July 11, 2018

$5 Faux Wood Cutting Board

Here is a very inexpensive item that was born out of necessity.
Before you get too excited about the price of $5 for a large 
cutting board, please notice the word "faux". "Faux" if a fancy
French word that means "fake". This cutting board is fake wood
AND cannot be "cut" upon BUT if you want a decorative
cutting board to just look pretty, this project is for you. 

My "necessity" is that although I love having a television in
the kitchen, I hate the way it looks on the counter.

In contemplating about how I could cover it up, I thought
 about  the lovely antique cutting boards that I have seen in
 other kitchens leaning against the backsplash. Hmmmm...

I have seen large reproduction cutting boards at Hobby Lobby
and Michael's but even with a coupon they would be $50-
$60 and I don't think they are the right size to cover up the T.V.

I don't have any woodworking skills or tools to make my own
from scrap lumber like I have seen done in some tutorials.

and from foam core so I decided to try that technique to make
a faux wooden cutting board to somewhat hide the T.V. 

Here is how you will spend your $5 at the Dollar Tree to make it...
$3 for 3 foam core sheets
$1 for 1 roll of wood-patterned shelf covering
$1 for glue 
(if you want the board to be darker than the shelf covering
you will need some craft paint...maybe you already have that)

In the planning stages, I thought I would need a full sheet of
the foam core so I could slip it up under the top cabinet and
brace it from above so it would not lean on the t.v. 

In actuality, the t.v. was sturdy enough to have the board(s) 
lean up against it without harm or tipping over backwards.
 That meant that I could make faux cutting board large 
enough to cover the t.v. but small enough to look realistic. 

My plan from the beginning was to have at least two other real
wooden boards in front of the faux board to "fool the eye".
On Amazon I found a good size pizza board for $20 and a
smaller cutting board for $12.50. To me this was easier than
scouring stores for other cutting boards or finding someone
 to make them. I planned on painting/antiquing them.

After looking a images of large antique wooden cutting boards
online, I decided on this basic shape for my faux cutting board. 
You could make a faux cutting board any size or shape you want. 

I decided to round the corners. You could use a round plate as
a guide to help make them uniform. I had a simple protractor. 

Once I got a shape I liked on one board, I traced it on the other 
two boards. You would not HAVE to use more than one board
but it helps to make the faux cutting board have more 
dimension. Also, the single core board sometimes has a slight
bow to it and the other boards help to keep each other straight. 

You can use a kitchen steak knife to cut the foam core board.
If you have a craft knife with a sharp blade, your cuts will be
cleaner. I found that I got less jagged cuts by making 3 passes:
First cut: cut through the paper on top of the foam core
Second cut: cut into the foam core
Third cut: turn the board over and following the cut lines
that should be showing through, cut from the back

Your cutting board pattern may be perfectly symmetrical on 
both sides...mine was NOT. I had to do some "fine tuning" with
the craft knife to get all three pieces matching by holding the 
 boards up to each other and shaving some more. Even then, 
there were some slight differences between left and right.

When you start to glue don't do like me and not know which
sides of the boards match. Next time I would write something
on each board to tell me what side was front or back, etc.

I glued one of the foam core boards wrong. When they were dry
I had to do more shaving with the craft knife to even them up. 

Put the glued boards in an out of the way place and put some
stuff with weight on top of them to help bond them together.

Here is the thickness of three foam core boards after the glue dries.

I had another foam core board I could have added to make it
thicker but I was tired of cutting by then. If you are not lazy
(like me) and want it thicker, add another board. 

This next step is one you could skip...putting wood shelf 
paper on the BACK of the cutting board.

To cover the back of the faux cutting board roll out the wood
shelf paper long enough to cover the board. Trace around the
board and cut close to the tracing line. You do not want 
overhang on this side of the board.

Start with the non-handle side of the board and apply the 
wood shelf paper to the board slowly rolling the printed 
non-stick side away and smoothing the sticky side of the 
shelf paper down on the board as you go.

Here is the backside of the faux cutting board...

...trim the wood shelf paper as close as you can to the edge. 

On the "good" side of the faux cutting board, you are going to
want overhang so you can wrap the shelf paper around the 
edges and on to the back to secure everything. My faux board
was 16" wide...the shelf paper was 18" wide. If you want a
faux cutting board wider than 16", you could add another
row of shelf paper lengthwise to cover the edges. 

I was nervous about getting the shelf paper on the board
straight and having equidistant overhang so I put the shelf
paper face down, peeled off the printed paper layer and placed
the board on top of the sticky side to monitor the placement. 

Time to pull the overhang to the backside to secure the
shelf paper and cover the edges. You will have extra shelf
paper at the corners whether you have rounded or square ones.

Clip off the excess shelf paper with scissors but leave enough 
to be able to stick to the backside of the board. 

At the end where the handle is, cut the shelf paper to be able to
cover the edges but still have enough width to stick to the back.

Cut the shelf paper at an angle where the handle meets the 
board to be able to smooth it down. You will have a blank space.

Cut a small piece of  wood shelf paper long enough to bridge
 the gap but not too wide then stick it on to cover the board.

Smooth the edges and corners as much as you can to the back.
I ended up with some "dog ears" that I needed to glue down.


You may like your faux wooden cutting board just fine in
the color that the shelf paper is in.

 I wanted mine to look more like an antique so I painted it with
watered down craft paint.  Here are the basic brown colors that 
thought would help me achieve that look. 
The two lighter colors of brown did not help to "age" the wood. 
I would skip buying them in hindsight....too light...get a black instead.  

If you use too much water, the paint will bead up on the wood
shelf paper. You don't want to cover the wood elements with
too thick craft paint however. In the real antique cutting
board images I studied, the edges and the handles were darker
 than the center of the board so I tried to mimic that look. 
Painting the board in progress

Probably I could have stained the real wood cutting boards
that are my decoys but I don't know the ramifications of real
stain on boards that might accidentally have food on them in
the future when I am dead so I just used craft paints on them. 

I was not getting enough darkness on the boards so I added 
some black acrylic paint to the mix.

If you want to make several faux boards to stack up against
each other you could do that and skip the real wood ones.

Here is the large faux wooden cutting board with its 
"finished for now" paint job. I added some "cut" marks with
a tiny paintbrush to cover some wrinkles in the shelf paper and
other places to (hopefully) add faux knife marks authenticity. 
You can google "antique bread board images" to get more ideas
 on how to paint your board to make it look old.

The new pizza board got some "cuts" too to add faux age. 

The main thing I did to the smaller new wood board was to
leave the center lighter than the edges and the handle. 

The smallest board is one that we got in a gift basket. It has
aged pretty well on its own. I added paint to the "cuts" it already
has so they would show up better. I know odd numbers in a 
display are better but I just like this tiny cutting board in the mix. 

Tom Kat thinks it is crazy to cover the t.v. 'cause it is almost 
always on when I am in the kitchen but when "company is 
coming" I want to be able to hide it. 

In reality, most of the time the boards will "live" on the other
 side of the kitchen away from any heat or grease splatters. 
Here is the foursome of cutting boards NOT being used to hide the t.v.
Would you like this look in your kitchen? 

How would YOU use an inexpensive faux wooden cutting board? 

July 10, 2018

Stenciling On Tile

My kitchen backsplash was a pretty boring single-color tile.
 After seeing the Moroccan-looking tiles being used by
 designers on floors and backsplashes recently, I 
decided that my back splash would be a good candidate
 to have a similar look stenciled on it. 

A lot of the stencils with a Moroccan design are 8" square.
My kitchen tiles are 4" square. I found Pearl Stencils on Etsy.
The owner Patricia can make her stencils in almost any size
that you need. Her price was very reasonable.

Actually I ordered two different stencils because I couldn't
decide between them. When I did a trial run, the stencil 
without a lot of detail was easier to do on the backsplash tiles. 

Here are the supplies that you would need if you want to 
stencil on your backsplash too...
extreme bond primer
paint for tile background
brush to apply tile background paint
paint for stencil design
sponge or spouncer to apply paint to stencil
sealer coat

I found that having disposable gloves and painter's
tape were also very helpful. 

The color on the wall and the tile is Georgian Green
by Benjamin Moore (HC-115).
The color of the cabinets is Urbane Bronze by Sherwin
Williams (SW-7048). I decided to use that color for the
stencil color too but in a "flat" sheen. 
Here is a retrospective look at my kitchen. When we bought the house, everything was white.
Then (picture above white kitchen) we painted the tile the same color as the walls and the 
cabinets a dark green. Later we painted the cabinets in "Urbane Bronze" a gray green. 

First clean your tiles well and apply the primer.
 Follow the directions on your can of primer. 

When we moved in the house 14 years ago, we
decided to "wait" to change out the kitchen backsplash
and just painted the white tile with the bond primer and a 
coat of latex wall paint (same color as walls). It has stayed
 on perfectly so I really did not need to redo that step. 

I suggest starting your stenciling in an area that is not
the center of attention so you can get the hang of it. 
I wanted my stencil design to form a quatrefoil pattern. 
I had to be mindful of which way I placed  the stencil on
 the tile to accomplish that look across the backsplash.  

I wanted to tiles to have a worn, old tile look so I used a 
sea sponge to apply the paint to the stencil to get a more
irregular look. If you like a more filled in look with a
 cleaner edge, you could use another method like a roller.

Having to lean across the counters to stencil the 
backsplash was tiring on my back so I only could
 work on it a couple of hours a day. Also we don't have
under counter lights so sometimes I would need to prop 
up a flashlight to help me see what I was doing. 

After a couple of hours of stenciling it was a good idea
to stop and clean off the stencil from the paint build up.
The design gets less "sharp" after a while of painting. 

Painter's tape was helpful to hold the stencil in place 
while I sponged on the paint. As with any stenciling, you
don't want to have much paint on your applicator so the
paint does not run under the stencil. Always brush/dab
most of the paint off before putting it on the stencil. 

If I got more paint on the design than I wanted, I dabbed a 
little of the base color back over the dark color to make it 
not so solid-looking. If you have the base color it is also 
helpful to paint back over mistakes with the stencil painting. 

When you get confident of how you want the pattern to look,
you can stencil non-connected tiles so that the paint can dry
on a tile before you stencil an adjacent tile with wet paint.

The slowest part of the stenciling was the odd corners and
edges. Lots of painter's tape and patience was required to 
try to "match" the tiles. The stencil was nice and "bendy".

For the bullnose edge pieces of the original tile, I used only a
portion of the stencil to make a complimentary design. 

Finally I decided to cut the stencil to get in to very 
tight spaces where I could not bend the stencil enough
to get a good design. 

The cut stencil made it much easier to get in tight areas. 

Finally, I got the backsplash "good enough" (are there slight
mistakes, yes, but when you look at it as a whole they are not
 noticeable) to put three coats of a clear varnish over the paint.

Even though we never really redid the backsplash with new 
tile (like we intended 14 years ago) this inexpensive paint
technique will probably get us through the next few years. 

When we bought the house, this area was an opening. We did not like that the glass front door
beyond the opening allowed anyone to look into the kitchen and us in our pajamas, etc. 
We sheetrocked the opening up. We painted this dresser the same color as the cabinets.
It is great storage for kitchen items. 

Can you see what is hiding behind the cutting boards? It's a T.V! A must. 

On the other side of the sink is enough counter space to have
an informal eating space we pull bar height chairs up to. 
The kitchen area is almost like an island with the dining room on the left side and the 
living room on the right side. I LIKE the kitchen not being visible from the front door. 

Also we have a kitchen table and chairs beside the kitchen 
windows. The table can be made in to a full circle when we 
need more seating in this area. 

Truth be told, I can't find the pictures I took of the beginning of
this stenciling project. Every stencil project is different so maybe
some of these tips can help you if/when you decide to stencil
your tile OR just make an area LOOK like tile. 

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