Welcome to Bob Vila


Bob Vila Radio: Linoleum Rugs

Do you remember linoleum rugs? At one time, they were hugely popular and today, they're a great, noncommittal way of participating in the comeback of this retro yet eco-friendly flooring material.

Linoleum rugs are a little-remembered footnote to floorcovering history. These days, unless you uncover one when you’re ripping up an old floor, you’re unlikely to find a linoleum rug outside of a vintage shop. But their half-century or so of popularity makes them worth a moment of consideration.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to BOB VILA ON LINOLEUM RUGS or read the text below:

Linoleum Rugs

Photo: hgtv.com

Introduced in the late 1800s, linoleum was first produced by coating a fabric, such as burlap or canvas, with a mixture of linseed oil, cork, resins and wood flour. The easy-care, resilient flooring was perfect for high-traffic areas—kitchens and hallways, for instance.

Although early linoleum was available primarily in solid colors, patterns became more sophisticated as production methods advanced. By the early 1900s, manufacturers began to offer linoleum rugs—essentially movable, highly patterned sheets of linoleum with decorative borders. They tended to mimic textiles—oriental rugs and intricate florals—but unlike their “real” counterparts, they could just be wiped clean.

By the 1950s, the rugs’ popularity began to wane as less expensive vinyl entered the market. Today, however, true linoleum is enjoying a comeback of sorts, thanks to its relative eco-friendliness and the advent of brighter colors suited to modern interiors. Some fabricators are even making linoleum rugs that unlike their predecessors, aren’t pretending to be something else, but instead celebrate what they are.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Clean a Dishwasher

It's tempting to think that your dishwasher gets a good cleaning every time you run it through a cycle, but that's unfortunately not the case. Here's how to keep it sparkling clean, sweet smelling, and effective.

How to Clean a Dishwasher - Open

Photo: shutterstock.com

The idea of cleaning a dishwasher may seem a bit strange at first, but think of it this way: You regularly maintain your vacuum, right? Well, the dishwasher isn’t dissimilar. Whereas accumulated dust and debris are what threaten the performance of your vacuum, food scraps, soap scum, and stubborn grease are what compromise your dishwasher. Even if you installed the unit pretty recently, you should know how to clean your dishwasher in order to maximize its efficiency.

MATERIALS
- 1 cup plain white vinegar (or unsweetened lemonade mix)
- 1 cup baking soda

How to Clean a Dishwasher - Interior

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 1
Detach the bottom rack so that you can access the dishwasher drain. Thoroughly examine this crucial area, removing any gunk or chunks you find, because they not only impede drainage but can also damage the appliance.

STEP 2
Fill a dishwasher-safe container with one cup of white vinegar, placing it on the upper rack of the otherwise empty machine. Close the door and run the dishwasher through a hot-water cycle. Once the vinegar has worked its magic, you should find that it has washed away grease and grime, and even removed any musty odors that may have been present. Note that you can use a package of unsweetened lemonade mix rather than vinegar to achieve the same result. Remember to stick with regular lemonade, though; flavored options can leave stains.

STEP 3
Now sprinkle a cupful of baking soda across the bottom of the appliance, then run it on a short hot-water cycle. When the cycle’s done, you should notice that your fresh-smelling dishwasher now boasts a brightened, stain-free interior.

OPTIONAL
Has your dishwasher suffered a vicious attack from nasty mold? If so, add a cup of bleach to the bottom of the basin, then run the machine on a full cycle—that is, unless the interior of your dishwasher contains stainless steel, in which case you should completely avoid the use of bleach (bleach and stainless steel are not friends).

 

Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean
Perhaps the best way to keep a dishwasher clean is to treat it with basic respect and consideration day in and day out—after all, the machine isn’t invincible. Observing a set of simple usage guidelines can help you wring the best possible performance from this workhorse appliance, even as you prolong its life span.

• The dishwasher shares a drain with the kitchen sink, so if you have a garbage disposal, run it before washing the dishes to ensure that the drain is clear.

• It’s smart to conserve electricity and water by running the dishwasher only when it’s full, but resist the temptation to pile dishes too high or too tightly.

• Don’t prewash dishes too thoroughly before adding them to the dishwasher. For detergent to do its job effectively, there needs to be a certain amount of grease and food residue present. Otherwise, the detergent simply creates foam during the wash cycle, and that excess can be detrimental to the appliance.


How To: Remove Paint from Wood

Sure, it's messy and time-consuming, but removing paint from wood can be an extremely satisfying project. Follow our tutorial, and you'll be stripping paint like a pro.

How to Remove Paint

Photo: shutterstock.com

It can be mighty labor-intensive and time-consuming to remove paint, which is why many do-it-yourselfers dread the task, even avoiding projects that involve stripping away layers of old paint. That’s a shame, given that the results are so often worth the effort. Fortunately, by following the simple steps outlined below, you can successfully remove paint with minimal aggravation and without causing damage to the wood in the course of the paint-stripping process.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Protective gloves
- Safety glasses
- Respirator
- Solvent-based paint stripper
- Bucket
- Paintbrush
- Scraper
- Wire brush
- Rags
- Sandpaper

STEP 1
Remove all hardware (nails and screws, brackets and doorknobs) from the wood you are going to work on. If there are any nonremovable parts made of anything other than wood, cover them with protective tape. Before you begin work, put on the safety gear that’s essential to wear in the presence of chemical paint strippers—that means gloves, glasses, and a respirator. Having closely consulted the manufacturer’s instructions, pour your chosen solvent-based paint stripper into an empty bucket.

Note: Always observe the proper safety precautions when dealing with paint strippers and take care to select the right product. Because caustic strippers are capable of changing the color of wood, many experts recommend instead the use of solvent-based strippers. These are readily available online and in local hardware stores.

How to Remove Paint - Detail

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
Concentrating on one small section at a time, liberally apply the paint stripper with a paintbrush. Leave the product on the wood for about 20 minutes, or until the paint starts to bubble and peel. Bear in mind that if you are removing several layers of paint, it may be necessary to let the solvent sit for up to a few hours. As time elapses, test the paint intermittently to see whether it has softened to any noticeable degree.

STEP 3
Use a paint scraper to take off as much paint as possible from the area where you applied the stripper. Be gentle as you scrape; don’t gouge the wood. Once you’ve removed all you can with the scraper, you may choose to repeat the process, reapplying stripper and going through the steps once more. Once you’re satisfied with the condition of the area you’ve been stripping, move on to the next section.

STEP 4
After you have worked section by section removing all the paint from the flat portions of the wood, it’s time to address any raised or recessed areas (for example, moldings). Spread the stripper on the wood again and wait at least 20 minutes, but this time scrape with a wire brush that can access those hard-to-reach crests and depressions. Take care not to scrape too hard, which can leave scratches on the wood.

STEP 5
Wash the wood with a clean, water-soaked rag, then sand down the entire surface. If you have access to a power sander, you can use it to make quicker work of sanding the broad, flat sections, but you should still manually sand any fragile or carved parts of the piece. Finally, wipe the wood free of dust and debris, and that’s it! You’re done.


Is Cork Flooring Right for You?

Offering easy maintenance, sound absorption, warmth, and comfort underfoot, cork is a smart, eco-friendly flooring choice for many of today's homeowners. Is it the right choice for you? Find out here.

Lisbon's Tobacco Road Cork Flooring at Lumber Liquidators.

In our ongoing quest to make our homes beautiful reflections of who we are, the question of what to install underfoot is an important one. For some people, gleaming oak is the answer; for others, salvaged pine planks or Mediterranean-style tiles. In recent years, cork flooring has become yet another popular option.

“There are natural benefits of cork flooring, including easy maintenance, sound absorption, warmth, and comfort,” says Ebony Costain, a buyer at Lumber Liquidators. “What consumers may find most surprising, however, are the attractive varieties that have been brought to market.” Cutting-edge technology has allowed manufacturers to offer flooring with the amazing look of hardwood or marble, while keeping all the benefits of cork. To determine if cork is a good choice for your floor, consider how well the following statements apply to you.

You have cold feet—literally. If you usually wear socks or slippers around the house to avoid cold floors under your feet, you’ll appreciate cork’s ability to stay at room temperature and therefore feel warm to the touch. Like a cushion underfoot, cork flooring also eases stress on your back and legs, making it a good fit for any place in your home where you’ll be standing for long stretches of time, like kitchens, laundry rooms, and workshops.

Lisbon's Silves Cork Flooring at Lumber Liquidators.

You have an artistic eye. Cork flooring comes in a wide array of colors and grain patterns, so the design possibilities are limitless. Just about any floor motif that can be made with paint or ceramic tile—think checkerboards, stripes, or chevrons—can be made with cork. Let your imagination soar! Some owners even play with the pattern of the cork itself to create a design that mimics exotic wood grains like tiger maple, or the stone striations of marble or granite. Whatever style you choose, you’ll enjoy the surprised expressions when guests first step into a room.

You have a sensitive ear. Cork’s acoustic properties make it a sensible choice for any home in which echoing presents a problem—in pared-down interiors with few carpets and curtains, for example, or in apartment buildings where downstairs neighbors tend to call at the slightest footfall. The pitter-patter of tiny feet becomes a bit less thundering with a layer of cork, while the material’s pliancy would be an added benefit should any tot happen to stumble. Music rooms, too, are logical places for cork floors to mute the reverberations of instruments.

You strive to be green. Most trees would quickly perish if their bark were removed. By contrast, cork trees—native to Spain and Portugal—have a type of bark that regenerates after harvesting and can be trimmed again in nine years’ time. Cork floor tiles are made from the remnants of cork wine-stopper manufacturing and are a truly sustainable option for homeowners in search of eco-friendly materials.

Lisbon's Rossio Cork Flooring at Lumber Liquidators

You have a high-traffic household. Forget “high-traffic area” —your whole house is in constant motion with kids, pets, and projects in flux. Cork’s durability makes it a natural choice in such settings and explains its frequent use in public buildings that have a steady stream of visitors, like libraries and museums. Small dents in cork flooring fill themselves in again and shallow scratches visually blend into the overall pattern, unlike marring on wood floors, which is typically easy to see and a hassle to refinish.

You crave easy maintenance. As it does with small scratches, the highly textural pattern of cork helps mask light stains and marks. Sweeping and occasional mopping with a damp cloth are all that’s needed to keep cork floors looking their best. That said, putting felt pads on furniture feet—just as you would with hardwood flooring—can help extend the life of cork tiles.

You’re budget-conscious. At about $3 to $8 per square foot, cork is comparable in price to other flooring options such as hardwood, carpeting, or tile. Whether you choose cork tiles that are positioned with an adhesive or those that feature a tongue-and-groove system, installation is easy for most do-it-yourselfers, which helps to keep costs low. And once the floor is in place, cork’s thermal properties maintain room temperature even in cold weather, which can alleviate your heating costs in winter.

All in all, if you’re thinking about putting in a new floor, cork is an option worth considering.

 

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


5 Smart Energy-Saving Investments for Your Next Home

A new home is just about the biggest purchase most of us will ever make. Incorporating some smart energy-efficient technologies into that home is a great, ecologically responsible way to recoup at least a little bit of that huge pile of money over the years.

Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

If you live in an older home, the prospect of retrofitting it to be more energy efficient might send cold shivers down your spine—even chillier than that bracing breeze leaking in through your improperly sealed window. There are definitely steps you can take to get an older house into better shape, but you have more options and greater control over energy-efficient features in a new home, your next home. In the interest of planning ahead, here are some energy-saving must-haves to consider when you’re building your next home.

PREMIUM WINDOWS
Sure, old wood windows add a lot of charm to a home, but they’re also likely to add a lot of cost to your heating bill because they don’t incorporate any of the energy-saving features of today’s products. In fact, one of the single best ways to make a home energy efficient is to install good-quality windows. The U.S. government’s Energy Star program rates windows using data provided by the National Fenestration Rating Council, so look for the Energy Star label when choosing your new windows. Also, the Efficient Windows Collaborative provides a handy tool to help you pick out the right windows for the part of the country in which you live. In general, you’ll want double- or triple-paned windows with Low-E glass, filled with argon gas.

TANKLESS WATER HEATERS
The idea of keeping a big barrel of water hot all day just so it’s there when you need it seems kind of old-fashioned, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what most water heaters across America do. A more efficient option is to go with a tankless water heater, which fires up only when water passes through it. This means there’s no standby heat loss and the heater never runs out of hot water like its bigger, bloated cousins. Not only can tankless water heaters save you money on your heating bill, but many come with a federal tax rebate of $300. Tankless water heaters can be run off your electrical service or via gas or propane, but be aware that the latter kind might need special venting while the former might need an extra circuit—both good things to know as you’re building your new home.

RADIANT FLOOR HEATING

Warmboard

Photo: Warmboard

Not only does radiant floor heating feel more comfortable, it’s more efficient as well. That’s because unlike “spot” heating solutions, like radiators or forced-air vents in the floor and ceiling, this type of heating provides an all-over warmth that not only keeps the air toasty, but also keeps other objects in the room warm so that they don’t rob heat. One of the most efficient radiant floor heating systems on the market is Warmboard. Unlike their competitors, Warmboard uses conductive heating panels that transfer more heat from your boiler to your home. In fact, their panels are two-and-a-half times more conductive than any other form of radiant heat, making them a smart energy choice for heating. And, the new Total Warmth System from Warmboard makes installation—and cost—even more manageable for homeowners looking for a radiant floor solution. The Total Warmth System is designed with energy efficiency in mind. It’s a complete package that includes a heater, super-efficient floor panels with superior conductivity, and thermostats for zoned heating.

INSULATION
If you’re building a new home from scratch, one of the most efficient ways to keep it warm is to use insulated concrete forms, which essentially incorporate the insulation directly into the structure of the house. If you’re purchasing an existing structure that has shoddy insulation, you can beef it up with spray foam, loose fill cellulose, or fiberglass—all good options. Insulation is rated in terms of its R-value, a measure of its thermal resistance; the higher the number, the greater the insulation’s effectiveness, so be sure to compare R-values when you’re choosing insulation. Energy Star offers this useful chart to help you determine how much insulation you need to add to an existing building.

Solatube

Photo: Solatube Smart LED

SKYLIGHTS
Replacing your bulbs with compact fluorescents is a good way to save energy, but do you want to know an even better way? Don’t use light bulbs at all! That’s the benefit that comes from installing high-quality skylights in your home. By using skylights or solar tubes, you can bring illumination to even the darkest parts of your home and decrease your reliance on electricity to light your way. Skylights can also lower your heating costs by bringing the warmth of the sun in throughout the colder months. If you install operable skylights, you can even lower cooling costs by allowing hot air to escape in the summer. To maximize a skylight’s heating benefits, it’s important that it be installed at the proper slope. According to Energy.gov, a skylight’s slope should be “equal to your geographical latitude plus 5 to 15 degrees. For example, the optimum slope for a south-facing skylight in Columbus, Ohio, at 40 degrees north latitude, is 45 degrees to 55 degrees.” If you place your skylight on too shallow an angle, you’ll let in too much sun in the warmer months and capture less in the winter.

 

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


Bob Vila’s Great Gutter Give-Away Starts TODAY!

Enter today and every day in April for your best chance of winning of $5,000 in products and installation from LeafGuard Brand Gutters.

Great Gutter Give-AwayEveryone knows that the bi-annual ritual of cleaning out the gutters is an important home maintenance task.  In winter it prevents ice dams from forming and in spring, keeps the rain from settling too close to your home’s foundation.  But, what if you never had to clean your gutters again?  Well the dream can become a reality—for at least one lucky winner this month—with Bob Vila’s Great Gutter Give-Away and the chance to outfit your home with new, maintenance-free LeafGuard gutters!

ENTER NOW!

Today and everyday this month (from noon EST Monday, March 31st, through 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, April 30th), you can enter to win new LeafGuard Brand Gutters and installation for your home ($5,000 value)—and say goodbye to clogged gutters forever!  See Official Rules below.

LeafGuard Gutters

Photo: LeafGuard Gutters

LeafGuard Brand by Englert is the original and only one-piece seamless gutter system that combines a leaf and debris shedding hood with a large gutter bottom. The patented design works on the scientific principle of water adhesion, allowing rainwater to travel down and around its curved hood and into the gutter, while deflecting leaves. Available in a full range of color options—and backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal—LeafGuard Gutters are designed to:

  • Prevent clogs from forming and keep rain water flowing freely
  • Eliminate the risk of leaks and water damage to your roof and foundation
  • Withstand storm winds (unlike add-on gutter hoods)
  • Complement every home’s architectural style

So, forget climbing ladders to clean the gutters, enter Bob Vila’s Great Gutter Give-Away TODAY and every day (through 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, April 30th) to increase your chances of winning.

For more on the one-piece, seamless LeafGuard Brand, click here.

The “Bob Vila’s Great Gutter Give-Away” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Monday, March 31st, 2014, through 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, April 30th, 2014. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.


Weekend Projects: 5 Simple Ways to Set Up a Compost Bin

Composting is a win-win enterprise: You cut down on waste and also help keep your garden healthy and growing. Set up one of these easy, do-it-yourself compost bins, and in time you'll have nutrient-rich, home-grown compost.

Compost: It’s what eventually becomes of all decomposing organic material. Essentially, it’s dirt—but it’s not just any dirt. No, this stuff is super rich in the nutrients that are beneficial to plant growth. Gardeners like to call it “black gold.” And while some people pay good money for cubic yards of such high-quality soil, others choose to make it themselves. They do so by composting kitchen waste and yard debris like grass clippings, dead leaves, and small twigs.

Related: Compost Bins—10 Smart Options

You, too, can make your own compost. In fact, if there’s an out-of-the-way spot on your property, you could simply heap compostables into a big, messy pile. But in more compact backyards, homeowners often rely on a compost bin, either store-bought or homemade. If you’d rather not spend money on a premade product—or if you’re looking for a good reason to get outdoors this spring and summer—you can complete a DIY compost bin in a matter of hours, using only a few materials that are easy to find.

 

1. WORK WITH WIRE

DIY Compost Bin - Chicken Wire

Photo: motherearthnews.com

Built of recycled deck boards and simple chicken wire, this DIY compost bin features three compartments to accommodate compost at different stages of decomposition. The chicken wire allows air to circulate among the piles, and the slatted front provides easy access for inspection or removal of compost.

 

2. TACKLE A TUMBLER

DIY Compost Bin - Tumbler

Photo: vegetablegardener.com

A DIY compost tumbler offers one great advantage over other designs. Can you guess what that is? You’re right: The tumbler makes easy work of turning the pile. (If you’ve composted before, you know how that can become a chore.) The project pictured centers on a rain barrel that’s been ingeniously repurposed for the task.

 

3. BUILD WITH BLOCKS

DIY Compost Bin - Cinder Blocks

Photo: blueplanetgreenliving.com

Are raccoons and other critters likely to cause problems? Not to worry. You can build a fortress-like DIY compost bin with square cinder blocks. It’s a flexible system: If you need a bigger bin, simply add on a row of blocks; if there’s too little air, change the orientation of a few blocks so their hollow centers face out.

 

4. REPURPOSE PALLETS

DIY Compost Bin - Shipping Pallets

Photo: bobvila.com

Plywood shipping pallets lend themselves very well to the construction of a DIY compost bin. Here, one side of the bin has been outfitted with hinges to provide easy access. Burlap planter pockets added along the top perimeter help the bin blend into the surrounding garden.

 

5. WELCOME SOME WORMS

DIY Compost Bin - Worms

Photo: klickitatcounty.org

Composting takes time. To speed up the process, consider hosting a worm bin in your backyard. You can DIY one cheaply and easily with a plastic recycling container. What the worms produce inside is politely called “castings”—you might think it’s pretty gross, but your plants are going to love, love, love it.


Repair Drywall with Less Hassle

If you’re armed with the right tools and a little know-how, you’ll never even think about hiring someone to handle this simple task again.

Drywall repair

Photo: HYDE Tools

Let’s be honest. Drywall repair is not something most people look forward to. Although it’s relatively straightforward in theory, if you have ever done it then you know that the dry time of the mud and all the dust created by sanding can turn the task into a big hassle. If you’ve repaired drywall before and your results didn’t turn out as seamless as you had envisioned, then you may be inclined to pay someone else to deal with it next time. Before you tackle the job again (or just throw in the towel), check out these helpful hints that will make drywall repairs easier and smoother.

HYDE bear claw repair clips

HYDE Bear Claw Drywall Repair Clips in use.

Patching large holes
If you have a large hole to repair, the first thing you need to do is cut a square piece of new drywall larger than the area you are repairing. Hold the new piece over the hole and trace around it. (Be sure to mark the top of the patch as a reference for when you install it as it’s not likely to be a perfect square.) With a drywall saw, cut along the lines that you just traced. The new hole is now ready to accept the drywall patch.

There are several ways to keep the new piece flush with the existing drywall, but the easiest way is to use Bear Claw Drywall Repair Clips from HYDE Tools. Simply clip them on the drywall and slide it into place; no nails, screws, or tools required. Apply drywall tape or HYDE’s Wet & Set (in roll form) over the clips and seams, and you’re ready to finish with mud—in other words, joint compound.

Patching small holes
For holes smaller than a baseball but bigger than a nail hole, there’s an easier patching solution than cutting a new piece of drywall. HYDE’s Wet & Set Repair Patch is a flexible sheet of water-activated patching material that dries within 30 minutes. It is impregnated with joint compounds and polymers specifically designed for patching walls and ceilings. Simply cut the patch to the size you need, dip it in water, and smooth it over the hole. After about 30 minutes it’s ready for finishing with mud.

Mudding
Regardless of which method you used, once the patch is in place, it’s time for finishing. Apply a thin coat of mud over the patch, making sure to overlap a few inches onto the existing wall surface. The key here is to use a joint knife in order to get the most uniform results. (Don’t use a narrow spackling knife that you might use to fill nail holes.) Also, don’t apply too much mud; a thin coat is more desirable and will make sanding that much easier. Wait for it to dry, and apply a second thin coat until smooth and seamless.

Sanding
Sanding is the messiest part of the job because the fine dust gets everywhere. Even if you cover your furniture and floors with plastic, dust still seems to infiltrate every nook and cranny. The best investment you can make here is HYDE’s Dust-Free Sponge Sander. It connects to wet/dry vacuums equipped with fine dust filters to remove dust while you are sanding. This tool is particularly useful for any drywall repair job in a finished area of your home. Remember, the key to effective sanding is to use long and broad strokes so you seamlessly blend in the dried mud. Avoid getting carried away and sanding too much—you don’t want to expose any clips or edges of the patch.

Note: Before you paint, make sure the patched area feels smooth. With your eye close to and parallel to the wall, look down to see if it’s completely flat (doing so now will eliminate the pesky “hump” that sometimes becomes visible after painting). Also, don’t forget to prime the patched spot before painting or the finish will look dull compared with the rest of the wall.

Following these simple tips and techniques can take the headache out of drywall repair and save you from calling in a pro for such a small job. Plus, when you’re all done, you get to enjoy the satisfying feeling of stepping back and admiring your work—even though in this case your work will be completely undetectable!

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


5 Things to Do with… Cassette Tapes

Wondering what to do with your collection of old cassette tapes? Perhaps one of these clever recycling projects will inspire you to put them to inventive good use.

Chances are good that in some remote corner of your home there lies a box full of dusty cassette tapes. Be honest: When’s the last time you listened to one? Now that digital music is the format of choice for the majority of music-lovers today, cassette tapes’ only real value is sentiment. With these cassette tape recycling projects, you can keep your collection for years to come, using it to create novel objects that have practical benefits not likely to be rendered obsolete anytime soon.

 

1. CONSTRUCT A CHAIR

Cassette Tape Recycling - Chair

Photo: ooomydesign.bigcartel.com

Back in 1987, you may have been dancing to the sounds of cassette tapes, but today you’re probably more interested in sitting down on your analog assets. Start with a wood chair frame. Using cable ties, lash tapes into panels—one to cover the seat, one to cover the back—then finish by fastening those panels to the frame.

 

2. MAKE A LAMPSHADE

Cassette Tape Recycling - Lamp Shade

Photo: ciiwa.com

Crafted almost entirely of the same types of cassette tapes that are currently hogging space in your too-small closet, this is no ordinary lampshade. To make your own, wire together a selection of tapes that have transparent plastic casings. Line the inside of the assembly with a layer of plastic sheeting, then fit the shade over a light bulb.

 

3. CREATE A CARRYING CASE

Cassette Tape Recycling - Carrying Case

Photo: reclaimedwreckage.blogspot.com

Locate an empty box—cardboard, plastic, or wood—that features a hinged lid. Next, use a strong adhesive to cover the box on all sides with cassette tapes. Finally, glue a handle to the side that opens and closes. An equally easy alternative is to bind together a couple of dozen cassette tapes to create an open-topped crate.

 

4. ASSEMBLE A WALLET

Cassette Tape Recycling - Wallet

Photo: redesignrevolution.com

Transform a cassette tape into a one-of-a-kind, perfectly pocket-size wallet. Here’s how: Pry apart a tape casing so that it splits into halves. Next, glue a cut-to-size length of zippered fabric onto both halves. As a last step, seal the nonzippered side of the wallet enclosure with a narrow band of glued-on fabric.

 

5. CRAFT A PENCIL HOLDER

Cassette Tape Recycling - Pencil Holder

Photo: redzebradesigns.com.au

To make a desktop pencil holder—or a small, open-topped box that’s useful for scores of miscellaneous purposes—you just need four cassette tapes and one compact disc. That’s it. The rest is a simple matter of applying enough glue to make all the components “jam” together.


A Garage Makeover to Behold—The RAM Cave Minnesota

One of the three winners of last fall's $25,000 RAM Renovation Contest got a special bonus—a visit from Bob Vila. Here's the reveal.

Garage Before

The garage before the intervention.

When Rachel K. of Prior Lake, Minnesota, entered the RAM Renovation Contest last fall, it was with the very best of intentions—a gift for her dad, Dan.

“My dad’s garage is his universe,” Rachel’s entry essay began. She added that he is not only a seasoned mechanic, handling everything from simple oil changes and brake jobs to complete engine overhauls, but also a longtime lover of Dodge Ram vehicles. Now, with two sons following in their dad’s footsteps—and infringing on his “universe”—the garage needed some attention. Rachel knew that a makeover that provided organization, storage, and some man cave comforts would be her dad’s dream come true.

Of course, little did she know that her entry would be one of three chosen for a $25,000 RAM garage makeover—or that Bob Vila would be on site to oversee the transformation.

“Rachel and Dan welcomed me and the renovation production crew in pretty severe early winter weather,” recalls Bob. “They are a special family, and I was glad to be part of the team that turned a daughter’s dream into a reality for her dad.”

Here’s a look at how a cluttered and unorganized mechanic’s garage was, in a single weekend, transformed into a quality shop and distinctive man cave—for a most deserving dad!

To see the other two RAM Renovation Contest winners, click here.

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