DIY French bedside table

After a couple of months searching high and low for a bedside table, I decided there was no way I could afford one that I wanted and no way I wanted one of the ones I could afford!

So, being intrepid DIY-er, I decided to craft my way to the perfect item of bedroom storage.

    

I found a sturdy but hideously orange-y varnished pine bedside table in a local charity shop for £20. I went and bought a random shade of cream paint (out of like 20 options- who knew cream was so complex?) and some beautiful knobs to replace the originals.

After laying down some newspaper and gathering my tools (sandpaper and block, paintbrush…), I got to work. Here’s how I did it.

  1. Remove drawers and unscrew knobs.
  2. Sand the whole cabinet roughly – it doesn’t have to be perfect (this a whole lot more dusty than you think- be warned).
  3. Wipe every surface with a damp cloth to remove dust and leave to dry.
  4. Paint all visible surfaces with a thin layer of paint. I left the inside of the cabinet and drawers in/as plain wood because I liked the contrast and well, it’s easier.Leave to dry- a couple of hours should be enough.
  5. Paint a second coat on.
  6. Leave to dry overnight.
  7. Screw in new knobs.

Hey presto, a French-style piece of furniture for a fraction of the price!

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How to make a French-style memo board

I wanted to replace the dull magnetic whiteboard in my room with something more chic and so the obvious option was a French style memo board (the ones with the lattice of ribbons over the front to hold your pretty bits and bobs).

Decent ones can be a bit pricey and it’s hardly complicated so I thought, what the heck? I’ll just make my own.

An evening of over-zealous staple gunning later and ta-da! A beautiful home for all my precious paper.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Take an appropriately sized board. I used an old cork pin board as I had it lying around and it was the right size.
  • Get some stuffing- I got polyester wadding from my local quilting shop (incidentally where i also got the fabric).
  • Stretch the wadding over the board and staple to the back of the board, making sure it’s pulled tightly.
  • Next, take your fabric and cut it to size, allowing for extra to go round the back of course. Again using the trusty staple gun, attach to the back of the board pulling tightly. I used this gorgeous Cabbages and Roses print which I got for £5 for a half metre which was the perfect size for this project.

  • Ribbon time. Lay your ribbon over the memo board where you want it to be (I chose a lattice French style) and cut to the correct size, allowing extra to stretch round the back to attach. Pull the ribbon taut and staple to the back of the board. This takes a bit of concentration and patience to get the ribbons straight and parallel. I used another length of ribbon as a makeshift tape measure to ensure that the distance between the ribbons was uniform.
  • Where the ribbons cross stick in long pins to create that quilted look.
  • Attach a piece of string or similar to the back for hanging (if you want to put it on the wall). As I used an old cork board , it already had one.
  • Finally, add all your pretty bits and pieces to the board! Et Voila!