NEW FEATURE! Polished!: Ikea Helmer Hack for DIY Polish Storage

As my polish hoard, uh, collection, has grown I’ve been wanting to add a special feature so I can dish about polish outside of just what arrives in my subscription boxes. I’m kicking off my new Polished! feature with a topic that pervades every forum and group with serious polish collectors. Storage.
Helmer
One of the most common storage solutions for expanding polish collections is the Ikea Helmer. Priced at a modest $39.99 it can house hundreds of bottles of your favorite hues in an itty bitty living space. With my collection currently clocking in at 365 bottles, this little guy would give me a spot for all my bottles, with room to add on to my collection.

Unfortunately, the Helmer looks like an office filing cabinet rather than a piece of cute furniture, so I decided to give it a transformation by decoupaging the drawers and replacing the handles. I’m creative and crafty but not the best with precision so I was crossing my fingers that the end result would be decent.

THE TOOLS
Tools

Hard Coat Mod Podge: After extensive research on the elventybillion types of ModPodge, I opted for the HardCoat.   It’s perfect since it’s designed to be used for furniture and doesn’t require a sealant.
Exacto Knife & Scissors: I recommend an exacto knife for precision.
Brush: For applying Mod Podge
Tongue Depressor or Popsicle stick:
For flattening out the paper
Paper: I went a bit spendy with my paper choice because I love the Rifle Paper Co. I opted to use their gift wrap in two different prints and alternate them on the drawer fronts. If you want to cover all the drawers with the same print, just be ready to spend a lot of time lining up the patterns correctly.
Rubberized Shelf Liner: You want to line the drawers with rubberized shelf liner otherwise the bottles are going to move around when you open and close the drawers.

THE CHALLENGES

The cabinet has slots for putting in labels. I had hoped they were an extra piece I could pry off, but unfortunately they are molded into the metal so I had to work around them. I also knew I wanted to switch out the handles that came with the Helmer, but I couldn’t get an adequate fix on the size until I had the cabinet in hand. Unfortunately, the handles are smaller than average (approx. 2 1/2 inches), and I needed either 6 matching handles, 2 sets of 3 matching handles, or 6 coordinating handles. Adding to the challenge, I really wanted something in a vintage brass since I thought that would match well with the style of the Rifle paper.

I came across these on Ebay and grabbed them for $14.88 including shipping. I was hoping the backplate would cover up the label slots, but unfortunately they were a bit small for the task.
Handles Handle

CONSTRUCTION

With some cursing and much annoyance, I constructed the cabinet with the exception of the drawers. It’s important to note that the cabinet has some weird tabs that you just “push” down rather than using actual screws. It tells you to use a screwdriver to push down the tabs. If I need a screwdriver, why not just use a damn screw? I’d feel a lot better if the thing was held together with actual metal screws instead of just a tiny piece of bent metal and some faith, but I digress.

Using the exacto knife, I cut out paper the same size as the drawer fronts. I applied a layer of Modpodge to the drawer fronts, carefully aligned the paper on top, then another layer of Modpodge. I used the tongue depressor to smooth out any bumps. I let that layer dry and then added an additional layer, focusing on the edges. Since you’ve now covered up the holes for the handles, you’ll just need to carefully poke the holes for the screws.

While the drawer fronts dried, I cut the rubberized shelf paper to size.
Lining
Then, I completed the drawers. I was still waiting on my handles, so I went ahead and finished the cabinet using the original handles in the box and added my plethora of polish.
Drawer
Zoya Drawer Julep

Here’s a looksee of the version using the included Ikea handles:
with Ikea HandlesOnce my new/old handles arrived I replaced them. I used the same handle screws that came with the Helmer, but I plan to add some washers or pick up some slightly different screws so the handles are a bit tighter. They are serviceable but it would be better if they were snugger.

COSTS
I already had the scissors,exacto knife set, brush and tongue depressor so I didn’t need to purchase those items. The cost to me for this IKEA hack is as follows (including tax & shipping):
White Ikea Helmer: $42.79
Rifle Paper Co Wrapping Paper:   $21.95
HardCoat ModPodge:     $6.22
Handles: $14.88
Rubberized Shelf Lining Paper:$4.74
TOTAL   $90.58

I opted for expensive paper in two different prints so if you use cheaper paper, or just one print, your cost will be lower. In addition, you could always skip adding your own handles as another way to get the cost down.

OVERALL
With Vintage Handles

The Helmer is perfectly sized to hold polish, but not taller items like Nail Polish remover. I have a vintage train case that I use to hold my swatch sticks, tools and taller items.  So just be aware you’ll probably need to make room elsewhere for other polish related paraphernalia.
Train Case

The cabinet isn’t the sturdiest thing in the world, and I was super concerned when putting it together, but now that it’s all in one piece it’s much stronger than I thought it would be and better than I expected at this price point. I’d like handles that can do a better job of covering the bump (see below) where the label would be inserted. I’m going to keep my eyes open and see if anything pops up on Ebay or Etsy.
Bump

I’d love to hear your opinions on my IKEA hack and whether you’d like to see more DIY or polish posts!

Birchbox: April 2015

For April, Birchbox featured one of my favorite companies: the Rifle Paper Co. They have gorgeous stationary and the moment I saw they were offering an exclusive tote as a Birchbox plus item, I knew I had to grab it. (Every month Birchbox offers a few additional items you can add to your box. The items vary each month and are offered at a special discount.)

My fancy square box…
Box

which held my plus item and my regular Birchbox.
Little Box

BIRCHBOX PLUS
Tote
Rifle Paper Co. x Birchbox Floral Printed Tote

(Retail: $35.00)
Description: “Lovely” doesn’t begin to describe this floral canvas tote. Created in partnership with Rifle Paper Co., this roomy bag can fit all of your essentials for a quick trip to the market or a weekend jaunt to the beach. The pattern was illustrated by designer Anna Bond exclusively for Birchbox.”
Verdict: Love!
I paid $29.96 for this (with tax) and I absolutely love it. It’s generously sized and the canvas is durable. It’s perfect for spring and I’m using it for those days when I’m heading to work with way too much stuff to fit into my regular purse. It’s lovely and cheerful and I’m happy to have it in my wardrobe.

BIRCHBOX
Rifle Box

How gorgeous is this box? Seriously. I am going to find some super awesome use for this so I can display it. The Rifle Paper Co needs to make more home décor items because I would probably spend enough there to put their kids through college.
Open Box Open Box 2

Body Butter
Harvey Prince Hello Body Butter

(Full Size: $20.00)
Description: Made with shea butter, this nourishing cream is infused with the best-selling scent..”
Verdict: Like
Harvey Prince is a brand that shows up a ton in Birchboxes but most of the products I’ve received from this brand I’ve enjoyed. I’m going to set this aside for that awesome travel kit I’m building.


Oil
Ojon rare blend™ oil Moisture Therapy
(Full Size: $35.00)
Description: Fried hair, meet your match: This luxe oil blend deeply hydrates for sleek, shiny locks
Verdict: Over it.
I like hair oils as much as the next girl, but I have a ridiculous amount of them from sub boxes. It seems like we either get hair oil or dry shampoo in every box. I’m also not crazy about the packaging on this. It seems more likely to make a mess than to be useful.

Eye Cream
Supergoop!® Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream

(Full Size: $45.00)
Description: This treatment reduces dark circles, depuffs, blocks UV rays and minimizes fine lines..”
Verdict: Wow..it’s been a whole month since I got a Supergoop! Product
What would my Birchbox be without something from Supergoop? Last month, I got a Supergoop! CC cream and my opinion on the brand hasn’t changed. It’s not for me Birchbox..can you hear me? Please send me a damn box without something from Supergoop! I actually love getting eye creams because I use them religiously and they tend to be pricey so getting to try them out is super helpful, but I’m not going to purchase from this brand so it’s a waste.

 

lip & Cheek
jane iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain

(Full Size: $25.00)
Description: ”This multitasking, long-lasting color adjust to your skin for a natural, customized shade..
Verdict: Disappointing.
This was the sample I chose for my box. I’ve tried Jane Iredale products before and I was super excited about this. Unfortunately the “color adjusting” is non-existent. It didn’t work on my lips or my cheeks. It just comes out sheer. (Which is why I have no swatch for you.) I was really hoping it would work since the formula feels lovely and the packaging is adorable.

Bodywash
Not Soap, Radio Body Wash – Bathing With Sharks

(Full Size: $16.00)
Description: ”This richly foaming cleanser has an energizing, beachy scent.
Verdict: Hit!
I love getting bodywashes in boxes because they are an item I regularly use. Ocean scented bath products are my favorite (along with citrus scents) so I was psyched to get this sample. The scent is not overpowering and is appealing for men or women.  I would definitely consider grabbing a full size of this.

OVERALL
April 2015 - Birchbox
Verdict:
A mixed bag

I loved my plus item and the bodywash, and I’ll use the body butter, but the lip stain was a huge disappointment and this is my billionth (approximately) Supergoop! Product. I really wish Birchbox would vary some of the brands we get in boxes.  At the very least don’t include the same brand in back to back boxes. I paid $10.70 for this box (excluding the plus item that was paid for separately) and received $5.00 worth of credit in the Birchbox store so my total came out to $5.70. The only item I was really thrilled with was the bodywash, and even my selected item was sort of a bust. I’m hoping next month will be an improvement.

How was your last Birchbox? Did your sample choice wow or disappoint?

THE BACKSTORY

Birchbox subscriptions cost $10 per month or $110 per year (Women’s Sub)
$20 per month or $195 per year (Men’s Sub)

Points System:
Whenever you buy something at Birchbox they give you Birchbox points. $1.00 = 1 Birchbox Point.
Each 100 Birchbox reward points can be redeemed for $10.00.
You can also earn points by reviewing the samples they send you (10 points per sample) and referring/subscribing friends.

Popsugar Must Have Box: January 2014

I’ve been battling some ridiculous cold that won’t seem to die, so I’m a bit behind in my box blogging.  So ignore my sniffling and coughing and we’ll get into the January 2014 Popsugar Must Have Box.  For info on Popsugar subscriptions along with some coupon codes jump down below.
Box

 

Mask
Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask
(Retail: $40.00)
Category: Must Have Beauty
Verdict: Hit!
I love trying out face masks so these are always a win for me.  This one is described as a “five-minute foaming gel” that “uses antioxidants and vitamins to gently cleanse pores while sealing in hydration and brightening your complexion.”  I’m intrigued by the foaming gel and the antioxidants.  Once my skin has recovered from the constant abuse of tissues I’ll give this one a shot.

Book
The Juice Generation Book (Retail: $9.59)
Category: Must Have Food
Verdict:  Miss
Okay, so to start with I cannot drink cold vegetables.  I will gladly eat salads and all kinds of veggie dishes, but juiced vegetables are horrific for me.  No matter how much you try to bury the taste of that kale underneath lovely apples and oranges I still taste it.  I would much rather just have a nice kale salad and a glass of apple juice, thanks.  I’ve actually been trying to add fruit smoothies into my regular workday breakfast rotation so there might be  one or two recipes I can use, but for the most part this book is a miss.  I like the idea of a get healthy type food item for January, but a cookbook focusing on fruits and veggie dishes would have had a much broader appeal.  This also came with a coupon for 30% off a Juice generation six-pack.  This whole item feels very fad-like and unappealing and I was pretty disappointed.

Gloves
Jack + Lucy Tech Gloves
(Retail: $??? Estimate $20.00)
Category: Must Have Fashion
Verdict:  Hit!
I can’t find a link for these gloves, so I’ll have to estimate the cost.  They are grey tech gloves that allow you to use your smartphones and touch screen devices without having to remove the gloves.  I don’t own a pair of these so I’m happy to have them, but I ‘m not sure how much use they will get.  I use fingerless gloves because I constantly have to get on and off buses and subways.  Throughout the day I’m digging for passes and change and when I use regular gloves I always lose one of them.  I’m going to save these tech gloves for the super cold Polar Vortex days where my fingerless gloves are just not going to cut it.

Calendar
Rifle Paper Co. 2014 Flip Around the World Desk Calendar (Retail: $12.00)
Category: Must Have Home
Verdict:  Miss/Hit for Style
To start the artwork on this is lovely and the cities theme is pretty unisex.  If I’d gotten this in December it would have been a hit, but by January I already have a plethora of calendars and I imagine I’m not the only one.  I think a better option for “kicking off the new year” in the home category might have been a fun or interesting organizational item.  This was also packaged with a 10% off code for the Rifle Paper Co.  They had a bunch of things I’d love to purchase but most were sold out.  I’m hoping they come back in stock before the code expires.

Pipcorn
Pipsnacks White Truffle Pipcorn (Retail: $6.00)
Category: Must Have Food
Verdict:  Miss
Now I like popcorn a lot.  I have an air popper and I really enjoyed the popcorn treat in December.  But it seems a little bit silly to have popcorn again so soon after they just included it.  And these are tiny little popcorn bits and the flavor on them is fairly subtle.  Since January tends to be the healthy food type month, I would have preferred to see maybe some granola or dried fruit.  I think that would have been far more suitable and less repetitive.

Files
Revlon by Marchesa Box O’ Files (Retail: $4.99)
Category: Must Have Beauty
Verdict:  Hit!
I know these are on the cheap side and that they have been floating around various outlets as freebies, but I still love them.  They are a boxed set of tiny files and they have an adorable pattern.  They fit perfectly in my manicure kit and I’ll get a ton of use from them.  I’d happily buy these.

Full Box
Overall:
Mostly a Miss

With my discount for purchasing multiple months in advance I paid 33.88 for this box and it had an estimated retail value of $92.92.  Unfortunately, this box felt very lackluster and I didn’t get a sense of fun or inspiration from it.  This, more than any Popsugar box I’ve received felt more like advertising and more like “what products can we get for free” rather than a curated box of really cool stuff.  Now the mask alone already covers what I paid for the box, so I’ve gotten my value, but this box just left me wanting.

What did you think?  Was this box practical or just practically boring?


The Backstory

Popsugar is a women’s lifestyle subscription that delivers a monthly box of fun, full-size products hand-selected by Popsugar editors.

In addition to Popsugar’s monthly must have boxes, they have some seasonal special edition boxes that contain uber luxe items.  The price tag on these boxes is higher, but the products you receive are high end.

Popsugar Pricing:
Monthly – $39.95
3 Months – $109.85
6 Months – $214.70
12 Months – $404.40

Coupon Codes:  REFER5 = $5 off sitewide
POPSUGAR10 = $10 off a 3 month subscription