Make A Storage Unit From Salvaged Materials. Step 4: Customize!!

Okay, I promise, this is the last time I will talk about this gnarly storage unit . . . for at least a week.  I pinkie promise.  Maybe.

Here it is, one last time:

Make A Storage Unit From Salvaged Materials

I’ve yammered on for long enough about painting the cabinets, creating the countertop and assembling the whole shebang, so let’s get on to the fun stuff!!  The colorful patchwork countertop is clearly the star of this show – full of personality and visual interest, it takes this storage unit from ho-hum to fun and funky.  And the best part?  Making this colorful creation is totally easy – if you can conquer this post, you’ve got this new project in the bag.

This whole custom countertop project began with a tonof inspiration from this post on Addicted 2 Decorating.  I instantly swooned when I saw Kristy’s unique and cheerful table top, and I knew I had to make one of my very own.  Here’s how you can get in on the action:

1.  Chop it up.  The key to this whole project is the patchwork effect, so take some time and pick out some fab craft paper that you absolutely love.  I’ve always been a sucker for bright, cheerful colors (especially for a craft room), and I picked out a whole slew of papers that I found totally inspiring and that worked well together.  Make sure that you have enough paper to cover your countertop from the very beginning – this will ensure that you get a great mix of patterns throughout the whole countertop, instead of running out of paper and having a section at the end that doesn’t match the rest.

Once you have all of your papers assembled, go to town chopping down your papers into the size and shape that you want.  I love the look of long strips, so I cut each of my papers into 6 x 2 inch strips (this worked perfectly, since all of my craft paper came in 12 x 12 inch sheets).  You can either tackle this task with scissors or a chopper – I chose to use my handy-dandy chopper (see below), which made cutting the strips an absolute breeze.

Make A Storage Unit From Salvaged Materials. Step 4: Customize!!

2.  Glue it down.  Armed with your slew of paper strips, it’s time to get gluing!  All you need to do is paint sections of the countertop with Elmer’s glue and then lay your strips down in a staggered pattern.  Once you have a few strips down, smooth each of the strips to get out the bubbles – I used a ruler for this task and it worked like a charm.  Some of the glue will ooze out, but just smooth out any extra glue with your paintbrush and it will dry clear.  Keep up the placing and smoothing routine until you’ve laid paper over the entire countertop.

Make A Storage Unit From Salvaged Materials. Step 4: Customize!!

3.  Seal’er up.  Now that you’ve created this masterpiece, you’ll want to protect it!  A few coats of satin finish polyurethane are just the ticket.  If you want a little extra protection, think about having a piece of glass cut for the top – Home Depot will do it for a few bucks, and our Ace Hardware only charges you for the glass –  cutting it is free!

Make A Storage Unit From Salvaged Materials. Step 4: Customize!!

4.  Admire your handiwork.  It looks awesome, doesn’t it??  Perfect for any room that needs a little extra color and fun – and this same technique would be great to create a little custom artwork for a bare wall.

Make A Storage Unit From Salvaged Materials. Step 4: Customize!!

So there you have it!  An awesome, customized storage unit made from salvaged materials with your own two hands.  It doesn’t get much more satisfying than that!!  (I’ve already got mine stocked with paint brushes, paint, fun papers . . . I’m so excited!!).  Now it’s your turn – fill us in about something that you’ve made with your own two hands!!

This post is shared with Hooked on Houses.

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  1. christy says:

    Liz – this is such an awesome project – I am so freaking impressed. I love the papers you chose. I would love to see the inside too – your craft supplies!

    I have one question – I would love to follow your suggestion about doing this for a wall hanging – what would you suggest using as the backing?

    • Liz says:


      Yay, I’m so glad you like it!! Call me crazy, but my favorite way to do this would be to apply the paper directly to the pressboard backing of a picture frame – cheap, easy, and your creation will be sandwiched between some glass for extra protection!! For extra fun, you could place a photograph on top of the patchwork paper and let the background act as a colorful frame for your photo.

      ~ Liz

      (P.S. Everyone – Christy is having a TOTALLY FAB giveaway on her blog today – check it out!!!!).

  2. christy says:

    Oh those are both great ideas Liz….I think I could do that for sure. Your project – not so much. You’re MUCH better at that than I would be, I’m sure! If I do this, I’ll definitely post or email you to show you my results!!

    And Liz – Thank you – I hope you enter! Who knows – YOU could win!

  3. Joan says:

    At last . . . I’ve been impatiently waiting for “the tell-all about the terrific top!” I am so excited! Your tweaking of the original idea definitely improved the product! This project looks absolutely fabulous, and almost formidable in its complexity. However, the way you broke it down into manageable portions and explained each step definitely turned the creation into something I could possibly successfully attempt.

    Liz, keep the wonderful posts coming! I also like how you are generous and direct us to posts from other decorating sites which we might enjoy.
    Great job!

  4. Liz says:


    I assure you, this ENTIRE project is totally doable by anyone with a little time. I’m glad the tutorials are helpful, and thanks so much for your encouraging words!!

    ~ Liz

  5. Averill says:

    I love the countertop; you’re right, it’s definitely the star!

    Do you think you could ever just repaper over it should you want to change things up a bit? Or would that start getting messy? Just wondering since it’d be nice to have that versatility!

  6. Liz says:


    You could totally paper over it – maybe with wallpaper or wrapping paper for one continuous pattern. However, this would work best if you were really careful with your seams when you did the initial patchwork project (or if you were papering over a another continuous sheet of paper) – otherwise you might get a bit of a bumpy effect in between the patchwork papers. And if you do more than one layer, I would definitely recommend having glass cut to cover the countertop as the paper would be a bit more fragile the more layers that are on there. Hope this helps!

    ~ Liz


    Oh wow, I mean you did a fantastic job on that, and it looks like an expensive, artsy, custom piece that you had made.

    So glad you found my little table inspiring. I’m equally inspired (or probably more so) by your incredible project here.

  8. Jenny says:

    That is an awesome cabinet!

  9. What a wonderfully creative piece! I love all of the colors from the paper.

  10. Christy K says:

    Wow! Really awesome job. I have some old cabinets with the counter attached that I have been looking for ideas for, and this would be perfect. I love the patchwork top. Good job!

  11. Christy K says:

    BTW… I added my last initial to my name on this comment since it seems you have an abundance of Christy’s/Kristi’s leaving comments. Too funny!

  12. Roeshel says:

    I’m so glad you linked to the Show & Tell – otherwise I would have missed this! It’s awesome! I love pretty papers…hate to part with them. What a great way to enjoy them everyday! Great job!