Category: Interior Design


DIY Lite: A Modern Floor Lamp with a Most Unusual Shade

Here's a bright idea: Light up the dimmest corner of your living area with a customizable lamp. While its modern copper design may look like it cost a fortune, this DIY fixture comes in well under budget.

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DIY Floor Lamp

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Any interior designer will recommend layering multiple light sources, from wall sconces to floor lamps, for both illuminating everyday tasks as well as inspiring a spectrum of moods. Investing in these various lighting options for each of your spaces can add up quickly—that is, unless you’re willing to get your hands dirty with a DIY project or two. You can make your own floor lamp with all the style but a fraction of the cost of lookalikes at luxury retailers. Start the day with a trip to the hardware store, and you can end it with a seat on the well-lit couch and a good book.

 

DIY Floor Lamp - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Reclaimed lumber
- Handsaw
- Wood glue
- Clamps
- Drill with a 3⁄4-inch bit, a 1⁄4-inch bit, and a 1-1⁄4-inch hole saw
- Wood chisel
- 1-1⁄4 inch wooden dowel (at least 55 inches long)
- 3⁄4-inch copper pipe (39 inches long)
- 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol
- Clean cloth
- Protractor
- Permanent marker
- All-­purpose glue
- 3⁄4-inch-diameter copper elbow
- Lamp kit with light socket, electrical cord (10 feet), and plug
- Pliers
- Screwdriver
- Plastic bin
- Utility knife
- Spray paint
- LED light bulb

 

STEP 1

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Start by making the lamp base with the reclaimed wood or whatever other scrap lumber you have lying around. Cut approximately 13 inches from a 2×8 plank and 12 inches from a 1×6 plank, then sand both pieces. You can use wood blocks with different dimensions—slightly smaller or slightly larger—but make sure that the base is heavy enough to keep the tall lamp from tipping.

 

STEP 2

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Apply wood glue to the bottom of the smaller piece, then align it so that it sits centered along the shorter end of the bottom block. Press together and clamp for as long as the glue needs to dry completely.

 

STEP 3

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Measure 2 inches from the edge and drill vertically in the base center with the 1-1⁄4-inch hole saw. As the wooden base is quite thick, you will have to proceed in several stages: Drill as far as you can, remove the drill, then pull out the wood cuttings using a wood chisel. Repeat until the hole goes completely through the wood, then sand all edges and set aside.

 

STEP 4

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

To make create the height of the floor lamp, cut the 1-1⁄4-inch wooden dowel to be 55 inches long and the 3⁄4-inch copper pipe to be 39 inches long. (We picked these lengths to make a reading light that hovers over the seat of the couch, but you can opt for a longer wooden dowel if you want a taller lamp.)

Wipe down the pipe with 70 percent rubbing alcohol to remove labels and sticker residue before you continue.

 

STEP 5

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

In this design, the copper pipe slides through the dowel at an angle so that the lamp hangs over any seat. To facilitate this, you need to drill a hole into the dowel using the 3⁄4-inch bit.

Measure 11 inches from the end of the dowel, mark, place your drill bit against the spot, and then—this is key—rotate the dowel so that it is at a 60 degree angle with your drill bit (you can check against a protractor for help finding the precise angle). Steady the dowel with a firm grip or clamps while you drill.

 

STEP 6

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Slide the copper pipe through the dowel so that only 10 inches hang out the end. Use a permanent marker to note the point of intersection.

 

STEP 7

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Switch to a 1⁄4-inch bit to drill where you’ve marked in Sharpie, through one side of the tube but not out the other. In a later step, this will allow you to thread the lamp’s cord through the pipe to reach the light bulb.

 

STEP 8

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Time to assemble! Cover the bottom end of the dowel (the one further from the 1-1⁄4-inch hole) in wood glue, and fit it into the hole drilled in the wooden slab base. Hold the two pieces in place for the amount of dry time recommended by the wood glue manufacturer.

 

STEP 9

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Slide the copper pipe through the 3⁄4-inch hole in the dowel, leaving the small hole in the copper pipe exposed and facing the floor. Once the pieces are in position, join the two materials using an all­-purpose glue. Next, glue a copper elbow (curved down) at the end of the pipe where the lampshade will hang.

 

STEP 10

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 10

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Wiring your floor lamp with a DIY-friendly light kit—one with an electrical cord that’s 10 feet or longer—is the easiest way to go about these next steps. Kits can come in a variety of shapes and forms, some with a cord, plug, socket, and maybe even a switch, and others with just a plug at one end of your electrical cord with socket sold separately. Given the choice, opt to start with a kit that is nearly complete.

If your socket comes already attached to an end of the electrical cord, you’ll need to cut the cord in order to thread it through the 3⁄4-inch copper piping. Push the non-plug end of the cord in through the hole that you made in Step 7 and out through the elbow pipe fitting.

 

STEP 11

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 13

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Before you can affix a socket and light bulb to end of the cord, you must first prep and attach your desired lampshade.

Rather than purchasing something standard from the store, we upcycled a small plastic basket with a slotted design. (If you don’t have one on hand, you can find similar options at the dollar store.) To minimize the basket-like features, carefully cut the curved plastic edge off using a utility knife.

 

STEP 12

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 14

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Next, cut a 1-1⁄4-inch hole in the center of the container’s  bottom so that you can thread the cord through to attach a light socket. (Ideally, the hole should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the socket in order to prevent the shade from slipping down over it and resting on the bulb.)

Tip: Drill very slowly with your hole saw so that you do not break the plastic.

 

STEP 13

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 15

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Spray paint the plastic shade inside and out with a copper color to match the pipe. For best results, apply a primer and at least two coats to completely mask the plastic. (Be sure to follow the can’s instructions to allow the appropriate amount of dry time after each coat for a professional finish.)

 

STEP 14

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 16

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Finally, you can slide the wire through the shade and attach the light bulb socket. While best to refer to your specific lamp kit’s instructions, here’s a preview of what that process entails.

Typically, you’ll start by removing the base of the socket. Screw the threaded pipe (also known as a socket nipple) into the base cap, then pass the wire through a nut the size of the threaded pipe, the hole drilled in your shade, and the threaded pipe-base combo. Tightening the nut over the threaded pipe will secure the socket to the shade.

Pull the electrical cord out so it has a little extra give while you finish the wiring job. Where the cord splits, tie a special underwriter’s knot out of the two ends (refer to your light kit for a diagram). Then identify the difference in the two wires’ texture: one is smooth, and the other is ribbed. Pick up your socket and separate it from its shell to expose two screws. Loosen these and wrap a wire around each—the smooth wire attaches to the brass screw, the ribbed wire to the silver screw—before tightening once more. Pop the shell back on and twist the wired socket into the base inside the shade.

Now reach around the back of the angled floor lamp where the electrical cord enters the copper piping, and gently pull on it so that the lampshade raises to meet the elbow pipe fitting. All that’s left to do is insert an LED bulb—which both saves more energy and gives off less heat than an incandescent bulb. You’re ready to plug in your new floor lamp, curl up beneath its glow with a good book, and call it a night!

DIY Floor Lamp - DIY Lighting for Any Room

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.


Bob Vila Radio: An “Old School” Storage Staple Comes Home

The lockers we knew in our youth are now skipping school and coming home to serve as a unique and versatile storage solution for a new class of nostalgic homeowners.

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Remember twisting the dial of your combination lock to retrieve a textbook from your high school locker? Well, you’re not the only one. Lately, plenty of nostalgic graduates have been repurposing lockers for use in the home.

vintage-lockers-entryway

Photo: fotosearch.com

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to BOB VILA ON REPURPOSING SCHOOL LOCKERS or read the text below:

Look for lockers in thrift shops, salvage yards, and used furniture stores. Typically, they come fastened together in a set, so in order to fit one into a tight space, you may need to remove a few screws first. Consider your finishing options too. With paint, you can make your lockers match your decor, or you can embrace the vintage look, in all its scratched (or even graffitied) glory.

Lockers with vented doors are great for stashing gym gear in the mudroom or entry hall, while units with rods or hooks for clothing are perfect for kids’ rooms or laundry areas. That’s not all, though; lockers are surprisingly versatile, with dozens of potential applications around the house. Some especially creative folks have even put their vintage finds in the kitchen or pantry.

Where would you put yours?

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


Genius! The Easy Cure for Every Dark Hallway

If your lighting is seriously lacking, try this easy DIY to trick the eye—and make any shadowy space feel larger, brighter, and easier to navigate.

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diy-faux-window-1

Photo: hometalk.com

When it comes to lighting, there are probably plenty of places in your home with room for improvement—basements, stairwells, and hallways are just a few of the more serious offenders. More than an aesthetic problem, it’s also a safety concern: When you can’t see where you’re going, you’re more likely to slip and fall. In the case of Hometalk contributor Connie Hatch‘s narrow, dimly lit hallway, a single overhead light was not nearly enough to illuminate the entire length of the space. Fixing the issue with structural and electrical improvements would be a costly undertaking, especially for a DIY-er on a budget. Unwilling to settle with a poorly lit passageway, she devised a DIY solution, crafting a realistic-looking faux window that doubled as an extra light fixture.

diy-faux-window-3

Photo: hometalk.com

After hunting around the house for something to use for her new fixture, she decided on a cast-off storm door that was tall enough to pass as an old double-hung window and could conceal any alterations behind its wooden frame. Starting with a can of Rust-Oleum Frosted Glass spray paint, she flipped the door over and coated the back of the glass panels with a translucent finish to hide the bare wall where the new window would be mounted. Next, she pressed multiple adhesive-backed LED strips onto the back of the wooden framing—smartly set to a timer, so that her window appears lit only during daylight hours—and mounted the whole contraption to two small L-brackets on the wall, about a foot from the ceiling.

While LED strips come in a rainbow of colors, she opted for white—the closest match to the natural glow of sunlight. And so far, she has all of her visitors fooled. ”Everyone that sees it thinks it’s a real window,” she writes. We want to keep the secret, but it’s too good not to share! Considering the project’s low cost, added safety, and ease of installation, it’s the brightest way to bring your home out of the dark ages.

FOR MORE: Hometalk

 

diy-faux-window-2

Photo: hometalk.com


DIY Lite: The Blanket Ladder You Can Build Without Any Nails

Open up space in your linen closet with a DIY storage project that will display your blankets attractively and keep them close at hand all year long.

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DIY Blanket Ladder - Made with Dowels and Plumbing Connectors

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Between seasons of use, bulky blankets often take up valuable real estate in drawers, underbed bins, or the linen closet. What’s a space-challenged homeowner to do? Once again, vertical storage to the rescue! Both stylish and versatile, a simple ladder-style rack may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Leaning artfully against a wall, this rack holds one blanket per dowel, with each draping slightly over the one beneath. Set up your blanket storage conveniently beside your couch, and you and your guests will never find yourselves too chilly again. The best part: This hardworking storage unit takes hardly any work! Read on to learn how to assemble your own in minutes.

 

DIY Blanket Ladder - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- 7⁄8-inch wooden dowels, 8 feet long (3)
- Copper T-junction pipe fittings (10)
- Copper caps (4)
- Handsaw
- Tape measure
- Sandpaper
- Mineral oil or varnish
- Hot-glue gun or silicone glue

 

STEP 1

DIY Blanket Ladder - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

For the vertical members of the ladder, cut the 8-foot dowels into lengths as follows (12 pieces total): two pieces at 19 inches, six pieces at 15 inches, two pieces at 11 inches, and two pieces at 5 inches.

 

STEP 2

DIY Blanket Ladder - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Next, you’ll cut pieces for the rungs. In this modern design, the ladder will be narrower at the top than the bottom, so each rung will be a slightly different length: 16 inches at the top, then 17 inches, 19 inches, 20-1⁄2 inches, and finally, at the bottom, 22 inches. Make the cuts for these horizontal pieces from your remaining dowels.

 

STEP 3

DIY Blanket Ladder - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Once all dowel lengths have been cut, sand them completely. We also recommend brushing on a layer of mineral oil or varnish to hydrate and protect the wood.

 

STEP 4

DIY Blanket Ladder - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Next, you’ll assemble the legs of the ladder, using the batch of dowels you cut in Step 1 and the copper T-junction pipe fittings. Glue the inside of the pipe fittings first (either with hot glue or silicone glue), then insert the appropriate wooden dowel. For each leg of the ladder, assemble the pieces in this order, from top to bottom: a 5-inch dowel + T-junction, an 11-inch dowel + T-junction, three 15-inch dowels with a T-junction at the end of each dowel, and then a 19-inch dowel. Follow this process for both legs of the ladder.

Lay the two completed legs flat on the ground, then affix the horizontal rungs between them—here, working from the bottom up. Remember: The 19-inch lengths are the bottom of the ladder, so glue the 22-inch dowel between them at the bottommost T-junction. Work your way up the ladder by gluing the next shorter dowel into the next pair of T-junctions, finishing with the smallest, 16-inch, dowel at the top.

 

STEP 5

DIY Blanket Ladder - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Be sure that all parts are firmly connected, or else the ladder will not be sturdy enough. Wait for the glue to dry completely before standing the ladder against the wall.

 

STEP 6

DIY Blanket Ladder - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Finish by gluing copper caps to the top and bottom of each leg. Now you’re free to lean the ladder against the wall of your choice and immediately hang up your favorite, coziest, most decorative blankets.

DIY Blanket Ladder

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

But the functionality of this design doesn’t stop there: You can choose to lean your ladder next to the bathroom sink to hold towels, or in your closet to display accessories. Move it to the kitchen, and you have a no-nails-required storage solution for cooking utensils.

DIY Blanket Ladder - Alternative Uses

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 New Ways to Sell Your Old Furniture

When it comes to passing along your tables, chairs, and other pieces that you've grown tired of, garage sales aren't your only options, and potential buyers aren't limited to your neighbors. Thanks to these 5 online services, selling your old furniture can be much easier than you imagined.

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Selling Used Furniture

Photo: fotosearch.com

The next time you’re cleaning house and want to unload a couple of old pieces of furniture, don’t fret: A slew of 20th-century services make it easy to pass along old tables and chairs. And Craigslist isn’t your only online option—there are a range of new (and user-friendly) websites to choose from that require little more than snapping and uploading a photo. So, dust off your end tables, bookshelves, and chairs—whatever it is that you’re ready to sell. In no time, you’ll have cash burning a hole in your pocket, eager to fund your long-overdue room refresh.

Selling Used Furniture - Etsy

Photo: etsy.com

ETSY
Location: Nationwide
Commission: 20¢ to list plus a 3.5% transaction fee

Sure, this popular website is known as a marketplace for local artisans and crafters, but you’d be surprised—it’s also a great place to list old furniture that you’d like to sell. It makes sense: The DIY market is full of people interested in refinishing used tables and chairs for various home projects. To get a sense of what’s out there, just go to Etsy’s homepage and search on “furniture listings”—you can even filter for handmade or vintage pieces. As you check out the competition, look carefully at the posts and try to model your own listing, including photos and description, after those that you think are especially strong and likely to result in a sale. Not interested in calculating shipping costs? Etsy offers the option of designating an item—like, say, that bulky sideboard—for local pickup only so you can schedule face-to-face interactions with buyers in your area.

 

Selling Used Furniture - Move Loot

moveloot.com

MOVE LOOT
Locations: Atlanta, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Fresno, Greensboro, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, Raleigh, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose
Commission: Varies, depending on the item

Consider this site the online version of a furniture consignment shop, with zero fees to list and a pickup fee calculated based on the specific pieces you’re unloading. You start by submitting photos and details about the furniture you’re offering for sale. Move Loot will reach out within 48 hours to extend an estimated payout offer based on similar sales in its marketplace—and if it’s a go, they’ll write the whole listing for you. You don’t have to lift a finger! As your items sell (typically within two weeks of listing), the white-glove service arranges a pickup time and packs up your furnishings so that they’re safe and protected. In return, you get payment in the range you agreed to, or up to 20 percent more if you choose to accept payment in the form of a site credit to spend on replacement furnishings. If your stash hasn’t sold after 30 days, you can ask the team to mark down the price until it does, or have them take down the listing altogether and relist another time.

 

Selling Used Furniture - Furnishly

Photo: furnishly.com

FURNISHLY
Locations: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnatti, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Myers, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Montreal, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Washington, D.C.
Commission: 10%

With Furnishly, it’s easy to take your yard sale online, where it won’t be confined to a single weekend that happens to have the best weather forecast. The site lets you launch your own curated “shop,” which you start by submitting to the site for approval your full listing of the used furniture you’re aiming to sell. Furnishly markets to shoppers looking for geographically desirable pieces—items they can easily swing by to pick up—so before visitors comb through the site’s most recent listings, they are asked to pick their city from the list of 48 metropolitan areas where the company operates. This means that you, as the seller, can deal with the prospective buyer directly and arrange pickup at your convenience, while Furnishly handles the financial transaction online, saving you from scams.

 

Selling Used Furniture - AptDeco

Photo: aptdeco.com

APTDECO
Location: New York City, Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas
Commission: 19%

AptDeco makes it easy to sell old furniture without all those in-person hassles. Your only job? Spending a few minutes posting detailed photos and a thorough, compelling description of your used furniture on their site. Listing on the site is free, and it includes the team’s expert advice on pricing and marketing your goods. Once you have approved a buyer, AptDeco takes a 19 percent cut of the sale. But here’s where it’s really worth the cost: You pick the date and time for a convenient pickup, and AptDeco’s white-glove service will handle careful transportation out of your house and to the buyer. When payment arrives within the next 48 hours, your home will be less cluttered and your bank account will be fat and happy. Easy!

 

Selling Used Furniture - Craigslist

Photo: craigslist.org

CRAIGSLIST
Location: Nationwide
Commission: None

The no-frills website is well known for a reason: It is convenient for both the seller and the buyer. Here, you can list the furniture you have for sale in the classifieds section for your own city, post pictures of it (or not), and then wait to see if you get a bite. There’s no middleman, so it’s completely free from start to finish. The responsibility falls on you alone for writing up, pricing, posting, coordinating a pickup time, and completing the transaction (often in cash). Fortunately, Craigslist cloaks your email address by requiring interested buyers to message through the site, leaving you totally anonymous until pickup day—and free from emails from strangers after you’ve closed the sale.


DIY Kids: Turn a Bookcase into a Dollhouse

Building a dream house for your kids' dolls doesn't have to cost a pretty penny—or require any previous construction experience. Start with a spare bookcase, and you can craft a mini mansion in just a morning!

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How to Build a Dollhouse - Front and Back Views

Photo: bobvila.com

Though they’re growing up fast, my girls still love to play with a dollhouse—so much so that we needed to upgrade from our small, plastic set to something bigger. Rather than purchasing a wooden dollhouse (which can get pricey), we made our own from a small bookcase. This hands-on conversion offers total customization, right down to a roof deck with a pool! Read on for our guide to creating your own ultimate doll-size dream home below.

 

SKILL LEVEL: EASY
There’s hardly any construction if you start with an appropriately sized bookcase that you happen to have on hand. Even if you need to buy a ready-to-assemble one, the instructions and skills required are still very basic. To forgo having to cut any wood altogether, you can even skip the traditional look of a pitched roof, covered in Steps 2 through 4.

How To Build a Dollhouse - Supplies

Photo: bobvila.com

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Small bookcase
- Screwdriver
- Pencil
- Tape measure
- 2-foot square of lauan project panel
- Circular saw
- Sandpaper
- 2-inch wood nails
- Hammer
- Primer
- Paint
- Paint roller
- Scrapbook paper or wrapping paper
- Scissors
- Decoupage glue
- Poster paint
- Paint brushes in all sizes
- Hot-glue gun
- Miniature fencing

 

STEP 1

How To Build a Dollhouse - Step 1

Photo: bobvila.com

If you start with a bookcase you happen to have sitting around, your structure is almost entirely ready to go. Walls? Check. Floors? Check. Roof? Check—but we added a pitch in Steps 2 through 4.

If you don’t have an old bookcase ready to repurpose, check out your nearest thrift store or big-box retailer for a small unit. (Ours is only 24 1/2 inches wide by 35 inches high.) For a ready-to-assemble bookcase, grab a screwdriver (or allen wrench) and put it together according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: When we built our prefab bookcase, we put the backing on backwards. This tweak positions the unfinished side of the particle board facing in, so the scrapbook “wallpaper” sticks better and the back of the bookcase (which is the house’s facade) accepts paint like the rest of the exterior.

 

STEP 2

How To Build a Dollhouse - Step 2

Photo: bobvila.com

Faking a pitched roofline will really turn your boxy bookshelf into a whimsical playhouse. It’s simple: Just attach a roof cutout! Seen from the front of the house (which is the back of the bookcase), the structure appears to have a pitched roof; turn it around, though, and your dollhouse has space for a luxury roof deck, complete with pool and miniature fence. This is a dream house, after all.

Lay your 2-foot square of lauan project panel on the ground, and rotate it to look like a diamond. Draw a line directly through the middle, from the top to the bottom corner. Lay your bookcase on its back, then use your tape measure to find the exact middle of your bookcase and mark it. Position the bookshelf on top of the panel so that its center aligns with the line drawn through the panel and its corners meet the edges of the panel.

 

STEP 3

How to Build a Dollhouse - Step 3

Photo: bobvila.com

Next, you’ll mark where the lauan panel extends beyond the sides of the bookcase so you can make the necessary cuts. Trace the outline of the bookshelf onto the back of the lauan panel. Lift off the bookcase, and use your tape measure to draw a straight line across the bottom. Once you cut off the two side triangles and the wider triangle from the bottom, you’ll be left with something that looks like a slightly misshapen home plate, giving you a pointed roof and a few inches of overlap to secure the board to the back of the bookcase. Cut out your roof using a circular saw, and sand the edges smooth.

How to Build a Dollhouse - Step 3

Photo: bobvila.com

 

STEP 4

How To Build a Dollhouse - Step 4

Photo: bobvila.com

Measure the height of your miniature fence and mark that distance down from each roofline corner, along the straight portion of the roof piece. This marks the point where the roof panel will attach to the bookcase. (The roof’s pitch will begin just above the fence.) Pencil a line straight line across the panel connecting the two marks, and use it as a guide to attach the panel to the bookcase with 2-inch nails.

 

STEP 5

How To Build a Dollhouse - Step 5

Photo: bobvila.com

Time to add some color! Rough up your bookcase’s finish using sandpaper to ensure that your paint adheres well. Wipe the dust away with a slightly damp cloth, and let it dry afterward.

If you can, remove any shelves to make painting easier. Then, apply one to two coats of primer, followed by the base coat of paint. When you’re ready to tackle the shelves, paint one side white to serve as the ceilings, and leave the other side unpainted to simulate hardwood floors.

 

STEP 6

How to Build a Dollhouse - Step 6

Photo: bobvila.com

We cut scrapbook paper into wallpaper and rugs for our interiors, but you could substitute any other decorative paper you have on hand, such as wrapping paper or actual wallpaper, or simply stick with paint.

Take measurements of your dollhouse’s walls and floors, and cut the paper to fit. Wallpaper and flooring can span a whole “floor,” or shelf, or, as you can see here, you can use wallpaper patterns to designate different rooms—a much easier way to define spaces than adding a room divider.

Apply decoupage glue to the back of your paper, stick it to the wall or floor, and adjust it until you’re happy. Apply a second layer of decoupage glue on top, pushing out air bubbles out as you go.

 

STEP 7

How to Build a Dollhouse - Step 7

Photo: bobvila.com

While the inside dries, you can get to work on the home’s exterior. We used the same decoupage method to adhere windows (and window boxes) to the front of the house, and to outfit the top deck with a grassy roof garden and pool.

How to Build a Dollhouse - Step 7

Photo: bobvila.com

When the glue dries, you can go in with poster paint to create finer details of cottage shutters, flowering window boxes, and a leafy top-level garden.

 

STEP 8

How to Build a Dollhouse - Step 8

Photo: bobvila.com

What’s a dream home without a white picket fence? We added this last touch around the roof deck by applying a small dab of hot glue to every other fence picket, with the first and last pickets glued completely to either side of the roof cutout. When all the glues—hot and decoupage—have dried, your DIY dollhouse will be officially ready for move-in day.

How to Build a Dollhouse - Decorate the Rooms

Photo: bobvila.com

How To Build a Dollhouse

Photo: bobvila.com

How To Build a Dollhouse - Playtime

Photo: bobvila.com


DIY Lite: How to Build a Shadow Box Display

Arrange a collection of treasured keepsakes behind the glass of a shadow box for an impressive (and protective) at-home art exhibit.

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DIY Shadow Box - How to Make a Shadow Box

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Most of us already have the makings of a collection sitting out on a shelf or dresser, right under our noses. Transform those dust-catchers into intriguing displays by arraying them behind the glass pane of a shadow box. A shadow box is essentially a framed box, just a few inches deep and often outfitted with a shelf or two, that holds collectibles, cherished mementos, and other small objects. And it’s functional too! The glass front protects the contents from dust and damage. So gather up your tiny treasures and a spare picture frame, then follow this easy tutorial that will soon have you admiring your budding collection through the artful casing of your very own DIY shadow box.

 

DIY Shadow Box - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Wooden picture frame with its glass
- 6mm plywood
- 8-foot-long 1×4 lumber
- Sandpaper
- Wood glue
- Clamps
- 1-inch hinge and screw (2)
- Small drawer knob
- 1-inch nails
- Acrylic paint
- Foam brush
- Rubber grip pads
- Handsaw
- Hammer
- Ruler
- Drill
- Hot glue gun (optional)

 

STEP 1

DIY Shadow Box - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

We chose a spare wooden frame as the ready-to-go front for our DIY shadow box so we wouldn’t need to cut any glass. Depending on what you intend to display, you may prefer a more decorative frame than the simple silhouette shown here. When you’ve picked yours out, just remove the back (which you won’t use) and the glass (to be set aside for later).

Start by cutting out what will be the back of your box. Place the frame onto the sheet of plywood and trace its shape. Use your saw to cut out the panel.

 

STEP 2

DIY Shadow Box - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Next, cut four pieces from your 1×4 lumber to make the sides of the shadow box. The top and the bottom will be the same length as the width of your plywood back (which is also the width of your picture frame). To calculate the length of the sides, measure the length of the frame and then subtract the thickness of the pieces at the top and bottom of the box. As each 1×4 is approximately 3/4-inch thick, you’ll subtract 1-1/2 inches from the length of the frame. Cut each, then sand all the pieces smooth.

 

STEP 3

DIY Shadow Box - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Squeeze a line of glue across one short side of the plywood rectangle, and press one of the short pieces of 1×4 into place. Repeat at the opposite end of the plywood rectangle. Use clamps to maintain pressure while the glue bonds.

 

STEP 4

DIY Shadow Box - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Once the glue is dry, flip the box over and hammer some 1-inch nails through the back along both top and bottom.

 

STEP 5

DIY Shadow Box - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the remaining 1×4 pieces to create the sides of the box.

 

STEP 6

DIY Shadow Box - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

If you want, at this point you can add two shelves to hold your smallest tchotchkes, as we have. Skip this step altogether if you intend to showcase something larger or plan to tack postcards and photos to the back like a three-dimensional memo board.

The length of your shelves will depend on your frame’s dimensions: To calculate, subtract 1 1/2 inches (the thickness of both side boards) from the width of your frame. Cut one or two shelves of this length from the 1×4 lumber, and sand down each piece. Estimate how far apart you’d like to space your shelves, then measure with a ruler to make sure your shelf will be level and pencil in a line along the back to mark where the shelves will go. Glue along each line and fit your shelves into place.

 

STEP 7

DIY Shadow Box - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

After the glue dries, you can start painting. Choose a color that will strike a real contrast with the objects you wish to exhibit—you want your collection to pop! Apply at least two coats of paint to the sides, shelves, and inside back. If necessary, clean, sand, and paint the wood frame to match.

 

STEP 8

DIY Shadow Box - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

So you’ll be able to open and close the door easily, attach a small drawer knob to the right side of the frame. You’ll have to screw it in through the back, so flip the frame over, and measure to find the center of the left side, then drill a hole and screw in the knob.

 

STEP 9

DIY Shadow Box - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

While your frame is still face down, attach the hinges on the side opposite your knob. Measure four inches from the top, then screw one part of a hinge to the outermost edge of the frame. Measure the same distance from the bottom, and attach one part of the second hinge.

 

DIY Shadow Box - Step 10

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Secure the glass in its frame by first lining the inside edge of the frame with hot glue or silicone adhesive and then pressing the glass into it. Don’t move the door until the glue dries. When it’s dry, file away any excess glue.

STEP 11

DIY Shadow Box - Step 11

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

 

Attach the frame to your box, creating a door for your display. First, lay the frame on top of the box, determine where the hinges hit the side, and hold the plates there while you screw them into place along the left edge of the box.

 

STEP 12

DIY Shadow Box - Step 12

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

If you intend to display the shadow box on a bookshelf or dresser, you can adhere four rubber grips to the corners of the bottom, as we’ve done. But this shadow box works just as well hung on a wall with other elements of your gallery wall. To hang, simply screw one large or two medium-size sawtooth hangers onto the back, and hang from a nail as you would a heavy frame.

Once situated on the designated shelf or wall, your shadow box is ready to accept its collection. Even the most humble knickknacks—your child’s toy cars, mismatched salt and pepper shakers—can be elevated to the status of artwork with this powerful presentation. Go ahead and fill ‘er up!

 

DIY Shadow Box - Completed Project

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

DIY Shadow Box - Open Glass Door

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.


Weekend Projects: 5 Designs for a DIY Daybed

Set up any of these daybeds as seating that doubles as sleeping quarters, and you can start filling the calendar with visits from friends and family.

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Among the everyday struggles of finding storage and squeezing in more workspace, entertaining—and housing—guests poses a conundrum for most homeowners with small spaces. Specifically, where will overnight guests sleep when they come to visit? While some solutions, like the fold-up Murphy bed and stow-away trundle bed, focus on hiding spare sleeping arrangements out of sight, a daybed offers in-plain-sight functionality. Couch by day and bed by night, it’s the most practical furniture solution to an all-too-common problem. So, whether you’re looking for an extra spot for overnight guests to snooze or simply a cozy place to curl up with a book, consider setting up one of our five favorites in your own space.

 

CUTTING CORNERS

DIY Daybed - Made from Plywood

Photo: themerrythought.com

Create a hard-working, functional piece of furniture on the cheap following The Merry Thought’s lead—more specifically, the DIY blog’s detailed plans for a plywood daybed. As all levels of woodworkers may know, this inexpensive material won’t break the bank or leave you scratching your head during construction. Best of all? You won’t sacrifice any style by choosing this simple, minimalist design. Fully made up, the bed’s unique asymmetrical frame fits perfectly into that unused corner of your space.

 

LEGS TO STAND ON

DIY Daybed - Just Add Legs

Photo: sugarandcloth.com

If you already have a twin mattress set on hand, convert it into a daybed by simply changing its orientation and adding legs. To recreate this brilliant conversion from blogger Ashley Rose from Sugar & Cloth, all you need is a set of mid-century modern style wooden legs, stained to match your space’s décor. Screw them into to the bottom frame of your box spring, style with the pillows that topped the bed in its former life, and voilà—you’ve equipped your multitasking office-slash-guest room with a fashionable dual-purpose seat.

PATTERN PLAY

DIY Daybed - Chevron Frame

Photo: oldpaintdesign.com

For advanced woodworkers looking for a statement piece that presents more of a challenge, look no further than these daybed plans from Old Paint Design. The design mimics a herringbone pattern, with boards zig-zagging throughout the frame to create chevrons. Careful miter cuts—102 of them, to be exact—make this construction possible. Once assembled, this beautiful piece of furniture can add a healthy dose of contemporary style to any space.

 

SITTING PRETTY

DIY Daybed - Made from Pallets

Photo: prettyprudent.com

Popular for their rustic vibes and often zero-dollar price tag, shipping pallets have trended for years in DIY home furnishings. Case in point: Jaime, one of the talented ladies behind the Pretty Prudent blog, lay two pieces of this hardworking material flat to create the base of an indoor-outdoor daybed. Only a few additions are necessary to complete the structure: Industrial pipes form a set of arms that hold bolster pillows in place, while a set of casters attached to the bottom allow you to wheel your daybed outside on sunny days and back inside before temperatures drop or foul weather approaches.

 

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT

DIY Daybed - With Underbed Cabinet Storage

Photo: atraillife.com

If you’re on the hunt for extra storage, consider the old standby: underneath the bed. This sort of sneaky storage can exist under a slightly more narrow daybed, all the same. While building a bed frame with cabinets from scratch might sound complicated, the photo tutorial from A Trail Life shows that it’s a totally doable (and practical) project. This handy blogger documents how to create a frame sturdy enough to support seated or sleeping guests, along with an attractive set of finished doors that will hide anything you put inside. In the end, this expert use of vertical space packs triple the function—sitting, sleeping, and stashing your stuff—all under the same footprint.


DIY Lite: The Most Convenient Side Table Wood Can Build

Construct a convenient, over-the-armrest side table from scratch in a single afternoon, and wind up with the perfect place to rest your drink (and TV dinner) come movie night!

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DIY Side Table - How to Build a C Table

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Everyone has a favorite seat, a comfortable corner of the living room perfect for lounging, reading, working, snacking, or socializing. But when you’re seated, it’s hard to keep all the essentials at your fingertips without piling them at your feet or having to pull the coffee table closer. That’s why we love the problem-solving design of the C table. This style of side table pulls right up next to your perch to provide an extra surface in an instant. With it by your side, you can keep the necessities for a day of R&R close at hand—your light reading, remote control, and drink (with coaster), to name just a few. Learn how to tailor this easy-to-customize DIY design to your existing seating, and you can turn your preferred sofa or armchair into the best seat in the house.

 

DIY Side Table - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- 8-foot-long 1×8 lumber
- Ruler
- Handsaw
- Wood glue
- Steel plates (2) and screws
- Screwdriver
- 8-foot-long 1×2 lumber (3)
- Set square
- Pencil
- 1 1/2″ brackets (8) and screws
- Sandpaper
- Drill
- 3″ wood screws (16)
- Wood stain and varnish
- Paintbrush
- Clamps

 

STEP 1

DIY Side Table - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Start by making the tabletop. Cut two pieces from the 1×8, each 22 inches long.

 

STEP 2

DIY Side Table - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

To assemble these two pieces into a tabletop, lay the lengths next to each other. Apply wood glue to the 22-inch sides that will meet in the middle. After the glue dries, screw two steel plates to stiffen what will become the bottom side of your tabletop.

 

STEP 3

DIY Side Table - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Next, use the 1×2 to make a 1-1/2-inch-deep wooden frame with the exact dimensions of the tabletop. Cut two 22-inch-long pieces, each with one end cut at a 45-degree angle. Cut the third piece to 14-1/2 inches long with both ends cut at a 45-degree angle. Cut a 13-inch piece for the fourth side of the frame.

Lay out the frame so that the two longest pieces are parallel, with mitered ends facing one another. Set the 14-1/2-inch piece (with both ends mitered) between the 45-degree ends to form two miter joints. The short, 13-inch piece should fit in the open end of your rectangle.

 

STEP 4

DIY Side Table - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Apply wood glue to both pieces at each corner, then let dry. Screw a bracket inside each corner for extra support.

 

STEP 5

DIY Side Table - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 to make a second identical frame. One will be used to support the tabletop, while its twin will form the base of the table. Sand both frames.

 

STEP 6

DIY Side Table - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Now it’s time to make the four table legs from the remaining 1×2′s. Since a C-shaped table is designed to slide over the side of a seat, the length of the legs (and thus the height of your table) will depend on the dimensions of the couch or chair you’ll be using it with. Think about how tightly you want the tabletop to sit against your chair’s armrest. If you want it pretty much resting on the armrest, cut four pieces of identical length about 1-1/2 inches shorter than the height of your armrest. (Remember, the table’s base is built from a 1×2, which means that the base is 1-1/2 inches tall.)

For example, the side of our couch is 25 inches tall, so I made the legs of my table 23 1/2 inches long. When you add the base and tabletop, that makes the entire table a little under 28 inches tall.

 

STEP 7

DIY Side Table - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Mark where your legs will connect to the base frame, which will sit on the ground. Two legs will attach to each end of one 14-1/2-inch side, held by two screws apiece; mark those four holes with a pencil. Then use a ruler to measure five inches along the 22-inch sides of the frame, and make marks there for the second pair of legs.

Drill small pilot holes for the screws to make it easier to insert them and to prevent the wood from cracking.

 

STEP 8

DIY Side Table - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Turn the frame on its side so you can screw the legs to the frame from the bottom. (Remember, two screws per leg.) For a stronger bond, use wood glue at the joints before adding the screws.

 

STEP 9

DIY Side Table - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Once the legs are affixed to the base, attach the frame that will support the tabletop, following the same process you used in Steps 7 and 8. In other words, mark the spots for the screws, drill pilot holes, apply glue to the joints, and screw the legs to the frame.

 

STEP 10

DIY Side Table - Step 10

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Give your armrest table a rich finishing touch. We stained ours in two tones: a dark chocolate for the legs and a medium brown for the tabletop. Allow the stain to dry completely, then seal the table with a coat of varnish.

 

STEP 11

DIY Side Table - Step 11

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Finally, once all the pieces are dry, glue the tabletop to the top frame. Use clamps to help maintain pressure for however long the glue recommends as drying time. By the end of the day, you’ll be able to rest a bowl of popcorn and a victory drink on your new, convenient C-table while you kick back on the couch and relax in front of the television.

DIY Side Table - Completed Project

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.


Bob Vila Radio: Look Again at Recessed Lighting

Space-saving design used to be its biggest selling point, but while recessed lighting remains a compelling choice for that reason alone, a host of new features make it well worth renewed attention.

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Recessed lighting has always been a discreet choice that occupies next to no space in the room where it appears. Making it even more appealing are the variety of new features that have made it to market, improving an already popular product category.

Recessed Lighting Options

Photo: zillow.com/digs

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Listen to BOB VILA ON NEW OPTIONS IN RECESSED LIGHTING or read the text below:

If it’s been years since you last considered recessed lighting, it’s well worth a fresh look. For proof that things are substantially different now, look no further than the designs that break old boundaries by extending the fixture below the surface of the ceiling. Certainly, such fixtures stretch the definition of “recessed” lighting, but semantics are secondary to the result—a host of teardrop, metal, and crystal fixtures that are as eye-catching as they are high-performing.

Recessed lights are even moving out of the ceiling and into the walls, where they offer their signature space-saving design even while providing much-needed illumination in once-shadowy areas, such as hallways and stairs. Another welcome advance: There are now so-called “eyebrow” kits that enable you to focus the light in a specific, targeted direction. To be sure, these are not the “high hats” you remember from the old days. Indeed, for recessed lighting, there’s a bright future.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!