DIY

FAQ: In My Toolbox, Part One

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

I’ve recently been asked by several readers what tools I consider essential to be a successful DIYer.  

Now some gals are proud of their closets full of designer shoes and clothing.  (Need I say MariahKimoraEvaPaula?)  Not me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes, handbags and shoes too, but I don’t have the budget to invest as heavily as the aforementioned celebs. 

In truth, if given the choice, I’d take the chair and chandelier in Mariah’s closet over that shoe collection.  But that’s just me.

mariah closet

But speaking of closets, there is one in my world that I like very much.  It’s not gilded.  It’s not glamorous.  It doesn’t have any shoes inside.  But I’m very fond of it. 

Read the rest of this entry »

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DIY: No Sew Swag Valance

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I am in the middle of a remodel of my home office.  I originally envisioned elegant window panels scaling the wall from floor to ceiling.  But then I realized that if I am surrounding my window with cabinetry and shelving, then the idea of dramatic curtain panels had to go, well, out the window.  But I still needed a touch of fabric to cover the less than lovely white blinds.

I’ve made window valances before so I constructed yet another valance for my home office with the same technique I’ve used before, but this time, I added a soft swag.  I found this curtain on clearance at Lowes for $7.

How to Make a No Sew Swag Window Valance:

A note on fabric choice:  Since you’ll be using a lined curtain turned on its side to construct your valance, choose a solid, or a pattern that looks good when you flip the pattern horizontal instead of vertical.

Supplies:

  1. Curtain panel long enough to run width (not length) of window
  2. Staple gun
  3. Fusible web for bonding fabric (sold as Stitch Witchery or Heat-n-Bond at fabric stores)
  4. 1/2 inch x 2 inch thick pine, birch or poplar board from home improvement store, cut to length of valance
  5. 1.5 inch “L” Brackets
  6. Iron

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Step One:  Choose where you want your valance to sit above your window, then measure the length of fabric you’ll need to cover the top of the board, and hang down over your window.  Cut fabric to chosen length.

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Step Two:  Trim side of curtain panel to width of valance, plus 2 extra inches on sides.  Use the fusible web, a hot iron, and a moist cloth to bond your fabric together to form a clean hem.

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Step Three:  Press your fabric with an iron to remove any wrinkles, then staple it to the top of your wood board, leaving 2 inches overlap on each side.  Trim off any excess fabric on the top.

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Step Four:  Wrap your fabric around the side of your board and secure side with a small staple.

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Step Five:  Locate studs on wall, then position your “L” brackets on your valance to match up to the wall studs.  Screw valance into wall.

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Step Six:  To swag your valance, pinch your fabric together, then secure with a safety pin.  If you experience too much “droop” in the middle of your valance, and it pulls away from the window’s edge, one trick is to secure your fabric to the wall underneath the fold with a small tack.  It works !

 

Step back and enjoy your inexpensive and homemade swag valance.

Now I just need to install those gigantic cabinets!

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DIY: Laundry Room Drying Rack

Monday, July 27th, 2009

For a long time, I have really wanted one of those drying racks from Ballard Designs.   You’ve seen them.  They’re so perfect in the laundry room for drying your delicate clothing.

 

I really wanted to save the money and build one myself.  I knew I could do it with the right supplies.  I even drew my own diagram on a napkin.  And I added knobs to the bottom of my design.

Here’s a look at the final result:

 diy laundry room drying rack

This is the perfect solution for drying all of my delicates!  I am so happy with the way it turned out – it is both pretty and practical.

How to Build a Laundry Room Drying Rack + Supplies:

  1. 2 x 2’ precut birch (1/2 inch thick)
  2. Two 1/2 x 2” poplar boards
  3. Two 3/8” dowel rods (48” long)
  4. Sash lock
  5. Narrow loose pin hinges (set of two)
  6. D ring hangers for mounting on wall
  7. Bracketed hinge for side (or chain with small screw eyes)
  8. Three white porcelain knobs
  9. Primer and paint of choice

 

Necessary tools:  Drill bit set, including 3/8 inch drill bit, screwdriver, framing nails, a hammer, and a saw.

 

Step One:  Measure and cut your 1/2 inch x 2 boards to fit the 2 x 2 precut birch.  Cut your dowel rods to fit inside your drying rack frame.

 

Step Two:  With your 3/8 inch drill bit, drill holes for your precut dowel rods.  Use a mallet to hammer dowel rods into predrilled spots.

 

Step Three:  Finish assembling your rack with framing nails.

 

Step Four:  Attach your pin hinges with a screwdriver.

 

Step Five:  Prime your wood drying rack, then paint with your color of choice.  I used a spray primer, then once it was dry, I applied Rustoleum’s Seaside Green to the back.  Once the back was dry, I covered it with newspaper, and painted the dowel rods and frame with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White.

 

Step Six:  If you want to make the sides of your inexpensive wood smoother, then use paintable wood filler (or wood putty) to fill in the uneven surfaces.  I use my finger to apply it.  Once the wood filler is dry, simply spray paint right over it.

 

 

Step Seven: When your paint is dry, attach your sash lock to the top of your drying rack.  It’s a good idea to drill pilot holes first when working with wood only 1/2 inch thick.  This way, when you drive your screws in, you have a much better chance of avoiding any visible split in your wood.

 

Step Eight:  Drill holes to attach your knobs to the bottom.

 

Knobs after:

 

 

Step Nine: Attach a hinged bracket, or a chain with screw eyes, to keep your drying rack at your desired angle when open.  Attach your D-ring hangers to the back, and hang on your laundry room wall.

What I like about this new drying rack is that I can dry all sorts of delicate clothing (*ahem* ladies, your lingerie…).

 

I added knobs to the bottom of my design so I can dry sweaters or other clothing right on the hanger.

 

It’s a solid wood piece, hung right on the wall studs, so I can even dry towels right on these knobs.

 

When open, it has four rungs for drying several layers of clothing:

When not in use, it folds up flush with the wall, with the help of the sash lock on top:

 

 

I purchased all of my wood and hinges at Lowes.  The total cost for the supplies for my drying rack was around $25 (not including paint and primer that I had in my supply closet).   Compare that to Ballard’s price of $89 for their small version (not including tax plus shipping).

2013 Update:  This drying rack is still working perfectly in the laundry room and definitely worth the effort since it’s used almost every day!

diy drying rack

 

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