Category: How To’s & Quick Tips

Repurposed Door Beverage Bar

Dive into the exciting world of architectural salvage to surface the materials for this summer DIY—the perfect complement to a backyard BBQ.

Vintage Door Outdoor Bar Serving Station

If you’re like us, spring and summer can mean long, thirsty hours spent DIYing (or even relaxing!) in the sun. But this vintage door-turned-patio-bar is the perfect remedy to serve parched family and friends. Laura, from Finding Home Online was tired of dusting off an old card table to serve her guests so she used a little ingenuity and an old yard sale door to bring this imaginative piece of furniture to life. Read on to see how she did it.


- Vintage door (and top and bottom cuts of a second door)
- Porch spindles (6)
- Shelf
- Hand sander
- Power drill
- Screws
- Right-angle braces
- Level
- Paint
- Dark wax
- Spray poly
- Anchor


DIY Beverage Station Materials

Especially since our items were all vintage, we power washed everything first. We used a large piece of plastic underneath to collect any particles that fell off that could be dangerous to our sweet puppy. We then sanded everything down with a hand sander.


Begin assembling your parts. We laid the door down on two saw horses and then used right angle braces to line up the bottom shelf first. We came from underneath, drilled pilot holes and added screws from the back side of the door.


We added the spindles next by measuring out the spacing, drilling pilot holes and attaching screws from underneath. Since the back spindles touched the door we also drilled some screws from the back to strengthen them.


Using the right angle braces again, we attached the top shelf with screws from the back and straight down into each spindle.


DIY Outdoor Bar Tutorial

We then added a new wood shelf underneath. We cut sections of additional spindles at a 45 degree angle, but any scrap wood would work. We drilled from the underside of the shelf to attach the bracket to the wood. We drilled in again from the back directly into the shelf and into the bracket as well.


Painted and stained DIY Beverage Station

Once it was all assembled, I did some dry brushing of paint on the spindles (they looked too new), the plain wood shelf and the bottom shelf (it was a little too high in contrast). I layered a few colors of chalk paint to best blend with the rustic finish of the door. Then I covered the spindles and all of the shelves in Annie Sloan’s dark wax. This gave an aged looked to the newer pieces, sealed the surfaces and unified all the pieces together. Because this piece is designed to be outside I was concerned that the wax finish might take a beating in the heat. To combat that and to seal the old finish of the door, I finished the whole piece in two coats of a spray poly.


DIY Outdoor Beverage Station - finished

And now you just need to move her in where you want her to go. I would suggest using some sort of anchor to ensure it doesn’t tip over.

Thans, Laura! For more great DIY ideas, head on over to Finding Home Online.

Repurposed Door Coffee Table

Turning a vintage door into a new table may be easier than you think with these guidelines from a great DIYer.

How to Make DIY Door Coffee Table

After posting pictures of a DIY coffee table that she (and readers) loved, Sausha from Sweet Pickins decided to revisit the project. So she make another one—this time to sell. Luckily, she had a fantastic old door on hand to chop, paint, and style into this colorful, offbeat table. Here’s how you can make your own.


- Old door
- Teal paint
- Power saw
- Painters tape
- Cabinet scrapers
- Polyurethane
- Stain
- Power drill


DIY Door Coffee Table - cut

I just cut off about 32 inches from the end, cut that in half to have about 16 in sides.  Then I decided to leave the old cream paint as is and use that for the under side of the table and the dark stained part I painted a teal color.


I taped off the hinges as well as the spot where the door knob used to be.


DIY Door Coffee Table - distress

After, I used my cabinet scrapers to heavily distress the entire door.  I love the way it turned, it looks like the paint has chipped off over the years.


The I sealed it with a few coats of poly (both sides).


DIY Door Coffee Table - finished

I just rubbed a little stain on the cut on the side of the door to make it look more aged. Voila— ready to sell!

DIY Door Coffee Table - close

Thanks, Sausha! For more cottage chic DIY ideas, be sure to visit Sweet Pickins.


DIY Bench From a Repurposed Door

Not only is this easy-to-replicate bench a cool addition to a country chic home, but it only takes a single hour to build!

How to Build Bench

One of the enjoyable things about reading Thistlewood Farms is the playful way that KariAnne puts things. But when she wanted to feature her brother’s genius DIY bench made with a vintage door, she let the project speak for itself. The best part is that with little more than an old door and some 2 x 4 boards, you can recreate this project in your own home. Read on to see how it’s done. 


- Weathered door (panelled is best)
- Power saw
- Several 2 x 4s
- Power drill
- Screws


Cut the door in half horizontally so you are left with the two long panels intact and the two short panels intact.  (If you have a proper door the cut will not be far from the “halfway point” but instead where the panels are divided.)


Cut the long panels in half vertically. I made the cut slightly off center, so the “longer” half would be used as the back and give it a little more height.  The other piece I will call the “seat panel”.

DIY Door Project


Assemble a base using 2 x4’s. I cut two long pieces the length of the “seat panel.” And then made several “ribs” the width of the seat panel minus the 2×4 boards I cut for the width. The end result should be a rectangle with support pieces in the middle. Note:  I made my box width smaller by 2 inches to allow the seat panel to overhang for a more comfortable seat.


Attach the 2×4 base to the seat panel using nails or screws. In my application I cut a piece of plywood to go underneath (between the door and the 2×4 box). It provides stability as well as keeping the panel from caving in.

Door Into DIY Bench


Attach the back at to the base. On the placement, I tried to give as much height to the back as possible and still give myself enough room to put two rows of screws.


Time to make the sides. Cut the bottom door panels in half exactly.


Attached the cut bottom/side panels to the already constructed bench in line with the back. These can face either way you prefer, but make sure they match. I placed them so the thicker part of the panel faced back. Note: to get a good arm height you may need to cut some off of the bottom panels. For the arm rests I added pew tops from another project.


I added a small 2×4 leg for extra support.  Other than that paint it and you are good.

DIY Bench with Old Door

Thanks, KariAnne! For more fun DIYs, check out Thistlewood Farms.

Genius! Unpack the Ultimate Picnic with This Suitcase Hack

If you love eating outdoors and are a sucker for spontaneity, have we got a DIY for you! With your own custom picnic case, you can grab and go whenever the spirit moves you. We promise—you'll never go back to baskets and blankets again.

Suitcase Picnic Table


A blanket works just fine for picnics—you know, in the way that candles worked just fine before electricity. But if you want to dine outdoors in style and comfort, Instructables author Carleyy can show you how. In her alfresco dining hack, what looks like any ordinary hard-shell suitcase actually opens into the tiniest, most fully featured picnic table your neighborhood park has ever seen. Oh, and did we mention this talented table serenades you whilst you snack on wine and cheese?

To create your own party-in-a-suitcase, start by making the retractable legs, cutting them to size from a 1″ x 1″ board. Keep in mind that in order for the legs to fold in, they can be only as long as your suitcase is tall. Spray-paint or stain them to coordinate with your suitcase, then screw them to locking braces that you’ve secured within the case interior.

It’s equally easy to prepare the speakers. Start by slowly chipping away at the bulky plastic enclosure around a pair of inexpensive USB speakers. Continue until you’ve exposed the wiring. From there, measure and cut two round holes into the top of the suitcase (near where it latches). Fit the speakers through the holes, gluing them into place with epoxy. Hidden inside the case, the speaker wiring can be covered up with either sewn-in fabric or a small, fastened-on plastic box.

Finally, add straps, ribbon, and elastic to the suitcase lining to hold your picnic essentials (read: wine bottle and glasses). Three cheers for this brilliant DIY!

 FOR MORE: Instructables

Suitcase Picnic Table - Interior


DIY Lite: Make an Herb Garden from Kitchen Recyclables

Bring a little life into your kitchen—and spice up your meals—by building your own vertical herb garden! Check out these easy-to-follow steps to create a stylish and sturdy structure that even a novice can achieve.

DIY Herb Garden

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

As you welcome spring, bring a pop of the season into the house with a newly handmade vertical garden. This space-conscious upcycling project takes up minimal counter space considering the amount of herbs you’ll be able to squeeze into it. You don’t need to have a lot of room or even serious exposure to power tools for this easy DIY—just a few plastic bottles, some wood, and a can-do attitude will suffice. What could be more convenient than to have a selection of fresh herbs out on the counter ready to season your home-cooked dishes and sprinkle into summer salads?

DIY Herb Garden - Materials

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

- 6 plastic bottles (choose a medium size, around 50 oz. or 1.5L)
- utility knife
- 8 feet of 1″ x 4″ lumber
- handsaw (optional)
- pencil
- ruler
- 1-1/4″ hole saw
- sandpaper
- 12 metal brackets
- 24 screws
- drill
- screwdriver
- brush
- wood stain
- white spray paint
- 6 ready-to-plant herbs



DIY Herb Garden - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Use a utility knife to cut the tops off each of the six plastic bottles to form six goblet-shaped “planters.” (Tip: Draw a line 5 inches or so from the cap on both sides of your clear plastic bottle to give you a little bit of guidance.) Do your best to cut as straight as possible.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Cut your lumber into five pieces: three 15-inch-long pieces (for the shelves and the top of the frame) and two 25-inch-long pieces (for the sides of the frame). Make it easier on yourself and ask for the cuts at your local hardware store. Once your pieces have been cut, grab a 15-inch length of wood and trace one of the bottle caps at the exact center of the piece.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Trace two additional cap shapes on either side of the first, roughly 5 inches apart. Before you do any cutting, stand the bottle tops next to one another to make sure you’re leaving enough room for all three to fit comfortably.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Secure the wood with clamps. Then, following the marks, drill three holes in the wood piece with a 1-1/4 inch hole saw.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Repeat Steps 2 through 4 on one more 15-inch piece of wood. At this point, you’ll have two 15-inch lengths of wood with three holes in each and one that is still solid; the solid piece will serve as the top of the frame. Erase the pencil marks and lightly sand away any rough edges.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Now, set aside the 15-inch pieces while you use the longer pieces to assemble the frame.

First, position six brackets on one of the 25-inch lengths. Two brackets at the bottom will support the bottom shelf (leave about an inch below the shelf to give your planter feet); two in the center will support a shelf; and two at the top will support the top of the frame (position these brackets an inch from the top to account for the thickness of the wood). To be sure of the screws’ positions and help prevent the wood from cracking, drill small holes before screwing the brackets to the wood.

Repeat on the second 25-inch piece of wood.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Now you’re ready to fit the shelves into place. First, put the solid shelf on top, and mark the screw positions through the bracket holes.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Following the pencil marks you’ve made, drill small holes and then use a screwdriver to secure the top of the frame to the brackets.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Repeat Steps 7 and 8 for the middle and bottom shelves, the pieces with the drilled holes.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 10

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Once the frame is assembled and the shelves are mounted, you can stain and varnish it.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 11

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

While the shelf dries, turn your attention once more to the plastic bottles. Poke a few holes in each cap to provide drainage. Then, spray-paint the plastic bottles in your favorite color. (We kept it simple with white!) Check the can before you get started to make sure the paint will adhere to plastic, then head outside to spray in a well-ventilated area.



DIY Herb Garden - Step 12

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Give the painted pieces time to air-dry. When everything looks good, unpot the herbs and transfer them to the bottle top “planters.” Then, simply slip the caps into the holes in the shelves of your ready-to-grow vertical garden! Whether you choose to leave your garden on the kitchen counter or move it next to a window, having fresh herbs close at hand will make it easy to spice things up.

DIY Herb Garden - In Kitchen

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila


Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.

5 Things to Do with… Paint Chips

With these creative ideas for repurposing paint switches, you can turn project leftovers into bright, bold, and lasting home accents.

You agonized over choosing precisely the right color to paint the spare room. As part of your effort (and partly because they looked pretty), you picked up plenty of paint chips from the local home improvement store. Though you’ve now put the brushes away and the paint project behind you, the DIYing doesn’t have to stop there. Rather than let all those paint chips hog space in a drawer, scroll down to see five favorite ways of putting them to practical or decorative use in the home.



Paint Chip Crafts - Notebook


Record your thoughts on mini notebook pages bound within a paint chip from your favorite color family. To make, line up a paint chip with several sheets of cut-to-size looseleaf. Once aligned, fold the materials in half and staple down the middle crease. Finally, place the notebook under a heavy object to help the fold set.



Paint Chip Crafts - DIY Mobile


Paint chips provide the burst of color ideal for a clever wall hanging like this one from Kollabora. Cut select paint chips into circles of different sizes, then tape them an inch or two apart along a series of strings. Tied to a wooden dowel, the strings hang down to create a whimsical grown-up twist on traditional children’s mobiles.



Paint Chip Crafts - Magnets


From How About Orange, here’s a creative way to turn paint chips, Pantone or not, into eye-catching fridge magnets. After gluing your favorite chips to thick bookboard cut-outs, apply paper glaze to lend each one a finishing shine. Last, attach self-adhesive magnets to the rear sides, and you’re ready to stick ‘em up!



Paint Chips Crafts - Calendar


Call off the search for the perfect wall calendar! Using this method from Say Yes, you can create your own agenda—easily—month after month. Simply date each paint chip you plan to use, then pin them all up in orderly columns. With the month declared at the top, each column falls under a label for a certain day of the week.



Paint Chip Crafts - Photo Frames


Put larger paint chips to work as colorful background mats for printed photographs, says Photojojo. Just use tape or glue to adhere your photos to the swatches, trimming down either as needed. Then reach for a Sharpie and, wherever the image does not fill the frame, annotate with dates, names, doodles, or quotations.

How To: Paint Wicker Furniture

Nothing looks more outdated than dingy wicker furniture. Fortunately, you can revive a tired piece with only a fresh coat of paint. Here's how to get it done.

How to Paint Wicker Furniture


Wicker evokes summertime porch-sitting perhaps more than any other outdoor furniture. But besides all the fair-weather memories and leisure-bent associations that wicker carries, the material also boasts a host of practical benefits. Lightweight yet sturdy, a good piece of wicker furniture can last for decades—with the right care, that is. Every few years, as a way of protecting the wicker from the elements, remember to apply a fresh coat of paint (or sealer). Whether you’re doing a minor touch-up job or a whole-hog makeover of your chair, chaise, or settee, follow these steps to prep and paint wicker furniture in short order, and with ease.

- Vacuum
- Stiff-bristled brush
- Bucket, water, mild detergent, and a sponge
- Bleach (optional, if there is mildew present)
- Spray bottle full of water
- Drop cloth
- Dust mask
- Spray primer
- Spray paint

How to Paint Wicker Furniture - Green Weave


Start by setting up your work area. If possible, try to paint wicker furniture outside, where there’s more than adequate ventilation. Choose a clear day and for best results, stay out of the wind, lest dirt and leaves blow onto the fresh paint. Also, note that no matter how careful you are, spray paint inevitably over-sprays. To protect your belongings, move them all well out of the way. Place the wicker piece on a drop cloth, not only to catch the paint, but also to prevent debris from interfering with your finish.

With the dust attachment on your vacuum, clear away any loose dust, dirt, and cobwebs from the furniture. As you go, look for signs of mildew; if you find any, you can address it in step 4. Knock off any chipped, loose, or flaking paint with a stiff-bristled brush. Don’t be so aggressive as to cause damage.

With a sponge and soapy water, wash down the wicker. If you spotted mildew, now’s the time to kill it. Add once cup of household bleach to your wash water, then apply the mixture to the affected areas with a sponge or cloth. After, rinse the piece by spraying it down with plain water. Allow the wicker to air-dry.

Next: It’s time to prime. For your finish to look its best and last a long time, it’s wise to put on a couple coats of spray primer. Wearing a dust mask, apply the primer to the wicker by holding the spray can about a foot away from the material. Start spraying a few inches to the side of the piece and then, keeping your arm straight, sweep across the furniture. Release the nozzle when you have brought the spray can to a point a few inches beyond the wicker piece. In this way, continue priming the entire thing. Wait for the first coat to dry completely before proceeding to do the second. Yes, two thin coats are better than one thick coat. Fortunately, primer dries very quickly, so doing it the right way doesn’t take forever.

Finally, pull out the paint! After the second coat of primer has dried, apply your finish paint in two thin coats, using the technique described above. You may find it easier to paint the underside and back of the furniture first, doing the more immediately visible portions second. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying the second coat (the last). Though the paint may dry within only a few hours, give the wicker a couple of days to cure before you begin to usethe furniture again.

You’ll be amazed by the difference that fresh paint makes to your wicker furniture—it will feel brand-new. Repeat this wicker refresh every few years, and your furniture will serve you beautifully for many seasons to come.

How To: Remove Caulk

Though removing caulk isn't complicated, it can be tedious. But with the right tools and a bit of planning, you can minimize the hassle and get the job done right, quickly.

How to Remove Caulk


Though caulk often lasts for years, it doesn’t stick around forever. If yours has become discolored, has developed cracks, or has begun to separate, it’s time for a new application. Before you can lay down a new bead, however, you must get rid of the caulk that’s already in place. Though it’s not overwhelmingly difficult to remove caulk, the job can be tedious. In any case, it’s best to know what type of sealant you’re dealing with. So before doing anything else, inspect the caulk to determine whether it’s silicone- or water-based. While silicone-based caulk is rubbery and somewhat stretchable, the water-based stuff is considerably harder and tends to chip away. Some caulk removers work on both types; others only work with one or the other. Avoid a return trip to the store and be mindful of what you’re purchasing.

- Caulk remover
- Caulk remover tool (or utility knife)
- Toothbrush
- Putty knife
- Bleach
- Rubber gloves

How to Remove Caulk - Razor Scraper


Having properly ventilated the work area, be sure to follow any other safety tips specified in the printed instructions for your chosen caulk remover. Once ready, proceed to apply the product to the caulk you wish to remove, and then—wait. The caulk remover, rather than making the sealant magically disappear, simply softens it. In most cases, the longer you let the chemical remover sit, the softer and more pliable the caulk becomes. Allow at least four hours. Note that a typical bottle of caulk remover usually covers about 20 or 30 linear feet of caulk.

With the caulk now soft, address it either with a caulk remover tool or a utility knife. Be careful with the latter, as there’s a danger of scraping the material on either side of the caulk bead. If the remover did its job, the caulk ought to come off rather easily. For any lingering residue, particularly in crevices, use a toothbrush or putty knife.

Sometimes those last vestiges of caulk can be remarkably stubborn. If you’re up against some caulk that won’t quit, one option is to cover the leftover caulk with alcohol-soaked rags, leaving them in place for a couple of days. Want a more direct method? Use either a heat gun or a hair dryer. With either, take care not to overheat the adjacent material (plastic, in particular, can be vulnerable to high temperatures). The leftover caulk, exposed to heat, finally ought to soften to the point where you can remove it with a removal tool, razor, brush or putty knife.

Finish the job by cleaning the surface where the caulk used to sit. Here, there may be a buildup of mildew and soap scum. To treat the mildew, apply water-diluted bleach with a cotton cloth. For soap scum, use the same technique but instead of bleach, opt for a homemade shower cleaner (a vinegar-and-water mixture usually does the trick).

With the right materials, a modest amount of know-how, and, yes, some luck, the process of removing caulk can be pretty painless. In home improvement, as in life, patience is a virtue. Take your time to get the job done right.

Genius! Make a Candle with a Stick of Butter

If the lights go out and your regular emergency supplies are not available, what can you do? Well, if there's a stick of butter in the fridge, you're halfway to a serviceable candle.

How to Make a Butter Candle


Is it a MacGyver-style party trick or a practical skill for managing power-outtage emergencies? We’re not positive, but we think it could be both simultaneously.

Here’s what you need: A stick of butter, a knife, a toothpick, and a piece of toilet paper. That’s it. The steps involved in actually creating the butter candle are similarly few. First, halve or quarter the stick of butter so that you end up with a four-tablespoon pad (with the paper attached). Next, using a toothpick, poke a hole through the exposed face of the butter, plunging the toothpick all the way down through the stick so that it pierces the paper wrapping at the bottom.

To complete the candle, twist a piece of toilet paper into a tight coil. Once finished, fit one end of the coil through the channel that you burrowed through the butter. Using the toothpick if necessary, coax the makeshift wick through the butter until the tip peaks out of the paper-wrapped bottom side. If the top end of the wick measures much longer than a quarter-inch, simply tear off the excess material. For safety’s sake, set your candle on a plate before you finally light it.

According to Instructables user The King of Random, a four-tablespoon stick of butter prepared in this way can burn for as long as four uninterrupted hours!

FOR MORE: Instructables

How to Make a Butter Candle - Wick


How To: Get Rid of Squirrels

Most of the time, squirrels are completely benign, but in some situations, they can cause considerable damage. If you want to put an end to your squirrel problem, don't miss our five-point action plan.

How to Get Rid Of Squirrels


Don’t let the bushy tails fool you. They may be cute and and bright-eyed, but if left unchecked, squirrels can do an impressive amount of damage, not only to your garden, but also to your home (particularly the attic and eaves). While there’s no quick and easy way to get rid of squirrels, you can do a number of things to slowly shoo away these mischievous creatures. Whether you’re responding to an existing squirrel problem or seeking to prevent one, read on for a five-step action plan.

How to Get Rid of Squirrels - Tree Branch


1. Focus on food.
If the neighborhood squirrels seem to be more interested in your house than in the one next door, it only makes sense to investigate the reason why. First things first, scan your property for an obvious food source, such as a bird feeder. Even if mounted on a tree or atop a pole, bird feeders are well within reach of squirrels, agile animals capable of jumping eight to ten feet with relative ease. If not going to go great heights in search of food, squirrels are just as likely to dig for it. Garden bulbs, in particular, are vulnerable. In lieu of protecting your flower beds with chicken wire, consider planting strategically placed daffodils. Since these perennials are poisonous to squirrels, they act as effective deterrents.

2. Prevent passage.
Everyone knows that squirrels are expert climbers. What you may not have realized is that, by banding tree trunks with plastic or metal collars (sometimes known as baffles), you can prevent squirrels from progressing along those routes that afford access to vulnerable areas, such as the overhang of your roof.

3. Opt for odors.
To augment your other efforts, hang ammonia-soaked rags on the branches squirrels seem to favor. Doing so has proven moderately successful for Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA. Alternatively, you can purchase and spread predator urine, available for sale at garden supply stores or home centers. The downside is that such treatments must be reapplied after every rainfall.

4. Count on chemicals.
There are many chemical repellents on the market that work well to get rid of squirrels. Look for products containing the active ingredient capsaicin. While some homeowners choose to spray repellent near entry points to the attic, others go a step further and apply it directly to bulbs before planting.

5. Trap and relocate.
A last option—perhaps a futile one—is the use of live-catch traps. Even when baiting the trap with a squirrel favorite like peanuts, expect to wait a few days for the trap to become a familiar part of the environment, something the squirrels feel comfortable investigating. Once that introductory period has passed, be sure to check the trap twice daily. If you trap a squirrel, act quickly to relocate it from your property to a suitable location at least three miles away, preferably across a major highway or large body of water.

Before doing anything else, the wise course is to check in with your local fish and game department, since various municipal and/or state laws may govern the treatment of squirrels where you live. In California, for example, it’s illegal to trap gray squirrels without a permit. Note that some of the heaviest regulations pertain to the use of rodenticides. For that reason alone, putting aside all ethical questions, it’s recommended that you rely solely on nontoxic control methods.