Sunday, 10 February 2013

Old Drawers into 'Giant Trays' Project

We accumulated fourteen spare drawers from our closet makeover last December.  Handyman Rex tells me the wood is "marine" and not just plywood... uh, ok.  He sounded like my mom-in-law when she says "Narra wood yan!" of reverent antiques.  

I guess that's good and I shouldn't just get rid of them?  So I checked for inspiration online to repurpose these old drawers - there were so many great ideas!

Like I wish I had the room for this:

And I'm thinking this would be a perfect solution to my lack of side tables:

But the idea I thought would get the most use out of the drawers was to turn them into a giant tray.  It's no secret here that I love trays -- play trays, that is.  Among all the playful learning we do, messy sensory play is Ladybug Girl's favorite -- but it's high-effort in terms of prep and clean up time.

I wanted to have some permanent stations at home where I can prepare sensorial play and not have to pack it all away every time.  That way we can easily play even on weekdays after office.

So on Handyman Rex's last day, I asked him to stick two drawers together and attach wheels to the bottom.
It was definitely looking like another laughable DIY solution.  I even had an extra one made.

I had to live with this eyesore for two weekends until Ladybug Girl and I got over our flu.  Then we got to painting the drawers using some water-based no-smell paint we had leftover.  Reminder to self: always demonstrate first before handing over a paintbrush, as you will soon see why.

First explorations using the brush... and then discovering that paint dribbles.

She used the other side for a modern art piece like Jackson Pollock (he's in her Olivia books)

I sensed the inevitable at this moment.

Fast forward to this.

And this -- sheer, almost maniacal delight!

We talked about how cold, thick and squishy the paint was.

And when we were done, we hosed off outside.  (Water-based paint comes right off)

I had to finish off the painting.  Even the formerly-purple stool she was on got a makeover.

A second makeover, I might add.
She painted this herself a year ago.

Did you notice I left a little memento?
Sniff.  I will miss this preschool stage so much.

Back to the giant trays.  

I let them dry and cure completely for a week, added a plastic bin, and then we put them to use:
Ladybug Girl added food coloring to make a blue ocean.

And some toys for instant beach play.

The best part: packing away for another day is easy.

The next weekend, I brought out some odds and ends for open play.  
The game was that we had to use everything in this box to build a sand castle

I love the look of concentration on her face!

Our finished castle.  Note the crayons, which she ran inside to fetch from her room?

Here's the other giant sensory tray, for use indoors.  
I put a surprise play activity in it - can't wait to introduce it to her (or let her find it!)

It's under an old bench in the living room, so it's a roll-out-and-play tray, then it rolls back in.

I think we'll get a lot of use out of these permanent-but-moveable messy play trays.

Now what to do with the other eleven drawers??


  1. Now I want some of those drawers! :) And... awww... leaving A's footprints is the best idea ever!

    1. Hey you can have some drawers!! Ooh projects!

  2. i love this. :) and i can totally picture her maniacal delight hahaha

  3. where did you buy those sand? thanks!

    1. Bulacan Gardens! I went to that row of garden supplies and plants along White Plains. It's around 200 pesos for a bucket.

  4. I've been looking for sand too to put in my project sandbox for my son. I also checked the White Plains area and turns out - only two stores carry this type of sand - one of which is indeed, the Bulacan Gardens. However, it is out of stock now (they source it from Mindoro). Update: it now costs P250 per bucket.


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