We’ve come across our fair share of cool DIY tools for HDB, from Arched bookcases to Window sill corners. However, UX design graduate Niu Liang It was taken He took the DIY concept to a new level, utilizing his impressive woodworking skills to craft custom vinyl and joinery solutions for his HDB flat – all for less than $265.

Getting into the art of carpentry

Some of the woodworking projects made by Neo.
Image credit: Niu Liang

Neo shared that his journey into crafting and woodworking began during Singapore’s lockdown in 2020 when he moved from a shared bedroom with his brother to his own space. However, as a student, he struggled to find budget-friendly furniture online.

Neo, who was locked in his house and had plenty of time on his hands, decided to take matters into his own hands Professional Carpentry art. “I gained most of my initial skills from YouTube, before studying a carpentry module at school which accelerated my learning and growth in the craft,” he told us.

He went on to give us a rundown of HDB’s top 4 DIY projects.

DIY “Wonky Table Shelf” with Bag Storage

DIY wooden shelf and bag storageImage credit: Niu Liang

Called Neo’s Wonky Table Shelf, this DIY rack and expandable luggage storage space is his personal favorite project yet. With its combination of functionality and aesthetics, the dual-function rack was designed to meet Neo’s need for extra counter space and fulfill his desire for a dedicated space to hold his luggage collection.

The process of making a wooden shelf

Neo reworks the sharp edge of the shelf into an elegant curve for safety and beauty.
Image credit: Niu Liang

Working without the luxury of a workshop, New meticulously hand-cuts and polishes the wood to achieve the desired smooth finish.

“I embarked on this project after taking a woodworking class at NTU ADM (Art, Design and Media) where I was introduced to the intricacies of luxury furniture and it ended up taking me about 3 days to complete the shelf due to the growing desire for perfection,” Neo shared.

DIY wooden shelf and bag storageImage credit: Niu Liang

His luggage storage solution was an extendable sliding rack and metal S-hooks for effortless retrieval of his bags.

Neo has also managed to keep costs to a minimum, at about $10 for the raw materials — wood and screws — and about $5 for the drawer sliders to create the extendable shelf.

With $15 and a fair amount of perseverance and perfection, Neo’s hard work culminated in his beloved “Wonky Table Shelf”—a creation that enhances form and function within his living space.

Two-level bedside table

Wooden bedside table

From drawing to finished product.
Image credit: Niu Liang

Created during the aforementioned NTU ADM unit, Neo’s two-tier bedside table is an impressive, meticulous piece of craftsmanship that took 12 painstaking weeks to build.

DIY table making process

Instead of screws and nails, Neo used canine tenon joints to assemble the bedside table.
Image credit: Niu Liang

Despite having access to a suitable workshop, Neo faced many difficulties during construction. “I created this as part of a luxury furniture making unit, so the standards of craftsmanship were very high. The wood was carefully selected, proportions were carefully observed, and we were asked to use hand joints rather than screws or nails.

The process of making a wooden bedside table

Image credit: Niu Liang

Neo’s two-tier bedside table is a testament to his precision and skill. While the machinery used during the ADM unit is worth thousands of dollars, New explained that the cost of raw lumber was only $30.

“This was a huge project for me, but it really taught me to appreciate woodworking and furniture making – skills that have preceded us by thousands of years and are steeped in history and culture,” he said.

DIY Murphy Storage Bed – His biggest project yet

diy bed stand

DIY Murphy Storage Bed with Hidden Mattress and Pillows.
Image credit: Niu Liang YouTube

One of New’s first—and by far most ambitious—woodworking endeavors was a DIY Murphy storage bed project, which he started in late 2020. He told us the market was beyond my budget constraints.

Neo didn’t hesitate to design his own version of the Murphy Bed – a self-designed model that seamlessly transforms from a traditional bed to a raised wooden platform.

With cleverly hidden under-bed storage spaces for pillows, cushions and a mattress that easily folds up, the bed can easily be transformed into a raised lounge area reminiscent of a tranquil Japanese tea room.
The process of making a wooden bed stand

Image credit: Niu Liang YouTube

When asked about the initial design process, Neo explained that he looked at several online videos and sketched out a rough guide before delving into the carpentry process. “The design has been modified along the way while navigating many unexpected challenges, but that is the beauty of the creative process,” he said.

The project took two weeks to complete, during which New faced many difficulties in constructing the locking mechanisms, hinges, and in general woodworking.

The process of making a wooden bed

Image credit: Niu Liang YouTube

The total cost came to approximately $100, with pine boards obtained from a supplier in Sungei Kadut, plywood obtained from a supplier in Admiralty, and various other materials such as polyurethane, wheels, flat brackets, door hinges, and screws that Purchased from a nearby hardware store.

However, Niu revealed that the PVA wood glue he bought from Shopee, which he used to secure the nails between the boards, started to deteriorate after just one year. “By then, I was more experienced and had a better understanding of woodworking, so I decided to disassemble the entire bed and reuse the wood for other projects,” he explained.

However, New has no regrets about doing the Murphy storage bed yourself. In addition to introducing him to the world of woodworking, the project ignited New’s passion for home crafts – a pursuit that has brought him tremendous joy and significant savings in the long run.

DIY vinyl room flooring for $120

Buy fpr adhesive vinyl planks at $3 each and get to work!! #sgtiktok #woodworking #tiktokdiy #fypシ #wellness

♬ original sound – HDB HOBBYIST – HDB HOBBYIST

Aside from building furniture pieces, Neo also took on the challenge of refurbishing his HDB floors, which he described as one of his more straightforward DIY endeavours. The seasoned DIY enthusiast was fed up with the original HDB flooring in his room, and upgraded the aesthetic by installing Self-adhesive PVC floor boards From Shopee to create new vinyl flooring.

Shopee vinyl floor tiles

New purchased approximately 55 of the planks and spent an estimated $120.
Image credit: Shopee

Although the task was not particularly difficult, it required a great deal of patience. “It would definitely have been easier if my room’s floor plan had been more regular,” New said, recalling the arduous task of trimming pieces of vinyl to shape.

Despite this, he completed the entire project within two days and achieved an aesthetic and modern flooring for the room for a modest investment of $120.

“It has been over 3 years since I first installed the panels, and they have remained in original condition so far, with no issues or scratches,” New testified. Plus, there’s good news for inspired homeowners planning to embark on a similar project, as the price of panels has dropped from $2.20 apiece to $0.89 apiece.

DIY HDB vinyl and carpentry for $265

Looking back, Neo’s series of DIY projects — ranging from a wonky table shelf and bedside table to a Murphy storage bed and vinyl flooring — culminated in a total investment of just $265.

His advice to homeowners venturing into similar projects is simple: embrace the challenges and enjoy the process. Despite the inevitable setbacks, Neo reflects that his DIY journey has fostered a deeper appreciation for furniture and craftsmanship within him.

“You may like your mistakes because of the unique character they give to your furniture.” Speaking from experience, he emphasizes that embarking on DIY projects is a satisfying, rewarding, and budget-friendly hobby.

For more of Neo’s handmade endeavors, check this out @hdb.hobbyist.

Get more inspiration from these other home DIYs:

Cover image taken from: Niu Liang YouTube

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