Back to school Bloghop, shadow box organizer

Back to school Bloghop, shadow box organizer

1. Elizabeth Joan Designs 2. Making It In The Mountains 3. Stripes and Polka Dots
4. For My Love Of 5. Home. Made. Interest. 6. Restless Arrow
7. Little Red Brick House 8. Little House Of Four 9. Cuddles and Chaos
10. Our House Now A Home 11. Kent Heartstrings 12. The DIY Mommy
13. Curly Crafty Mom 14. Houseologie 15. Canary Street Crafts

I am so excited to share something exciting and new here at Our house now a home. I am sharing one project I did, and you get 14 other projects to peruse as well. See it is like buy one and getting 14 free. If you bought one to begin with, which you did not. But, you get what I am saying. I was asked to take part in a back to school blog hop from Erin and Emily from Elizabeth Joan designs. They got together with a group of crazy talented people to share some back to school tips, and somehow decided I should be one of them. So honored!

It is hard to believe, and I am still in denial, but school is just around the corner. The lazy days of summer are getting less and less. I cringe when I think of the craziness that is mornings and getting kids off to school.

This year I will have all three in some form of school. Nora in first grade, Caleb in preK, and Gavin in a preK3 program. So the chaos will be amplified here at Our home. When Erin and Emily asked me to take part in this my brain automatically went to morning simplifying. And it just popped into my head, shadowbox. Well my mind really went, back to school…. crazy mornings…. stressed Mommy….. organization….. lunch, homework, clothes…..ah, SHADOWBOX! Like most, I think you can see how I got to this idea, right?

So, off to Menards (our go to home improvement store) for some wood. I chose a pine, 8 foot long board. The size of the shadow box needed to be big enough to hold folders, and clothes. But not too big and bulky that it would be awkward to have on a wall. So the dimensions I decided on are 16”x15” with 7 inch deep shadow box..


Cutting time. This is a pretty straight forward part of the project. Line up the saw, cute where you want. And tada, we now have 4 cut boards, 2 that are 15 inches, and 2 that are 16 inches. All boards are 7 inches deep.
your project is only as good as your assistant. Gavin is a pro assistant. Notice his toy saw


there was a little bit of saw dust, a tad bit


Now here is where we got a little fancy. And when I say fancy I mean Dale, my husband wanted to try out his new router tool. For someone who is looking for a quick and simple project all you need to do is cut the boards and nail them together. But like I said Dale needed to fancify this here shadow box. He wanted to add some detailing to the edge of the boards. He selected his router bit, and got to work in creating some detailing to the wood.
Here is the edge once routed


Dale created this by using the specific router bit, fastening the wood to a surface with clamps and then running the router slowly across the edge of the wood. From one side to the other.


This project was created with love, saw dust love


Here you can see the difference in the edges. Either would have been fine, and works for a shadow box. But like I said Dale was feeling fancy.
Notice how the above picture has the two boards meeting? This is another fork in the design road. You can either simply nail in the 4 boards like this, creating a L shaped look to the boards. Or you can use a miter saw and angle it to 45 degrees. Then saw across. Cutting the edge into a 45 so that they can rest together with a more seamless look to it.
 If you can see through the saw dust debris the setting is on 45 degrees.


Here is the results of the 45 cut. It makes a steep edge to it.
Ahhhh, perfect fit. All of the boards were cut with the same 45 and the same direction. With the slope smaller on the inside and gradually getting bigger. This allows the beveled edge to have the desired look of the detailing starting in and working outwards. It can be done either way. This was just my preference.



Fits like a glove, a shadow box pine wood glove.
Wood staining time. I get to get my hands dirty. Well not my hands, but my meticulously gloved hand. Anyways. Before I stained there was a light sanding of the boards, really light. Then we put some paper down. Used a left over stain from my industrial console table. It was one of the stains I chose not to use. Great stain, but not right for the console table. But this shadowbox. I wanted it to stand out, looks polished. So this dark stain was perfect.
Using a heavy duty paper towel used by car mechanics (towels or old shirts will work too). I dipped the towel in the can, and rubbed it along the board. Going with the grain, in this case up and down because of how the wood was set on the table. If there is any dripping, simply run over it with the towel and smooth it out.


The side detailing was needing a little more attention. Because of the grooves I had to get in there with the towel. I did one coat and then before I finished I took the towel with a very little bit of stain on it and smoothed out any surface. Making sure the grooves and flow of the stain all appears the same.


Because of the shadow box being open all sides of the boards needed to be stained. The whole process from beginning to stain, drying, turning over and staining the other side took about 3 hours. With lots of waiting time for the stain to dry. It will feel sticky, that is how you know it is not dry yet. We did have it outside on a hot day, so it may have dried much sooner then inside.


Once all was dry, it was time to get this shadow box done. I simply used an air nailer and nailed in the boards. Putting the shorter ones on the sides and the longer ones on top and bottom. I put in 4 nails total. Two on the top and two on the bottom.

Notice our neat and meticulous look of Our home does not extend to the garage. This is our work shop, and it is a mess of stuff and projects right now. Please ignore all background clutter. We are not hoarders, just messy when we work.


We have a shadow box!

Next, the finishes. I have some wood boxes in my cupboard that hold measuring cups and other “stuff”. These wood boxes have these nice little labels, which I have never used. So I unscrewed the label plate. Cut and set a piece of paper behind it and screwed in into the middle of the shadow box. This way when we make more then one each child will know who’s is who’s. We plan to make one of these for each of the kids once they are in school full time.


Here is the handles I selected. I planned to add one to the side for a coat. And one under for a lunchbox. You could also use this for a backpack holder. I just have no need for that.
I have a backpack holder that is in my hallway, right by the garage door. But as far as morning routine goes, homework, getting dressed, lunch prep. It all happens in the kitchen and living room. So to have a place where Nora can take her backpack and stick everything in it is a wonderful idea. There will be no, “Mommy, what goes in?” It is all in her shadow box and should be on her body or in her backpack.
My backpack organizer thing, great for backpacks but no real spot for homework or lunch box. And it is so far away from the kitchen to making it not very functional for Nora to do things on her own. I broke this down here.
Ok, so onto the shadow box again. We are so close to being done! Just a simple few screws left and the hooks are done.




And ladies and gentlemen, this morning simplifier/organizer/ shadow box is done. And yes if you are looking for one of these to purchase I would imagine it would be called exactly that in any store you went to.


I should add I hung this up by simply putting in a large screw into the wall and setting the box on it. There are a ton of ways you can choose to attach this to the wall.

See, right by the kitchen table. AKA, homework central. Now Nora can unload her stuff from school. Set any folders in the box, we can get it out, work on it and then have it all ready to go in the morning.



I can make her lunch and instead of me having to put it in her backpack, she can. When she is loading up her other stuff in goes the lunch box too. Seriously though, how cute is this lunch box?


There is lots more room for books and folders.



Need more pictures…..?


… I thought so




I gave Dale some crap for having to make this so fancy. But the added detailing on the edge is amazing. He is one talented guy! Just don’t mention it too often, he can’t get to full of himself now.






I know this is a back to school bloghop. But here in Our home we have a good solid month left of summer. So I found another use for this big shadowbox for a few more weeks. A hat, sunscreen, and bathing suit bag shadow box. Since it is right by the back door this makes it all very easy and accessible to apply more sun screen of throw a hat on my kids while they run out the door to the yard.


But once school starts, it will be folders, lunch box and coat organizer time.



I hope you all found this helpful, and like I mentioned it is a super easy project. My favorite kind. I also hope you take the time to go and visit some of the other blogs. There is some amazing stuff that they shared! If you came over from them to here, welcome!

I can’t believe we have started a countdown to back to school. I know they say that as you get older time flies, well they are right. Whoever “they” is should have found a way to help me enjoy the slower pace when I was younger. Now I find myself playing catch up all the time. Hopefully, this shadow box will help me and maybe you (yes you) simplify at least one thing. The dreaded morning routine. Clothes for the day, lunch box, folder, and coat, check and all in one place. There for little hands to grab and get ready for school all by themselves. Yay for independence! Now I just need to find a way to be Ok with the fact that one day, all too soon my kids wont need any help getting ready. But for now, this shadowbox helps for my one Little who is off to first grade.

Happy back to school planning, and happy back to school blog hopping!
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  1. Love this idea! The routed edges are such a nice touch. And your little assistant is just adorable!

    • thank you, I had not intended to do the routed edge. But it makes it look great, a wonderful spur of the moment addition! In Our home our youngest is the eager assistant.

  2. This is SUCH a neat idea! What a perfect way to stay organized and it looks SO pretty too!

  3. I love this!! It's pretty and functional. I love the extra hooks and the finished edge (don't worry I won't tell Dale, ha!). -Amy

  4. I think we can all use something like this! Great DIY! 🙂

  5. This is so cute! Great way to keep everything together!

  6. Love the sawdust heart of love! This is such a perfect idea… I really need to do something like this for all of their school junk they bring home!

    • The heart was a pure fluke! It was so funny it happened that way. This was such a simple project to make a world of difference with the kids "stuff"

  7. So cute! It's like their own little lockers!

  8. What a great organization idea! And that routered edge is AWESOME!

  9. Great work! Thanks for sharing this cute idea and great tutorial.
    Hope you have a wonderful day!
    Hugs from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  10. This is such an awesome idea, plus it is a great way to consolidate each kid's stuff into one organized space! Genius, I'm very impressed!

  11. I love that everything is self-contained! Great details with the tutorial, thanks for sharing!

  12. I've enjoyed all the projects I've seen in this collection. They are such good ideas, this one included. The easier you make it for the kids the less chance of a last minute panic. I wish I had done something like this years ago instead of finding the permission slip/envelope with money/important homework project they were supposed to take that day still on the table 10 mins after they all cluttered out of the door!

    • That whole scenario stresses me out so much. There are so many chance to drop the ball. This is just one way i hope to simplify and ease up the craziness that is mornings. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  13. This is such a great idea! I remember the chaos in the mornings when my kids were young. Thanks for sharing with Creative Spark Link Party and I hope we see you again this week.
    Glenna @ My Paper Craze

  14. Emily- I picked your project for a Friday Favorites, not even knowing it was your project when I clicked the link! Ha! Love this idea! And, I love your daughter's name!!! xo, laura

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