I’ve found that whether you’re an experienced or new cat owner, you can never predict the wide range of cat personalities your furry friend might have. As I accustom to my two cats (and seeing my friends’ cats in a new light), I’ve started to pick up on their differences. I even draw cats better now. Speaking of which, here is my very belated drawing of the Cats of Kraftsy Kitties in my very belated blog post:
If you’ve been reading Kraftsy Kitties, you’ve already met Bobo and Otoro. The two of them are a lot more curious than my cat Monticore (Monty for short). Monty is, in a word, lazy. Monty won’t eat or topple plants, jump on your patterns, knock over your hot iron, play with your bobbins…Heck, I’ve never even seen him barf up hairballs or food… (or clean himself, but that’s a different problem).
However, his passive trait of ultimate destruction is also perhaps the worst one: he is a longhaired Siberian…which means one thing: HE. SHEDS. A. LOT.
There is no hope in the world of anything in Monty’s house not eventually getting some hair on it, but I have found a way to turn a simple IKEA shelf into something that can at least keep my sewing machine and my crafts-in-progress a bit cleaner! While trying to find a solution, I came across something called a “craft armoire” in my internet searches. These are quite nifty, and have a bunch of drawers, doors and other moveable doodads that hide your machines and your messes, and protect them from dust:
Awesome, until you see the price tag: over $300.00. Ouch.
However, with an existing Billy shelf from IKEA (half-size or full size), a piece of particle board from your local home improvement store, and some hinges, you can put together something quite decent for a fraction of the price!
On a scale of Beginner to Advanced, I’d rate this project sort of an Advanced Intermediate – It’s best if you have some basic drafting and math skills, and aren’t afraid of power tools. If you happen to have access to a table saw, you can make the large cuts yourself, but most of the time, whichever home improvement store you buy your particle or MDF board from will be happy to cut it for you.
If you can, draw out your plan first. This will help you shake out some design flaws that you might run into – better to run into it on the drawing board than when your garage is a total mess of sawdust and particle board pieces. Here’s my design, as you can see I was pretty ambitious and I ended up scaling back a lot of stuff! Remember…THAT IS OKAY! Don’t get bogged down by unimportant bells and whistles.
Buy Billy shelf, particle board, 2 folding leg brackets, two simple hinges (door hinges work fine), and a small can of white paint – like the $2 sample cans. It’s very worth it to pay a little extra for good quality particleboard. It would also be wise to match the thickness to the shelves that come with the Billy bookcase, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t.
Cut particle board into 3 pieces: table top, and two 1″ legs. (in retrospect, I could’ve gone 2″ to be safe and sturdy). Use a table saw, or enlist the help of your local woodshop/hardware store for a few bucks per cut.
The idea is that the table will be attached to a shelf via hinges, and dropped 90 degrees (perpendicular to the ground) when not in use. This allows it to act as a door, preventing dust and cat hair from layering on top of your open shelving. To make room for the table top in dropped position, I had to trim 1/2″ off the Billy shelves.
attach the table top board to one of the billy shelves. Line up the boards, place the two hinges on the boards where you want them. Pencil in the circles, drill your pilot hole, then fasten with wood screws. Be sure to test your hinge mobility as you go, so all your gaps are even and your movement is smooth.
Step 5 (optional but you’re crazy not to)
I didn’t trust the stability of the Billy shelves’ adjustable holes and the tiny metal things the shelf sits on. So, I got four basic L-brackets and permanently fixed the shelf to the bookcase.
choose a decorative knob and attach to table surface, so that you can open and close the moveable flap you’ve created. In retrospect, you could also cut a little U-shaped indent so you can open the table, BUT you are still left with a smooth table surface when it’s open.
I bought a pair of table hinges that locked in both open and closed position. I attached the two legs to them, and then attached them to the table surface. I found it easiest to accomodate their length by having them fold in an “X” fashion. However, if you do this, be aware you will have to trim the second Billy shelf even shallower because the legs take up more depth.
It sounds complicated and is a bit hard to describe, but the idea of this “craft armoire” is very straightforward when viewed as a photo!
I found that my sewing machine fit perfectly into the space underneath, as you can see in the picture – but these days since I sew more often, I just place the machine on top of the shelf with a cover, and stuff all my half-finished projects underneath. As an even better added benefit, this armoire takes up very little space when it is not being used as a table! It’s like a magical appearing-disappearing craft nook!
Hope you find this post helpful!!!
(Dra-ut-hyllan armoire tutorial cross-posted from my blog at lorelai.com)