I’m not one to waste space, especially in a small home. After getting my simple diy pantry built in as part of our outdated kitchen transformation, the back of that pantry door was just staring at me all empty-like. So I asked Roy if he could pleeeeease make me a pantry door organizer. Being a sucker for my puppy dog eyes, he said yes. I just wanted it to hold some basic things like plastic bags, teas, jellos and other smaller items. He measured it up and before I knew it, my panty door was empty no more! Roy is not a professional carpenter and only recently started dabbling in building things. He claims anyone can build these things with a few basic tools. So don’t let the idea of wood work overwhelm you!
Pantry Door Organizer Supplies & Tools
- 1″x4″ for sides and shelves all cut to 2.5″ wide
- 1/4″ slats cut from left over pieces for cross pieces
- Luan 1/4″ plywood, 2″x4″ piece
- Wood Glue
- Saber Saw for Cutting Notch in Back for Door Knob
- Table Saw was used for everything else
I added some colorful contact paper to the back of some of the shelves. You can never have too much storage!
I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this but we were using a stand up clothes armoire as a simple DIY pantry in our kitchen because we didn’t have enough space to hold all our food stuffs. Hey, you do what you need to do. And I needed more space for my canned goods. Roy, who’s not a carpenter, finally decided he was going to make us a pantry as part of our outdated kitchen transformation. It would be small and in the corner, but it would be floor to ceiling. So he designed it using Googles free program SketchUp. Then he bought the materials and started building! I’m amazed at how much this small pantry holds. I was able to empty the “armoire” pantry and a couple of cupboards. You can watch him make it start to finish below. If you enjoy these do it yourself wood projects, you might also like our DIY Bed Canopy.
This is the corner it was going in to. Not very big is it? (FYI it has been painted)
This is what we were using for a pantry along with a couple of the kitchen cupboards.
Roy LOVES messing around Google SketchUp and he designed the new pantry.
The start of the framing now begins!
The outlet was on the wall which would now be “inside’ the pantry so Roy had to move it. Fairly easy job.
After the frame was up, the sheet rock was cut and put up.
Then wood strips were added for the shelves.
The sheet rock was mudded and sanded by our son Adam.
Roy began painting the inside.
Shelves were cut.
More sanding by Adam.
Shelves inserted and painted. The final step. The door!
The door and frame were painted.
Though this will be part of the decorating post you get a sneak peek. We added a label to the door.
Perfect! You’ll see more later!
Actually there was one more step. Roy added some shelving on the side so we could get rid of a bakers rack that held a variety of appliances. Now came the fun part. Filling the new pantry!
I can’t believe how much stuff we could fit into that small pantry. We opened up so much cupboard space in addition to getting rid of the old armoire.
I purchased a special container on wheels for Oliver’s dog food. We can now store paper towels inside rather than in the garage.
Items that are not used as much go on the upper shelf.
I don’t get all fancy with my organizing in here as there is such a turnaround. I just keep it neat.
See that look on my oldest daughter Jennifer’s face? That’s the unrehearsed snapshot moment she walked into my kitchen for the first time. When Roy and I purchased our 1st home in 37 years of marriage, (a unique story in itself), the kitchen was like a time warp back to the 70’s. I’m sure that wallpaper was all the rage back then but it was gonna have to go at some point. And the cupboards were some sort of attempted crackle mess from long ago. But hey, this was my very own house, and after years of rentals I loved every little pimple and wart it might have.Fast forward and my daughter makes yet another visit, this time with ulterior motives. She wants to give my kitchen a makeover. And now I’m more than ready for it.
We’re going to take you step by step through our process. We tried to be as frugal as possible and a good deal of it was just hard work. But you’re going to be amazed at the end result. As you know I lean towards the whimsical and unusual in my home and my kitchen is no exception. We also have a budget bedroom makeover plan that would be helpful for any room if you want to take a look at that.
So follow along with us the next few weeks as we show you what we’ve done. We’ll also toss in a craft and decor item or two along the way that we did just for the room. Our goal is to show you that you can redo a room without spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
First, here’s what the kitchen looked like in all its original glory!
KITCHEN TRANSFORMATION STEP #1
Stripping Wallpaper : Painting Walls : Painting Cupboards
The wallpaper came off much easier than expected. You never know how that’s going to go and it can sometimes be a nightmare. But it came off in fairly large strips as you can see. All Jennifer did was soak it using warm water and a sponge and let it sit for a few minutes then pulled it off in huge chunks. Any residue that was left came off with warm water and a sponge.
Next she worked on the cupboards. She removed all the door and drawer pulls and filled them in. Once dry she sanded them. Then she sanded the cupboards lightly.
She used a satin acrylic and gave it two coats.
The insides of the cupboards were as nasty as the outside so those got cleaned out.
Then she gave them a coat of paint.
Here’s a reminder of the cupboards before.
And here’s an after view with new hardware for the drawers.
Now it was time to start on the walls.
Two coats were given. As you can tell from the first photo I posted it’s already like night and day.
A Little Something Special
My daughter did something for special me that I thought was so clever and touching. View this great keepsake idea here or by clicking below.
Do you love to text? Are your hands cold? Do you get tired of taking your gloves on and off so you can text? Power Texting Gloves to the rescue! They’re inexpensive, simple to make and best of all you can add whatever power words you’d like and save all that time and money and pain on finger tattoos that your mom, husband, wife or whomever won’t let you get anyway. This is a win win DIY all around! You might want to sit down here because it just keeps getting better… guess where we got our gloves? That’s right… THE DOLLAR STORE! Oh my gosh… I know, I know… it’s almost too much to take in. And you get the free instructions below plus a list of words to pick from. Catch your breath from all this excitement, then grab you some gloves and get busy!
Power Texting Gloves Supplies
- Tightly knit cheap gloves
- Fray Check
- Puff Paint (for paint words)
- Heavy String (for string words)
- Fabric Glue (for string words) Tacky Glue might work well as long as the gloves are not washed.
NOTE ON FABRIC GLUE: After a lot of research I use Beacons fabric glue because it has the highest reviews.
Download Word Idea List
pdf of word list and direction image
NOTE: You do need to treat your gloves with care and don’t stretch out the finger holes anymore than necessary. The Frey Check helps a lot but they are still knit gloves and will pull apart if you are too rough with them. Just use a gentle “hand” so to speak.
These are the supplies needed for the Puffy Paint Power Texting Gloves. Gloves, Fray Check and Puffy Paint of choice.
These are the supplies you will need for the string text gloves. Gloves, Fray Check Fabric Glue and heavy String.
Begin by cutting off the tips of the gloves where they start to curve.
Carefully put them on and see where they fall on your fingers. This lets you know if any need trimmed. You want to be extra careful at this stage to not stretch the ends out as they will fray easily at this point.
The pinky finger needed trimmed as you could see so I trimmed it a little.
You then want to test them, again being careful to stretch them out as little as possible, to make sure they work fine for texting. Trim more if needed.
Once one glove is trimmed to the exact length needed, lay it over the other glove and trim it to match.
Find a slim object you can stick your gloves over to hold them up while you put the Fray Check on the ends of each finger. I used two small spray cans.
Make sure each finger hole is spread out.
It’s now time to pull out the Fray Check which is perfect for things like this.
You will run a bead of Fray Check around the edge of each finger hole. Don’t be afraid to rub it in as you go with the tip of the applicator. Put plenty on. If the end of any finger is curved under slightly make sure to pull it up so you can coat the area that has been cut. Fray Check dries quickly. Go over the ends again if needed to make sure you get a good coat around it. Do this on both gloves.
Make sure the tips don’t touch each other and stay open so they don’t stick together from the Fray Check as it dries, which takes only minutes.
For the puffy paint text I suggest practicing on paper first then apply your text to the four fingers. MAKE SURE TO DO IT THE RIGHT DIRECTION. Puffy paint normally takes about 4 hours to dry lying flat.
For the string words, cut pieces of string for the words you choose.
You’ll want to make the words in sections as I did with the M. I laid all my words out ahead of time to make sure they were the correct size.
Once all your letters are cut, grab your fabric glue.
Glue where the letters will be placed and attach them.
Doing a contact paper countertop makeover has been a popular way to inexpensively cover up an old ugly countertop. Granite contact paper is typically used as it resembles a real granite countertop and while if done well it looks awesome, this comes with a variety of inherent problems. Well, we’re going to show you how to fix almost all of them on one fell swoop! And if your looking for other great inexpensive fix-up ideas check out our Frugal DIY Bedroom Makeover Ideas and our Classy Living Room Ideas on a Budget.
PROBLEMS WITH A CONTACT PAPER COUNTERTOP
- Seams. There’s no way around having seams and even with pattern matching they tend to show. With granite paper you can’t match patterns and they show up more. Accept it.
- Water can get under the seams. If it does, they will start to peel up.
- It’s easily damaged because, well, it’s paper. In a kitchen you can’t cut on it or put anything hot on it. In the bath room no curling irons can touch it.
- Edges peel up. If your countertop has a straight edge as the one shown below, the paper will peel away easily where it meets together when anyone rubs against it.
- Be careful. You just have to be careful because it can be nicked with anything sharp or discolored easily.
Those are some pretty big issues considering all the work you go through to put the stuff on. And it does take a good bit of work. But we found a way to make it more sturdy and long lasting. You still can’t set extremely hot things on it or cut on it but water and peeling should not be an issue which is the biggest problem in a bathroom.
NOTE: This is best done in bathrooms mainly because you can’t cut or place hot things on it even with our method. However, if you’re really careful in your kitchen, go for it!
How To Make a Contact Paper Countertop Last
Water Based Polyurethane Gloss Finish. Because it’s water based it doesn’t harm the contact paper. It seals over the seams and edges so water cannot get in. It protects the surface and all your hard work. The only type I found is linked below and made by Rust-Oleum. A little goes a long way. It’s a bit pricey but we use it for all types of things such as my post on how to build a Large Surface Home Office Desk. Buying it in the two quart package can save you almost $15. This is of course optional. You can just treat your contact paper with great care. But if you have kids or just don’t want to worry about being extra careful you don’t have to use it. But if you have edges of your counter like mine, I’d still suggest gluing them somehow as they will find a way to peel just from leaning against them.
FYI This does make it more of a permanent thing. You cannot easily remove the paper later. You would have to do some light sanding to get through the gloss.
Contact Paper Countertop Supplies
NOTE: Once companies realized people were using granite contact paper to cover counters they raised the price of that type so its a bit more costly. Buy enough to cover your counter. If you’re using a pattern that you can match you’ll need more. One roll “barely” did my small countertop.
- Granite Contact paper or other Paper of Choice.
- X-acto Knife
- Yard stick
- Vinyl Squeegee or something with a very smooth edge to press with. A credit card works!
- Rust-Oleum Polyurethane Water Based Gloss Finish Heavy Use (This is the best deal by far) Single Quart Normal
- Good quality paint brush or foam brush. If you’re doing a larger area you might use a foam roller.
This job could be done in a day and ready to use the next day but you’d need to start early to allow yourself to get all the coats of varnish on.
How Long It Took Me
(I’ve never done this before.)
Covering small bathroom vanity: 2 Hours
Clear Coat: 1 day due to drying time of 2 hours in between each of three coats.
Should you decide to not use clear varnish grab one of our free reminders to print and/or frame and set on your countertop! Photos of them printed up are at the bottom of post. Various sizes!
- Scrub and clean your countertop thoroughly and wipe with a clean dry cloth. You want to make sure there is nothing left on it to make the contact paper not adhere to the surface.
- Having someone to help makes it go much faster and makes the paper easier to handle.
- This project takes patience. If you hurry it up you’ll mess up.
This is what our bathroom looked like before we repainted our walls. The house must have been a rental because at some point they had painted over wall paper. Sad but true. For the moment we were looking for a quick fix up so we did a little sanding and hole filling and added a new coat of paint. Eventually we’ll redo the entire bathroom the “right” way and also replace the vanity but for now we were looking for a quick inexpensive facelift. The walls had been painted here. But the counter top still needed some work. It appeared that some past owner had also painted the countertop. It wasn’t too bad of a job, however, they went over everything including the part of the back splash that was metal. I debated what to do and finally decided I would paint the metal parts metallic silver. I chose Martha Stewart’s metallic silver as it’s close to the real thing.
I masked off everything with painters tape.
I probably didn’t need to do the inside parts as those would be painted over anyway but I was thorough.
I painted two layers of silver paint on all the trim parts, allowing it to dry in between coats.
It looked quite a bit better in my opinion.
Now it was time to start on the counter top itself. I grabbed my roll of granite contact paper.
There will be some measuring involved on parts but for the larger areas you just unroll and start. Again, your surface should be cleaned spotless and free of any soaps etc. so that the paper sticks well.
The trick is to make sure you have no bubbles and that it’s even as you lay it out. Use a credit card or something similar to help smooth it down as you go.
When you come to the sink you will carefully press up to it and down into the area around it. Because our sink was curves as many are we were only able to go so far and then needed to start cutting small slits that allowed us to press the paper closer to the sink. Cut a large hole out for the sink, making sure to give you plenty of paper to work with on all sides.
Notice how I cut the paper and moved on. At some point you might run out of paper and have to make a seam. I did not due to how short my counter was. If you do have to make a seam you can decide ahead of time where you might want to have it fall for atheistic purposes.
Once I had my paper laid longways across my counter, I’d go back and do the detail work around the rest of my sink. I make small slits with my X-acto knife, part way down and NOT TOO FAR, just enough to allow me to push the paper around the edge of the sink and curve it around as shown.
Again, you want no bubbles. This might require some lifting and re-positioning. It takes patience and time. Go slow.
You want your paper tucked tightly next to your sink.
More slicing down to allow for the curve. Again, do not go down too far.
Trimming off extra.
Moving onto the other side.
The front edge.
The paper was not deep enough to go to the back which is where I thought I would rather have my seam as apposed to having a seam vertically down my sink. I decided this would show much less.
I cut a piece of paper a bit larger than the area and moved it around to determine where the pattern was the “best”. Remember you can’t match granite exactly.
I then put it in place and rubbed it down.
My piece was going to need a seam at some point. I decided right behind the facet was perfect.
After it was in place I carefully trimmed it with my knife.
I cut the pieces for the backsplash and added and trimmed those, seaming if needed.
I was now ready to trim around the sink. I trimmed a bit high to start.
Then I went back and trimmed it where I wanted it. You’ll notice my sink has a brown area where it was caulked years back. I plan on re-calking around it, so that’s fine.
I bought a tube of waterproof DAP acrylic latex silicon caulk.
I squeezed out a bead around my sink.
Because it is water based I wet my finger slightly.
Then I smoothed it out. Don’t use too much water or it thins it out too much.
If you mess up, you can quickly wipe it off with a damp rag and add more.
Make sure to wipe off any extra with a damp paper towel.
I now have a nicer edge to my sink.
I now need to cut the pieces to go on the edge of my counter. I cut them larger and added them on.
Corners like this are tricky and these areas problematic if the contact paper is not sealed with something as they tend to come up if leaned against.
I then trimmed the sides.
As an added precaution, I dabbed some clear glue under the corners.
Now comes the part that makes your new countertop last. The clear finish.
I added a light coat of this everywhere on my counter where I placed the paper.
Make sure its brushed on evenly. Let it dry 2 hours or until its not tacky. I then added another coat, it dry as before and added one more. Once the last coat is on, let it cure 24 hours and its set!
You now have a beautiful new countertop that will last a good long while.
Here are some close ups to show the details.
The seams are noticeable but because of how the human eye works, most people won’t see them unless you point them out!
You can choose to use this humorous poem to set on your counter or tape to your mirror if you don’t use the clear coating. Or even with it!
Here’s a more standard reminder. Both are a free download on the top of this post.
I’ve never liked putting holes in my doors and I was also never a fan of those metal or plastic over the door wreath hangers either. When I learned how to hang them with ribbon, I’ve never looked back. Then I took it a step further and created by own little system involving large thumbtacks and tiny corks for storage. I feel so organized now! My door remains hole free and I can match my hanger if I want so it blends right in. We have a tutorial for the Peace Wreath below which I think works for any time of year, depending on how you tweak it. We also have a Burlap Wreath made from an embroidery hoop which I think is quite clever so check that out!
How to Hang a Wreath Supplies
- 1″ wide to 2″ wide ribbon to match your wreath and/or door. 1 1/2 yards will most any wreath.
- Thumbtacks Extra Large are really nice for this purpose
- Small .25″ corks size #000 (for storing your thumbtacks in your ribbon)
I used some wide burlap to hang one of my Christmas wreaths with. Using ribbon, the sky is the limit.
Glue your tack to your ribbon which attached onto your wreath.
When storing your wreath, push a tiny cork into the push pin.
Keeps it safe and keeps fingers from getting poked.
This is how we store our Peace Wreath.
For this Spring wreath I used a 1″ piece of white ribbon which blends right into our door.
It took about 1 1/4″ yards.
Reach up and push one pin into the ends of your ribbon to secure it above the frame. That’s it!
In case you need an extra example this is one using our burlap hanger.
Depending on your color choice of ribbon it can blend in very well.
For some reason it’s really hard to find a glue gun with an on off switch. I know because I’ve searched and searched. My small detailed glue gun has one but I needed a larger gun. After researching I found the gun I wanted but alas… no switch. That means I’d have to unplug it every time. Very inconvenient. So I purchased a small inexpensive “feed cord switch” which took about 10 minutes to install onto the cord near the handle of my new glue gun. It was so easy, even a teen could do it and all you need is a couple of small tools you should already have on hand. Now I can keep my glue gun plugged in. This also works for many other things like lamps. Don’t forget to grab your free printable below full of some very useful glue gun tips and hacks.
Glue Gun On Off Switch Supplies
- Feed Cord Switch
- X-acto Knife
- Glue Gun This is one I researched and recently purchased. It has great reviews, adjustable temp and exchangeable tips, though you do have to buy the extra tips. It had everything I wanted except the on off switch.
- Glue sticks. I buy these in bulk and this is the best deal I’ve found for the regular size sticks. I prefer them extra long so I don’t have to change them as often.
My Mini Gun with On/Off Switch
I’ve owned two of these and you’ll see them in many of my photos. They are great mini guns with a nice detail tip. They hold the mini glue sticks, which I buy in extra long lengths so I don’t have to change them as often. This gun does have an on off switch. However, with as much hot gluing as I do I needed a bigger gun which is why I added the one above to my supplies.
Mini Glue Gun with On/Off Switch This one also comes with 25 free extra long glue sticks!
Printable Tips & Hacks
***MAKE SURE THE GUN IS UNPLUGGED BEFORE YOU START***
We purchased our switch at Lowe’s. They can be purchased at any hardware store or online. We link to a few above.
Using an X-acto type knife, carefully slice open the outer casing. Inside it holds two smaller casings. Remove the outer casing completely just within where it will set inside the switch. Just be careful to not cut the inner wires. Its not difficult at all.
Our switch had a loose nut on the bottom so we temporarily taped it on using some scotch tape.
This shows how much we cut off the outer portion and how it will sit inside the switch.
Taking wire cutters or even scissors cut one of the inner wires. It doesn’t matter which one you clip.
There are two channels you will feed your wires down into inside one half of the switch. We used a tiny screwdriver to help us push the wire that we did not cut into place. The other cut wires just lay on the other side.
This is how it should look.
Put the top piece on and screw your switch together. That’s it!
10 minutes later! Much better and much handier.
This article explains how to stop smoking using simple acupressure! It’s worked for many people and just might help you! One thing for sure is its too easy not to at least give it a try! Acupressure is an ancient healing scientific art developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago and is actually a predecessor to Acupuncture. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture employs needles, while acupressure uses gentle but firm pressure. The fingers or other objects are used to press points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body’s life force energy to aid healing.
How It Works
Acupressure is based on the body having 14 “meridians” that carry energy throughout it. These meridians start at your fingertips and connect to the brain and then go outward from there. Think of your body as a plumbing system full of inter-connected pipes. If a pipe gets blocked, it slows down the water rushing through the system. You may have a block in one place that causes a problem further down the line. It is the same with your body’s meridians.
Acupressure removes obstructions in your body’s energy system allowing it to flow the way it should, thus removing the specific problems associated with a specific blockage. That is why pressing on certain points can alleviate problems in other areas of the body. Many times you will notice that a specific point is extremely tender. This means there’s a problem in that meridian.
- Large Paperclip
- Free standing mirror
- 30 Second Timer (Optional)
- Official Small Pressure Tools (Optional, in place of paperclip if you want to get fancy.)
Printable Reminder Charts
How to Stop Smoking
IMPORTANT: It is not necessary to have your “last cigarette” and then start. The desire to continue smoking should automatically begin to slowly disappear to allow you to naturally stop on your own. All you need is a positive attitude and consistency to do the program daily for three weeks. You should not have normal withdrawal symptoms due to the nature of acupressure. Some people experience excessive sweating. You should drink plenty of water during your treatment.
POINT #1: Proper placement is very important. This point is inside the ear rim on the front wall of the inner ear towards the front of the face. (Not on the rim itself.) Insert tool as shown and press firmly for 30 seconds. Repeat on other ear.
POINT #2: This point is directly on ridge or rim of the lower ear at the highest point. It is situated in the center of the small mound that sticks up. Press firmly for 30 seconds. Repeat on other ear.
WARNING: 30 seconds is recommended as doing it longer can make you dizzy. You can do it up to 60 seconds per point if you do not get dizzy.
RRESULTS: With this treatment you should either have no desire for cigarettes or else they will begin tasting very unpleasant to you. Due to the signals that acupressure gives the brain, the only possible side effect you might experience is an increase in sweating.
REMEMBER: Drink lots of water, as this helps flush the toxins out and increases success of the program. It’s suggested that you use no other method to stop smoking while doing the acupressure program.
Refurbishing furniture can be as easy as giving it a new coat of paint. And when you pick bright contrasting colors you’ve got a gorgeous statement piece! This is one of our “Buff Your Stuff” series where we take things we own and give them a whole new look. And what a dramatic difference this one is! This is an older unique piece of furniture, that in all honesty, we have no idea what it was originally meant for. But as you can see, with a little sanding and some paint and a few extras it became a lovely storage piece. Our tutorial for a $100 Bill Wall Decoration Idea was the perfect accent piece to place above this piece as you’ll see below!
Refurbishing Furniture Supplies Used
- Sanding paper or tool (We used this great little sander)
- White paint
- Teal paint (links are not exact brands we used)
- Gold paint for accents
- Metal corner brackets
- New knob (We purchased ours at Hobby Lobby)
This is the original piece.
The top flips up for more storage.
We did a quick sand.
Then we decided how we were going to paint it. We chose a vibrant teal and white.
We used some basic hardware to spice it up, painting the corner brackets gold. This shows the final knob we chose after testing out another style you can see below.
We painted the bottom portion of the feet gold.
The wood bar under the lid was also painted gold as were the metal brackets.
We also have a tutorial for the $100 Bill Wall Decoration Idea!
We’ve got a wonderful way to inspire your kids to do their homework with a small portable desk homework helper station! It comes complete with pencil/pen holder, snack holder, inspirational quote and a place to store their homework. This very creative upcycle made from a TV tray comes together very quickly and you can color it however you want. We have THREE FREE PRINTABLE THEMES to choose from!
Homework Helper Supplies
NOTES: You can design the desk however you like, but we will link to the exact items we used below. You can use a variety of containers for the top. Use one longer one if you wish! Just make sure there is room for them to work.
- 1 wooden TV tray
- Snack bin (exact one shown)
- Pencil/Pen bins (set of 3) Exact set used
- Homework Helper Pocket (tutorial)
- Velcro, with a sticky back or regular Velcro you can glue on. You can also just glue the containers directly onto the desk.
- Package tape (for laminating the small labels if desired.
- Washi tape (optional)
- Printable Theme below
- Other basic pencil cases. Another type. (Keep them slim and not too tall.)
pdf (click download button under graphic)
NOTES TO KEEP IN MIND: Measure the top of our tray and purchase the containers ahead of time. You can then adjust the painting to fit the containers if desired. Keep in mind this is a small surface so you want fairly slim containers so there is still room to do homework on.
We started with an old wood TV tray you can find at many thrift stores.
The top was a bit worn so we sanded it.
Spray paint one side of the table the color you want.
After the first color dried, tape off the dividing area and paint the other side.
You can use Washi tape if desired to decorate it.
Designs work best if you don’t use a large container that will cover it up.
We decided to use sticky backed Velcro to hold our containers in place.
Decide where you will place the container(s)
Apply a strip of Velcro to the back and to the table. Though we used a larger strip, we decided a small piece on each end would work better.
Print out the labels and signs of choice and cut them out.
To make them sturdier and last longer we applied packing tape over the small ones before cutting them out.
Our TV stand had a cross bar that was in the middle of the legs and high enough to attach a pouch. We used one of our Homework Helper Wall Pockets to hang on the bar. We added two grommets to the container to allow it to hang. These are super easy to make and grommets are also cheap and easy to use! Check out our tutorial to make your own!This is the pouch we made for our homework helper desk.
Two small screws were placed in the cross bar to hang our pouch. You could also tie it on using ribbon or heavy string.
This is the “Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do” theme.
A snack bin.
A container for pencils and pens etc.
Our pouch with an inspiring quote.
This is our Super Hero theme. We also have a Dr. Seuss theme.
Painting or tinting jars can be pretty sloppy work, but with our great tips you will learn not only how to paint mason jars easily but with very little mess! To be fair these start out looking painted but end up being beautifully translucent. You can determine how dark or light a tint you want them by how much food coloring you add. (P.S. These are for decor purpose, not for drinking.)
The only thing that would make these even more awesome is etching them before painting. And you’re in luck because we can show you how to etch glass in 5 minutes!
Gather the basic items. Grab two plastic cups per jar for easier work.
For a pint jar use about 1/4th cup of Mod Podge, gloss or matte.
Drop in food coloring.
Stir well, adding more until it’s as dark as you like. Stir it with a plastic spoon and you can just toss it when it’
If you’ve had the Mod Podge a while it can thicken and you don’t want the mixture extremely thick. Add a tiny bit of water at a time to thin it out some if needed. It’s now ready to pour.
Pour the mixture into the jar.
Slowly spin the jar to coat the sides, working your way up evenly to the top.
Pour the leftover back into the cup, turning the jar to coat. The thread part of the jar generally does not need to be completely covered as it will have a lid on it.
We suggest using a separate cup to put your bottles in for draining. If you do use the same cup with the extra in it, wipe off the edge so that glue does not get on the outside of the bottle. We learned that the hard way. Ü
Turn the jar upside down and place it into the clean cup. (Notice the glue on the edge of the cup which we had to scrub off our bottle!) Let this sit for a couple of hours or even overnight.
If you do more than one you can line them all up! The color changes quite a bit after baking. These are actually purple and hot pink!
Place any left over glue into small containers for later use!
AIR DRY: The time needed to air dry your jars will vary greatly depending on the temperature. It might take a few days. You can leave them in the cups but I’d suggest poking holes around the upper sides of the cups so air gets into them as they dry.
BAKING: Baking is optional but it’s much faster. Place your well drained jars onto a baking dish or pan covered with foil.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees and bake the jar until the color becomes translucent or see through. This will usually take anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes.
This jar just came out of the oven.
And that’s how to paint mason jars!
You won’t believe how easy & inexpensive it is to do a dramatic fireplace makeover! All you need is some normal paint and a wadded up paper bag. No kidding! You can even use those small bottles of craft paint though you might need two or three. You’ll seldom see such an amazing difference for such little time and money.
Fireplace Makeover Supplies
- Brush to clean the bricks thoroughly before painting.
- House Paint 1 gallon, semi-gloss, for grout color and brick base. A cream was used for the sample.
- Paints for the brick surface. Typically one or two colors but its up to you. This type of craft paint works great. You’ll need a few bottles. Grey was used for the example.
- Bristle Paint brush
- Wadded up piece of paper bag
- Water-Base Polyurethane 1 quart (optional but a very good idea to keep the paint from wearing off)
Detailed Printable Instructions
Below we show you a close up view of the steps needed to paint your brick fireplace. As you can see it was an amazing difference for ours!
Brush the dirt off the entire fireplace making sure to get into the indentations.
Paint your brick with the color that will be your grout color. Make sure to get into all the crevices due to how porous brick is. Make sure the grout is covered well between the bricks.
You will now use the paint that will be the main brick color. You can add water if desired to make it thinner.
Wad up a piece of a paper bag tightly and dab it into the paint. Blot any excess paint off the bag before starting if needed.
Starting at one side of the brick start dabbing the paint onto the brick.
Determine how much or how little you want on the brick.
This is the brick blotted lightly and evenly.
In order to make it look a bit more realistic either blot more of the same color on parts of some bricks. I chose to use a darker grey to go over the brick in spots. After the coats have dried, it’s a good idea to cover the brick faces with a coat of sealant to help protect the color.
This is my finished brick. Your color options are endless for a fireplace makeover!
Tired of telling people to turn off the lights, put the lid down or shut the door? We’ve got two sheets of eye catching printable friendly reminders! We’ve got one for many typical things you have to keep reminding people about including some unique ones!
Friendly Reminders Supplies
NOTE: There is one blank reminder note that can be laminated and written on over and over with a dry erase marker. For the dishwasher reminder you can glue a tiny magnet to the back.
- Print out of the reminders below (card stock holds up nicely)
- Double sided scotch tape
- Packing tape or Self Adhesive Laminating Sheets
Gather the basic supplies, the free download above, scissors and double sided tape.
Laminating the reminders makes them last a long time. You can even use packing tape for the smaller ones though press on laminating sheets are great for all kinds of things and fairly cheap.
If you’re using packing tape to laminate your reminders cover each one carefully.
Then cut them out.
If you use full size laminating sheets you can do an entire page at once.
Slowly and carefully cover your page so you don’t get bubbles.
Cut out your reminders.
These are ready to be placed!
Use double sided scotch tape for most of the reminders. It comes off easily when needed.
For the dishwasher reminder a small magnet works perfect.
Glue your magnet onto the back.
Now for the fun part! Place all our reminders in a container to take from room to room as you place your reminders.
Check out where we placed some of ours!
This larger laminated reminder is great for making small notes using a dry erase marker.
A reminder for younger kids.
A reminder for younger and older “kids”. (i.e. husbands.)
Watching your electric bill?
A special positive reminder anytime someone looks in the mirror!
Hope you enjoyed our friendly reminders!
This natural skin glue not only closes wounds that would need stitches but it heals the skin itself so there is no scaring. And it does it quickly. We keep this kit on hand at all times along with our cayenne tincture to stop bleeding and heart attacks and strokes. Whether you are at a place that you can’t get stitches or you simply choose to do them yourself, this method is simple and painless.
The specific herbs used heal the skin in addition to allowing the wound to close, hence no scars. This information comes from my herbalist friend who also saved my son’s finger when the doctors would have removed it, by healing it of MRSA. She’s used it many times through the years including gluing someones finger tip back on.
I’ll admit I’ve held off on writing this article as I was waiting someone in the family to get a wound I could use as an example to photograph. But alas my family has been wound-less for quite some time… knock on wood. I’ll add photos if that occasion every arises. Grab our printable instruction card below to add to the kit.
DISCLAIMER: Please be wise. If its a huge gaping wound, see a doctor if you can. Though it’s able to be used for larger wounds, I suggest you use it only for smaller cuts and wounds that might need stitching.
Free Instruction Cards
Skin Glue Supplies
The skin glue requires very specific ingredients which can be purchased online or at various stores. Regular tape and bandages can be used but Steri Strips are best. You can find both herbs in powdered form on eBay at the links below. This is where we purchased ours.
You can also easily powder the leaf kind yourself with a mini coffee grinder, all of which can be purchased on Amazon at the links below.
- Wheat germ oil
- Steri-strips (Also called butterfly closures. These are for larger wounds. Walgreens and other similar stores carry them.
Make fresh for each wound. You can place the dry herbs in a jar and then add other ingredients when needed. Any left over mixture can be stored in fridge and then thinned with wheat germ oil and used up to a month later. You will be reapplying it daily for a while.
- 1 part powdered comfrey leaf
- 1/2 part powdered lobelia
- 1 part honey
Mix the above ingredients. Add a little wheat germ oil until its a good consistency, pasty but not too thick or thin.
EXAMPLE FOR A SMALL WOUND
1 tsp powdered comfrey, 1/2 tsp powdered lobelia, 1 tsp honey. Wheat germ oil added till pasty but not too thin, about 6 to 10 drops.
How To Use
Fill the wound with the mixture. Whatever side its gaping try to seal towards the wound not away from it using the Steri Strips or close and tape or bandage. Don’t touch it for 24-48 hours. Then remove the strips or bandages and add more skin glue. DO NOT REMOVE THE OLD GLUE just add more. Do this until healed.
Skin Glue Visuals
This shows making a small batch. 1 tsp of comfrey powder.
1/2 tsp. Lobelia Bark Powder
1 tsp of honey and mix.
Add approximately 6 to 10 drops of wheat germ oil, or whatever is needed, to make it pasty but not too think.
Mix it well.
Place into an air tight container for up to 30 days in the refrigerator.
Having a kit ready to go means you can treat a wound quickly.
Don’t forget to print out your instructions sheet and slip it into your kit.
Written by Roy Rivers
Though they don’t struggle with it quite as much as adults, even children need inner peace in their lives. When I was growing up in Arkansas, like many kids, I loved playing outdoors. We lived in the country so I generally had a good deal of open spaces and wooded areas to roam in. But it was a bit more than just typical childhood pleasure that drew me outside. From my earliest memories I felt a strong connection to the outdoors. I quickly learned at a young age that it was also a place I could find comfort in.
If you enjoy this you will also enjoy Roy’s popular post “How I Learned to Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover“.
An 8 Year Old Learns the Peace of Nature
When I was 8 years old, and without consulting me, my family decided that I should get baptized. I didn’t fully grasp the situation, however, I couldn’t swim and I was afraid of the water so this idea truly scared me. One Saturday morning I learned that my brother-in-law Monte was on his way over and the family was going to take me to do the deed. As soon as I saw an opening I grabbed a little jacket and I high tailed it out into the woods and holed up in one of my favorite hiding places. I waited until it was getting close to dark before I went back home, avoiding the baptism that day. (Though they did catch me later!) But the entire time I was hiding, it was like I could hear voices of reason from the forest and trees talking to me about what I was doing, why I was avoiding the baptism and why I felt like it was an important thing for them to ask me if I wanted to be baptized. It was a strong sense of peace for a frightened little boy and as a result of those very clear feelings that I had, I knew that anytime I needed help or answers, nature was there for me.
As the years went by it was a tremendous comfort to know that when I was feeling troubled by something that the open arms of nature were waiting for me and through the years it has served me well more times than I can count. When I would have problems at home or school or issues with friends, I could go out and think about things and receive insights and new ways to look at them.
Conversing With Nature. Literally.
As an adult I grab my walking stick (one I carved myself) and go on hikes regularly on our local trails. I’m a bit of an unusual hiker. I talk out loud while I hike. I may just talk about what’s going on in my life in general, as I would to a friend. If I’ve got a particular problem that I’m trying to get clarity on I’ll say “Here’s the problem that I’m having. “And then I explain it. Then as I go along, I listen. The thoughts that come to me as a whisper in my head are what I perceive is a higher force talking to me. You can call it God, Father, Mother Nature or whatever fits in with your own beliefs. But for me it is very real.
One time recently I was having a particularly tough day so I decided to go on a hike. As I went up the trail I kept stopping and looking around because I thought I heard something. But I didn’t see a bit of wildlife or anyone else on the trail. I remember thinking, “Where the heck is everyone?” I usually run into folks now and then or see various critters but there was complete stillness and I thought “I’d love to see an eagle soaring about now.”
I walked into the next clearing and rested for a minute to catch my breath. As I looked out across the way, in a very large tree was a huge hawk looking right at me. It was almost as if it was waiting for me to make eye contact and when I did it jumped into flight. It flew in several big circles over me and then soared for a bit looking right at me. I said out loud “Wow. Thank you.” It’s things like this that I take very personally.
The information I receive on my forays into nature might not be the overall answer to my problem, but it’s always clarity to some facet of it. Something that allows me to calm down and see the different sides and vantage points and how I sit in the middle of it all. No matter what the issue, every time that I go out there’s something I receive. Every time.
How To Connect
I believe anyone can connect with nature and get answers using the following concepts.
- Find a place you can go to, where there is some type and feeling of nature, even a small amount.
- Empty your mind and focus on what’s right in front of you. Feel what you’re feeling, notice the smells, notice the sounds in the wind and the feel of it on your face. Feel your leg muscles as you walk. Be highly attuned to everything around you and shut off the non-stop idle chatter many of us have going on in our heads at any given moment.
- Ask your questions. Either speak them or just ask them in your mind. Then be still and listen. Insights will be subtle for most. One small insight can be the answer you’re looking for.
What If You Live in the City?
Though I grew up in the country, we moved a lot, sometimes to less rural areas. But there was always some place, even in the city, that I could go to. There were large vacant lots that were grown up, or parks. There will always be little places of nature here and there. Don’t think this only works if you have a forest to roam or a mountain to climb. Even in the middle of the city with cars buzzing around, you can sit on a bench and look up at the sky, watch the clouds, the birds and connect.
Because I’m such a fan of nature I’m also a believer in the good energy of crystals. I placed one on the top of my hiking stick that I made so I would have it with me while I hiked. Carry a clear quartz crystal with you in your pocket or fanny pack when you hike for an added boost, especially if you live in the city!
Going into nature can feel like a breath of life. It’s naturally invigorating and cleansing and it’s a time you can feel a part of the entire planet. But most importantly, it’s a place where an answer awaits in the stillness. All you have to do is ask the question.
Go to work in your underwear? Sure! The best thing about having a home office is there are no rules to follow. That also means you can fix it up in your own unique way! Check out our spectacular closet makeover below. We’ll show you how we turned our messy closet into a well-organized, beautiful and fun place to store office supplies.
Closet Makeover Supplies
- Plastic Parts Chest (painted black)
- Plastic three drawer chests (set of 6 for $27)
- White Bankers Boxes
- Black Pinstriped Banker Boxes
- Sheer Curtains
- Wall Stickers of Choice (Found ours at the Dollar Store)
- Labels for plastic three drawer chest. I made these using my Silhouette cutter.
This is the before and after shot.
When we moved in, my office room was a typical closet.
Shelves were added and painted.
I keep our family files in banker boxes. The hand written labels were pretty worn.
All my office supplies had also become a mess.
I already owned a parts chest that I painted black and used for the smaller parts.
View our tutorial Organize Office Supplies with a Parts Chest here. The labels are a free printable download.
The top shelf was very high and I chose to use it mainly as a focal point. I purchased some wall labels at the local Dollar Tree.
I chose to use sheer curtains on the sides of my closet. First I tried grey. Then I switched to hot pink. What a difference!
There’s also a light with a pull chain.
Work your jigsaw puzzles in style with this quick portable DIY work station and storage set. (You might recall our mini puzzle holder and mat post.) We feature a 1000 piece puzzle. The main board is made from an old large dry erase board and a foam sheet to create extra working mats. When your not using it you can slide it under the couch or bed!
Jigsaw puzzles are great for learning to focus and pay attention to detail. They promote patience, goal setting, collaboration and concentration, qualities which are important for kids and adults alike. When I was younger my dad always had a large family puzzle in the works on a card table and we would sit down and work on it anytime we felt like it. It was a relaxing activity that gave a sense of satisfaction and brought the family together. Roy and I have done puzzles with our kids and my dad and mom now have the pleasure of doing puzzles with their great-granddaughter. Traditions are awesome things!
Jigsaw Puzzles Work Station Supplies
NOTE: We used an old dry erase board we had lying around. Because the front was worn and also because the frame had gaps around the edge we chose to use the back for our puzzle mat so we painted it white. You can use the front if you purchase a new board for your puzzles and then no white paint is needed.
- Wood Framed Dry Erase Board. For a 1000 piece puzzle you need a 36″ x 24″ size.
- Handles (these are mainly for decor)
- E6000 Glue for handles
- White acrylic paint (see note above)
- Silver paint for frame, if desired
- 1 white foam sheet
- Utility knife to cut the foam sheet
- Roll of Washi tape (we used this one to match our silver frame)
This post features Ravensburger Bizarre Bookshop 2 1000 Piece Puzzle.
This 35″ x 23″ wood framed dry erase board was perfect for my main puzzle mat. I had painted the frame around it at an earlier date for another purpose.
The front had a gap around the edge and I was concerned about the puzzle pieces sliding under it.
The frame on the back of the dry erase board was snug so that was used for the front of the mat.
Two coats of white interior paint was used to cover the back of the board.
The frame itself was painted silver to match our living room. I protected the inner white mat with sheets of paper taped into place.
The frame was then spray painted.
Two silver drawer handles were added to the ends, mainly for looks.
The handles could not be attached in the typical way so small holes were drilled down into the frame on each end. One end at a time was completed. The holes were filled with E6000, a very strong glue, and the holes in the handle was also filled. The handle was then put into place and the board stood on end and allowed to dry overnight. This was repeated the next day for the other handle.
A piece of white foam board was used to make two extra working mats.
Measure and cut the foam board into two pieces that are the size you desire.
A strip of matching Washi tape was cut for each side.
The tape was folded over onto the back on each side to give it a finished edge.
Any extra was snipped off.
The work station is now ready to use!
We found all the edge pieces first.
We then put the frame together by matching it up to the photo.
Next we decided to find certain colors and gather those.
The extra mats come in very handy!
When not in use you can slide your puzzle under the bed or couch.
This little DIY smores kit comes complete with a mini campfire! Most of it can be made from items found at a dollar store. We’ve got a free printable tag with instructions should you want to give it as a unique gift. You can make one for each individual and use them for July 4th or anytime. They can be used indoors too!
If you’re looking for more fun outdoor party ideas check out our Outside Snack Holders.
Smores Kit Supplies
- 2″ or larger (we used a 4″ and a 2″) clay flower pot
- White Sand
- Bamboo skewers
- Tea lights
- Tiny Stones
- Graham Crackers
- Chocolate Bar
- Large Marshmallows
- Painting or masking tape for stripes
pdf printable tag
The photos are self-explanatory. After painting your pot however you wish, you want to cover the bottom so sand won’t leak out. We just used duct tape. Then fill it 2/3rds full with wadded up foil. Fill with clean white sand. Bury your tea light to the top edge and place stones around it. Paint the ends of your bamboo skewers. The kit can be placed on a tray or in a basket if given as a gift.
A yard sale is a great way to declutter and make some extra cash. Having participated in and attended more than my fair share of them through the years, I’ve created a printable kit (actually 5 of them!) that has a detailed list of great pointers and an outline to assure your success. The kit is filled with useful printables of all types including some you probably wouldn’t think of such as a “Testing Station”. There’s also an inventory sheet to keep track of what sells.
So grab the kit of your choice (we have five colors) and start planning your most awesomely successful yard sale ever! To help you gather your items, check out our 3 Box Rule Dejunking article. It will take the pain out of cleaning out!
Roy smiling at a yard sale we helped my parents set up last year.
Our Own Yard Sale, June 2016
I printed out a copy of the checklist and signs from the kits below.
Rather than a money box I opted for a sectioned pouch that I wore at all times.
We put our signs up the morning of, after we had the yard sale set up.
Ready to go!
Our granddaughter sold lemonade and cookies for $25.
Yard Sale Supplies
All of these items are listed in our downloadable kit.
- Price stickers. We used these and they make pricing easy!
- Money Box We’ve actually used a shoe box in years past. Whatever you use, make sure it’s in someone’s possession at all times.
- Batteries for items. (You can use cheap ones, just make sure battery operated items are equipped.)
- Clear zip lock bags to hold parts of small items.
- Extension Cord and Power Strip (For a testing table.)
- Tables (borrow as many as you can)
- Lots of change, bills and coins.
- Saved grocery bags (to put buyer’s items in.)
- Soft music (Optional. See checklist)
- Refreshments, drinks or items for a very inexpensive bake sale. (Optional. See checklist.)
- Full Yard Sale Kit (In case you’d rather not make your own signs. We strongly suggest you still print our check list. )
Yard Sale Kit & Checklist Download
Yard Sale Outline
This info is in our kit as a printable check list.
Interesting Yard Sale Stats
|Garage Sale Statistics|
|Average number of yard sales each week in the US||165,000|
|Average number of people who purchase something at a yard sale each week||690,000|
|Average number of yard sales listed on Craigslist each week||95,000|
|Average number of items sold at yard sales each week||4,967,500|
|Total US weekly revenue from yard sales||$4,222,375|
|Best time to start a yard sale||7:00 am|
|Best day to hold a yard sale||Saturday|
|3 Least liked yard sale items: Stuffed Animals, Televisions, Magazines|
|3 Best loved yard sale items: Tools, Collectibles, Sports Equipment|
|Those who expect to negotiate the price||42%|
|Those who leave within 2 minutes if they find nothing interesting.||97%|
|Average profit margin when items purchased are resold on eBay||462 %|
|Average Cost Per Item|
|Entertainment (DVD, CD, Books, Games)||$0.47|
|Household goods, (dishes, office supplies)||$0.57|
|Yard items (plants, trimmers, mower)||$2.37|
Moving can be bittersweet but these printable poetic moving announcements are a fun way to let your neighbors know you’ll miss them and to keep in touch! There are two poems, depending on if you are moving nearby or far away. Tie on the tags that have your new address and phone number.
If you’re still trying to finish up packing our Three Box Rule for Dejunking can be a huge help in letting you clean out while you pack!
Moving Announcements Supplies
Cardstock of choice for house and tag
Regular white inkjet paper for poem
Printable template, poem and tags (free below)
Gather your supplies.
Print your house onto card stock and cut out.
Print out the poem sheet on regular paper and cut out.
Glue the poem onto the house.
Print the tags of choice onto cardstock and cut out just inside the border line.
Punch a small hole in your tag and the top of your house.
Tie your tag onto your house after filling in your information.
You can also write your families name directly above the poem on the cardstock.
This toy box in a drawer is packed full of fun and creative activities ever for both adults and older kids. We’ve got ideas for your galore! It’s great for a living room end table drawer or in our case a coffee table drawer.
Family and visitors will love going through it and playing with all the creative things. Maybe they’ll play a skilled game of marble jump, or decide to color on a mini adult coloring page. They might sculpt a little something or give themselves a spritz of “joyful” spray. They can freshen their breath and alkalize their mouth at the same time by choosing the tin labeled “Eat Me” and filled with Xylitol mints. Do a word search, play solitaire, even scratch their back! One thing is for sure… there will be a smile on their face when they peek inside this special drawer.
A few of our items had thier own seperate tutorials so be sure to check out “Portable DIY Puzzle Mat” and “Awesome Practical Uses for a Black Light Flashlight“
Toy Box in a Drawer Supplies
I used some things I already had on hand for my drawer and purchased others. I took plain things and added labels to them, Washi tape or bling. I even painted the marbles silver. Below are close up photos of some of the items in my drawer along with a list of what I used and purchased (or something similar.)
(Our DIY here)
(Found at Books a Million)
(Removed label, added bling)
Spray Me Joy Spray
(lavender oil in water)
Small Word Search
(my dad made it)
Adult Coloring Pages
(pdf from Etsy, printed small)
I decided to add a small photo album to the drawer later. The family drawing you see was done by our daughter Amy quite a few years back.
I’ll admit it. A black light flashlight is fun to play with. But aside from the novelty aspect they also have a variety of practical uses inside the house and out that you never thought of! The flashlights are very inexpensive and small so you can easily carry one with you. Read on and learn just how helpful a black light flashlight can be. By the way, it would be a perfect addition to a Well Organized Junk Drawer. We put ours in our “Mini Toy Box in a Drawer for Adults and Kids.”
A word of warning though… in some cases ignorance can indeed be bliss. Just saying.
Black Light Basics
Without boring you with a bunch of scientific stuff, basically a black light emits ultraviolet rays which are invisible to the human eye. It makes any item glow if it contains phosphors. Phosphors are any substance that absorbs energy and re-emits it as visible light. All you need to know is that there are many things that have phosphors. This is what makes a black light flashlight useful.
Black Light Flashlight
There are many options for black light flashlights. The one on the top left is what we own. Most small ones run between $7 and $15. Depending on what you want to use it for, you may opt to pay more for a larger one. Here is a UV marker you can use to protect your property. We talk about that below under security.
Uses for Your Black Light
IS YOUR MONEY FAKE?
Newer money has been equipped with florescence of bands that show up under a black light.
Anyone who’s watched a crime show is probably aware that body fluids show up under a black light. Hence they are great for detecting pet stains.
This photo was an example using this black light flashlight.
In case of theft your valuables can easily be traced to you if you’ve marked them with a special UV marker.
We used this UV Pen. PEN
Allow the ink to dry before touching.
Ink can be removed with cotton ball and alcohol.
HOW CLEAN ARE YOUR HANDS?
Kids not washing their hands good enough? Give ’em the old black light test!
SHOPPING FOR USED FURNITURE
Checking out Craig’s List for a used couch? Pack your black light for some on the spot icky stain sleuthing.
INSPECTING FOR MOLD
Yep, mold is full of phosphors hence you can easily detect it by shining your black light flashlight onto it. Another good idea of your buying a home.
BUYING A HOME
A black light will come in handy for checking for a variety of things, the aforementioned mold being one of them. On the slightly more disturbing side you could also tell if there are blood stains on the floor.
We’ll show you how to make a DIY dog bed from a suitcase! It’s a fun project that you can style however you like. With the attached toy holder made from a mail bin, your pup will love it!
The one shown is made from a military shipping case which was perfect, but any straight sided suitcase without padding would work. You just need half of it. We’ve got step by step photos for you to follow along with. Once you’ve completed this project you can make a set of matching personalized dog bowls!
DIY Dog Bed Supplies
- 1/2 rectangle type suitcase or military shipping container (found at thrift store)
- 2″ wooden dowel cut down for legs
- 2×4 (cut down for inside brace)
- Peg board (cut down for pillow top)
- Old pillow
- Thick soft fabric to cover the pillow stuffing.
- Button Kit ( to make matching buttons from same material.
- Spare old buttons for the bottom of the tufting under the peg board
- Spray paint
- Staple gun
- Mail holder bin (attached for toys)
- Clear coat
I found these military shipping containers at a thrift store.
Tape off any areas that you don’t want painted. I liked the vintage look of the hinges so I decided to keep them. Then spray paint the container your color of choice. I recommend at least two coats.
Measure the interior of the container and cut your peg board to fit. Try to align the holes evenly from each edge so that you can accurately measure for your buttons when it comes time to do the tufting. Uneven holes mean uneven buttons.
I used a reciprocating saw to cut the shape but a circular saw would work just as well.
An old standard-sized pillow was used to create the padding. Depending on the size of your container you may need to remove some of the filling from the pillow or use a larger one. Either way, cutting a small hole in the pillow will allow you to reach a hand in and reshape the filling, which can sometimes be uneven and bunched up.
Be sure to check both sides as you staple to ensure that the pillow lies evenly. Adjust the filling as you go if needed.
Be sure to pull the pillow tight around the edges. If too much of the filling wraps around the edges as you staple, then your bed top may not fit into the container.
Trim off the excess material after stapling to prepare for the fabric.
Folding over the edges of the fabric prior to stapling gives the bottom a more finished look. I would recommend placing staples no more than 1/4″ apart to ensure they hold up over time.
Measure for buttons and circle the peg holes prior to tufting to ensure they are evenly aligned. Then thread a long needle with a thicker thread and tie an old button to the end. Thread the needle up through the marked holes on the bottom and then re-insert it about 1/8″ away from initial point, back through the same peg hole beneath. You’ll have to press down hard on your pillow padding to get it through. You’ll want to do this twice, adding your finished button to the top on your second round. Once you have pulled it back out of the bottom for the second time, the attached button gives you leverage to pull the string tight and create your tufted look. Then wrap the string around the button a few times, tie it off and cut.
Second time out, string through your button and reinsert.
Measure the length of your container and cut two 2×4’s to fit inside of it lengthwise. If you are using a shallower container you may need to use 2×3’s or even 2×2’s. Keep in mind that they should rest on the bottom of the container and their tops should be at least 1″ below the top of the container.
Outline where your support beams will go and drill holes so that you can attach them with screws.
With the support beams firmly mounted to the interior of the container, place the pillow inside. It should be a tight fit so be sure you don’t tear the fabric as you press it into place. The peg board bottom should rest firmly on the supports below. If everything lines up, remove the pillow and prepare to install the feet.
I opted for a simple 2″ dowel for the feet, cut down to 3″ lengths.
Measure and mark where the feet will go. Drill holes through the container to attach the feet. If you purchase self-tapping screws you may be able to screw the legs on directly through the container depending on what materials the container is made of. Being that mine was a metal-like fiber glass I opted to pre-drill small holes and used the self-tapping screws
Once complete, spray paint the legs and apply a clear coat to protect the bed from scratches. I would recommend at least 2 coats to hold up against little paws and the occasional cleaning. I suggest using clear coat over it when finished for added protection.
Right before I put my top back on I opted to attach a small mail bin that I picked up at a craft store for $5. This gave me a place for my dog toys and a name plate. I spray painted it the same white and installed it to one side of my container by drilling holes and using some old, small bolts.
If puzzles are your thing, you’re gonna love this creative little puzzle mat! It’s a way to store small mini puzzles and it’s an upcycle project, meaning it uses some things you most likely already have in your home! The only thing you might need to grab is the large sheet of felt. It’s small enough to take and store anywhere.
We put ours in our “Mini Toy Box in a Drawer for Adults and Kids.” So get your puzzle and make one or two or five of these awesome little puzzle mats. Great for inexpensive gifts too! For another great portable activity, idea check out our DIY Portable Lego Table.
Puzzle Mat Supplies
- Sturdy paper towel tube
- Paper egg carton
- 12″ x 18″ felt sheet (soft)
- Hot glue gun
- Mini puzzle Completed size no more than 10.5″x 11″
Gather your supplies. Make sure your paper towel roll is not bent or squished. Make sure you get soft felt. The thin, stiffer kind will not roll up the puzzle well.
The area for the puzzle will be 11″x 12″ approximately. Make sure your puzzle will fit on the mat and that the puzzle pieces will fit into the tube.
For the bottom end cap, trim a single egg carton section as shown, then glue it in.
For the top open ended cap, trim another egg carton section as shown. Add holes to attach it with string. Paint it before attaching. We added a coat of Mod Podge. (Optional)
After painting, attach your top cap as shown. We added some glue to the inside to secure the string. Glue on a small piece of ribbon as the pull tab.
Your felt will be a small amount taller than your tube. Measure it and trim the felt down to fit. Glue your felt around the tube as shown. Glue two pieces of ribbon as shown to tie the mat up when not in use.
I’d always wanted to learn how to etch glass but assumed it was difficult, taking all kinds of funky chemicals and a lot of time. Silly me. 5 minutes. That’s how long it took me. After my first one I proceeded to search the house looking for things I could etch designs onto. It’s a bit addicting.
It does require etching cream and sticky type stencils. A small bottle of the etching cream lasts a long time. If you have a cutting machine, such as Silhouette, you can make your own stencils, which is what I did. (Hint: Grab your etching cream at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby using a 40% coupon.) FYI You can grab the free sketching images below. There is a pdf version and a Silhouette cutter version.
One fun use for etching is to decorate up your own personal glass water bottles. You can also learn Why Glass Water Bottles are Better!
Supplies for Etching Glass
- Etching Cream (A small bottles lasts a long time.)
- Sticky Stencils (or use a cutting machine to make your own such as a Silhouette)
- Paint brush
- Glass stuff to etch on
Silhouette studio3 File (zipped)
The stencil is adhesive vinyl I cut myself on my Silhouette machine. You can purchase all types of designs.
Carefully adhere your stencil /label to your object.
Apply the etching cream over the open parts. You don’t want it too thin. Be very careful not to get the cream on your skin. Wash your brush with water when done.
You can let it sit from 2 to 3 minutes according to the directions, though the time can vary. I did 5 minutes. After that time rinse off the cream.
Rub the remaining cream off with a sponge.
Remove the stencil and give it a final cleaning. NOTE: You won’t be able to see the etching well until the glass is dry. That’s it!
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than tossing around some of these heart shaped wildflower seed bombs. They are easy (3 ingredients) and inexpensive and we’ve got two ways to package them. After you make a batch you simply toss the seed bombs anywhere there is dirt… along the side of the road, in an open field etc. The next time it rains they will dissolve, and before you know it there will be a little more beauty in the world.
So show the earth some love! They also make great gifts you can give with our free appropriate poem or tags below. Looking for more Earth Day ideas? Check out our DIY World Clock for Earth Day.
Seed Bomb Supplies
- Air Dry Clay There are several types. We used Crayola Model Magic which was very soft and light. If a harder clay is used a tiny bit of water may be needed .
- Potting Soil
- Wildflower seeds
- Flower Pot
- Tongue Depressor
- Poem & tag printout
Seed Bomb Poem Download
Instructions for Seed Bombs
NOTE: If the clay is a firmer variety you will need to add in a few drops of water to help you knead and shape it.
- Roll a small 1 1/2″ ball of white air dry clay.
- Flatten it out and add a scant 1 tsp. of potting soil.
- Knead the soil into the clay.
- Flatten it again and add approximately 1/4 tsp. seeds.
- Knead the seeds into the clay.
- Shape into hearts and allow to dry.
Toss the seed bombs anywhere appropriate where there is dirt. The next time it rains it will dissolve.
We used a very soft air dry clay. If a harder clay is used add a few drops of water to help knead and shape it.
Grab our free printable Earth Day quiz! It’s full of interesting and fun facts. The three page downloadable pdf has two pages of informative questions and a page with the answers.
Do you know how long it takes foil to decompose? How about disposable diapers? Learn how much trash the average American makes every day. Some of the answers are guaranteed to surprise you! If you’d like another fun thing to do for Earth Day, or any day for that matter, check out our DIY World Clock for Earth Day, or spread a little love and beauty on the earth with our Wildflower Seed Bombs.
Earth Day Quiz Download
Have you ever been frustrated when shopping online and what you want is listed in metrics? (Assuming you are from the U.S. of course.) Well, this helpful metric chart will be indispensable!
It’s not that I have anything against metrics, it’s just that growing up in the U.S. inches and feet are ingrained in my brain. Being a crafter I buy quite a bit of supplies online. I regularly come across things that are listed in metrics for length or width, such as ribbon and jewelry parts. I created this metric chart which can be kept or taped up somewhere handy. Though after you go over it and read the hints I doubt you’ll need to look at it again. For another handy printable, check out our Daylight Savings Time Reminders.
Nice metal ruler with both inches and cm/mm
Awesome metric placement (plastic coated) We purchased one of these. It shows all the metrics. Great for kids and adults!
Metric Chart Download
The chart only focuses on millimeters, centimeters and meters. (pdf)
Online Metric Converters
Still Struggling? Bookmark this page and use these online converters. (Millimeters and centimeters to inches)
This DIY Hand sanitizer is a quick way to rid your hands of bacteria after doing things such as handling money, using a public restroom, shaking hands during cold season or pushing a grocery store cart. The ones you buy are filled with chemicals and alcohol. These simple recipes can be made with three ingredients (or two if you prefer). It’s powerful and it’s safe. We’ll explain why we use the ingredients we do and which ones you can take or leave.
For a wonderful sanitizing spray for your home check out our Cleansing Room Spray Recipe. It also has printable instructions and labels!
DIY Hand Sanitizer Supplies
- 100% Aloe Vera Gel (We used this brand.)
- Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca oil) Plant Therapy Brand $7 10ml (use approx. 8 to 10 drops per 8 oz ) Doterra Brand 15ml $20 (use approx. 1-3 drops per 8 oz )
- Distilled Water
- Plastic container of choice
- Printable labels below & wide clear packing tape (optional)
NOTE ON ESSENTIAL OILS
I am not affiliated with any brand of oil and you will find Young Living, Doterra, Plant Therapy and others in my herb closet. You can use whatever brand you like. However, the higher quality oils require less due to how they are manufactured. (Hence why they tend to cost more.) For brands like Doterra you only need about 1/3rd the amount of drops to be effective. Compare sizes, costs with drops to decide which one to buy that fits your budget.
I have a close friend who is a trained herbalist and creates her own salves etc. This is what she told me:
“One to two drops of a Doterra in 8 oz. [or other high quality oil] is plenty for use as an anti-bacterial. You need five to ten for a cheaper brand. For example, for a healing product you would have to use 60 -70 drops per gallon with other brands. With Doterra you would only use 12-15 drops.”
Ingredient Option Details
Aloe Vera Gel: The Aloe Vera plant is wonderful for using in hand sanitizer because of its powerful antioxidant and antibacterial benefits. Plus it’s great for the skin and is also widely used or healing burns. This will make your sanitizer thick but it’s optional.
Tea Tree Oil: Also known as melaleuca oil, this is one of the most powerful and safe antibacterials available. (Natural or otherwise.) There are other oils that have the same property but I always use tea tree. Why? Because it will heal MRSA and did so for my son saving him the loss of his finger.
Distilled Water: You can use tap water for mixing your sanitizer but if the mixture is not used up within a few weeks it can start to putrefy. Tap water is filled with microbes and possible contaminants. Distilled water has been stripped of everything so there is nothing to “go bad”. Hence why it’s used in all herbal creations.
Containers: You can purchase various types of small empty containers at most stores including dollar stores. Or just use an empty container from something else. Because this mixture is not exact and is very forgiving you can make a larger batch easily by adjusting the amounts. It doesn’t matter if you use 10 or 15 drops of tea tree oil. It will work great!
As is a good idea for anything you’ve not used before, test these items separately on a small patch of skin.
Directions & Labels (pdf)
There are three variations and consistencies you can make depending on your preference. 1. Gel (works in squeeze tubes) 2. Liquid (works in spray bottles) 3. Lotion (works on regular or pump bottles) We used 4 to 6 oz. sizes for easy carrying in the car or purse.
Gel Hand Sanitizer
A non-sticky gel (using the aloe brand we used) which can be squeezed out of a bottle. Does not need water.
Ingredients: 100% Aloe Vera Gel, Tea Tree Oil
Instructions: Fill almost full with 100% Aloe gel. Add tea tree oil. For 4 to 6 oz size use 1 to 2 drops of higher quality oil or 6 to 8 a of lower quality oil. (You do not have to be exact.) Mix well. Adjust as needed for size.
Use: Squeeze a dime sized amount of gel into your hands and rub in. Use whenever needed.
Liquid Hand Sanitizer
Perfect for a spray bottle. This one does not use the aloe gel in order to keep it thin. Tea Tree oil is powerful enough on it’s own to banish germs.
Ingredients: Distilled Water, Tea Tree Oil
Instructions: Fill your spray bottle with distilled water. For 4 to 6 oz size use 1 to 2 drops of higher quality oil or 6 to 8 of lower quality oil. (You do not have to be exact.) Mix well. Adjust as needed for size.
Use: Spray lightly on hands and rub all over. Let them air dry. Use whenever desired.
Lotion Hand Sanitizer
A lotion type consistency to your liking depending on how much aloe gel you add.
Ingredients: Distilled Water, 100 % Aloe Vera Gel, Tea Tree Oil
Instructions: Fill your bottle at least ½ full of distilled water. Add in Aloa Vera gel until it’s the consistency you like. Add more water if desired. For 4 to 6 oz size use 1 to 2 drops of higher quality oil or 6 to 8 of lower quality oil. (You do not have to be exact.) Mix well. Adjust as needed for size.
Use: Pour/squeeze out of a soft plastic bottle. Use about a dime size and rub into hands. Use when needed.
The two or three ingredients needed.
We used 4-6 oz. travel sized containers.
For the gel version fill a squeezable tube almost full with aloe gel.
Add tea tree oil.
Squeeze the container to mix the oil into the aloe.
For the liquid spray, fill your bottle almost full with distilled water.
Add tea tree oil and mix.
For a lotion like consistency, fill your bottle about 1/2 full with distilled water.
Add aloe gel until its the consistency you prefer.
Add tea tree oil and mix.
Cut out labels of choice.
Use clear packing tape to make the label waterproof and affix it to the bottle.
Trim the tape leaving enough around the edges to stick the label to the bottle.
Painting outlets rather than replacing them is incredibly easy to do. If you’ve got wall outlets that don’t match, you’ll love this quick and inexpensive fix! When we bought our home we repainted all the rooms. However, the outlets ranged from the basic cream color to dark brown. I really didn’t want the hassle and cost of wiring in new ones so I found a quick way to paint them that takes seconds! You can even paint the wall plates if you want.
If you’d like more ideas on how to turn what you have into something awesome check out our Buff Your Stuff page. You’ll find things like how to Stencil and Paint Carpet or how to do a Quick Chair Makeover plus other great ideas.
Painting Outlets Supplies
SAFETY: It’s also a good idea for added safety to turn off the breaker to the outlet you are painting. Though not shown here its an added good idea to place a little cardboard or a small piece of folded up paper towel into the slots to protect them even more before painting. You want to keep paint out of the slots. Plus it will keep them from working. Home inspectors test for a connection only. Paint can cause that to fail.
NEVER layer paint onto outlets. If they already have been painted over just get new ones to be safe.
- Cardboard or foam board approximately 14″x14″
- Utility knife
- Spray paint of choice
- Masking tape (optional to hold cardboard in place)
You can also paint the outlet cover plate if desired though those are fairly inexpensive to purchase.
Remove the cover plate.
Trace the cover plate onto the center of your 14″x14″ cardboard.
Cut 1/2″ inside the outer lines. This keeps the paint from getting on any part of the wall.
Place your board over the outlet. Depending on how close you cut it, it might stay in place. You can also use some masking tape to hold it if needed or have someone hold it while you paint.
Give two or three very light coats of spray paint onto the outlet, allowing it to dry in between. Very light coats will not cause any problems as far as going into the plug slots. Though I suggest stuffing a little cardboard or folded up paper towel in each slot for added protection.
Cover plates are very inexpensive, however, old ones are also easy to paint.