Introduction: Kids' Costume Wardrobe
I built this costume wardrobe/desk/storage thing for my two little girls for christmas. They have lots of costumes and dress up clothes, but previously didn't have anywhere to keep them. I built the desk on one end so they had a place to color, and shelves on the other to store everything that wouldn't hang.
Step 1: Basic Structure
I didn't go into this project with real clear plans, just a general idea. I started out by making the two sides out of cheap pine 1x4. The sides are 18" wide by 42" tall.
I made the base by cutting 1x6 at an angle to match the angled joint of the vertical and horizontal 1x4 (just for looks, no other reason). The total width of this middle section is 32", giving 30 1/2" of space to hang clothes and costumes. I made the bottom shelf out of more 1x6. The sides were thrown together quickly with a v-nailer and glue. The rest is held together with glue and a brad nailer.
The bottom shelf sits inside the lower part of the vertical frame. The rod is just a normal wood clothes rod, each end is recessed into the frame, glued in place, as well as screwed from the outside of the frame. It was already quite strong at this point. The large vise sitting in the middle is just weight to keep the middle support underneath in place while the glue dried.
Step 2: Finished Assembly
I made the desk by joining three pieces of 1x6 with biscuit joints and glue. I cut a curve around the front (to minimize kids' injuries). I made small blocks to support the back edge of the desk. I cut 1x6 at an angle to serve as side supports. They are glued and brad nailed in place to support most of the weight of the desk. The horizontal space of the side support spans parts of all three pieces of wood I used to make the desk top. This was probably not a serious concern, biscuit joints are strong. I cut a couple holes in the desk with a hole saw. These are the right size for the cups that we use to store crayons.
For the shelves, I again used biscuit joints to joint two pieces of 1x6 for each shelf. The shelves are 18" deep. I also cut a curve for safety and looks. I made more blocks to hold the front and back corners of the shelves in place. For the back outside corner I cut pieces of 1x6 and placed them vertically between shelves. The verticals were glued and nailed in place. The bottom shelf was joined to the frame with the biscuit jointer again (put the whole shelf upside down to do this). The middle shelves and the top shelf were glued and brad nailed in place in addition to the blocks on which they rest.
The whole thing is slightly overbuilt, but I know my kids will climb the shelves like a ladder and sit on the desk. You can never make furniture for kids TOO strong.
Step 3: Sanding and Priming
I sanded everything at 120 grit and 220 grit. I then filled nail holes with putty and sanded again. Since I was just using cheap pine, there were lots of knot holes, and the edges took a lot of work to get smooth. I used an electric hand sander where I could, and an orbital on the big faces, but there was also quite a bit of hand sanding.
After everything was sanded, I applied two coats of latex primer to every face, including the bottom.
Step 4: Final Paint and Mirror
I built a bookshelf for the kids last year, and I painted this wardrobe the same color as the bookcase so they'd match. I ended up doing one coat of paint plus lots of touching up.
I had a mirror pulled out of an old big screen television. Old big screens had really high quality mirrors on the inside, worth salvaging if the opportunity presents itself. I cut this one down to size and built a frame out of more pine. I installed the mirror in the frame and put thick matte backer behind it. I installed the mirror with a few brad nails so I can pull it off with a small pry bar/scraper if the mirror gets broken.
Step 5: Finished Product
The kids love it. My wife and I got a few baskets from TJ Maxx that store hats, masks, swords, shields, crowns, etc... We got kid-sized hangers and hung up all the dresses, wings, armor, etc... It fits lots of dress up stuff, and the girls can climb all over it as much as they want. They are currently 1 1/2 years old and 4 years old. I expect it will last them a long time. The mirror has become a great nerf dart target. They fight over the desk, I think I'll have to build another desk.