Welcome to Bob Vila

DIY Belt Strap Shelf

Simple wood boards and budget-friendly belts combine to make this stunning custom shelf that combines style with storage.


Inspired by a picture she discovered online, Aileen of At Home in Love decided to turn her crafty daydreaming into a reality by making a similar custom piece for her own home. Read on to see how she transformed a few materials into a shimmering strappy shelf.

DIY Belt Strap Shelves


- Board(s) from the hardware store, cut to the desired length. We bought a 6 ft long board and cut it in half.
- Paint in the color of your choice
- Painter’s tape (optional)
- Four belts or leather straps, about 1″ wide
- Four drywall anchors
- Drill
- Screwdriver


DIY Belt Strap Shelf

Before starting, choose two belts that suit your style. Discount stores can offer a variety of options at inexpensive prices. If desired, mask off everything except for the edge of the shelf with painter’s tape, and spray-paint the edges of the boards with gold spray paint.

Lay one of the boards on the floor against the wall to see what the strap will look like before cutting. Then use the first strap as the template for cutting the remaining straps the same length.


DIY Belt Strap Shelves Step 3

Fold each strap in half and screw in the screws that came with the drywall anchors about a half-inch from the top of the straps.

Mark the spot on your wall where the straps will be mounted starting with the top board. Make sure that the marks are level, and that there is room for the board to hang over on either side of the straps. Then, follow the instructions for using the drywall anchors.


DIY Belt Strap Shelf Step 5

Once both sets of straps are installed, slide the boards through, adjust them so they are level, and then step back and admire your handiwork!

diy belt shelves

Thanks, Aileen! For more stylishly attainable DIY ideas, visit athomeinlove.com.

DIY Industrial Shelves

Discover how this blogger achieved industrial-style shelves that boost storage and style in a shared boys' room.

DIY Industrial Shelves

Traci of Beneath My Heart was on a hunt for a shelf solution that met her two boys’ storage needs, but still added a touch of style. After finding some inspiration online, she discovered an industrial pipe unit she loved, and decided to tackle the project head on. Continue reading to learn how she transformed a stretch of wall into a large-scale storage center. 

DIY Industrial Shelves - Materials


- 3/4-inch black iron pipes
- Floor flanges
- Tee fitting
- 90-degree elbow
- Wood (I bought 2-inch thick pieces for my shelves)
- Sander
- Screws
- Drill
- Wood Stain
- Wood Seal


DIY Industrial Shelves - Step 1

First, sand the wood pieces. Next, put the bottom row of pipes together and line them up on the floor. If desired, use some tape to help keep them straight and a tape measure to make sure they are the same distance apart. Then screw the flanges to the floor.


DIY Industrial Shelves - Step 2
Use a 1¼-inch drill bit to drill holes in the wood. You can use a tape measure to figure out where to drill the holes, and/or place the wood on top of the pipes and use a marker to draw around the pipe.


DIY Industrial Shelves - Step 3

Attach the first shelf as shown above, and continue doing so for each following shelf.


DIY Industrial Shelves - Step 4

Create the open space by using 18-inch pipes. You can see how we still used the 6-inch pipes and the elbows underneath the shelf. Because the final pipe on top needs to reach the wall, use an 8-inch pipe instead of a 6-inch pipe. Attach a flange to that pipe and then screw it into the wall. If it’s not a perfect fit, add an extra piece of wood to the back of the flange to close the gap between the flange and the wall.


DIY Industrial Shelves - Step 5

Stain and seal the shelves, lightly sanding in-between each coat of poly. Lastly, customize your self with various storage add-ons, like the guitar clips and storage crates shown here.

DIY Industrial Shelves - End

 Thanks, Traci! For more great DIY projects, visit Beneath My Heart.

Bob Vila Radio: Controlling Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees can be highly destructive. If you discover an infestation, take swift action. Call an exterminator or continue reading to learn more about your DIY pest control options.

Given enough time, carpenter bees can bring down an entire house. The good news: These bees prefer to nest in untreated wood. So long as any wood on the home exterior has been painted or coated with another finish, there’s little danger of problems arising.

Getting Rid of Carpenter Bees

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A variety of chemicals can be used to eliminate carpenter bees, but it’s best to check with your local extension service to find out which are the most effective treatments among the ones legal in your area. In many cases, the trick is to apply insecticidal dust to the entrance of the nest, so bees pick up the powder when coming or going. Once you see that bees have left the nest, wait a few days, then fill the nest entrance with wood filler or putty.

Bear in mind that working at night minimizes your chances of being stung. Also note that you’ll get best results applying the insecticide in the spring (when adult bees emerge to mate) and late summer (when the next generation takes flight).

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!

DIY Coffee Table with Toy Storage

Look no further for double duty furniture that serves both kids and grown ups with style.

DIY Coffee table with toy storage

This unassuming coffee table has a hidden secret: underneath the top it stores a toy train set and a lego building station. When Kim from The Kim Six Fix spotted this fantastic furniture plan on the internet, she set out to make her own—with a few modifications, of course. Read on to see how she made a multi-purpose table that works for her young family.

DIY train table


- Plywood
- 1 x 6 boards
- 1 x 3 board
- Screws
- Finish nails
- 1 x 2 boards
- Cabinet pulls
- Wood glue
- Wood filler
- Paint
- Stain
- Gorilla Glue epoxy
- Lego plates
- Caulk
- Drill
- Nail gun
- Orbital sander
- Foam roller
- Paintbrush

STEP 1 – 8

DIY Lego Table Step 1

Visit Ana White for the original tutorial and furniture plans.


I didn’t split the plywood down the center as the original tutorial suggests because I wanted to use one side as a LEGO table. I just drilled 1-inch holes in each end to make it easier to remove. (You would NEVER get it out without the holes.)


To finish it, I filled in all the holes with stainable wood filler. Then I caulked all the seams with my favorite color changing caulk. Seriously, this stuff is awesome! It changes from pink to white when it is dry so you can tell where you freshly caulked and what areas are cured.


DIY Coffee Table - priming

I stained the outer edge of the table first (so I could cover any drips with paint) and then I primed the bottom using a foam roller and an angled brush to reduce brush strokes. I stained the table top with some stain I found on clearance. By using a polyurethane/stain mix, I saved a step. I also used a wood conditioner on this plywood to get a more even stain.


DIY Train Table - wood trim

Then I divided the long sides into 6 equal sections by adding a short 1×2 to give it that trendy “apothecary drawer” look. Then added inexpensive black cabinet knobs. They were the cheapest ones I could find ($1.35 each) although if I wasn’t doing this on a budget I may have picked something fancier. I do think they make the table look great, especially considering that all 12 knobs only set me back about $17!


DIY Lego Table

I took advantage of the reversible inset by installing LEGO plates on one side. To attach the LEGO plates, I did my research into different adhesives and I settled on Gorilla Glue Epoxy. There is going to be a LOT of torque on the plates as the kids pull the blocks on and off and I needed something that was super strong.

Thanks, Kim! For more family friendly DIY, visit The Kim Six Fix.

How To: Get Rid of Grass Stains

When you're enjoying the outdoors, stains of all kinds—especially grassy ones—just come with the territory. But they don’t have to ruin your clothes or your mood on laundry day! With quick action and the right tools, those clothes will be clean enough to wear (and stain again) next weekend.

How to Get Rid of Grass Stains

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Grass stains are souvenirs of outdoor sports and other messy fun—as well as battle scars from labor-intensive rounds of yard work. Above all, they’re the bane of your summer laundry chores. But why exactly are they so stubborn to remove come laundry day? Well, those blotchy green stains consist of chlorophyll and other natural pigments, dirt, and additional organic material. Classified as protein stains (putting them in a category that includes offenders like blood, chocolate, and sweat), these stains will actually bond on a chemical level with natural fibers, making them incredibly difficult to remove. Follow these steps, though, and you’ll see fresh green stains disappear from your gardening clothes or kids’ sports uniforms.

- Rubbing alcohol
- Absorbent towel or cloth
- Sponge
- Enzyme detergent
- Scrub brush (or an old toothbrush)
- Lukewarm water
- Washing machine

How To Get Rid Of Grass Stains - Laundry Day

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It’s best to attack a grass stain right away. Don’t let it set in, if you can help it! Start by scraping off any excess dirt or material from the stained area. Next, having laid the grass stain face down on an absorbent towel or cloth, sponge a bit of rubbing alcohol onto the stain. The alcohol, a solvent, should help dissolve the dirt. Blot as much of the stain as possible onto the towel beneath.

Sponge the area with lukewarm water and allow it to dry. Be aware: Heat can permanently set a protein into the fibers it’s bonded to, so do not use hot water. (Similarly, you won’t want to run the article through the dryer until you’ve inspected it first to be sure the stain has come out.)

Next, select a detergent containing protease, an enzyme that combats proteins by breaking down the large molecules, so they can be washed away. Pour a bit of this detergent, at full strength, onto the grass stain, letting it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. A stain pretreater that contains enzymes (most do) would be an appropriate substitute.

After pretreating, loosen the stain from the fabric by gently scrubbing it from the back with a scrub brush or old toothbrush. If the stain is old and isn’t budging, soak it for several hours in a mixture of lukewarm water and a capful of enzyme detergent.

Finally, put the stained article in a load of wash on a cool or lukewarm water cycle. Check the affected area before transferring the article from the washer to the dryer. If you notice that the stain isn’t completely gone, repeat the process before drying.

DIY Entryway Box Storage

This custom landing strip for the entryway stores keys and outdoor essentials without taking up an inch of precious floor space.

DIY Box Storage - finished

Getting out the door is not without its difficulties. Misplaced keys, sunglasses, or phones can leave the best of us scrambling for our belongings on our way out of the house. That’s why Jenni at I Spy DIY set out to make a custom storage solution that could check essentials at the door and help streamline her life. Read on for her stunning yet simple DIY.

DIY Box Storage - materials


- Gorilla wood glue
- Wood boxes
- White paint
- Paintbrush
- Screw-in hooks


Arrange your boxes in place.


DIY storage box - glue

Glue together with gorilla wood glue, let dry for 24 hours.


Paint the inside of your boxes white, let dry.


DIY Storage Box - paint

Screw hooks into the bottom.



Hang with nails on your wall. Add accessories. Done!

Thanks, Jenni! For more stylish DIY ideas visit I Spy DIY.

Quick Tip: Fix Wood Scratches with This Favorite Snack

One out-of-the-shell nut is all it takes to fill in and erase light scratches on your wooden furniture or hardwood floors. Read on to learn how to try this easy trick at home!

How To Fix Scratches On Wood - Walnuts

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An unsightly scratch in your new hardwood floors—or worse, the expensive mahogany table you splurged on in a recent dining room redesign—can be enough to turn your hair gray. But before you start to stress over normal wear and tear, rest assured that there is an easy and inexpensive trick that can minimize slight damage to your favorite wood surfaces. Moreover, that fix might just be hiding out in your pantry, camouflaged as a favorite afternoon snack.

How To Fix Scratches On Wood - Walnuts

Photo: fotosearch.com

Crack open the shell of a walnut and dig out the meaty portion—one nut should be enough for one scratch, so no need to sacrifice an entire handful. Run the nut back and forth over the scratch a few times in the same direction as the wood grain, then rub your finger over the scratch to warm the wood even further. Let the scratch sit for about five minutes, and finish by buffing it with a soft cloth. The oils from the nut will form a layer over the scratch, filling it in and darkening it so that your furniture will look as good as new. The best part of this simple solution? You get to reward yourself for a job well done with a tasty treat of leftover walnuts.

DIY Kids: Make an Easy A-Frame Tent

Whether it's for working on your summer reading or sharing spooky ghost stories, this simple—and cheap!—DIY A-frame tent will make hanging out much more fun, both indoors and out.

DIY Tent - Final Project

Photo: bobvila.com

Summer vacation is all about fun: swimming pools, later bedtimes, and epic blanket forts. With all the lively activity, it’s hard to sell the idea of settling down to read a little every day in an effort to keep those hard-earned schoolyear skills from slowly melting like the chocolate in a s’more. To drum up some excitement, I designed an A-frame reading tent from furring strips and dowels that the kids and I could assemble together—a project meant to combine their passion for building forts with my hope for a little extra time devoted to summer reading. Follow these instructions, and your kids, too, will have a hideaway that will make them want to spend more time curled up with library books than gaming on the couch!


This project is appropriate for kids of all ages, but it does require some use of power tools. If your kids are young, cut the lumber prior to working on the project with them and do the drilling yourself; they can help with the measuring and sanding. Kids as old as 8 or 9, on the other hand, might be able to handle the drill with your supervision. Use your judgment, and have fun.

- Three 8-foot-long 1″x2″ furring strips (cut into six 4-foot pieces)
- Tape measure
- Pencil
- Safety glasses
- Drill with 3/4” spade bit
- Sandpaper
- Three 4-foot-long 3/4” dowels
- Twin- or full-size bedsheet
- Scissors
- 1/4” eyelet tool
- 1/4” eyelets
- Hammer
- Parachute cord



DIY Tent - Furring

Photo: bobvila.com

Halve each 8-foot furring strip into two 4-foot lengths. (You can get this done at the big-box hardware store where you pick up your lumber, or make the cuts at home.) Then, on every 4-foot length of furring strip, mark placement for holes about 1 3/4 inches from each end of the board—a great task for the kids.



DIY Tent - Drilling Furring

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Next, drill through the marks to make 3/4-inch-diameter holes at the ends of each length of board; smooth over any rough edges on your furring strips using sandpaper.



DIY Tent - Grommets

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Ready the flat sheet (the tent’s cover) so it can attach to the bottom of each side of the tent frame. (A twin sheet works best here because it leaves the least amount of excess fabric, but any old bedsheet you have to spare will serve just fine.) To keep the sheet from fraying after a trip through the washing machine, we’re using some metal eyelets. A single eyelet tool is easy to use and fairly inexpensive to pick up at a big-box or craft store—beyond that, all you need are scissors and a hammer.

First, flip the sheet so that it’s right side up and you’re working with one of the shorter sides. Measure and mark for eyelets every 12 inches or so, about 3 to 4 inches in from the edge; cut a small hole at each spot with scissors. Place the base of the eyelet tool with the large half of the eyelet under the hole, and fit it through. Then, set the second half of the eyelet on top, and hammer the pieces together with the top of the eyelet tool.



DIY Tent - Sheet Ties

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Cut 12- to 18-inch lengths of the parachute cord—as many lengths as you have eyelets—and put large knots at the end of each. String each cord all the way through an eyelet from behind the sheet, and tie it again on the other side so the eyelet is secure between two big knots. You should have several inches of cord left hanging, which you’ll use later to tie around the tent frame.



DIY Tent - Square Base

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On the ground, lay out the square base for the tent: two parallel furring strips connected by two dowels. To “fasten” them together, thread each dowel through the holes at the ends of the furring strips. (This no-hardware assembly makes it even easier to collapse for storage!)



DIY Tent - A Frame Tent

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Divide the last four pieces of furring strips into two sets of two; each set connects to the base to form the A-frame entrances at the front and back of the tent. Start at one entrance, and attach a furring strip to both corners by fitting the drilled hole into the dowel at the base. Then, bring the furring strips together at point, match up the holes on the ends, and slide the last dowel into the hole to hold them together. Repeat on the other side, attaching the last two furring strips to the dowels at the base.



DIY Tent - Tie Downs

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Throw the sheet over the frame and tie it down on each side. Let the reading and other tent-worthy summertime shenanigans begin!

When you’re done for the day, you can take the pieces apart and roll them up into the sheet, then simply wrap the cords around the bundle and tie to keep it tidy. But, for the record, my kids don’t want to take it down. In fact, they want to make another one so they can each have one in their bedrooms! Luckily, with a project this easy and inexpensive, an extra A-frame is totally achievable.

DIY Tent - Easy to Store

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Bob Vila Radio: Give Your Mower a Tune-Up

It doesn't take much to keep your lawn mower in top condition, and it's well worth the effort. With proper maintenance, you can safeguard peak performance and extend the useful lifespan of your equipment.

With the summer season nearing its peak, chances are that your lawn mower would benefit from a bit of mid-season TLC.

Lawn Mower Care Tips

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Start by giving it a good rinse with your hose. To reach the underside of the deck, consider using a long-handled hose attachment. That way, you can clean the area around the blade without needing to tip the mower more than a few inches onto its side.

Also, remember that lawn mower engines live on gasoline and air. If yours came with a paper filter, check whether it’s clogged. If so, swap in a new paper filter in the appropriate size. If your mower features a foam air filter, wash it out with soapy water and, before reinstalling, give the dry foam a light coating of oil.

You may also want to change the spark plug or sharpen the blade. Now, your mower ought to be ready for the remainder of the summer’s dog days.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!

5 Things to Do with… Charcoal

We've got 5 more reasons to stock up on grilling fuel! Save a handful of charcoal briquettes from your next barbecue for any of these handy around-the-home uses.

It’s a safe bet that you consider your grill’s bag of fuel a summer essential. Come the weekend, when you set the dusty black cubes alight, they transform standard raw burgers or steaks into crusty, juicy, memorable backyard feasts. But charcoal doesn’t just work wonders in your barbecue grill—you can also put those briquettes to use all over the house and yard. Read on for five extremely useful and inspiring ways to use up a few leftover lumps.



Uses of Charcoal - Composting

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Charcoal consists of wood char, which is mostly carbon—and carbon is essential for making good compost. (And actually, if your compost gives off an ammonia-like odor, that’s most likely a sign of a carbon shortage!) Toss a few pieces of the natural lump-style coal into your bin of food scraps and yard clippings to fortify your mix.



Uses of Charcoal - Deodorize

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In spaces that lack air circulation—think closet, attic, basement—put out several lumps of additive-free charcoal in a lidded plastic container pierced with a few holes. The black nuggets will absorb funky odors and moisture, leaving the area smelling clean. Bonus: This arrangement works well in a fridge or under a sink too! (Just be sure to keep the container out of reach of children and pets.)



Uses of Charcoal - Prevent Rust

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Stash a bit of charcoal wherever you store your hammers and nails. Thanks to its powers of moisture absorption, the coal will help keep your gear rust-free. Try a similar trick for your garden implements: Each time you finish a bag of charcoal, pour the the leftover bits from the bottom of the bag into the pot where you stow your garden spades and weeding tools—they’ll stay shinier and sharper.



Uses of Charcoal - Grow a Terrarium

Photo: flickr.com via gergelyhideg

For an adorably miniature indoor gardening project, tuck some charcoal into the bottom of a large vase or fishbowl, then fill it with potting soil and small plants. The charcoal will work to purify this mini ecosphere, warding off root rot and keeping the plants in your tiny terrarium healthier.



Uses of Charcoal - Drawing

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Charcoal sticks have served as artists’ tools for centuries, and these sketching instruments are little more than whittled-down charcoal briquettes! Even an ordinary charcoal nugget can make a handy outdoor marker should you be missing your bucket of sidewalk chalk. Grab one when you want to sketch a new furniture layout on the patio or leave a sidewalk welcome message for guests arriving at your barbecue, then forget about it—it’ll wash away with the next summer rain.