sand room mishaps :: my attempt at wood working with a steak knife

sometimes i get hair-brained ideas in the middle of the night that keep me awake.  my husband and i call this swirling.

several months ago, i got this idea that i’d build a sand room.  it’s like a mud room, but is really more for sand, since our family tracks more beach sand than mud.

this unbelievably cool and ridiculously expensive Restoration Hardware piece had me in a swirling panic.


i designed plans, volunteered at church to build sets so i could learn how to use saws, and tried to convince myself that i could do this.

mudroom plans by

then, it dawned on me that i was making this way too complicated.  the truth is, i need all 10 fingers, so who’m i kidding when i think i’m going to start borrowing tools with round spinning blades?  c’mon!

so, i found the perfect bookshelf that could be repurposed for our needs.  we need a place in the garage for each kid to sit when putting on and taking off shoes.  they also need a place to stash beach gear, towels, and backpacks.

enter exhibit A.

book shelf converted to hall tree

this is a honey oak craigslist book shelf.  it’s sturdy and is 4′ wide.  i used Michaels’ crates and painted them in Annie Sloan 2/3 Napoleonic Blue + 1/3 Graphite (the perfect navy!).

painted crates

then, using a brush that had previously been used for stain and had hardened, i dry brushed an ASCP French Linen wash.  i knew that this old brush would come in handy!  stiff brushes are a perfect way to create a wood grain.  they don’t grab a ton of paint, and they maintain their lines.  try it!stiff brush and annie sloan french linen wash

the crate on top has the dry brushed wash.  you can see the subtle brush strokes.annie sloan french linen wash over napoleonic and graphite combo

and this is where the story gets good….or bad, depending on your perspective.

i bought bead board from Lowe’s to line the back of the book shelf, which has a flimsy backing.  i figured it would spruce the piece up and provide more support for the hooks i’m attaching.

i measured and gave the guy the exact dimensions.

you know it’s a bad sign when the guy has to get out his iPhone calculator to figure out how to make the right cut.

red flag much?  but i always give people the benefit of the doubt.  sucker!

when i returned home, the wood was 1/4″ too long!  so i tried to make the wood fit.  i pushed on it, kicked it, leaned on it.  and the flimsy book shelf backing punched out.  curses!  now i needed to reattach the backing, too!

so i sanded, and sanded, and sanded.  hand sander, belt sander, mouse sander.  now you know why this will be a sand room.

out of desperation, i got out the only saw i had, which essentially was a steak knife.  and that was so super lame.

so i finally broke down and bought a bigger hand saw.  something about not wanting to spend $100 on an electric saw and my surgeon friend’s comment of “i don’t want to sew your fingers back on for you, meesh!” kept swirling.

i’d really gotten myself in deep.  i sawed so much that i couldn’t move my arm for a week.  and my neck was so uber tweaked that not even ‘minty lotion’ (as my kids call Icy Hot), would help.

but after an hour of my version of twerking (eat your heart out Miley!), the bead boards were finally the right size.  but then i had to take a 2 week hiatus b/c i couldn’t move.

when i returned, i gorilla glued the bead boards down to the newly reattached flimsy backing.bead board secured with gorilla glue

here, you can see my brilliant hand sawed technique.  at least no one will see it since it’s the bottom and hidden by the shoe crates.poor plywood cutting job

i’d like to pat myself on the back for this nice work, though.  lookie here.  some nice miter cuts without a miter box.woodword detail

so here it is before paint and hardware.  bead board lined hall tree

i plan to add a 4′ x 1″ x 6″ across the back to provide more support for the horizontal wood pieces where the industrial hooks will be attached. restoration hardware inspired entry locker repurposed with book shelf

this is just after one coat of paint.  i used a custom mix of Annie Sloan and will provide details once it’s done.

after i get full range of motion back, i intend to finish this beauty!  🙂

stay tuned!




About meesh

Meesh has a passion for people, creative projects, and technology. She enjoys painting furniture back to life, gardening, playing with her kids, and connecting people.