DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

I can’t even tell you how much time I spent ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over beautiful dessert tables on pinterest. Then I started wondering about the practical stuff like, wait a minute how are we gonna transport all this? When are we gonna have time to cook this stuff? It’s an outdoor wedding, how do we keep bugs away? And these desserts aren’t gonna refill themselves throughout the night, how are we gonna do that?

You can find all sorts of info on how to create color schemes or add height to your items, but I had a hard time finding answers to my less-than-glamorous questions. If you’re looking to DIY your own dessert table, hopefully this post will shed some light on the nitty gritty!

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Tip 1) Choose your tasties

I decided to keep it simple. There are beautiful dessert tables out there with 20 different options to choose from, but I knew I wanted to keep it under 5 types of desserts (excluding our little cake) for the sake of practicality. It’s easier to make big batches of a few things than small batches of a lot of things.

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Also, having tons and tons of rice krispie treats stacked on your counters kinda makes you look like a drug lord.

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Evan and I each picked a couple favorites we loved. For example, my mom’s homemade rice krispie treats were a must for me, and Evan definitely had to have his mom’s chocolate/toffee/pecan candy (affectionately named “Hans Pecans”). We brainstormed with our families to come up with a few other tasty treats as well.

Because our desserts had to travel to a different city, we made sure to choose things that were pretty sturdy. Nothing with frosting that would get messed up or anything too delicate that would crumble. And if you’re having an outdoor wedding and it’s hot, make sure your items won’t melt!

Also, we wanted items that would freeze well because we knew we’d have to make some in advance! This was SUCH a huge help. Some items we made the weekend before and froze, and let them defrost on the 3 hour drive to the venue. If you decide to do this, make sure you test it well in advance so you know if your items will survive the freeze.

Tip 2) Guilt your family/friends into helping. Reward with tasty treats.

Recruit help!!! My mom made the rice krispies and lemon bundts, Evan’s mom made Hans Pecans and brown sugar poundcake bundts, and my grandma made banana muffins. Don’t try to take on all the baking yourself- one person does not have enough ovens to handle that! Don’t forget to get help wrapping up any items that need to be wrapped up too (you’ll notice our bundt cakes are wrapped). It’s fun to have a dessert wrapping/eating party :)

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

You’ll notice some s’mores packs above- those were our favors! We wrapped those up while we were doing our bundts too.

Tip 3) Figure out what all these sweets are gonna sit on

I really tried to minimize decor expenditures as much as possible. So nope, I didn’t rent crystal dessert stands or go antiquing to find the perfect eclectic mix of dishes. I borrowed- a LOT. Most of the cake stands you see here are borrowed from our awesome friends and family. We just had to purchase a couple things, which I don’t feel too bad about because we will use them in the future. We mixed white and clear cake stands and let the desserts take the stage.

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Having trouble adding height to your display? Get creative! The stand with our main cake is sitting on top of an upside down planter I found at Homegoods, and the 2 cake stands on either side of it aren’t actually stands, the are platters glued to candlesticks! Super cheap and easy.

If you are having your wedding outside, keep in mind that bugs can be an issue. That’s why we individually wrapped our moist/stickier items AND had cake domes to go over things. Yes we did have a few uncovered items, but they were “sturdier” (rice krispies and mini muffins) and they held up just fine, no issues with bugs. It helps that there was a breeze all night and it wasn’t during the heat of summer.

If you’re worried, you could definitely individually wrap every type of dessert or cover everything with domes, then remove the domes when it is dessert time after dinner. Also, if your venue has fans you could have the fans near the table which will help keep bugs at bay. Again, for us it ended up not being a huge issue because it wasn’t the middle of summer and we had a nice breeze, so our “less moist/sticky” items being left uncovered method worked just fine.

Tip 4) Make it feel like you

This was the fun part- all the pinterest-y little details that make your dessert table uniquely yours. Granted, the biggest part of that for us was the fact that everything was homemade- but even if you buy everything from the store, which you totally could do, you can still make it feel 100% you. To do that, we used a table overlay my mom made to match our runners, I made custom chalkboard labels that said what the items were and who made them, and we had quirky little Toki Doki cake toppers because we are weird like that. Have fun with it!

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Also the dessert table is a great place to display your bouquet after the ceremony! Because it’s damn gorgeous but who wants to carry that massive thing? Putting it on the cake table gets it in all the photos and looks so pretty.

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Tip 5) Your desserts are delicious- keep em coming!

Since we DIY’d our own dessert table, there was no vendor automatically responsible for the practical things like refilling desserts, keeping the table clean, topping off the fork supply, etc. Make sure you talk to vendors, family, or friends who can take care of these things! We hired an extra server through our catering company to help keep an eye on the table. It’s a little detail that you definitely don’t want to forget.

Well I hope this helps! It’s awesome to see the pretty side of dessert tables on pinterest…

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

…but it’s good to see the practical side too! Especially when it’s a very involved endeavor!

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

Hope this post helps any DIY brides-to-be with the logistics side of doing your own dessert table! If you have any questions please let me know and I’ll do my best to help out :)

DIY Dessert Table- Practical Tips

OMG You Can Paint Grout

Y’all may know that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with our master bathroom. On one hand, we have an AMAZING big-ass shower (read that as “big ass-shower” and it’s extra funny). But on the other hand, our bathroom came without a door (weird right?), the pedestal sinks feel awkward, and the tile we inherited would not have been our first choice. Not to mention it was not the neatest tile job. After struggling with loose tiles and cracking caulk I was getting ready to give up on this tile ever looking nice.

But then the clouds parted and I discovered the $12 miracle that is Polyblend Grout Renew.

So let me back up a bit and explain why discovering this was so awesome. See, one of the reasons I think our tile looks sloppy is because the grout lines are super uneven. And before this project, the white grout lines against the dark tile made that unevenness very noticeable.

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It’s not absolutely terrible from far away. But when you get closer, you start noticing things like this:

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Hot mess am I right? So anyway, my theory was that if I painted the grout a darker color, the variation in grout lines would be way less noticeable. The recommended method is to clean your tile/grout really well and then apply the paint with either a toothbrush, paintbrush, or Q-tip. I chose to use 2 different size paint brushes, one for the itty bitty lines and one for the thick chunky lines.

We opted for the charcoal/black looking paint since it was closes to what we wanted. I just squirted a bit into the cap and kept that nearby as I meticulously painted each and every line in that dang bathroom.

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I started in the corner near the toilet (glamorous, I know) because if it turned out looking terrible, I wanted it to be in a more hidden spot.

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This is a good photo though because you can see the before and the after together in one shot. Already, the darker grout looks less jarring. It just kinda meshes with the darkness of the tile and makes any unevenness less noticeable.

It took several weeks to complete this project, mainly because I could only do it a couple hours at a time here or there. It was easy but boring and not super duper comfortable being on the bathroom floor.

We decided to do the shower surround, but we left the inside of the shower as is. It’s not as noticeable in there because of how the glass obscures things. Also, I was pretty tired of painting grout at this point. We also left the larger caulk seams around our tub as is (though we might paint over those too in the future, would be pretty quick! You’ll see the lines I’m talking about at the base of our tub later.)

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In the end it was worth the tedious work! To save you some scrolling here’s the “before” again…

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And after! (bonus new rugs and shelf items too!)

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And here’s another before shot of the other side of the room…

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And the after!

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It may not look like much, but that’s the point. Now you don’t notice the grout lines on the counter, backsplash, floor, bath surround, shower surround, baseboards… they just blend in with the tile, which is exactly what we wanted. Win!

DIY Simple Side Table

Evan here again! So for a while, I hate to admit it, we were using my old TV tray as a side table. Hey. It fit. But it was not a good long term solution for two picky DIY artists. By this time (back in 2013 actually, sorry for such a late update!), I had gotten my woodworking confidence up, but I had not done any major projects with woodworking yet. So let me share my first one with you:

DIY Simple Side Table

Muuuch better, right? This journey was not the smoothest… At first I was inspired by this pallet I found:

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It seems like they are all the rage in the DIY community. I must have had really bad luck. This was some super heavy duty super nailed together super pallet. But not super good for getting good wood from. I really did try. Then I put it in the scrap pile and went to Home Depot.

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Got some nice real wood (no plywood for my first big project!) All the same width. All I needed to do was cut them to length and start joining!

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This was before I had more toys tools in my arsenal garage, so I made do with some scrap wood to help me cut. Prooobably not recommended. A table saw would have been muuuuch better. Now that I have one (a shoutout of thanks to my brother and sister in law here for hooking me up for our wedding (yes, this project was that long ago)) I know how awesome it is.

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Once cut to size (measure, measure, measure, cut) I did a test fit! Looks good so far. I went with a nice basic shape (a blocky A?). To join them I drilled holes and glued in dowels! If I were to do this again, I would have used screws and counter-bores then capped them with tiny lengths of dowels on top (picture below sums it up better). I used dowels instead of just screws so that the entire outside of the side table would be wood (say that 5 times fast… wait, I just did it too and it’s not that hard, please ignore).

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But this was my first project so I just went for it.

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Not the prettiest work but that is why I bought wood filler.

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Katelyn helped me out with joining them all together with the dowels and glue (and therefore we didn’t get too many pictures of the process). But I did get this gem:

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Once everything was joined it was time to liberally apply wood filler.

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When it all started to look awesome is actually when I took the sander to the side table. It started to feel like a finished product. All the rough edges or mismatches were worn away and it came together into one piece.

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And if sanding is when it started to look finished, staining is when it really DID look finished. This might be the most satisfying step because there is such a large change for fairly low effort. I’ve adopted the wipe on, wipe off method. Get the stain on the wood and wipe it off right away.

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Since this was going to be a piece of furniture we would use regularly and possibly with drinks/spills/condensation, I went ahead and sealed it too.

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Hope this post helps people at the beginning of their DIY adventure like I was to jump in and try their hand at something new, or get a more experienced hand out into their workshop again :)