Walnut Box Made with Utility Knife

Create a 100% functional box from foam and veneer, using nothing more than a utility knife and a little ingenuity

Tools and Supplies Used in this Woodworking Project

I’m not going to lie — I love having all these tools around here, and I’ll bet you feel the same way about the tools in your shop. But sometimes the key to developing your creativity is figuring out how to do more with less. In this tutorial, we going to make something using just one tool.

Armed with only a utility knife, I’m creating a simple box out of foam, veneer and glue, and I think you’ll find it comes together very well. And by limiting the resources available to me, I’ve forced myself to think outside the box (see what I did there?), using just my imagination and a rudimentary understanding of geometry.

Don’t freak out, though, people — I’m not going to start building everything out of foam and veneer. We’ll be getting back into straight-ahead woodworking before you know it. But this was an exercise in challenging myself, and I hope it inspires you to challenge yourself as well.

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Rustic Shelves

These simple to build rustic shelves are sturdy and beautiful.  Build them in just an hour with no special tools or materials.  Just cut, screw, stain and hang!

We built these rustic shelves for our kitchen (see the whole tour here), but I could see them used in any room of the home.

They add such a nice break from the wall cabinets.



Other Shelving Options

We did consider quite a few different options for our kitchen shelving, but non quite worked out.


Floating Shelves

I had originally wanted floating shelves (plans here) – but the space tightwad in me can’t stand all the wasted space inside the floating shelves… ridiculous, I know. 


Shelves with Support Brackets

So then I thought long and hard about shelves with brackets underneath (plans for these shelves here).  But the brackets would have to be mounted over our tile backsplash, meaning we’d have to drill through the tile to hang.  And we’d be dependant on where studs are located as to where the brackets would have to be placed.  


$10 Ledges

Next, I thought about the $10 ledge shelves (plans here).  Those would be perfect.  But the weight limit isn’t suitable for glass jars full of flours and rice ….  and the depth isn’t there …. 


So we came up with these rustic shelves – basically just a $10 ledge with more depth, more strength, and a pretty front.

Each 41″ long shelf is just one 8 foot 1×8 board – between $8-$12 a board (depending on where you live).

The front is a piece of flat metal stock (available at pretty much any hardware store).

The stain I used is Varathane Weathered Gray. 

Isn’t she beautiful on these shelves!

Ok, your turn!  Where would you use these shelves?  Let me know in the comments.

The free plans follow.  Enjoy and please do share if you build, we love seeing your projects – it’s a big deal to us!

Have a great one!





Modern Farmhouse Kitchen … Almost Done

In this week’s video, we added wall cabinets – finally! – to our DIY kitchen!

The open shelves (plans coming soon) were such a fun and perfect addition to our kitchen.

I thought I’d also share a few photos of the kitchen for those of you who haven’t seen the video.

Before  …..

A dozen sheets of plywood later …..

We’ve got alot going on in the ceiling woodwork, so I knew I wanted simple white cabinets to not compete. 

We DIYed all the cabinetry – I’d estimate about $2000 in materials, for this huge kitchen, with no less than 18 drawers, hidden dishwasher, and a built-in fridge and wall ovens. 

Quite a bargain!

Over the years, I’ve found the number one most important factor in having a “beautiful” home – bar NONE – is that my home is CLEAN and TIDY.  No matter how well designed, how well accessoried, how perfetly coordinated – if my home is messy, the mess is all I see.

So all of the decisions in this kitchen were made with with that in mind.

I dumped the 60″ professional gas range that was supposed to be the focal point of the kitchen for an induction cooktop.  I’ve got better things to do in life than scrub a gas range every night.  Like tickling kiddos or playing Go Fish.

I insisted on doors on all but one wall cabinet to hide clutter. Sorry open shelving trend, everyone has stuff, and mine needs somewhere to go and I don’t want to see it (or dust it).

The kitchen is designed into “zones.” When I started planning the kitchen, the first thing I did was make a list of the main tasks that needed to happen in the kitchen, and the main storage needs.  Then I thought about the “flow” of these tasks – for example, you don’t want to run across the kitchen to fill the coffee pot.

From there, we refined each task – little things like a pot filler for the coffee pot.

And a low counter for the mixer (and rolling out pie crusts or kneading dough) in the baking area.

The results? 

It took me about an hour to go from the kitchen in it’s messiest state to it’s cleanest. 

I am so grateful for this kitchen.  It has changed everything. Cooking and cleaning is simple, quick and enjoyable.  It is almost like a professional kitchen, but with a homey feel.

When we have gatherings, it’s here that everyone ends up.  I love that the kitchen is somewhat closed off from the rest of the house (expect the dining area), so a dish or two (or an entire dinner’s worth on a busy hockey night) doesn’t nag me from the living room. 

We’ve still got some tweaking to do –

  • I want to add crown moulding to the wall cabinet tops
  • It feels a little sterile, so some artwork or florals will help
  • We need a second drawer dishwasher at the coffee sink just for coffee cups and glasses
  • The island is getting used ALOT and the white paint isn’t the best solution where feet scuff it, so I’m thinking about painting it dark gray and adding some beams to dress it up a little
  • I need to add the drop down lights on the island
  • A rug under the stools will add texture, pattern and color and also protect the floor

But for now, we are just going to enjoy and be thankful for our dream DIY kitchen.

XO Ana

PS – If you want to watch this kitchen come together, here are the videos –


In this video, we build the cabinet carcasses and toekicks and island –


In this video we get the wall oven cabinets built and the giant fridge boxed in –


In this video, the kitchen comes together with doors and drawers –


And in this video, we finish the wall cabinets and open shelves –