Edge banding hack how to and review!
Updated: Sep 12
I introduce to you..... EDGE BANDING HACK.
This is also referred to as veneer edging. What exactly is edge bending though? Essentially.. as google states - "In Layman's terms, edge banding is a thin material used to seal the exposed and raw edges of plywood. Heat sensitive adhesive on one side is applied to the board while the other side acts as a barrier against dirt and moisture."
edge banding is made from thinly slices of wood, pre-sanded and layered." There are a few different ways that this is applied but the most common one (in the DIY world) is by ironing it, which is the one we will be discussing today!
However! Emily, my good friend on instagram, took this another step further and started to use this to accent her pieces of wood and furniture! Basically... you can create cool geometric wood designs, without any power tools!
Here is what she has done!!
On her site she has these amazing suggestion patterns that you can consider to use this hack for!
Of course, after seeing this hack I HAD to try it and tell you all about it! So my first attempt was her tray, However, Emily is a badass DIY'er and made her tray from scratch! I.. am not badass...... yet.
I bought a pre cut one from dollar general for around $7-8 and have seen unfinished trays range for around $5-10. You can also find them at Michaels and Joanns!
I then, took my skills up a notch and did a small furniture flip! (Quite honestly, it was the other way around. I had to use more skill on the tray! I'll explain in just a second.)
How did Emily think of this???
This was one of her first projects she shared on instagram!
She wanted to create a tray but did not want it to be too heavy or have so much dimension with real wood . She also was hoping to complete the project indoors as she has kids to watch so to her, it was a no brainer to try out edge banding!
She has a background in math and architecture so angles come to her pretty naturally and has always been intrigued by the design of geometrics!
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So my friends: What do YOU need to know?
Application of this:
Score your edge banding to desired length
Smooth over with a flat hard surface or with a rolling pin
When scoring your banding make sure you use a straight edge, whether it a ruler or the speed square either will help. I did a mix of both however, the speed square LITERALLY felt like it sped the process up compared to a ruler.
Emily suggested sticking to using a box cutter, I found the scissor to be just as impactful though so try out both and see what works for you!
Lets talk about the simpler one first:
Creating a project with no borders on it to work around. Like the table or Emilys cabinet!
This process was a breeze. I followed Emilys Reel and boom. Done in about an hour. Create a small template, cut my pieces all in one sitting and iron on!
I chose to have the pieces long enough to extend all the way to width of my table and then just scored it with a razor blade.
For furniture or big pieces, a 2" strip of edge banding is perfect. Shop this link to support Emily!
However, the unfinished tray I decided to start with. Gave me a run for my money!
I am still a newbie. This one made me think hard about angles because of the borders of the tray I had to work around. It was like I was installing baseboards on a much smaller level!
Therefore: I classify this as a bit more Intermediate. Why? because it requires you to understand a protractor a little more and had you fussing to get a piece perfectly in shape. Having one of those scribe contour tools that adjusts its shape when placing it in a corner would have been PERFECT.
At the end of the day this is still great to challenge yourself and take the opportunity to learn. These are ESSENTIAL skills to have when you are DIY'ing. PLUS I teach you my mistakes for you to avoid.
Nevertheless, I succeeded! After maybe 5, or 8 hours of battling the battle of angles. I figured out the routine that would have saved me and will save you to dropping this down to maybe 1-2 hours?!
So here is the deal. For this specific design, the cuts should be made in 45 degree angles but one strip will alternate in the direction of this cut. When you first start out, prepare to cut your pieces long until you have the rhythm down-packed.
Side note: if you are lucky with your tray, you can shim your banding underneath the border and your life was made much easier, I was not so fortunate
Create your template of quadrants by marking the middle of both sides of the board and drawing a straight line down and across.
Then mark 45 degrees for your first pieces of banding.
This can be done using your cutting mat making sure you have your piece parallel with the grid line and using the 45 degrees line to use as your guide
Or you can place your Speedsquare on a straight surface and use the 45 degree triangle edge to work on your angles.
Now you will actually start cutting.
Cut one strip of your 45 degree angle with focus to the side where the trim/border is.
This will lead you to success and less of a headache.
Once you have one side cut, you can focus on the center and get that perfectly aligned.
You will repeat this throughout and at some point you will meet the corners. I recommend using your scrap pieces that have fallen to get the correct placement on this. This will take some finagling but you just keep cut small pieces until it fits perfectly like a puzzle. Then trace or place on top of your actual piece and cut! OR purchase a contour tool as shown above.
Once you are done you can then decide your stain or paint! I recommend testing it out on a scrap piece to see how you like it. Then seal if needed!
If you do happen to mess up where the piece needs to be moved or removed, you can easily remove the veneer quickly while it is still hot (use your straightedge to help and not burn yourself) and reapply. Or if you are past the point where it has cooled down, just heat it up, remove and apply a new piece!
If you happen to have cracks like me, it can be woodfilled. Don't worry!
Now for the review:
As I mentioned, one of these were simple and the other was more advanced. Nothing wrong with that, it allowed me to hone down on some skills and educate you on this in case you want to take the leap and attempt this on something with borders!
I was able to figure out my flaws and I hope this can make you successful. The whole point as to why I do these hacks after all, is to give you the perspective of someone who is still new, learning, but curious and aspiring to do a project that looks amazing. Plus 20 - 30 seconds Reels or tik toks hide all the true hard work behind the scenes!
Ultimately, It is..
- Applicable to multiple surfaces
- Stained wood
- Melamine furniture
- Safe to do indoors
- No power tools are needed
- Customizable, unlimited options
- Can be removed and reapplied if error made
- Not recommended on painted surfaces (should be sanded down a bit)
- Not recommended to bend over and iron
- Alternative to wood and can be cheaper than wood
- Beginner to intermediate friendly depending on surface and design
Some of these I have not touched on and need more elaboration. For instance, if you would like to do this on a painted surface it will not adhere well. It is best to sand down a bit of the paint to allow it to adhere (it does not need to be raw to the bone.
I tried to create a waterfall effect with this by bending over the veneer while ironing it, it still cracked despite the heat I applied to try to bend it smoothly.
Before I end this, I wanted to share another account that used this hack and did this furniture flip and it is AMAZING.
MEET Aashka WHO did this incredible furniture flip!
Well my friends.. that is all! Be sure to give Emily a follow on instagram and check out her site! Make sure to use her link to support her. And lastly, hashtag your project #edgebandinghack if you do it!
I am here as a resource if needed!
As always feel free to ask any questions or share your own personal experience. And if you have anything you've been debating as a DIY that you would like me to review, send it my way!
Until next time!
XOXO - Jocelyn