Category : How tos

The earlier two weeks, we looked at how to build the side table frame. Today, we look at how the frame can be finished to get the desired look as well as fixing the table top. Before you read any further, I suggest that you look at the below three posts to ensure continuity:
  1. Starting a Side Table project
  2. Side Table – Design, dimensions and materials required
  3. How to build the table frame using teak wood legs
Building a side table
DIY Side Table
At this point, it makes complete sense to go back and look at how staining can be done on a wooden surface. While this has been extensively covered, a little reiteration will certainly help you get a hold of the methods used. The first step is to sand the wooden surface. Sanding provides the necessary level of smoothness that is required for you to achieve the stained finish that you are looking for.

Recommended reading : The basics of sanding explained through a simple video
Sanding and staining
The next logical step in the sequence is to apply sanding sealant. However, considering I already had an exceptionally even surface, and the teak wood was absorbing the stain very well, I decided to skip the sealing process. Sometimes, even when there is an established method, it does not hurt to experiment and resort to methods that work well for a particular project. I used gada cloth to apply the stain, and used another piece of the same cloth to immediately wipe off the excess stain.

Recommended reading : How to apply wood stain for your DIY projects
How to stain wood
Staining process continued
Finally, the frame is built and wood stain has been applied. Now the next step is to fix the top and middle layer. I used a 12mm plywood for both the layers. To fix the plywood on the frame, you can nail wooden reapers along the inner sides of the frame. Considering the plywood top is 12mm in thickness, the reaper should be nailed 12 mm below the top of the frame to ensure the plywood is in line with the frame top.
Wooden reaper
Using a wooden reaper to support the plywood top
What you see above is the reapers nailed on the inner side of the frame for the top layer. Similarly, I have nailed 4 more for the middle layer (not shown in the picture). The plywood needs to be neatly cut with the dimensions being almost equal to the inner dimension of the frame - In this case, about 14 inches x 14 inches. Once the reaper is in place, and the plywood is cut, all you need to do is merely place the plywood on top of the reapers. And your side table is ready to be used.

Do it yourself
A Do-it-yourself sidetable
We are still debating on how I should finish the table top. Right now, it is just the plywood surface. We are considering doing an art work on the top to give the side table an ethnic look. What do you think ? Should we consider other options. Let us know.

Last week we looked at the first step in making our bedside table – getting the dimensions, design right and cutting the Teak wood legs to the desired measurement. This week, we will look at fixing the legs together to form the table frame. I have not used any specific joint to fix up the legs. All that I have used are just screws and adhesive to strengthen the joint a little bit more. 
Building the frame for side table
Side Table Frame

Tools / Accessories used

  • Star head screws (2 inches length). The screws need to be long enough to go deep into both sections of the legs being joined
  • Star head screwdriver
  • Fevicol SH
  • Electric drill. At this point, I would want to reiterate that having an electric drill at home will come in handy both from a DIY standpoint and also in getting some minor repairs done. If you want to get into DIY, you need to grab one drill immediately.
Required tools
Tools required
As I mentioned, I have used only the screws to join the legs together. Before driving the screws in, it is ALWAYS recommended that you drill a pilot hole.This will enable you to easily drive the screws in, prevent splitting of wood, and will act as a guiding hole for precisely driving the screws. The hole is drilled across both the surfaces that are being joined. The cumulative depth of the hole should be slightly smaller than the length of the screw. With the pilot holes in place, ensure that you screw both the wooden legs together. To add more bond, smear the surfaces with adhesive.

How to drive screws in
Drill pilot holes
I used two screws to secure each of the joints. Considering I had 4 vertical legs, and 8 horizontal ones (or 8 joints requiring 4 screws each), I required a total of 32 screws to complete the job. The below pictures are the work in progress snapshots of the legs being fixed. You may want to go back to the first photo on top to visibly see how the two screws are used to join the pieces. The screw heads are visible which may be a downside to it. However, the darker shade of stain that I intend to use will eventually blend the screws with the background.
Work In Progress - Side Table
Work in Progress
So, here it is - The Side Table frame. The next step is for me to stain the legs and look at how I would want the top to be covered. Glass, laminated plywood, decoupaged plywood, or painted (I mean the art kind of painting) plywood are some of the options. You can also throw in your ideas and I will see how that can be implemented too.
Side table do it yourself
The side table, almost ready to be used
I am going to be spending most of this week staining the wooden legs. And of course there is this long, boring and tedious task of sanding the surface. Most probably it will be a busy weekend and so I plan to use up the weekday early mornings to try and complete it. And I hope I will be able to put up the details of the staining process for you to see next Monday. Do leave a comment on what you think about how this project is progressing.

I had started the project on bedside table last week and had decided to put up the step by step process of the progress.  The first step towards making any piece of furniture is to get the design in place. This enables you to fix the dimensions, which in turn provides you the input on the amount of materials that you need to buy.  This being DIY, you can choose to have your own design and dimensions. We wanted the table to be in line with the mattress which fixed the height at 20 inches.

Measurement for table
Dimensions for the table

Materials and tools required

  • The Wooden legs : I wanted the legs to be 1 inch x 1 inch and required them to provide stability to the whole structure. Based on the above design, I needed the following:
    • 4 x 20 inches long legs (Vertically placed)
    • 8 x 14 inches long legs (Horizontally placed - 4 on top and 4 in the middle )
  • At the plywood store, I was shown 1 inch x 1 inch teak wood legs which was just perfect. They come in 8 feet length and costed Rs.25 per foot.
  • Based on the dimensions, I needed 192 inches (exactly 16 feet). To allow for minimal wastage, I bought 2 x 8 feet and 1 x 2 feet of the teak wood
  • A hacksaw blade for the cutting needs
Teak wood for table legs
Teak Wood Legs for the Side table

Cutting the wooden legs to required dimension

I have always maintained that it is fine to outsource your cutting needs should you have constraints in terms of space, non-availability of tools / skills. While it is quite a task to cut sheets of wood above 12mm in thickness and one may need a handsaw or a circular saw, for some of the requirements (as in this case), hacksaw blades would do the job neat and clean. It is easy to use, easily available and will not cost you more than Rs.15. I used a hacksaw blade to cut the teak wood legs.

Hacksaw blade
Cutting the wooden legs using hacksaw blade

Fixing the wooden legs

With the legs cut to the required dimension, the next step naturally is to fix the legs. Considering I am getting only limited time during the weekends, this will be the next step in the process. I still have not decided whether to use screws or a cross dowel to fix this up. Whatever might be the case, I will be using only butt joint to join the wooden legs together

Teak wood legs
Wooden legs cut and ready to be fixed

Do watch this space next Monday for the next step in the process. Hopefully, I should be ready with the basic structure of the table by this week. I am thinking of putting up a video post (at a later time) on this entire project subject to availability of time.  Do leave your feedback and share your thoughts on this project. 

It is exciting when the desire to DIY is fueled by an actual requirement at home. There is now the need for a bedside table in our guest bedroom that is bare with only a cot and no other piece of furniture. The broadband modem, mobiles/other accessories have no designated space while in the room. As always, I want to explore the DIY route before looking at readily available products. Another functional necessity and am already so pepped up.
Recommended Reading : Using Google Sketchup to create 3D designs
The plan for the table is based on a simple thought process. Avoid perception of taking up space in an already small room by keeping all sides open. The design is not anything original and you can find similar ones on the internet.
DIY bedside table
Simple Side Table plan designed with Google Sketchup
For now, I have only bought the wooden legs from the local shop. My initial plan was to keep the budget low (less than Rs.300) and build a low cost table. On second thoughts, want to build a really sturdy one and so stretched it a bit. The teak wood legs you see below cost about Rs.25 per foot. 
Recommended Reading : Easiest DIY Center Table you can ever build
The design has the necessary approval at home. While I am starting with what you are seeing above, during the course of building it, I may improvise and deviate from the basic plan. The cot is brown and the wardrobe / wall is white which should explain the color combination. The dimensions are not frozen as yet.
Side table for bedroom
Guest bedroom and the designated space for the side table
I will be making this as yet another simple and everyone-can-make-at-home kind of a project. I plan to put up the progress (dimensions, materials used, and the step by step process) of this DIY in a series of posts. So, watch this space if you think this assignment will be of interest to you.  

[Guest Post by Subbu Padmanabhan]
The delight in seeing one’s own near-perfect handiwork come to life is quite unparalleled by the satisfaction induced by the picture perfect outcome of a qualified expert. This joy provides everyone with unfailing inspiration and so when I experience the same elation, I want to share it. Adding life to walls with cartoon characters may not seem new. But doing it yourself brings in the needed novelty that is a result of your own unique creative skills. I decided to give my son Sharan's room a little transformation with his favorite animation characters and have now been doing it on request from other mothers too. Here's some tips on decorating your kid's room wall  with his / her favorite cartoon characters:

Wall decoration idea
Add life to your kid's room wall with cartoon characters
First and foremost, before you start doing anything with the wall, understand that the result has to interest your kid in the long run. Kids appreciate everything with a fancy value, but tend to move from one interest to the other quickly. Involve your kid in understanding what he / she would like to see on his / her wall for the next few years. You certainly don’t want him / her saying, “Mmmm, I like Chota Bheem better”, after two days of your hard work.

How to paint your kids room wall
DIY Wall Decoration

Materials you can use

From my experience, acrylic colors seem to be the best fit for adding splash of colors on the wall. I have used it on many walls with ease and have seen it give a striking finish to my works.
Wall painting materials
Acrylics for the wall
I use cartoon images from the internet for reference and mark the outline on the wall using a pencil. Once the outline is in place, just paint the colors without letting them spill out of the outline. Cartoon characters look good in solid colors and so you don't need to give any gradient effect to your paintings. In short, very basic painting skill is required to indulge in this DIY fun.
Chota Bheem on the wall
Chota Bheem on the bedroom door
You don’t have to use the whole wall area. Choose a portion of the wall space and make it your canvas. Don’t be scared to alter and give it a makeover.  If your kid would love it, give him / her sections that he / she can complete.  That would add to the fun, right ?

Tips for painting the wall

Wall painting using acrylic colors
The feature wall of the kid's room
It is as simple as that. Take your time. Don’t get bogged down by setting yourself timelines. Get it right and then move to the next step. Enjoy the process. And most importantly, relish the product of your own efforts.  Take pride and show it off to family and friends. I would love to hear your thoughts on designs that you have executed in your own rooms. Maybe, next time I do something like this, I will incorporate your ideas.  Do leave me a comment.

~ Subbu Padmanabhan

About the contributor
Subbu Padmanabhan is a mom to a 4 something year old boy, and works as faculty in a premier play school. She likes to indulge in mini crafts projects, for the school and her home, during her spare time. The wall art that you see in the backdrop of this bedside lamp is her handiwork too. She lives in Bangalore.

I have been trying to see what I can put down here that can be of use and my recent conversation with a friend prompted this post. She was wanting to get shelves installed in her kitchen and had been coordinating with professionals to get it done. One of the many needs in any kitchen is the requirement for additional shelves at some point or the other. And it was mere coincidence that I was working on completing an earlier project of mine which involved installing a glass shelf to the cabinet. My camera is giving us big trouble, and I could only manage the below pictures. Hoping that they serve the purpose. So, here’s how you can install a glass shelf to a cabinet without professional help.

Materials and tools required:

  • The glass shelf. The process holds well even if you use a wooden shelf. The length of the shelf needs to be 1 or 2 mm lesser than the length of the cabinet. I got mine for Rs.90/-
  • Shelf brackets or bats (The ones you see in the picture are called shelf bats) - Rs 35/- a pair
  • Drilling machine (Do remember that this is a must have tool for even some of the small requirements at home)
  • Adhesive (if required)
Shelf brackets - Glass shelf support
Shelf Brackets
I went to my regular plywood store and gave the dimensions of the glass and got it cut from the store. Since my size was small, he could give it to me from a spare piece and that saved me some cost.
Shelf glass
Glass panel for the shelf

Step 1 : Mark the height and drill holes

Mark the height on both sides of the cabinet where you want to install the shelf. Ensure that the height is same on both the sides.

Drill two holes along the line marked. This by far may seen as the most cumbersome activity in the whole process. Get yourself a drilling machine and you would realize it is not a big deal after all.The hole size should not be bigger than the bat / bracket cylindrical protrusion (refer photo). The depth of the hole should be just enough for the entire bracket to be comfortably inserted into the hole. Drill a bit and insert the bracket to test. Keep drilling (with intermittent testing with the bracket) until you are able to comfortably place the shelf support into the drilled hole.
Drill holes
Drill holes for the bat insertion

Step 2 : Insert the shelf bats into the hole

Insert the shelf bats into the holes drilled and secure them in place. If the hole diameter is small, the bat cannot be inserted. If it is bigger, the bat will not be secure in its position. To avoid any loose insertion, I added loads of Fevicol and then inserted the bats in place.

Install shelf bats
Insert the shelf brackets

Step 3 : Place the shelf on the bats

The final step is to place the shelf on the bats. Notice that the bats have a cup shaped top ? With little pressure applied the glass shelf is held together by vaccum suction. Just same as any vaccum suction hooks that you would have seen.

How to install glass shelf
Learn to install a glass shelf
And it is as simple as that. With just a little bit of practice with an electric drill, you can pretty much take care of some of your woodworking needs all by yourself. Installing a glass shelf, getting a cabinet door installed, installing a glass door are among some of the requirements that you can fulfill with this skill. Comes in quite handy at the most vital situations. Share your thoughts. Let me know if you found this post useful.
- Somu

Have you ever been put off by the idea of doing something with wood because of the hard work that it involves? Have you been giving up on executing a thought because you didn't have the necessary tools? Do you like to explore woodworking as a hobby but don’t know where to begin? Here is a list of some simple and easy projects that you can do to give your interest a kick start. Why do I call them simple and easy? All these projects use easily available materials, requires a hack saw blade and don’t take much time to complete. 
Further reading: My 17 point recipe on how to start a woodworking hobby
DIY woodworking projects
Simple and easy DIY Woodworking projects
1. DIY Photo Stand (Beginner level)
    If you have a display space at home, this is a really wonderful thing to own. Inspired by a menu card holder, this is one of the easiest projects I have ever done. Takes just a couple of wooden reapers and adhesive and you have your own photo stand.
2. A Smart phone holder (Beginner level)
    Another very functional project. I was really glad that I made it. Makes watching Youtube much easier than ever. Again, just a couple of wooden sticks and some glue is all you need.
3. A Photo frame (Beginner to intermediate level)
    This serves the same function as the photo stand, except that it is a conventional photo frame. This DIY apparently is among the top 5 popular posts in Woodooz. Little bit of creativity and you can have personalized photo frames to hold all your memories together.
4. Wooden Wall clock (Beginner to intermediate level)
    You can make a simple clock to a really fancy one and all that depend on the thought you put into the projects. However small / big your clock may be, the concept behind making one is just the same. You will need to get the clock mechanism, but beyond that, you can use pretty much any material to make your own clock.
5. Broadband router holder (Beginner level)
    This is the ugliest looking holder that you would have ever seen. But, what the heck, it really serves its purpose. The inspiration was a mobile phone charger holder that I saw at a duty free shop in the airport. The design is raw and rough, but it certainly saved us some floor space. Try it out if you think you have a similar need.
Starting with smaller projects and then gravitating towards bigger and more complex ones can help sustain your newly found interest. And the sustenance is key to your interest growing into a passion that you most certainly love to indulge in. If you let non-availability of materials and tools to discourage you, these 5 projects will help get you back in track. Do you have any other small and easy projects in mind? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section.

- Somu

The biggest issue for me while working on a DIY is that I keep wasting time looking for things. I would have no clue where I kept my small screw driver or where the 220 grit sand paper is. The other issue is taking them out of their storage cabinet. If I need something, there is every bit possibility that I might have to dig deep into the cabinet, maybe even pull some things out, before I can find what I want. Considering I was not working on any projects for a long time,  thought will use the time to put an end to all these issues.

Does it partially remind you of your spice rack in the kitchen ? :) I had a spare 12 mm plywood which I hung in a non-intrusive space in the service area. May look clumsy, but trust me, very convenient. The reason for putting this up was twofold:
  1. Clear up space in the service area cabinet and find more functional uses for it
  2. Designate space for every tool and make it easily accessible (for me)
Now I have designated holders and space for:
  • My 3 inch screws (notice the upcycled green Vaseline bottle ?)
  • Smaller screws
  • Headless nails
  • Drill bits
  • Some of my tools
  • And even sand papers
While I have been wanting to do this for a long time, I have to agree that I was inspired by this post of Vinay to get this done really quick. I still have lot of space left on the plywood (as you can see) and will probably spend sometime this week hanging up the rest of the items in my list. Meanwhile, if you can guess what the blue file holder is for, leave me a comment. Leave me a comment otherwise too. :) 

There are two reasons why I have titled this post the way I have :
  • One is because it is simply the easiest center table that you can ever make
  • And secondly, I made my table with no prior knowledge on Woodworking and so I believe anyone can too

For reasons unknown, I never captured the individual steps involved in making the earlier tables. And so, I am going to take advantage of Google Sketchup and the illustrations I made to try to explain the steps in making this simple table. Point to note : This will work wonders if the height of the table is low, and the legs are wide.

Materials and tools required :

  • 19mm Plywood (2 ft x 2 ft) for the table top
  • Padauk Wood (4 inch x 4 inch and 23cm in height). You can get this from either a plywood store or a local timber store.
  • In both the cases above, I gave the specifications to the store owner and had them cut at the store
  • 3 inch screws
  • Electric Drill
  • One Side Teak for covering the table top 
  • Stains / paint as applicable

Step 1 and  2

Just place the plywood top on legs that are placed on each corner. Make sure the legs are properly aligned to be along the edges of the plywood top
Do it yourself coffee table
Place the plywood top on the wide legs below

Step 3 and 4

Drill pilot holes through the plywood top and into each of the legs beneath. Through the already drilled pilot holes, drive the 3 inch screws in. You will need a minimum of 2 screws and can add more if needed. As you can see, I drove those screws along the diagonal edges of the padauk legs.

You can smear Fevicol SR (before you drive the screws) to the surface of the legs and the top where they come in contact with each other.
Pilot holes and driving screws
Just drill pilot holes and drive the long screws in

Step 5 and 6 :

Just allow the glue to dry and your table is ready. Of course, it is not ready in its finished state. You still have to sand, add color and apply a top coat. You can also install rubber bushes to the bottom of the legs to make pulling around noise free.
Center table - Coffee table
Install rubber bushes if required
Do remember that this simple technique works as long as the table height is low and legs are wide. Longer and slender legs would mean there would be instability because of wobbling. Of course, this can be overcome by using joints and additional horizontal support between the legs, but then, it would not be the easiest table to make, right?

To finish, here’s what I did (You can click on the links for more details).
I covered the top with One Side Teak, completely sanded all the surfaces (top and the legs) and finally stained it.
So, agree or not agree?  Does that look like the simplest table? Share your thoughts.
Linking in : Colours Dekor

Over the last few months, we have been looking at the various preparatory steps involved in applying stain to wood. Today, we come to the conclusion of this series as we look at how to apply stain. While I have been mentioning this in most of my earlier posts, I would like to reiterate that stains help augment the grain patterns and give them a more enhanced look. If you landed here directly, do consider checking all the other posts in the staining series.
Complete guide to wood staining
Applying wood stain technique
How to apply stain
The application of stain is much like how we applied sealant in the last tutorial. The following are the materials required :
  • A bottle of stain (Asian paints / MRF / Wudfin / Sheenlac )
  • Gada Cloth
  • Thinner (If you need the color to be lighter)

Application procedure

  • Pour the stain into a bowl
  • Mix thinner only if you want the shade to be lighter
  • Dip the gada cloth in the bowl of stain
  • Dab it to squeeze the excess stain
  • Apply the stain along the grains covering a small area
  • Allow a minute or two for the stain to be absorbed by the wooden surface
  • Before the stain is dry, wipe of the excess stain off the surface (using a dry piece of gada cloth)
Applying wood stain - How to
How to apply wood stain
  • Repeat the procedure until you have covered the entire surface area of the wood
  • Give it about 30 minutes drying time before you apply the subsequent coats
  • Apply multiple coats as desired
  • Remember to apply varnish or other top coats for long term durability
And that is about it. Just one thing though. Much like any other activity, achieving perfection in staining takes lot of patience and practice. You may probably not get it the first time. But it is not rocket science and with little repeat effort, you will be happy with what you can do to your small furniture and other craft projects.

Follow these steps and let me know how you fared in staining. If you think I missed something or something can be done in a better way, leave me your comments.
Linking in : Colours Dekor

Before looking at how to use the sanding sealer, do understand three important things :
Complete guide to wood staining

Materials required 

  • Sanding sealer
  • NC Thinner
  • Gada Cloth (for applying the sealer)
  • Sand paper (220 grit)
All the above materials are easily available in the local hardware store.

Sealing wood
Materials required - Sealing Wood


  • Pour 1 part of sanding sealer in a bowl
  • Mix 2 parts of NC thinner to the sealer
  • Stir thoroughly to ensure the mix is consistent
  • Dab the gada cloth in the mix and apply it on the surface of the wood
  • Cover a small area in one stroke
  • Before the layer dries, wipe off the excess sealer using a dry cloth
  • Using the same method, apply the sealer across the entire surface area of the wood
  • Allow it about 1-2 hours of drying
  • Lightly sand the dried surface of the wood (Remember ? It is a sanding sealer)
  • Apply two to three coats of the sealer to achieve a really smooth surface. Remember to sand in between coats.
How to seal wood
How to seal wood
This sets the surface ready for the stain to be applied. The application of stain on the surface of the wood is very similar to that of how the sealer is applied. Will very soon post the stain application procedure. Meanwhile, do leave us a feedback in the comments section. If you think, staining can be done in a different and easier way, feel free to leave me a comment.

One of the most common questions that I get on mail and on comments is, ”Where do I start if I want to develop interest in carpentry” ? Not that I have gained enough authority on this subject, but since am quite often faced with this question, I decided to write about what worked for me. The objective of this post is not to make a professional woodworker out of you, but to draw your attention towards basic carpentry and the everyday projects that you can build around the house. So here goes - My 17 point recipe for starting a carpentry hobby:
Carpentry as a hobby
Starting a hobby in carpentry / woodworking
  1. Don’t let anyone make you think that DIY woodworking is not for the Indian conditions. It is as much possible here as much as it is elsewhere.
  2. Your first project: Choose one that is easy to make. Completing a DIY project, however small it may be, will encourage you enough to take up the next one. Start with something like a smartphone stand or a photo frame or whatever you want to make. My first project was a center table.
  3. Take a plunge and give your project a jump start. Don’t let something you don’t know slow you down. You will learn as you progress.
  4. Gift yourself a basic electric drill. You must own one.
  5. You don't need to have an entire collection of tools before you start. Buy them as and when you need them. I bought my collection of tools over a period of 3 years.
  6. There is no shame in outsourcing wherever you don’t have the skills or tools. I cut my plywood at the plywood store. I don’t have the space or proficiency to own and use a circular saw at home.
  7. Plan, plan, plan. Put your design in paper before you start the actual execution. Use a design software if necessary. It will save you materials,cost, time and energy.
  8. Keep your design simple and easy to make. Worry not much about joints to start with.
  9. Space can always be a constraint for an apartment dweller. Use whatever little space you have efficiently. A guest room or a balcony can be life savers. Just make sure you clean up once you are done.
  10. Read, read, read. Every bit of information is available on the Internet. Google and Youtube have been my best friends. Buy or borrow a book if necessary.
  11. Join like minded communities or forums. This will help you reach out to professionals who can provide valuable inputs.
  12. Join woodworking classes if your city has one to offer. It will put the foundation in place and help build more confidence.
  13. Practice, practice, practice. Nailing, screwing, gluing, cutting, sanding  – All come with practice.
  14. There is paint or stain, and clear varnish. Don’t confuse yourself with other finishing methods in the beginning. You will naturally transition to the next level with every project.
  15. Enjoy what you do. Carpentry is beyond the hard labor that it seems to be and beautifully functions as a hobby you can pursue with fervor.
  16. Take a break once in a while. This can be addictive and you don’t want it to get on your nerves.
  17. And finally, give utmost importance to safety. If you work in haste, you will repent in leisure.
Do you think you can add some more ingredients to my recipe ? Please let me know in the comments section.
Linking in : Colours Dekor

The sanded surface of the wood looks very smooth. But in reality, if you inspect closely, the wooden surface will have minute pores and jagged valleys. Application of stain directly on top of the sanded surface may, and I repeat, may result in uneven absorption of the stain. While the color is taken in well by most portion of the wooden surface, some portions may look patchy because of poor absorption of the applied stain.
Complete guide to wood staining
NC Sanding sealer
Sanding Sealer
Other posts in the staining wood series
1. Introduction to stains
2. Steps in staining wood
3. How to sand wood 
4. Wood sealers explained
5. How to seal wood
6. How to stain wood

Secondly, while sanding results in desired smoothness, it does not necessarily make the surface completely flat, and this you would notice when you run your palm / fingers along the sanded surface.

Sanding sealers help in overcoming the above two issues. Here's what sealers do when applied on a wooden surface:
  1. They fill the pores along the wooden surface and make it smooth to the touch 
  2. The allow for consistent absorption of stain coat preventing patchiness
  3. They also bring out the splendor of the grain pattern when stain is applied
  4. Each layer of sealer can be sanded with fine grit sand paper (hence the name sanding sealer) adding increasing levels of evenness to the surface
There is also an opinion that sealers should actually go on top of the stain and is not an equivalent of pre-stain conditioners. However, in my personal experience, since sealers are used with thinners, I have seen the thinner removing the stained color from off the surface. Most carpenters I have had a word with state that they actually mix the stain and sealer and apply it in one go. I have not tried it and hence not able to comment on it.

For now, we have already seen how sanding is a mandatory surface preparation step in the staining process. The next post is all about sealers and how they can be applied on wooden surface. Have you stained furniture before? Did you have to work with sealers? Leave me a comment and share your experience.
Linking in : Colours Dekor

Making a shoe rack or a cabinet may seem complex and quite a task for a home DIYer, but you would be surprised to know how easy it is when you break it down to simpler steps. This is a step by step tutorial for making your own cabinet (like the one below) at home with just an electric drill, screws and screw drivers. Before you move further, do take a moment to read about pilot holes and butt joints. For the first time, I am trying to put up a 'how to' series by merely using illustrations. Would love to hear your feedback on this.

Materials Required

  1. 1 number of 12 mm plywood for the top (27.5 inches x 13.5 inches). This will be the cabinet top
  2. 2 numbers of 12 mm plywood for the sides (21.5 inches x 12 inches)
  3. 1 number of 6 mm plywood for the backing support (25.5 inches x 12 inches)
  4. 1 number of 12 mm plywood for the bottom (24 inches x 12 inches)
  5. Additionally, you would also need 12 mm plywood for the following (Not shown in the image below)
    • The shelf
    • The cabinet doors
  6. Rubber bushes (4 numbers)
  7. Door knobs (2 numbers)
Measurement of materials required
Dimensions for the shoe rack
You can get these materials in your neighborhood plywood store and you can have the plywood cut either at the same store (like I did), or in a timber store for a minimal cost. All you need to do is give them the dimensions. Of course, you can have it cut yourself if you have the necessary tools.

Tools and supplies required

  1. An electric drill
  2. Screw driver set
  3. Some star head screws (2 inches)
  4. Fevicol SH or an equivalent wood adhesive

Make the basic structure

  1. The idea is to make the basic structure or the shell of the cabinet using simple butt joints. The top plywood plank is placed on the side vertical planks which are further joined together in the bottom (Check image below)
  2. Place the top on the vertical side planks. The dimensions are such that there is a space of 1 inch on all sides of the top planks.
  3. Similarly place the bottom plank between the two sides and fix the three together.
  4. Secure the planks together using 2 inch screws (indicated by dots) as shown in the image below. For additional reinforcement, you can use adhesive. To make it easier for driving the screws in, drill a pilot hole extending from one surface to the other surface.
Shoe rack DIY
Shoe Rack Do it Yourself

Fix the shelf and the doors

  1. When cabinet is made with butt joints, there is every bit chance that it would be weak and would wobble if considerable weight is applied. To overcome this issue, the backing support in the rear is mandatory. It is your personal choice and you can decide to cover the entire rear with the backing support.
  2. Install the shelf. You either drive screws into the shelf through the sides or you can also use shelf brackets. The advantage with shelf brackets is that you can remove the shelf to make more space when desired or you can adjust the placement of the shelf at any height you need at any point in time.
  3. Installation of the cabinet door is beyond the scope of this post. 
  4. However, you can learn the trick from this detailed post on installing a cabinet door.
A do it yourself shoerack
Make your own shoe rack
Attach rubber bushes to the bottom of your shoe rack to ensure that the rack is not placed directly on the floor. You can also have a simple knob installed. Whether you want to have a single door or a double door is up to you. But any length of the cabinet beyond 1 feet 9 inches, a double door would be preferable.
Shoe Rack illustration
DIY Shoe Rack
Of course, you will have to suitably finish it using stains or paint. Hope you find this useful. If you find information lacking, or need more inputs on this one, feel free to shoot a mail to Do leave your comments and let me know what you think of this DIY.
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This DIY project started off as a requirement for an inverter battery case. The need was to make something that will blend in with the rest of the living room furniture and so we decided to do a side table / cabinet that will hide the out of place battery and the stabilizer. Though I started off with a very simple design  it took me close to 6-7 months to really start putting the effort to build it. Decided to pose with it to give you an idea on the size of this cabinet.
Indian DIY
Do it yourself - Side table 
While I shall come back and put up a detailed post on how this can be effectively built by you too, I was a little impatient and wanted to show off the finished product here. I will leave you, for the moment, with  some work in progress photos.
DIY Cabinet
The making of a DIY Side table / Cabinet
While I have all along been used to working with one side teak, this time around I decided to apply the finish directly on the plywood. This is something I had not done before and so I was a little skeptical. That said, I should accept that the outcome was quite satisfactory. If you have been following our "How to stain wood" series in Woodooz, you would understand how the  finish for this cabinet was achieved. 

I used European cup hinges for the cabinet door. The installation procedure for a cabinet door using cup hinges has earlier been documented in this blog. I chose a very simple pair of knobs from the local store for the door. Work is still in progress as I need to apply the final coat of varnish and also install a shelf to hold the stabilizer.
Woodworking DIY
Battery Cabinet
Meanwhile, do let me know how this cabinet has turned out. Do you think I should have done some things differently ? Share your feedback.

- Somu
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Having a really smooth surface is critical to achieving highly attractive finish and sanding helps achieving that.  Sand papers are available in all Indian hardware stores and will cost anywhere between Rs.5 and 10/-.
Complete guide to wood staining

Choose your sand papers

Sand papers are available in different grades. The grade mentioned in the rear of the sand paper refers to the number of sand grit particles per square inch. So, lower the grits, more is the roughness of the sand paper. Ideally, you have to start sanding with a lower grit sand paper and move upwards towards the higher grit papers. In essence, you need to have 4-5 levels of sanding before you can achieve that perfect smooth finish.

I normally use 80, 100, 120, 150 and 220 grit sand papers. Depending on the initial level of smoothness of the surface you need to choose the following :
  • Whether to start with 80, 100 or 120 grit papers and
  • How many levels of sanding is required
Each level of sanding would increase the degree of smoothness and will also reduce the scratches that were a result of the previous sanding level.

How to sand wood
Basics of sanding wood

3 key rules to follow

  • Always sand along the direction of the grains. Never sand across the grain direction.
  • Apply gentle and even pressure as you sand along the surface, Overdoing it might damage the surface.
  • Wipe off the leftover dust particles using a rag cloth after every level of sanding.
  • The not-so-key rule is to use a sanding block if required. It will ease the stress on the arms and will help evenly distribute the pressure.
For staining wood, surface preparation and in turn sanding is one of the most critical activities. Any blemish, or scratch on the surface will be distinctly visible making the whole staining process a failure. While it is a really tedious task, it would make sense for you to go through the inconvenience of sanding rather than to repent as you start staining.

Besides sanding, sealing is the other important surface preparation step which we shall look in the next post. Meanwhile, remember to enter your email address below just so you do not miss the rest of the posts.

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