DIY Lollipop Stand

lollipop stand 1

lollipop stand

Happy Spring folks!  Jaime here from That’s My Letter back to share a fun DIY party decor idea: make your own lollipop stand.  I promise it’s fast and easy and adds tons of charm and sweetness to any party.

lollipop stand 2

This lollipop stand holds a ton of lollipops – 52 to be exact!  You could probably even use this stand for cake pops.  (The tutorial for the ‘celebrate’ script sign can be found here.)

lollipop stand 3

 

Materials:

lollipop stand supplies

  • 1 – 1 1/4″ wood dowel x 11″ long
  • 1 – 1×5  cut to 4 1/2″ (or any scrap wood 4 1/2″ square x 3/4″thick)
  • white gloss spray paint
  • sandpaper
  • 1 – 2″ wood screw
  • countersink bit
  • 5/32 drill bit
  • pencil
  • tape measure
  • drill
  • glue
  • scotch tape

Instructions:

Step 1: Mark the center point on the 4 1/2″ square wood base. [Read more...]

Knock off Garden Table

Knock off Partridge Garden Table Tutorial

Knock off Partridge Garden Table Tutorial

I often find myself searching online looking at furniture and decor on sites that I consider full of unique items.  I recently came across the Anthropologie Partridge Garden Table and fell in love.  The creative use of old mismatched legs was awesome.  Then I saw the price; a mere $ 148.00.  As cool as it is, spending that much for a plant stand is way more than I could ever justify.  I knew I could make it cheaper and am excited to show you how to make your own!

Materials

  • 3 different banister Spindles or table legs
  • 10″ clock face round
  • Wood Glue
  • Nail Gun
  • Wood Filler
  • Painters Tape
  • Three different colors of Paint
  • Sliding T-Bevel Square
  • Miter Saw
  • Spray Paint (Rust-Oleum Rustic Mist)
  • Spray Paint (High Gloss Sealer)

Round Legs

Instructions

1.  Lay  out the spindles and decide which sections will be used for the legs. [Read more...]

How to Stain a Basket

stained thrifted basket

how to stain an old basket

I admit it, I’m a basket addict!

Baskets are one of the best ways to organize and accessorize your home but they can be very expensive when purchased new. Thrift stores are a great source of affordable baskets but they are often out-of-fashion colors and can have missing or broken pieces. Today I’m going to show you how to take those old, thrift store baskets and make them a beautiful accent piece for your home.

Materials:

  • super glue
  • hand broom
  • stain
  • paintbrush

Instructions:

The first step in fixing up an old basket is to clean out any dirt or debris using a hand broom. Be thorough on both the interior and exterior.

before old thrifted basket staining

Next inspect your basket for any broken pieces. Use super glue to repair any areas that may need it. [Read more...]

DIY Colorful Coffee Stirrer Keychain

coffee stirrer keychain

coffee stirrer keychain

Hello Pretty Handy Girl readers, Jaime from That’s My Letter back again to share a fun craft project.  Today we’re making DIY wood keychains using coffee stirrer sticks.

If you love coffee just as much as I do, what could be better than a nifty craft made from coffee stirrers!

coffee stirrer keychains 1

The pattern possibilites are endless, stripes, diagonal, rainbow, chevron and on and on.  And what a great gift or favor idea for a party – you could paint them to match the party color scheme.

coffee stirrer keychain sticks

I may or may not have borrowed a few wood coffee stirrer sticks from my local coffee shop with a green and white logo.  Of course, I let my daughter do the dirty work but you only need about 5 sticks for one keychain.  Or more appropriately you can purchase coffee stirrer sticks or thin wood craft sticks from most craft and hobby shops.

coffee stirrer keychains 3

The painted coffee stirrer sticks are sealed with clear gloss varnish which gives a super hard finish that will hold up to everyday wear and tear while protecting the wood and paint.

Try one and I guarantee you’ll be hooked — then you’ll be making different styles and versions for everyone you know in a school or team color scheme ;-).

coffee stirrer keychain 4Materials:

coffee stirrer keychain supplies

  • 5 wood coffee stirrer sticks
  • acrylic craft paint
  • small paint brush
  • basswood (purchase one stick at 36″ l x 3/32″ thick x 2″w)
  • super glue (gel version is best)
  • scissors
  • rubber bands
  • clear gloss varnish (Americana DuraClear or similar)
  • sandpaper
  • clear gloss polyurethane spray (optional)
  • drill & small drill bit
  • keychain hardware

 

Instructions:

coffee stirrer keychain step 1

Step 1: Paint wood coffee stirrer sticks desired colors using acrylic craft paint.  Paint the edges too but not the back. [Read more...]

How to: Build a Wall Chalkboard with a Chalk Ledge

wall chalkboard

wall chalkboard

Chalkboards are popping up everywhere (like Brittany’s DIY chalkboard calendar from last week) and you can easily make one, but how about upping the usefulness by making a chalkboard WITH a chalk ledge?  Jaime here from That’s My Letter to show you how easy it is to add a chalk ledge to your chalkboard.

chalkboard with ledge

You definitely need a place to put all that chalk (or chalk markers like we prefer).  This chalk ledge protudes a minimal  1 3/4″ from the wall but still has space enough to hold lots of chalk.

chalkboard with ledge 5

I also attached a galvanized pail for more chalk markers.

chalkboard with ledge 1

wall chalkboard 1

I installed this chalkboard near our back door mudroom area.  Unfortunately the key pad for our alarm system is nearly smack in the middle of that wall.  I simply cut out a square in my plywood using a jig saw to accommodate the key pad.  My kids love their new chalkboard and somehow the key pad isn’t quite so obvious once they start drawing around it.

chalkboard with ledge 2

Supplies:

  • 1/2″ plywood (cut to desired size)
  • 1×2 pine board (cut to length of plywood)
  • 1 3/8″ x 1/4″ thick flat trim moulding (cut to length of plywood)
  • black chalkboard paint
  • blue painters tape
  • stain
  • polyurethane
  • foam brushes
  • drill
  • Kreg pocket hole jig (not necessary but definitely easier if you have one)
  • 1″ pocket hole screws
  • wood glue
  • 3/4″ trim nails
  • countersink bit
  • 2 1/2″ toggle bolts
  • 5/8″ spade bit (check toggle bolt requirements)
  • pencil
  • level

Instructions:

Step 1: Cut your plywood to size, using your Kreg pocket hole jig make pocket holes every 8″ along bottom edge of plywood (on back side). (I used the portable base with automaxx clamp here, much easier that slipping a large piece of plywood into the jig.) [Read more...]

Perpetual Menu Board

Reusable monthly menu board with magnetic meals - perpetual menu board

Reusable monthly menu board with magnetic meals - perpetual menu board

We were recently in North Carolina visiting with Matt’s family.  While we were there I took the time to visit an old dear friend of mine.  This girl has known me for years!  In fact I just realized it’s been 21 years since I first met her.  Needless to say it’s important to catch up with friends like this whenever you get a chance. While visiting her, I noticed she had an adorable menu board in her kitchen where she keeps track of all of her meals for the month.  Since “What’s for dinner?” is one of Matt’s favorite things to ask me, I knew I had to make one of these menu boards.

Materials:

  • 12×12 Frame
  • Clear Plastic Calendar Page
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Magnets
  • Dry Erase Marker(s)
  • Printer Paper or Card Stock
  • Printer
  • Laminator or contact paper
  • Sheet Metal
  • Magnetic Paint
  • Tin Snips
  • Safety Glasses
  • Gloves

Instructions:

Start by measuring the inside of the frame.  (In my case that measurement was 12″ by 12″.)  Using a marker, mark a dot 12″ down from the edge onto your sheet metal.  Repeat this on the opposite side.

Reusable monthly menu board with magnetic meals - perpetual menu board

Use a straight edge (or carpenters square) lined up on the dots and draw a line.  This will be where you make your cut.

[Read more...]

DIY Wooden Arrows

DIY Wooden Arrows

DIY Wooden Arrows

Although I don’t typically decorate for Valentine’s Day, this year I couldn’t resist a little craft project to celebrate the holiday. After all, it is about love and chocolate and who can resist love and chocolate? Instead of the usual craft creating something heart shaped, I decided to pay a little attention to Cupid and his arrows. I put together these easy DIY wooden arrows and now I’m going to show you how you can make one too!

This project is really easy, and totally customizable so you don’t have to be exact with your measurements. Feel free to be a little more free style. You can paint it {or not}, just about any color you’d like.

Materials

  • Wooden Shims
  • Wood Glue
  • Miter Saw (or a hand saw and miter box)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Spray paint, craft or wall paint or wood stain {optional if you will paint/stain it}
  • Frame for framing {optional}

Instructions

1. First select some nice wood shims to use. Make a rough representation of what you’d like your arrow to look like.

This was a rough image of what I came up with. Two shims for the point and a few more for the tail. Wooden Shims

2. Start cutting your arrow and tail parts. You can cut the pieces like the arrow on the right or left, shown below. Either way you’ll need some pieces with a 45 degree angle. That’s where your miter saw comes in. See Brittany’s post about how to use a miter saw here. It’s one of the first power tools I learned to use and is very easy to handle and work with.

Wooden Arrows3. To cut the 45 degree angles, first set your saw at the 45 degree mark. Then cut one end of the wooden shim to 45 degrees.

[Read more...]

Desk Makeover {Paint Stripping with Citristrip & Painting with Latex Enamel}

desk painted with Latex enamel

desk makeover sitristrip latex enamel

One of the unique features of our home’s floor plan is a “tech room” with built in desks just off of our mud room.  When we first built our house I thought they would make the perfect place for our older boys to do their homework.

PicMonkey Collage

The builders painted the desks with latex paint and unfortunately it showed evey little mark and scratch almost immediately after we moved in.  Within a few months I had already given the tops of the desks a coat of black chalk paint in the hopes of giving it a more durable surface.  I was again disappointed within a couple of weeks.

chalk paint on desk

In a last ditch effort to make the space look nice I did a total overhall last summer and redecorated the entire room.

TechRoom-Makeover2

It looked fantastic at first but again, it held up horribly.  I knew I needed to come up with a solution that would make the desks both functional and durable.

At this point the desks had multiple coats of paint and my husband and I decided to strip them bare and start over.  We opted to use Citristrip to strip the paint after much research.  We have three small children and the lack of toxicity was a big plus for us.

how to use citristripMaterials:

  • Citristrip Stripping Gel
  • Paint brushes
  • Scraper/Joint knife
  • Sanding block
  • Latex Enamel Paint
  • Safety Gloves
  • Protective Eyewear

Instructions:

Clean your surface of dust and debris. (You can see how horribly my latex painted desk held up to three little boys!)

painted desk stained

Apply a generous coat of Citristrip to the painted surface using a paint brush, you’ll notice the Citristrip has a thick, gel-like consistency and does not have the strong odor of other paint strippers.  It is important to use a thick coat (if your Citristrip begins to dry out, it was not thick enough.)

You should wear gloves and protective eyewear when working with Citristrip. (I didn’t realize until later that my husband didn’t have his gloves on in many of these pictures.  He has been sufficiently reprimanded!)

stripping paint citristrip

Allow the Citristrip to sit on the project for 30 minutes and test a small area with your scraper.  You can leave the Citristrip on the project for up to 24 hours before scraping.

Scrape the Citristrip and paint off the surface, scraping in the direction of the wood grain. The paint should be removed easily.

scraping paint citristrip

Remove paint debris and thoroughly clean the bare surface.  Sand surface lightly to remove any residual paint if necessary.

desk after stripping citristrip

When our desk was stripped we were left with a large piece of MDF.  We originally thought it would be regular wood so I attempted to see how stain would look on the MDF but the results were not good so that plan was quickly abandoned.

stain on mdf

After much research into durability we decided to use a latex enamel paint to finish the desks.  We chose latex enamel because it is a harder, more durable finish than traditional latex paint.

latex enamel

Apply one layer of latex enamel paint with a paintbrush and allow to dry fully.  Do not place anything heavy or damp on the painted surface for 7 days to allow the paint to totally harden.

desk painted with Latex enamel

I’m happy to say it has been three months so far and the latex enamel is holding up perfectly! It’s durable enough to scrub and I love the deep, velvety appearance of the paint!

MelissaSignature

 -Learn more about Melissa-

DIY Christmas Journal

Christmas journal 2

Christmas journal

Need an easy DIY gift idea that any kid will love?  Jaime from That’s My Letter here to share DIY Christmas journals made from inexpensive kids composition books.

There’s still time to make this Christmas journal gift for all those kids on your list who love to write and draw, it makes a great small gift or a nice add on to a larger gift.

Christmas journal 1

Take a peek inside and you’ll see the kids composition books are printed with lines just their size and bonus!  a place to draw pictures above the writing:

Christmas journal 3

Kids can use the journal to keep track of gifts received for thank you cards, adventures and travels during the school break, all the exciting events surrounding the holiday and on and on.

Wrap your  journal with a fun holiday pencil and printed ribbon:

Christmas journal 4

Supplies required:

Christmas journal 5

Instructions:

Step 1: Give the exterior cover (front and back) a quick sanding to rough up the ‘shiny’ surface – this will help the kraft paper adhere better. [Read more...]

How to: Hand Painted Monogrammed Ornaments

circel ornaments 3

Jaime from That’s My Letter here to share a handmade ornament as part of the Très Frugal gift ideas series running all through November.

circle ornaments

Today I’m sharing how to make a simple circular handpainted monogrammed ornament with a metal frame.

circle ornaments 5

You can choose nearly any font for the monogram, the thicker the letters the easier it is to paint.  You’ll get the best results if you use a small, fine brush, go slow, and have a steady hand.  Then you’ll be making monogrammed ornaments for all your friends and family this holiday season:

circle ornaments 7

The circular wood discs are readily available at most craft stores and the stainless steel metal hose clamp adds the perfect frame and weight to the ornament.  It’s the perfect combination of wood, metal and fabric with the added ribbon:

circle ornaments 6

Supplies: [Read more...]

How to Build a Rolling Storage Seat

rolling storage stool

Everyone can always use more hidden storage! What’s better than getting organized with more storage? How about combining it with additional seating!  Jaime here from That’s My Letter sharing with you this easy tutorial for how to build a rolling storage seat.

rolling storage stool final

Of course I couldn’t stop myself at just one seat, I had to make three – they’re just that fast and easy!  The finished size is a generous stool at 19″w x 18″ d x 20″h.

rolling storage stools 2

Lift up that cushioned top and you’ve got tons of storage space:
rolling storage stools 3

To make the rolling storage stool you’ll need the following supplies: [Read more...]

25 Ideas for Tabletop Gardens and Terrariums

Faux Terrarium

25_tabletop_garden_terrarium_ideas

As the weather changes and the flowers start to wane outside, it’s a great time to focus on bringing natural beauty indoors. I’ve gathered some beautiful and unique ideas for creating your own tabletop gardens. For those with less time to water, may I suggest trying one of the succulent or cacti gardens. Regardless of the plants you use, I love the wide variety of creative containers used for these mini-environments.

Let’s get started with some beautiful tutorials for planting a tabletop garden:

1. Easy Terrarium in Minutes! [Read more...]

Welcome to Our Newest Contributing Writer – Colleen

boston_terrier_commissioned_portrait

Colleen_headshot_sm

I have some exciting news! I’ve convinced another talented writer and empowering creative force to join the Pretty Handy Girl ranks! This gal has a real “Can Do!” attitude that she imparts on everyone she meets. She has successful taught people who didn’t think they could draw a straight line how to paint flowers, faux finishes and much more!

She’s an extremely talented artist:

boston_terrier_commissioned_portrait

Commissioned Pet Portrait [Read more...]

How to install landscape bed black edging

edging 6

Jaime here from That’s My Letter to share an easy project that will make your landscaping look clean and neat.

edging3-1

We just moved into a new home with tons of landscaping, it’s full and lush and mature AND lacks definition from the grassy yard.

edging 6

With help from the folks at True Temper® I installed landscape edging using the round point shovel and black plastic edging to create that defining line between grass and plantings: [Read more...]

How to Cut Bar Stools Down to Counter Height Stools

counter stools

counter stools

Yes you can make those wood bar stools fit your counter.  Here’s an easy DIY fix to make bar stools into counter stools (and a quick makeover too!).

Bar stools typically sit at 30″ high, this is fine and dandy if you have a proper bar where the countertop is elevated higher than the working countertop space.  Kitchen designs are trending now away from the proper bar towards one even countertop surface.  No worries, you can still use those bar stools for your counter by easily cutting off the bottom 4″ to reduce the stools to a counter height of 26″:

counter stools1

(The white stools above are counter height and in the picture for comparison purposes.)

In addition to fixing the height of your stools give them a fresh look with a quick paint job and a new design: [Read more...]

DIY Beadboard Picture Frames

DIY Beadboard Picture Frames

DIY Beadboard Picture Frames

Last month Matt showed you all how to build a decorative shelf with crown molding for our half bath. The shelf is perfect for the space and I love it. Unfortunately something felt like it was missing from the shelf. After some thought I decided that our shelf needed picture frames! Beadboard picture frames to be exact.

DIY Beadboard Picture Frames

Today I am going to show you how to DIY your own beadboard picture frames! [Read more...]

Welcome Contributor – Jaime from That’s My Letter

Contributors_headshots

Contributors_Cristina_revealed

Did you guess who my final contributing writer is? Let me give you a hint: “A” is for Awesome and Amazing!

Jaimes_headshot

She’s none other than the awesome and amazing Jaime from That’s My Letter!

You know why she’s amazing? Because this girl has some serious building, painting, crafting and sewing skills. She’s like the MacGyver of DIY bloggers. If you give her a stick and a piece of thread she’ll whip up something awesome!

This mother of three lives in the Westchester County, NY area. Jaime has had several of her projects featured on Ana White and designed aprons with Ana for those of us handy gals that prefer a prettier tool belt: [Read more...]

Welcome Contributor – Cristina from Remodelando La Casa

Contributors_Cristina_revealed

Contributors_Cristina_revealed

I’m so excited to introduce another handy writer to you today! She’s a wife, a mom, and a secret DIY Superwoman! She knows how to tame any ugly cabinet or window in her home by wrapping it in beautiful custom molding and trim.

Please meet Cristina from Remodelando la Casa!

Cristina_headshot

Cristina started her blog over a year ago after she took on a major project and lived to tell about it. She renovated her kitchen by herself! Going through the process myself, I can tell you that this is no easy feat. You won’t believe the before and after pictures: [Read more...]

Welcome Contributors – Matt & Jacque from The DIY Village

Contributors_revealed_3

Jeff_revealed

Vanna, can you please reveal who’s behind square two and three? Why, look who it is! It’s Jacque and Matt from The DIY Village.

Contributors_revealed_3

Not to be confused or associated with the Village People. Although it would be fun to have all of us dress up like this (or maybe not.):

I first met Matt & Jacque at Haven. These two are the dynamic duo of DIY. (If they’d let me in their duo, we’d make a great trio!) Do you sense a tinge of jealousy? I can tell you that I am a little envious of their tandem blogging and DIY projects. Double the fun, double the productivity, double the…you get the point.

diy_village_and_meWhen they aren’t DIYing together, Jacque works in the office of a small landscaping company and Matt is a Firefighter for a local fire department. They live in East Tennessee in a home that they bought in 2011

Matt & Jacque both have some fabulous DIY skills. For example, feast your eyes on their woodland stenciled dresser: [Read more...]

Welcome Contributor – Jeff of Home Repair Tutor

Jeff_revealed

Jeff_revealed

The first of the handy peeps I want to introduce you to is Jeff! Jeff writes a very informative home repair blog called Home Repair Tutor. He is a homeowner turned handyman after renovating and maintaining several rental properties (plus his home.) Jeff’s tutorials are straight forward and very helpful for saving you a buck or two (or two hundred) on your home repairs.

I know you’ll love Jeff’s sense of humor in addition to his super helpful tutorials. [Read more...]