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DIY Plywood Magazine File

Storage bins that fit seamlessly into your decor are hard to come by. And what is available out there often costs a pretty penny. So why not follow this blogger's lead and make your own?

Bob Vila Thumbs Up Plywood

DIY Magazine File

Photo: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com

The IKEA Expedit is a veritable mainstay in homes across the world. It’s perfect for collectors and book lovers, but you may not want all of its many shelves on display. That’s why Tanya at Dans le Townhouse decided it was high time to find a storage solution to hide her many magazines. But when buying a container looked bleak, she and her husband decided to DIY their own—from plywood! The effect is perfect, and gives this big box shelf a custom flair all its own. Find out how they did it by reading the how to.

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- 1/4″ Carribea pine plywood (approximately 1.5 sheets)
- Tablesaw
- Bandsaw
- Wood glue
- Clamps
- Sandpaper
- Paint
- White stain
- Low-luster varnish
- Drawer pulls
- Felt feet

 

STEP 1

DIY Magazine File - Construction

Photo: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com

Once we had an idea of what we wanted—and what size—Hubby used this online cut list tool that he really likes. It helps figure out how much material we need, and helps us efficiently cut up a sheet of plywood.

 

STEP 2

DIY Plywood Magazine Rack - Cutting Plywood

Photo: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com

He used a table saw to cut all of the square/rectangular shapes and a bandsaw for the triangular cuts.

 

STEP 3

DIY Plywood Magazine File - Gluing Plywood

Photo: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com

He edge glued and clamped the boxes together (applying wood glue to both sides of each joint). Once dry, he glued the internal dividers into place. Without dividers, these would make great storage bins for the Expedit.

 

STEP 4

DIY plywood magazine file - Painting Plywood

Photo: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com

Once the glue dried, we sanded the finished magazine files smooth. I was definitely tempted to paint them aqua (everything turquoise!), but for some reason I’m really smitten with the Carribea grain. I decided to paint the inside turquoise. To help insure no paint bled onto the fronts, I didn’t paint the edge—only the insides.

 

STEP 5
While I love the Carribea grain, I don’t love the natural colour of pine. Three coats of my favorite white stain helped tone down the yellowness. Once the stain was dry, I applied two coats of low luster varnish, lightly scuff sanding in between coats.

 

STEP 6
We installed my vintage hardware—centered—with the help of a small metric bolt and washer.

 

STEP 7

DIY Magazine File - Felt Feet

Photo: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com

Finally, we added some felt feet to the bottom of each file to keep it from scratching the Expedit.

DIY Magazine File - Completed Rack

Photo: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com

 

And you’re finished!

DIY Magazine Rack - In Place

Photo: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.com

Thanks, Tanya! To take a tour of her house, or to see even more DIY projects, visit Dans le Townhouse.


DIY Plywood Bookcase

When this blogger needed a spot to unpack boxes of books after a move, she decided to create a library shelf from plywood boards. Why buy when you can DIY like this?

Bob Vila Thumbs Up Plywood

DIY plywood bookcase

Photo: ohohblog.com

When we saw Ama’s sleek and contemporary bookshelf, we were impressed. And when it became clear that it was made entirely out of plywood, we were doubly so. Her project, which we came across at Oh Oh Blog, is proof that humble materials need not be relegated to lowly status. In fact, after seeing this bookshelf, we think plywood deserves a second look. Here’s how she did it.

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Plywood (see dimensions below)
- Wood glue
- Clamps
- Sandpaper
- Stain
- Varnish
- Screws
- Drill

 

STEP 1

DIY plywood bookcase - cut sizes

Photo: ohohblog.com

Cut the plywood boards (or have them cut professionally) using the following dimensions.

Shelves:
A – 16 pieces of 10″ x 10″
B – 4 pieces of 10″ x 63″

Back:
C – 1 piece of 10″ x 36.5″

Base:
D – 4 pieces of 5″ x 10″
E – 1 piece of 5″ x 36.5″

 

STEP 2

DIY Plywood Bookcase - Assembly Diagram

Photo: ohohblog.com

Glue the “A” pieces two by two to make the vertical parts. I used wood glue and clamps to hold them together until it was well stuck.

 

STEP 3
I did the same with the D pieces to make the base.

 

STEP 4
I sanded all the pieces, flat and edges (booooring part).

 

STEP 5
I stained shelves in chocolate color and applied transparent varnish on the other pieces. I like the contrast between the two colors. This can work with any other colors combinations—give it a try.

 

STEP 6

DIY plywood bookcase - base construction

Photo: ohohblog.com

I assembled the D and E pieces to make the base of the bookcase. You have to put the D pieces perpendicular to the E piece, put some glue between the pieces, and then fasten with two screws on each side.

Then I did the same with the C piece and two A pieces (after gluing them 2 by 2) to make the back of the bookcase.

 

STEP 7

DIY plywood bookcase - step 7

Photo: ohohblog.com

After that, I attached three A pieces to a B shelve. I put glue on the shelf and laid the A above, making sure they were vertical.

 

STEP 8

DIY Plywood Bookcase - Assembly Process

Photo: ohohblog.com

Almost done! We can start to assemble the shelves. Put the base on the floor, add some glue and put a shelve on top. Use clamps or weights (like books or tool box) to ensure a strong bond. Then add glue and put the other part on top, and so on… until the last shelf!

Thanks for sharing, Ama! To see even more incredible DIYs, visit her at Oh Oh Blog.


DIY Plywood Marquee Letters

Plywood usually spells practical, but can it ever be fun? This project certainly has us rethinking that notion. Boring no more!

Bob Vila Thumbs Up Plywood

DIY Marquee Letters

Photo: twothirtyfivedesigns.com

Think that fun and custom home accents need to be pricey? If so, you’re in for a shock. Take a look at this amazing marquee sign made by the talented Allison at Two Thirty-Five Designs. It’s all made from humble plywood and simple string lights. With a few power tools and a free weekend, you could make a sign all your own. Read on to find out how.

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Plywood (2 sheets – thickness depends on if you are going to attach it to the wall or lean it)
- Outdoor string lights (1 strand per letter)
- Jigsaw
- Corner Sander
- Drill/Driver
- Screws (if you plan to attach to the wall)

 

STEP 1
I set up a projector and used a photo editing software to trace my letters, according to the size that I needed.

 

STEP 2
After tracing, I cut out each letter with my jigsaw, sanding any rough edges quickly with my hand sander.

 

STEP 3

DIY Marquee Letters - closeup

Photo: twothirtyfivedesigns.com

I measured out the strand of lights on each letter, marking exactly where I wanted all the lights to be, making sure the cord was not pulled to tightly. Also, plan beforehand how you will make each plug attach to the next plug/letter.

 

STEP 4
Using my drill and drill bit, I drilled out a hole per light for every mark I made on each letter.

 

STEP 5
Carefully unscrew each bulb and run the base through the backside of the letter/each hole, and screw back in each bulb as you go.

 

STEP 6

DIY marquee letters - installed on wall

Photo: twothirtyfivedesigns.com

Depending on if you mount your letter, lean or whatever your preference is, you can tuck and/or tape the extra cord behind the letters. I mounted mine with 2 1/2″ anchor screws into a stud and tucked the excess cord behind the letters.

 

DIY Marquee Letters - Completed Work

Photo: twothirtyfivedesigns.com

Thanks, Allison! Did you like this? Find even more great DIYs at Two Thirty-Five Designs.


Bob Vila Radio: Prevent Roof Collapse with a Snow Rake

In the unlikely event of a snow load testing the strength of your roof, use a snow rake to lighten the load up there.

When it comes to snow on the roof, how much is too much? That depends a lot on the way your roof was constructed.

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 SNOW RAKES or read the text below:

Steep and smooth roofs tend to shed snow loads easily, while roofs that are only slightly pitched or flat tend to collect big drifts. Another important factor is the weight of the snow. Half a foot of wet snow tips the scales about the same as a yard or more of fluffy flakes.

If you have a multi-story house, you’d best hire a licensed and insured pro who has the right equipment to get the job done right.

On the other hand, if you have a single-story home, you can pull snow off the roof with a long, telescoping snow rake. Look for sturdy models with small rollers that keep the edge of the rake away from your shingles—you don’t want to damage those.

Finally, before you start pulling snow off the roof, put some thought into where the snow’s going to land. You’ll want to pick a spot other than on your head or the heads of bystanders!

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.


Weekend Projects: 5 Bright Ideas for a DIY Lamp

If you're looking for a light fixture that fits your style, your space, and your budget, don't waste time in stores—make your own!

I continue to be astonished by the retail cost of most light fixtures. If you, too, have been subject to sudden bouts of sticker shock, know this: It’s so much cheaper—and really, so much easier than you might have feared—to create a DIY lamp. Best of all, you can completely customize the design to suit, not only your style preferences, but any quirks that happen to exist in the space where you need a bit more light to see by. Scroll down to see five favorite DIY lamp projects now!

 

1. PLUG IN A JUG

DIY Lamp - Glass Jug

Photo: theinspiredroom.net

From The Inspired Room, here’s a DIY lamp project involving a vintage glass water jug, the sort of thing you might find at your local flea market. It’s more or less a readymade lamp stand, thanks to its size and sturdiness. All you need to do is glue a socket into the mouth of the jug, then finish things off with a shade.

 

2. GO OUT ON A LIMB

DIY Lamp - Branch

Photo: themerrythought.com

Even elements of nature can be reused in your design for a DIY lamp. Need proof? Check out this charming handmade project from The Merry Thought. Here, Manda drilled through a straight, cut-to-size branch, snaking the cord through. Then she attached a socket to the top of the branch and a base to the bottom.

 

3. PLAY UP YOUR PASSION

DIY Lamp - Trumpet

Photo: instructables.com

Hit just the right note in your living room’s lighting with a lamp constructed from a once-loved instrument. This Instructables how-to turns an out-of-work trumpet into a side table’s lamp by threading it skinny lamp base right through the base of the horn and pulling the cord through to where a lightbulb will rest on the mouthpiece end.

 

4. SHED LIGHT ON HOBBIES

DIY Lamp - Cameras

Photo: starsforstreetlights.com

The best home accessories—lighting included—give a nod to a homeowner’s personality or passion. For this photographer’s dream lamp, Stacie of Stars for Streetlights stacked vintage cameras to build a charming base. And no topper would be quite as fitting as this handmade shade of strung-up photography slides.

 

5. KNOCK ON WOOD 

DIY Lamp - 2 by 4

Photo: decorandthedog.net

For her DIY lamp, Michelle at Decor and the Dog chose to build the base out of a run-of-the-mill two-by-four. The final results, though, were far from ordinary, since she combined the wood with an unlikely companion—iron pipe. Two very different looks are possible, depending on whether or not you include a shade.


Official Rules: Bob Vila’s New Year, New Tile Give-Away

Bob Vila’s “New Year, New Tile Give-Away” (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by BobVila.com, LLC, Post Office Box 835, West Barnstable, MA 02668 (“Sponsor”). The Sweepstakes consists of one (1) drawing. The Sweepstakes begins at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (“EST”) on December 31st, 2014 and ends at 11:59 a.m. EST on January 31st, 2015 (the “Sweepstakes Period”).  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ODDS OF WINNING WILL DEPEND ON THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES RECEIVED. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. ONLINE ENTRY ONLY AND INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED. AFFIDAVIT OF ELIGIBILITY AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM MAY BE REQUIRED. Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Void in all other geographic locations. Employees of Sponsor and its respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies and any other entity involved in the development or administration of this Sweepstakes, and their immediate family members or household members are not eligible to participate in or win the Sweepstakes. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any person who fails to meet the eligibility requirements or any person it determines, in its sole discretion, to be sufficiently connected with the Sweepstakes such that such person’s participation could create the appearance of impropriety. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means are void, and Sponsor expressly reserves the right to disqualify any entries that it believes in good faith are generated by an automated program or via scripts. Entries that are determined, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor to constitute advertisements, commercial messages, or “spam” will be disqualified and deleted. Void where prohibited by law. All applicable federal, state and local laws apply. No purchase is necessary to participate in the Sweepstakes. You may enter any given Drawing one (1) time per household per day by visiting the BOB VILA website at http://www.bobvila.com and submit your name and email address using the online “Bob Vila’s New Year, New Tile Give-Away” submission form. Each entry submitted in response to a Drawing and in accordance with the Official Rules will constitute an official entry. Duplicate entries submitted through either method within one day will be deemed void. If you do not have internet access, alternative means of entry for each Drawing is available by faxing your name, address and phone number to the Sponsor at 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. One (1) alternative entry per household per day. Any additional entries submitted via fax within one day will be deemed void. Entries received after the end of the Sweepstakes Period will be deemed void. Normal time, toll, connection and usage rates, if any, charged by your Internet service provider will apply. All entries become the property of the Sponsor. By entering any Drawing during the Sweepstakes, you will be agreeing that any information collected in connection with the Sweepstakes may be used by Sponsor in accordance with BobVila.com, LLC’s Privacy Policy, a current copy of which can be found here. By participating, all entrants agree to abide by these Official Rules. At the end of the Entry Period, there will be one (1) drawings in which one (1) potential winner (“Winner”) shall be selected from all eligible entries received for each prize available during that Entry Period by employees or representatives of the Sponsor to receive the prize designated for the Drawing for that Entry Period. The winning entry will be chosen at random. The number of eligible entries received during the Entry Period for a Drawing determines the odds of winning for that Drawing. The Sweepstakes will be conducted under the supervision of the Sponsor. If the Winner is determined to be ineligible, forfeits or does not claim the prize, the prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion based on a subsequent drawing from the pool of eligible entries. Other restrictions may apply. Decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding with respect to all matters related to the Sweepstakes. All prizes (or in the event of a lost, misdirected, or otherwise unavailable prize, a prize of equivalent value) will be awarded. In no event shall the Sponsor be obligated to award more prizes than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules. Winner shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize. To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Prize Fulfillment, BobVila.com, LLC, PO Box 835 Barnstable, MA 02668. Specify winner’s list or rules on your request. The Winner will be notified by email, or in the case of alternate entry, by phone; Sponsor reserves the right to determine the method of notification. Winners must claim their respective prize within twenty-four (24) hours after the date of notification of their prize. A Winner’s failure to respond to the prize notification within the specified twenty-four (24) hours will be considered such Winner’s forfeiture of the prize and an alternate Winner may be selected from the pool of eligible entries. If an entrant is found to be ineligible, an alternate Winner may also be selected from the pool of eligible entries. Sponsor reserves the right to ship prizes directly to the mailing and/or email address (as applicable) provided by Winners during their entry to the Drawings. The prize for the Drawing during the Sweepstakes Period shall be one of four holiday prizes offered by Wayfair. Gift cards are subject to any and all restrictions stated thereon. No transfer, substitution or cash redemption will be awarded in lieu of Prize. Limit one prize per entrant. Prizes shall be delivered within 30 days from end of the Sweepstakes Period. An entrant or winner may be disqualified from the Sweepstakes, and his or her entry may be deleted, if he or she fails to comply with each provision of these Official Rules, as determined in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. Participation in the Sweepstakes is at entrant’s own risk. Sponsor shall not be liable for (1) failed, returned or misdirected notifications based on inaccurate information provided by the winner on the Drawings entry forms, (2) entries and responses to winner notifications which are lost, late, incomplete, illegible, unintelligible, postage-due, misdirected, damaged or otherwise not received by the intended recipient in whole or in part or for computer or technical error of any kind, (3) any electronic miscommunications or failures, technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions which may limit an entrant’s ability to participate in part or wholly in the Sweepstakes, (4) any technical malfunctions of the telephone network, computer on-line system, computer equipment, software, program malfunctions or other failures, delayed computer transactions or network connections that are human, mechanical or technical in nature, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from downloading any part of this Sweepstakes or (5) any warranty of fitness or merchantability of any prize or the function or operation thereof, which shall be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer of the prize. Sponsor does not make any, and hereby disclaims any and all, representations or warranties of any kind regarding any prize. Unless prohibited by applicable law, your entry constitutes your permission to use your name, photograph, likeness, voice, address (city and state) and testimonials in all media, in perpetuity, in any manner Sponsor deems appropriate for publicity purposes without any further compensation to such entrant. By entering or accepting a prize in the Sweepstakes, Winners agree to be bound by these Official Rules and to conform to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. When applicable, the Winner (or, if the Winner is a minor, the Winner’s parent or legal guardian) may be required to execute and return to Sponsor within three (3) business days an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability and Publicity Release and relevant tax forms to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner may be selected. Winner may be required to furnish proof of identity, address and birth date in order to receive a prize. By entering, an entrant agrees to indemnify, release and hold harmless Sponsor and each of its respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliated entities, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from any damage, injury, death, loss, claim, action, demand, or other liability (collectively, “Claims”) that may arise from their acceptance, possession and/or use of any prize or their participation in the Sweepstakes, or from any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, regardless of whether such Claims, or knowledge of the facts constituting such Claims, exist at the time of entry or arise at any time thereafter. Released Parties are not responsible or liable to any entrant or to any Winner or any person claiming through such Winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action, regulation, order or request by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action, regulations, order or request proves to be invalid), equipment failure, threatened terrorist acts, terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond the Released Parties’ sole control. The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing, electronic or human errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) viruses or technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications or entry information, any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, failures or technical malfunction of any computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, whether on account of technical problems, traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing; (3) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (4) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (5) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes or the processing of entries; (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize; or (7) late, lost, misdirected, illegible, incomplete or mutilated entries or for theft, destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. These indemnification and release provisions shall survive expiration of the Sweepstakes. Persons found tampering with, abusing, or otherwise disrupting any aspect of this Sweepstakes, or otherwise attempting to defraud Sponsor, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and their entries will be deleted. If disqualified, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the entrant’s eligibility to further participate in this Sweepstakes and future promotions and sweepstakes of Sponsor or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. Any attempt by an entrant or any other individual to undermine the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. This Sweepstakes is strictly for promotional and entertainment purposes and may not be used in connection with any form of gambling. In the event this Sweepstakes is challenged by any legal or regulatory authority, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the Sweepstakes, or to disqualify entrants residing in the affected geographic areas. In such event, the Sponsor shall have no liability to any entrants who are disqualified due to such an action. Sponsor reserves the right to modify these Official Rules in any way or at any time. Sponsor reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Sweepstakes should viruses, bugs or other causes beyond their control corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the Sweepstakes. In the event any portion of this Sweepstakes is compromised by any non-authorized human intervention, actions of entrants, or other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, corrupt or impair the integrity, administration, security, or operation of this Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to suspend, modify, abbreviate or terminate the Sweepstakes without further obligation. If Sponsor elects to abbreviate the Sweepstakes, Winner(s) will be determined from all eligible entries received for Drawing(s) prior to the action or compromise giving rise to the suspension or termination of this Sweepstakes. In the event of cancellation, abbreviation or suspension, Sponsor shall promptly post a notice on the Sweepstakes entry page to such effect. This Sweepstakes shall be governed by New York law. By participating in this Sweepstakes entrants agree that New York courts shall have jurisdiction over any dispute or litigation arising from or relating to this Sweepstakes and that venue shall be only in New York City, New York. The failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any part of these Official Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, that part will be enforced to the maximum extent permitted by law, and the remainder of these Official Rules will remain fully in force.


Enter Bob Vila’s New Year, New Tile Give-Away!

Enter to win $4,000 in custom tile, $500 in shipping, and $500 in installation from Fireclay Tile!

At one time or another—perhaps as recently as five minutes ago—you daydreamed about updating your kitchen or bathroom. The problem is, and has always been, affording such a big remodeling job. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Fireclay Tile, offering a give-away that can bring your fantasy kitchen or bath one step closer to being a reality. The winner of our sweepstakes gets—are you ready?—$4,000 in custom tile, $500 in installation, and $500 in shipping costs!

New Year, New Tile

ENTER HERE TO WIN!

Fireclay Tile is a leader in its category, and not only because the company manufactures all of its tile in California using sustainable practices. Unlike many of its competitors, Fireclay understands that shopping for tile can be daunting, especially for first-timers. For that reason, Fireclay delivers a slew of additional services to help you make the right choice. These include design consultations, digital renderings, color samples, and project quotes, all free of charge. It’s old-fashioned service for the homeowner of today.

New Year, New Tile Give-Away - 3

Photo: fireclaytile.com

Since the business began in 1986, Fireclay Tile has retained its original mission: creating beautiful handmade custom tile, providing unbeatable customer service, and using environmentally-responsible practices in their work.

New Year, New Tile Give-Away - 4

Photo: fireclaytile.com

Today and every day this month (from noon EST Wednesday, December 31st, through 11:59 a.m. Saturday, January 1st), enter to win your custom tile package from Fireclay Tile!

Bob Vila’s New Year, New Tile Give-Away is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period for Prize runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) EST Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 through 11:59 am Saturday, January 31st, 2015. 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. By entering, all entrants agree to the Official Rules.


Weekend Projects: 5 Ways to Make a Bar Cart

This weekend, why not raise a glass to celebrate the bar cart you made with your own hands?

You might think of the bar cart as a purely functional furniture, limited to the duty implied by its name. But if you give it a second thought, a bar cart can do so much more than store cocktail supplies and provide a serving station. It’s a versatile piece, especially when outfitted with wheels. While today it might be chockablock with bottles of booze, tomorrow it could display framed family photos or travel mementos. Given its vintage pedigree and air of glamour, simply possessing a bar cart says something about you; put together a DIY bar cart to ensure that it says precisely the right thing about your personality and your space.

 

1. BETTER A BOOKCASE

DIY Bar Cart - Ikea Hack

Photo: sugarandcloth.com

To build her DIY bar cart, Ashley—the blogger behind Sugar & Cloth—began with a square shelving unit from IKEA. From that basic starting point, she went on to create something spare yet special through the judicious addition of brass hardware, including brass-hooded ball casters that make the cart easy to re-position.

 

2. CLEAR THE PIPES

DIY Bar Carts - Plumbing Pipes

Photo: alifedesigned.blogspot.com

Plumbing pipes are a do-it-yourself favorite, because anyone can fit pipes together, even if it takes a bit of trial and error to strike upon the optimal design. Nancy of Life Designed offers amusing step-by-step commentary on her creation of a DIY bar cart that manages to look both rustic and industrial all at once.

 

3. WORK IN WOOD

DIY Bar Carts - Woodworking

Photo: inhonorofdesign.com

Thanks to its compact size and straightforward design, a DIY bar cart can be a terrific project for an aspiring woodworker who’s looking for a beginner-level project. To give this one a shot, you’ll need only some inexpensive materials, a couple of basic tools, and the full project tutorial provided by In Honor of Design.

 

4. TRICK OUT A TABLE

DIY Bar Cart - Table

Photo: myfashionjuice.com

Look very closely, and you might be able to tell that this fancy-looking DIY bar cart was once an IKEA coffee table. Cris of My Fashion Juice saved it from the curb, dressing it up with a coat of metallic spray paint. To complete the transformation, she surfaced the table top with mirror tiles and added casters to the legs.

 

5. CREATE AND COLLAPSE

Bar Cart Tray

Photo: honestlyyum.com

If all you need is a pop-up drinks station for parties—or an extra surface for special occasions—take a cue from Erica at Honestly Yum. She made her collapsible DIY bar cart simply by adding gold-toned hardware to a black lacquer tray. Placed on a folding restaurant tray stand, Erica’s pseudo cart does the trick for as long as she needs it. Afterward, it stows neatly away.


Beep, Beep, Beep: Silence Your Malfunctioning Smoke Detector

If you're being driven mad by the shrill, intermittent beeping of your smoke alarm, it's probably trying to tell you something. Read on to learn what it's saying, so you can figure out how to make it stop.

Smoke Detector Beeping

Photo: shutterstock.com

If there have been nationwide polls conducted to determine what drives homeowners the most crazy, I would bet that beeping smoke detectors rank high on that list. As annoying as a smoke detector beeping can be, the most common cause is a low battery, a problem you can remedy without any hassle. It doesn’t matter whether the alarm runs entirely on batteries or is hardwired and has a battery backup—either way, you’re going to hear chirping when the battery goes dead.

But what do you do if you’ve replaced the battery and the smoke detector keeps on beeping?

A Mixed Bag
If the smoke detector is beeping irregularly, with no discernible pattern, it’s probably not the battery. It could be—brace yourself—that a spider has made itself cozy inside the alarm. Screw up your courage, take the cover off the device, and then use a can of compressed air to blow out any cobwebs that’ve gathered there.

Another common cause of a smoke detector’s beeping is a sharp variation in temperature and/or humidity. If the smoke alarm sits in an unconditioned part of your home—the attic, for example—it may be that in the winter, as the temperatures dropped, the battery became too cold to reliably deliver an electrical charge.

Yet another possible explanation: If it’s the type of smoke detector that goes off when something—ash, pollen, or dust—interrupts a small beam of light housed within the device, then even something as innocuous as an open window could be to blame. Consider cleaning the unit, being sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Smoke Detector Beeping - Hardwired

Photo: shutterstock.com

Reset the Power
If you’re dealing with a hardwired model, first try the suggestions above, but if the smoke detector continues to beep, then it’s time to visit the electrical panel. Look for a breaker labeled “smoke alarms” or “central alarm.” Toggle the breaker into the off position, wait a couple of minutes, then toggle it again to restore power. If the alarm does not resume its beeping, you’ve most likely solved the problem by resetting the device. To confirm, push and hold (for a few seconds) the test button on the face of the detector. If the alarm sounds a few times and then goes silent, that means it’s back to working order.

Look Elsewhere
A smoke detector beeps so loudly that even if the sound seems to be coming from one spot, it may really be emanating from somewhere else in the home. Folks have been known to spend hours fussing with one smoke detector only to discover that the culprit was a smoke detector located in, say, the attic right above the alarm they’d been focused on.

It’s possible the beeping isn’t even coming from a smoke detector. Could it be that your carbon monoxide alarm was unplugged or that part of your home security system needs attention? Before concluding that a smoke detector is to blame, consider whether you have any other alarms in the house capable of producing a similarly ear-piercing beep.

Finally, how old is the smoke detector? Most manufacturers design their products to last for about 10 years. After a decade of service, some of the alarm’s components may no longer be functioning properly. The smoke detector itself, and not its battery, may be what needs replacement!


The Cheapest Wall Art Option for Your Bare Walls

If you've ever purchased a posters or prints, you know they're not cheap. If you really want to save money on wall art, the place to go is your local copy center. Here's why.

Engineer Prints

Photo: eastcoastcreativeblog.com

Recently, a single painting—Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1—sold for a record high of $44.4 million at Sotheby’s. That is, of course, a staggering sum. But even for those of us content to own anonymous prints and not original works by cultural icons, art can seem astronomically expensive.

With money saving in mind, you might have visited your local copy center to inquire about the fees charged for photo enlargement. After all, how much could it cost to have a favorite photograph blown up and printed on quality paper? Well, as you would have found out, it usually costs a whole lot more than expected!

It’s all so head-scratchingly frustrating. That’s why so many people have gotten so excited about engineer prints. Never heard of them? Here’s the skinny.

What’s an Engineer Print?
Simply stated, an engineer print is a low-cost, black-and-white photo enlargement option at your local office supply store or copy center, including chains such as Staples and Kinko’s. The name refers to its most common use, in the architectural and engineering professionals. But this year, the rest of the world caught on, in large parts thank to these prints’ affordability. For about $10, you can get any photograph blown up to the gigantic proportions of your choosing.

Before you run to get one, understand this: An engineer print is not a photographic reproduction. The paper is thin, similar to weight of newsprint, and the print process is halftone black and white. With a resolution around 600 dpi, you end up with something more similar to a photocopy than a photographic print. That said, many people are fond of its imperfection, and if you get a little experimental in your photography, an engineer print can look downright artsy.

Engineer Prints - Detail 2

Photo: eastcoastcreativeblog.com

So How Do You Get One?
You’re only a few steps away from affordable art:

1. Choose a photo without a busy background, since details are most likely to get lost in the grainy reproduction. Higher resolution photographs end up being less grainy, so if you’re shooting new photos for the purpose of achieving a satisfying engineer print, set your camera to its highest level of resolution.

2. Having imported the photograph from your digital camera to a computer, use photo editing software to convert the photo to black and white. In the color settings, play with the contrast and brightness until you’re happy with the the image.

3. Decide what size you would like the engineer print to be. Consider the size of the wall you’re going to hang it on. Also, weigh whether or not you plan to hang the print. The larger the frame necessary, the more it’s going to cost. There’s no sense saving money on a print if you’re going to spend a boatload on its frame.

4. Visit the copy center and hand off your image(s) for printing.

How Do You Display It?
Options abound. If you decide not to frame the print, you can always mount it on a plywood backing, propping it up on a shelf or mantel. You can even split a larger image into sections, printing them out as separate panels to display next to one another, mural-style. Yet another creative idea: Skip the wall entirely and decoupage the engineer print onto a large piece of furniture. The price encourages experimentation and no-regret replacements when the season changes, or your mood does. No matter where you put the print, it’s bound to command attention and start conversations. What are you waiting for?