Painted Kitchen Island

Painted Kitchen Island


There are days when I think that what happens behind the scenes……what actually happens here when I write a post…..should be a reality television show.

Not a primetime one….like Survivor or The Apprentice or So You Think You Can Dance.

No…my not-ready-for-primetime-reality series would be on an obscure cable network….like TNT or USA…

… 2:00 in the morning. 

And let me tell you….there would be some fine quality content.

Like me mopping up a dust bunny collection with a random sock I found on the upstairs landing before I took these pictures.

And the 33 un-matching socks that don’t have a home that I edited out of  this picture.

And the cliffhanger where these are still hanging in my trees (albeit without the candles) and birds now are drinking out of them.


Like I said.

Fine quality content.

And if this were a reality show….today’s episode would feature all my crazy shenanigans….where I photographed an entire project I wanted to make for my kitchen island using this tutorial to create this project by judi over at The 1829 Farmhouse .

There would be scenes showing me following each step.

And photographing it.

And even making a Pic Monkey collage out of it for my It’s a Cinch Project today.

And then the camera would pull back to show the look of utter dismay on my face when I pulled back the white pieces of paper that were supposed to transfer the image to the wood top only to discover that….

….it didn’t work.

And I got nada.

No “It’s a Cinch” project.



But this is my reality show.

And I’m not going to let a little failed project stop me.

It’s kind of just like when the contestants on Project Runway had to design a dress using items they purchased from a pet store and one contestant designed an entire dress made out of bird seed…..which looked incredible…..but just as the model was about to head down the runway….the bird seed started falling off.  And then the contestant went all old school and grabbed a glue gun and started immediately gluing the random pieces of the birdseed back onto the dress…..and then the model looked totally amazing and Michael Kors started clapping and screaming “Bird seed dresses are so 2012!”

And the old-school-glue-gun-bird-seed-dress swept the competition.

That is so the moral of this story.

Who needs a fancy transfer project when old school works every time.


Old-School Painted Kitchen Island Project

Number Project

(1)  Print off the large letters and numbers from the computer (size 700/font Aparajita) .

(2)  Cut them out.

(3)  Tape them into place.



(4)  Trace around the letters and numbers with a sharpie.



(5)  Paint the traced letters and numbers.

Try to stay inside the lines.



(6)  Let the letters and numbers dry and then distress them a little with sandpaper.

(7)  And then seal the butcher block with a food safe mineral oil.




I’m telling you.

It works every time.

Old school.

All.  The.  Way.


PS  Stay tuned for the next episode of As Thistlewood Turns for a fun nutrition lesson where I discover hot dog potpie contains all four food groups 🙂

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  1. Old school is the way to go! This came out so great. Beautiful and requires no fancy tools. My kind of project. Oh, and I’ve tried that other tutorial with no luck myself. 🙁

  2. I love Old School for sure! Seems I can never get the transfer thingies to work for me, and I have tried the vinyl cut out method on canvas…please tell me I am not the only one that messes that up too! I would totally DVR your show if it were on at 2 am!


  3. Wow that turned out really well! I’m still trying to figure out what the Plaid means on the craft paint bottle… wouldn’t THAT be cool! 🙂

  4. I would watch your reality show. The real stuff is what makes life interesting. Like picking up an old white sock to dust. Love your blog

  5. Came out beautifully! I am embarrassed to admit that I actually paid $30 for a book to show how to transfer images on any surface. How dumb was that….when I know old school works? Love your humor♥

  6. I think I would have screamed when the transfer didn’t work!! I love the way the project turned out! (I may also dust, on occasion, with a random sock!)

  7. hi there my friend! old school is the way to go MANY MANY times! more than people realize! you did an outstanding job and it looks absolutely AWESOME!!! worn to perfect to add even more character to your incredible home! you amaze me! hugs!

  8. Gee Singh Newbanks :

    Good morning KariAnne.
    Laughing, and reading. Near coffee mishaps,and sharing with the Hubs…. I have tears running down my cheeks and had to put down the coffee cup.
    Ay, the best of intentions we have, but at times I have to agree… old school all the way!! tried and true.
    Luving your ‘old school’ project 😀
    Have a wonderful rest of day.

  9. Love it. I would never have the nerve to paint my countertops. Good on you! Looks wonderful. And totally fits your kitchen. Thanks for sharing, liz

  10. First of all, who DOESN”T dust with an old sock???:):) I think your reality show would be fabulous….and REAL!!! Love this project.

  11. love it. does the year have significance?
    i like that you spelled out circa as oppose to the c1829 on my coffee table…but i used what i had on hand which were brass stencils (the c was a cents sign). which is what every diy’r should do. old school and all!
    love the distressing too. 😉

  12. that is such a cute idea!
    our house was built in 79 and the kitchen is still there…. perhaps i should paint “circa 1979” on our formica mustard yellow peninsula?

  13. I was on pins and needles wondering what you’d inscribe – glad you went with circa!

    Here’s to doing it old school. I was worried that a bluejay would get into the Project Runway studio and do a full on attack of the poor girl in the bird seed dress. Very Tippi Hedron – talk about old school!

  14. Thank you for the laughs this morning! I am with you on Old School…sometimes it is really the best way to go and it definitely proved to be with this project! You have inspired me! Have a great week~ Angie

  15. Old school is the way to go, all day, every day! Well, except for computers and stuff like washing machines, maybe air conditioning when it’s over 100 degrees….but other than that. Reality TV, highly over rated from what I hear. Of course, this may be tempered, just a bit, by the fact that we’re one of the three remaining families in North America without cable television. So, really, I should probably just stick to what I know which is this: your island Rocks, you are a ROCK STAR and if you had a reality show, it would rival MTV (and I’d get to play the tambourine, and we’d have cool costumes, right?)

    xo, Kimberly

    P.S. I’m going out, right now, to buy new sunglasses and a hat so I’m ready when we need to hide from the paparazzi. I’m going to do a trial run this afternoon. I’m going to hide from my family just before dinner time. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😉

  16. I would tune into Thistlewood Turns every morning at 2:00 am on TNT to watch you go all old school … and mop up those dustbunnies with a random sock (and seriously, I just did the same as I walked down the stairs this AM!)

  17. Reading your posts first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day! Love the finished product no matter how you got there!

    blessings to you,


  18. That was such a cute idea to stencil (sort of) that on the corner of your island! Glad you found a way to make it work. Sometimes, the old way is the best way.

  19. Oh I would SO watch your reality show. You crack me up so much! I love that you turned a big fat fail into a winning project. Way to pull it out in the end!

    This hot dog pot pie that you speak of… sounds like my son’s dream food.

  20. You rock, girlfriend.

    Just too cute.

  21. oh my word – LOVE it – circa 1918 – how fab! I’d actually like to do some similar pieces with some special years (like years my grandparents and parents were born) making them extra special….thank you SO MUCH for the great inspiration!

    I bet the transfer method depends on what kids of printer ink you have – I don’t think most ‘new’ printers would work for this (maybe has to have toner?) I’ve seen where they take the printouts to the copy store and copy via toner based copiers and it works better (but we don’t have one anywhere nearby) & I’m not usually planful or patient enough to wait so old school it is for us too! xo

  22. Love the counter! I’ll be waiting with baited breath for the next installment and hoping that there’s a cinchy tutorial for making hotdog pot pie… 😉

  23. LOVE the way that turned out!!

  24. I’m all over the “old school way!” I just had a, “Wow, great idea, wish i had though of that,” moment!
    Really cute!

  25. Looks great..even though I’m not a fan of painting nice wood, it came out very nice..authentic looking

  26. Old School is the only way I know, and it works for me. Cutting out a letter “E” as I’m blog reading.


  27. This turned out awesome!!! I love it!

  28. Well, your old school method worked fabulously. I love it!

  29. This is a terrific job! I understand old school!

  30. I am old….so “old school” is right up my alley….Love, love the stencil on the island…..I love it better than a bird seed dress!!…

  31. The only reason I wear socks around the house at all is so I can run my big toe along the baseboards to get rid of the dust! Isn’t that how everyone does it? 😉 You know I would totally watch your reality show my friend, especially since I know that what happens behind the scenes is completely hysterical and (hopefully!) no one on your show would get voted off the “island”….like how I did that there…”island”….heehee!

    P.S. Oh, and your actual island looks pretty darn fabulous!!

  32. My husband is building a table for me to put in the laundry room. Please come over and jazz it up for me.♥

  33. Looks great! And your reality show would be hilarious! 🙂

  34. Love the island and the simplicity of the transfer! It really looks great!

  35. love it, and you know the beauty of DIYers is their FLEXIBILITY when plans don’t quite cooperate…and old school is very hip and trendy. i much prefer our version of prime time reality…it’s so REAL…and the table is beautiful. my husband may just burst into tears when he hears me say, “i have an idea…” 🙂

  36. This looks great. Sometimes old school is just best. I did use a carbon paper transfer method and it worked great, but I used it with white paint and the blue transfer paper turned the paint light blue – so I had to paint it twice. argh. I love how subtle this is, like it has been there a long time.

  37. Genius! And beautiful, too. Win!

  38. You always know just what to add to make a piece pop! You have an great eye for this! Thanks for the old school tutorial! I’m a fan of that way myself! I have discovered more flexibility, in my DIY days, than I ever knew I had! 🙂 Great job!

  39. You know what? I think the ‘failed transfer’ made this post even more fun to read than if it would have worked! So consider it a huge success! Besides I love the way that turned out. And you have given me some more inspiration for the island I am wanting to build for my kitchen! Love how yours turned out.

  40. Wow! It came out great in the end…and I’m constantly impressed with your beautiful photography. So lovely, as always.

  41. Old School all the way! …And, occasionally you just have to fake it ’till you make it!

    No one would have ever known that this was initially a project gone wrong. Sometimes the ones that don’t work out at first, wind up turning out better than we ever anticipated! Your island counter looks great! I’d say a BIG success!

    Love the photography!!! Look at you go!! 🙂


  42. The island looks so good! I love the look! Sorry the transfer didn’t work out!

  43. This is totally and completely my kinda project! Old school. No fancy pants stuff. 🙂
    xo Heidi

  44. I’m sure Leo wishes that I’d pick up a sock and dust! Rather be on the ‘puter reading about your antics. Love how it turned out!

  45. in the end–it looks wonderful, and you did it your way:) tfs! i love it!

  46. You are a hoot Karianne… I’d definitely watch your reality show!!
    This project looks great.

  47. This has got to be one of the best projects I have seen in while. It just so happens I have a very HUGE Butcher Block Island that needs refinishing. That is on my Summer List project. I am so inspired to add this little craft to it after it gets a good thorough sanding. Love it. Thank you so much for sharing.

  48. That looks so freakin cool!!!! I wish I had butcher block counters.I HATE mine! I need to do some research on these.Are they easy to care for? Awesome job it looks beautiful!!!!!

  49. You know I’m diggin’ on the old school!

  50. …..this is sooo awesome…pure Kari awesome !

  51. Love old school, especially for those of us who can never get anything to work. I really do try to follow people’s tutorials. I tilt my head to the right and then to the left. I stand on my head and then go cross eyed. it’s at that point I fall asleep with my head in the paint can. I am so looking forward to the hot dog potpie recipe even though I don’t eat hot dogs 🙂

  52. It’s a gorgeous piece. I like old school just fine. But the best part of the post was this line: “a fun nutrition lesson where I discover hot dog potpie contains all four food groups.” I laughed so hard over that!

  53. You have a wonderful knack for breathing life into the ordinary. What a great idea and beautifully done!

  54. This looks gorgeous, Karianne! (Old school can definitely be the best…)

  55. I totally want to do this to my island now. LOVE it! Coming over from Between Naps on the Porch. 😉


  56. Once again you tell a great story with some great giggles, Karianne! lol! I just adore you! 🙂 Love this easy peasy project. Even a blonde rookie like me could do it! lol!

    xoxo laurie

  57. It looks great I would do that to my island but first I would need a bigger kitchend and an island…………………

  58. Love it and old school rocks! It looks great!

  59. OH this is perfect, Karianne…the old school technique was just what you needed!

  60. You are a hoot and clever too! When does the new season of Project Runway start? I know I saw that birdseed episode. Was Nina nice or snarky?

  61. Love “As Thistlewood Turns” – too funny! Island turned out great!

  62. Love that! I think you could have a primetime TV show… I know I’d watch!!! “Karianne Goes to Haven” “Karianne Take on the Kitchen Island” “Karianne Grows Grass” riviting stuff

  63. That is the bomb diggity.

  64. Your projects always catch my eye!
    Thanks for sharing,

  65. Bringin’ it back to the old school wins every time! Looks beautiful!

  66. I absolutely LOVE this…now, if I only had a butcher block…but I think I might have something else I could use as my guinea pig…

  67. love it! I was actually just cutting out some letters yesterday that I printed off of my computer and was thinking to myself that there must be a better way to do this. Am I the only one left on the planet that doesn’t have a Silhouette and has to cut and trace letters??? Thanks for this post, and for showing me that I am not alone.

  68. Love your blog!! This is such a fabulous idea…wow it looks so good! I wish I had some wood countertops now…I would do this in a heart beat! Old school really does win out most times! Come stop by my blog and say Hi sometime.


  69. Love these letters – and I’m completely old-school when it comes to painting. Pinning now so I can copy later…

  70. That’s looks beautiful! And I’m all about old school, personally. But my main question is…how did you get that piece of notebook paper with the paperclip to stay suspended in the air long enough to take a picture?! 😉 That could be an episode all on its own! 😀

  71. Old school FTW! It looks great, no fancy pants transfer method needed 🙂

  72. I LOVE IT and I love even more that you were honest and told us how things don’t always work out like you thought they would. I think you are right..OLD SCHOOL works best! IT turned out TERRIFIC.
    Over from MMS.

  73. What a beautiful project! I love how it turned out…even if it took you a couple tries! 😉 I totally know what you mean about the dust bunnies, too! I just did that the other day before I took some shots of a project I had just completed. 🙂 Visiting from MMS!


  74. Old school is the way to go most of the time! I love this! Absolutely gorgeous! I’d love for you to share this at my Twirl & Take a Bow linky party at It would make an awesome addition to the party! Hope you can stop by and join in!

  75. That’s awesome looking! And since I had to scroll through PILES of comments, I guess I’m not the only one who thinks so! 🙂

  76. I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

  77. Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting
    anywhere, when i read this paragraph i thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant post.