I was on a mission… my first DIY project. It was going to be amazing, useful, and completely homemade. Who cares if I never bought wood or screws or nails before? My concept was ready and list in hand. I was going to walk into Home Depot like a boss. And I did. I measured out all the wood I thought I needed, grabbed a bunch of nails and, of course, snatched up a hand saw.
When I got home, my husband was thoroughly confused. What on earth was I going to make with all those materials? And then I told him… A shoe rack!!! I couldn’t contain my excitement. It was going to be perfect. A custom built, under-bench shoe box with two levels to keep all of our shoes neat, tidy, and HIDDEN. It was going to go riiighht under there…
I was giddy. School girl giddy! My first piece of wood wasn’t even cut yet, and I was already patting myself on the back. Live and learn.
Things were moving along. Measurements were taken. Boards were cut. Nails hammered in. Measure twice, cut once. Who hasn’t learned that from HGTV? This girl, apparently. You would think it’s a simple enough concept and easy enough to do that no one could ever mess that up. I was wrong. My beautiful shoe box/rack was too big… I think I was screaming at myself and crying at the same time. Well, there was no way around it. It just was not going to fit under that bench. Now what? There was no way I was going to scrap it!
That’s when it hit me. A long, rectangular box? What else could it be but a toy box! In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best design for a shoe rack anyway. First DIY, remember?
My son, who was 2 at the time, already loved superheroes. If he wasn’t inherently drawn to them, he had two parents who may or may not have smothered him with everything Marvel. It would only make sense to DIY a Marvel themed toy box because that’s what a resourceful, superhero mom would do. Naturally.
So, first DIY project — take 2.
I painted the whole thing blue… Captain America blue. It was perfect.
What next? What imagery to paint onto the lid? Got it! My son has this awesome Avengers towel that includes all of his favorites. Captain America, Hulk, Ironman, and Thor. Their faces were already perfectly positioned for me. Well, almost! I didn’t like how their mouths didn’t line up evenly so I, being the perfectionist-but-completely-NOT-a-perfectionist type person I am, if that even makes sense… I had to move their faces around to my liking.
I sectioned out the lid into four even spaces and drew the faces on. Then it got a paint job… and another… and another… and another! The wood just soaked up the paint. It took 4 coats to finally get the painting where I wanted it. I can’t say I enjoyed that, but I do love how it turned out!
Next, just for personalization, I decided to paint my son’s name on the front. I chose a font on the computer and printed out his name. One letter a page. That was cut out and traced onto the box…then painted… and painted… and painted again.
Almost done!!! I slapped a few layers of lacquer on the whole thing, inside and out. After that, it got put together with some hinges I bought from Lowes and added some rope handles to finish it off.
I am ecstatic over how it turned out! I went to the store ready to make a shoe box and ended up with so much more! The shoes under the mud room bench still look like a train wreck but at least my son has a one-of-a-kind toy box we can all be proud of.
Things may not always turn out the way you planned. Sometimes they turn out better.