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How to build a simple, scrap wood upholstered footstool

An upholstered footstool is one of the gifts that I made for Pip for Christmas this year, in my quest to have one room in this house completely finished up.  This is part of how I made it–I say part, because I think I deleted the building part of the pictures…oops!  It is so simple though, you really don’t need anything but a picture to put it together.  And I used scrap plywood and miscellaneous supplies from my sewing room, so it was free.

Scrap plywood upholstered footstool

See what I mean?  This was a very easy project.  I had put together the bench part before I started on the living room built-in, but I finished the rest of this in the midst of my general-Christmas-madness-combined-with-starting-a-major-project brilliance.  I will once again beg all of you to remind me that I should not start major projects during the holiday season next year!

I left the edges of the plywood unfinished–I just filled some spots where there were little voids in the ply with wood putty and sanded really well.  Two coats of primer and 1 coat of my white.  I did do two thin coats of polycrylic since I had it out already for the living room built in.  I really like the smooth finish I end up with when I use it.

Here are the steps I used to upholster the top.

Upholstered footstool supplies needed Read More…

Scrap wood heart collage

I’m getting closer and closer to having ONE room in this house that is completely and truly done!!!! I can’t wait for that day :) Pip is really liking her desk hutch, but the project I am writing about today is one of her favorites for her room and it turned out a lot easier than I imagined. And it used up a lot of scrap plywood I had been accumulating–high fives all around! Here is the scrap wood DIY heart collage I put up on one of her walls:

Scrap wood heart collage

Scrap wood heart collage

I started this back in the summer and then procrastination hit…sometimes it is the silliest things that throw me off the finish line for a project. Picking out the pictures is what did it this time! I had a niggling of a feeling of wanting to do the picture-picking-out last weekend so I jumped on it, and now the project’s got a check mark next to it on my to-do list.

This used up a surprising amount of scrap 3/4″ and 1/2″ plywood. I wanted both sizes because I thought it would add some visual interest to the picture collage.  Most of them are 4 x 6, but a few were smaller because it was what I had left. Read More…

Adding a hutch to a desk {The Reveal}

If all I had done was add a hutch to a desk, then the reveal post would have come about much sooner.  But before I could add the hutch, I had to paint the desk:

Desk and chair before painting

The desk was a dirty, yellowy, whitish color and the handles and horizontal metal inserts were a brassy, gold color with worn, white parts on them.

I didn’t sand the desk down.  I bought some bonding primer at Lowes (hope I don’t regret not getting the Sherwin Williams version I’ve heard others use–I was already at Lowes and got lazy…).  I also skipped the polycrylic topcoat I’m fond of using and bought a semi-gloss finish in the paint instead.  I didn’t get the really smooth finish I’ve come to love, but I did get done with the project a little quicker, which I also love.

Repair a chair.  Paint the chair.  Recover the chair seat.  Spray the chair bright pink.  Discover bright pink doesn’t work.  Repaint chair white.

Repair a chair

The chair needed help in two different spots. It was pretty wobbly before I put in the pocket hole screws, but now it’s solid. I had to put the pocket holes on the outside because of the funky assembly on the inside.

And spray paint the handles and horizontal metal inserts a nice, brushed nickel.

Desk hardware ready to spray paint

I washed the hardware with some soap and water, dried it well, and primed it with some Rustoleum regular primer in gray (because I accidentally grabbed gray). I used Krylon in brushed nickle as the color and I left off the topcoat for this project.

But now it is all done and in her room!  Here’s  a before photo to refresh your memory about how the room looked, well…before!  I didn’t purposely take such awful before shots, I wanted the Hubs to take the desk down so I could paint it, but I needed before photos…and it was at night.  Flash photos + no natural light =no good

 How to add a hutch to a dresser

  Desk before photo

 Desk and Hutch from the front

I love the brushed nickle spray paint!  Look at the difference in the hardware.

Desk drawer hardware collage

It’s coming along in there.  I’m working on a couple more projects for her room right now that I’m hoping to have done by the weekend.  Now that I’ve said that out loud it’ll get jinxed somehow :)

Here are all the posts in the series:

Adding a hutch to a desk

Adding a hutch to a desk {post 1}

Adding a hutch to a desk {post 2}

You might notice that the drawers in the plans didn’t make it into the hutch.  That is a sore spot for me at the moment, since I did some incorrect math in my head…I was dreading going out in that garage in the cold, I procrastinated for a few days over the long weekend, finally went out and got it done, took it up to her room, and discovered they weren’t going to work as is.  Sigh.

If you’re ever in need of feeling better about how your own projects are going, you know you can always depend on me for a mistake or two!

**This project (and all my plywood projects on here to date) are made using PureBond Plywood because I’m concerned about the air quality in my home.


Adding a hutch to a desk {post 2}

Boy was I ever rusty in my woodworking skills for this build!!  I’m glad I am here to show you that multiple mistakes during a build can still result in a usable piece of furniture… :)

First off, my plan.  Wherever did I think that I could fit the amount of shelves I had planned for is beyond me!  I had an extra cut out that the plan called for.  You know how I have warned you that using my plan “as is” is probably not advisable?  I had a good laugh at myself as I was laying out the pieces on the garage floor for a dry fit!

Which reminds me–I really, really need to get a workbench made so I can quit using the floor.

Where would one more shelf fit??!!

And then I realized that I was going to have to figure out how high I wanted to make the first shelf, because it was going to be permanent and not moveable.  I had not figured that in–I wanted it to all be adjustable.  BUT this will not be attached to the actual desk because the desktop is formica.  In order to keep it square I need to have it fastened in the middle.  This ended up being a monumental decision–I went back and forth on it.  Right now she doesn’t need a ton of head room for that first shelf, but I want this to work for her as long as she is at home.  I went with the shelf being at 17.5″ (16.75″ once I added the face frame) so that she can fit a bigger monitor under there if need be someday. (I was really irritated with myself for making that such a big decision because it ate up precious time!  Sometimes I can be so indecisive.)

Then I got to use another of my birthday presents–my brand new Kreg Shelf Pin Jig.  Love it.

Read More…

Adding a hutch to a desk {post 1}

I promised plans today and here they are!  Hopefully I’ll be seeing how a sheet of plywood fits into a Honda Pilot today.  A Home Depot employee and I had a discussion on this matter several months ago, and he assured me that the old model Pilot fit a sheet with no troubles, while the newest version fits a sheet, but just barely.  We traded on our 12 year old van for a Pilot in July–the Honda salesman was a little bewildered by my interest in fitting lumber in the trunk :)  We bought the old model, so hopefully no worries.
I’ve kept the pictures at a large size so that you can click on them to enlarge and see the dimensions better.  I don’t know if that will work, but we’ll try it out.

Obviously this is not to scale.  As a general rule I like to use graph paper and get it somewhat to scale so I am not surprised by how the project ends up appearing.  Today I am walking on the wild side.

And here goes the disclaimer:  Use these plans at your own risk!!  I already modified some dimensions, that affected other dimensions, and although I think I did a good job going back and making the changes, I’m not guaranteeing that!!  From here on out I’ll be in the garage and lucky if I remember to take the pictures I need, much less jot down the corrections to the mistakes I’ll probably find.

I always feel better after saying all that, ha ha.  But the changes I made allowed me to utilize the entire sheet of 3/4″ plywood more effectively, just by shaving off 1/4″ of the width on the sides of the hutch (which also changed the width on the shelves).  I went and measured some of her books, and 10.25″ is plenty of width for even the biggest ones she has.  I am using up some various pieces of scrap ply I’ve got from other projects, for the sides of all 6 drawers–love using up scrap!  I would have preferred to use 1/2″ ply for the drawers, but I’d rather utilize the entire sheet, so 3/4″ it is.

There you’ve got it!  I’ll be trying out my brand-spanking new Kreg Rip Cut on this, as well as the Kreg shelf pin jig.  I got those back in June/July for my birthday, if you recall.  Sad that it has taken me this long to break them out of their packaging, but I can’t wait to use them now!

Adding a hutch to a desk

Yowza, it’s been awhile!!  The beginning of my new job was a whirlwind–up until this point, my part-time job was pretty much full time hours, but I am hopefully at a point that I can begin tackling some new projects here at home.  I am really excited to get going!!

The project I chose to oil my rusty woodworking skills on is a hutch for a desk I bought for Pip on Craigslist a few years ago.  Here it is, complete with the piles of her “special things” I have mentioned in past projects.  I didn’t clean them off because I like to keep it real on here (shall I refer you back to her closet before pictures?).  Besides, it makes for a more dramatic “after” picture, right?  Please say yes, because I have some doozy “before” pictures for a different future project.  They are BAD…

Anyway, here are some photos of the desk:


The desk will be getting a coat of paint as well, because it is not as bright a white as the existing furniture.  The top is Formica, which has been a wonderful feature, because everything wipes right off of it.  The only thing I would change would be to have a file drawer instead of the two bottom drawers, but all-in-all it was a great buy at $80 for the desk and chair.  Actually, I would change one other thing and that is to have a hutch!  Plans will be posted tomorrow :)  Going to go charge the batteries for the drill…so excited!

How to Build a Closet Organizer {The Reveal!}

Woohoo the reveal!  I love. love. love this closet organizer.  I couldn’t be happier with it.  More importantly Pip is happy with it and she is excited that she can find all her stuff in there now!

The viking hat got a place of honor :)

Dress up jewelry for now!

What do you think?  Was it worth the effort?  Got a spot for one in your house?  I want to do ALL the closets in our house now!

Other posts in this series:

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 1} The Plans

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 2} Shelf Pins

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 3} Building Drawers

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 4} Drawer Glides

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 5} Drawer Fronts

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 6} Assembling It All

Linking up to:

Oganized on a Budget at

Show Us Your House (closet edition) at Thrifty Decor Chick

How to build a closet organizer {Post 6} Assembling it all

The hard parts are over!  Now for our DIY closet organizer, we just put the pieces together.

First put your side pieces into the closet.  Put a shelf in the bottom and at the top of your shelf pin area on each side.  Then use a level to make sure that the shelves will be straight.  Screw the side into the wall at a stud in a few spots.

I had to use some scrap 1/4″ plywood under one side to shim it up and get it even.

Now we put the top on.  Read More…

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 5} Drawer Fronts

Normally my mantra during a build is “Perfect is the enemy of done” because I tend to be a perfectionist about things.  Well this closet organizer is done and it sure isn’t perfect.  Had this been anywhere but a closet, the drawer fronts would have been redone.  But my new and improved mantra for this build was “It’s going into a closet for gosh sakes.”  I had to repeat that a lot…

I have had a difficult time in the past assembling framed doors and drawer fronts because you have to cut out a rabbet in the back of the frame to accept the middle piece of 1/4″ plywood.  The first time I built some drawer fronts I used 1/2″ plywood with 1/4″ hobby boards glued to the front because I didn’t know how to use a router to make the rabbet. The second time I made some framed doors, I did use a router but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work with the rails and stiles, so I used mitered corners.  This time I had read how Sandra does it at Sawdust and Paperscraps and decided to give it a go.

I used a router to rabbet out a 1/4″ on the entire edge of my 1×2 stiles and the whole length of the rails, but leaving 3/4″ on each end (if you cut it the entire way it leaves a gap on the outside of the drawer front).

Read More…

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 4} Drawer Glides…Uggh.

I’ve told you that drawer glides will be the death of me in the last post, but truly, drawer glides are not all that bad, especially with the trick I am going to let you in on.  In the storage beds they were not fun because there wasn’t a lot of room to work to get them positioned and put in.  But this project had a wide open front and back for working in, and the first time I put in the five original drawer glides it went perfectly.  But I had to go and complicate it.  You see, it was my first time making overlay drawers (I’ve only done inset before this).  I gave myself plenty of room because too much room is much easier to work with than too little.  After looking at the plans, there was all this space!  Space where I could squeeze in another drawer…a jewelry drawer!…And of course,complicate everything.

So after I put together the cabinet carcase

Very top of the bottom shelf is at 4.5" because that is how tall my base moulding is. On the bottom part of the cabinet I attached a cleat at the top and bottom (scrap plywood) to help keep the cabinet square and to use to attach the unit to the wall.

Read More…


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