Friday, August 26, 2011

Pallet Storage Crate {DIY}

After seeing countless numbers of reclaimed pallet projects, I had to jump on the bandwagon.  

My biggest need around here is storage for books.  Somehow, between myself and the three gremlins, we have managed to accumulate more books than the local library.  And, on top of that, we have a stack or two of books from the local library.  A few weeks ago, I made a couple of forward facing shelves.  But, those don't actually offer much storage, so I needed the pallet storage crate.

I got the idea, of course, from Ana White.  The plans for the project can be found here.

The plan seemed simple enough.
    1. Stalk local business until you find just the perfect pallet.
    2. Tear it apart.  Somehow.
    3. Recover for 3 weeks because tearing apart the pallet was so frustrating.
    4. Build the box.
    5. Get distracted for another week on projects like the Cubby Storage System and the Wooden Read Sign.
    6. Get it together and actually finish the project.

Ana left her pallet crates unfinished and they look wonderful.  But, I have been working a light olive/turquoise/splash of magenta color scheme in our playroom/schoolroom, so I decided to use paint left over from the chairs I made a few weeks prior.

This was probably not my favorite project, simply because the crate was SO well nailed together that it was difficult to tear apart (even with the help of this awesome video here).  But, watching my kids dive into the crate and read book after book...awesome.  

I went back and forth on this, but finally decided to add the coaster wheels to the bottom.  And, yes, if you're wondering, it took literally less than a minute for the kids to use it as a bumper car.  It took less than a day before my big kid tried to stuff my little kids into the crate.  He wouldn't confess to this, but I'm pretty sure his plan was to send them down the stairs.  Thankfully, they don't fit inside.

The one part of the crate I really like is the roughness and natural grain of the wood showing through (I'm not sure what you call this - unmilled?).  It was very hard for me to decide whether or not to paint this.  I finally decided to go for it, and I really like how it turned out.  

I really like how it turned out.  The best part?  It only cost the price of the wheels!

Join  us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap 
 up           party!

Friday, August 5, 2011

DIY: Wooden "Read" Sign

I love to read!  More than any thing, I want to pass on that obsession passion to my three crazy gorgeous kiddos.  To inspire them to put down the iPhone and break out the ol' paperback (at least until they each get iReaders), I have spent part of my summer creating a reading nook in our play/school room.

In total, I think I spent about $3.50 making this project.  The other materials, I already had on hand.  Here are the materials needed:
  • 2 x 4 board (first number refers to the depth of the board, second number refers to the width).  A 1 x 4 or 2 x 6 would work just as well.  I bought a 2 x 4 x 6 (last number being the length - 6 feet) for roughly $3.50.
  • Acrylic or craft paint and paintbrush
  • miter saw (or have your local hardware store cut it for you for free)
  • Wood glue
  • Pencil, 2 - 2.5 inch screws, drill, sawtooth hangers, wall anchors
  • optional: clamp, square, wood filler, wall (just kidding, the wall is probably pretty essential if you want to hang it)
Step 1.  Cut the 2 x 4 into various sizes.  

My boards range from 10.5 inches to 14.5 inches roughly.  I used a mitre saw (could not live without my mitre saw!) to make straight cuts, but you could easily get someone at your local hardware store to make these cuts for you.

Step 2.  Paint the boards various colors.    

This is a great naptime activity to do with your non-napping kiddos.  The more they mess it up, the more "character" it has.  That what I kept telling myself, any way.  

Tip: After painting the board the base color, use a "dry" brush to paint on a complimentary color.

Optional: An optional step is to sand the edges at this point to age the wood.  I didn't do that.  I felt like the different color paint on each board was enough.  Plus, I'm flat lazy.

Step 3:  While the paint is drying, design the letters.  I suggest using a different font for each letter to make it more interesting.  I used GIMP (a freeware similar to Photoshop) to design my letters.

Step 4:  Once the paint is dry, use a pencil to draw the letters onto each board.  

Step 5: Paint the letters.  

Be sure to use accent colors on each letter.  Add little design elements here and there for some eye candy.  

Step 6:  Break out the wood glue.  

Glue those bad boys together.  Don't be stingy with that glue.

If you have a clamp, now would be the time to use it.  If not, you can improvise using heavy objects to reinforce them together.  Although the glue bottle probable only says it takes 30 minutes to dry, I suggest leaving it overnight.

Be careful taking it out of the clamp.  Those boards are heavy and they may not stay together completely with glue alone.

Step 7:  Reinforce the boards with claw-backy-thingies (see below) OR screws. 

I never, ever have luck with the claw-backy-thingies (and I never turn down the opportunity to use a power tool), so I chose to use 2 inch screws.

Drill a screw at an angle into every joining board.  Don't forget to pre-drill!

It should look like this:

Optional:  Feel free to use some wood filler (not putty!) here to cover up the screws.  I did not.  Again...lazy.

Step 8:  Hammer the sawtooth hanger on the back.  

Tip:  Use a square to draw a straight line on the back.

I used this hanger:

Probably the trickest part of this entire craft is holding down those tiny, itsy-bitsy little nails that go into the hanger.  Evil little things.

Voila!  Hang it above your book shelves using a wall anchor. (unless you are able to nail it into a stud).  

Feel free to email me if you have any questions!  If you make a similar sign, I'd love to see it!