Home : 2008 : Jun : 24
i ordered metal mesh paper trays from www.dollartreedirect.com beacuse my dollar tree was out of them. there was an extra 5 dollar processing/handling fee, but shipping was free if they sent it to a store of my choice. they came in two colors, with an even amoutn of both in the case of 24. (you have to buy the whole case.)
here are the trays:
i went to home depot because we have no workshop at home in our tiny apartment. i found tall, thin wood that is sold by the foot. the trick to home depot is to find wood sold by the foot because then all of the cuts they make are free. if you buy something by the piece, you have to pay for the cuts. these pieces were 66 cents per foot:
because i wanted 12 trays per column, i bought eight 36 inch pieces (4 pieces per unit), which gave each tray 3 inches of room. i measured each piece and marked every three inches with a black marker. i also marked the bottom with a B (if the cuts aren't perfect, you want the extra wood to be at the top so it's not wobbly on the bottom).
the trays i used had curved bottoms, so it was easier to line up the trays at the top. so i measured 3/4 of an inch down from the black line i drew. in the picture the black line measured the top of the space i gave each tray, and the arrow i drew showed me where the top of the tray would lay.
next, i measured 2.5 inches from the front and back edges of the paper trays. this showed me where i should line up the wood planks, so my final piece wouldn't be lopsided.
the measuring took most of the time. it was worth it, though. i also needed wood screws and a phillips head screwdriver. i had a power drill nearby (with a screwdriver head connected to it), but that is not necessary to complete this project.
i laid down two pieces of wood and lined up my bottom tray. then added two screws on each piece of wood (right through the mesh in the tray)
once i was done with one side, i flipped it over and lined up the next two pieces of wood. this is where an extra set of hands is helpful to hold up the pieces that were already screwed in. after your bottom two trays, you no longer need these extra set of hands. once the other side is screwed in, your base is complete:
the wood pieces stick out a little, but will eventually come together. i repeated these same steps with the next shelf, and screwed in shelf by shelf:
notice that the screws don't go all the way into the wood. i did this for a few, and the mesh snapped. this also happened when i used the power drill. so, i only used the drill to help me if i was struggling getting the screw started into the wood. otherwise, i stuck with the hand tool.
i placed two screws in the two bottom trays, in the middle tray, and the two top trays. the rest of the trays are held in by one screw.
one note of warning...and this could explain why these trays ended up at the dollar store. i'm not sure they are all perfect in size...some differ. i did notice as i was working that the wood planks didn't always line up with the mark i made on the wood. once you have a few trays put in, you can pretty much eye up if they are in line with the one below. of course, this worried me a bit when i was working on it (since i'm a bit anal retentive about things), but when i put it next to the other shelf i made the other day, things look great!
here are the two together. i'm still contemplating attaching them together...although i may wait til school starts again to do that, just to make sure i have room for them side by side.
it took me about an hour and a half to make one shelf of trays. this includes all of the measuring. the final piece ended up costing roughly 45-50 bucks.
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