around the perimeter of the metal jar lid. From there, use a utility knife to cut out the lid, creating access to the jar. Place the bulb and corded socket into the jar, guiding the cord out through the channel you created by adding that extra line of glue in Step 1. That leaves only the last step: Plug in the socket and turn on the bulb!


Watch the project come together in a step-by-step video, courtesy of QUIKRETE®!

For even more details on the concrete bowl lamp project, visit QUIKRETE®!

How to Make a Concrete Lamp - Complete Angle 2


This post has been brought to you by QUIKRETE®. Its facts and opinions are those of

How To: Make a $5 Stool with Concrete

Take a seat! With just a few materials and a little bit of time, you can make this stylish, industrial-chic stool that can come to the rescue whenever you need an extra perch.

How to Make a Concrete Stool


Do-it-yourselfers have a new favorite material: concrete. Inexpensive and versatile, it can be used in seemingly limitless ways, not only for large applications out in the yard, but also for smaller creations inside the house. Such projects require no special skills or prior experience. In fact, to make a straightforward stool like this one, all you really need are a few basic tools, a bucket, a wooden dowel, and some QUIKRETE® concrete mix. Easy to make and appealing in its pared-down look, the so-called bucket stool offers a wonderful introduction to the process of working with concrete. Perhaps best of all, it’s going to cost you only about $5!



How to Make a Concrete Stool - Materials Array


- QUIKRETE® 5000 Concrete Mix
- 1  1/4″-diameter wooden dowel, 48″ long
- 5-gallon bucket
- Copper pipe caps and washers (optional)



How to Make a Concrete Stool - Cutting Legs


Begin your concrete stool by preparing its three legs. Starting by cutting the 48-inch-long wooden dowel (available at your local hardware store or home center) into three equal 16-inch lengths. To make the cuts, use whatever type of saw you feel the most comfortable with; it doesn’t need to be a power tool like the circular saw shown in the photo. Be aware that the diameter of the dowel determines, to a large extent, the sturdiness of the stool. These instructions specify a dowel with a one-and-a quarter-inch diameter. While you can work with a dowel that’s wider, it’s best not to cut your legs from a dowel that’s any narrower than one inch. That said, if you find an old broomstick or rake handle whose diameter fits the bill, you may be able to save a little money and the hassle of a trip to the store.



How to Make a Concrete Stool - Mix


OK, so what role does the bucket play? Well, for wet concrete to take on the right shape, the material must be placed into, and allowed to dry within, a form whose hollow space corresponds to the desired design. In this project, the bucket serves as the form because its circular interior conforms to the shape and size needed for the seat of the stool. If possible, use a bucket that has a smooth bottom interior; that way, no indentations end up on the top of the seat. Typically, you would mix the concrete separately and only then deposit it into the form. Here, the bucket serves double duty as both the form and the concrete-mixing vessel. First clean and dry the bucket, then pour in three inches of QUIKRETE® 5000 concrete mix. Next, add some water and thoroughly combine the two. Be careful not to use too much water. Doing so may result in weak concrete with a tendency to crumble. Mix the wet concrete until it takes on the consistency of cookie dough.



How to Make a Concrete Stool - Set Dowels


Once you’ve mixed the concrete to the appropriate consistency, it’s important to dislodge the air bubbles suspended within the material. There’s an easy way to do this: Simply shake the bucket from side to side and repeatedly tap the exterior with either your hands or a hammer. When the concrete, now free of air bubbles, has settled, you’re ready to set in the stool legs. Stick each leg about an inch and a half into the concrete, letting its opposite end rest against the bucket. Pay attention to placement. Don’t place the legs close together; instead, try to place them equidistant apart. Once the legs are in position, wait about a full day for the concrete to dry.



How to Make a Concrete Stool - Caps


When the concrete has cured, you can move on to the “unveiling”—that is, taking the virtually complete stool out of the bucket. To do so, bend the sides of the bucket outward in all directions, gently detaching the concrete from the form. Next, pull the stool out by the legs—it should come out easily, but if you run into trouble, you can always cut away the plastic. Inspect the concrete seat and, if desired, smooth any rough edges with 120-grit sandpaper (at this point, the concrete still ought to be easily workable). Finally, address the legs. If your stool came out a bit wobbly, or if you’d simply like to add some decorative flair, then go ahead and attach washers and copper pipe caps to the ends of the legs. To keep those caps from moving, you may opt to secure them in place with construction adhesive, but it’s not strictly necessary. Before capping the legs, you may also consider painting, staining, or dip-dyeing the legs with semi-gloss house paint in your favorite color.


Watch the project come together in a step-by-step video, courtesy of QUIKRETE®!

For even more details on the concrete stool project, visit QUIKRETE®!

DIY Concrete Stool - Complete


This post has been brought to you by QUIKRETE®. Its facts and opinions are those of

Timeless Handmade Furniture with Midwestern Roots

A Minnesota woodworker unites artistry, skill, and regional materials to stunning effect.

Photo: Robert Rausch

For home design enthusiasts, wood furniture built by true craftsmen is coveted for its uniqueness, its durability, and its timeless design. But there’s yet more to love about handcrafted furniture—it’s all within its essence. A single chair, for instance, reflects more than the maker’s structural intentions; it tells the story of a region.

To sustainable maker Scott McGlasson of St. Paul-based Woodsport, community is part and parcel of his furniture. He sources his materials from the “urban forest” of the Upper Midwest and partners with local foundries to make metal bases for his work. Then, when the work is done, he gives back to the region that keeps him abundantly supplied, sending wood chips from his shop floor to local chicken coops and the like. All this thought, care, and sense of place can be seen in McGlasson’s sleek and elegant designs. We caught up with him to discover more about his work and motivation.



How did you get into this line of work?
I’ve always had an interest in design: architectural, interior, furniture. Years ago, I figured I could learn how to make some furniture pieces that I wanted but couldn’t afford, and I took an evening cabinetmaking class at a local technical college. The classes were offered as a fringe benefit of my job with the Minneapolis Public Schools—I was on track to become a teacher at the time.

Have you always been interested in woodworking?
Not at all. I was about 30, so I came to it pretty late. I sometimes compare that with one of my teenage sons who has been following me around my shop, putting things together, since he was 3.


Do you have a favorite tool?
I love Lie-Nielsen planes, Starrett squares, good chisels—pretty typical woodworking accoutrements. But my fave would be a machine: my Powermatic lathe. It has opened up so much for me by way of design.

Where do you source your materials?
It’s quite simple. Someone calls me about a tree that they are removing or has fallen, and I go check it out. I’m specific in what I want: It has to be a big walnut or cherry tree and accessible. I have a sawyer that I work with, and we mill it to my specifications, usually on-site, and he dries it for me. It’s usually slabbed up for my Peasant Benches or tabletops.

I don’t spend that much time sourcing urban lumber; I’ll get one or two logs a year, and that keeps me supplied. I also have relationships with some other small sawmills that get me slabs too. I go to the lumberyard for everything else—we have some great hardwood suppliers in the Upper Midwest.



It sounds like you’re really connected to the community. Are there other ways those connections play out?
You bet; I source out all my metalwork. A friend does my bronze fabrication, I use a couple of foundries for iron and bronze, and a metal fabricator makes my steel bases. I used to do some metalwork, but now I concentrate on the woodworking.

I also source the pelts for my Finny stools from a farm just west of Minneapolis that has the largest herd of pasture-raised Icelandic sheep in the country.



How much time do you typically spend designing a single piece?
It depends. Some designs come quickly, and I nail them right away. Others need to rest, be put out of mind for a while. Challenging pieces like chairs need a long time, even years. I go through a process where I draw it up in full scale, then mock it up, then actually build a usable prototype. The prototype might sit around for a while—my house is littered with them. I’ll make adjustments, and, if the piece seems viable, it will go into my line. I used to do a lot of one-off pieces for people, but because the design process can be onerous, I don’t anymore.



What’s the response been like to your work? Any surprises?
When I first started selling pieces on a retail basis, I was amazed at the positive response. These days I sell the majority of my work all over the country, often via email, and I never actually meet the person. It’s fun doing shows—like the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York—and seeing the response. Sometimes people are blown away by the work; they can’t believe that I actually design and make everything. And nothing is more gratifying than when someone whom you’ve never met comes along and pays a good chunk of money for a piece.


What’s your favorite part of the process of furniture making?
I enjoy the entire process, but it would have to be finishing up a piece. For about five seconds, I’ll step back and admire it… and then it’s on to the next one. It’s especially satisfying when new designs work—where once this was just an idea, and now it’s an actual thing that is part of the world. My goal is that the magic and excitement that I felt when it was only an idea gets manifested in the actual piece. It’s not always there, but nothing is better than when it is. I’m addicted to it.



What would you say is the most challenging part of what you do?
Maybe some of the business aspects of it. I’ve always let things develop pretty organically, and I’ve been at a good spot for the past few years. Direct demand for my pieces has been good, and we can keep up with orders. Everyone is happy. But I’m always turning away wholesale requests, and I sometimes wonder if Woodsport could be bigger and better. But then I just shrug my shoulders and get back to work.

To see more of Scott’s collection, visit Woodsport’s website.