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Today I’d like to show you how I took this old drawer:
And turned it into some shelving for my laundry:
Fair warning: This is not the world’s greatest tutorial. I’m new to blogging and making about 10 million mistakes per minute. But I hope you can find the tutorial useful nonetheless.
While I used this shelving in the laundry, you could really use it wherever you like. It might also work well for storing little bits and pieces in the bathroom, for example, or even as some small shelving for a kid’s bedroom.
Turning a drawer into shelving
To make my shelving, I used:
- An old drawer.
- A piece of timber (mine was an old floorboard), cut to the width of the drawer.
- An orbital sander + sanding discs in 40 grit and 120 grit
- A drill + four 50mm (approx 2 inch) screws
- A rag
- Regular sandpaper in 120 grit
- Two wood stains.
- I used Cabot’s Interior Water-Based Stain in Walnut & British Paints Water-Based Stain in Black. If you’re in the US (and most of you seem to be), Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in Special Walnut and Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in Espresso seem to be very similar colours.
- A paintbrush
- Polyurethane varnish
I began by stripping the original stain and varnish off the drawer using an orbital sander. I first gave the whole thing a sand with 40 grit sandpaper until the stain/varnish was stripped, then went over it again with 120 grit sandpaper to smooth everything out.
If you value your time or sanity at all, it’s much easier to paint over the drawer than it is to sand it.
Step 2: Add a second shelf to the drawer
Next, I flipped the drawer on its side and slotted in the piece of pre-measured wood.
I then employed the help of a lovely assistant because I am very bad at drilling.
Basically, what you need to do is drill two screws into the side of the drawer where the shelf is, then repeat on the other side, so that the screws ‘bite into’ the shelf piece. I used 50mm screws, but the exact length isn’t super important.
At this point, my shelving looked like this:
Step 3: Staining the upcycled shelves
I didn’t really like the raw wood finish, so I decided to apply a little bit of stain. Rather than just plain old stain, I wanted my shelves to have a bit of a ‘weathered’ look, so I applied the stain in the following way:
I first I applied a messy coat of Cabot’s Interior Water-Based Stain in Walnut (Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in Special Walnut is a good alternative if you’re in the US). I wiped off the excess stain with a rag within 30 seconds of applying it, as I wanted it to be fairly light.
Once the first layer of stain was dry, I used a rag to apply British Paints Water-Based Stain in Black to random parts of the shelving to create a bit of a weathered look. I basically just rubbed a bit of the stain on to random parts of the shelves using the rag, left it for 30 seconds, then wiped off the excess.
After the second layer of stain was dry, my shelves weren’t quite weathered enough, so I decided to add a little more weathering using sandpaper. To do this, I just rubbed the sandpaper over the drawers at random, sanding away in little areas until some of the stain was removed.
Step 4: Sealing the shelves
To finish, I sealed the shelves using a basic polyurethane varnish. This protects the wood from water damage, which was important to me as they were going to be mounted above my laundry sink.
Step 5: Mounting the shelves
I should have taken a picture of this step but I forgot because I am very new to blogging and still somewhat terrible at this whole thing.
I just mounted the shelves to the wall using some basic right-angle brackets (you can see them peeking out at the bottom of the shelves in some of the pictures). I made sure I drilled into studs (rather than just dry wall) to keep things nice and secure.
And that was basically it!