My Favorite

Once we finished building "the fort" I was eager to add up the scraps and see if if I could scrape together enough for this bench. All but one board was originally on a dock in Lake Lewisville then it was passed up for use in our elevated fort! These are truely used and discarded pieces.
This first picture is of the completed bench per directions on the site. A site that I can't seem to navigate away from ... EVER! A HUGE thanks to Ana White for her amazing plans and site that she so generously shares.This is with nail holes filled but not sanded yet. After this I sanded down the wood filler and also evened out some of the edges where the warped wood didn't line up correctly.
Here I've primed the bench with some kilz primer left over from who knows what. After taking this picture I noticed the leg that wasn't primed all the way and remedied that ;-)
This was the most surprising step... the black spray paint (rustoleum) covered easily with ONE coat! After letting it dry the next couple steps I forgot to take pictures of:

I took an old candle and rubbed it over the bench taking care to make sure to go over the "character marks" and all edges and corners. My bench was hot from being in the sun so the candle wax melted on a bit. On other projects I've done that weren't in the sun I needed to brush off the excess wax that was just sitting on the surface . The top paint color will only easily come off of the places that you put wax.

I then painted the bench with some blue (oops paint) and let it dry completely (not in the sun).

Next step was to sand. I chose to do it by hand with a sheet of sand paper for more control. I think I went back over a couple parts with a little hand sander but most of it was by hand. The wax makes the second paint color come off REALLY easily, no real elbow grease required.

Finally I finished it off with some spray clear coat. (I am also going to go back over it with a coat or two of poly but I haven't gotten there yet).

It seems poetic that my favorite project to date is made from used discarded wood and left over finishing materials. There is just something about making a beautiful and useful item out of materials that would have ended up as trash. Makes me think of how God uses people who are broken and beat up by life and does amazing things with them! Redemption.

Lessons learned:

1) As long as a board is pretty straight and solid the rest just adds character
2) When things don't line up the sander is your best friend
3) I love the black surprise color under the blue.
4) Using just materials you have on hand is oddly satisfying


  1. The Pineapple BungalowJuly 15, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    This is so beautiful, makes me want to grab so ice tea and park it :) .

  2. ok, you're awesome! especially the part about God redeeming the broken and beat up. thanks for sharing!

  3. Just found you via facebook, and am going to be a follower for sure!
    xx Karen

  4. Why did you use a candle?


  5. Thanks :)
    Sharon - The candle is so that the wax sticks to the wood. Everywhere the wax sticks allows for the top paint to easily come off when sanded, it nearly wipes off... very easy to do.

  6. thanks sarah! love it love it love it! i've used that method before on a cabinet for the boys' bathroom- white over black. the wax really does make a difference!

  7. Sarah, loved your finish and thanks so much for sharing it with us all. You made the waxed candle finish much more "doable" for us all! Ana

  8. What a great tip! I've had some frames I've wanted to re-do for months but never jumped in because I didn't know how to get that look. Thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely try the wax trick.

  9. This looks beautiful! I'd return to see more finishing tutorials for the distressed look.

  10. This looks awesome! Will the finish coat keep any other paint from coming off (I'm thinking, when small children gnaw on it or try to pick it off with their fingernails)?

  11. Love the bench got to get some scraps and build one.

  12. Lyndyjo - I would definitely put a couple coats of a top coat to "seal" the paint layers down. I have a dresser I did that with and it seems pretty solid.

  13. We are currently working on painting another of Ana White's benches my husband just built. We're going to paint it using your techniques - thanks for the "how to."