Welcome to Bob Vila


IKEA Headboard Gets a DIY Makeover

An IKEA shelf gets reinvented as a DIY tufted headboard in this bedroom makeover.

Who doesn’t love IKEA? It’s affordable, flat packs make it easy to transport, and a breeze to assemble (well, usually). But when your IKEA furniture’s charm no longer suits your style, Aniko at Place of My Taste proves that there’s no need to throw it out if you can reinvent it. And she definitely reinvented her IKEA furniture into a whole new DIY headboard that blew us away—completed in a few hours and for $28, no less. Take a look to see how she got from her IKEA before to her custom-made after.

Before and After IKEA Hack DIY Headboard

MATERIALS

- IKEA shelving unit (or piece of plywood)
- (2) 2×4 wood pieces (4-feet tall)
- drill and screws
- staple gun and staples
- batting (2-inches thick)
- fabric (to cover headboard)
- buttons
- hot glue gun

Materials for IKEA hack DIY headboard

STEP 1 

IKEA Hack DIY Headboard step 1

First of all, we took apart our shelving unit. 

STEP 2

Using the drill, we screwed the 2 x 4 wood pieces onto the back of the bed. We put one piece of long wood on each side of the bed.

IKEA DIY Headboard Step 2

Eww—it doesn’t look very pretty, but this is the back of the bed and it won’t be visible. 

STEP 3

Then we lifted the bigger piece and attached it together with 6-8 screws on each side. This is how it looked after the two pieces were screwed together. Nice and tall.

IKEA DIY Headboard tall

STEP 4

We wrapped the batting around the headboard, and stapled it to the back of the huge piece. If you would like to have nice and thick tufted headboard, double the batting. Make sure you pull the batting out completely straight on each side. 

STEP 5

Once this step is done, you can add your fabric.

I chose white for my project. I am not sure what is with me and white  lately, but lots of times I am leaning towards white when it comes to color choices…

The nice thing  about this headboard is that if I ever want to change the look of it, I could take off the fabric and staple a new one on.

I wrapped the fabric over the batting , pulled the fabric out on each corner to make sure it is not wrinkled, and as a final step I stapled it to the back of the board.

Staple Gun Upholstering DIY Headboard

STEP 6

We measured 9 spots for the buttons, using a tape measure, counting equal distance from each side.

Then using a staple gun, we stapled each spot (9) for the buttons.

IKEA DIY headboard with stapled buttons

STEP 7

We glued each button to the headboard with a hot glue gun. I was hesitant to glue with a hot glue gun, but I was hoping to see the buttons stay on. They did!

DIY Headboard Tufted Buttons

I think it turned out just beautiful.

IKEA DIY Headboard Final

Thanks for sharing, Aniko! To see how she made the herringbone lampshade or sunburst mirror pictured here, or to see even more DIY inspiration, visit Place of My Taste.


How To: Install a Deadbolt

The easiest and cheapest way to improve the security of your home is to install a deadbolt. With the right tools, even the average homeowner can get the job done with relative ease. Here's how.

How to Install a Deadbolt

Photo: shutterstock.com

Automated security systems are nice to have, but the easiest and least expensive way to improve the security of home is to install a deadbolt lock. Even a high-quality lockset isn’t enough to keep out an experienced burglar; you’re a lot better off with both a lockset and a deadbolt. Since you really do get what you pay for, it’s best not to scrimp here. You’ll save on installation, because it’s so easy to install a deadbolt, you can do the job yourself within a couple hours. Here’s how.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS:
- Deadbolt
- Drill/driver
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Tape measure
- Speed square
- 1″ chisel
- Marking pencil
- 2-1/8″ hole saw
- 1″ spade bit

STEP 1
Determine the ideal location for the deadbolt. Typically, a deadbolt lock appears 6″ or 12″ inches above the key lock (roughly 44″ from the bottom of the door). With help from your tape measure, pick your spot and mark it on the side of the door (the part through which the bolt is going to extend). Now break out your speed square and pencil a straight line at the mark point; it should extend all the way across the door’s side. Next, again use the speed square, this time to help you continue that line onto the front and back sides of the door. You should end up with a single line that runs continuously, at uniform height, around the door.

How to Install a Deadbolt - Drilling Door

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
On each side of the door, mark the point 2-3/8″ or 2-3/4″ from the edge (the measurement depends on the length of your latch bolt; for specifics here, refer to the template provided by the manufacturer of your chosen lock). Meanwhile, on the edge of the door, mark the midpoint. The three marks you’ve made represent where you’re going to drill. First up is the hole for the lock cylinder. Having attached the 2-1/8″ hole saw to your drill, address the mark on the front of door. Rather than drill all the way through, go about an inch deep, then move over and drill through the other side. The result should be a clean, circular hole through which you can easily see the other side. Finish with the 1″ spade bit; drill through the marked point on the side of the door, continuing until this hole meets the other.

STEP 3
Choose the faceplate from among the lock parts supplied with your purchase. Match the hole in the faceplate with the hole you drilled on the door’s edge. While holding the plate in position, trace around it with your pencil, marking its silhouette. Having done so, use a 1″ chisel to create a 1/8″-deep mortise within the tracing. The faceplate and bolt are likely attached, so you must install both simultaneously. After confirming which is right side-up for the bolt, slide the bolt through the latch hole, bringing the faceplate flush with the edge of the door (assuming you’ve mortised correctly). Secure the plate with the mounting screws provided before moving onto the key cylinder. When sliding the cylinder into place through the larger hole on the face of the door, be sure to fit the tailpiece of the cylinder through the corresponding holes on the bolt. Once it’s correctly positioned, screw the cylinder onto the door. Then repeat with the other half of the cylinder: Slide it into the door, join it to the bolt, then screw it in.

STEP 4
The hard part is over. After locking and unlocking the mechanism a few times to test its functionality, activate the bolt and shut the door as far as it will go. On the doorjamb, mark the point where the bolt hits. Here, using the 1″ spade bit, drill a hole to accept the bolt. Now look over to the unused lock parts you have left; the strike plate should be among the last remaining. Fit it over the hole, then trace around it with your pencil. As you did for the faceplate in step 3, proceed to chisel out a 1/8″-deep mortise. Once finished, set the strike plate into the mortise, making it flush with the jamb, then secure it in place with screws.

Test the door to be certain that it’s working properly. Assuming it is, you can now rest easier, knowing the average burglar would have a much, much harder time gaining entry to your most valuable investment—your home.


Innovative Closet Organizing System Means Less Mess

Powerfully built, easily affordable, and designed in no-frills modern style, EZ Shelf lives up to its name, bringing customizable storage well within reach of just about anyone.

EZ Shelf - Garage

Photo: thebestclosetorganizer.com

Clutter and disorganization are familiar foes to most, but a new shelving system promises to tame the turmoil once and for all. Whether your problem area lies in the garage, bedroom closet, the home office or elsewhere, EZ Shelf expandable products provide a versatile solution for a fraction of what custom shelving costs. With EZ Shelf, just about anyone, even novice do-it-yourselfers, can incorporate truly useful, durable, and stylish storage into their homes, quickly and easily.

EZ Shelf - Bedroom

Photo: thebestclosetorganizer.com

Installation couldn’t be more straightforward, as each shelving unit expands (3 sizes are available from 40″-73″, 28″-48″, and 17″-27″), with no cutting, no complicated measuring, and no drilling (into drywall) required. “The EZ Shelf system takes less than a third of the time it takes to install conventional wire shelving, and has fewer than half the number of parts,” says David Jablow, President and CEO of EZ Shelf. “Contractors and handymen will be able to charge consumers reasonable prices, or if you feel comfortable with a screwdriver it is an easy one-person installation.”

EZ Shelf products also give you the power to customize your own solution, as each unit allows for multiple handy configurations. Simply choose whichever one corresponds best to your needs. And when you combine units, the possibilities are nearly limitless, allowing you to custom-tailor a storage system that fits perfectly, even in a laundry room, pantry with awkward dimensions, or in a mudroom where nothing else has seemed to work in the past.

Further, you can always be safe in the assumption that your EZShelf installation isn’t going to fail unexpectedly. Powerfully built from tubular steel, the product provides significantly more strength than conventional wire shelving. Whereas conventional wire shelves hold 60 or 80 pounds, EZ Shelf can handle more than twice that weight, having been rated to securely support at least 200 pounds.

EZ Shelf - Walk In

Photo: thebestclosetorganizer.com

“EZ Shelf expandable products are the first economical alternatives to wire shelving that’s come out in the past 50 years,” explains Jablow. “So many people don’t like wire shelves—they look cheap and are hard to clean. So we asked an Italian design studio to help design EZ Shelf so that it is aesthetically pleasing, with a nice modern look.” Offered in white and silver, two classic colors that never go out of style, EZ Shelf looks good no matter what your decorating scheme. And though European-designed, over 75% of the product components are made in the U.S.A. and backed by a lifetime guarantee—a definite plus for those seeking maximum value.

EZ Shelf offers a selection of helpful closet organizing hints on its website, where we found a special closet makeover video that perfectly demonstrates why EZ Shelf is gaining popularity. Watch it now!

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


Bob Vila Radio: Drilling Through Tile

So long as you've got a power drill and the right assortments of bits, drilling through tile is a task every average homeowner can handle. Read on to learn how it's done.

Planning to install a new towel rack or grab bar in your bathroom? That may mean drilling through ceramic tile. It’s not a difficult job, but you do need to go about it the right way.

Drilling Through Tile

Photo: shutterstock.com

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 SCREWS IN CERAMIC TILE, or read text below:

Start by using tape to make an X over the spot where you want to drill. The tape will protect the surrounding tile and also help keep your drill bit from wandering. Insert a carbide-tipped tile bit into the chuck of your drill and tighten it up. Dip the bit into cutting oil, then wipe off the excess. Position your bit on your mark and using light pressure, drill through the tape and into the tile (be careful not to push too hard; that could crack the tile). Once you feel the bit exit the inner side of the tile, remove it gently. If your tile’s mounted on drywall, switch to a drywall bit and finish the job, again withdrawing the bit carefully. Insert a screw anchor into the hole and mount your towel rack or grab bar.

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.


The Do’s and Don’ts of Window Fans

Though not a substitute for air conditioning on the hottest summer days, you can stay cool and comfortable for much less money month to month by learning how to use window fans strategically.

How to Use a Window Fan

Photo: shutterstock.com

Air conditioning is responsible for as much as one third of the electricity consumed in summer. These are energy-thirsty appliances, and energy ain’t cheap. That’s precisely why, instead of blasting the AC continuously, many switch to window fans when possible. Though powerless against humidity, fans are much cheaper to run and on many warm-but-not-miserable days, they can make you considerably more comfortable. No, there isn’t really a wrong way to use a fan; any breeze helps. But these tips can help you use fans more effectively, reducing your reliance on air conditioning and lowering your summertime utility bills.

Here’s the key: To maximize air movement in the home, you need both in-blowing and out-blowing window fans. These are not the oscillating fans you might place on a desk or bedside table. If you do not own and would rather not buy a specially designed window fan, a standard box fan does the trick—but you’ve got to set the unit securely into the window opening. And at minimum, you need two window fans: one whose blades are drawing air into the home, another whose blades are pushing air out. It’s not rocket science, but it is basic building science. Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind as you plan and tweak your fan strategy.

How to Use a Window Fan - Front

Photo: shutterstock.com

DO

Strength in Numbers. The more window fans you have working, the better. Aim to set up an equal number of in- and out-blowing fans. If you have an odd number, configure the extra one to pull air in. That creates a slight positive pressure indoors that may help discourage bugs from entering the space.

Prime Placement. Position inward-blowing fans on the shady side of your house, outward-blowing fans on the sunny side. Do this no matter how many stories your house is. But if there are multiple floors, the ground-level fans should pull air in, while the upper-level fans should push rising warm air out.

Size Matters. If you have a choice, always opt for the largest-size fans that can fit in your windows. Whether by fabric window treatments or panels of plywood, try to block the open-air cavities on either side of the fan unit (specially designed window fans come with integrated seals for this exact purpose).

The Stack Effect. Leverage what’s known as the stack effect. After sunset, set the ground-level fans to bring in cool night air, while trusting the upper-story fans to expel warm air. In the morning, when the house is at its coolest, remove the fans and shut the windows. The insulation in most modern houses can retain cool air for hours. Once the sun sets, re-open the windows and start your fans up again.

DON’T

The Nose Knows. Avoid situating in-blowing fans near waste bins or parking areas (your driveway included). That way, you won’t invite in unpleasant odors and toxic exhaust fumes.

Ups and Downs. Cooling with fans can lead to wide fluctuations in temperature, and in some cases such extremes can damage antique furniture or musical instruments made of wood. To be on the safe side, closely monitor items like this for signs of a problem.

There are always going to be days when air conditioning strikes you, not so much as an optional luxury, but more like a bare necessity. On other days, though, you may be able to get by just fine with the help of window fans, particularly if you position them strategically throughout your home. Stay cool out there!


How To: Mix Concrete

Even if your only experience with the stuff has been to walk upon it, you can mix concrete successfully on your first attempt by following these simple, fool-proof steps.

How to Mix Concrete

Photo: shutterstock.com

Everyone knows how concrete looks and that it lasts for years and years. What you may not have realized is that preparing a batch of the stuff is basically a “just add water” affair. Even if you’ve never done it before, you can mix concrete in under an hour. Of course, there’s more to working with concrete than simply mixing the material. But being able to do successfully is the first step towards building something to stand the test of time. Once you’re familiar with the technique, a bevy of DIY projects in and around the home fall squarely within your range of capabilities. These include creating a walkway, a durable countertop, or a stylish weather-resistant planter. To be on your way toward such rewarding home improvements, follow the simple steps to learn how to mix concrete like a pro.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS:
- Concrete mix
- Wheelbarrow
- Watering can
- Plastic cup
- Shovel (or garden hoe)

STEP 1
Concrete mix usually comes in a paper bag, on the front of which you’ll find the yield of the package listed in cubic feet. Know that for smaller DIY projects, you are going to need the entire bag. For larger projects (e.g., patios), you’ll need all that and then some. Several full bags are likely to be in order, though depending on the task at hand, you may choose not to mix all the concrete needed at one time. If you’re confused about how much concrete to buy, use a quantity calculator like this one from Quikrete. Whether you need the entire bag or only a portion of it, place the package into your wheelbarrow, cut it open, and by lifting the bag gently upwards, empty out as much of its contents as called for by the job. On a windy day, do this step indoors, perhaps in the garage, to avoid making a mess.

How to Mix Concrete - Texture

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
Having filled up your watering can in preparation for the project, pour a little of the liquid into the center of the mounded concrete mix. Continue pouring in water little by little until you’ve added the amount specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. Be careful not to put in too much water; you can always add more, but you can’t take any out. And remember that if you only need a portion of the concrete mix—half, for instance, or a quarter—then you must adjust the “recipe” accordingly. Worried about using too much or too little? Allay your uncertainty by employing a kitchen measuring cup to fill the watering can with a carefully pre-measured volume of water.

STEP 3
Combine the concrete and water, working the material in a back-and-forth motion, using either a shovel or garden hoe. The goal here is to evenly distribute the water across the powder. If you’ve used water conservatively, you may find that as the mixture stiffens, it appears dry and crumbly. In that case, add more water until you’ve achieved a relatively smooth, moldable consistency, with no standing puddles.

STEP 4
Test your concrete with the “slump” test. Here’s an easy way to do it. First, cut the bottom off a plastic or paper cup. Next, shape the container into a cone. Scoop up enough concrete to fill the cone, then empty the cone onto a flat surface. If the concrete collapses to about half the height of the cone, perfect—you’re ready to go. If the concrete loses none of its height—that is, if it doesn’t slump at all—go back and add some more water. If the concrete collapses considerably farther than half the height of the cone, you’ve added too much water and must compensate with additional mix (or in a pinch, dry sand can be used).

STEP 5
Your wheelbarrow should now be filled with usable concrete. Move it to wherever you’re going to be working. Meanwhile, leave any tools that have touched concrete (e.g., your shovel) in a bucket of water. That way, the concrete won’t set on the tool, and you’ll have the opportunity to clean it properly later on. To keep your wheelbarrow spic and span, aim to empty empty and clean it as soon as possible. Once the concrete sets, it’s going to be mighty difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Of course, strength and durability are selling points for concrete, but now that you’re working with the stuff, you are likely to find that you see concrete and its characteristics from a fresh perspective.


How To: Tie Dye

Brighten any basic white T-shirt with one of three tie-dye techniques using our step-by-step guide.

How to Tie Dye

Photo: shutterstock.com

A staple of summer camp (and of America in the late ’60s), tie dye entertains and engages the young and young-at-heart. Whether you’re leading an activity for kids at a slumber party or making a batch of matching shirts for the family reunion, you’ll enjoy not only the kaleidoscopic colors of the final result, but also the process itself—this is fun stuff! And perhaps the best part is that in tie dyeing, you can’t really make a mistake. Anything goes (just about). Now how ’60s is that?

Step 1: Gather the materials.
White T-shirts are best for beginners. For better dyeing quality, work with 100 percent cotton. You will also need a fabric dye kit, soda ash (if not included in the kit), rubber gloves, tubs, spoon, plastic table cloth, rubber bands and glass marbles. You’ll also need squeeze bottles with nozzles, if you plan to jump head first into multicolor dye projects—and we wholeheartedly recommend that you do!

Step 2: Set up your station.
Minimize mess by covering your work station in plastic—a disposable plastic tablecloth would work nicely. Meanwhile, gear up in clothes you wouldn’t mind getting splashed. Wearing rubber gloves, mix one cup of soda ash and one gallon of warm water in a bucket. (This should be enough to pre-treat up to 12 adult shirts.) In separate buckets, mix up each of the colors, according to the instructions on the dye packaging. Bear in mind that the dye can stain a plastic bucket, so you may wish to use an enamel or glass container. For a lighter, somewhat faded end result, add more water than the amount stipulated in the instructions.

Step 3: Pick your pattern.
Using rubber bands, you can experiment and achieve several designs on your shirt. Of course, there’s a degree of randomness and chance to these designs. For many, that’s the appeal of tie dyeing. But if you’d like more control over the look of your shirt, skip to Step 4. Otherwise, keep the following techniques in mind:

How to Tie Dye - Spiral

Photo: shutterstock.com

Circles
Lay your wet shirt on a smooth, flat surface. Pinch the cloth where you’d want the center of the circle to be, then slip a marble behind the shirt to that point. Tie a rubber band to secure the cloth around it. Add another marble behind the first, wrap a rubber band around it, and continue to do so until you have a string of marbles separated by rubber bands. When dyed, the bands will leave large white circles on the newly colored background. For smaller circles scattered on your T-shirt, tie marbles in clusters side-by-side rather than one beside the other.

Stripes
Roll a wet shirt tightly into a tube. If you want horizontal stripes, roll the shirt side to side; for vertical stripes, roll from bottom to top. Place rubber bands around the wrap, spacing the bands at equal intervals. Once the shirt has been dyed, these bands will produce white stripes.

Spirals
Place your finger in the center of the flat, wet T-shirt. Rotate the shirt clockwise, keeping your finger still so that the shirt twists around it like a pinwheel. When the whole shirt is tightly spiraled into a disc shape, remove your finger and carefully wrap three to four rubber bands over the shirt so that they cross like a starburst in the center.

Step 4: Soak your shirt.
Wearing gloves, stick your shirt into the solution of soda ash and warm water and let it soak for ten to 15 minutes. Doing so helps the dye cling to the fibers. After you remove the shirt, wring out any excess water, so it’s damp but not dripping.

Step 5: Get colorful.
If you are dyeing a shirt with a single color, the easiest method is to dip dye it. Fill a bucket with the dye you’ve mixed, then dunk the shirt in, making sure the fabric is completely submerged. Leave the shirt in the bucket for as long as the instructions specify, anywhere from ten to 30 minutes. The longer the shirt soaks, the deeper the color is going to be.

If you are creating a multicolored pattern, take the colors you’ve mixed and pour them into squeeze bottles. Place your white shirt on the plastic-covered work station, then squirt colors from the different bottles onto different parts of the shirt (flip the shirt over and add color to the back, too). When you’re finished, cover the garment in plastic wrap to keep it moist for as long as the instructions recommend.

Step 6: Rinse and roll out.
When soak time is up, rinse the cloth of excess dye, first in warm water, then gradually in cool water. Repeat until the water runs clear. Finally, unveil your masterpiece (if you used rubber bands, now is the time to take them off). The first time you wash the shirt, remember to put it in the machine on its own. That way, you can avoid any accidents. Dry the shirt on the dryer’s coolest setting. Or opt to air dry—somehow that seems most appropriate, no?


DIY Repurposed Window Headboard

These thrift store windows bring new life to a guest bedroom as a simple repurposed headboard.

At BobVila.com, we love an old window. No, really. And this repurposed window headboard from Liz Marie puts one of our favorite materials on full display. By letting their natural window-ness shine through (see what we did there?), she ended up with a headboard that elevates a potentially ordinary guest bedroom to cottage chic.  So if you have some spare windows left over from a remodel or are lucky enough to find some at the local thrift store, read on and get ready to be inspired.

DIY Repurposed Window Headboard

MATERIALS

- (4) antique windows
- painter’s tape
- picture hangers
- tape measure
- level
- screws
- nails
- drill/driver
- hammer
- polyurethane
- caulk and caulk gun

I found these windows at a local thrift store for a price that I could not pass up. I loved that they were all similar and knew right away what I wanted to do with them. I also loved all of the flaws in the windows & didn’t want to change them in any way.

This headboard was quite simple to hang & only required a few steps to make sure it was secure & ready for guests. I am not going to lie, having windows hanging above a bed wasn’t my safest idea ever so I wanted to make sure things were as secure as possible.

STEP 1

Tape off wall for diy window headboard

We taped off the wall in sections the size of the windows to see how we wanted the windows hung and how we wanted them to be spaced on the wall.

STEP 2

We then secured any loose parts on the windows, we wanted them to be shabby, but not fall apart on our guests. Different steps for each window. We polyurethaned the windows so that the paint would not chip off of the window. It would also be wise to caulk the glass in your windows if you find that any are loose.

STEP 3 

We attached picture hangers on the back of all of the windows that were appropriate for the weight of the windows. One picture frame holder for each window.

STEP 4

Screw in DIY Window Headboard

Using a tape measure, level, and screws we hung the windows as level and straight as possible. This is hard when you are working with rustic materials because there are flaws as you can see, but we tried to keep them as similar as possible.

STEP 5

We put nails in the wall behind the windows to secure them from being able to move back and forth if anyone were to bump them. Also this step straightens out your windows if they are hanging a little crooked.

DIY Window Headboard

We have actually had guests stay in this room already and I was so excited to ask them the morning after they slept in the room if the windows bothered them at all or if anything. They said they were perfect and didn’t effect them at all.

Thanks to Liz Marie Blog for sharing! To check out more of her DIY projects and get the home tour, visit her site.


Bob Vila Radio: Fast Fixes for Sticky Double-Hung Windows

Do you work up a sweat wrestling with sticking windows? These time-tested tricks can help you get those slashes sliding freely up and down again.

Sure, you love your old wooden double-hung windows. But sometimes—after raising and lowering them—do you feel like you need a visit to the chiropractor? Here are some tips for freeing up those sticking windows.

Sticking Windows

Photo: shutterstock.com

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 STICKING WINDOWS, or read text below:

First, if the windows have been painted shut, use a hammer and stiff putty knife (with a blade at least 4″ wide) to work your way between the window sash and the moldings. Holding the putty knife parallel with the glass, gently tap the corner of the blade between the molding and the sash. Once you have the blade partly in, wiggle it around to loosen the paint. Repeat the process around any areas of the sash where it appears there could be binding.

You can also try using a hammer to drive a block of wood into the window tracks, as near to the sash as you can. The wood should be about 1/8″ wider than the tracks. The idea is to spread the tracks just enough to ease the binding. Finally, rub a little candle wax into the tracks. That’ll help keep those sashes sliding!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 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.


Genius! DIY Citronella Candles

Mother and daughter team Vicki and Jennifer at 2 Bees in a Pod show off their inventive DIY candle.

You mean you can make your own citronella candles? Now, that’s genius! Mother and daughter team Vicki and Jennifer at 2 Bees in a Pod can show you how it’s done. Inspired by an upcoming lake vacation (and a free set of canning jars), they used their inventiveness to hack humble mason jars into useful, bug-repelling luminaries. 

These two have been blogging together for one year, but they’ve being DIYing together for decades. In fact, they’ve tackled projects of all sizes. When the pair teamed up with family to renovate Jennifer’s kitchen, they did everything from tiling the floor to creating custom drapes (and when it comes to furniture, they’re repurposing gurus). So when they spotted a mason jar lamp for sale—with a hefty price tag—they knew it’d be a cinch to make their own. With the addition of citronella oil, these are not only a source of illumination, but a serious bug-repellant as well.

“Our oil lamps are still burning,” they tell us. “We have used them all summer long and there is plenty of citronella oil left.” But that’s not the last from these home inventors. “We’ve been toying with the idea of creating outdoor solar lights on a pedestal to line the sidewalk. It may be fun to “stain” them orange for the fall,” says the mother-daughter duo.

Read on to see how Vicki and Jennifer created these affordable, wow-worthy DIY citronella candles.

DIY Citronella Candles - Flames

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

MATERIALS
- Mason jars
- 100% cotton rope
- Citronella oil
- Hammer
- Screwdriver

DIY Citronella Candle - Citronella

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

STEP 1
Hammer a hole in the center insert of the jar top. TipYou can hammer two lids at one time. 

DIY Citronella Candle - Lids

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

DIY Citronella Candle - Punctured Lid

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

STEP 2
Use three strand rope for your wick. TipUse 100% cotton rope. Nylon will melt, sizzle and quit burning.

DIY Citronella Candle - Rope

Tip Wrap the tip of the rope with tape. This will keep the rope from unraveling when you place it in the jar lid.

DIY Citronella Candle - Wick

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

STEP 3
Pour citronella oil into the jar, anywhere from a quarter- to a third-full.

DIY Citronella Candle - Oil

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

STEP 4
Screw the lid into place. Snip the taped end off of the rope.

DIY Citronella Candle - Snip

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

STEP 5
Let the rope soak up the citronella oil for about 10-15 minutes before lighting.

DIY Citronella Candle - Finished Pair

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

STEP 6
Stand back and light it up.

DIY Citronella Candle - Lit

Photo: 2beesinapod.com

When the rope wicks are first lit, they will burn high. After a few minutes the flame will be more like a candle burning. Take them outdoors and let them work their magic on keeping the mosquitos away.

Thanks to our genius DIY bloggers Vicki and Jennifer from 2 Bees in a Pod for sharing their tutorial for the perfect DIY citronella candles! To catch up with their latest hacks and projects, check out their blog.