Have you ever thought to yourself, Hey, I have a great idea. Let’s test the strength of my marriage by tackling a DIY project together even though we are lazy DIY enthusiasts (meaning, I like participating by pinning things on Pinterest and he likes watching other people doing the work…on television, maybe, if there is nothing else on, and that’s if we had cable, which we don’t), and then sharing it on the web?
Well, that’s exactly what we did! Spoiler alert: We’re still married.
This year Brian’s taken up a new interest: Nanoblocks. His hobby started in the middle of summer and we put the first few pieces he made in our china cabinet along with miscellaneous things we’ve acquired over the years. But then the super cute miniatures outgrew their space:
I must have been feeling particularly crazy that day, but I went to Ana White’s website and found plans for these cubbies. It looked simple enough and we bought the supplies where it then sat in our garage for about a month before we finally decided to quit talking about it and just do it.
For once we were pretty much in sync with working together on this project. I marked out the notches and Brian cut them on the table saw. We worked on it while the kids slept, and when they were awake we traded off to take turns playing with them.
There were a few downsides. I messed up on measuring, but I did it incorrectly on all the boards except one. We decided to use the slightly off measure and just rolled with it. I think the space inside the cubbies shrank about half an inch, but that wasn’t a big deal.
The other downside is that the wood was from inexpensive fencing or something that was really not worth it. The wood was awful and warped (though Brian claims it wasn’t that way when we bought it) and if you looked at it wrong it broke. We had to cut it wrong and repair it with screws. I made fast friends with the wood putty.
Our time was also spent in our garage with the door closed that night so we wouldn’t disturb our kids, or the neighbors and it was sweltering in there. It’s a miracle we didn’t melt and/or get into a huge fight as trickles of sweat rolled down our backs. Ah yes, fun memories.
Eventually, we got it to look decent enough that if you put some paint on it, all the dinged up Frankenstein repairs would be hidden.
I thought it would be cool to do a watered down paint so that it would show some of the wood, but it looked pretty awful when I finished.
Instead, I painted it with leftover paint that’s our front door color (Riverway by Sherwin-Williams). It looked a lot better after the first coat.
The final result turned out well. I sprayed it with Polycrylic and it was ready to be filled with Nanoblocks.
This is an early morning view with the light on, so the color temperature is a little off. We keep it in the wall between our office and our bedroom. The bottom two rows are kid-friendly Nanoblocks, which means they have been super-glued and cannot be truly destroyed (though not for a lack of trying by the 1.5 year old). The very top shelf is for larger pieces that won’t fit in the cubbies.
After working on building cubbies together, we’re ready to move on to another project with higher quality wood! It makes all the difference in the world.