Category Archives: Furniture Building

Studio Update, Part 14: Converting My Sewing Table to Drop-Leaf

For months I’ve wanted to convert my handmade 7 x 4 foot sewing table into a drop-leaf table, simply because its massive size is sometimes more than I need in my 10 x 10 sewing studio.

Convert Table to Drop Leaf

Because the table was built from a thick sheet of plywood, trim molding, and screw-on Ikea desk legs, it was easy to modify.

Supplies needed:

  • 4 packs of Narrow Utility Hinges
  • 8 table legs


  1. I measured the height between the table top and the floor, because the two drop-leaves needed to be shorter than that distance so that they did not bump the floor when folded down.
  2. I used painter’s tape and a ruler to mark the cut lines.  Make the leaves at least 2″ shorter than the height of the table. IMG_0669
  3. Ryan made the two cuts using a circular saw while I held the table.  (His arms were longer.)IMG_0678
  4. I flipped the pieces upside-down when we were done, and then joined the pieces back together with hinges.  IMG_0679

    Attach Hinges to Drop Leaf Table

    Above you see one table leaf attached with two hinges. I decided to add 2 more, for a total of 4, just for better stability.

  5. I had to get Ryan’s help again to flip the table right-side up because it was super awkward now that the leaves were attached by hinges.

Voila! With one leaf extended and one leaf dropped down, the table is the right size for my large cutting mat but small enough that I have a lot more room in the sewing studio.


In the spirit of total transparency, I will admit my frustration that the veneer top layer of the table splintered so much along each cut line.


I sanded the rough edges, and I need to stain them to match.  The only problem? I mixed two stain colors when I made the table, and I have no idea what they were.  This weekend I’ll play around with stains and hopefully find a good match.

For now, however, I’m happy with the result.  The table is sturdy, functional, and most importantly – flexible!


In case you missed it:

Janery Studio Makeover Part 10: Perfecting the Faux Built-Ins

The last glimpse I shared into the Janery Sewing Studio may have looked pretty decent, but there was a detail to the rental-friendly faux built-in shelving that needed to be addressed.  Since January is a quiet time for the shop, I decided to pull everything off the shelves and finally really finish the faux built-ins.


Janery Studio Faux Built In Shelves in a Rental

Here’s what was lacking: I originally had cobbled together a wide shelf with a lip to sit across my bottom IKEA cabinets.  I didn’t remove that before building the top shelving unit, but I should have.  When I finally removed it, I was left with an unfinished area between the shelves on the top and the cabinets on the bottom, which you can see here:

Janery Studo White Besta Doors-1

Here’s how I finished it off:

I joined a narrow board to the bottom of the shelving unit using my new Kreg jig, and thank goodness I had it, because it made it so easy.

Janery Stuio Shelves Process


The middle cabinet was actually a tall IKEA cabinet that we cut in half, so the top was unfinished. I cut a thin piece of trim to fit that little gap above the top drawer, and used clamps to carefully glue it in place.

Janery Stuio Shelves Process 2

Then I completed multiple rounds of sanding and painting and sealing.  When I was done, there was still a visible seam where the new board joined to the existing shelving, but I’m ok with that.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. 

Janery Studio Shelves Detail

I’m just satisfied that the shelves are truly done now.

Janery Studio Shelves

Next week: How I created my gold drawer handles to kick things up a notch.

PS: The Janery Winter Clearance sale is still going strong – save 50% on all the handmade pillows, pet beds, and accessories in my shop with the code CRAZY50.

In case you missed it:

Janery Studio Update: Nice Rack

You guys! I finally feel like a real, actual, legit handmade shop owner.

Not because I hit a certain number of sales with Janery, not because I have a certain amount of cash rolling in. . but because I can finally start cutting and producing the same items over and over again, thanks to my brand new Fabric Bolt Rack!

That means these guys finally have a home:Fabric Storage2DIY Fabric Bolt Storage Rack-2-1

It’s not pretty yet – I still need to paint her and add some handles to the sides – but she’s functional, and with the holidays upon us, that’s all that matters.

Seriously though, I’m really excited about this.  It was getting frustrating to not have a way to store larger quantities of fabric.  As a result I was buying smaller amounts, and then only being able to make one or two of each item at a time. DIY Fabric Bolt Storage Rack-1-1

SPOILER ALERT: If you take a closer look at the photos, you’ll get a sneak peek of some patterns that are coming to the shop ASAP!

Once the rack is truly finished (sanded and painted)  I’ll be sharing a tutorial on how I built it.  The whole thing was pretty simple, except for the troubleshooting I had to do mid-build.  But now that I’ve done that, it will be super easy if you want to copy it.

This is just part of the progress I made in the studio last week.  Tomorrow you get a Janery Studio Update!

Janery Studio Makeover Part 8: Faux Built-In Shelves Complete!

I’m excited to finally reveal the completed faux built-in shelves in my sewing studio!

How I did it:

I’m going to save a detailed how-to post for another time, because I am working on a little document that shows the steps.  In short, I assembled the frame of top, bottom, and vertical supports, then I drilled holes in all the verticals to create adjustable shelves, and then I painted it.  After that I added the backing, and measured and cut the shelves for each column.

It’s not perfect, and it’s not quite square, because I used cheap pine lumber which has some warp to it. But it’s really close to perfect, and the shelves lay flat, and that’s all that really matters.  At about $220 in material costs, this solution wasn’t cheaper than the Ikea cabinets I tried, but it is a much better one that uses every inch of the space.

Custom Adjustible Faux Built-In Shelves

The Installation:

There were a few moments of sheer terror as Ryan and I attempted to move the 10-foot-wide unit into place.  It had fit when we tried the frame, but at that time the far left side and top and backing hadn’t been installed.  But the completed unit was a much tighter fit, so much so that at times I really, really didn’t think it was going to get in there.

When we gave it a final heave up and against the ceiling, and then we were able to wedge it back onto the exiting shelves, it fit perfectly.  So tightly, in fact, that it’s going to take a little work to remove it some day.

I immediately started jumping up and down and screaming “hell yeah” with excitement and relief.  I just couldn’t contain myself.

So the shelves are not styled yet, but they’re in, they’re working, and they’re totally awesome – and I’m riding on a DIY high that no drugs could possibly compete with.

But enough about me and my current feeling of awesomeness.  Even better, I’m happy to report that this is a totally rental-friendly solution, because there is nothing attached to any walls.  And it totally solves the dilemma posed by that awkward corner where the ducts go through the wall.  Faux Built Ins Awkward WallWish List / Final Touches

  • Adding another board to the base so that it’s totally flat and finished. A reader asked if I was going to build it off of the white shelf I had already built over the base cabinets, but silly me – I didn’t think to do that.  /Facepalm.
  • Replacing the bottom cabinet doors and drawers with white ones so that everything is more seamless. (I can’t get more medium-brown ones, b/c that was discontinued.)  Also, I would like more drawers and have Ikea credit I need to use.
  • Installing trim around the entire unit so it looks more officially built in.  Right now there are uneven gaps in places b/c the walls, floor, and ceiling are not level or straight.
  • I’d also like to wallpaper the unit with a beautiful wallpaper, but that’s also going to wait.  I think I may try to incorporate the colors of my new logo when I do it.

Speaking of the back, I backed the unit with the cheapest thing I could find – white-coated MDF board – and cut out a space in it for the A/C vent.  I didn’t get it measured exactly right, but close enough.  Faux Built Ins AC VentStyling the Shelves

Let’s chat for a moment about the idea of “styling the shelves.”  As much as it pains me to admit it, I’m really excited to get to do this.  We don’t have a single shelving unit in our home and so itching to have some shelves to play around with!

Honestly, the idea of “styling shelves” makes me roll my eyes because it seems so damn pretentious and silly,  but at the same time I do love beautifully styled shelves. Many designers appear to purchase objects solely for the sake of styling, and that seems wasteful to me. The ultimate styled shelves are ones that blend awesome design and layout with super functional storage and organization.  I think I can achieve that over time.

Are you relieved that the saga of my shelves is finally over?  I know I am, but even though it delayed my studio makeover, I’m glad I chose the custom solution.  It was more work, but totally worth it.  Now comes the fun: Decorating!

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