Crate Shelves and Custom Curtains, aka Success with Fabric Painting

A friend asked me to help with the nursery for her baby boy, due in just a few weeks! I’ll do a complete post on the nursery soon, but there are a couple of projects I thought I’d go ahead and share now.

crate shelvesFirst up, crate shelves! The nursery has a corner of “dead space” right by the door. It’s a small room and we wanted to make as much use of the available space as possible. I found these crates at IKEA (no, IKEA does not give me money to mention them in every other post, although I’d be pretty psyched if they did). Crates like these seem to be everywhere now, and are handy for all sorts of projects, but the IKEA ones seem a little sturdier to me than the ones I’ve seen at craft stores. Plus the large ones are only $10 a pop. I took five of them to their house and we played with the configuration until we found one that suited the space, and let them keep the use of the outlet in that corner. To mount them, I used these drywall anchor screws, plus washers, to give the relatively small screw heads a little more stability. The bottom crate (the one most likely to be pulled on at some point) got 4 screws; the others crate shelves 2got 2 each. And because they’re all mounted independently, if the little angel does manage to pull on one crate, the whole thing won’t come tumbling down, like a traditional bookcase. One thing to keep in mind – the IKEA crates have two slats on the bottom as “feet” for the crate, which would’ve meant a gap between crate and wall that would’ve diminished the sturdiness of the anchors. Solution? Flip the bottom over, so the slats are on the inside of the crate and countersink the screws when you put the crate together. (My friend’s genius husband came up with this.)

Next, the return of fabric painting. No, it wasn’t a long hiatus, since it was just in my last post, but this time, in an exciting twist, it actually worked! Huzzah! The color scheme of the nursery is gray, navy and white. The walls are gray and the furniture white, so I thought I’d bring some navy in by painting the curtains. I started with these Merete curtains (really, IKEA, fork over some of that sweet Swedish cash already). This project looked a bit more promising than the chair, because the fabric is a cotton twill – no real nap to it. I ironed (zzzzz) and laid out the curtain panels on my living room floor, with some heavy duty drop cloths underneath. Apparently, I buy the fancy drop cloths, according to my brother-in-law, but I hate sitting on plastic while I paint. Everything got taped down to keep Georgia from playing hide-and-seek underneath while I was working (jk, the tape totally didn’t stop her) and I started taping out the design. I wanted something geometric with clean lines. I considered stripes, but once I thought up the triangles, I really wanted to do that. To keep it from being all navy (and too dark for the room), I decided on a scattered design of triangles at the top, building to full rows of triangles at the bottom.

With a piece of cardboard as my template for the height and angles, I started taping with the 3M blue tape I always use for paint projects. Once, in a fit of extra cheapness, I bought the generic Home Depot HDX painter’s tape, and discovered it’s not much good for anything other than frustration and messy paint lines, and I’d always shied away from the more expensive Frog Tape. 3M blue tape was safely middle of the road (I expect that phrase will be on my tombstone). Unfortunately, after taping out a portion of the design, I realized that my trusty blue was not sticking to the fabric in a number of places, and I couldn’t make it. So I sprung for the Frog Tape, full of skepticism about its purported superiority, but oh man, it was worth it. Crisp lines galore! I taped out my design, used bits of my removed blue tape to mark the triangles I didn’t want to paint, and went to town with my roller and paint/textile medium mix. I used a 4″ roller, which was pretty easy to keep in the lines, although there are definitely a few blue triangles that I intended to be white, but after some overly exuberant rolling, had to become blue. I ended up using 8oz of Soho Mineral Blue acrylic and 4oz of textile medium.

Here they are hemmed and hung in the nursery!



Craft Table IKEA Hack

Mini-post time! This one’s just a few different pieces from IKEA Frankensteined together to make a large work top with storage for my craft room (I still swoon a bit at the words “my craft room”). IMG_0547


After assembling the Expedit, I attached the cabinet legs to one of the solid, long sides – two at each end and two in the middle, to distribute the weight of the heavy shelf. (For a good standing height, you’ll want the final surface to be at about the height of your elbows. The Capita legs worked perfectly for me – I’m 5’6″.) I flipped the Expedit over so that the shelf stood on its new feet and centered the desk top on the other side. I attached the shelf brackets to the cross pieces of the shelf and the underside of the desktop. Done! Now I have a nice, high work space for cutting fabric, stapling fabric to canvases, and whatever else I can cook up.

LEGO Table IKEA Hack

Why hello there! For my inaugural post (which will surely be preserved forever in the IMG_0979[1]Library of Congress at some point), here’s a LEGO table made largely from supplies from the furniture-equivalent of LEGO, IKEA. This is a birthday present for my nephew who will turn 4 in a week. Hopefully, he doesn’t read my blog yet.



  • IKEA Lack side table
  • IKEA Trofast bin
  • IKEA Trofast drawer slides (I went to the Returns counter and asked about these – they gave them to me for free)
  • IKEA Grundtal tins
  • 4 LEGO 10″x10″ baseplates
  • Magnetic knife holder (I had one in my kitchen that was not useful, so I repurposed it here. Similar to this.)
  • Small scrap piece of wood or trim, about 6″ long (any length will work)
  • Serious glue (E6000, Loc-tite, etc. – whatever you prefer/have on hand)

{All links are here only as a reference. I’m no where near having my act together enough to have affiliate links on this thing.}


After I put the legs on, I remembered “Oh right, pictures for the blog.” I’ll get better at documenting the steps.

Before putting the legs on the table, I flipped the tabletop upside down and glued the rails and wood scrap to the underside for the bin. I did this via the super-scientific method of putting the rails on the sides of the bin, applying glue to the tops of the rails, then flipping the bin over and adjusting the position before the glue dried. I used E6000 which gives you a little bit of time to scooch things before it sets (forever). With the bin placed where I wanted it – near one edge of the table, sliding longways – I also glued down a scrap of trim at the back of the bin. The gentleman this table was designed for is affectionately known as “Baby Hulk”, so I didn’t want the bin sliding all the way through the rails and out the other side (and possibly into the drywall – he’s very strong).
IMG_0982[1]After letting the glue dry, I attached the legs to the table per IKEA’s ever so helpful pictogram instructions and flipped the table right-side up. I screwed the magnetic knife rack into the side of the table opposite the front of the bin, and stuck the magnetic tins on. These should be just the right size to store minifigs and other small specialty pieces that always make their way to the bottom of the bucket (I’m looking at you, clear single bricks).

Finally, I glued down the 4 baseplates. This is where I aaaaaaaaalmost messed the wholeIMG_0978[1] thing up. Did you know that if you put two baseplates right next to each other, the bricks won’t fit on the seam? I do… now. For some reason unknown, the edges of baseplates aren’t quite wide enough to create the proper spacing when placed up against another baseplate. I used some spare LEGO bricks (or, more accurately, had my sister swipe some from her children) and connected the baseplates to each other. After positioning the 4 plates where I wanted them, I unconnected one baseplate at a time, added a bunch of E6000 to the back, flipped it over, repositioned and reattached it with the bricks. After all 4 were glued down and connected to ensure proper spacing, I piled the heaviest books on my bookshelf on top and let the glue cure overnight.

All done!