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Homemade Decorative Tile

I have expensive tile taste. It’s a curse. And since my budget for our guest bathroom leaves no room for any more splurges (I’m looking at you, husband who wanted a panel shower system), I’m getting creative. So, when I saw tile I loved but couldn’t afford, I started to think of ways I could make my own.

Full disclosure, this one takes TIME. If I’d had to pay myself for labor, it might’ve been less expensive to just buy the original tile. 😜 But since I wanted my colors slightly different too, it was worth the hassle. Plus I can say I made my own tile! I already had most of the supplies – thin set mortar and grout from the shower remodel, paint from craft supplies, and epoxy from previous projects – so all I had to buy was the sculping clay for $28. If you have to buy all new supplies for this, it’s obviously more upfront (around $150 total), but you’ll have these supplies for future projects too, keep in mind.

I should also add that I’d only use this tile for decorative niches, etc. They’re certainly not up for use in a shower. But, it’s a great way to add some fancy color somewhere that won’t get a lot of wear or water.


(As an advertising affiliate and Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

  • Sculpey clay (either air-dry or oven-bake, I used air-dry)
  • cardboard or cookie cutter for templates
  • paints
  • epoxy
  • thin set and grout
STARTING: Supplies.

Step 1: Create shape templates. My tiles needed to be a waterspout pattern, so I grabbed some scrap cardboard and drew my shapes until I was happy, then cut them out so I’d be able to place them on my clay and trace/cut my shapes that way.

Creating template.

I wish I’d been able to find a cookie-cutter for my shapes, and that’s certainly something I’d recommend if you can find one for your shapes! Another trick (which I applied to my faux-tiles for the bathroom walls) is to get tile samples of exactly what you want and use those as templates to trace when making your own tiles. (You can get tile samples at TileBar for cheap, for example.)

Anyway, once I had my shape templates, I was ready to go.

Step 2: Cut the clay pieces. Amazon sent me the wrong kind of clay, so I ended up using the air-dry kind of Sculpey clay. I hear that the oven-bake kind is hardier, so let me know if you try that kind! But for now, keep in mind that this method used the air-dry kind.

With my clay and a few tools/supplies ready, I rolled out the clay so that it was about 1/4 inch thick. You don’t want the clay too thin, or else it curls and breaks easily. Too thick, and it takes much longer to dry. (I tested this with my clay, and that 1/4 inch was the sweet spot.)

Rolling out the clay.

Taking my shape templates, I numbered them 1-9 to make sure I kept them straight as I went (I have many distractions, but you might be able to focus better and not need to do this). Placing one template on the clay at a time, I used a kitchen knife to cut the clay around my shapes. Once the shape was cut, I used the knife like a spatula and lifted it loose from my countertop. I had a strip of wax paper ready off to the side, and I placed my shapes on this to dry.

If my edges were rough at all, I used my fingers to smooth them out before setting them to dry. The clay is pretty forgiving and easy to smooth out.

Smoothing edges.

Once I’d cut shapes all over my rolled out clay, I was able to form the scraps back into a ball and then roll it out again to make more shapes.

I ended up using 3 packs of clay (about 6 lbs) to make all the tiles I thought I’d need to cover the back of my niche. It was a LOT of little shapes. Time-consuming, yes, but also pretty easy. I gave the tiles about 24 hours to fully dry.

Step 3: Color the tiles. I colored my tiles a few different ways, partly to get different looks and partly to experiment with what worked best. Some I spray painted with the same metallic rose gold that I’ll use elsewhere in our bathroom. Some I painted with acrylic paints. Some I used stained glass paint for a shiny effect. Some I epoxied with mica powders mixed into the epoxy.

Painting tiles.

The spray paint was by far the easiest. But the colored epoxy tiles ended up being the best quality and strongest, so that’s worth noting. Really, each way ended up making pretty tiles, so you could probably color them just about any way.

Step 4: Seal the tiles. I love Stone Coat Countertops epoxy and trust it to do the jobs I need it to do. For my tiles, I wanted to be sure they’d be as strong as possible, kind of shiny, and have at least a little waterproofing considering they were clay. By coating my colored tiles in epoxy, I was fairly sure I’d get the results I wanted.

So why not just color them all with epoxy in the first place? I wanted the look of the other paint jobs too. Plus, epoxy will flow, and I wasn’t sure some of my edges were good enough to keep enough epoxy on to make the colors as vibrant as I wanted. 🤷‍♀️

I spread my tiles on a few black garbage bags because I knew the epoxy wouldn’t make them stick to garbage bags. I ended up mixing about 12 oz of clear epoxy to cover my tiles. I simply mixed parts B and A in equal parts in a cup, used a plastic spoon to drizzle epoxy over my tiles until they were covered, and then let them sit overnight to cure. Just make sure the tiles don’t touch each other, or they’ll be stuck together!

Epoxied tiles drying!

Side note: If you follow the instructions, epoxy isn’t as intimidating as it may seem! If you want to see my full process when working with epoxy on bigger projects, see here. You could try sealing the painted clay tiles with polyurethane or something, but I know epoxy works.

Step 5: Install the tile. It should be noted that I eyeball measurements way more than I should. If you need, you could measure your space and then lay out your tile to make sure you have enough to cover your area. Fortunately, the picture in my head ended up working. 😜

First, I mixed up some thin set mortar and spread it over the back of my niche. I needed it a little on the thick side because some of my tiles had curved a bit while drying (the thinner ones did this, as I mentioned). Basically, you just want to be sure the thin set is as even as possible and doesn’t run down the wall at all.

Collecting my tiles in one bunch of waterspout shapes at a time, I started gently pushing my tiles into the thin set. A few times I needed to wiggle and reposition one or two, and it’s a good idea to wipe away any thin set that bulges up between/around the tiles as you get them in place. This is so that it doesn’t dry and stick out too much when you go to grout.

I filled in my space with as many full waterspout configurations as I could. Next, around the edges, I took some remaining tiles and broke them with scissors so they’d fit against the edges to fill in empty spaces that wouldn’t fit a whole tile.

Once my whole area was tiled, I made sure I didn’t have too many globs of thin set sticking up. Then, I let it sit overnight to dry.

Drying in thin set.

The next day, I finished my tile installation by mixing a bucket of grout and spreading it on. At first I used a plastic spreader, but I quickly saw that this was too harsh and rubbing off some of edges of the tiles. Yikes! So, I changed to using a sponge to apply the grout, and this also gave me a cool, aged texture that goes well with the look of my bathroom.

Since I had big gaps between some waterspout shapes, it took quite a bit of grout. But, by following my grout’s instructions and letting it sit for about 20 minutes, it set up nicely and then I was able to wipe off the excess grout without removing too much.

Grout on.

Grout takes a bit of patience to wipe off tiles, but eventually I could see how everything turned out, and I was quite pleased. A big tip – baby wipes do an amazing job of removing the final layer of grout film/residue from tiles!

Mid-cleaning with baby wipes.

All done! I could definitely tell that my tiles coated best in epoxy held up best through this process, but they all look good! All things considered, I’m happy with how this relatively cheap alternative to store-bought tile worked out. (I saved myself about $160! I told you I have expensive tile taste. lol) Now I just have to figure out how I want shelves in my niche and what décor to add! 😜


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No-Wood Wall Features

For the record, I have finally started remodeling our guest bathroom. But I also need breaks from the carnage. So, I revamped our guest room while I’m at it, and for this project I only spent about $45 because I had extra paint (which I’m also using in the bathroom so that the guest spaces will tie together). There was nothing wrong with the guest room per se, but it could be better.

BEFORE: Unimpressive bare walls.

I saw on TikTok or Pinterest or somewhere that there’s a kind of metallic tape to use on walls for accent designs. Whatever video I watched showed how people were bordering this tape with decorative molding, and it looked really cool. However, I didn’t want to spend much money on molding, so I came up with the idea of using decorative rope instead. I was able to get 150 feet for around $33, so 👍. I also like that the rope adds an unexpected texture to the room and is soft if you bump against a wall.


(As an advertising affiliate and Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

Step 1: Paint sections. Our guest room’s ceiling has a low section because of a beam/conduit running through our basement. It’s right over the door and makes the room feel short. Now, I’ve stared at this for a long time, trying to decide what to do about it.

The lower ceiling I was working with.

What I landed on was drawing a level line around the rest of the walls at the same height as the beam/conduit. Then I painted that upper section white to match the ceiling (the regular ceiling and the conduit’s lowered ceiling). I used a brush for the edges and corners, then a roller for the rest. It took a few coats because of the type of paint, but the result was a bright white “border” around the top of the walls. This worked surprisingly well to blend the lowered ceiling and make it less noticeable…while also drawing attention to it. (See photo below.)

For the middle section of my wall, I measured about 40 inches down (a random decision, really) and made another level line that went all the way around the room. I then painted this section my next lightest color. This was “Accessible Beige” like I’d used on my faux brick walls of our main basement room. The top of this section, remember, met my top white line at the level of my lowered ceiling, so this beige color goes to my ceiling in that area of the room. Again, I used a brush for the edges and corners, then rolled the rest.

Painting the middle section.

For my lowest 40-ish inch section, I painted from the bottom line of my middle section all the way to the floor, including the baseboards. This was my darkest color, which is a pretty pinkish/brown color. (I have no idea of the name, unfortunately, because the paint can has no label and was left by the previous owners.)

Painting the bottom section.

Side note: I continued these lines/sections over the trim of my door too. Since our window didn’t have trim, I also painted the inner walls of the window too. (Seen in the photo above.) I like that this wraps the wall design ALL the way around the room and makes everything cohesive while also making the room feel bigger. You don’t have to paint your trim/window edges, but I like how it looks. 🤷‍♀️

Step 2: Stick on metallic tape. The roll I got was 1/2 inch gold tape, which was 72 YARDS for $12. 😳 (This is going to last me a while!) It went on very easily. Standing on a stool that I repositioned as I went along, I started at my top paint divide line and spaced the tape so that it would run right over my line. I thought I might have to adjust as I went to keep the tape level, but by slowly smoothing and pressing it on as I went, it was not hard at all to do this in one shot. I wrapped the tape around my corners rather than cutting because this tape is so thin it doesn’t bulk up the corners. Once I reached the far end of my top section where it met the lowered ceiling, I easily cut the tape in a straight line to meet the corner.

With that top done, I moved to the lower line and repeated this all the way around the room. I also applied the tape over my door’s molding and right up to the edges of my window.

Tape easily on door trim.

The reflective gold lines looked pretty cool dividing the paint colors! I could have stopped there, honestly, and you can if that’s all you want to do.

Tape on!

Step 3: Nail on bordering rope. It’s worth mentioning that this takes a LOT of brad nails. I wanted to be sure the rope stayed straight on the walls, and I wanted it as secure as possible in case someone bumps the border along the lower section. I ended up nailing every 3-4 inches to be safe. But it went quickly despite this!

Taking Brad (my nail gun) and an unwound bunch of rope, I climbed my stool and started at the top of my top gold tape. For the end of the rope, I made sure to really nail it secure so it wouldn’t pull free as I pulled the rope farther along. Then I held out the rope about a foot at a time and carefully nailed the rope in place to run as a border along the top of the tape. I tried not to leave much of a gap because I didn’t want to see the paint between the tape and the rope. It was again pretty easy to keep level and straight, and the rope was quire forgiving if I needed to pull it a little higher or lower.

When I reached the far side, I curved the rope to border the end and curl back around to run along the bottom of the tape now. This is something you can’t do very well with wood molding! I like how it looks soft and unique.

Top, curved end of rope border.

I followed my same process as I ran the rope all the way back along the bottom of the tape, and when I reached my starting point I curved it to meet the top too. (I’m eventually going to build a closet built-in here, so I wasn’t worried about this end too much because it will be covered.)

With the top border done – and my arms very tired! – I took a little break and then tackled the lower line. This border I had to do in 3 parts, cutting the rope to skip over my window, my door, and where I’d construct my built-in eventually.

First, I started where I knew my built-in would go, and the rope border curved/turned around at the side of my window before going all that way back.

Second, for the other side of the window, I started the rope against the window and ran it to where it curved/turned around over my door trim. Then I ran it back to the window. I nailed these ends in really, really well and also used a hot glue gun to hold the rope’s strands together at the cut ends.

Glueing and securing cut ends.

Third, I started a rope border over the tape where I knew the other side of my built-in would end. I ran the rope from here, turned the corner, and nailed it to curve/turn around over the door trim on the other side of the door. Finally, I ran it back to the end and secured it where the built-in would hide that end.

Nailing rope onto corner and trim.
All rope borders on!

Again, you don’t have to mess with the door trim or window, but it does look kinda cool once all done. If you have to cut the rope or maybe link a new strand onto the end of your first one for added length, I’d definitely glue the ends to keep it together and also make it look as seamless as possible. I glued my ends everywhere they’d be visible, and I’m glad to have the extra security.

Step 4: Add a rope feature between the borders. I kept going mostly because I had extra rope. 😜 You can stop here or do a completely different kind of shape, but here’s what I did:

I measured out the rope I had left and divided it by 3. (If you can do this without puppy assistance, all the better. lol)

My “helper.”

With this number, I cut the rope into these 3 sections – mine were about 71 inches each. On the ends of these ropes, I used my hot glue gun and squeezed a bunch of glue into the ends, then twisted them together and held them so the strands stuck together.

Now that my ropes were ready, I planned my design. I found something round that I thought would make the right size arch, and for me this was an old lampshade. Laying it on the bed, I draped my rope around that top curve and then positioned the rope so that the sides came down straight and made corners like a square at the bottom. When I was happy with this shape, I measured from the top of the arch to the bottom and got 31 inches.

Next, on the wall over my guest bed’s headboard, I measured the middle paint section and found I could center my 31-inch shapes by leaving 4 inches at the top and bottom of that paint section. Then I measured and found the center point of the wall behind the headboard, marking there at the top, 4 inches down from the border.

Starting at the center, I held my lampshade so that the topmost point of the curve hit my mark. I traced the top half-ish of the lampshade’s curve with a pencil, and this made an outline for my middle shape’s top arch.

Positioning the lampshade to the side of my middle arch’s outline, I tried to decide how much space to leave between my shapes. I ended up leaving about 4 inches between where each arch’s side edge would be. I made a light mark along the side of my lampshade and then set it aside to measure and mark 4 inches down from the top border, to be sure the shapes would be level. Holding the lampshade in place so that the top was at the top mark like before and my side mark was even with my light side mark, I traced the top arch, same as before.

Tracing my arches.

I repeated this for my third shape on the other side.

With all the top arches outlined, I took a level and marked across the arches’ sides so they would all start to straighten out at the same place. Using the level, I next made a straight line down from those marks at either side of each arch, and I stopped these lines 4 inches up from the bottom border.

To finish my outlines, I took the level and drew straight lines to make the bottoms of my shapes, connecting the side lines of each.

Using the level to make side lines.

Next, I took my ropes and nailed them on along my outlines. I paid careful attention to the arches, nailing about every 2 inches to be sure it looked right. For the sides and bottom, I went back to every 3-4 inches. I also made sure to really secure the corners.

I had a little bit extra rope for each shape, which was helpful because it gave me some wiggle room. This extra I simply cut off at the right spot, and I brought over my warmed glue gun to secure these ends in place and make them as seamless as possible.

Nailing on rope.

Done! I think I’ll probably hang pictures in each of the shapes, but I also like them as they are for now. 🤷‍♀️ What do you think I should do?

AFTER: Rope detailed feature done!

These walls are warm, cozy, and decorative now. All it took was paint, tape, rope, and a lot of nails! I have a few other ideas to finish off this room (faux beams 🤞 , French doors, and that built-in closet) but I’m really happy with how these walls turned out! It’s also cool how the light reflects off the gold tape strips, and even simple sunlight makes them sparkle. 😍

AFTER: More interesting walls!

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Easy Rustic Spring Decor

Now that it’s officially spring (yay!), my girls and I gleefully took down our winter decorations and realized we needed new decorations for spring. I have a few flowery things, but not much. But, I’d seen something on Pinterest that gave me an idea and would also let me use up extra crafty materials without having to buy anything new. Score.

I’m not normally a hot glue gun kind of crafty mom, but I have to say that I’m liking my hot glue gun lately. Since that was the only “tool” I needed for this project, I’m gonna go ahead and say this is a REALLY easy one. Also, I made these 5 decorations in less than an hour, so it’s quick too!


(As an advertising affiliate and Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

BEGINNING: Supplies assembled.

Step 1: Tighten the hoops. Setting aside the inner hoops, I decided to use those for something else later. For these decorations, I used the 5 bigger/outer hoops that have the clamps you can tighten. These fasteners I tightened so that each hoop was fully round, wouldn’t flex, and they also gave me a nice place to tie on the twine for hangers later. My particular pack of embroidery hoops came in 5 different sizes, so I planned to do each a little differently but still wanted to hang them the same way.

Adjusting fasteners.

Step 2: Cut strips of burlap and/or twine. I’d love to say I measured, but I didn’t. Depending on the size of your hoop and the style you’re doing, the length of your burlap strips will vary. Also, you could have less rough edges if you use burlap ribbon, but I had leftovers from yard fabric, so that’s what I used. As for the twine, first cut a short strand for each hoop you’re doing, and these will be used to hang the hoops when you’re done. I made mine about 10 inches long each so I had plenty of room to tie the ends together and give the hoops space to hang down from their future hooks.

Back to the burlap…

#1 I made my first strip of burlap long enough to wrap around the hoop and glue to itself like a solid band all the way around. It was also narrow enough that it would leave empty space at the top and bottom.

#2 My second burlap strip was a bit longer, and that hoop was smaller so that I had even more extra to work with as I wrapped it around the hoop. (This would be a bow.)

#3 My third burlap strip was pretty long, and this I wrapped around and around the hoop more like you’d do to make a wreath. But, instead of wrapping all the way around for a full wreath (which you could do), I tied mine just past the bottom to make it trail like a ribbon.

#4 My fourth burlap strip was wider than the others, and I made this long enough to weave between a crossing section of twine, plus long enough to tie off like a bow around the top clamp fastener.

#5 For my fifth hoop, I used only twine. I used 2 very long strands, but I actually didn’t cut these strands until I’d wrapped each around the hoop as far as I wanted, and then I cut them so I had exactly the amount I wanted.

(You’ll see each of these 5 later – for now I’m just explaining how I cut the supplies.)

Looking uncertain about my cuts 😆

Step 3: Attach the burlap with hot glue. With all this twine and strips of burlap cut, I started attaching them according to the designs I had planned.

#1 For the first hoop, I took my strip of burlap and lay it on top of the hoop, making one end start right in the middle of the hoop. Then I wrapped the rest of the burlap around that side of the hoop and stretched it flat under the hoop. With my glue gun hot, I squeezed out a line of glue along the side of the hoop where the burlap was ready to wrap. Quickly before this dried, I wrapped the burlap up over this side of the hoop and carefully (so that I didn’t burn my fingers) pressed the burlap against the glue so it would hold on that side. Holding the burlap stretched tight from that side to the other, I next glued the other side of the hoop and pressed the burlap to stick on that side too.

Next, I held up the first end of the burlap and placed a line to glue at the end, then took the other end, pressing it onto the first so the whole burlap strip was now like a band all around the hoop.

That done, I moved to the bottom edge and squeezed a line of glue between the burlap sides to join them together at the bottom. So, this made a kind of pocket out of the burlap.

Glueing for #1

#2 For the second hoop, I did much the same thing, except there was a lot more extra on both ends. Once each side was glued on, I flipped it all over and simply tied the 2 ends rather than glue them together. I used a double knot to get a nice plump tie, then I tucked the remaining ends under to help the look of the bow. The bow, then, is on the front with a straight, tight stretch of burlap showing in the back.

Tying the bow for #2

#3 My third hoop was the one with the really long strip of burlap, and this I glued onto the very top of the hoop, just to the side of my fastener. Once that was dried on, I wound the burlap strip around and around to make a kind of wreath, but I stopped just past the bottom, tying the burlap around the hoop and letting the rest dangle like a ribbon. I lastly took scissors and cut out an inverted “V” at the end to help the end look less chunky.

#3 with wrapped burlap strip

#4 This hoop was the most complicated but still pretty easy. I first started by tying on an end of twine at the hoop’s midway point of one side. Stretching the twine across the hoop, I put a dot of glue on the other side and secured the twine in place before wrapping it around and back to the other side, where I put another dot of glue to hold it in place. I did this again and again, going back and forth, wrapping the twine around and around the hoop, until I was happy with the section of twine.

With my widest strip of burlap at the ready, I squeezed a line of glue along the inside of the hoop at the top, starting just to the side of the fastener. Holding the end of my burlap strip, I pressed it into the glue so that the rest of the burlap ran up and outward from the hop. Once this was on, I lifted the hoop and pulled the rest of the burlap flat across the backside. (See below.) I made another line of glue along the outside of the hoop where the burlap met this other side, and I wrapped the burlap over this glue.

Attaching #4’s burlap

Next, I carefully pulled the rest of the burlap between the front twine and back twine – so, through the middle. This made the burlap wrap all the way around the hoop, and through the twine, so I glued the burlap over the hoop to glue it to itself back at the top. From there, I pulled the rest of the burlap to tie around the fastener.

Burlap glued and tied for #4

#5 This last hoop only used twine. The smallest of my hoops, this one was easier to wrap twine around again and again (the same as before, with dots of glue at either end). This time, I also added another, crossing section of twine that ran over the first one, making an “X.” These ends I glued on the inside of the hoop to hide rather than tie another noticeable knot.

The first end of twine on #5

Step 4: Attach the twine for hangers. Now that all the wrapping and gluing and knotting was done, it was easier to tie on the twine strands to the fasteners. I threaded one end through the space between the screw and the hoop and tied the ends together. Voila – hanging loops.

On #1, I also added a little bow of twine around the fastener, just to add a little extra filler since that hoop was so big.

Adding a bow to the fastener for #1

OPTIONAL STEP: Attach letters. I wanted something extra on my #1 with the empty stretch of burlap across the hoop. So, I used a marker and wrote out “SPRING” in big chunky letters. I cut these out, then glued them onto the front. This just added something extra and clearly defines the theme of these decorations. 😆 There are all kinds of things you could put on the front here, and I’m sure you could think of even cooler ways to add word art!

Paper letters cut out

Step 5: Add the flowers. Until now, the hoop designs looked kind of blah and rough, but once the flowers were on, they looked quite pretty and cute. I used my favorite fake tulips from a big bouquet I keep in our dining room, so I didn’t want to glue or ruin any of them. Turns out, these stay REALLY well by just sticking the stems through the knots of burlap or weaving them through the twine.

You could cut down your fake flowers however you like if you don’t want stems sticking out, but I liked the look and balance mine ended up having. 🤷‍♀️ For #1 with that little pocket of burlap, I did bend the flower stems and tuck them inside so that only the pretty parts stuck out.

Adding flowers to #3

Step 6: Hang! I already had a few hooks in my dining room windowsill, plus I always hang different seasonal decor from a trio of old window frames in our entryway. You could hang yours from really anywhere!

Done: #1
Done: #2
Done: #3
Done: #4
Done: #5

That was it! This was a nice, easy, quick way to add some spring decor. These are a little more “farmhouse style” than I usually go for, but they’re cute, plus I can save my flowers once I want to change things up again.

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From Bifolds to Bookshelf

While avoiding my bathroom reno project, I found one other thing to do in my basement main room besides adding texture to the walls (and that looks awesome all around the main room now). Our TV area needed some kind of shelving unit to hold extra DVDs, kids books, and knickknacks. So, I started to think of ways I could build a shelving unit for as little money as possible.

I am all for using scrap materials whenever possible to make something new out of something old. And so, this project meant I finally found a way to use the last of my scrap bifold doors. I also still have a LOT of kitchen cabinet doors, so those would work nicely as shelves. Other than that, all this would take was some scrap wood for backing and narrow wood strips for shelving cleats. Plus paint, stain, and polyurethane – all of which were leftovers from other projects. I did end up buying decorative molding for the fronts of the shelves to better complement the antique cabinet we use as an entertainment center, so that meant this entire project ended up costing me $28.

If you want to tackle this project and only have the bifold doors, you could use practically any wood to make your shelves, cleats, and then pick any front molding of your choice.


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BEFORE: Scrap bifold doors.

Step 1: Separate and prep bifold door panels. First I lay my bifold doors on the floor, backside up. Then I unscrewed the panels from each other, removed the hinges, and also removed the knob hardware.

With the panels separated, I took some wood putty and filled the holes. Once dry, I lightly sanded the spots smooth. Easy enough.

Step 2: Measure and plan for shelves. Turning my door panels on their sides, I spaced them apart by placing my cabinet-doors-turned-shelves between them. Luck was with me in that I happened to have 4 doors that were 17×20 inches, so these were perfect to fit between my 17-inches deep panels.

Side note: If making your own shelves, just measure how wide your bifold doors are and cut the shelves that width. You could make the length of your shelves whatever you want for a longer or shorter bookshelf.

I decided to support these 4 shelves by cleats that would run hidden along the undersides, attached to the door panels on either side. For the top and bottom of the bookshelf, I had 2 other cabinet doors that would be a little longer but less wide, so I decided to attach these directly to the ends of my door panels to add support and work nicely as tops and bottoms.

Step 3: Cut cleats and support pieces for the back. I didn’t want a solid back on my bookshelf because I wanted to see my textured wall behind it, plus I didn’t want it to be crazy-heavy. Instead, I cut a 1×4 into 2 pieces that were 23 inches long, which was the total width of my bookshelf once I placed my 20-inch shelves between the 2 door panels. These 2 pieces would be my back supports to help hold the shelves secure.

For my cleats, I used 1×2 scrap pieces. I needed 8 total, 2 for each shelf, with 1 supporting each side. I made these about 17 inches – they’ll be hidden eventually, so they don’t have to be exact.

Step 4: Paint, age, stain, and seal. With all of these pieces basically ready, I set out the door panels first and started playing with my painting technique. After some trial and error, here’s what I did:

First I lightly sanded my door panels to help the paint adhere better. (You could also use a primer if more patient than myself.) With a small roller, I rolled on some dark brown paint that I’d found in our basement from the previous owners. I did 2 coats, but I wasn’t too worried about solid coverage because so many layers would be added later that this brown didn’t have to be perfect.

Brown paint on.

After this brown paint dried, I applied some charred wood accelerator. It’s basically a stain that leaves a charred look on raw wood, and I hoped it would work for this project to add some depth and an “aged” look, giving a hint of wood grain. (At least, I hoped this would have the desired effect once I did my next step. 🤞)

Charred wood accelerator drying.

After about an hour, the charred accelerator stain was dry. This added a really cool layer and a textured look that indeed aged the panels nicely.

Next, I applied some red mahogany stain. Yes, I used a roller instead of a brush, partly because I was out of decent brushes and partly because I didn’t want brush strokes to show up on top of my charred texture. This stain warmed up the tone of the panels beautifully and also added a smoother, blending effect to the “aged” look.

Applying red mahogany stain.

I gave the stain overnight to dry, and the next day I applied a few coats of matte finish polyurethane to help protect and seal everything.

Happy with the result on the one side, I flipped over the door panels and repeated this process on the other side and also the surrounding edges. At this same time, I did the cabinet doors/shelves too. I lightly sanded, rolled on the brown paint, then charring accelerator, then mahogany stain, then poly.

Midway through with the shelves.

Side note: It would have been even easier to leave the bifold doors white and paint the shelves to match. Really, you could use whatever paint method and colors you like! I considered all kinds of fun painting ideas, but I’m glad I went this way since it looks nice with our room and antique entertainment stand.

Step 5: Attach the cleats. Taking my door panels, I lay them so that the flat backside (or the inside of my shelves) was facing up. Then I took a tape measurer and played around with spacing, deciding finally on 16 inches between each shelf. I marked every 16 inches from the bottom until I had marked for all 4 of my shelves.

Next, I placed my 8 cleat pieces on the panels at those 16-inch marks. Once I was sure they were straight, I used Brad (my nail gun) and nailed them onto the door panels.

It’s IMPORTANT that these cleats be spaced exactly the same on each door so your shelves will be level. They don’t all have to be the same distance apart (like mine all at 16 inches) if you want some shelves taller or shorter, but you have to use the same measurements for each door so they mirror each other. BE SURE to remember which side is up and which is down when spacing them out.

Attaching the cleats.

I wish I’d thought to paint the cleats first, but 🤦‍♀️. You might want to do that. And also paint the 1×4 supports. They don’t have to look nice, just dark enough to blend in if you see them from the undersides of the shelves. You can also see from the picture above that the inside of my door panel doesn’t look quite right, but that’s part of the “trial and error” I mentioned before. Basically, do as I say, not as I do. 😜

Step 6: Attach the shelves. I found that this step went easiest by laying my door panels on their sides on the floor. The pretty side of each panel needs to be facing outward with the cleats on the insides. I also made sure to plan that the backside was up and the front was on the floor. The last thing to do for positioning was to make sure the panels were even side by side.

I started with my top shelf and held it in place against the top side of my cleats. Applying pressure with my legs against the panel sides, I kind of squeezed the shelf into a tight fit. (Thank God there’s no pictures of how ridiculous this probably looked. 🤣) Then I quickly checked that it was square before using Brad to secure this top shelf to the cleats. It only took 1 nail in each corner, which was good because I didn’t want to fill nail holes.

Next I repeated this process with the second shelf, then the third, and finally the bottom of the 4. I might’ve looked goofy, but it only took about 4 minutes. Fair trade off, in my book. 😜

Attached 4 shelves.

Step 7: Attach the back supporting 1x4s. While the backside was facing up, I took one 1×4 piece and placed it across the back so that it covered the top shelf and cleats. I made sure the board would only be exposed under the shelf and not rising up above the shelf in the back. This meant the 1×4’s top sat flush with the top of the shelf. Holding it here, I nailed the 1×4 into each door panel on the ends and then all along the back of the shelf too.

That already added a lot of support when I wiggled the bookshelf, but I took my other 1×4 and did this same thing to the bottom shelf. I could have added back supports to each shelf, but this seemed like enough. 🤷‍♀️

Step 8: Attach the top and bottom. I suppose you could do this step before the middle shelves, but I wanted to be absolutely sure my shelves fit before locking everything in place by attaching these top and bottom pieces.

Holding my breath and hoping everything held, I carefully flipped over the whole thing so that the front side was now facing up.

Starting at the bottom with the bottom piece/cabinet door seemed easiest, although it ended up being the same process at both ends so I don’t know why I thought this. Anyway, because this bottom piece wasn’t as deep as the 17-inch panels (it was only about 15 inches), I lifted it to be flush with the top edges of the panels, which was really the very front of the bookshelf, remember. And since this piece was wider than the space between the panels (it was actually 23 inches – the full width of the bookshelf, as luck would have it), it fit nicely to cover the whole width of the bookshelf’s bottom.

I held the bottom piece thusly and easily nailed it into the panels on either end.

Bottom on!

Confident now in how to do the top, I copied this placement for the top piece at the other end.

As you can see from the picture above, obviously I didn’t bother painting the bottom, since it would be on the floor. I also didn’t paint the top of the top piece but rather the underside, since you will be looking up to see that part but no one is tall enough to see the very top. I also painted the undersides of the next 2 shelves down, since you might see those parts too if looking up from kneeling to reach the bottom shelves. I, of course, only thought of painting the undersides once everything was attached, but it would probably be smarter to paint them when you paint the rest to begin with 🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️.

Anyway, if you’re cutting your own wood for the top and bottom, I’d recommend cutting these pieces to fit the same as my cabinet doors. It adds a lot of support to have the top and bottom nailed on the ends of the panels rather than on the insides like with the shelves. And I like the small gap in the back because it lets some light in from the top, and it helps the whole bookshelf to tip back rather than forward at the bottom.

Step 9: Add front molding. My bookshelf looked okay at this point, but I wanted something to make it look a little fancier. So, I bought some pretty, detailed chair rail molding and cut it into 4 pieces of 23-inch strips to run across the fronts of my shelves, 4 pieces at 17 inches to run along the sides at the top and bottom, and 1 piece at 23.5 inches to run across the top (this extra 0.5 inch helped cover the molding pieces on the top’s sides).

My front molding pieces.

Next I quickly sanded my cut ends and used the same mahogany stain to darken the wood and match my shelves.

With my bookshelf still lying with the front up, I set each 23-inch piece of molding over the fronts of my 4 shelves, covering each cleat too. I made sure the ends lined up nicely with the outer edges of the side panels. (These molding pieces run the full width of the bookshelf.) And since my shelves were level, I knew this molding would be level if lined up with the top edge of each shelf. Satisfied with the placement, I used a few nails at each end and one in the center of each shelf to get rid of any gap.

Then I took my 17-inch pieces and moved to the outsides of the bookshelf. For the bottom molding pieces on either side, I made sure to cover the sides of the bottom piece but keep the molding flush with the bottom so that it didn’t stick out any farther. Holding one side in position at a time, I nailed them onto the side panels.

Positioning the bottom side molding.

For the top molding, I positioned them a bit higher so there’d be a little lip running around the top. I figured this would add height and also create a barrier to help hold any decor I might put up there. It also definitely meant that you can’t see where my top isn’t painted. The molding still covered the sides of the top piece, and I nailed them on once sure they were level.

Lastly, I attached my 23.5 inch molding to the front of the top piece. I positioned this molding to cover not only the front of the top piece but also the exposed ends of the top’s side molding (again, this is why this piece had the extra 0.5 inches, to cover the molding ends on either side). Holding it level, I nailed this molding in place like I’d done with the 4 shelves – at the ends and also once in the middle to eliminate any gap.

Step 10: Secure in place. Once finished with the decorative molding, I awkwardly carried my finished bookshelf (because I never ask for help) to stand against the wall where I wanted it. I was a bit worried about this monstrosity tipping, and this is where those back supports also come in.

First, I reached through to start 2 long screws in the top 1×4 where it was exposed under the shelf. This was so they’d be easier to screw in all the way when I was ready. Then, with my drill at the ready, I held a level against the side of the bookshelf and pushed a little bit to get completely level. Holding the bookshelf level with one hand, I took my drill in the other and finished screwing those screws all the way into the back wall. I got REALLY lucky and even hit a stud! (If you can plan how to hit a stud or 2, even better 😜)

I pushed and pulled every which way on the bookshelf, but it held in place just by screwing that one board onto the wall. And it looked great!

AFTER: Fully assembled bookshelf.
Closeup of front molding done.

Now we have a handy place to store extra DVDs, kid books are easily accessible, and games are also easy to grab and store. The best part is that this bookshelf looks like it belongs in the room and appears way nicer than it did as bifold doors – LOL. And it only cost me $28 with the added bonus of depleting my pile of cabinet doors in our garage. 🤣

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“Meh” Nook Wall Upgrade

I can’t be trusted. If left sitting around, looking at our house for too long, I’m going to come up with a project whether we need it or not. I also put off doing overwhelming projects by diving into fun ones. So, this week while cuddling with my girls on our basement couch, glaring at our nearby bathroom which desperately needs demo, I naturally decided to upgrade our basement bar nook’s walls.

It helps that I already had all the supplies and didn’t have to spend any $$. But if you need to buy all the supplies, you can still do an entire room like this for under $100!


(As an advertising affiliate and Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

The only real issue with this space was the strip of magnetic chalk board that I’d put up for the girls a long time ago. It was peeling off in some places, and I knew it would be pretty ugly under there once removed. Also, I was not a fan of all the coloring that had happened on the wall where the girls “missed” with the chalk. 🙄

BEFORE: Walls in need of an upgrade.

Step 1: Remove whatever’s on the wall. My first step was to pull and rip off the chalk board strip. Hopefully you don’t have this problem, but basically step 1 is to just take everything off the wall you want to texture. As I suspected, quite a bit of the paint and first layer of drywall came off with the chalk board’s adhesive, but I knew my plan would cover this ugliness without a trace left behind.


Step 2: Spread on joint compound. If you saw my bathroom wall project, this method is even easier! All I did was take a small towel and wipe the joint compound on the wall in a back-and-forth pattern, mimicking how my bricks were going to be. It doesn’t need to be straight; it doesn’t need to be smooth. In fact, now is the time to add a lot of “character” with thicker and thinner spots and swipes.

Side note: If you want perfect bricks, getting the compound smooth and even will be much more tedious. I was going for a rough and rustic look.

It’s important to remember to only do sections of your space at a time if you’re doing a large area – you don’t want the compound to start drying before you roll it! I had small walls around this nook, so first I only did the main front wall and the side around the corner.

Spreading on the joint compound.

Step 3: Roll over the joint compound. I admit I had my doubts about this roller tool when I first used it to do this same thing to our home office wall. But it really works! Again, if you’re aiming for perfect bricks, there are probably better ways. (I’ve seen people use levels and their finger to make lines, for example.) Since I was going for a rustic look, this roller works perfectly. And it’s fast!! I held the roller at one corner of my wall and rolled quickly across the wall, trying to stay level-ish and also over my back-and-forth pattern I’d made with the trowel.

Bricks in no time!

Step 4: Smooth spots likely to be touched. I rolled that whole first wall and around the corner in about 5 minutes. Because we walk right against the front wall, I did smooth out the rough bits with my fingers. This was just a simple matter of lightly rubbing away compound that stuck out too much. For most of the higher wall, I left it as it was because no one will touch up there. Really, the rougher it is, the cooler it ends up looking once painted. You just don’t want any sharp edges or globs that are going to come loose at the slightest touch.

Once all that was done on my main front wall and corner side, I did the back wall the same way. Then it was time to let it dry.

Applying to other wall.

Step 5: Lightly sand. The next day, I took some sandpaper and quickly went over the dry compound. I concentrated again on the high-traffic area of that front wall, but I also very quickly swept the sandpaper over everything to knock off any pointed bits or globs that were loose enough to dislodge.

Quick sanding of rough spots.

Step 6: Paint! Our basement walls are all blue, and I wanted to make this space a little cozier, lighter, and softer. (In general for our basement’s “grown-up” area, I’m going for a kind of modern Spanish beachside speakeasy feel…which isn’t really a style but hey 🤷‍♀️🤣)

I had leftover “Accessible Beige” from our master bathroom counter project, so that’s what I used. I took a small roller and went over all the faux-bricks, making sure to get in all the little nooks and crannies. This actually took quite a while, but it dries quickly because the compound really sucks in the paint.


Once I was finished painting, I loved how it turned out! So much so that I might do another huge wall nearby… That bathroom demo can wait, right?

AFTER: Textured and interesting walls!

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From Assorted Organizers to Nice Pan Storage

Our kitchen has one of those deep corner cabinets for pots and pans, and of course it’s a daily annoyance to bend down and bang around for the pot or pan I’m looking for. And we have a LOT of pots and pans. (First-world problems, I know.) Everyone’s storage solution for this seems to be installing razzle-dazzle corner pullout systems, but I don’t think a fancy pullout would even work because of the position of our stove. And even a simpler fix like a lazy susan… Well, I just don’t like them. Every corner cabinet lazy susan I’ve ever had has wasted space, plus the pan handles bang against the sides as I’m swinging them around, or they get stuck, or whatever. I’m not a fan. 🤷‍♀️

I did earlier install pullouts that I made for our pot and pan lids. These at least keep the lids out of the way and organized. But we still had too many pots and pans in there. The worst were our cast iron pans – they were very difficult to lift and shove around.

So, we decided to neatly (*snort laugh*) organize the rest of our pots and pans in the cabinet with the lids, and I would make something for the cast iron pans so they could sit separately on a counter.

…Then I got distracted by remodeling our bathroom. But this week, I finally got sick of the cast iron pans taking up our cabinet space (and our giant one always sitting on the stovetop). What I came up with was very simple and easy, so of course I should have done this months sooner. 😬

I had lying around (from various apartment attempts at kitchen organization) some of those little racks you get for lid storage or pan storage. They were different sizes and colors, however, so I’d never used them in my nice, new, cohesive kitchen in this house. But couldn’t I use them now somehow to help with my pan problem?

BEFORE: Random mismatched organizers.


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  • Spray paint
  • Kitchen organizer racks (mine were extra, but like these)
  • 1×10 wood piece (mine was scrap)
  • U-brackets and screws

I suspect I’m not the only one who’s ended up with a small collection of organizers of all shapes, sizes, and colors. This was an easy way to make them all work together and look pretty nice.

Step 1: Spray paint the organizers and U-brackets. The first step to making these things look like they belonged was to, quite simply, make them look alike. Using spray paint, I went over the organizers from every angle and gave them 3 coats. (You could go over this with a clear sealer too, if worried about scratches.) I did the same with the U-brackets and the screws that would attach them. Everything now looked like it was meant to be a set!

Spray painting done.

Step 2: Prep the wood piece. I played around with my organizers to see how I would want them positioned, and I found a scrap wood piece that was the perfect size without cutting. Whatever size you need, just cut the wood to that length. I also lucked out that my wood was already stained a color that worked for what I was doing. You could leave the wood natural and it would look nice too, or you could stain or paint your wood any color.

My luckily perfect wood piece.

Step 3: Check positioning and make screw holes. With the organizers on the wood, I took the U-brackets and placed them over the organizers where it made sense to hold them in place. I used 6 just to be as secure as possible. With these in place, I took a marker and dotted each screw hole’s location.

Marking my screw holes.

Taking it all back off the wood, I then predrilled holes for my screws.

Step 4: Screw them on. Putting everything back in place again, I used a screwdriver and maneuvered awkwardly between the organizers’ dividers to get my screws in place. (I tried with a drill first, but there wasn’t enough room to get my angles right with the screws.) Just be sure not to use screws that are longer than the thickness of your board!


That was it! All that was left was to stick our pans in the organizer and decide where to put it. I tried it at first on our main counter right over the corner cabinet, and I left the big pan off the organizer because I thought it would be too big for the rack to support. However…

AFTER: Done and testing locations…

I wanted these pans more tucked away since we otherwise have mostly empty countertops. So, moving it to our pantry countertops, I held my breath and put the biggest pan in the rack. It fit, no problem! And I like how it all looks on my faux-butcher block counters here. 😍

AFTER: Organizer looks like it belongs.

So, in all, this was a quick and easy one! I could have built a stand out of all wood, but this was a really easy way to use what I already had while making it look better. This little pan organizer is light and easy to move around if I need, and it’s simple enough that it isn’t taking up much room on our counter. And, most of all, it’s so easy now to grab these cast iron lugs when it’s time to cook!

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Old Headboard + Pallet = Kids’ Mini Couch

Do I keep almost everything that I think I might someday use to make something? Yes, yes, I do. I don’t have a storage unit full of old junk or anything, but I’m not gonna deny being glad my parents have a pole barn… 😜

Anyway, in my last post, I shared how we replaced my youngest’s toddler bed with a twin daybed, using both nice wood and an old pallet. Well… I had more than one extra pallet, plus I had an old headboard that I’d been eyeing for a while as a possibility for kids’ furniture.

BEFORE: How can I use these…? 🤔
ALSO BEFORE: It’s worth keeping for something, right?

Now that I had my youngest’s toddler mattress too, I came up with the idea of making a little couch!

Our girls LOVE making a bed of blankets on the living room floor while they eat snacks and watch movies. However, if you’ve followed me much, you know that our cat makes this a problem. 😑😑😑 With a small little couch just their own, our girls could have their own place to sit and watch movies – and a place where blankets and pillows are safe. 🤞


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  • Wood pallet
  • Twin headboard
  • 2x2s
  • 1×6 (you may or may not need this, depending on your headboard)
  • 2” wood screws
  • Paint, spray paint, or stain
  • Toddler mattress and fitted sheet
  • Extra blankets and pillows

Step 1: Measure and cut pallet. I measured my toddler mattress and found that it was about 28×52 inches. My twin headboard was 42 inches long and about 30 high. I wanted the pallet to attach to this headboard but also extend a bit farther on either side to support the mattress. But, I also wanted the pallet to be smaller than the mattress so that the cushioning would extend over the pallet/frame to protect little legs from bonking against the wood and corners.

I decided on making the pallet/frame 26×48. That would give my mattress room to overhang. I’d attach the headboard by its lower crosspiece, which would position the frame right where the normal bed frame would go – leaving the headboard’s legs right where they should be too.

How do you cut a pallet? If you’re on the crafty side of Pinterest/Facebook/the internet in general, you’ve probably seen a million different projects using pallets. Cutting one to resize it was not nearly as difficult as I feared! I lay the pallet on another pallet (I don’t know why I thought this would make things easier) on the garage floor and marked each board at the 26 inches I wanted for the width. The length of my whole pallet was fortunately a perfect 48 inches…which if I’m being honest was another deciding factor for my chosen length of 48 inches. 😆

DO BE SURE to first remove any nails from your cutting path.

Starting with the side that had the most crossing board pieces, I used my handheld circular saw and carefully cut across the boards to make the new width 26 inches. Then I flipped the pallet over and cut that side’s fewer crossing pieces. This then freed one whole side of the pallet to remove the excess width I hadn’t wanted.

Cut the pallet to 26 inches wide.

Side note: If you need to shorten the length of your pallet and not just the width, you’d saw off one end of the long supports at whatever length you need. It’s probably actually easier to cut for length since most pallets don’t have bracing pieces on the ends – you’d just cut the middle supports to detach your extra.

Step 2: Screw the pallet pieces securely together. I still needed the long side piece to reattach it and complete my “new” pallet. So, next I grabbed a hammer and crowbar to remove the little crosspieces that I’d cut off. (See the above picture where that “extra” is on the floor.)

Once these were off, I was left with the side piece to slide back between the still-attached 26-inch pieces. This took a little work to get it in place, but after a couple whacks with my hammer it sat nicely back between all the crosspieces on either side of the pallet. To totally connect this piece, I screwed every 26-inch crosspiece back into this side piece.

Getting the side piece back in place.

As you can see, my pallet (the one on top is what we’re working on) was in ROUGH shape from the start. A few of the boards had to be screwed back onto the frame, and one split board I replaced with scrap. Since this new pallet is responsible for holding up my children, I absolutely made sure it was screwed securely together without any signs of weakness.

Step 3: Fix whatever is rough. You don’t have to worry too much about the appearance of this pallet. But I did want to smooth off any rough edges from my cuts, and I also at this time made sure to remove and/or hammer in any old nails that stuck up. Mostly, I went over the whole pallet with my sander and got it as splinter-free as I could. I dusted the whole thing once I was done, and then I was pretty happy with my pallet and moved on to the next piece.

Step 4: Prep the headboard. Depending on your headboard, this part could involve anything. Mine was old and scuffed up, plus had curved/carved posts that I refused to try to sand. I did sand the boards that ran from post to post, and I decided to leave these natural because I liked the wood.


As for the posts, I decided it would be easiest to spray paint them. So, I taped off the newly sanded wood and then sprayed the posts with a few coats of metallic brass spray paint, since that would look nice with some fixtures in our living room.

Sprayed the posts.

Side note: A few other things I thought about for headboard/back “legs” options:

  • Build a backrest from wood that would match the legs I’d make for the front.
  • Forget about a backrest altogether and just make legs so it was more like a bench/ottoman.
  • Use another pallet to make a bookshelf that would be accessible from the back of the couch. (This was really tempting after it had worked so well for the daybed’s headboard.)

Anyway, if you don’t have a spare headboard, there are other options.

Step 5: Attach the headboard to the pallet. I decided to have the nicer side of my pallet be the front, so I flipped my pallet to stand with this “front” side on the floor.

After positioning my headboard against this top “back” side of my pallet, I realized I needed a board placed along the headboard’s lower crosspiece between the posts before I attached it to the pallet. This was so that there was no gap between the headboard and the pallet – this headboard will be the back legs of the couch, so I wanted it VERY secure.

After a quick measurement, I cut down a 1×6 to 39 inches long and sanded the corners smooth. I next placed it so that there was equal space on either end of my pallet’s back. I also wanted it sticking down enough to cover the pallet parts on the underside, while also sticking up enough to help hold the mattress in place. Then I quickly held it in place and screwed this 1×6 into my pallet. This created a much nicer backside for the couch frame.

Attached 1×6 to the backside.

Next I lay the headboard in position over this 1×6. This was far easier with the 1×6 because it gave me more room to secure the headboard than if I’d only had the pallet’s narrower back piece. I made sure the crosspiece was centered on the 1×6, and I checked that my legs would be equal lengths from the bottom of the pallet – this would keep my couch level. Holding it in place, I quickly screwed on the headboard.

Attached headboard to 1×6 and pallet.

Step 6: Attach 2×2 legs to the front. Flipping over the pallet and newly attached headboard was a little tricky, but this was a good test to find that it held together very well. With the front side now up, I set about figuring out my front legs. I decided to make 4, and they obviously needed to be the same length as the back legs from the headboard. Those were 9 inches, measuring from the bottom of the pallet.

So for my 2×2 legs, I cut them each around 12 inches so there was enough room to attach them to the pallet. I then sanded their corners really well, partly to protect little feet likely to bonk them and partly to complement the back legs. After sanding, I used a pencil to mark 9 inches on each leg.

I then held one leg at a time in place so that they were on the inside of the pallet’s front piece, with that mark touching the pallet right at 9 inches. I made sure they were level, and then I predrilled holes to make sure screws didn’t split my wood. With a few screws, I then secured the legs in place.

I did try to position the legs so that a crosspiece would also help hold the legs in place, just for added support. Mostly I spaced them in a way that I thought would support weight best. 🤷‍♀️

Leg #1 going on.

Step 7: Finish the front legs. Again to complement the back legs, I used the same metallic brass spray paint and double coated the 2x2s. I should note that I waited until they were attached because I wasn’t sure I had enough paint if I screwed up a leg. Also, I didn’t bother protecting the pallet from any overspray because it wouldn’t be visible anyway. I did cover the back headboard wood that I was leaving natural, just in case any spray got that far.

Spray painting the front legs.

Step 8: Add the soft stuff! My couch ended up being heavy but not too heavy to move around our living room. 👍 It was all hard edges so far, but now was the time to make it comfortable.

First – and I’m glad I’d thought of this early on so that I wasn’t worried about making the pallet pretty – I took a toddler mattress cover that we’d barely used and put it on the pallet as if the pallet were a mattress. This not only hid the less-than-beautiful pallet but also protects from any splinters or roughness of the wood frame. It fit well enough but didn’t go down over the back because of the headboard. No worries, though – the back actually looks really nice because of that 1×6 and the natural wood, so I didn’t need to hide the pallet there anyway. (See a few pictures down.)

Pallet cover on.

Next came the mattress itself. Once I lay this in place, I let out a sigh of relief that this was going to be a winner. It fit really nicely, overhanging a few inches on either end and in the front to add comfort and protection from the wood frame.

All that was left after that was to add another mattress cover (you could use any sheet or blanket too, just tucked under), blankets, and back pillows.

AFTER: Comfy and sturdy mini-couch!

I had my nicely styled version, but the girls came up with their own. 🤣

ALSO AFTER: Comfy and sturdy mini-couch…the “fun look” 😜

It’s now been a few weeks since this couch has been in action, and I’m so, so glad I came up with this idea. The girls don’t fight over who lays on our main couch anymore because now they can push this couch against that couch lengthwise for a wider cuddling area. They can both sit comfortably on their couch for snacks and drinks. Or, it can move to just the “perfect” spot when one particular 4-year-old wants to lie down and watch movies.

All in all, 👍👍 for this one. It was quick, it was easy, and I didn’t have to buy anything.

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Using a Pallet to Make a Toddler Daybed with Bookshelf Headboard

Kids never do anything according to best-laid plans, do they? For Baby #1’s baby shower registry, we thought we were smart when we asked for a crib that would convert to a toddler bed and later to a full-sized bed. It was an absolutely beautiful crib/bed…which she never slept in unless you were lying beside her on a floor mattress. Then Baby #2 came along, so we decided to give it another go and bump Kid #1 up to a Montessori/ floor bed that we could fit on with her (that battle was lost). Baby #2 would sleep in the crib (hooray!). But, later when it became a toddler bed, she’d wake up every time she moved or touched something (a regular “princess and the pea,” that one).

BEFORE: This was not working.

So, unfortunately, this crib/bed had to leave us long before planned. Even after 2 babies it was still in great shape, so I didn’t have the heart to take it apart and use the pieces for other projects. Instead, it’ll become a hopefully well-loved hand-me-down.

So. Kid #2 made it clear she wanted a bed more like her big sister’s, and I started planning. We did not have room for a full-sized bed in her room, so I couldn’t copy the exact construction plans of her sister’s bed. I realized that the best way to leave her with as much room as possible was to create a daybed that would run along her wall, but I’d make it be on the floor like her sister’s. (It would be great to have storage underneath, but our girls roll and slide off their beds. Not worth it just yet 🤷‍♀️)

I scoured Pinterest for plans, and I found one tutorial that was similar to how I’d built the base frame for my oldest’s bed, except this was for a twin-sized bed. Perfect! Almost. Once upon a time, this tutorial’s supplies had cost only $25. Now, as I ran the totals for the same supplies, it was closer to $150! Thanks, inflation. 😳 But, I also came up with an idea for using a spare pallet to make the headboard, so all total this wouldn’t be too bad.


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  • 1x4x8 boards, 10
  • 2x2x8 boards, 3
  • A pallet in good shape
  • 1/8 inch plywood sheet (or fabric)
  • 8-foot piece of baseboard
  • 8-foot piece of wood casing
  • Unicorn Spit

Step 1: Measure and cut for base. The twin mattress we got was 75×39 inches, so I added a little to give some wiggle room. This meant I needed 2 of my 1x4s to be 41 inches for the ends. I needed 2 more 1x4s to be 76 inches for the sides. I also needed all 3 of my 2x2s to be 76 inches. I then needed 12 pieces of 39 1/4 inch 1x4s to run across for the mattress supports.

Step 2: Sand. Cutting all my pieces with a miter saw was simple enough, and I quickly sanded my boards so the ends were smooth. I also made sure to sand the corners down of the side board that would be stepped/crawled/jumped over to get into the daybed. I did the same with the board that would be at the foot of the bed.

Step 3: Attach the base frame pieces. I carried all the boards into my daughter’s room and assembled the bed frame in place. First, I took a 2×2 and lined up one of my long side boards against it so that they made a stubby “L” shape. Using Brad (my nail gun) I nailed in 1-inch nails so that the 2 boards were secure. I did the same with the other side board and a 2×2.

Attaching 2×2 to a side 1×4.

Side note: I used brad nails to connect everything. You could use screws and/or wood glue, but this did the job quite well. Since the base rests right on the floor, I don’t need to worry about the nails supporting any of the weight.

Next, I took an end board and used it to know how far to place my “L” side pieces apart on the floor. Make sure the sides’ 2x2s are resting on the floor on the inside of the base frame.

Laying out the base frame.

After positioning the boards to make corners, I held them in place and nailed the end board onto the 2×2 of the side piece as well as into the 1×4 of the side piece.

Nailing on ends.

I then did this for the other end of the end board, then repeated this at the other end of the base frame. Now I had a complete rectangle.

Next, I rested the final 2×2 on the floor in the center of the base frame. This I simply nailed onto the end pieces with 1 nail through either end.

Base frame with middle 2×2.

Finally, I took all 12 of the 1×4 supports and laid them across the interior of the base’s rectangle. They should rest flat across all the 2x2s. I spaced them out just by eyeballing it, making sure to push the flat 1x4s tight against either end board – this will keep a lot of “treasures” and junk from falling underneath the mattress at the head and foot of the bed as my daughter plays with toys. I again used Brad and nailed the support boards onto the 2x2s at either end and also down the middle.

Base frame complete.

Base done! This took a little less than an hour.

Step 4: Cut and attach the back pieces. I now turned to making the back of the bed that would run along the wall. For this, all I did was use the scrap pieces from my other cuts, plus 1 more 1×4 running at 77 1/2 inches – the full length of my bed. For all the shorter boards, I made sure they were even at about 17 1/2 inches and then used my miter saw to cut the tops at a 30-degree angle. You don’t have to do this at all, but I wanted slightly “fancy” boards rather than bluntly cut tops.

Leftovers cut at 30-degree angled tops.

After quickly sanding these boards, I piled them by the base frame and set about spacing them. I again eyeballed this spacing, and then I used a very professional tool – the book “Goodnight Moon.” 😜 I first nailed on one board standing up at the far end of the back side board, then placed the book right against that board, took the next board and held it against the book, nailed that board on, and repeated all the way to the other end. If you don’t have a copy of “Goodnight Moon” at the ready, I suppose you could use a tape measure or something. Do be sure that if you make 30-degree cuts to the tops that they’re facing all the same way.

Attaching back pieces.

For the rest of the back, I took that long 77 1/2 inch 1×4 and moved it up and down until I liked the spacing. It made a kind of “picket fence” design that was cute. To hold this long board in place while I nailed it into the backs of the shorter boards, I again used a professional spacing tool – this time “Goodnight Groot.” I nailed the board onto one of the middle short boards, then used the book to keep the board at the same level to nail on either end. After the board was secure, I set aside the book and nailed many more securing nails into the long board and also the shorter boards where they connected to the base’s 1×4 at the floor.

Thank you, “Goodnight Groot.”

This took me about 15 minutes.

Step 5: Find a good pallet and measure. I had a pallet that was in pretty good condition and was a perfect 42 inches long. I didn’t need to make any cuts for this one to work as I needed, but if your pallet is too big you can cut them down and re-attach the pieces to make them the size you need. Or, you could also buy wood and make a “pallet” of your own. Fortunately, all mine needed was a good sanding!

BEFORE: Plain old pallet.

First I needed to measure the space between the inside supports that would become my shelves. I had 2 such spaces to work with, and they were 42 x 2 1/4 inches. I also measured for what would become the backsides of my shelving unit/headboard. I had 2 of these areas, each about 30×17.

Step 6: Cut and attach plywood sheets for the back panels. I used 1/8 inch plywood sheets simply because that’s what I had lying around, but you could also use a nice fabric. If you do, you’d just have to be sure it was attached in a way that would be taut enough to hold books from falling through any gaps in the wood at the back of the pallet. Personally, I’m more comfortable working with wood, but fabric would be cute!

Anyway, I cut 2 pieces of plywood at 30×17 each, then quickly sanded the rough edges. I fit these in place against the pallet and used short brad nails to secure them on as the backs of my shelves.

Adding plywood backs.

Step 7: Cut and attach shelf boards. I again used scrap for this, but I like how it worked. I found 2 pieces of wood trim that had been molding around some doors. Because one side is higher than the other, I could use this to help books tip back rather than risk them falling out of the shelves as easily.

Scrap molding for shelves.

I cut these to my 42 inches and then laid them across the supports to make shelf bottoms. I made sure to place the higher side at the front, again so books would tilt back. I only had to put a few nails at either end to hold them secure.

Adding shelf bottoms.

Next, I took scrap baseboard wood and cut 2 more 42-inch pieces. These I slid in place on top of my shelves’ bottom pieces, and I held these shelf fronts tightly in place while nailing them from below onto the bottom pieces. I also nailed through the pallet supports to hold these shelf fronts in place.

Nailing on shelf fronts.

Side note: I also nailed on a piece of corner molding along the very top of the pallet to cover some uneven spots along the back, but this was just for looks and not at all necessary.

Shelves ready!

Step 8: Paint. Oh, boy. LOL. My girls were begging to help, so I let them paint the headboard/bookshelves. I was smart enough to put a drop cloth under us, but things got a little out of control once the 2-year-old started finger painting when I wasn’t looking. In case you’re wondering, Unicorn Spit REALLY stains your hands. 🤦‍♀️ But they had fun and were proud of their work, even if their zealousness turned everything basically purple from over-mixing the colors.

Painting the shelves…and ourselves.

While that dried, I snuck upstairs and used the same Unicorn Spit colors to paint the tall back of the bed frame. I tried to match the “style” implemented by my apprentices earlier, and it ended up looking colorful and rather like a 2-year-old had helped. So… 👍 I guess. You could paint however you like.

Painting the back.

Step 9: Attach the headboard shelves. This was surprisingly easy because the pallet fit right down between the wall and the bed frame and stayed put nicely. I did secure it by screwing 3 screws through the head’s 1×4 into the pallet’s bottom wood supports. I thought about also attaching the headboard to the tall back of the bed to make a corner, but it was so stable that I ended up leaving it.

Headboard shelves in place.

So that was it! This took very little time (granted, painting took way longer than it needed to), and by that night my kiddo was happily grabbing books and chilling on her “Rapunzel rainbow” bed.

Kid approved!
AFTER: Daybed with bookshelf headboard.

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DIY Serving Trays with cabinet doors, paint, balloons, and a hairdryer

For this year’s Christmas presents for the women in our family, I finally found a use for my giant stack of old cabinet doors. I’d tested out my general plan by making a tub tray for myself, and now I was ready to tackle the project of making 7 serving trays! If you have a bunch of Shaker cabinet doors lying around, this is a great use for them. Or, I’ve heard people can go to a Habitat for Humanity Restore and find rehab-able Shaker doors. (Shaker doors are VERY popular and easy to find online for pretty cheap too.)

Anyway, here are a few different ways I made the art for each tray, plus how I did the surrounding wood and hardware for them all.


(As an advertising affiliate and Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

Step 1: Remove hardware and fill holes. The first step for all the doors was to remove the old cabinet door hardware. All I had to do was use a screwdriver and take off the hinges and door pull for each.

BEFORE: Old cabinet doors.

Side note: Since these were going to be serving trays with pretty tops, there wasn’t much reason to make the undersides super-nice. The hinge holes in the undersides were huge, besides, so there wasn’t much I could to do for those. So, for the undersides, I just sanded down the surrounding, raised parts nicely when I sanded later. That inside edge is HARD to sand well (I’d learned this with my tub tray), so I just left the whole middle, lower section of each tray alone since they were in decent shape.

Once the hinges and pulls were off, I had the screw hole on the top side (from the door pull) to deal with. I only had one hole, but if you’ve got a full handle, you’ll have 2 holes. Either way, these screw holes are easy to fill with putty. Just make sure you use a putty that is stainable/paintable.

Step 2: Sand. With the putty in the holes, I waited until dry and then used my little handheld sander and 80-grit sandpaper. I started on the putty and got that nice and smooth. Then I sanded all around the raised parts – top, bottom, and sides – so that the wood was smooth and nice.

I don’t know how many layers of paint and oily stain were on these doors, but they’d clearly been DIY-ed before. It took hours to get my doors sanded down to the natural wood. Once I was done, however, the wood was beautiful!

Tray underside sanded.

Step 3: Spray paint the tray’s interior/lower part. To give the “artsy” part of the tray a nice base coat, I used spray paint. But first, I used painters tape and taped off the nicely sanded wood surrounds, making sure to make a nice straight line around the edge. (This tape I left in place through the next step as well.)

Next, I simply sprayed a nice light coat of paint over this middle section. I used white for most of the trays, but I also black and even gold – you could use any color you like! I used spare paint, and even doing all of these trays, I didn’t finish off any partially-used can. You just need a light coat for a base color – it doesn’t take much.

Taped and sprayed with a white base coat.

Side note: You could do this to the underside too, but I didn’t bother. Again, you’re not going to see the underside much anyway.

Step 4: Make your art! I stared at each tray for a while before deciding how to do them. 😜 I had general colors in mind for each of my gift-recipients, and I looked back through my Pinterest “DIY Inspirations” pins for different patterns or methods to try. I ended up doing acrylic paint pours (I’d done this before on turntables), marble spray painting (I’d done this before on a countertop), geode-ish epoxy art (done before but with a new twist), and acrylic paintings with balloons (totally new to me!) on these 7 trays.

For ALL of these, it’s important to remember not to overdo it with the amount of paint you use. Unlike painting on canvas, the paint here has nowhere to run off because it stays in the center of your tray. If you use too much paint, it’ll be too thick to dry evenly and you might end up with cracks. It’s also important to know when to stop, because when working with this contained space it’s really easy to muddy the paint, especially along the sides where you don’t have a lot of room to work.

Paint pouring method: I used this method on 2 of my trays with white base coats. First I spread on a thin layer of white Floetrol, wiping it into the corners and right along the edges too. This will blend into your white undercoat and allows the rest of the paint to flow more easily.

Starting with white Floetrol.

Next, I poured and sprinkled my colors in a little trail across my tray, starting near a bottom corner and stopping well short of the other side so it would have room to “blow” out without hitting the other side.

Here’s an acrylic pour paints box set very similar to the one I used (unfortunately that one is unavailable now), but this has all the same colors.

For my green tray, I used I think every green in my box of acrylics plus a touch of bronze to add an accent.

Green color trail.

For my blue tray, I used all my blues plus again that bronze color.

Blue color trail.

There was no real rhyme or reason to how I made my color trails, but I did start with my darkest blues/greens and go over them with lighter and lighter, ending with my sprinkled spots of the bronze.

The color trail will not look all that impressive. 😜 But this is where the hair dryer comes in! Turning on the hair dryer (with a concentrator on), I positioned it to blow the color trail out from the bottom corner all the way to the other side. I made sure to use one steady pass to blow out my trail, keeping it even while being careful not to splatter paint.

Using the hairdryer to blow out the paint.

I then bent over the painting and used my own hot air (haha) to blow out areas for added effects.

Literally blowing on the paint.

That was it! I didn’t want to mess it up, so I forced myself to stop fiddling and set them on shelves to dry.

Green and blue pours done.

Marble painting method: This was probably the easiest. I’d used marble spray paint on my powder room countertop, so I had an idea how to play with it.

For one of my gold-base trays, all I did was spray on the white marble paint, tilting the can in different directions until I liked the coverage. (It can look a bit like silly string, so spraying from different angles helps it look less clumpy and more natural.) With the metallic gold underneath, it looked really cool and caught the light differently as I tilted it around – sometimes the marbling looked dark, sometimes light.

Gold with white marble spray.

I also used this method on a tray with a black spray paint base, but I got creative. First I added a light dusting of metallic gold spray – not covering the black but just adding some interest. Then, I used the marble spray and went back and forth in different directions until I liked the coverage. Next I lightly sprayed black over the marbling, and then I went over it again with a spray of gold. Finally, I spritzed the whole thing with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Now it looked REALLY cool and textured. Done!

Marble spray with black and alcohol.

Geode epoxy method: There are many, many cool videos out there showing how people make geode patterns with epoxy. I mixed about 6 oz (follow the instructions of whatever epoxy you use), then divided the epoxy into a few color cups. One of my little cups had purple mica powder. Another had scarlet mica powder. Another had white epoxy dye. Another had pearl mica powder. A small cup had gold mica powder. I left a bit of the clear epoxy in my mixing cup and used this to wipe over a gold-base tray so that the rest of the epoxy would flow better (like with the Floetrol).

Here’s the mica powder set I used. I’ve used these for all my epoxy projects requiring mica powders, and these will last me a LONG time, since you only need a little teaspoon for most projects.

I took the purple, scarlet, and pearl to make little swirls over my tray. Then I used the white to make dividing outlines to separate the swirls. The last color was the gold, which I used to accent along the white. I used a silicone brush to wipe my colors and blend a little bit, and tilting the whole tray added some nice natural movement.

Epoxy swirls of purples, gold, and white.

The final step with this epoxy was to use a small kitchen torch to pop bubbles. I came back every 20 minutes or so for the next hour, and then bubbles stopped and I could leave it alone to cure overnight. (Again, go by the instructions of whatever epoxy you use. I have a full epoxy tutorial on my site as well.)

Once the epoxy tray was cured, I used a gold paint pen and traced some of my geode-ish sections. This added a cool, shiny layer of depth to the art. Plus, I went around the edges and “painted” with the gold pen around the interior sides.

Close up of gold pen.

Acrylic balloon painting: So fun! I’d never tried this before, but it can make really cool effects with your colors. It’s similar to the pouring method, but instead of trails you make little puddles of color. And instead of blowing, you use the balloon to blot the puddles. All you have to do is press the balloon gently down into the paint puddle, and as the balloon squishes out the paint, it makes cool effects. There’s enough paint on the balloon that you can make another blob somewhere else, and this will be lighter and lighter as you blot the paint off the balloon, or you can blot over your blots for layers of the effect.

First, for my mom’s tray, I used a white-base tray and spread white Floetrol in a thin layer. Then I took the colors I wanted (pinks, greens, yellows, and blue) and made little puddles in different areas. (I wanted this tray still mostly white, so I didn’t let myself get carried away.) For my few puddles, I again started with my darkest colors first, but after that I squirted colors at random and made little spots too. I also added some white to my puddles so the balloon’s blots would blend in with the white already on the tray.

Once I’d squirted on all my colors, I took a partially blown up balloon and held it over my first puddle. Then I pressed down into the puddle and twisted a bit before lifting the balloon and letting the paint drip off in little trails. Because I’d used white in my puddles, that made my blots look less round and more swirly too – that white mixed and made my blots look like cool shapes. I blotted a few extra times in different areas from my puddles, but again I wanted this one to be strongly white.

My camera of course died when I started this tray. 🤦‍♀️ But here’s how all this looked once done:

Balloon method with white.

For my MIL’s tray, I used a white-base tray with many, many puddles of greens, pinks, yellow, gold, and reds. Then I did a LOT of balloon blotting. It ended up making flower-like patterns that are really pretty.

Blotting puddles with big balloon.

Near the edges, I got smart and used a new, even smaller balloon to press near the sides and get the look I wanted right up to the sides of the tray. I also went over some of the bigger blots and added layers of the effect. I even added a few more puddles where I wanted different coloring and re-blotted. It was a pretty forgiving process!

Blotting with the little balloon.

So, I found 2 different ways to play with this balloon method – swirly blots and many blots – and I’m sure there are other tricks too!

For ALL of these methods, I pulled off the painters tape as soon as I was sure I was done – you don’t want the tape drying into your paint, or it might pull off!

Step 5: Protective epoxy layer. Once all of my trays’ artwork was done and dry, I mixed up a bunch of epoxy, made sure my trays were level, and poured clear epoxy over each, making sure the artwork was completely covered. Epoxy is self-leveling, so that was nice and I knew I’d have smooth finishes. Again, read your instructions, but this was quite easy and only required a few passes with my torch to get out bubbles.

Step 6: Stain. I used mostly a “red mahogany” stain because it looked really nice with the paint colors, but for a few I used a “natural” stain that showed the pretty wood grain patterns on those particular trays. I somewhat lazily used a spare, 4-inch roller and dunked it to stain the top, sides, and undersides of the trays. If you feel more comfortable using a brush, that’s great too. But I found I could work really fast and make a nice, smooth coat with my roller.

One of each stain I used.

Step 7: Protective top coat and/or polyurethane. You could skip this step, but I’d recommend it if your tray is going to be taking any abuse or will need to be washed off. StoneCoat Countertops has an awesome top coat that makes the epoxy super-resistant to scratches, heat, and UV damage. It’s also food-safe, which seemed like a good idea for serving trays. (Again, see the instructions for application, but it’s pretty easy.)

I also lightly went over the stain with a coat of glossy polyurethane for some added protection on the wood.

Step 8: Add hardware. I bought the same handles that I’d used on my new kitchen cabinets, partly because I really liked them and partly because I had a few extra to start off my trays. 😜 There are many ways, I’m sure, to measure off and mark your spacing for installing these handles, but I LOVE this cheat tool. You just find center, mark the holes at the right size, and you’re ready to drill the holes!

Template tool for drilling handles!

Once I drilled the holes for each handle, it was a simple matter of putting the handles in place and then screwing them on from underneath. They stayed on nice and tight!

Finally, to help keep the trays stable and to make sure the handle screws don’t scratch anything when set down, I added cabinet door bumpers to each underside corner.

Underside with handle screw and bumper.

That was it! A whole batch of serving trays from my stash of old cabinet doors. …And I have more doors, so now I just have to decide how I want to make one for myself…🤔

AFTER: All 7 trays done!
My favorite? Hard to decide.

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Wooden “Bedskirt” with Under-Bed Storage

Ever shrink a comforter to the point it doesn’t cover much of your bed anymore? I somehow did that. Combine this with our inability to keep a bedskirt on, and we’ve got a fairly unattractive view of our box springs, metal bed frame, and the junk under our bed.

BEFORE: Unsightly below-mattress situation.

Searching for a solution, I was informed by my husband that he doesn’t like bedskirts anyway. I’ve never liked them either but had been using one because I thought he did. So that was a revelation in our relationship. 🤦‍♀️ Thinking of alternatives, I remembered how, for our guest room, I’d created a solid frame covered in fabric that wrapped all the way around the bottom of the bed. However, for our bed we needed to still be able to get under it to store stuff. A solid, unmovable frame wouldn’t work.

We did agree that we like simple wooden bed frames, so I began to think of ways I could make some kind of wooden surround that would also let us use the under-bed space for storage. After looking on Pinterest (of course), I saw how a lot of people made pull-out drawers that slide in and out from under their beds. These would work great for storage, and I could customize the sizes of the drawers. But these Pinterest examples only filled in the area under the bed – they did little to hide the bed frame or higher. I needed something that would go a bit higher and also cover the areas where there wouldn’t be drawers, such as at the ends of either side where the bed’s feet prohibited drawers.


While making the accent wall in our bedroom, I discovered a forgotten 1x10x10 board that had somehow fallen behind the shelves and tool chest in our garage. Treasure! 😍 This board gave me an idea for my bed problem. What if I made drawers like I’d seen on Pinterest BUT used this taller board as the drawer fronts? That way, it could cover the space from the floor all the way up past our bed frame and a bit covering the box springs. And I could use this same taller board to cover the rest of our bed’s sides by attaching it to the frame – these filler pieces could be “permanently” in place while only the drawer pieces moved. That way, the whole way around the bed, it could look like one solid wooden frame with all the drawer fronts and filler pieces lined up.


(As an advertising affiliate and Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

Step 1: Measure and plan the drawers. Our bed frame is one of those with a support and feet running right down the center of the bed. This meant I couldn’t make the drawers too deep, or else they’d hit these middle supports and not fit. I measured how deep under the bed I could go before hitting those supports, and this depth was about 30 inches. Next I measured from side to side between the bed frame’s main feet, and this open space was about 47 inches. The height of this opening allowed about 4.5 inches of clearance – measuring from the underside of the bed frame to where the drawers would rest ON TOP of the appliance rollers. (Be sure to account for the height of the rollers.)

Measuring under the bed.

On my side of the bed, I decided I wanted one big drawer for easy access to all my purses and small bags. On my husband’s side, he wanted 2 smaller drawers (originally for hats, but they were a bit too tall 🤦‍♀️). So, to allow for a little wiggle room, I wanted my drawers to be:

  • One at 4.5 high x 29 deep x 42 long
  • Two at 4.5 high x 29 deep x 21 long

Step 2: Cut wood for drawers. There are different, probably better ways to make nice drawers. For my purposes and patience level, I usually cut the bottom piece, side pieces, and front and back pieces with my miter saw and/or table saw, then hold them in place while using Brad (my nail gun) to attach all the pieces. You can use wood glue, pocket screws, or angled corner cuts, but this is my way and it’s always worked just fine. It helps to remember that these drawers aren’t supporting the weight of what’s in them – the appliance rollers do that. So, you don’t have to be a great carpenter to build these drawers. 😉

First I cut my drawer bottoms. Since I was using 1/2 inch plywood, I took 1 inch off my total drawer depths and lengths so that I could put 1/2 inch side pieces all around and still have my total dimensions. (This hides the bottom board and looks a little nicer from the side view in particular.)

Cutting a smaller drawer bottom.

Next I used my dad’s table saw and cut long strips of the plywood at 4.5 inches. Since my surrounding pieces would cover the bottom board, they needed to be the full 4.5 inch height of my drawers.

Then I took a 4.5 inch strip and used my miter saw to cut my drawer sides at 29 inches for the total depths of my drawers. I needed 6 of these, 2 for each drawer.

For the fronts and backs, I again needed 6 pieces of my 4.5 inch boards. To get the right lengths, I simply double-checked the lengths of my bottom boards. This was so that these front and back pieces would fit along the fronts and backs of the drawer bottom while the side pieces would run the full depth of the drawer, including the corners. (See picture below if visuals help this make sense.)

Testing my big drawer measurements. 👍

Side note: You don’t need to worry about the “pretty” 1x10x10 front board now – just the basic drawers. The front board “bedskirt” will attach once everything else is assembled.

Step 3: Sand. With all my pieces cut, I had some pretty rough edges. I got out my little sander and smoothed down these edges as best I could, and I also went over the surfaces of the boards to eliminate rough spots or splinters. This was a pretty quick step but made the boards nicer to work with.

Step 4: Assemble/nail the drawers together. I put each bottom down first, positioned each side, then fit the front and back boards to make sure my measurements were accurate. I held them in place one-at-a-time and used a square to make sure they were right. Using my nail gun, I attached the surrounding boards into the drawer bottom. I made these REALLY secure by using a nail every 2 inches or so.

Attaching my drawer sides.

Step 5: Stain. The finished drawers were fairly heavy (these are BIG drawers), but I carried them down into my basement workshop and stained each, inside and out, not bothering with the underside that would only be seen by my floor. I used the same stain as I’d used on our accent wall, which looks really nice all together in our bedroom.

Big drawer stained.

Step 6: Attach drawers to the appliance rollers. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you might’ve noticed that I use drawer slides A LOT (“When in doubt, install a pullout!” is my motto 😂). These rollers are way, way easier.

I carried the dried drawers up to my bedroom and flipped them over on the floor. All I had to do was space the rollers evenly, extend them so that the ends fit over the corners of the drawers, and tighten the bolt. I also added a screw for extra support.

Rollers on a smaller drawer.

Flipping the drawers back over, I slid them in place under the bed and tested a few times by pulling them out and pushing them back under. They rolled great! But, because my drawers were such a tight fit (to give me as much drawer height as possible), there was no great place to grab and pull them out. This was another good reason to add the front piece and give myself something to grab!

Also fits a small child! 🤣

Step 7: Attach the nice front pieces. Because I only had one 1x10x10, I finished my side of the bed first. (I finished up my husband’s side and the foot soon enough, but I wanted my side finished ASAP.) Hoarding my treasured board thusly, I used my miter saw and cut it to the total length I wanted – 80 inches. Then I measured how far I had from the head of the bed to where my drawer started – I decided on 22 inches – and marked that point on the board.

Measuring from the head to the drawer.

Next I double-checked what I wanted for the length of my drawer front – 44 inches – and marked the board. That left 14 inches to run from the other end of the drawer front to the foot of the bed.

I cut the board at these 2 marks and then sanded all the edges, paying special attention to the drawer front’s top where I’d be grabbing the board to pull out the drawer.

Taking the 3 boards back to my bedroom, I started with my drawer front. I wanted a little space along the floor, and it was easiest to rest one board on the floor and set my drawer front on that board to hold it in position. (The rollers have locks on the front, so I wanted to be able to get to these as well along the floor.)

Positioning my drawer’s front piece.

I grabbed a level and did a quick check along the top, then used a few screws and secured the board in place. I ended up placing a screw near the top every 6 inches or so along the inside, then at the bottom every 6 inches or so, screwing into the back of the front piece. This needs to be attached really well since it’s how the heavy drawer is pulled out.

Screwing on the front piece.

For the 22-inch filler board near the head of the bed, I crossed my fingers and attached command strips to the metal frame. I put one strip near each end of where the boards would be, pressed the connecting command strips lightly onto the first strips, and peeled the backs so the adhesive was exposed. Then I held the board in place and made sure it was level with the drawer’s board. Pressing the filler board against the command strips, I could hear them fully connect.

It held! If this was in a place likely to be bumped, I might worry about the board staying on, but here near the head it’s pretty protected.

Filler board at the head attached!

For the 14-inch filler board at the other end, I ended up using a J-shaped hook for added security. This board is more likely to be bumped, plus this worked better for how I planned to do the “bedskirt” at the foot of my bed. (More on that in a second.)

All in place! I clearly impressed the cat.

For my husband’s side, I basically repeated everything above for this step. I measured and cut another 80-inch board, dividing it up for each end’s filler board and the two drawer fronts this time. I screwed on the drawer fronts, then used J-shaped hooks to attach the filler boards. (My husband is far more likely to bump his side, so I wanted these more secure than the command strips.)

Step 8: Stain the “bedskirt” boards. I put some scrap cardboard under the bottom edges, then carefully stained the boards. I stained the backside of the drawer front too, but I left the backsides of the filler boards, since those won’t be visible.

My side: Wooden “bedskirt” with single drawer.
My husband’s side: Wooden “bedskirt” with 2 drawers.

Step 9: Attach the “bedskirt” at the foot of the bed. I’d originally planned to do another drawer at the foot of the bed, but there wasn’t enough room to be worth it. Instead, I attached a long board that ran the width of our bed, from filler board to filler board at either end of my sides. I attached these boards and made corners by using a 2×2 on the inside corners. These 2x2s also helped to create little feet at the corners which helped hold up the “bedskirt” off the floor at the same height as the drawers.

Just be sure to measure for your 2x2s so they’re not too tall to fit under your bed at the corners. I made mine 4 inches. I used my nail gun to nail these 2x2s to the inside corners of my filler boards and my long end board.

Attaching 2×2 to inside corners.

You could also use L-brackets to make then really secure, but after setting the whole thing back in place so that the J-hooks of the filler boards hooked on again, it seemed pretty secure. I was also happy that I could remove this whole end piece and still get to a little extra storage space at the foot of the bed. This is pretty easy to do by just lifting up the footer board, and the J-hooks on the sides slide right up.

AFTER: Finished wooden “bedskirt” with hidden storage.

Done! It looks SO much better! (Though I cheated in this picture and in reality need to buy a comforter that fits again. 😬) I love that we have hidden storage now. Nothing huge or very tall will fit in the drawers, but it gives us useful space that’s at least easy to get to. My purses are happy, and my husband has almost enough storage for all his watch boxes and Legos. 🤦‍♀️🤣🤷‍♀️

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