Yes, I made this fantastic art & craft center. It took me a few weeks to gather everything together, about a week to make it (probably 12-15 hours) and cost me less than $60!! Oh, and I had an absolutely fabulous time putting it together!!
We recently moved into a new home and I am thrilled to be here. We have 20 acres that will keep us more than busy outside, not to mention the chickens, goats and bees who are a delightful addition to our new life. We both love being outside so this new farming life will suit us nicely.
But, the truth is, I also love to be busy inside the house. I never saw a wall I didn’t want to repaint (or knock down!!), I thoroughly enjoy redesigning the spaces I live in and have been known to completely redecorate a room in a weekend while Tom and the kids were away at camp. In a burst of maturity, we have decided to hold off on any inside changes to the house while we figure out how we want to live here and what we most want from the space and the views for the future.
And so, I am back to arting around – playing with fabrics, paper, paints, words. Basically, creating whatever I am drawn to create with the materials I feel most inspired by. I feel very fortunate to have the time and space to pursue my artistic interests. I am finally able to explore this side of me and I wanted a special place to work.
So I decided to make one!!
If I can do it, so can you. Here are the steps I took:
- I wanted the finished piece to be fully mobile as the room I work in also serves as our guest room so I carefully measured how wide I could go and still get my art center through the door easily. This simple step dictated most of what I was able to do.
- I found two elements in the local thrift shop. The turquoise square used to be a dull brown, so I sanded it lightly and painted it one of my favorite colors before putting a protective polyurethane coat on it. The white shelving unit right beside it was the perfect size and it had casters on it which I re-used to make the whole piece mobile.
- I used an old piece of plywood that had served as our son’s bed base in the apartment. I cut two pieces the same size and sanded them very well, painted them white and then screwed the two shelves (from #2 above) onto the bottom piece before adding the casters to the base.
- I knew I wanted a raised top for two reasons. Much of the art work I do requires large sheets and I would have nowhere to store them so I wanted an open shelf under the actual work surface. I also like to stand and work so I needed the final piece to be relatively high. I decided to use dowels to create the raised top.
- In order to place the dowels properly, I had to plan ahead and put one of the screws through the top piece of plywood before attaching the piece to the turquoise shelves. I also drilled the holes for the other three dowels.
- At this stage I have the basic form – top, bottom and one side completed. I love color and could not resist adding a fabric backing to the other side where I was planning two shelves. I used tacky glue to attach the carefully measured fabric to the back of the thrift store shelves.
- I used more of the old plywood to create the sides and shelf. Yes, plywood is a pain because it is rougher and needs lots of sanding, and even then, it still won’t be perfectly smooth. But, I wanted to use what we had so that’s the way I went. To attach the sides and shelf I used small L-brackets from the hardware store.
- Next, I cut the dowels to size, painted and attached them.
- I chose to buy a new piece of wood for the top so I could get the finish I most wanted. (Many hardware stores will cut a large sheet to size for you.) I sanded it well, put on two coats of polyurethane, with a light sanding between coats and attached it to the dowels with collars from the hardware store.
- The piece you see is not quite finished. I plan to add a second top that will open out to double the size of the work surface. I just need to figure out how to have detachable legs that will not affect the working surface. If you have ideas, please let me know.
I loved this project. From start to finish I have felt completely absorbed and excited by it. I love using power tools and forcing my brain to bridge the gap between art and design (lots of measuring and problem solving involved!!)
I hope you will feel inspired to take the leap, start that project you have been putting off, dive in. I mean, what have you got to lose?