I am so glad this kids art desk made from a repurposed armoire is done. I hope you can follow along with my crazy tutorial below because this is a pretty in depth repurposed furniture project.
The Back Story
Last fall Leann picked up some great items from the side of the road for me.
I used the desk and the hutch to make this awesome coffee station/kitchen organizer.
The third piece was this kid-sized armoire.
One of my favorite shows is Home and Family on the Hallmark Channel. Ken Wingard transformed a craigslist find into a craft and sewing cabinet. That inspired me to do something different with that kid-sized armoire above.
This is the armoire I started with. It’s a little different than the one Ken used for his project. This armoire-cabinet didn’t have any doors, and it was pint sized compared to Ken’s.
In order for the table to fold up, it needed to fit in that space at the top where I’m assuming a t.v. was meant to be. But in the case of this piece, for the table to fold out and reach the ground, the legs needed to be LONGER than would fit in that space. In other words, the cabinet was too tall.
Sooo, I got to do one of my favorite things—saw some furniture!
I was able to remove some of the pieces by taking out some screws. The more permanent pieces were sawed off with my Ryobi Reciprocating Saw , to make the cabinet shorter.
Now, the table that I’m about to build for the space at the top, will be able to reach the floor.
This is still during the design stage. The legs were still too long to fold completely away, however I needed them to be this long to reach the floor. (note: you will notice in later pictures that the piano hinge changes color. I used a scrap piece while designing the art center, and then ended up cutting a long hinge that worked a little better)
I used my Dremel Multi-Max cut out the front facing of the shelf area to allow the legs to recess in order for doors to shut and hide the fold down table. You will also notice I have switched out the hinges.
Look inside the top left and right of the cabinet—you will see I added some “stops” to keep the desk from falling too far into the cabinet while it is closed. Then I decided it needed a shelf, which also enabled that from happening. The table top and the shelf were both recent finds at the peddler’s mall.
I think this is my favorite part of the process—when I paint all the random pieces that then suddenly it all makes more sense because it’s easier on the eyes when it matches. I used my DIY chalky paint primer with a brush and a roller. I felt it was too cold to break out the Finish Max.
In the background, you can see the back of the cabinet leaning up against the fence.
Getting creative to allow the paint to dry.
The next day, it warmed up considerably, and I used the Finish Max to spray the semi-gloss paint. I hoisted the armoire up on some scrap 2×2’s to aid in painting it. The color is Polished Pearl by Behr, available at Home Depot. If you look closely you will see the “old school” way that the table is held in place to keep it from falling forward unexpectedly. It’s a piece of wood, secured by a screw that allows the wood to rotate in order for the table to fold down, or lock it in place.
I found some cabinet door frames in my stash and added some thin plywood to them to make chalkboard doors. I installed the hinges while the cabinet was laying on it’s back. When I set it up, imagine my disappointment when I noticed the doors do NOT open far enough to allow the child to sit on the side of the table. (If you are making this out of an existing cabinet with doors, this shouldn’t be an issue—check to make sure the doors open fully before you start this project)
- Plan B Different hinges (purchased at my local hardware store)
- Plan C still more different hinges (another trip to the store, this time Home Depot)
- Plan D one more set of hinges (dug out of my stash)
Those of you who are regulars may know I’m very “hinge challenged) What’s a girl to do? Contact (in a panic) my best friends at D. Lawless Hardware about some hinges. They shipped me two different sets of hinges (to be on the safe side) Guess what? they didn’t work either. The problem was my door frames were too thick—but you may have already figured that out.
Plan E Build some new doors. At this point I was about to set this project aside and forget it. It was very frustrating to say the least. hmph!
I ripped some scrap 1x’s to fit the opening. I had to cut new plywood for the chalkboards because the others weren’t large enough. It was a simple build using my Kreg R3 Jig to make pocket holes and some Gorilla Wood Glue to give it long lasting hold.
I used my Ryobi Stapler to secure the thin plywood (chalkboards) onto the frames. At this point I was so frustrated and didn’t take any pictures.
One of the sets of D. Lawless hinges worked, still not like it is suppose to, because the front facing of the cabinet is wider than is should be for those hinges. They are 270° hinges, and should fold the doors completely back to the side of the cabinet.
Are you lost? Not only can I not install hinges—I’m finding it very difficult to explain. I hope that if you do this project you have a cabinet that already has doors on it.
So, here is the final result!
I don’t have pictures of the hinge or knob installation. When I say I was sick of this project, I mean I was not in the mood to take pictures. While closed up, it would fit in any room in the house and visitors would have no idea of the magic behind the doors.
The knobs were a Christmas gift from Jamie—I thought they were perfect for this piece. If it were in a playroom, abc blocks would be a perfect touch.
Look at how fabulous it is when it folds down.
It was a an easy project for the most part till I got to the doors, and even a lot of fun to see it all come together.
Even more storage in the bottom of the armoire.
Pretty, practical AND useful, don’t you think? Thank you Home and Family and Ken Wingard for the inspiration for this piece!
See all the details on the art center storage items and the chairs.
sharing here: That DIY Party