Category: How To’s & Quick Tips

Genius! Boost Your WiFi with a Soda Can

Has your WiFi slowed to a crawl? Get back up to speed—and back to streaming videos—with this free hack!

How to Boost Wifi - Improve Your Router with Aluminum


If you rely on Google to answer day-to-day questions or count on cat videos to pull you out of the post-lunch slump, slow Internet speeds can feel like the end of the world. Luckily, there’s a simple fix—and it isn’t buying up a $200 WiFi range extender. It mirrors a technique used before cable television became the norm, when people wrapped tin foil around their antennas for better reception. Here, however, a little aluminum cut from a can help your Wifi router’s signals go a long way.

To boost your bars immediately with this trick from Hack College, start by washing out any old beer or soda can with some soapy water. Dry it thoroughly, then flip the can upside down, and cut off the bottom with your utility knife. Also make a cut along the end with the tab, but don’t lop the top off completely—leave about an inch of metal still connected in front of the drinking hole to make a flap, as shown below.

How to Boost Wifi - with a Soda Can


The final cut will go down the can on the side opposite the metal flap. Slice the can top to bottom, and uncurl it carefully. Stretch out the aluminum on your work surface to flatten, and press down until it holds the shape. Then, when you’re ready, slip the drinking hole over your router’s antenna with the aluminum sheet up standing up tall. With your amplifier in place, sit back, relax, and enjoy the stronger connection.

FOR MORE: Hack College

7 Smart Ways to Cycle Through Laundry Faster

No one likes waiting around for their laundry to dry. So take a load off your mind the next time you tackle a heap of clothes with a few tips to dry your clothes faster.

How to Dry Clothes Fast - Tips for Your Clothes Dryer


Not all that long ago, clotheslines were the household norm. Today, however, while plenty of people like to air their ‘dirty laundry,’ only 21 percent of the population still hangs their clothes out to dry. In this fast-paced world, speed is everything. So what if we told you that your hard-working clothes dryer could work even harder? It’s so simple, it can take as little as a minute. Try any of the following tips to increase your appliance’s efficiency and shrink the time it takes to dry the load—not your clothes.

How to Dry Clothes Fast - Efficient Laundry Room


1. Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct. Periodic cleaning prevents lint buildup, which would otherwise impede the airflow and increase dry time. Perhaps most importantly, though, regular maintenance prevents an appliance fire. You should clean your dryer hose with a brush once a year, and inspect the vent for any blockages at least every 6 months.

2. Shorten the dryer hose. When you disconnect your dryer’s vent hose (that metallic, accordion-like tube) for cleaning, consider truncating it at the same time. The hose only needs to be long enough to reach your dryer, situated just a few feet away from the wall. A shorter hose requires less energy to pump moisture-laden air out of the machine than a full-length one, so your dryer can do its job up to 20 percent faster.

3. Remove lint from the filter screen. Emptying the lint screen after each load is another task that’s absolutely necessary because of lint’s flammability. If the screen gets too clogged, the dryer may overheat and automatically shut off as a safety precaution. In some cases, the tumbler still rotates and blows, so you won’t realize the heating elements are off until you open the door to find a pile of wet clothes. Forgo a fire and any wasted time by keeping it clean.

4. Shake water from your wardrobe. Immediately after the laundry comes out of the washer, wring and shake out each item over the sink to remove excess water. If some pieces are overly wet, place them back in the washer and run only the “spin” cycle to pull out some of the moisture. This may take an extra 15 minutes, but the extra cycle in the washer will save you later in overall dry time.

5. Don’t overload the dryer. It’s a mistake to think stuffing the dryer will save you time—it actually has the opposite effect. Clothes need room to tumble so heated air can pass over and through each item, so keep your load to a minimum for maximum effectiveness.

6. Resist opening the door. Whenever you open the dryer door mid-cycle, warm air escapes, and a little more time is needed to completely dry the load. Plus, if you’re adding a forgotten item, the single sopping wet piece in a partially dry load throws off your clothes dryer’s moisture detector. That means some clothes might be over-dried and others still damp. To avoid this, resolve to sticking stragglers on a drying rack, instead.

7. Throw in the towel—literally. If you have a few items you need to dry fast, toss them into the dryer with a large, dry towel to absorb some of the moisture. After 15 minutes, remove the towel and hang it up to dry; otherwise it will continue to contribute to the moisture level in the dryer and extend the drying time, thus defeating the purpose. Then, when you check on the rest of the items in another five to 10 minutes, you should find the load ready to go.

How To: Waterproof Fabric

You can waterproof everything from your favorite outdoor pillows to your kitschy canvas tote using a water repellant that’s been around for more than a century.

How To Waterproof Fabric - DIY Waterproofing With Wax


Looking to reupholster your dining room chairs in a beautiful print without having to worry about future damage from spills? Concerned about wearing a new pair of canvas sneakers because of the threat of rain? You’re not alone: Despite the advent and increased use of synthetic fibers, not every fabric is water-repellent—but it can be. Sure, you could commit to spraying on a store-bought silicone solution once a year between rainy seasons. But, if you’re a die-hard do-it-yourselfer and you’d like to waterproof your fabrics the old-fashioned way, you can seal the deal with one tried-and-true ingredient: wax. Just follow the steps below and, before you know it, those water droplets will be rolling off your favorite fabrics in no time flat.

The Wax On, Water Off Method
One hundred years ago, wax was the go-to substance for waterproofing fabric. Not only did it repel water, but it also smelled better than the tars, tannins, and oils commonly used at the time. Today, high-end apparel companies like Filson and Barbour still sell waxed outerwear—but it comes with a hefty price tag. If you’re willing to waterproof your wearables the old-school way with wax, here’s a DIY method that comes at a much lower cost yet with equally good results.

- 1 large saucepan
- 1 metal bowl
- Stovetop
- 4 oz. paraffin wax
- 4 oz. beeswax pellets
- Stirring spoon
- Clothes dryer
- 1-inch disposable paintbrush
- Heat gun or hair dryer
- Pillowcase (optional)
- Freezer (optional)

How To Waterproof Fabric - Dining Room Chair Seats

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Moorestown, NJ

Create a double boiler to melt the waxes by filling a saucepan with water, bringing it to a boil on the stovetop, then resting a metal bowl on top of the pan. The metal bowl should be small enough to fit inside the pan, but large enough that its bottom doesn’t touch the water. The space between the pan and the bowl will trap the heat needed to melt the wax in the bowl above.

Place four ounces of beeswax pellets (available in the candle-making section of an arts and crafts store) in the metal bowl. Then, cut the four-ounce bar of paraffin wax into small chunks and add them to the pellets, stirring the two together until the chunks melt. While the waxes liquefy, throw the item you wish to waterproof into the dryer (if possible) to warm the material. This will make the application process easier.

Stir until all chunks of wax have melted, then apply the molten wax to the fabric in a thick layer using a one-inch paintbrush. (An inexpensive brush with stiff bristles provides the best results here.) Work in one small section at a time until you have evenly covered the entire area.

Turn a heat gun on at a low setting or a hair dryer on high, and point it toward the layer you just applied so that it melts the wax into the fabric. Allow it to cool.

For any smaller item, such as a pair of canvas shoes or a square of upholstery fabric for a chair seat, also slip the wax-coated piece into an old pillowcase and run it through the dryer for 15 minutes. This, too, will help melt the wax.

When the item is cool, check for uneven spots. Apply a second coat, if necessary, then reheat the fabric once again.

Allow the item to cure for at least 24 hours before you use it. Should you notice a strong smell from the wax, you can let the waterproofed item air out over the next few days or, for faster results, make space to stick it in the freezer overnight. When you retrieve it, your waxed material should be odorless, watertight, and ready for use.

Quick Tip: How to Snag Shipping Pallets for Your Next Project

Shipping pallets are a highly coveted material among DIYers, but finding them can be a tricky business. Learn where to score cheap, quality pallets for your next project with these easy tips.

Where to Find Pallets - DIY Project Materials


The foundation of many furniture projects—like crafty wine racks, whimsical swing chairs, and elegant daybeds—relies on old-fashioned elbow grease and a pile of shipping pallets. Durable, versatile, and affordable, pallets are a must-have in your workshop, should you need to know where to find them. While you can order shipping pallets online, plucky DIYers seeking a bargain may be more tempted to upcycle shipping pallets found in dumpsters or lumberyards. These innocent-looking pallets may seem like a DIY treasure trove, but they could be unsafe to bring into your home. To find the cleanest and cheapest pallets, consider these tips.

Where to Find Pallets - Stack of Cheap Wood Pallets


• Skip large commercial companies that may house contaminated pallets or have disposal practices already in place. Instead, frequent small businesses like nurseries or gardens, hardware and power equipment stores, furniture stores, and neighborhood construction zones. These sites regularly receive a steady supply of clean and safe pallets that they’re often willing to unload for free if you ask.

• If a new storefront has opened up in your town, consider swinging by and inquiring with them as well. Oftentimes their influx of product has arrived via shipping pallets, and they would be happy to donate some to your DIY cause.

• But remember, never take what seems to be a freebie without asking! Some companies are charged for unreturned pallets, so always check first.

• If the places around town fail you, you can always scour Craigslist for users who are looking to get rid of their stash.

Before you commit to a pickup, keep in mind that not all pallets are equal: Some may contain splinters or nails, be tainted by food or fungus, or have been treated with harmful chemicals. Always check for the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) logo, which certifies that a pallet has been heat-treated or fumigated to prevent the spread of insects or plant diseases. Unstamped pallets may or may not be safe to use; don’t risk it. Heat-treated pallets (marked “HT”) are safe to use, as are debarked pallets (marked “DB”). Ones marked “MB” have been treated with methyl bromide, a highly toxic pesticide—not something you want to use as your building supplies. Select the stamped pallets that appear sturdy enough to support your future DIY endeavors and, ideally, were made in the United States (an abbreviation indicating the country of origin should be on the IPPC stamp). Once you’ve confirmed that a pallet meets your standards, take it home and get to work!

How To: Install Carpeting on Stairs

If you can’t choose between carpet and wood to cover your stairs, choose both! A runner gives you the beauty of wood as well as the decorative and practical benefits of carpeting. Install one on your stairs with this DIY step-by-step.

How to Install Carpet on Stairs - Adding a Carpet Runner to Steps


Showcase the beauty of wood stairs without sacrificing the comfort of carpet with this clever compromise: a carpet runner. This narrow rug runs down the center of the staircase, leaving some wood exposed on each side of the tread while still providing all the benefits of carpet, such as additional grip, shock absorption, and noise reduction. It’s the best of both worlds! Plus, it’s possible to complete this installation project in only a few hours. Just take it one step at a time.

- Tape measure
- Tack strips
- Hammer
- Nails
- Carpet padding
- Utility knife
- Hammer tacker
- Staples
- Carpet runner
- Carpet awl
- Knee kicker
- Carpet sheers or carpet knife

How to Install Carpet on Stairs - Entryway Stair Runner


Before you get started installing your carpet, you first need to determine the look you want in your home. There are two ways of installing carpet on stairs: the Hollywood method and the waterfall method.

• The Hollywood method tightly wraps the carpet over the edge the tread and around the nosing (or the front edge) of each step, then fastens it down on the riser for a clean and contoured appearance. Its tailored look makes this a popular choice for the most visible stairways in the home, such as those leading up from the living room or foyer.

• The waterfall method, on the other hand, offers a simpler installation, in which the carpet is adhered to the edge of the tread, then dropped straight down to meet the back of the next tread—all without securing it to the riser. This more casual, cascading style is often reserved for basement stairs or projects involving thick, nubby carpet that is harder to manipulate.

Next up: Time to choose a carpet. Of all of the options available to you, a machine-hemmed, prefabricated stair runner is the most convenient choice for easy installation. Carpet runner can, however, be cut and hemmed from any wall-to-wall carpet roll; just know that each side must be stitched with a border to prevent fraying before you start. This hemming process requires a special sewing machine used by carpet professionals, so you’ll need to hire a pro and provide full measurements (see Step 3) for a custom cut.

Whether you plan to pick up a runner that is ready to go, or craft something totally custom, you’ll first need to collect all your necessary measurements. Start with the ideal width of your runner. Pre-hemmed runners are usually sold in one of a few widths, most commonly 27 and 32 inches, so choose the one that fits your tread size with as much (or as little) wood showing as desired. If you plan to have a runner custom cut (or if you need help visualizing how your stairs would appear partially covered with a carpet runner), try draping brown kraft paper or a flat sheet folded lengthwise to determine the right runner width.

Next, to calculate the length of your stair runner, add your measurements for the depth of the stair tread and the height of the riser, then multiply this sum by the number of stairs. If you want the Hollywood style of carpeting, you’ll need a little extra length in order to have enough give to fasten the runner completely; add one inch for each nosing and at least 18 extra inches for spare.

Prepare your stairs for carpet installation by installing tack strips, thin pieces of wood resembling yardsticks with tacks pointing upward. These will grip the carpet backing and hold it in place.

Cut your tack strips into lengths that are four inches shorter than the width of your chosen runner, then count out two strips for each stair. Nail one on each riser, centered, ¼ inch from the bottom, and one on each tread, ¼ inch from the rear, also centered. Make certain that the strips angle in toward each other, so that the points of the tacks will come close to touching.

To provide each of your wooden steps with a little more cushion, lay down a base of carpet padding. You can find this material in many shapes and sizes, but remember that high-quality stair padding is thicker than wall-to-wall padding. Good padding is worth the investment, because it can extend the life of the carpet on this highly trafficked corridor.

To begin, use a utility knife to cut the padding into rectangles that are the same width as the length of each tack strip (to ensure that the padding won’t stick out under the carpet), and three inches longer than the depth of the tread. These pads should not cover any of the tack strips, however. Secure one end of the pad just in front of the tack strip on the tread, using a hammer tacker and stapling every three inches across. Then, pull the padding tight around the stair nosing and staple it underneath (onto the riser), again spaced every three inches. Trim the pad where the nosing and the top of the riser meet and, if using the waterfall method, clip the corners so you won’t see the pad. Repeat this process for the entire length of the staircase.

With all the padding in place, it’s time to install the runner, working from the bottom of the stairs to the top. Center the runner so that there are equal amounts of wood on each side, then press it into the very first tack strip (at the bottom of the riser), using a carpet awl to get a clean look between the bottom of the stair riser and the flooring. The carpeting should be even with the floor, but if not, just trim the edge with a carpet knife. Then, secure the runner to the riser just beneath the next tread with staples, spaced roughly three inches apart.

For the tailored Hollywood look, also secure the runner to the underside of the nosing, spacing each staple three inches apart.

Recenter the runner, then push the carpet back over the nosing and toward the next tack strip. Place the front part of a knee kicker (a professional carpet tool available for rent from your local big-box hardware store) about two to three inches from the second riser, then give it a jolt with your knee to tighten the carpeting along the edges. Start at the middle, and work your way to each edge to minimize any bubbles in the middle. Remember: If the runner begins to buckle, pull it up from the tack strip and begin again. No bumps allowed!

Once you are satisfied with the runner’s position, use a carpet awl to push it tightly into the seam between the tread and the riser, and into your tack strips. Then, staple the runner into the crease where the riser and tread meet on either end of the strip as well as each outer edge, two inches from the bottom of the riser.

Repeat Steps 7 and 8 for each stair until you reach a landing or the top riser.

When you finally reach the top riser, fold the carpet’s upper edge back on itself and staple it just underneath the overhanging lip of the flooring. Kick back and relax now that the work is done. Your classy, comfy stairway is ready to make its grand entrance at your next celebration. Is this a good reason to schedule a house re-warming? We think so.

Genius! Clean Your Gutters without a Ladder

Stop cleaning rooftop gutters step-by-step and rung-by-rung, and start using this fast, easy, and safe DIY gutter vacuum.

How to Clean Gutters without a Ladder - Leaves in Rain Gutter


We all start autumn bright-eyed and optimistic, eager to pick apples, gaze at the stars, or watch the leaves change color before they flutter into the wind. But fall’s beauty fades when you find yourself teetering on a ladder to clear rooftop gutters of debris before it clogs, freezes, or even bursts the gutter. In the face of these unforgiving elements, the resourceful DIYer behind Spilling Coffee remained determined not to buy a pricier telescopic gutter-cleaning wand or other leaf pickup tools to reach his 12-foot-high roofline. Instead, inspiration hit while using a leaf vacuum to rid a floral bed of leaves, and the blogger devised a creative solution to gutter clutter—one that can keep your rooftop gutters clean, your wallet full, and your feet firmly planted on the good, green earth. He converted his existing chipper and leaf vacuum into a gutter cleaner.

How to Clean Gutters without a Ladder - DIY Gutter Vacuum


This homemade gutter vacuum harnesses the power of everyday tools in the shed: a vacuum that can handle wet and dry debris (if not a chipper vacuum, a shop vacuum or leaf blower with a reverse function will do), a hose with extension tubing, and aluminum duct elbows. Bonded together with aluminum tape, the two duct elbows form an ingenious “hook” at the end of the vacuum hose, curved to aim your machine’s suction right at the gutters. Start up the vacuum, glide the hook across the gutter, and watch from the comfort and safety of the ground floor as your humble vacuum captures lingering leaves, twigs, and unwanted debris with ease—Spilling Coffee’s video demo lets us check out his success.

Now that leaves already starting to turn, there’s no time to lose with crafting your own before the season hits full-swing. With a handmade helper like this one, you, too, can conquer gutter clogs before they happen and go back to enjoying the fall foliage once again.

FOR MORE: Spilling Coffee

3 Natural Fixes to Remove Rust from Metal

What do ketchup, limes, and vinegar have in common? They’re all excellent—and natural—solutions for removing rust. Read on to learn how these pantry staples can restore your metal pieces to their original shine.

How to Get Rid of Rust - Rusty Metal Pan


Few things are more unsightly than a sudden smattering of rust spots plaguing your smooth metal surfaces. Whether on a garden tool or the kitchen sink, that dreaded orange color tends to age your favorite belongings, making them appear old and dirty even when they aren’t. While you can’t always prevent this common, moisture-caused chemical reaction from occurring, you can naturally remove it. Try one of these rust-busting recipes to get your metal items looking shiny and new again.



How to Get Rid of Rust - Salt and Lime


Believe it or not, a little green lime and its larger yellow cousin—the lemon—can help eliminate rust in its early stages before it reaches the interior metal. Combined with the abrasive benefits of salt, the acidic properties of the citrus fruit make for an effective scrub (and a great margarita!). Start by coating the affected area with a sprinkling of salt. Then, squeeze the juice over the salty surface. After letting the mixture sit for two to three hours, use the rind to rub off the residue and reveal a rust-free result. Finish up by rinsing and drying the piece completely.



How to Get Rid of Rust - ketchup


For this DIY remover, you’ll need to reach into the fridge and grab a popular hot dog topper: ketchup. Mixed with washing soda, this condiment can work wonders, returning your metal items back to their former gleaming glory. To create the concoction, put water and washing soda in a spray bottle, and shake the bottle vigorously. Saturate the rust spots with the mixture, then apply some ketchup to the affected areas. Allow the items to sit for two hours, then rinse with water and wipe dry.



How to Get Rid of Rust - Baking Soda


Individually, vinegar, baking soda, and salt all make wonderful cleaning agents, but together, they form an extremely effective rust remover. While this process may take a little longer than the others, it’s ideal for cleaning a collection of items at once, such as a set of kitchen utensils. Start by adding ½ cup salt to ½ gallon vinegar in a plastic container. Drop your rusty extras into the solution, and let them soak for about 12 hours. Next, pour out the salt-and-vinegar solution, rinse the metal objects in water, and then immediately return them to the container. Now fill with ½ gallon fresh water and ½ cup baking soda to neutralize any remaining vinegar trapped inside the crevices. After about 10 minutes, rinse the items in warm water, and finish by drying them thoroughly.

The Right Way to Open a Can of Paint

Pop open a can of paint like a pro! With the correct tools and technique, you'll keep mess to a minimum and make it easier to store your leftovers in between coats.

How To Open a Paint Can - With a Screwdriver


Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to open a can of paint. It’s not that opening a paint can is particularly difficult or complicated—but it can be tough to do without damaging the lid in the process. Because not all paint projects can be completed in a day, especially when you factor in multiple coats, you want your lid to keep the leftover paint fresh until the job is finished. A little care in the very first step of your project can do just that!

How To Open a Paint Can - The Easy Way


Properly opening a can of paint begins at the time of purchase. Before you leave the paint store, be sure to ask for a 3-in-1 painter’s tool. Many companies supply this handy piece for free with paint purchase, but if not, it’s worth buying one of your own. One component of this multifunctional tool—the square end of the blade—is specifically designed to remove paint can covers without causing damage.

If you choose to forgo the 3-in-1 paint tool in favor of an instrument you already have in your toolbox, consider the flathead screwdriver. Most homeowners start their DIY projects on the wrong foot by opening their paint can using a flathead screwdriver like a lever. While this method does pop the top, it also often distorts the rim and dents the lid, which makes pouring paint and resealing the can a problem. But a flathead screwdriver is fine to use, if you use it properly.

First, position the flathead between the lip of the lid and the rim of the can. Gently break the seal by levering the handle down, then pause—don’t continue prying the lid open. Instead, holding the screwdriver in position with one hand, use your other hand to rotate the can and slowly drive the lid open. Remember, you’re not prying the lid up; you’re moving the screwdriver forward around the circumference of the can to lift the lid off evenly and gently.

Once the lid is free, remove it slowly, and stick it inside a sealable plastic bag to avoid making a mess. Next, dab a drop of paint on the side of the can to indicate the color of the paint inside. Finally, use a hammer and a finish nail to puncture at least four holes along the inside rim well to allow any excess paint that pools up to drain back inside. This technique—used by professional painters—will prevent the paint from dripping down the sides as you work and hindering an even seal when you close up the can. A word of caution, though: Hold the can steady while you’re hammering the holes, or the can could tip over. You certainly don’t want that!

With that can of fresh paint opened successfully, you’re ready to get to work on your paint job. At the end of the day when you’re calling it quits, you’ll be able to replace the lid and seal it tightly, all because you opened the can of paint correctly in the first place.

How To: Remove a Wallpaper Border

Don't spend another minute plagued by an ugly or outdated wallpaper border! A few tools and an afternoon are all it takes to drag a room out of the past and into today's modern stylings.

How To Remove Wallpaper Border


We all have those “What was I thinking?” moments, and when it comes to decorating, those mistakes often take the form of tacky wallpaper borders. While wallpaper can add beautiful pattern or textural interest to a room, it can also quickly date it, leaving you ready for a change sooner than you may have planned. But don’t fret! Removing a wallpaper border is a lot simpler than the sticky business may seem, and it requires no more than a few inexpensive tools and a little patience. Continue on to learn how you can replace those unforgiving florals and make way for a more up-to-date accent in no time.

- Drop cloth
- Paint scraper/putty knife
- Scoring tool
- Gloves
- Spray bottle
- Wallpaper stripper
- Water
- Electric steamer (optional)
- Sponge with scouring pad

How To Remove Wallpaper Border - Peeling Paper


Move all the furniture that you can out of the room, and protect the floors and any remaining furniture with a drop cloth to make cleanup a cinch.

Some wallpapers will come off easily without first needing to be saturated with a stripper. To test, simply try to lift a corner of the paper with a putty knife. If it comes up easily, you can continue removing the border in sections without worrying about the extra step of getting it wet.

If it doesn’t come off cleanly, you’ll need to start the removal process by using the scoring tool to make small holes or slits in the wallpaper. Go over the entire border in a random pattern, keeping in mind that the more holes you make, the easier it will be for your stripper to seep in and loosen the wallpaper glue.

Pull on a pair of gloves before you get to work softening the paper with solution. Fill your spray bottle with the wallpaper stripper of your choice, and mix in warm water according to the instructions on its label. Spray the solution on one section at a time, continuing until the entire border is completely saturated. Allow several minutes of soaking time to help loosen the glue.

Begin removing one section of wallpaper border by lifting the corner of the border using just the tip of the scraper or putty knife. Then, using your hands, grasp the edge and do your best to pull off as much paper as possible in one continuous strip. If any of the border doesn’t come off easily, spray again with your stripper and repeat the process until the difficult sections have been fully removed.

Still stuck with stubborn spots of wallpaper? Try using an electric steamer (you can rent one at your hardware store) to further soften the glue, then attempt another round of scraping with a putty knife and prying with your fingers.

After all the wallpaper border has been removed, wash the entire area with warm water and a scouring pad to remove any remaining glue. Let the wall dry completely, and it will be ready for its next makeover!

DIY Open-Shelf Vanity

Anxious to tackle a DIY building project, this determined blogger crafted the perfect custom vanity for her beachy bathroom.

open shelf vanity opener

Not one to back down from a challenge, Wendi of H2O Bungalow decided that an open shelf bathroom vanity was a personal goal she just had to see through. With help from DIY-savvy friends and family, she accomplished her mission with this custom showstopping vanity. Here are her tips for crafting this stylish bathroom fixture. 


- Table Saw
- Jigsaw
- Kreg K4 Jig
- Kreg Jig Pocket Screws
- 2″ wood screws
- Drill
- C Clamps Kreg Jig Clamp
- Random Orbital Sander
- Squares – Combination Square Carpenter Square
- Pre-stain conditioner
- Stain
- Pencil
- Wood glue
- Wood filler



open shelf vanity step 2

After downloading the free plans, head to the store and buy straight boards. You can check if a board is straight by holding one end and looking down the side to the other end.  If its warped or bowed, put it back and get another piece. I used 2″ Kreg Jig Pocket Screws for the entire assembly. It was easy and they fit well. Label everything as you “rip” or cut your board. I went even further and listed 1 of 4, 2 of 4, etc. which was very helpful so I didn’t mix up vanity pieces and scrap wood.



open shelf vanity step 3

The Kreg K4 Jig makes joining two pieces of wood together really easy. You will never regret owning one! Now when I look at things, I actually imagine where the pocket holes should be placed and how I would put that item together—nerdy, but cool.



open shelf vanity step 4

When It finally came time to put the vanity together, I put all the pieces together in piles. We laid out the sides and it’s pieces before assembling. You’ll want to choose the best looking boards for the front of your vanity.



open shelf vanity step 5

Before you assemble your DIY open shelf vanity, check the height of your plumbing pipes and then check again that they clear the center shelf. It’s a lot easier to make little adjustments before they are installed! I speak from experience—we moved the pipes in the wall up 3 inches. I also highly recommend double-checking your measurements for your 6 slat supports before cutting them when your vanity is ready for them. Since the boards weren’t exactly 2×2 inches, they were a tiny bit off. The same goes for the last 3 top supports. I’ll mention again: Be sure your last 3 slats are not in the way of your sink drain pipes and faucets.



open shelf vanity step 6

This is our finished vanity base. All I had left to do was to cut out the notches for the front and back slats with the jigsaw which was pretty easy.



open shelf vanity step 7

I decided to put my finish on before installing the slats so I could get the sides of the shelve slats evenly. To prep it for the finish I filled in spots that needed it with wood filler and gave it a light sanding. I cheated on the slats and just sanded the areas that faced forward and the tops of the slats only. I used Minwax Wood Conditioner to prep the wood for the finish. I used Polyshades for the color. I love the color. The finish looked awful after the first coat and terrific after two coats. I think the trick is to brush it on and then wipe it off.



open shelf vanity step 8

We flipped the vanity upside down and drilled pilot holes along the bottom where we were attaching the shelf bars with 2″ screws. We installed the two outside shelf bars first. Using the clamp to hold them was very helpful. Next, we installed the center shelf bar. That left the two middle shelf bars, which we simply centered.


open shelf vanity step 9

Thanks, Wendi! For more inspiring ideas to make over your space, visit H20 Bungalow.