Category: How To’s & Quick Tips


DIY Plumbing Pipe Light Fixture

This pipe-fitting project proves that big style doesn't need to cost big bucks. The tall lamp, which resembles exposed plumbing pipes, was modeled after a more expensive store-bought model and strikes an interesting balance between rustic and contemporary design.

DIY Pipe Lamp

This DIY Anthropologie-inspired pipe lamp is time consuming, but when you compare price tags, it’s well worth the effort.

Anthropologie’s price: $2,800
DIY price: $86

MATERIALS

- Different sizes and kinds of pipes in various textures. Have a sketch with you when you buy the materials in order to procure the right combinations.
- Copper or bronze spray paint
- Wood spindle pieces. You can find these by the stair railing parts.
- Rub ‘n Buff. I used the Patina and Gold.
- Wood stain in 2 shades
- Elbows. Be sure you get enough for each bend and that they are in the right size.
- Little black screws ground down so only the heads are left (or wood discs sprayed black)
- Tube straps to hold the lamp to the wall
- A base
- A light kit. Be sure the cord is over 10 feet in length
- Super strong adhesive

DIY Pipe Lamp Materials

STEP 1

 The most important element of this Anthropologie-style pipe lamp is the various textures and finishes of all of the pieces. Try to give each pipe its own look.

Use the spray paint and Rub ‘n Buff to achieve different looks. Mix and match. Sand, buff, repeat.

DIY Pipe Lamp Tutorial

STEP 2

Drill the wooden pieces.

Either you will need to cut the wood pieces to sizes small enough for a traditional drill bit and then glue them back together. Or . . . get a specialty drill bit. Then, find any way you can to add wood elements. Get creative!

Be sure that you drill the hole large enough for the cord to be ran through.

Stain and sand. Stain and sand. You need to fake worn edges and use.

DIY Pipe Lamp How to Step 2

STEP 3

Spray your PVC elbows with copper paint. Much cheaper then buying the real thing!

STEP 4

Drill holes through your base for the cord to run through.

STEP 5

Do a dry run. Lay your lamp out on the floor until you get the shape you want.

DIY Pipe Lamp How to Step 5

STEP 6

Run your cord through the pieces, being sure to leave plenty of cord at the top and bottom.

STEP 7

Glue the pieces together one at a time. Be very sure they are straight and true. Wait until one is dry, pull the cord tight, and move on to the next one.

DIY Pipe Lamp How to Step 7

STEP 8

Attach the screws with adhesive. I attached 3 at each end of the PVC elbows.

DIY Pipe Lamp How to Step 8

STEP 9

Wire the lamp kit. This is fairly simple to do; just follow the directions.

STEP 10

Attach the light to the wall with the tube straps and attach a shade. This shade was created by hot-gluing fabric to an old dirty one.

Voila! Your very own pipe lamp!

DIY Pipe Lamp in Use

Thank you, NellieBellie!


DIY Plumbing Pipe Curtain Rod

We think the size and shape of plumbing pipes make them a perfect stand-in for a curtain rod. Spray painted dark for a more industrial flair, this DIY project helps pull together DIY office decor.

DIY Pipe Curtain Rod

Pipe curtain rods are super popular right now and very easy to make!

I used the following supplies to make the ones seen in my office’s progress:

GALVANIZED PIPE PIECES
- (2) 3/4″ floor flanges
- (2) 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ nipples
- (2) 3/4″, 90-degree elbows
- (1) 72″ long pipe (or however long you want your rod to be) // Not shown

DIY Pipe Curtain Rod Materials

Note: If you need a really long curtain rod (say 8′ or longer), you’ll need two pieces of pipe (say 4′ each) and a tee pipe in the middle so nothing sags or rips out of your wall.

TOOLS
- Drill
- Tape measure
- Level
- Stud finder
- Ladder or tall step stool
- Pencil
- Heavy duty anchors + the screws that go with them (if you can’t find a stud)
- Screws (if you can find a stud)

OTHER
- 1 can of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint (or your color of choice)
- Curtain rings (optional)
- Gloves (gardening, kitchen, etc.)
- An extra set of helping hands

STEP 1
Assemble two sets of the floor flanges, nipples, and 90-degree elbows into “arms” like so:

How to Make DIY Pipe Curtain Rod

Tip: wear your gloves (gardening, kitchen, etc.) when you’re screwing everything together so you don’t get little cuts from the pipe’s threading on your finger tips!

STEP 2
Your pipe is what’s being used as the curtain rod and it’ll run from elbow to elbow. Don’t screw it into the 90-degree elbows just yet. After you have your curtain rod “arms” assembled, spray paint everything (including the long pipe) the color of your choice.

Spray Paint DIY Pipe Curtain Rod

Spray Paint Pipe

STEP 3
Once the paint has dried and is no longer sticky (I waited 24 hours), measure out the placement of where you’d like the curtain rod to be on your wall. Remember: curtains look best when they’re hung high and wide!

Find studs if you can since the rod + curtains added to it can be a bit heavy and you probably don’t want everything crashing down at 2am! If you can’t find studs, use heavy duty anchors instead.

Unscrew one of your arm pieces so you can screw one of the floor flanges into place where you marked your measurements on your wall. Once that’s secure, screw the rest of the arm (the 1 1/2″ nipple + the 90-degree elbow) into the floor flange until your “arm” looks like this:

How to Install DIY Curtain Rod

STEP 4
Next, screw one end of the long pipe into the end of the 90-degree elbow that’s attached to the arm that you just screwed into the wall. This is where it’s nice to have an extra set of helping hands so one of you can screw the pipe into the elbow while the other holds the pipe up so it doesn’t fall on your head! After you’ve screwed one end of the pipe in, slide your curtain rings onto the pipe.

If you’re not using curtain rings and simply sliding the curtains onto the pipe, do that step now but know that everything is going to become extra heavy from the weight of the fabric hanging down from the pipe!

Once your rings/curtains are on the pipe, switch places with your partner and screw the other side of the long pipe into the 90-degree elbow that’s attached to the arm you haven’t screwed into the wall yet. Since this arm isn’t screwed into the wall yet, we’ll need to mark the placement of its screws.

Hold the floor flange tight against the wall while your partner grabs the level. Make sure the entire curtain rod is level before marking the screw’s placement!

Now this is the tricky part: if you didn’t find any studs, you’ll need to unscrew the long pipe from the arm that’s already attached to the wall so you can put your anchors into the exact location of the marks you just made on the wall without there being a pipe in the way. Then you’ll need to screw the arm back onto the long pipe so you can screw the floor flange into the wall. You won’t be able to put a screw into the hole behind the pipe (see below) because the pipe is in the way but that’s OK!

If you did find studs, leave all of the pieces screwed together and have you or your partner hold the pipe in place while the other person screws the floor flange into the wall. It’s a bit of a pain to do but it can be done!

After everything is all said and done and your pipe curtain rod is securely hung, take a step back and admire your work!

Installing DIY Pipe Curtain Rod

STEP 5
If you slid your curtains onto the rod sans rings, fluff them up and space them out how you see fit. If you added curtain rings, it’s time to start ringing your curtains up!

I like to do a faux pinch pleat treatment to my curtains. It sounds fancy but it’s really not! Basically you take a little bit of the curtains fabric and pinch it together in the back. Then you clip the curtain ring about 1/2″ to an 1″ below the top onto the pinched part like so:

DIY Pipe Curtain Rod and Curtain

Repeat as many more times as you have curtain rings.

Fluff everything up, hem the curtains if needed (on my to-do list!), and then marvel at your handiwork.

Home Office Decor

Thank you, Desert Domicile!


DIY Modern Candleholder

One of the incredible things about plumbing pipe fittings is their inherent versatility—and these DIY candelabras prove that point. We love that these candle holders can be rearranged like building blocks when you're ready for a new look.

This industrial chic candelabra can be created at home with nothing more than a handful of pipe fittings and some spare time. Get creative—the designs you can make with this material are endless.

DIY Pipe Fitting Candlabra

MATERIALS
½” Iron Pipe Fittings

Tip: For a grand display with lots of curves, purchase more elbows.

STEP 1
Plan out your design before you purchase your parts so you have a good idea of which pieces you’ll need.

STEP 2
Assemble iron pipe fittings to make a rustic, modern candelabra. Once you have a collection of pipe fittings, you can assemble them into all sorts of different arrangements.

DIY Pipe Fitting Candle Holders

STEP 3
Paint your new candle holder with heat resistant paint or leave it unpainted for a more industrial look.

DIY Pipe Fitting Candle Holder

STEP 4
If you get bored of a particular piece, simply take it apart and make something else with it.

Industrial Chic Candelabra

Thanks, HomeMade Modern!


DIY Plumbing Pipe Vase

We love the artful juxtaposition of flowers displayed in an industrial-looking vase—like this sculptural beauty from Today's Nest.

If you are like me, you are probably ready for the beauty of spring. Flowers will soon be blooming everywhere and you may be looking for new and inventive ways to bring some of the outdoors inside.

DIY Pipe Vase

Here’s a simple vase project that will add some industrial flair to your tabletop. With just a few pieces from the local home improvement store we have created a vessel for a chic floral arrangement. Make it as directed or make a bigger one with more elbows and T’s to suit your needs.

How to Make DIY Pipe Vase

MATERIALS AND TOOLS

- (1) 1”x5” galvanized pipe
- (1) 1”x6” galvanized pipe
- (1) 1”x8” galvanized pipe
- (1) 1” galvanized T fitting
- (3) 1” 90˚ galvanized elbow fitting
- (3) 1”xCLOSE galvanized pipe
- (3) 1” galvanized connectors
- White plumbers tape
- Gloves
- Water
- Flowers

Flowers in DIY Pipe Vase

STEP 1
Thoroughly clean the galvanized pipes and fittings. Assemble the base first by attaching one of the 1”xCLOSE pipes to each open end of the T fitting. Before attaching, wrap the threaded end of each pipe tightly with white plumber’s tape. Attach an elbow to the open end of each of the 1”xCLOSE pipes. Tighten snugly by inserting a screwdriver into the opening of the elbow and spinning it around.

STEP 2
Attach the 6″ and 8″ pipes to the elbows on the long part of the T fitting. Attach the 3″ pipe to the elbow on the short part of the T fitting. Attach connectors to the top of each of the pipes.

STEP 3
Wearing a pair of gloves (I learned the hard way that the threads will cut your hands), tighten all connections at tightly as possible. Fill the vase with water at the lowest pipe. The other pipes will be filled to the same level. Add flowers.

Finished DIY Pipe Vase

Thanks, Today’s Nest!


5 Things to Do with… Tree Stumps

After you cut down a tree, you're left with an unsightly, sad-looking stump. What on earth can you do with that? As it turns out, quite a lot.

As the country emerges from a harsh winter, many homeowners are facing the prospect of cutting down and cleaning up hazardous trees. Certainly, a felled tree could go a long way toward replenishing your store of firewood. But for those without a fireplace—or for a do-it-yourselfer who can’t resist a new project—there are many more creative ways to reuse the stump or other parts of the tree trunk in your house or garden. Scroll down now to check out five of our favorite DIY tree stump ideas from around the Web!

 

1. SET A TABLE

Tree Stump Ideas - Side Tables

Photo: abeautifulmess.com

Bring the outdoors in: Transform a tree stump into a nightstand or side table. The pair shown above were stained white and sealed with a coat of polyurethane. Particularly at home in modern decor, these beautiful surfaces are also quite versatile; each sits on a quartet of caster wheels, providing hassle-free portability.

 

2. CONTRIVE A PLANTER

Tree Stump Ideas - Planter

Photo: flickr.com/heylucyloo

It can be challenging to remove a tree stump. The main reason to go to all that effort is to get rid of an eyesore. Here’s a labor-saving compromise: Convert the stump into a planter. Use a chisel or a power drill to hollow out the stump to the depth and width desired. Then simply add soil and your choice of flora.

 

3. READY A BIRDBATH

Tree Stump Ideas - Bird Bath

Photo: shutterstock.com

With a tree stump, you can easily create a birdbath that integrates seamlessly with your landscape. Locate a tree stump on your property that is either flat to begin with or can be made flat. Position a large plate, tray, or pot saucer on the stump and fill the vessel with water. Then watch as birds bathe and butterflies and bees visit for a drink.

 

4. BOOST A STOOL

Tree Stump Ideas - Stools

Photo: fun.kyti.me

Indoors or out, a tree stump of the right size—or a hefty log cut from a trunk—makes for a natural place to sit. Make your “stump stool” more comfortable by attaching a cushion to the top. Using canvas (choose a weather-resistant material if you plan on putting the stool outdoors), sew a basic pillow in a round shape that can fit like a sleeve over the flat-topped stump.

 

5. DESIGN A PLAYGROUND

Tree Stump Ideas - Playground

Photo: carrieannesnyder.blogspot.com

If you’d like to build a natural playground in your backyard, rounds cut from a trunk are the ideal building blocks. Arrange rounds of varying heights in a straight line for a rudimentary obstacle course. Then for a balance beam, lay a large log across two shorter stumps. Encourage your kids to devise their own challenging layouts!


5 Things to Do with… Old Toys

If you are having toy-separation anxiety, consider up-cycling them into useful, playful objects. Here are five repurposed toy ideas that cleverly show how to think outside the box—the toy box.

Up in the attic, down in the basement, or out in the garage, chances are that you’ve got a chest full of old toys. If you’re not saving those playthings for the grandchildren, then perhaps you simply can’t bear to get rid of belongings that were once cherished. Well, play time doesn’t have to be over: There are myriad ways to repurpose classic toys into objects for the home boasting practical or decorative value. Check out our five favorite projects involving repurposed toys now!

 

1. TOY AROUND WITH PLANTS

Repurposed Toys - Planter

Photo: puppylovepreschool.blogspot.com

Toy dinosaurs aren’t extinct. On the contrary, they are alive and well, improbably serving as small-scale, prehistoric-themed planters for succulents. To make your own, use a power drill to hollow out the widest-diameter portions of these plastic figurines, then go ahead and add soil along with your choice of hardy greenery.

 

2. SET SAIL TO A LAMP

Repurposed Toys - Lamp

Photo: diynetwork.com

Got a toy boat that’ll never again set sail on the waters of your bathtub? Embark on a new journey and convert the toy into a fun and fanciful table lamp. It doesn’t take much: All you need are a few simple tools, a thrift-store shade, and a do-it-yourself lamp kit—the kind readily available online or at your local hardware store.

 

3. HOLD STEADY WITH BOOKENDS

Repurposed Toys - Bookends

Photo: upcyclethat.com

Apart from saving the world, there’s something else that action figures can do: function as bookends! Enlist your hero for the task by gluing his top and bottom halves to the visible surface and underside of a bookshelf. Having put his arms into a combat-ready pose, watch as he bravely defends against the force of gravity.

 

4. ROLL OUT A GARDEN CART

Repurposed Toys - Garden Cart

Photo: thethingsithinkabout.com

For those who like to get their hands dirty, whether in a lone vegetable patch or on a rambling property with numerous beds, an out-of-commission Radio Flyer—or any old wagon, really—can make for an excellent way to transport outdoor essentials like terra cotta planters, bags of potting soil, and assorted garden tools.

 

5. PLUG IN AN ORGANIZER

Repurposed Toys - Organizer

Photo: gadgetsin.com

Game over? Think again! A neglected video game controller can become an object that you use every day in the home office. Here’s how: With a screwdriver, take the controller apart so that you can remove all of its buttons. Employ a power drill to form larger or deeper holes, if you wish, then put the joystick together again.


How To: Paint Glass

Sure, you can paint glass. You just need the right materials and know-how. Try our quick tutorial for satisfying results.

How to Paint Glass - Bottles

Photo: freepeople.com

Smooth and reflective, glass makes a lovely canvas for paint. If, however, you’ve never before tried to paint glass, you may be surprised to learn that the approach differs from that used for traditional building materials. Even so, it’s easy for first-timers to achieve satisfying, often remarkable results.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Glass paint (explanation below)
- Paintbrush or applicator sponge
- Lint-free cloth
- Latex gloves (optional)

Notes on Materials
At least three types of paint may be used on glass: acrylic enamel, acrylics marked as suitable for tile or glass, and specially formulated solvent-based paints. Your local store is likely to carry a range of options. To make your selection, compare products on the basis of color range, transparency, and degree of permanence.

STEP 1
Before you can paint glass with any success, take the time to clean it thoroughly. Use hot and soapy water in combination with a clean cotton cloth. Wait for the glass to dry completely before you proceed. Also, bear in mind that to avoid smudging the glass with your fingers, it’s wise to wear latex gloves while you work.

How to Paint Glass - Brushes

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
No matter what type of glass paint you have chosen to use, be sure to read the instructions that came with the product. For some glass paints, there are peripheral steps to execute, such as applying an undercoat or overcoat. Ignoring such requirements could mean compromising the quality of your finish.

Any type of paintbrush may be used. While synthetic-bristle brushes leave visible strokes, natural-bristle brushes give you smooth, even coverage. Applicator sponges, meanwhile, are the most common choice for painting with a stencil. Do-it-yourselfers typically find a stencil or transfer can make the project easier.

If you can access both sides of the glass surface you are painting, then consider the following approach. It’s not stenciling per se, but the technique is similar, and if you’re aiming to create a specific, preplanned pattern, it’s easier to do it this way (as opposed to freehand). Simply trace your pattern onto a piece of paper, then hold that paper against the glass on the side opposite to the one you are painting. As you go along, the pattern will serve as a guide to help you keep your lines straight and your proportions correct.

STEP 3
The necessity of the next step depends on the glass paint you’ve chosen. The issue is that in order to retain its finish, painted glassware often needs to be baked; the oven heat stabilizes the paint and gives it durability. Consult the instructions that came with your product to determine whether this step is required. If you haven’t yet made a purchase, try to find a glass paint that can last without baking. Know too that glass paint markers are an option; their fine tips are particularly good for detail work and writing.


How To: Clean Copper

Do you have copper that's looking tarnished and dingy? Freshen it up using items that you probably already have in your pantry. Here's how.

How to Clean Copper

Photo: shutterstock.com

Copper can be a finicky material; it tarnishes easily even when subject to normal wear. Fortunately, using only common household items that most people keep on hand, it doesn’t take much to clean copper and renew its earthy and robust shine. Choose your approach from the following options based on the supplies you already have in your pantry.

How to Clean Copper - Texture

Photo: shutterstock.com

SALT AND VINEGAR
It’s a winning combination, not only as a flavoring for potato chips, but also as a cleaning solution for copper. Simply sprinkle salt over the object you want to clean, then thoroughly scrub it with a vinegar-soaked cloth. (Expect the cloth to get dirty as you work; if it gets really dirty, swap in a new one.) Once you have rubbed away all the tarnish, rinse the object under the faucet to remove the salt residue. At this point, the copper should be looking a lot better than it did.

Do dents and depressions in the copper still harbor hard-to-reach dirt and grime? If so, apply salt directly to those areas, then head to the bathroom and retrieve an old toothbrush. After dipping its bristles in the vinegar, use the toothbrush to scrub the dirty or oxidized parts of the copper that eluded your cleaning efforts the first time around.

If the steps above leave you frustrated, there’s still one more thing you can try. In a large pot, mix one cup of vinegar, one tablespoon of salt, and four or five cups of water. Place the entire copper object into the pot, then bring the water to a boil. Leave it boiling until you begin to see the tarnish falling away from the copper. Once you’ve taken the copper out of the pot, it may be necessary to do some more scrubbing, but now it should be significantly easier to get results.

LEMONS OR LIMES
If there’s no vinegar in your cupboard this week, you can rely instead on any number of common household acids—prime examples are lemon or lime juice. (But know that in a pinch, anything acidic, even tomato ketchup, can be used.) Cut the citrus fruit in half, sprinkle salt on its exposed flesh, then rub the lemon or lime against the tarnished copper. Finish by wiping the copper object thoroughly with a dry cloth, polishing away all the accumulations marring the surface, which the combination of acidity and salt should have effectively loosened up for you.


5 Things to Do with… Test Tubes

Test tubs aren't just for the lab! Check out these surprising and practical projects that will have you scattering test tubes all around the house.

Test tubes are commonplace and entirely unremarkable in locations like science labs and chemistry classrooms. But in the home, where you normally wouldn’t expect to come across them, test tubes are an arresting sight. As simple as they are practical—and available in a range of sizes, with or without stoppers—test tubes appear in a variety of storage and decor projects, both in and around the home. Scroll down now to see five favorite test tube crafts from around the Web.

 

1. ARRANGE FLOWERS

Test Tube Crafts - Vase

Photo: ourblogoflove.com

Whereas a single bloom is a pleasing sight, a grouping of flowers serves up a lavish, delightful feast for the eyes. Start with a metal or wooden rack, either wall-mounted or portable. Set a row of test tubes into the rack, fill them to the halfway point with fresh water, then place one or two stems into each vessel.

 

2. KEEP SUPPLIES

Test Tube Crafts - Storage

Photo: madvertizing.wordpress.com

Home office supplies are so often jumbled in a desk drawer, remaining maddeningly elusive on those occasions when you really need a thumbtack or paper clip. Rarely is a desktop organizer as design-savvy as the above set of mini test tubes. Occupying limited real estate, the compact trio keeps all the essentials within easy reach.

 

3. STORE SPICES

Test Tube Crafts - Spice Rack

Photo: instructables.com

If you frequently cook at home, then you already know how quickly and completely a spice collection can take over the cabinet it’s stored in. Sound familiar? Let test tubes come to the rescue! They are perfectly sized, airtight containers for any dried spice, and the colors and textures of the contents make a lovely display.

 

4. TRY A TERRARIUM

Test Tube Crafts - Terrarium

Photo: fragiletaller.etsy.com

There are a million and one ways to do a terrarium. Here’s one more. Fill the bottom quarter of a test tube with pebbles and a small amount of activated charcoal. Next, add about a half-inch of dirt followed by a thumbprint-size piece of moss. Cap the test tube and display it on a stand or attach a magnet and stick it to the refrigerator door.

 

5. HANG A CHANDELIER

Test Tube Crafts - Chandelier

Photo: makezine.com

Simultaneously retro and futuristic, and elegant without being overly formal, a test tube chandelier like this one makes for an unforgettable conversation starter, especially when the integrated tubes are filled to varying levels with dyed water in a spectrum of bright, buoyant hues.


How To: Clean Marble

Marble surfaces are elegant and classic, but they require special care to retain their luster. Follow our tips to keep your marble countertops and floors clean, shiny, and stain-free.

How to Clean Marble

Photo: shutterstock.com

Unquestionably, marble ranks among the most luxurious and beautiful countertop and flooring materials. Equally beyond question is the fact that marble requires special care and maintenance. Whenever you set out to clean marble, you’ve got to be very careful: Many products and techniques that are traditionally used with other surfaces can cause permanent damage to marble. Avoid common pitfalls by following these guidelines to clean marble effectively and safely.

How to Clean Marble - Countertops

Photo: imptile.com

Everyday Cleaning
Marble can be easily stained by many of the liquids that frequently appear in the kitchen—for example, wine, coffee, and orange juice. Watch out for spills and clean them up as quickly as possible. Even water, if left to pool for a period of time, can discolor marble, so it’s best to keep stone surfaces dry.

Avoid general-purpose cleaners unless the product specifically states that it’s marble-safe. Most of the time, a solution of dish soap and warm water is all that’s needed to keep marble looking new. Dip a soft cloth into the diluted soap, wring out the cloth so that it’s damp but not dripping wet, then wipe the marble clean.

You can also clean marble floors with a solution of dish soap and warm water—and you don’t need to get down on your hands and knees. It’s totally fine to use a mop; just be careful not to slosh too much water all over the place. When you’re finished, the floor should be a little damp, but if any pools have collected, you haven’t wrung out the mop well enough. Wipe up any standing water quickly with a dry cloth or towel.

Be aware that while many homeowners rightly revere the cleaning virtues of vinegar, this handy pantry staple should never be applied to marble; its high level of acidity can actually corrode the stone.

Stain Removal
Given the material’s sensitivity, removing stains from marble can be a little tricky, but it’s not an insurmountable challenge. The key is to absorb the stain. Try this: Mix baking soda with a small amount of water to form a thick paste. Apply it directly to the stain, then cover it with plastic wrap. Leave the paste in place for at least 24 hours, then check to see whether the solution has worked. If the stain is less noticeable but is still hanging on, repeat the process with a fresh application of paste.

No luck yet? So long as the marble is light-colored, you can experiment with hydrogen peroxide. But don’t go near this method if your marble is darker—the bleach could discolor it.

The very best way to care for marble is to prevent stains in the first place. Clean up any spills quickly, never put hot pans on the surface, and always be careful using sharp objects near marble because it can be easily scratched. Treat marble well and it will stay looking great for a lifetime.