repurpose end-table: kids specimen table

Let’s start Bloggy Olympics Craft Week with a bang…shall we?

Head over to one of this week’s hosts for a great tutorial to follow along with.

Here’s to Handy Andy

C.W. Frosting

Freaking Craft


This is one of my favorite crafts…EVER! I don’t know why. It just is.

Kinda like my Bear Butt shelves reveal is one of my favorite posts ever. Just the name…giggle!

The DIY Specimen Table…

As a child, nothing is more exciting than finding the perfect rock, bug, or leaf while exploring nature.

But, I am not a fan of them keeping “finds” in their room, pockets, or jars.

But, I do want to keep encouraging them to discover nature…it is important.

Let’s just keep the creepy crawly nature less…creepy crawly!

This DIY specimen end table will help your child show-off their “finds” and keep them corralled in a nice-looking, grown-up friendly way.

It’s also a great way to breathe new life into a tired end-table, making it a conversation piece and a way to showcase your child’s “finds”.

Supplies needed.
Square or rectangle endtable.
Empty cd cases.


1. Arrange the CD cases on the top of the end table until you are happy with the results.

2. Predrill holes through your empty CD cases the size of the screws you are using.

3. Screw the empty CD cases onto the top of the end table. Warning: screwing too tightly will cause the CD cases to break.

4. Cut cardstock to the size of the CD cases you are using. Set them inside the cases.

5. If you choose, use chalkboard paint to add labels to your empty CD cases.

6. Have your child fill the CD cases with their collections. If you added labels, let them label their finds.

7. Some fun items to include with your table would be a magnifying glass, paper and pencil, and insect and leaf guides.



Seriously…I had more fun staging this table then should be allowed!

This projects cost?

table-free (it was a cast-off)
CD cases- free (cast-off’s too)
chalkboard paint- leftover from another project
spray paint- $2.90 (on sale at the big M store)
caster wheels-free (stole those off another cast-off)
little cute stuff-about $4.oo  (for the magnifying glasses, chalk, and frogs)

Total cost-6.90!


Linking up at these great places…

-The DIY Showoff--At the Picket Fence--fox Hollow Cottage--freaking craft--Tatertots & Jello--Funky Junk Interiors--How to Nest Less-

Paint Week…my bear butt shelves revealed

I have been painting. What I am working on right now actually didn’t require much painting.

But, as always…there is some. Darn it!

Here is  a peek of what we have been working on.

And, these pictures stink. Just stink.


Okay, a quick 411 on what is going on here.

This is the before shot…kinda.



This is in the basement and is a strange combo of hallway, doors, windows, and half walls.

It is a decorators, designers, and mom’s nightmare.

We’ve been staring at it forever trying to figure it out.

We decided on making it an area for the kids. (send them to the basement…ha!)


This particular wall is the “hallway”. It has a doorway on one end and a closet on the other.

Two windows and a half wall. Ugh. And it is about 20 feet long. What to do?

A built-in along the wall seemed to be the way to go. But, because the closet at the end

provided no room we would need to figure out how to end it sooner.

So, we decided to create an area for the kids to do their schooling near the closet door.

A nook of sorts. Which, you will see later. Ha!

And the rest of the wall would be a counter with storage, snack area, and computer area.

Well, now to do it.


My love machine decided to build it out of 2 by 4’s, 2 by 2’s and other “stuff”.

Now, I initially wanted the pipe shelves I’ve been seeing all over blog land and lately my friend Jill had done.

But, when love machine went to buy the materials for that huge wall…phone call!

It went something like this…”honey, do you know how much that stuff costs? You really want to do that? How about I do something else…?”

If you are a DIYer and the spouse that has to put up with you suggests a perfectly logical solution you shove the ideas  you had in your head of a magazine spread down into no-mans land.

You calmly agree…and wait and see!


Luckily, my love machine is getting pretty darn great at leveling and such. Whatever the carpentry words are.

Luckily, said materials for the ENTIRE wall cost well under $75.00.

Luckily, I happened to have bought a fun sheet set that works perfectly for a skirt on clearance for $3.00

Luckily, I had fun spray paint left over to use to paint shelving.

And luckily, we had a stack of pallets that would be just PERFECT for adding interest to the wall.

Luckily…this project would be a breeze!





That darn bear SAT on my shelves that I had just painted.


True story (as if I would tell you a different one):

Next day…I go out to assess the damage. Other then a few bear hairs, the shelves look fine.

I expected to find cracks from the bear sitting. Nope.

We go to put them up and my love machine is working on getting in the first screws.

“Yuck, bears stink.” Love machine says.

“I suppose they do” I say…not thinking much about it.

But…wait. “What do you mean?” I stopped to pay attention.

He was talking about the shelves. The SHELVES smelled like bear butt.

Okay, I am assuming it’s bear butt because that is the part that SAT on my shelves.

“These smell like bear.” Love machine says.

“How bad?” I have never smelled bear…I have no reference. Love machine spends hours in the woods

for months on end and knows the smell well. Me…yep, never went up and smelled a bear. It seems…wrong.

I went and smelled the shelves (now I ask myself why…what possessed me to do that?). Yep, smells like bear. It must, because I have never smelled that smell before.


I washed and washed those darn shelves. We even Febreezed them.

And then put them up. Still smelling the “smell” but assuming it was just lingering.

I washed my hands for hours and hours (okay…exaggeration) after.

Later…where on earth was that smell coming from?…no really, my hands!

Yuck yuck yuck. My hands had been violated!

I facebooked you all asking for how to get bear butt off.

And, a facebook liker suggested using coffee grounds and Dawn.

It was yuck. But, it worked. Or, they just smelled like coffee…whatever. It was better.

Facebook liker…I am internet kissing you. Thank you!


So…long story.

But, these are the shelves. And darn it… I left the stuck bear hair on it.





This is the computer area. And the mirror I painted in Ce Ce Caldwell paint…I wanted to copy the Bold Abode and have an awesome mirror!


game room chair

This chair is another part of the room…a tease, I know. But, I wanted to prove I have been painting.



Don’t forget to link up your Paint projects for the Bloggy Olympics over at one of your three hosts:

The Bold Abode

Primitive and Proper


And The Bold Abode is running a paint giveaway until midnight tonight!!


Note: While the bear story is absolutely true, the odds of a bear sitting on your shelves are slim.

You would have to live in Wisconsin, then in the boonies of Wisconsin, have tasty garbage, have the same bear

come back repeatedly, have shelves you just painted, AND be very unlucky. It only happens to me.


Note #2: We have since bungeed our trash can to a pallet, with a brick on top, with paint cans on top of that (so it makes noise) and put the whole thing under the yard light. The bear hasn’t been back in 3 nights.


Linking up this nasty post at these happening places…

-Craptastic--The Shabby Nest--Uncommon Designs--Whipperberry--Tatertots and Jello-