Category: DIY

How to Keep Acrylic Paints Wet – Retarders

The adhesion test video is in the next post.

This was the chart I kept for the drying tests. Temperatures were around 12 C for those days like I mentioned in the video. Probably around 20 C inside, maybe less (heater is off at night).

Regarding the “watercolors” I know I called them a watercolor substitute, but it’s more like they’ve substituted watercolors for me specifically because they’re slower drying, portable, and won’t crack. But they’re more like something between gouache and oils and yet they have a distinct sticky feel (like warm honey). They’re more opaque then watercolors, but they stay wet longer, and yet they have that tendency to stay in that sticky watercolor stage on paper. My mix is about 1:1, more and they flow too much, less and they’d dry in the box because it’s not airtight (if the box were airtight I could use less).

I also like them because I can paint at the consistency they’re at without accidently over diluting them with water like I usually do watercolors. For example, for a sky, I’ll outline the object, then I’ll go back on the paper and spread the color around with a water-brush there.

One thing I forgot to mention is that you should use professional grade acrylics for them if you want them to keep their opacity. Additionally if you like gouache you can mix in a bit of titanium white with all your colors to make the even more opaque.

I will do a video with them in the future.

Modifying IKEA Andy Drawers

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I’ve had four Andy Drawers (two red, two grey) for years. They’re great. I really like them because they’re really light and portable but at the same time they do have some problems. The first is the dust. This wasn’t so bad before but now I live somewhere really dusty and I had to stop storing any sort of paper in them because they’d get all gross. The second is that if you happened to get the ones with a matte finish (grey), the drawers don’t slide nearly as nicely as with the glossy ones.

Lastly, only two really fit under my desk, I can’t see anything when I go search for something, I bump into them with my chair all the time, and the other two are always in the way when I don’t need them, and too far when I do. So apart from fixing the first two problems I’ve also decided to put them one on top of the other both to save space and fix the light problem.

Materials

2cm Screw – If you’re in the US you’ll probably be able to find the exact same type that came with it, just longer. I got the next closest thing.

Plastic – Thin rigid sheets work best, but I had already made mine from flexible plastic a while back. I’m not sure what this plastic is used for, but it’s sold at the hardware store here.

Steps

Drilling the Necessary Holes

First, decide which is going to be the top drawer. Always be checking before you do anything that you’ve got the right one and in the right orientation(you can tell this by the indents on the drawer guides). Next you’ll need to take off it’s wheels and turn it over. Undo the four screws holding everything together. One side will come out quite easily. The other you’ll probably have to unscrew on of the screws holding the X shaped back.

Original Screw
Original Screw

If you found the right screws and they fit nicely, you’ll only have to drill through the top drawers two sides. If not, once you’re done drilling you’ll have to drill through the corners as well.

Corner Closeup

Unless you didn’t find the right length screw you don’t need to do anything to the drawers going on the bottom. Just undo the screws holding the metal mesh. You can leave the mesh or take it out depending on if your screws reach.

Alternatively if you could only find really long screws, you could drill all the way through the top sides of the bottom drawers and hold everything together with a nut.

Note: I had my dad drill the holes because he’s much stronger than me. They were really really hard to drill. I don’t know what kind of metal these are made out of, but at one point it almost looked like we wouldn’t be able to do it. But it is possible! They weren’t exactly centered but we fixed that when expanding the corner holes.

Attaching the Two Drawers

Before we attach anything you should at least cut the pieces of plastic that go on top and in between the two drawers. Careful they’re not perfect squares. You’ll also need to make some holes in these for the four screws.

Bottom of Drawers w/ Plastic Sheet
Bottom of Drawers w/ Plastic Sheet

Once you’re done (I cut all the plastic all at once a few months ago), put in the four new screws from the top and place/hang the plastic onto them. Now slowly tilt it over onto the other drawers and everything should fall into place. Make sure everything is facing the right way. Now you can screw in everything nice and tight. If you’re screws don’t quite lay flush it doesn’t matter as long as nothing falls apart when you’re handling them roughly.

If one of the drawers is leaning one way or the other, just unscrew the X shaped back and flip it 180 degrees. That should fix it.

You can place the top plastic beneath the mesh as well now. This is the only one really that can be put on at any point.

Protecting Everything from Dust

First Two Plastic Sheets
First Two Plastic Sheets

I had some leftover flexible plastic a while back so I cut them up and taped them above the guides for each of the drawers. I thought I about putting them inside the drawers themselves, but they wouldn’t protect the contents nearly as well and I didn’t have enough to completely cover the inner sides. The problem with what I did though was that the tape kept coming off all the time and the drawers would snag on the plastic. I highly suggest you use rigid plastic sheets if you can. Those you’ll probably be able to get away with just using some tape to hold them in place.

The only thing I could think of that stuck well but could still be removable was hot glue. I know, not the most elegant solution but it worked really well. First I’d glue all along one guide in short 10-15cm segments. Since it was flexible plastic, doing it in short segments wasn’t a problem and I didn’t have to be in as much of a hurry to place everything before the glue cooled.

Once one side was secure then I’d go to the other side and pull the plastic really taught. This is only important for this step and only really along the front.

Plastic Closeup
Plastic Closeup

As of now everything seems to be holding quite well (I’ll confirm in a week which is usually what it took the tape to get ruined). Update: They held up for a few months, but occasionally need to be re-glued. In the future I plan to replace these with rigid plastic so they can even be used as tiny shelves for papers and such, but for now I’m afraid that’d cause them to sag.

Smooth Gliding

When you’re putting the wheels back you’ll have some leftover wheels make sure the drawers get the nice ones so even with a lot of weight they’ll roll around nice and smooth.

Lastly, you might have noticed I flipped the colors. The drawers all now open and close smoothly, not as smoothly as red against red, but it’s a vast improvement overall.

And you’re done!

Not sure yet what to do with the metal meshes I didn’t use. I’ll edit this if I find some use for them. The wheels though are sure to go into some future project or other.

Better Table Saw Push Stick from Scrap Wood

You can also find this post as an instructable.instructable.

I’ve also submitted this instructable to the Leftovers Challenge contest over there, so please vote for it if you like it.


I hate the basic push stick that comes with our table saw. It’s uncomfortable for nearly everything but especially for smaller cuts. I was doing a project that needed long (60cm) cuts as tiny as 1cm and I was going to chop of my fingers off if I attempted it with the included push stick. So in the moment I improvised and made myself a better push stick or as I like to call it, my helper hand, out of a scrap piece of wood. I’m sure there are better push sticks you can buy and I could come up with a few other designs, but this was about a fast, cheap, single material solution, plus you can put some of those scrap pieces of wood from larger projects to good use and you don’t have to worry about accidentally cutting the stick.

The one in my right hand in the photo was the “prototype” I made in the moment out of a failed attempt at some fingers (hence the angle + grooves). I managed to make all my cuts with just that one and the white scrap piece to hold the wood down (so the reverse positions from above), but if I had made two it would have been even easier, I just didn’t have the time. So in this tutorial I’ll be finishing the second one, and making it a bit neater. It’ll get some cuts in it eventually, but the main surfaces on my first one where a bit uneven. Plus there’s less random cuts to ignore.

Skip down to see some examples.

Materials

Wood – You’ll need a piece about the size of your hand and at least 2cm thick. I’m using a piece of MDF (my dad builds MDF cabinets). He always has relatively large scrap pieces like this one that he has no use for. When you grab it your fingers should be an inch of two from the bottom to make sure even with thicker pieces they don’t reach the blade. And then it should be just slightly longer than your hand when you’re grabbing it.

Instructions

Step 1: Marking and Cutting

Starting Block

Starting Block Sections

My piece already had some earlier cuts so I cut away as many as possible. I couldn’t get rid of those two cuts, ignore them. To better illustrate everything I’ve numbered and color coded the actual cuts. I’ve tried two ways of doing this. I think this one is better because it’s smoother. I’ll let you battle it out with your saw if you want to do it different. See the second image for my measurements. This is for a 2cm piece with an outer L 1cm thick, sturdy but not too thick. The small white part will be cut away and the scribbled parts are the areas that will only be cut part way through.

When I say raise the saw high it’s better but not necessary if you raise the saw as high as it will go. This is dangerous. Be extra careful if you do. Regardless you’ll still need it to be pretty high (I think around 2cm higher than the piece at least) otherwise you’ll cut too much.

Edit: I’ve redone the pictures and some of the instructions. Hopefully it’s clearer now.

Cut 1 & 2 (Green & Yellow)

Cut 1

For cut #1 (yellow) raise the saw high and cut until you reach mark #2 (yellow).

Cut 2

With cut #2, hold down the piece as shown so it doesn’t fly anywhere. Cut until it snaps inwards.

Cut 2 Back

You’ll notice in the back, even with the saw raised, you’ll inevitably cut more than you need depending on how high you raise the saw. There’s ways to avoid this if this were a project where presentation was important, but it isn’t, and later you won’t be able to avoid this. Just ignore them.

Step 3: Cut 3 (Orange)

This cut would get cut away with time as you did thinner and thinner cuts, but I cut it anyway.

Set the saw to just slightly less than half the piece (~1cm). It’s better to cut too little than too much.

You can start from the outside with the [width of piece – saw width] then move inwards or do what I did and cut outwards.

Cut 3a

I set the guide to [width of piece – (1cm + saw width)] and made the cut like you see in 3a then moved the guide, made a cut, moved the guide, made a cut and so on adding the width of the saw each time and cut outwards until the section was gone (3b).

Cut 3b

Cut 4 (Red)

Now we’re going to cut the other L.

Keep the saw at ~1cm.

Cut 4a

Copy the 2cm mark in red to the other side. We’ll be cutting with the “back” up. Now cut perpendicular to it until the highest point of the saw reaches the mark.

Cut 4b

Do the same with 4b. You won’t need to mark it because you’ll already have the previous cut to guide you.

When you flip it back around it should look like the second image below. It doesn’t matter that the cut went through to the edge.

Cut 4c

Now to cut that last part off, what I did as you can see in 4c is with one hand I held the piece at about the right height and then with the guide set at 1cm cut in until that scribbled piece fell off. The first time I did this like I did cut #3 but what happens is that since you can’t cut into the little L bit sticking out you have to stop the saw way earlier and then you’d have to cut away at the remaining wood by hand. I managed, but the result was not very smooth. This method although a bit odd is better.

And you’re done!

See the next step for different ways to use them. Ideally you should make two, but you can make do with one and a block or at least one and one with and just the first two cuts.

Use Examples

Here’s some photos of me using them. They’ve completely replaced the push stick that came with the saw for me and it’s also really helped to just have something square on hand when cutting thin pieces where I either can’t put the miter guide where I need it, or it’s too far away. Plus since they’re made out of scraps there’s no hesitation about cutting into them. I can press a piece down over the saw and basically use them as an extension of my hands, greatly reducing any danger when doing otherwise dangerous or awkward cuts.

Pictures From / Used in the following Instructables/Posts

Spider Web Pencil/Tool Holder (Coming Soon)

Drawers that Open to an Angle (Coming SoonTM)

Easily Pour Paint from Small Cans

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Small Update

I’d hoped to have my drawers done by now but they’ve taken longer than planned even though I’ve been working an average of one hour a day for a month, which is incredibly productive given my state. The structure is finished but it’s the little details that are taking a long time. I don’t want to stop posting completely though so in the meantime I’ll be making a few posts about the things I did to make the project easier on myself. These will technically be posted in reverse order that I made them because I only have the prototypes now, I didn’t actually make the finished tools.

Also since figuring out a method to get paid I’ve been working on creating a Patreon, and getting a YouTube channel set up and everything so I’ve been very busy. It’s not done yet, but if you want to support me check it out and/or share my posts.

Paint Cans

We all know what a pain it is to pour paint out. I tried to google to see if there was some sort of life hack for this but found none so I made my own. I honestly don’t even know why we still use cans shaped like they are. I get not using plastic because the metal is probably easier to recycle and more resistant (plus it keeps out light), but surely they could add better lids. This isn’t so much a problem on big cans for me, so this solution doesn’t work for them. With bigger cans you usually need to use large amounts at once and you tend to use the can all at once (say to paint a room) so controlling the amount isn’t such a problem. But with small cans this works great and I’m sure you could modify this to something larger if you find a large enough bottle, or you could pour larger cans into smaller empty ones and reuse them if say you bought something in bulk but only use a small amount at a time.

Materials

Recycle 1 Symbol

Soda Bottle or any Plastic Bottle that has a Recycling 1 – PET or PETE plastic is resistant to most chemicals (mineral spirits, etc) you’re bound to come in contact with if you’re doing art/diy/woodworking (so paints, varnishes, turps, etc). Here’s the PET specific chart because some of them are missing from the next link. If you’re working with other types of chemicals you can check to see what plastic type is resistant to them. This is the most comprehensive chart I found. Great to keep on hand for reference. Keep in mind the substance will only contact the plastic shortly so even if it doesn’t have excellent resistance this will still work.

Scissors/Razor Blade

Calipers (Optional) – Makes it easier to get the diameter of the opening right.

Silicone Caulk/Epoxy Glue (Optional) – To permanently glue it in place.

Steps

First you’re going to want to measure the diameter of the opening of the can. You’re going to cut slightly bigger than that. You can just use the groove in the sealed cap for reference. If it fits that, it’ll fit the can.

Then with the calipers it’s easy to mark this line on the bottle but you could also just cut it by eye and adjust it as you go on.

Cut Cap

Once it’s cut clean the bottle, let it dry if whatever you’re going to be capping does not mix with water.

Place it over the sealed can. It should fit snug against the cap/opening.

Now you can open the can and hold it in place and pour. If it’s a glue or a varnish if you just let it get around the rim and leave it for a day or two it should seal by itself. I’d still suggest holding it, but you won’t need to be as careful. You can do it with one hand like I did below and wipe the cap with the other when you’re done. You cap it like a regular bottle and it’s much easier to clean if it’s a very sticky substance. Update: A few weeks have passed and I finished the can so decided to take it ff, and it actually took some effort, so the seal is good when it does end up forming.

If you want this to be permanent you can glue it in place with some silicone caulk or epoxy glue or something. The can edge should be clean/dry when you do this so it’d be best to do this the first time you open the can. If the substance is very light sensitive you should keep this in a dark place or alternatively cover the plastic cap with a layer of paint or a dark plastic bag or something.

Final Result

Final Result

And there you go! Easy cheap solution, and you can also then use the bottom of those bottles to hold your paint/varnish like so. And with some clean film you can get it to keep for a day or two if you have a small amount left over (depends on the substance). You can also leave your brush dipped in a little bit of turpentine or mineral spirits if you’ll be using it for a few days straight and don’t want to be cleaning it constantly. Basically it’s a great endless supply of disposable containers.

If the cap on the bottle gets stuck you can also just un-stick the entire thing (if you didn’t make it permanently) and just make it a brand new one.

Varnished Chest

I’ve been busy with a big project so in the meantime, here’s the chest again. I finally varnished it with a polyurethane matt (or semi-gloss?) varnish. I thinned it down and gave it two coats. It came out really nice except for in a few places there was extra glue I hadn’t seen and wiped off so the varnish looks white there. You can’t really tell, but it’s something I’m keeping in mind for my next project and others that require a lot of glue.

Before/After
Before/After

Bottle Cap Palette

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Bottle Cap Palette 1

I added a piece of paper so you can see the glass better. I plan on adding contact paper and painting the back gray.

Intro

I think I’ve tried every kind of artist’s palette ever, but none have really worked for me. The best was the typical DIY stay-wet palette (a sponge/paper towels & wax paper in an airtight box), but they all required me to remember to spray them with water every day, the paint would go runny in parts, and the wax paper would start to rip and in general felt weird under a palette knife. I tried a plastic sheet instead of wax paper, but the paint kept less and needed more spraying.

I’ve also tried just using a glass palette (which feels great with a palette knife) and storing away the leftover paint in a little jar (where it mixes to a gray that can be reused), but the pallet had to be constantly spray it so everything was wet enough to scrap off later (dried bits were a nightmare). And I think it only kept in that relatively big little jar because I mixed in a lot of Golden Open medium.

I was seriously considering switching to oils at one point unless I could find/make a palette that worked for me. My only idea was an improved version of the one I had (thinner, better seal, & paint wells that sealed individually against the lid) but it would have been quite hard to make on my own. Then as I was searching around for more ideas I found this palette and I loved the idea of tiny individual containers, but what to use? Most jars I had where to big and all the other plastic containers I could think of were either square (like pill containers), probably not airtight, or had weird grooves (like my contacts cases). Then I saw a soda bottle and this palette was born.

Plastic bottle caps are the perfect size, plus most of them come with a little seal and I didn’t have to buy anything. I tested them during a long painting session (for me, ~3 hours) and they were just perfect. They hold 5-7 ml depending on the cap btw.

They’re technically not doing anything to keep the paint wet, but I can mix more paint than I think I’ll need, either in the bottle cap itself or on the glass palette. Anything that’s larger than a spoon-full keeps wet for an hour or so without spraying. Than anything left over is stored. I still use the plate of glass for smaller variations and mixes, but they tend to be small and temporary. If they dry, it doesn’t matter. It’s a thin layer and can be wiped off usually (if I’m using Open medium) or scraped off after the session. When I’m done painting for the day I just screw the tops back on and put everything away. No worrying that I have to use the paint within 2-3 weeks (which is around what the others lasted), adding an alarm to remind myself to spray them keep them wet, or having them go all gross and runny. They’ll probably keep indefinitely, but just in case I’m currently testing one to see how long the walls coated in paint (with the Open Medium) will stay wet (it’s still wet a week in). They’re also really easy to clean because they’re round. If you’re using clear bottles you can tell what color they are like that or you can label them on the tops/bottoms.

Materials

Some are a different sizes.
Some are a different sizes.
Note the seals on both.
Note the seals on both.

Soda Bottles – Preferably clear bottles. Note that different sizes/brands will have slightly different sized caps. Also try to get the ones that have a seal on the inside.

Plastic Glue Gun – I don’t think crazy glue would hold up well to the humidity (also it fogs clear plastic if you want the bottoms clear), but you could try. I tried model glue, but the paint would start to leak after a few hours. The glue gun worked the best. An alternative might be epoxy glue (update: tried, does not work well, it looks it does but comes off) or silicone.

Plastic Sheet ~0.5mm – I used a piece of white HIPS plastic (Styrene) for model making. But you could use just about anything that you can cut with some scissors. I’d avoid too thin though if you can.  It can be hard to grasp and press to the cap before the glue cools, and when I got it quickly it got really hot and warped a bit. Update: I have since made a lot more of these, this time with thin flexible plastic. I had one of these past ones leak. The rest were fine, but the thinner plastic contours better to the rough edges. First I tried the type of plastic old VHS boxes came wrapped in, but that peeled off, so I bought some transparent flexible plastic they sell at the local hardware store, it’s about 1mm thick. Seems to have worked better

Something to Cut the Caps Off – You could just use a hand saw or a razor blade, but it’s a pain for more than a few bottle-caps. I tried. The plastic is quite thicker where it needs to be cut than the rest of the bottle. I ended just doing a batch of caps with an angle grinder.

Razor Blade/X-Acto Knife – For trimming excess plastic.

Scissors – To cut the bottom circles out of your plastic. This will probably dull your scissors so don’t use your good ones.

Sandpaper – Not necessary if you got the cut nice and level.

Making the Cap Containers

Cut the Caps Off

It’s best to get the cut as close as possible to the lip/edge, especially if you’ll be using a thinner glue. A thicker glue gives you more leeway. Also before you cut them, take the caps off. I made the mistake of cutting with them on and I had to wrestle some of the caps off. Somebody had shut them really tight.

Caps CutCleaning Up

Trim any excess plastic with an razor blade. Sand them if necessary. If you used an angle grinder like I did, the plastic kind of melts and forms these weird layers (I don’t know if you can see one above on the last cap, like a little white triangle). Cut those off if you get them.

Cut off the Safety Rings

Or whatever those are called, so you can have a little window to see your paint colors. Be sure to store your bottle caps away from light unless you leave those rings on and you can’t see any paint at all.

Cut the Bottom Circles

Separate the caps by sizes and then trace your bottle-caps onto your chosen piece of plastic and cut them out. It’s easier with scissors (though it might dull them).

Gluing Them

Using hot glue I found it easiest to put a thick line of blue onto the cap, then press the plastic to it. If you mess up, just wait for the glue to dry, peal it off, and retry. Some glue will seep inside, but it shouldn’t be too much. Don’t try to fix it by melting it to the edge with the gun, it just makes more of a mess. They’re easier to clean if you just leave it alone. Any glue that’s seeped on the outside edge can be trimmed.

Cap Finished

Finishing Touches

I didn’t always place the plastic perfectly center so after I was finished I trimmed the entire bottom edge with a razor blade, then ran the hot glue gun over it to smooth it down (the hot glue tends to lift/stretch or rip instead of letting you cut through it).

Final Result

I’m using them lose now, just resting them on top or by my glass palette, but they could be glued to an existing palette. I’m considering making a line of them with just the main colors I use because I also find it easier to get paint out of them than out of the tube.

Cap with Paint

Another thing they come in handy for is keeping different medium mixes. You can dip the brush in and it doesn’t really matter if you contaminate such a small amount. Same thing with dipping into titanium white.

I also have a partial time-lapse video of the first painting I tested them with. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a comfortable place to put the camera, you can’t see the palette, and I only filmed an hour or two. But you can see I’m mostly using the spray for the painting itself, the other times to dilute a glaze mix on the glass. I only sprayed the actual bottle caps the 2 times I stood up to get something and left them open. You get a fair bit of warning if the caps need spraying. The paint around the edges will start to thicken and dry first, but that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, and the paint inside will still stay wet. You could not spray them at all and just peel off any dry paint around the edges at the end of a session.

Bottle Cap Palette 2

As for my drying test, see the last bottle cap. That small amount of paint (with Open Medium) was still wet after a week, so I think that’s a huge success. Had I done that in any previous stay-wet palette it wouldn’t have lasted more than a day without spraying.

Wooden Chest

Cutting the Boards

No matter how much you plan ahead, there’s going to be some discrepancies so I wouldn’t advice measuring, mark, and cut ALL the pieces at once. Before I cut I took some time to think it out first. I marked boards I was sure I needed cut. I also laid them out when possible to check they fit properly. With recycled wood this can be quite the problem because the boards are often curved to one side or have one face better than another. The extent you can take this planning is usually 12 or 34 of the building order. The rest I tentatively marked just to make effective use of the wood.

I’ll be mentioning my measurements to help keep track and for my records, but most of them should just be ignored.

The Bottom

First I did the bottom 7 boards. They defined the bottom area of the chest (just more in reality). I chose their 65 cm length. But then the width needed to be measured. I settled on 28.5 cm, as the side were just slightly different. Now for the bottom I laid out the boards like this because it provides more strength. So I cut the 2 short outer boards at 28,5cm. Instead of using the confusing long/short terminology I used in my notes I’m going to use outer to mean boards that reach the end, and inner to mean boards that don’t.

Bottom Side Dimensions

Now the long inner boards depend on these two 28.5cm boards. So it’s 65cm – x, x being the width of the two short outer boards (not just multiplying one, but adding both and at both ends). For me that came out to 56.9cm (in this case the same, but for the sides some where a few millimeters off).

The Sides

I had already check that all the side’s heights would be pretty close. So I went ahead and cut the 65 cm boards for the front and back. The shorter sides depended on that first 28,5 cm measurement and the thickness of the front & back boards which thankfully didn’t vary much. I got 26.5 cm.

Next came the borders. I laid out all the sides side by side (there’s a tongue twister) and then decided on a height that would look good on them all. There was a bit of room for error, because unlike the bottom, I wanted all the other sides to have long outer border boards and short inner ones just because I thought it looked better.

Side Dimensions

I decided on 32cm in total. So this would be the height of the box. Note that you have to factor in the thickness of the bottom of the chest. This was so that instead of having to use 8 boards for the sides, I could use 7 because and between the thickness provided by the bottom boards and the space left for the lid they fit in just fine and I thought I was short for wood at the time.

Top Lid - Inside

But I couldn’t cut those short inner border boards just yet. First I had to cut the long outer boards. For the front and back these were 65 cm + 2x, x being the thickness of the boards. This gave me 67.3 cm. For the left/right sides this was just 28.5 cm like the bottom outer short border.

Corners

Here you can get an idea of how the corners fit.

Now I could lay out all the borders and measure the short inner boards individually so that in total all the sides heights add up to 32 cm. They ended up 23-24 cm as shown in the first picture.

The Lid

I cut the final 7 boards for the top at 65 cm. The long outer borders at 67.3 cm. I left the short inner boards for after I put the chest together just to get a perfect fit. They ended up around 22.8 cm.

Putting it all Together

I used 9×20 (they’re in mm here) nails. Just short enough that they wouldn’t go through two boards.

The Bottom

To have zero nails visible on the outside, this is how I put them in on the bottom, with only slight variations of the method for the sides. Blue mean the nails are going in from the inside of the chest. Yellow means going in from the outside, they hold onto the sides. Then the orange ones are for just holding the boards to the bottom border, that’s why there’s fewer of them.

Nails 1

I kind of did these all at once. There was lots of camping, gluing and ungluing. I thought building it would be easier so I hadn’t thought it out as much. But even now looking back, to make the nails invisible like this I would have had to unglue one part at least once, and not using glue was impossible because the pieces would move around everywhere when I hammered them.

The photo was taken a few steps later. In reality this first part just consisted of the bottom border, the bottom boards, and the bottom board for all the sides.

The Left/Right Sides

These have to be done first to be able to connect them to the front/back sides properly at the edges. First I glued the side boards to their respective borders, I started by putting up the bottom vertically and on the respective side because as you’ll remember I already attached the last board of all the sides. With some odd maneuvering, I nailed all the boards to the short inner borders. Here the blue are nails going from the inside to the short inner border boards of the outside and the green are going from the inside to the outside as well but connecting the long outer border.

Nails 2

The Front/Back Sides

I messed up here as well. It would have been easier to first nail all 7 boards to the left/right sides with the nails indicated in yellow (going from the outside in) then attached the border with the nails indicated in blue and green (going from the inside to the outside).

Nails 3

Nails 4

The Top Border Boards

I left these for last because it was very hard to properly attach the bottom borders all level. That meant some of the short inner borders that to be sanded until all the top border pieces were level.

The Top

I finally double checked the short inner sides and cut them. Next I loosely glued the border together. When the glue had set I glued the seven boards to it. As it set I turned the box over and checked that the lid would fit. I left it all like that with the box on top until the glue had dried. Once it was dry I nailed all the boards to the border and it was done.

The Finished Chest

Finished Closed

I haven’t applied varnish to it yet. I decided to just put it to use anyways because something came up and it might be a while before I can buy the varnish. I’m also unsure about whether I want hinges or if they’re even that possible given how I made it.

Finished Open

One’s man trash is another man’s trash.

And here’s all the junk I put in it. It’s mostly just odd plastic parts/boxes/cases that are too big to fit anywhere else. For years I kept all this in like a huge paper bag I had. Then after a move three years ago they’ve been in two annoying cardboard boxes ever sense. I would have kept them there except it’s not so much that stuff is piled on top of each other and hard to get out (that’s always going to happen) but longer tubes and stuff didn’t fit and the smaller the space, the harder it is to use the space efficiently.