As I mentioned in another post, I am working on a new space in our home. In that post, I talked about making labels. It was to go on these new blue cubbies. Inspired by the “numbered cubbies” over at Ana White, I loosely followed this tutorial. I say “loosely” because I didn’t use her dimensions or plans, but “my design” is really, “her design” which was inspired by Pottery Barn. I needed mine to be specifically sized for the space and for the components that would be housed in here. So, I just used 36″ pieces. I used 3/4″ lumber for the back and bottom because I knew that’s where I needed the strength, but I used a 1/2″ board for the front piece to keep the shelf as lightweight as possible. I used my Oh-So-Wonderful Kreg Jig to make pocket holes to attach the side pieces to the base. I had to make the pocket holes on the bottom going both ways. One side to attach the front boards and the opposite direction to attach the back. I’m sure I did more than I needed, but I tend to overdo any of the “supports.” I think it’s an illness I got from my dad and my brother.Here are the front and back boards attached to the bottom.
Now, for the dividers, I used my awesome sister’s miter saw to cut the pieces. I just used the first piece as the guide for the next and it went really quick.Then, I cut the angles on each of the dividers. See how perfect it looks?It turns out, I was using the shorter bottom board as my guide. So, it wasn’t so perfect after all. Darn it.When I actually mounted them onto the correct piece, you will see that the front board is actually taller than the bottom of the angled cut because I used the wrong board as the guide. It bugged me really bad at first, but I’m over it and I think that I’m the only one that really notices. Well, and now you. Don’t judge please I really love them.
Here’s a little tip. For cleaning a saw, I always use a brush. To help me go quicker and deeper, I used a hair dryer and the brush. It helped me get the dust out of almost every nook and cranny.
The inspiration cubbies are numbered, but I needed more function, so I did labels. As it turned out, I ended up doing something completely different on the labels than I planned. I really wanted to use wood. Plus, cutting up those other labels would just be a pain. I do think they’re fun to look at though. I didn’t want to saw anything this time, so I just grabbed a strip of balsa wood for $3.00. It’s so soft that I cut it with scissors.I think it would’ve been a cleaner cut with a good exacto knife. I just cut them to the size I wanted and painted them black.
When I was at the store, the very artsy looking guy that was helping me told me that I should use a silver paint pen instead of a white one. He said that it has more contrast on the black. I said okay, but I also bought the white because I doubted. I did this little test to see which stood out best.The artsy-fartsy guy was right. He was probably thinking “stupid lady…don’t believe me…spend another three bucks.” The white words in the picture above are actually two coats of the white. I remember using those paint pens as a child. My mom always used them and they were always running. Sometimes the tips would fall out. After the first few words I realized they had improved the pen over the years. Well, half way through, the tip fell out and paint was coming out everywhere. Thankfully, I grabbed a silver Sharpie for a buck. Turns out, I should’ve only bought that Sharpie and saved myself from those still imperfect paint pens. Betcha can’t tell which ones I wrote with the Sharpie.I decided to mount the labels with magnets (how nifty!) so that we could switch them around when we needed to. I had the “keeper of the shelves” mount the magnets.
Tip: It can be hard to make the labels line up because the magnets “jump” when they’re not lined up with their magnetic parts and “land” away from where you wanted it by about 1/4″. Just mount the magnet to the shelf, then attach the opposite side. Next, add the glue to the back of the top magnet and mount the label in exactly the place that you want it. In this pic, the magnet isn’t centered on the label, but rather it’s in the spot that will “magnetize” perfectly while still being lined up with the other labels on the shelf.
One more thing. I really like the “distressed look,” but I’m a little burned out by the “painted then sanded” to make it look distressed look. Maybe I see it so often that it looks faux. I had originally painted these brown, but they didn’t look fun. It looked too matchy with the room and I wanted it to look “kindergarten.” Last night, after I already mounted it onto the wall, I mixed some blue paint (blue with cream) and painted it again. I’m really glad that the brown was underneath because it helped me to achieve the look I wanted. There are a couple of things I did to give it the distressed look that I liked. For starters, I mixed new paint every time I ran out. Make that four times. So each time I mixed it, the shade was a little different and adding variety. If I was short on paint, I just made sure to evenly disperse it throughout the cubbies. Then, with each new color mix, I’d cover the areas I missed. To give it that distressed look without sanding it down, I did two things. First, I didn’t cover it perfectly. I left a few tiny streaks and edges unpainted. Then, I went with a damp cloth while the paint was still wet and I wiped off a few spots here and there so that the brown would show through and it would look aged.It came out better than I anticipated. It was very scary for me to go with this bright blue (I’m usually pretty neutral), but I’m glad I did and I love it! I can’t wait till all the supplies I’ve ordered arrive and the cubbies will be filled!