My kids LOVE to read (even the little one who doesn't know how to!) and we have tons of books. Most of them are downstairs in the playroom, but we have a small collection of some of their favorites upstairs so we have easy access to them for bedtime stories. We also have a constant rotation of library books that I try to keep somewhat separate from our own books. Unfortunately, it was turning into a big jumble and something had to be done!
I saw this wooden crate from Michael's used as a shadow box on Emily's blog and I got inspired to use the same one to solve this book mess. These are the supplies I used:
(I actually ended up using craft paint and not wall paint) • casters • sanding block • polycrylic (I ended up using a spray version)
First thing to do is the prep work. Sand it down until it's nice and smooth. Then apply the pre-stain wood conditioner. You don't really see much of a difference, but it helps the wood take the color of the stain more evenly.
Read the directions on the can and wait the specified time and then apply the stain. I used Miniwax's walnut color, and used the same foam brush from the pre-stain. It's pretty liquidy so you really don't need to use that much. A little stain goes a long way.
After you let it sit for a while, wipe off the excess stain with a clean rag. It may look like there's nothing to wipe, but you'll see that there really is.
Here it is all stained - already looking so much better!
I then took the letters and lined them up to space them properly before painting.
The stenciling itself was simple. I used Martha Stewart's foam stenciling brushes - just dip the brush into some craft paint, wipe off the excess and dab repeatedly in an up-and-down motion to avoid bleeding. I used some tape on the underside of the stencil to keep them from shifting and that worked out fine.
The bottom of the crate was slatted, just like the sides and I wanted a solid bottom, both for extra support for books and so they wouldn't slip through the cracks, and also to have something sturdier to screw the casters into. I happened to have some spare plywood the exact width (Divine providence!) and my dad helped me cut it down to size. We screwed the casters right through the crate and into the plywood.
The final step was to spray it with a clear protective coating. I was originally going to use the polycrylic pictured above, but I only had it in glossy and I didn't want a shiny finish. I had a can of a matte protective spray (Rustoleum) so that's what I used. (Beware, that stuff stinks!)
Here you can see the plywood on the bottom. Since I added it in after the fact, I forgot to sand it down first and it was hard to get a really smooth surface once it was screwed in. In order to protect the kids' fingers from splinters, I covered it with a layer of clear contact paper. Safety first! It's not as obvious in real life as it is here in this picture, but it'll always be covered with books anyway so I'm not too concerned.
The kids couldn't wait to fill it up with their books!
And now in its new location (subject to change, of course!).
I am so happy with how it turned out and it was a really easy project! The longest part was definitely just the waiting for the stain/paint/poly to dry. So tell me, how do you keep your kids' books organized?
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