I love a challenge. If you hold an object up to me and ask me how it can be transformed, I can usually name a few different things. So, when the Elmer’s #Look4Less Challenge was introduced, I jumped at the opportunity!

For this challenge I chose to recreate Pottery Barn’s Sliding Chalkboard Wall Organizer. I loved the idea of a sliding board and a bulletin board in the back. But, I especially loved the rustic wood look.

However, I wasn’t crazy about the price. (Obviously that didn’t stop the item from selling out!) So, if you want one for yourself, I’ll save you $100 and show you how to make your own!

My version cost approximately $30 (cost estimate based on materials used. If I used a 1/2 can of spray paint I calculated half the cost.) Personally, I spent about $10 out of pocket on this project because I had a lot of the supplies already. Plus, Elmer’s was kind enough to sent me some of the materials to make the project (shown as links below.)

Be sure to read the end of this post to learn how you can win your own Elmer’s materials!

In addition to the new art supplies, I bought an old drawer to use for the structure of my organization unit. I paid — are you ready for this — two dollars at our local Habitat ReStore! Seriously, only $2 for the main component of my wall organizer unit.

Here is a list of the rest of the supplies I used:


  • Krylon chalkboard spray paint
  • Drawer
  • Damp rag
  • Painter’s drop cloth
  • Batting
  • Wooden ruler
  • 1 Knob
  • Washers
  • Rustoleum brown spray primer
  • Behr glazing liquid
  • Valspar mocha glaze
  • Acrylic or latex paint (dark brown tester sample)
  • Acrylic or latex paint (light tan tester sample)
  • Wood putty
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Handsaw
  • Brad nails
  • Finish Nail
  • Construction glue
  • Clamps
  • Pencil
  • Trim molding
  • 1″ x 1″ wood strips (or square dowels)
  • Duct tape

Prepping the drawer:

Remove any hardware from the drawer. Use a handsaw to trim off the sides of the face of the drawer. You want the sides to be flush with the sides of the drawer. The top and bottom of the face can extend beyond the drawer.

Orient the drawer so the face is now the bottom of the wall organizational unit. The rear panel of the drawer is now the top of the unit.

Add decorative trim molding to the top as shown:

  1. Cut decorative trim molding to the width of the top of the unit/drawer. (Check with your local Habitat Restore for inexpensive trim.)
  2. Choose a finish nail that is long enough to go through the molding and into the drawer. Drill a few pilot holes into the molding (to avoid splitting the wood when you hammer a nail into it.)
  3. Run a bead of construction glue on the top of the drawer. Lay the molding on top of the glue.
  4. Use finish nails to hammer through the pilot holes and attach the molding to the drawer.

Wipe off the drawer/unit with a wet rag.

 

Faux painting the unit:

If you are dealing with a mixture of wood finishes (some paint, some stain), you will want to prime and paint your unit. I decided to give mine a faux rustic wood treatment (because I love that rustic wood look!) Here are the basic steps:

  1. Use wood putty to fill any holes or cracks. After the putty has dried, sand it smooth. Wipe off any dust from the wood using a damp rag.
  2. Prime the entire box (minus the back) with Rustoleum brown primer.
  3. Mix 1 part glaze to 2 parts light tan paint.
  4. Brush the mixture onto the unit using a tattered paint brush. Keep the strokes in long lines to mimic wood grain.
  5. Let that layer dry. Mix 1 part glaze to 2 parts dark brown paint.
  6. Brush it on the unit using the same technique as step 4.
  7. Finish up by brushing a coat of Vaspar Mocha glaze over the entire unit.

 

Creating the bulletin board:

After the glaze has dried, cut a piece of Elmer’s White Foam Board the dimensions of the inside of the drawer/unit.

Cut a piece of batting the same size as the foam board.

Cut a piece of painters’ drop cloth 2-3″ wider (on all sides) than the foam board.

Layer the drop cloth, then the batting and top it with the foam board.

Wrap the edges of the drop cloth around the foam board and secure it with duct tape.

Add a few Elmer’s CraftBond Glue Spots Pop-up Medium to the back side of the foam board and press the board into the back of the unit. Instant bulletin board!

 

Adding a graphic letter to the bulletin board:

Print out a large letter, number or symbol. Cut out around the shape using an x-acto knife.

Position the cut out onto the bulletin board and trace around the edges lightly with pencil.Use an Elmer’s Painters gold paint marker to color inside the pencil tracing.

 

Creating the sliding chalkboard:

Cut the Elmer’s Black Foam Board the height of the interior of the drawer/unit and about 1/3 the width.

Spray the black foam board with the chalk paint. Add 1-2 more light coats per the directions on the can.

Measure the interior width at the top and bottom of the organizational unit. Cut two 1″ x 1″ strips of wood (or square dowels) for the top and 2 strips for the bottom. Drill a hole in each end of the strips.

Measure out 1″ from the bulletin board, on the bottom of the unit. Mark this location. Repeat for the top . Run a bead of construction glue onto the bottom of the wood strip and then adhere it to the bottom of the unit at the 1″ measurement mark.

Hammer brad nails into the predrilled holes. Repeat for the top of the cubby. (Two 1″ square strips are shown, but only install the back ones at this time.)

If the chalkboard paint has dried, rub a piece of chalk all over the board to season it. Wipe it clean with a dry cloth.

Drill a hole into the chalkboard where you want the handle. Feed the handle through. Add washers to the backside of the chalkboard if you need to take up some of the slack on the screw.

Insert the chalkboard into the wall unit and rest it against the first strip. Add the second strip in front of the chalkboard and attach it the same way you did above.

Be sure that the wood strips are not too snug against the chalkboard. The board should have enough freedom to slide back and forth freely.

 

Finishing touches:

If you want to give your ruler some age, rub a walnut stain onto the wood. Let it dry. Glue the wooden ruler to the front of the wood strip on the bottom using construction glue.

Clamp the ruler in place and let it dry overnight.

Add your pushpins and a message to the chalkboard and enjoy your efforts! You just saved yourself $100!!! Woot!

If you want instructions for hanging the unit, check out this post on hanging objects on the wall (the right way) the first time.

I’m pretty pleased with my Pottery Barn copy cat. Not to be mean or anything, but I like mine better because of the ruler,

the decorative crown molding,

and most of all for the price!!!


Do you like my Pottery Barn knock off? Or does it still look like an old discarded drawer to you?

 

 

Disclaimer: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #collectivebias #CBias. I was paid a small fee and sent some Elmer’s products. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in this post are solely mine.

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We had a great turnout at the Habitat ReStore demonstration on Saturday! Thank you to everyone who showed up. It was nice meeting some new friends. There will be another talk at 1 pm on Saturday, December 10th at the Cary, NC Habitat ReStore! I hope you can make it, because I’ll be showing how to turn some common ReStore items into holiday gifts and décor.

And now for the tutorial that you really wanted to see — but couldn’t make it to see — making a shoe storage bench out of an kitchen wall cabinet!

Wall cabinets that fit over your fridge or stove work really well for this shoe storage bench project. Ideally the cabinet will be 18″ in height (standard seat height). If it is shorter, you can build a base for your bench to raise it up a little.

It is more than likely that these cabinets will be coated with about 5 lbs. of grease. But, have not fear, I found THE BEST cleaner for removing grease. Hot water and ammonia! You must work in a well ventilated area when working with ammonia. Sponge on the ammonia and hot water concoction and wait about 10 minutes. Wipe off the cabinet and repeat until clean.

Materials:

  • Ammonia, hot water and a sponge or rag (to clean off grease)
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Miter saw
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Construction or thick wood glue
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • 2″ finish nails
  • 1 and 1/4″ finish nails
  • Quarter round moulding for base of cabinet
  • Cove moulding for top of cabinet
  • 1″ thick board (cut to fit inside cabinet dimensions)
  • 1×4″ pine firring strips
  • Plywood or pine board cut to fit 3″ wider and 1.5″ deer than finished dimensions of the cabinet (after moulding is added.)
  • Optional: Thin plywood to use as a filler strip

 

Remove all the hardware and the doors. Remove any nails that are poking out or hammer them flush with the wood.

Measure the inside depth of the top of your cabinet.

Cut three 1×4″ boards to sit on top of the cabinet and use for the bench support and to give your nails something to grip when attaching the bench top. (Without these supports it would be very difficult to nail or screw into the particle board cabinet without it flaking and chipping.)

Use thick construction glue to attach the boards. (Glues that have a toothpaste consistency.)

Nail finish nails into the boards at an angle to secure them.

For good measure, nail two more finish nails through the back of the cabinet and into the ends of the support boards.

Measure your cabinet sides and front. Cut quarter round (convex shape) for the base of your cabinet and cove moulding (concave shape) for the top of your cabinet.

Here is a close up of the moulding I used for the base and crown of the cabinet.

If the face frame of your cabinet juts out past the side, you’ll have a gap (see below). No worries, we can fix that!

Slip a piece of thin plywood to fit behind the quarter round (and cove moulding). Draw a line at the top of your quarter round (and bottom of the cove moulding). Cut the plywood piece with a jig saw.

Glue the thin plywood strip onto the cabinet.

Rest your moulding on top of the filler strip.

Predrill holes in your trim moulding, then hammer finish nails to secure the trim. If you are using a finish nailer to secure the moulding pieces, you won’t need to pre-drill.

Fill any nail holes or cracks with wood putty.

Fill the seams of the filler strips with wood putty too.

Allow the wood putty to dry and then sand it smooth.

Your cabinet should look something like this:

For the top of your bench, cut a piece of wood that is 3″ wider and 1.5″ deeper than the top dimensions of the cabinet (be sure to measure to the edge of the crown moulding.) Sand it smooth. Stain or paint the bench top.


At this point, you can attach your bench top by screwing a few screws from inside the cabinet up through the support pieces and into the bench top.

*For demonstration purposes, the video will show how I attached the bench top with glue and finish nails from the top: Add some construction glue to the wood supports. Then, nail the top into the three support boards on top of the cabinet. Fill the holes left by the nails. And touch up the spots with stain or paint. Either way will work, but the screws from below will save you the work of adding wood putty and/or touching up the nail holes.

To install the shelf, level the board you cut to fit inside the cabinet (or shall I call it a bench since we are almost done!)


Use either “L” brackets inside the cabinet to hold the shelf or hammer nails from the side and into the ends of the shelf to secure it. Luckily shoes aren’t super heavy, so you can get away with using finish nails to hold the shelf in place.


Use a nail set to sink the nail below the wood surface.


Add a small amount of wood putty to the nail hole.


Gently sand the cabinet and shelf to scuff up the surface and give it a “tooth” for the primer to adhere to. Prime the cabinet and bench.


Paint the cabinet, shelf and bench.


Protect your bench with a few coats of polyurethane and you are done!


Room for about 8 pairs of shoes! If you wanted a larger bench or more storage, you could attach two cabinets side by side.


Here is the video from my Habitat ReStore talk. (I apologize about some of the background noise.)

By the way, thanks to my sponsors Bogs Footwear (boots) and Tomboy Tools (tool belt.) I need to lower that belt a little ;-). I was rushing in and just buckled it on me without adjusting it.

 

 

 

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I have been looking for the perfect foyer light about three years now. In the search, I removed an ugly dated hanging light and replaced it with this:

Okay, it is a little better, but I still wasn’t in love! And that is the key to the right lighting, you have to LOVE it EVERYTIME you see it.

So, when I saw this Pottery Barn fixture, I knew I loved it!

Amanda at The Hand Me Down House made one that looks very similar. I always thought I might copy her design, until I found a hanging light that had similar lines at our local Habitat ReStore.

See that brass beauty in the front? Well, ignore the brass because I had plans to paint it. By the way, the iron chandelier went in my friend’s hallway.

And that cute little fixture hiding in shame at the back was turned into another Pottery Barn knockoff lantern.

But, on to the star of this post. My new foyer light! I disassembled the foyer light and set the glass globe aside. Then I attacked her with a one two punch using my new dynamic duo of spray paints.

Automotive primer first and then two coats of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze!

After putting the glass globe back on the fixure, I installed the light fixture (you can follow the same instructions as I showed in this post.)

 

Check out that beautiful new/old light fixture! I know it isn’t exactly like Pottery Barn’s but I love it none-the-less. How about you?

If you have been following my blog, you may remember this light fixture that I rescued bought at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Read below for a Pottery Barn Inspired Lantern.

Originally I thought about using it as a light in our foyer, but that plan changed after I found myself drooling over these lanterns at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. I love going into PB & RH, but rarely have the nerve to plunk down the money they want to steal
claim from my wallet.

Instead, I decided to transform my dated light fixture from the ReStore into a stylish lantern.

This is a relatively easy project that anyone can do! Yes, that means you.

Begin by removing the glass from the light fixture. (A note of caution: You should wear gloves. In other words, do as I say, not as I do!)

My light fixture had little metal prongs that easily bent to release the glass.

Next take apart your light fixture. Just start trying to unscrew parts. If they resist, grab your pliers.

I decided to save the wires, ceiling canopy and other wiring parts. Who knows, perhaps I will want to use it as our foyer light some day.

Okay, okay, also because I am a bit of a pack rat. I’m admitting one of my faults here: not being able to throw anything away. Don’t get me wrong, the producers of Hoarders are not knocking down my door, but I would prefer to Craig’s List, FreeCycle, reuse, or recycle anything I can’t use.

When all the parts were separated from the lamp, I needed to break the chain to the top of the light fixture. Here is an easy way to open up links in a chain that is not soldered together.

Place two screwdrivers inside the link you want to break. Lean one to the left and one to the right and apply pressure in opposite directions. The link should separate enough for you to remove the chain.

While the lantern is in pieces, you can rough up all the metal surfaces with sand paper. I actually did this to all the parts so I could paint them and potentially use them in the future. Wipe off the metal with a damp rag to remove any particles.

Now, you can re-assemble your light fixture (using only the parts you need to make your decorative lantern.)

I used brown Rustoleum spray primer. I like using a darker primer when my top coat color will be dark.

Be sure to rotate the parts and the lantern so you get all the sides coated with primer.

Now the most gratifying step, spray your lantern with your finished color. I coated the lantern with 3 light coats of a satin black spray paint to allow the lantern to look less new and more like old rustic iron.

And here is my new (old) Pottery Barn inspired lantern! $5 for the lantern + $6 for spray paint  = $11

What do you think of that, Mr. Pottery Barn merchandiser who wants to charge me $59 for the same size lantern?

Update: I received several emails and comments on this lantern and a few of you have been inspired to create your own! If you post it in your blog, I’d love to share your results.

Amanda at The Hand Me Down House, shows how she painted hers. She made the glass look like colored glass with Modge Podge and food coloring! Yes, you read that right. See her tutorial here.