Welcome to Bob Vila


How To: Clean an Air Conditioner

Help your hard-working air conditioner keep you cool this season and the next when you give your unit a much-needed scrub down.

How to Clean an Air Conditioner

Photo: amazon.com

Air conditioners are our saving grace during sticky summers—there’s nothing quite like the relief of walking into a room that has the cool air blasting after hours in unrelenting 70-degree-and-sunny heat. But while we appreciate our ACs, we don’t often give them the treatment they deserve. Keeping your air conditioner clean not only benefits its efficiency, but it also improves the overall air quality in your home. Follow these simple steps to get your unit in tip-top shape.

How to Clean an Air Conditioner - Cleaning Supplies

Photo: fotosearch.com

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Dish soap
- Warm water
- Vacuum with brush attachment
- Fin comb
- Soft cloth

STEP 1
It’s incredibly important to start by unplugging the air conditioner before you even touch any cleaning tools—not doing so could put you at risk of an electrical shock. Once you’ve disconnected your unit, use a moist, soft cloth and a little bit of dish soap to rub off dirt or stains on the front and surface of the air conditioner. Avoid using spray cleaners on the front of the air conditioner, and don’t put too much water on the cloth, as it can drip into the unit and cause damage.

STEP 2
Remove the front cover. Some will come off simply with your hands, while others will require a screwdriver. Take note of where the screws belong, as they will need to be replaced the same way for the unit to fit together correctly. Carefully remove the filter and wash it using a mild dish soap and warm water. Give it a final rinse, then shake the excess water from it and let the filter air-dry. (If you are short on time, you can skip the suds and instead vacuum the filter using the brush attachment.)

When you’re done with the filter, check the fins to see if any are bent; if so, use a fin comb to straighten them out. The fin blades are extremely sharp, so proceed with caution when working with them.

STEP 3
Use the brush attachment to vacuum away any dirt or debris covering the interior evaporator or condenser coils. For a more intensive clean, spray specialized coil cleaner (found at your local hardware store) on the coils, and let them soak for approximately 10 minutes. Then, rinse the coils off with water, but be careful not to get water on any nearby electrical parts of the unit. Next, move on to the outside of the unit and clean the exterior condenser coils with the brush attachment. Gently wipe down the fan blades with household cleaner or a soft cloth.

STEP 4
Make sure everything is fully dry, and then carefully reassemble your unit. Although your air filter should be cleaned every month during the warm-weather season, you might also consider completing this deep-clean process at the beginning and end of each summer to extend the life of your air conditioner.


Are You Spending Way Too Much to Operate Your Swimming Pool?

This summer, take a serious look at the cost of operating and maintaining your pool. You may find that a pump upgrade could provide as much relief to your wallet as your pool provides to your family's comfort and happiness.

Photo: fotosearch.com

For those who are lucky enough to own a swimming pool, this is the best time of year. But as you soak in the sun, your pool’s impact on your household budget may be more than you bargained for. The alarming fact is that if you have a conventional pool pump, you are very likely paying too much—much too much—in monthly operating costs.

Data shows that in homes with pools, the pump typically ranks only behind heating and cooling in terms of overall energy consumption. You’ve probably noticed that your energy bills rise during those months when your family enjoys the pool. What you may not have realized is that in a given year those costs add up to $460, on average. Well, that figure might make anyone consider cutting their losses, but don’t drain the pool just yet! According to ENERGY STAR, the solution is simple. Ditch the outmoded pump and replace it with a high-efficiency model. ENERGY STAR pool pumps are independently certified to save energy and money – they typically use about 70 percent less energy, saving the average household between $280 and $340 annually.

“Replacing your old pool pump with one that has earned the ENERGY STAR has obvious financial benefits for families across the country,” says ENERGY STAR Labeling Branch Chief Ann Bailey. “But it also has a big-picture impact for the environment. If all pool pumps sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to about $165 million each year, and three billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions from nearly 280,000 vehicles.”

Photo: fotosearch.com

Why do conventional pool pumps waste so much energy? The answer is simple: They run at only one speed. That wouldn’t be a problem if pool pumps performed only one role, but standard setups put the pump in charge of multiple functions, each of which calls for a different flow rate. For instance, filtration can often be accomplished with half the flow rate needed for vacuuming. Though the different functions have different requirements, a single-speed pump would apply the same flow rate in both cases. For vacuuming, the flow rate would probably be appropriate, but for filtration, it would definitely be overkill—expensive overkill. That’s why only those pumps that run at two or more speeds earn the ENERGY STAR. With these newer and more sophisticated pumps, you can be sure that the pump always responds with just enough—but not more than enough—power to accomplish the desired function. After installing a variable-speed pool pump, you shouldn’t notice a difference in water clarity, but when you open your utility bill at the end of the month, you should notice what a big difference a little energy efficiency makes.

Even in today’s energy-conscious world, many pool contractors do not assume the homeowner wants a variable-speed pump — which cost roughly $550 more than their single-speed cousins. While it’s certainly true that high-efficiency pool pumps aren’t cheap, an ENERGY STAR-certified unit can pay for its additional upfront cost in less than two years. From that point on, for the lifespan of the product, savings go right into your pocket on average. Tom Cucinotta, owner of Cucinotta’s Pool Service in Boynton Beach, Florida, regularly installs variable-speed pumps and attests to their return on customer investment. “Here in Florida, energy costs are approximately 15 cents per kilowatt hour. If your pumps run on 1-1/2-horsepower, 10 hours a day, it’s going to cost about $1,232 a year. With a variable-speed pump cutting as much as 91 percent off that energy bill, it would cost about $125 a year. Huge savings.” Cucinotta also points out that if you have two conventional pumps, both single-speed, you can replace both with just one variable-speed unit.

Pool pump lifespans range pretty widely, as a number of variables come into play. But eventually, any pool pump must be replaced. Of course, if the unit doesn’t start, that’s obviously a problem—but there are much subtler signs that you need a new pool pump. For instance, if the unit hums, buzzes, or otherwise makes a racket, repair or replacement may be in order. You might also notice the pump starting slowly and operating at low power. Another bad sign is for the pump to get hot and shut down. In any of these situations, the time might be right for an upgrade to a variable-speed, ENERGY STAR-certified pump. Your local home center or pool supply store probably stocks a range of efficient options from leading manufacturers Pentair, Hayward, and Jandy. In stores and online, you can also find models made by Blue Torrent Pool Products, Speck Pumps, and Waterway. No matter your chosen product, it’s well worth mentioning that if you install a high-efficiency pump, you may be eligible for state or local utility rebates. To view the available incentives, check out the ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder.

In Cucinotta’s experience, “a variable-speed pump saves money every time,” but he points out that there are indeed additional ways to minimize pool maintenance and operation costs. A pool cover, for instance, helps reduce nighttime heat loss, which would mean lower costs if you run a pool heater. Meanwhile, keeping the intake grates and drains clear of debris also goes a long way toward benefiting overall system performance. But if your monthly pool costs really seem to have spun out of control, don’t hesitate to investigate the cause or causes. “I urge homeowners to do an energy audit on their pool,” says Cucinotta. Since upgrading to an ENERGY STAR-certified pump may already require a visit from a pool specialist, consider inviting yours to suggest additional tweaks to your system—a different filter perhaps, or a programmable pump timer. But,in the end, replacing a single-speed pump is likely to make the biggest difference of all. As Cucinotta sums up, “Many people with older pool pumps are just tossing money away.” Want more information? Visit ENERGY STAR today.

 

This post has been brought to you by ENERGY STAR. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Quick Tip: Plant Your Garden in… Diapers?

Diaper duty takes on a whole new meaning with this unorthodox soil solution that's perfect for keeping moisture in your garden.

Diapers for Gardening - Supplies

Photo: instructables.com, via The King of Random

Yes, we’re just as shocked as you! But anyone who lives in an area that’s incredibly dry or has serious water restrictions knows how difficult it can be to maintain moisture-rich soil, and diapers can offer an easy solution to that problem. While we don’t spend much time pondering the power of the diaper (and understandably so), these top-notch absorbers can hold a pretty impressive amount of liquid. Skip the expensive products from the home and garden store, and turn to this unexpected—and budget-friendly—method the next time your leafy greens need a little TLC.

Diapers for Gardening - Gel Crystals

Photo: instructables.com, via The King of Random

First, pour about four cups of water into the middle section of an unused diaper. Once the water has been absorbed, pull back the top layer of the middle portion to reveal the moisture crystals, which will have a gel-like texture. (Keep in mind that the blue color seen here is used only to highlight the gel—the crystals will actually be white unless dyed otherwise.) Scoop the gel out of the diaper and pour it into a bowl. Slowly add more water to the bowl, stopping when the crystals no longer absorb liquid. Combine equal parts potting soil and gel to create a super soil that can now be used in all your gardening endeavors. One adult-size diaper makes about 12 cups of gel, so keep that in mind when planning how much soil you’ll need. Because the gel has such an incredible ability to retain liquid rather than letting it slip away in the soil, you can worry less about watering your plants, which is great for thirsty roots—and busy summer days!


Next-Generation Ductless HVAC Brings Home Total Comfort

Homeowners have always been frustrated by the intermittent and uneven heating and cooling of traditional forced-air HVAC. Even in the process of running less expensively, today's cutting-edge ductless systems deliver superior, customizable comfort.

Ductless HVAC Benefits - Kitchen Comfort

Photo: mitsubishicomfort.com

You are reading one installment in a ten-part series devoted to exploring Mitsubishi Electric ductless heating and cooling. See all.

In today’s energy-conscious world, homeowners understand the critical importance of efficient heating and cooling. But if you’re upgrading your HVAC system, though it’s important to understand the yearly operating cost of a given appliance, it’s also critical to understand what it means for your comfort level. After all, lower utility bills are attractive only so long as they do not come at the expense of your ability to enjoy time spent in your home. Of course, we’ve all grown accustomed to imperfect heating and cooling. Traditional forced-air systems have frustrated homeowners for years, being both expensive to run and inconsistent in performance. Next-generation technologies promise superior efficiency, and among those, Mitsubishi Electric stands out for its assurance of total comfort. Thanks in large part to their innovative ductless design, Mitsubishi Electric systems are able to save homeowners 30 to 40 percent on monthly heating and cooling bills compared with forced-air systems. Yet, even with dramatically lower energy consumption, Mitsubishi Electric still manages to deliver unparalleled comfort.

 

UNIFORM HEATING AND COOLING

Ductless HVAC Benefits - Bedroom Comfort

Photo: mitsubishicomfort.com

In a forced-air system, conditioned air intermittently blasts right into the room, but in a wholly undirected way. By contrast, a Mitsubishi Electric ductless system distributes air through an indoor unit whose fan ensures controlled, even distribution throughout the square footage. Plus, because the indoor unit actually mounts within the space that it’s conditioning, the system accurately monitors the ambient temperature and regulates to match the heating or cooling demand. Working in concert, fan distribution and continuous adjustments succeed in preventing any areas from becoming too hot or too cold. The stop-and-start operation of forced-air systems leads to rollercoaster-like environments, while Mitsubishi Electric ductless systems offer smooth and steady climate control.

 

ROOM-BY-ROOM ZONING

Ductless HVAC Benefits - Room by Room Comfort

Photo: mitsubishicomfort.com

Some homeowners choose a ductless system to provide supplemental climate control in those peripheral rooms that rarely stay comfortable—an attic bedroom, for example. Equally common is for the ductless technology to serve the entire home. Here, rather than designate a single thermostat to control the temperature in all rooms, on all floors, Mitsubishi Electric makes it possible for the homeowner to establish zones. For each zone, there’s a different indoor unit, and for each indoor unit, there’s a different controller. That means that, in a multizone home, the master bedroom can be set to one temperature and the living room to another. Heating and cooling no longer entail the discomfort of a one-size-fits-all approach. Zoning can accommodate the temperature preferences of every member of the household.

 

AIR-QUALITY ENHANCEMENT

Ductless HVAC Benefits - Air Quality Comfort

Photo: mitsubishicomfort.com

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air pollution ranks among the top five environmental health risks. Astounding but true: The air in our homes often contains more airborne hazards than the air outdoors. Mitsubishi Electric ductless systems combat contaminants through advanced multistage filtration. Not only do these filters remove irritants and allergens like dust, pollen, and dander, but they also reduce viruses, bacteria, and odors. Remember that in conventional HVAC systems, the ducts often end up collecting and spreading impurities. Mitsubishi Electric offers a breath of fresh air, by comparison. Rather than compromise it, a Mitsubishi ductless system works to improve indoor air quality, providing peace of mind and a healthier, more comfortable living environment.

 

In the average home, heating and cooling contributes more than anything else does to the family’s utility bills, so it’s hard to overstate the importance of choosing an efficient solution. Fortunately, like most other technologies, HVAC has progressed by leaps and bounds in recent years. On the leading edge, options like Mitsubishi Electric ductless systems simply need much less energy than their predecessors. But the best part about a Mitsubishi Electric system is that, even as it runs less expensively, it still manages to outperform older heating and cooling appliances. There’s no longer a need to sacrifice comfort for savings, or vice versa. With a system from Mitsubishi Electric, you can experience the most comfortable climate control of your lifetime, very likely for less money per month than you’re currently paying.

Ductless HVAC Benefits - Open Plan Comfort

Photo: Mike Crews Photography

This post has been brought to you by Mitsubishi Electric. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Bob Vila Radio: A Simple Tweak for Any Caulk Gun

Given its purpose and common applications, caulk often needs to go places where the gun doesn't fit. In those situations, you can extend the reach of the tool using this simple, ingenious trick.

Your good old caulk gun is a user-friendly tool—until you need to use it in a tight spot (say, the back side of a toilet). What to do? Here’s one idea: Make yourself a flexible extension to attach to the nozzle.

Caulking Toilet

Photo: fotosearch.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON CAULKING HARD-TO-REACH PLACES or read the text below:

It’s simple! Head to the hardware store and pick up some clear plastic tubing at least a foot-and-a-half long. Choose tubing with an interior diameter of a quarter inch.

Gently work one end of the tube onto the tip of the caulk, then cut the other end of the tube at an angle—the same angle you’d cut into the dispensing tip of a normal tube of caulk.

Now, squeeze the trigger of the caulk gun until you see the caulk nearing the end of the extension tube. Bend the tube to your target area and dispense as usual. If the tight quarters produce some wobbles in your line of caulk, no worries. Just use a wet finger to smooth the imperfections.

Done? Finish by detaching the extension tube and cleaning it with a small wooden dowel. That way, the tube will be clear and ready for use next time.

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!


Bob Vila Academy—Enroll Today!

Become a student in Bob Vila Academy and learn the basics of home improvement the fun and easy way.

Bob Vila Academy

When it comes to home improvement, we could all use a mentor—someone to guide us through the process and offer hints and tricks along the way. Well, the help we all need has finally arrived—Bob Vila Academy. A brand-new digital workshop, Bob Vila Academy includes exclusive, project-based video courses hosted by the next-generation of DIY experts. Gain new skills, raise your confidence level, have fun and—yes—make things. We’ll help!

ENROLL IN BOB VILA ACADEMY

Bob Vila Academy already offers a range of courses, with new ones every month. Enroll in your favorites today, and let the instructor of each course take you through every step of the project, from start to finish, while teaching you the techniques needed to succeed. Courses include:

• Building a concrete top for your bathroom vanity. Course instructor Pete lays out the basics of working with one of the most versatile and durable materials on the planet.

• Crafting a new wall sconce. Here, course instructor Isabelle explains how to weave your own stylish shade and wire up a light fixture, without having to hire an electrician.

Creating functional wall art. Discover the fun of working with reclaimed wood, as course instructor Tanya demonstrates how to build a home accent you can proudly put on display.

What are you waiting for? Visit Bob Vila Academy to preview each course and enroll!

Bob Vila Academy - Coin Vault


A Former Art Teacher Starts a New Life Building Furniture

A twist in fortune prompted this maker to create the quality furniture company of her dreams.

Urban Wood Goods - Erin and Jason

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

Erin True needed a job. She had recently moved from Detroit to Chicago with her husband, Jason, and was striking out on finding a position as an art teacher. Fortunately, this down-on-her-luck moment led Erin to discover her real passion and start an unlikely business: Urban Wood Goods. Though she was an inexperienced woodworker at the time (and didn’t even own a table saw), she was dedicated to learning about her newfound love for reclaimed wood and all its possibilities. Now, Erin’s hard work has paid off in spades—she’s a successful entrepreneur who’s managed to carve out her own niche in the custom furniture market.

Today, Urban Wood Goods employs a host of dedicated makers and fulfills orders throughout the country, for corporate clients and homeowners alike. We spoke with Erin to learn a bit more about her story.

 

Urban Wood Goods - Bench Hairpin

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

How did you make the transition from art teacher to full-time maker?
I moved from the Detroit area to the Chicago area. I was trying to find a teaching job, though in my heart I had hoped to start my own business—after all, I was already using my idea for a bench and Etsy shop as part of my portfolio in an attempt to land an art teaching job. When I didn’t get the job I thought I would get, I decided to pursue my reclaimed wood furniture experiment on Etsy.

After a few sales, I started to think I could maybe make a real business out of Urban Wood Goods. Thankfully, I had the support of my husband, who finally kicked me out of the garage and told me to find a new workshop—after I took a Shop-Vac to the sawdust-covered walls of our garage.

 

Rustic Dining Table - Urban Wood Goods

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

What was your background in woodworking when you got started?
Funny enough, I didn’t have a woodworking background. I took one class in high school, and that was it. The only thing I remember making was a CD rack. I didn’t even own a saw when I started selling benches online! I once had to take the slab of wood I purchased to a local home improvement store and convince them to cut it down from five feet to four feet long to fill an order.

Being new to woodworking, have you found any surprises along the way?
I have learned that reclaimed lumber has a mind of its own. Nails, warping, and movement common to dimensional lumber all make it a material that takes some adjustment when working with it. We have managed to figure it out and make beautiful furniture with the help of our kiln, state-of-the-art woodworking equipment, and a team of individuals who care about every table and desk they create.

 

Urban Wood Goods - Desk Hairpin

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

Do you have a favorite tool?
My favorite tools are our JLT clamp racks. They allow us to get better glue-ups on all our pieces. Our lumber kiln is also very important. Having perfectly dried lumber is a beautiful thing. We used to have some warping when the moisture content wasn’t exactly correct; with this kiln, it’s no longer a problem.

What is your favorite thing about reclaimed wood?
My favorite thing is its history and character. I love seeing the wood still in a structure that is standing and then again the next week in our shop being turned into furniture. It’s nice to give it a second life—or third life, you could say.

 

Urban Wood Goods - coffee table

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

What kind of response has your work received?
It was a surprise when large companies had us building furniture for them! A few notable ones include HGTV, Google, Kraft, Ralph Lauren, and Lululemon.

What is your favorite piece?
The first bench I made was my all-time favorite. I loved that bench, and it was also the first one I sold. It had amazing character. It was perfectly weathered; I hardly had to sand it. Part of me wishes I could get it back, but Urban Wood Goods wouldn’t exist today if I hadn’t sold it.

 

Urban Wood Goods - Dining Table Chairs

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

What is the most challenging part of what you do?
It changes from year to year. There are many challenges that come with operating a small business. We recently discovered there is a business selling plastic wood furniture on Craigslist using our trademarked logo and warehouse address. That was pretty shocking—we don’t sell on Craigslist and never have. But we tackle the obstacles one at a time. It’s much easier to approach things that way, and we don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.

 

Find out more and shop the online store at Urban Wood Goods.


Bob Vila Radio: Add Security with Tamper-Proof Screws

How secure is your home, if it would only take a thief with a Philips-head to gain access? Tamper-proof security fasteners add a layer of much-needed protection.

For years, companies have been trying to keep one step ahead of vandals and thieves by manufacturing so-called security fasteners, removable only with specialized tools. Predictably, the bad guys keep finding workarounds.

Security Fasteners

Photo: fotosearch.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON SECURITY FASTENERS or read the text below:

There are now dozens of security fasteners on the market. Some of the more effective crime-busters are those with a protruding pin in the middle of an otherwise conventional screw head. Another popular type—referred to as “snake eye” fasteners—features only two small indentations on top. Still another has no slots or indentations at all, leaving the would-be thief to see only a flat, slightly-out-of-round head. And, of course, there are always reverse-thread fasteners. These are designed so that when crooks try to screw them out, they’re actually making them tighter.

Shop your local home center for many of these fasteners, along with the tools that fit them. For some of the more exotic security fasteners, though, you’ll need to go to specialized suppliers.

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!


Genius! The Smartphone Speaker You Already Have in Your Kitchen

Crank up the volume on your smartphone in one easy step.

DIY Phone Speaker

Photo: brit.co

Everyone wants to be a DJ, but no one wants to buy the equipment—let alone figure out how to use it. This life hack won’t replace store-bought speakers, but it’s a perfect way to crank up your favorite tunes while cooking dinner or finishing up a day’s work.

All you have to do? Reach into the kitchen cupboard! This ingenious amplifier for your at-home jam session is a simple ceramic bowl. Just set your phone into the bowl with the speaker end down. The bowl’s concave shape does the rest of the work, sending sound up the sides and out into the room—minus the chord chaos.

FOR MORE: Brit+Co

DIY Phone Speaker - Smartphone and Headphones

Photo: fotosearch.com


DIY Lite: Turn Digital Photos into Wooden Coasters

Rather than filling up a Facebook album, share and enjoy your favorite photos on a set of personalized wooden coasters! Read on to learn how to transfer any image to wood.

DIY Photo Coasters - Travel Souvenirs

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Whether you’re returning from a 12-day vacation on foreign soil or have just wrapped up a weekend by the pool with the kids, one thing is true: You probably have a memory card or phone library packed with photographs. Why leave these summer vacation (or staycation) pictures locked away on your digital device when you can enjoy them anytime you reach for a cool refreshment? Follow our instructions to transfer your images to the tops of wooden coasters, and you’ll craft a set that will keep your memories on display all year long!

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS

DIY Photo Coasters - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

- 12mm plywood
- Sandpaper (60 grit and 120 grit)
- Wax paper
- Printer paper
- Glue stick
- Digital photos
- Printer
- Spoon
- Brush or foam brush
- Acrylic paint
- Acrylic varnish

STEP 1

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Cut your wood into four-inch squares. (We used 12mm plywood, but any relatively thin scrap wood you have will work.) Sand each piece to remove splinters. As it’s very important to have a smooth and uniform surface on which to apply the picture, be especially careful sanding the side you’ll be covering with a print. Start with a piece of coarse 60-grit sandpaper, and then give the wood a second pass with a finer 120-grit sheet.

 

STEP 2

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Unroll your wax paper and cut a piece to the dimensions of a letter-size sheet of paper (8.5″ x 11″).

 

STEP 3

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Use a glue stick to adhere the wax paper to a sheet of printer paper, wax side out. Dab a little extra around the edges so that the two sheets stick—you’ll be sending these through the printer together, and you’ll want to avoid a paper jam. Repeat the process to create four to six printer-ready sheets.

 

STEP 4

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Select four to six pictures to transfer to your coasters—as many as you have squares of wood. Pull them all up in a photo-editing program (like Adobe Photoshop or Paint) and flip each to be a mirror image. (When transferred, they’ll appear correctly.) Then, crop each file into a square, resized to either 1,000 pixels across or 3.3 inches wide. Place your doubled-up wax-and-printer-paper sheet into the printer so that the ink adheres to the wax side, and print!

 

STEP 5

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Flip the printed picture onto the coaster, ink side down, and position in the center of the square. Then, press with the back of a spoon to transfer the ink from the wax to the wood. Firmly hold the paper so it doesn’t move while you rub. Make several passes over the paper with the back of the spoon to properly transfer the picture.

 

STEP 6

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Remove the paper and—ta-da!—you should see your photo totally transferred to the wood.

 

STEP 7

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Choose a few colors of acrylic paint that coordinate with the photos, and carefully brush the paint around the edges of your coasters. When that paint dries, finish by coating the entire wood square in an acrylic varnish; this will offer protection against condensation from glasses and other beverage containers. As the varnish dries, kick back and flip through a cocktail recipe book—all that’s left now is to choose the first refreshments to rest on your one-of-a-kind coasters.

 

DIY Photo Coasters - Completed

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling… no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.