Thursday, November 3, 2016

Midas' touch: the upcycled desk organizer

Before you get dishearted by the look of this project: don't!! It's really, really easy and requires very little carpentry skills! 

"Nooo! You can't use that! I need it right now!" "No you don't!" Joost and I looked at each other, hot-headed and both pulling at a corner of what appeared to be a wooden box.

oh my, trouble in paradise....

The object of our *fight* was this little thing:

from now on known as the divorcer.. 

Okay, I may or may not have exaggerated what really happened. But the thing was: this little desk organizer, which has been housing unused keys since the beginnings of time, was needed by both of us.
Joost really, most urgently, needed it so he could place it beside the bathtub as a stand for his laptop, so he could watch some sort of sports game from the bathtub ( this is a frequent thing, I kid you not).  I on the other hand, had grand plans for it. Joost vainly tried to point out that it was his desk organizer, but with my quick response that we our partnership is registered on equal terms, won the fight, and Joost walked grumpy away to the bathtub, with a cardboard box as the replacement for his beloved laptop stand, while I was in for some serious upcycling! WHOOO!

So far for the desk organizer. Enter culprit number two:

The side of a playpen. My mum once bought it at a thrift store, and asked if I hadn't any use for it.
In its life it had served many purposes: playpen, a "puppy door", a towel rack, and most recently, a way to keep the enthusiastic dog of my parents, Benthe, from running away during their visits to our house. And after that last use, it kind of withered away in a forgotten corner of the garden.

But the wheels in my head were turning, especially when -quite by chance- I found out the following:

yeah! you can fit these plumbing pieces on them!! Fits like a glove. Isn't that sweet?

Well, one and one is two, and apparently a desk oranizer and the side of a playpen (and some plumbing elbows) is... a quite epic side table!

My impression is that the sizes of these pins is standard, so I suggest you give it a try yourself.
Here's what I used ( and for once I actually managed to get a complete photo of all materials)

-a wooden desk organizer/ small set of drawers
- max. 8  wooden pins from a playpen/box rack
- 8 plumbing or solder elbows, size 15mm
- 4 plumbing saddles, size 15mm
-very small screws (they shouldn't poke through the wood on the underside, or else your drawer won't open
optional: paint 

I began disassembling the rack ( just a bit of brute force did the trick)


then, I measured the length and width of the organizer. I took about 3 cm of that length ( otherwise your frame will be too big to assemble it neatly). For me, that left me with a length of 30 cm, and a width of 24 cm.

Next, I measured two pins of 30 cm, and two of 24 cm.

and some hot sawing action ensued! for those of you who haven't have any experience: secure your wood as good as possible ( a well placed foot and hand usually does the trick for me: instant yoga!) and before making the sawing movement, pull your saw towards you a few times to make an incision, is much easier!

it does imply that any kind of photo you want to take must be made with your nose.. 

this is what I got:

as you can see: the sticks are slightly shorter than the measurements of the organizer.
The other four legs I left at full length, no need to shorten them!

Now, I would have loved to keep this sidetable in wood colour, but unfortunately, the future legs of the sidetable were too ugly to let them be. So, I grabbed my painting supplies and my trusty black paint, and began painting everything.

hurray for water-based paint!
As soon as the paint was more or less dry, I started assembling everything. Simply pushing the elbows onto the sticks!

C'est ne pas un pipe
I began by assembling a 30 cm piece onto a long one.

to make a flat u-shape:

like so! placing it on the floor helps to ensure it's flat.
If you've got trouble getting the sticks in, it helps to squeeze them a bit with some pliers. ( or squeeze them in another way: smash them with a hammer, let your dog chew on it, or your child for that matter, whatever works for you!;) )

Quickly, I made a second u-shape

and assembled them together with the two 24 cm pieces:

Isn't that neat? the legs already have structural integrity without being assembled to the top, which is really convenient, given the small screws I had to use to screw it all together..

screw this..
and screw that as well!

and, we're finished! yep really, it is as simple as that. Actually; I managed to pull off the entire project, including the paint, before Joost was got out of the bathroom ( he may not be the best reference point in that aspect, but still!)

I think the copper details are quite gorgeous
ready to store all those spare keys in, again..
of course, with some extra plumbing material and sticks, you can add any kind of additions to the legs, just like Meccano!

And the possibilities are endless: different colours, different tops, maybe making the legs entirely
out of copper pipes..

the plumbing material cost about 7 euros, the rest I already had. But both things are available in abundance in every thrift shop for very little money, so the project should be doable for about 10-15 euros.

hope you like it! Love to hear your comments!