Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting Crafty: Chalkboard Baskets/Totes for the changing table

I tackled another Do-It-Yourself project this weekend: customized chalkboard totes/baskets for the changing table.  My original inspiration was this basket from pottery barn:
Clearly, I'm not paying full price for anything at Pottery Barn and our custom changing table that Ryan is making for us really doesn't fit small expensive baskets too well.  I knew I wanted more of a "tote" looking item that I could customize and change with the baby's needs as he grows.  It needed to be brown or tan to go with the colors of the nursery and I wanted to jazz it up a bit with something that would tie into the theme of the nursery (jungle/safari in greens, brown and white).  I ended up finding these large and extra large totes at Target that fit our changing table very well (reveal of the changing table coming soon ; )  I picked up 4 large totes and 2 extra large totes.  These were more than I wanted to spend originally, but the color is perfect, they are beyond sturdy, and will not snag any of the little clothes or other things that end up going in them.  This is why I cut coupons and pinch pennies, so I have a little flex room in the budget to afford these things.
Not pictured are the command strips (see below) or a regular piece of chalk.
The DIY project started with these supplies (prices listed after item)
Bought for this project:
  • 4 large target totes (13.49 each at Target)
  • 2 extra large target totes (16.49 each, used x2 20% off coupons, 13.20 each at Target)
  • 36" of Velcro strips (4.49 at Kmart - horrible price, but forgot to get it earlier in the day - scratch this - I found something we already had at home to use that worked much better!) See below.
  • 6 wooden frames (1.00 each at AC Moore)
  • 6 ft. spool of brown and white polka dot ribbon (1.99 at AC Moore)
  • 6 Pre-painted jungle wood pieces (59 cents each, used 25% off coupon, 44 cents each at Michael's)
  • Total: $90.99
Had these supplies on hand:
  • Command picture hanging strips that are removable (already owned from another project, needed 8 packs, 2 per pack, found them at Ollie's, a discount store, for $1.99 each and used a 25% off coupon when originally purchased)
  • Lowe's reject paint in a random green color that I love! (already owned - paid 50 cents) 
  • Chalkboard paint (already owned - paid 3 on clearance - see post here)
  • Vinyl sheet of stick-up wall stickers (already owned, paid 5 for 5 sheets on clearance - see post here)
  • Chalk Ink Pen in White (bought for another project - 4pk. at Michael's 11.99, used 25% off, 8.99 for 4 - see post here)
  • Scissors, Hot Glue Gun, Can of tuna - yes, I'll explain, Pen and piece of chalk (already owned)
  • 2 Foam Paint Brushes (already had - but can usually get a 3 pack for 99 cents)
Considering we're refinishing/rebuilding the changing table, I think we're going to come in under $125 total for the whole thing - furniture and baskets included.  The one in the store we were considering was $550 with a lot less storage and would only make sense to use the first year or two.  Looking at that number (a difference of at least $400)... these customized baskets that can grown with the baby and last in his room for years to come are more than worth it!  And once again, it will all have been made by mommy and daddy with love ; )
Painting the frames and backing boards with paint and chalkboard paint.
First I made 4 circles on the vinyl wall stickies using the pen and can of tuna.  Using the scissors, I cut those out and set them aside to paint later.  Then I took the 6 wooden frames and took the backing off of each separating the backing from the frame (these came out easily, they were just held in by those tiny metal tabs).  I took all 6 backings and only used 2 of the actual frames.  I used the foam brushes to paint 3 coats of green on 2 frames and 4 backings and 3 coats of brown chalkboard paint on 4 vinyl sticky circles and 2 backings.
Frames, backings and vinyl circles after 1 coat each.  2 more coats to go.
After the 3 coats of chalkboard paint were dry (needed to dry overnight) I set the paint using a piece of chalk, rubbing the entire surface.  Then I wiped the excess chalk off so there was just a light coating that remained.  To see a picture of how I did that, view my post about creating labels for the baby's room.  Next I cut ribbon to frame the frames to give it a bit more decorative look.  I laid everything out to make sure it would work before I put anything down permanently with the hot glue gun.  Next I put together the 2 larger frames that had the green border and brown chalkboard backing.  Then I placed 4 command strips each on the larger frames and 2 command strips each on the smaller ones and positioned on the totes following the directions on the package.  (see pic below)  The best part about remembering that I had these command strips is that they will come off if I ever want them to and they were free because I already had them!  They are the kind that you can press and hold with no damage to a wall.  They seem to work well on the tote fabric and will allow me to use the totes for years to come in whatever way I need to.
Command strips stuck to the back of the small frame and tote - they just snap in place and are easily removed!
Practiced laying out the smaller frames before glue is involved.
And practiced laying out the bigger frames before any glue was used.
Here are the final steps:
Peel and stick vinyl chalkboard circles in place on 4 smaller frames.  Hot glue ribbon trim on top and bottom of four smaller frames and on all 4 sides of the 2 larger frames.  Hot glue animals on top of ribbon trim on all frames.  Write message about what is in each basket using chalk ink pen (this thing is a godsend!!! Can't recommend it enough!  And we tried it numerous times, it truly does wipe off with just a small dab of water, but won't smudge if dry fingers touch it - love love love!).  Reposition back on totes and set up in nursery!!!  Can't wait to show you all the beautiful work Ryan has done building and refinishing things for the nursery - I promise, those posts will come.  For now, you'll just have to make due with my little side projects ; )

All 6 frames finished with labels (these will probably change depending on how we set up the room).
A picture of 3 of the finished totes.  These totes are BIG!  So there was no way for me to get all 6 in one picture and still show the detail.  Really fun and relatively easy project.  I think I outdid pottery barn on this one ; )

Next up: Refinishing lamps for the baby's room (again, avoiding the $50 a piece lamps at BabiesRUs if possible ; )

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