Have you ever been so sure you wouldn’t be able to do something that you didn’t even try? That’s how I felt about building furniture. I thought there was no way I’d be able to build a usable piece of furniture on my own. The plans intimidated me and I just thought it would be too hard or would end up looking like a piece of abstract art.
This project is part of the #monthlyDIYchallenge. Big thanks to Kreg for sponsoring this month’s challenge. This post contains affiliate links.
This month we partnered with Kreg for the Monthly DIY Challenge and used their R3 pocket hole jig to build something. I was tempted to take the easy road and just build a picture frame or something small, but my mom really wanted this shelf for her office, so I decided to just go for it. I learned as I went and had a couple setbacks, but I ended up building this piece 100% by myself. Overall it was much easier than I thought it would be.
Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post to enter to win your own Kreg Jig R3 kit!
To build the shelf, I used these free plans from Shanty 2 Chic.
- Kreg Jig R3
- Kreg clamp
- Power drill
- Kreg pocket hole screws
- Wood glue
- *See free plans for specific wood needed to build shelf
Don’t be afraid to ask for help at the hardware store if you need it. If you give them the supply list from your plans they will help you pull all the wood you need. They’ll even cut it to size for free if you ask them to, so if you don’t have a saw or you’re not comfortable using one, you can still totally do a project like this. I did use a miter saw to cut the 2×4’s myself, but beyond that, the only power tool I needed was a drill.
I had no clue how to use the R3 before this project, but it really is so simple to use once you get started. The R3 creates pocket holes in the wood so you can easily screw two pieces of wood together. I definitely recommend reading the instructions yourself and maybe checking out a few YouTube videos, but to give you a very basic idea of how it works: Measure the thickness of the wood you’re drilling the pocket holes into. (It’s important to measure because a 2″x4″ piece of wood isn’t a true 2″ thick. Mine was 1 3/4″). You set the jig to the thickness of the wood and clamp it in place. Then, using the drill bit that comes in the R3 kit, you drill holes by sticking the drill bit in the holes on the R3. It’s so easy. When you’re done drilling the holes you just place a screw in the hole, put the second piece of wood in place and screw them together.
After a day and a half of work, I had a finished shelf! At this point, I was shocked I had actually built something myself and was feeling pretty proud. I’m telling you guys, having the Kreg R3 is the only reason I was able to build this. And I’m not just saying that because they sponsored this post. If you’re at all interested in building furniture, this little tool really does make it so easy to do. (Psst..in case you didn’t see the note above, we’re giving away TEN Kreg R3 kits at the bottom of this post, so be sure to scroll all the way down and enter!).
Now for the paint. Vicki decided she wanted it painted white, so we threw on a coat of primer then a couple coats of Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint. And it looked like this:
Not sure if you can tell from the picture but it was just boring with a capital B. It wasn’t at all what either of us had in mind, so we started experimenting with some color layering. I got a bunch of different paints and stains out and started doing a thin wash over the white paint on the back side.
A few of the colors we experimented with above (from left to right): General Finishes Walnut gel stain, Velvet Finishes dark glaze, and Annie Sloan’s Coco chalk paint. Vicki liked Coco best, so that’s what we went with.
First, we heavily distressed the whole piece with a power sander to let a lot of the raw wood show through. We knew the Coco wash would show up darker on the raw wood, highlighting the wood grain and giving the piece some dimension.
To do the Coco wash, I did a really easy, lazy-girl technique. I used a spray bottle of water to mist the shelf, one section at a time. When it was damp, I squirted a little glob of Coco paint right onto the shelf (I have these paint storage squirt bottles pictured above and they’re awesome!). I used a foam brush to spread it out, misting more water on top as needed. I had paper towels on hand thinking I’d have to wipe some of the paint off, but it soaked right into the raw wood and worked beautifully without having to use the paper towels.
After the Coco wash it looked like this:
Like the original shelf in the plans, we decided to add these rigid tie connectors to the corners. I just spray painted them oil-rubbed bronze. I stuck the screws into the back side of a paper plate and spray painted them as well. Prior to screwing in the tie connectors I sealed the piece with GF High Performance top coat.
The shelf isn’t perfect, and I made a few mistakes along the way, but overall I’m really happy with how it turned out. I learned a lot and feel confident I can build more pieces in the future.
You can enter to win your own Kreg Jig R3! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. Each option is a separate entry, so just filling out one will enter you in the contest, or you can do more for extra chances to win. Ten lucky winners will be chosen at random to receive their own Kreg R3, courtesy of Kreg Tools and the Monthly DIY Challenge.
After you’ve entered, be sure to check out the rest of the Monthly DIY Challenge posts below to see what the other girls built with their Kreg R3. Simply click on the pictures to read the full post!
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