In my small Brooklyn apartment the bathroom is really tiny and narrow. There’s zero storage or counter space, so I decided to create something to help with my storage problem — a modular shelving unit made from bamboo drawer organizers. The great thing about the drawer organizers is that they come in a variety of shapes and sizes that you can use for storing all kinds of objects in whatever way suits your space and needs. Imagine making your own for your kitchen to store and display spices and teas, or in your hallway to organize your keys, sunglasses, loose change and wallet.
I designed my own unit so that some of the drawer pieces are adhered together with wood glue, but a few are left freestanding, to rest upright on the shelves — in my bathroom we use cups for q-tips, cotton balls and our collection of essential oils that until now has been almost inaccessible in a storage box. I’ve also added small cup hooks to display a few of my favorite necklaces.
Now I walk into my bathroom and feel so proud looking at this custom shelving unit, and I just love the subtle pops of color and pattern with the addition of a painted stencil. There are so many ways to adapt this DIY to your small-space needs, and I would love to see what you come up with.
- Bamboo drawer organizers
- Wood glue
- Sponge brush
- Stencil adhesive spray
- Multi-surface paint
- Drill and screws
- 1/2 inch cup hooks
Play with composition. Use a variety of drawer organizer sizes and place them on the vertical and horizontal to find an arrangement that will work well for your space and needs. Try adding the objects you intend to store to make sure the arrangement works.
Step 2 :
Adhere pieces together. First, sand the areas that will be adhered together. Using wood glue and a sponge brush, lightly coat both sides of the wood with a thin layer of glue and clamp the pieces together. Wipe away any excess glue. Follow the directions for your glue and allow to fully dry. The smallest drawer organizers were left loose, so that I could easily remove the pieces to restock q-tips and cotton balls. While I waited for the glue to dry I added a bit of pattern to these pieces in the next step.
Step 3 :
Decorate with a stencil. There are a few tricks to getting a good impression with a stencil. First, use a stencil adhesive spray to keep your stencil in place as you work. Without the adhesive the stencil can easily slip and smudge. It’s lightweight and repositionable. Next, use a round sponge brush with a light touch. Dab the brush in paint and blot until there’s a light, even amount of paint. Lightly dab to apply the paint starting with a very light layer of paint and slowly build up the opacity. If the sponge brush has too much paint, the paint will bleed under the stencil. Stencil around the drawer organizer. Let dry.
Note: The exact stencil I used can be found in this book, Stencil 201 by Ed Roth; a similar one can be found here by Stencil1.
Step 3 :
Prep to hang. Once the glue is completely dry, drill holes large enough for the screws to fit through on each side of the shelving unit. I propped the shelves up on boxes and drilled straight down.
Step 5 :
Hang wall shelf. Place the wall shelf where you’d like to hang it. Use a level to make sure it’s straight and mark the holes that were drilled in the previous step. I used one wall anchor and the other screw lined up with a stud. Line up the wall shelf and drill or hand screw the screws in place.
Step 6 :
Make it yours! Display your essentials on your shelves, like cotton balls, q-tips, and oils. Add small cup hooks to display and organize jewelry. To install the cup hooks, drill a guide and hand-turn in place.