Whew! I am so relieved to finally be done with the crazy project I got myself into for the kids’ room!
My Do-It-Yourself, re-purposed toy shelves:
I found a set of DVD racks at the thrift store, and at 2 bucks a piece, I had to have them. They were missing the little doors they originally had, but I didn’t need the doors for what I had in mind…I had a whole super-duper project planned out, high-fiving myself the whole time at my cleverness…
As it turns out, I never could do what I originally pictured when I bought the little racks. I thought I was going to take off the bottom pieces of the stand-up racks, replace them with one of the little shelves from inside the racks, and turn them horizontally to hang on the wall as shelves. Really clever, huh??
The particle board wasn’t holding up to the abuse of me banging around and installing the shelves as ends.
Back to the proverbial drawing board.
I had to use the shelves with the bottom boards as-is…not try to take them out and replace and reshape them. And with my little ones, a standing rack that they can reach and climb on is a little bit nerve-wracking.
So we took the flimsy back off of the racks, art-ed them up, and then used metal bracket piece thingies to attach them to the wall. Now the kids can’t pull them down on themselves (at least not without a lot of work and intent on their part…hopefully that will take longer than it takes me to figure out what they’re doing!).
The art fun, and the lengthy part of the whole deal was the decorating the shelves. And like most of my other artwork, halfway through I started wondering what the heck I was doing and thinking I should scrap the whole thing. Only 6 bucks lost, and a couple of bottles of Elmer’s glue.
BUT – the things turned out AWESOME!!! The kids love them, they look cool in their playroom, and sometimes toys even find a home on the shelves! Success!
Along with a peek at these, uhm, eclectic, shelves, I’ll tell you what I did:
I painted the shelves, which were originally black laminated particle board, with white spray paint and white gesso (cuz originally I was going to paint them with colors that matched the walls).
I dug an old, color edition of a Kids’ Almanac from 2004. The pages are magazine-like, with thick paper, full color, and terrific quality paper. They held up wonderfully to all of the cutting and gluing and varnishing.
I used the whole book. Lots and lots and lots of pages. I thought I would have too much, but not so. It took the whole book and then part of another full-color reptiles book I dug up.
The kids helped me with some of the trimming of the pieces, but it took me a full day to get it all ready. The gluing took me four full days of piecing and gluing and adding more. I also added scrapbooking stickers from the stash, all in kiddo themes.
I let the glue cure fully, for about two days. I used lots of glue.
Then I went lightly over the whole shelves with a Distressed Ink stamp pad, in Brick Red (Tim Holtz). The ink went swell over the bits of lumpy raised parts where the papers absorbed glue and bumpled a bit.
I let that dry for a day.
Then I added washi tape (how I love the washi tape, I obsess over all of the patterns I want!) to the front edges of the shelves. The tape was the PERFECT size for the edges, I didn’t have to cut or size anything. Yay, at that point I was just sooooo ready to be done with the whole thing and get it out of the middle of my living room!
I went back and covered all of the surfaces with lightly tinted varnish, it was tinted with a reddish-brown color, which it turns out went nicely with the brick red distress ink. Serendipity. This was an unplanned but happy accident, I didn’t know the can of varnish I grabbed out of the garage was tinted, lol.
I let all of that cure and went over it again with a final coat.
I had to let that cure for a few days, as I didn’t want to work with the installation or the kids playing on them until it was dry and cured. The intention was to cure for three days…they sat in my living room for a week till I was ready to deal with them.
The installation, that was handed off to Christopher and kid 1 of 4. They did a great job, and the little ones are thrilled. The only hang-up is that the shelves are mostly empty, they don’t help much at all with organizing the toys, cuz the kidlets want to look at the pics and read the little bits of goodness that are pasted all over the shelves. Every time I go in there and help organize some toys on to the shelves, the kids go back in and dump everything back into a pile in the closet. Sigh.
Whole project took the three shelves (6 bucks from the thrift store), two old books (probably 7 or 8 bucks from the school book club several years ago), three bottles of Elmer’s glue (1.50 for all three during back-to-school sales), a little bit of stamping ink, and some varnish (which I got free off of craigslist, where I get so much of my Art Fodder™).
What’s that, about 15 bucks? And not all 15 that I spent currently. My kids love them, they feel all of the love I put into those shelves, and they look kind of cool. This kind of project also inspires me for other kinds of arting, I used techniques that I can use or do use in art journaling and canvas work. I had to use my creative brain to figure out how to switch gears after I was already involved in the project (by changing how I was going to use the racks). I used my piles of Art Fodder™, which had me digging and finding other bits of goodies for other projects, and I focused on love throughout the whole project. Inspiration galore!!
And that’s what it’s all about, LOVE and INSPIRATION!!!
Prompt: A terrific boost to the ole creative juices…grab something cheap, from a garage sale or a thrift store, and re-purpose it. Paint it, glue stuff on it, take it apart and put it back together again. What a great way to play and practice and mess around, using something that someone else thought had no life left in it 🙂