Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Build Your Own Nail Polish Display

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent the weekend working with my husband on building a new display for my OPI polishes since I outgrew the rack I was using. I'm still storing all of my minis and miscellaneous OPI polishes (duplicates and older colors), but all of the new and frequently used stuff is now on my five-shelf display.

I was going to use the bottom shelf for supplies, but ended up building a second display shelf for some of my frequently used miscellaneous polishes until I accumulate enough OPI polishes that I use on a regular basis. The rest of my stash is tucked away in my closet in my plastic Target drawers.

If you're interested in building your own inexpensive nail polish display (mine was less than $20!), I put together a lengthy tutorial, featuring some diagrams that the hubby created and used while building mine.

This post is kind of a long one, so read on after the photo for a tutorial! If you have any questions, email me at allison@glitterandglossnails.com or shoot me a message on Twitter @glitterglossluv—it's a long post with some crappy diagrams, so I'm happy to clarify wherever needed. 


A four- to five-shelf nail polish display shelf. 

Capacity: 84 bottles on four shelves; 105 bottles on five shelves if you put one row directly on your existing surface (a table or bookshelf)

Time: Approximately 2-3 hours

Cost: Approximately $20 (varies depending on the type of fabric you buy).

  • If you have a bookcase, then great—if not, you can also take this shelf display and use it on a desk, table, dresser or even on top of a bookcase. The rack will end up being 8 inches tall and 10 inches deep. You can adjust the width depending on your own bookshelf or table.
  • An 18"x18"x16" Scotch Storage Box from Target ($4.79)
  • A thick roll of duct tape from Home Depot, 1.88 inches wide ($6.79)—any duct tape will work, but I recommend using one that's 1.88 inches wide so that it's almost as wide as each shelf.
  • One yard of fabric—I used an outdoor fabric because it was a heavier weight and therefore more durable; it was on clearance for $9/yard and applied a 25 percent off coupon. Try visiting your local fabric store and scouring the clearance rack. I would recommend using an outdoor fabric or even a flannel ... cottons, silks and organzas will be too lightweight, satins will be too slippery and fleeces/felts will be too heavy. ($6.75)
  • A sharp razor blade, box cutter or a knife 
  • Scissors
  • A 12-inch ruler
  • Measuring tape

Step One: Separating

Using your scissors, cut the box apart along the pre-folded edges lengthwise on all four folds. You'll end up with four long pieces.

Step Two: Cutting

Set three of the cardboard pieces aside—you're going to make the 2-inch block first. Use your ruler to draw three dotted lines two inches apart. The fourth line will be a solid line, also two inches away from the one next to it.

On the dotted lines, you're going to use the scissor edge to slice halfway through the cardboard—don't cut all the way through though. The reason you're doing this is to create a crease so it's easier to fold.

On the fourth line (the solid one), use your box cutter to slice all the way through. Be sure to save the extra piece, as you'll need it later.
Repeat this step for the 4-inch and 6-inch boxes (see below for a guide, replacing the 4" for 6")
For the 8-inch box, you'll only be able to fit three sides of the box. Measure out an 8-inch piece from the first piece of cardboard—cut that piece and set it aside.

Next, you'll measure out the fourth cardboard piece according to the diagram below.
This is the time when you'll want to decide the width that you want your shelf to be. I decided mine was going to be 28.5 inches to fit in my bookshelf, but it's up to you. Use a measuring tape to mark off how wide your display should be and cut the excess from the long side of each piece of cardboard (each cardboard should be the same size when held lengthwise; the height should be the only thing that's different.)

Step Three: Reinforcement and Taping

When you're done, you'll end up with four rectangles similar to the one below on the left in my hubby's diagram.

You're going to create reinforcements so that the box doesn't collapse. In order to do this, you're going to cut several strips using the excess cardboard. Here's what you need: 
  • (3)  2" x 6" strips [for the 2" block]
  • (3) 2" x 8" strips [for the 4" block]
  • (4) 2" x 10" strips [for the 6" block]
  • (4) 2" x 12" strips [for the 8" block]
Basically, you're going to fold the two sides in by two inches and use duct tape to secure those flaps to the 2" sides of the box. Spread the reinforcements evenly throughout each block, making sure you have two of them close to the open ends (but not flush to the end). Don't be afraid to use a lot of tape!

When you're done, use duct tape to seal each box together. I only drew in one piece, but use duct tape all the way across the open end to seal it. You'll end up with four pieces like this:

Step Four: More Taping

This is where you get tape-crazy. Wrap each block with plenty of duct tape with the sticky side out (you need to stick them together). I also added additional pieces of inside-out duct tape stuck on all sides of the blocks. Pictured is a diagram of two, but you'll need to do this for all four blocks.

Once you're done, carefully attach the blocks together. The 8" block will be your base. Align the 6" block on top of it, making sure you have one flat edge when attaching them. The 4" block goes on top of that, followed by the 2" block. 

After the three pieces are attached, grab an extra piece of cardboard and secure it to the flat side with more duct tape—this will help stabilize the blocks and make the whole thing sturdier.

Step Five: Wrapping

Almost done!

Lay your fabric out flat on a hard surface, with the patterned side face down. Tape the edge of the fabric to the bottom of the display (the 8" side) and begin to wrap the fabric around the back (the flat side). As you wrap it, make sure you're pulling it taut so that there aren't any creases or wrinkles as you press it onto the duct tape that you applied to the boxes in step four. Below is a rough sketch of what I did—the blue arrow is the fabric. Just make sure the patterned side of the fabric is facing out when you wrap! 

When you get back to the bottom of the display, use a few pieces of duct tape to secure it. Trim the excess from the sides, leaving at least two inches on each end so you can fold the ends in. Cut slits where necessary in the overhang so that you can fold it in; wrap the fabric inside the end of each block, using duct tape to secure.

That's it! Whew ... that was a long one. If you're lucky, you got this done in about 2-3 hours without too much of a headache. If you don't plan to put this inside of a bookshelf, you can make the ends look prettier by stuffing the hollow parts of the tube with some colored tissue paper.

If your bookshelf isn't very well-lit, you can also buy some battery-operated lights and stick them inside the shelves like I did—they were the As Seen On TV brand and I got three for $10. 

Good luck and enjoy!


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