Category: How To’s & Quick Tips


Weekend Projects: 5 Ways to Make a Snow Sled

Whether you're planning on tackling bunny hills or serious slopes this season, there's a DIY sled built for the ride. Check out these five favorites, and get ready for your next snow day.

Mere days away from the official start of winter, we’re eagerly anticipating some of the activities that only snowy weather affords. At the top of the list? Sledding. We’ve always loved the simple thrill of coasting down a hillside, and introducing children to the experience is magical. While sleds of all sorts are readily available for purchase, creating your own can be a test of ingenuity that’s fun for all ages. Scroll down to see five favorite DIY sled designs now!

 

1. START WITH A STOOL

DIY Sled - Ikea Hack

Photo: instructables.com

Can you believe this DIY sled used to be an IKEA stool? We’ve seen IKEA hacks before, but this one might take the cake. Perhaps most impressive is how it uses every piece of the IKEA stool—plus a few 3D-printer-generated plastic parts! Though it may not be a family-friendly project, it’s certainly an inspiration to turn a creative eye to furniture you already have on hand.

 

2. ACHIEVE A PIPE DREAM

DIY Sled - PVC

Photo: instructables.com

No fancy-pants parts needed here. PVC plumbing pipes, low-cost and readily available, combine (via nuts and bolts) with half-inch plywood to make a DIY sled that, at least according to its creator over on Instructables, steers better than the molded plastic variety you’ve likely seen on the slopes in the past. Give it a try!

 

3. KNOCK ON WOOD

Build Your Own Pallet Sled

Photo: instructables.com

Wood shipping pallets have so many great qualities. They’re free of charge, ubiquitous, and endlessly versatile—and they also happen to come preassembled as sled-like platforms. Armed with basic tools, a competent DIYer needs to make only a few strategic modifications to complete the job. For best results, sand the contact points and add paint to reduce friction.

 

4. LEAVE A PAPER TRAIL

DIY Sled - Cardboard

Photo: designboom.com

Ah, cardboard—a classic makeshift sled material, right up there with cafeteria lunch trays. With a sleek profile made possible and fortified by packing tape, this enclosed toboggan features extra layers of cardboard at its base, strategically positioned there to keep the sled from getting soggy too quickly. Smart.

 

5. TRY A 2-FOR-1 RIDE

Photo: builtbykids.com

Among the countless creative projects over on Built by Kids, we found this rather ingenious approach to a DIY sled. Incorporating scrap wood, hardware, a wheelbarrow bucket, and kid-length skis, the design seems destined to pick up speed, while the rope handle makes it easy to pull the sled behind you.


Genius! DIY Gramophone

If you're looking to buy a modern gramophone speaker, prepare to pay a pretty penny. Or save and make your own, like this industrious maker did.

DIY gramophone

Photo: instructables.com

Vintage lovers will probably love this throwback-looking iPhone speaker set. Designed to look like a gramophone but designed to amplify songs straight from your phone, this project marries the best of old and new tech.

We spoke to the maker, Bryan Bales, to find out how long this stunning project took him to complete. “I made the gramophone over the course of two weeks, usually in the evenings after work, but most of that time was waiting for glue to dry, paint to dry, and lacquer to cure. Actual work was between 5-10 hours, but that includes designing on the fly, troubleshooting, over-analyzing, and working slow,” he said.

But does the sound quality pass muster? “With the box empty, the sound isn’t great. It’s amplified, but the box/chamber acts as band-pass filter for the mid-frequencies. I’ve experimented with different chamber configurations (think bass box in a car), paths or mazes (think Bose wave radio), as well as varied amounts and configurations of fiberglass insulation. My best result thus far, has been with a terry cloth shop towel inside the box—just loose, not folded. I have more ideas to try and I’ll be adding a video of the results to the Instructable.” 

The project gave him some surprises. “The glue up didn’t play out as envisioned… I had hoped the top would automatically keep the sides square, but the glue acted as lubricant so the sides were sliding around and I was getting gaps at the corners… If I were to do it again, I’d try two separate glue ups—sides first with clamping squares, then the top.”

Check out his how-to below!

MATERIALS
-poplar 1×8
-hardboard
-funnel
-copper elbow
-epoxy
-wood glue
-screws

TOOLS
-bandsaw
-table saw
-router
-drill press
-oscillating belt/spindle sander
-orbital sander

STEP 1

DIY Gramophone - funnel

To make the horn, I needed a fitting to hold the funnel at an angle and I decided on a 1 3/4″ 45 degree copper elbow. Using the bandsaw, I cut the funnel off at a point where it just fit into the copper elbow. The cut was cleaned up and the fit fine tuned on the orbital belt sander. I also roughed up the plastic with sandpaper so paint would adhere. The copper elbow was bonded to the funnel using two part epoxy.

STEP 2

DIY Gramophone - Cutting the Box Parts

The resonator is nothing more than a box with mostly mitered sides made from Poplar. Box joints would look pretty cool I think, but I don’t have a jig for cutting those … yet. Dovetails would be awesome. Even pallet wood and butt joints would look cool for that rustic feel.

Since the 1″ x 8″ was too wide to cut cleanly on the miter saw, I used a large crosscut sled to cut rough lengths. The sides were then ripped to rough width.

STEP 3

DIY Gramophone - Rabbets

The bottom panel is a removable piece of hardboard attached with a few screws. The reason for this is so I can experiment with dampening materials and/or acoustic chambers.

In order to accept the recessed hardboard, I cut a rabbet into the bottom of each side panel.

STEP 4

DIY Gramophone - cutting the side miters

The side miters were cut on the table saw using a miter sled. I used a stop block when cutting the final length to ensure the opposing sides were equal.

STEP 5

DIY Gramophone - cutting the top miters

The top miters were cut on the table saw using the rip fence. I also decided to employ a method I saw Jimmy DiResta use, which was a splined miter joint. Not only do they assist alignment during glueup, but they also strengthened the joint.

STEP 6

DIY Gramophone - glue up

Thanks to the splined miters, gluing up the sides was achieved with a band clamp. The top however, wanted to slide around a bit, so I added a few vertical clamps and one horizontal clamp across the middle to prevent any bowing.

STEP 7

DIY Gramophone - drill for horn

In order to hold the horn, the top of the box needed a 1 3/4″ hole to accept the copper fitting. I used a forstner bit and drilled down about 3/8″, which is half the board thickness.

We need a through hole for sound, but we also need a shoulder to support the copper fitting. I switched out to a 1 3/8″ bit, which gives us a 3/8″ shoulder. Location of this hole is up to you, but just be mindful of your side thickness. You can see I marked 3/4″ in from the sides so I could avoid any mistakes.

STEP 8

DIY Gramophone - iPhone

To cut the slot for the phone, I used a trim router with an edge guide. The width of this slot, and therefore the diameter of bit used, will depend on the width of your phone. I personally went without a case for a minimalist look and a 3/8″ straight bit did the job. For depth, I went about 3/8″-1/2″ deep.

Just like the horn, we need a through hole for the sound, but shoulders to support the phone. I used the locations of the speakers to determine this layout. I then marked these stop points with a forstner bit.

As before, location of this slot is up to you, but just be mindful of your side thickness. I chose my location solely based on visual appeal.

STEP 9

DIY Gramophone - Corner Splines

I wanted to use corner splines for decoration, but they also add strength to a miter joint. Internal and external miter splines… this box is solid.

To cut the slots, I used my shop-made spline sled, which is based off of the Eagle America jig. 1/8″ strips of red oak were ripped on the table saw, cut into triangles on the bandsaw, and glued in place.

Once the glue was dry, the excess was trimmed off using the bandsaw.

STEP 10

DIY Gramophone - Sanding

The corner splines were sanded flush using the Oscillating Bent Sander, sides and top sanded with an orbital sander, and the sharp edges of the box eased by hand.

STEP 11

DIY Gramophone - oiling

Finishing was rather simple. First, use one coat of 50/50 boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits to enhance the natural wood grain and coloring. Then add several coats of lacquer. Do wet sanding with 400 grit wet/dry paper. And end with some renaissance wax followed by buffing.

STEP 12

DIY Gramophone - copper patina

 

I’m too cheap to buy a metal horn… that doesn’t mean I can’t make a horn that looks like metal. If you know the price of Sculpt Nouveau finishes, you’re probably yelling “you idiot” at the computer screen. Normally, I would agree with you, but I purchased these finishes for custom drums. Side projects like this are just a bonus in my mind.

Anyway, the funnel was prepped with a coat of plastic primer. Next was a coat of a copper metal coating.

The horn looked great at this stage, but I wanted that green patina on mine. To achieve this, I misted on Sculpt Nouveau’s patina solution while the third and last coat of metal coating was wet. I then stuck the horn in an upstairs closet to let humidity aid the process.

Once I was happy with the level of patina, I sprayed on a few light coats of lacquer to seal in the finish.

Tips:
1. The patina will smear/rub away if you touch it… trust me.
2. The lacquer did reduce some of the patina—dissolved some of it basically. That was a bit of a bummer, but still a pleasing result nonetheless.

DIY Gramophone - finished

To learn more and see more pictures, visit this tutorial, and see even more projects from Bryan Bales right here. Or 


Bob Vila Radio: Measure Twice, Cut Once

Accurate measurement is fundamental to any successful DIY project. Remember to choose the right tools, mark precise points, and keep perspective on just how accurate is accurate enough.

You’ve heard the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” When it comes to do-it-yourself projects, there couldn’t be a better motto. Here are some tips for sizing up jobs around the house…

Measure Twice Cut Once

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 ACCURATE MEASUREMENT or read the text below:

Don’t use a 25-foot tape to measure for a 6-inch cut. Better to use a smaller tape that’s easier to manipulate.

To transfer your measurements to the surface of the material you’re cutting, first press on the edge of the tape and roll it until the edge makes contact with the material. Then put the point of your pencil at the measurement and flick it up and to the right, then up and to the left. That’ll give you a mark that’s very visible yet small enough at the point to maintain accuracy.

Also, keep a clear perspective on how accurate your measurements really need to be. For example, if you’re cutting drywall, a quarter-inch gap isn’t gonna make a big difference. You can always cover it with tape and mud. It’s the same with trim you’re planning to paint. A little caulk goes a long way. For clear-finish woodwork, though, you’ll need to be more precise.

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.


Do You Need a Dehumidifier?

Read on to learn how a dehumidifier can help prevent excess moisture in the air from turning into a mold and mildew problem—and how you can select the best possible unit for your space.

How to Choose a Dehumidifier

Photo: thehomedepot.com

Air quality can suffer in myriad ways. Excess humidity ranks among the least desirable effects. Left unchecked, moisture buildup can lead to a number of problems within the home, including but not limited to musty odors, warped wood, peeling paint and mold. If at any point during the year a homeowner becomes concerned about the high humidity level inside, what can he do to alter the status quo? One word: dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers range in size from portable, one-room units to whole-house solutions that tie into the home’s HVAC system. Though variations exist both in product design and quality, most dehumidifiers work the same way. You configured the preferred humidity level, and when humidistat registers a level in excess of your preference, the dehumidifier clicks on. Driven by a fan, moist air moves through the appliance, where it passes over a cold metal coil. At that point, the moisture condenses into water, which gets stored internally or drained away. The filtered air then passes over a warm coil before returning to the home’s conditioned space.

How to Choose a Dehumidifier - Isolated

Photo: thehomedepot.com

If you suspect but aren’t certain whether your home has been experience moisture issues, research the problem by purchasing and monitoring a humidity gauge, also known as a hygrometer. If on the other hand you know that your home needs a dehumidifier, consider these factors in making your selection:

• Determine the scope of the problem. Is the whole house overly humid, or is the issue confined to one area (e.g., the basement)? The scope of the problem directly determines the nature of the solution. Larger whole-house dehumidifiers tie into the HVAC system and include a drainpipe that empties directly into a slop sink, sump pump, or to the outdoors. These types of dehumidifiers aren’t cheap and typically involve professional installation. Portable dehumidifiers, meanwhile, are much less expensive and much more consumer-friendly. They plug right into the wall and operate via built-in interfaces that are easy to understand and configure. Some portable dehumidifiers are equipped with hoses that can drain or pump out collected water automatically; others feature a bucket that must be emptied out on a regular basis.

• Calculate the area’s square footage. Even dehumidifiers of the same basic design can differ in capacity. Select one that can hold ten pints of water for a 500-square-foot space; add four pints of capacity for every additional 500 square feet. So if you wish to dehumidify a 1,000-square-foot basement, you’d need a unit with a 14-pint capacity. For a very damp space, choose a dehumidifier that holds 12 pints of water for a 500-square-foot space, adding five pints for every additional 500 square feet.

• Don’t forget about energy efficiency. Energy Star-certified dehumidifiers use about 15 percent less energy than conventional units. In the long run, that means a savings of approximately $175 over the life of the dehumidifier, not to mention avoiding roughly 2,800 pounds’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions.

Dehumidifiers can provide a continuous flow of fresh, dry air in the home, resulting in an energy-efficient solution that improves indoor air quality and keeps mold growth at bay all season long.


5 Things to Do with… Stair Spindles

Even after they've been banished from the banister, stair spindles can still play an important supporting role. If you have a few left over from a renovation, see how you can reuse them in five surprising repurposing projects.

On your last trip to the architectural salvage yard, you doubtless saw scores of antique sinks, windows, and at every turn, balusters. Most often made of wood, these spindles once supported the handrail along a staircase. When that staircase came down, the spindles—with their slim profiles sporting decorative notches and curves—were freed to be used elsewhere in and around the home. Scroll down to see five creative ways DIYers are reusing balusters.

 

1. SLEEP WELL

Baluster DIY Projects - Nightstand

Photo: etsy.com

The long and slender shape of stair spindles makes them preternaturally fit for use as supports for small tables. With four spare spindles—or even three—plus your choice of tabletop, you can, quickly and pretty easily, put together an elevated surface that would function perfectly as a nightstand or end table.

 

2. TAKE A SEAT

Baluster DIY Projects - Bench

Photo: My Repurposed Life

This charming little bench from My Repurposed Life illustrates how you can upcycle two leftover materials at once. A quartet of balusters, combined with a couple of shutters, creates a bench destined to sit pretty on the porch. To complete the look, give both the shutters and spindles the same distressed finish.

 

3. LIGHT A FIRE

Baluster DIY Projects - Candelabra

Photo: hipcycle.com

Hipcycle shows how well spindles lend themselves to reuse in a candelabra. It’s a simple process, perfect for beginning woodworkers. First, cut each spindle to a different height. Next, use a drill with a hole-cutting bit to form the candle-holding slot in each baluster. Finish by attaching the spindles to a wood base.

 

4. RACK IT UP

Stair Spindle Magazine Rack

Photo: etsy.com

A bevy of balusters may be used to create a magazine rack or a similar storage piece, assuming you can handle yourself in the woodworking shop. In something like the piece pictured, spindles would form not only the furniture legs, but also the vertical members corralling the reading material kept within.

 

5. FOR THE BIRDS

Stair Spindle Birdhouses

Photo: RoboMargo.com

Balusters can help you build a birdhouse that oozes with cottage character. Whether the baluster itself serves as the birdhouse (left) or spindles add on as ornamentation for a larger assembly (right), it’s obvious that for an imaginative maker like Robo Margo, spindles are a stairway to new DIY heights!


Genius! DIY Pencil Dish Rack

What would you do with 30 pencil stubs and an extra cutting board? This DIYer made something truly unique.

DIY Dish Rack

Photo: project-re.blogspot.com

When designer Samuel Bernier found himself with an excess of pencil stubs (don’t ask!), he was determined not to discard them, but to put them to use in something entirely new. Voila—his DIY dish rack. Genius.

So does Samuel actually use the clever dish rack he designed and built. Short answer: yes. “I used it for a year while I was in Canada,” he says. But he had to part with his creation after a transatlantic move to Paris. “My parents now have it,” adds Samuel.

We asked him how the pencils hold up to the moisture that a dish rack naturally invites. “Pretty good actually, since they are painted,” he says. “The cutting board absorbs the water a little bit more, but it dries fast.”

But where does he get his inspiration? “Most of the time, it just happens,” he says. “I either have something to repair or something I just need, and since I’m a maker… I make those things the way I like.”

Check out his DIY dish rack tutorial!

MATERIALS
- Wood cutting board
- Pencils (more than 30)
- Hand saw or band saw
- Safety mask
- 1/4 wood drill

STEP 1

DIY Dish Rack - Materials

Photo: project-re.blogspot.com

You will need to start drawing a lot or find somebody who does. Any wooden pencil with an eraser at the end will do the job. If you are the type of person who chews the tip their pencils… this project might not be for you.

STEP 2

DIY Dish Rack - Cutting

Photo: project-re.blogspot.com

Cut all the pencil tips to the same length. If you cut them too long, your plates wont fit and if you cut them too short be careful with your fingers. I suggest a length of six centimeters.  You can use manual saw or band saw and put a mask to prevent inhaling pencil and graphite dust.

STEP 3
Once you have enough pencils (more than 30), find a good support. I used a wooden cutting board because it is cheap, easy to drill and looks good.

STEP 4

DIY Dish Rack - Printing Holes

Photo: project-re.blogspot.com

I printed a drilling template to make sure  every hole was equally distant. I used a size 1/4 wood drill for 1.5 cm deep holes. Depending on the thickness of your plates, the distance between each hole should be between 3 cm and 6 cm.

STEP 5

DIY Dish Rack - Adding Pencils

Photo: project-re.blogspot.com

Depending on the pens you used, you might have to adjust the holes. You should be able to insert the pencils in the board manually. One little truck is to use a sharpener to cut the edge of the pencil tips. This will make the insertion way easier.

Samuel is no stranger to the art of upcycling. If you like this project, check out his hack of an IKEA Frosta stool or his website for even more great projects!


5 Things to Do with… Aluminum Foil

It's a pantry staple whose value we take for granted in the kitchen, but did you there are many more ways that aluminum foil can help you tackle household challenges?

Cooks know the value of aluminum foil, particularly around the holidays, when it plays a role in everything from roasting vegetables to storing leftovers. For something so unabashedly simple, aluminum foil has a surprising number of uses—not only in the kitchen, but in other rooms as well (and even outdoors). Scroll down to see five ways this versatile pantry staple can help you take on the household challenges faced not only this time of year, but in all seasons.

 

1. SCRUB POTS

Uses for Aluminum Foil - Scrub Pots

Photo: shutterstock.com

Cooking is fun; cleaning isn’t. If your meal preparation has left a pot, pan, or casserole dish with a layer of stubborn gunk along its bottom, try this time- and sanity-saving trick: Crumple a sheet of aluminum foil into a crunchy ball, then use it as you would a piece of steel wool. The final step? Do a happy dance.

 

2. PROTECT TREES

Uses for Aluminum Foil - Protect Trees

Photo: shutterstock.com

Many tree species, fruit trees most of all, are subject to a particular nuisance: mice, rabbits, and other creatures eating the tree trunks’ lower bark. If unchecked, those hungry garden pests can seriously compromise a tree’s overall health. Put an end to the problem by wrapping the trunk with a double layer of aluminum foil.

 

3. MAKE A FUNNEL

Uses for Aluminum Foil - Funnel

Photo: shutterstock.com

There aren’t many times when I think, “Gosh, I wish I had a funnel!” But on those rare occasions when I realize that what I’m doing would be so much easier with a funnel, I chastise myself for not owning one. Then I remember that you can always make your own, quickly and easily, using a sheet of aluminum foil.

 

4. CLEAN IRON

Photo: shutterstock.com

Your clothing iron doesn’t need to be cleaned with the consistency of, say, the bathroom sink. But there are times when starchy buildup can actually subvert the appliance’s proper operation. When that happens, run the hot iron over a piece of aluminum foil. The starch transfers to the foil, and the iron comes out clean.

 

5. POLISH SILVER

Uses for Aluminum Foil - Tarnish

Photo: shutterstock.com

To polish silver using items you have on hand, follow these steps. First, line a pan with aluminum foil. Next, add one tablespoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of salt. Slowly pour in a half-cup of vinegar, then add one cup of boiling water. Finally, put your tarnished silver into the mixture, letting it sit for just 30 seconds. Pull the silver out with tongs (remember, it’s hot), buff it to a shine using a soft cloth, and suddenly—presto, you’re ready for dinner!


How To: Clean a Mattress

The sweat, dust, and allergens lurking in your mattress are enough to give anyone nightmares—but don't lose sleep over it yet! Follow these five steps for a seasonal cleaning that will help you get a good night's rest.

How to Clean a Mattress

Photo: shutterstock.com

Wash and dry your sheets and pillowcases once a week—that’s all it takes to sleep in clean comfort, right? Wrong. You’re forgetting the mattress! Plenty of hair, sweat, dead skin, dandruff, dust, dirt and even food particles can accumulate in the mattress’s crevices. For allergy sufferers in particular, a mattress in grubby condition can make for unpleasant nights. Rest easy again by giving your mattress a proper cleaning at least once per season. Here’s how to go about it.

STEP 1
Remove all bedding so that the mattress sits alone on the box spring or bed frame, then vacuum the mattress all over, using the appliance attachments to help you do a thorough job. Pay close attention to the crevice around the seam that runs along the mattress’s perimeter. Here, you’re likely to find the greatest amount of gross buildup. For the record, any vacuum can probably do the trick, but experts do recommend HEPA-rated cleaners, as they can draw out even the tiniest particles.

STEP 2
Now’s the moment to spot-clean any stains you encounter.

How to Clean a Mattress - Sheets

Photo: shutterstock.com

• For stains left behind by vegetable oils, grease, food spills, and chocolate, use a paste made from baking soda, salt, and water. Cover the stain with the mixture, then let it set for half an hour. Next, brush away the dried paste and wipe down the area with cool water. Finally, dry the moist spot with either a hair dryer or a fan.

• Hydrogen peroxide works well to remove stains created by crayons, beverages, blood, or urine. Dilute the chemical by mixing it with an equal quantity of water, then dab the stained area with the solution. Next, brush the area gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Let it dry for five minutes, then dab again with the solution.

STEP 3
Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress to deodorize any lingering smells. Let it sit for an hour or so, then vacuum up the powder.

STEP 4
Does your mattress need to be flipped? Many today (e.g., pillow-top models) are designed to to be one-sided. If yours is two-sided and you haven’t recently flipped it, do so now. Besides helping your mattress wear more evenly, flipping prevents too much dirt from building up on any one side. Once you’ve flipped the mattress, repeat Step 3, sprinkling baking soda on the side that’s now on top.

STEP 5 (optional)
If the weather is warm and sunny, give the mattress a sunbath: Take it outside in order to capitalize on the sun’s natural germicidal effects. But don’t just set the mattress on the porch; prop it up on a pair of clothing racks or by any more expedient means,  being sure that your chosen supports are clean. Before replacing the mattress pad, sheets, and bedcovers, wait for the mattress to cool down a bit. Never air-out the mattress on a humid day, as the moisture could later lead to the growth of mold.


4 Creative New Ways to Reuse Wood Pallets

Just when you think wooden pallets couldn't be any handier, a new book illustrates 35 new projects for the classic DIY supply. Here, we have a sneak peek that's sure to inspire.

Wood Pallet Ideas

DIY Wood Pallet Projects: 35 Rustic Modern Upcycling Ideas to Personalize Your Space by Karah Bunde

Shipping pallets are easy to come by, often at no cost. And they’re easily broken down into separate, simple wood boards, the rough-hewn look of which many people love. Affordable and aesthetically pleasing? It’s not often that the world comes across a material that satisfies both criteria. So for the past several years, do-it-yourselfers have expressed their enthusiasm by unleashing a veritable torrent of wood pallet ideas, each more inventive than the last. We loved seeing what clever things clever people came up with, but from benches to daybeds, it starting to seem like we’d seen it all. As it turns out, we couldn’t have been more wrong. With her new book DIY Wood Pallet Projects ($19.99, F+W Media, Inc), Karah Bunde, the mind behind The Space Between, we’ve learned that when when it comes to wood pallet ideas, there are virtually no boundaries. Here, we take a look at four favorite projects from the book. For more, buy the book right here.

 

1. RAISE YOUR GLASS

Wood Pallet Ideas - Wine Rack

Photo: DIY Wood Pallet Projects: 35 Rustic Modern Upcycling Ideas to Personalize Your Space by Karah Bunde

Check out this simple DIY wine rack outfitted with storage for stem glassware. It’s the perfect conversation piece for any comfortably eclectic outdoor living area. Don’t drink wine? No worries—the same design would make for a rustic-chic magazine rack to be hung in a living space or a cookbook holder in the kitchen.

 

2. GO OFF-THE-WALL

Wood Pallet Ideas - Wall Treatment

Photo: DIY Wood Pallet Projects: 35 Rustic Modern Upcycling Ideas to Personalize Your Space by Karah Bunde

If you’re partial to nautical-inspired home decor, you know that rope makes a wonderfully easy and versatile addition to furniture and miscellaneous parts of the house, such as the stairwell. In the stunning wall treatment picture here, rope appears between the rows of white-painted, pallet-board paneling. Wow!

 

3. STEP IT UP

Wood Pallet Ideas - Shoe Rack

Photo: DIY Wood Pallet Projects: 35 Rustic Modern Upcycling Ideas to Personalize Your Space by Karah Bunde

It’s an age-old question: What do you do with the space at the bottom of the closet? Here’s a simply genius organization solution: Build a shoe rack out of a shipping pallet. All it takes is six slats. The result is a stackable shelving system that can be easily customized to meet the demands of about any shoe collation.

 

4. ADMIRE THE VIEW

Wood Pallet Ideas - Shutters

Photo: DIY Wood Pallet Projects: 35 Rustic Modern Upcycling Ideas to Personalize Your Space by Karah Bunde

A simple set of shutters is an easy way to add a little curb appeal to the front of your home. Depending on the size of your windows, you might actually be able to use pallet slats, but this project uses new 1×4s to show that with a little sanding and staining they can end up having the same look as a pallet slat.

 

Excerpted from DIY Wood Pallet Projects: 35 Rustic Modern Upcycling Ideas to Personalize Your Space. Copyright © 2014 by Karah Bunde and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photos courtesy of Karah Bunde.


3 Easy Ways You Can Add Privacy to Glass

Itching for a home update? Here's an easy one: Frost window or glass door for a luxe look and more privacy. There's more than one way to go about it, so choose your favorite approach.

How to Frost Glass

Photo: shutterstock.com

More than a mere decorative finish, frosted glass also offers a practical benefit: Without blocking the passage of light, it adds privacy to windows or doors that would otherwise be transparent. While professionals frost glass through sandblasting, a do-it-yourself can achieve the same effect with one of three basic methods.

How to Frost Glass - Shower Doors

Photo: nyshower.com

1. Spray It
Believe it or not, you can frost glass with a special type of spray paint (Rust-Oleum manufactures a popular version). Applying the finish is easy. After cleaning the glass throughly and taping off the window or door frame, apply a thin coat and let it dry. Apply additional coats, if you wish for great opacity. And if you get tired of the look, it’s no problem: The finish can be removed with a glass scraper. Being that the spray paint comes at a low cost, it’s worth a shot if you want to frost glass in your home.

2. Cover It
You can also frost glass by means of a window film. It’s actually non-adhesive and works via static cling. That means it’s forgiving: If you don’t get the application precisely right on the first try, you can start over pretty easily. First, thoroughly wash the surface to be frosted, using glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth. Next, combine water with a couple drops of dish detergent in a spray bottle. Then proceed to lightly spritz the glass before applying the window film. As you go, remove air bubbles with a squeegee.

3. Etch It
A permanently frosted effect may be achieved through the use of a glass-etching cream. Such products are available online and in local craft stores. If you choose to go this route, take care in applying the cream and closely follow the instructions printed on the package. Basically, the process involves masking off sensitive areas and using a bristled brush to scrub in the cream. After letting the product sit for a period of time, you’ll rinse it off with warm water and then suddenly—and somewhat magically—there will be etched glass where there was formerly a traditional clear pane.