8 Fantastic DIY Live Edge Wood Projects
DIY Live Edge Walnut Bench
Live edge is a popular style that incorporates at least one natural edge or plane of the wood’s surface: wormholes, bark, wood grain, and all. Remaining sides are milled down to straight edges or planes.
Live edge riffs on the idea of contrasts–nature’s gnarled and chaotic beauty against human-created smooth surfaces. Live edge projects are typically sanded multiple times with a belt sander and then clear-coated with glossy polyurethane sealant to emphasize these contrasts.
Erin Francois crafted this gorgeous live edge bench from a slab of walnut purchased online. She recommends using a slab that is at least 3″ thick in order to accommodate the 1.5″ long screws that are needed to attach the metal legs. Since the slab arrived raw and splintery, it was necessary for her to sand down all sides. She finished off her creation with two coats of clear polyurethane sealer applied with a foam brush.
DIY Live Edge Wood Coffee Table
If you’re looking for a live edge coffee table but are put off by the staggering prices, Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman over at A Beautiful Mess have some news for you. They managed to bring the price down to a measly $215. Their advice? Forget sourcing lumber from Etsy and eBay. Even if you can get a good price on wood, the shipping will kill you.
Instead, look on Craigslist for local listings by using search terms such as “live edge,” “tree slice,” “tree round,” “natural table,” and “tree removal service.”
DIY Faux Live Edge Patio Table With Built-In Ice Bucket
Authentic live edge lumber is pricey. Is there a way to bypass the high prices?
Kristin Jackson at The Hunted Interior has a way. After her outdoor glass table crashed into smithereens, Kristin decided to use the steel base to mount an assembly of ordinary pine boards to form a top. Then, she and her husband attacked the edges with a belt sander to create a faux live edge look.
The finishing touch was the built-in ice bucket in the center. Using a metal bucket from Homegoods, they pounded down the edges until they were flush with the tabletop. After sanding the surface with steel wool, Kristin finished the table with Man O’ War Marine Spar Varnish.
DIY Live Edge Wood Fireplace Mantel
Spruce up your dull, ordinary fireplace by adding a live edge wood mantel. Colleen Pastoor at Lemon Thistle treated her live edge mantel with six coats of Varathane Diamond Wood Finish to bring out the wood’s natural colors and to give the surface a more finished look.
DIY Live Edge Floating Shelves
Want to double the fun? This project combines two favorite styles: live edge and cantilevered (or floating) shelves.
Rachel from Portland, Oregon sourced live edge alder from a local salvage yard, cut the timber into shelves, and hung them from her kitchen walls with Dolle Strongfix floating shelf brackets. Due to the weight of the shelves, she had to buy a corded drill–her cordless wasn’t powerful enough–and drilled into three wall studs.
The result: a marvelous juxtaposition of live edge’s grounded-ness with the ethereal, floating nature of cantilevered shelves
DIY Live Edge Wood Hanging Table
If the thought of taking on an ambitious project like a live edge patio table or bathroom counter stifles your creativity, one great entry point is this simple, easy to craft hanging table.
Caitlin from The Merry Thought wanted to redo her cousin Sarah’s bedroom in a special way, so she began with cross-cuts of black walnut that had been languishing in a relative’s barn for the last 50 years. She made great use of it by sanding down the top with an orbital sander, drilling three holes for rope, and hanging the assembly from the ceiling with an S-hook.
The result is a live edge slab of wood that floats gracefully next to the bed, providing space for a book, glasses, and a small vase of flowers–the perfect gift for a favored cousin.
DIY Live Edge Bathroom Counter
For small bathrooms, it is all too easy to purchase a bathroom vanity cabinet plus vanity top and be done with it. Realtor and rehabber ModFruGal wanted none of that. Instead, she transformed her bland, ordinary small bathroom into a unique conversation piece by incorporating a live edge wood countertop.
She began with a slab of white oak that cost a mere $80 and then sanded it multiple times and coated it with Arm-R-Seal, a sealant that is a combination oil and urethane sealant. Since this is a bathroom, and bathrooms are known for being wet environments, ModFruGal knew that she wanted a finish that was 100% waterproof.