Tuesday 9 January 2018

New School Library

So a few months ago I got an email asking about a reading chair in the forest school area. I volunteered my services to build it, I thought that'll be fun! Somewhere along the line the new school library became my baby instead! 
The village has had it's school in temporary accommodation for the last three years, and although it's been fine it's not the best for the children and tricky for them at times (too hot in summer for one). 
So over the last year there has been a new school being built with much excitement from everyone who has children there. 
The Head Mistress was keen for the new school to have an amazing library but with usual budget restrictions (tight) that a school normally has. We decided to go with some Ikea shelving (low cost and look nice) and then build a few items to make it truly unique to the school. Some reading pods were decided upon, a corner bench and a feature tree on the back wall with leaves to hold the names of people that have donated toward the school. 
I was given a fair bit of creative freedom with how all this was to be made! 
My eldest helping unload all the wood from the truck. 

MDF was used, cheap - ish and takes a good finish. 

Pentagon shape for the reading pod

Checking the size was right

Working out the depth of the pods - they match the Ikea shelves. 

Dry fit to check it all fits. 

Starting drawing the tree. this took me ages to draw! I'm no artist! I used 12mm ply. 

The bottom of the tree - branches to come from the top.
I decided two trees would be better in the corner and fill the room better

The top branches of the trees. I ended up cutting these with a jigsaw instead of a router and it took quite a while! 

First pod assembled and trimmed out ready for painting. 

Ikea shelves together, testing the pods out for fit! 

Starting to paint the two pods and the corner bench. Two coats of undercoat and three coats of top coat! Took a fair time to do but got a good finish! 

Top branches added to the trees. 

Final coat of paint on the units. The purple colour matches the feature walls in the school. 

Everything in place - ready for books now! 

I decide to add in the books as a surprise for the head mistress - makes the library look finished! 

Leaves added to the trees. I cut 92 from a sheet of 6mm ply! 

Library all finished - just waiting for children

Great space for the kids. 
I'm really pleased with how it all looks at the end. I was so worried about the trees - not something I normally make!

I'm also pleased that my daughters and son will get to see it everyday when they're at school and know their dad made it. It was lovely yesterday morning when I saw the head mistress and she just said "I know this is unprofessional but..." and then gave me a huge hug! So I guess she was pleased!

It's incredible that our children get to benefit from a new school and I love that I was allowed to be a small part of it, I feel it's such a privilege! I have utter respect for the head Mistress who has poured her heart and soul into making sure this is a success.

My daughter came home from her first day there and was buzzing with excitement, when I asked her how everything was she'd just answer "Amazing" each time!


  1. You are a genius!! Just fantastic.

  2. your daughter is right, it is absolutely amazing and I'm sure much appreciated by the school, parent and children alike. What a fantastic job you've done, I think you might become the regular school carpenter now!

  3. How good to see a school investing in its' library & making it appealing for the children to use. The tree & reading pods are great.
    Many primary schools in our area have had to convert the library to a classroom (due to rising intake numbers) & sadly the left over books end up lining the corridors. Libraries are vital to help everyone access reading material, so it's encouraging to hear about a new library rather than the usual closures.

  4. Well done you, school budget can only go so far, which is nothing new. I was fundraising with PTA back in 80's, one of our main projects was a library. We came up with the idea, each year as children were leaving to go to the senior school, the school produced a list with prices of books they required, this was left in the office, a letter went home to the parents asking if they would like to donate a book to the library with their child's name in. It worked brilliantly, we got the child to design the book plate to go in their book.

  5. Fantastic! What a wonderful space for all the children, and bragging rights for yours.


  6. You always get the fun projects. You did a nice job of it all. I just got a call to put in fifteen thousand lineal feet off baseboard in 220 hotel rooms. Two nine story circular buildings with 16 rooms per floor. So the rooms are wedge shaped with all sorts off odd angles. My back hurts just from thinking about it.

  7. I haven't had a lot of time to read and comment on my favorite blogs lately, but I had to be sure to let you know what a wonderfully, warm-hearted feeling you brought with this post! People giving of themselves is what counts. Using your daughter's word, you are amazing, Kev.

  8. You've done a lovely job and I especially love the tree and cosy reading pod.

  9. Very, very nice. You did a wonderful job! The children will love it.

  10. Maybe another entrepreneurial venture for you!?! You definitely did an amazing job Kev!

  11. It looks amazing! Nice job Kev!

  12. Your family must be so proud! Well done you. So much time and effort, a real labor of love and the tree is one Robert Frost would be enthralled with. My father was an artist,made his living as a hospital maintainance man, and was allowed to paint a mural on one of the hospitals basement walls. He's been dead a long time now but this 58 year old daughter is still thrilled everytime she sees it!

  13. It's obvious that you are the parent of small children & know what they like. I would've given up my sister to have a reading pod like that when I was 8!! A job very well done!!

  14. Wow! Wonderful job! Libraries are so important.

  15. Very nice your blog and article. I like this blog thank for sharing.


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