DIY wood countertops

In between working on my bedroom, building a porch & all the other 89 projects I have going on around here, I’m slowly working on sprucing up my kitchen a bit by adding some new DIY wood countertops. When we first remodeled our kitchen nearly 5 years ago, it was our initial decent into major DIY. We’d always fixed things around our own home, but that project was where we cut our teeth on ripping out walls, taking out floors, and even building our own cabinets. Start small? Not us. Full throttle or nothing, baby.

Fast forward to now, and we can look back and see things we wish we’d done differently. Now, I’m honest enough to say that there’s nothing really wrong from a building perspective, mostly design/taste choices that I’ve now grown to know that I didn’t really love for the long haul. Then we used whatever we liked and could afford — now we think, plan and save to get where we want to be. Our first kitchen makeover was all about speed & budget. We knew we couldn’t live without a kitchen very long, so I’m happy to say that all these years later I still love my cabinets, island and flooring. The things I don’t really love can are getting spruced up a bit now. I’ve already painted the cabinets, but after living with black counters for all this time, I know they suck the light out of my kitchen, so I was ready to lighten things up a bit, and I decided on DIY wood countertops. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it was definitely time to spruce up my kitchen before the holidays creep up on me.

DIY wood countertops

Before we get started on the full DIY tutorial, I’ve got to first say that I’ve lived with wood counters for nearly 5 years, since our old counters were made from cabinet grade plywood that were painted and poly’ed. I am well trained in the habits of not putting a hot pot on top of them, always using a cutting board and all of the other precautions of wood counters. If you’ve ever lived with butcher block you’re nodding your head.

DIY wood countertops

If you’ve ever wanted butcher block but it was out of your price range, you’re in luck because this is how I got that look for less :)

Start with 1×6 pine boards. Depending on your counter size, you may need three 1x6s and a 1×8 (I did.) Just measure your original counters, then do the math to see what size you need to put together. You could also rip down the boards on a table saw if need be to get them to the right size. Since I did this project by myself (yay me!), I opted to do the 1×6 + 1×8 method to make it easier.

You’ll also need a couple of pieces of 1×4 to create cleats on the bottom to keep it all together, some screws & butcher block sealer.

Let’s make this!

how to make wood counters

Start by measuring your wood. Mark it where you want to cut, and pay attention to the wood so you are cutting from the back side (meaning the part you want facing down).

DIY wood counters

Next line up your blade just outside the mark, so once it’s cut you will have the correct size. You want the blade edge to hit on the outside of the line, not the line itself.

DIY wood counters

Sand all of the edges after you cut each board to take away rough edges and keep everything smooth.

Wood Counters tutorial

After all of your boards are cut to the correct length, you’re ready to assemble. Put all the boards together, face down and line them up so the edges are even. Now measure inside your cabinets, because you don’t want the cleats to hit the inside structure. Make sure your cleats are long enough to catch all the boards, yet short enough to not cause any problems with your cabinet structure.

Rockwell 3RILL

Use wood screws to attach the boards together with my Rockwell 3RILL, using 2-3 in each board, all the way down.

DIY-counters

Pipe clamps come in super handy to keep all the boards together nice and snug, but if you have an extra person helping they can pull the boards together tightly for you.

wood-counter-project

Once you have them all together, they’ll look like this. My counters were pretty small, so if you’re using longer lengths, be sure to use plenty of cleats to give it all the strength it will need (especially if supporting a sink.)

Butcher Block SealerUsing the directions on the can, seal your counters with butcher block sealer. I asked the nice paint guy at Lowe’s and he told me this was the best kind, so it’s what I chose. It looks like a small can, but a little goes a long way! Give your DIY wood countertops 24 hours before using and you’re good to go!

Let’s see a little before and action, shall we?

DIY wood countertopsThe black counters made my kitchen look so dark, it was like a black hole!

DIY wood countertops

 

Better, huh? This project was seriously quick, it took about 30 minutes of hands on time to do two counters (one for each side of the stove.) And, before I go, I’ve gotta share that basket – it’s my new fave find from Uptown Country Home. 

LCIAppPromoImageWant more ways to get creative? Lowe’s Creative Ideas is full of them – and it’s FREE!

 


*Thanks to Lowe’s, Uptown Country Home & Rockwell for partnering with me for this post. All words, images, ideas & opinions are 100% my own.

Comments

  1. How clever! I never knew such a thing existed! Awesome job : )
    Alison

  2. Just love the look !

  3. I’ve wanted butcher block for so long, I wonder if I could talk my husband into doing this.. He seems to think our countertops are fine – which they are NOT!

    Looks great! Good job!

    Kristin

  4. Awesome tutorial. I’ve been dreaming of butcher block for years. Can’t wait to redo my kitchen! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Too late to do this in my kitchen, but I really like. Previously, I painted my kitchen cabinets black, now after seeing your’s I think I will repaint gray.

  6. Oh…I am totally doing this. This is the look I wanted but don’t have a lot to spend.
    Thanks!

  7. Nice tutorial … looks easy enough to do.
    Thanks,
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  8. Amber O'Donnell says:

    Love the countertop but I really love the 3 tiered basket! Could u email me and let me know Where u got it?
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Great job! Where is that adorable fruit stand from???

  10. wow, great job with the tutorial. Gave me the courage to think i can do this myself. THANKS.

  11. What a clever idea for the butcher block look!
    Having sealed butcher block and learned from my own mistakes, may I suggest that you seal your wood with one coat before you assemble, then seal again 2-3 coats on the bottom and top and sides and ends… Before you put it in place!
    I had bb installed as a surprise to my husband and then sealed the top afterward. The humidity difference between the sealed top and unsealed bottom caused a 3″ crack within a few weeks :/

  12. so with this butcher block can you use it as a cutting board and put hot pots on it? Or do you still have to be careful and use a cutting board and hot plates???

    • Hi Heather,
      With any wood counters you have to be careful when cutting or placing hot pots. It’s just the nature of the product. But, because I’m already acclimated to using wood counters, it wasn’t a big shift for me.

      Thanks for reading!

  13. These are nice for the price and time spent. I’ve been wanting butcher block countertops for a loooong time. Now I know we can do this one ourselves!

  14. I am absolutely going to look for that sealant. I have always wanted to try this and I have the perfect project house to try it in! Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. So, now that these have been in place a little while, have you had any problems with the wood shrinking excessively? Did you use kiln dried wood?

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