Thursday, September 10, 2015

Trash to Treasure Tutorial: Don't Throw Away That Flimsy Ikea Bookcase!

Okay, things are about to get NUTS around here because...

          I am really proud of this project because it was my first project since becoming too sick to work (long story, we'll just say two years of endocrine issues... NOT fun!), & then a year of my daughter still being too small to really get into any major projects. Now I'm healthy (PRAISE THE LORD!!!), albeit a bit sleep-deprived (not because of kids, just for no reason at all! Haha); but the baby is old enough now that I can do a few things here & there, with &/or without her around.
It only really took about two weeks to do this project, which was such a wonderful surprise! I was about to buy, or build, some shelves to replace the flimsy Target shelves in our family room. 

All we had was this shell:

I could simply touch the top & rock my hand from side-to-side & the whole thing would sway back & forth! Initially, I wanted to toss the laminate frame & just build one entirely from scratch using solid wood.

But then I thought, 'ehhh... I'm going to build the frame out with solid wood so much that it's not going to matter if I buy four pieces of actual wood to make this same frame or if I build it out. 
The way I planned to build it out, it seemed wasteful to throw out such a minimal part of the project. 
So alas, here it was!

Yeeeeaaahhh, so you know how I like to show the good, the bad & the ugly???? Well, I thought I'd take a few pieces of wood that I had on hand & attempt to sand them down & somehow this was going to make sense; but no... no sense was made here!

I went to home depot & bought two pieces of MDF board, 1/4 inch thick. to give me some more solid backing. The original backing was cardboard -- which isn't super awesome, as you can imagine...

Then I used nails to attach the new, more SOLID backing. Also, I used my miter saw to start cutting the trim for the bottom. I thought in my head that I needed trim on the bottom AND the top! 
That's a lot of 45-degree angles & fingers crossed that I actually got it right! haha. 
Turned out, I didn't do too bad of a job!

Just another picture of where I was after attaching the new back & bottom trim.

I used wood glue to put the trim into place & then held each board in place for a few minutes. Then when I knew everything lined up correctly I used finishing nails to secure them in place.

(Also, it looks like I already attached the new furniture feet & didn't take pictures! But I decided to move them again later & there are shots of that in a little bit, so we can all deal...) 

Bottom trim complete!

Shot of mitered edges.

Another shot of mitered edges.

Next, I trimmed out the top in the same fashion, with the same sort of vertical overhang so that when the top was in place, it would be on hinges to hide a nook as a small hideaway. I also went to Home Depot & found a solid slab of wood [insert measurements here] for the top. To cut the piece to size, first I placed the board on top of the completed trim & traced the rectangle from underneath. 

I knew I wanted an overhang on the front & sides (the back would sit flush with the back of the shelves), so I measured out an inch & a quarter in three directions & then drew out the new rectangle.

I used a jigsaw to make the cuts. I put it in place & it looked great! 
Obviously, some sanding was needed in order to make the cuts even & smooth, so I was glad that I left myself some room to do that.

Here's just a couple closer shots of the overhang measurements.

Here's the little nook that the trim ended up creating. This was a TOTAL accident, by the way; but it turned out to be a happy accident & it gave the shelves more height.
Moms can always use an extra little space to hide stuff when people make surprise visits, right???

Here is the top during the sanding process. Looking much more smooth & even!

Next I went BACK to Home Depot & picked up the smaller trim. It was in a small area of the wood aisle called "craft boards." I measured the lengths & cut them to fit with the miter saw. 
I was careful to always air on the longer-side of the measurements & then slowly shave them down 
so that they were a tight fit.
I attached the vertical pieces first, using glue to hold it in place & finishing nails to secure it.

Then I measured, cut & attached the horizontal pieces on the sides.

(I also measured & mitered some cove trim to make a better-looking transition 
from the trim to the top.)

I did the same thing as above to cut vertical covers for the front of the shelves 
& then did the horizontal shelves last.
I put on the horizontal pieces so that they were basically right in the middle so that the upper- & lower-overhangs were even. It worked out so that the shelves will have a little lip there to keep picture frames, books or other displays from falling off the shelves.

I also found a long round piece of wood in the wood aisle. I used that to make some dividers for the lower shelves. I know the two Ikea pieces that ere the template for the sides have height-adjustment holes for the shelves, but these shelves will not be moving once they are together 
& those holes will be filled in & hidden.

I measured & cut the pole, again airing on the long end of the measurements 
so that they were a snug fit when I put them in place. 

Once I had the perfect fit (which really happened on the first try! It's a miracle!!!), I put the shelves on their back so that I could drill pilot holes through the bottom of the shelves 
to secure the round dividers.

And then I screwed some screws in to the divided to hold them in place. 
Once again, I was really lucky on the first try with all three of these!

I covered every screw & shelf-adjusting holes with stainable wood-filler.

Then I sanded the wood filler until I had a smooth finish.

Obviously, the entire set of shelves needed sanded. I think I did  80-, 120-, 150- & 220-grit, one after another just to get it super smooth & soft. 

Before priming, I decided the feet needed to be set a little more inward instead of against the edges. 
It just looked better. Now you can see how I attach the legs. With a piece of furniture 
this heavy & substantial, I always use the big metal plates to attach legs 
so that they are sturdier & can better support the weight of the wood. 
They distribute the weight better than just using a little receiving-end piece.

Ok, so here are my finishing materials thus far & still to come.
  • Elmer's Stainable Wood Filler
  • Glidden GRIPPER White Primer & Sealant (THIS PRIMER IS A-MAZE-BALLS! It sticks to ANYTHING: laminate, anything outdoor, kitchen cabinets or anything that has come in contact with grease, etc etc etc etc...)
  • MinWax Fast-Drying Polyurethane in Clear Gloss
  • Behr White Semi-gloss Latex Paint (Not sure of the exact shade... just had it on hand)
  • A little dense foam roller (I always like these for big pieces of furniture)

I primed the front & sides but my little helper got to prime the back however he pleased!!! haha.

One coat of primer, two coats of paint. 24 hours of drying time in between coats. Allow that to really CURE & harden for about 72 hours before applying polyurethane. I wanted to just move it in now; but because this is going in my family room, where children & their toys abound, 
skipping the poly really isn't an option.

I did two or three coats of gloss poly. 
I'll add the rest of the pictures if I ever find them!!! I still need to bring them inside 
& set them up & will post pictures of that afterwards, too. 

Finally, this is a very rough post. I'll be brushing it up over the next week or so. 
Regardless, ENJOY!