DIY Campaign Desk

Hello! I am back from Haven and learned SO much and met so many amazing bloggers.  At first I kept thinking about how my three blog posts only juuuuust qualified me to be there, but by the end I was so energized and inspired that I was feeling pretty good about what I have so far.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

So luckily, I have been working on our study, where I plan to do all of my bloggy things. The first thing I did was find a good desk. I wanted a cool midcentury one, but all of the ones I found on Craigslist that I liked were a little too expensive, so I switched tacks. While looking, I found a white World Market Josephine desk for $50 and I remembered the campaign-style desk from Caitlin at Desert Domicile and decided to do a little makeover of my own. Here is my inspiration – a vintage campaign desk from Circa Who:


DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

DIY Campaign Desk


  • Plain desk
  • 20 flat corner braces – I used these  ($2.47/pack of 4)
  • One campaign pull – I used this one ($20)
  • Two finger campaign pulls – I used these ($8 each)
  • Dremel and router bit – the router bit does not come with the Dremel so you need to buy it separately
  • Goggles and a mask. Seriously, sunglasses and your shirt over your nose don’t count on this one.
  • Drill and drill bit set

First I gathered my hardware. It took me a little while – like a week or two – because I was being super picky and this project is all about the hardware. The big campaign pull I finally ordered was a little expensive, but I really think it makes the piece, so I think it was well worth it. It would have been better to use three of the same pull, but then it would have been REALLY expensive.

Once I had everything together, I held the bracket up and marked the holes. Then using a drill with a small bit, I made pilot holes and screwed on the brackets. One important note – on the corners, the placement of the brackets means that the screws will run into each other. I ended up removing the two screws in the vertical leg of the bracket below so that I could use all four screws in the bracket on the front, where missing screws would be more noticeable. I did the same on the right side of the desk as well. I went with four each on the sides and then four on each side of the front, basically creating the illusion of side drawers. I also put one on each side of the small middle drawer. You can see the placement in the top picture or further below:

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Once the brackets were on, things really started to come together buuuut that meant the easier part was over. The next step was to rout out the spots for the inset hardware. Full disclosure – this was my first routing project and while the Dremel absolutely did the trick, it took some time and serious concentration. To start, I traced the back of the large pull on to a piece of paper, cut it out and taped it on to the middle drawer. I also taped a shoebox to the underside to catch sawdust. Why not just put down newspaper you ask?  Honestly, the shoebox and tape were closer to me, and seemed like they might catch more sawdust before it spread out.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Then I traced the shape onto the drawer with a pencil and routed out that area. This is the point where I should have put on goggles and a mask, but it wasn’t until I was sneezing and had dust (thankfully nothing worse) in my eye that I thought to do it. The routing took endless stopping and checking against the pull until it was as deep enough everywhere, while making sure not to go outside the line. It definitely skipped out on me a couple of times and left marks, but someday I will get around to patching them. I am not saying it’s beautiful behind that pull…

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Next, I marked the places to make the holes for the bolts using the same paper cut-out of the pull. Using a drill bit large enough to fit the bolts, I drilled the holes then screwed the bolts to the pull, fed it through the holes and put on the nuts.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Upd

The process for the side finger pulls was almost the same, but with one important difference – where the bolts for the center pull went through the routed out area, the screws connecting the side pulls to the desk do not. I carefully marked where the screws went and then routed out the space inside.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Those pulls had screws that required pilot holes, so I switched back to the small drill bit, made the holes and then screwed in the pulls.

At that point I thought I was done, but then noticed that a lot of my inspiration pieces have hardware on the feet too. Since I was using 2 in. brackets, only one fit per foot but I think that was just enough.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

So there you have it. It was not super fast – I watched 1.5 movies while I did it, but I was figuring out a lot as I went along. I am SO pleased with how it came out. The study is slowly becoming one of my favorite room in this little house of ours, and I will be sharing a bunch of the other projects in here – including the built-in bookshelves we are working on which are now lovingly know as the F**king Bookshelves.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

And the obligatory before and after. Ignore the maze of cords on the wall. As crazy as it looks, it is a vast improvement over the jumble on the ground. Organizing the router and all of that other important junk could be a post in itself.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 4.57.51 PM



Imaginary Craigslist Shopping, Anyone?

I hope everyone had a great fourth of July! I am back in DC for a hot minute before leaving for Haven – a 3 day home DIY blog conference in Atlanta – on Thursday. I took a bit of a leap of faith and registered WELL in advance of starting this blog. So, maybe more that I set a date on which I would leap and hoped I would get my act together in time. Either way, my blog exists! Hooray!

Today I thought I would share the fruits of my daily Craigslist trolling. I have a bunch of things I search for most days juuuust in case. In case of what? In case a wicker scroll queen headboard pops up down the street for $25? A gal can dream.

So without further ado, today’s winners:

 Mid century modern chair – $40


Here is a sweet little desk chair for you. It looks like it would be pretty easy to reupholster the seat yourself with some batting, fabric and a staple gun. I’d go with a colored pattern on white – maybe yellow stripes. Or go nuts with something like Schumacher’s Chiang Mai. More expensive than the chair by a long shot but it would be a pretty cool statement.

Bentwood Rocking Chair – $45

rocking chair

Maybe paint the frame white and leave the cane natural and put it in a nursery or a kid’s room?  Leave the wood alone and out it on a porch? I am going to assume there is a good reason it is $45 and not $5,550 like this one on 1st Dibs. If not, probably best to leave it unpainted just in case…

Rowe Sectional Sofa – $220 – Four pieces, one not shown.


An oddball, yes. Roughly half a bazillion dollars to reupholster? Probably, but $220 for a four piece sectional is a steal, so you still come out ahead. If you have the space, it is a pretty dope couch and the existing upholstery isn’t bad. I like the green. Besides, if it doesn’t work out, those are a whole bunch of original brass tipped feet that you could put on eBay (I have seen lots of sets of 4 for ~$40). If our house and that couch were not roughly the same square footage, it would absolutely be in the running to replace our remarkably adequate white Ektorp.

Pair of 84 inch tall vintage Henredon brass trimmed cabinets – $195 each

cabinets inside

These are pretty formal, but I love the look. They are 18 inches deep and could work on either side of a desk in a study or flanking a fireplace or windows in a living room. I have never seen a man’s walk in dressing room in person – do they actually exist in real life or just magazines? – but I could imagine these being in one of those. My white campaign desk would look awfully cute between these dudes. Now that I am thinking about that, I sort of regret sharing these.

Wicker Rattan Corner Shelf Unit 3 Tier Display Stand 5ft Tall – $190


I know. Grandma city. BUT ever since I laid eyes on the Serena & Lily Peacock Scroll mirror, I have been slightly obsessed with scrolled wicker like that. If I had a guest room or, you know, any extra space, this bad gal would get a few coats of glossy kelly green or white, if it turns out that my imaginary guest room is the perfect – and elusive – green room (which, incidentally, our kitchen was NOT), and let her grace a corner with some pretty things on it. Or a bathroom. She would look suuuuper cute in a bathroom. See? A totally versatile piece of furniture.

So, those are some of the random things that struck my fancy today.




Fourth of July Tablecloth

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

It’s almost the 4th of July!  I love the 4th because it means the summer is about to really hit its stride. This year, before we head to HP, I wanted to have a little pre-fourth cookout with our friends in DC. I decided that a festive tablecloth would be a fun project without going overboard.  It was a pretty easy and inexpensive project that can be changed for any party.

Tablecloth Supplies Supplies:

  • Canvas drop cloth. I got this one in the 4’x15′ size so that I can make three.
  • Scissors
  • Stitch Witchery bonding tape
  • Iron/Ironing board
  • At least one roll of painters tape, depending on design
  • Newspaper or plastic sheeting
  • Yardstick
  • Foam brushes and/or a pouncer (I swear it’s a thing). For oil paint, get one per color.
  • Paint. I went with Rustoleum oil paint because it was all our local hardware store had and it ended up working perfectly.  I grabbed some acrylic gold, red, white and blue that I already had just in case.
  • Cardboard

First, measure the table and cut the drop cloth down to fit.  I got a drop cloth specifically to be the right width for the table so that I only had to hem one side.  Make sure the line is generally straight across, but don’t go nuts making the cut perfect since you will be hemming it. Next, hem the cut side.  If I had a sewing machine, I would have used that, but stitch witch is a pretty great substitute.  First, fold the side to be hemmed over and iron flat.  Then lay a strip of stitch witch under the flap – see top left picture.  At this point, if you are not me, your iron won’t start randomly turning off and on and the rest of the ironing parts will be a breeze.  If you are me, this simple project will turn into one which requires the patience of a nun.  Which I definitely DO NOT HAVE.  Anyway.  Using the hottest setting on your iron, slowly run the iron over the flap until the tape melts and fuses the sides together.

Stitch Witch Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

Then snip the very ends at an angle and fold the newly-hemmed part over and repeat the preceding steps to get a nice neat hem.  It will take a lot longer for the tape to melt on the second pass because there are more layers to get through, but it will melt, don’t give up.

Cut Corner Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

Let the hem cool for 10 minutes and then put the drop cloth through the washer and dryer to soften it up. You can skip this step, but the resulting tablecloth with be much stiffer and won’t drape over the table as well.  Once it is dry, iron it (the damn iron again…).  At that point I folded it in half the long way and made a small crease to mark the middle.  I ran a pencil over it so that it would be easy to find later. Now for the fun part.  Lay the drop cloth out with newspaper or plastic sheeting under it on something large and flat.  The ground would be ideal if you don’t have a handy-dandy huge piece of plywood like we do.  Full disclosure – it is for drinking games. Not an adult.

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

Once your drop cloth is all ready, use painters tape to block off stripes starting from the middle and moving out to the sides. I sketched mine out on paper in advance. I used the yardstick to make sure that the wide stripe in the middle was actually centered around the middle, but after that I just eyeballed the widths of the strips. I pressed that tape down as best I could. In the end it didn’t prevent all bleeding, but I like how it looks slightly freehand. At least for me, actual freehand would have been a wobbly mess.

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

Once you like the look of the stripes, paint in the blank spaces. The cloth absorbs a lot of paint, so it is more dabbing than painting. I ended up sticking with the Rustoleum paint and only used the gold acrylic paint for the stars which I added once everything was dry.  While the paint was drying, I cut a star shape out of some cardboard (a frozen pizza box). Once it was ready, I used a foam pouncer and some gold paint to add stars down the middle. Pull off the tape and let dry.

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up

So there you have it. An easy party project that you can use whenever you need an inexpensive update to impress your friends. Now, like a blog party favor, I leave you with a close-up of my most recent and one of my most fabulous ($5) flea market finds. Thank you Eastern Market for my new brass lobster buddy. May I never again misplace the spare keys.

Fourth of July Tablecloth by Just Something I Whipped Up XO,


Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 4.58.07 PM

Animal Head Clock Outta Control

                     Animal Clock by Just Something I Whipped Up Animal Clock by Just Something I Whipped Up

For my next trick, here is the clock I made for my sister Phoebe for Christmas last year.  It was inspired by this one from P.S. – I Made This… with a few twists. Not the easiest or least expensive project I have done, but the results were pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.   


  • 12 animal figurines (I used these, these and this, because some stag horns at 12 were a must)
  • Plexiglass circle – our local hardware store cut it for me for around $20. It is not a normal cut so it took a few extra days.
  • Spray paint – Rustoleum Painters Touch Ultra Cover 2X in Brilliant Blue
  • Spray paint – Rustoleum Metallic Gold
  • Glue gun and glue
  • Clock with only hands (I used this)
  • Hacksaw
  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • Poster tape
  • Sticky velcro
  • Triangle picture hanger with screws
  • Small paintbrush
  • Print-out of a clock and a ruler
  • (or a compass & protractor)

I started off by cutting the heads off just in front of the front legs using a hacksaw.  The saw left a pretty rough edge, so I went back over the edge with a pair of scissors to smooth it out.  This was important because it looked better, but also it made a nice flat edge for the glue.  Almost all of the animals were hollow, so it is less work that it looks.  Side note – save the other halves.  I am kicking myself for chucking them because who knows, maybe someday I will want to make an animal butt clock.  Anyway, at the end of a pretty weird evening of decapitating animals, I had this: 

Animal Clock by Just Something I Whipped Up

Once I had all of my animal heads, I coated them with three coats of Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Ultra Cover 2X in Gloss Brilliant Blue. It takes some extra time for the spray paint to cure on rubber, so I let them dry for two hours.

Animal Clock by Just Something I Whipped Up

I had Frager’s, our local hardware store (and one of my favorite places on Earth) cut a 24” diameter piece of 1/4” Plexiglass for me. It took some extra time and several calls from the glass cutter guy because hardware stores don’t normally make round cuts. I had an image in my head of a perfect acrylic disk, but it obviously didn’t come out that way – it didn’t look bad, but slightly irregular and there were kerf marks on the edges. I am sure you can find actual acrylic disks online, but they will be way more expensive. To cover the rough edges, I sprayed some of the blue spray paint into a cup and painted just the edge with a very small brush, wiping up any mess-ups as I went. Incidentally, spray paint eats through styrofoam, in case you were wondering…

Animal Clock by Just Something I Whipped Up

While the animal heads dried, I marked where I was going to glue them. First I marked the middle and then each hour using a print out of a clock and a ruler. I thought I was being precise but I had to make a lot of adjustments after it was all glued down. If I did it again, I would use a compass and a protractor, or at least I would be a lot more careful. Story of my life.

Before gluing the animal heads down, I screwed a triangle picture hanger to the back of the Plexiglass, right behind the clock mechanism. If I do it again, I will put the hanger at 12:00 so that the animal head will cover it. I used a very small drill bit to drill two pilot holes for the screws so that they didn’t crack my precious plastic. Once I got the hour points right, I glued the animal heads down with a glue gun. Here is a view of the back once it was all put together. You can see the animals at the bottom.

Animal Clock by Just Something I Whipped Up

The last piece was the actual clock hands. I spray painted it gold, moving the hands between coats so that there wasn’t a bare spot. The battery pack is inset slightly so I built it out with a few layers of poster tape (the foam kind) and then attached a piece of sticky-back velcro. I left the two sides stuck together and then, with the hands together in the 12:00 position, pointing directly to 12, I stuck the clock to the plexiglass. The velcro means she can remove the clock from the plexiglass to adjust the time or change the battery.

Animal Clock by Just Something I Whipped Up Animal Clock by Just Something I Whipped Up

It was a pretty risky surprise Christmas present, since I had no idea if it would look awesome like it did in my head, or if it would look 100% crazy person. Luckily it was the former, with the added bonus of looking great with the headboard she and my dad made.

Happy animal beheading!



Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 4.58.00 PM