Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Leather and wood organizer

A while back I had posted a teaser photo on Instagram.  Horray!  I had started a new project!  Typically when I do so, it usually takes me a few weeks to complete.

Not this time around!  I suppose I still have the "new year" attitude to just get stuff done.

So I found this lovely post on Design*Sponge and was instantly inspired to create my own wood and leather organizer.  In my project, I went a step further than their DIY.  I decided to add a few coats of clear glossy Polyurethane to my base board and then hang it on my wall.

Read below for my steps.  Click here for the original Design*Sponge post.

To begin with, the whole reason I even began this DIY was because I had most of the materials lying around my studio and house.  An extra random Ikea board?  Check.  Salvaged leather scraps?  Check.  Finish, miscellaneous tools and a hanging kit?  Check, check, and check.  I suppose that the only two things that I purchased were based off of wants rather than necessities.  ( I really liked the look of the brassy escutcheon pins and again, I wanted a glossy finish to my base board.  I have a few cans of semi-gloss in my garage and I knew that regular nails would work just as well.  But design aesthetics prevail and together, the pins and stain cost me around $10)

So again, materials you will need:
  • Wood plank (Mine measured 7.25"x31")
  • Leather
  • Brass nails/Escutcheon pins
  • Fine grit sandpaper (I used 220 grit)
  • Clear Gloss Polyurethane (I used Clear gloss fast-drying Minwax Polyurethane)
  • Cheap 2" brush
  • Paper towels
  • Heavy duty scissors/Utility Knife
  • Ruler
  • Hammer
  • Drill

The first thing I did was to prep my materials.  I cut out the pockets from the leather and lightly sanded the wood for the finish.  I measured out three different sizes for my leather pockets:
  • 6.25"x10"
  • 6.25"x12"
  • 6.25"x16"
The reason why I choose these measurements was just based off of the type of mail I tend to receive.  Postcards, legal letters, miscellaneous...  Once folded, each pocket could hold various types of mail based on their size.  I utilized some heavy duty fabric scissors to cut through the leather but if you don't own a pair, just use a handy utility knife on a cutting surface.

Next I added my clear, glossy poly finish to the base board.  Originally I thought I'd add about two coats of poly, I ended up adding four.  (The whole raw wood thing is nice.  But I don't like splinters and I often times end up with some kind of injury because of a raw edge.  I wanted the base board to look slick and smooth to the touch.)  This process took the longest since I had to wait in-between coats to add new layers.  I recommend the Minwax fast-drying polyurethane.  It cut the drying time in half and I was able to add two coats a day.

 After waiting between coats, make sure that you lightly sand when the poly is dry.  This ensures an even and dust free surface.  After sanding, wipe down the wood with a damp cloth.  Dry off the wood and you're ready to for another coat!

Finally, after the fourth coat of poly, I was satisfied enough to bring in the baseboard and finish the rest of the project.  Not pictured here, but again, I lightly sanded the wood and wiped it down one final time.  Here I marked out the placement of each pocket.

Once I had the placement of each pocket figured out, I marked where I wanted to nail in the pins.  I placed one pin in the middle of the back portion of the pocket and two on the outer corners securing it in place.

This last step was of my own preference.  I knew that I wanted to hang this on the wall in my kitchen.  You don't have to hand this piece but just leave it at that.  The Design*Sponge DIY shows their organizer leaning up again a wall or counter.

So in my case, I ended up pre-drilling some small holes for wiring and added some foam bumpers on the lower portion of the board.

And done!  It's that easy.  It probably only took me three and half days to complete this project and with a minimal amount of effort and materials.  I know that Thom and I will find great use of something so simple and I love the end result.