13 August 2013

DIY: Bathroom skirt securing

As if the collected works on this blog did not send this message well enough, let me be explicit: I wholeheartedly believe that DIY does not need to be elegant to work.

I follow an embarrassing amount of shelter blogs, and so many of them have clever solutions and fancy tools and beautiful photography. They’re truly professionals who do beautiful work! But sometimes, all these sophisticated DIYers make me feel like the only solutions are the perfectly executed solutions. And if I don’t have that perfect solution with perfect tools and perfect photos, why even bother?

Because sometimes stuff has to get done with duct tape and scrap cardboard. This is real life.

Today’s post is all about waiting for the elegant solution, until I finally realized that any solution is a perfect solution. And the problem that needed a solution was these bathroom counter skirt panels.

The panels themselves did solve a problem, which was hiding the vast expanse of crap I wanted to store under our bathroom counter. But they were also a problem, because for the past ten months, I’d hung them with THUMBTACKS.

(Sidebar: I once had a laboratory safety shower dump a large quantity of water on me when a large framed photo fell on the pull-down-in-case-of-emergency handle. I discovered (while wringing out my dress and hair) that up until the great drenching, the 18x24” frame had been hanging on the wall with a SINGLE THUMBTACK. You’d think after that experience I’d have learned my lesson about hanging things with thumbtacks, but apparently not.)

Because the thumbtacks couldn’t go very deep into the back of the formica countertop, the panels were constantly falling down. At least, whenever Mr. P wanted anything under the counter. I have no idea why they selectively fell when he touched them and stayed put for me. He’d try to fix them, but he wouldn’t be quite as particular about hanging them straight; I’d later notice the panel in front of the cleansers was askew, thank him for cleaning the shower, and he’d immediately respond, “I tried to hang it back up straight!”

Welcome to our last ten months.

Something needed to be done. I’d fantasized about installing some sort of 1x4 piece with a small L-hook and attaching a slidey bar with fancy hooks and... you know as well as I do that a plan like that will never come to fruition. So instead I used scrap cardboard and duct tape.

I needed a strip of cardboard that was 65” long, the length of the countertop. So, I cut this piece (from tablecloth packaging) into strips...

And secured the seams with an extra bit of cardboard and duct tape.

Then I laid out the panels upside-down (so the middle panel will overlap the two side panels), making sure they covered the entire 65” stretch and aligning the bottoms edges perfectly.

Finally, I carefully attached the cardboard to the top edge of the panels... with another SUPER HIGH-TECH TOOL.

With this sort of project, it doesn’t really matter how straight you cut the scrap cardboard, how neatly you apply the duct tape, how evenly you space the staples. It’s going to look ridiculously shoddy. But it’s going to WORK.

I did need an extra pair of hands to attach the cardboard to the underside of the countertop, using my OMG-it’s-still-totally-a-gun staple gun. And no worries, I did a bunch of test runs to make sure the staple gun wouldn’t damage our very-much-rented bathroom countertop. But in the end, I had a securely attached, perfectly straight bathroom counter skirt!

Yeah yeah, the end result looks basically the same as before. But if you happen to be visiting us, and if you happen to take a bath, and if you happen to take that opportunity to peek under the counter from that spot in the bathtub, you’d see how super-thoroughly attached the panels are now:

And of course, the best part of the “after” is this:

Panels that don’t fall down when you touch them! The ability to get things from underneath the counter without dread! All thanks to scrap cardboard and duct tape.

All this to say: if you are hesitant to fix something in your house because you think you haven’t found the fancy, perfectly bloggable solution? I hereby give you permission to dig through your recycling bin to solve your problem. This is real-life DIY, dear readers! Live in real life.


Rachel said...

Yes! This is what I'm talkin' about! So much of our house is held up with tape, staples, and crossed fingers.

Janice said...

I love your solution! When I did this for a make-shift desk, I did the same thing but I skipped the cardboard and went straight for the staple gun ha ha For a window topper on my windows I used Velcro. That way I could make different fabric panels for the different seasons. Yeah, well that WAS the plan. Too bad I only made that one set of toppers in 18 years. Well ya know, life got in the way and all. ;)