We’ve been spring cleaning around here like crazy; cleaning out all the closets, get rid of stuff we never use (and probably never will): old textbooks, ugly christmas ornaments, clothes, etc. What do they say about clothes? You only use something like 10% of your wardrobe. Crazy, huh?
Last weekend we emptied out the hall closet AKA my future craft closet into the guest bedroom (unfortunately). Luckily you can’t see the mess in there (left side of the photo) only hubby trying to get out of my shot. We also removed the existing wood shelves that have seen better days. I thought about keeping some but they were actually particle board and not in great a shape.
I drew up a little schematic of the basic bones of the craft closet…
With measurements in hand we made what seems like our weekly trip to Home Depot to get the wood for the new desk and shelf. Since we needed specific sizes we knew we weren’t going to be able to use prefab shelving. So we went straight to the wood section ready to get our 20″ wide piece of wood for the desk. To our surprise they don’t have pieces of wood that wide, darn. Ok, onto plan B; basically find something else.
We went to the wood sheet section and came across three choices. Plywood: would have been a good choice but it warps and looks kinda crappy when painted. Particle Board: hmm, that has formaldehyde in the glue, ok that’s out. That leaves us with MDF (medium density fiberboard). I’ve seen this used a million times on HGTV for building shelves and furniture. It looks pretty good when painted and I haven’t heard anything bad about it. That’s it, problem solved.
We got one sheet of it and had our desk, long shelf and a couple of small shelves cut out to size with a huge piece to spare. I think the guy was new, I had to help him measure what I wanted and he didn’t charge us extra for the 10 cuts we made.
We loaded it up in the car and headed home.
Ok, so for some reason there was something in the back of my mind that whole time, telling me to look up MDF. So in the car on the way home I started typing on my phone “is MDF…” and all this stuff pops up “safe, toxic, deadly ”etc. Oh,oh that can’t be good. The more I read, the more I freak out. MDF also has formaldehyde and the dust when it’s cut (which is, I’m sure all over the inside of the car at this point) is apparently full of it and highly toxic. So I roll down the windows and hope for the best.
But they use this stuff on HGTV all the time, what’s up with that?! So I had two choices; get rid of it or bite the bullet and use it. I decide to just use it, here’s why:
I’m not going to be able to find anything else that large that comes in one piece and looks that good
The hazard is in the dust, which we already inhaled
When you paint it, it seals the dust and no longer is a problem (source)
It will probably still off gas for a while, but so does our new mattress (and I spend much more time there) and most likely everything else in the house
I work in the operating room and have to use formaldehyde everyday, so I’m sure I get much more exposure there
So I figure you have to choose your battles.
Back to my craft closet project. When we ripped out the shelves, the wall behind them was damaged and it looks like they used some tar-like glue and just nails to fasten them to the wall. No wonder they were falling off. I tried removing the tar stuff but the drywall paper started coming off too.
We ripped up the ugly stained carpet, but just in there. The rest of the second floor will have to wait.
So I just took some drywall joint compound and covered it all up.
I’m trying to keep this craft closet project under $100 (or as close as possible) so I’m keeping close tabs on what were spending.
Craft Closet Cost Breakdown:
MDF board $32
Paint/Primer combo $26
Wood strips to attach shelves to wall $3
Total (so far): $70