The next step in The Craft Room Redesign Project you all have been helping me with was to create a bigger & better cutting table, and to try to find a place for my embroidery machine, without spending a lot of money. I think I succeeded.
So here’s before:

And after:

What do you think? Before you answer, consider that it only cost me $80. I had this expedit bookshelf from Ikea, which I purchased purely for function. I accidentally grabbed a birch-finish one, instead of the white that I wanted (really though, it’s not my fault-the sign said white, but once it was in my house I wasn’t going back with that giant beast). Point being, I liked the way it looked even less then I thought I would, and I didn’t think I would like it very much. But I did like the way it could hold a ton of stuff and only cost $129. After creating the hidden workstation, I thought I’d get a bunch of baskets, organize the shelves & hide the clutter away, and be satisfied with the look. But after doing all this work to spiff the room up, it was really bugging me to see this wall ‘o stuff in an Ikea bookshelf. It was dominating the room. I couldn’t justify buying a beautiful new shelving system, so I asked my production designer friend Charlotte to come over and help me out. And help me out she did.

My old cutting table:

My new cutting table:

I like that when you walk in (as seen in pic right above) you no longer see the giant bookshelf, since it’s now under a table and against the front wall. The whole room feels cleaner and more organized. Check out how we made these sewing and cutting tables for under $100 after the jump…
DIY Sewing & Cutting Table

Charlotte’s first piece of advice? Take every single thing out of the room and start over. Oh man, I did not want to do that. I avoided it for several weeks. it seemed so pointless, like busy work I didn’t have time for (and that would hurt my back). But after weeks of shuffling the furniture around and sighing everytime I thought about how to arrange everything I decided she was right.

But being right isn’t always the best thing is it? Because then I called her. And I said “you were right” and she said “i know” and i said “so get your butt over here and help me.” lucky for me, she agreed. So we hauled every single thing onto the deck. All the furniture I had artuflly arranged and shelves I had organized. All of it out.

Now look at that. A CLEAN SLATE. Oh, the serenity that washed over me seeing those (almost) blank walls and that totally empty shelf.

We walked around the space, play acting all the things I would do in it, imagining what would feel right. Charlotte gave me some therapy – what is this space for? How do you want to feel when you’re in it? And you know what we discovered? That you guys were right. You had all suggested a layout with the worktables by the windows and door and I just didn’t want to do it. But it made sense. So with that in mind, we came up with a plan.

We decided to hack into that bookshelf and put a countertop on it. So we did. First Charlotte diligently measured the whole thing to counter height, taking into account our countertop and carefully measuring and marking each cut.

Then I grabbed the saw and all my safety gear. Charlotte even made me change out of my flip flops.

And cut.

Then we turned it over and cut the other side. Then we sanded the edges.

Then I bought a Lagan countertop – it’s 8 feet long and ONLY $39 at Ikea. We screwed it on top.

We put it under the window and I packed my fabric into it. Look at that! I love having the little bit of light the space offers pour right onto my work surface. I didn’t even make any curtains because I don’t want to stop the light. Do you think I should? I know the air conditioner is an eyesore, but I need it.

Next to it I bought another of the same Ikea countertop and rested it on two Ikea Vika Artur trestle bases ($30 each) that I already had. I love these because the height is adjustable, so they would be perfect for a cutting table. And the shelf is a good place to store the machines I use but not all the time (like my bias tape maker or rotary cutter).

So this is where I kept my sewing machines before:

And now:

Soooo did I do ok? Oh, here are the other stops on the Craft Room Redesign Project so far…
The Craft Room Redesign Project: Help!
The Craft Room Redesign Project: The New Floor!
The Craft Room Redesign Project: Advice for My Thrifty Finds …
A Fun Way to Organize Craft Supplies
The Craft Room Redesign Project: Hidden Workstation
How to Make Pleated Drapes
How to Paint Brass Finished Finds
The Recovered Chair!

Next up: painting. I already painted once, but it isn’t working for me. That, and pillows. Lots of pillows. And finding a way for my husband’s weight bench to magically disappear when I enter the room.

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