Galvanized Tub Storage Bench with Furry Upholstered Lid {Lowe’s Creator Idea}

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Every month Lowe’s challenges me to create another unique project to share with you. This month’s challenge was creative storage ideas. Have kids? This is a unique storage solution using a galvanized tub and a furry upholstered lid. It’s the perfect place to store and corral all that kid clutter in your child’s bedroom. The storage tub doubles as a bench and a step stool. Don’t be deterred if you don’t have children, the storage bench could be used for magazine storage and much more!

Grab these materials and tools and follow along with me (and my 13 year old assistant.)

Creating the Galvanized Storage Bench and Lid

Materials for the Galvanized Storage Tub and Lid:

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Instructions:

Turn the galvanized tub upside down on the plywood. Use the sharpie to mark approximately 1/2 – 1″ out from the edge of the tub. [Read more...]

You Rule: Candy-Free Classroom Valentine Gifts

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Happy Friday! Do you have snow? I know the south eastern states got a surprise visit from Mr. Winter last night, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Besides sledding, the boys and I will finish up these fun little Valentine gifts over the long weekend:

They were easy to make, and easy on the wallet! (I’m sure you have some of the supplies already. If not, make do with what you have on hand.)

Materials:

[Read more...]

Rustic Wooden Caddy with a Branch Handle

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You know when you are browsing through a yard sale and you spot a sad little box that is just begging for you to buy it and give it a new life?

No, okay I might be alone on this, but it happens to me all the time!

A while ago I spotted this little box for $3 at a yard sale. I couldn’t just leave it there in it’s sad burgundy dust-covered state. So, I brought it home and it sat in my garage collecting more dust. (This happens more often than I’d like to admit. It’s a sickness I have.) [Read more...]

Sculptural Branch Jewelry Display Holder

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Okay, I admit it. I’m a little infatuated with branches lately. Maybe it is because winter is here and all those bare skeletons of trees have me fascinated. Or maybe it is because my neighbor has been taking down a lot of trees — which really baffles me, but I digress — and the perfect branch was beaconing me from the curb.

As I walked home with the branch held high like a trophy, my neighbors surely figured out what I would make! A branch jewelry holder to hold ALL my jewelry.

Sure I had a jewelry holder already, but it was sagging under the weight and was begging for some relief. One of the fish line strings snapped a few months ago and I started hanging necklaces on the back of the door hook. This makes for some eye opening sounds when the dog pushes his way into the room at 3am. Not good. It was high time I found a solution!

That is when I saw, Shannon Eileen has a really great tutorial for building a wall mounted branch jewelry holder. Isn’t it beautiful in its simplicity?! I love the look.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I have a lot more jewelry and didn’t want to mount mine to the wall. So, I thought a sculptural twig jewelry holder that sits on my dressing table would be more fitting for my needs.

Finding the perfect branch turned out to be easier than finding the perfect base. I thought about making a cross to support the bottom. Then, I thought about drilling a hole into a plate. But, the solution was cemented once I saw this bamboo bowl at Target on clearance.

And that is the end of the story. My jewelry lived happily ever after on my dressing table. The End!

What?! You want the tutorial? Oh right, I forgot for a minute this was a tutorial blog. I started daydreaming while looking at all that shiny jewelry.

Materials:

  • Freshly cut hardwood branch
  • Freshly cut log (preferably hard wood tree)
  • Gorilla glue
  • Saw
  • Plyers or pruners
  • Drill with several sized bits
  • 2″ wood screw
  • Clothes pin
  • Baby wipes
  • Bowl for base
  • Screw
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Clamp

Instructions:

Cut, a 1.5″ disk from a newly cut log. (I used a miter saw, but you could use a handsaw just as easily.)

The disk will become a support for the branch to give it more stability when it is loaded with jewelry.

Cut the large branch down with a handsaw or limb pruner. (I chose a 22″ tall section with a thick base.)

Select a drill bit that is the same diameter as the base of the branch.

Clamp the log disk onto a scrap piece of wood and drill a hole the width of the branch about 2/3 of the way through the disk. The point of the spade bit will hopefully poke through the bottom, but not the rest of the bit.

Test fit the branch. Make sure it can be seated far enough into the wood disk for stability.

Turn the branch and disk over to view the bottom of the disk. If you used a spade drill bit, hopefully that point came through slightly so you can find the center of your disk. Insert a small drill bit (slightly smaller than the width of the 2″ screw) into the hole. Drill a small hole through the bottom of the log disk and into the branch about 1/2 – 3/4″ (keep the branch inserted into the disk until you finish drilling.)

Use the same small drill bit to drill through the center of the base of the bamboo bowl (turn it upside down on your work surface.) Next choose a drill bit large enough to create a countersink hole for your screw head. I put a piece of tape to mark how deep I needed the countersink hole to go. Not too deep, you don’t want to go through the bowl, just deep enough for the head of the screw to sit inside.

Squeeze a small dollop of Gorilla Glue into the large hole in the disk and then insert the base of the branch. Let the glue harden for an hour.

Once the branch is firmly glued into the disk, turn it over and put some Gorilla Glue around the base of the disk and the center.

Set the disk and the branch into the bottom of the bowl.

Thread the 2 inch wood screw through the bottom of the bowl, through the disk and into the branch via the predrilled hole you made earlier. Gently tighten the screw until it fits snugly inside the countersink hole and the branch is secure.


If Mother Nature has not provided enough smaller branches on your holder (or you have way too much jewelry I do), you’ll want to add more branches to the holder. Cut some small branches off the unused tree limbs. Use a saw, pruners, or wire pliers (use whatcha got!)

Then match up a drill bit with the width of the littler branch. Drill a hole into a sturdy section of your branch. Add a small amount of Gorilla Glue and then press the small branch into the hole. Instant graft! (I have to admit, I felt like I was tampering with God’s creations here. Forgive me if I’ve committed a sin.)

Continue to check on your grafted branch to make sure it stays seated into the hole until the glue hardens.

Support your grafted branch onto other branches or prop it up to help keep it in position as it dries.

Continue to graft branches on as needed. I added about four new branches to mine. Can you see the fake ones?

Once the glue has dried, clean off any wood shavings and dirt.

Store your bangles and bracelets in the bowl.

Earrings hang nicely on the small branches like little ornaments.

Then hang your necklaces on display! I’m really enjoying seeing these beauties in the morning.

Much better than the cramped and sagging heating grate:

One more after shot. A beautiful branch jewelry tree. Are your eyes starting to get dreamy too?

New Life for a Borders Bookshelf

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I hope you will take a moment to view how I test drove my Dremel Trio. This is seriously a really fun power tool! Just be sure you are safe so as not to ruin the fun. Eye protection, face mask, and ear plugs. Check.

For those of you who like to skip to the end of the book and see the ending, here you go:


For the rest of you, here is how I created this cut out/back lit bookshelf that started life as a bookshelf from a closing Borders bookstore.


Tutorial for creating a cut out bookcase:
Almost any bookcase will work for this project, but the ones that have a thin wood (can be masonite) backing will work best. Set up a work area that you don’t mind getting dusty and dirty. Remove the shelves from your bookcase.

Cutting the endcap:

Materials:

  • circular saw
  • level
  • clamp
  • scrap wood
  • screws
  • drill

I cut the endcap in half lengthwise so I could use half for each end of my bookshelf, and to position it flush against the wall. To cut a straight line using a circular saw, I clamped one end of a level to the endcap. My level wasn’t long enough, so I drilled a scrap piece of wood on top of the level and into the end cap to support the other end.


I set the circular saw blade just below the depth of the endcap. By resting the endcap on two 2×4″ boards, I was able to creative a gap below the endcap for the sawblade to pass through.Then I ran the circular saw along the level for a straight cut. Straight as an arrow, and it met Pretty Handy Dog’s approval.

Cutting out the backing design and painting:

Materials:

  • Dremel Trio
  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper (100 grit & 220 grit)
  • Scrap 2×4 lumber
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint (white and navy blue)
  • 3M Clean Edge technology painter’s tape
  • Newspapers
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Small paint roller and tray

Sketch out the design on your bookshelf (using chalk or pencil) before beginning.

Before using any new power tool, take some time to read through the manual.

To insert a bit into the Dremel Trio, you push in the blue (shaft lock) button on the front and use the enclosed wrench to loosen the collet nut on the tool.

Insert the cutting bit into the Trio. (The trio also comes with a sanding drum bit and a routing bit!)

Tighten the collet nut with the wrench.

Turn the blue handle on the side of the TRIO to raise or lower the base plate.

Adjust the base plate until the cutting bit extends slightly below the wood backing of your bookcase.

Lay the bookcase down on its back. Position 2×4 boards under the edges of the bookcase (or you will be cutting into concrete. I’m pretty sure the TRIO is not capable of that, but I could be wrong.)

Plug in your Trio and get ready to have some FUN! You may want to practice on a scrap piece of wood before working on your bookcase. The TRIO allows you to change directions quickly and easily. Creating fanciful cuts is a breeze!

Squeeze the trigger and when the bit reaches full speed you can plunge it into the workpiece. For the pin holes hold the Trio steady, insert the bit and then lift it back out of the same hole.

To cut trees and other designs, plunge the TRIO into the wood and then slowly move the tool through the wood to carve your design. Be wary of long “V” shape cuts as they will make the backing weaker.

When your design has been completed, use the power sander to sand the back of the bookcase (where the majority of the splintering will have occurred.)

Insert the sanding drum bit into the TRIO and sand any large cut out areas.

Fold a piece of sandpaper in half and feed it through the thin lines of the branches to sand any rough edges that can’t be reached with the sanding bit.

Set the bookcase upright and inspect the cuts for more splinters. You can preview what your design will look like when lit up. Lookin’ good, huh?!

Before sanding the rest of the bookshelf, repair any dents or holes with wood putty. (This is a post I wrote about repairing all types of holes if you need help.)

Use the palm sander and a fine grit (220 grit) sandpaper to rough up the rest of the bookshelf.

Apply a coat of primer to the bookcase, shelves and sides. (Still working on emptying that can of KILZ Clean Start primer! Love that stuff.

When the primer has dried, mask off the sides of the bookcase where they meet the back.

3M sent me this Scotch Blue Painter’s tape with Edge-Lock protector to try. I was skeptical, but when I pulled the tape off it did give me a clean edge. The only place I had a little bit of seepage was in the corners where I didn’t press the tape tightly into the corner. The key to using this tape is to firmly press the edges with your finger to engage the “Edge-Lock” seal. I haven’t tried it for painting walls, but you better believe I have a wall project coming up that I can try it on.

Paint the back of your bookcase. I chose a very dark navy blue. To save paint, I used a medium blue paint for my first coat to darken the back and hopefully save paint.

Then paint one coat of the navy blue.

Follow up with a second coat to eliminate any streaking.

When the navy paint has dried, tape along the edges of the navy blue backing, where it meets the sides. Slip pieces of newspaper underneath to catch any paint splashes. (Will you get a load of my lazy supervisor! You think he’s been working hard in the heat? Uh no, that would be me doing all the work and him snoozing away the day.)

Paint the rest of the bookcase, the sides and the shelves white. I used two coats of Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi-gloss white.


Once the paint has dried completely, re-assemble the bookcase. And screw the end cap halves onto either side of the bookcase.

I installed a light rope behind the bookcase (tutorial to come at a later date) and set the lights on a timer. The rope light comes on at dusk and illuminates all the cut outs.

There is a very soft glow emitted from the back of the bookcase.

It provides the perfect amount of light for my son who HAS to have a light on at night.

My only complaint about the rope lights is that they give off a strong plastic odor. But, after a week the smell has dissipated.

I had the foresight to purchase a few of the clear display stands that slide into the end caps of the bookcase. It makes it easy to display books to pique my son’s reading interests.

Oh look! There he is now! Mission accomplished, reading interest piqued. Yes, I think he is double-jointed and a teacher pointed out that both my son’s sit like that. Must be in the genes.

A few more detailed pictures of the bookshelf. This has to be one of my favorite projects I’ve created recently. And it wasn’t very difficult to complete.




 

 

 

What’s In Your Toolbox? – What Every DIYer (or Homeowner) Should Own

When I was 18, and bought my first car, and thought I was the coolest girl in town with a little zippy sportscar – sorry, just a little trip down memory lane.  My parents gave me my first tool kit. That tool kit is still with me today and I do use it a lot. The set has a series of sockets, crescent wrenches, interchangeable screwdriver bits, allen (hex) wrenches, needle nose pliers, and locking pliers.


That set got me through several repairs (both auto and home). Now, as a homeowner, I have found that there are a few more tools to have on hand.
You will likely want to look for a multi-piece set like this one:
This will give you a wide variety of tools for a low cost. If you want a deal, try shopping for these sets around Father’s Day or Christmas. The set above was listed on Amazon.com for approximately $50 – $60.
Regardless if you are buying these items in a set or separate, these are the tools I recommend:
Homeowner essentials:
  1. Hammer
  2. Screwdrivers – Phillips head and a flat (straight or slotted) head. Try to buy a small and medium size of each.
  3. Allen (Hex) Wrenches in several sizes
  4. Adjustable Crescent Wrenches – I suggest buying at least two. One 6″ and one 10″
  5. Slip Joint Pliers (handy for overall gripping)
  6. Needle-nosed pliers
  7. Vice grips (Locking pliers)
  8. Tape Measure
  9. Level – 24″ is preferrable
  10. Utility knife (mat knife)
  11. Safety glasses
  12. 12″ Handsaw
  13. Stud Finder
  14. Flashlight
  15. Pry bar (must have a flat sharp side and the other side a notch for pulling nails.)
  16. Tool box or case to keep all of the above in 
  17. My favorite DIY guide to my home: Home Depot’s Home Improvement 1-2-3 – the best $15 I ever spent!
 Screwdriver bits:
 

Last but not least, the most indispensable tool I’ve ever owned:
Cordless Drill with screwdriver bits and a small set of drill bits 

For Electrical DIY:
  1. Wiring instruction book or guide
  2. Wire Cutters/Strippers
  3. Electrical Current tester 
    • You only need the simple tester with two probes and an indicator light to test if the power is on. 
For the committed DIYer:
  1. Palm sander
  2. Carpenter’s square
  3. Staple gun
  4. Power Circular Saw 
    • Be sure to hold one in the store and feel how the grip feels in your hand. This is especially important as a woman with a smaller hand size. (more on power tool shopping in another blog post – coming soon!)
  5. Jig Saw
  6. Saw Horses or Folding Work Bench
  7. Clamps – A Variety of Adjustable Clamps and Clips

I hope this list gives you some good information so you won’t feel overwhelmed when buying tools. Definitely ask a sales person for help or opinions. Don’t tell them you are new at this. Ask them for the tool they would purchase if they were buying one for their shop. You should aim to buy a quality tool (especially power tools) that will last your lifetime. A cheap tool will either break or not have the power to do the job you need it to do. However, you don’t need to buy top of the line or break the bank to get a good tool.
Savings Tip: Many of the big box home improvement stores will usually price match tools that are priced cheaper at a competitor if it is the same make and model, plus take 10% off the price. Be sure to bring the ad with you or they will need to call or look up the price online.

Home Depots price guarantee:  
NOBODY BEATS OUR PRICES
If any competitor tries, we’ll beat their price by 10%. Guaranteed.*
*If you find a current lower price on an identical, in-stock item from any retailer, we will match the price and beat it by 10%. Excludes special orders, bid pricing, volume discounts, open-box merchandise, labor and installation, sales tax, rebate and free offers, typographical errors and online purchases. 
Lowe’s price guarantee: 
Everyday Low Prices, Guaranteed
We guarantee our everyday competitive prices. If you find a verifiable lower everyday or advertised price on an identical stock item at any local retail competitor that has the item in stock, we’ll beat their price by 10% when you buy from us. Just bring us the competitor’s current ad or we’ll call to verify the item’s price that you have found. Cash (charge card) and carry purchases only. Competitor’s closeout, special order, discontinued, clearance, liquidation and damaged items are excluded from this offer. On percent-off sales, Lowe’s will match the competitor’s percent-off offer. Limited to reasonable quantities for homeowner and one-house order quantities for cash and carry contractors. Current in-store price, if lower, overrides Lowe’s advertised price. Price guarantee honored at all Lowe’s retail locations. Labor charges for product installation are excluded from our price guarantee offer in our stores with an Installed Sales Program. Visit store for complete details.
Sear’s price guarantee:
If you find a lower price on an identical branded item with the same features (in Home Electronics identical brand and model number) currently available for sale at another local competitor retail store, Sears will match that price plus, give you 10% of the difference. Just bring in the original advertisement to a sales associate at the time of, or within 14 days after, your purchase. More fine print…

Happy Shopping!