Craft Room – part 5 DIY Counters and Drawer Fronts

large file drawers

Entry Five

It was now time to make my counters and drawer fronts and by now Murphy’s Law didn’t really apply to me anymore.Things were still going slowly but smoothly. After recovering from my late night hack saw session mentioned in my last post, I had to do something I was dreading but eager to start. I had to make the countertops. I decided to make them because I wanted a rustic, handmade, chunky, thick countertop. I wanted a rustic feel to the craft peninsula and the other tops as well.

I went to Home Depot and I was dressed, well, not like a construction worker and more like a soccer mom. Funny thing is that when I am dressed like a soccer mom and I am in the tool department I get asked if I am lost or if I am looking for the paint department. Sometimes I even get asked if I am looking for my husband!  As soon as I attach a tape measure to my hip the game is different. Quite hilarious.

the best tape measure

Go in like this and all preconceived notions are ignored….you are now legitimate.

Anyway, I picked out the very best boards I could find.  The 2 x 10 x 12s were very heavy to get home and unload. They were extremely cumbersome. By now it is the Fall so the kids were all back in school. There was no one at the house to help me. I had to maneuver the boards around by myself and it was hard. I let the boards sit in the house for a few weeks to adjust to the climate inside before assembling the counters. While I waited I was working on eliminating that “to do” list.

I bought a Beadlock joinery kit from a woodworking shop called Rockler. Those guys in there are so awesome and the don’t treat me like I am an idiot. If I don’t know something, they take the time to explain it.

***Sidenote: They offer a free whittling class on Saturdays so every now and then I take the kids into Rockler and they get to whittle cool things like a letter opener that looks like a squirrel.

The Beadlock joinery I used was easy to understand but time-consuming.  It consists of drilling holes on both boards in the same spot with a jig and then using a special dowel to join them together. Most of the joints are unnoticeable and seamless. I do have one that I thought I should redo, but it is on the largest, hardest countertop and I thought I could get away with leaving it because it is supposed to look like reclaimed wood anyway. So, I left it. And it really doesn’t bother me. I actually love the imperfection.  I love these countertops.

I had to rig together clamps I had made using pipes to get the boards to join together and sometimes it was hard. I was able to put them together and figure it out. I have no pictures of the counter making process. I was struggling enough just to get them done and forgot to do pics. Remember, Winter is Coming! (GOT reference).

Sawdust Girl was now empowering me to make the decisions. Assuring me that I would make the right choices all on my own. Her responses to my questions had become questions back at me like “what do YOU think you should do?” or “ how do YOU think that should go?”.

card catalog ideas

card catalog ideas

I vacillated between staining them or just leaving them natural. I liked them this way, but thought they just didn’t blend with the room as well as I wanted them to. To get them to all be smooth and look like one consistent top I had fill all of the cracks and seams and then sand, and sand, and sand, and….well, you know, sand.

I also installed this fabulous old world chandelier that is adorned with aged, chippy beaded strands and aged wooden teardrops. I love its chippy, worn look. * It is no longer available but this one is similar and would also have gone well in the room.

best beaded wooden chandelier

I made this cute little table for the printer to sit on and to be able to store the printer paper underneath it one day because, you know, I probably had nothing else to do!

how to build a printer stand

Now it is time to stain the countertops. The choices are endless. There are so many brands and methods to follow it is hard to make a choice. I thought a long time about what I wanted to do. I tried several different stains that ended up either too red, or too light, or too this or too that so I decided to use the tung oil method that Sandra used in her posts. I was very nervous about the process. I was a little hesitant. I bought the tung oil and mask, etc. I taped off everything and got to work. I thought the fumes would be MUCH worse than they were. I thought my whole house was going to be uninhabitable. The family would DIE from them! Nope….we all survived. They weren’t that bad.

how to use tung oil

Yes, I needed a respirator mask in the room but the fumes were fine in the house. I got the first coat on and it looked good. I could tell that I was going to be pleased with the choice. I had to wait a while to put on another coat. The whole process took 3-4 days. That was fine. I couldn’t believe how simple the process was and how great the results were!!

how to use tung oil

In this room I have also added a sewing table. I have 4 machines but only regularly use two; my serger and my Viking. Both of my machines I LOVE!!! I have this amazing Bernina serger that practically threads itself and adjusts itself to whatever fabric I am using. LOVE!!! And my Viking…..I have 2 if that tells you how much I love it. I want the two machines that I use most to be able to be out all of the time so I can just use them whenever I want and they will be ready to go for quick projects.  It is also built at the exact height for ME.  So my machines can sit at a comfortable height for me.

I put this on a wall that you can’t see from the kitchen so I don’t have to look at them all of the time. I ordered the same legs as the peninsula, but a smaller version. And then I ordered one leg cut in half and attached them to the wall for the back legs. I didn’t want to lose any floor space. Every inch is valuable. I attached the baseboards back on the walls. I kept them after taking them off, cut them down to fit the new room, caulked and gave them all a fresh coat of paint!

how to make a sewing table

While the countertops were drying and in between coats I decided it was time to make the drawer fronts. You guessed it….never made those before either. I didn’t have the truck I usually borrowed to haul wood so I had to use my car. Thumbs down.

DIY cabinets

 

I joined them together with pocket holes using my Kreg Jig. This tool I actually like. I had to make dados which is becoming common and I am getting good at them. They weren’t hard, just time-consuming. I installed all of the drawer fronts once they were all dry and also installed the pulls. I went with a cup pull and shaker style drawer fronts because my kitchen has all white shaker style cabinets with stainless steel cup pulls. Since this room is just off of the kitchen I want it to feel like an extension of the kitchen. I sanded, filled, primed and painted them all.

using a kreg pocket hole jig

And somewhere along the way I installed and painted the crown moulding using Sandra’s tutorial. That may have been one of the easiest things I have done in this room. No pictures but I wish I did. I added the drawer pulls to the drawers after installing them. It was pretty easy, too. I am loving this new theme of “it was easy”.

how to build a craft room

how to build cabinets

The next item on the to do list was “make doors”. It is really easy to write those words. Simple, actually. It is entirely different to actually “make doors”. I gave myself 8 days to make 21 doors. You read that right; twenty-one. I thought I could do it. I had a schedule of one week and if I just stuck to it I could knock these babies out!! So I jumped in. It took me two days to make 4 doors and make them wrong. They were so hard!  Plus I started with the hardest and largest of them all which were 8’ doors and that was not smart. It was very discouraging. I had to make dados, and use Beadlock joinery, clamp them together and wait for the glue to dry, sand them by hand and try to get them the exact same thickness because I don’t own a planer and after all of that, they were not right. Major FAIL!

I really didn’t have time to do this or the patience or the drive anymore. It was getting cold outside and I didn’t want to be in the garage anymore, our cars did. The garage was in a constant state of chaos. Plus my parents were coming in 2 weeks for Thanksgiving!! I started in June, remember? How is it now Thanksgiving?! So, I scrapped it all and ordered the doors. And, within those 8 days I had set aside to make the doors, I ordered the precise measurements that I needed for the 21 doors, had it all shipped to me, and cleaned the house and got it back into order. And I didn’t have to make them!  WIN, WIN.

how to build cabinets

how to build cabinets

Everyone has a decision to make when it comes to actually making them or having someone else do it. It was on the expensive side. But when I was weighing having to buy all of the wood, the time, additional tools, it being really cold in the garage where I was working AND doing the preparation in the house I so needed to do for the holidays, it wasn’t much more to just order them. Now, if I was making just a couple of doors I could have handled it, but not the amount I needed in that time frame and without a proper workshop, with no help. I am so happy I did that. I didn’t want to have spent all this time on this project making everything just right and then add the doors, the main thing that everyone sees, and have them not look perfect! Best decision of the year! I couldn’t find anything anymore, either. My garage was such a mess!!!

shaker style cabinet doors

floor to ceiling cabinets

I was able to order the doors unfinished with holes bored for the hinges. I primed and painted them myself and installed them myself. That was pretty simple, too. I had them installed in one evening. I couldn’t believe how easy they were to install myself. They are european hinges, so easy to install and easy to adjust to make them all line up perfectly. This project is ALMOST done and I couldn’t be more excited!! Stay tuned for the BIG REVEAL!!!

You can catch up with all of the Craft Room Diaries here:

part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Heather
    August 17, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Where did you buy the doors from?

  • Reply
    Heather
    August 13, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    So who built your doors? I love that you donthis all by your self! You are such an inspiration!!!

    • Reply
      thoughtfullylovelyapril
      August 14, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      I used Cabinetdoorworld.com. They are always so friendly and helpful. They are fast and reliable. Get it right every time! I have used them for a couple of projects since then.

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