Making new things look super old and chippy is my superpower. If you like that look and want to see “the how to”, then read on! If not, scroll on to my next post.
I literally can’t believe how long it’s taken me to post the tutorial for our “butcher block” style kitchen island. We built it before the holidays hit, and it just kept on getting pushed back on the to do list as fall and Christmas happened.
Well, it’s finally happening… here’s the tutorial on how we built our “general store” style kitchen island, how we created a food prep butcher block top using 2×2’s, and how I painted it to look old and chippy.
I link all the products we used on each step, and they are also listed together on the bottom of this post.
I’d had the concept for this piece of furniture in my mind for quite a while, but with all the projects we had going on in our house, it just wasn’t a priority to build a kitchen island.
When we moved into our house, the kitchen was the biggest headache. (See the “Before” photos HERE!) There was a wall smack in the middle of the kitchen and dining room. It really closed off the space. So when we opened up the wall and combined the two rooms it really made the kitchen huge and functional.
We lived with it like that for a while while we finished up the important renovations… Then things settled down a bit and I got the urge to build the kitchen island I’d had floating around my head.
While I wanted it to look slightly similar to my farmhouse table (See How We Built Our 7 Foot Farmhouse Table For $45), I also wanted this piece to have that butcher-block feel. So I asked Silas to build it like a general store counter, with open shelving in the back, and 2×2’s on the top.
Here’s a photo of what the building process looked like.
My idea for the wooden top was to cut 2×2’s into short little portions and screw them together one by one to create the tight look of a butcher block counter.
We never intended to use this as a cutting board, so we used pine, which is a softer, more imperfect wood. With that said, this method was just for looks, but if you want to try it out with for a real butcher block, it would probably work great as long as you sanded it down super smooth.
Traditional butcher blocks use dowels to connect the wood. But I had the idea to just use screws to connect each board, one by one. That way they would be super tightly connected.
I let Mr. Muscles do this portion. Haha!
I was so excited at this point.
Next I sanded down the top and edges to get it really smooth.
I wanted it to look like an old general store counter, so I decided to have some of the wood show though. I decided to use Dixie Belle’s “Pine Cone” Color for the wood, and their “Fluff” color for the chippy paint.
The reason I like using paint instead of stain is so that I can control how the wood soaks it up. When you build pieces like this island, you use different types of wood: plywood, 2×4’s, trim, etc. Each type of wood reacts and accepts stain differently. By using watered down paint, you can control the resulting color.
I watered down my chalk paint for the wood portion. The thinned out paint allows for the wood grain to still show through.
I mixed the paint and powder a little at a time.
For this particular look I didn’t want it too thick, so I didn’t add too much.
I painted patchy sections on corners and various areas I envisioned solid paint. Then I let it dry a bit until it was tacky, and I scrubbed, scrubbed, and finally used a wet rag to blend the paint all over the piece.
I let the paint get a little more tacky, and then I went after it with my putty knife scrapper. That’s where the sea spray paint comes in handy. It gives your paint a raised texture that creating a random chippy look when scrapped.
I still wanted it to show wood in certain areas, so I scrubbed with a wet rag in areas I wanted to expose, and rubbed watered down white paint in areas I wanted less wood.
For some heavy duty distressing, I used my scrub brush. This thing is awesome, but it still requires a lot of elbow grease.
Here’s what the back of the island looked like. I opted for keeping the shelves just the wood color, with the slightest amount of white paint from the wet rag.
Next I painted the counter with Amy Howard’s milk paint in Strasbourg White, which is a completely food safe paint.
While we didn’t intend to use this for food prep on the direct surface, I wanted it to be food safe. It looks a lot more creamy in person, but I think that’s because I painted directly on the wood, making it more warm toned, along with the oil sealer.
To seal the paint, I used this Hemp Seed Oil Sealer from Dixie Belle.
I love this oil because just like the milk paint, it is food safe.
I did go back and forth quite a bit on whether I wanted the wood to be stained or painted, and in the end, I just felt like paint would look better for the space.
And I have to say that I am obsessed with the look of painted butcher block.
It’s an imperfect piece of furniture (and we still need to go under and screw the top down better to the base) but I LOVE it.
We actually intended to use our nail gun to connect each board to the base as well, but it broke, and we just haven’t gotten around to fixing it. SO in the meanwhile, there are a few gaps and spaces. But I don’t care. That kind of stuff adds character in my opinion.
If your decor style is mass produced, made in China stuff, this blog is NOT for you. Haha!
It’s perfect for our kitchen, and it’s exactly what I wanted. I’m so blessed to have a husband who not only builds the pieces I sketch out for him, but he also lets me paint them however I want…
That’s true love, becuase let me tell you, he’s not really into the chippy grunge look. But I think it’s growing on him. Haha!
This thing adds SO much storage to our kitchen, and it’s a great place to put groceries, serve food, or plop my cutting board on top of to do some major food prep.
I think it’s super cool to be able to design & build brand new pieces, and make them look old.
I should probably just pretend like all these pretty salvage looking items in my house are real vintage… but I actually LOVE showing you the techniques and processes to get these old worn finishes.
Definitely not a look everyone would want, but I would pick this piece over a mass produced, “perfect” piece any day… everyday.
It’ says home to me, and the fact that we built it makes it extra special.
PRODUCTS USED IN THIS TUTORIAL:
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