Drafting Table Makeover with Cricut

We took an old drafting table we found at a yard sale and transformed it in to the perfect table for my studio by creating custom stencils with Cricut and adhering them with my Xyron Creative Station

Drafting Table Makeover with Cricut - Kingston Crafts


{This post first appeared over on the Cricut blog where I am a contributor.} My husband Don and I love to bring new life to old furniture. I was looking for a new desk for the studio and when we found this drafting table we knew we had to turn it in to something special! {FTC disclaimer: I received some of these products free of charge. This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a little something if you buy an item - at no additional cost to you!}



1. Start with a clean, smooth surface.

We bought this drafting table at a yard sale. The top was so eroded and covered in glue that we built a new top to fit right over the original. If your desk or dresser or table has a decent top - you can just sand it smooth and you will be ready to go!

Custom Drafting Table with Cricut
Custom Drafting Table with Cricut- Kingston Crafts

2. Paint the top with the color you want to see through the stencil. Even though you will not be stenciling the entire area, be sure to paint the whole tabletop to ensure an even topcoat.

Custom Drafting Table with Cricut - Kingston Crafts

3. Open Cricut Design Space and select any single-layer image or font to create your stencil. The possibilities are endless!

Custom Drafting Table with Cricut - Kingston Crafts

If you are creating a word stencil, do the following before you cut:

  • Size your letters.

  • Make sure each word is “grouped.”

  • Make sure each word is a different color, as this will ensure that each will cut on its own piece of cardstock.

4. Cut cardstock on your Explore. Remember: the color of the cardstock you use doesn’t matter, so use a shade that’s not your favorite.

5. Carefully remove negative and positive images from your mat - you will use both sets.

6. Run the positive images (the letters) through your Xyron Creative Station. Be sure you are using repositionable adhesive - the machine comes loaded with permanent adhesive.

Custom Drafting Table with Cricut - Kingston Crafts

7. Use the negative image to determine where you are going to place your stencils and loosely attach with masking/painter’s tape.

Custom Drafting Table with Cricut - Kingston Crafts

8. Peel letters from backing and place each letter inside its negative image. Firmly rub around the edges to ensure complete coverage, and then remove the negative image.

Custom Drafting Table with Cricut - Kingston Crafts
Custom Drafting Table with Cricut - Kingston Crafts

9. Use a stencil brush to tap (not brush!) the top color around letters. This will add an additional seal to the stencils.

10. Paint the entire desktop in your top color. You may need to do several coats, and be sure to leave time to dry between coats. Be SURE to watch this one minute video where you will see me in all my non-showered, bra strap showing, baseball hat wearing glory. I'm pretty sexy. ;)

11. Gently peel letters away from desktop… and behold! Cover the entire desktop with sealant if desired.

Drafting Table Makeover with Cricut - Kingston Crafts


Upcycled Shelf From a Cabinet Door

Last year we bought a set of cabinet doors at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. We used one right away to create this fun serving tray, and then the other one sat around in our garage, moved with us to Kentucky, and then sat around in our garage again UNTIL recently when I was so incredibly fortunate to partner up with Plaid so needed a shelf to store all my new paints! {FTC disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links which means I may make a little money if you buy something!}

Solid Wood Cabinet Door
Rustoleum Semi-Gloss White Spray Paint
two (2) 1"x2"x6ft Boards
12 x 1 1/2" Size 8 Screws
Titebond Wood Glue
220 grit Sandpaper
Mitre Saw or Handsaw
lint free rag
denatured alcohol
spring clamps
drill with bits

PREP - Lightly scuff sand all surfaces of the cabinet door with 220 grit sandpaper, it helps the paint adhere later. Once sanded, clean the cabinet door of dust with a lint free rag and some denatured alcohol. Use your saw to cut the 1"x2" into the shelf boards.  I measured mine to overhang the cabinet door by one inch on each side.  My cabinet door was 18 inches wide so each shelf board was cut to 20" long. After all the shelves are cut, lightly sand them too.  We added some extra flair to our shelves and put a bevel on the edges but you can just break the sharp edges with the sandpaper.

LAYOUT - Lay out your shelf boards across the door ensuring that they are square and evenly spaced.  We were building this shelf for a specific purpose (to hold paint bottles) so we spaced our shelves to fit. Each bottle was 4" tall so we made the space between each shelf 4 1/4".  Once you have your spacing and number of shelves worked out, lay them out square across the door and mark where each shelf goes.  To add some strength, we notched the cabinet door for our shelves using a router, but if you aren't going to put anything too heavy on them it is not necessary.  Just use a slightly longer screw.

ATTACH - Attach the shelf boards to the door using glue and screws.  Clamp each shelf in place, ensuring it is aligned to the marks you made earlier, drill a pilot hole (here is a good chart to find the right pilot hole size), then drive the screw. Once you are happy with the overall look, temporarily detach the shelves, spread some glue and reattach them.

Use clamps to hold boards in place and then drive screws into the shelf boards from the back of the cabinet door.

Use clamps to hold boards in place and then drive screws into the shelf boards from the back of the cabinet door.

PAINT - Get out your spray paint and go crazy! Just remember if you don't prime the bare wood it may take a good bit of paint to get the finish you want - we used almost an entire can of the semi-gloss white paint. If you used semi-gloss or gloss paint let it dry for a few days to ensure you prevent items from tacking to the paint.

(Left) Go crazy with your Spray Paint. (Right) Before heavy use make sure to let the paint dry for a few days.

(Left) Go crazy with your Spray Paint. (Right) Before heavy use make sure to let the paint dry for a few days.

HANG - Mount your new shelf system to the wall and enjoy.

Check out a few more of our upcycled projects!

Reclaimed Wood Christmas Tree Yard Decor

Hey everybody...Don here. This year I have seen a lot of people making Christmas trees and other decor out of pallets. We didn't have a spare pallet laying around but did have some spare fence pickets leftover from another project so I thought I would take a shot at making our own reclaimed Christmas tree for the yard.

2-3 Cedar Fence Pickets - for the branches and trunk of the tree
2x4 - for the tree trunk
Spray Paint

MItre Saw
Spacer board ( we used one that was 1 3/4" wide)

Set your mitre saw to 90 degrees and cut your 2x4 to 48" to make the trunk.  Then cut a 9" piece from a picket to make the base of the tree trunk. After those are cut set your saw to 37.5 degrees to cut the branches. Measuring from point to point on the long edge of each branch cut the following lengths: 42", 31 1/4", 21 1/4", and 9 1/2".

Using the square and the spacer board, layout the branches on the trunk and mark the top and bottom edge  of each branch with a pencil.  The next step is optional but I found it helped ensure I got good adhesion from the glue.  Mask off the areas of the trunk where the branches go with masking tape and then get ready to paint.

"Tree trunk" masked off where the branches go.

"Tree trunk" masked off where the branches go.

For the trunk (2x 4 and the 9" piece) I layered two colors.  The first coat was rustoleum textured autumn brown. Once that dried I sprayed on valspar satin truffle hunt and while still wet, wiped it lightly with a rag.  Then I painted the branches with rustoleum satin eden and wiped them with the rag while wet to get the washed out effect.

The colors we used for the tree.

The colors we used for the tree.

The trunk after painting.

The trunk after painting.

Branches drying after painting.

Branches drying after painting.

Once the paint is dry it's time for the glue and nails.  Spread glue on the 2x4, place the branches and put about 4 nails in each one.(Use the spacer block to help keep everything aligned.)  Don't forget the bottom of the tree trunk too. Let everything dry and then cut a stake shape on the very bottom of the 2x4 so it can be driven in to the ground.

The spacer block hard at work.

The spacer block hard at work.

Now the find the perfect spot for your tree and "plant" it for the Christmas season. You can even decorate it with lights and ornaments too!

The finished product.

The finished product.

Reclaimed Christmas String Art Ornaments - and FREE printable pattern

Hey everybody - Don here. I don't know why but ever since string art became popular on Pinterest and Instagram I have been fascinated by it and wanted to make some of my own.  It took me a while to figure out how to make a pattern and do the weaving, so I wanted to share so you wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel if you wanted to try it yourself. Below you will find a link for two free patterns - an ornament and a tree - that you can print out and use. I hope you enjoy!   

Reclaimed lumber - we bought an old board at the Habitat Re-Store for $1 and got 13 pieces out of it.
#5 Nylon Thread - various colors
7/8 x 17 Wire Brads (silver nails) and/or 3/4 x 18 Estucheon Pins (brass nails)
Printable Pattern (click to download)

Cut the board in to 3" x 4" blocks. Print the pattern and trim to fit the board, then tack it down to the boards with a couple of the nails. Now put a nail in every mark on the pattern.  Leave the nails long but make sure they are firmly seated in the wood.  This way we can pull tight on the string and pound them in at the end to tighten up the weave. Rip off the pattern and get ready to weave.

For the tree - start with the brown string at the base of the tree and tie it in a tight knot around one of the bottom nails.  For the ornament - start with the red string and tie it around one of the nails near the top of the circle (see where we used the red string in the image below). 

tree in progress

Once you are happy with the pattern tie the string off.  A tip: cut the string a little long, tie a tight knot (this is where the tweezers come in handy), and then trim the string tight. Now change string colors and repeat - weaving the other area of the pattern.

red ornament

Once you are done weaving and all knots are tied, pound the nails down in to the board, we left about 3/8" of the nail exposed.  Cut the ribbon to make a loop, double over the ends and drive a nail in each side. 

arranged ornaments

Sand any rough edges and enjoy your new Christmas decor. These are great as tree ornaments or you can leave the ribbon off and set it on your mantle. Also a cool idea for place settings at your holiday dinner table!

Looking for other reclaimed holiday projects? Check out a few of our Christmas tree projects!

White Walls Wednesday - Dana Albalate


I have always been interested in renovating/upcycling furniture...but with this move especially I found myself really wanting to be more mindful of reusing things we already own and reutilizing our old furniture.  So when I "met" Dana Albalate on White Walls I knew I had found a kindred spirit! Dana is the fourth installment of my White Walls series - and I was drawn to her because of her super cool take on upcycling furniture. I LOVE her color/finish choices!  


It was only after I contacted Dana about being on the blog that I found out the real story...Dana is Active Duty Air Force and a mother of four! And is still cranking out beautiful pieces like this! The next time I tell myself I am too busy or just don't know where I'll find the time I will think of Dana and be inspired.


Dana has started a Facebook Page - Hip & Humble - where you can follow along on her adventures and check out some of the fabulous pieces she creates.  So say hello to Dana - I can't wait to see where this road takes her!

I am an Active Duty Air Force Officer/ Labor and Delivery Nurse, full time college student, wife, and mom of four. I have been up cycling for over 20 years. I became a single mom at a very young age and I quickly learned how to refurb furniture. I love taking ugly cast-offs and giving them new life. Refurb is my passion and I hope to, someday, have my own store.
— Dana Albalate

Interested in learning more about White Walls? If you're a service member or card-carrying spouse, join them (and me!) on their Facebook group! Not a service member or spouse? That's okay -  they've got a website!  Head on over to www.whitewallsonline.net where you can pin from the Gallery, read the blog or some great tutorials, or support military family small businesses by shopping the White Walls Marketplace. There are tons of ways to share, shop, and support military families and I hope you will join us!

Take a Class

Want to improve your skills? Conquer a technique that has been giving you fits or you can't understand from YouTube? Overcome a creative block? Find some inspiration and motivation for your woodworking or other craft?  Then take a class.

Our instructor, Matt, talks through sharpening and setting up our handplanes.

Our instructor, Matt, talks through sharpening and setting up our handplanes.

When I first got in to handtools I took a handplane class at The Woodwright's School in NC.  Bill Anderson put on a great class and had us all six-squaring boards by the end of the two day class.  That class was in 2010 and since then life has gotten in the way, I haven't maintained my skills and I was feeling frustrated with handplanes in my shop.  Most vexing to me was my smoothing plane which for the life of me I could not seem to set up right to yield those gossamer thin shavings we all dream of making.  So this past January I signed up for Handplane Essentials at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking.

Front door of the school. It's located in an old power generation building.  

Front door of the school. It's located in an old power generation building.  

I went to the class knowing I would be satisfied if I merely conquered my frustrations with my smoother. To be honest I had recently let this frustration be an excuse for not getting in the shop at all. What I got instead was so much more.  Jim Tolpin's staff of knowledgeable instructors put together an engaging and awesome class that kept us all busy over the two days. Although they had a well-planned curriculum, they began by asking us what individual goals we had for the class.  As we went through the practicums and lessons of the class curriculum, they found ways to tie in our individual goals and coach and mentor each one of us to meet them.  For example, as some of us worked on six-squaring boards others learned to hollow grind their blades, fettle their smoothers, set up an electrolysis bath, or just work on body mechanics and techniques.  There was no pressure to finish a certain project or hands on practical exercise, which allowed us to follow along and learn these side lessons too.  This is just one of the many of what I would call unintentional benefits of taking a class: learning from the questions of others. 

The best unintentional benefit of this class was a tour of Jim's personal hand tool shop.

The best unintentional benefit of this class was a tour of Jim's personal hand tool shop.

In the end, I departed Port Townsend with my desire to work wood reinvigorated.  In the few weeks since I took that class I have made huge headway on my kayak and even started a new project, a dutch tool chest because of the motivation I took from that class.  Over the coming days I hope to tell you about a few more unintentional benefits of taking a class that help to make them such a worthwhile investment for any maker, craftsman, or tinkerer.

A photo posted by Don (@sawdustdonald) on

How To Build A Headboard From An Old Door

how to build a headboard from an old door - Kingston Crafts

Hey everyone, this is my first attempt at blogging, and it shows due to my lack of pictures of the process.  Regardless, I hope that you find this blog helpful in putting together your own recycled door headboard.  You can find the instructions here, and if you are unable to download it from the link just contact us at info@kingstoncrafts.com and we can email it to you directly. Please let me know if I can answer any questions if you are thinking about building your own headboard or need some help along the way. Good luck and happy building!

We had been looking for headboards for both our guest bed and our own bed for quite a while. Beth loves catalogs like Pottery Barn and we both like antiques, but we aren't crazy about paying the sometimes ridiculous prices. Beth pinned this headboard several months ago, and after looking at the Anna White Queen Headboard plans that the original poster used we headed out to a local salvage yard to find some reclaimed wood.  What we found was something even better (albeit a little more challenging), some old doors with great distressing and character. We brought them home and after cutting them down to size (remember to see my instructions for detailed information and measurements for each step of the project) I built the legs and cap around the door.

After building the frame, the next step was painting. Since these are headboards that are pressed against a wall I only painted the front facing side, which was much easier and a big time saver because I could just lay it on the ground and paint one side. I painted the entire queen headboard black...

but for the king headboard we wanted to retain some of the original color and distressing, so I masked off the panels with painters tape and some of Beth's scrapbooking cardstock.

After the paint dried it was simply a matter of mounting the headboard to the bed frame - and we had some beautiful new headboards for a fraction of the price we would have paid for buying one.

Thanks for checking out my first blog post, I look forward to your comments or questions. I hope you enjoy building your own headboard! Check out a few more of our favorite furniture projects below. --Don