paint (tester pot is sufficient) or stain if using wood
(click links for my unsolicited recommendations)
The first step, and the most important one to get accurate, is building the boxes to go on the DIY Snack Station. I was using scrap wood and didn’t take into account varying thicknesses of MDF (I had some that were 3/4″ thick and some that were 1/2″ thick) and it caused one of my boxes to be slightly smaller than the others – which leads to exposed screws and a messy finish.
Don’t do it. Make sure your boxes are exactly the same.
Use 3/4″ MDF or 1×4 boards – the depth of my shelves is 3.5″
6 pieces (3/4″ MDF or 1×4″) cut to 19″ long
6 pieces cut to 10 1/2″ long
for the base you’ll need 3 pieces at 9″ by 19″
Build your three boxes by pre-drilling, wood gluing and then screwing the outside framing boards into the base and then into each other.
(please forgive the photo quality on a few of these shots – I lost my camera in my workshop chaos and had to take photos with my iPad)
MDF splits if it isn’t pre-drilled to the right depth or if you place your screws too close to the edges – which is my biggest pet peeve with MDF. You can see here how it’s split on a few boxes.
Not to worry too much though, a bit of wood glue in the crack and then clamp it tightly and it will close up nicely.
Next up you’ll need 2×4’s for the stand portion of your DIY Snack Station.
I cut two pieces to 32″ long and another two to 13″.
From the straight cuts, I moved my mitre saw to 30 degrees and then cut the upper corners on the long boards. SAVE THE OFF-CUT! It will help you to line up the lower shelves at the same angle.
You don’t have to do a 30 degree angle, it was just the suggested angle I’d seen on another project and thought I’d try – but it is relatively steep. If you plan on filling your DIY Snack Station with more produce, you might want to lessen the depth of the angle to 20 degrees so you can pile it higher with less likelihood of fruit rolling out.
For the base of the stand I moved the mitre saw to a 45 degree angle and cut from the edge in on both sides of both pieces.
Here, this might be better than words:
I centred my tall board 1.5″ in from the short sides and 1″ in from the long sides of the base and then drilled up from the bottom with 2 1/2″ wood screws for a cleaner finish.
Now it’s time to sand the pieces smooth. I used my DeWalt random orbit sander (love this little gal!) and went from 60 grit up to 180 grit on all of the individual pieces. You can add in wood filler now if you have any gaps or boo-boos, let dry and sand smooth.
Attaching the first shelf to your DIY Snack Station is the easy one – simply mark the centre point on the sides of your shelf, mark the centre point on the top of your stand and then line the two marks up. The angled stand will show you where your 30 degrees is, so you can just screw into place once these three things are lined up. I screwed from the shelf outwards into the stand with 2″ wood screws so that there weren’t additional screw heads showing on the outside of the finished piece.
Adding in the next two shelves is a bit trickier….
Using your speed square, determine where you want the bottom shelf to go – remember that it has to be on a 30 degree angle, so you can’t place it right on the bottom of the stand. The best way to figure this out is to use your off-cut piece (from the top of the stand), place it on top of your speed square and then put the shelf on top of that. It’s a handful, but once you mark a line where the top of your shelf will be, you can more easily screw it into place. Before screwing the opposite side into place, check for level.
Split the distance between your top shelf and the bottom one and repeat these steps. Mark a straight line with your speed square, add your off-cut 30 degree piece on top of that (mark a line) and then rest your shelf on top of that and mark a line. Again, check for level on the opposite side before screwing into place.
I didn’t give heights for the shelves because it’s going to depend on what you want to use them for. If you want something that looks geometrically balanced, divide your DIY Snack Station stand into three and work with those lines as your centre points.
A bit of primer and two coats of “Peppery” by Behr and voila!
Healthier choices on the top shelf of our DIY snack station so that they are at eye-height.
Less healthy as you go down.
(The Star Wars cookies are for me)
This has a small footprint and can be set outside of the cooking area so that people aren’t underfoot while you are packing lunches or prepping dinner. Kids can just grab and go. We have the provision that you work your way down the stand though – first snack is from the top shelf, second snack (if they’re still hungry) can be from a lower one.
The girls help me by bringing me two snacks for their lunches, and if they have friends over after school, I’m off duty (as long as the snack station is stocked) because the kids can choose what they like to tide them over until dinner.
Bring it outside and fill it with plates, cutlery, snacks and drinks for a patio party. Stock it with popcorn and treats (and drinks) for a movie theatre night. Use it as a shop stand to display your crafts. Use it as a craft stand for the kids. Fill it with little herb pots and have an herb garden where each level gets light. The possibilities are endless!
I was playing with leftover wood in the garage, so this build came in at $0 for supplies. I was able to paint two full coats on it using just one tester pot of paint – so that rang in at $5.