Monday, January 15, 2018

Top Bunk Bedside Tray

If you have bunk beds in your house, you know that it can be hard for whoever's sleeping on the top bunk to find a place to put a glass of water or book. I was looking for a solution to this problem and after considering a variety of options, I came up with this simple idea.

If you want to get fancy, you could use/build a wooden box and attach it to the bunk bed frame with metal clamps or hang it on hooks. I decided to use cardboard and zip-ties, since it's lighter and easier.

I decided on a "tray", with sides all around to prevent things from falling out, rather than a "table". You can make the sides of your tray however high you want. I just went with the height that the sides were on the box that I used, which were about 4" high. My box is about 9" wide by 12" long, but you can use whatever you find/prefer.

- sturdy cardboard box, extra pieces of cardboard
- scissors, exacto knife
- pencil, ruler
- zip-ties
- glue gun and sticks
- duct tape, contact paper, fabric/glue, or similar items to cover/decorate the box, if desired

1. Remove any labels or extra tape from the box.

2. Glue down the flaps inside the bottom of the box.

3. Glue the top flaps to the sides of the box, either on the inside or the outside.

4. Measure the size of the inside of the bottom of the box and cut a piece of cardboard to fit it. Check the fit.

5. Cover this piece of cardboard, if desired.

6. Cover the sides (inside and outside) and bottom of the box (outside), if desired.

7. Glue the inside bottom piece into the box.

8. Hold the tray up to the side of the top bunk and determine where you want to attach it to the rails. I attached it in three places at the top and bottom.

9. Carefully cut holes through the side of the tray and insert the zip-ties.

10. Loop the zip-ties around the rails and tighten them. Trim away the excess tail.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

DIY Captain America Shield from a Pizza Pan

Whether you're looking for a great costume accessory or a unique decor item for a room, Captain America's shield is an eye-catching and easily-recognizable item. There are a variety of styles of the shield available to purchase, from small, plastic toy ones to expensive, screen-accurate metal replicas, but it's not that difficult or costly to make your own.

The base for the shield is an inexpensive and readily available item: a metal pizza pan. I purchased mine at a dollar store for a few bucks. The size of the pan determines the size of the shield, so you can make it whatever size you need for your intended use.

For the back of the shield, decide what you intend to use the shield for to determine what to attach. If you want the shield for a costume prop, use strong glue to attach handles made of belts, fabric strips, ribbon, or even cardboard. If you want to hang the shield on the wall, you can attach a loop of string or wire for hanging it and pieces of foam to keep it parallel to the wall.

- metal pizza pan
- blue and red spray paint (for metal)
- contact paper
- painters' tape
- scissors, exacto knife
- pencil, ruler
- circular objects to trace around (optional)
- 5-point star stencil or cookie cutter or similar, or protractor for drawing the star
- strong glue and belt/string/similar for holding/hanging (optional)

1. Remove any stickers/residue from the pizza pan. Thoroughly wash and dry the pan.

2. Trace around the pan on the back of a piece of contact paper. Draw three circles inside, smaller each time. Inside the smallest (center) circle, draw a 5-point star.

Cut out the inner circles and the star.

3. Center and stick the second largest onto the pan.

4. Stick the third largest circle to the pan.

5. Stick the star in the center of the shield.

6. Stick the largest circle to the pan and wrap the edges of the contact paper around the edges of the shield.

If there are any gaps in your contact paper, use painters' tape to cover them.

7. Spray the circle around the star with blue spray paint, following the directions on the paint for drying time. Use thin layers of paint. For some reason, my paint didn't adhere to certain areas of the pan, but I like the "weathered" look.

8. Once the blue paint is thoroughly dry, use an exacto knife to lightly cut the paint around the outside of the circle, ensuring that the paint isn't stuck to the contact paper.

Peel away the contact paper circle closest the star and the contact paper around the edge.

NOTE: Follow the directions on the paint and painters' tape for drying time between this step and the next.

9. Lay strips of painters' tape on a cutting mat, slightly overlapping them. Trace a circle the same size as your blue circle onto the tape and cut it out.

10. Stick the painters' tape circle over your blue circle and star.

11. Spray paint the second and outer circles with red spray paint, following the directions on the can for drying times. Use thin layers of paint.

12. Carefully peel away the contact paper circle and painters' tape circle.

13. Carefully and lightly, use an exacto knife to trace around the star so the paint doesn't stick to the contact paper. Peel off the contact paper star.

14. Add some "weathering" and "battle damage" marks by scratching the paint off in a few places, if you want to.

15. Attach your belts or string to the back of the shield, as desired. DONE!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Cardboard Toy Box

I hope the holiday season has been good to you and your family. As you're cleaning up and getting back into your normal routine, here's a project that will help the whole family keep things organized in the new year: a toy box.

The first thing that you'll need is a large cardboard box. I saved one from a fax machine, but any large box that you have from Christmas, the office, or the grocery store will work great.

You can decorate the box to match your decor or the kids' favorite characters. You can also use this technique on boxes for other storage solutions.

- large, sturdy cardboard box
- contact paper, wrapping paper, fabric, or other similar material that is large enough to cover the sides of your box
- exacto knife, scissors
- decorative duct tape (optional)
- large letter stickers or stencil (optional)
- white glue or glue gun

1. Remove any excess tape and labels from your box. Cut the top flaps off the box.

2. If your box has pre-cut hand-holds, decide whether you want to trim away the flap (like I did), cover the flap with your paper/fabric, or solidify the flap with tape and cover it. You can also cut hand-holds into the sides if you want them.

3. Tape over any damaged areas of the sides of the box.

4. Glue and/or tape down the flaps inside the bottom of the box.

5. Wrap your contact paper, wrapping paper or fabric around the sides of your box, leaving an inch or two overlap at the top to wrap over the top edge and secure inside. This leaves a nice, finished top edge. You can also stick a strip of duct tape along the top edge or inside the box to secure your paper/fabric if it isn't staying stuck properly.

6. Trim out your hand-holds, if applicable.

7. At this point, your box can be "done", or you can add more to it.

8. I used letter stickers to add the word "TOYS" to one side.

9. I also put a strip of decorative duct tape around the bottom edge.

DONE! Now for the hardest part: getting the kids to use it.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Raggy Tree Christmas Ornaments

These cute, country/primitive style trees are great ornaments for your tree or gifts for friends, family member, and teachers. They are quick and easy to make, but can be customized with a variety of colors.

Tie these on the outside of presents as a re-usable part of the wrapping, attach them to garland on your mantle or stair railing, or make the hanging loop large enough to hang these on your door knobs.

The size of the tree is determined by the "base", a stick of your choosing. Using a cinnamon stick makes a cute little ornament with a wonderful scent.

- wooden stick or cinnamon stick
- strips of fabric approximately 1" wide (various lengths)
- scissors
- string, ribbon or twine
- star or button for the top
- glue

1. Begin with shorter pieces of fabric at the top of your stick and tie them securely to the stick. You can use all one pattern/color of fabric per tree or a variety.

2. Continue tying strips of fabric around the stick until you have about 3/4 of the stick covered.

Trim the ends of the fabric strips so they form a tree shape.

3. Tie or glue on a hanging loop a the top. Glue on a star or button at the top.

DONE! Aren't these cute?! And easy to do. You can add a bit of twine or wire around the bottom of the stick to accessorize the trunk too. Enjoy!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Wood Slice Snowman

Snowmen decorations are great because they aren't just for Christmas, you can have them up all winter. These wood slice snowmen can be made whatever size you like and decorated however you want. Not only are these cute decorations for your home, they make great gifts.

The main component is slices of logs. Larger diameter slices approximately 1" thick can be attached to a larger board and smaller diameter slices approximately 1/2" thick can be attached to a craft (popsicle) stick or twig.

You can decorate the snowmen with a variety of items, such as buttons, fabric or ribbon for scarves, painted wood bits, glitter, stickers, and more. Once the wood slices have been cut, kids can help with the assembly and decorate the snowmen.

- slices of logs
- board or craft stick
- glue gun or wood glue
- white acrylic paint
- black and orange acrylic paint or permanent markers
- buttons, "scarf", and other decorations
- string, ribbon or wire for hanging, if desired

1. Cut (or have cut) the logs into slices. Leave natural or paint with white acrylic paint. Water down the paint if you want to allow the natural grain of the wood to show through. Allow the paint to dry.

2. Glue three slices to a board or craft stick. Add a hanging loop if desired. Allow glue to dry.

3. Paint or glue on eyes, nose, mouth and buttons. Tie or glue on a "scarf". Add any other decorations you like.

DONE! Display your beautiful snowman for all your guests to see.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Fabric-Covered Over-Sized Christmas Candies

Here's a cute and easy project that you can do to get in the holiday spirit. Kids can make their own (with supervision or help during the glue gun use) as decorations or gifts, and you can customize yours to suit your style and decor.

These "candies" can also be strung together to make a garland to wrap around your Christmas tree or stair rail. I'm sure you can also come up with other fun ideas for them, like piling them in baskets or tucking them into the branches of your tree.

- empty pill bottles (without lids) or similar sized cylinders
- rectangles of fabric approximately 5" by 6"
- string, twine or ribbon
- glue gun, sticks
- scissors

1. Lay the pill bottle on the fabric and glue gun one edge of the fabric to the bottle.

2. Roll the bottle in the fabric and glue the other edge of the fabric to the bottle.

3. Cut pieces of string and tie them around the fabric on both sides of the bottle. Trim the ends of the string.

4. DONE! You can tie the candies together with more string to form a garland or leave them separate. Enjoy!

Monday, November 27, 2017

DIY Recycled Pallet Trees

'Tis the season for holiday decorations and these trees made from recycled pallets (or other scrap pieces of wood) are a great addition to your holiday decor. You can customize these to fit your style and color scheme, and they make great gifts too.

The possibilities are really endless when it comes to personalizing these trees. You can paint the "branches" whatever color you like (white, silver, light green, dark green, etc.), add wood slice "ornaments" in various colors, paint on your family name or a winter greeting, or even add Christmas lights.

You will need access to power tools (and/or someone who'll do some wood cutting for you) for this project. And always remember your proper safety gear when working with power tools.

- pallets or other scrap wood
- paint
- saw
- drill/screwdriver, screws
- tape measure, pencil

1. Disassemble the pallets and remove all nails from the boards.

2. Measure and cut your boards to the desired lengths. You'll need one long one for the tree "trunk" and three to five of various lengths (between 6" and 18", as desired) for the "branches".

Sand and paint your "branches" (and "trunk", if desired). Lay them on your "trunk" and make sure you're happy with the layout.

3. Screw the "branches" to the "trunk".

4. If desired, cut out a star for the top of the tree. Sand and paint it, then screw it on to the top "branch".

5. Stand your beautiful new tree(s) in the snow, tie or screw them to your fence, or stick them in a heavy plant pot. DONE!