Category: BEDROOM

WATCHES + RANKS: A GIFT FOR HIM

Need a gift idea for the man in your life? Learn how to make this custom storage box ideal for housing military ranks, watches, cuff links, and jewelry.


This post contains affiliate links. The affiliate links are provided for your convenience to recommended products and to help support the Navy Home. For more information, please see my disclosures here.


My husband, Chris, was on his first deployment when I made this military rank box for him. I wanted to make something special as a gift for when he got home and had come up with the idea several months before he even deployed. However, I chose to play it safe and wait until he was away to work on it so he wouldn’t accidentally find it!

After commissioning, he had been talking about needing to get some sort of box to store his ranks in. His solution, or at least the temporary one, was a plastic CD box… total guy move right there. I knew that wasn’t going to work because I wanted his ranks to have a special place for two different reasons. Not only will the contents of this box signify the time he spent serving our country, but it will also house the ranks my mother passed down to him from one of our fallen, LTJG Cole Patrick O’Neil. You can read more about why these ranks play an integral part in our story, Tragedy Turned to Treasure, in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families.

He was ecstatic when I gave it to him and I somehow managed to not spoil the surprise the entire time he was deployed. This rustic rank box was honestly the most exciting gift for me to give to my husband; it was sentimental for both being handmade for him by his wife and for what resides inside.

Not only would this be the perfect gift for military ranks, it is also great for a men’s watch and jewelry box! This really was a fun project! Continue below for the tutorial!


MATERIALS

  • Unfinished Wood Jewelry Box w/ Glass Top
  • Box Knife + Sandpaper (if removing some dividers)
  • Painters Tape (if laser etching glass)
  • Wood Stain (<< Highly recommend this one in Special Walnut! *See instructions below for more info.)
  • Staining Rag
  • Gloves + Mask
  • Black Peel & Stick Craft Felt
  • Polyester Fiber Fill
  • 1/4 Yard of Fabric
  • Ruler
  • Needle + Thread
  • Sewing Machine (optional)
  • Glass Engraver (optional)

GLASS ENGRAVING

If you plan to get the glass engraved, begin with this step first and remove the lid from the box. I was in college studying architecture when I made this project for my husband; therefore, I had access to a laser cutter within the architecture wood shop to laser etch the glass for me. Some architecture colleges allow non-students access to the laser cutter for a fee in addition to completing a safety test.

If you have a very steady hand or want a handwritten look, you could try a handheld diamond-tipped engraver, but be sure to practice on a scrap piece of glass first! Otherwise, you could go to a glass engraving shop and have them professionally engrave the lid.

NOTE: If a laser is being used to etch the glass, cover the wooden edges of the lid with painter’s tape. The tape prevents the wood from getting any burn marks.

UPDATE: If you are not sure how to go about getting the glass engraved, feel free to send me a message or comment below and I would be more than happy to help! A friend of mine actually has a laser cutter and may be able to help us out!


REMOVE DIVIDERS

Before applying the stain, remove any wood dividers in the box that might be in the way for what it is meant to store. For example, I removed one divider on the right side of the box to create a larger space for Chris’s shoulder boards to fit in. You may want to do the same if watches are going to be stored in the box.

Be very careful when removing any of the dividers – you don’t want to break the ones you want to keep! Use a box knife to gradually wedge down between the pieces. I admit this is when my dad stepped in to help. I needed some pure manpower because the dividers in my box had been, what I believe to be were, industrially adhered together!

Once the pieces are detached, use the box knife to shave down any glue or wood residue to get a flat surface. Sand the area if necessary to achieve a smooth finished surface.


WOOD STAIN

Select your color of stain and remove any hardware from the box and lid. At the time, I had used Minwax Special Walnut, but would now highly recommend using this ECOS Paints Special Walnut. This wood stain is specifically meant for crafting projects such as this and is non-toxic, zero VOC, and no odor! All of which is a huge bonus for me considering I would always get migraines after working with conventional paints and stains.

Use your staining rag to apply the stain to the exterior and interior of the box. Apply additional coats until you reach the desired color and allow for adequate drying time between each coat.

I decided against applying polyurethane since the box will not come in contact with anything that would require it to be sealed. Also, I loved the unsealed look that the special walnut stain gave the wood; the color has a dry and slightly weathered vintage look.

Again, the Craft Stain by ECOS would have been ideal for this project because it incorporates a top coat resin that gives a subtle sheen and eliminates the need for a top coat altogether.

NOTE: Read all the directions on each product before use. Remember to stir the stain before use, do not shake. Always wear a mask and gloves when applying stain or polyurethane along with working in a well-ventilated space. A well-ventilated space creates a cleaner workspace to breathe in and faster drying time.


FELT LINING

Use a ruler to measure the interior surfaces you want to cover with felt while taking into account the thickness of the felt. Cut out the felt pieces, remove the paper backing, and adhere the felt inside the spaces. The peel and stick felt makes this quick and easy!


FABRIC CUSHIONS

Add 1” to both the length and width measurements of each space to get the dimensions for your cushions. This 1” addition accounts for ¼” seam around and ½” extra material both ways to make your cushions fluffy.

Cut two pieces of fabric for each cushion and lay them face-to-face. Hand stitch or use a sewing machine to sew your ¼” seam around. I did not have my sewing machine at this point and chose to hand stitch the cushions.

Leave a 1” opening and pull the fabric through the opening to turn the fabric correct side out. Fill the cushion with polyester fill to the desired thickness and complete your seam across the opening.

Place the cushions in their cozy spaces and reattach the hardware onto the box and lid.


You’re done! Whether you made this for a service member to store his ranks or a husband to store his watches and cuff links, you now have a handmade gift any man is sure to love!

We would love to see your completed project! Tag @TheNavyHome or #TheNavyHome on social media to share your project with us!


Thanks for following along! Happy Crafting!

Filed under: BEDROOM, BEDROOM, BEDROOM + BATHROOM, FAMILY + OFFICE, OFFICETagged with: , , , , , ,

EASY DIY CUBE STORAGE TO ORGANIZE KIDS CLOSETS

Learn how to easily build a custom cubby organizer for your baby, toddler, and kids closets! Storage dimensions are an ideal size for a variety of favorite toys and helping little ones easily place bins inside the cubbies!


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosures here.


It all started after we moved into our new home and toys were everywhere! I had this beautiful picture in my mind of our toddler’s closet being perfectly organized, where every toy had a place and that place was not the floor. Not only for the aesthetics, but for the functionality as well.

Did you know kids play with their toys more when they are neatly organized and visible? It’s true, and when every toy has a place, kids are able to learn to keep their toys picked up at a younger age. Little ones are able to then know this is their toys “bed”, so to speak, and can start putting them back in their proper places without you even having to show them!

I witnessed this firsthand when I organized the toys in our game room for the very first time. It was amazing and clean for all of ten seconds until our toddler got ahold of the toys. BUT once he was done playing, believe it or not, he actually put everything back in its place without me ever saying a word or even showing him!! No joke, he even lined his four cars up in front of the race track like I initially had them! We are talking he is two years old and already organizing! Mom level: pro.

I totally get that you can find these cube storage units everywhere, but nothing seemed to work just right for our sons closet. His closet is one of those with the French doors and a foot or so of extra space beyond the door frame on each side.

OUR CRITERIA:

  • Cubbies had to fit mostly within the door frame for easy access – preferably not in the tucked away corners of the closet if possible.
  • If in the closet corners, there needed to be enough space to easily get bins in and out of cubbies.
  • Needed to fit our son’s favorite puzzles (<< love this entire collection) and tall books too, like this one (<< and this collection, too).
  • Needed to fit at least one hamper in the corner of the closet for extra, out of the way storage.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well here is the kicker, the cube bins come in 11” squares or 13” squares, which in turn means the storage units themselves are made in the same dimensions. Turns out the 11” cubbies were too small to fit the puzzles and some books, but the 13” cubbies were too large to fit in his closet. The closet isn’t deep enough to even get the larger bins out of the unit, resulting in us needing 12” cubbies. *face palm*

Not only did we need the dimension in between the ones readily available, we also wanted to maximize the storage space by having cubby units on both sides of the divider in his closet. Meaning we would need a 2 unit system and a 6 unit system… now we are really getting too specific for what is offered in stores. So what were we to do? Break out our tools and get to building!

I have to admit, we were pretty proud of ourselves with how these turned out! Chris even said he thinks this has been our best work yet in terms of craftsmanship! Precision for the win!

Let’s get to learning how to make these awesome and ridiculously easy closet cubbies!


SUPPLIES

NOTE: Supplies listed below are to make both a 6-CUBE and 2-CUBE Storage Unit.

  • (5) 1x12x6 Project Boards
    • You could use 3/4″ plywood or MDF. We preferred to use solid wood.
  • 1 1/4” Screws
  • 1 1/4″ Kreg Screws
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Kit
  • Right Angle
  • Miter Saw (Could use Circular Saw or Table Saw)
  • Drill
  • Sander + Sand Paper (<< This inexpensive sander gets the job done.)
  • Wood Filler
  • White Caulk + Caulk Gun
  • Caulking Tool/Smoother (<< This tool works like a charm!)
  • Primer (<< This one is Greenguard Gold Certified!)
  • White Semi-Gloss Paint (<< Our new go-to paint brand!)
  • Brush
  • (2) Paint Pans
  • Stir Sticks
  • Tape Measure + Pencil

CUTS

6-CUBE: Using the 1x12s, cut (3) 37.5″ pieces, (2) 26.25” pieces, and (4) 12″ pieces.


2-CUBE: Using the 1x12s, cut (2) 24.75″ pieces, (2) 13.5” pieces, and (1) 12″ pieces.

ASSEMBLE FRAME

Due to potential variations in cuts or any warping in the wood, we recommend assembling the frame work first before installing the cubby dividers. This way you can play around with placement to determine which dividers fit best in which location.

6-CUBE: Using the (3) 37.5″ pieces and the (2) 26.25″ pieces, use 1.25″ screws to assemble the frame as illustrated below.

2-CUBE: Using the (2) 24.75″ pieces and the (2) 13.5″ pieces, use 1.25″ screws to assemble the frame as illustrated below.

NOTE: Use right angle to ensure 90 degree corners.

Overall dimensions of the frames shown above.

Use (3) 1.25″ screws on both sides of the unit for each horizontal board. The middle screw helps to correct any warping in the long pieces of wood.

POCKET HOLES

In order to minimize the amount of wood filler needed to fill in holes, we decided to go with as few pocket holes as possible.

6-CUBE: Set the Kreg Jig for 3/4″ material thickness (1.25″ Kreg screws). Using (2) of the 12″ pieces, drill pocket holes 2″ away from the sides along the top edge.

2-CUBE: No pocket holes are needed on this unit.

ASSEMBLE CUBBIES

6-CUBE: Evenly space all (4) 12″ pieces inside the frame with 12 inches on either side of each divider. At this point in assembly, you may have to swap divider pieces around to determine the best fit based off of cuts and any warping in the wood.

As illustrated below, drill (4) 1.25″ screws through the top of piece A, the underside of piece B, and the underside of piece C. Screws should be placed 1″ from the sides of unit. In the pocket holes, drill (4) 1.25″ Kreg screws into the underside of piece B. The pocket holes are placed 2″ from the sides and therefore the screws will not collide with the screws already inserted at 1″ from the sides.

2-CUBE: Place (1) 12″ piece in the center of the frame with 12 inches on either side. As illustrated below, drill (2) 1.25″ screws through the top of piece A and the underside of piece B. Screws should be placed 1″ from the sides of unit.

NOTE: Use right angle to ensure 90 degree corners.

Our son was all too happy to see mommy and daddy making these cubbies for him! Needless to say, he wants to use them as a personal jungle gym rather than a storage unit in his closet.

FILLER + CAULK

Fill in all screw and pocket holes with wood filler. To hide the location of the screws, we drove all of the screws in just below the wood’s surface and filled with wood filler. Next, caulk all seams and use the caulking tool for a professional finish as shown below.

When we first tried using caulk in our house on base, we just used our finger to smooth the caulk line… let’s just say, it was nothing to brag about. Needless to say, we are not professional caulkers, but we sure feel like pros because this tool made all the difference! Now THIS craftsmanship is something to brag about! Seriously, the caulking tool is so easy to use and the results are amazing!! Plus, we both agree it is fun to use! We highly recommend!

NOTE: Keep in mind that these products can contain VOCs and is recommended to wear a mask/respirator and gloves while working with these products.

Allow adequate drying time for both filler and caulk before moving onto painting.

PRIME + PAINT

Sand down any necessary portions, including areas where wood filler was used, to get smooth surfaces and dust off any sawdust.

TIP: Lay clean scrap 2x4s on top of trash bags or newspaper on the floor. Place the assembled storage units on top of the 2x4s. The 2x4s help to keep the floor covering laying flat while a fan is blowing and preserves the fresh paint on the storage unit. If the project piece sits directly onto the floor covering, newspaper and dried paint drops on trash bags can stick to the bottom of the project piece.

Open and stir the can of primer with a stir stick. We used this primer, but had we found ECOS Paints sooner, we would have used this one! Pour a small amount of primer into the paint pan and start painting. We ended up doing two coats of primer to make sure we had good coverage to seal the wood and prevent the wood knots from staining the paint. Allow for adequate drying time between coats and before you start painting.

TIP: It is recommended to always pour out small amounts of paint into a paint pan as needed, and not to dip directly into the products bucket. This is good practice to ensure shelf life and quality of the leftover product.

Notice the 2x4s and trash bag configuration below the unit as explained above. This is definitely my new technique when finishing projects!

TIP: Apply thin, consistent layers of primer and paint. Excess paint will result in visible drip lines. Work at a good pace and always clean up the edges or excess paint while applying, as shown above.

Once the primer has fully dried, open and stir the can of paint before pouring a small amount into a new paint pan. Dip the brush into the paint and start painting. We chose to do two coats of paint for a smooth and even finish. Allow for adequate drying time between coats.

Once you have finished, allow the paint to dry completely before placing inside the closet. Refer to your paints instructions on recommended dry times.


We used and love ECOS Lullaby Semi-Gloss Paint! ECOS Paints are non-toxic, zero VOC (including colorants), no odor, and made in the USA! I am extremely sensitive to smells and get horrible migraines with conventional paints. I could hardly notice a smell with ECOS Paints and did not have any issues using their products! That is a miracle considering I can still smell the conventional paint in our new home a year later… I am considering repainting the whole house in ECOS Paints! We will be sharing a post on the benefits of making the switch to ECOS Paints products soon!

We wanted to use the leftover paint for trim touch-up around our house, so we chose to color match the paint with our homes trim – Sherwin Williams Extra White Trim (SW7006).


NOTE: Follow the application and drying instructions on the can. Always work in a well ventilated area when working with primer, paint, stain, or sealant. Recommend using a paint mask/respirator, gloves, and protective eyewear.


Ah, what a wonderful sight! Want to know how and what products we used to organize the rest of the closet? Check out our entire closet organization here (post coming soon)! Included are links to some of our favorite toys too!

Happy Building!

Filed under: BEDROOM, BEDROOM, BEDROOM + BATHROOM, NURSERY

HOW TO MAKE AN INDOOR WALL PLANTER WITH SCONCES

Want to add some indoor plants to your home? Learn how to easily turn wall sconces into indoor planters!


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosures here.


There I was, innocently standing in the store pickup line at Kirkland’s when I fell for their trap – a strategically placed clearance corner right next to the store pickup line. Seriously, what is a woman to do while she waits?! I guess they figure this is their way of getting you to still shop in the store even when you try to avoid it with store pickup. I can say with the utmost certainty that Kirkland’s knows what they are doing! Needless to say, I told myself “I’ll just take a peak” … and that’s how I walked out with a set of wall sconces for our bedroom.

Wondering why we chose to use live plants in our sconces rather than just the traditional candle? I had actually planned to use them as a typical wall sconce with candles when I purchased them, but the idea to use them as planters hit me as I was trying to incorporate more indoor plants in our home, especially in the bedrooms. In practicality, we never use candles and they aren’t exactly a focal point just sitting there when unlit.

Now that we were out of the military, meaning no more extended leaves from home where plants would go without care, I was set on adding some indoor plants to our home. The reason? They are extremely healthy for you!

Plants improve your indoor air quality by absorbing harmful toxins that are being released into the air from your homes materials (paint, cabinets, carpet, etc) as well as from your home decor and furniture. By absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, they can also help you sleep better at night! Plus they add so much life to a space and make me happy! There is something pleasing about looking at a thriving plant – a beautiful piece of nature – rather than another lifeless home decor item.

I wanted these wall sconce planters to go in our bedroom above both nightstands. This meant that one plant will be very close to the wall of windows and other plant will be on the opposite side of the room. We had to consider both locations and the amount of light for each when choosing the right indoor plants for the space. I knew I wanted something with vines to trail down, fill in the visual space on the wall, and cover the soil that would be visible through the glass. Knowing that Pothos can thrive in low light conditions and very low maintenance in general, this was our plant of choice! Considering I am a crazy plant lady with a brown thumb (it’s sad, I know), I thought this would be the safest choice for us.

Once I had decided to turn the wall sconces into planters, I discovered the sconces ended up being just the right set for the job! We needed a way to be able to place the plants inside the sconce, remove them if necessary, and be able to water them without getting the sconce wet and potentially ruining the metal. Then after brainstorming and even considering a clear plastic Solo cup (yup, I’m ashamed to say I went there) it then dawned on me – hello, Mason Jars! If you read my post, THE BEST HEALTHY BABY BOTTLE + SIPPY CUP, then you already know how much I love and use mason jars! So what better way to use them then to find a new way to incorporate them in our house! The mason jars fit perfectly down inside the glass cylinders in addition to adding a slight amount of height to the overall piece. They were the solution to the problem and gave the planters some cute rustic character!

Obviously, the wall sconces were an impulse buy, but they ended up working out to be the perfect addition to our bedroom! Ready to learn how to turn your wall sconces into planters? Learn how through our tutorial below!


SUPPLIES

NOTE: Supplies listed below are to make two wall sconce planters.

  • Set of 2 Wall Sconces (We found ours on sale at Kirkland’s)
  • (2) 32oz Wide Mouth Mason Jars
  • (2) 4” Cork Mats
  • (2) Indoor Plants (We chose to use Pothos as explained above)
  • Organic Potting Mix
  • River Rocks
  • Gardening Gloves
  • Wall Anchors (if no stud)
  • Stud Finder + Drill + Level

PLANTING

Time for some planting! You will need the mason jars, river rocks, potting mix, and plants. To avoid root rot of indoor plants, you need to place several river rocks inside the bottom of the mason jar to prevent the roots from potentially drowning. Always be mindful to carefully water indoor plants and do not overwater.

TIP: The Dollar Tree has 32oz bags of small Black River Rocks for only $1! We had a bag of these left over from some VBS crafting projects and decided to use them. The black rocks blend in nicely with the soil and the black metal of our sconces.

Next, remove the plants from their plastic pots, loosen the roots and soil with your hands, and place them inside the mason jars with some fresh potting mix. Water your freshly planted Pothos (or plant of choice) and grab your drill because next up is hanging the sconces!

ASSEMBLY

After you determine the location of where you want the sconces to hang, grab the stud finder and locate any studs in the area. Conveniently, there were studs located in the exact spots we wanted each of our wall sconces. Therefore, we were able to drive two of the three screws required for hanging each sconce into a stud and did not need to use any wall anchors. Depending on the weight of your plant and sconce, I would recommend using wall anchors if no stud is available. Check to make sure the sconces are level, mark the screw holes with a pencil on the wall to ensure they remain in the correct spot, and drive the screws into the wall.

Once the sconces are hung, place the cork mats in the bottom of the sconce where the plant is going to reside. The cork mats are there as a precaution in case any water droplets were to accidentally get down there during watering. The glass cylinders on our sconces have a 4in diameter and the cork mats fit perfectly. Use the appropriate size needed for your particular sconces.

Place your potted plant inside the sconce and enjoy your new beautiful indoor wall planters!

Ironically the Pothos on my side of the bed, which is the furthest from the window, is the one growing like crazy! The image on the left shows it after cutting – it was previously laying on the nightstand. Confirmation they can thrive in low light.


Curious to know what books are on the nightstand? Here is my current reading list that I am loving!!


Happy Planting!

Filed under: BEDROOM, BEDROOM, BEDROOM + BATHROOM