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Storage Solutions: DIY

Updated on March 26, 2013

Building something is always a fun family activity, an easy project is to build a storage cubby especially one for your kids so that they learn that cherish what they have worked hard on. Another benefit is that you get to save money because storage unit can be expensive and by building your own you can save money especially in today’s economy, saving money is always a good idea. Also, by building and designing your own storage cubby you are customizing it to fit your needs and criteria. It is quite simple to build storage cubbies but you will need a few supplies, which most families should have in their garage, and even if you don’t you should be able to buy these supplies for cheap.

The most common material storage cubbies are built from is ply wood. This type of wood is very inexpensive, durable, and lightweight. Other material you will need to build a storage cubby will include; tape measure, hand saw, sandpaper, paint, paint brush, hammer, nails, clothing that you can get dirty in, and goggles and gloves for protection. It would probably be the best idea if you can do this project outside in the open, basement with windows, or garage with the door open because it can get very dusty from the sanding and the sawing also the paint odour can be hazardous therefore its best to do this outside; especially if you have kids.

Before you actually purchase your plywood you will need to draw up a design plan to figure out exactly how much plywood you will need to build your storage cubby and remember it is always a better idea to get a bit more. You can also ask the store to cut the wood into the size you need so you do not have to do it at home. This way you will not need a hand saw but this may or may not cost money. Some places will charge you money to cut up the board for you or you only get so many cuts for free then they charge you. You can also buy wood that is already cut into certain sizes, but this will limit you to what size boards you can use. Also decide if you need a backing to your storage cubby, if you do you will need to buy a large piece of wood for the back if you do not need a backing then you can save some money here as well. Some people like the open concept of the storage unit where it can be placed in the middle of the room and you can use both sides of it or it will be against a wall anyways so there is no need for a backing. Another idea would be doors to the shelving which can is a way to hide everything I you don’t want people to see the clutter you can use doors on both sides of the unit then if you place the storage cubby in the middle of the room you can use access it from both sides. Also keep in mind that each storage cubby hole has four walls but of course most of the cubby holes is conjoined with another cubby hole.

There are many websites online that has designs that you can use which already has all the dimensions and what you need, if needed you can always adjust those measurements yourself to meet your needs. After you have designed your storage unit and purchased your plywood, you need to set up a work station. This will include making sure that everything is neat and there is no hazards around, this is especially important if you are working with kids. It is also a good idea to teach your children good safety habits.

If you did not get your wood cut at the store, or you did not purchase wood that is already cut to the size you want then the next step will be to mark, draw and cut out your wood into pieces that is the size you want for your storage unit. It is good to draw everything out so you can maximize your wood usage and also it can be easier to cut out if you have a guide. When you are sawing your wood remember to wear gloves and goggles to prevent injuries. After the wood is cut you need to sand down the wood so that everything is nice and smooth so you don’t get splinters. Normally you would use two different kinds of sandpaper depending on how your wood is, you can use a coarser sandpaper to start and then finish it off with sandpaper that is smoother to make everything extra smooth.

Next you will be painting the storage cubby; there are different kinds of paints that you will need to consider. If this storage cubby is for younger children it is better get paint that is safe if, for some reason, the storage cubby might be chewed on (never know with kids!) You will need to also consider if you want to buy paint with primer with it or not, you don’t need a primer but it is nice to use a printer first to prevent future chipping and also to neutralize the paint color, you can buy primer that is child safe as well. After priming your storage cubby and waiting for it to dry, I would recommend you paint two coats of color on your storage cubby but you do not have to this will be up to you. Remember that every coat of paint takes approximately 24 hours to fully dry. A fun way to involve your children is maybe paint a base color and when the storage unit is dry you can let your child paint on their own design onto the storage unit.

The above step is interchangeable with the next step which is to assemble the storage unit, I suggest you paint before assembling because then you don’t have to try to paint the cracks of the storage cubby. Also if you are going to let your child paint their own design on the storage cubby after you have painted the base color, it is better to assemble the storage cubby first before letting them paint their own design because this will let them see where they are painting. Again you are working with paint and paint odour can be hazardous so it is advised to paint in a place that is well ventilated to prevent breathing in the paint, and you can always wear a dusk and odour mask to prevent smelling the paint.

Assembling the storage cubby according to your design can be simple or hard depending on your design. Make sure your storage cubby is assembled straight and sturdy! We wouldn’t want the storage cubby to fall apart when you’re trying to stand it up. To make sure that your storage cubby is sturdy, you need to make sure the first two pieces line up straight and nailed together correctly. The easiest way of assembling the first two pieces together is nailing them together in a “L” shape. After getting the first two pieces together straight, the rest shouldn’t be too hard to line up with the first two pieces. After conjoining all the pieces together you have just constructed your storage cubby! Because this part of the building does require using a hammer and nails, please watch your fingers!

I hope you will enjoy this do it yourself project with your family! Although I think that this project is a super fun way to spend time as a family making something that you will use and also can be sentimental to your child since they helped build it, there is a easier way to make a storage unit without having to doing all the sanding and cutting. You can buy pre-designed storage units that you still have to assemble and paint yourselves, you can use google search engine for this. The only con to this is because the storage cubby is pre-ordered; you will be very limited to the size option and material that it is made out of.

Enjoy!

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