Monday, July 20, 2015

DIY Essential Oil Holder

I recently shared the planters and bathroom shelf unit that I built since finishing the treehouse, patio, and fire pit. Another of the smaller projects I've been working on while waiting for the baby to be born was a rack for all our essential oil bottles. I had found this oil rack a year or so ago and tried making one, but it didn't work out. It turned out to be one of those projects that just turns into a disaster. I've got another project disaster to share tomorrow or Wednesday....

The inspiration:
image via

My version:

It doesn't look so bad now, but it isn't useable as-is. Part of the problem was that I put the holes a little too close together and there wasn't enough wood in between them to maintain proper integrity. I ended up having to build up a lot of the holes with wood putty. By the time I finished that and painted it, most of the holes were too small to properly hold the essential oil bottles. Another problem was that I used soft pine wood, which just couldn't stand up to the Forstner bit.

puttied and sanded and hoping it'll work out

the holes were way too close together and there just wasn't enough wood between them

I added extra wood around the sides to try to make it look nicer and stabilize the wood

more wood filler and sanding

the paint hid a lot of the flaws, but made the holes too small for the bottles

At that point I got super frustrated and shelved the project. I put the rack on a shelf in the secretary in the library, set the bottles in the holes as best I could, and left it for most of the last year.

With my push to finish smaller projects I decided to build another oil holder. My initial plan was to build one with the same design, just spacing my holes a little farther apart. Then I found this one here that looked like a better use of space and maybe a bit easier to build.

image via

I went through our wood stash and found oak plywood pieces for the frame and shelves and trim for most of the edges. I wanted to use what we have and buy as little as possible, and all I needed to purchase for this project was a piece of trim for the edges since I didn't have enough. I based the measurements on the one I found online, but altered it to fit the shelf in our secretary.

The hardest part was routing out the drawer channels without an actual router. We have a router, but it's massive and would have been overkill for this project (we used it with our tenon cutter when we built our log bed years and years ago). I ended up using the Dremel, which worked, but wasn't as quick and efficient as an actual router would have been. In the end, I got it done and only had to use a bit of wood filler here and there in the channels.

frame put together

I spent some time one evening figuring out the spacing for the bottle holes and eventually got a grid marked out so I knew where to drill the holes. 

waiting to be painted

I was super careful when painting the holes to make sure they didn't end up too small again
I primed the wood, then used two thin coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint, followed by a coat of wax

I made sure I waxed the edges of the drawers and the channels very well to make sure the drawers pulled in and out smoothly

After all is said and done, I think I could have placed the holes a little closer together, but I was too worried about having a repeat of the my first effort and didn't want to spend more time working on it. The holes aren't as deep as the ones in my original holder, but are in line with the inspiration holder.

spacing the holes closer together would have given me more spaces for oil bottles, but realistically I don't really need any more

the oil holder fits just right on the shelf of the secretary

I'm much happier with how this oil holder turned out. Because I used materials we had, I only had to purchase one piece of screen trim (under $8), which is a much better price than the $100 version, and I was able to adjust the measurements to fit the shelf in the secretary. I like having the oils stored up out of reach of small kiddos, but still within easy reach of me.

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