DIY Outdoor Bar & Potting Bench | The Interior Frugalista: DIY Outdoor Bar & Potting Bench
DIY Outdoor Bar & Potting Bench | The Interior Frugalista

July 26, 2013

DIY Outdoor Bar & Potting Bench

You may want to grab yourself a coffee before reading this post because I have a lot to share with you today.
Outdoor Bar & Potting Bench

The actual building of this bench was the easy part. Unfortunately I was so engrossed in building it that I completely forgot to take pictures of each step. Basically we used leftover lumber from previous projects.
Materials Used:
  • The frame was built with 2x4's.
  • The top and bottom shelves were made with ripped fence boards that we cut in half on the table saw.
  • The lattice is doubled up for strength and will hide the ugliness behind the bar.
  • The lattice is sandwiched between 1x1's on the front and back which are nailed into the 2x4 frame.
  • The lattice is spray painted with a Moss Green color.
  • It has two coats of Behr semi-transparent stain in a Natural Cedar color. 
I found the metal candle sconces on clearance. One was brown and the other charcoal so I sprayed painted them black.  Now the fun part began...adding some personality to this baby!

I started with a splash of colour using Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Antique Red followed by a few protective coats of satin Polycrylic.

Chalkboard Menu
I found a long since forgotten frame missing it's glass in our storage room. The picture inside was an old lithograph print from the 30's of Blue Boy - it was in poor condition so please say it wasn't worth anything...Ahem...because I painted over it with Black Chalkboard Paint...Gulp!

I painted the frame with a couple of coats of Antique Red (same color as the bar). I then watered down some acrylic craft paint in a Bright Yellow (it's all I had on hand) and dry brushed it over the red, wiping any excess as I went along. I followed up with a few coats of protective satin Polycrylic.

Image Transfer
Using Microsoft Word I typed "Boissons à aujourd'hui" (Drinks Today) using a French Script font. I changed the font color to a light grey (almost white) - enough that I could see the text on my computer screen but would create a good transfer onto my black chalkboard surface. I increased the size of the font to fit my chalkboard and changed the settings to create a mirror image. I cut wax paper into 8 1/2 x 11 sheets (letter size) and fed them over the bond in the tray of my laser printer.

My printer didn't like this stuff much but with patience, persistence, and some effort I managed to get a good copy. Then I put the ink side down onto my chalkboard and firmly rubbed the wax paper until the letters transferred onto the board. I watered down some white Acrylic Craft Paint and using a fine tip artist's brush, carefully painted over the transferred letters. I don't have the steadiest hands so it isn't perfect but I'm okay with that!

Clay Medallions
When I was rummaging through my storage room looking for the frame I used for the chalkboard I stumbled upon some molds from my paper making days. I decided they'd make cute little medallions for the bar!

I firmly pressed Sculpey Baking Clay into the molds.  Once I got a good impression I removed them from the molds and baked them in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet at 275° for 15 minutes.

Once cooled I painted them with Acrylic Craft Paint.

Using a cloth I rubbed Burnt Umber Acrylic Craft Paint into the crevices and wiped off the excess. This gave them an aged appearance. Once dry I applied a few protective coats of satin Polycrylic. To adhere them to the bar I used Clear E-6000 Epoxy and clamped them in place. I think they add a fun element!

Making a sign using another transfer method:
Again in Microsoft Word I created text and images the same way I did the French graphic for the chalkboard. Except this time I printed them on regular bond paper.

Then I meticulously cut all the white space (or as much as I could) around the graphics and text.

I applied Modge Podge with a small foam brush over the printed images and on the bar itself. I gave them a gentle rub with my fingers to ensure a good bond, pressing out any wrinkles and bubbles. I let them dry over night.

The following day using a spray bottle, a clean white cloth and my fingers I gently saturated the paper and slowly rubbed it off in layers.  You can see from this picture the image was still a bit cloudy.  I kept applying water and rubbing with my finger carefully, ensuring that I wasn't rubbing away the graphic. Once I was satisfied, I then applied (with the same foam brush) a clear coat of Polycrylic. Any remaining cloudiness disappeared.
In hindsight, I wish I would have made the sign with pallet boards or another wooden surface and hung it with some twine. My sign is smaller than I would have liked.

Potting Bench
Potting Bench

You were probably wondering what in the heck the hole was for, right?

The tray was built with 1x2's and a piece of plywood cut to fit the opening.  It is a perfect spot to transfer dirt from bag to plant pots!

The Bar
Outdoor Bar

Again the opening...

Insert a cooler into the opening.  If yours has a drain hole, connect a long plastic tube to it and have it drain onto the ground behind the bar.
If you want to be festive, have a vase sitting on the bar with those cute little paper umbrellas from the Dollar Store. Hey, I try!

Remember this tray from an earlier post?

Painting the cooler
We've had this plastic cooler for decades.  Light that will never do!
I'm not going to lie, this was a lot of work for an old plastic cooler.  Someone on Pinterest or Hometalk used a stainless steel sink in her outdoor bar.  But of course I saw that after I painted this! 

I used Rustoleum Spray Paint for Plastic in Red, Moss Green and White. I started painting the stripes using painters tape.  Yeah, that didn't last long!  Soon I was holding a piece of cardboard against the cooler and spraying.  After it was all dry I applied several clear coats in a satin finish.  

Truthfully, I don't know how well this is going to hold up.  If it doesn't, well there is always the stainless steel sink idea!

Outdoor Bar

Potting Bench

The completed outdoor bar and potting bench.
Time to fire up the BBQ, blend some Margaritas, make a bonfire, and christen this baby!

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