In the Corner

Wow-eee.  Life is busy, no?  Places to be, things to do, people to see, thoughts, more thoughts, kids, more kids, throw in a cold or four…add yours to the list because I’m sure you can relate!  That’s why posting around here has been minimal the past few weeks and why the project I’m about to tell you about has been in-progress for a month now and still isn’t finished.  You see, we’re on a mission to re-organize our laundry room.  I’m not sure why this whole process started…it might’ve been the annoyance of looking at this to long:photo (7)
The corner in question.  It’s organized ‘per-say’ – drawers full of painting supplies, spray paint, tools, paint chips - but overall it’s just a big heap of random stuff that’s really not the most aesthetically pleasing sight we ever did see.

Enter this big lug:
I found him at Goodwill a month ago.  At $19.99 his tall, dark, and not-so-handsome physique was just what we needed to take that corner of the laundry room to the next level of organization.  We removed the built-in lighting and also ripped out the top shelf, as it didn’t extend all the way to the back of the cabinet, in order to replace it with a few more shelves and left the bottom opening as it was because it’s the perfect size to accomodate our shop vac.

The plan was to paint him white before we put him in his place.  So first things first, I wanted to make him a little less country and a lot more modern by filling in the scroll work and decorative holes.

To do that, I used a plastic putty knife with this Elmer’s wood filler that we picked up from Lowe’s:
IMG_5073 I’ve used it before (to fill in holes in this desk and this dresser and cracks in this loveseat) and have been really happy with it.  It dries nice and hard without cracking.  However, it doesn’t sand down to a very smooth finish so I usually use it in conjunction with spackle.  More on that later.
Side note:  For the loveseat, I used a tube of the wood filler and when I went to use it for the desk, I found it had hardened near the opening, even though I had the lid screwed on nice and tight.  So, since the stuff towards the other end was nice and soft, I cut off the top of the tube and pulled from there, taping the opening off and storing it inside a plastic bag for extra protection against drying.
photo 2 (8)
Hoewever, when I pulled it out again for this project, the whole tube was hard and unusable so we that’s when we purchased the tub of filler, hoping its fate will be the opposite.  I’ll keep you updated but so far, so good (This just in!  Kelly told me she puts saran wrap over hers before she lids it and it keeps hers nice and nothardened!  Thanks for the tip Kelly!)

To fill in the scrolls and holes, I scooped up a large chunk of wood filler and spread it over the holes like I was buttering bread, making sure I pressed it in enough that it filled the entire area.  Then I drug my knife across the surface, scraping off excess.  When you do this you don’t want to scrape off all the excess.  There should be more filler than you need over your filled areas, sort of like a miniature hill.  You’ll make everything smooth and level by sanding the dried excess off later.  Make sense?  Here’s what the top of the cabinet looked like after I was done filling:
photo 1 (8)

So, after everything was filled and dry (since the holes were pretty deep, I waited a whole 24 hours to ensure the filler was completely dry), I went over it all with a fine-grit sanding block to remove the excess and level the surface as well as I could.
photo 4 (5)

I mentioned above that I like to use spackle in conjuction with wood filler.  Wood filler has fibers in it that make it unable to be sanded down to super smooth surface.  So, using this spackle and a metal putty knife (our plastic putty knife has some tiny divots on the edge so metal was better to get a smoother finish)…
photo 2 (7)
…I went over all the areas I had filled with the wood filler using the same technique, only with spackle.
photo 3 (5)photo 1 (7)       
After that was dry (I spackled in the morning and it was good and dry by late afternoon), I got out the fine-grit sanding block again and sanded everything until it was smooth and level.  After wiping it all down with a damp rag to get rid of any sanding dust, I was ready for paint.
photo 5 (2)

The cabinet front, bottom, and shelf are solid wood; the sides are particle board.  The wood parts had a few large knots which tend to bleed through latex paint (so I’ve read).  photo 5 (1)

To keep them from bleeding through my handiwork, I brushed a thin layer of oil-based primer over them first.
photo 4 (4) 

Once those areas were dry, I primed the rest of the piece with some Kilz primer.  I reminded myself over and over to take pictures of the cabinet primed before I painted but still forgot.  Not a huge deal but just know that when I prime, I just make sure everything is covered.  Primer will probably always be splotchy and that’s ok.  Next up was paint.  It took me three hours on four different nights and naptimes to prime the cabinet so I opted to spray paint the cabinet with its final layer of latex paint.  Not canned spray paint though.  Some good friends of ours offered to let me use their paint sprayer so I used some basic white latex we had on hand (by Olympic).  This
Graco paint sprayer is what I used to spray on the paint.
graco sprayerIt was really cool to be able to borrow it so I could get a feel for how paint sprayers work and whether we should invest in one.  It definitely took me more time to set up and learn how to use it than it did to paint.   However, I apparently have a lot more learning to do because one side of the cabinet turned out really drippy…
photo 1 (6)
I either added too much water to my second round of paint or painted too close so next time I’ll have to pay attention to those two things to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I painted the cabinet outside and while it was drying, there were some things to take care of in its corner:
photo 2 (5)I wanted to paint the doorbell white (like I did our other doorbell), spray paint the electrical box white so that it’d blend in in with the back of the cabinet, and touch up the wall paint where we removed an old key box.

To spray paint the electrical box, I simply protected the area around it by taping pages of a magazine (thank you Franciscan Way) to the surrounding wall.
photo 3 (3)

Then I primed it with Rustoleum’s Clean Metal primer and spray painted it white.
photo 4 (3)

Then in went the cabinet!  We have yet to cut out a hole in the back so that we can access the electrical box without having to pull the entire cabinet out from the wall but so far so good!

Like I said above, we’re not done yet.  There are still a couple more things we want to do before everything gets put back and organinzed and those things started with a bang last night in the form of a DIY fail.  Stay tuned.

Also, a sneak peek!  The french door leading from the kitchen to the laundry room is becoming a reality…slowly!  We used an old wood door we found at ReStore, cut out the middle (which is now on top of the washer and dryer working as a countertop), and hung it!  I managed to prime it while I primed the cabinet but that’s all the farther we’ve gotten.
We would’ve had it finished a few weeks ago but the glass insert turned out to be more expensive than we thought so we had to postpone in order to save up.  A typical step in the life of budget-ridden folk, I guess.  :)  All the details on how that all went down up to come hopefully soon.

And that’s all she wrote…so far!  We’re moving the kids rooms around today which means that Sebastian is going to his own room and the girls are moving to another.  I’ll be crying out of sadness that they’re getting older and smiling out of happiness that I won’t have to tip-toe around my own room anymore to avoid waking a sleeping boy, all while I move furniture this afternoon.  What are you up to?  Any projects that have been in-progress for quite some time now or are you pretty good at starting and finishing without too much time in between?  Any paint sprayer users out there?  Any secrets or tricks I should know?  Spill ‘em!  I need to make this relationship work!  :)

Have a great Tuesday!


  1. Hey! I've had the same issues with wood filler-- as of now, the best tip I've learned is to cover the tub with saran wrap and then put the lid on. No idea why it works, but it does! Hope it helps-

    1. Thanks for the tip Kelly!! Marrying the tub with some saran wrap right now... :)