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Add Interest to Your Yard with a Garden Trellis

A garden trellis is a structure that supports a plant and allows it to grow upward.

Trellises have been used for centuries as a way to beautify gardens and yards. They can be used to create private spaces or to define a path, they can also bring visual interest to the side of a home or garage.

Beyond aesthetics, garden trellises also have many practical uses. They create more space in the vegetable garden by allowing plants to grow up instead of out. Trellises also have the ability to camouflage unsightly areas of the yard and provide screening. We use our trellises to provide shade on both the front porch and in other areas of the yard. The trellises placed near south-facing windows also keep the summer sun from warming up the interior of our home.

decorative-garden-trellis
Source: Amazon

Modern Trellis Materials

In the old days, trellises were pretty much made of either wood or wrought iron. These days, vinyl trellises are another option. Each of these types of materials have their advantages and disadvantages.

Wrought iron trellises last forever, but can be expensive. Most iron trellises are small and tend to be quite portable. They are nice to use in the vegetable garden or a flower bed or placed against a house to support a climbing plant.

Vinyl trellises are also long-lived, maintenance-free, inexpensive, and easy to install. Most of the ones I’ve seen are white or green. Stay away from the cheaper plastic varieties; these will often break within a couple of years.

Wooden trellises are my personal favorite because of their versatility. They can be custom-built to fit any area and aren’t terribly expensive to make. A wooden trellis must be fabricated of cedar or redwood, and set into concrete to prevent rot or getting nibbled on by carpenter ants and other little critters. In dryer climates, a wooden trellis can last 70 years or more.

Source: bobvila

Where to Place Your Garden Trellis

A Garden trellis can be placed anywhere you want to add interest to your yard or want to provide shade or screening.

Most people have at least one trellis up against the side of their house. Instead of stopping at one, why not add 3 or 4? Place a garden trellis on either side of a picture window to create interest.

Do you have a walkway that runs alongside your house, or leads to the garage? Walkways are ideal locations for creating a semi-enclosed garden pathway.

Trellises nailed to open porches or stoops can help shade these areas in the summer, while providing beauty and privacy. If you are looking for privacy in your back yard, consider uses trellises to create a three-sided enclosure.

Do you have a storage shed that needs to be hidden? Or perhaps an unsightly view of the neighbor’s junk? These are other great locations to place a trellis.

Source: homebnc

What Plants to Use with Your Trellis

There are an incredible variety of climbing plants that can be used on your garden trellis. In areas where you want to create summer shade or privacy, Virginia Creeper is an aggressive vine that can grow 20 feet in a year. In the fall, the leaves turn to bright red. After the leaves have died back, the vines can be used to create wreaths.

Trumpet vine is another vine that is a fast grower. It produces orange, trumpet-like blossoms in the summer, and dies back in the fall. I use it on my porch to provide summer shade.

Trellises can be used for such delightful flowers such as climbing roses, clematis, wisteria, and honeysuckle. There are also several varieties of climbing annuals which include morning glory and sweet pea.

Source: ocregister

For year-round greenery, English ivy and euonymus are two slow-growing vines that can be used to block out even the ugliest views.

Whether you buy an iron or vinyl trellis or build one from wood, installing a trellis is an easy weekend project. But, the elegance and beauty it brings to your yard will be enjoyed for many years.

How to Make a Rustic Outdoor Bench (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Add to the appeal and comfort of your yard or garden by constructing a rustic outdoor bench that you can construct using basic carpentry techniques and simple hand tools.

The addition of unfinished, natural wood furniture in a garden setting not only complements surrounding trees and garden plantings but also provides a comforting refuge for relaxation and meditation.

This attractive bench can be constructed with minimum woodworking experience by following simple instructions and using readily available lumber from the home supply center in one afternoon and will add years of enjoyment to your garden.

Rustic Outdoor BenchMaterials List:

  • 36 board feet of 4-inch by 4-inch treated lumber
  • 6 board feet of 2-foot by 10-inch treated lumber
  • 2 metal strips 2 inches by 1/4 inch by 24 inches
  • 7 threaded metal rods, 1 inch by 20 inches
  • 14 nuts, 1/2 inch in diameter
  • 14 washers, 1/2 inch in diameter
  • 4 “L” brackets, 2 inches by 2 inches by 1/4 inch
  • 8 wood bolts, 1 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch
  • 4 wood bolts, 2 feet by 1/2 inch
  • 4 bolts, 2 inches by 1/2 inch
  • 4 half-inch washers
  • 4 half-inch nuts
  • 1 electric drill
  • 1 hole cutting blade, 1 1/2 inch in diameter
  • 1 metal cutting bit, 1/2 inch in diameter
  • 1 wood cutting bit, 1/2 inch in diameter
  • 1 wood chisel

Rustic Outdoor Bench – Side Rails Steps

  1. Cut twelve boards to 4 inches X 4 inches X 30 inches in length.
  2. Measure and mark a line across the width and four inches from both ends of each board. Using electric drill tap a 1/2 inch hole through the midpoint of these lines.
  3. Counter-sunk holes in rails. Use a 1 1/2 inch bit to counter-sink one side the previously cut holes to a depth of one inch on four of the twelve boards.
  4. Lay the twelve boards on a flat surface, side by side with the drilled shaft parallel to the surface. Take care to align tops and bottoms evenly. Use one spare 4 inch X 4-inch board as a temporary stop against which the boards can be butted. Measure a distance 13 inches from the bottom of these boards and chalk a line across all twelve boards at the 13-inch mark
  5. Measure a second line 16 1/2 inches up from the bottom of the boards and chalk a second line across all twelve boards.
  6. Cut Rail Mortises. Set circular saw (or table saw) to a cut depth of 1 1/4 inches and cut mortise between the two chalk lines on each of the twelve boards. Cut mortise by making multiple saw cuts at close (1/8 inch) intervals and using a wood chisel to remove the remaining waste.
  7. Prior to cutting remaining mortises test fit of mortise by inserting an end of a scrap piece of 4 inch X 4-inch stock. Adjust remaining cuts as necessary to gain a tight fit when 4 inch X 4-inch stock is inserted into the mortise.
  8. Complete cutting mortises in each of the twelve side rail pieces and then layout six rails with the mortise cut facing up. Insert 1 inch X 20-inch threaded metal rod through the top and bottom shaft cut in the six adjacent pieces. insert a washer and nut and tighten securely at both ends.
  9. Repeat step 8 for the remaining six side rail pieces.

Rustic Outdoor Bench – Bench Seat Steps

  1. Cut six 4 inch X 4-inch boards to a length of six feet.
  2. Measure and mark a center point at 14 inches from each end of these boards and a third point centered between these two marks ( 5 feet 6 inches from the end of each board). Using a 1/2 inch bit drill through holes at each of these points on all six-seat rails.
  3. Lay previously joined six rail pieces on a flat surface with a mortise side facing up. Insert the six-seat pieces vertically into the mortise slots (have a helper support the vertical pieces) aligning each seat 4 inch X 4-inch piece with a corresponding rail 4 inch X 4-inch side piece.
  4. “L” clamps connecting seat rails to side rails. Attach “L” clamps to the second and fifth seat rail and to the second and fifth side rail using two 1 1/2 inch bolts.
  5. Lower seat rails to a horizontal position and insert far end seat rails into remaining side rail mortises being careful to align seat rails with a corresponding side rail.
  6. Insert 1 inch X 20 inch threaded metal rod through the three holes cut in each seat rail and secure each end using a washer and nut. Tighten until all seat rails are firmly seated.
  7. Attach “L” clamps to the second and fifth seat rail and the second and fifth side rail using 1 1/2 inch bolts.

Bench Back

  1. Using metal bit cut two adjacent 1/2 inch holes centered six inches from one end of the two metal bands (1/4 inch X 2 inch X 2 feet).
  2. On the opposite end of each metal band cut one 1/2 inch hole centered 3 inches from the end and a second 1/2 inch hole 9 inches from the end of each.
  3. Position metal bands in the vice and bend the band 15 degrees 4 inches below the pair of vertically aligned holes cut in step 2 above.
  4. Position one metal band vertically against the rear-most seat rail 16 inches inside the side rail with the 15-degree angle leading away from the bench. Fasten the metal band to the rear railing using two 2- inch bolts in the holes cut in step 1 above.
  5. Repeat step 4 on the opposite side of the bench.
  6. Center the 2 inch X 10 inch X 5 feet board in place at the top of the metal bands and mark the position of the four holes in the bands (two per band).
  7. Using 1/2 inch drill bit cut two mounting holes on each end of the 2 inch X 10 inch X 5 feet board at the marked positions.
  8. Completed Bench. Hold 2 inch X 5 feet board in place and secure to metal bands using four 2 inch X 1/2 inch bolts, nuts and washers.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on  Indoor Bench: Add Style to Your Home With Benches

How to Use Color Psychology in Home Design

How the Color of a Room Affects Mood?

How do you feel when you step into your bedroom, living room, or kitchen? Do you feel happy, excited, sad, or angry? The colors in your home have a huge impact on how you feel every day.

“Color psychology refers to investigating the effect of color on human behavior and feeling.”

WIKIPEDIA

Black: Black is one of the neutral colors. It absorbs all of the light in the color spectrum (Van Wagner), so if you want a room to feel like a cave, paint it black. It can also look very sophisticated if you use the right amount of black accent pieces in a room; black leather furniture, for example.

White: White is also a neutral color. It is the opposite of black; it reflects all of the light in the color spectrum. A white room feels spacious, but it can also feel cold and sterile.

Red: A primary color, red is a warm hue that is associated with excitement. Red is a common color for an accent wall in homes because it draws the eye to the wall; be careful of how much red you use, however, because it is also associated with anger.

Orange: Orange is a secondary color that is a combination of red and yellow and it also draws attention. It is commonly used in the interiors of fast-food restaurants because it is known to cause hunger and, therefore, more profit.

Yellow: Another primary color, yellow, is bright and cheery. As Vincent Van Gogh said, “How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.” Yellow is also fatiguing to the eye, can cause feelings of frustration, and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms.

Green: Green is a mix of yellow and blue, another secondary color. It is often associated with nature and enhances the feeling of tranquility and calm. It works well as a source of stress relief. Researchers have also found that green helps to improve reading ability.

Blue: As the third and final primary color, blue is also associated with calmness and serenity. Blues and greens are often used to create a spa-like atmosphere are bathrooms. Blue is associated with feelings of sadness, as well. The complementary color to orange, blue is actually a known appetite suppressant.

Violet: Violet is a secondary color that is a combination of red and blue. When you think of this color, you may think of royalty, wealth, and perhaps wisdom.

Colors I have not yet mentioned are: gray, which is a combination of black and white; browns and tans, which can be a mixture of all of the primary colors; and pink, which is a tint of red (red mixed with white). Grays, browns, and tans are all neutral colors. Neutral colors are often popular as the main wall color in homes.

I recommend using black and white in small doses as a wall color in your home to prevent it from feeling like a cave or a hospital room. These colors work well in accent pieces, however. Use red sparingly, as well, as it is generally not a very soothing color to look it. Try not to use a lot of orange in a dining room unless you are trying to gain weight; on the other hand, if you are trying to lose weight, you may want to try blue.

However, if you or someone in your family is prone to depression, I would suggest using blue in small doses, perhaps as a centerpiece on your table or as the color of your dishes. If you have a baby, avoid bright yellow in the main part of the house and save it for a workout room. Green is good for those of you who have children who are learning to read.

Warm and Cool Colors For Home Decor

What are Cool Colors?

Cool colors consist of not only blue, green, and purple, but they can also include the tints and shades of these colors. They may also consist of neutral colors with cool undertones, such as bluish grays and beige. What feelings do you associate with cool colors?

Cool colors evoke Calm and Sophistication

Cool hues can be crisp, sophisticated. Have you ever stepped into a room with a cool color scheme and instantly felt calm and relaxed? While purple is often seen as a sophisticated hue, green is a great choice for a room that is used for relaxation, such as a bedroom or the living room. Blue is also a good choice, but it can also cause feelings of sadness and depression for some people.

Cool colors, Particularly Blue, can Cause Feelings of Depression

Sometimes, cool colors can be too calming, and in certain people, they might even cause feelings of depression. This calm hue has been known to slow the pulse, lower body temperature, and even reduce appetite. If you want to use a blue scheme in your home, perhaps it would be best to use it to create a spa-like atmosphere in the bathroom. For a calm, sophisticated living area, consider decorating with green or purple, if you prefer cool colors over warm hues.

How can you decorate your home with cool colors, while avoiding the adverse effects?

It can be difficult to know how blue, purple, or green is going to affect you psychologically until you see it in your home. However, you can consider the application and the overall amount of each color that will be in a particular room. These colors combine well with white and neutral hues, so consider using cool colors as accents in a neutral scheme, if you are prone to sadness and depression.

Color-psychological-effects
Source: itscreativejuice.com

Read: What are the Meanings of Easter Colors?

What are Warm Colors?

Warm colors consist of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. They also include warm and cool color blends, such as yellow-green and reddish-purple. When you think of “warm” colors, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Many of us associate these hues with fire and autumn, for example. The color psychology of warm hues is fascinating. In some situations, these colors can create a sense of warmth and coziness – or they can create a state of anger or hostility.

Warm colors evoke warmth and coziness

We often associate warm colors with warmth and coziness. Do you imagine a hot, crackling fire in the autumn? People who want to visually warm up a large, sterile home usually lean toward reds, oranges, and yellows. These colors appear to advance toward you, making a room seem smaller and cozier. Want to stand out in a crowd or evoke a sense of warmth and likeability? The psychology of color says to wear clothing with warmer hues. However, in some cases, warm colors can invoke a sense of irritability.

Warm colors can invoke anger and irritability

Some people associate red, orange, and yellow with feelings of anger. Although red is the color of love, it has been known to raise blood pressure. Orange expresses energy and can trigger hunger, but it is the color of hazard signs. Yellow represents happiness, but it can also cause a sense of irritability. When used in a nursery, yellow has been linked to more frequent crying in babies. On the other hand, pink – a tint of red – can have a strangely calming effect.

home-decor-colors
Source: wow1day.com

How can you use the color psychology of warm hues to your advantage, while avoiding adverse effects?

Consider your situation. What are the results you are hoping for? Choose energy-producing yellow for a workout room rather than a nursery, where it might invoke irritability. In a situation where you need someone to warm up to you, consider wearing clothing in warmer hues. A cooking blog might call for a color scheme that induces excitement (and hunger!) for your recipes.

Warm vs Cool Colors

Source: Ehullquist

10 Green Home Improvement Tips – DIY Projects

Eco-friendly, Green Home Improvement Tips

It is now a known fact that global warming is happening and it is changing the way we live including the way we improve our homes. Al Gore informed us in his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” that we emit 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air every single day. If everyone committed to doing one green thing every day that amount would be significantly reduced. Here are 10 eco-friendly, environmentally conscious, green home improvement building projects that you can do easily and still help lessen the impact of humanity on the earth.

1. Antique your Shutters with Milk Paint

If you want to give your exterior shutters a fresh coat of paint and are looking for an antiqued feeling give milk paint a try. Milk paint is an all-natural paint alternative. Milk paint does not put fumes or chemicals into the atmosphere.

Homemade Milk Paint Ingredients

  • 1 Gallon non-fat milk
  • 2 1/2 Ounces of hydrated lime (not quick lime)
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 6 cups of chalk for filler
  • kool-aid organic fabric dye

Allow the milk to sit out for a couple of days. Once it is curdled use a cheesecloth to strain. Mix the curd and lime together using a household blender. Add water and mix. Stir in chalk. Add kool-aid powder until the desired color is achieved.

To paint shutters – Sand wood using 150 grit sandpaper until the wood is raw. Sand smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.

Apply milk paint to the shutters using a paintbrush. Use a heavy thick bristled brush and apply in heavy strokes. As the milk paint dries it will begin to “crackle” and “craze.” Once the paint is dry simply apply a coat of all-natural tung oil and rehang shutters.

2. Insulate your House with Cotton (Denim Batts)

Use cotton insulation by purchasing denim batts from a company such as Bonded Logic which is manufactured from remnants of denim clothing.

Supplies

  • Cotton/denim batts
  • Plastic Sheeting
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Construction Tape
  • 2×4’s

Instructions

  • Use the 2x4s to frame your room according to your framing instructions.
  • Stuff denim insulation between the studs.
  • Glue edges of plastic sheeting to your framing so that the insulation is covered in the plastic. This creates a moisture barrier. Staple around the edges of the plastic for extra hold. Lay in your wallboard and you are done.

3. Install an Eco-friendly Floor

There are many more eco-friendly floor materials available than one would think. Regardless of your style, taste and budget, there is a green alternative for you.

  • Bamboo flooring is an all-natural flooring material that is easy to clean, durable and has a nice shine.
  • Recycled glass tiles come in an amazing array of colors, styles and finishes.
  • Stone flooring is the perfect choice for an environmentally conscious household. It holds temperature well, cleans well and is easy to install.

4. Purchase your Building Supplies from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Whether you are putting in new windows or laying in new countertops the Habitat for Humanity ReStore has what you need. The ReStore sells used products that are in good enough condition to be reused. This means fewer appliances and building materials end up in our landfills. Save a fridge and help save the planet I always say.

5. Make your Driveway Environmentally Friendly with a Heated Driveway from Warmup

Warmup, the makers of the eco-friendly heated driveway have devised a way to melt snow and ice without damaging plants and foilage with salt. They can be installed in already existing driveways and are touted as being DIY friendly. Contact Warmup for a free estimate.

6. Organic Weed Control

Lawn care is one of the easiest ways we can improve the value of our home. Here are 2 ways to approach weed control with organic methods.

Mulch – Spread mulch wherever you have soil to help combat the growth of weeds.
Corn Gluten Meal – Purchase at feed stores. Simply sprinkle on the affected area.

7. Make your Windows Look New the Green Way

One way to give your home a fresh face is to clean your windows. Scrub them free of dirt and grime with a mix of warm water and vinegar and scrub with an old newspaper.

8. Build a Compost Heap

Build a compost heap digging a hole about 2 feet deep. Then lay in one layer dried grass, old hay, vines and branches. Then add a layer of garden soil and manure mixed half and half. Next, add a layer of fresh food peelings, scraps and freshly cut grass. Repeat layers of at least 6 inches thick. Layer chicken wire over the top and secure with bricks. Each time you add to your compost heap be sure to spray the top with water.

9. Use a Rainwater Irrigation System

To help the planet with water usage capture rainwater in a barrel and build your own irrigation system for watering your garden.

Supplies

  • 50 Gallon container made from recycled materials
  • Soaker hose made from recycled materials
  • Spigot from Home Depot or Lowes

Instructions

  • Drill a 1-inch hole into the side of the container at the bottom.
  • Attach spigot according to instructions.
  • To water plants attach soaker hose to a spigot.

10. Tint your Windows to Save on Energy

Purchase a DIY window tinting kit. It’s as easy as installing shelf paper and is an affordable solution to rising cooling bills.

20 Ways to Save Money on Home Improvements – DIY Guide

Renovate Your House On A Budget

The old saying goes that man only works from sun to sun. Homeowners work before the sun comes up and after it goes down on home improvement projects. Working in an attic during a heatwave isn’t smart, so working at night makes sense.

It also makes sense to save money wherever you can. In this second part of home improvement tips, here are ten more ways to save money and get the job done.

TIP 1

If you have to disassemble something that has many parts, leaving everything on a sheet in an expanded view doesn’t always help. That sheet can be knocked around, picked up or you could go to answer the phone and get distracted. When you return, where everything goes is a mystery.

Grab your phone or camera and make a record. Open the case or body, and then take a picture. Take notes on a piece of paper. Remove one of the parts; take a picture.

Use the notes and the pictures in reverse order for an easy assembly guide.

TIP 2

Pneumatic tires are great. Since you don’t need an inner tube, you just fill them with air. Over time, the sides can become brittle, and the tire goes flat. Try this tip.

If the pneumatic tire is flat, wrap a rope around the circumference of the tire. Use plumber’s putty to create a seal between the tire and the wheel rim. Pump up the tire and remove the rope. It should work- if it doesn’t; you have a hole somewhere else.

Several products for fixing flats are on the market, but most cost more than replacing a wheelbarrow tire.

TIP 3

Taking a gorgeous spring or fall day to repaint the entire house inside and outside doors is a great idea. Stacking them to dry is another matter.

Cut 6-inch pieces of 2-by-4 wood. Make sure the cuts are square. Attach a block to the bottom and top edges of a door. Mark the center of each block. The door should be centered on the middle mark of the block. Use a screw that goes into the door by a half-inch for easy removal.

Paint the doors, and then stack the 2-by-4 blocks on top of each other. When dry, remove the blocks, touch up the top, and bottom edges after filling the holes.

TIP 4

If your flagstone looks too weather-beaten and worn to last another season, don’t tear it out and throw it away. Flagstone is pricey these days.

Dig up your stones, one at a time. Wash and scrub the underside of each stone. Fit them together in a pattern and use them again. They’ll last for years.

If your pathway or patio has become uneven, this is a perfect time to level it. Everyone will think you bought a new stone or had a new walkway/patio installed.

TIP 5

When installing a toilet bowl, the tee bolts that fit into the closet flange and hold the toilet bowl to the floor are notorious for turning as you tighten the nut. If the bolt comes out, it ruins the wax ring. You have to get a new ring, re-seat the toilet, and do it again.

Save the frustration, trip to the hardware store and money with a marker. When you have the tee bolt in place and seat the toilet, make a mark on the bolt and the toilet. While tightening the nut, keep the marks aligned. You’ll never pull the bolt out again. Use a washable marker to keep the porcelain clean.

TIP 6

Another great use for plastic grocery store bags- tape or rubber band them around your wrists for disposable gloves. When pulling weeds such as poison ivy, you don’t ruin your good gardening gloves or touch the plant. Spray painting or spraying stain is a breeze. When finished, remove the rubber bands or tape, and pull the bags off inside out. You stay safe and clean.

TIP 7

Spreading grass seed is the fastest way to repair all those spots that died during the winter or were created by planting pots, etc. Having hungry birds eat the seeds is annoying.

Don’t throw out those old window screens. Place them over the grass seed until it sprouts and starts to grow. The birds will find food elsewhere.

TIP 8

Bathtub and drain clogs are a nuisance. Trying to cram a plumber’s snake through curved pipes is enough to drive someone to distraction. Here are two methods to end a clog quickly and easily.

If you have a wet vac, wrap a wet towel around the metal end or use electrician’s tape. Place the end in the drain and turn the vacuum on. It should pull the clog out if it isn’t too far down the drain.

If you have a device called a “clog buster,” this will take care of any clog anywhere in your line. I mistakenly call it a water weenie, because essentially that’s what it is. Attach it to the end of a garden hose. Shove the clog buster into the drain as far as you can. Turn the water on for a small flow. The rubber end will fill and form a seal in the pipe. Now turn the water on full. The water pressure builds up, and blasts the clog down the pipe. Turn the water off, wait for the end to deflate and drain (no more than a couple of minutes), and remove. This device has saved friends and myself untold hundreds of dollars of plumbing bills.

TIP 9

To prevent outdoor light bulbs from sticking or corroding to the fixture, making removal a pain, try this tip. Lightly coat the screw rings (not the end) of the bulb with Vaseline. Insert the bulb in the socket. This keeps the metals from reacting to each other.

TIP 10

Synthetic ropes and nylon cords are stronger than natural fibers, and in many cases, cheaper. Unfortunately, they can become hopelessly tangled. Instead of throwing the rope away, spray the knot with spray lubricant for bolts and nuts. Wiggle the rope or cord to coat the knot, and it should work itself loose in no time.

! There are secrets to saving money while getting work done. Professional contractors and other business people use them all the time. You can, too.

More Ways to Save Money While Doing the Home Renovation Yourself

Saving money while you repair or upgrade your house may sound like an oxymoron, but it isn’t. It’s rapidly becoming a return to more frugal days when our forefathers made the most of everything. Wood from old fences became shelves in the barn. A worn-out dresser became shelves in the kitchen, and so on.

Here are ten more ways to save money while you work:

TIP 11

Re-use paint thinner. After using it, pour the paint thinner into an empty soda bottle and allow it to sit overnight. A glass gar or jug works well, too. The paint will settle at the bottom, and you can reuse the thinner over and over.

TIP 12

Don’t run to the store to buy new synthetic brushes every time you need to paint. After cleaning, run a cheap hair conditioner (those bottles in the bathroom with “just a little bit” in them are perfect) through the bristles to keep them soft and pliable. Wrap the brush in a newspaper or it’s paper container until it’s next use.

TIP 13

For filling holes with epoxy, try this trick. Squirt both parts of the epoxy into a plastic sandwich bag and mix by smooshing the bag. Cut a tiny hole off one of the corners, and use similar to a pastry bag for filling the hole. This is especially helpful for splintered wood.

TIP 14

Stripped holes for screws are every woodworker’s and handyperson’s pain. There’s more than one way to fix this.

Glue an old golf tee in the hole. Cut the tee off and drill a new screw pilot hole.

Stuff the hole with the nylon cord and insert the screw.

In the Air Force, people would lock their keys in their wooden closets. We would pull the hinges out. Of course, that stripped the screw hole.

TIP 15

When a flood is imminent and you have time before you evacuate, try a tip from John McMonagle. His Broomall, PA, the home was about to be hit with floodwater. “He took cans of spray foam insulation and sealed his entry and exit doors, basement doors and windows.”

Minimal effort was required to re-enter the home after the waters abated, and some cleanup, but the inside of his home was dry. Good job.

TIP 16

Leftover plastic cans from paint, planters and more can still have a useful life after their first one is done. Cut them into strips to match the molding on your next sanding or stripping project. Replacements are free, and you don’t have to run to the store for expensive tools.

TIP 17

On staircases, the handrails are attached to the studs in the walls. The drywall over the studs can loosen and wear out from the stress. Measure the handrail brackets. Using a hole saw slightly smaller than the brackets, cut the drywall out. Get a scrap of plywood the same thickness as the drywall and cut plugs with the same hole saw. Glue the plugs in place and re-attach the handrail brackets. The plywood won’t give with the stresses of people using the rail to climb the stairs. Now, why isn’t this one a standard?

TIP 18

Rebar is used in construction to reinforce concrete. It can also be used to brace aluminum frames, clothesline posts and more. It makes great anchors for tie-downs.

Instead of spending time pounding rebar into the dry earth, soften the dirt (or concrete hard clay, as in my area) with water- wait twenty-four hours for the water to sink in.

Place the rebar in the chuck of your drill and presto- the rebar screws itself into the earth. If your drill isn’t strong enough to do this, and you have several pieces of rebar to insert, rent a hammer drill. With the ground softened, a sledgehammer makes short work of pounding the rebar in.

TIP 19

When you need your wheelbarrow, you need it at that moment. If the tire’s flat from a hole, that’s frustration. If the DIY store is several miles away or doesn’t happen to carry your exact replacement, try this tip. Get a can of spray foam insulation and fill the tire. Let it solidify. Use the wheelbarrow while you locate a replacement. It will hold for a while.

TIP 20

If someone drives on your yard to deliver goods, or by accident, the tires could leave a rut. If the rut is shallow, lift the sod in the ruts with a spading fork every couple of days. The ruts should disappear.

If the ruts are deep enough for you to twist your ankle in, don’t despair. Use a spade and remove the sod. Smooth the surrounding soil, and fill the ruts with topsoil. Replace the sod and walk on it to get the roots in contact with the new soil. Water every day until the roots take hold.

! Calling professionals every time something breaks is expensive. Doing it yourself brings a sense of satisfaction that can’t be bought in a store. Saving money while doing it yourself- that’s all kinds of priceless.

Soy Candles: The Benefits Of Natural Candles

We want our homes to be inviting and emanate wonderful aromas when someone visits. There are many forms of air fresheners on the market; sprays, gels, mists, potpourri, soy candles and scented oils. The market has been inundated with new fragrance fans and air fresheners with “light shows”, but these items can be very pricey, especially when it comes to refills.

Using candles not only adds wonderful fragrance and aroma to your home but they also create a warm, appealing atmosphere. The price of candles can be much more economical than all the new-fangled items on the market today. Candles can create an ambiance incomparable to other air fresheners.

Candles are available in more fragrances than other air fresheners. The smell of candles will drift through your home and last longer than sprays so you aren’t continuously going from room to room with a can of air freshener.

Scented candles are a great way to create a serene or romantic environment in your home. If you are still using old wax candles, then you should think about switching to aromatherapy soy candles. These candles have a variety of benefits over the traditional wax candles. This article will discuss the many benefits of using natural soy candles instead of using candles made from paraffin wax.

Burning soy candles has many benefits over paraffin wax candles as well.

1 Soy wax candles burn cleaner thus reducing the pollution and irritants associated with paraffin wax candles and do not emit ozone gases. Another benefit of soy wax candles is that soy is a renewable resource. Traditional candles are made from a petroleum-based product called paraffin. You already know that oil must be imported and is currently setting record prices. Aromatherapy soy candles are made from soybean wax and can easily be made right here in the country without having to import any necessary materials. This also leads to the next point.

2 Candles made with paraffin wax release toxins into the air while they are burning. When you breathe these unhealthy carcinogens, they become lodged in your lungs. The smoke can even leave stains on the walls in your home. Organic soy candles are a non-toxic alternative to paraffin candles. They use natural cotton wicks and burn cleanly without releasing any smoke into the air.

3 Aromatherapy soy candles cost a little less than traditional candles made with paraffin wax. This is because the petroleum used to make paraffin must be imported from other countries. This is why the price of it is cheaper. An even greater benefit is that aromatherapy soy candles last twice as longer than other candles. Therefore, you won’t have to spend as much money on candles.

4They are made with triple the fragrance of paraffin wax candles making them smell better, but without overpowering your home. The fragrance lasts longer than with paraffin wax too.

5 If you regularly burn candles around your home, then you may have had accidents where wax spilled all over the floor. Melted paraffin wax is extremely hard to clean up if you’re able to clean it up at all. The wax from aromatherapy soy candles is much easier to clean up. You can simply use some soap and warm water to clean up the mess. Soy wax candles are biodegradable and will clean up with warm soapy water. If paraffin wax candles leak or spill it can be a mess trying to scrape the wax from your furniture. This can also damage your furniture and leave ugly scratch marks.

6 Soy wax candles will also burn 30% longer than paraffin wax candles. They may be a bit more expensive to buy, but when you consider the benefits of longer burning time and fragrance that lasts the entire lifetime of the candle, it really is a better choice economically.

7 Soy wax candles are made from 100% soybeans (vegan candles), making them a healthy choice and helping our American farmers in the process.

8 Soy candles are made with lead-free wicks and do not put out soot like other candles. We’ve all burned candles and been disappointed by the black gunk that builds up inside the jar. This soot not only blackens the jar but is also released into our homes coating our walls and ceilings. Not to mention the fact of how unappealing it looks when we are trying to create a pleasant atmosphere.

Burning organic soy candles offer so many more advantages than paraffin wax. You save money by burning natural candles that last longer and hold their fragrance; you help the environment by burning cleaner candles, and clean up from accidents are so much easier with soy wax.

If you’re still not convinced, purchase one soy candle and see the difference for yourself. Place your new soy candle in one room and a new paraffin wax candle in another room. Light them both at the same time and make comparisons on fragrance and burn time-and don’t forget to notice which one emits less soot.

Make your home a warm, inviting atmosphere with wonderful DIY Soy Wax Candles: How to Make Candles.

Candles: How to Make Candles – A Ultimate Guide

So, you like candles? Of course, you do! What other items can add romance, mystery, and elegance to any setting for only a few dollars? While candles can easily be purchased in a wide variety of stores, some prefer to craft their own. Be it frugality or simple pickiness that motivates you, candles are incredibly easy to make, and I’ll show you how.

First, I’ll help you select a wax. This is the complicated part, but only if you want it to be. There’s nothing wrong with plain old paraffin wax, but far be it from me to choose for you, so I’ll help you choose exactly what you want.

Next up, we’ll go through the actually melting of the wax and making of the candle. There are numerous ways to do this, but I’ll only go into detail on the big ones.

If all that’s not enough to sate your hunger for candle-making knowledge, I’ll give you a few ideas for some projects with extra spiffiness after we’re done with all the other hullabaloo. Ready? Good!

The Wax

Without wax, you don’t have a candle, you have a fuse. The wax of a candle gives the flame something to burn without destroying the wick immediately. There are a few different kinds of wax, and they each have their own traits to keep in mind. How can you pick the right one for you? Easy!

The two big factors to look at when you’re buying candle wax are melting point and flashpoint. Melting point is the temperature at which the wax… well, melts! Generally, the warmer the area is where the candle is going to be used, the higher a melting point you want. This will make your candle last longer. Flashpoint is the point at which the wax will burst into flame. Obviously, it’s best to have this nice and high, as flaming wax is very dangerous and exploding wax is even worse!

  • Paraffin Wax

One of the most commonly used types of wax; paraffin is petroleum-based and generally cheaper than other kinds of wax. It usually comes in chunks or a powder. It can be purchased either pre-colored or without any pigments added so that you can make it whatever color you like.

Paraffin Wax is also often used to make wax crystals, which can be molded by hand or used to fill a mold. It comes in bags and can be purchased pre-scented and pre-colored.

  • Beeswax

Beeswax comes from… wait for it… bees! Beeswax comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes: sheets, blocks, chunks, or little spheres. Beeswax actually has a melting point so low that you can warm it with your hands and shape it that way! This makes it ideal for projects for children or people who (like me) are far too clumsy and accident-prone to be fiddling around with melting things.

Beeswax is more expensive, but also has its own natural scent, so there’s no need for fragrances. If you decide to use beeswax in a mold, you should get some candle hardener so that the final product will hold its shape better. Also, when the wax cools in the mold, it will shrink quite a bit, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough wax left to fill in the gap.

  • Soy Wax

You really can make anything out of soybeans! Soy wax is, as you can imagine, the choice for environmentally-minded candles. It’s biodegradable, a renewable resource, and burns cleaner. Like beeswax though, this wax shrinks a lot, so you’ll need to top off any molds you use. Also, it’s even softer than beeswax, so you’re going to need to use lots of hardeners and a bigger wick.

As an added bonus, soy wax can be melted in the microwave. Nice and easy!

  • Gel Wax

Gel wax is how those candles that have bubbles in them are made. It’s a combination of mineral oil and a substance that gets the oil all goopy. It’s clear and rubbery and reminds me of hair gel. The longer it’s heated, the less “bubbly” the final product.

This is a very dangerous wax, however, since it has such a high melting point. You have to watch this stuff like a hawk when you’re heating it. If you don’t, and it hits the flashpoint, it’s going to have explosive results! I strongly recommend avoiding the use of this wax until you’re confident in what you’re doing.

Something similar is Jelly Candle Wax. Pre-colored, pre-scented, and no melting! It comes in a squeezable tube that’s just perfect for kids to use.

Additives

Fragrances and colors are the most common candle additives. Scents are generally liquids that are poured into the melted wax and are fairly straightforward. Colors come in chunks, either “chips” or “buds.” Some colors are pigments, meaning they aren’t going to melt. They have to be stirred into the candle and aren’t really meant to color the entire thing, so be careful what you’re buying. For added “cool factor,” some of these colors are blacklight-responsive. Groovy, man.

Stearine (AKA stearic acid) hardens wax that has a low melting point and lowers the melting point of wax that has a high one. It’s an animal product, but if that’s an issue for you, there are vegetable-based substitutes available.

Luster crystals and clear crystals are polymers that change the final look of your candle. Luster crystals give the candle more of a glimmery, opaque appearance, and clear crystals will give the candle a bit of a glow. They also act as a hardener.

Another hardener you can get is Vybar. There are different versions for different waxes, so read your labels carefully. It will give your candles a creamy texture and also help the scent from any fragrances travel better. Adding too much will deaden the scent though.

Putting your candles somewhere sunny? You’d better get some UV inhibitor. Purple and red candles fade very quickly in sunlight, so you’ll need it if those are your colors of choice.

Starburst Wax adds a snowflake-like pattern to the outside of a candle. Once you’ve got a candle finished, hold it by the wick and dip it quickly into some starburst wax. Poof! Snowflakes!

Microcrystalline Wax will help tapers stay rigid, keep pillars from looking mottled, and help wax stay where it belongs inside of a container. It comes in different grades for different purposes and can either harden or soften the wax, depending on which one you get.

Of course, if you want your candles to be mottled, you can. Adding a couple of tablespoons of mineral oil per pound of wax will give you a more mottled look.

Wicks

No, you’re not done making decisions yet. You have to pick a wick. You’ll need to choose a size, as well as decide whether or not you want a core, a braid, and wax with your wick. Ultimately, you’re just going to have to experiment, but I can give you some pointers.

A bigger candle needs a bigger wick. If your wick is too small, you’re not going to melt all the wax. If it’s too big, it’s going to smoke. Generally, every wick you can buy is going to give you an idea of the packaging of what size it’s for, so I won’t bore you with details.

For core, your options are going to be cotton, paper, or metal. A core will help a wick stand up in a gel candle or a votive. Paper burns hottest and metal, the coldest. Remember the melting point of your wax? That’s how you pick.

Waxed wicks are good when you have a wax that doesn’t draw up into the wick very well. That way, they’ll slow down their own burn.

Braided candles are designed to curl over as they burn, and are good for pillars. Square-braids go well with beeswax and flat-braids with paraffin.

Making the Candle

Alright, meat and potatoes time! You’ve chosen your wax and concocted a delicate blend of coloring and fragrance to achieve waxy perfection. Let’s get down to business

Safety

First things first, realize you’re probably going to make a mess. Put on old clothes, and put newspaper down where you’re going to be doing the pouring.

Have some baking soda and a fire extinguisher ready. Like a grease fire, do NOT put water on burning wax. It will just spread and make the problem worse. Smother burning wax with baking soda.

An electric stove is safer than a gas stove. If by accident, you heat the wax to flashpoint, the wax is much more likely to catch fire if it can find an open flame.

Watch your temperature. Watch your temperature. Watch your temperature! Wax doesn’t boil, so you’re not going to have any visual sign that it’s about to burst into flame. Get a thermometer and pay attention to it. If you detect an acrid scent coming from the wax, immediately turn off the heat. You’re overheating it and risking a fire or explosion.

Any leftover wax you have should be poured onto a cookie tray and cut up for chunks to use later. If you pour it down the drain, you’re going to regret it.

Melting the Wax

You’re going to need a double-boiler. Get a pot suitable for pouring wax from and a pot big enough to for the pouring pot to set inside.

First, put your wax in the pouring pot. Then, fill up the big pot with water and put a metal cookie cutter in the bottom to act as a base for the pouring pot. Bring the water to a boil, put your pouring pot in, and then bring the temperature on the burner down to a simmer. Make sure to keep the water level in the big pot up. If it runs dry, it’s not doing its job very well anymore. Once your wax has reached the proper temperature, you’re ready to go.

Pillar Candles

In addition to the wax and wick, you’re going to need a metal mold, mold sealer, and a couple of chopsticks, wooden shish-ka-bob skewers, or something similar. The mold will have a wick hole, and you should thread the wick through it. Tie the end of the wick around the chopstick (or whatever) and set it on the edges of the mold. The chopstick will keep the wick in place. Secure the wick with the wick screw (don’t over-tighten, or you’ll cut it), seal the gap with mold sealer, and you’re ready to go.

Pour the wax in, making sure to save some in the pouring pot for when the candle shrinks. Let the wax cool until it has a shell on it, and use the other chopstick to poke holes down until about an inch short of the bottom of the mold. You may have to renew these holes as the candle cools.

Once the candle has reached room temperature, re-melt the leftover wax to just a little bit hotter than you heated it last time, and fill in the holes (and newly formed sinkhole) with it. Don’t go quite up to the lip of the sinkhole though, or you’ll ruin the outer appearance of the candle.

Once it’s cooled, take the candle out of the mold (if it’s stuck, put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to loosen it up) and cut off the wick on the end where the chopstick is. That’s the bottom. If you want to flatten this out, put a cookie sheet on top of a pot of boiling water, and use the heat of the cookie sheet to melt off excess wax until the bottom is flat.

Trim the wick to ¼” and bada-bing! You’ve got a candle!

Using a tabbed wick will allow you to make a votive candle. The process is basically the same, except the wick is supported from inside.

Dipped Candles

Dipped candles are amazingly simple, if time-consuming. You need your wax mixture, your double-boiler, wicks, some washers or nuts to serve as weights for the wicks, and a “dipping frame.”

You can either buy a dipping frame or make one. Anything that will securely hold one end of the wick and allow you to suspend it over (but not in) the pot of wax will be perfect. Try reshaping a wire coat hanger.

Tie one end of the wick to the dipping frame and the other to the washer. Using multiple wicks, or a single long wick strung up so as to have two separate dangling parts will allow you to make multiple candles and improve the efficiency of this method.

Melt your wax in the double-boiler. Using a smooth motion, dip the wicks down into the melted wax and pull them back out. Hang them up to cool. Once the wax is hardened, repeat the process. You’ll have to do this several times. And I do mean several.

Once you’ve reached the desired size, let the candle harden and cut the washers off. You can either stop here or give the tapers a few more dips so that the bottom becomes rounded. Trim the wicks to ¼” and they’re ready to burn.

Pro tip: If you want your tapers to have a shiny finish, after they have their final dip, submerge them in a bath of cool water. Everybody loves shiny things!

Other Ideas

Want a REALLY SIMPLE candle? Buy beeswax in a sheet, lay it flat on a sheet of wax paper, warm it up with a hairdryer, and set a wick down it on one side. Tightly roll the wick up in the sheet. Trim the wick and you’ve got a candle!

How about using a milk carton as a candle mold? It’s already waxed on the inside, so it’s easy to remove. Use a tabbed wick and a chopstick for support.

Make a dent in a bucket of sand. Toss a tabbed wick in there and fill the indentation with wax. This will give the candle a shell of sand that looks very beach-chic.

And the best idea of all: STOP LISTENING TO ME! Go out and experiment! Just have fun with it, and be safe!

How to Build a DIY Shaker Step Stool

Building your own Shaker step stool is simple with this woodworking project. It’s a perfect addition to any kitchen with hard to reach pantries and shelves. It can be built with the most basic of hand tools and materials. In just a few hours and for just a few dollars, you can have your beautifully built Shaker step stool.

Back in the day, the Shakers had simple hand tools and plentiful selections of diverse materials. Fortunately for us, we have power tools to help speed up production and make work easier. You could easily build this Shaker step stool with a handsaw and hand drill; But let’s not overdo it. On the other hand, it is unfortunate for us that we have a lack of diverse materials. They just don’t make old-growth forests anymore to where we can chop down 100-year-old trees to build a step stool. But we have adapted and evolved, and now we require only a sheet of ¾” plywood instead of a 21″x 21 ¾” piece of an old-growth ancient oak.

You can use plywood with a nice veneer if you want to stain your Shaker step stool to have an antique look. You can also use ¾” finish plywood and paint it. Another approach to really give it the feel of solid wood is to use 1×8 pieces of oak or other suitable species that you may see fit. Just keep it in the hardwood family. You don’t want white pine or spruce for steps; they will give way underfoot and break!

Using a circular saw, cut two pieces of ¾” plywood, 21 ¾”x 21″. Stack and align the two pieces together and put a finish nail in the corners to hold both pieces even as you cut it. Designate one 21″ side as the bottom and measure in 5″ from each side towards the center and make two marks. From these two points create an arch using a compass or a pencil and string.

Use the blueprint to find all of the measurements for the stabilizer supports and tread cutouts. It is crucial you follow the measurements exactly, otherwise, your risers won’t all be 7 ½”.

Now cut the four stabilizers supports at 15″ from either 1×4 stock or by ripping down a few pieces of the ¾” plywood. If you have the wood, use it. It may be best to buy some solid pieces of 1×4 for extra support that may be needed for your Shaker step stool. Plywood works, but it’s not the best solution for this particular project.

Now cut the remaining three treads 7 ½”x 16″ from either real wood or the ¾” plywood. Again the choice is up to you on how stout you want your Shaker step stool to be, or how much you’re willing to spend on it.

Once the pieces are all cut and have been sanded and painted or stained, assemble the four supports to the two side pieces using wood glue and 8d finish nails. Square up the Shaker step stool and attach the three steps using the same method. Allow the whole project to dry for 24 hours and you’re ready to use your new Shaker step stool.

How to Make a DIY Folding Footstool: A Step-by-Step Guide

My hotel room has a chair and table that I work at every day. The table is high and the chair seat is low, making my back hurt after a while. I have added chair pads to elevate my body so my arms do not tire out. This means my legs hang lower than my hips, which also affects my back. Task chairs are expensive; I have yet to find one that fits me well. Instead, I decided to try to find a folding footstool that would serve my needs.

Ideally, your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor, or straight. I worked out a stack of books and measured the height I needed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a commercial foot stool at that height. Folding footstools are often made of cheap plastic, are too narrow or uncomfortable if I want to work in my bare feet.

The solution was simple. I’d raid my friend’s scrap boxes and make a folding footstool I could be happy with. If I’m going camping, I can use it as a stool for sitting on.

My plans can be modified to fit any size foot or stool.

You will need:

  • General woodworking tools (DIY centers can cut wood for you at a small charge)
  • Sandpaper, stain and sealer or primer and paint
  • Leftover upholstery fabric or leather
  • Foam
  • Furniture nails or tacks
  • Two short piano hinges- Other types of hinges are acceptable.
  • Drill and bits
  • Dowel – One-half to one inch in diameter
  • For plywood, edging or wood putty

Step One:

I decided to find out how tall my foot stool needed to be. I stacked books on the floor and sat in my chair. I placed my feet on the books and rearranged the stack until my back and legs were comfortable.

My height came to eleven inches. I could not find a commercial stool anywhere that height. I would have to get one and prop it up- that’s kind of an oxymoron.

Step Two:

I wanted my footstool to be wide enough for me to sit on at a campsite or to rest my feet on without hanging over the edge.

I decided my folding footstool would be twelve inches wide. My feet would not hang off the edge and at a campsite, my seat would be comfortable.

Step Three:

I chose half-inch wide plywood for my stool. Since I weigh 127lbs, it won’t bend under my weight. Thicker wood can be used, of course.

I cut two pieces of wood twelve inches wide and ten and a half inches high. The third piece of wood measured twelve inches wide and twenty-four inches long. My friend has scraps in his woodpile, but I could also purchase half or quarter-sheets of plywood at my local DIY store as well.

Step Four:

I sanded all the pieces to make finishing easier. I dislike using “iron-on” plywood edging, so I filled the edges with wood putty.

I measured four inches in from each side and marked where my hinges would be. I purchased two one-foot long piano hinges that were on clearance a couple of years ago; they came in handy for this project. I attached the piano hinge to the bottom of the top board and to the inside of the legs. They fold up under the stool.

Step Five:

This step can be performed before attaching the legs to the stool’s underside if you so desire.

I measured two inches up from the bottom and centered a one-inch hole completely through each of the legs. I cut a dowel to fit through the holes and stick out two inches on each side. Hook and loop tape straps affixed to the underside of the top allows the dowel to travel with the stool when folded. It won’t get lost.

Step Six:

I stained and sealed my folding footstool a dark, pretty walnut color. Since I had some leftover leather from an old upholstery project, I cut and placed the foam on top of the foot stool. I cut the foam a half-inch smaller than the top.

I cut the leather to fit over the foam and fold under a half-inch at each side. The furniture tacks were nailed in place.

My folding footstool looks like a small, fine piece of furniture.

Notes:

  • One alternative to hinges is to cut half-inch notches at each top corner of the legs. Mark a slot in the top boards at each edge or at the place where you would put the hinges. The legs fit in the slot and the dowel goes through the hole.

This makes a great gift for students, office workers or anyone who needs a footstool. It also makes a great small stool for toddlers.