Magazine File Box Facelift | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s a new year and I want to give a few rooms in our house a fresh new look. Our office was one of the first spaces I completed when I started this blog (has it really been 5 1/2 years!)

I’m tired of staring at the same room day after day. I know many of you feel the same way. You have that itch, or a burning desire to hop in the car and drive to your nearest Home Goods, World Market or The Container Store to buy cute colorful decor or storage bins. I almost caved into that desire because I was tired of looking at the two tone boxes I bought 6 years ago.  But, that would mean discarding the old ones. You know how I feel about throwing things away! If I can upcycle it, I’m going to!

Magazine File Box Facelift | Pretty Handy Girl

Within 10 minutes you could give a Magazine File Box a Facelift (or a storage box)! I saved a lot of money reusing the old. Factor in the gas money I saved by not driving to the store. And the time I saved by not leaving the house. I think I deserve a big fat high five! Put ‘er there fellow savers!

Here’s How to Give Your Magazine File Box a Facelift: Read more

Building-Custom-Bookshelves

Matt & Jacque are here today to show you an amazing feat. They will show you how to build custom built in bookcases. You may remember this DIY Performing duo as former contributors. I know you’ve missed them and I’m sure you’re excited to see Matt & Jacque back again!

matt-jacque

Matt & Jacque are the powerful DIYers at The DIY Village. They tackle all types of home improvement projects while raising their daughter Josslyn. These are some busy renovators.Rockstar DIY Series

I believe that’s the whine of two drills that I hear! Let’s give it up for Matt & Jacque.

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Matching-Built-In-Bookcases

I’m a firm believer that one can never have enough storage within their home! Especially, when you’re talking about a craft room! When we purchased our current house, my husband and I agreed would convert one of the bedrooms into a room where I could let my craft “freak” flag fly. Looking back on that decision, I still wonder what he was thinking, but nonetheless, fast forward three years. I have accumulated quite the inventory of supplies and came to the conclusion that the only storage solution would be the addition of matching built-in bookcases.

First off, let’s take a quick look at the basic structure that will make up the bookcase. (I won’t be including any dimensions, as you’ll need to work within the spatial constraints of your own home) The basic frame of the bookcase can be built using 1×12’s, along with a small platform that is made from 1×3. I have a large double window in this room so the best place to install the bookcases is on either side of the window, flanking the window.

Custom-Built-In-Bookcases

One of the easiest ways to assemble your bookcase frames is by using pocketholes.

Pocket-Hole-Joinery

Using a pocket hole jig will make easy work of your assembly. With all of your lumber cut to length, you’ll need to drill pocketholes at the top and bottom of each side. Read more

I’m back to show you the updates I made to my kitchen. Remember the plans I shared with you?

Well, they have been implemented and I LOVE the results! Best of all, the materials I bought cost me under $25 and that included the white dish set. But, the cherry on top is that I can easily reverse the changes if we move (or get sick of the look.)

And now, I present to you:
Fabric Backed Open Shelving for the Kitchen

When we first met these sad cabinets, they were dark, dreary and had an eclectic collection of mugs:

Within only a few hours (minus drying times), I had a stylish new look that is bright and cheery!

Follow along for the tutorial and the 50 cent tour (please deposit your pocket change on the way out.) Just kidding. I’ll let you in for free.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Optional: 

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1: Empty your cabinets.

Clean the insides with an all purpose kitchen cleaner.

Step 2. Starting from the bottom, remove the screws from the cabinet door hinges. The last screw should be the very top hinge (to keep the weight of the door from wrenching the screw out of the wood.)

Put screws into a ziplock bag and label your cabinet doors in order so that you can return them to the appropriate cabinet opening at a later date.

Now you should have a clean slate like this:

Step 3. If your cabinets are dark inside, you may or may not decide to paint the insides. (Be sure to check with your landlord if you are renting.) I chose to paint mine because the interiors were so dark. If you want to skip this step, fast forward to the next step.

Prime the insides by rolling on primer over the flat surfaces. Use a brush to get into the corners and crevices.

Once the primer has dried, get out the wood putty and putty knife.

Step 4. Using the putty knife, spread a small amount of putty over the holes where the hinges were. Push the putty into the holes, then scrape the excess off. Allow the putty to dry completely.

Step 5. Sand the puttied holes until smooth.

Step 6. Touch up the putty holes with paint or stain. Add caulk to any cracks or seams at the back of your cabinet. Allow the caulk to dry thoroughly.

If you are painting the inside of the cabinets, roll on paint with the small roller and use the brush to smooth out the paint and get into the grooves.

Step 7. Measure the dimensions of the back of your cabinets. Make sure your measurements are precise (measure twice, cut once is a good adage.)

Cut a piece of foam board using the measurements you just took.

Test fit the foam board into the back of the cabinet. If your cabinet’s face frame is smaller than the cabinet back, you will probably have to bend the foam board to get it in.

Step 8. Iron your fabric. Make sure to iron all the wrinkles out.

Cut the fabric 3 inches wider than the foam board. Lay the foam board on top of the fabric (wrong side facing up.)

Step 9. Tape the edges of the fabric onto the back of the foam board. Be sure to pull the fabric taut.

Fold the edges of the fabric as you would on a gift. Tape the ends to the back of the foam board.

Step 10. Insert the foam board into the cabinet.

Push the foam board firmly against the back of the cabinet. The tension of the fabric and the board against the edges of the cabinet should hold it in place, no need to tape or glue anything!

It is a good idea to try to line up your pattern if you have multiple shelves. (Do as I say, not as I do.)

Start putting your coordinated dishes back into the cabinet. Think about displaying them as you might see in a store.

For visual interest and extra storage, I hung some mugs from the top of the cabinet.

It was as simple as pre-drilling some holes and screwing in white cup hooks. (I did measure the same distance back from the face frame and spaced the hooks evenly. But, I’m a perfectionist like that.)

I am in love with my new kitchen! And all it took was less than $25 in supplies and a few hours.

What do you think?

The best part about this project is that I can easily remove the foam boards…

…or tape new fabric onto the back when I want to update the look!

Can you imagine a cheaper, easier or more glamorous update to your kitchen?

Are you an apartment dweller that is restricted from making permanent changes to your home? Or does your budget limit the renovations you’d really like to make? Why not make a few frugal changes that reflect your own style.

Apartment Guide has changes you can make that won’t break the bank:

Want to find even more design tips for your home? Apartment Guide has budget friendly ideas and DIY how-tos for people in any sized home on https://www.movingtoday.com and https://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/

Disclosure Statement:

Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger program.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what project to create or what to purchase. Nor did they influence my opinions! We believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

I promised to show you how I lit my son’s bookcase. It really isn’t anything fancy.

But, a promise is a promise. Here is the view of the back of the bookcase:

I purchased the LED rope lights at Home Depot. They came with little snap in holders. You simply drive a screw into the mounting hole. Then snap the rope light into the holder.

On the top edge, I used a long channel strip (sold separately near the rope lights. It has a self adhesive backing. Then you firmly press the rope light into the channel. This took some serious strength, but I finally got the length of the rope light inside the channel.

Finally, I plugged the light into a timer.

The lights are set to come on at bedtime and turn off shortly before sunrise.

That’s it! And this is probably the shortest tutorial I ever wrote.

So, I’ll share a few pictures from my sister’s flower garden in California. Check out all the pollen on the back legs of this bee! They are the orange masses hanging from his legs.

The bees were loving the agapanthus as well.

The pink blossoms are from a lemon tree that grows in their back courtyard. Sadly none of them were ripe while I was there. I can only imagine how fresh and sweet lemonade from those fresh picked lemons would taste. Mmmmm!

Be back later this week with more DIY tutorials!

I hope you will take a moment to view how I test drove my Dremel Trio. This is seriously a really fun power tool! Just be sure you are safe so as not to ruin the fun. Eye protection, face mask, and ear plugs. Check.

For those of you who like to skip to the end of the book and see the ending, here you go:


For the rest of you, here is how I created this cut out/back lit bookshelf that started life as a bookshelf from a closing Borders bookstore.


Tutorial for creating a cut out bookcase:
Almost any bookcase will work for this project, but the ones that have a thin wood (can be masonite) backing will work best. Set up a work area that you don’t mind getting dusty and dirty. Remove the shelves from your bookcase.

Cutting the endcap:

Materials:

  • circular saw
  • level
  • clamp
  • scrap wood
  • screws
  • drill

I cut the endcap in half lengthwise so I could use half for each end of my bookshelf, and to position it flush against the wall. To cut a straight line using a circular saw, I clamped one end of a level to the endcap. My level wasn’t long enough, so I drilled a scrap piece of wood on top of the level and into the end cap to support the other end.


I set the circular saw blade just below the depth of the endcap. By resting the endcap on two 2×4″ boards, I was able to creative a gap below the endcap for the sawblade to pass through.Then I ran the circular saw along the level for a straight cut. Straight as an arrow, and it met Pretty Handy Dog’s approval.

Cutting out the backing design and painting:

Materials:

  • Dremel Trio
  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper (100 grit & 220 grit)
  • Scrap 2×4 lumber
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint (white and navy blue)
  • 3M Clean Edge technology painter’s tape
  • Newspapers
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Small paint roller and tray

Sketch out the design on your bookshelf (using chalk or pencil) before beginning.

Before using any new power tool, take some time to read through the manual.

To insert a bit into the Dremel Trio, you push in the blue (shaft lock) button on the front and use the enclosed wrench to loosen the collet nut on the tool.

Insert the cutting bit into the Trio. (The trio also comes with a sanding drum bit and a routing bit!)

Tighten the collet nut with the wrench.

Turn the blue handle on the side of the TRIO to raise or lower the base plate.

Adjust the base plate until the cutting bit extends slightly below the wood backing of your bookcase.

Lay the bookcase down on its back. Position 2×4 boards under the edges of the bookcase (or you will be cutting into concrete. I’m pretty sure the TRIO is not capable of that, but I could be wrong.)

Plug in your Trio and get ready to have some FUN! You may want to practice on a scrap piece of wood before working on your bookcase. The TRIO allows you to change directions quickly and easily. Creating fanciful cuts is a breeze!

Squeeze the trigger and when the bit reaches full speed you can plunge it into the workpiece. For the pin holes hold the Trio steady, insert the bit and then lift it back out of the same hole.

To cut trees and other designs, plunge the TRIO into the wood and then slowly move the tool through the wood to carve your design. Be wary of long “V” shape cuts as they will make the backing weaker.

When your design has been completed, use the power sander to sand the back of the bookcase (where the majority of the splintering will have occurred.)

Insert the sanding drum bit into the TRIO and sand any large cut out areas.

Fold a piece of sandpaper in half and feed it through the thin lines of the branches to sand any rough edges that can’t be reached with the sanding bit.

Set the bookcase upright and inspect the cuts for more splinters. You can preview what your design will look like when lit up. Lookin’ good, huh?!

Before sanding the rest of the bookshelf, repair any dents or holes with wood putty. (This is a post I wrote about repairing all types of holes if you need help.)

Use the palm sander and a fine grit (220 grit) sandpaper to rough up the rest of the bookshelf.

Apply a coat of primer to the bookcase, shelves and sides. (Still working on emptying that can of KILZ Clean Start primer! Love that stuff.

When the primer has dried, mask off the sides of the bookcase where they meet the back.

3M sent me this Scotch Blue Painter’s tape with Edge-Lock protector to try. I was skeptical, but when I pulled the tape off it did give me a clean edge. The only place I had a little bit of seepage was in the corners where I didn’t press the tape tightly into the corner. The key to using this tape is to firmly press the edges with your finger to engage the “Edge-Lock” seal. I haven’t tried it for painting walls, but you better believe I have a wall project coming up that I can try it on.

Paint the back of your bookcase. I chose a very dark navy blue. To save paint, I used a medium blue paint for my first coat to darken the back and hopefully save paint.

Then paint one coat of the navy blue.

Follow up with a second coat to eliminate any streaking.

When the navy paint has dried, tape along the edges of the navy blue backing, where it meets the sides. Slip pieces of newspaper underneath to catch any paint splashes. (Will you get a load of my lazy supervisor! You think he’s been working hard in the heat? Uh no, that would be me doing all the work and him snoozing away the day.)

Paint the rest of the bookcase, the sides and the shelves white. I used two coats of Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi-gloss white.


Once the paint has dried completely, re-assemble the bookcase. And screw the end cap halves onto either side of the bookcase.

I installed a light rope behind the bookcase (tutorial to come at a later date) and set the lights on a timer. The rope light comes on at dusk and illuminates all the cut outs.

There is a very soft glow emitted from the back of the bookcase.

It provides the perfect amount of light for my son who HAS to have a light on at night.

My only complaint about the rope lights is that they give off a strong plastic odor. But, after a week the smell has dissipated.

I had the foresight to purchase a few of the clear display stands that slide into the end caps of the bookcase. It makes it easy to display books to pique my son’s reading interests.

Oh look! There he is now! Mission accomplished, reading interest piqued. Yes, I think he is double-jointed and a teacher pointed out that both my son’s sit like that. Must be in the genes.

A few more detailed pictures of the bookshelf. This has to be one of my favorite projects I’ve created recently. And it wasn’t very difficult to complete.




 

 

 

Now that my re-upholstered office chair is complete, I wanted to address the dark looming bookcase that I sit next to. I am obsessed with natural light and the color of a room can really effect my mood. We recently painted our office and had ceiling lights installed in the ceiling. Anyone else out there have one of those old houses where the light switch on the wall controls the outlets? I HATE this! Let there be light in all my rooms. Let’s talk about a Quick and Easy Bookcase Facelift.

Now that we have light in the ceiling, I also want to be sure that I take advantage of natural light as well. The majority of the furniture in our office is a dark cherry color. Bookcases, armoires and other recessed furniture will absorb light. I knew I wanted to lighten up the back of the bookcase, but didn’t want to paint it or do anything to destroy the value of the furniture. So, I set to work on this super quick and easy project, making decorative backer boards for the bookcase.

Materials:
Foamcore (32″ x 40″ made 3 backer boards)
Decorative Fabric (leftover from my chair upholstery project)
Batting
Scissors
Hot Glue Gun
Cutting surface
X-acto knife and fresh blade
Metal Ruler (or ruler with a metal edge)
Pencil
Sharpie Marker

First measure the bookcase cubby dimensions.

Next draw out the dimensions on a large piece of foamcore.  Then lay your foamcore on top of your cutting surface. Personally I like the self healing cutting mats. I use them for everything (matting, paper cutting, sewing, craft projects, etc.) I recommend buying at least a 24 x 36″ size. You can find them for about $40 here: https://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Mat-and-Paper-Cutters/Creative-Mark-Self-Healing-Cutting-Mats.htm

A Note on Safely Using an X-acto Knife:

First, be sure that you always use a clean and new x-acto blade while you are cutting foamcore. Otherwise, the blade will catch on the foam interior and tear up your board.  I learned the hard way how to use an X-acto knife while in art school. Let’s just say I’m glad that thumb tips grow back. Always use a ruler that is metal or has a metal edge. When holding your ruler, be sure your fingers are WELL AWAY from the edge of the ruler you are cutting on.

Try to cut with your blade on the waste side of the piece you are cutting. That way if the blade slips, it will mess up on the waste edge. For cutting foamcore or mat board, use light pressure and pull your blade through the material and towards you. You will need to make several light cuts until you are through the material completely. You will get a cleaner cut this way as opposed to using heavy pressure and try to cut through your material in one pass.

If your board is larger than your cutting surface, cut half your foamcore, then move the board on the cutting surface to protect the floor or furniture you are cutting on.

If you successfully cut your foamcore backer boards and still have all your fingers, you can now lay your decorative fabric on top of the foamcore. I played with the placement to make sure I liked the pattern that would be shown. Then trace a 1″ border around the boards and cut the fabric.

Next you will want to trace your backer board on top of the batting (no need to add a 1″ border on the batting. Just trace to size.) Then cut the batting.  Lay your fabric right side down, then the batting, and finally put your foamcore backer board on top.

Heat up your glue gun. While you are waiting for it to heat up, trim the corners on your fabric. Trim about 1/2″ away from the corner. This will help you neatly fold your corners when you glue them.

Run a line of glue on the edges of your backer board and fold your fabric over on top of the glue.

When you are done, flip over your board and admire.

Now comes the super easy part! Walk over to your bookcase and insert your backer boards. Tilt the top in first and then push in the bottom. The fabric and batting should allow the board to stay in with tension. Plus, the great thing about using foam core is that it will crush slightly to fit your space.

AND, if you want to use it as a bulletin board you can! I’ve been thinking about using the leftover decorative nail head trim nails (from my chair upholstering project) as push pins. But, for now I’m enjoying the lighter back of my bookcase! And, loving the way it coordinates with my desk chair.