February 25, 2016

Custom Witty Welcome Mat

So this is a super simple, super exciting DIY that I just had to share. It probably only took me 15 minutes and $5 bucks to do, and it still makes me happy every time I come home and look down. I'm going to talk you through creating your own custom, personalized welcome mat, and even better -- going to give you some ideas because truly, the possibilities are endless.

First things first, you'll need a mat. I got mine from IKEA for $5 and it was a GREAT deal. This was exactly the style and size I was looking for, and I'll tell you, for five bucks, it's held up really well. Once you have that home, the planning begins. You'll need to choose the saying you want to include on your mat and the color you want it in. It can be a last name, a funny joke, a cool saying or something more traditional (although I am slightly against the traditional route). Want to celebrate your Jewish heritage? This one's for you. Want to greet your guests like a captain on a ship? Right here. Come from down unda'? Well, g'day to you!

Personally, I like the chill, down to earth ones that make you feel good just looking at 'em. You know, your "'Sup?" or the one I chose to go with, "yo."

So once you know your saying, you get to choose the motif you're going with. I went with a straight black to make sure it would go with the rest of my outdoor decor, but the world is your oyster. I think the Bahama Blue option would work great with beach decor, or the Watermelon Pink for a girl's place.

I chose to free-hand my letters -- with the material of the mat being so dense there wasn't a lot of room for messing up and it was so much faster than trying to print letter, trace them, etc. Just go for it -- make sure you use a relatively small paint brush so the bristles are easily managed. From just paint your letter (probably 2-3 layers for the best results), let it dry overnight and voila!

February 04, 2015

Ugly Ceiling Fan Redo

This was the project that started it all. My FIRST-ever DIY at our old apartment...just thinking about it gets me all nostalgic. I have to say, for my first project, it came out pretty awesome. And this has been, by far, the project that has gotten the most pins on Pinterest. So I thought, "why not give the people what the want?".

Jay and I had finally moved to a place where we lived for more than a year (thanks to college and the revolving door of apartments) and it felt good to make it feel like home. Living in a rented apartment, you can't do much to the existing fixtures and appliances. With that said, I felt like if I could make it so much better than the original, then I might be able to get away with it...

Step 1: Turn. Off. The. Power. Redoing this fan wasn't especially hard, but remember, you're dealing with electricity. You have to be cautious. So first things first...head to your breaker and turn off the electricity while you're working on it.

Step 2: Disassemble the fixture. Every ceiling fan is different, but most have the same basic components. Remove the glass shades and bulbs and set them aside. Each ceiling fan will have 3-4 screws attaching it to the center component. Unscrew and pull down the four blades. Don't be alarmed at how much dust you've allowed to accumulate on top of them, its normal - at least that's what I told myself.

A circular, metal panel will cover the "guts" of the fan. Unscrew and lower the fixture. Then disconnect the wires by twisting off the plastic connectors from the ends of the wires. My advice, TAKE A PICTURE. This will help you when it's been 3 days and you just want to get that bad boy back up.

Step 3: Design your new fan. Depending on the state of your current fan and what you want it to end up like will determine how much further you need to disassemble the fixture. I was in a stage where I wanted everything in my house to look like a Spanish Mission - suffice it to say that I used a lot of matte black spray paint. With that said, I decided it wasn't necessary to paint the gold hardware, so I removed it and just spray painted the blades and the center fixture.

The lamp shade. That was a guy I picked up for $12 from Walmart -- I saw it and actually didn't even know what I wanted to do with it but thought it was too cool looking to pass up. I ended up connecting upside down with one of these and it worked great.

Step 4: Paint that puppy. Take your ceiling fan parts to a well-ventilated area, and lay down a tarp (unless you eventually want a Jackson Pollock painting on your garage floor). Hold your hand about 2-2.5" away and spray in short, cloaking strokes. The surface of a fan blade is slick, so paint can easily drip if you are too heavy-handed. I wanted this look like it was stock-painted, so I took extra care to do 3-4 coats on each side, covering all areas with very light coats.

Step 5: Reassemble. It's pretty straight-forward, but this is by FAR the most tedious part of the process. All of these screws, hardware and electrical wire will make you re-think whether you did something wrong. Don't worry. Look at your photo, add back the fan blades, the mechanism, connect the wires and secure the shade using the bulb extender. You'll feel legitimately bad ass by the end of it, with a beautiful centerpiece to your room as opposed to a white, eye sore.

January 25, 2015

DIY Bedside Shelves

Welcome to "Part Deux" of the DIY Platform Bed Frame post. This portion will focus on adding bedside shelves that match the frame, acting as nightstands. I had originally planned to build a headboard along with my frame, but after restructuring the room (for the 10th time!), I placed the head of the bed against the far wall in our room (which also has two huge windows). Instead of blocking all of that natural light like a vampire, I decided to build some bedside shelves to help balance everything. There are TONS of ways you can build these, some have drawers, some hang from the ceiling -- I decided to go with something simple and big enough to fit a small lamp, a few books and maybe a candle. Let's get started...

Step 1: Measure. Decide where you want your shelves situated in relation to your bed, and measure the length and width that the area can accommodate. Keep in mind that the deeper your shelf is, the more support it will need (translation: you'll need some heavy-duty/costly brackets).

Step 2
: Get Materials. I used scrap wood from other projects and the same stain + poly from the bed frame, so this project cost me ZERO dollars (yay!). Additionally, you'll need wood screws and wood glue (all of which I already had as well, I'm weird).

Step 3: Cut & Prep the Wood. Using a jig saw, I cut down the wood planks based on my initial measurements. Draw a straight line with a pencil to follow since jig saws can sometimes be hard to handle. I did the same trick of beating the wood to make it look "reclaimed". Sand down any errant wood pieces that might have resulted from the cut -- it doesn't have to be perfect because the "real sanding" comes after you've constructed the shelf.

Step 4
: Construct the Shelves. I used two different widths of wood for the base and two 1x1 pieces to adhere to the sides to give the shelves a bit more visual interest. From there, use a bead of wood glue on the interior pieces, then screw the 1x1 to the sides. This technique helps to hold the wood tightly while the glue dries. If you'd prefer a flat shelf, you'll need to use wood clamps to let the wood dry. Approx. 2-3 hours later when the wood glue dries, use an electronic sander and 100 grit paper to sand the shelf. Make sure you get all of the corners to avoid any scraps/injuries during use (safety first, people!).

Step 5
: Paint. Once the surface of your shelves is nice and smooth, you're ready to paint / varnish / decoupage...whatever's your style. I wanted a cohesive look with my frame, so used the same varnish and wood. I did about 4 coats, allowing dry times and sanding between coats (see previous post for more details).

Step 6: Install! You are now ready to install the shelves. Once again....MEASURE. The last thing you want is for your shelves to look wonky -- it'll drive you crazy! I had some large brackets I had found at the $.99 Store (hey, don't judge). I chose to spray paint them from white to gold to give the hardware a little flare. First, adhere the part of the bracket to the shelf. From there, it's all about measuring where you want your shelf to lie, marking the drill holes with a pencil and pre-drilling the hole using a drill bit slightly smaller than the width of your screws. Have someone help hold the shelf in place while you adhere to the wall. Since these shelves will hold a fair amount of weight, I'd highly suggest using drywall screws to make sure they're super secure. That's it -- you now have a full bed set that you built from nothing more than wood, varnish and some screws. Pretty amazing when you think about how much companies charge for stuff like this...

Next up will be a sweet, 15 minute project that will breathe life (and comedy) into your entryway. Stay tuned!