As the days get longer, and I look outside to see snow melting away before my eyes, I remember back to just a few weeks ago when the temperatures were sub-zero and we stayed indoors all day. It was the perfect time to get some creative handiwork done around the house, so I tackled a much-needed storage solution for the kids' playroom.
Project #1: Vintage letterpress drawer for dollhouse accessories
Letterpress drawers like this one are not terribly hard to come by if you search antique shops and Craigslist. If you are willing to pay shipping, there are several available on Ebay and Etsy, too. I've seen them anywhere from $15 to $65.
This one was in terrible shape when I found it, with the bottom covered in musty, disintegrating paper, and the back warped from water damage.
After using a knife to loosen the paper backing, I vacuumed out the tiny spaces.
I started painting by hand with a foam brush. Initially I thought I would spray paint, but with the temperatures so low outside, there wasn't a safe place to do it. The brush method probably worked better, anyway, for getting into the small corners.
Then I cut out tiny pieces of scrapbook paper and ModPodged them on to the back of each section. This step took an entire afternoon, but it was nice, mindless work while watching a movie on Netflix.
The previous owner had already added hanging brackets to the back. Now this old shallow drawer is perfect as a shelf for small dollhouse accessories.
Project #2: House-shaped curio shelf for figurines
I enjoyed making the first shelf so much, that I started hunting through thrift stores for other curio shelves to paint and paper. I found this adorable house-shaped shelf at Arc's Value Village for only $2!
I had lots of help with painting this time, as well as choosing the shades of pink paint.
I used more scrapbook paper, as well as some Orla Kiely wrapping paper I found at Paper Source.
ModPodging the paper took much less time because the spaces were so large.
Now this little house holds some of Punky's My Little Pony figurines.
Project #3 Cutlery tray for Angry Bird toys
While I was searching thrift stores for small shelves, I came across some nice wooden cutlery trays that were very inexpensive. I finally had a warm-enough day to spray paint this one in the garage, so I started out with a clean, white base.
I used colored cardstock this time, for a solid blue background. If I make another of these, I would much rather paint the back than use such a large piece of paper because it bubbled a little from the glue.
I was going for a generic Angry Birds background, with a blue sky and green grass.
I used some different, interesting green papers to create a layered look.
The ModPodge around the edges wasn't a problem, because it dries clear.
In fact, I brushed over the entire thing with ModPodge to seal in the paper and give it an even shine.
We added some basic hanging hardware and put it up on the wall. Now the Angry Bird toys have a home when they're not being played with.
Now, the question you may be asking yourself is, can two kids under the age of six keep their toys arranged on a shelf? Well, maybe not. At least not yet. Most days I walk into the playroom to find the shelves empty and all the small toys on the floor. On days I want to vacuum, I'm the one who has to painstakingly arrange everything in it's proper place again. My hope is that making an obvious place for the toys to go will eventually encourage the kids to start taking care of their things.