A Simple DIY Potting Bench You Can Make In A Day

One warm and sunny morning while enjoying coffee on the deck I mentioned to Mr. Frugalista that I would love to have a potting bench in our back yard. Over our second coffee with pen and paper in hand, we came up with a plan. Deciding it was the perfect day for a DIY, we headed to Home Depot to pick up the materials and got to work building our Simple DIY Potting Bench.

A Simple DIY Potting Bench Graphic

I say it is a simple potting bench because it can be built in an afternoon.

Simple DIY Potting Bench

For those of you who have been following me for a few years, this potting bench may look somewhat familiar.

DIY Potting Bench Outdoor Bar

Now you're probably thinking, wait a minute there are a few things different between the top photo and the one above, and you'd be right.

We recently modified the design, added some new elements, and changed its function. We'll get into the meat and potatoes of how to build it near the bottom of the post but first, let me refresh your memory.


The first thing we did was turn it around to face into the yard.

Added a shelf

I found some metal brackets at the dollar store and so we took a pine fence board and added a shelf.

DIY Potting Bench Shelf

The wooden birdhouse on the shelf has since received a makeover...with napkins. You can catch that here at A Decoupaged Birdhouse.

Lowered the bottom shelf

We also lowered the bottom shelf on the potting bench to accommodate a watering can and large plant pots.

DIY Potting Bench Lower Shelf

Added some decorative hooks

I also found some fun metal garden hooks at the dollar store for hanging my garden tools.
DIY Potting Bench Decorative Garden Tool Hook

Turned candleholders into solar lights

I moved the metal candle sconces onto each side of the potting bench. They were originally purchased at HomeSense (Canadian version of HomeGoods) for a song because one was brown and the other black and so I unified them with black spray paint. It looks like they could use another fresh coat of paint, which has been added to my To Do List.

Recently I replaced the candles with solar lights that I got at the dollar store. All I did was detach the light kit from the stem and shorten it with a miter saw. The stem was attached to the base of the candleholder with E6000 glue.

DIY Potting Bench Replacing Candle with Solar Light

Once the glue was cured I reattached the light kit, put the glass back onto the candleholder and voila, the potting bench is lit up automatically every night.

DIY Potting Bench Candleholder with Solar Light

A brand new top

But the biggest change we made was replacing the plank top with wide pine fence boards stained with both Behr semi-transparent exterior stain in Natural Cedar and a wash of Dixie Belle Paint Company Voodoo Stain in the color Tobacco Road.

DIY Potting Bench Plank Top

A look at the old top

Let's take a trip down memory lane for a minute. Originally we built the bench to be both a Potting Bench and an Outdoor Bar. The top was built to accommodate a removable tray.

DIY Potting Bench Bar Opening

The idea was that I could fill the tray with soil and once the flowers were planted, I could place the pots on the tray and carry them to the flower beds.

DIY Potting Bench Tray

When having bonfires in the fire pit, the bench was used as an Outdoor Bar. We could simply remove the tray and pop our painted Coleman cooler into the opening.

DIY Potting Bench Bar with cooler insert

Great idea right?

In theory but neither the tray or the cooler held up very well and in hindsight, I wish we had recessed either a small stainless steel sink or large galvanized bucket.

We have since repurposed an old lattice tiered table into an Outdoor Portable Bar Cart that can be easily moved from our deck to the firepit. Hence the reason the bench's sole purpose now is that of a Potting Bench.

DIY Backyard Potting Bench

The frame of the potting bench is painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra Paint in the color Antique Red with a wash of Tobacco Road stain.

DIY Medallions

I couldn't remove the medallions on the original design for the life of me (a testament to how strong E6000 glue is). So I kept them on but painted over them with the antique red paint color so they're more subtle.

If you're wondering how they were made, I pressed Sculpey Baking Clay into plastic candy molds. Once I got a good impression I popped them out of the molds and baked them in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet at 275° for 15 minutes. Once cooled, I attached them onto the potting bench with E6000 glue.

DIY Potting Bench Medallions

DIY Sign

I made a sign from a scrap piece of wood when the bench was being used as a bar.
DIY Potting Bench Bar Sign

I recently gave it a makeover befitting a potting bench. I happened to have an old floral brooch in my stash that was perfect to glue onto the sign.

DIY Potting Bench Sign

The fun part was shopping for accessories for the new and improved potting bench, all of which I found at either the dollar store or Wal-Mart. I don't call myself The Interior Frugalista for nothing!

DIY Potting Bench Herb Garden

I'm much happier with the new look of the potting bench. My hope when planning this DIY for our backyard was that it would turn my black thumb green. Even the peas in the forefront of the photo below are hoping it's so.

If you like my DIY Potting Bench, please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.
A Simple DIY Potting Bench
For those of you who may be interested in building this Simple DIY Potting Bench, please read on for detailed instructions.

A Simple DIY Potting Bench You Can Make In An Afternoon

Materials List

  • 2 x 4 lumber (10)
  • 1 x 1 lumber (3)
  • 6-foot Pine Fence Boards (4)
  • 7-foot Pine Fence Boards (4)
  • 4 x 8 Cedar Lattice (1 sheet)
  • 2-inch Galvanized Wood Screws
  • 1 1/4-inch Brad Nails
  • Behr semi-transparent exterior stain in Natural Cedar
  • Dixie Belle Paint Company VooDoo Stain in Tobacco Road
  • Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Antique Red
  • Rust-oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Spray Paint in Fossil 
  • Minwax Exterior Satin Polycrylic

Unfortunately, we were so engrossed in our project that I forgot to take pictures during the building process. If you are handy, you can probably get a good idea how it was built from the picture below.

DIY Potting Bench Bar

Hopefully, you will find my written tutorial below easy to follow. Refer to the photo above each subheading for reference.

Building the back frame

  1. Cut two 2 x 4's 5-feet long for your uprights.
  2. Attach a 6-foot 2 x 4 at the top of each upright using galvanized wood screws.
  3. 22-inches down from the top attach a second 6-foot 2 x 4 but turn it upright (like the ones pictured on the front).

Building the front frame and adding side supports

  1. Cut two 2 x 4's 3-feet long for your front uprights.
  2. Cut four pieces of 2 x 4 2-feet long.
  3. Attach each of them onto both the front and back uprights 6-inches from the bottom.
  4. Repeat 22-inches down from the top. These are your shelf supports (see update below).
  5. Attach two 6-foot long 2 x 4's onto the front supports making sure everything is square and level.

Adding the lattice

  1. Cut 4 pieces of 1 x 1 lumber 6-feet long.
  2. Cut 4 pieces of 1 x 1 lumber 21-inches long.
  3. On the back of the top 2 x 4's nail a piece of 6-foot 1 x 1 onto the top and bottom of the frame.
  4. Repeat with the 21-inch pieces on each side. This will hold the lattice in place.
  5. Cut the 8' x 4' sheet of cedar lattice into 6' x 2' .
  6. Spray paint the lattice with Rust-oleum spray paint in the color fossil, a moss green or the color of your choosing.
  7. Double up the lattice for both strength and in our case, to hide the unsightly wood pile behind the bench. 
  8. Attach the lattice to the 1 x 1 frame using brad nails.
  9. Repeat steps 3 & 4 onto the front. This will sandwich the lattice between the 1x1 frames.
DIY Potting Bench Lattice

Adding a bottom shelf

  1. Rip four 6-foot pine fence boards in half with the table saw for narrow slats on the bottom shelf. If you prefer wider slats then skip this step.
  2. Attach them to the bottom frame with 2-inch galvanized wood screws. 
DIY Potting Bench Bottom Shelf

Building the top

I'm giving you both options to build the top...

Option 1 - Wide Plank Top 

  1. Cut 4 7-foot pine fence boards 75-inches long.
  2. Screwed from the top onto the bottom supports.
  3. Space the boards evenly with a gap between each board. We used a paint stir stick.

Option 2 - Narrow Plank Top With Opening

  1. Rip four 7-foot pine fence boards in half on the table saw. 
  2. Cut them into 75-inch lengths.
  3. Attach them to the frame with 2-inch galvanized wood screws.
  4. Draw the outline of the vessel you plan on using for soil and/or ice onto the board with a pencil.
  5. Cut out the opening with a jigsaw.
  6. Add supports underneath the boards on each side of the opening. Screw them in place from the bottom or top with 2-inch galvanized wood screws.
So there you have it, a simple rustic DIY Potting Bench that you can make in an afternoon.

You will find this project shared at these fabulous Link Parties.

Read More

Mom's Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Got A Makeover

Last Fall when sorting through Mom's things in preparation for her move to a long-term care facility, taking her Queen Anne jewelry armoire was not an option. My sister, in need of a larger jewelry box, was the lucky recipient.

Not a fan of the golden oak, she recently asked if I would refinish it for her and so Mom's floor standing jewelry chest got a makeover.

Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Makeover

This is what the jewelry chest looked like before...

Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Before Makeover

...and open.

Open Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Before Makeover

Before I get into the makeover details, did I mention, today is Furniture Fixer Uppers Day? What that means is that five talented and creative bloggers have come together to breath new life into five furniture pieces that had seen better days. Normally we would have six to share but Larissa from Prodigal Pieces had to sit this months challenge out.

In case you missed last months challenge, I transformed an office bookcase into a Farmhouse Cupboard.

Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Makeover With Decoupaged Napkins

Curved Floor Standing Jewelry Armoire Makeover

Prepping for paint

After a bath in vinegar and water and a towel dry, I dismantled the hinged parts of the cabinet. Next, I removed each drawer and labeled them with painters tape. I'm a bit of a bull in a china shop when it comes to painting - some might argue life in general. The black felt inside the armoire was in excellent condition and so to protect it from my sloppiness, I ran painter's tape along all the edges.

Prepping Jewelry Cabinet for chalk paint

I left the original hardware on because I didn't plan on replacing them and from my experience, those soft little screws strip quite easily.

With some chalk paint, it doesn't require priming, de-glossing or sanding first. I put that to the test by painting without prep and doing the scratch test 24-hours later. If you run your nail across the paint and it doesn't peel off, you've got good adhesion.

The base coat

My sister wanted a distressed shabby chic finish but rather than the golden oak showing through the distressed areas, she wanted black. I gave the chest an undercoat of chalk paint in the color Graphite, a dark gray.

Graphite Base Coat on Jewelry Chest Makeover

The top coat

Over the charcoal gray, I chalk painted three coats of Old White. You can see the black underneath after distressing. Although in some areas where I sanded back more than others you can see the golden coat peering through.

Tip: If your preference is having NONE of the original wood showing through after distressing, you have two options:

  1. Wet Distress: While the paint is still wet, rub a damp rag along the parts where you want the bottom paint color to show. (I had to leave the house shortly after finishing the white coat and so couldn't do this.)
  2. Petroleum Jelly Resist: After the darker undercoat is dry, apply petroleum jelly onto a cotton swab and run it along the areas you do not want the top coat to cover. (My original plan until I forgot.)
I also distressed the lion head drawer pulls.

White Painted Lions Head Pulls on Jewelry Chest

Adding a graphic

My sister asked if I would add the word DREAM onto the top because the jewelry armoire would be used for her costume jewelry in her bedroom. I had some dream decals in my stash that I liked the font. Not wanting to simply pop a decal onto the lid, I transferred the typeface by placing a sheet of graphite paper underneath and traced it with a pencil. You can't see the pencil mark so I can still use the decal on a future project.

Image Transfer on Jewelry Chest Lid

Using craft paint and a script liner art brush I handpainted the graphic.

Hand Painted Graphic on Curved Floor Standing Jewelry Chest

Decoupaged napkins

I always like to add an element of surprise on the inside of my furniture makeovers. For this piece, I chose dollar store napkins.

Dollar Store Napkins to Decoupage Jewelry Chest Drawers

But first I painted the sides of the drawers with a coat of Old White chalk paint. Napkins are 3-ply and so before decoupaging, you have to remove the extra ply, thus making the paper quite transparent. Had I not painted the sides of the drawers, the golden oak would peer through the paper. Ahem, ask me how I know.

1 Ply Napkins Ready To Decoupage On Jewelry Armoire

Oh and one more thing, make sure the pattern on the napkin is facing upwards towards the top of the drawer. Yeah, ask me how I know that too.

But first, before separating the napkins I cut them in half horizontally. This made it very easy to pull apart the layers along the cut line. Next, using a foam brush I applied a thin but generous coat of Mod Podge onto the sides of the drawer. You have a little play room with a thin napkin and so I eyeballed the placement and essentially dropped it in place. Very carefully I adjusted the napkin and dabbed the spots that didn't have good contact with my fingers, not worrying about wrinkles.

Once the Mod Podge was dry I used a craft knife to carefully cut the paper to size. To protect the napkins from the drawers sliding open and closed, I brushed Mod Podge over top the paper.

Note: make sure you have a generous amount of Mod Podge on the brush or you risk tearing the paper and whatever you do, don't go over the same area twice. 

After it dries use fine 220-grit sandpaper to smooth along the edges.
Decoupaged Drawer Sides on Floor Standing Jewelry Cabinet

I repeated the same process around the mirror on the inside of the lid.

Decoupaged Lid Mirror on Floor Standing Jewelry Chest

The Oops that was a blessing

Using a lint-free rag, I applied clear wax over the painted armoire. Next, I grabbed my go to horsehair shoe brush to buff the wax, forgetting that the last time I used it was on my sister's Black Handcrafted Table to which I had applied dark wax.

Oops, the plan was to have a clean look on this piece but I was loving the depth the dark wax was giving the creamy white. So I kept buffing the dark wax all over the cabinet, without reloading more onto the brush. The subtle antique finish is so pretty.

My sister doesn't know I changed the plan but she'll find out when she reads this post. Hi Carol, I hope you like it?

Jewelry Chest Chalk Painted White

White Chalk Painted Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Open

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know I'm all 'bout the legs, bout the legs.

Queen Anne Legs On Floor Standing Jewelry Chest

I'm quite pleased with how Mom's jewelry chest looks now. Goodbye golden oak - hello creamy white.

I wish my Mom could see her jewelry armoire and have the ability to tells us what she thinks of the makeover. Alzheimer's robbed her of that.

If decoupaging with napkins makes you nervous, try it on a small inexpensive item like I did on this Dollar Store Birdhouse.

I had just as much fun giving this floor standing model a makeover as I did with all the little jewelry boxes I've done over the years. I call them mini furniture makeovers. Like this Jewelry Box Repurposed Into Remote Control Storage and Mint Vintage Jewelry Box Makeover.

If you enjoyed this Queen Anne Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Makeover, please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

Floor Standing Jewelry Chest Makeover Before and After

I'm so excited to see what my talented blogging friends did with these furniture pieces.

Furniture Fixer Upper June Challenge Before Makeovers
Girl In The Garage
Petticoat Junktion
Confessions Of A Serial DIYer

You will find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.

Read More

Pretty Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs

Today I'm sharing a quick and easy way to update plain wooden chairs using the color blocking technique. I found beechwood chairs for a whopping $2 each during a recent trip to the thrift store. With very little paint, they were transformed into Pretty Aqua Beechwood Color Block Chairs and given a playful Scandinavian half painted look.

Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs

Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this makeover I'm so excited to announce a new monthly blog series called the Thrifty Chicks.

Thrifty Chicks Monthly Themed Blog Hop

On the second Wednesday of every month, a few of my creative junk loving friends and I will be coming together to share a project based on a different theme. This month the theme is chair and our task is to either transform or repurpose a chair.

Pretty Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs

Color blocking these chairs should have been a very quick makeover, had I not had a few hiccups along the way. Learn from my mistakes should you decide to try this paint technique on some chairs.

More about those hiccups later - this is what the chairs looked like before...

Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chair BEFORE

One leg had some damage but I can't complain about a $2 chair. Looks like either a doggie got hungry one day and called the chair lunch or the previous owner sat in these chairs while wearing heels and wore a groove into the wood.

Damaged leg on Pretty Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs

Disclosure: I've included a Materials List towards the bottom of this post. It contains affiliate links for your convenience so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. What that means is that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you, which supports the cost of running this site. Please see my full disclosure policy.

Prepping and repairing the chair

The first task was to give the chair a good scrub with vinegar and water. Then I filled the gouges and sanded only the parts of the chair that I would be painting. In the photo below you can see how I used painter's tape to protect the areas I would not be painting and to create the diagonal pattern on the seat and legs for the color blocking.

Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs Prep

Executing my color block paint vision

I painted half of the seat, the top rail, and feet in two coats of the color Pure Ocean, a turquoise blue chalk paint by Dixie Belle Paint Company.  I declared the chair the easiest makeover EVER and walked away proud of my color block finish.

Hated the look

The following morning I walked into the shop with coffee in hand to admire my first attempt at color blocking furniture and hated it.

It looked all wrong.

The dipped legs looked dippy, the back rungs looked naked, and the whole thing looked like a half-baked attempt at painting a chair. In my state of panic, I completely forgot to take a photo.

Onto Plan B

It felt like the chair needed a pop of crisp white but the question was where? Painting the other half of the seat defeated the Scandinavian half painted look I was going for.

After a lot of pondering I decided to paint just the two middle chair spindles white.

I liked it.

I liked it a lot.

White Spindles on Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs

But now the bottom half of the chair looked like it needed some white and so I added a band of white over the aqua on each leg.

Hated it.


Don't they remind you of a croquet mallet?

Changed the plan for feet on Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs

Onto Plan C

Go big or go home said the Aqua dipped feet.

Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chair Legs

I'm much happier with the results - it just needed that pop of fresh crisp white that is so popular in Scandinavian furniture.

Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chair

As for the Bentwood Stool

This is the second makeover for the IKEA Bentwood Stool. Last year I gave it a Farmhouse Bentwood Stool. After several unsuccessful attempts to sell it at markets, it sat in the basement collecting dust.

Realizing the stool would pair beautifully with the Danish beechwood chairs, I gave it a fresh new aqua and white painted makeover.

Pretty Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chair Makeover

The best part about my pretty Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chair?

...there are TWO

Pretty Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs with painted Bentwood Stool

Materials List

Beechwood Chair(s)
Pure Ocean by Dixie Belle Chalk Paint
Linen White by Rustoleum Chalked Paint
Minwax Polycrylic Gloss Finish
Mouse Sander and 80-grit Mouse Sanding Pads
Painters Tape

Most of the products used can be found in my Interior Frugalista Shop on Amazon HERE.

The lesson in this makeover. You can save yourself a lot of time and headaches by doing a rough sketch of the furniture on a piece of paper first and paint your vision using pencil crayons. It's much easier to change the plan on paper!

So what do you think, has this makeover inspired you to give plain wooden chairs a color-blocked finish? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below.

If you found the Aqua Beechwood Color Blocked Chairs inspiring, please share it with a friend and /or save it on Pinterest.
Pretty Aqua Beechwood Color Block Chairs
Now let's go check out how my talented friends transformed these chairs or chair parts...

Repurposed Dining Chair by Little Vintage Cottage
Painting Outdoor Adirondack Chairs with HomeRight Finish Max Extra by Just The Woods
Repurposed Chair to Bird Feeder by Thrifty Rebel Vintage
What You Can Make with an Old Chair by Shoppe No. 5
How to Turn an Abandoned Chair Seat into a Farmhouse Sign by Adirondack Girl At Heart
Leg-o-matic Chair Refresh by Lora Bloomquist

You will find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.

Read More