Problem solver. Hurdle jumper. Creative genius? Maybe.
Ok… I’ve been holding out on this post for a few months and I needed to do it, mostly because I am super proud of myself and I think other people will be able to use the idea.
I bought a giant Ikea Expedit bookcase from the previous tenant in Unit 1 for a steal. I really wanted to look awesome while maintaing functionality but I also knew that I definitely couldn’t afford the expensive cubbie doors from Ikea.
These are each $30. I love them - but it was not going to happen.
So, I sat and stared at this mess of a shelf for a few weeks. We didn’t have TV or internet and I was going nuts in the house without any storage or extra funds to make this look better. We moved in with a bunch of extra milk crates and Rob insisted that these were “just fine” and that they “did the job” and that I didn’t need to “waste money.”
This is an honest photo. I didn't make any adjustments for this photo op.
Then – I had an idea to use the milk crates but cover them up. I googled and found so many people looking for a cheaper solution. Some women fashioned cloth covers for milk crates – examples of that here, but I wanted something that looked more like the real deal. So, here’s what I’ve come up with. Step by step is below and I didn’t touch a circular saw <– bonus points. ;)
I had 9 milk crates and knew that if I cut a 4x4 piece of wood, I could get all of my "faces" out of one piece with just a little extra wood. I didn't need anything fancy or heavy duty either.
I gave this idea to the guy with the circular saw in the lumber department and for an extra $2 and a few perfect cuts later, I was good to go.
We stopped to take some goofy pictures while we were waiting for the paint to be mixed.
Rob wasn't nearly as excited. He still wasn't sold on my idea - and he really wasn't sold on me taking this picture and posting it somewhere for anyone to see it.
The "faces" were going to screw into the front of the milk crate to fully cover the hole in the shelf. You can see how this lines up in this picture. You can also see our dog, Sydney, looking at us like we're crazy.
The "faces" fit perfectly.
We screwed the board to the milk crate - be sure to use some kind of washer too. If I was going to do this project again, I would probably attempt to glue it with some serious putty or adhesive because on the other side I had screws to cover up. The holes toward the center are for the handle.
A little wood putty and some sand paper and all was well - but I think I would still glue these if I did it again.
Before paint - but this is how they will fit!
On all of the others, I decided to paint them before we put on the handles. This is where it was hard to line them up just right. Even though we had matching crates, the plastic didn't always line up the same. In hind sight, I would probably center one knob in the middle of the "face."
So, I got this project almost finished and we decided to move into Unit 3. We never completely finished the cubbies and we knew that we were going to have to get rid of the shelves when we moved into Unit 3 because there was no where to put it that made sense. We ended up selling it to Rob’s parents. His mom runs a daycare and these are a perfect storage solution for her laundry room and the kiddos! Here is a photo of the cabinets getting finished.
Pretty awesome, huh? I spent about $50… but we already had the crates. You can buy those here and here. Happy hacking!