Got a Pile of Leftover Plywood? Turn It Into Unique Furniture!

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My husband needed a work surface for his music studio, but didn't want to spend any money. I had a pile of scrap plywood in our basement that I was itching to clear out. None of the scraps were big enough to build a desk with, but I came up with a unique solution to both of our problems!
All it took was a bit of patience, a gallon of wood glue, and A LOT of sanding.
Have you ever cut a piece of plywood and looked at the cross-section? It's made up of layers, and the grain of each layer runs crosswise to the layer underneath it. Which makes for a very interesting texture.
I started by cutting my scraps into strips that were about 1.25 inches wide. I laid them all out with the cut sides up.
I laid out enough strips to make a surface that was about 6 1/2 feet long by 3 feet wide. This would give me enough material to cut all the desk parts out of a single sheet. (This is important if you want your pattern to line up at the edges and create an "infinity" look).
  • got a pile of leftover plywood turn it into unique furniture, diy, painted furniture, woodworking projects
Then it was time to glue and clamp.
Once the glue dried and the clamps were released, it was time for sanding. Lots and lots of sanding. I was lucky to have access to a Timesaver (a 36-inch belt sander), so this step wasn't as bad as you might imagine. After sanding came filling (plywood has lots of holes and voids in it, so I went through a lot of wood filler). Then one more round of sanding before I got to cut all my desk pieces out and assemble the whole thing.
  • got a pile of leftover plywood turn it into unique furniture, diy, painted furniture, woodworking projects
I finished the desk with a very light coat of Minwax Whitewash Pickling Stain (to keep it looking light instead of yellow-ish) and a couple of coats of Polycrylic. The whole project only cost me $53, for the wood glue, wood filler, stain, and poly. And even my husband agrees that it was a pretty creative use for plywood that would have otherwise ended up in a dumpster!
  • got a pile of leftover plywood turn it into unique furniture, diy, painted furniture, woodworking projects
You can read more about this project here: http://www.sarahsbigidea.com/2014/02/plywood-gets-sexy/. You'll also find links there for the shelves I made to match the desk, and a great finishing technique that you can use for a satiny-smooth finish on your DIY furniture projects.

Suggested materials for this project:

    Sarah's Big Idea

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