Category: How To’s & Quick Tips


DIY Copper Pipe Shelves

Slimline copper pipe shelves add a touch of whimsy to any wall and, boy, are they easy to make!

DIY Copper Shelves - Thumbs Up

Amy from Delineate Your Dwelling had a set of copper pipe hooks sitting—and sitting—in her garage for months. Then suddenly inspiration struck: DIY shelves. She got to work bringing her idea to life by combining cork coasters and thin copper piper hooks into a great-looking and totally easy decor element for her home. Here’s how she did it.

DIY Copper Pipe Shelves - Materials

MATERIALS

- Copper pipe hooks 1/2″ x 6″
- Cork coasters
- Scissors
- Cardboard
- Washi tape

STEP 1

DIY Copper Pipe Shelves - cardboard

The first thing I did was cut my cork coasters in half. They were a little flimsy, so I traced the coaster onto some cardboard to act as support backing.

STEP 2

DIY Copper Shelves - Glue

I then used hot glue to secure the cork and cardboard. Then, I made a little mark on the under side as to where my copper pipe bends would sit. A little hot.glue was applied.

STEP 3

DIY Copper Shelves - Washi tape

I decided I wanted a little bit of color, so I added some washi tape to the top of each shelf.

DIY Copper Shelves - finished

Wow! Thanks, Amy. You can find even more great projects at Delineate Your Dwelling.


DIY Copper Pipe iPad Holder

Bring a touch of elegance to your tech life with this stunning—and simple—copper pipe iPad stand.

Bob Vila Thumbs Up - Copper

DIY Copper Pipe iPad Holder

A trip to the hardware store found Laurel from A Bubbly Life face-to-face with some very promising copper pipe fittings. After a brief DIY project, she had her own copper iPad stand to make cooking from recipes a snap. Read on for a simply brilliant tutorial suitable for makers of any skill level.

MATERIALS & TOOLS

- 1/2″ copper tubing
- Tubing cutter
- (2) 90-degree elbows
- (2) Street elbows
- (2) Tees
- (4) Pipe caps
- Glue

STEP 1

DIY Copper Pipe iPad Holder - materials

Make your cuts (measurements: (1) 8-inch; (2) 4-inch; (2) 6-inch; (2) 1-inch). My measurements are based on the 3rd generation iPad but I checked the specs on the iPads and it would work with any iPad.

STEP 2

DIY Copper iPad Holder - glue

Glue the 8-inch and 6-inch pieces to the street elbows. Glue the tees to the bottom of the 6-inch pieces.

STEP 3

 

DIY Copper iPad Holder - gluing

Glue the 4-inch and 1-inch pieces to the tee. Glue the street elbows to the end of the 4 inch pieces.

STEP 4

DIY Copper Pipe iPad - end caps

Glue pipe caps to each exposed pipe.

DIY Copper Pipe iPad Holder - finished

Thanks, Laurel! For more great looking DIY projects, be sure to stop by A Bubbly Life.


DIY Copper Clock

The industrial charm of copper pipe lends itself perfectly to this work of functional art.

DIY Copper Pipe Clock

When Amanda from Dwelling in Happiness took on a blogger challenge took on to create a gift using a copper pipe “t,” she was stumped. But only for a moment. It wasn’t long before she used her ingenuity to build her own copper pipe and wooden clock. What a beauty! Here’s how she made it.

MATERIALS & TOOLS

- 8×8 Wooden painting panel/canvas
- Clock mechanism (we used one for a 3/8 thick face, but in retrospect, a 1/4 thick face would be better!)
- 1/2 inch thick copper pipe (5 foot long—ours shown above is already cut to size)
- Copper pipe cutting tool
- (4) 1/2 inch copper pipe “t’s”
- (4) 1/2 inch copper pipe 90 degree elbows
- (4) 1/2 inch copper pipe caps
- Drill
- Gorilla glue & Elmer’s glue
- Wood stain & Polycrylic sealer
- White paint
- Ruler

STEP 1

DIY Clock - Stained Wood

I stained my wooden panel with some leftover Americana gel stain in Walnut, and then applied a thin layer of the polycrylic sealer when the stain dried. I sanded it lightly on top.

STEP 2

DIY Copper Pipe Clock - cutting pipe

While the sealer dries on the wood panel, use this amazing pipe cutting tool and cut your pipe into eight 3 1/4 inch sections of pipe. These measurements are for an 8×8 clock, but if you want to make a bigger clock you’ll have to remeasure how much pipe you want between the t’s and elbows. I wanted my pipes to hang over the wood just a tad and the cover the wood corners. I measured my pieces accordingly.

STEP 3

I was going to originally leave the t’s “open” to be the 3, 6, 9, and 12 clock number notches, but I thought it looked funny having them open. So, I decided to cut small pipes and add caps. I cut my remaining pipe into four 1 1/4 inch pieces.

STEP 4

DIY Copper Pipe Clock - glue

Since all the pipe would be glued down to the wood, I wasn’t real meticulous on gluing all the pipes together. I just used Elmers glue and put a little inside of each of the connecting pieces (the t’s, elbows, and caps).

STEP 5

DIY Copper Pipe Clock - fitted

Keep gluing the pieces together, all the while pushing the pipes together tightly to make sure they all fit snuggly. When it’s all glued together, it should look like this. Now for the actual clock part!

STEP 6

Before putting the clock altogether, I painted the hour, minute and second hands as well as the washers all white. I was going to paint them copper to match the pipe, but it would have been hard to see them against the dark wood. You can paint them any color you’d like. White showed up really nicely against the wood!

STEP 7

To find the center to drill your hole, use a ruler to measure corner to corner and make a little mark in the very center. You should have two marks that overlap or are pretty close to it. You can make a little “x.”

Drill a hole where your “x” was, and insert the clock mechanism. Once the hands and pieces are dry, assemble the clock together per the instructions.

STEP 8

DIY Copper Pipe Clock - side view

I had a little issue when I glued the pipes to the wood. I had planned to use Gorilla Glue, but knew it could possibly expand and be seen. And unfortunately, I was right; it expanded out from the pipes and out onto the wood where it was visible. Argh! I was a little upset, but grabbed my Xacto knife and started cutting away the glue that was visible. That worked! For the remaining glue, I used a tiny bit of copper paint and a small brush to paint the glue. It blended up perfectly, and you can’t even tell!

Thanks for tips, Amanda! To read even more inventive projects, click over to Dwelling in Happiness.


Weekend Projects: 5 Sunny DIY Window Seats

What's better than a sunny seat? One with a view! See five cozy takes on the classic window seat—and how to recreate them in your own home.

Seating and storage—is there ever enough of either? Enter the window seat, the dreamy solution that marries function with style. Whether you need an extra chair, a cozy reading nook, or an out-of-sight spot to store blankets, books, or baubles, these multi-use structures offer it all—with a view, to boot! While custom-built benches can run you a pretty penny, you can achieve similar results with a cost-effective DIY. Read on for five projects, ranging from near instant gratification to true labors of love, that will inspire you to take advantage of your own .

 

1. BRING ON THE BOHEMIAN

DIY Window Seat - Bohemian

Photo: thejungalow.com

This cozy nook looks like a built-in, but it’s actually a low-profile chest of drawers nestled against side table in an alcove! When recreating in your own space, know that it’s OK (even better) for your two pieces to not match in height—the cushion atop your chest can even out the two surfaces. Get the bohemian style seen at The Jungalow by using a solid colored fabric for the cushions, then layering ’til your heart’s content with brightly patterned pillows and throws.

 

2. FLOAT AWAY

DIY Window Seat - Float

Photo: instructables.com

For a modern, airy window structure, opt to build suspended seating. You won’t have the luxury of hidden storage, but the wall-mounted benches take up zero floor space and are visually light on the eyes. The best part? This easy DIY has just four steps: install heavy-duty brackets, lay out your wooden base, paint, and dress with cushions. Voila! Get the complete tutorial at Instructables.

 

3. CREATE A CLASSIC

DIY Window Seat - Classic

Photo: shanty-2-chic.com

Forget about paying retail when you can make a catalog knockoff of a pint-size storage bench using your own two hands. Aside from the actual materials, a few specialty tools will go long way to make this project go smoothly: Whitney from Shanty 2 Chic swears by her Kreg Jig, Right Angle Clamp, and Ryobi Jig Saw. Visit the girls at the Shanty for a well-photographed journey, then hop on over to Ana-White.com for the free plans.

 

4. REPURPOSE AND RELAX

DIY Window Seat - Storage Bench

Photo: fourgenerationsoneroof.com

Building from scratch doesn’t always mean starting at square one—if this isn’t your first DIY rodeo, you likely already have a fair amount of supplies and materials at hand. This bench from Four Generations One Roof makes use of almost entirely leftover materials, like scrap pine from previous projects and even repurposed pillows covered with coordinating fabric. So, go assess your workshop: What’s on your hands? It won’t take you long to put together this endlessly functional chest using glue blocks for support and nails for reinforcement.

 

5. BUILD A BAY BEAUTY

DIY Window Seat - Bay

Photo: prettyhandygirl.com

A bay window makes the perfect spot for a sunny seat, but its unique shape requires a little extra custom work. Although this particular project from Pretty Handy Girl appears somewhat advanced, you can certainly handle it if you have some basic carpentry skills under your belt. As always, just remember: Measure twice, cut once! And in the end, you’ll bask in the sunlight of your new dining nook, complete with lots of sneaky storage space.


DIY Copper Pipe Desk

With a high DIY IQ and a little ingenuity this blogger turned plain copper pipes and wooden boards into an amazing double-wide desk.

DIY Copper Pipe Desk

What’s not to love about copper? Katie from Upcycled Treasures loves DIYing with copper pipes, so when she got an idea for a copper pipe desk, she set aside concerns of cost and forged ahead. She knew that copper pipes were less sturdy than industrial black pipe for holding heavy weight like a thick wooden tabletop, so she chose a thin and light wood for the top of her desk. Read on to see how she did it. 

TOOLS & MATERIALS

- Jig
- Drill
- Ryobi Airstrike
- Belt sander
- Pipe cutter
- (2) 3/4 in x 10 ft copper pipe
- (6) 3/4 in copper tube cap
- (9) 3/4 in copper tee
- (5) 3/4 in copper male adapter
- (6) 3/4 in black malleable iron threaded floor flange
- Epoxy
- (5) 1 in x 6 in x 8 ft common board
- (3) Common 1×2 furring strip board
- (3) Pieces of wood for supports
- Wood glue

STEP 1

The first thing you will want to do when you get your pipe home is clean it up. Steel wool works great for getting the stickers off and you can use (high acetone) nail polish remover to get rid of the red or blue markings on it.

STEP 2

Copper Pipe Desk Measurements - Thumbs Up

I had made a drawing of what I wanted the desk to look like (before I went and purchased my materials), then laid everything out on the ground and slowly started assembling the pieces. You could build your desk first and then go back and add the epoxy later once you know everything is perfect, but you may need help standing it up and secure while you put the other pieces in place. Once you add epoxy be sure to wait a good 30 minutes or so before moving it around so that it has time to set. I assembled one side, then the other and then attached both to the center last.

STEP 3

Wood Top Copper Pipe Desk - Thumbs Up

Once the base was built I starting working on the top of the desk. I didn’t want anything too heavy so I created a top using (5) 1 x 6 boards that were cut to 80″ long each. Make sure you pick out straight boards as that can really effect the outcome of your desk top.

STEP 4

Cutting Wood Boards for DIY Desk - Thumbs Up

I cut the boards and also cut 3 pieces of scrap wood to be 28.5″ long. These 3 pieces were to go underneath the table to create more support, and also so that I could screw the flanges into them.

STEP 5

Cutting Top Copper Pipe Desk - Thumbs Up

I also cut some 1 x 2 fir strips so that I could frame the desk top with them. After everything was cut to size I used the Kreg Jig to attach the 1×6 pieces to one another.

STEP 6

Gluing DIY Desk - Thumbs Up

Once the top was built I used our Ryobi Airstrike to attach the 3 wood supports to the bottom and also to attach the framed edges around the top.

STEP 7

DIY Copper Pipe Desk - Thumbs Up

I then sanded the whole thing down with a belt sander.

Looks great, Katie! If you liked this project, check out more DIY ideas at Upcycled Treasures.


Genius! Boards and Brackets Create a Window Haven

Constraints beget creativity, as evidenced by the simple, useful, modest, and unexpected refined DIY breakfast nook one blogger devised when short on space.

DIY Breakfast Nook

Photo: offbeatandinspired.com

Last year, Tiffany left her roomy rental house for a compact apartment closer to downtown. Though ideally located, the apartment offered limited space—not simply for stuff, but also for activities. At her old place, Tiffany had loved to host occasional guests; to do the same in her comparatively cramped new digs, she would need to get creative. After weeks of brainstorming, she struck upon the idea for what would become a DIY furniture equivalent to a Swiss Army knife.

It’s a breakfast nook. It’s a dining area, desk, and project area. It’s all of those things. It’s genius. Here, in one corner of her apartment, Tiffany created a sunny, versatile zone in which to do everything she feared there wouldn’t be enough room for. The best part? Once she had figured out the design, the rest was easy. Tiffany spent under $200, but theoretically, you could ratchet down costs to a minimum by opting for low-cost shelf brackets and pair of secondhand stools.

DIY Breakfast Nook - Shelf Bracket

Photo: offbeatandinspired.com

You can read, in Tiffany’s own words, how she did it. But here’s the gist: Having carefully measured the window area, Tiffany decided the desired dimensions for her table. Next, she gathered materials that included two boards cut to the correct width. Because she wanted the table to have some heft, she chose to double-up the boards, placing one on top of the other. With wood glue, she joined the boards, applying pressure as the adhesive set. Then she secured the bond with screws.

Bracket time! To determine the right height for the brackets that would support the table top, Tiffany sat on one of her stools and marked where her knees touched the window trim. That’s where, with a couple inches added for leg room, she drilled in the brackets. Next, she placed the table top into position on the brackets, then screwed the two together from below, adding stability. Last, Tiffany finished things off with a soft wax that really brings out the knots and texture of the wood.

FOR MORE: Offbeat and Inspired

DIY Breakfast Bar - View 2

Photo: offbeatandinspired.com


How To: Clean a Shower Curtain

Say goodbye to soap scum-covered shower curtains and mildewy liners! A cleaner bathroom is just one load of laundry away.

How to Clean a Shower Curtain

Photo: shutterstock.com

Though your shower curtain performs a valuable service, preventing water from cascading across your bathroom floor, you’ve no doubt noticed a paradox: The more showers you take, the more gross the shower curtain gets. Before you replace it, thinking the mildewed and soap-scummy plastic or fabric cannot be salvaged, hang on a minute. You may be able to clean the shower curtain, after all—quickly and easily—by running it through the washing machine. The only trick is that, when you clean a shower curtain in the washer, it’s best to bolster the detergent with a couple pantry staples or, in extreme cases, bleach.

How to Clean a Shower Curtain - Bathroom Corner

Photo: shutterstock.com

Baking Soda and Vinegar
Place the shower curtain into your washing machine and throw in a few soiled towels. These create the agitation necessary to separate the mildew from where it has lodged. Start the machine, and when it comes time to pour in the detergent, be sure to add a half-cup of baking soda. At the start of the rinse cycle, follow up with a half-cup of vinegar. If there’s any mildew remaining, the vinegar can be expected to kill it. (If there’s a great deal of mildew, ratchet up the vinegar dose to a full cup.) Finally, before the spin cycle gets going, pull out the shower curtain and inspect its condition. If you approve, hang it back up in the bathroom. There’s no need to put the curtain in the dryer.

Bleach
If you’re dealing with a great deal of mildew and soap scum, and if your shower curtain is white or transparent, reach for a bottle of bleach. Place the curtain in the washing machine along with some towels (white towels, that is). Start the machine, and as the drum begins to fill with water, pour in a half-cup of bleach and a quarter-cup of detergent. From here, let the washer do the work. Then, before the start of the spin cycle, pull out the curtain and check to see how it looks. If it’s cleaner but not satisfactorily clean, consider repeating the process above. Also note that at this point, you may be able to finish up by hand, using mild soap in combination with a sponge or cloth rag.

Additional Notes
Be proactive in keeping your shower curtain clean. The following tips can help you to prevent mildew from taking root and proliferating in the future:

Most bar soaps generate soap scum. Body wash, on the other hand, rinses away without buildup.

After bathing, spray the area with homemade shower cleaner. The next time you shower, the water will wash away the cleaner, along with collected grime.

Use a scrub brush to loosen mildew as you wipe down the curtain as part of your regular weekly bathroom cleaning routine.


Quick Tip: Renew Dull Wood Finishes with Mineral Spirits

Wood worse for wear? Even if you someday plan on refinishing tired furniture or trim, right now you can revitalize the material, quickly and easily, simply by using mineral spirits.

Renew Wood Finishes with Mineral Spirits

Photo: shutterstock.com

As you go about your spring cleaning routine, take a few minutes to inspect the condition of your wood furniture and trim. Are any of the finishes looking dull, murky, and tired? Though you may choose to refinish worse-for-wear woodwork at some point in the future, in the meantime you can try an easier way of revitalizing it. In many cases, simply applying mineral spirits—otherwise known as paint thinner—goes a long way toward restoring warmth and shine to surfaces.

Renew Wood Finishes with Mineral Spirits - Table Detail

Photo: shutterstock.com

If you don’t have mineral sprits on hand, check your local hardware store or home center. Widely available, this stuff also boasts the virtue of being inexpensive. When you’re ready, douse a clean and absorbent cloth in the mineral spirits, then wipe down the wood whose finish needs a refresh. As a solvent, mineral spirits work to cut through stubborn grime and buildup from polish, wax, and oils.

Adding more mineral spirits to the cloth as necessary, continue rubbing the wood until the cloth no longer picks up any residue. To access detailed or hard-to-reach areas, such as the carved portion of a fireplace mantel, use an old toothbrush or a pad of fine steel wool. For something even gentler than mineral spirits alone, some restorers cutting the solvent with a mild soap (e.g., Murphy Oil Soap). Apply the solution by means of a sponge or a paintbrush, before wiping it away with a clean cloth.

Though relatively potent, mineral spirits do not cause any damage to clear wood finishes and are therefore at least worth experimenting with. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results. Be careful, however, not to use a stronger solvent, as doing so might remove the finish altogether.

Since there are fumes to wary of, take pains to ensure there’s sufficient ventilation in your work area. Also, bear in mind that mineral spirits are flammable. So once you are finished with the job, be conscious of where you put the cloths used in the process (or in what manner you dispose of them).

Compared to stripping and refinishing woodwork, applying mineral spirits is quicker and much, much easier. But of course, even after renewing the finish, you may still feel that the furniture or trim still needs to be refinished, but at least you can save that work for another day—or maybe next year!


5 Things to Do with… Eggshells

The incredible, edible egg, indeed—even the shells serve up extra usefulness! Put your breakfast remnants to work in the kitchen, garden, and even the first aid kit with one of these five hacks.

Delicious and versatile, eggs are on the ingredients list for countless favorite recipes. But while the yolks and the whites go into breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, the eggshells typically go nowhere but the garbage bin. All those wasted shards add up, apparently. According to Earth911.com, Americans trash about 150,000 tons of eggshells each and every year! Things would be different if everyone knew that you can actually use eggshells for a variety of tasks both in and around the house.

 

1. PLANT A SEED

Uses for Eggshells - Seedlings

Photo: shutterstock.com

If you’re itching to start gardening indoors before spring officially arrives, remember that eggshells make an excellent vessel for seedlings. When your plants finally outgrow their temporary homes, you can transplant them, shells and oil, directly into the soil, because the shells biodegrade. Read all the details at Instructables.

 

2. BAND TOGETHER

Uses for Eggshells - Natural Bandage

Photo: shutterstock.com

The next time you nick a finger while slicing and dicing in the kitchen, rest assured there’s a natural bandage within easy reach. It so happens that in a hardboiled egg, the membrane between the shell and the white can help stop the bleeding and serve as a makeshift Band-Aid until you can give your injury proper attention.

 

3. CHALK IT UP

Uses for Eggshells - Sidewalk Chalk

Photo: shutterstock.com

Believe it or not, you can make sidewalk chalk out of eggshells. First, grind the eggshells into powder. Next, mix the powder with tap water, flour, and food coloring (in your favorite bold hue), forming a batter-like paste. Finally, add the mixture to a silicone mold. For step-by-step instructions, head over to Pink Stripey Socks.

 

4. STAY SHARP

Uses for Eggshells - Sharpen Blender Blades

Photo: shutterstock.com

You already know that ice cubes sharpen the blades in your blender But did you know that eggshells do the same thing? Why not save the shells in your freezer, pulling them out whenever your blender needs a performance a boost? Just make sure to clean the blender afterwards, so you don’t get any crunchy surprises.

 

5. BUG OFF

Uses for Eggshells - Get Rid of Snails and Slugs

Photo: shutterstock.com

Gardens are gorgeous; unwanted snails and slugs are not. To get rid of these slimy creatures without resorting to chemical pesticides, simply spread crushed eggshells in a circle around your plantings. Rather than crawl over the jagged edges of the shell flakes, the pests would rather crawl back to where they came from.


Genius! VCR Turned Automatic Pet Feeder

With access to outmoded technology, the steadfastness of a marathon runner, and the skills of an electronics engineer, you too can turn a VCR into an automatic pet feeder!

DIY Automatic Pet Feeder

Photo: makezine.com

Remember back when successfully programming the VCR felt like a minor triumph? Now imagine how James Larssen of Make must feel: He actually figured out how to use the timing mechanism within an old VCR to solve a frustrating, everyday problem: We can’t always be home at the times when our beloved pets are accustomed to eating. Rather than set the machine to record a favorite show, Larssen configures it to activate a pet-feeding contraption of his own devising. Genius!

An electronics engineer by trade, Larssen began, in true engineer form, by taking everything apart. With the internal components of the VCR revealed, he located the video head drum and removed it, along with the drum’s motor. Next, Larssen hooked up that motor to something he had lying around his workshop—a gearbox. The gearbox, in turn, connected to an auger Larssen had salvaged from an old meat grinder. It’s all coming together! In the next to last step, using bolts and plenty of glue, Larssen secured the assembly to the top of his covered VCR. And for the finishing touch, he slid a lidded funnel into the open top of the auger.

Before leaving the house, Larssen can load the funnel with dry pet food and set the VCR to “record”—that is, dispense the food—at a specific time of day. Though everyone may not share the engineer’s gift for reinventing old technology, his fascinating tutorial reveals how Larssen managed to pull off something so inventive.

FOR MORE: Make