DIY - Wood Nail Station




Introduction: DIY - Wood Nail Station

About: I hope i can show you that you really dont need to be a master craftsman to create and build great projects, and hopefully inspire you to start making yourself. I will try upload a video every Monday but du...

My Partner likes to paint her nails herself and is forever struggling with holding the nail polish and leaving her nails to dry without touching anything.

As valentines was coming up i decided to make her a present that i know she would love and need.

So i came up with this - wood nail station / lap tray.

It turned out great and she loves it which is most important.

See the full build on my youtube channel -

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Step 1: Step 1: Find a Board / Tray

I wanted this to be big enough to hold everything she would need, but also small enough to use whilst sat down and on her lap.

The wood i ended up using came from two small drawer fronts joined together with 8 dowels and wood glue.

Once the glue was dried fully i went over and filled in any imperfections or holes and made sure it was flat and square, i used white filler as i was planning on painting this in her favorite colors so i didn't need to match any grain or wood colors.

Step 2: Step 2: the Palm Rest

I wanted her to be able to rest her hand while the paint was drying.

I achived this by using a cut off from a round fence post and foam.

I cut my palm rest to size and sanded with 80 grit sandpaper to get rid off all the dirt and old finish, i wasnt bothered about making it 100% smooth as it was to be covered with foam and fabric.

I purposely left a small angle on the top and bottom so that the rest would angle towards her while she used it.

Once i had sanded i used a small strip of foam, rolled the rest in the foam and used some stapled to hold it down.

I made a second rest for her wrist , using a small scrap of wood with a standard cleaning sponge glued to it.

Step 3: Step 3: Holes

I wanted a space for her to keep her nail files and clippers within reach so i decided to chisel out a shallow recess for them to rest in.

I did nothing fancy , just made a few pencil marks for the size and shape i needed and used my drill with a small wood drill bit to take out most of the waste, i then used a small chisel to refine and smooth out the recess.

Once that was done i could see where i wanted the nail polishes to be in relation to the palm rest and files, i played around with where to put them and once i was happy with the position i used a 22mm spade bit (which fit her favorite brand perfectly) to cut the circle holders out , going down just enough so they would not topple over during use.

Step 4: Step 4: Sanding

Next was sanding , i started on 80 and went through 120, 180, 240. making sure everything was smooth including the holes i had made, i also rounded over all the edges with the 80 grit paper to give it a nicer shape and feel.

Step 5: Step 5: Paint & Top Coat

Once everything was smooth and i had wiped off all the dust it was time to paint.

I used a grey color waterproof and child friendly paint and grey is one of her favorite colors and i wanted to make sure the paint was safe enough for continuous skin contact , hence the child friendly kind.

I put two coats of grey paint on making sure to cover every part of the tray including holes and the edges.

Once all of that was dry i gave it a very light sand with 400 grit paper and moved onto the clear top coat.

For the top coat i used a ronseal clear satin varnish mainly to protect the wood and paint from fading or chipping away over time, Nothing special to do here just put 3 thin coats on leaving about 4 hours in between to dry properly.

I ended up with a grey tray with a nice semi gloss finish that was smooth to the touch , even in the holes.

Step 6: Step 6: Assembly and Lights

Once the finish was dry and i was ready to assemble the tray , i started by pre drilling some holes for the palm and wrist rest and glued and screwed it in place.

while the glue on the rest's where drying i moved onto the lights, i picked up some single LED mini desk lights for this to provide better lighting than she normally has , and again in pink one of her favorite colors.

I just lightly sanded the bottom with 80 grit paper to give the glue a better chance of holding and used super glue to keep it in place. thankfully the battery's are in the head of the light so i would never need to remove the base!

Once all the glue was dried and everything was secure i did a last check to make sure it was all as needed eg. the lights worked and the file, clippers and nail polish all went in perfectly.

Step 7: Step 7: Finished

Once i had finished it all i still felt it was lacking something , so i used the same fabric that i had used for the two rest's (one of my old t-shirts) and made a cushion on the bottom.

All i used was my staple gun to attach the fabric and filled the space between the board and fabric with some polystyrene balls i had.

All in all it was a relatively simple project but as its one of my 1st i still learnt a good deal.

The total cost of the project are as follows-

Board - Free

Paint £2.00

Top Coat - £5.00

Lights - £1.00 each

Fabric & Fillings - Free

Nail Polish - £1.00 each

Files - £1.00 for 10

Clippers - £1.00

All Together i took about 3 days mainly due to it being around 5 degrees C / 41 F

I would recommend it as a gift if anybody you know paints their own nails as its turned out to be a gem.

If you have any comments or suggestions i would appreciate them all (good/bad) as im planning on making more projects and hoping to improve my skills.

Thank you


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    2 Discussions

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Great DIY present. I have always thought that homemade presents mean the most because they require thought and time, things that really show that you care.

    GG Wood Work
    GG Wood Work

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you. Those are my thought exactally. It was a present tailored to her and as far as i could see there was nothing else like it online. But i decided to share as it was such a success, maybe someone else would like to do the same, for someone in their life.