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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
Sand all of the edges after you cut each board to take away rough edges and keep everything smooth.
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.
Use wood screws to attach the boards together with my Rockwell 3RILL, using 2-3 in each board, all the way down.
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.
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.)
Using 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?
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.
Want 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.