We had a storage cubby that had become a bit unstable, leaning to the left or right with too much weight. I knew that adding a back would stabilize it and I had a half sheet of pegboard and another half sheet of MDF (medium-density fibreboard) sitting around, so I decided to make it into a table for the craft room!
- MDF for the table top (mine was 3’x4′)
- Pegboard for the back, to fit your cubby
- Spray paint for the pegboard and MDF
- 1 to 1 ½ inch screws to attach the pegboard
- At least 4 brackets to attach the top
- Optional: Casters
Step 1: Determine Sizes and Paint Pieces
My storage cubby is 12″ deep, 36″ wide, and 36″ tall. The piece of MDF I used for a top is 5/8″ thick and 35″ by 48″. It’s almost too big, but I didn’t want to bother cutting off a couple of strips, so I just used it as it was. And I did want an overhang so that I could sit at the table and have leg room. I’m sure ½” thick would work as well, but MDF is a bit heavy, so if you have much of an overhang, the thinner your piece, the more it will sag, unless you use plenty of brackets for support. Once you’ve determined how much of an overhang you want and the size that you need, your hardware store can cut it for you. The pegboard should be exactly the size of the back of your cubby. The hardware store will cut that too, but pegboard is very easy to cut with a jigsaw. Keeping a straight line may be a bit harder, but the cutting will be easy.
Once your pieces are cut, sand the edges until they’re as smooth as you want them and paint both pieces. I wouldn’t attempt to paint pegboard with anything but spray paint, but you go ahead and be adventurous if you’d like and try a paintbrush!
I painted the tabletop with a small roller and some leftover indoor wall paint. It’s just plain white, but I plan to embellish it someday….splatter painting, inspirational words, decoupage photos or magazine pics, handwritten poems and sayings, a large zentangle done in sharpie. Or I may just leave it and allow it to gather ink, paint, glue, glitter, practice doodling and the like from all my various projects. I’ve always thought that look was very artsy.
Step 2: Attach the Back
Lay the shelf down with the back facing up. Place the pegboard on the shelf, squaring the edges of the board with the edges of the shelf. This may be a bit difficult if your shelf is wonky like ours was. It helps to have a second pair of hands to hold the shelf square.
Screw through the pegboard and into the shelf. I placed a screw into each section of shelving, three near each corner, and two or three between the corners. You can either screw through the pegboard or use the holes, if they line up. Unless your screw heads are very large, though, you’ll need washers so that the screws won’t just go right through the holes.
After all the screws are in place, you can paint them to match the pegboard if you like.
Step 3: (OPTIONAL) Casters
I love furniture with wheels! I did not, however, add casters to this project because, as I said, the 35″ wide top was just aaaaaalmost too big for the 12″ wide shelf. I was afraid that any more height would cause it to be top heavy. Alas, no wheels for me. But if you choose to use them, now would be the time to attach them, one on each corner and possible two in the middle, depending on the size of your shelf.
Step 4: Attach the Brackets
Stand the shelf upright. Determine where your brackets will be located and attach them. Hold them in place, mark the holes, and drill pilot holes.
To make sure you have the bracket even with the top edge of the shelf, place a level or straight edge across the top of the shelf where the bracket will be and use that as your guide.
It’s best to place the brackets before the top because if you put the top on first, it may have a bit of sag, and then you wouldn’t be able to position your brackets properly.
I used two brackets on each long side of the shelf.
Step 5: Attach the Top
Place the top on the shelf and center it. I don’t like to do math ahead of time, so I center it as best I can and then measure the overhang on each side and adjust back and forth until it’s perfect, or as close to perfect as I feel like being that day. It would be helpful to have a buddy hold the top while you put in the first couple of screws.
You’re going to attach the top to the brackets from the underside. The screws that came with the brackets may work, just make sure they’re not long enough to go through the top piece.
Step 6: Dress It Up and Start Crafting!
Many craft items would be so much easier to find if they were hanging, so I find the pegboard back very useful. I use the pegs from the hardware store, though I’m sure you can get many different colored pegs, shelves, or other accessories online. I’ve thought about painting the pegs, but haven’t yet.
I made and paper mache’d cardboard boxes to fit into the cubby squares that are great for hiding and organizing small items. That tutorial will be up soon, so check back often!