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.

An Engaging Gift

When two great friends of mine recently got engaged (yay!!), I immediately started pondering what I could give them for engagement gifts that would be fun, personal and affordable.

I remembered the cross-stitched sachet that my sister made for me when I got engaged, and how excited I was to receive my first gift with an “H”, symbolic of what would be my new last name:

An Engaging Gift

Perfect!!  I knew that my friends would be just as excited about their new last names as I was, so personalized initials seemed like the perfect engagement gift.  I whipped up my version of this great gift in an afternoon – here’s how they turned out:

Decoupaged Initials

Too cute, right??  You can make this awesome gift for your friends in no time.  Here’s what you need:

An Engaging Gift

~ cardboard or wooden letters from the craft store

~ Elmer’s glue or Mod Podge

~ Exacto knife or craft knife

~ cutting board or craft mat

~ foam paint brush

~ fun craft paper

~ craft paint

~ spray adhesive (optional)

Once you’ve got all the goodies assembled, roll up your sleeves and get down to business!  Here’s how to make these cute little guys:

1.  Follow the lines.  The first step is to cut the craft paper into the shapes of the letter that you are using.  There are endless ways to go about this, such as tracing the letters with a pencil and then cutting them out with the Exacto knife, but here’s what I did – first, I sprayed the letters with a light coating of spray adhesive so that the craft paper would stick to the letters:

An Engaging Gift

Then I laid the letters face down on the craft paper and cut around the letters with the Exacto knife.  The spray adhesive kept the letters from sliding around so that I could cut the craft paper as perfectly as possible – then I just peeled the craft paper off and cleaned up any ragged or uncut edges of the paper with the Exacto knife.

An Engaging Gift

2.  Paint by numbers (um, I mean, letters). After I finished cutting out the shapes of the letters, I painted the sides and back of the cardboard letters with a foam brush dipped in craft paint.  Go ahead and use complementary colors for the sides and back for a little extra interest – I used brown for the sides and a robin’s egg blue for the back of the “R”.

An Engaging Gift

I found that a couple of coats of paint were necessary to get an even look without any splotches.  Also, it’s helpful to paint the top edges of the letters to cover any “oopsies” just in case your Exacto knife skills aren’t perfect.  And be patient – it takes these suckers awhile to dry!

3.  Flash back to kindergarten.  Now it’s time to bust out the Elmer’s glue.  You can also use Mod Podge, but I like the Elmer’s since it’s so cheap and readily available.  Some people like to add a little water to the Elmer’s glue but I find that watery Elmer’s just makes the paper stretch out into funky shapes – not so great when you’re trying to make letters that actually look like letters.  Just dip your foam brush into the Elmer’s and brush a thin layer of glue over the unpainted top of your cardboard letter – then place the paper letter on top and smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles.  Easy!

4.  Protect and personalize.  I painted a thin coat of water-based, satin-finish polyurethane over my letters to protect them, and then wrote a little message to my friends on the back of each letter with a silver Sharpie.  You could also use some of the leftover paper from your project to make little gift tags for your letters (tied with a fun ribbon, of course), which would be pretty darn cute.

5.  Bask in the glory.  You’ve just made a fun, easy, and completely adorable gift to celebrate your newly-engaged friend.  Trust me, she’ll totally love it.

Decoupaged Initials

How’s that for a fun and personal gift?  And as a bonus, it’s totally affordable - each adorable finished letter cost less than 5 smackers.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  And don’t worry – if you want to do this project but you don’t have any newly-engaged friends to give these cuties to, they would be perfect to spell out a new baby’s name, spelling out “LAUNDRY” in the laundry rooom . . . you get the idea!

What do you think?  Are you ready to bust out the Elmer’s glue?

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