Hooray! Finally! This was another one of the jobs that was planned and started just after we moved in a year ago, and finally got completed this past summer break.
When I knew I was going to have enough room for a proper crafting space, one of the things I wanted was a cutting table, at the correct height, that was moveable so I could push it against the wall to be out of the way, and pull it out so that I could move around it as I cut. Honestly, being able to do that makes SUCH a difference to how easy it is to cut something out, and accurately!
I did a lot of googling of DIY cutting tables and I settled on using IKEA KALLAX units – as used to be Expedit. This meant I could use the table as my stash storage at the same time, a very necessary thing let me tell you. So we bought the units, and got the plywood cut to size, and bought the castors, and then it all sat in a pile for a year. I was using it as stash storage and cutting space, it just wasn’t all connected and I couldn’t pull it out from the wall.
So finally I painted the tops – it’s just ‘vivid white’ in dulux, because that’s what matched the units best. I thought about staining it to match my wall shelves but I thought having it white would make it easier to see when tracing, etc, which has proved the case. I did two coats of that and then for the top I sanded it and did another one coat of polyurethane. It probably could have done with two but I was impatient! The wood is just plywood, we bought a large sheet and had the cut shop where we bought it cut it. I put the KALLAX units together and measured the width and depth. I got one piece cut to exactly that size, and one a little bit larger. There was also another bit left over and I’ve thought of a couple of uses for that so I kept it.
Once the wood was all ready, we put the castors on.
We just screwed right into the plywood without drilling, although we did use an electric screwdriver to make it easier. You can see we originally put one in the middle – I could only find five of the castors but then the other one turned up. I think I might go back and buy one more and put one in the middle again because I think it rolled easier when there was one there.
Next was to attach the units to the base. I was originally going to use no more nails, but then I realised if I did that I was committing to alway and forever having this unit in my room! It’s too big to take out – it might fit out the door but I don’t think it would fit down the hallway! So instead I used 3M tape. It’s still pretty solid but there’s slightly more chance of being able to take it apart and still reuse the bits, if need be.
This bit took some maneuvering and was definitely a two person job.I put the strips on, and then took off the covering tape. Then we stood the unit on one edge, with a person on each side, to line it up to the edge of the base. Then the person on the inside slooooowly lowered it while the other person kept it lined up. We did it that way for all three units (only this photo because it was tricky so I didn’t pause to take more, sorry).
I was hoping I’d be able to use the third piece of plywood as the top, then add some spacers and have the proper top on top of that. That way I’d have a niche to stash things while I wasn’t working on them. But once we got it this far it was clear that it was already the perfect height, so I abandoned that plan.
Once all the units were on, we wiggled them out a bit and I stuck some tape in between them to keep them together. Then I placed the tape on the top. I put lots on because the base will have gravity helping it stay down, but the top is where most of the pushing and pulling will be so I wanted it firm
Then we put the top on, using the same ‘slow lowering from an edge’ technique.
As you can see, the units are not quite as wide enough for them to line up. So we deliberately left that gap, more on that later. You can also see that the top is wider all around than the bottom, to give more working room. We lined it up flush with the back so that it can be pushed all the way against the wall, though.
I was really worried that the cubes wouldn’t line up properly, because I need to be able to slide them all the way in and out, but they did!
I sorted through the stash and now it all fits! Well, in the cubes and also in the drawers next to it. I am debating adding wallpaper or something to the back of that, and I’ll need to paint the exposed bit of the base of my cutting table. I threw out a whole bag of scraps too small to do anything with, and a whole bag of muslins for garments I’ve already fitted and made. Yikes! Why do I keep these things? Here’s the unit from the side – sorry the photos aren’t great, it’s a bit of a small space to work in (and a tad messy. Real life, y’all).
The final touch was today. I wanted hooks for the side but I couldn’t find any that were small enough for my purpose. So I bought some trim – it happens to be Tasmanian oak because that’s the one I found that was the right size. I cut it to size, gave it a quick oil with linseed oil, and banged some nails in. I used more 3M tape to stick it on to the side. One of my rulers didn’t have a big enough hole to be able to hand off the nail, so I used a bulldog clip to hang it. Then I put four cup hooks above it. Now my rulers and cutting implements are off the table! I might not keep the measuring tape there, I think it might become a cat toy if I do…
This is a functioning room I use every day, and the table does tend to become a dumping ground. However, I have things set up so there are proper places for everything, and I can clear it off quickly when I want to use it. I have already been using this a bunch (garments which are almost finished and will be blogged soon, hopefully, barring disasters) and it makes it so so so much easier to cut things out, and trace. I am so pleased with how this turned out!