A spicy solution

We moved into our beautiful home just over a year ago. Living in a city, we had to be willing to give up certain things in order to get the things we really wanted. We were able to find a town house with a big, bright kitchen with a beautiful view and instantly fell in love. The problem  with our kitchen was the lack of storage and counter space, despite the large floor area.  We have grand plans to renovate our kitchen, but for the time being, I needed extra drawers. This means we had to come up with ugly (but temporary) solutions like a bookshelf we plopped in the kitchen.

I wanted something pretty to brighten up the kitchen and serve as a long term storage solution, especially for the numerous spices that we have. I know you are supposed to buy spices in small quantities because they become less potent over time, but it doesn’t seem to work well in my kitchen.

Having just bought a new home, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I decided to reclaim a small office tower we had but didn’t really use. This is the Helmer office drawers and is made by Ikea.

This Ikea Helmer shelf is pretty well build but very boring.

I took off the handles, which were functional but pretty ugly. I bought some pretty fabric to decorate the front of the drawers. I am not a huge Mod Podge fan, because I don’t like the mess and the results, typically, but it seemed like the tool for the job.

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I’m a sucker for pretty fabric.

I cut the fabric so that it would cover the face of each drawer plus the edges; I couldn’t see the fray of the fabric when each door is closed. The Mod Podge protects the fabric pretty well, so you don’t need to worry too much about the fabric fraying or getting dirty.

Adding Mod Podge to the face of the drawer. Euch. Notice the newspaper?
Adding Mod Podge to the face of the drawer. Euch. Notice the newspaper?

Once the fabric was cut, I spread a layer of Mod Podge on the face of the drawer using a foam brush. Before it had a chance to dry, I placed the fabric on top and then spread another layer of Mod Podge. I let this dry for two days, just to be certain. I live in a humid climate and didn’t want to ruin the finish or glue the drawers together.

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Another layer of Mod Podge: Try to smooth it out the best you can, but don’t worry too much. Any streaks shouldn’t be visible over the texture of the fabric.

Once dry, I bought found six beautiful bird handles (for way too much money) and drilled holes in the center of each drawer. The fabric covered the old holes, so I didn’t worry about them. A tip to Canadians looking for these handles, make sure you buy the bolts with them. I didn’t, thinking it would be easy to find in the local hardware store, but it turned out they were uncommon in Canada. I ended up re-tapping the holes and buying different bolts.

Bird drawer pulls were hard to get shipped to Canada, but they were worth it.

Once I had the drawers back in, I needed to trim the fabric around the edges to ensure it slid in and out a bit better. I even took out a file to reduce the amount of Mod Podge on the sides. If you’re really stuck, you can try rubbing the edges with wax.

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Despite my reservations, it turns out Mod Podge is actually pretty good for fabric on metal. One great thing about this project is that all of the character is in the handles and the fabric, so it is completely customization. It’s been over a year now, and it still looks sparkly new.

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Here is the final product in all its glory.

If I were to do it again, I would try to stagger the fabric cuts so it didn’t look like I tried but failed to line up the pattern.

Here is a peek at the inside. I spray painted the lids of mason jars with chalk board paint and use a chalk marker. If you try this, use regular chalk instead, because the combination of “chalk” paint marker and spray paint chalk board on metal lids don’t work. If you look closely, you can see the original sharpie label showing through the white and I can’t rub off the chalk marker.

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I’m not on the “Mason Jar” train, but these were perfect for the Helmer drawers. Next, I need to figure out how to improve my hand writing…

Sneak Peak

Here is a bonus peak at my current knitting project:

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