The CARTIS ("Crafts And Related Tools In Storage") is a combined wheeled cart and workbench, inspired by the TARDIS in Doctor Who, that can easily be moved around and hold everything for your craft of choice conveniently in one spot. In its presented setup it was designed for 3D printing with plenty of spots to store plastic filament; but don't let this detail stop you.
Just like the TARDIS throughout the history of the series has taken on slightly different shapes, colors, and control rooms you too can make this base design uniquely yours. Instead of spool holders you could instead put hooks for canvas bags, mount small baskets, install tool hangers, or attach things to be removed with hook-and-loop fasteners. The possibilities are truly endless and are only limited by your imagination.
Standard features include, and possibly easy to miss at first glance, underside lighting along with left and right wing power strips as well. This project is also not overly expensive and you could easily make this for $150 USD or less depending where your shop, the deals you can find, and what items you might already have on hand.
This project for myself grew out of a much simpler goal of just wanting to slap some wheels and a board on top of a cabinet and calling it done. I have been running out of bench space in my craft room and needed something to set my new 3D printer on that could hold its supplies and be easily moved around. But as I started taking pictures to share with some friends, as well as thinking how boring the top would be, I decided I would at least stain the top blue to try something new.
Needless to say, as you can see from the results, it quickly escalated from there into a labor of love. So I would like to note that the instructions given here have been placed in a different order than what the pictures will and could depict. Basically if I was doing this over again there are things I would do differently and wrote it up that way to hopefully curb some frustrations and to save on trips to the hardware store.
Step 1: Find Your Donor Cabinet
First and foremost this is definitely a love story about a cabinet. It could be something old, something new, or something borrowed from another past project - but it will for sure end up blue at some point in time.
For this project I would highly recommend in trying to acquire a previously used, and gently loved, cabinet before going out and buying something new. Not only will this be more cost effective for your project but in many cases you can do some overall good or help out local businesses and people as well.
If you end up going for something new you might want to get it unfinished, if you can, since this will save you from possibly having to sand it in later steps. But if you are like me and want to repurpose something old then below is a list of places you can easily check out for your cabinet.
Places you can find a used and lower cost cabinet:
- Already have an old cabinet
- Thrift, second hand, or resale stores and other small shops
- Online local listings of free or minimal cost if picked up
- Display, opened box and returned, or damaged items from a hardware store
- You, or someone you know, is remodeling a kitchen or bathroom
If you take your time and shop around I am sure you will find something you can work with at a price you will agree on. If you are lucky and willing to do some hauling or demolition work yourself it can end up being totally free in some cases.
For my cabinet I was keeping an eye out for different sales and specials going on with several charity stores. The local Habitat For Humanity ReStore ended up having a 50% off a single item sale one day so I went and checked it out. Tucked away among several other cabinet pieces, between several rows of kitchen and bath items, was what would become my cabinet. I requested some assistance, paid what was due, and got it loaded up in my car all for about $20 USD.
Step 2: Plan Out Your Design and Details
It does not have to be anything too fancy, detailed, or overly artistic but take your time and think about what you want to do with your cart. Since there are so many different sizes and styles of cabinets out there to start from your own cabinet will help determine what it can uniquely become.
Many decisions in this tutorial will only be strong suggestions and general guidance since your cabinet will more than likely be different than mine. Do not stress much over this fact but embrace it and feel free to deviate here and there from what I will share. I am confident what ever you will come up with will be brilliant!
Key design points:
- Take time to fully study your cabinet you have for this project
- Use natural boundaries to your advantage and don't worry about scale or size
- Keep things simple and only give hints of detail both on paper and in the finished piece
- If you are going to be adding to the cabinet try to work with things you can find already
- Play with many different ideas and mix and match over several iterations
- Work with your strengths but do not be afraid to try something new
- HAVE FUN!
Step 3: Remove Doors, Drawers, and Hardware
It will help you out in so many ways if you remove all the doors and drawers along with their pulls and hinges early on. This is the one of the things I wish I did earlier as it does make dealing with the cabinet easier and you are less likely to cause damage to something you do not want broken.
Just make sure if you are going to be using the hardware again to put them in baggies and label them from what side and position different things come from so they can go back the same. Also make sure to mark what side each door or drawer goes to as well since they can be very symmetric but still be slightly different.
Usage over time might also have made similar parts wear down differently and it will be easier to get everything aligned again if it was already sorted out and marked properly.
This is also a good time to clean the parts if you will be keeping the original hardware.
If you will be replacing the hardware having them off already can save a later trip to the hardware store. Being able to take them with you when you go the first time helps.
Step 4: New Hardware (Maybe Optional)
Before looking for new hardware you want to make sure you have your old hardware with you and have also measured hole-to-hole to know what new pulls to look for.
You will want to try to find pulls that have the same spacing to make things easier and not have to do any patchwork or cover up. But even if you do find ones matching the same spacing your holes might still be a bit off and need to be re-drilled to accommodate the new differences.
I personally made the mistake of deciding to get new pulls after I already started to stain everything. This is not a huge mistake but is a pain if you do have to re-drill holes and try to get thing to fit right. I ended scratching up a lot of the work I already did and had to do a bunch of touching up. So I would recommend working all this out early on.
As for the hinges try to matching yours with what they have to find the best fit. Also never be afraid to ask an associate at the store for help in finding what will work best for you.
Step 5: Picking Your Stain (or Paint)
Picking the right coating can set the tone for your entire project. Make sure to check out all your options and check out all the available colors that there is to offer.
Sometimes step outside of the box and think about using a product intended for one thing for another. Check out the decking and outdoor furniture stains for some nice color options if you are wanting to use a stain.
You are welcome to select a paint instead but you can loose the look of the wood grain if that is important to you. Painting instead of staining might save you some extra steps like sanding or additional coats depending on what you get.
Just make sure you select a color that makes you happy. There is no real right or wrong color here since there has been many shades of blue for the TARDIS over the years. For my cabinet I ended up choosing to use an outdoor furniture stain in a deep blue.
Please note that even if you get the same product in two different cans you can get slight differences in color. So make sure to try to make full complete coats on each section or you might get color variations on your piece. If this worries you try getting a larger single can mixed but you could end up with a lot of unused stain or paint.
- Latex over latex works
- Oil-based over oil-based works
- Latex over oil-based works if the surface is roughed up
- Oil-based over latex IS NOT ADVISED
So if you end up going with a paint instead of a stain you will also need to use a white latex paint later for your artwork instead of the white primer sealer I used.
Step 6: Gather Your Other Materials and Supplies
Make sure to be aware that there are items on this list that are specific for my version of this cart. If your design calls for something else or if you would like to use a different quality of materials please feel free to make those changes. Just treat the following list as a generic checklist if that is the case.
One thing I will specifically point out is the choice of wood for the top. I personally like more texture and picked something that had a lot of deep grains and cracks. Just know that it will take a bit more effort to get stain or paint into these crevasses and you will also get paint bleeding into these later when you are doing the masked off painting. If you think this will give you troubles or bother you for the final look then try using something like handy panels or hobby board instead.
- Eye protection
- Disposable half mask or respirator
- Disposable gloves and/or solvent resistant gloves
- Ear protection for power tool use
- Paper towels
- Terry cloths or other clean rags
- Clean water
- Bucket for water and rags
- Drill and a selection of drill bits
- Hole saw
- Hand or power saw
- Jig saw
- Palm sander
- Quick grip clamps
- Hobby knife set
- Measuring tool
- Pencil or other marking device
- Putty knife
- Small wire brush
Wood and wood supplies:
- 3/4" x 2' x 4' sheet of plywood sheathing
- 1" x 6" - 4' bargain wood x 2
- Wood glue
- #6 1-5/8" construction screws
- #6 1-1/4" construction screws
- #8 3/4" construction screws
- Non-locking large caster wheels x 4
- Wall shelf support brackets x 6
- Utility hooks x 8 (optional)
- Power strips x 3 (3 feet or longer cords)
- Long extension cord
- Adhesive cable clips
- Rope lighting
- New hinges and pulls (disused above, maybe optional)
Sanding and coating removal:
- Sandpaper of various grits (100 to 220 grit)
- Sanding blocks (120 grit, optional)
- 2 Minute Remover (paint and varnish remover, maybe optional)
- Steel wool
Stain, paint, and painting supplies:
- DuraStain Outdoor Furniture Coating 1 quart x 2 (deep blue stain, discussed above)
- Kilz Complete 1 quart (white oil-base primer and sealer)
- Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover 8 fl oz (white latex)
- Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover 1 quart (matte black latex)
- Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Paint + Primer 12 oz (matte white spray paint)
- Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane 1 quart (clear satin)
- Paint sticks
- Chip brushes
- Sponge brushes (optional)
- Stencil brushes
- Polyester brush for polyurethane
- ScotchBlue Painter's Tape with edge-lock (thin and wide)
- Disposable plastic painting tarps
Step 7: Prepare Your Working Area
Before getting started set out all your materials, tools, and supplies in the space your are going to be using.
Get a feeling for where you should set everything up so you are not tripping over yourself or hunting for things.
Prepare areas to place different parts of your work so that you can continue to work on other items.
Make sure to have tarps, paper, or cardboard down in areas to prevent stain or paint from getting everywhere and for easier cleanup.
Work area checklist:
- Good lighting
- Well ventilated
- Can't ruin other items in area (or don't care if anything happens)
- Ability to move around your piece without brushing against it
- Enough space and places to put different parts elsewhere if needed
- Clear walking path at all times
- Something to sit on for breaks or long painting
Step 8: Cabinet Alterations
Many cabinets will have extra bits that were intended for filling gaps and spaces between walls and other cabinets. You will need to decide if it is something you want to work into your designs or that you will be cutting it off and sanding away.
Do not be scared of making alterations but some things are not worth it. My cabinet on one side has a extra quarter of an inch lip that the other side does not have. I decided to keep it as it was because I knew I personally couldn't cut that away evenly and make it look nicer than what it was already. But I did remove a bigger piece from the toe kick cover on the same side.
Take the time and think it over as it could bother you over time if you do or don't make changes. It will also become increasingly more difficult to do so as your project progresses.
Step 9: Adding Wheels
Starting with the wheels will make future steps that much easier when all you have to do is spin your cabinet around or roll it somewhere. I listed getting non-locking wheels because you are not going to be able to reach to lock them if they are recessed into the bottom of your cabinet like I have done mine.
The structure of your cabinet will for the most part determine what reinforcement you might need or how much wood you will need to stack to have your wheels stick out below that bottom edge. Just make sure you give yourself space for your wheels to be able to fully spin around freely. If you also want to add lighting make sure that it wont get in the way of the wheels and that there is room for all the wiring.
For extra strength be sure to use wood glue along with screwing your boards down. Be careful to use shorter screws when mounting to the cabinet itself as the wood could be a lot thinner and you do not want screws sticking out into your cabinet.
I used #6 1-1/4" construction screws to mount the first boards to the cabinet but then went with #6 1-5/8" when I was just stacking them on each other. Again be cautious that your cabinet will be different than mine and you might need longer or shorter screws.
Step 10: Drilling Cable Holes
Drilling these holes will be for the main incoming power, under lighting, and power strips. Take your hole saw and cut a single whole off to the side on the bottom and two, one for each side, up top. Make sure to stay far enough from edges to not hit anything and make sure to avoid things like drawer rails.
When drilling your top holes try not to put them too far back or dead center. Later on we will be attaching book shelf brackets to support the top and the holes here should end up between two of those on each side.
Step 11: Undercarriage Lighting
Go ahead and take your white primer sealer and paint the underside. This will not only help protect the underside it will also help in reflecting the light you will be installing.
Be warned this is where I myself messed up and did not check the clearance of my wheels when I installed them and I did not check it after I installed the rope lighting the first time. I later had to go back and recesses it deeper to let the wheels fully rotate in the front.
Before permanently attaching your rope lighting I would recommend laying it out and test placing everything with tape first. Once you are happy that everything will work out then attach the included brackets to the cabinet and set the rope light in place.
Also go ahead and place some adhesive cable clips down and install your extension cord in place. Make sure to give yourself enough length to go inside the cabinet to hook up to the power strips later. The idea of doing this early on is that you shouldn't have to flip your cabinet over and over again unlike what I ended up having to do.
Step 12: Sand All Visible or Important Surfaces
How well you do on this step will determine for the most part how well your stain or paint will end up looking and working out on your cabinet. This can end up taking a good deal of time to do right so be patient and do not rush it. Make sure you sand both sides of your top as well along with your doors and drawers.
With your palm sander go over all your surfaces until it has an even look and does not have any shine to it. There can end up being hard to reach places so take your time still and use pieces of sand paper by hand or take a sanding block to it.
You can work your way through different levels of sand paper if you want a smoother surface finish. I myself wanted a rougher look and just used 100 grit paper and 120 grit sanding blocks.
If you can't get it to look even or if there are still spots of discoloration or shine you will have to use a paint and varnish remover in a later step. If you believe you got everything and are happy then you can skip over that step later.
Step 13: Round and Bevel the Top's Corners and Edges
Rounding the corners:
- Take something round and trace a quarter of a circle at each of the four corners of your top
- Make sure to clamp down your top to something before starting to cut
- Take your jig saw and cut along the outside of the line you marked
- Take your palm sander and smooth your rounded corners
Beveling the edges:
Go ahead and take your palm sander and sand all the edges of your top if you have not done so already in a previous step. Where the top and the side edges meet at a 90 degree corner take your palm sander at a 45 degree angle and go all around the to board. What we are doing is giving the board a slight bevel here to not be such a drastic of a corner.
Make sure to do this for both sides of the top. Feel free to go over this as much as you want to get smoothness that you desire. You can even slowly rock the palm sander side to side as you move along the sides to give the bevel an even more rounded appearance.
Step 14: Stripping Paint or Varnish (Maybe Optional)
READ AND FOLLOW YOUR PRODUCT'S INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY!
If you are going to be using a paint and varnish stripper I can not express enough how much the above statement is important for your safety. This is a chemical that will be dissolving paint and varnish so just think what this will do to your skin, eyes, and lungs if you are not careful.
Wear all the proper eye, face, and hand protection with no exceptions. Just because you are wearing gloves does not always protect you as some products can eat through the gloves as well.
If you knowingly come in contact with the stripper or sense the start of any burning or sensation out of the normal immediately flush with water for 15 minutes.
If you have any difficulty breathing leave the area immediately.
Again read all the instructions for the product you will be using and follow all of its safety precautions and be aware of what to do if something does go wrong.
Safety key points:
- Be in a well ventilated area
- Protect hands with solvent resistant gloves
- Wear eye protection
- Wear a face mask
- Make sure you can get to clean running water in an emergency
- Know your product's safety precautions and what to do if you come in contact
Every product can be different so I will only be giving general application tips. Always default to your products instructions to not only be safe but to get the optimal results.
- Work in small sections
- Apply a generous amount to your surface
- Do not paint it on or brush it thin like paint
- Let it be thick in the areas you are working on
- Let it stand undisturbed until it softens what you are trying to remove
- Use a putty knife to remove the bulk of the softened paint or varnish
- Use steal wool or a wire brush to get at hard to reach areas
- Neutralize and clean up as directed by your product
- Multiple applications might be required for desired results
Step 15: First Coat of Blue
Make sure you read your products label before starting anything. Make sure to follow their instructions for safety, optimal use, and cleanup. Always default to your products guidance when in doubt.
- Make sure you have plenty of tarp to put down on the floor or over other items
- Plan ahead on the order of items you will work on so you can move them around as needed
- Always stir your stain or paint no matter how well you think it might be mixed
- Paint edges on items last so you can have something to hold to move them or prop them up on
- Use a chip brush and make sure you work your coating into every nook and cranny
- Feel free to use a sponge brush to to help remove brush strokes
- When painting edges on doors use something like glass jars to prop them up to paint easier
Step 16: Sanding Between Coats
If you had chosen to use paint instead of stain you will more than likely not have to do this and could skip this step. If you have drips, globs, or uneven coats of stain you can choose to sand your work before applying a second coat. I used a 120 grit sanding block and just went over my entire piece. If you do sand make sure to clean away all your sanding dust when you are done.
Step 17: Finishing the Blue
Go for that second coat of stain or paint if you need it. Just make sure you get any spots and edges that you left for last. Also go over everything again and make sure there is not anything you need to touch up or something you might have missed.
Step 18: Graffiti
Usually the back of your cabinet will not be made of the thickest or the best quality of wood. It might also have notes from the past builders on it and screws sticking partway through it. For this reason I decided to paint mine a matte black and spray paint a message found throughout the series reboot on it.
Black paint when in the can and still wet can look like a muddy grey to a dark greyish-blue so do not worry that something is wrong with your paint. But do make sure to give it a good stir with a paint stick before using.
- You will more than likely need two coats of black paint to have an intense black
- Shake your spray paint really good before using or you could get inconsistent spraying
- Be sure there is no fan on or a breeze going as this can blow paint around as you spray
- Try clearing your can by spraying on something you can throw away to get the flow going well
- Practice your writing with the can and keep a close distance to your test piece.
- The farther away you are the more blurry and misty things will be
- Once your can and technique is ready then spray paint the back of your cabinet
Step 19: Practice Painting Details
Words of advice:
I recommend doing some art on the inside of your doors not only just for fun and whimsy but to also practice and get a feel for your materials and technique. This is to prepare you for the larger visible artwork later.
You can always touch things up, paint over it, or sand it all again and start over. Never be afraid of making a mistake. Try working with it and incorporating it into your art before jumping to drastic measures. Art is always a dance between the artist and the piece.
Sometimes art can take a life of its own if you just go with the flow. Remember to always have fun and enjoy what you are doing.
You will want to mask off the entire surface you are wanting to paint to protect the areas you don't want to receive any patterns. Using the wide blue painter's tape make sure you carefully lay it down, leave no gaps, and make sure to leave no wrinkles anywhere you will be working.
If you do not overlap enough between strips and carefully work out all the bunching and wrinkles you will end up getting paint where you do not want it. Make sure to press down all the edges so no paint gets underneath them.
You can free hand draw your designs directly on to the painters tape or you can make patterns to trace. If you are doing art that is symmetric or repeated I would recommend making patterns out of paper first and then tracing them onto the painters tape.
Making patterns to transfer to the tape will also make your lines cleaner and easier to follow. When cutting later you will not have a bunch of extra sketch marks or bad lines from reworking directly on the tape to confuse you.
Cutting out the designs:
Using your hobby knife carefully cut out the parts of the mask you will be removing. Try not to cut any deeper than you need to just remove the tape.
Remember the areas where the tape is overlapped will be thicker and you will need to apply a little more pressure to make it through all the layers.
Try to make sure you are cutting in a direction that you will not be peeling up a layer of tape when crossing these overlaps.
Cut into the direction of the inside corners and not away otherwise you will peel the corners up as well.
Cut the entire perimeter first before trying to remove the mask and be aware of any inside boundary cuts you should make first before removing the tape.
Know that the tape you are removing is where the paint will end up going.
You will be painting in your design using the white primer sealer if you stained or a white latex if you painted instead. Your brush choice is up to you and the size of your design or the thickness of the different parts. For mine I just ended up using a chip brush but you could use a stencil brush if you so choose.
You will not want to paint this like you were just coating a surface. Dabbing your brush will be more effective and leave less brush strokes. Along the edges make sure to use light and quick strokes to prevent bleeding and be careful not to push in a way that peels up the tape or gets bristles poking under the tape.
Take your time and do not rush. Using a little bit of paint and doing multiples coats is better and safer than putting one layer on thick and quick. Make sure to let each coat dry before doing the next.
Removing the tape:
Make sure your paint is dry before trying to remove your tape. Trying to remove your tape too early can damage all your hard work.
Depending on what you made you might need to take your hobby knife in spots to try to help peel up the tape. Be gentle and careful to only use it enough to snag the tape and get it to come up without cutting into your piece.
Step 20: Painting It Black
For the parts on the drawers that end up saying "Police Box" you will need a black background. Remember your cabinet and design might be different and call for a different part of your cabinet to be painted for this. Make changes as needed.
- Tape off the areas that you want to stay blue
- Lightly rough up the exposed area with some sand paper if you used stain
- Make sure to completely clean away all the sanding dust before painting
- Using the matte black paint apply several coats until it is a good solid black
- When the final coat of paint is dry take off all the tape you put down
Step 21: Drawer Art Details
- Cut a piece of paper slightly smaller that the areas you want to put your text
- Fold this piece of paper in half and then into thirds
- Work out roughly what you want your letters to look like using both sides
- Tape off the entire area of the drawers or location you will be doing your lettering
- Mark edges and key points to help keep yourself aligned
- Transfer the box spacing to the tape
- Draw your letters out like you planned but thicker on the tape
- Carefully cut out your letters from the tape using a hobby knife
- Paint several coats with white latex paint
- Remove tape carefully
Step 22: Door Art Details
Cut some paper and figure out how many square patterns can comfortably fit in the area on your doors. Once you have figure out with these paper cutouts size and spacing take one of them and fold it in half top to bottom and then into thirds. This one will give you roughly the spacing for the windows.
- Tape off the areas your will be painting
- Transfer the square sizes and window spacing to the tape
- Draw additional border lines to your desired thickness
- Draw a circle if you want to imply the St. John Ambulance logo
- Carefully cut out your design with your hobby knife
- Paint several coats of the white primer sealer or white latex if you didn't use stain
- Carefully peel away the tape when everything is dry
Step 23: Top Art Details
In my personal opinion the painting only gets easier. All the smaller work prior to this step required a lot of potentially intricate knife work. In this step you will only need to make simple strait cuts to trim and even up painters tape. Using the natural width of the thinner painters tape it is easy to lay out a simple yet iconic outline of the identifiable features of the TARDIS.
I would suggest working from the outside in and start with the silhouette first. Once you are happy that your design will fit your board then run tape right down the middle. This tape will just be a guide. Then run tape down either side of this one but do not overlap as you will need to remove the other piece. Once those pieces are in place you can pull that original piece up. You now have your center line to work from.
I would then work on the upper sign box area to get an idea of how much space you will have left. Once that is masked off and trimmed as needed you can work on the square panels.
The easiest way again would to take a piece of tape and just half the remaining space and trim away what you will not need from the center line. You can do this two more times and half the two remaining sections.
From that point all you need to do is fill in some of the area on the panels that will just have borders, mask off the circle pattern if you want it, and lay down some more tape for the windows.
Using the white primer sealer (or latex if you didn't use stain) lay down several coats as instructed before. You will want to maybe put down thinner coats if you went with the same type of top as I did. The paint will want to creep into the cracks and bleed past all your masking.
If any of this is confusing please refer to the pictures for guidance.
Step 24: Side Art Details
If your cabinet is squarish like mine this next step will be rather easy. Taking the wider painter's tape mask of the border off a squarish shape on your sides.
With the wide tape again split it in half both ways. You will now have four panels you can tape off for the windows and fill in for bordering.
Again coat like you have in previous steps and remove the tape when everything is dry. Remember if your cabinet is not like mine to make the changes you need to fit your designs.
Step 25: Adding Shelf Brackets and Utility Hooks
We will first be adding shelf brackets to help support the top that will be cantilevered over each side. Working with your cabinet specifics try to find where you think they will best work structurally as well as artistically.
I used #6 1-1/4" as well as #8 3/4" construction screws for my brackets but make sure to select sizes that will work for you. You want to make sure everything get securely mounted but you do not want screws sticking into the inside of your cabinet.
Taking each of your brackets keep the top part even with the cabinet, where the top will lay across, and mark the the top hole through your bracket.
With a drill bit smaller than the screw you will be using drill a pilot hole where you marked. If you are not able to reach to mark though the bracket you can drill the pilot hole instead through but be careful.
Go ahead and screw in your top screw but not all the way. Leave it a little loose so you can adjust your bracket if anything slipped or is off a bit. Once you are happy that your bracket is straight and even you can go ahead and take care of the remaining screw like you did the first.
When all the screws are in place tighten everything down but make sure the brackets stay even with the top.
Based on your own design this part might be completely optional. Feel free to skip past this or make your required changes here.
Once you have gone through attaching all the shelving brackets the utility hooks should be rather easy and are basically the same techniques to install them. The only thing I will point out is to make sure they are spaced far enough apart to be able to hang the largest of what you will want to store there.
In case you are wondering the top hooks on my cart are actually cut from the mounting posts of a floating shelf system. I decided to use these in my design since I already had them and that they could hold spools that had smaller centers holes.
Step 26: Reassemble Doors, Drawers, and Hardware
Having already taking everything apart before all we will now do is reverse it. Because of the stain or paint that has been applied even old hardware pieces might be a little snug so be careful. You might need to try clearing out holes if you can not get things to fit easily. Once everything is back together doors might have gaps or not line up. Using the different mechanisms on your hinges adjust carefully so you can shore up everything.
Step 27: Wiring for Power
Here we will be getting the main internal power strip installed and the cables for the other two power strips organised and into clips. If you did not install the extension cord like suggested in the lighting step you will also be doing this here.
One thing I would strongly suggest is to use power strips with cords 3 feet or longer. The ones I ended up using had much shorter cords and made me have to get everything setup above the drawers right below where the top would go on. If possible try to get things ran and placed so you can easily reach things through the cabinet later without having to do contortions.
First lay out everything to get a sense for what can reach where and what should be ran elsewhere.
Once you are satisfied where everything will go put up a couple of adhesive cable clips to help keep things positioned.
Next you will need to transfer the measurements to mount your main power strip. Once you have done this drill some pilot holes and screw in the screws to finish mounting the power strip.
Go ahead and add additional cable clips as needed to organize the wiring to your liking.
Again if you haven't installed the extension cord do so now. Make sure to give enough to go into the cabinet and add some clips to help keep it in place.
Once you are done will all of this test your lighting and power before moving on. It will be harder to deal with once the top is on.
Step 28: Top Clear Surface Finish
I figured that the top would get the most wear so it is the only thing I decided to clear coat. I went with a self leveling formula that also equated to multiple layers of another brand. Note that applying polyurethane can effect the perceived color or tone of your piece but will help prevent your hard work from being worn away. As always please reference your products instructions for safety, optimal use, and cleanup.
- Stir gently with a paint stick and never shake your can or you can add air bubbles to your finish
- Use a synthetic brush like polyester
- Do not wipe your brush on the edge of the can because this can cause air bubbles as well
- Dip your brush gently and let the excess flow off without making splashes
- Use long even strokes with the grain
- Different areas might become milky or a bit cloudy but will clear up if you let dry long enough
- Make sure to catch drips from the sides and wipe them away
- If you miss any drips you can carefully cut them away with a hobby knife latter
- Sand with 220 grit sand paper or what ever your product recommends between coats
- Make sure to clean away the dust created from sanding between coats
- You might need multiple coats depending on your product or the deepness of your grain
Step 29: Attaching the Top
Most cabinets will already have some inside corner braces that you can use to mount your top to. If for some reason you do not you might have to make some additions to have something similar to use.
Try to see where you will be able to reach past existing rails or other structures to be able to screw the top on from the bottom inside the cabinet. Once you have marked these go ahead and pre-drill holes you can use later that will work for the screws you will be using. Just make sure the screws you will be using will not end up coming out the top when mounted.
Measure your top and find the center and run a piece of painter's tape down it. Adjust the positioning of the top for this center line to line up with the center of your cabinet. Measure from both ends to your brackets to make small adjustments to help center the top more. Once in place carefully clamp your top down so it does not move as you are securing it with screws.
Go around to all your shelf brackets and drill shallow pilot holes. You want to be careful so you do not drill up through your top. Using appropriate length screws for your brackets secure them to the top.
Once all the brackets are secured go ahead and finish mounting the top by screwing up into it from inside the cabinet.
After the top is fully screwed in place you will want to finish up by mounting the power strips to the underside of the top on both sides. You can use the same technique as used before if you choose. If the power strips can hold the screws in place tightly you can also slide them in and press them against the top to see where to drill and screw.
If you have clearance between your top and the drawers and the need for more cable management add additional cable clips to the underside of the top to get cords out of the way.
Step 30: Enjoy!
This was my first Instructable but I hope to make more in the future. There were many times where I stressed about what I was doing or going to do but in the end I have a blast and enjoyed the results. I hope you enjoy what I created and possibly what you built following my instructions. I look forward to seeing what others create or have to say!
If anyone has any questions feel free to post in the comments below and I will try my best to answer when I can.
First Prize in the
Furniture Contest 2018