March 8, 2012

DIY Custom Shelf for the Nursery

I was looking for a shelf to place above the changing table that could hold 2 very important items: the baby monitor (it's a video monitor, so we need it above the crib) and toys to hand our little girl to distract her while changing. I found this shelf at Pottery Barn Kids that was perfect but out of my price range...way out.

So I decided to make my own custom red shelf with help from my local craft store and about $35 worth of supplies.  Here's how I did it -- and how you can do it too:

1.  Stroll through the wood materials section at your local craft store and pick out a shelf. (If your craft store is JoAnn's, use one of the neverending 40% off coupons that you surely get via snail-mail or email to make it an even better deal.)

2.  Remove the hardware and sand the shelf all over with sandpaper. This step is not fun but very necessary to ensure that no one ever gets a splinter, and a well-sanded finish will give you better results with the paint job.

3.  Spray with your choice of colored spray paint. You will notice that I took the shelf out and laid it in the yard for painting.  I've found this is the best way to minimize cleanup -- just mow the grass to get rid of the overspray. This method also saves me from peeling off newspaper stuck to the shelf, which is not pleasant and requires more sanding.

4.  After applying one coat and letting the paint dry thoroughly, sand the shelf again and then wipe with a damp washcloth or tack cloth to remove the dust. Allow the shelf to dry if you used a damp washcloth. (I didn't have a tack cloth and going to the store just wasn't on the list that day, so I let it dry outside.)

5.  Apply a second coat of spray paint, and let it dry. The secret to spray paint is several light layers. Fight the desire to lay on a thick coat -- it will just run and make a mess.

6.  Apply coat #3, and let the paint dry for a couple of hours.

7.  Apply coat #4, and -- you guessed it -- let it dry for a few more hours.  (Isn't this fun?)

8.  Apply another coat of paint if you're not satisfied with the finish, but if you're happy with it after 4 coats, let it dry overnight.

9.  Reattach the hardware, hang on the wall, and decorate!

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