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Upcycle a Junk Wood Drawer Shelf - A Junky to Funky Demo
Functional, fun and frugal. That works.
Dirty, nasty and bug infested, but still working.
How to save old wooden items through recycle crafting.
Saving the wooden drawers... And, me! Infested was the word.
I'm a die hard recycler. I love to take things headed for the already overcrowded landfills and give them new life.
Knowing this, my dear husband is forever bringing me little odds and ends that he thinks I might turn into something. I would say something cool but you never know. This one came out pretty good.
When he first brought this piece in the house, he deposited the nastiest, dirtiest thing on my clean kitchen table. So not a good thing but his heart was in the right place. He was beaming and so obviously pleased with himself.
As I said thank you and went to grab the top to move it, the biggest, grossest, most hairy spider I ever saw popped up from the back. I kid you not. I think that thing growled at me. I will not lie. There was a spider hurt in the making of this project.
He wasn't alone. When I went to pull out one of the drawers to inspect what I would be working with, I got a lovely surprise. Not! There was a scorpion in the drawer. For real. I about died.
A word of warning, when working with found objects and old wood that has not been cared for, look out for bugs. Have a fly swatter on hand and wear gloves.
Reuse, re-purpose and recycle.
Do you like turning something old or broken and headed for the trash heap into something new?
First up, clean it within an inch of its life. Then, do it again.
Come along to see how these found drawers in a shelf went from disgusting to shabby chic.
This was actually a pretty easy project to pull off.
Don't get me wrong, it was gross at first but such is the nature of giving new life to something old and about to die.
As for cost, I think I have about three to five dollars in this. The shelf unit was free, so big bonus there.
Especially cool for me is the reason hubby dear brought it home in the first place.
I've been complaining I need more storage space for little stuff. Mr. Lytle thought the drawers would be good.
He was right but let's not tell him just yet. He did bring a live scorpion into my kitchen. God love him. He's like a little boy that will drag up who knows what and at the oddest times.
What supplies were used?
Surprisingly little was used in the way of crafting supplies.
The tools - One glue gun and glue sticks, one medium painter's brush and one smaller but still medium sized artist brush. You will also need containers to hold the paint.
The supplies - Two sheets of clear backed, three dimensional, glitter stickers, one cheap strand of fake pearls like you would use for holiday garlands, four fat, semi clear, greenish beads and paint.
Best ways to get crafting supplies on the cheap
Can't be beat on the price.
As long as you use it, bulk saves big bucks.
Temporary tattoos are better than stickers, if sealed right.
Look for just about anywhere.
Bulk is awesome for getting a variety of the same object like wooden picture frames or chipboard boxes.
Again, look at what you throw away. That pretty pink cardboard on little Susie's new Hello Kitty toy might be great for scrapbooking.
Look at what you throw away, especially glass containers and broken wood.
Bulk items are often shipped for free.
Go outside. There are the coolest rocks, pebbles, flowers, leaves, all kinds of really cool stuff just laying around decomposing.
Paint, to mix or to purchase?
Do you like to mix your own or buy the exact shade you want?
After you clean up the wood unit, grab the paint.
This was done the super simple old fashioned way. I just grabbed a paintbrush and started slinging the color.
Getting the multiple tones shabby chick finish wasn't hard but it did take some time.
The exact shades wanted were not in my crafting supply bins. To remedy the situation, I mixed my own.
The base coat was a lot of white, some brown and glitter green.
Those same colors were repeated four times in slightly different combinations to get the desired shades of green.
The sides of the shelf and insides of the drawers were given a few rough coats of the darker tone of green.
The front of the unit was almost dry brushed with several close shades of the same green tone as the base coat.
It's really easy to pull off. Mix the lightest tone you want first.
After applying, just add a drop or two of a darker color and remix to get a slightly darker shade.
Just play around with it until you get the right color for you.
Layer the different shades one atop the other.
Will the paint ever dry?
What do you do while waiting for paint to dry?
You're going to be looking at some significant dry time between coats.
The painting itself is such a breeze. I used one regular paintbrush like you would use for doing the house and one medium tip artist brush for the inside drawer tops.
You could easily use a sponge brush for this project.
I highly recommend allowing each coat to dry fully before adding anything. I found in projects past that rushing it will only result in smears and frustration.
Of course, I had to try anyway. I confirmed what I already knew. It's a bad idea. I need to grow some patience or invest in a heat gun. As is, I opened the doors and put a fan on it.
That works well for the most part until you get a critter that sneaks in and wants to rest on your project.
This would make paint dry so much faster. It would be great for shrinking type plastic projects too.
I don't have a heat gun but so wish I did. I've been checking them out on Amazon and this is the one that's going on my wish list for a few reasons.
First and foremost was the attachments factor. I really like that I can isolate where the blast goes.
Next up, I consulted Mr. Lytle. He uses these kinds of tools more than I do. He recommended this set or the Dewalt brand. Since this is a fraction of what the other one cost, I'm going with the Kawasaki version.
The drawers with new handles and pretty flower art work.
To get the gorgeous flowers look, cheat.
It's so simple. It really is like cheating.
I would so love to be able to whip out a paintbrush or even a marker and draw up something as beautiful as these little flowers. It's just not going to happen. We all have our talents. That ability is sadly just not one of mine.
Am I going to give up on getting the look I want? Please. Not a chance in a very hot place. You can do it too. Anyone can. What's the secret to great art in your crafting projects with very little if any talent and not much money? Stickers!
For real, stickers are the absolute coolest thing in crafting.
Peel and stick where ever you want your flowers.
There are a few things to remember about the nature of stickers to get a good looking finished piece.
First up, pay attention to the backing. Be sure the backing is clear or it's not going to look so good.
Next, stickers aren't really made to last. Since I want this piece to last, I have to treat the stickers. This can be done one of two ways. You can seal the sticker before you apply it or after.
Remember, colorful stickers may bleed out when sealant is applied. I anticipated that in this project and thought the look would go well with a shabby chic vibe.
If you find it's bleeding out too much, take a damp cloth and wipe it off while it's still wet. If you don't want any bleed out to show, seal the sticker before applying.
For this unit, I used a spray on acrylic sealant for the stickers.
Even the best laid plans bite the big one on occasion.
Do your plans on DIY project always work?
Next up, add the beads.
I wanted some kind of something to work as an edge along the back. The bar across the top need a little attention too.
Stickers would not do well on the bar. As you can see, they are three dimensional. They stick up a bit here and there.
It looks great on the sides and drawers, but I really didn't think it would hold up well over time on the round surface that is the bar.
No worries. I grabbed a string of fake pearls left over from crafting projects long gone by and viola, one almost finished shelf with drawers.
The beads were simply affixed with a hot glue gun.
A word to the wise, use this tool with great care and in good lighting.
If allowing the kids to do this project, supervise if they will be using the glue gun. Rubber cement would be a good solution for those you are not sure are ready for the gun.
How to get the knobs on the drawers.
This was missing one knob when I got it. My original thought was to take off the other three and apply new ones that screw in.
That was shot down when the screws that were already there resisted all my mightiest efforts at removal.
I got sick of fighting it. What to do? Improvise.
I used four matching large beads I had laying around from a broken bracelet. They were just stuck on with tons of hot glue.
The last step is to re-seal the entire thing.
You really need to go outside for this. The spray on acrylic I used stinks like no one's business. I mean seriously, guys and gals, this stuff will knock you down.
Blast the whole thing. Wait a few minutes and do it again. Check it out, you just made something cool from trash. Smile and go get a cookie. You earned it.
Crafts are fantastic for kids, big and little ones.
Advantages for kids
Advantages for adults
Advantages for the planet
Keeps things out of landfills
Pride in accomplishment
Keep people busy. When your crafting, your not getting in any trouble.
Learn problem solving
Getting to use your hands
Everything that is remade means one less thing consuming resources and being shipped.
Easy enough for older children and teenagers.
Go from junk to funky fun with just a little effort.
Start with the junk.
A few final tips and tricks.
Since these stickers are a layered three dimensional type, it helps to use hot glue where things want to stick up.
Just dot a drop of glue onto a toothpick. Use the toothpick to then apply the glue under the layer you want to lay down. Slide out the toothpick as you press down on the image.
End with funky fun shabby chic.
© 2014 Rhonda Lytle