Tag Archives: diy

DIY Maps on Closet Doors

Maps are nostalgic.  They take us back to a time and most definitely a place: a city that you visited, were born in or went to college in.  We all can relate some part of our life to a map.   I used to hang souvenir maps of amusement parks on my wall as a teenager.  I relived and dreamed about my trips to Disney World, Cedar Point and Sea World.  When I was designing Hudson’s nursery we made sure to include a map of New York City, the Hudson River being his namesake.

Wanting to take NYC maps in our decor to the next level, I decided to wallpaper the closet doors in the childrens’ room with MTA maps.  These are the easy to get, free maps of our subway system in New York City.  All you have to do is ask a MTA booth attendant for one.  So over the course of a few months  I randomly asked for them until I had about 6 or 7 maps.

To hang the maps on the doors I had some criteria, the most important being that it had to be removable with no damage.  The maps also needed to withstand wear and tear that a 2 year old can inflict on it.

I bounced ideas off of my DIY and interior design friends and several ideas came up.  One was to mod podge the maps to canvas sheets and wrap the doors with the canvas.  This was a great inexpensive idea because rolls of canvas for framing doesnt cost much but I wanted something that would be more durable.

The next idea was combining the maps with clear contact paper, the drawer liner type.  This idea stuck with me but I had many questions about how the end result would look.  Contact paper only comes in 24″ width rolls so that meant that there would be a seam.  Would the seam show?  Is clear contact paper really clear?

I decided to go with the contact paper idea because a single roll of supermarket contact paper could cover 2 closet doors and this project was only going to cost me $6!

Then I sat wondering how I would hang it.  Would I roll out the contact paper sticky side up and arrange the maps on it first, then hang it like real wallpaper?  Or do I tape the maps to the door and then cover it with the contact paper?  I went with the latter.  I sparingly used double stick tape to stick random sizes and shapes cut from the MTA maps on the door. Then I covered it with full sheets of contact paper leaving extra at the top and bottom to wrap around to the back of the door.  The side of the doors where they meet each other also needed to wrap to the back, but I didn’t need to wrap on the hinge side.  Ensuring the contact paper wrapped to the back of the door was an important part.  The contact paper will surely peel if it stops at the edge of the door or on the side of the door.

So did the seams show?  Nope!  Is the clear contact paper truly clear?  YES!  I was prepared to except that the image would be hazy or blurred from the transparent looking vinyl but it wasn’t, it was just as clear as without.

As an after thought and bonus I realized that this vinyl surface could be written on with dry eraser markers.  I haven’t let Hudson do it yet, but I think that he will have fun drawing out a path on the maps or marking up sites he’s been too.  Macy has also used the maps as a quick reference as we were heading out the door and discussing which train to take.  She’s been riding the rails for 6 years now but she is just now interested in knowing how to get around, not that she will be going anywhere alone until she’s like 20.


Filed under NBID, Paper + Fabric

Vintage Singer Sewing Cabinet

About 10 years ago I received a hand-me down sewing desk with a 1970’s Singer included.  The Singer sewing machine was a beauty but I didnt feel like I  was the right person to invest in its resurrection, so I chucked it.  But I’ve hung on to the sewing desk.  Its been used in several of our homes usually as an entry piece because of its small size.   It came to me in very good condition as a solid wood piece in a hickory stain and although I adore natural wood we recently decided that we would like to paint it gray.  It turned out to be an excellent idea that I dont regret it at all.  We used an oil base Benjamin Moore, color #1483 – Cos Cob Stonewall, its a cool medium gray with green undertones.  It was the same paint that I used to match an Ikea Hack to Hudson’s Oeuf Sparrow Crib.

I don’t have any pictures of how my cabinet looked before we painted it but I do have the manual that had some other models pictured on the back.  When I thought about sharing my DIY of this cabinet I did a little research to find another existing cabinet like mine without much luck.  I did find two similar models just like the ones pictured on the back of my instruction manual.  One is in the excellent shape that mine is in and is going for $300 on ebay in Phoenix and the other not so great shape for $50 at a thrift store in Mesa, AZ. Both with the same type Singer Machine that I chucked.

When we moved into our Brooklyn apartment we stretched the limits of our imagination to repurposed this vintage beauty yet again. I affixed waffled dish towels with a staple gun to serve as an apron with inverted pleats.  This apron allowed us concealed storage underneath,  but you wont believe what we put under there……the kitty litter box!  We had no hiding spot for the cat box in this loft style apartment and by coincidence our size box just happen to fit.  I’ll spare you the gorry details but I promise its under that curtain and yes from one angle it can be seen but wrapping the entire cabinet was not ideal for kitty entry and ventilation.

We have been so pleased with the way our cabinet fits right into our changing style, its been a chameleon of sorts and I suppose I’ll always make it work for us.  I believe thats what a piece of  furniture with good bones does, its always in style and it can be updated with just a change of accessories or a coat of paint.  In fact I am already working on restyling this piece with new objects d’art  I received for Christmas: a Dwell Studio Urchin and a CB2 Neville House.  I was especially excited to match up the Urchin’s bronze coloring to the existing pulls on the Singer cabinet because for a while I considered replacing them with something modern.  Nope, they are complimented perfectly now and I’ve made the first step in adding bronze as metal accent to my home.  Our CB2 Ada lamp stays, (it’s another perpetual piece in the Berry residence) but I am in the market for new art.  Any ideas  anyone?

Dwell Studio Urchin & CB2 Neville House on a refurbished vintage Singer Sewing Cabinet


Filed under NBID, Paper + Fabric