Category: How To’s & Quick Tips

5 Things to Do with… Pool Noodles

Almost every swimming enthusiast has used a pool noodle, but there’s a lot more to this colorful flotation device than meets the eye. Here are 5 cool new uses for pool noodles (swimming pool not required).

Brightly colored pool noodles usually evoke images of relaxing summer days spent lazily afloat, but these versatile water toys can do more than assist you in soaking up the sun. Lightweight and vibrant, pool noodles have the potential to decorate and buffer as well as make your summer afternoons more refreshing all around. Read on for five reasons to snatch these kiddie toys from the pool and use them for crafting.



Pool Noodle Crafts - Garland


Celebrate the summer with this super-simple decor idea from Kathleen of Snowdrop & Co.! As a minimal-effort alternative to the ever-popular tissue-paper tassel garland, use a craft knife to slice various colors of pool noodles and then string them in alternating hues onto a length of twine. The end result: an easy way to get festive at any backyard barbecue or porch party.



Pool Noodle Crafts - Wreath


Showcasing a gorgeous wreath on the front door is a wonderful way to welcome guests to your home—and it’s even more rewarding if you make it yourself. Rather than purchasing an expensive wreath form, simply cut a pool noodle to a length that, when shaped into a circle, complements the size of your door. Duct tape the ends together, wrap the wreath with felt or fabric, add a few decorations (if you’d like) and hang. It’s that easy.



Pool Noodle Crafts - Door Stop


Keep kids from accidentally getting their tiny fingers and hands slammed in doors with this genius project from Muslin & Merlot. Cut a pool noodle so that it’s about 10 inches long, and then make a vertical cut on one side. Carve out a little extra in the middle so there’s space to slip it over the side of your door, then sand the edges with fine-grit sandpaper and affix in place. No more slamming!



Pool Noodle Crafts - Drinks Float


Nothing pairs more perfectly with a laid-back pool day than refreshing beverages. Now, if you craft this DIY floating cooler, you don’t even need to get out of the water to grab a cool one. To make yours, cut a pool noodle in pieces sized to fit around a lightweight plastic shoe or sweater bin. Run a strong string though the holes in the pool noodle and tie it tightly around the outside of the makeshift cooler. All that’s left is to fill your “cooler” with ice and a few drinks. Be sure to test how much weight the container can hold before loading it up—your refreshments won’t do you any good on the bottom of the pool!



Pool Noodle Crafts - Childproofing


Anyone who’s ever been pinched by a trampoline’s huge springs will be thankful for this affordable hack. Keep little ones’ toes safe and sound with these easy directions from Instructables: Measure the length of the trampoline springs and then use a serrated kitchen knife to cut pool noodles into pieces of that size. Cut a vertical slit on one side of each pool noodle piece, then slide one piece over each spring surrounding your trampoline. It takes only about 10 minutes to save you a season’s worth of injuries.

Genius! This DIY Bottle Opener Catches Caps, Too

This no-mess bottle opener and cap catch is the best thing to happen to your summer socializing since beer bottle caps were patented in 1892!

DIY Bottle Opener Cap Catcher


Hosting a summer party for family and friends is hardly a small task. Manning the grill, scrambling to set up seating, compiling the perfect playlist—pulling it all off can take some work. So the drinks—at the very least—should be refreshingly easy! With convenience in mind, Redditor ComradeNorgren made an easy add-on for the fridge that does everything but buy the beer for you. When you use it to pop off the top of your bottle, it will even catch the discarded cap so there’s no cleanup.

To make the bottle opener’s base, cut a piece of wood about four inches wide and nine inches long. Then, pick the spot along the board where your caps should collect. Use a drill press to create a hole in the back side of the board to hold a rare-earth magnet. The hole should be deep enough so that only about 1/8 inch of wood will sit between the magnet and the popped caps. Place the magnet inside the hole. Continue by boring two shallow holes, one at the top and one at the bottom of the back side of your piece of wood, and fill these with rare-earth magnets to hold the device to the fridge. Secure all the magnets with wood glue or epoxy. Finally, using two screws, attach a stationary bottle opener toward the top of the front side of the board. For a warmer, more finished look, you can sand the wood and wipe the board down with tung oil.

Because it’s mounted magnetically rather than screwed in, this is an ideal project for renters or homeowners who are trying to minimize wall damage. Plus, it allows you to place the opener right on the other side of the door from your chilled drinks. No more digging around—or forcing your guests to dig around—for a bottle opener. Cheers to that!

FOR MORE: Reddit

DIY Bottle Opener Cap Catcher - Series View


Give Your Worn-Out Concrete a Brand-New Look

Concrete doesn't really need ongoing maintenance. But occasionally it needs repair, particularly after years of hard use or weather exposure. Fortunately, now the average handy homeowner can handle those fixes himself, saving the cost of a contractor, thanks to advanced concrete repair products. Here's how it all works.

Concrete Repair - New Look


Other than wood, concrete may be the most favored residential building material in the country, because builders and homeowners recognize two of its chief virtues: undeniable durability and almost boundless versatility. Since it’s used in everything from foundations to patios, chances are good that, somewhere in your home or on your property, there’s at least one concrete surface. You may not pay much attention to it—after all, concrete needs very little maintenance—but for all of its hard-wearing strength and damage-resistance, concrete isn’t indestructible. Over time, particularly with exposure to the elements, it can become vulnerable to one of a few common issues. Most are merely cosmetic (light flaking, for instance), while others are structural. In either case, thanks to manufacturing advances from category leaders such as CTS Cement | Rapid Set, complications in concrete are now fairly easy to remedy. You don’t need any special skills or previous experience; the only prerequisites are the right materials and a bit of know-how. So, regardless of whether it’s your concrete driveway, garden path, or basement staircase that’s in need of a new look, you can complete the overhaul yourself, without having to pay a contractor.



Concrete Repair - CTS Rapid Set Newcrete


Superficial concrete issues include weathering, wear (from vehicle and foot traffic), flaking and staining. Another culprit: “craze” cracking, wherein shallow, spiderweb-like cracks appear all over. If one or a combination of these factors are ruining the outward appearance of your concrete, take heart—there’s a simple fix. By using a concrete resurfacer like Rapid Set NewCrete Concrete Resurfacer, you can eliminate all of those eyesores in one fell swoop, leaving your concrete transformed. A high-performance resurfacer, NewCrete simply goes over the existing, imperfect concrete surface and gives the installation a smooth, attractive, like-new appearance. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, the cutting-edge product self-cures, which means that, once you apply it, there are no special additional steps to remember. After only two or three hours, weather depending, you can expect the new layer to be ready for foot traffic again.

Rapid Set NewCrete Concrete Resurfacer is very easy to work with. If you want to use the product to restore a pristine look to any lackluster section of concrete, begin by throughly cleaning. Next, prepare the NewCrete, combining the mix with water in the recommended ratio. Work the material for two or three minutes until it reaches a uniform, lump-free, pancake batter-like consistency. Next, lightly dampen the old concrete and use the NewCrete to pre-fill any minor cracks or holes. Then spread the NewCrete in an even, thin layer up to an eighth of an inch thick. NewCrete, like other resurfacers, remains spreadable for about 30 minutes, so if you’re resurfacing a large expanse, such as a driveway, it may be wise to do one section at a time. Once you have finished the application, it’s just 60 or 90 minutes for the job to be considered cured and complete.



Concrete Repair - CTS Rapid Set Cement All


More extensive damage calls for a more extensive repair. Crumbling, chipping, or deeply cracked concrete can result from poor installation or various environmental factors (freezing and thawing, for one). No matter their precise cause, such non-superficial flaws can be speedily corrected with Rapid Set Cement All. Formulated for multiple purposes, Cement All works as well for new construction projects as it does for small repairs. It boasts a number of remarkable attributes. First, Cement All offers superior adhesion, not only to materials like brick and stucco, but also to pre-existing, damaged concrete. And whether your repair requires a skim coat or a four-inch-thick application, Cement All can be counted on for exceptional strength; it’s rated three times stronger than most concrete! Perhaps best of all, Cement All sets in 15 minutes and can be ready for foot traffic in an hour.

To rescue cracked or crumbling concrete with Rapid Set Cement All, start off by properly prepping the old concrete. That includes removing the damaged portions of concrete as well as any dirt or contaminants (paint, for example, or oil) that would prevent bonding. Next, roughen and saturate the concrete surface, avoiding standing water. Now, you can get ready to mix the Cement All. For a full 55-pound bag, add three to five quarts of water to the mix. Work the material, ideally with a power-driven mechanical mixer, from one to three minutes. Finally, apply the Cement All to the repair area, packing it to the desired level. Note that for certain jobs, such as repairing concrete steps, you may need a form to help the concrete maintain a specific shape or profile. Smooth the concrete to a finish with your choice of a trowel, float, or broom. Once the surface loses it moist sheen, finish by water-curing for at least an hour.

After restoring an older installation with Rapid Set Cement All, you can go a step further, if you choose, by unifying both the repaired and unaddressed areas under a new layer of Rapid Set NewCrete Concrete Resurfacer. Indeed, if the concrete can be salvaged at all, then you can use one or the other product, or both, in your efforts to revive it. Years ago, ripping out the concrete and starting again might have been your only option, but times have surely changed!

Concrete Repair - New Look 2


This post has been brought to you by CTS Cement. Its facts and opinions are those of

How To: Stain Pressure-Treated Wood

Enjoy the convenience and reliability of pressure-treated wood for your home's outdoor structures without sacrificing good looks. A little bit of stain and some know-how are all you need to enhance your decks and fences.

Staining Pressure Treated Wood


Pressure treating protects wood from the elements, helps prevent insect attacks, and minimizes the effects of aging. While pressure-treated wood offers many benefits, structures built from it often leave something to be desired in appearance. But armed with a few simple techniques, you can stain the surfaces, giving them both a more beautiful look and additional long-lasting protection. Staining also helps protect the wood and prevents it from cracking and splitting when seasons change. With these effective steps, you can enhance your deck, fence, or other structure and enjoy it for many years to come.

- Pressure washer
- Deck cleaner (optional)
- Nails
- Wood stain
- Paint stirrer
- Brush

Staining Pressure Treated Wood - Finished Deck


Before you stain pressure-treated wood, you should clean it first. The easiest way to wash new wood is to knock loose any dirt or residue using a pressure washer. If you’re dealing with older wood, however, you’ll need to take additional steps in order to remove stains and years’ worth of built-up grime. Stop by your local hardware store to pick up a specially developed wood cleaner for decks, fences, or other wood structures, and follow the product’s instructions for a thorough cleaning.

It’s important to wait until your pressure-treated wood is completely dry before applying stain, as the chemicals used to treat the wood often leave additional moisture behind. Drying times range anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on such factors as weather and climate.

When you’re ready to proceed, there are a few effective ways for testing the level of moisture in the wood. The first is a bead test, which is performed by simply dripping small amounts of water on the wood; if the water beads, then the wood still retains some moisture. Alternatively, simply press a nail into the wood to test for wetness. If water seeps out around the nail while it’s being pressed into the wood, then more drying time is needed.

Check the weather forecast to make sure no rain is expected. Stain applications need about 24 to 48 hours of drying time, so you’ll need to be certain that the skies will remain precipitation-free during that time.

Next, thoroughly mix the stain. You can have the hardware store do so at the time of purchase, or you can just shake it well at home. Either way, continue to stir the stain frequently as you work to ensure the best application.

While it may be tempting to rush to finish the project completely, always test the stain in an inconspicuous spot. Select a small area and brush on the stain, allowing it to dry before proceeding to work on the entire structure. This test patch will help ensure that you’ll be happy with the completed project before you sink hours into it, and will also confirm that the stain will go on properly and without any issues, such as wetness.

If all looks good, continue staining the rest of your pressure-treated wood. As you’re applying stain to pressure-treated wood, keep in mind that back brushstrokes constitute additional coats and may cause color variation. If you are staining a fence or other vertical surface, start at the top to ensure that you’ll cover any drips or runs as you work your way down. Remember that exposed ends of wood may need additional staining, due to greater absorption.

Convert a Dresser into a Cat Box Cover

This clever furniture revival manages to not only rescue a sad dresser, but it also solves a perennial household problem—where to hide the cat box.

DIY Dresser Turned Cat Box

Lisa from Recaptured Charm, sees potential where others might see next week’s trash. Instead of kicking this beat up cabinet to the curb (and who would have blamed her), she transformed it into a double duty piece of furniture that’s as charming as it is clever. See how she turned an ordinary set of drawers into a beachy accent table that conceals a dirty little secret: the cat’s litter box.

DIY Dresser Conversion - Before


- Old dresser
- Plywood board
- Hinges and hardware
- Primer and paint
- Branches
- Vent
- Cat door and flap


Old Dresser - Step 1

Since I didn’t need any of the insides of this cabinet, we cleared out everything, plus the drawers, and just used the drawer fronts.


Old Cabinet Doors - step 2

The drawer fronts were then applied to this piece of wood, which will later be hinged to the bottom of the cabinet.


Now for a coat of KILZ Primer and a very LIGHT coat of white. Since this cabinet was in terrible shape there really wasn’t any choice but to treat it as a rustic piece of furniture. Embrace it’s flaws.


Cabinet to Litterbox - step 4

The previous tin handles were just NOT gonna cut it! We couldn’t reuse them if we wanted to. Because of the nature of this project I really didn’t want to spend any money on it. I searched the garage for something that I could use for handles. Right in the corner of the garage sat a box of firewood and branches from the tree in my yard. How perfect!


Cabinet to Litterbox - vent

We had to make sure there was a vent. Not only to let in a little light but some much needed air. Then of course there’s the cat flap, which was the only money I spent on this cabinet. Around $12.

Cabinet to Litterbox - open

Thanks, Lisa! For even more clever DIY ideas, visit Recaptured Charm.

Quick Tip: The Key to Preserving Paint Rollers

The cost of new rollers for every paint project adds up fast! Save money with some seriously easy tricks that will extend the life of this essential tool.

How to Clean Paint Rollers


Painting a room can be quite the process: choosing your paint color, covering all of your furniture, prepping every surface, taping off trim and hardware, priming, and then (finally) painting the room—phew! So it’s no surprise that by the time you finish painting, following the proper cleaning procedures doesn’t hold much appeal. However, if you take correct care of your tools now, you may save time and money later. Try these simple tips to extend the life of your paint rollers and make your next painting endeavor even easier.

How to Clean Paint Rollers - Extender


First, keep in mind these principles: Not all paints require the same type of cleaning, but no matter which method you use, all should be cleaned immediately after use. (For the love of Benjamin Moore, don’t let the paint dry!) The sooner you take care of the job, the less need for soaking your roller in water or a cleaning solution of any kind, which could soften and damage the structure of the roller cover.

If you’re cleaning water-base paint off of a roller cover, start by washing it with warm water and soap, and continue until all of the paint is removed. A putty knife can help work off stubborn, stuck-on paint. Then, rinse only with water until you’ve removed any lingering soap. Squeeze out any excess water and string the roller through wire or a dowel to dry. Don’t lay it down flat, as that can damage the nap.

Oil-base paints, shellacs, or varnishes require a little extra work. Read the cleaning instructions on your specific paint type for the solvent you should use; some usual suspects are mineral spirits, denatured alcohol, or paint thinner. Pour the solvent into a container large enough to fit your roller, then dip your tool in. You’ll want to switch out the solvent every so often until the roller comes out clean. Shake off excess in the container, then pop the cover back on the roller to spin it dry—just be careful not to get any of the solvent in your eyes.

Even if you take impeccable care of your rollers, a little wear and tear is natural over time. Use scissors to trim off any dried beads of paint along the edges, but be gentle! You won’t want to hack away big sections that may mess up your next paint job.

Finally, when you’re getting ready for your next paint project, just remove dust particles from storage by gently running a lint brush over your dried roller. And like that, your like-new tool will get you through many more DIYs to come!

Transform a Dresser into a Kitchen Island

After hunting for the perfect kitchen island, this blogger made her own from little more than a thrift store dresser!

DIY Dresser Kitchen Island

When Sara from Nesting Gypsy stumbled across a vintage dresser at the local thrift store, she had to have it for a kitchen island. With a little paint, poly, and a new wood top, it’s almost unrecognizable—and for only $110, no less. Read on to see the full transformation process.

Dresser kitchen island before


- Vintage dresser
- Paint (blue)
- Spray paint (gold)
- Salvaged table legs (or scrap wood)
- Wood for top
-  Polyurethane sealer


Matching paint for kitchen island

I was undecided on what color this most important piece should be. I considered green. And yellow. And then I realized that I LOVED this blue color on my vintage Pyrex bowl.

I took my bowl down to the paint store and, lo and behold, there was a new paint color that matched almost perfectly.


We needed to raise the island about 6 inches to match our countertop height. Matt had salvaged some legs off of a table that was in the trash and he cut them down and reattached them.


DIY Kitchen Island top

He created the top from pieces of wood that he screwed together and then painted it the same color as our cabinets and distressed it. Eventually, we would love to get a piece of white quartz to replace the top…but for now, it’s working great!


DIY Kitchen Island - paint

He did 3 coats of paint and 2 coats of Vermont Naturals PolyWhey for furniture.


Painting gold hardware

And lastly…the hardware! I kept the original hardware because it was cute and I hate buying new when I can re-use the old! I tend to ALWAYS gravitate toward silver. But this time, my heart said GOLD GOLD! And there you have it!

Thanks, Sara! For more great home ideas, visit Nesting Gypsy.


DIY Dresser Bench

This little dresser is proof positive that even the shabbiest pieces of furniture can become your favorite.

DIY Dresser Bench

When Brooke from Start at Home picked up this secondhand chest of drawers, she quickly realized she had her work cut out for her. Not only was it missing drawers, caster wheels, and broken in places, the entire veneer looked a little, well, shabby. But “good bones” (and oak furniture) are worth saving—and we’re so glad she took the effort because this incredible bench is worth replicating. Read on to see how she did it.


- Old dresser
- Wood filler
- 150-grit sandpaper
- Molding
- Graco airless paint sprayer
- Primer
- Paint
- Oil-based glaze


DIY Dresser Bench - Step 1

First I pulled off the top. After that, I pulled out the top drawer divider and guide and removed the second drawer. Leave the second drawers guide; that’s where the bench seat will go.


DIY dresser bench - step 2

After I had the dresser stripped down to the last drawer, I flipped the old top over cut it down to size and used it for the bench seat. Once your seat is in, use wood filler to fill in all those holes and cracks. Once your wood fill is dry use a 150-grit sand paper, and sand the entire dresser until it is smooth.

DIY Dresser Bench - step 3
This chest didn’t have much of isn’t own character so I added some molding around the drawer to spice it up a bit.


DIY Dresser Bench - step 4

Once everything is all sanded it is time to paint. This bench could easily be painted by hand but I do use a Graco airless paint sprayer for all my furniture. I always prime my pieces first, I like to use kilz or zinsser primer in latex. Once the primer is dry it is time to add color! I used Quarry by Pratt & Lambert for this bench.


DIY Dresser Bench - step 5

After it is all painted and dried I added a brown oil based glaze to all the details to really make them pop! After the glaze dried I added a clear top coat to help protect this bench.

DIY Dresser Bench - finished

Thanks, Brooke! To see even more great DIYs, visit Start at Home.

DIY Dresser Bathroom Vanity

A furniture redo should be more than functional, it should express your style—like this dining room buffet turned bathroom vanity.

DIY Dresser Bathroom Vanity

When Angie from Postcards from the Ridge decided to redo the bathroom, she didn’t want an ordinary vanity that could be found in any home store. No, she was looking for something entirely one of a kind…. something that looked a whole lot like a dining room buffet she’d had on hand for 15 years. So with a little paint, patience, and a kindly contractor, she managed to redo the piece, plumbing and all. Here’s how she did it.

DIY Dresser Bathroom Vanity - before


- Old dining room buffet
- Paint
- Sandpaper
- Tack cloth
- Gel stain
- Varnish
- Saw
- Scrap wood
- Faucet and vessel sink


DIY Dresser Vanity - step 1

The first thing I did was paint it with a coat of Benjamin Moore Regal Eggshell finish in Quarry Rock, #1568. I didn’t prime it, but did clean it well first. After the paint dried completely, I sanded it lightly to expose some of the wood color and give it a nice distressed look. I used a tack cloth to remove all of the dust that was created from the sanding.


DIY Dresser Vanity - stain

Then I coated sections of it with Minwax Chestnut gel stain and wiped it off immediately. This gave it a nice aged look. After the stain dried, I could have left it as it was, but since it was going into a bathroom I coated it with Modern Masters Dead Flat varnish. I used four coats on the top and three coats on the rest of the piece.


DIY Dresser Vanity - cut

Since the Mr. and I have zero carpentry skills, our contractor did the carpentry work which included cutting a hole in the top of the buffet to fit the sink, and then reconfiguring the drawers so they would fit around the plumbing. He also had to cut out some of the back. He was able to cut out a channel to fit around the plumbing so we still had usable drawer space in all 3 drawers.


DIY Dresser Vanity - finished

The plumber installed the sink and faucet and we then had a new vanity. A one-of-a-kind, not ordinary, haven’t-seen-that-before kind of vanity. And we love it. Not only is it unique, it is solid wood. And did I already say that we love it?

Thanks, Angie! Find even more clever home ideas by visiting Postcards from the Ridge.

DIY Entryway Console

Even a damaged thrift store find has the hope of becoming the star of your entryway or mudroom. Here's one such example.

DIY Dresser Console Table

Melissa is no stranger to flipping furniture, turning ordinary (or ugly) pieces into works of domestic art. But the stunning results of this DIY surprised even her! Half of the sister duo at Two It Yourself, she describes the process of transforming a damaged dresser into a sturdy console. We think you’ll love it, whether you DIY to sell or to furnish your nest.


- Old dresser
- Wood putty
- Plywood
- Beadboard wallpaper
- Paint
- Sanding block
- Gel stain
- Foam brush
- Hardware
- Polyurethane varnish


DIY Dresser Console - Before

I bought this solid wood dresser at my favorite thrift store nearly a month ago.  When I grabbed the tag to claim it I didn’t even realize that the $45 price table included a huge solid mirror in nearly perfect condition, too! I mean really? But when I got it home I realized I had missed some major flaws in it.  A huge chunk of the decorative trim on the bottom was missing and the bottom was not only thick cardboard, it was so bowed it was unusable. Thankfully I gave her a chance.


DIY Dresser console - step 2

I started by removing the entire piece of trim and the busted decorative piece at the bottom.  (I don’t even know what’s it’s called so I’ll just called it ‘busted piece’.) Then I took the two bottom drawers out and removed the wood piece that separated the second and third drawers.  This left two nickle-size holes which I filled in with putty.  When I took the drawers out the back of the dresser was exposed and it just wasn’t ideal for an open piece.


DIY Dresser Console - step 3

I bought a piece of plywood to replace the back and bottom of the dresser so they were solid and level. (The back is two different colors because I ran out of plywood and had to piece together with some scrap wood that I took out of the bottom of one of the unused drawers).


DIY Dresser Console - step 4

To add a little character and texture (and to make sure the paint covered evenly) I covered the back with beadboard wallpaper that I had left over from my recent $100 bathroom makeover.  It’s paintable so it’s perfect for this type of thing. Plus, it’s easy to work with and I think it really adds to the piece.


Finally the piece was taking shape and was ready for paint.  I used Fiesta Red which I made into homemade chalk paint. I did three coats just to be sure all areas were covered well. After a good day or so dry-time I used a sanding block to distress the piece lightly. I don’t like a lot of distressing so I just go with areas that would obviously show wear like corners and edges.


DIY Dresser Console - step 6

Then I used my favorite stain-over-paint technique. I worked in small areas—fast—and put the stain on with a foam brush. I let it sit for a few minutes before wiping the stain off being careful always to wipe in the same direction. I even stained the beadboard wallpaper and it came out great. I was a little concerned about how it would take the stain, but it didn’t react any differently than the wood.


I finished the piece up with new hardware and coat of polyurethane which I brushed on.  I have used spray on poly, but I really prefer to brush it on so it’s not blotchy and I can put it on a little thicker.

DIY Dresser Console - final

Thanks, Melissa! Find even more furniture revivals at Two It Yourself.