Postage Stamp Table Top and Day 8 of Blogging 101

Once I got past my fear of messing things up, making this postage stamp table top was great fun. Here’s how I did it:

I started with a pre-made plywood circle. While I like the idea of using power tools, I find them intimidating. When I took scenery design as one of my required theater courses, the horror stories of lost digits and visits to the ER put me off of them for good. I have ten perfectly good fingers and plan to keep it that way. I headed to our local Home Depot instead and bought a round plywood table top for about $20. I wanted a round surface to suggest stamps from around the world.

I sanded the edges to smooth out the roughness, then added a coat of paint. Taking a page from Keeping Up with Mrs. Smith, I used left over touch up paint from our living room walls. It’s great using what you have on hand, and since the finished table goes in that room, it will coordinate beautifully.

green painted table top

Plywood table top with a coat of green paint

The following day I sanded the painted surface a second time, then froze with indecision for another few weeks. Once I started applying my dad’s postage stamps with Mod Podge® there would be no turning back. Originally I planned to use sections of the pages, but I didn’t like how it looked.

postage stamp collage

My dad’s postage album

When I realized the album had four triangular-shaped stamps I knew I had a plan.  It was December by now, so I put the unique stamps in a small wax envelope for safe keeping. The stamps ‘disappeared’ and I was sure I had inadvertently sent them off in the mail. It took a thorough tidying up of my crafting boxes to locate them once again.

postage stamp table top with triangle center

I had exactly four triangle stamps for the center.

Then one Saturday afternoon I just went for it. Using the surface of the kitchen counter, the only working space high enough to accommodate my Amazonian height, I got to work sorting Dad’s stamps. Page by page and stamp by stamp, I removed the postage, sorting them in piles by color.

Now I was in the zone. My back was aching from standing so long, but I didn’t want to stop.

I placed a pencil dot in the center of the circle, brushed on a layer of Mod Podge, and placed the first four stamps. From there I moved out in rainbow order.

Table top postage stamps

Stamps from around the world

Once I reached the outer edges, I changed the stamp’s orientation. Brown, black and multicolored stamps circle the border, completing the table top surface.

postage stamp table project

I saved the multicolored stamps for the table border

With the drama of the table top finally behind me, I went in search of a base. I really like the way it looks on the little outdoor table we have, so searched high and low for something similar. Several visits to vintage and thrift stores turned up nothing. Then I learned that I could order the same table through Pier One Imports. It should arrive this week.

postage stamp table project-003

Plywood table top

Day Eight: Be a Good Neighbor via Blogging 101

Today’s assignment: leave comments on at least four blogs that you’ve never commented on before. It’s all about engagement. So once I press the publish key, I’m off in search of a few (more) good blogs. Should be fun.

In the meantime, check out these DIY blogs. They make it look easy and fun. And guess what? None of these women are afraid of power tools.

64 thoughts on “Postage Stamp Table Top and Day 8 of Blogging 101

  1. Alys, your creativity and your ability to re-purpose always delight and inspire.
    I find myself with my dad’s stamp collection and our Aunt Jean’s collection. … have me thinking…….


  2. Alys, this looks just wonderful! I love the way you chose to start with those four stamps and block the colours out to the edge. Isn’t creativity a wonderful thing – she just sits and waits for us to kick our fear to the curb and get going and then steps in and guides us through to an outcome we often don’t see coming……… well, that’s true for me anyway! 🙂

    I’m sure this little table will become a huge talking point in your home. People will be huddled about it looking at all the countries and noting where they have been; what countries don’t exist any more; whose face is on the stamps nowadays ….. It could be a focus for party games and reminiscing and history lessons too. Just wonderful!! Are you going to protect the top with a coat of something or a sheet of glass?

    I love the table legs you have chosen too. Are your men awfully proud of you? xoxo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Pauline. You should include that quote about creativity in your side bar. True words indeed.

      It will be fun showing off my little table to visiting friends and searching for stamps from around the globe. At one point there were a dozen stamps. This one just happened to be the British Empire. Since that is where he is from, that may be why Mom saved it.

      I’m building up layers of a Mod Podge designed to be water-resistent (five layers and then you can wipe it with a damp rag). If I’m still nervous, then I’ll add a varnish, but hope to avoid that.

      Thanks for all your support. xox

      Liked by 1 person

    • I would love to put that quote into my side bar but I have no idea how to do that! Can you give me any clues? By the way I meant to say I thought your dear papa would be smiling down on you from heaven – you have honoured him in such a lovely manner!


  3. That was quite an undertaking! I was so impressed. The table is absolutely beautiful. I don’t think I would have had the courage to try something like that but, like you have been all week, you have made me think to look outside the proverbial box. what a tribute to your dad’s collection


    • You’re the best! Thank you for that.

      It did take a lot of courage, but you know what? Someone once told me that courage was being afraid to do something, but doing it anyway. I’ve found in my life that indecision is more paralyazing then action. Once I got started it felt great. It was also a good opportunity to think about my dad in a way I hadn’t done for some time. It evoked so many visual memories of our time in Canada. I was just 9 when he died (I’m now 55). He was only 54 when he died from lung cancer. xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never seen anything like this! Truly a conversation piece, I think it’s beautiful. Such a great thing to have used your Dad’s stamp collection in order to make it even more special.


  5. Wow! I’m a seriously craft challenged person and I’m amazed at how people get such wonderful ideas. The table is attractive, useful and, to my mind at least, a tribute to the collector, and much better than leaving the stamps in albums. X


  6. Excellent! Thanks for the shout out. I totally get what you mean by stalling on projects because I’m afraid to mess up. $20 for a plywood circle? Sold! I too am terrified of power tools. Grandfather lost a finger using one. Eek! Ice been needing to soften my space with round tables so thanks for the tutorial. 🙂


    • Oh dear. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve known a few people who’ve lost parts of a finger using power tools. It happens so fast.

      Glad I could inspire you. It’s usually you inspiring me.

      Oh, and if you are clumsy like I am, rounded edges are far more forgiving on your shins.


  7. I cannot believe how busy you’ve been! Work, family, Blogging 101, and this incredible table. It looks fantastic! Your father would love it and you should be proud or yourself


    • Thank you, LB. It was amazing handling each and every one of those stamps, imagining my dad handling them too. Dad collected stamps while living in India, England, Canada and briefly the US before he died. There are so many memories attached to those stamps.

      As for blogging 101, I figured there would never be a right time, so I just decided to go for it. Some days have been more challenging then others. And as is often the case with my business, it is feast of famine. I’m suddenly finding myself busy again.

      I’m so out of the loop since taking a break from Facebook. I hope your campaign is going well. I look forward to hours of conversation with you in a few weeks. I can’t wait to hear about all of it. xox


  8. That looks like a mosaic or a quilt and took as much planning. I’m in awe. Just a word of warning. Ask someone before you add anything on top of mod podge. Sometimes the chemicals will not react favorably. I love round tables the best. I can see you thinking of your dad and putting your heart into this piece. It’s absolutely inspiring! I liked Pauline’s saying about creativity as well. You did your dad proud. Bringing out his collection for the world to see rather than hiding in a dark closet.


    • Marlene, I’m so glad you shared that tip. Mike originally thought of a varnish, but when he searched, found that Mod Podge all the way was the best choice. I had no idea they made so many finishes. I think I counted at least a dozen on the shelf.

      I didn’t think I was making a mosaic till I was done, but when I stepped back I thought the same thing. It was really enjoyable working with the stamps, too, aside from their special meaning. They’re colorful and beautifully shaped. I’ve always been a fan.

      Thanks for supporting me and caring so deeply. I wish you could come join us in DC.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s beautiful! It looks like mosaic tile, and the idea to sequence them by the colors of the rainbow was a stroke of genius. Unless I missed it, I didn’t see any reference to how you protected the surface when you were done placing the stamps. Did you coat it with something?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Bunny! I was surprised by the mosaic effect as the project took shape, but I am pleased with the way it turned out.

      I’m still adding layers to the surface with a special Mod Podge that is still water based, but can be built into layers making it cleanable with a damp sponge. They suggest five layers, followed by a four week curing period. It’s creating a nice sheen.


      • I want the top to be hard and shiny, like with resin or something. I know I don’t get a vote, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.


  10. Alys, I so loved this post that I just had to figure out how to click “like” and have it work. I got the like to work, now for the comment; wish me luck. I am a postage stamp fan and I think you did such a FABULOUS job on this! Perfect way to create something beautiful with your father’s stamps. BTW, in 1990 in CA I signed up for a woodworking class. When I got there, everyone was talking about a very experienced woodworker who just that afternoon had lost all four of the fingers on one hand and was in the hospital — apparently he was too confident and didn’t use the guard. I dropped out of the class on the spot and never went back. I admire people who can do woodworking, but that was too much for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Julia, you’ve done it: a comment and a like. Way to take hold of that technology.

      Thank you! Its nice to know there are still postage stamp fans out there. I’m still willing to wait in line at the post office so I can browse the beautiful stamps. It bugs me to put a boring flag stamp on anything when there are flowers, artists, musicians and the like to be had instead. I love the circular Forever overseas stamps, too. That was a brilliant stroke of genius by someone.

      I’m glad you left that class, never to return. That poor woodworker, losing so many fingers. Horrible.


  11. This is the most beautiful tribute hon. You’ve done your daddy’s collection proud. As Pauline mentioned, anyone gathering round your handcrafted beauty will be engaged in endless conversation about travels past and future or perhaps the monarchy. Although maybe we’re more keen on them than America. Some Canadians are very jaded about it, but I’ve always loved stories about the royals and they do an outstanding job bringing attention to many deserving charities. The bright carmine stamp is so gorgeous and vibrant. even after all these years. Do you remember your dad glueing stamps in his book? I’m very happy for you to both, have his treasures and to be brave enough to honour him by making something with your very own hands that you’ll use often and your eye’s will fall upon it many times a day. You’re stronger than you think and honestly, stronger than I. I’m not sure I would be able to do the same. I’ll add generous too, since you’ve already spread that strength and love around the world by sharing your dad’s collections with readers. I’m really proud of you Alys, it’s a beautiful gift to yourself and you’re a wonderful daughter to do this. xoxo K

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Boomdee! My heart sings whenever I look at it. It took a long time to get here, but I feel lighter for it. Just yesterday I had a lengthy conversation with my friend Darlene about the table. She lives down the block, but she’s originally from Chillawack.

      There are plenty of Americans that enjoy the royals. I think it peaked with the death of Diana, but Will and Kate are garnering plenty of notice. I too appreciate all the attention and money raised on behalf of world charities. Diana was hugely involved in eradicating land mines around the world, and called attention to something that I think few of us were aware of.

      I do remember my dad working on his albums. He received small envelopes from around the world, stamps purchased or traded with other collectors. He would soak them in water to remove the envelope backing, then attach the stamp to the album using tweezers and those tiny cellophane gummed adhesive so that the stamp could be lifted up from the page.

      Thank you, today and always, for your love and care, and for knowing the underlying feelings that went into this creation.


      Liked by 1 person

      • ❤ I'll always be here, there, everywhere xo

        Good Morning to you! charpity, chirp chirp. We are up early! The light is just starting to break here and everything is in black silhouette out my window, like those very fine paper works you see artists do. really pretty.

        Hey! I just happened across this post by another WP'er about a stamp collection. I recommend she come by to visit you. You might enjoy her humour too. Have a beautiful day Alys, I take your love with me as I'm off to Aunty K's today after an appointment. Ta Ta and Mwaaaaa xo


        • We are up early. What fun to find you here. I’m trying to catch up with blog comments, new posts, posts I follow, etc., but I’ve been so busy that I keep falling behind.

          Your view sounds gorgeous. It’s not light yet here either, thanks to our recent time change, which is also contributing to my early rising. I can’t seem to sleep past 4:30 or 5.

          Thanks for the blog link. I’ll go investigate. Enjoy your day with Auntie K. Please tell her Alys says hello and wishes she could join you for breakfast too. xoxo

          Liked by 1 person

          • One of the benefits of being freshly pressed? I ended up there looking for the ‘Pressed’ post of another friend, I just noticed he has over 5,000 followers! Crazy because he always replies to my comments so fast. We’re merely teeny guppies in a big pond I guess. Glubbity, glub glub…..let’s swim over to the scuba diver, then swing around the treasure chest, LOL (remember those old fashioned aquarium decors?)….do you follow half of what I say? LOL It all makes sense in my head 😀 xo


  12. Your table is stunning and what a fabulous way to honor the collector. My grandfather went to a lot of work saving print blocks of four his whole life, and they are just stored away with no one appreciating their beauty. Thanks for your Mog Pog bravery, creativity and inspiration!


    • Karen, it feels great finding a way to honor his collection and to bring it out into the light of day. Are the print blocks in your possession? I would love to see a photo of one if you have any.

      Thanks for your kind words!


  13. What can I say, dear Alys?? I was thrilled when you showed the table top to me over skype and bragged about it to my parents! They were so happy to hear about what you did. Such a wonderful idea and who better to execute it but you? And Yes, your Dad will be proud of you:)


    • Oh Nandini, you are such a dear. I loved sharing it with you in what almost felt like ‘in person’. How sweet that you shared it with your parents.

      Please give them my best. I sent you a private note about our next Skype. I hope we can reschedule soon. xox


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  15. Pingback: 12 Easy Postage Stamp Projects! - Pretty Little Larks

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