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2 Item Fire Starter DIY Tutorial by Functional Rustic

It’s cold outside. Winter is rolling in and bringing snow falls and bitter cold temperatures. Although it may be cold outside – the fire in the Functional Rustic wood stove is burning red hot.

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This will mark our second winter heating the house with our wood stove. My husband, Dave, spent the summer finding dead trees and cutting them into fire wood to heat our home. Check out the chain saw video tutorial with Dave HERE. Dave’s hard work has furnished us with approximately 10 chords of hard wood for burning.

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Having a large supply of wood to burn is a great start – but there is more to an effective fire than just fuel. Being able to start the fire is the important part. Last year I used news paper – a lot of news paper – to start the fire each day. It worked – technically. However, I found that the massive amounts of newspaper created vast amounts of ash that ultimately extinguish the flames.

Also, we make our fire first thing in the morning – around 5 am. At that hour, the house is dark and cold. The last thing I want to do when I wake up is waste time fighting with a fire. For that reason, I created fire starters to help me start the day off quickly. I just toss them in, add some wood and light a match.

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My fire starters light quickly but burn for awhile – a great combination for getting the fire started. Keep reading to learn how to make FREE fire starters with items you already have around your home.

Fire Starters DIY Tutorial

Fire Starters by Functional Rustic

Supplies: Dryer Lint & Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

Step One:

Gather lint from the lint trap in your dryer.

Step Two:

Gather empty toilet paper rolls.

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Step Three:

Stuff lint into the empty toilet paper tubes. (I was able to create three fire starts with one lint trap.)

Step Four:

Fold the ends of the tubes so that the lint stays inside.

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Step Five: (Optional)

Write fun messages on the tube or add any colors you want. If I was giving them as a gift I would write messages on them but, for my daily needs I keep them blank.

Step Six:

Share your creation with Functional Rustic on social media using #functionalrustic.

Congratulations! You made your very own fire starter.

Written by : Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just DIY Tutorials? Support a small, local business by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store. Below is a sample of what you can expect to find. Special orders welcome and shipping is FREE!

 

Wooden Thank You Card AQUA BLUE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

 

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

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Save Money & Support Local Business: Functional Rustic Approach

Functional Rustic has a promo code now! Use Promo Code: save50 when you check out at Functional Rustic and save 50% on your entire order. And, as always, Functional Rustic offers FAST and FREE delivery right to your door!

Save50 Promo Code
Use Promo Code SAVE50 at www.FunctionalRustic.com to save 50% PLUS FREE SHIPPING on the entire Functional Rustic inventory of handmade rustic décor. Valid thru 12/31/18.

I’m not ashamed to say that I am struggling to get the word out that Functional Rustic is a place to buy things – beautiful, handmade things at that! Apparently most stores use sales and promotional offers to get customers in the door – so Functional Rustic will too!

Sales and promotions are nice and all – but I am most proud of the new items I’ve created. The consistent piece of feedback that I have received is that Functional Rustic could benefit from a bit more color. It is this advice that inspired the purple, green and blue coat racks. Talk about colorful! Not only do I love the colors, but the round “hooks” are actually repurposed drawer handles. Gives them such a unique look!

The coat racks are fun to create but I promised myself I wouldn’t make any more until I sold what I already have. They are priced to sell so I will get to build more in not time. (If you want a coat rack but in a different color let me know and I will happily repaint it for you! Also, if you can’t make it to Countryside but want items you see from the pictures – let me know and I can arrange to have it delivered FREE.)

As of today, all of the new Functional Rustic items are in store at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall. The plan moving forward is to store all the new products at Countryside and pull them off the shelves as needed for craft shows. Keep an eye out for the monthly storewide sales (on top of already low prices) and receive at least 25% discounts on all Functional Rustic items.

Check out the new items at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall below!

Looking for a way to help a stranger this holiday season?

Small home business like Functional Rustic can’t afford the advertising that big retailers are able to utilize. We rely on individuals like you to help us introduce ourselves to the public. By sharing/liking posts from your friends (or strangers like me) you allow their products and ideas to be seen by hundreds more people.

Unexpected kindness is the most powerful...

Also, we also do happy a dance anytime someone interacts with our content. Seriously.

Each time Linda Schaub and Dutchll like something I published I grin from ear to ear and do a little dance. They are consistently supportive so I am fortunate to do my happy dance every day. It’s hard to say if their specific interactions increase visitors to the website – but the impact their support has on my confidence & motivation is worth more than any number of visitors. Thank you Linda and Dutch!

Some people believe it is only great power....

I also cannot say enough nice things about a woman I recently met named Anna Hitch. I met her and her husband at our last craft show and it was such a treat. Both she and her husband create beautiful handmade crafts. She works with yarn and he with leather. Anna gets a special shout out in the post because she consistently “likes” the Functional Rustic Facebook posts & she left my first review! Anna is my first non-family member to interact with my Functional Rustic Facebook so she is kind of big deal around here. Please help me say thank you to her by following Anna on Facebook and checking out her Etsy store. (Feel free to use the comment section to help me peer pressure her into starting her own website with an online store. 🙂 )

Thank you for reading and checking out my newest creations. I welcome your feedback in the comments below and wish you the happiest of holiday seasons.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Below are a few of the items available in the Functional Rustic Store:

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Red

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00



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Functional Rustic is Running the Day

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Functional Rustic Barn as the sun rises. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

I’m running the day and knocking out tasks like crazy.

I. Love. It.

The 10 Inspirational Quotes blog was written and posted early today. Then I spent a few hours taking photos around the property, winterizing the barn and enjoying coffee by the wood burning stove with my husband and our dog.

Today I am working on some new pieces for upcoming craft shows and to sell at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall. They are not available in the Functional Rustic online store yet but you can find many of them in the Functional Rustic Etsy Store.

I encourage you to check out the Etsy store. I spent a considerable amount of time last week updating all of the products, photos and descriptions. When I first set up the Etsy store it took me over a week to take and edit photos, write out descriptions and all of the other steps involved in listing items for sale on Etsy. This time around I was able to make all the changes to the store in the course of one day. I am quite proud of myself.

The expert in anything was once a beginner..jpg
The expert in anything was once a beginner.

It has been year since I started Functional Rustic and the anniversary is providing me with the opportunity to reflect on how far I have come and how much I have learned. The Etsy store is a perfect example of this. The reason it went so quickly was because I was prepared. I have spent the year taking and editing product photos so when I had to do it last week it was second nature. I did not have to think about how to get the proper angles or correct lighting – because I practiced taking photos everyday for a year I now do it instinctively.

I do not consider myself an expert on building an online store – but I am knowledgeable. This time last year I was completely clueless. I had never used a hashtag #, never published a blog, never thought to sell something I created and never thought I would own my own business.

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Functional Rustic WordPress Website Statistics since August 2018.

I taught myself how to do all of this. Over 10,000 website visitors in the past three months and over 7 million monthly Pinterest views and over 1.6 K followers. (I promise to publish how I did it soon. I have over 50 photos that still need to be edited before I publish the final product. But please, feel free to ask any specific questions you have in the meantime.) I read articles & research papers, watched videos and listened to pod casts. I talked to other start up business owners, crafters and bloggers. I spent days viewing every TedTalk I could find on marketing, branding, and overcoming doubts.

Every single day I taught myself something new about how to start a business. ALSO – each week I taught myself a new DIY skill or project. The amount of knowledge and wisdom I have gained in the past year is astounding.

I really am in awe of what I have accomplished for myself this past year.

I want to see what happens if I dont give up

Like I said, I am getting a lot accomplished today. One of the more productive tasks I accomplished was making promo videos for my signs and chalkboards. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to properly demonstrate the size of my wooden signs and chalkboards. I am hopeful that the videos I took demonstrate it effectively.

I don’t know of any other signs that are thick enough to stand upright on a table. The thickness of the boards has always been the part of my signs that I find most unique. It’s hard to tell in the videos, but it was actually very windy. I’m shocked really, that none of them blew off the deck while I was filming. Ha.

Let me know what you think of the new products / videos below. I can use all the feedback I can get. Thanks in advance!

I’m off to create new projects….may your day be as inspiring as mine!

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card AQUA BLUE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

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Pop Can Wall Flower Tutorial from Functional Rustic

It’s fall in Michigan. The trees are changing color, the days are getting shorter and the temperature is getting colder with each gust of wind. The changing of the season is beautiful but it also marks the end of the blooming season for most flowers.

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The changing colors of the leaves on the tress around Functional Rustic.

The bright pops of color that flowers provide during the spring and summer months provide such a boost to my mood each day. I won’t let the changing season get in the way of having flowers to admire though! Functional Rustic is about building what I want with what is in front of me. I want to see flowers – so that is what I’m going to do!

Using items I already have laying around I created a quick, easy and FREE way to make my own flowers that bloom year round and can’t be killed!

Pop Can Wall Flower – DIY TUTORIAL

Pop Can Wall Flower DIY Tutorial

Supplies: Pop Can, Scissors, Paint (marker works too), String

Step One:
Rinse out an empty pop can.

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Step One: Rinse out an empty pop can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Two:
Using a knife or scissors puncture the can along the ridge on the top of the can. Cut along that ridge until the top of the can is removed.

 

Step Three:
Cut down the length of the can until you reach the ridge at the bottom of the can.

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Step Three: Cut down the length of the can until you reach the ridge at the bottom of the can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

Step Four:
Just as you did for the top of the can, cut along the ridge of the bottom of the can until it is removed.

 

 

 

Step Five:
Using the scissors, make small cuts into the bottom part of the can that you just removed. Cut all the way down to the next ridge in the bottom of the can. See below.

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Step Five: Make small cuts into the bottom part of the can that you just removed. Cut all the way down to the next ridge in the bottom of the can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tip: Wear gloves when you do this project or be very careful the edges are sharp.

 

 

Step Six:
Flatten down the pieces you just cut. Sort of like turning the can inside out. I flatten them down because I am going to paint them next and it is easier if they are flat.

Trim the jagged edges so that the ends of the pieces are similarly straight. I actually liked how it looked when it had the jagged edges, but I struggled when trying to paint them so I recommend trimming.

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Step Six: Flatten and Trim the Edges. Step Seven: Paint. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

 

 

Step Seven:
Paint your flower. I use oil based paint markers for my flower. Permanent marker, spray paint, and nail polish are other ways to color your flower.

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Step Seven: Paint your flower. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

Step Eight:
Puncture a hole in one of the “petals” so you can hang the flower.

The scissors or knife you used to cut the can work but I used a  hammer and nail because I wanted a round hole instead of a slit. And using a hammer is fun. 🙂

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Step Eight: Puncture a hole in one of the “petals” so you can hang the flower. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Nine:
Thread a string through the hole and tie a knot so you can hang it.

You can use anything for your string. I use thread, twine and wire right now but I plan to test out fishing line and floss next. Get creative with it.

 

Instead of hanging your flower you could also glue a stick to it and put it in a flower pot. Again, get creative with it.

Step Ten:
Take pictures of your creation and share it on DIY Projects of Facebook.

 

Written By: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card RED

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

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My First Craft Show as a Merchant – Functional Rustic

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Shopping at craft shows makes for a memorable day but, participating in a craft show from the other side of the table is a whole new experience.

My husband and I moved out to the country away from our lifelong suburban lifestyle in the summer of 2017. The physical move to a place I always dreamed of living inspired me to make very conscious changes to the rest of my life too.

Healthy self. Heal thy self.
Healthy self. Heal thy self.

Part of those conscious changes was focusing on what brings me joy and building the rest of my life around that concept. I find joy in being surrounded by nature, learning new things and inspiring others.

I am happy. Functional Rustic provides me the opportunity to intentionally live the life I want to live – a peaceful life. Peace and serenity, though they feel good, do not pay the bills.

Enter the Craft Show.

Craft Shows

I love shopping at craft shows. As a shopper it is exciting to see booth after booth of handmade crafts. Each booth is different and I never know what I will find.  Also, most of the people selling the craft actually made the craft themselves. In what other context do you have the chance to meet face-to-face with the person that built what you’re buying?

As a social person that enjoys learning, attending a craft fair is the perfect day for me. A craft fair affords me the opportunity to engage with people about something for which they have a passion. Every crafter has a story to tell; how they did it, why they did it. Seeing their passion as they share their story inspires me to seek the same for myself.

Art is not what you see, its what you make others see.
Art is not what you see, it’s what you make others see.

Also, anything bought at a craft fair immediately becomes a conversation piece. “Check out this unique table I bought at the craft show last weekend”. “Remember that day at the annual craft show when we bought that salvaged barn wood sign?” “Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen anything like that before!” “Such a clever way to repurpose those items”.

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Back to Nature Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic. Made from salvaged wood, pine cones, twigs and hand painted stones.

In addition to the stories behind each item I create, there is also a story behind how each of those items got before the customers eyes. This is the story of how I went from craft show shopper to craft show merchant in pursuit of the life I always dreamed of living.

How I signed up for the Craft Show

I created an online store on the Functional Rustic website as well as an Etsy store. However, craft shows are the most effective place to sell crafts, especially when just starting out.

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Functional Rustic salvages wood and other unique items to create Rustic Décor. www.FunctionalRustic.com

A friend of my sister, Tina, is also a creator and heard about what I was doing. Honestly, I do not recall if I initially reached out to her or if she reached out to me. What I do know is the universe worked it’s magic to put us in each other’s lives.

Tina shared that she was being pressured by friends and family to sell her art at the Berkley Days Craft Fair. Knowing that I too was entering the crafting scene and needed a venue to sell my goods, she invited me to join her.

Craft show booths need to be signed up for in advance. Most craft shows have their booths rented months in advance of the actual show. So, if you want to participate in craft shows you need to plan ahead and book early. 

Success occurs when opportunity meets preperation
Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.

We agreed to split the cost of the booth. From my initial research you can expect to pay between $100 and $400 to rent a booth at a craft show for a weekend. The booth size was large so it was no problem to combine our items into the same space. Also, both of us generally work alone. If I did not pair up with her I would be by myself for the entire weekend and so would she.

As far as the actual sign up, Tina handled all of that. As I understand she just emailed the coordinator and said we wanted a booth. Since it is a juried show we included some pictures of our items as well as a brief description of what we sell. Once we were approved payment was sent. The whole process was actually very easy.

Juried craft shows mean that the venue wants to preview what you are selling. This enables them to do quality control up front to ensure that items being sold are appropriate for the venue. For example: Selling nude sculptures at a children’s craft fair would be inappropriate.

Preparing for the Craft Show

I did not have to worry about creating a bunch of items specifically to sell at the craft show because I already had an inventory on hand for my online store. Instead of creating new products I focused on building my business presence online in order to later promote the craft show.

Although I was not actively working on tasks for the show itself I was always thinking about it. I can’t even count the number of times I walked past the shelves I built and tried to imagine how I could show them off in my display. I also drew out blue prints for the various ways the booth could be set up. (As it turns out I did not actually use any of the designs I thought of before hand. Ha.)

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I wanted to make sure that the set up encouraged people to engage with the merchandise and had a natural flow to it. This is an easy thing to say but much harder to actually create. Having spent years attending shows though, I had an idea of what kind of set up I enjoy interacting with and tried to replicate that.

Below you can watch Prodigy, Muscovy Duckling of Functional Rustic, helping me prepare.

I also had to figure out how to actually display my items. I create furniture and home décor. Specifically I was selling shelves, signs and candle holders. The shelves were great at displaying the candles but when I sell the shelf I have no where to display the rest of my products. Also, how do I display my signs?

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Functional Rustic salvages wood and other unique items to create Rustic Home Décor. www.FunctionalRustic.com

In my head I worked out elaborate tables and displays I could build out of pallet wood. It was gorgeous. As I was creating the display in my mind I was provided the opportunity to participate in a yard sale. The yard sale provided me the perfect chance to field test my display ideas. Read about my first yard sale here.

I learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t work through selling at the yard sale. Building off of that knowledge I felt better prepared to actually start the build process for my craft show display.

Making the Craft Show Display

Making a craft show display is no different than making an in-store or window display. Catching the attention of those walking by is critical. I agonized over this. I researched and re-researched effective display techniques.

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The beginning stages of building my craft show display table for www.FunctionalRustic.com

I had a display all worked out in my mind …. and then I read the guidelines for the show. I didn’t even know there were rules. Ha. Some of the rules were having table cloths down to the floor, covering all your tables at the end of the night and bringing your own fire extinguisher. Theses were understandable requests but I had to make some major tweaks to the table design with my new found information.

Be sure to read all of the guidelines associated with a show before signing up. Every show has their own set of rules and requirements. It can be frustrating to have to look for a fire extinguisher or change a table display at the last minute. Also, the size of your the booths vary from show to show so make sure your display fits in your assigned space.

The yard sale let me work out the kinks in displaying my shelves and candle holders so the actual table where I display my signs and ornaments was the priority.

 

In order to capture attention I wanted to make sure I had color contrast. I achieved this by draping brown burlap over the sides of the table and placing a stunning, hand woven white table cloth across the top.

I still needed a way to display my signs though. I chose the burlap to play off of the rustic theme of Functional Rustic and I decided to use chicken wire to hang the signs off the side of the table.

I drilled holes in the side of the table so that I could attach the chicken wire with bolts. The combination of the burlap, chicken fencing and hand made table cloth really encompassed the look I was going for.

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I drilled holes in the side of the Oyster Table so I could attach my chicken wire to hang my signs from. www.FunctionalRustic.com

This look also provided a lot of texture and dimension. I’m sure there is a psychology behind why texture is effective – all I know is it works. Soft fabric table cloth, rough fabric burlap, cold metal fencing, warm wooden shelves and brightly hand painted wooden décor. Everything about it says “touch me” which is the look I was going for.

Related to providing dimension – I needed to add varying heights too. To accomplish this I built display stands to hang my signs on. (These stands are also great for displaying jewelry and to be used as a phone charging station.) The stands were colored with either white or red deck stain so in addition to height on the table I also had color contrast.

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Multi Function Indoor/Outdoor Display Stands by Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Colors are important in a good display. If I’m being honest, I continue to struggle with this. For this craft show at least, I relied on the contrasting colors of my shelves the different colors of the candle holders to provide pops of color to my display. The key with properly utilizing color in your display is to capture the attention of whoever is walking past. Contrast draws people’s attention.

Setting Up for the Craft Show

The first day of the show was a Friday evening. They allowed the merchants to come set up starting in the early afternoon. I arrived as early as possible. I needed every minute of the set up time so I’m glad I arrived early. It takes quite a bit of time to carry items from the drop off zone all the way to the booth. I did not account for carrying time when I scheduled my set up.

The biggest hinderance for setting up my display was the items themselves. The shelves are not light or fun to move long distances alone. I still want to sell them but in the future I will likely only try to sell one or two at a time instead of six of them.

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Pallet Shelving by Functional Rustic. Big storage for small spaces. www.FunctionalRustic.com

When creating your display remember that you will have to set up your display, then take down and carry out your display out a few days later. And, you have limited time to set up so, a very elaborate display may not be recommended. My shelves may look great but, logistically I need another approach.

What I found most surprising was how different the space looked than I had envisioned. I staged my items at home many times before actually arriving at the show. However, when everything was set up and the back drop of all the other booths was there – it looked a lot different than I thought it would.

 

Let the Show Begin

It is 5 pm on Friday and the doors are officially open. My display is set up but I continue to fuss with it. Move this over an inch and swap that sign for this one.

I was actually expecting a flood of people to pour into the show as soon as the clock hit 5. (This was an indoor craft show.) That didn’t happen. The experienced crafters said that the turn out this year was very low. Apparently this is usually a profitable venue but, for whatever reason, the people just weren’t coming in the door this year.

 

Having very little foot traffic provided me the opportunity to get to know Tina better. We had crossed paths a few times before but never actually had a real conversation until that day. Needless to say, I really like her and I understand why my sister became her friend. Also, I love her work.

Where as I repurpose items with the intention of giving them a new function, Tina repurposes with the intention of saving items from landfill. She turns miscellaneous items into impressive works of art and jewelry. Our crafts really compliment each other.

Despite not having the foot traffic I was hoping for, I still had the opportunity to engage with a lot of people. I also sold enough to make back my booth rental fee plus a couple bucks. I’m proud and consider it a success.

People watching is fun. People watching as a merchant at a craft fair is more fun. My instinct when I encounter someone is to look them in the eye and smile. In my day to day life this is a good quality. It’s actually a good quality in sales too but, the responses it gets when I’m in the merchant role are amusing.

Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.
Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, many people smile back and/or say hello. However, people ignore vendors in a lot of different ways. Most people just do the “eyes down on the products never make eye contact” approach. Others accidently make eye contact but play it off as something across the room that has them so distracted they cannot see or hear anything else. And a shocking number of people suddenly need to examine the entire contents of their purse or pocket after making eye contact with a merchant. Did you know that making eye contact with a smiling person selling something causes the person to suddenly notice all the lint on their clothes? Ha. My favorite is, in response to a simple smile and a Hi, “uh, I’m just looking.” and then they literally turn their back to me and continue to admire the merchandise. It’s fascinating.

I don’t take it personally. I’ve done all of these things at some point in my life. I get it. People don’t want to be sold something. I know I don’t. That’s why I don’t try to get people to buy things. Of course, an argument could be made that me not trying to sell things is why people are not buying them. Hmmm…..

The problem is not the problem, the problem is
The problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude to the problem.

People did buy things though. And many more provided unprompted praise for the craftsmanship and creativity. My ego loved it.

However, I still had doubts about the prices due to so few sales so far that weekend. So, on the last day of the show when a customer asked the price for an item I provided the listed price and added “or whatever you think – make me an offer.”

He immediately and sternly responded, “No. Your price is your price. This is the price you want for it and that’s what I will pay.” He then said he would be back later to buy it. I felt great about what he said but assumed I would never see him again after he left. Well, not only did he return he also bought TWO signs at full price. Apparently I’m doing something right!

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Rustic Furniture and Home Décor from Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Another ego boost came when a couple stopped by and asked if I sold my shelves in the art gallery down the street. Don’t get me wrong, I like the shelf and think it’s pretty and very functional, but art? What an amazing compliment to receive. An art gallery is for “real” artists. Especially for someone just entering the arts/crafts scene hearing feedback like that is incredible.

People First

As much as participating in the craft show is about selling my creations and making money, it is also about introducing my brand and spreading awareness for the Functional Rustic website. This is where I had the most fun.

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A frequent ice breaker I used with shoppers was to ask if they do Do-It-Yourself projects. If they say yes then I ask about what they create. This approach enabled me to see many pictures of impressive projects from tiki bars to decorative soap to ball gowns.

Every single person that shared their DIY story did so with a huge smile & sense of pride. For a few minutes I got to share that moment with them. I smiled with them when they discussed overcoming this obstacle or gifting that craft to their loved one. Then I encourage them to go to my website if they are looking for ideas for new projects or I send them to DIY Projects of Facebook where they can share pictures and stories from their DIY endeavors.

Sell the problem you solve, not the product.
Sell the problem you solve, not the product.

For the shoppers that report not being a DIYer I ask what is something they always wanted to try. Generally I get to know them and their interests. At some point I will have the opportunity to naturally transition the conversation to telling them about Functional Rustic Tutorials. “Never did a do-it-yourself project? Now you can with a tutorial from Functional Rustic.” Promoting the craft tutorials is huge for parents of young kids. They can’t take my card fast enough when I say I have free easy crafts to do. Ha.

Not only did I get to meet many dynamic and interesting people I was also able to promote the website in a way that addressed their personal interests. Instead of just saying “check out my website” I can refer them to a particular blog post or a specific video of the Muscovy ducks.

End of the Show

I spent the weekend at the craft fair working my booth. For that reason, I was unable to shop at the craft fair or really talk to any of the other crafters. My biggest regret from the show was not connecting with other merchants more.

For some reason I thought that when the show was over I was going to have a chance to chat up some of the other people participating in the show. I don’t know why I thought that. The show is over. I’m tired. I’m far from home. I want to go and so does everyone else.

TIP: Network during the show when things are slow instead of after when everyone is busy trying to leave.

Packing everything up to go home was actually pretty straight forward. So much quicker to take apart the display than to set it up. It was also a treat to watch how seasoned craft show people take apart their displays. In a matter of minutes they have everything packed up into plastic totes and are ready to load into the car. This is not their first rodeo!

 

Overall, I am very happy about how my first craft show. I met interesting people, learned helpful feedback for my business and made a profit! I thought participating in a craft show as a shopper was interesting but, being on the other side of the table is an even more exciting experience!

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card AQUA BLUE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

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T-Shirt Rope Toy DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Don’t throw away those old t-shirts until you read this!

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T-Shirt Rope Toy Tutorial from Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Chewing on things appears to be our rescue dog’s favorite thing to do. And oh boy can she chew. She was given at least six dog toys at her first Christmas and by Valentines Day they were all destroyed. Maintaining her chewing habit was going to cost us a fortune! Unable to find a rope toy that could stand up to her mighty mouth I decided to make my own.

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Use T-Shirts to make toys for your dog or cat. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Using only t-shirts and scissors I created handmade toys for my animals.

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Rope Toy made from T-Shirts. www.FunctionalRustic.com

I grabbed a pair of scissors and a t-shirt from the good will donation pile and was on my way. My first attempt took longer than I care to admit but by the second I was a pro. Everyone got handmade dog toys that year!
You can create your own handmade gift for the animal in your life. Making a durable rope toy is not only easy but practically FREE! Keep reading and/or watch the video at the bottom to learn how I did it.
T-Shirt Rope Toy Tutorial from Functional Rustic
Materials
Old T-Shirt
Scissors
Approx. 15 minutes to complete
Directions
Step One:
Laying T-Shirt on a flat surface, use the scissors to cut from the bottom corner of the shirt up the seam to the sleeves. Do this on both sides of the shirt.

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Cut from the bottom corner of the shirt up to the sleeve. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Two:
Cut along the seams of each sleeve to remove the sleeves from the shirt.

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Cut along the seams of each sleeve. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Three:
Cut along the seam on the shoulder. At this point you should have two sleeves, a front and a back.

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Remove sleeves but cutting along the seams. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Four:
Set the sleeves aside. Cut the front and the back of the shirt into strips. Start at the shoulder and cut down to the bottom of the shirt. The strips should be at least an inch wide but could be as large as one third of the front or back of a shirt. I wanted to make several toys so I made my strips smaller.

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Cut the T-Shirt into strips. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Five:
Choose three of the fabric strips you just cut and tie the ends together.

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Select the 3 pieces of fabric you want to use. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tie the ends of two strips together with a double knot and then tie the third strip to the knot. At this point there should be a lot of fabric hanging down one side and only three small pieces at the top. Continue to tie the small pieces to one another so you have a couple double knots on the top.

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Tie two pieces of fabric together at the ends. www.FunctionalRustic.com
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Tie the third piece of fabric to the first two. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tie everything as TIGHT as you can. With each knot, tug on all the fabric strips. Tug the way your dog would to ensure it is secure. If your short ends are too short to make many double knots it’s no problem, your original knots connecting the three strips together should be strong enough.

Tip: To ensure a tight start to the braid, wrap one of the strips around your toe (or another small secure item) before you start the braid. Watch the video for more information.

Step Six:
Braid the strips of fabric together. Braid them TIGHT! The braid should be so tight that it becomes stiff. In addition to the tight braid you will also need to add a few more knots. Every two or three inches you will want to tie some more knots. (Ex. tie strip A to strip B then tie strip C to strip A then tie strip C to strip B. How you tie the strips together is less important as the knot securing the braid above it.)

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Braid the strips together. www.FunctionalRustic.com
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Tie knots every few inches. www.FunctionalRustic.com
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Leave the ends long to make tassels. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Seven:
You should still have quite a bit of fabric hanging down.

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Continue to braid and tie knots every few inches. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Continue to tightly braid the strips and add knots as needed for stability. Once you get toward the end of the fabric you will want to save some fabric so you can tie several more knots.

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Adding knots in the braid helps to keep it secure. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The knots at the end keep the braid in place and provide a hand/mouth hold.

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Rope toy made from repurposed t-shirts. www.FunctionalRustic.com
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Valencia Merble the Dog loves her rope toy. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Eight: (optional)
Add a handle for your dog rope to make it even more unique. Remember that small gap that was created when you wrapped the fabric piece around something small but secure? Well, using the discarded shirt sleeves and that hole you can add handle.

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Adding a handle keeps your hand safe from teeth and drool. www.FunctionalRustic.com
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Adding a handle keeps you from having to bend over to play with your furry friend. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Take the seam of one of the sleeves and push it through the little hole. This will be tough because the hole should not be very big. Once the seam is all the way through you should have one part of the sleeve hole on each side of the toy. Grab one of the sleeve ends and pull it through the hole on the other side. Once you pull it tight it should form a secure handle that looks like the sleeve.

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Thread one of the sleeves through the “toe hole”. www.FunctionalRustic.com
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Use the t-shirt sleeve as a handle. www.FunctionalRustic.com

If you are willing to sacrifice a few t-shirts you can make some very colorful chew toys for your furry friend. Although these toys are durable they are also very light. Makes for a great cat toy too!

Watch the T-Shirt Rope Toy Video Tutorial from Functional Rustic


Written by: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Originally Published at www.FunctionalRustic.com

Written by Sarah Palmer, Owner – Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just Tutorials? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

“Happy Holidays” Wooden Ornament

“Happy Holidays” Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

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Procrastination is Productivity: A Functional Rustic Approach

I’m having a very productive, creative week. I love it. What I find most amusing is that I had set the goal for myself to post a blog every day this week (in addition to the 10 Inspirational Quotes). Well, that didn’t happen. Ha.

While actively not writing the posts I intended to, I built a bunch of new items for Functional Rustic. I love when that happens. The things I create when I am supposed to be doing something else are often my favorites.

I’m off to create more but here a few of the items.

Wooden Thank You Cards

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Wooden Thank You Cards.

 

 

Fire Wood Holder

Bathroom Décor

 

Salvaged Shutter Chalk Board Organizer

 

What do you think?

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic.

 

Wooden Thank You Card LIME GREEN

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

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Troubleshooting the New Display Cart for Functional Rustic

Today is one of those work days that is both fun and frustrating. I am signing up for craft shows and am trying to work out how my new display cart will fit in the various sized booths at the different events.

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Plan to use this bakery cart we got at a garage sale as the center piece for all my items at craft shows.

I just got the wagon and am so excited about it. Picked it up at a garage sale for only $75!! (Everything is better when it’s on sale.) Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it look both Functional AND Rustic? It is light weight and rolls very easily. I really could not think of a better craft show display for my items than a functioning bakery cart/wagon.

Adding to the excitement of the cart, I adore the people we bought it from. She is a teacher and he is a social worker. Just like me and Dave (I’m the social worker and my husband is the teacher)! What are the odds of that happening? AND…I recently lost a bunch of weight and needed new clothes on a budget – her clothes fit me perfectly! It is always an added treat when a purchase comes with a memorable story.

The cart barely fits into the bed of the truck but it does fit and it was not hard to get it up into the bed. Ratchet straps worked great to keep it secure and I will find a large tarp to protect it from the Michigan weather during transport. Unloading the cart is simple because of how light it is and the fact that it rolls. Mostly though, it will make transporting my items into the show so much easier. Everything about this cart is amazing.

(The fact that it rolls was very convenient today. Just as I finished taking the video and pictures it started to rain. With only one hand I was able to lift and push it into the garage in seconds and without anything falling off!)

Today was the first day I really took the time to play with the cart. This is the fun part. Most of my inventory is in store at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall but I do have enough currently on hand to see how items will fit on my new cart. Also, when I build my new items for the upcoming shows I can design them with the display cart in mind.

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Front view of the new Functional Rustic display cart with my creations on it.

Setting everything up and admiring my handy work is a fun way to spend my morning. I often feel like I have not built enough or have not come up with a wide enough variety of items for Functional Rustic but, as I try to fit everything on the cart I am provided with tangible evidence of my hard work.

It is a very proud feeling. Most of the creations I built were done so as a way to cope with the stressors of life. These things only exist because I was feeling sad/angry/anxious and needed a way to cope with those feelings. These are the physical manifestations of my coping skills. I am literally displaying my fears and insecurities to the public in the hopes they will give me money so they can take them home with them.

I find it to be an interesting business model.

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Side view of the Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.
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Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.
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Back view of the Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.

My new cart is 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. I have a craft show I am signing up for and the booth size is 10 feet wide and 7 feet deep. Most craft events I know about have booths of 10×10 so my initial plan for the display was for it be facing forward so all the items are visible and people can walk around the whole cart. Like I said though, 8 foot cart – 7 foot space.

I have been staring at the cart and rearranging items for the better part of an hour trying to come up with the best way to utilize my new cart space and properly display my creations. I am finding myself becoming frustrated and was hoping you could help me troubleshoot my project for the day.

I need to sign up for the show ASAP but have concerns that I may need to purchase two booths to accommodate my new cart. I really want to make the cart fit in one booth so as to keep my buy-in costs lower. The event will provide table and chairs to everyone but I don’t want to look like everyone else. In a show full of tables a cart will stand out and draw people in.

I welcome any feed back and advice you are willing to share. Once I am officially signed up for my events I will share the dates and locations so you can mark you calendars and come out and join me. And, obviously, if you want to buy anything you see in the video/pictures let me know. Everything is for sale and shipping is FREE!

Thank you in advance for taking the time to help me out. I started my own business & have no idea what I’m doing so I appreciate all the guidance I can get.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just a blog? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

Mini Chalk Board – Green by Functional Rustic

The Mini Chalk Board by Functional Rustic is the fun and quirky handmade conversation piece you never knew you needed. The mini chalk board is made form repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint/chalkboard paint. Measurements: 19 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in.

$15.00

 

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Sensory Bottle Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Originally published April 27, 2018. Updated August 10, 2018.

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Sensory Bottle DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic.

Quick. Easy. Cheap. Fun. That is the theme for this week’s Tutorial from Functional Rustic. We are learning how to make sensory bottles out of water, oil, food coloring and a plastic bottle.

My Muscovy Hen is hatching ducklings today so I wanted a quick easy craft I could teach and then get back to my feather babies. This craft is great because it is quick, easy and uses common supplies so I do not need look hard for the ingredients.

The sensory bottle is a great craft for people of all ages to enjoy. Follow the steps below, watch the video and then share you creations at DIY Project of Facebook so others can appreciate them too.

Sensory Bottle Tutorial by Functional Rustic

Materials: Water, Cooking Oil or Bath Oil, Plastic Bottle, Food Coloring, Glitter, Hot Glue

Step One: Find an empty plastic bottle with a twist on lid and rinse it out with water.

Step Two: Remove any labels on the bottle.

Step Three: Fill the bottle with water about half way to 2/3 full.

Step Four: Add one drop of food coloring to the water and mix it together.

Step Five: Add glitter. Approximately 1 teaspoon.

Step Six: Add Oil.

Step Seven: Screw the lid on and glue it with Hot Glue.

Step Eight: Take pictures and video of your creation and share it with Functional Rustic on Social Media.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

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Toilet Paper Holder Shelf: Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Originally Published March 16, 2018. Updated August 3, 2018.

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Pallet Shelf Toilet Paper Holder by Functional Rustic.

How we start our day is the foundation for how the day will go. For most people the first room they enter when they wake up, and the place they spend their time getting ready for the day, is the bathroom.

The bathroom is the one room we all spend time in each day. Why not make that space a daily reminder of how capable and creative you are by personalizing it to match your personality and your needs.

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The Toilet Paper Holder that came with the house.

I don’t know about you, but my phone comes with me to the bathroom. It’s not the end of the world to just set the phone on the bathroom floor when I need to use my hands — but a shelf would add more function to the space. The TP holder that came with the house was decorative, but I wanted to make it my own.

Adding a shelf helped the phone situation, allowed for a scented candle to be safely close by and gave the bland bathroom a rustic touch! Functional and Rustic — what a concept! What I didn’t know would happen though, was how seeing and interacting with my new TP holder would improve my mood each day.

I kid you not — I smile every time I see it. “I built that!” I start every morning with a reminder that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to. Creating something that looks great and has many practical uses is empowering. Being useful, and not just pretty, I think is what does it for me. Build it for yourself and you will see what I mean.

Below you will find step-by-step instructions for how I built my Rustic TP Holder Shelf out of a recycled pallet board. I use pallets because it is what I have around. You can use what ever wood you have available. Also — the length, width and depth of the boards is completely up to you but my approach requires that the board be at least 5/8 inch thick.

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Rustic, handmade Toilet Paper Holder made from repurposed pallet wood.

DIY Tutorial for Rustic TP Holder Shelf

Step One:
Using a ruler and pencil mark where you want to cut the board. I made each of my boards 12 inches long. My board is 38 inches long so I measured 12 inches from one end made a line and then measured another 12 inches and drew the other line. You can make it any size you want.

Mark and Measure Boards
Step One: Measure out two 12 inch boards to prepare to cut.

Step Two:
Cut your boards where you marked them. I used a table saw that I got for a steal off of Craigslist but, any saw will work. Be sure to always practice good safety and wear eye protection and gloves anytime you are using machinery or saws.

TP Holder cut board
Step Two: Cut the boards where marked.
TP Holder cut boards
Step Two: Cut the boards where marked.

Step Three:
Sand your boards. I use a table sander for all my sanding (got it from the same guy on Craigslist that sold the saw!) This is a small project so sanding by hand is doable. If sanding by hand, I recommend wrapping the sand paper around a small piece of lumber before sanding so you have a flat sanding surface.

Mainly you want to remove any of the sharp or frayed edges. I used 60 grit sand paper. (grit is how coarse the sand paper is. The lower the number, the more coarse. For smoother finishes use higher grits.)

Sand Paper
Sand Paper comes in different grits for different jobs.
Belt Sander TP Holder Board
Step Three: Sand your boards.

Step Four:
Get the boards in position. This was the trickiest part for me. Not because it is that difficult, but because I really did not want to use the vice. I tried many times to do it by hand but because I was by myself I couldn’t keep boards straight. If you have a partner though, the vice may not be necessary.

TP Boards in a Vice
Step Four: Align the boards for assembly.

I wanted my screws to be hidden so I drilled from the side of the board that would be against the wall. Line up the long edge of the board you want as your shelf against the side of the board you want on the wall.

(My pallet boards are 3.5 inches wide and 5/8 inch thick. When I attach the boards it will stick out from the wall 3.5 5/8 inches. If I had the screws exposed on the top of my shelf it would only come out 3.5 inches from the wall.)

Step Five:
Attach the boards using screws. I use one inch screws. With the boards in the vice (or held by a friend) drill two holes through the flat part of the board into the edge of the second board. Insert your screws.

Add screws while it is in the vice
Step Five: Attach the boards with screws.

Step Six:
Paint. I used spray paint for this project but you can use whatever kind you would like. I removed the original white toilet paper holder from the wall and painted that at the same time. I recently found a can of metallic colored paint and the metal TP holder was a great project to test it on.

Spray paint he boards
Step Six: Paint.
Spray paint the TP holder rod
Step Six: Paint.

A few things to note. I did my painting in less than ideal circumstances. It was a breezy 15 degrees outside when I did this. Also — everything is covered in snow. I could have sprayed them in the house where it was warm, dry and not windy or in the barn where it was dry and not windy— but I opted for in front of the barn because that was where I usually do things.

(Painting outside was really just habit. I did a lot of painting over the summer and always in front of the barn. Apparently I trained my brain that when it is time to paint something that is the place you do it. At least I thought to put an empty bag of duck feed underneath — summer time it would have been just gone on the ground.)

I mention the weather for a few reasons. For one, it took an hour to dry each coat instead of just a few minutes. Two, snow kept blowing onto it making the paint run or stay tacky. And three, if the paint can is outside in the cold too long the spray consistency gets all messed up.

I used three coats of white spray paint on the pallet shelf and two coats of metallic spray paint on the TP roll holder. Don’t try to paint it all at once. Paint different sides at a time and make sure they are completely dry before placing them down on a surface. (Ask me how I know, ha.)

Step Seven:
Attach the TP holder and the shelf to the wall. My original TP holder was screwed into the wall with two 2 inch screws. I just reused those. First I had to decide where to connect it to the shelf. Once I had it where I wanted it I marked the board so I would know where to drill. Then I drilled the two holes.

Attach TP holder to the wall
Step Seven: Attach the TP Holder Shelf to the wall.

So now I have my holes drilled, two screws, the shelf and the holder. I cant hold the shelf in place and the holder and screw it in at the same time. So, I pre-screwed it together. Basically I inserted the screws through the holes attaching the pieces but, I only put the screw in enough so just the tip is poking out. Now, I find the holes in the wall and can place the tips of the screws into the holes. This lets me make sure everything is lined up and attached and that I don’t have to wait for my husband to come home and help.

Step Eight:
Decorate and enjoy.

I love the scented candle being on the shelf for a few reasons. One, I like playing with fire — ha. Two, scented candles smell good. Three, I don’t like to turn the lights on early in the morning but I do need to see. The candle is a soft light that doesn’t blind me first thing in the morning.

Tp Holder with Candle
Decorate your new shelf!
TP Holder 1
Personalize your shelf with your own unique touches.

Step Nine:
Take pictures and share your creation with Functional Rustic on DIY Project of Facebook or use #functionalrustic when you share on social media.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just tutorials? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

 

 

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00