DIY specialist and professional furniture expert Natasha Dickens from Little Red Industries shows how to make a fun storage solution in easy-to-follow steps.
I love designing and building storage that’s practical and looks good while injecting whimsey into a space – and this house-shaped wardrobe ticks all the boxes for a kid’s room.
This little robe is constructed as a pine box with two mitred pieces joined to make the roof. All up, it stands 1500mm high, 600mm wide and 235mm deep.
The lovely finish is achieved with Monocel Stain & Varnish in Grey, which seals and protects from wear and tear. It’s a nice contrast to the raw-timber rail and dowel detail on the sides.
TIP: buy a litre of varnish so there’s enough for a couple of coats – each coat deepens the colour and applying three is perfect for this beautiful blue-grey finish.
Using pine is recommended because it’s lightweight and easy to cut. While you could use a handsaw, making the 45 degree mitre cuts for the sloping roof is easier and more accurate with a dropsaw.
- Four 1.2-metre lengths of 235mm x 19mm pine
- 25mm-diameter dowel cut to 700mm long
- Two 8mm x 32mm-long fluted dowels (from a packet of 125)
- Bondall Bondcrete adhesive 250ml
- 40mm countersinking screws
- Timber filler in a light colour
- Bondall Monocel Stain & Varnish in Grey 1L
- Mohair mini roller with tray
- Measuring tape and marker
- Sliding compound mitre saw
- Drill driver with 8g countersinking bit
- 25mm holesaw with an attached arbor
- 8mm drill bit
- Random orbital sander with 180-grit sanding discs
Measure and cut two 600mm-long pieces from two lengths of pine to be the top and base of the box, keeping the offcuts for the roof.
TIP: The remaining 1.2m lengths of pine are for the sides and don’t require cutting.
The two pieces for the roof have mitred ends. To cut them, set the mitre saw to vertically cut 45 degrees and mitre an end of each offcut, then measure from the longest point to mark 410mm and cut the opposite ends, checking the angles are correct.
TIP: Look at the piece sideways to check the ends angle inwards from the top so the finished pieces measure 410mm along the top, from point to point.
On the side pieces, mark 117.5mm from the edges to find the centre, and 150mm from the top. Then set up the drill with a 25mm holesaw to drill halfway through, flipping the pine to finish the hole from the other side, which helps prevent the core wedging in the saw.
TIP: Put a couple of offcuts under the side pieces to protect the work surface while drilling.
To make the box, position the side pieces against the top and base with the edges flush. To make countersink pilot holes, draw a line 10mm from and along the ends then use a drill set up with an 8g countersinking bit to make holes 40mm from the edges and in the centre.
TIP: use adhesive along all the joins of this project. After making the countersink pilot holes, remove the pieces to apply adhesive, reposition the top and base then secure with 40mm screws.
To assemble the roof, position the mitred ends together to create a 90-degree angle then mark a 10mm line from and along the corner to make countersunk pilot holes 40mm from the edges and in the centre. Apply adhesive then secure with 40mm screws and leave to dry.
TIP: Position the drill on the marks to drill straight into the base of the 90-degree angle to ensure the screws go through both pieces.
Position the roof against the box and mark the countersunk pilot holes on both sides, measuring 20mm up and 60mm in from the edges, then secure it with adhesive and screws.
TIP: To prevent slipping when making the pilot holes, angle the drill toward the centre of the robe to make a 3mm-deep hole, then change the drill to angle down towards the box to make a hole deep enough for the screw heads.
Hiding the screws gives the varnish a smooth finish. Sand over them first to remove any breakout then apply the timber filler and sand over them when dry.
TIP: You could use a hand-sanding block, although a random orbital sander makes quick work of smoothing over the filler and rounding over the edges of the box slightly. It also helps even out the edges and point of the roof if it’s not exactly flush.
Position the robe on offcuts for easy access (the underside will face the wall) and wipe all surfaces with a clean damp cloth to remove dust. Then apply a light coat of Monocel Stain & Varnish in Grey using a mini roller with tray and leave it to dry for about two hours.
TIP: To seal into the corners, push the tip of the roller along the joins then roll over the surrounding areas to mop up any drips.
Applying a second coat makes the finish appear more dense. Leave it to dry for another couple of hours before applying a third and leaving it to dry overnight.
TIP: Between coats, pour the varnish back into the can and seal the roller cover in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
To make the rail, mark 30mm from the ends of the 25mm-diameter dowel and drill right through with an 8mm bit then sand over the holes to remove any breakout. Tap the rail through one side of the box and through the other, then tap 8mm dowels into the holes either side.
TIP: If your rail doesn’t slide through the holes smoothly, roll up a discarded sanding disc to sand and smooth inside the holes to widen them.
The wardrobe is stable if positioned on a flat surface, but it’s best to ensure furniture is safely secured to the wall. To do this, attach two L brackets underneath the top of the box with 15mm screws, then attach them to the wall using 60mm screws with anchors.
TIP: Make sure your brackets protrude enough to allow for the skirting board and use plasterboard or masonry anchors to suit your wall type.
Is it time to spruce up your kids’ rooms? Share your DIY wardrobe solutions on Facebook or Instagram by tagging @bondall.au, @monocel.timbercare, and @littleredindustries. We love to see your creations!