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Learn how to make a DIY rattan sideboard for under £100 with Ana

Alys, March 29, 2022

We chatted to Ana, an illustrator from Crystal Palace about the tools she borrowed from Library of Things and how she learnt to make this stunning DIY rattan sideboard for under £100.

Don’t worry if you’re a beginner - I was too! When I moved into my house a few years ago, we didn't have much money to do it up so decided to give DIY a go. Rattan sideboards are a beautiful addition to the home, but come with a hefty price tag. Borrowing tools from Library of Things made the project even more affordable. I made some mistakes along the way, but the finished product looks good, even with a slightly drafty door! Time input: A couple of days all in all including drying time - the perfect weekend project

Ana’s top tips for finding furniture to upcycle I was lucky to snap an almost new IKEA ‘Ivar’ cabinet from Gumtree from a couple that was desperate to see it to move houses so I started the project pretty inexpensively. Library of Things tip: As well as Gumtree, check out Facebook Marketplace, OLIO or just have a wander around London and see what people have left outside! When shopping for furniture, I personally hunt for the solid wood or solid material items and steer away from particle board or anything hollow and filled with cardboard, as it won’t be as durable and reworking it though the years is almost not an option.

What you’ll need

Tools - Jigsaw - Drill - Hand sander - Staple gun - Screwdriver - Measuring tape - Scissors - G or F Clamps

Materials - Wood stain, shade of your choice - Hairpin legs - Door knobs (check out eBay or Etsy for these) - Roll of cane webbing - Wood glue - Pencil

How to make your sideboard

Step 1: Remove and prepare the doors

The project started by removing the doors off the cabinet using a screwdriver, and I used that to take off the wooden reinforcement bars from the inside of the doors too. Using a measuring tape and pencil, I marked two inches inwards from the edge all around to form a rectangle shape - this is the window where the cane will go. Make sure to do this on the inside of the door, not the outside like I did!

Step 2: Drill the corners and cut a window in the door with a jigsaw

Next, I drilled a hole in each corner of the rectangle with a chunky drill bit and then introduced the jigsaw in one of those holes and started cutting out the window.

Top tip: before using the jigsaw, make sure you clamp the wood down so that the cut is beautifully straight. I didn’t do this so I had to freehand the lot! This is when you want to be as neat as possible: more prep here means less work later.

Step 3: Even out the sides with a hand sander

It doesn’t matter if your cuts aren’t perfect - you can even it out with a hand sander. Because of my wobbly cuts, I spent a good while using the hand sander, a chisel and a bit of wood filler until I was happy with how it looked - not perfect, but tolerable!

Step 4: Stain or paint the cabinet and doors The next step was to decide on the colour of the wood. Most of the furniture in our living room is walnut colour so having the cabinet in its natural pine state was not an option if I wanted it to blend in.

I did some swatches with almost four different stains (which was a bit of expensive test!) and the first one I went with came out a bit too dark, so I ended up using a wood stain that I already had in the house that did the job. Give it a few hours or overnight to dry before the next step.

Step 5: Glue the rattan to doors and trim

When that was completed and dried, I laid some rattan over the doors and roughly cut it to the length of each side. I secured it using some PVA glue and stapled the ends to make sure it wasn’t unravelling. I also made my way around each frame giving tension to the cane to ensure it was nice and tight on the door.

Once it was all secured, I trimmed off any excess rattan using some scissors, and fit the hinges - which took a screwdriver and a bit of fiddling as with the rattan on the doors, you have to adjust the hinges to fit.

Step 6: Fit the door knobs and rehang the doors

Doors done, I fitted the knurled brass knobs and some hair pin legs I bought on eBay. When rehanging the doors I found because of the placement of the rattan I had to adjust the hinges for it to fit properly, but all it takes is a screw driver and a bit of fiddling.

Aside from the doors not closing fully (nicknamed the ‘drafty cupboard’ by my friends) I’m really happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

About Ana: Ana is an illustrator living in Crystal Palace. You can follow her illustration and DIY journeys via her Instagram and via her blog.