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If I hear someone say ‘the new normal’ one more time I think I will probably scream.
It has taken me a bit longer than most I’d say to adjust to the realities of face masks, plexiglass screens and all the rest. So there is a bit of a long story as to how I came about making a Face Mask Organizer!
Self Imposed LockDOWN
For a while after lockdown eased here in the UK I kept on behaving as though we were still in lockdown – I went out maybe once a week if that (we have a garden so even during lockdown I didn’t take full advantage of being able to go out to ‘exercise’).
So I wore face masks and understood the rules but I didn’t have to face them very often because I was kind of hiding away from them at home.
It wasn’t so much that I am more afraid than other people of catching the virus or anything. We don’t live near any older relatives and none of us have any underlying health conditions.
It was more that I was waiting at home for everything to ‘go back to normal’.
I found it stressful going out and seeing some people wearing face masks and some not, some people keeping their distance and some not…it just all felt a bit too uncharted to navigate.
So for a good few weeks I opted out.
Heading outside again
But then the nurseries opened again here (‘daycare’ if you are in North America).
My eldest son who’s 3 & 1/2 goes to nursery 2 days a week and he loves it. So once we decided that we would indeed send him back my attitude to everything started to shift.
My husband does drop offs and I do pick ups – only one adult allowed at a time and we must wear face masks.
So suddenly there was twice a week I was going out plus a shopping trip or a playground trip on the weekend or having another family over in our garden for a playdate.
Slowly I’ve started easing myself back into doing more things out of the house, still not as much as before all this started, and probably still less than a lot of my friends.
But my brain is starting to catch up to the fact that not everything is off limits, that I can only control myself and that it doesn’t help me to hide at home in denial that it’s all going on.
Face Mask Organizer Project
So that is all a very long pre-amble about how I came to my most recent upcycling project – a Face Mask Organizer for beside my front door.
I basically decided that if this is indeed the ‘new normal’ (ugh!!) then I should try making some small adjustments to make it all feel a bit more unremarkable and everyday.
We are pretty strict in my house about washing our fabric face masks after each use.
Thankfully I can sew so I made us some initially but then I decided I didn’t enjoy sewing them that much so we have since bought some more from local small businesses and Etsy Sellers. All that to say we have a lot to cycle through.
But until now we didn’t have a very good system for where they would go when they were clean and ready for use other than in a little pile in our entryway.
I decided keys go on a key rack so why not put these face masks on a sort of a face mask rack/organizer/thingy?
Here is how I made it.
Materials Needed – Entryway Face Mask Organizer
- Scrap wood – mine was pallet wood cut to 15″ length.
- Drawer Handles – I used 4
- Jigsaw (optional – if cutting the wood yourself)
- Black & Decker Mouse Sander
- Drill & 4.5mm drill bit
- Sawtooth picture hanger
- Wood stain or Worktop Oil in the colour of your choice – I used a natural finish worktop oil
Step 1: Cut your wood to size
As you may already know I come by a lot of scrap wood for various reasons so I had some spare pallets in the backyard.
I measured the space above the alarm and the light switch in my entryway and decided that a 15″ length of wood was about right so I used my jigsaw to cut a piece off of one of my pallets.
Step 2: Sanding
Next I used my Black & Decker Mouse Sander to sand down the piece of wood so it was nice and smooth.
That’s me in the photo in my lockdown lounge wear/pyjamas doing my sanding – as you do.
Step 3: Drill Holes
As well as a pile of scrap wood, I also have a drawer full of knobs & handles – yes I’m that lady. Some of them came off of pieces of furniture where I had replaced the original handles and some of them I pick up when I see a bargain somewhere – just because you never know when you might need new drawer knobs – right?
Mexican Ceramic Drawer Knobs
Anyway I had these 4 Mexican handles that I picked up somewhere.
When I showed my sister the photo of my face mask organizer she said, ‘where did you get the handles?’
I said ‘I don’t know I just had them’, she said ‘I thought you would say that’.
So my reputation precedes me here a bit!
But I also know that is an annoying answer so I did have a look on my go to shopping destination for stuff like this – Etsy – and found some similar knobs that would let you get the same look without having to go drawer knob bargain hunting for days!
The knob above is from Design in Focus – they have loads of different designs in a similar style.
Incidentally – the back end of my knobs look just like these ones, but I forgot to take a picture of them before I attached them!
The photo above is of a range of colourful mexican style ceramic knobs sold in packs of 4 or more from Supplies Art World.
Measuring for drill holes
So once I’d picked my handles I tried spacing them out to get an idea of how they would look and then I measured for the holes.
I measured the height of my piece of wood and aimed to put the knobs halfway down.
To space the knobs horizontally I eyeballed what looked good and then got out my tape measure and adjusted so they were even with each other.
For my face mask organizer, the first drill holes were 2″ from either end of the plank of wood to the first knobs and then 3″ between each drill hole in the middle.
Keep in mind that the drill hole is just where the bolt goes – your actual knob will likely be wider so you need to account for that when you are choosing your spacing – which is why starting with the tried and tested eyeballing method is always my go to!
Step 4: Attach Hanging
It’s your call if you want to put the hanging on now or after the next step. I did it first.
I used a sawtooth picture hanging attachment – my favourite for hanging most things.
If I was hanging anything heavier than fabric face masks on this organizer I would have pushed my husband to let me properly drill into the wall and use a different type of hanging to attach it.
But my husband and I have an ongoing tug of war around things that need to be drilled into the wall – see this headboard post for an example.
Luckily there is no need for fancy attachments for this project as face masks are light as can be!
Step 5: Staining
I liked the grain of the pallet wood so I decided to stain it rather than paint it.
From our house renovation several years ago we still have a utility room full of odds and sods from the builders – some of which we know what it was for, some of which we aren’t as sure.
Anyway one of the things we had squirrelled away in there was this worktop oil.
The brand is Scandiwood and it’s a natural finish wood oil meant for kitchen worktops.
It darkened the wood ever so slightly, made it look warmer and brought out the grain nicely.
I couldn’t for the life of me find this on sale anywhere online – maybe it’s only sold to trade? – anyway I found one that looks similar here.
I left it outside to dry and it was touch dry in about 3 hours, so I was pretty pleased with that too, as I like getting on with things once I’ve started!
And yes, that is a pizza box I’m using as a work surface in that photo!
Step 6: Attaching your Drawer Knobs
I was sure when I started this project that I was going to be sawing off ends of bolts and using a counter sink drill bit to make the bolts flush at the back.
In fact I was looking forward to trying it because I’ve never used the counter sink attachment on my drill! (the counter sinks are the round ended ones that you use at the back of something like this to make a little ‘pocket’ for the nut to rest in).
However once I screwed my knobs in I realised I would be cutting off so little of the bolt end that it probably wasn’t worth it to try.
I figured if I put it up on the wall and it didn’t sit flat I could always go back and cut them.
But in the end I didn’t need to it sat just fine as it was.
If you don’t want to be bothered with cutting bolts or learning about counter sinks either then try looking for the kind of knobs that screw in from the back – like kitchen knobs.
These types of knobs will sit much flusher to the back of your piece of wood and once you add the hanging it shouldn’t effect how flat it sits at all.
The photo above is an example of the kind of knob I’m talking about where the screw goes into the knob instead of out of the knob.
Step 7: Hang your Finished Face Mask Organizer
And that’s it! This project took almost no time – the longest bit was waiting for the stain to dry.
I hung my face mask organizer in my entryway, beside the door and above the house alarm – the best place for making it feel like grabbing a face mask is just another part of the routine.
It also coordinates well with the Mexican mirror I already have hanging in my entryway!
Here is the super quick video version with a catchy tune at the same time!:
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- 10 household items you can make yourself – including toilet paper!
- 10 Upcycled Decor Ideas for Blank Walls
- How to Upcycle Takeaway Containers into Decorative Trinket Bowls
- What is Upcycling & What can you Upcycle?
- Scrap Wood (Pallet)
- Drawer handles
- Worktop Oil or Wood Stain
- Sawtooth picture hanger.
- Jigsaw (optional)
- Mouse Sander
- Paint Brush
- Cut pallet wood to size - 15" x 4"
- Sand pallet wood
- Drill equally spaced holes
- Stain or Oil your wood.
- Attach hanging to the back
- Insert knobs.
- Hang & organize your face masks