Sunday, February 10, 2013

Desk Drawers to Nightstands Rehab

When we moved from our old house into our new one, we promised ourselves we would get rid of our 20-year old dorm-chic home office furniture and get ourselves something attractive and sleek. As we were breaking down my husband's desk and carting it out to the curb, I suddenly realized that the desk drawers had some real potential as actual furniture. They were large and heavy, well-built, and the backs of the drawers- as well as the fronts- were perfectly flat. The image that popped into my head was that of matching nightstands. Back into the house they came, and they, like other things awaiting my attention, have been sitting in my studio ever since. This week, they found their new selves.

This is how they started out.

I believe they had originally been meant to hold file folders, so they were a good size for small nightstands.

They had hardware on the sides to help them roll in and out of the desk, so I removed that and filled the holes left behind with paintable wood putty.

Then they got a good sanding inside and out with my electric palm sander.

Next, it was time to cover them. For this project, I chose some old paperback novels. I picked these books not for their literary content, but for their lovely, yellowed pages. I sliced them out of the book with a sharp X-Acto knife.

The real fun of working with these pages came when I started gluing them to the drawers: they released the old, wood pulp smell of the materials they'd been made with, a smell I associate with many happy hours spent reading my favorite books. I used matte gel medium to adhere them to the drawers, being careful to squeegee out all the excess glue so the pages wouldn't wrinkle or have air pockets.

It took a couple of days to get both pieces covered with the book pages and as I worked, I realized that I like the raw, freshly-sanded look of the inside back and top so I left those untouched.

Next came feet. I purchased some small, matching drawer pulls from my local big box hardware store and my hubby was kind enough to install them.

Finally, to finish off the look I wanted I decided to give each new nightstand a shelf.

I installed shelf supports created from rigid, 1/2" painted foam core, which you can see here attached in the middle of the nightstand.

Then I used more of the rigid foamcore, covered in book pages, to create the shelves.

(I know these won't see much use or need to hold more than a couple of books' worth of weight, but if you're going to try this and want the shelves to carry more weight, please use half-round trim for shelf supports and wood for shelves!)

The tops, because of the way they were manufactured, are off-set from the bodies of the nightstands, and that's ok... once the bed is between them, they will make perfect sense!

Repurpose, reuse, and happy creating!


Bev said...

Recycling to the max. You continue to amaze me.

Nina Lise@Mrs Moen said...

What a great idea! Do you need to apply a layer of varnish too or will the medium be enough?

elle said...

very clever!

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Thx for sharing. The off-set tops will be perfect for bedside (less wasted space for dust bunnies).

I think reusing drawers might also work on either side of a floor bookshelf unit. Maybe use drawers that are not as deep and cut off any overhang of the top that butts up against the main bookshelf. Each drawer could be screwed to the sides of the main bookshelf piece for stability.

Thinking always gets me in trouble though....just adds more projects to my 'possiblities notebook'. 8)

Jeannie said...

Fantastic idea!!! I love the use of the paperbacks as your "paint". Way to go, Judi!

David K Small, artist said...

I have a very creative mind but that would never have occurred to me - bravo !