DIY and Free (to me) Desk

My little girl is growing up (sniff sniff). Suddenly she is this reading and writing machine, which is amazing. The first time your kid reads YOU the bedtime book is a moment no parent can ever forget. And in every spare second she has, she is writing books. I can’t tell you how many times a day I hear, “Mommy, can you staple these papers together for me?” She’s written probably close to 40 so far, in her ripe ol’ age of 5. So we decided this budding author AND illustrator, needed a space in her room to write her novels (and draw, and color, and craft, and…you get the point). She had one of those adorable little tables, with the itty bitty chairs, but it was outgrowing her (again, insert the sniff sniff). And since I am kind of totally obsessed with trying to make things happen on a dime, especially since the Budget Bathroom Makeover, I got the wheels moving…are you ready? My girl has a cute little kinda big girl/kinda little girl desk for her room – actually, an entire CORNER of her room that I created and spent less than a BUCK. Here it is:

She is tickled pink! (Obviously – the girl loves her pink;)

Here’s how I did it:
If you’ve been reading ND, you’ve seen the Book Nook. The original book nook used those white storage shelves horizontally. They were sort of a makeshift bench/book storage solution. Well, my trip to IKEA happened, and I got rid of them, and replaced them with the spice racks (as seen in the Book Nook Update post). So I had those 2 white shelves hanging around in the laundry room, with no place to go. I told my husband about my plan to make our girl a desk using those shelves, and that I needed to pick up a piece of wood to screw into the top. Get this – he said he had some scrap wood at work that they don’t need and cut it to size – we chose 15x48in. We wanted it long enough so she could fit herself and chair under it, and just deep enough to give her some room to work, but not too deep that if she leaned on in, it would topple over. So all in all: F-R-E-E!! And as if I could love him any more, he sanded it AND painted it for me – what a guy, right?! He flipped the painted side over, placed the shelves on top (upside-down), and measured to make sure they were even.

Then he screwed in 4 of these guys in each shelf. (Make sure to measure the height of the surface, so you use short enough screws – don’t want them poking through the top!)

I think the ND is rubbing off on him – he was on a ROLL last weekend! He has a major project up his sleeve too, I’ll be blogging about it when it’s done. It involves trains. And a garden. No more hints;)

Now, if I had painted it, I would have done both sides, but hey, when someone paints something for you, especially your darling husband, you don’t complain. Besides, no one will see underneath anyway, so it doesn’t bug me. Too much;)

Flip it around and voila! A desk out of 2 shelves and a piece of plywood!

Notice the eyesore on that inside corner? I had an idea. Here’s where my buck went. A few sheets of scrapbook paper – on sale: 6 sheets for $1! I brushed some mod podge on the side of the shelves, then placed the paper (cut to size first) on top, brushed the paper too. Worked like a CHARM, I tell you!

I highly recommend using a busy pattern when you’re doing something like this. I didn’t freak out about matching things up, or if there was a little bubble somewhere – it all dried perfectly, and I kept my sanity. Win-win!

I added bins that she already had, but now there’s a nekkid bookcase in her room. I plan on collecting more diaper boxes from her brother (I just need 2 more), and doing something fun with them to fill these guys. Maybe covering them with fabric, or pretty paper or something…oh, and in case you have these shelves, Target diaper boxes (the value pack) fit perfectly – I’ve checked;).

Moving onto the rest of this free corner…That chalkboard – I know, I know, I said I’d quit it with the chalkboards, but in my defense, there is NOT ONE to be found in the upstairs floor, so I figured it was justified. Besides, this girl’s a mini-teacher – loves her chalkboards, so I wanted to give her one. It started off with a picture my mom was getting rid of. She’s had it since, well, forever, but has been updating the house and of course, no one gets rid of anything without checking with me first! lol.

She said she always liked it because there are 4 girls, and 1 boy, just like my siblings and I. Course, we never had a horse, or a dog, but I see where she was going…it was a little bit special. But not really the look she’s going for now, so she sent it my way. I sprayed the frame pink first.

I waited a day, then taped it with painter’s tape, and gave it a few coats of chalkboard spray paint.

And that’s it. She now has a chalkboard hanging above her desk, which will be fun, the older she gets. I’ll leave her messages: CLEAN YOUR ROOM! or DO YOUR HOMEWORK! 😉 hehehe…

Here’s another freebie project I did:
I got this piece of wood from my cousin’s yard sale – she gave it to me, for free, and it’s been sitting in my stash. I figured it’d be just the right touch above the chalkboard, since I hung it kind of low.

I sprayed it white, then painted yellow acrylic paint on the inside. Used my stencils to trace the word ‘create,’ filled it in with different color paints, and done!

And the chair was an old chair we had from my hub’s bachelor pad days:

Funny what a little paint can do, right? A few coats of white and it looks great!

Those purple corkboards have a cute story behind them. My 11 year old niece likes to go into this second-hand store we have around here, and she always picks me up something she thinks I’ll like – and she’s ALWAYS right! She’s picked me up some of the cutest little things for me, that I can spray paint, or do something fun to. It’s so sweet. She knows her auntie very well:). Well, those 3 corkboards were actually already purple, and I thought they’d fit well in this space. Didn’t have to do a thing to them. I hung my girl’s calendar/season/weather thing-a-ma-jig there as well. This was a Christmas gift last year, and was never a big hit until she started school. Now the girl is ALL about it. She literally wakes up, half-asleep looks outside, goes over and changes the date, day, weather – it’s adorable. She never forgets either.

I also took an old ugly gold frame I had, removed the glass, and sprayed it yellow for the letter R.

So that’s that. What started with a desk, turned into a complete work station corner for my growing girl. And all I needed to buy were a few sheets of scrapbook paper. Not too shabby. It’s nothing huge, but she’s 5. She’s not exactly writing book reports or college essays. She’ll outgrow it soon enough, and who knows what I’ll have up my sleeve by then. But for now, it fits her to a T.

I’m just so glad she has a little sister to hand her table down to. There were quite a few marvelous tea parties on that table and I’m not quite ready to part with that yet…

Leave a Reply