franklin co weekend

DIY Corbels for a Breakfast Bar

You guys were so sweet last week when I told you about my reckless abandon and tackling the breakfast bar project on my own last week! I’ve been having A BLAST. This is where I left you.

Add a breakfast bar to an existing kitchen island {Sawdust and Embryos

It’s almost done! And today, I’m going to show you how to make your own corbels! But first, let me back up and share how I came upon this design.

Make your own chunky and detailed corbels! {Sawdust and Embryos}

I knew I wanted something chunky and detailed, but I’m not very good at just coming up with these things out of my head. So, naturally, I turned to Pinterest. I love using Pinterest as a search engine. I just typed in ‘detailed corbel’ and started scrolling through all the gorgeous swirly corbels! Here are a couple that I seriously considered.

Corbel Inspo {Sawdust and Embryos}{source}

But when I saw this pic, I KNEW it was the one! LOVE!

Inspiration pic for making your own corbels {Sawdust and Embryos}source}

It looked simple enough. I knew I would need to have 3 layers… one center chunky/solid layer, and two outer detailed layers with all the little cutouts. The only problem with the image above is that it has the corbels photographed at such an angle that I can’t just replicate it. I needed it straight-on so I could print it on a transparency and project it onto the wood. So that’s when I called on my BFF Dana and her schnazzy software to straighten things out for me. BAM!

Dana's rendering of my corbel {Sawdust and Embryos}

I printed this out onto a transparency, traced it with a sharpie so the lines would be more bold, and projected it onto a piece of paper. Once I had it adjusted to the exact dimensions that I needed my corbels, I traced with a pencil.

photo 2 (7)

The reason I projected onto paper instead of the actual wood is because I’m making 4 corbels… with 2 detailed sides each. So that means I need to make 8 of these EXACTLY the same. Having a template would make this al lot easier than having to trace all 8 boards using the projector. After I was done tracing on my paper, I used an Exacto knife to cut out the cutouts.

Create a template for making your own corbels! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Then I just traced my template onto my wood! Easy peasy! (this is a 1×10 board below for reference)

How to make your own corbels! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Then, using my scroll saw, I cut along the outside lines.

Make your own corbels! {Sawdust & Embryos}

The next step was to drill holes in each little cutout so I could feed my scroll saw blade through and cut them out individually. This looks very tedious, but each one only took me about 20 minutes.

corbels1How to make your own corbels {Sawdust & Embryos}

For the middle layer, I found some massive 2×10’s laying around the garage. Since I wanted the ‘inner chunky layer’ to be slightly inset, I let my template hang over the edge about a half inch while I traced. Then cut! No need to do all the little cutouts on the center layer!


Now you’ve got all 3 components!

Make your own chunky and detailed corbels! {Sawdust and Embryos}

I wanted my center layer to be stained dark. After sanding a little, I just wiped on the stain (RustOleum Dark Walnut) with a cloth, and used an old craft brush to get deep in those nooks and crannies.


I spray primed and painted the detailed outside layers white, and then glued together with wood glue!

DIY Corbels {Sawdust & Embryos}

Feast your eyes upon this gorgeous corbel of mine!

Make your own corbels! It's a lot easier than it looks! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Probably the hardest part of these corbels (and the only part I had to ask for Nick’s help) is actually affixing them to the wall. Since these corbels are equally functional and decorative, they need to be sturdy enough to actually hold up the counter top. Using the Kreg Counterbore drill bit, he drilled 3 anchor locations through the corbel.  Setting the stop collar on the bit to stop about an inch before it went through the back side of the corbel. 

DIY Corbels {Sawdust and Embryos}

Here’s a diagram showing the angles and locations of the holes drilled.

Installing Corbels {Sawdust and Embryos}

Then we secured it to the island using 2 1/2  inch screws. And then once installed, I went back and touched up those holes with more stain and they’re practically invisible!

How to install your DIY Corbels! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Those bad boys aren’t going anywhere. They’re secure enough that having two on the outer edges would have been sufficient… but I like the look of having 4, and the way it makes little ‘stations’ for each barstool. Speaking of barstools, I need to do some online shopping, because these 50’s barstools from our retro diner bistro aren’t going to cut it for long. But they work for now. (only 2 of the 4 corbels installed on the pic below)

Build your own breakfast bar! {Sawdust and Embryos}

As you can see we got a slab of live-edge wood for the countertop, and I’m installing a special ‘treatment’ of sorts around the island. MANY more details to come on that. In the meantime, I’ll tell you one thing… IT IS AWESOME! So so so so so awesome. Isn’t that mean of me?!



P.S! Come check out other projects where we’re used our overhead projector HERE, and projects where we (*I*) used the scroll saw HERE!

Boy? Girl?


We had another ultrasound. This time we brought the girls. The clinic spoiled us this time by using equipment that was manufactured this century. The ultrasound went on and on while the tech measured tiny perfect body parts and showed us bitty little feet, etc. And finally I said… ‘you already know the gender DON’T YOU!’ And she said yes. Then she was silent again for what felt like forever. WHAT IS SHE WAITING FOR! I think she just wanted make us explode with … [Read More...]

Adding a Breakfast Bar to the Island


My sister Anna talked my into taking this personality test (16Personalities), and I was somewhat devastated at the results. There were some things that were right on…for example, I don’t (and dislike when people do) beat around the bush… JUST SAY IT! But the majority of the results discussed how I come up with ideas, but want other people to execute them. WHAT?! But then I got to thinking how true this really IS! I have so many lofty plans and ideas for our home… but I often let myself feel … [Read More...]

Recovering Chair Cushions with a Fluffy Rug!


The last couple days, I’ve had inexplicable energy. I’ve been baking, building, cleaning, and upholstering. I feel like I could run a marathon! So I’m in the middle of a ton of projects at the moment, but today I’m going to share one with you that’s actually done. Remember this cozy corner in our dining room? So those cushions on that chair used to be black canvas that showed every hair and little nasty. The actual cushions were in good shape though. They just needed to be recovered ASAP. … [Read More...]

Our Weekend Getaway

franklin co weekend

This past weekend, we were invited to spend a weekend with a handful of other bloggers to experience the life in historical Franklin County Iowa. We love being from Iowa and are proud of our heritage… but what made this weekend extra special was that we were encouraged to bring our whole family! The girls are finally at an age where we can drag them places with us (for the most part) and actually have fun and learn right along side us! We stayed in the fabulous Country Heritage Bed and … [Read More...]

Indian Corn Cake Stand


I did a little something out of character yesterday. I’m not really one to decorate seasonally… with the exception of Christmas. I like to blame it on my lack-of-fireplace. Cause all the bloggers be like ‘look at my Easter MANTEL!’ or ‘look at my 4th of July MANTEL’. NO. Oh you may think I sound jealous of their fireplace… and you’d be right. But only because I want to HAVE A FIRE in my fireplace and snuggle up with a red flannel blanket and a cup of cocoa. But it wasn’t in the cards … [Read More...]

A little garage organization happening!


Gooooooooooood MORNING! Nick’s been gone all week on business, and he’s finally home today! So we’re all in great spirits. And the weekend is before us! SUCH a great feeling. Today, I’m going to show you a little organization that’s been happening in our garage. And let me tell you… it was in DESPERATE NEED. There are a LOT of things that need to be done organization-wise in our garage, but I needed to start with a little corner that would have my stain, paint, sandpaper, and all … [Read More...]

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread {Cupcakes with Sprinkles}

It’s Meghan back from Cupcakes with Sprinkles! I always love to be here at Sawdust and Embryos to share some of my favorite recipes with you! I'm obsessed with pumpkin and this is a staple in our house as soon as it becomes fall. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. People. Seriously. Its so soft and the pumpkin flavor is is enhanced with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and my favorite addition, the chocolate chips! So let get our stuff and get baking! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour … [Read More...]

3-Year Pics of the Girls {Molly Long}


Soooooo, it’s no secret that we LOVE Molly Long Photography. Molly and I have actually become friends over the years following that first newborn photo shoot, and I look forward to her doing her magic each summer! I’m still obsessed with this family pic she took of us last summer. UGH! This year, we just had her take pics of the girls… because I’m feeling less than photogenic these days. No need to exploit that awkward stage where you can’t tell if mama has been eating too many baked goods, or … [Read More...]

17 Weeks


First matter of business? The winner of our RYOBI Jigsaw Giveaway is ANNA CHASE! Congrats buddy! Check your email! If you didn’t win, do not dismay… these are pretty affordable as far as power tools go. Click here to purchase your own! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now, let’s discuss my ultrasound yesterday. As many of you know, there’s a small child growing in my belly. Since we found out the girls’ genders at 14 weeks, I was confident that we would see his/her ‘parts’ (or … [Read More...]