Saturday, October 6, 2012

Custom Craft & Art Island

Custom Craft & Art Center Island

What do you do when you find out there is a dumpster full of trash/ thrown away furniture less than a mile from your house?? Get into your SUV and get creative and DIVE IN! Here is a rundown of what I did to turn trash into a wonderful place for my children to do homework and arts and crafts. This island is part of my Mudroom Remodel. Oh and by the way....did I mention this whole island cost me a whopping $6.00?!  Don't believe me??? You should. Read On....

Here is a pic of what I pulled out of the dumpster and brought home. 

A busted up bookcase and 1/2 of a door. 

You may see trash but this is what I saw in my head...

Pottery Barn's : Bedford Project Table Set
Could I build something similar?? Of course I can!

So I got to work.

Here is how I built the island for my Mudroom:

Overall dimensions:

Table top is 47 inches square

Bottom is 36 1/4 inches tall x 39 inches long x 43 1/2 inches wide

The Pottery Barn Table is technically two bookshelves supporting a large tabletop, I knew I could build a similar design though not with two bookshelves, with only one. I knew I would use the bookcase as one end and the door as a flat panel for the other end, but I knew I had to make the flat panel side "sturdy looking and heavy" to balance out the bookhelf. The rest came to me along the way...

First, I ripped the top of the bookcase off. 

Bookcase before.

Ripped top off. 

Then, I cut part of the top off with my handheld circular saw- I think it was about 4-5 inches that I cut off. This gave me the appropriate height for the bookcase side at 35 inches high. I saved the scraps knowing I would do something with those later.

Cut off top all the way around.

Here is what I was left with:

Then, I cleaned out the shelf and got rid of the cobwebs and musty smell by vacuuming and using 409 spray cleaner. 

Then, I used some scrap moulding I had bought months ago for .25 cents a foot at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and added it all around the bottom of the bookcase as my footer. 

Mitered 45 degree corners and attached with countersunk wood screws.

Turns out I still have a ton of this trim leftover- At first I thought I would never use it. But, as Justin Beiber says "Never Say Never".

Now for the door...I removed the "nursery" plaque that was screwed onto the door and cut the door top off to make that side as tall as the bookshelf side...35 inches high. I saved the scrap from that too!

Door cut will become other end of island, opposite the bookcase. 

Now for the top- the "expensive" part of this up-cycle. I remembered I had bought two white mdf panels at ikea for $3.00 each. Not sure what furniture they went to initially, because I picked them out of the As- is room. I knew if I glued them together it would make an awesome tabletop. Don't believe I spent $3.00 each??

Boo- Ya!

Each panel measured 23 1/2 by 47 inches in size. 

So, next I set the panels next to each other on the floor and flipped over the bookcase and door panel. I needed to start adding supports to connect them. I found this easiest by building it upside down. 

I added 2x4's all the way around the piece and connected the bookshelf to one end of the 2x4 with glue and countersunk woods crews and the other end of the 2x4 to the door panel. At this point I added the remainder of the top of the door piece in between the 2x'4's to give the tops something to be attached to. 

Note: the top has not yet been secured to the bottom piece. 

Then, I flipped it right side up. 

Attached with glue and countersunk screws.

On the door side, I added probably what is the equivalent of a 2x3 to make the "legs". I just cut some 2x4's up on my table saw,  and this is what I came up with. I needed something to add bulk and support for the top. 

Then, I used scrap 1x2 trim (technically about 1/2 inch thick) to trim out the ends of the bookcase. And I added a scrap square piece of MDF for a shelf divider on the top shelf. 

Cutting and adding the divider was a PAIN! So I decided to leave the other shelves open. 

Then, I added more footer trim to the door side of the piece. Again, giving it continuity and stability. 

Footer trim. 
Then, I moved the bottom pieces into the mudroom. And brought in the table tops. I knew the top attached together to the bottom piece would not fit into my doorway. I learned this lesson from my King bed frame mishap!

Inside is where I finished the piece. 

At this point I used my Chemrex 948 to attach the two top pieces together. This stuff is technically carpet tack strip adhesive but will hold things together like CRAZY! Thats all I used to attach the two table top pieces together. 
I added a tarp to protect my floor tiles. 
Then I glued the table top onto the frame and added screws through the bottom support I added earlier.

Next, I made letter bins from the scraps of wood I pulled off of the bookcase earlier. I did two small letter bins and two large. I wanted to be able to store homework, books, dvd's, magazines etc. I nailed and glued them onto the door panel side.  

Letter bins made from scraps. 

Then I cut more trim for the bookcase side, I wanted this to look cohesive. 

Every shelf edge has added 1x2 (appx) trim to give a smooth look. 

 Then I filled in holes, gaps and sanded and primed EVERYTHING. This took a while. 

I painted it with leftover paint. The color is leftover from the bottom half of my Jewel Box Guestroom Remodel. It is Benjamin Moore Crisp Linen in a semigloss finish. 

I also sanded the table top and painted the top with a roller as well. 

After the table dried overnight,  I sprayed the whole piece with my poly-acrylic spray to protect it. 

Poly-acrylic by Minwax = Awesome!
I added two stools I had in my basement and added some picture frames, magazines etc. I wanted this island to be VERY practical - notice the diapers and wipes on the bottom shelf- thats how practical I needed this to be. On your way out...grab a diaper. 

Here are some finished shots of the island. 


 And...because what good is a craft and art island without smiling children to use it? My daughter and her BBBFFFF doing homework.... Loving having their own stools and space to work!

Cuties! I love SMART girls!

Hope you love this build as much as I do. Stay tuned for more tutorials from my Mudroom Makeover. 

Drop me a line! 

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Happy building. 



  1. Awesome as always girl! This maybe my favorite yet! I am always wishing I could have the pottery barn stuff that I can't afford. You make it look so easy!

  2. Love this! I think I may have to make a run to Ikea soon. I need a versatile area and I think this might just work for me.

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