DIY Bench Project

I love building websites, and graphic design, and typography, and photography, and photo editing, and crafting someone’s online strategy…. all things creative and techy. But I also love to step away from the digital stuff and physically build something once in a while… like lots of people do! I get a big urge every month or so to trade in the mouse and keyboard for pencil and draft paper to follow. Then maybe paint and canvas, or hammer and nails. Either way, every once in a while I feel a really strong urge to create something with my bare hands. Something I’ll have to scrub them clean for when I’m done. Like a creative cleanse.

Usually, it’s a painting. But, our apartment is only so big, and I’ve already painted over all our huge canvases. So this time, it was a bench. :) And I gave myself a day to make it (this past Sunday).

The Thought Process

It was a bench becaaaaauuuuse:
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  • My husband Ryan was out of town and it was the perfect opportunity to make something for him… and surprise him with it when he came home on Monday!
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  • I’m a big fan of functional design. Paint a painting that you KNOW will look good in a certain room of your home; Build a piece of furniture you’re actually going to sit on or use… It needs a purpose.
  • We needed something for our bare little balcony – specifically for us to sit on and drink our pre-dinner beers together. :)
  • I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to woodworking. I just enjoy the basics of it, took a few classes growing up, knew my retired-aerospace-engineer dad could help me if I got stuck… So a bench was doable. For me.
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    The Example

    I found this guy’s project, saw he had no idea what he was doing but still made something, printed it, took it to my parents’ house where my huge family was already having Sunday brunch together, and showed my dad. I told him I wanted to “re-create that but do a wayyyy better version. And I need to finish it today so it dries before Ryan gets home.” He laughed and said ok, that I could maybe pull it off…

    The Goods

    Then I saw a bunch of tree stumps he had piled up in the backyard and changed the design; I definitely wanted to use the stumps for a more natural and raw look over the standard 4 legs. I thought Ryan would like the same thing… which, turns out he did! My dad also had a really nice burgundy-colored stain that I liked for the finish, so luckily I didn’t have to buy that either.

    So, I went to Home Depot to buy the only items I would have to buy for this project: one 4″ x 12″ x 8′ piece of Douglas Fir lumber ($26) and four 6″ Galvanized Hex head lag screws ($4). We would cut the wood to 5′ long (too bad Lowe’s NOR Home Depot will cut wood this thick for you.. sucky!). I like the look of industrial/metal textures mixed with natural/wood materials. So since I wanted the screws to show through, the galvanized texture mattered… and I liked it better than shiny. All in all, this bench ended up costing us only $30. Not bad at all.

    The End!

    Anyway I’ll leave the technical stuff out.. I’m sure you can see how the rest of it went through the pictures. It took me the entire day, mainly because of all the sanding I had to do to make it somewhat level and smooth enough to sit on, but I’m proud of it. Best of all: Ryan was totally surprised, and he loves it too. :)


    Typographics – And a Personal Experiment!

    Lately I’ve been looking for ways to change things up in and around our apartment (and driving my husband a little crazy in the meantime, no doubt!). I mainly wanted to brighten things up. Literally with color but also emotionally with something more light-hearted and positive than what we recently had going before:  a mash up of dark furniture, but with a big red COMFY couch in the middle of it all, our own paintings – which we like but were also dark… Anyway not to get too HGTV on you, especially since I’m no interior design expert by any means. BUT, it was time for a change. And that’s for sure.

    Enter: Typography Design


    Since I started learning about graphic design, I’ve always had an appreciation for typography. Simply put, typography is designing with type. Look around you…. typography is literally everywhere. Street signs, movie posters, book covers, t-shirts, all kinds of advertisements, commercials… just everywhere.

    There are typographics all around us, too – typography designs with a graphical element. Check out these typographic ads or these typographic portraits. Infographics are another great example.

    “Graphic Design, meet Interior Design.”

    So, this particular form of graphic design – typography – has had a big impact on the interior design world in the last few years, with the still-growing trend of typographic wall art. I’m sure some of you have seen the trend of these growing over the past couple years especially with wall decals like these, and poster designs like these. The most popular example probably being the “KEEP CALM” series.

    Well, I’m definitely a fan. And luckily for me, so is my husband. :)

    Below is a photo recap of my personal experiment – Designing our own typographic wall art for our new living room deco! Woot!

    Home is Wherever I’m With You

    Ryan and I easily agreed on the words we would use for the design: “Home is wherever I’m with you” from Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

    Our favorite lyric from one of our favorite songs… and definitely something that would help with the whole, brightening-up of things.

    One of the primary concepts

    Fun with decorative fonts

    Playing with textures and graphics... but too busy for our taste

    Getting there! But not quite right...

    And we have a winner!

    The final design, printed and hanging up in our living room

    Want to Have Your Own Custom Typographic?

    GREAT 8 CREATIVE is all about custom design and development, whether for your website or for your home. Or a friend’s home. ;)

    So if you’re interested in hanging a new piece of wall art, or have something else in mind and could use a designer’s help… we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.