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$2 Storage and Knock-Off Wood Interview

14 July 2010 102,844 views 20 Comments

by heather

By now, you have probably heard of Knock-Off Wood and Ana White, but if not, let me introduce you to this great resource for frugal DIYers like you and me. The site provides free plans for building quality furniture that looks like furniture you can find in designer stores like Pottery Barn and West Elm. I discovered the site in February, and a week later, we built a king-sized storage bed! Amazing!

I think you will be interested in the site because I know you love great ideas, good design, and making your house a home, all on a budget. If you can dollar store craft, then you can build Knock Off Wood style! One of the things I like most about the site is that Ana White, the author of the blog, demystifies the process of building and is really encouraging toward beginners. Even if you have never picked up a hammer or power tool in your life, you will feel like you can do it after reading a few of the blog posts and reader testimonials.

Ana let me ask her a couple questions to share with you. I'll share the interview on the next page, but first let me tell you about my storage bed and the very cheap (but cute) storage containers I made to go in it.

The Bed: Here's the bed. It's a king-sized storage bed that I painted dark brown. (Sidenote: you will notice that it's REALLY tall because we use the boxspring as well as the mattress. I am so thankful for the lip on the end of the bed so I can get on the bed!! Otherwise, I'd also have to build a staircase too!). It's been several months since we built it, so I don't really have any major details to share because I have mommy brain and I can't remember them. I believe we spent about $150, including paint and a countersink and drill bits. It took about 3-4 hours to build (not including about 2 hours in the home improvement store to get the lumber cut!) and several coats of paint. I think I should take a page out of some of other other builders' books and go ahead and distress it in advance since I have 3 small kids!

Storage: I was stumped about how to put storage under the bed without spending as much as we spent on the bed. Large baskets were about $20 apiece at the cheapest, and the bed has space for 12 baskets. Hmm, 12 x $20 = too much. So, I hit upon a great idea. I bought a pack of 10 bankers boxes at Costco for less than $15, as well a can of paint.

I like the banker's boxes because they are cheap, sturdy, easy to replace if necessary, easy to paint (and repaint, if you change color schemes), and streamlined looking. A painted banker's box would also be easy to embellish. You could Mod Podge pretty paper to them, add fabric, ribbon, flowers, or whatever, according to your style. Oh, and they provide a ton of storage!

Project Estimate:

  • Banker's boxes, about $1.50 each
  • Can of latex house paint, about $11, or on hand (leftover paint is great for this project)
  • Primer, if you have some

Total: $1.50 and up per box

To Make:

Prime the banker's boxes. This is optional, but recommended. You want to cover over any words or logos on the boxes so they don't show through the paint.

Paint the boxes with latex paint in your chosen color. Give it a second or third coat, if necessary.

I assembled the boxes before I painted them, but after I did it, it occurred to me that it would be a lot quicker and easier to paint the boxes while they're still flat.

Side project: if you want to make a "headboard" like mine, put three nails in the wall, tie dollar store jute string to them for a virtual headboard, and hang photos from the jute string with clothespins! Total cost: about $2 if you don't already have everything on hand.

Now, on to the interview with Ana.

See Page 2 for interview -->

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  • merideth said:

    great job on the bed! your headboard? you could “fill in” that shape with the same paint from your bankers’ boxes. easy to change whenever you change your colors and it would really stand out framed by your jute. :)

  • Nancy said:

    I love the bankers box idea. I just finished my Queen Size storage bed and plan to work on the baskets/drawers next.

  • Mich L. said:

    The bed is amazing! Looks so expensive! I love the storage idea – never thought to paint those boxes, but why not? They’re so pretty that way, can’t believe how cute (and useful!) for such a teeny amount of $$$.

  • Sophia said:

    Wow! Thanks for the link to the website. I could spend several hours planning about twenty projects … Now if I could only convince my husband! :)

  • amy said:

    What a great idea to paint the boxes! Bankers boxes are so great to store stuff in but they’re so ugly – way to go!

  • marysuek said:

    I’ve tried this with a waterbed frame and mounted plywood to the top. Then my box springs and mattress, but the kept sliding off is either side. How do you keep them from sliding off? Is there a lip all around to home them in place?

  • heather (author) said:

    @Marysuek – Ours doesn’t slide, so I’m not sure! You could try getting a non-slip rug liner and putting it underneath your mattress.

  • Kat said:

    I love the idea of these storage boxes! What is the material? I want to create storage for my son’s toddler room, but the same price is for cloth bins, and I’d like him to be able to see what is in them. I wanted to figure out a way to make a “window” for him to see the contents. Do you think this material would cut cleanly, or have any other ideas?

  • heather (author) said:

    @kat, the boxes are banker’s boxes, which are cardboard boxes you can buy at your office supply store. They are triple reinforced cardboard, so cutting into them might compromise how sturdy they are. That said, they are cheap enough for you to experiment with.

  • cellac said:

    I was wondering, if you were to paint the boxes before folding them, would the paint crack when folding them? Anyone try it?

  • heather (author) said:

    @cellac, I haven’t tried it, but it does seem like the process would be easier if you painted before you fold. But like you said, cracking is a concern. I guess the only solution is to try painting one that way and see what happens!

  • Sally said:

    Hello, I would like to suggest an idea to you. I love they gray and I can even dig the orange boxes but do you know what would really give this room a nice finished look? One of those tufted (nailhead) headboards. I have seen several diy project plans for them. Also, maybe cover the throw pillows with some kind of fabric that has a little orange in them to really pull it all together!

  • Irene said:

    WOW I’m leaving for my sophomore year of college next week and I was looking for storage boxes to put on the shelf in my closet, but everywhere I looked those boxes were so expensive. (especially for a broke college student!) this is perfect!! I actually went to Wal-Mart and got boxes that were about 75 cents each. Talk about a deal!! Thanks for the inspiration and saving me tons of money!!

  • Nancy said:

    Couldn’t you assemble the boxes inside out, so the writing is on the inside of the box? Then you may need fewer coats of paint, since you wouldn’t be trying to cover up writing on the outside.

  • jackie said:

    Where are you finding bankers boxes for $1.50? I just googled my local staples and they sold them 16.99/4 pack and 16.99 each.

  • lauren said:

    I found some bankers boxes 10 ct at Walmart for $16.88 the dimensions are 10.5″L x 12.5″W x 16.25″ H.

  • heather (author) said:

    @lauren, yes those should work!

  • Frank said:

    Like your idea for painting bankers boxes. Great look and excellent storage at a better price!

  • alex said:

    So, I’m a bit confused. The box spring and mattress are on top of the wood? I’m assuming so, but just wanted reassurance

  • Lindsay said:

    This is fantastic – I’ve been searching all day for the right sized storage boxes for above my kitchen cupboards. Wouldn’t you know it, banker’s boxes are the perfect size and perfect price! And I can paint them to match my kitchen and make the most of the space up there! Thanks :)