Friday, February 5, 2016

DIY Growth Charts

TGIF!

I have been sick on and off for the past month, so I've been MIA. Isn't that the joy of having a kid in school? I spent yesterday disinfecting my keyboard, mouse and every door knob in the house. Today's project was a good distraction from the cold weather and germ fest. Years ago I made my daughter a growth chart from a piece of scrap wood I had laying around. It did the trick for many years. I just hung it a foot off the ground, and it covered her growth from baby until 5 years later.



However, now she's getting even taller  so it was time to make a large growth chart. My son has never had one. The curse of the second child, I suppose. I've been slipping post it notes into a drawer to track his height.

DIY Growth Charts

Supplies

6 foot boards(mine were pre-cut pine boards from the hobby wood section of Lowe's)
Sander
Paint or Stain
Vinyl or Paper Numbers (either hand cut, cut with a Silhouette or prefab numbers from the hardware store)
Optional: Paper Shapes, Router, Mod Podge

Directions

1. Prepare Wood Surface.



So the first thing to do was get a nice piece of 6 foot pine wood. The great thing about this project is you can easily find pre-cut pieces of wood, so if you're not that handy, you can get away with using minimal power tools. I had my husband route around each board to make a fancy border. If you don't have a router (or struggle to use one like me...I have short arms and small hands...like a T-Rex), you can easily round the corners with a sander. Once you're done routing, sand the board to create a nice smooth surface.

2. Finish Boards



I did two different finishing methods.

Method One

My son's room has a "vintage hunting lodge" theme, so I did one like a big manly giant ruler. That chart got a coat of dark walnut stain by Minwax. After the stain dried, I simply added the vinyl (more on that below).

Method Two 

My daughter didn't want a boring ruler (her words). She liked the Mod Podge method I did with her old one, so I stuck with that. The first step was painting the board. The kids helped with this step. I just covered up a 12 area, gave them paint brushes and let them have at it. I came in and cleaned up the lines when they had painted most of the board in blue and green then I added the tree last.

3. Add Finishing Touches.

I have a Silhouette cutting machine, so I used that to cut my vinyl and paper. I didn't have that machine when I made my daughter's old growth chart. It's very easy to cut the paper into shapes by hand. Channel your inner kindergartener..or use one that happens to be standing around looking for something to do. If you're using method one, you could easily pick up the number stickers from a scrapbook section or a hardware store near the house numbers.

With my daughter's chart, she decided what shapes she wanted (an owl, a bird, a sun, and a boy and girl to represent her and her brother). I found the shapes in the Silhouette studio store and used my machine to cut them out. Once I had all the shapes cut out, including leaves and a catapillar, I used Mod Podge to attach all the shapes to the board. I did a final coat of Mod Podge over the top so everything was protected and glossy. For shapes that blended in, I went back and added a sharpie marker border around the shape.




With my son's chart, I simply cut the number and dashes out of vinyl using my Silhouette. To add the measurements to the board, I used a tape measure and taped it down to the board with some painters tape. I had to adjust the tape when I needed to see what was underneath, but it worked really well to accurately place the dashes and numbers.




4. Add Measurements and Hang.

After each growth chart was completed, I went in and put their previous measurements on each board with a black sharpie marker. To hang the boards I have large alligator picture hanging pieces. I'll either use that or just drill one hole in the top to attach the boards straight to the wall. They should sit flush with the floor, so they just need something to keep them from falling over, not take the weight of the board.

 






Monday, January 25, 2016

DIY Charging Station

Hello!

Today's project is my attempt to wrangle up all the different charging devices on our kitchen counter. Until we get our island put in (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEONE COME REMOVE THE RANDOM WALL IN OUR KITCHEN!!!!), our counter space situation is very sad . I have about 4 feet of space to do all my cooking, prep and dish washing. That means having a bunch of devices hanging out waiting to be charged really isn't an ideal situation.

I had a couple random 1x3's sitting in the garage from a miscalculation on my part for our floating shelves. (Click here for the post) So, it was the perfect time to put those to use. I also had a new Kreg Jig I'm obsessed with using. I have a feeling this project would have been easier if I would have used my nail gun, especially when assembling the panels, but I was having too much fun with my Kreg Jig to pull out the air compressor. Plus this thing is as solid as can be as a result.


DIY Charging Station

Supplies:

2 - 6 foot pieces of 1x3 -- You could use all sorts of different size wood for this project. It's definitely a good scrap wood project. 
Kreg Jig and Screws -- I used course screws meant for soft wood.
Saw -- I used my miter saw, but due to the minimal cuts, a hand saw or other saw variation could work. 
Sandpaper and/or Sander
Paint
Drill Bit -- Use one that will create a hole big enough for your charging cords to fit through. 
Optional: Felt Pads -- A must to keep from scratching my beautiful butcher block countertops.
Optional: Clamps -- I found they were helpful to keep everything together when you were assembling.

Directions:

1. Decide on your dimensions.

Before I cut anything, I sat down and tried to visualize how the charging station would look. I didn't want to cut any wood length wise since my circular saw is on the fritz. So, everything I did was just simple cuts of the 1x3. This is what my plans looked like when I was done. (I'm attempting to learn Sketch Up to prevent this sort of sad planning of projects) 

Click image to enlarge it.


These plans were a good starting point. However, it always makes sense to do a dry run before you drill or screw anything into place just to make sure things are fitting together correctly. Throughout the project I periodically stopped what I was doing and stacked the wood up to make sure everything was matching up correctly.

2. Cut Da Wood.

This is the cut list I ultimately ended up with.

Panel 1 (the front one) was 1 piece of 1x3 cut 18 inches long.
Panel 2 (the middle one) was 2 pieces of 1x3 cut 18 inches long.
Panel 3 (the back one) was 3 pieces of 1x3 cut 18 inches long.
The Bottom Panel needed to be long enough to cover both the 18 inch long panels plus the two side pieces, so the bottom was 2 pieces of 1x3 cut 19.5 inches long. (18 inches plus 3/4 inches x 2 for the wide of each side piece). I only did 2 pieces so the unit would be fairly narrow on my countertop.
The Side Panels were made up of 2 pieces of wood, one longer than the other to create a stair step effect. So for 2 side pieces, I cut: 2 pieces of 1x3 cut 2 3/4 inches long, and 2 pieces of 1x3 cut 5 inches long.

So, if you want a summary, this is what all my cuts looked like:

6- 18 inches
2-19.5 inches
2-5 inches
2 - 2.75 inches

3. Drill Baby Drill.

Once you have all your pieces cut, you will need to first assemble your panels. The first one is easy since it's only one piece. (Ta Da. You're simply done by looking at it) With the middle, back and bottom panels, you will need to use your Kreg Jig to create a solid piece. (You could also use nails or screws etc. instead of Kreg Jig)


Creating the middle panel.

Creating the back panel.


You will also need to create your side pieces using the same methodogy. Just make sure you take a second to think about which pieces are going on what side. They need to be mirror images of each other. You want your Kreg Jig holes to be on the inside of the piece. This is a good place to do a dry run before you start drilling.

Creating the side panels. Mirror images of one another.


Once you have everything in nice panels, you need to take a drill bit and make holes at the bottom of the middle and back pieces. The holes need to be big enough your chargers can fit through. I have one old school iPad that needed a HUGE hole for those 342 prong chargers, so I made one bigger than the others.  

4. Avengers Assemble! (or just assemble...but it sounded much cooler in a superhero voice)

This is one area where I had to stop, put things together, and think about where to put my drill holes. This is how I ultimately decided to assemble everything.

Dry run of the assembly before I starting putting things together.


A) First, attach your side panels to the bottom panel. I did 2 Kreg Jig screws downwards through the side panel into the bottom panel.

Side panel with the two pre-drilled Kreg Jig holes downwards.


B) Next, attach the front panel. You need to predrill your Kreg Jig holes in four places. 1 on each side of the front panel (so you will attach the front panel to the side panels) and 2 in the middle (so you'll attach the front panel into the bottom panel). Once you pre-drill, place the board and drill it into place.

Front panel with two holes in the center and a hole on each side.


C) Next, attach the middle panel. You need to predrill your Kreg Jig in four to six places. (Six might be a bit of an overkill, but I was making sure this thing survived a cyclone). I did a Kreg Jig hole at the end of each piece of the middle panel and then two in the middle. So you can attach the middle panel to the side panels at the top and bottom of the side panel and into the bottom board.

Middle panel with two holes in center and two holes on top. 


D) Last, attach the back panel. You need to predrill your Kreg Jig holes in six places. I did a Kreg Jig hole at the end of the bottom and middle pieces of the back panel and two in the middle. So, you are attaching the back panel into the side panels at the top and bottom of the side panes and into the bottom board.

When you work from the front to back, it makes it much easier to reach all the areas you need to reach. I originally thought about attempting to drill between the panels while it was partial assembled. Once I did a dry run of every thing, I realized that was crazy and wasn't going to work.

5. Paint and Sand

Now that everything is assembled, take a moment to finish the piece. Sand the boards, round corners and finally paint. I did a yellow chalkboard paint I created myself. I need to go back in a distress it a bit, but it's fine for now. I added a metal chalkboard label (3$ for 4 of them in Target's dollar section) as a finishing touch.

I'm glad that all our devices are now in once place. Now about removing that wall so I can put an island in.....










Thursday, January 14, 2016

DIY Floating Shelves

Happy 2016!

I took a bit of a break over the holidays. I would like to say it was to rest or go on a fantastic vacation, but instead I got the stomach flu, then strep, then a sinus infection, and finally to round out my holiday break, I got pink eye. Great use of vacation time, huh?

Over my break I had all these ambitious plans to build all sorts of things, but in relativity, I mostly slept. (No regrets). I did find time between naps to work on these floating shelves for our bathroom.

In my last bathroom reveal, I was still trying to decide what was missing. The room was better, but there was definitely some things missing. One of those things was storage. In fact, that probably could be said about our entire house. We always need more storage. How do two tiny humans have so much stuff?!

I saw some great floating shelves on Shanty 2 Chic, and decided I was going to recreate them including the staining. I got a Kreg Jig for Christmas and some other fun tools, so it was the perfect project.

Except, it wasn't. I didn't quite follow the instructions and ended up messing up the project. It went from something I was really excited about to something I'm just a bit irritated by each time I walk by it. I didn't rip a board to fit the entire front of the shelf which created a seam down the front. I should have left that alone but then I tried to wood fill it. That didn't work so I then tried to caulk it. My plan to stain quickly changed to paint with all my mess ups.

Moral of the story? Follow the directions and don't keep trying to fix a do over with a band-aid (or caulk in this case). Oh well. They look okay for the money I spent on them (less than $20.00), and I do at least get some extra storage out of it. Right?

Before, In Between and...

After!

Note those cool wire baskets? Dollar General find for $10.00!

Pre-Paint


Ugh. Wood fill disaster.


Post-Paint 



Better than before, but still looks wonky.