Thursday, July 14, 2016

DIY Home School Art Supply Station

An art supply station that is not only simple and easy but looks good too.  Let's build that.

"Where are all the crayons we just bought?" I say.

I'm met with looks of bewilderment and dismay.  It is apparent not one of my four children knows.

"How bout scissors?"  I ask curtly.  "Glue sticks?"

Shoulder shruggs on both accounts.  "How bout the house?  Do you know where our house is?  Anything?"

A chorus of "Dad!!  You're being silly!!"  rings out.

I find a large part of kids not knowing what to do with something after they are done with it stems from not knowing where it goes in the first place.

Let's take care of that little problem.

Shall we?

DIY Home School Art Supply Station


1 - 2'x4' Sheet of Plywood

Iron on Edge Banding

Choice of Stain


Cut List

1 - Bottom Base @ 15" x 20"

2 - Outside Side Pieces @ 4.75" x 15"

2 - Inside Side Pieces @ 7.5" x 15"

4 - Front & Back Side Pieces @ 4" x 4.25"

1 - Upper Base Piece @ 10" x 15"

2 - upper Front & Back Lip Pieces @ 1.25" x 9.5"

2 - Top Cross Pieces @ 3.5" x 15"

Cut Diagram


2'x4' Plywood

Step 1

Cut the base piece to length and width.  Then measure, mark and route the two dadoes.

Step 2

The inside side pieces can be cut to size and the dadoes can be routed.  The placement of those dadoes should be 1-3/4" down from what will be the top of the sides.

Then glue and clamp the top base piece in place.

Step 3

Here is the first step where we find out if a few earlier measurements where right on or not.

If the dadoes for the two inside side pieces were not cut to a quarter inch depth or the top assembly was not glued up at 90 degrees then the sides are not going to line up exactly with the dadoes routed in the bottom base piece.

That is sort of one of the draw backs of using dadoes, not just in this project but for any project.  If you have pieces that will marry together based on those grooves, any discrepancies will be magnified by 2.

Being just 1/16" off on each dado means the measurement for the adjoining piece is off by 1/8".  That is enough to throw the hole project off so be sure to measure twice and cut once.

Step 4

The front and back pieces can be cut to size along with the outside side pieces.  After routing the rabbets for the latter, apply some glue and clamp everything in place.

Take your time on this step and make sure everything is aligned properly.   

If your using plywood as I am then you're going to want to offset the front and back pieces by about 1/16" to account for the thickness of the edge banding that will be applied later.

Step 5

The upper front and back lip pieces can be cut to size.  Then glued and clamped in place.

Again remember to account for the thickness of the edge banding.  It is ok to be off slightly one way or the other as you should be doing some light sanding before staining and sealing.

This sanding will help level the surface as long as the dependencies are not too great.

Step 6

Time to cut two pieces and drill some appropriately sized holes for glue sticks and scissors.  You can drill as many or as few as you like.  I drilled what we needed.

I cut rabbets on both ends of the boards so that they set securely on top of the art supply station without falling off when items were placed on or taken off.

 The center is used for miscellaneous items such as the odd eraser or in our case a few jars of pencils.

Final Thoughts

The use of rabbets and dadoes to assemble a project does add a degree of difficulty.  This can be circumvented by one of several ways.

You could cut pieces as you go instead of all at once.  That would allow you to measure a specific size for each piece based on what you just cut.  This is a little more time consuming of a process.

You could do away with the joinery method I used all together and use pocket holes.  It would work just as well and remove a lot of the potential pitfalls of needing to be so precise with your cuts.

The pocket holes will be somewhat visible in the final project, unless you paint it, so it is up to you which way you want to go.

One thing is for sure though.  There is no right or wrong way to do DIY as long as you do, DIY!

Be safe my friends!