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February 23, 2017

Sprucing Up a Plain Shelf Unit

Got plain furniture prefab/modular furniture that you wish looked a little fancier?   Take this common cube style shelving unit…

BoringIKEAbookcase

With a little creativity, a few materials from Maine Hardware and a littleeffort, you can spruce up even the more boring plain white piece of furniture. Here it is again after a little sprucing…

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First, I decided I wanted to get it up off the ground, so I purchased wooden legs, mounting plates and spray paint.

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Legs and mounting plates. You can get angled mounting plates if you prefer for the legs to be angled versus straight.

Next, I drew a level line around the legs by resting my pencil on an object at the height I wanted the color to end. I tried immediately applying painter’s tape, but found it difficult to get it straight due to the tapered shape of the legs.

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Applying painter's tape to leg, following the pencil line, to protect the area I do not want color.

Applying painter’s tape to leg, following the pencil line, to protect the area I do not want color.

Then I taped the legs to the bottom of a box so that they would stay upright throughout the spray painting process. I used the top of the box to help keep the spray paint from blowing away onto unwanted objects…

An old cardboard box was a great tool to use for a spray painting box.

An old cardboard box was a great tool to use for a spray painting box.

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My little helper reminding you to always be safe!

Then I spray painted the legs, with even strokes back and forth [beginning and ending after the object you are painting]. I did three layers, as to not create drips by adding too much at a time.  Let dry for time stated on on instructions of can.

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While the legs were drying I moved on to attaching the mounting plates…

My helper clearly also felt that the shelving unit needed a little extra design…[Note: do not leave pencils or tools unattended with small tool-lovers around!]

Exhibit A: why we have inexpensive furniture in the first place!

Exhibit A: why we have inexpensive furniture in the first place! Note: hard helmet and ear-pro not required for this project ;)

First I determined where I wanted the legs to be and drew pencil marks onto the shelf unit where the screws would be.

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Next I pre-drilled the holes in the areas I marked with pencil– be very careful not to drill too far/quickly, as the material is very soft. Then I attached the four mounting plates with the screws to the bottom of the unit.IMG_8493

Mounting plates attached.

Mounting plates attached.

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Legs simply screw into mounting plates.

Next I wanted to create a backing to the unit, so I purchased aluminum sheet metal with the Union Jack design. There are handful of different designs and colors to choose from.

Boltmaster 24in x 36in Union Jack Design Aluminum Sheet (11262)

Boltmaster 24in x 36in Union Jack Design Aluminum Sheet (11262)

Unfortunately due to the size of the shelf [30″x30″], I had to buy two sheets and cut them each to fit half of the unit. Luckily aluminum is pretty easy to cut with metal sheers and my design provided a straight line to follow…

Then I laid the sheets on the back of the unit where I intended them to be and made pencil marks at each corner [and in the middle on the long sides] where I intended to use screws to mount the sheets to the back. Note: be sure to line up the sheets and the designs if you want the design to look continuous between openings.

Marking the corners where screws would be used, so that I could pre-drill holes.

Marking the corners where screws would be used, so that I could pre-drill holes.

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After pre-drilling the holes, I began screwing the sheets to the back of the unit. In order to make sure the sheet is taught, drill a corner first and then the corner diagonal to it second. Then drill the remaining corners, followed by the center of the long sides. Repeat for the second piece of sheet metal.

Screwing the sheets to the back of the unit.

Screwing the sheets to the back of the unit.

Both panels screwed to the back of the unit.

Both panels screwed to the back of the unit.

Cube unit after a little sprucing!

Cube unit after a little sprucing!

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