Monday, December 30, 2013

Supply Drawer Reface.

Last October I completed setup of my office space which occupies half our formal dining room (that is never used for formal dining) as shown in that story.  Though I considered my office essentially done I knew a few minor projects remained; Isn't that always the case though?

“Shoved in the right corner (under the heating/cooling unit) are my old, busted up, plastic Rubbermaid storage drawers for my office supplies.”  They sat in that same condition until recently.  I pretty much knew how I wanted to fix them up but did not yet have a clear plan.  My first thought was Con-Tac paper, but the biggest name in self-adhesive paper also seemed to be the biggest priced and online prices didn't differ much from the local selection.  At that point the project moved to the back-burner until a better solution arose.

Before: Rough shape.


After: Wow, how did this happen?


A couple weeks ago my husband and I went to a Japanese home store called Super Viva Home that carries almost everything you would use at home and then some.  While wandering around curtains and carpeting I noticed a section with self-adhesive paper and instinctively looked directly at a small stash of bits and pieces rolled up individually and priced very, very low.  I selected a small roll of white paper with a subtle wood grain-like texture for ¥39!  That’s about 39₵ if you remember that 1 yen is about 1 penny, give or take a fraction with currency fluctuation.  That tiny purchase instigated my supply drawer refurbishment.

First things always first: Clean!  I emptied the drawers and carefully wiped them completely out.  This included the laborious chore of using Goo-Gone to remove tape residue from packers who practically mummified the unit with packing tape.  After that I had to use isopropyl alcohol to remove that residue.   For certain cleaning tasks lately I've been using grease-cutting disinfectant wipes.  I know, I know, not the most environmentally sound but one wipe will outlast several paper towels and the cloth-like texture seems to clean surfaces better and dries quickly.  (I work very hard making conscious decisions regarding the environment but no one is 100% earth-friendly, we just try to do our part best we can.)  The grease cleaning capability of the wipes also helped prepare the plastic for the adhesive paper to stick thoroughly after the extensive Goo-Gone treatment.

With the hard part over the fun can commence: Time to “measure twice and cut once” as my handyman-skilled Grandpa Jack always said.  He passed that to my crafty Mom and she passed it to me.  Using a flexible measuring tape I followed the width of the curved drawer fa├žade with a little overhang on each side, 31.5cm.  Why not 32cm?  I like the challenge.  Then I measured the height from the bottom up to the drawer pull indentation with a straight ruler, 5.5cm for the shallow drawers and 9.5cm for the deep drawers.  Before cutting the paper for each drawer I double checked the measurements.

Notice the tiny square design on the front, I'll use that later.

The adhesive paper is from a German company, d-c-fix, so the grid on the back used metric measurements making cutting (after re-checking my numbers) a breeze. 

I did not use the paper trimmer to cut, it would gum up the blade.  I set it on top to prevent the paper from rolling up.

Using my acute attention to detail I found a method to adhere the paper as centered as humanly possible.  I cut a small strip from the middle of the measured and cut piece and lined it up with a small, square design element on the front center of every drawer.  After lightly placing the sticky portion on the center I leveled the paper near the bottom of the drawer, leaving a small space to prevent accidental unpeeling over time.  When it looked straight and even I firmly pressed the middle to secure it.

Stuck on the middle square.

Taking a deep breath I entered the point of no return: the final peel-and-stick.  This is not a strength of mine, evidenced by the countless screen protectors I have ruined over the years by poor application attempts on multiple electronic devices.  The odds here leaned slightly in my favor though as the adhesive paper is flexible and doesn't easily slip from your fingers and slap down on the surface.  Using a small, stiff ruler (yes, I have many rulers) and beginning from the center cut I made previously I slowly peeled back the paper while using the ruler’s edge to lay it flat.  I repeated this process for each drawer and ne'er an air bubble in sight.

As I mentioned previously, this drawer unit is old, well used, and injured after a few long-distance moves.  Some of the drawers have damage, some repaired, some not.  I still had adhesive paper left so I measured and cut pieces to cover both sides of the damaged spots, hopefully adding some reinforcement as well.  Since these areas are on the sides I was not overly concerned about perfect aesthetics but simply made sure they were covered and protected adequately.

This fix is years old and still holding.

New damage.  I stuck paper on both sides, staying a bit from the edge to prevent peeling.

Finally the time came to re-fill the drawers.  This process was fairly simple because before we moved I carefully went through them, removing items unnecessary to bring with us and discarding those not worthy of storage.  This time, however, I realized that one drawer in particular needed organization so I left that one empty to begin my next endeavor, Supply Drawer Dividers.  Stay tuned.

Finished drawer.  Notice the slight over hang on the side an the tiny space left at the bottom.

Close up of wood-grain embossing.

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