Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pallet bench

I've only ever used pallet wood outdoors like the potting bench, the succulent pallet, and used loose boards as planter stands. I found some pallets which were made from non-treated pine and realised they would do terribly outdoors. I decided to use the boards to make a storage bench for indoor use, but it was a tough process!

The boards were pried off the pallet with a chisel, mallet and hammer. A lot of them broke in the process but I was able to save some. They were scrubbed down with bleach and detergent, washed, then left to dry in the sun. These were later sanded down to remove all splintered edges.

Dismantled pallet boards

I wanted to make something simple that would showcase the old, patterned wood. I made a simple bench frame from structural pine which was cut to size, and screwed together.

 Basic frame

Simple butt joints with some pocket hole joinery happening
I wanted the thick pallet boards to go on top as a seat, and use the other pallet boards as shelving under the bench. I found some left over bed slats in the shed which were cut to size and then screwed down to hold the boards together.

 Bottom shelf done

Bed slats holding everything together

I decided on the height of the shelf and screwed it to the legs. The structure became super rigid and sturdy as it was able to resist shear. I cooked up some coffee and tea stain to bring out the pallet wood features.

 Tea and coffee?

First coat of stain

Staining the pallet boards for the seat

The frame needed to take a visual backseat so I painted over it with flat white paint. I was going for a beachy and rustic overall look so the frame was lightly sanded down to give it a distressed look.

 Painting the frame white

I decided the coffee and tea stain was too light so I pulled out some left over 'Black Japan' stain and varnish in the shed and applied a light coat over the pallet wood. Much better! The wood was left to dry and was later given a light sand before the whole bench was given 2-3 coats of Polycrylic.

Painted, stained, sanded, sealed!

The wood is so pretty~

Very happy with the end result. It is super sturdy! Because of its dimensions (1000W x 425D x 450H) it is a lot more versatile than I initially thought. It can be a coffee table, an entry way bench with shoe storage, maybe even a TV bench?

 Coffee table?

 Entry way bench?

Unfortunately, Hann would never allow anything so rustic in the house. I made this bench with that in mind and am happy to let it go to a good home. So this piece is going up for sale soon :)

Jellyfish and plants

I'm happy to say I've finished writing my thesis, had it printed and submitted last month! I've been able to spend some time on unfinished artwork and projects and even started new ones!

So here is a shot of my finished jellyfish art. I wasn't too far away from finishing when I stopped but I just didn't have the inspiration to complete it at the time. There are definitely a few more art pieces coming along with the black card paper as the base. I love how glow-in-the-dark-ish the jelly fish look.

 Blub blub blub...

Another project which almost died on me was the hanging succulent frame. It suffered a lot during the heat wave as it dried out very quickly and was not shaded from the sun. Oops.

 Poor survivors

I clipped off cuttings from other plants and filled the frame back up, added more soil, and made sure the water content was suitable for the succulent cuttings. They've perked up since the weather has become more tame.

All filled up and looking more lively

I've also learned a lot more about terrarium making and am beginning to understand why some of mine died so quickly or are not doing well. It starts off with having super clean materials to put into the terrarium! I wash all my pebbles, use fresh potting mix, and most importantly, wash all my mosses. I've only ever rinsed them before planting them and this had caused a lot of problems with weeds, bugs and the like. In terms of maintenance, over-watering caused some issues with mould and gnats but I found a tip online to help with this problem. They twisted the corner of a piece of tissue and placed the tip into the soil, using capillary action to draw water out from the soil. Brilliant!

Here are some of my braver attempts at terrariums, one featuring a Hare's Foot fern, and the other, a variegated plant from IKEA.

 Looks like a tiny ecosystem in there!

Inverted a large candle jar over a dish to make this terrarium
A bit of macrame happening at the top for easy handling

Next post is about a pallet bench I've just finished making!