Monday, November 5, 2012

Bedroom Organization: Homemade Dresser Tray

Since receiving delivery of our brand spankin' new mattress last week, I've been motivated to transform our bedroom. This is on my Life List, and I'm ready to make it happen (see #37 on the list). I even suggested to Chris that perhaps we should become people who make our bed every day. Well, I made it once last week. I call that progress!

Anyway, Chris and I are in the middle of several projects around the house, all with the goal of living in a more organized home and making better use of the space we have. We brought in a big cabinet that has been in our garage since we moved in, put it in the family room, and took the book shelf that was in the family room and put it in our bedroom. So now the book shelf is on the wall next to my bed, taking the place of the Rubbermaid tote full of shoes that was there. Is your head spinning yet? No? Okay, good, let me continue!

The tote full of shoes is now in front of the closet, which is obviously not ideal. Our bedroom is teeny, and there is not much space to spare. A large portion of my closet has been dominated by three large boxes full of pictures. I hate having them in there because, A) they take up so much space, and B) it's really difficult to get to the pictures. So I thought that if I could get those pictures out of there, I could stash my box -o- shoes in my closet for the time being, and at least get it out of the way and stop tripping all over it. The book case that is now in my bedroom is my vehicle for change.

Since all the books that were on the book case when it was in the family room have been transferred to the top portion of the cabinet that's in there now, I have an entire empty book case to work with. I checked the Michael's paper and saw that photo boxes are on sale this week for $2 each, so I went there as soon as they opened Sunday morning. And was astounded by how crowded it was. Holy macaroni, does everyone do their craft shopping after church or something? Anyway, I picked out eight coordinating photo boxes, enough to fill one whole shelf of my book case. I picked up a few other things, and then wandered down the scrapbook paper aisle, just because I like looking at all the different patterns. One caught my eye that would match in my bedroom, and it was on clearance for 49 cents a sheet, so I bought two, just for the heck of it.

When I got home, I attacked the boxes of photos in my closet. I didn't get overly sidetracked looking at pictures either, which is a remarkable feat. In the end, I pared down to one large box of pictures in my closet, as opposed to three. The one that's left is full of framed pictures, and we plan on hanging those up, so soon that box should be out of my closet too.

In the midst of organizing photos, I contemplated what I could do with that scrapbook paper I picked up at Michael's. I browsed Pinterest a little, looking for inspiration. I thought I would like to make a dresser tray, to put on top of the book shelf, but I couldn't really find anything that didn't require buying a wooden tray to start with. Since I wasn't in the mood for going back out, I decided to wing it.

Remember that cabinet that we brought in from the garage? Well, there were a few Clear Box Frames
in one of the drawers, and they seemed like they might work out. It was worth a try anyway!

I gathered my supplies: a piece of cardboard to put down on the table for protection, a bottle of Mod Podge, a small disposable cup, a foam paint brush, the scrapbook paper I bought on clearance, scissors, and Plastercraft Acrylic Gloss Spray Finish.

After thoroughly cleaning the frame, I used it as a template to cut out my paper. I had to use one whole sheet and part of another (these were 12 X 12, but it all depends on the size of your frame). Because I didn't want to try matching patterns, I used the flip side of the second sheet of scrapbook paper (it was reversible) for a contrasting strip of solid color.

I then set the frame down on the table with the open part facing the table. I put some Mod Podge in the little cup, and proceeded to use the foam brush to cover the bottom of my soon-to-be tray with a layer of Mod Podge. Let me repeat: when finished, this would be the bottom, or underside of my tray. Then I carefully pressed my paper onto the Mod Podged surface, UPSIDE DOWN, taking care to smooth the paper as much as possible.

I let it dry for a few minutes, then covered the paper with Mod Podge. I then let this layer dry, and added another coat.

At this point, I decided to make the tray look a little more finished by cleaning up the edges. I got out my box of ribbons and found one that matched the paper. I cut a piece of ribbon to fit all the way around the four sides of the tray (for example, if your frame is 8 X 10, your ribbon would be  8+8+10+10 = 36", plus a little extra just in case). 

The object was for half of the ribbon to be on the sides of the tray, and then to fold it over the bottom edges so the other half would be on the bottom of the tray. This way the edges would be covered and would look nice and neat, and camouflage any imperfections in my paper cutting.  I used the foam brush to apply Mod Podge to the bottom half (the half closest to me) of each side, carefully pressed the ribbon on as I went so that half of it was sticking up, off the bottom of the tray.

Once I got the ribbon on the sides, I applied Mod Podge to the bottom of the tray, just on the edges where the ribbon would be going. Once again, I carefully pressed the ribbon down all the way around, folding as neatly as I could. After a few minutes of drying time, I covered the entire bottom of the tray, and the ribbon on the sides, with a layer of Mod Podge.

When the Mod Podge was thoroughly dry, I took my cardboard and tray to the basement to spray it with acrylic gloss spray finish. Once dry, I gave it a second coat. This gives it a gloss and gives the surface more protection than it would get with just Mod Podge. I did the spraying in the basement because the acrylic spray smells bad, real bad. It's just like that magic marker smell I remember from when I was kid, only more potent. Outside would have been better, but the can recommends spraying in 70 degree temperatures.

Because I already had Mod Podge, acryllic gloss spray, the frame, and ribbon, this project only cost me 98 cents for the scrapbook paper! When Bethany saw mine, she wanted to make one too. She had some scrapbook paper that she wanted to use, so her tray cost nothing! 

Mod Podge dresser tray made from picture frame and scrapbook paper

Mod Podge dresser tray

Bethany's Mod Podge dresser tray

This was a super easy project, and I'm really happy with how they came out! I think we have one or two more of these acrylic frames, so maybe I'll make a couple more.

I had some of the scrapbook paper left over, so I cut a piece of it to fit some matting and a frame that I already had.

Framed scrapbook paper on the second shelf, next to the pig
On the top of the book case, I have my Philips Wake-Up Light, my Mod Podge dresser tray, and one of my favorite pictures of Bethany and Connor. On the first shelf, I have my trusty box of tissues, an owl votive holder I bought on clearance at Michael's for less than $2 (I'm using it to hold my hand cream and foot cream), an old piggy bank from my grandma, and my framed scrapbook paper. On the second shelf you can see all of my new photo boxes. Notice I am strategically leaving out the bottom shelf; it just doesn't look pretty yet. But eventually it will! It is mostly holding our uncoordinated photo albums at the moment.

I have a long way to go in transforming my bedroom to a peaceful oasis, but I am thrilled with the progress I made today! I don't have any before pictures, but just envision a blue plastic tub overflowing with shoes!

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