DIY Rustic Wood Lanterns

DIY Rustic Wood Lanterns

DIY Rustic Wood Lanterns

Lanterns are the perfect way to add warmth into your decorating. Today on the Rockstar DIY stage is Katie, with the tutorial to create these beautiful DIY Rustic Wood Lanterns.

Rockstar DIY Series

You probably already know this Rockstar, because Katie is part of the Pretty Handy Girl rockin’ group. She is also the phenomenal DIY creator at Addicted 2 DIY. This girl doesn’t just build small lanterns, she also builds gigantic workshop garages from the ground up! She’s one bad ass DIYer.


I hear the rat-a-tat-tat of the nail gun, so she must be ready to take the stage. Take it away Katie!


Hey everyone!  It’s Katie again.  I’m back to show you how to make these simple, DIY rustic wood lanterns.  I love wood lanterns and have been wanting some for quite some time, but they can be pretty pricey.  With some square dowels, a little plywood, and some nails, I was able to create these gorgeous lanterns in no time at all.  I made mine from cedar boards that I ripped down into square sticks, but square dowels will work just fine.  The sizes of these are based on 10″ x 6″ hurricane vases I bought at Michaels, but these can be easily customized to fit whatever size vase you have, or no vase at all!


  • 3 – 4′ long x 3/4″ square wood dowels (6 if you’re making two)
  • 1/4″ plywood or hobby board*
  • 1 1/4″ brad nails
  • 5/8″ brad nails
  • wood glue
  • wood sealer (I used Thompson’s WaterSeal Timber Oil in Natural)
  • hurricane vases (optional)
  • candles (optional)

*NOTE:  I used scrap 1/4″ plywood for the bottoms.  You can purchase small pieces of plywood or even 1/4″ hobby board at your local home improvement store.  It’s not absolutely necessary to use 1/4″ thickness.  If you happen to have 1/2″ or even 3/4″ plywood lying around, I’d definitely use that.  It makes this project even cheaper and everyone loves that!


Let’s get started assembling the lanterns.

For each lantern, cut 4 – 12″ sticks of wood and 8 – 6.5″ sticks.  Cut the base of the lantern into an 8″ square.


Assemble the frame of the lanterns using wood glue and 1 1/4″ brad nails.


Clamp the frame to hold the frame square while you shoot the nails into the wood.  [Read more…]

Rockstar DIY Series

Rockstar DIY Series

Rockstar DIY Series

I’m sending on tour! We will be traveling the country and beyond to gather DIY tutorials from a selection of the most talented DIY Bloggers on earth. I am super excited to introduce to you these 15 Rockstar DIY bloggers who will be sharing their talents with you! Are you ready for the awesomeness? Well, get your ear plugs out…

…because the saws will be buzzing.

Lift up your hands in the air…

…with hammers in hand.

Rub your hands together…

…to dust off the sawdust.

And welcome these rockstars:

Rockstar DIY Series

Here is a list of the project performances so far:

Bring your lighters (or mobile phones) for the power ballads and get ready to rock to the sounds of the workshop.

Rock on!


Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Earlier in the week, I showed you the changes I made in my oldest son’s bedroom. One of the switches I made was to replace his bedroom door (tutorial to come) because the old one had cracked after one too many slammings. Ugh, cheap hollow door.

In an effort to keep my son from taping all types of signs to his new door, I found an ugly old frame and married it with some scrap metal from a junky set of shelving a neighbor was throwing away. That’s not real wood, it’s metal…fake wood metal. Yuck.


But, I salvaged the shelves and cut the edges off with tin snips when I realized they were magnetic. And for some reason (beyond my understanding) I had an ugly frame laying around.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Wait until you see how they were transformed. You won’t believe your eyes, so watch closely how I made this Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame:


Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Old frame
  • Tin snips
  • Sheet metal
  • Moulding
  • Pencil
  • Sanding block or sander
  • Wood glue
  • Wet wipe
  • Clamps
  • D-hooks for hanging
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam brush
  • Miter Saw

Optional: You may need some Goo Gone, a scraper and rag to eliminate any glue on the back of the frame.


Begin by cutting your metal to fit into the back of the frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint one side of the metal with chalkboard paint. Apply two coats of paint and season with chalk. [Read more…]

Dress Up Standard Door Mirror with READYFrame + Giveaway

Install a ReadyMade Mirror Frame on Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Install a ReadyMade Mirror Frame on Door | Pretty Handy Girl

You guys, I can’t believe I have a middle schooler. I know, I know, I’ve been having a pity party for myself for two weeks. But, I’m finally coming to terms with it. This past week, I helped Handy Boy #1 de-clutter his room and carve out a space for him to do his homework (without being interrupted by his younger brother.) We moved his furniture around and actually had a lot of fun talking and working together.

Install a ReadyMade Mirror Frame on Door | Pretty Handy Girl

I also installed a mirror on his door. Although he’s not obsessed with how he looks or dresses yet, I know that time is coming soon. Instead of putting up a cheapy plastic-framed mirror, I worked with MirrorMate to test out their new READYFrame kit. You may remember when I ordered a custom MirrorMate frame for that ugly and naked mirror in my sons’ bathroom. It still looks great today (although I painted it blue for a new look.)

MirrorMate now sells pre-made frames that fit several of the standard sized mirrors you can buy at Lowe’s, IKEA or HomeDepot. I chose the Essex Crosshatch Silver and the tall 16″ x 58″ mirror from Lowe’s.

I didn’t need to purchase any hanging hardware because MirrorMate ships it with your frame.

Install a ReadyMade Mirror Frame on Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Want to see how easy it was to hang and dress up the mirror? I’ll give you a hint, it was easy and it looks beautiful!


Install a ReadyMade Mirror Frame on Door | Pretty Handy Girl

  • MirrorMateREADYFrame
  • Screwdriver (or drill with phillips head bit)
  • Rubber mallet (or hammer)
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Wet wipe
  • Heavy book or weight
  • Thumbtack or pin
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball or rag
  • A helper

Assembling the Frame:

Open up the READYFrame box and remove the frame connectors from the packaging.

Install a ReadyMade Mirror Frame on Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the top from the glue and peel off the seal. Poke a thumbtack in the glue bottle to create a hole in the nozzle. Apply glue to the edges of theREADYFrame. [Read more…]

DIY Nautical Towel Rack


NauticalTowel Rack

The kids are back in school, but we still have plenty of hot summer weather here in Arizona. This means a lot of time by the pool.  My boys swim every single day, and always leave a pile of towels left in their wake.  I was tired of the towels and swim trunks piling up in their bathroom, so I decided it was time to make a designated place for them to hang everything to dry.  This DIY Nautical Towel Rack keeps their bathroom picked up and it adds a little fun nautical decor to the pool area, so it’s a win-win!


  • 1 – 1x6x8′ cedar board
  • 1 – 5 gallon paint stick
  • 1 roll of 1×2″ sisal rope (about 10 feet)
  • 6 coat hooks
  • Green Apple spray paint
  • acrylic paint in the color of your choice (I used Americana Bahama Blue)
  • Wood Glue
  • Super Glue
  • Staple Gun with 3/4″ staples
  • 1 yard of adhesive vinyl and transfer paper for the stencil
  • Die-cutting machine
  • 1 1/2″ hose clamps
  • 1/2″ self-tapping screws


Spray paint the coat hooks and set them aside to dry.


While the paint dries on the hooks, cut the cedar board into two 3′ sections.  (If you have a bigger family, you can always just cut it in half for a bigger towel rack. ) Cut the 5 gallon paint stick into three pieces to attach to the back.


Line up the boards and attach the paint sticks to the back using wood glue and staples.  If you don’t have a staple gun, a brad nailer with 3/4″ nails will work as well. [Read more…]

21 Ways to Make and Decorate Totebags

canvas-tote phg

21 Ways to Make and Decorate Tote Bags | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you been enjoying all of the awesome tote bag tutorials this week? Today we’ve rounded up even more sewing tutorials, decorating ideas, and an amazing crocheted tote bag.

How To Sew Totebags:

canvas-tote phg

Who can resist an adorable lined tote bag with a monogram. Can you believe this beauty is all DIY! Jaime of That’s My Letter whipped up a classic monogrammed canvas tote.


Drop cloths aren’t just for catching paint anymore! Heather of The Sewing Loft shows how to make an Easy Canvas Tote Bag out of painter drop cloths!

Fox book bag

What does the fox say? He’d say he’s head over heels in love with this tote bag. Perfect for back to school, Heather shows how to sew or iron on this fox applique with sweet embroidery details.


Sandra from Sawdust Girl is famous for her amazing woodworking so it should be no surprise that she has a fabulous tutorial for Reversible Reusable Ruffled Grocery Bags.


It’s okay to cheat a little. Grab a store bought tote and dress it up that plain tote bag with piping. This tutorial also shows a cheat for the non-sewer!

decorate tote with old shirt

Old shirt + another store bought tote = Adorable! Customizing a Totebag With an Old Shirt in an hour.
This goes straight on my Christmas to-do list!


I know, it’s hard to discard that favorite t-shirt. Now you don’t have to! Repurpose that favorite tee into a library totebag? Jessica from Mad in Crafts shares how easy it is in her step-by-step tutorial.

tote bag from tee shirt

What’s better than repurposing one t-shirt? Of course, recycling two shirts! On Creative Green Living, Carissa shares another t-shirt-to-totebag tutorial using two shirts. One makes a stylish liner.


No-Sew Totebags: [Read more…]

How to Sew a Custom Canvas Tote

canvas tote 1

Tote Week | Pretty Handy Girl

Hey guys! Do you know what today is? It’s the beginning of Tote Week! What, you had no idea? Tote Week here on Pretty Handy Girl is five days devoted to Tote Bags! Learn how to sew adorable tote bags and how to customize store bought tote bags.

If you’re just joining in here’s the line up:

To start us off, Jaime is here to give you the basic sewing tutorial to make your own lined (and monogrammed) tote bag. Jaime is from That’s My Letter, a blog filled with DIY Tutorials. Today, she’s showing you How to Sew a Custom Canvas Tote complete with painted monogram:

canvas tote

This tote makes a great everyday bag or purse, just big enough for all the important stuff but not too bulky.  The finished size is 16″w x 9″h x 8″ square at the base, and the handles extend about 6″ in height.

canvas tote 13

The tote is fully lined and includes an interior zippered pocket.  The zipper is easy as pie I promise!  I’ll show you how down below.

You can add any monogram or name to personalize the tote.  Then you’ll be making canvas totes as gifts for all your friends.

canvas tote 3

The square base makes for a nice wide tote and the canvas is super durable:

canvas tote 2


  • drop cloth canvas (1 yard)
  • blue canvas (1/2 yard outdoor patio fabric Sunbrella or the like)
  • lining (1 yard)
  • medium weight fusible interfacing (1 yard)
  • firm interfacing – 9″ x 9″
  • 1 1/2″w cotton webbing (1 yard)
  • 9″ zipper
  • lightbox
  • small paintbrush
  • acrylic paint
  • sewing machine, thread to match, iron, seam ripper

Materials Cut List:


  • 1 – blue canvas 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – lining 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – drop cloth canvas 9″ x 9″
  • 1 – firm interfacing 9″ x 9″


  • 2 – drop cloth canvas 10″h x 17″l
  • 2 – med. fusible interfacing 10″ x 17″
  • 2 – lining 10″ x 17″
  • 2 – blue canvas 4″h x 17″w

Handles: 2 – 1 1/2″w cotton webbing @ 17″l


canvas tote fabric cuts

Step 1: Cut materials (see cut list above).

canvas tote base

Step 2: Prepare base.  Sandwich drop cloth, firm interfacing then blue canvas. [Read more…]

DIY Pouf Ottoman ~ Tutorial and Lessons Learned



Hey everyone!  It’s Katie again from Addicted 2 DIY.  Today, I have (1) a tutorial on how to make a fun DIY pouf ottoman and (2) a few lessons I learned while I was making mine that will help you out when making your own.  I’m pretty certain it’s hard to miss the fact that pouf ottomans are everywhere right now.  The problem is the price.  These babies are expensive!  I refuse to pay a high price for something that I can make myself. I bought some fabric and figured out how to make my own!


I’m no pro at sewing, so know that this is a tutorial for even a novice sewer! Sewing is not one of my chosen hobbies, but I do love the fact that I am able to save a ton of money when I make things myself.



Cut your fabric pieces.  For the top and bottom of the pouf, cut two squares of fabric at 19×19″.  For the sides, cut four pieces at 19×15″.


Sewing on the Zipper:

Sew two side pieces together (on the short sides) with a basting stitch.  Press open the seam and place the zipper face down on the seam.  Pin the zipper in place.  (Note:  You don’t have to use a zipper, and I didn’t on my first pouf, but it will make it difficult to sew together when it is stuffed because the polystyrene beads will try to fall out everywhere.) [Read more…]

Home is Where the Heart Is – Door Decor

house shape door decor 1

house shape door decor collage

How about an unusual front door decor idea today?  Jaime from That’s My Letter here to share this house shape door decor project with free plans to make your own.

house shape door decor title

A little play on “home is where the heart is,” this door decor is definitely different and not your typical wreath.  I used 1×3 pine boards to make the house shape then added the cut out hearts to hang in the middle. (Yes the house shape does look like an arrow. If you want to make an arrow shape, those plans are below as well.)

house shape door decor 1

This would also make great indoor wall art. Imagine all the paint color possibilities!

house shape door decor hearts


  • 1 – 1″ x 3″ x 6′ pine board
  • 1/4″ plywood scraps
  • miter saw
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • wood glue
  • finish nailer
  • 1 1/4″ finish nails
  • 3/4″ finish nails
  • scroll saw or jigsaw
  • sandpaper
  • wire hanger
  • drill
  • 1/8″ drill bit
  • wood putty
  • white spray paint
  • red acrylic craft paint
  • paintbrush
  • clear exterior grade polyurethane spray

Below are the step-by-step instructions to make your own wood house shape door decor. Always follow all precautions and safety rules when using power tools.

house shape door decor dimensions


Cut List:

  • 1 – 1×3 @ 12 3/4″, one end 45 degree miter (roof)
  • 1 – 1×3 @ 12″, one end 45 degree miter (roof)
  • 2 – 1×3 @ 2 1/2″, one end 45 degree miter (roof overhang)
  • 2 – 1×3 @ 13″ (sides)
  • 1 – 1×3 @ 9 1/2″ (base)


Step 1: Assemble roof.  Attach long side to short side using glue and 1 1/4″ finish nails.
house shape door decor step 1

Step 2: Add roof overhang pieces to mitered ends of roof.  Use glue and 3/4″ finish nails here.  Below demonstrates how to cut these super short mitered pieces. [Read more…]

How to Make an Ottoman Table

How to Make an Ottoman Table

How to Make an Ottoman Table

Design inspiration can often come in the least-expected places. It can happen when you are in an airport or at the farmers market or just plain window shopping in your home town. Last year when I was at the Haven blog conference, I fell in love with this table I saw in the hotel restaurant.

How to Make an Ottoman Table

But want is it called? An ottoman tray, a side table, a bridge? Turns out it is all those things. Today I’m going to teach you how to make one. This simple piece of furniture is not only easy to make, but very functional too. It can fit perfectly over an ottoman in your home and give you a steady place for a book or your favorite drink. Or if you don’t have an ottoman, it makes a nice side table too.


  • MDF board – These come in many sizes at the home improvement store. For this project I used a piece that was 1 x 10 x 72″.
  • L-brackets
  • Wood screws
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Circular saw (optional)


First, measure the size of the ottoman you want to slide the ottoman table over. Make sure you have enough clearance for it to fit the width and the height of the ottoman. You will have three boards total. Two that will serve as the “legs” and one that will be the top.

Transfer your measurements to the board. Using a circular saw, cut the board in two places according to your measurements, giving you three boards.

You can have the board cut for you at the home improvement store and save yourself a step. (This works for me a lot since I have a small car, then it easily fits inside on the way home.)

Wipe of any sawdust with a rag.

How to Make an Ottoman Table

Prime and paint the boards. It’s a good idea to use a “gripping” primer so that your table will be stand up to frequent use. There are also enamel paints that are meant for furniture that you can use as the color. If you have paint on hand, use what you got! Or, sample cans are only around $4 and should cover your entire piece, depending on the size.

After the boards are dry, you can assemble the table. Take the top piece and turn it upside down on a soft surface. Place a “leg” board perpendicular next to it and mark where to place the L-bracket. [Read more…]

Wall Mounted TV with Hidden Wires Tutorial

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

Do you have a flat screen TV? Do you have children? Wish you could mount your TV on the wall for space and safety? Or have you already mounted your TV, but the wires are visible and hang below your screen? GASP—not the dreaded visible wires syndrome!

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

Today I have a tutorial to show you How to Install a Wall Mount for your TV AND How to Hide those Unsightly Wires in a cable management system. SANUS sent me their Full-Motion TV Wall Mount and In-Wall Cable Management to use for this tutorial. Before you start thinking that you can’t do this, or that you have to hire an electrician to run power behind the TV, you don’t! And this is a very easy DIY project! The SANUS In-Wall Cable Management System is the coolest product. It allows you to hook up to an existing outlet elsewhere (within 60″ horizontally from your TV)! (Per FTC regulations, you should know that this is a sponsored post for SANUS, but I approached them after researching TV mounts and cable management systems. )

Genevieve Gorder has some good information about why you want to use a SANUS mount in this short video:

Why did I want to use the SANUS mount? Here’s just a few reasons:

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

You can pull your screen out from the wall or press it back to just a few inches away. (The arms extend a full 20″. Further than shown, because our cables are too short to fully extend.)

The power cord plugs into an ultra low profile in wall cable system. All wires are hidden behind the TV.

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

The TV can also extend and swivel from left to right. This allows us to be able to watch TV from the adjacent room! Which means the kids can eat pizza AND watch a movie because they can safely sit at the kitchen table and view the movie in the living room. Score one for Mom!  No more pizza stains on the rug or sofa.

And because I love y’all,  I asked SANUS to let me giveaway a Full-Motion TV Wall Mount and In-Wall Cable Management to one of you lucky ducks ;-). (Read to the end to enter the giveaway.)

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

Ready to learn how you can easily mount your flat-screen TV on the wall AND hide the wires? Let’s get to it! [Read more…]

20 Boredom Buster DIY Projects for Kids

Sunprints | Pretty Handy Girl

20 Summer Boredom Busters for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

The end of the school year has come and the quest to keep the kids entertained has started. With that in mind, I have 20 Boredom Buster DIY summer craft projects for you and your kids that will keep you busy this summer.


Summer Calendar & Bucket List


Thumbprint Pillow | Pretty Handy Girl

Kids’ Thumbprint Envelope Pillows



Melted Heart Crayons


Sunprints | Pretty Handy Girl

Sunprints (frame-worthy art)


DIY Magnets Noggin Characters | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Character Magnets



Summer Garden Flag


Planning a beach vacation? Why not bring a few craft supplies to create some beach-themed crafts!

Writing Name in Sand Art | Pretty Handy Girl

Writing in the Sand Art


Sea Shell Memory Game | Pretty Handy Girl

Sea Shell Memory Game


Dragonfly Garden Decor using a Dollar Store Whisk and Skewer | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Dragonfly from a Whisk and Skewer


block print tea towel

Potato Block Print Tea Towels



Easy Washi Tape Vases


how to make a yardstick star

DIY Yardstick Star


Spray-Dyed T-shirts | Pretty Handy Girl

Spray-dyed Shirts


Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

Decorative Chalkboard Clipboards


Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Kid Designed Monster Dolls



Indoor Hopscotch with Painter’s Tape



Wine Cork Animals



Doodle Shirts



Decorated Glass Jar Votives


Magnetic Mailbox Cover | Pretty Handy Girl

Custom Painted Magnetic Mailbox Covers 

Those ought to keep your kids busy for a little while and let you make summer memories that last forever. Happy Summer!


Scrap Wood Planter Box

Scrap Wood Planter Box

Scrap Wood Planter Box

Hi, it’s Jessica from Decor Adventures, back this month with an outdoor project that’s perfect for summer. You know how your garage is filled with scrap pieces of wood from other projects you’ve done? Today you get to put those scraps to good use and make a planter box for plants or herbs. It’s very easy to use what you have and it won’t cost you much at all. Here’s how to make a scrap wood planter box.

The main box is made from 2″ x 8″ boards. You can make this box whatever size works for your space, or based on how much wood you have in your scrap pile!


The idea for this project is to use what you have on hand, so some of the sizes of your wood may vary. Here are the materials I used for this planter box.

  • 2×8″ pressure-treated wood for box and legs (or 2″x4″ pressure treated wood for the legs)
  • ChoiceDek composite deck material for bottom of box
  • 2″ x 2″ wood for bottom of box
  • Scrap triangles cut from 2″ x 4″ boards (Triangles can be cut out of 2″ x 4″s on a miter saw set at 45° degrees.)
  • Miter saw
  • Safety glasses
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Potting soil
  • Plants or herbs


The width of the three deck material pieces I used were 6 3/4″ each. This material was used to build our deck, so we had leftovers on hand and it’s great to use for plants since it won’t rot. The composite deck material is sold at home improvement stores and comes in different lengths and widths.

For the box and legs, you can use pressure treated lumber since it also resists rot and insects. The long sides of the box measure 19 3/4″ and the shorter end pieces measure 12 1/2″.

Cut your wood to size with a miter saw.  Using your drill and screws, assemble the box into a rectangle. Place the ends on each side of the longer boards as shown below:

Scrap Wood Planter Box

Screw the 4 triangles to the bottom of your box, into the corners, with your screws. Attach  the 2″ x 2″s along each long side of the box also lined up with the bottom of the box. This should give support on the underside so you can rest the composite pieces inside to make the bottom.

Scrap Wood Planter Box [Read more…]

DIY Decorative Ammo Box

wooden ammo box lid

how to build a wood ammo box

I’m super excited to have Pauline from My Altered State joining us today! It’s been a while since we’ve had a guest on Pretty Handy Girl, and this guest was certainly worth the wait! She’s joining us today to show you How to Build a DIY Decorative Ammo Box! This gorgeous crate may be for decorative purposes, but Pauline studied the construction of real ammo boxes to build it the same way the real ones are built. She’s amazing, and I know you’ll understand why in a minute.

I met Pauline at Haven last year, but I’ve been a fan of her blog way before we met. She is an avid upcycler and loves to use salvage materials in her projects.

She has so many fabulous projects, I had a hard time picking a few to show you. Like this fabulous Map Decoupaged Desk/Chair!

Map Decoupaged Desk Chair

Or these beautiful Reclaimed Wood Snowflakes!

Reclaimed Wood Snowflakes

But, by far my favorite DIY project Pauline has completed so far is this desk and art installation in her kitchen!

Kitchen Nook Art Installation

Be sure to head over to her blog to see all the other amazing creations she has designed!

And now, Pauline has an easy and unique tutorial for us today! Please clap, cheer and get on your feet for the amazing Pauline from My Altered State!

When I started blogging, I never dreamed that I would one day meet THE Pretty Handy Girl in person, let alone find myself writing a guest post for her.  So having said that, imagine how excited I am right now as I write my first guest post on Pretty Handy Girl!  Now it’s time to get started.  I hope you enjoy my DIY Decorative Ammo Box project.

ammo box diy

Wooden military ammunition boxes have been a staple in the vintage repurposing and upcycling world for a while. They are a versatile storage item with an industrial flavor, but sometimes they are hard to find. That’s when I get the urge to build.

In an effort to keep this tutorial from being too lengthy, the info on finishing and aging the ammo box’s finish is found on My Altered State today. Now let’s get building.


To create a box with the dimensions of 27″ wide x 7″ tall x 10″ deep, purchase the following:

  • (2) 1″ x 6″ x 6′
  • (2) 1″ x 2″ x 6′
  • (1) 1″ x 4″ x 6′
  • Rope
  • Gorilla tape
  • Wood glue
  • 2 Hinges
  • Drill
  • Drill bit same thickness of rope
  • Clamp
  • Pencil
  • 2″ nails
  • Nailgun (or hammer)
  • Miter saw

Cut List:

cut list wood ammo box

  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ cut to 10 1/4″ (cut ends at 30 degree bevel as shown above)
  • 4 – 1″ x 2″ cut to 5 3/4″
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ cut to 25 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 4″ cut to 25 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 6″ cut to 8 3/4″
  • 2 – 1″ x 6″ cut to 25 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 6″ cut to 27 1/4″


By copying the design of an authentic ammo box, I will show you how to build this DIY Decorative Ammo Box clear down to the way the handles are attached.

Lay out all your pieces for a “dry run” of the design:

  • Bottom of box: (1″ x 6″ x 25 1/2″) + (1″ x 2″ x 25 1/2″) + (1″ x 4″ x 25 1/2″) boards.
  • Front and Back of box: 1″ x 6″ x 27 1/4″ boards
  • Sides of box (with rope handle): 1″ x 6″ x 8 3/4″ boards

Mark the location for your rope handles (approximately 2″ down from the top of the box.)

assemble wood ammo box

During the dry run, notice that the front and back pieces are an inch longer on each side. The stabilizing 1″ x 2″ pieces will rest on the ground, while the four sides of the box rest on the base.

diy ammo box design

After all the ammo box collecting I’ve done over the years, you’d think I would have noticed how the handles were installed on the real thing. Nope. Never paid attention until now. Here’s a close up of the real thing: [Read more…]

DIY Firepit and Seating

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Firepits are very popular right now. You can purchase a simple firepit at your local home improvement store, or put in a little sweat equity and create a DIY Firepit with Seating.

When we had several hardwood trees taken down in our yard, I asked the tree guy to cut some of the base pieces of the tree trunk into 18″ segments to use as stumps to sit on.

Then I set about creating a DIY firepit and seating in our back yard.


  • Shovel
  • String
  • Stake
  • Stick
  • Rocks or fire ring
  • Sand
  • Bag of drainage gravel
  • Slate, stepping stones or pea gravel
  • Mulch or crushed stone
  • Stumps or seating
  • Wood to burn


Begin by locating a level location to build your fire pit. Take note of any overhanging branches and trim them away from the firepit area. Hammer the stake into the center of your firepit area. Attach string and make a loop in the string at 6 feet. Insert a stick into the loop and walk around pulling the string taut while dragging the stick in the earth to mark a 12 foot diameter circle. Create another loop at 4 feet and repeat marking an inner circle. Finally, create a loop at 1 foot and drag the stick to mark the firepit ring area.

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Dig a hole in the 2 foot firepit ring area. Remove any roots from the dirt. Dig about 12″ down. Fill the bottom of the hole with gravel. Add a layer of sand on top of the gravel. Line the 2′ firepit area with a fire ring or rocks (or both).

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour sand around the 8 foot diameter circle and set your stepping stones or pea gravel in this area. [Read more…]

How to Build a Table

Reclaimed Lumber Farmhouse Table | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Build a Table | Pretty Handy Girl

Building a Farmhouse Table has been on my mind for several years. I was never crazy about our hand-me-down dining set. But, I never had the time to build a table from scratch. Now that the table is done, I don’t know why I put it off for so long. Building a table is relatively easy DIY project. You basically need four table legs, 1″ x 4″ boards for the apron and a table top. Depending on your style, you can use anything for the top. You can cut grooves into an existing table top to create the plank look, like Lauren from Bless’er House did:

Faux Plank Table Top by Bless'Er House

Or you could use 2″ x 6″ lumber to create a new table top like Jaime from That’s My Letter did:

2x6 Lumber Table by That's My Letter

Or wrap MDF with galvanized sheet metal for a zinc top, like Traci from Beneath My Heart did:

Zinc Topped Table by Beneath My Heart

Feel free to create a table top with something less conventional like a slab of marble, tempered glass or an old door! Use your imagination and creativity.

I chose to work with reclaimed lumber for a true farmhouse table top. I bought reclaimed rafters from The ReUse Warehouse in Durham, NC. When I paid for it, the lumber looked like this:

Reclaimed Lumber Farmhouse Table | Pretty Handy Girl

But, was transformed into this:

Reclaimed Lumber Farmhouse Table | Pretty Handy Girl

I’ll give you the details about the reclaimed wood table top in another post.

Today we’re going to learn how to build the table base!

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Optional: 2″ x 4″ board for additional center support


Measure your table top and subtract 8″ from the length measurement (my table is 71″ long, so the measurement I need for the base is 63″.) Measure the table top width and subtract 5″ from that measurement (my table is 42″ wide, so the measurement I need for the base is 37″.)

Next measure the thickness of the top of your table legs. Then double that number. This will give you the width of both legs per side. Subtract this number to get the length of your apron rails. (For example, my table base final measurement is 63″ x 37″. My table legs are 4″ wide x 2 = 8″. Therefore my two side rails need to be 55″ and the end rails should be 29″.)

How to Build a Table | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut the 1″ x 4″ boards to the size you figured out above.

Lay your legs and apron rails upside down on a flat surface. Double check your measurements, square and the table top dimensions against the table base. [Read more…]

File Cabinet Makeover Using Chalk Paint

File Cabinet Makeover Using Chalk Paint

File Cabinet Makeover Using Chalk Paint

Hey there everyone!  I’m working in my craft room to give it a major overhaul and make it a much more functional and creative space.  It also doubles as an office that I share with my husband.  It’s not always the easiest thing to do, partly because of a lack of organization. One of the biggest projects we’re taking on is completely making over the closet.  I’ve already replaced the closet doors with curtains and I love how much easier it has made it to get to things in the closet.


This file cabinet is one of the things that goes in that closet.  When we finish making over the closet, it will be moved to a more prominent location that will be more visible, especially if the curtains are left open.  Because of that, I decided that the boring beige color had to go and I gave it a quick and SUPER cheap makeover!

Here’s what you’ll need to do this project yourself!



Unless you plan on painting it, you want to remove all of the hardware off of your file cabinet.  I wasn’t quite sure how this would go, but it was extremely easy to remove everything.  Just a couple of bolts and I was pretty much done!


To protect the inside of the cabinet from overspray or paint dripping through, cover all of the holes from the inside using masking or painter’s tape.


Time to mix your chalk paint.  What I love so much about BB Frösch Chalk Paint Powder is that there’s virtually no waste.  You mix as you go.  I like using the sample-sized paint containers because they’re cheap and if it’s a project where I’m not sure how much paint I’ll need, at least I know I won’t go way over by buying a quart.  The other amazing thing is that there’s virtually no prep work.

Wipe down the file cabinet with a wet cloth and that is it!


If you choose to paint your cabinet using a roller or paint brush, you can get started from this point.  If you plan to use a paint sprayer, you’ll need to prep the paint.  First and foremost, strain your paint!  Lowe’s sells little cone paint strainers (they look like coffee filters) for $.98 a four pack.  Once your paint is strained, you need to thin it with water.  The HomeRight paint sprayer that I use comes with everything you need to do this, plus great instructions. [Read more…]

Wood Cut Out Tray

cut out tray 1

cut out tray title

Happy Wednesday Pretty Handy readers.  Jaime here from That’s My Letter to share a DIY project that makes a great anytime gift or (an even better idea) for Mother’s Day.  I’ll show you how to make this wood cut out tray which you can personalize with any name or shape.

The wood cut out makes for an unexpected design element.  I painted bright blue behind the cut out, but any contrasting color will look great.

cut out tray 3

Plexiglass installed over the wood cut out provides a solid flat surface.  The plexiglass also adds a bit of shine and fancy!

cut out tray 2

Below are the step-by-step instructions to make this tray.


cut out tray supplies

  • 1/2″ plywood 18″ x 12″
  • 1/4″ plywood 18″ x 12″
  • 1 sheet plexiglass (18″ x 24″ –  makes 2 trays)
  • 1 – 1″ x 2″ x 6′ pine board (cut 2 @ 18″ length and 2 @ 13 1/2″ length)
  • white paint
  • blue paint
  • stain
  • 2 handles
  • 1/2″ wood screws
  • 1/2″ lath screws
  • plexi/glass cutter
  • jig saw
  • sandpaper
  • ballpoint pen
  • measuring tape & pencil
  • drill, bits & 1/2″ spade bit


cut out tray step 1

Step 1: Print out your name or word.  (I used Sign Painter – housescript font at 475 point.  Any font will do as long as it’s thick enough to cut out.)

cut out tray step 2

Step 2: Center the printout on the 1/2″ plywood and trace around letters with a ballpoint pen.  Use heavy pressure to create an indent in the wood. [Read more…]

#DIYCourage Twitter Chat is Back

#DIYCourage Twitter Chat Every First Monday of the Month

#DIYCourage Twitter Chat Every First Monday of the Month

The #DIYCourage Twitter Chats are Back!

Remember when Sara Bendrick and I hosted a Twitter chat last year? Were you able to attend? If not, I have great news! We’re bringing the #DIYCourage empowerment back. The first Monday of every month, we’ll be chatting about your DIY projects that you completed or DIY projects that you want to complete. We’ll discuss ways you can accomplish your DIY Goals. And most importantly we’ll be talking about how you can get a big fat dose of courage when it comes to DIY projects.

Sara and I want to help you learn a new skill. We also want to meet other DIYers like yourselves. This is a great opportunity to make new friends (and gain a few more Twitter followers.)

Come on out and join us for the next #DIYCourage twitter chat on Monday, April 6th at 8:30pm EST/ 5:30pm EST. Did I mention that Duluth Trading Company is giving away a $100 gift card during the chat? If you aren’t familiar with Duluth Trading Company, they make rough and tough clothing strong enough to stand up to hard working (and playing) women and men.

Mark your calendars and don’t miss it. We hope you’ll walk away with a big fat dose of #DIYCourage and maybe some new DIY gear from!

Get ready for the Twitter chat by following DIYCouragePretty Handy Girl,  Sara Bendrick and Duluth Trading Co. on Twitter. Then tune in every month and follow the #DIYCourage hashtag.


Hang Art Without a Frame

Hang Art Without a Frame

Hang Art Without a Frame

One way to change the look of a space is to hang up new art. With so many attractive options for your walls, it’s easy to do. Posters, photos, wallpaper and other memorable art can look great, even without a frame. Having art framed professionally can get expensive. Even store bought frames can break your budget. But I have an easier way to hang art without a frame, and it will cost you less than $10.

These maps of Paris and Rome came from a local art supply store for only $5 each. Since they had been sitting in my closet for a while, I thought they would be perfect for this project and give new life to the living room. Each poster will have two pieces of trim, one along the top and one along the bottom.

Hang Art Without a Frame


Art Supplies

  • Poster
  • 3/4″ wood
  • Drill and 1/16 drill bit
  • Small cup hooks
  • Small loop chain
  • Wire cutters
  • Gorilla tape
  • Paint and paint brush (optional)

[Read more…]