Quick and easy fall craft (plus a stain and poly comparison video)

My fall craft mojo has kicked into full gear, mostly because I took a run today that was so freakin’ hot I truly thought I was going to melt into a puddle of my own sweat. Yep. I am now officially ready for cooler weather.

Today I wanted to share with you a simple and inexpensive fall craft you can complete in one toddler nap time. True story.

Fall-chalkboard-art

Supplies you’ll need for this project:

  • Wooden frame (Mine is a Crates and Pallet version – available at Home Depot – but you could use any leftover frame you have on hand, provided it still has its cardboard backing intact.)
  • Chalkboard spray paint 
  • Wood stain in a cherry finish
  • Chalk and chalk markers
  • Regular printer paper
  • Polyurethane to seal the frame (optional)

Below are the step-by-step instructions and a quick video* that shows exactly how I made this craft project. I also include in the video a demonstration comparing a few different stains and polyurethanes.

Step 1: Stain the frame.

Step 2: Spray the frame’s cardboard backing with a coat of chalkboard paint.

Step 3: While the frame and cardboard dry, design and print out the words for your art on regular printer paper. I created my design in a simple Word document.

Step 4: Take a piece of regular chalk and rub it onto the back of all your paper printouts.

Step 5: Position the paper printouts onto the chalkboard-painted cardboard (make sure the paint is dry first).

Step 6: Take a blunt pencil and trace the outline of your printed words. (This will transfer a faint chalk “carbon copy” onto the cardboard. You can see another example of this method here.)

Step 7: Fill in the chalk outline using chalk markers of your choice. Done!

Have you done any fall crafting yet?

*Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for sponsoring the video featured in this post and to Crates and Pallet for providing the frame used for this craft project. 

New porch in one nap time (plus a giveaway from HomeRight)

As many of you would concur, time is the most precious of all my resources. I’m constantly looking for ways to get a DIY project done faster. Restaining our wraparound porch floor was no exception. I had one afternoon last week to get it done, factoring in an hour or so of “life-guarding” to make sure no children or dogs stepped on the wet stain while it dried.

I should mention we have a fairly large porch, which is certainly awesome 99 percent of the time. The 1 percent of the time it’s not awesome is when we have to sweep, clean or restain it. 😉

Considering my short time frame for this project, I prepared the wooden porch floor for stain the night before. I scrubbed it down with my magic mildew wash, then power-washed it to remove any leftover dirt and loose finish. It’s important to have a clean, dry surface before applying any stain or paint.

Pressure washing porch

Because our floor was previously stained with a solid, beige color, that limited my choices to another solid stain. The good news is that there really are a lot of great color choices out there in solid, exterior stain.

I wanted to stain the floor a different color than our posts and railing, so I went with a rich chestnut color that I thought would work perfectly with our green house siding. (For help choosing colors that work together in a space, check out my color wheel lesson post here.)

When the big day (i.e. afternoon nap time) arrived, I gathered all my materials and tackled this beast with all the desperate fervor one caffeine-fueled toddler mom can muster.

Deck-staining-tools

The key to the success of this project? The right preparation and the right tools. Check out my short video below that highlights the process.

Here’s a list of the tools and products* that made this whirlwind project possible:

Here’s what my “new” porch looks like now:

Chestnut-stained-porch-floor

Chestnut-stained-porch

Now on to the giveaway! If you’ve got a large staining project on your to-do list that you’d like to tackle at lightning speed, HomeRight is giving away a Deck Pro StainStick with Gap Wheel Stain Applicator AND Deck Pro 12″ Flat & Gap Stainer to one of you luckies!

Enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Special thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this post and giveaway. I’m thrilled to be a brand ambassador for HomeRight and, as always, all thoughts, opinions and projects are my own.

homeright-brand-ambassador-sponsored-post2

** Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience. 

Cool campfire idea and a ‘Summer Bucket List’ free printable

I don’t know about you but, after this year’s brutal winter, I am welcoming summertime with open arms! Today I thought I’d share with you two cool summertime ideas that will help your family grow closer this season.

The first is how to build a campfire using only one log and some lighter fluid. It is a cool idea I came across in Cabin Life magazine. Below is a quick video tutorial I put together a few summers ago on how to do this.

Using this method, our campfire burns for more than three hours. It’s also a great conversation piece for our guests and a good way for us to use up a large log we would have otherwise needed to split before burning.

The second idea is the Summer Bucket List. Our family has turned this into an annual tradition. It’s so much fun to see what the kids dream up for us to do each year. At the end of summer, we typically get most or all of our list checked off! Below you’ll find a free, printable Summer Bucket List you can use for your own family adventures.

Summer-bucket-list-photo

What adventures do you have planned with your family this summer?