I am so excited that today is kicking off the second summer of “Knock out Knock Offs” with a fantastic group of blogging friends! Do you remember this series from last year?
On the first Monday of each month this summer (May through August), we will be sharing DIY projects inspired by our favorite home decor stores. The theme for this month is Anthropologie, a place I’m sure we all know and love! (Check out last year’s Anthropologie-inspired project right here!)
While browsing the Anthropologie website for inspiration, I came across this Jute-Wrapped Console Table that really grabbed my attention. I knew that I couldn’t hope to recreate it perfectly, but I decided to take the idea of wrapping a piece of furniture in jute and adapt it for an existing piece of furniture I had sitting around.
I have intended to use this desk as a vanity in our room ever since I “borrowed” it from my parents’ garage over a year ago. With the new look for our bedroom and the addition of the vintage jute wall hanging over the dresser, wrapping the desk in jute seemed like the perfect way to bring some more neutral color and texture into the room.
While the legs aren’t as curvaceous as the Anthropologie piece, I thought they were still interesting enough that the jute would make the details shine.
So how much jute does one need for an entire piece of furniture like this?
That was the question of the hour.
Somehow the little 50-foot balls of jute twine I’ve encountered in the past didn’t seem like they were going to cut it. Visions of running to the store over and over again for more jute ran through my head, so I jumped online and did a little searching.
The jute twine I ended up using is a little smaller in diameter and less rope-like than the Anthropologie version appears to be, but quite a bit more affordable than the thicker versions I found!
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- 5-Ply #28 Jute Twine, 10 lb. tube – This roll of jute contains over 3,000 feet of jute twine, for just $25, and I would estimate I used about half of the roll (I know! I’m floored as well), so I’m going to have to brainstorm another project requiring 1,500 or so feet of twine!
- Low-temperature glue gun + glue sticks – Skip the hot glue for the sake of your poor finger tips, and definitely go for the 100-pack of glue sticks – you will need them!
- Mod Podge – I don’t believe “gloss” versus “matte” matters very much in this application, but the gloss finish Mod Podge was what I had on hand, so that’s what I used.
- Sand Paper – a medium grit. I just grabbed what I could find in the tool box!
Now, here’s the part where I’m supposed to give you a nice step-by-step tutorial for this project, right?
Start wrapping the piece of furniture with twine, securing with glue as you go. It doesn’t really matter where you start – I picked the bottom of one leg and worked my way up.
Steps 2 through 100:
Continue wrapping with twine and continue securing with glue. For flat surfaces, like the desk top or the front of the drawer, I started with the perimeter and wrapped my way in to the middle.
Continue. Continue. Continue. Continue.
I completed the jute-wrapping over the course of five days, but I would heartily recommend, for your health, safety, sanity, and to avoid developing “hot-glue-gun-claw” and rope burns, that you tackle a project like this in shorter sessions over a longer period of time.
It is pretty mindless and time-consuming, and you might think I am absolutely nuts for spending probably around 20 hours on this project (and you might be right), but the process really is as simple as “Wrap, Glue, Repeat.”
Once I finally finished wrapping all surface areas of the desk, I wasn’t happy with how fuzzy the jute twine was, stray hairs sticking up everywhere. I actually attempted to give it a buzz cut with my husband’s electric razor (shh, don’t tell him!), but that really didn’t help matters. So I decided to try sealing the jute with Mod Podge to help all the little strands to lie-flat (and maybe make the whole thing look a little less like a cat-scratching post).
I used a paint brush and my bare hands to slather a light coat of Mod Podge over the entire surface and smooth down the fibers, which led to me picking bits of dried Mod Podge off my hands and fingernails for the rest of the day and evening when we went out for dinner with friends.
When I came home late that night and touched the now-dried surface of the desk, all that was going through my head was “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
I’m not sure exactly what I thought would happen when I coated the jute twine in a hard-drying glue sealer like Mod Podge, but what one might think would happen, happened – it had hardened into an incredibly rough, weird surface that was far from pleasant to the touch.
I was pretty bummed out, but not ready to give up. I remembered my painted-fabric chairs and how stiff the paint had made them before I took some sandpaper to the surface.
I grabbed a piece of sandpaper from the tool box and lightly tackled the surface and edges of the desk top, and I was pleased to find that it took away much of the hard-tacky texture that I found so awful to touch!
Do I love the way the jute-wrapped vanity feels now? Quite honestly, no.
I didn’t love it as un-sealed jute (scratchy) and I still don’t love the texture now (kind of hard/crispy), but I do love the way it looks.
I would absolutely shy away from jute-wrapping a frequently used piece of furniture like a coffee table or a chair. The Anthropologie context of a console table is perfect, or in my case, a vanity (aka a flat surface for jewelry and makeup storage), that won’t see constant use.
Is it weird to hear me admit that? I just feel a compulsion to be completely honest about the texture issue. If you are in love with the natural, boho jute-wrapped look, by all means go for it, but I would simply suggest using it on something that is more of an accent piece.
Actually, I may have a piece of glass or plexiglass cut for the top, which would totally solve the textural issue I have with the piece and make it completely functional as an actual desk/writing surface if I ever decide to use it that way.
All that being said, are you ready to see how it turned out?
I replaced the knob on the front with this black, white & brass pull from Anthropologie that I found on clearance and have hoarded for ages. It just seemed fitting!
And here’s the vanity all decked out with accessories and a Craigslist score Chinese Chippendale chair that might have a makeover of its own in the future…
So what do you think?
While the texture of jute-wrapped furniture is a little funky, I do love the way the vanity ended up looking! As I’m usually a form-over-function kind of girl anyway, I think I’ll consider this project a success!