Tag: Miter Saw

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!

From Crib Rail to Blanket Ladder in 6 Easy Steps

 

When the baby grows out of the crib, it’s time to find renewed purpose for the crib parts only the dump seems to take. After three babies, it was time for me to dismantle our hand me down crib. With all the new regulations, you literally can’t get rid of cribs that have lived through a growing family.  My recycling and repurposing side wouldn’t allow me to just trash anything but the mattress support. From there, it was just a matter of deciding what to do with the crib rail that sat in wait in the garage for years. 

I ended up being inspired by the numerous throw blankets and mermaid tails that remained a fixture in my 6 year old’s room. Her room was the smallest in the house and she was the least organized. Those blankets always seemed to be strewn around the floor. It was time to give her a throw blanket ladder!

 

Tool List

  • Circular Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Router and bit
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps

6 Steps to a Crib Rail Ladder

Step 1

 

This particular crib rail had a rounded top bar. Given that it didn’t match the bottom bar, I had to cut off the rounded end. While cutting it off, I also wanted to avoid chipping away the finish of the remaining edge. The best way to do that was to cover it in painter’s tape before starting to saw it off. With the tape in place, I used a circular saw to cut off the curve at the top. Thankfully, there was an indentation that I could use as my cutting guide.  It was also helpful to use an attachable saw guide to keep me completely straight while I went. Admittedly, I am not the best at sawing straight so I’ve come to rely heavily on guides to keep me on the mark. I’m crossing my fingers that refined skill will come with time and practice. 

 

crib rail start

Step 2

 

For step 2, a jigsaw was my best friend. It was time to cut off the extra rails so there would be enough space for the blankets. Using the jigsaw, I cut both sides of the bar as close to the top and bottom rail as I could. For your own project, you could certainly just leave as is at this point, if you don’t mind the extra width. I thought it was too much and wanted it to be narrower. So on to step 3 I went!

 

Step 3

This step was really quite simple. I used the jigsaw to cut the remaining bars from one side. The other side of the bars remained attached to the bottom of the crib rail. Then, it was just a matter of also cutting down the length of the bars to the width I wanted. 

Step 4

For such a small project, I certainly used a variety of tools. I pulled out my handy dandy Ryobi router for this step. It was important that the board stay in place while I routered the bar, so I put it in my clamp sawhorse. I used a keyhole bit that was the exact width of my bars to cut placement slots. It was pretty easy since I could use the previous spots as the guides.

Step 5

 

Using a miter saw, I cut the bottom of the post pieces at an angle so they would rest flat on the floor while leaning against the wall. 

Step 6

The final step was to use some wood glue in each slot before clamping it together to dry. Then it’s really up to you whether you paint it or not. I opted for gray for my crib rail blanket ladder.

Crib rail glued
One of my little helpers. With the constant calls for “mom”, it’s easy enough to get them to stick around to help for a few minutes.

Completed Crib Rail Blanket Ladder

Crib Rail Blanket Ladder in place

I would say that since the crib rail blanket ladder was put in her room, the blankets have been kept tidy….for the most part. I hope this quick run through helped you make one of your own and you find it just as cathartic as I do to find renewed purpose in washed up items! If you’re in need of other organization crafts (aka me time), check out Successfully Controlling Stuffed Animal Clutter with a Craft or 20 Brilliant Ideas for Decorating with Wooden Crates.

 

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!

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