When I first moved into my new apartment in September, I was really pleased with all of the things that were included in the apartment: it had a rectangular dining table with three chairs (uh, this part I wasn’t pleased about….why only THREE chairs for a table with FOUR sides?), a microwave, a fridge, and even a queen-size bed (this felt giant to me because I had been sleeping on a futon on the floor for over five years). So for the first few months, I could see nothing missing…..
It wasn’t until about three months after I had moved in that my SO finally mentioned that I could definitely use a nightstand by the aforementioned giant bed. Before that moment, I had been just putting my glasses, book, and phone on the floor just under the bed, but it seemed like they were at risk of being stepped on one morning as I got up for work. I had been happy with my room as it was, but after he said that, I could not stop wishing for a nightstand.
I went on a mission: near my apartment, there are several little second-hand furniture shops. Being cripplingly shy and unable to speak Korean, it took awhile for me to work up the nerve to actually go to the shops. Every time I passed them on the bus, though, I could see the stand that would be perfect for me. Finally, I gave myself a pep talk, put on my adult underpants (as my mum always tells me to do), and went to the shop. Only to discover it was not open. An elderly Korean women that was passing by ended up talking to me (I have no idea what she was saying but I think she was telling me to call the number on the door) and after she left, I nearly ran back to my apartment having spent up all of the ‘conversing with strangers’ energy I had prepared for the day. I went back three times that week and each time, it was closed. After the third time, I did call the number, and the man on the line didn’t speak English but felt that if he spoke in an increasingly louder voice, I would suddenly understand.
Eventually, I gave up trying to buy a stand (which I later realized that I would have to deal with getting rid of it when I leave Korea), and collected some boxes of various sizes that I had around the house, some masking tape, tools, and some type of contact paper with a wood grain pattern, and made it myself. Time to put that creativity to work!
The first thing I did was to reinforce all of the seams of the boxes. I would be cutting one side out of each box, so I needed to ensure that the other seams would hold. After all of the seams were reinforced, I laid the boxes so that they were standing with the short side up; these two boxes would be my drawers in the end. Then I cut the ‘front’ of the main box out and used the flap that I removed and taped it into the inside of the same box. This is where the top drawer rests and the surface that it slides on. It also keeps the top drawer from resting on the bottom drawer. I used a LOT of the masking tape to try to reinforce that panel in order to make sure that I would be able to actually use the drawer to store stuff in.
The main box is actually deeper than the boxes I had selected for the drawers, so I had to include a couple of panels along the back of this horizontal base (not pictured here). These panels stop the drawers from being pushed too far into the base box.
After all of the cutting was finished, and the inner part of the box was also finished, it was time to cover the outside with the wood-patterned contact paper. It was time consuming; I had to unroll and adhere the paper only a couple inches at a time to make sure that the paper adhered smoothly without any bubbles or creases. To save paper and time, I didn’t bother putting the contact paper along the bottom of the base. I was, however, very careful with overlapping the the paper on the top with the paper on the sides. Even though it is just a couple of boxes, tape, and sticky paper, I want it to look nice!
After covering all of the visible surfaces, the final step was to add the knobs to the drawers (surprisingly, I was able to find two knobs at the Daiso). I had to borrow a screwdriver from my neighbor and I had an awl for some of my other crafting projects. A few minutes later, the nightstand was finished! Behold my final product!
What things for the home have you created instead of bought? I would love to learn from all of you! Comment below with your upcycling and DIY successes!
*Note* It was brought to my attention that this creation is not completely eco-friendly. I do fully intend on taking the knobs with me when I move so I can make another nightstand in my new place, but I admit that I did not fully consider that the sticky paper cannot be recycled. I will do better in the future to research my materials before using them.