DIY Chrismukkah :: Boys Gifts

For Christmas last year I made a bunch of gifts that I was going to blog about but didn’t because I wanted them all to be surprises. Considering it’s now time again to think about possible DIY gifts for the holidays I figured it was a good time to chat about what I’ve done before and consider some options for this year. Continue reading



Now that our second son is in a twin sized bed it was time to do something for the boys room beyond the spray painted toddler bed and bare twin frame. We thought about bunk beds and then thought better of it. We decided tempting fate by giving our boys an elevated platform was a bad idea. Instead we went for matching twin beds with built up headboards. Shannon is still working on the matching quilts, she had a test fit of one today and it looks great. I couldn’t wait for the quilts so excuse the bare sheets.

DIY Twin headboards with lamp barn light

Our older son already has a quilt that Shannon made for him, but since it’s us instead of making one to match she decided to make two new ones that matched.

For the beds I used this bed as the inspiration. I think I ended up finding out that this bed sells for something like $1500 which is just outside the price  that I was hoping to pay… by a lot.

DIY Headboard inspiration

So I took these plans from Ana White and modified them to add height and then incorporated the switch and the light. I originally planned to mix 1x4s and 1x6s only, but ended up randomly finding 1x5s at Lowes when I was grabbing all my lumber. That of course meant that I had to change my plan on the fly at the store and I ended up shorting myself by a bit. Thankfully I had some pre-primed 1×6 and 1×4 at the house that I could sub in, but when you see the back of beds below, that’s why they are all mismatched.

DIY headboard twin bed with barn light on

For the wiring I ended up using some left over wire from a pendant and a lamp cord kit from Lowes. I had trouble finding shallow enough staples for the wire, so I ended up stapling to the side of the back leg, which was awkward.

Wired back of headboard DIY twin with barn light

One of the great things about building the beds myself was that I could make modifications like notching out the side of legs for the baseboard. I left the back of the legs 6″ short, and made a rather crude cutout on the side piece to conform to the molding. You can kind of see the notching in the photo above, and then you can see it here conform over the baseboard.

DIY headboard barn light baseboard cutout

The headboards are painted Benjamin Moore Puritan Gray, which is a little lighter than the original inspiration, but we like it and it feels right for two little boys. They of course were so excited to hop take a flying leap on to their beds and play with the light switches and test them out.

We know that we want to swap out the bunkie boards (meant for bunk beds) for box springs eventually so that they aren’t so low, but for now it’s actually better. I’m excited to have this project finish, even if it stresses Shannon out that their quilts aren’t done yet. Prison cots I believe she called them (because they are so low and one only has blankets folded up at the bottom). My only regrets with the project are that I gooped up the Poly job. There are big smears and streaks because I didn’t take my time with a decent brush and good lighting. I need to be more mindful of those things. But overall I’m very happy with this project, and so are the boys.

DIY Twin headboards with lamp barn light repeat

Kids Headboard Plans

We were sure we were going to build the boys bunk beds. They loved the idea and it just seemed so perfect. We talked about various plans and features. I loved the idea of built-in bunk beds. I pinned too many to count but this is where I was coming from:

Boys built-in bunk bed pin

Shannon was always adamant that she wanted bunks that could split apart into matching twin beds for when they were older. She was more of the mind of eventually having bunks that split into something like these.

Matching twin boys beds

And then we started to deviate a bit. What about crazy loft beds? Or hanging beds?

Crazy hanging loft beds

And then we looked at our boys and thought of their ability to split their lips, crack their skulls, smack their faces, bruises themselves in confusing places and generally nearly break themselves, all without the benefit of an elevated launch pad. The boys are 3 and 5 currently and explaining to them how insanely dangerous jumping from or on loft beds or even bunk beds would be little deterrent to their adventurous spirits. And so we started looking back at maybe just fast forwarding to Shannon’s idea for when they were older, two matching twin beds.

And when we did I dug up an old pin that we both had really liked. This headboard with integrated barn light.

Twin headboard with integrated barn reading light

And when that week I found these lights at Lowes on clearance for $12.50 each, it was on.

Lowes barn light

(image via Apartment Therapy because Lowes discontinued the light to replace with a more expensive one(?))

Having followed the link on the pinterest headboard to the source and found out that the bed costs about $1500 we didn’t exactly consider just buying the ready made product. Plus, I was all fired up to make a bed, or at least a headboard.  And one of the reasons I was so excited was that it meant I might finally use one of the plans from Ana White, whom I’ve read for quite some time but never really used anything from. So I took her plans for a Reclaimed Wood Headboard and modified them a bit to add some height and got to work.

Sketchup of DIY kids headboard

A Tour of Doors

This week, I’m talking doors. I’m hoping to make some progress on the pantry door, though that might have to wait for another side adventure (which unfortunately involves a literal bucket of sadness). But before I get to the pantry door I wanted to go through some our other doors in the house to date.

When we were building the house we knew that we didn’t want to go with budget hollow core doors even though it likely meant spending a lot more on doors than we wanted to. We also knew that bifold closet doors were our bitter enemies to be avoided at all costs. We had them in the old apartment and had to deal far too often with them falling out of the track, slipping or just generally being awful. Along with all that though we didn’t want to spend a ton on doors.

A few weeks into the build I happened to find a post on craigslist for someone selling a near houseful of painted solid mdf doors. The reason they were selling them? Someone misordered 32″ doors instead of 30″ doors since doorways are framed 32″ for a 30″ door, I’m assuming someone specified rough opening instead of door size at some point. Anyway, it was a great deal costing us less than the price of hollow core doors for solid mdf doors already painted. Sadly they were painted linen white, and we wouldn’t need them for another few months. They got a little banged up in storage, some paint stuck to other doors, some got a bit of mold on them, but a little sanding and a lot of painting later, they look great. I’m not in love with our little hall of doors here (it feels a bit like it’s just setup for a Scooby Doo style door opening gag) but the doors themselves are great.

Hall of doors

Both our front door and the french doors in the dining room are painted black. Actually the dining room doors are stained espresso, but as far as I can tell, they’re black. Likely my non-color blind wife can tell and would insist it makes a difference, but close enough for me.

DIning room doors

Please ignore the smudge on the camera lens here. Again, the photos on this site need help for sure, not the least of which this one.

We originally had a beautiful dutch door all set to be used for our main entry door. It was 7′ tall and we loved it. Until it failed inspection and we had to scramble to find something and we ended up with a basic builder door. It’s fine. We painted the outside yellow (Benjamin Moore Showtime) and the inside black (using an awful Glidden door paint that I will never touch again). The lighting here is terrible (our closet door and basement door and trim are all the same white, I promise), but oh well taking photos at night is a reality when working full time, having four kids and blogging I guess.

Front Door

With most of the main doors all set we moved on to thinking about closets. Sadly we were stuck with bi-folds on the entry closet, but at least we got wooden ones and painted them. They’ve worked out okay so far.

I built the barn style doors for the upstairs double room. I built two sets but ended up installing one upstairs and one down. We had a whole switcharoo of bedrooms happen just a few months after moving in. We found out our fourth was a girl and we also found out just how much our oldest daughter disliked sleeping on a separate floor. So the pink room got a couple coats of Nordic Blue (half strength) and the blue boys room upstairs became turquoise. Since the boys were really exited about the doors, I installed one set on the closet in their room, and the other set up in the girls’ room. The doors are just beadboard plywood, stained espresso, with 1x4s over top. The handles and hinges are just from Lowes. They are a bit intense, but we love them.

Boys closet doors

Here are the closets in the girls room. We have these awful temporary curtains up still, which desperately need to be changed out for something less … blah. Also this photo is terrible (like worse than the already not so great normal ones)

Girl's closets

Along those lines, I wanted to try and make something for my closet door, and again pinterest came through with a nice way of making my own barn doors without shelling out $100+ for a barn door hardware. I grabbed some plumbing supplies, some wheels and eye hooks and did a variation on the kids closet doors to make this. The door is again some beadboard plywood, this time painted in Benjamin Moore Smoke with 1x4s overtop. I originally had only one X but it looked odd so I slapped the other one on there. I can’t say I love the result here, but it’s functional, it’s different and it was cheap enough that I’m okay not loving it.

My closet door - BM Smoke

Finally, for Shannon’s closet we knew we wanted double doors but the price was again something we didn’t really want to incur. So I pitched the idea of taking two pre-hung hollow core doors, chopping off one side each of the jam and adding some molding. Thankfully she trusted me enough to try it, because we love the result. I topped it off by adding some Anthropologie door knobs as a Christmas gift. Normally we wouldn’t splurge on knobs, but I agree with Shannon that the fun factor here makes up for the cost.

Shannon's Closet

I don’t know if you can see the knobs but they are these ones here.

Gardening Door Knobs

I added some 1/4″ wood behind them as fake back plates just painted white. I still kind of want to add fake key holes with little keys in them. It’d be a random little detail but I would get a kick out of.

These are the doors that I love. They were cheap but don’t look cheap and I really could not be happier with them. I saved these for last since these are the ones that I am going to do emulate in the basement. I’m switching up the molding, the hardware, and the color (I bet you can guess what color the pantry door is) but I’m just so happy with the result on these I will gladly do them over and over again.