Category: Woodworking

Use that Hidden Wall Space for a Recessed Bookcase

During our many visits to the build of our new (and now previous) house, I took notice of the framing of an odd space. It seemed like an odd notch to leave, so I assumed it was intended to house ductwork or something of that nature. I kept it in the back of my mind for a future possible recessed bookcase project. As my oldest book-loving daughter crept into her teenage years, she was ready for a change in bedroom scenery. When I mentioned my idea, she wouldn’t stop asking when I was going to complete it. I was finally able to put it on the to do list to complete it over a weekend while my husband was away. That’s incidentally one of my favorite times to get things done because messes stress him out.  This project definitely generated some dust and mess.  

Before Book Shelf

The then existing bookshelf came from my sister when she moved across the country. It certainly served its purpose but wasn’t the nicest piece of furniture.

Blank Canvas for a Recessed Bookcase

I started off by drilling a hole at the bottom of the wall to check the depth of the space. It would have been terrible to start going crazy cutting away the drywall to find I wasn’t actually able to use it. The depth was about a foot, so I was safe.

My dad showed up to lend me some tools to make this job a little easier. One of those tools was a drywall saw. Using a square and tape measure, I penciled the line for sawing. It was essentially the edge of the wall’s 2 x 4’s. The top edge aligned with the door frame. My dad is not great at sitting idle, so he helped with sawing the drywall. I’ll rarely complain about free help. 

And of course, the kid crew sat and watched us work. The oldest monitored the progress to gauge how long until she’d get to load the shelves. 

Look at all that dead space behind the wall! I could have gone with a pull out bookcase with a hidden nook. 

 Can’t forget about the drywall behind the trim! I admittedly did at first but quickly realized it when fitting the shelf frame into the space. Certainly, the other option would be to cut out the trim as well, but I didn’t want to have to mess with cutting and all that extra stuff. 

Recessed Bookcase Shelf Build

Tools & Supplies

  • 3/4″ Plywood
  • 1/4″ Plywood
  • Wood Trim
  • Wood Glue
  • Screws
  • Square
  • Tape Measure
  • Nail Gun
  • Level
  • Clamps
  • Sand paper
  • Stain or Paint

Thankfully, this project didn’t stress the wallet (since it was pre-COVID wood price spike). The side pieces were cut to the height of the opening from floor to top. Then it was just a matter of cutting the top and shelves all the same size to fit in between the side panels.

As to be expected with any build, the level and square were necessary to ensure all the shelves would be level to the floor. The bottom shelf aligned with the height of the trim, so the trim would serve as the front space coverup. I stained all of my pieces with a white stain before putting them all together. With some glue and screws drilled into the shelf from the outside, the bookshelf was almost to the finish line.  

The 1/4″ board was cut to the full width of the shelf and nailed down with the nail gun. Let me tell you what; a decent nail gun makes a ton of difference when compared with a cheapy. It’s on my list of tools to geta better version. There are two types, a brad nailer and a finish nailer. A brad nailer would be best for the structural builds, while the finish nailer is best for baseboards or trim. The higher priced versions are both are likely to be battery operated as opposed to the less expensive, which require an air compressor. Just depends on what level of mobility is desired. 

Final Finishings of the Recessed Bookcase

With the constructed bookshelf in place, it was just a matter of affixing the sides to the existing studs with wood screws. I chose to cover the screw heads with wood filler that I then stained white to keep them from sight. 

Some inexpensive trim was last up. I cut the trim ends at the top at 45-degree angles with the miter saw to create the 90-degree angle. I used the finish nailer to secure it to the stud and bookcase edges. A bit of spackle and white paint was all that remained on the project to do list.

Later, when I wasn’t as happy with the floor ends of the trim being uneven with the floor trim, I decided to fill the space with wood filler. I used the dremel to sand it to a similar shape that melded with the floor. I was glad to have another project on which to practice my dremel skills. It definitely wasn’t excellent, but it did the job well enough.  I also covered the screw holes with wood filler as well. After a coating of stain on the screws and paint on the trim, it was good to go. 

After years of contemplation, it was super exciting to have finally pulled the trigger on the project. The outcome was visually more appealing than the previous bookshelf, a space saver, and my daughter absolutely loved it. Sometimes, I kick myself for waiting too long to try something new that is somewhat scary. I know the project may not always come out the best, but the win is in the free-fall plunge. Check out the rest of the room makeover here and revamp of the old bookcase into a Bakery and Lemonade Stand my 11-year-old used to make money for donation.

Go Ahead and Try Something New Today!

Studies suggest we fear an unknown outcome more than we do a known bad one.

Trying New Things. Why new experiences are so important to have

Benefits of trying something new:

  • Trying something new often requires courage
  • Trying something new opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new.
  • Trying something new keeps you from becoming bored
  • Trying something new forces you to grow

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Ikea Desk Hack for Added Storage and Organization

Last year, my youngest was saddened by the fact that she was the only sister in our house not to have her own desk. As a 6-year-old, it hadn’t been that big of a need in my mind. Regardless, she desperately wanted a place of her own to draw and craft. My sister ended up having an extra Ikea desk ready for the taking. It was thankfully small for her fairly crowded room. My little gal happily filled the one drawer to the max with pencils, crayons, papers, erasers, and all the things.

It didn’t take long for the contents of the drawer to start overflowing onto the desktop and the floor. With the start of virtual school, she needed for it to be clear enough to work off. She loved the idea of adding a little extra storage so away I went with creating a plan for this Ikea desk hack.  

Ikea Desk Type

This revamp is specific to the Micke Desk from Ikea available for the low price of $49. If your child is anything like mine, the drawer will simply not suffice for the amount of stuff desired to be shoved into a desk. 

MICKE Desk, white, 28 3/4x19 5/8 "

MICKE Desk, white, 28 3/4x19 5/8 "

Ikea Desk Hack Supplies

I took my oldest with me to purchase the supplies. While we were there, she accidentally kicked her croc onto the higher stack of wood. I had to ask for a worker to get it and she was mighty embarrassed! Just goes to show that not every Home Depot/Lowes trip is run of the mill! I was just glad the trip didn’t involve a string of complaints about the store and how long I was taking.

  • 1/4″ plywood
  • 1/4″ x 4″ X 6″ Pine board
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint
  • Metal Wire Basket
  • 4 small hinges
  • knob

Tools

  • Sand Paper
  • Clamps
  • Saw
  • Nail Gun

Measurements

  • 1/4″ x 15″ x 13 5/8″
  • 3- 1/4″ x 4″ x 18 3/4″
  • Lid – 1/4″ x 4″ x 19 1/2″
  • Long side – 1/4″ x 4″ x 29 1/4″
  • Short side – 1/4″ x 4″ x 13 11/16″
  • Bottom – 1/4″ x 4″ x 19 1/8″
  • 1/4″ x 4″ x 10″
  • 2- 1/4″ x 3″ x3 3/16″
  • 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ x 3 2/8″
  • 1/4″ x 4″ x 5 3/8″

I purposely chose the four-inch width wood, so I wouldn’t have to cut the depth. The project was a lot easier by primarily only needing to cut the length. After cutting all my boards, it was only a matter of gluing the boards together and clamping them while they dried. Once they were dry, I used the nailgun to secure them together. 

I had to do a bit of searching for a four inch basket that would fit an acceptable amount in it. I finally found a Metal Wire Hanging Basket from Hobby Lobby. Then, I based my measurements on the basket.

So a few cuts with the saw, some wood glue and fires of the nail gun and the build is complete. I affixed it to the desk using only wood glue. I was fully expecting to have to use nails or screws but didn’t want to mar the inside surface of the Ikea desk. I’ve been amazed at how well it’s stayed together with only that! It survived a move, but I’m still waiting for when I’ll have to use some hardware. 

The Disastrous Before…

Aye caramba! All the little pieces!

My youngest struggles more than any of them to keep her room in any semblance of order. As the youngest, she’s generally had a helper for most things and readily provides the excuse “she doesn’t know how”. Such disasters can wreak havoc on your mental wellness, especially when trying to navigate the mess just to say goodnight to them. Routine and set visual instructions (like pictures on bins) will be a great help for any children who struggle with this. It’s also going to be really important to start them with small and easy steps, “like pick up the dirty clothes first”. Anyway, Printable Parents has free printable visuals on the topic if you’re interested! 

The Glorious After

Polka dot paper sorter and rotating pen sorter curtesy of Home Goods! I can’t get enough of them.

A tall paper and book slot. She uses a lot of my 12×12 scrapbook paper so that was why I chose to make it the size I did.

Side Project

My little one picked out some fake flowers on a trip to Walmart and then wanted a vase for them. We had a bunch of fire limbs, so I cut one to size. Using a Dremel, I carved into the wood and used a large 1/2″ drill bit to create the hole for the flowers. It was a snap!

 

And that is a wrap on this easy Ikea Desk hack. A wallet-friendly desk and wood purchase that will give your self-esteem a little boost every time you see what you were able to do. If you’re looking for more ideas for kids’ rooms check out Successfully Controlling Stuffed Animal Clutter with a Craft, Imagination Closet for a Child’s In House GetawayBrilliantly Beautiful Kid’s Rainbow Room Idea, or Crafting a Calming Corner to Assuage Parent and Child.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Capture Nature’s Beauty with a DIY Live Edge Coffee Table

 

As we were starting to furnish our new living room, I was really hoping to create something more unique. I refinished my grandmother’s antique trunk to use as the coffee table but ended up using it as a side table due to its height. I happened to come into possession of a thick cut of large tree trunk that became the inspiration for this Live Edge Coffee Table. The first step in the monster process of leveling out the thick-cut can be found in my other post. This post is about creating the base and top finish.

 

Live Edge Coffee Table Steps

Materials

  • 2×4’s (likely only 1 is needed but depends on your slab)
  • Decorative Metal sheeting
  • Pocket Screws & Kreg Jig
  • Spray paint
  • Resin
  • Wood screws
  • Stain (if desired)
  • Wood glue

Live Edge Coffee Table Finish Options

Version One

After much belt sanding and subsequent backache on my first slab, I was ready for putting on the finishing touch. For this one, the finishing touch was going to be the polyurethane coating.

 

When doing a clear coating, one coat is almost never going to suffice. For this slab, I believe I did 5 or 6 coats. The more you do, the more durable it becomes. Obviously, this means you’re in for a waiting game. No special tricks needed here; brush on the poly and wait the appropriate time to dry. Then, do a light sanding and another coat. Repeat.

 

 

I used to think it would be necessary to stain to get more color out of the wood. Unless you desire a totally different color, staining is not necessary. The polyurethane brings out the natural tones in the wood. Below you see the difference in the raw wood and the poly-coated wood.

 

After the polyurethane dried, the top was at long last complete. I can’t begin to describe the pride and relief in finally completing it. After having the huge slab resting against the wall for well over a year, while I tried to figure out how to tackle it, I didn’t know if I’d ever get it done. My husband had asked when we could get rid of it and I had told him I was giving myself one more month to find a way to do it. That was what I needed to kick myself into gear.

 

Version Two

By live edge coffee table number two come onto my must-do project list, I was ready to try a “brand new to me” technique, EPOXY! Epoxy (or resin) is essentially like doing 40 coats of polyurethane. I was admittedly a bit scared thinking about how it could go astray. After completing it, I can tell you it’s not that scary if you simply follow the directions. As the instructions will tell you, you have to mix exact amounts of the two chemicals and have two containers to use for mixing. The silly struggle for me was finding the containers because I didn’t feel like running to the store for something minuscule yet again. FYI, it’s much easier if you get these: 

 

 

My other unknown was how much would be needed. I decided it’d be better to have too much than too little so used the whole kit. Then, it was on to my very first pour!

 

The anxiously anticipated epoxy pour….

It was definitely necessary to use a flat scraper to spread it around the full surface. Speed is important here folks. The epoxy doesn’t take long to start drying on you. It’s also important to cover your floor to prevent it from adhering as it drips. I wanted it to go over the live edge to protect the bark. 

 

A smile because it was going well!

After the pour, it was necessary to blow on the air bubbles to get rid of them. A heat gun or hairdryer works, as does going “ha” on them with your breath. I went with the last method. My girls were perplexed by what I was doing. Thank goodness this project was prior to the pandemic!

The biggest issue I ended up having with version two was the extra porous edges. The epoxy completely absorbed into the edges. I ended up having to do another layer of epoxy to finish it off. FYI, epoxy is not cheap, so I was not thrilled by having to do another layer. My other recommendation (based on this experience) is not to do it in the garage where there are gnats. I kept having to fish those little buggers out of the sticky epoxy. 

 

Version 2: Beautifully Glassy Finish

The Base

 

I made two tables that needed slightly different bases based on the uneven bottom of one of them. The basic idea here was to create two interlocking rectangles.

 

Version One

 

The height of the leg is dependent on the thickness of the slab of wood and the desired height of the table. I wanted a height of 19 inches, so it would be at the height of the couch seat. The measurement of the ‘leg’ should be from floor to tree slab to hide the ‘base’ 2×4’s. The base 2×4 measurements depend on the width of the tree slab. I decided to make it about 4 inches less than the slab diameter, so it provided enough support for how heavy it was and the top of the legs would be slightly hidden. 

 

 

Although the four legs will be the same height, the four base pieces will not be the same. Two will be the full length. Then there will be four short pieces. In the photo above, you can see I have the right length of the short pieces when I place a test piece in the gap. With all the cuts complete, the next step is to create the pocket holes with the Kreg jig in the base pieces and drill in the pocket screws. Below, you can see I measured the midpoint on the cross-sections to ensure it would be square before screwing in the pocket screws.

 

 

With the pocket screws in place, this table base build was complete! It was so much easier than having to level the tree slab with a router; to that I’m certain. It was then just a matter of attaching it to the tree slab with long wood screws.

 

Version Two

Since my other slab was thicker on one side than the other from the chain saw cut, I used a board from a crate table I had made and repurposed. I had to adjust the height of the table lengths based on that difference to ensure the top would be level. (Talk about a pain in the behind.) Then, I built the base in the same way as version one.

 

Gotta make sure that table is level before you screw it all in!

 

Version two was actually the one I started with, so I thought the legs would be just as they were. I stained the base with a dark stain and thought I might have been complete. It looked quite blah, and my husband said he thought it would be better to have more of a solid base. That comment inspired me to consider decorative metal sheeting and away I went to the hardware store. Metal sheeting; another first!

 

Metal Sheeting

 

The first time I did this, I used metal cutting sheers (borrowed from a coworker) to cut to the appropriate height for coverage of all legs. It worked alright, but it was definitely difficult to keep from catching my skin on the cut metal. I cut three sides to fit the width of space leaving the stained wood leg exposed.  

The second time around, I learned my lesson with the sheers and used this handy dandy little tool to saw through the metal. I also decided on a different method for the edges of the metal sheeting. Given there was a border on the metal sheet, I didn’t want to cut more than one side. This desire gave me the idea to use the whole width of the sheet as-is for each space between legs and wrap around the leg.

 

 

Using glue epoxy and clamps, I held the sheeting in place while I screwed wood screws into the available holes to secure it to the legs.   

 

I hammered the edges of the metal edging so it wouldn’t be a hazard.

Metal Sheeting Version 1: Exposed Wood

Metal Sheeting Version 2: Covered Wood Leg

I hammered the overhang to fold over the edge to meet in the middle with the other side. I tried using some epoxy glue here. It didn’t work very well, so I recommend skipping it. My last step was to hammer in flat head nails on the outside edge to keep it from flaring out. 

Last of all, it was time to spray paint the metal sheeting for my desired bronze look to compliment the bark. It took two coats and then I was finished. Thank the LORD!!

 

Two Completed Live Edge Coffee Tables

 

I hope you enjoyed the rundown on how I created these two tables and it inspires you to overcome some of your own fears of taking on bigger projects. As you overcome those little fears, you are sure to build that self-confidence in yourself and your growing skills. For me, it expanded my creativity as well to think of new ways to get to a great end product.

 

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Seriously Simple One Hour Wooden Blanket Ladder for $10

 

With the winter season, comes an abundance of throw blankets needing living room storage space. I know my family and I love to snuggle up on the couch with a good throw blanket. When the snuggling is over, the blankets get stacked up in a basket that is now too small for all of them. If this scenario rings a bell with you while you are trying to stick to a budget, then you can choose to buy one or make one.  A quick Google search will provide you with a great many options to purchase. The cheapest I saw was on Etsy for $40. If your life has to abide by a budget as mine does, then follow along to make your very own thrown blanket ladder for $10 (depending on what you already have on hand). 

 

Throw Blanket Materials & Tools

  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 6′ pine or desired wood type
  • 2 – 3/4″ x 4′ round dowels
  • Wood Glue
  • Clamps
  • Nails
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • 3/4″ Drill Bit
  • Stain or paint

Blanket Ladder Build

Using whatever saw you have available for a straight cut, cut the dowels at 15 7/8″. This will allow for three equal pieces within that 4′ dowel. I choose to do 5 rungs, which obviously leaves one extra segment for you to start on a ladder for a friend! 

 

For the 1″ x 2″ boards, cut one end of both boards at a 15-degree angle. This is most easily accomplished with a miter saw. The 15-degree end is the one that will rest on the floor. 

 

 

For the other end, I found it easiest to lean it against the wall at the correct angle and then draw a line parallel to the wall. You could certainly leave the corner as it, but I prefer the straight edge to lean against the wall to prevent scraping and sliding. 

 

 

Then, it’s just a matter of cutting it on the line!

 

Rung Holes

Measuring from the bottom, measure the first section at 16″, then 11″ for the four other rungs. The spacing was based on what I thought would work best with blanket size and keeping the bottom blanket off the ground. Then at each line, measure to 3/4″ to make a vertical line to create an x for where you need to drill.  

 

Use a 3/4″ drill bit or router bit to drill all the hole. I would have preferred to use a bit without a pointed tip on it but that was all I had. Anyway, drill down about a 1/4″ of an inch to 1/2″ depending on the bit you are using. I stuck to 1/4″ depth with this bit. 

 

From there, it’s just a matter of squeezing wood glue into each hole and clamping it together to dry. I also secured the rungs with a nail from the outside. 

 

Completed Blanket Ladder

 

After staining it, this blanket ladder was ready for to be put to use. Presto!

 

 

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

The Easiest Way to Even Out a Wood Slab with Basic Tools

I find it a bit amazing how as life happens, you can stumble onto the opportunities for projects you have wanted to do. This project was spurred by just such an event when I went to a Christmas party hosted by my husband’s coworker. She was much like me and as she gave me a tour of her outstanding house, she explained she had a huge log she was hoping to make into a variety of things. It was quite serendipitous to say the least. I had already had thoughts about things I would make if I could get my hands on a wood slab or stump.

The above photo was the slab her husband cut for me. It was enormous and heavy. They had a lot of other log sizes, so I thought I’d grab a few other wood slabs with a smaller circumference. I hadn’t ever used a chainsaw so cautiously went into trying to cut a piece. It was super difficult, so we came to the conclusion the blade needed to be sharpened. 

The two of us lifted this huge sucker into the back of my Honda Odyssey by bending from those knees. I felt pretty powerful after that. Definitely small but mighty. 

Wood Slab Struggles

The wood slab was just too tall for what I intended. I searched around to try to find a sawmill to cut it in half. I finally found one in Pennsylvania who said they could do it. When I got there, it was too wide for their machine, so they used a chainsaw to cut it in half. It looked quite difficult and took much longer than expected. $50 later, I had two wood slabs, one that was relatively even and another in a fairly rough uneven shape. The rest of this story is about the one in rough shape. 

One side was about 2 inches higher than the other. The best side still had chainsaw divets in it as well. Even trying to use a chain saw to even the height would be quite difficult. This is when the router came into play. A router can be used for a variety of projects and it seemed to be the only option for this one. 

Materials for Evening it Out

The first task is to create a square from the 2×4’s just larger than the size of the wood slab. Then cut the legs for the stand just a smidge taller than the tallest point of the wood slab. 

Next up, creating the router sled. Initially, I used some scrap wood. The boards were not quite long enough, which made it difficult to maneuver. I can verify for you, it’s much easier if you use boards that extend well beyond the frame perimeter. From there, it’s just a matter of setting the height of the straight router bit. I used a 1/2″ straight router bit but would’ve gone with a 5/8″ bit if I had it. Then, it’s just a matter of sliding the router back and forth on the sled, which is meant to keep it level. 

SOOO MUCH SAWDUST

Sawdust is going to go everywhere with this project. Make sure to do it in a fairly clear space for easier cleanup.

https://youtu.be/DL6jSI6Po_w

Smoothing the Wood Slab

The router did a great job of leveling the whole wood slab out. It definitely kicked at times creating a few nicks. I decided to try using a handheld planer to smooth it out as a first step. It was just a matter of running the planer over the surface. I eventually paused on that to see how the sandpaper would work out instead.

The look of progress

Time to Sand

After the router, it was time to put the muscles to work to sand the wood slab with extra coarse sandpaper using the belt sander. That 36 grit coarse sandpaper was wonderful at smoothing it all out. Just be careful not to create a ton of sandpaper grooves while you are going. From there, it’s necessary to sand it with a higher grit to smooth out the coarse lines. 

Look How Smooth It Is!

Not a ton of steps but definitely a lot of effort goes into this method. That was the reason I procrastinated so long on starting it. My back was aching after being bent over the slab for so long. When you don’t have all the special tools, it becomes necessary to find affordable ways to complete tasks using tools you may already have or would be useful in a variety of projects. I rely on this toolset quite a lot, so you can’t go wrong with purchasing at least a router, saw, drill, and belt sander. I hope this quick rundown helps you with your own wood slab project!  Check out some other wood projects you could create with a router, like a Paddle Platter.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Free DIY Desk Plan Download for Your Virtual Learner

A week before our virtual learning school year started, my friend texted me to ask if I could build a desk she had ordered but had never arrived. I took a look at the pictures and the measurements she sent and agreed to building it. From my perspective, it was going to be a pretty simple project. I had already been planning to start making my niece a nightstand for her upcoming birthday, so drawing out a desk plan and putting it together could be done at the same time. With the plan in my head, away I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Supplies

  • 1- 1″ x 2′ x 4′ plywood piece
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 6′ pine
  • 3 – 1″ x 3″ x 6′ pine
  • 1 – 1″ x 10″ x 4′ whitewood board
  • Pocket screws
  • Dowels
  • Veneer Edging
  • Wood Filler
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain or paint and/or wax
  • Basket

Measurements and Cuts for this Desk Plan

The desk is 42″L x 24″D X 30″H.

  • 1 – 1″ x 42″ x 24″ 
  • 6 – 1″ x 3″ x 29 1/2″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 17 3/8″ 
  • 1 – 1″ x 2″ x 26 1/4″
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 8 1/4
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 11″
  • 4 – 1″ x 2″ x 9 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 8″ 
  • 1 – 1″ x  13″ x 9 1/2″
  • 1 – 1″ x 19″ x 9 1/2″ 

Cutting a Straight Edge

If you’re like me, you don’t have the fanciest of tools…yet. I would really like to have a table saw but am waiting for garage space and the affordable option to cross my path. I am not good at cutting completely straight without a guide. This inevitably means using older methods (aka pre-table saw invention methods) of getting to the desired end result of a straight cut. There’s no getting around that being a tough task.

I got a maple plywood piece that was the desired width to save me having to make two long cuts.

So, this “older method” includes using a straight edge and a circular saw with a rolling square guide on it. Measure out where the cut needs to be made and use a square to draw it across the full length of the board. Next, measure the distance needed from the edge of the board to the straight edge, so the blade will cut on the line. To keep the straight edge in place, you will use short clamps to clamp the straight edge to the board. 

If all you’ve got is a circular saw and board, you can accomplish this same setup. 

Ready to cut!

Cutting the legs

I went with a 10 degree angled cut for the legs (and subsequent cross beams). To do this, use a miter saw set to the appropriate degree. Both ends need to be cut at this degree for the desk top to be level with the floor. The length of the leg is 29 1/2″ on one side.

I used a flat board to check the length of the legs and to figure out how wide the top connecting piece would need to be. The bottom beam was cut to 17 3/8″.  I decided on this length to be at 2 1/2″ high from the floor. This would be the same for all three of the bottom supports. 

 

 

List of pieces cut at 10-degree angle

  • 6 – 1″ x 3″ x 29 1/2″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 17 3/8″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 8 1/4″
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 11″

Time for Pocket Holes

Pocket holes are an easy way to attach boards together, so you can’t see the hardware from the outside. It’s faster and easier than doweling. Check out some of my other projects highlighting the Kreg jig and pocket holes; Composite Bookcase, Living Room Table set, and Shoe Box.

I put two holes in all of the leg and shelf pieces, including the 1″ x 2″ pieces. The hole placement was wider than the 1″ x 2″, which meant having to reposition after the first hole.

Putting the Desk Plan Together

I opted to clamp the legs to a sawhorse to keep it in place. There are tools that will hold corners together securely, but again, I don’t have those. The clamps did the job well enough while I screwed in the pocket screws. FYI, pocket screws are different than regular wood screws, so you do need to buy those specifically. As with any wood project, it’s also best to glue before you screw. 

I marked the 2 1/2″ mark on the legs to make sure the cross beam was in the correct spots prior to drilling.

Finishing Touches

Here’s a little trick for sanding that I learned from my parents. Wrap the sandpaper around a scrap piece of wood to make it easier to sand. I much prefer it to holding the sandpaper and to paying for the more expensive sanding blocks. Using an electric hand sander is also an easier option. 

I didn’t want the holes at the bottom to show, so I filled them in with wood filler. This particular wood filler dries pretty quickly, which is excellent for wanting to get a project completed quickly. Then it just needed to be sanded smooth. 

Desk Plan Wood Filler

Desk Plan: Putting it Together

I didn’t take photos of the assembly, because I was also trying to help with a bakery and lemonade stand sale that was going on at the same time. Life is never simple with three daughters in the house. To explain what I did; I attached the cross beams for the shelves to all legs prior to attaching the top. The shelves can be put on before or after the desktop is attached, just know that it’s hard to get to the pocket holes if you attach the top-shelf before the top. The base was completely together, so it was easy to just put the top on and attach it. For added security, I also drilled dowel holes in a few spots. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but I felt more comfortable with it. All that was left was to put the glue on the top of the legs and secure the top with the pocket screws.

From there, it was time to put on the veneer edging to give the edges a finished look. This is necessary when using any plywood, unless you prefer the raw edge. This veneer edging is really simple to use. Cut it to size, iron it on, and sand it flush. That’s it! One tip; give it time to cool and set before sanding it, so you don’t inadvertently loosen the hold.

Finished Raw Wood Desk

A frame desk plan

I painted it white and applied dark wax to the edges and top with a paintbrush to give it a rustic or chabby chic look. It’s really up to your personal style what you do with it. 

This Desk Plan is Ready for Virtual School

If you’d like the download of instructions, click the download button:

Check out some other projects:

Faux Wood Plank Shoe Enclosure to Keep Shoes Out of the Way

We got a Greater Swiss Mountain puppy this past year, which ended up meaning our shoes were no longer safe. I decided to use some extra wood sitting in the garage to create a shoe box to keep them safe by the back door. It’s also served to keep the area cleaner and trip free. Rather than keeping the plywood as is, I opted to do a faux wood plank technique to the top.

Our puppy Skye, particularly enjoyed our flip flops.

My Materials

  • 3/4″ plywood
  • 1/4″ plywood
  • 2 hinges
  • Spray paint
  • Stain
  • Drawer knob
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Screws

Tools

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Nail gun and nails
  • Kreg jigs
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Saw horses

Using the circular saw, I cut the plywood to the width of the wall space and the depth of my husband’s shoe. If I had had enough 3/4″ plywood in my scrap pile, I would have done the bottom with it as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t, so I used 1/4″ plywood instead.

I decided to use this Rustoleum spray paint I had from an ombre project I completed for my niece. The pop of color was a nice surprise on the inside. Rustoleum has good coverage.

I used some inch long wood screws to attach the bottom to the sides. Since it was just a simple project to keep our shoes safe, I didn’t worry too much about having 1/4″ board on the bottom being attached with glue and screws.

Faux Wood Plank Time

I thought it’d be fun to give the top the look of panels. To achieve this, I taped it to allow for the stain to create lines. The darker stain was first with two coats to make sure it would be dark. I switched the painter’s tape to cover the dark stain and then did the lighter stain. After that, I did a second coat on a few of the spots to have a third variation.

I put on two hinges I had handy. It seemed better that we’d have to pull up on the door to open it and make it puppy proof, so that is what I went with doing. I drilled an easy hole in the middle of the front panel and screwed in a knob to finish it off.

Safe and sound

The finished product for family shoe organization and safe keeping! If your looking for more organization ideas, check out the Family Command Center above the shoe box here.

(more…)

Super Simple Succulent Decor Ideas for a Struggling Plant Mom

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy succulents! And that is pretty much the same thing.

-Unknown

This quote pretty accurately describes my feelings about succulents and other plants. In doing some research, I found this article on the 11 Ways Plants Enhance Your Mental and Emotional Health from Psychology Today. Take a look at #7; Higher levels of creativity! Who doesn’t love succulents and cacti? This article on the Top 8 House Plants to Help with Mental Health explains why those plants in particular help with your mental health. During these uncertain times, it’s definitely necessary to do what you can to keep stress and anxiety at bay. With that being said, who’s ready to put together some succulent decor?!

Time to Run through Three Ideas

Simplicity at it’s Best

Cacti Succulent Decor

This simple set up comes by the way of Lowe’s gardening center, Michaels’ rocks, pots from a failed potting present and Target. The rocks were my attempt at creating a more prosperous environment for hen and chicks after many deaths. It sadly failed just like those before it. At some point, I will figure out how to keep them alive, but for now, I decided I’d be best to stick with simpler cacti for a bit. This bluish-gray platter was on clearance at Target and a perfect fit for these pots. So far, I’ve been able to keep these cacti alive by spritzing them with water I spray these cacti with a spray bottle once a week. The flowers have stuck around for months, so I’m at last doing something right. 

Long Lasting Succulent Decor

When my daughter said she wanted to have succulent decor in her ‘new’ room, I pushed for the fake variety for her. I initially found some individual stems at Big Lots months before, but we needed more than what I’d gotten. We went on a little mother-daughter shopping trip to Michaels. My oldest is talented in a great many ways but doesn’t typically go the crafting route with me as my other two girls do. It was a nice time to get away and pick out some items for her to put together. She picked out the extra succulents, the glass container, and the sand color. 

All that was needed was to throw the sand into the glass and arrange the succulents as she liked. I enjoy the look of this angled bowl combined with the varying heights of the succulents. In order to achieve that, we had to cut the thick stems with wire cutters to make it all work together. You can see it in her renewed room here…

Easy Square Plant Hanger

A little woodworking never hurt anybody…. Just kidding, it definitely could if you’re not careful. This square hanger is super simple and involves a wee bit of woodworking.

Materials:

  • 1″ x 3″ x 6″ pine
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint or stain
  • Hook
  • Small planter hanger
  • A Plant
  • Nail Gun
  • Saw (I used this arm saw, but any variety of saws could cut the 4 pieces of wood.)

There are only a few steps for this project.

#1 Cut the wood to size. Two 10 inch long pieces and two 8 1/2 inch pieces.

#2 Put wood glue on the ends of the top and bottom pieces.

#3 Use a nail gun to nail the top and bottom in place.

#4 Stain/paint it

15 minutes and you could be finished with all four steps

I found this wood tint and plant holder (seen below) at an A.C. Moore going out of business sale. Those items inspired me to make this rustic wood holder. I hadn’t used ‘wood tint’ before this, so figured I’d give it a go. Even after using it, I’m wasn’t quite sure what the difference was between it and stain, because they seemed mostly the same to me. Given that, I did a quick internet search. I found a post from Repurpose and Upcycle that provides an awesome explanation of the two and when to use one over the other. The wood tint seemed to provide good initial coverage based on this first experience. It also dried quickly, which keeps for the quick and easy strategy here.

I found these river rocks at Lowe’s as well. Simple is the name of the game. Put the plant in and spoon the rocks in around it. Then, it’s ready to put the hook into the ceiling of the square. It’s best to pre-drill a hole for the hook but it can also just be screwed in without it. The rope that came with the glass globe was too long, so I used some twine I had on hand. I also preferred the look of the twine, so it was a win-win.

Final Succulent Decor

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the simplicity of these ideas. Two of them can be found in my daughter’s newly made-over bedroom. To read more, click here…

Don’t forget that plants help with stress reduction, so go ahead and place them in areas where you tend to feel a little more stressed. I guess that’s why I love keeping them in my office.

Super Simple to make DIY Hexagon Shelf for Personalized Decor

Hexagons are in and squares are out! It’s time to jump on the new trend wave with this DIY Hexagon Shelf. After updating my oldest daughter’s room, I knew this shelf would be the perfect compliment to her freshly painted wall. Don’t you think?!  You could certainly buy one for $30 plus, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this easy $10 project is the way to go.

Super Simple Supplies

These pre-sanded boards were ready for cutting. Doesn’t get much better than not having to stand.

If you’ve read some of my other woodworking posts, you’ve likely seen that I tend to use some older tools or am making do with what is available. This project is no exception. I’d love to get a new miter saw with all the bells and whistles but just can’t bring myself to spend money on it yet. This used radial arm saw was cheap and available, so that is how I came to have it. Anyway, it does the job. If you are new to woodworking and/or the whole tool game, you can be reassured you don’t have to have all the newest fancy gadgets to make neat functional projects.

Time to cut some wood!

First up, was figuring out how to utilize the size of the board. In order to maximize the boards at their current length, I decided to make each side 12 inches long. That meant I was cutting 3 of the boards in half and the other two would be cut for the shelves. 

The sides need to be cut at a 30-degree angle on each end of the boards. I’ll be totally honest here when I admit I couldn’t bring forth enough of my geometry memory to figure out the angle. Google was my friend in this instance. It makes me feel like I need to brush up along with my children as they learn it! While making the angled cuts, just make sure you’re not cutting off any length by cutting only the squared edge off.

I made the shelves 17 1/2 inches long to give more space to the middle shelf. The shelf boards also need to be cut at a 30 degree angle on both ends. It’s an option to save the hassle of angled cuts and nailing at an angle by cutting the shelves at a straight edge to attach to have hexagon with straight sides.

Testing out my angles. Looks good!

Hexagon Shelf Trick

Here’s a fun little trick to keep it all together. It’s not as strong a method as using something like ratchet straps, but I think more people have painter’s tape at the ready. Stretch out the painter’s tape, then line up the boards in a row. Put some wood glue into the crack and pull up the end. It’ll pull together as you go.

For those with little experience with glue and staining, I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you plan on staining the wood, you’d better take a wet cloth to the wood to clean off any trace of wood glue. If you don’t, it won’t stain properly. So, after you wipe the glue off, you’re best to leave the octag to dry. I will tell you that I didn’t wait for it to dry, so it was a tad difficult to nail it firm because of the shifting angles.

Time to bring out the nail gun

After the limited sawing and gluing, it’s time to nail it all together. My nail gun was jammed, so I borrowed my neighbor’s. His was better than mine because it had an arrow pointing at where the nail would come out. Mine doesn’t have that lovely little feature…because…mine is cheap. I’m very near buying a better one. I seem to use a nail gun a lot more than I’d ever anticipated so seems like a worthwhile purchase to me.

The hardest part was nailing the shelves in the right spot. Honestly, I didn’t want to wait for the glue to dry at the time. It would have been easier to have waited to nail it after it was set with glue.

Final Stretch for the Hexagon Shelf

All that’s left to do is paint it. My daughter picked a pink out of my spray paints. It ended up not matching well with the pink on her wall, so we ended up spray painting it gray.

Shelf brackets nailed into the back were the finishing touch. I have found the easiest way to hold the tiny nails is with needle nose pliers. You just hold them there while you hammer.

A Straightforward DIY Living Room Table Set just for You

While trying to decide on the direction for our new living room that wouldn’t break the bank, I was inspired by pins on Ikea furniture hacks. One, in particular, struck my fancy because of its simplicity and look. I ended up finding a discounted Hemnes white coffee table which was the start of this living room table set project. If you’re looking for a simple project that will impress your friends, then follow along with me.

Living room table set coffee table
Ikea Hemnes Coffee Table

Personalizing Ikea

Supplies for Ikea top: 

  • 3- 1x6x8
  • 1- 1x3x6
  • 1″ Wood Screws

Supplies for Side Table:

  • 1- 1x2x6
  • 1- 2x2x8
  • 3- 1x6x8
  • Stain
  • 1 1/2″ Wood Screws 
  • Kreg jig & screws
  • Wood Glue

I assume you know how wood measurements work, but just in case, here’s a nice breakdown at Arch Toolbox. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if the name matched the actual size?! I was given some poplar boards from our builder that were perfect for the coffee table and as the main part of a coordinating side table. I used pine for the store-bought wood for it’s affordability. In general, pine is a softer wood, so choosing this option could mean finding nicks and scraps in the wood at some point. Poplar is a harder wood that will take more of a beating.  

Getting started on this Living Room Table Set

This portion of the project involved ripping the boards into 6 equal pieces at 4 3/4″ x 41 1/4″. You have two options on how to connect them side by side; doweling and pocket holes. Pocket holes are easier to do but can be tricky to ensure the boards stay completely flush. Doweling needs to be pretty precise, so it can be tedious and slightly difficult to do by yourself. I chose to go with the pocket holes route for both tables here. I also decided to sand down the corners of each board to ensure there was a distinction between the boards after they were secured together.

living room table set: ikea update

After the long middle boards were screwed together, I cut the end boards to size at 2 3/8″ and 29 1/4″. I used the Kreg jig to create the pocket holes to attach the ends. With the top together, I stained it and the sides with a white stain followed by three coats of clear polyacrylic. I wanted to keep the top white to match the table and go with the white, gray, yellow, and teal color scheme of the room.

living room table set: new top

To finish this easy table upgrade, I just needed to screw the wood top to the coffee table. This was simply done by turning the coffee table over to expose the bottom. It was best to clamp the top to the table to avoid a gap between the boards. I chose not to use glue and stick with just the screws. To make sure the wood wouldn’t splinter with the wood screws, I pre-drilled the holes.

Side Table

Cuts

  • 8 – 1″ x 4″ x 19″
  • 4 – 1″ x 4 1/2″ x 24″
  • 6 – 1″ x 2″ x 13 1/4″
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 19″
  • 4 – 2″ x 2″ x 24″

The width of the legs and shelves is 14 3/4″ and the height of the side table is 24 3/4″.

The side table consisted of cutting the wood to size and using the kreg jig. I didn’t care to have to do more cuts than necessary, so my schematic limited the need for notched cuts by utilizing the 1×2’s.

living room table set: boards for side table

The poplar boards I used also needed to be ripped to size for the two shelves. I used a circular saw with a guide to cut the four boards, which works well enough. I would actually much rather have a table saw to use that would ensure an absolutely straight cut. My woodworking projects would be so much easier with a few extra tools, that’s for sure, but it just goes to show you don’t need all the special tools to complete a project. After cutting all the boards, sanding them smooth and making the pocket holes with the kreg jig was up next. 

Almost finished

Pocket holes galore. I used pocket holes to connect all the pieces together as you can see below, making sure to screw the shelf into all four legs and the 1×2’s. With all the hard work done, it was finally time to stain it. Rust-o-leum Antique White stain applied with a white rag gave it the finish I was trying to achieve. It needed three coats of stain to give it a consistent white. You generally shouldn’t need to do that many coats, but I felt it was warranted with this one. The most important point when staining is to go with the grain and not to allow it to pool in any one spot. 

And that’s all that is involved with creating a simple side table and giving an Ikea table an upgrade. If you’re looking for another easy project, check out Revamp a Composite Bookcase. It uses 1×2 pine boards just like some of this one.

living room table set top
living room table set bottom shelf

Completed Living Room Table Set Project

living room table set finished side table
living room table set: finished idea table

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