DIY Organization: Toy Storage with IKEA products

Since I’ve spent the last week posting DIY projects I did in my daughters room, today, I’m going to show you how I put all these projects together using IKEA’s Expedit Bookcase for toy storage!
Originally, I had started out using itso cubes from Target (which I had already owned) for toy storage. It worked great, but as a parent in a wheelchair, I had a hard time reaching bins that low on the floor to clean up & get toys.

I tried re-stacking them differently but felt it was too risky to stack the cubes too high in case my 1 year old decided they would be great to climb. Instead, I started from scratch with toy organization.

First, I went through all the toys & resold the ones my daughter had ‘outgrown’ or had no interest in. Then I had some $$$ to work with to buy something to organize with, and I could see what I had left for toys to work with!

Next, I plotted on trying to figure out what I could do with the limited space I had in Sophie’s room. The wall I had most of the itso cubes on was  67″ and I realized IKEAs 2×4 Expedit storage was 58 5/8″ – perfect! So I started playing around with IKEAs shopping list to see what combo(s) I could afford to do for under $250, and I came up with this:
So I headed to IKEA to pick up the parts! I’ve done EXPEDIT units several before so assembly took under an hour for all of it!  Also, I decided to add the 6″ legs for 2 reasons: 
  1. They brought the height of the bottom row up to be better in my reach from a wheelchair so I can easily access the storage!
  2. To keep the top out of my daughters reach (for lamps, jewelry box, piggybank etc)
Now I have drawers for toys such as puzzles, doll clothes, little sets of toys, and board books plus I have cupboard doors to put larger toys behind

Then I added a few of my other DIY projects for additional storage-

$13 PRANT Boxes I painted and added decals to, for storage for additional toys & books:

The canvas bins I (re)covered  are great for storing stuffed animals & blocks!

My drawstring toy sacks fit great in one of the canvas bins to separate block sets:

On top of the EXPEDIT storage I have the $20 GRÖNÖ lamp set I made shades for:

Then I put them all together, and we have very organized toy storage for under $300!!!

Of course there are always a few favorite ‘oversized’ toys – like Woofer & H2 Woah!, and since the sections in EXPEDIT are approx 13x13x15, I needed an additional spot to store a few bigger items, so that is what I use the $15 IKEA APA toybox for. I made the lid into a magnetic chalkboard so the lid itself doubles as an extra toy!

And for a table to play at, I hacked IKEAs $20 LATT Table & Chairs:

And above the table is our DIY wall shelves for books!

So, between our EXPEDIT storage, APA Toybox & wall shelves for books, all the toys have a place which makes them easy to clean & neat to keep stored! And, if we get to the point that there’s not enough room for all the toys, then that’s when it’s time to sort through some, and get rid of what we’re not using!

So that’s the tour as for how we used my DIY Tutorials at our house! :)

 Pin It

DIY: creative ways to hang art

For National Crafts Month DIY projects #9 & #10, I thought I’d show two easy ways to display art! I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of having random pieces of artwork left unframed for prolonged periods of time, right? 

DIY #9: Hanging Art With Clothespins

A few months back, I had gotten these Vintage Alphabet Wall Cards by Children Inspire Design for Sophie on either Zulily or The Mini Social, but of course I had to figure out how I was going to hang them!

I thought of getting 26 frames, but re-thought through that idea after the idea of having to hang 26 frames and therefore poking 26 holes in the wall. so I considered using them around the room at the top of the walls with adhesive poster strips. Except that, I’m in a wheelchair so I’d therefore have to convince someone else to go up on a ladder to hang them…

So when cleaning out my art supplies I found the twine & mini clothespins that I used to hang Sophie’s Birthday Banner, and it occurred to me, I could get more mini-clothespins to hang up these!

I found larger mini-clothespins at Michaels, and decided to paint them pink! So, I spent an hour one night painting clothespins!

PAINTING TIP: I clipped them to a piece of cardboard first, so I could hold the cardboard and paint the entire clothespin at once, rather then having to do one side at a time - I actually used the cardboard envelope the alphabet came in! :)

To hang them was definitely a 2-person job! We measured out exactly where we wanted them, then put 6 nails up.

We tried a row of hanging them on the twine before putting them on the wall but it was trickier since they weighed down the twine. So instead we hung the twine, wrapped it tightly around the nails at each end (see photo), then started in the center hanging the alphabet and working out to keep the weight well distributed!

 In the end, we had an alphabet hung with only 6 holes in the wall instead of 26! And all I needed was less then $6 for clothes pins (of course they came in 24 packs, so we had to buy 2 bags), leftover paint from another project, and leftover twine from her birthday party!

Thanks to my friend, Dawn, for helping me hang these! :)

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

DIY #10: Painting Your Own Frame

I received this custom painting as a gift when my daughter was born, only I had no frame or way to hang it. It was on an 11×14 canvas, so it got shifted throughout the room multiple times leaning against the wall or the window. I had looked for a frame multiple times, but all the frames in kid-friendly colors at places like Target or Home Goods were always for 8×10, not 11×14 and I really didn’t want to frame it in white or black or silver – the typical non-custom framing options at places like Michael’s or AC Moore.
Source: via Little Free Radical on Pinterest

Finally, I was in Joann Fabrics a week ago, and saw their frames were 50% off… but again, the color choices were black, white, bronze, or silver… So I found this cheap black frame. Regularly $10.99, on sale for $5.49. 

So I thought…. why not PAINT it a color I already have in Sophie’s room? So I pulled out the Hibiscus Pink I’d used on her table and toybox, and gave the frame 2 coats of paint and it was done!

It took me about 10 minutes of painting time, 2 minutes to frame once the paint dried, 1 minute to hang, and I was done!

So for $5.49 + leftover paint + less then 15 minutes of my time, I had my own custom frame!!!

For another idea of displaying art in a child’s room, see  my LÄTT children’s table & chairs makeover – I used the table as an 18×24 frame!

Pin It

DIY IKEA hack: APA Toybox

I don’t know how many times I passed by this boring little white box in the children’s section at IKEA. It’s only $14.99 but pretty plain and it didn’t match my daughters room so I didn’t give it much thought… until I saw the $20 LÄTT children’s table & chairs displayed next to it…

My grandmother had given me $100 to buy Sophie some Christmas gifts, but she didn’t “need” much – besides a spot to store some of her toys, so I figured why not put the money towards these plus some supplies, and do something a little more creative with them?

So I began painting the table & toybox hibiscus pink!

My original plan was to wallpaper the sides of the toy box– that was until I saw Birch Fabrics’ Circa 52 collection! So I decided to try something I’d never done before: using heat n bond to iron fabric to wood!!!

I ironed heat n bond to the Woodland Party fabric, then peeled off the back and ironed the fabric to the sides of the toybox — and, it worked!!!

The square sides are already assembled into the wood frame, so for those pieces I had to get an exact fit and iron it right on. For the rectangular pieces, I ironed it on, the wrapped it around the edges before assembling them into the sides of the box!

Since we live in a small apartment, I wanted to make the best use out of everything I put in her room, so I turned the toybox lid into a magnetic chalkboard using magnetic primer & chalkboard paint!

The magnetic primer was a bit tricky to work with. It’s very hard to stir, so I ended up taking it back to the paint store to have them re-shake it for me. After that it went on easily! and cleaning paint brushes with magnetic paint is hard! I totally learned after the first coat to put vinyl gloves on first so I’m not spending hours getting the paint off me from cleaning the brushes!

I wanted to decal the lid to match the PRÄNT boxes, but thought it might come off too easy with chalkdust, so instead I painted birch trees on to match! And I wasn’t being as random as it may have looked when I painted the magnetsthe other day – I did them in colors to match Sophie’s toybox!

Sophie is totally loving her new magnet board!
My Supply List:
  • APA box ($15 at IKEA)
  • Paint
  • Fabric (or wallpaper)
  • Heat ‘n Bond (if using fabric)
  • Magnetic Primer
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • Paintbrushes

And I’m loving having a spot designated for all of our bigger toys! $15 for the APA box and $20 for LÄTT children’s table & chairs was totally worth every penny!!! It’s a fun project too! :)

DIY: drawstring sacks for toy storage

I ♥ Pinterest.
There are plenty of fantastic tutorials on there that I likely wouldn’t have otherwise stumbled upon.

Last fall I saw this tutorial on Pinterest last fall by Toni Coward (of Make it Perfect) and knew it had to go as a priority on my never ending DIY to-do list.*
*and my to-do list isn’t getting any shorter thanks to Pinterest!

One of the trickiest things to deal with as a parent in a wheelchair is toys all over the floor (since they are out of my reach, making it hard to roll around the house) so these sacks looked perfect for containing “messes” such as blocks, play food, or other little sets of toys.
I already had scraps of clear vinyl left from Sophie’s Poppitoppy Halloween Costume so as soon as Birch Fabric’s Circa 52 came out, I used Toni’s tutorial and cut out a few to make for Sophie! It took me about 3 hours total to make all 4 sacks- from cutting to sewing. :)
Sophie can see what’s inside the sacks by looking in the windows so we can pick what to play with, and then when she’s done I can encourage clean-up before we take out more:

A few alternative ideas to Toni’s Tutorial:
Instead of having the drawstring at the sides, I decided to do them in the front center, as well as to add a “loop-hook” in the back (between the layers) so I can hang them on hooks if we choose!
I experimented with ribbon as draw strings and LOVED how it looked, but decided for now, that drawstring cord would likely be best with cord stops – just so we don’t start dumping ALL the contents all over the house! We can switch it to ribbon later when we are better able to clean up toys. :)

I used Kona Solids for the lining & cord casings, but I think bias tape (ironed flat for casing, and sewn shut for a drawstring) would also work well! I might experiment in the future with alternatives. Because I’m sure we’ll end up needing more bags as we expand our toy interests to Lalaloopsy,  Lego’s or Playmobil!

“Peek-A-Boo” Toy Sack Tutorial