Monday, November 30, 2015

DIY Sunday: $20.00 Door Rehab

Good Afternoon!

As I promised, today's tutorial is how to update 1970's boring bi-fold doors for only $20.00. The process is actually really simple and definitely adds some visual interest to a blah door. (You could easily use this technique for old hollow core interior slab doors as well!)

$20.00 Door Rehab

Old Door
Lattice Strips (Bundle of 50 strips for $14.97)
Liquid Nails (I used the Heavy Duty type)
Caulk (Latex caulk that is paintable and cleans up with water)
Caulk Gun
Wood Filler
Clamps and/or Weights
Miter Saw or Hand Saw
Sand Block/Sander
Paint (My paint is a custom mixed Olympic One Paint and Primer in One)
Paint Roller & Brush
Optional: New Knobs and Primer


1. Prepare Wood

First, you will need cut the wood strips to the correct length using either a miter saw or a hand saw. I chose to do a small square on the top of each door. I thought about doing squares down the entire length, but after looking at our new interior doors (click here for the post about that saga) and the new board and batten (click here for that post), I decided to go with a craftsman one square on top style.

Since the wood is cheap, you may need to do a careful check of the wood before you pick it. Look for any warping, splits and any other cosmetic issues. Some of that can be fixed when you adhere the wood to the door, but not everything. Since there are so many strips in a bundle, you should be able to find some good straight boards in the group.

Once the pieces are cut, you will need to sand the wood smooth including the edges.

2. Prepare Surface

I removed my door and placed it on sawhorses, so it would be easier to work on. To remove a bi-fold door, you need to close the door and lift up. The top pin should compress in, and you should be able to lift the door off the bottom bracket and pull out. If your door is being stubborn (like mine was) you can also screw the bracket off the top track and slide the door inwards to remove. Remove the knobs.

Since there is more than likely some sort of finish on the top of the door, you will need to roughen up the surface. A smooth finish will keep your lattice strips and paint from adhering. You need to rough up the surface with a sanding block. You don't need to get crazy about it,  a fine grit sandpaper will work.

3. Attach Wood Trim

Since the door is hollow, it won't do any good to use screws or nails. You will need to use Liquid Nails or a similar adhesive.

Once you lightly sand, you need to fasten the wood to the door. Apply Liquid Nails on the back of the wood strips in a wave pattern. Put the wood on the door and clamp it down. Use a wet rag to wipe away any adhesive that spills out from the trim. Let the door dry. I let my door dry overnight.If I couldn't reach a section with a clamp (i.e. in the strips on the inside of the door), I used a 10 pound weight to keep the trim from moving.

4. Wood Fill

Using wood fill, fill in anywhere the trim meets other trim. This is especially important if you have to join two pieces. The goal is to make the long piece appear as one piece, not two. After you let the wood fill dry for the time specified on the package, take either your sanding block or sander to the wood to level it out. I found that a block worked fine on everything except the long pieces joined together. To make those appear as one piece, I had to use a sander to take more surface area off.

5. Caulk the Gaps

You will need to caulk the gaps anywhere the trim meets the door. Caulk is one of those steps that many people overlook when doing trim. It does amazing things when it comes to making a professional finish.

This is the trim without caulk.
Trim with caulk

You will want to caulk prior to painting because paint will catch less dust than the caulk by itself (not to mention, it will clean up much easier). Caulking used to intimidate me, mostly because I did such a terrible job on our tile back splash. However, once I threw out those caulking tools and just used a damp finger, the process was much easier. Once you have everything caulked, let the caulk dry according to the directions on the tube.

6. Paint the Door

If you would like, this is the time to apply a coat of primer to the door. I didn't have primer on hand, so I just went straight to my paint and primer in one. Primer would help keep the paint from peeling; however, I haven't seen any issues with the paint coming off my doors thus far.

Using a brush in the crevices and a foam roller meant for doors on the larger portions, I painted the front and sides of the door. I decided not to paint the back since no one will see that portion of the door. If you want a more professional finish (or are using this tutorial on an interior door), you may want to start with the back and then paint the front last. My door took three coats to completely cover.

After the first coat of paint, it's clear it's going to need some additional coats.

Once I was done with the front and edges, I propped my door up so I could paint the middle section where the hinges are located.

The door is propped up so the hinge side can be seen.

7. Rehang Door

After everything has completely dried, it's time to rehang your door. I always expect to do some touch ups after re installing the doors, so keep your gallon of paint handy. Once the door was rehung, I added new knobs to the existing holes.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Show & Tell: Master Bedroom Renovation


I'm so excited to share our completed bedroom renovation. I've already shared the cool barn door headboard we salvaged, and next Sunday I'm going to share the tutorial on our $20.00 closet door rehab, but I couldn't wait to share the over-all reveal. Not to mention I'm pretty sure our room won't look this clean for a long time.


If you remember, this is what our room looked like in August. We hadn't done anything to the room apart from moving our furniture in and putting a couple pictures on the wall. It was a mess.


The first step in the renovation was new paint. I painted the walls with Sherwin Williams paint in Naval and painted the trim around the door and window in a crisp white. After we moved our headboard in, we removed the old trim and did board and batten around the room. That was quite the experience in itself, but the $150 investment is totally worth the impact it has on the room. I rehabbed the existing closet doors for $20.00 (tutorial coming this Sunday). The final touches were some white Ikea curtains (with new fabric added to the bottom), new nightstands, new shades on the light fixture and new bedding. Oh and I was lucky enough that my husband's ugly big box fan kicked the bucket.


Monday, November 23, 2015

DIY Sunday: Rustic Mirror Frame and Stand


I was going to share this project last week, but I am hard at work finishing up the board and batten in our bedroom. After that is done, I may actually be done with Ugly House for a couple of weeks. Then it's time to remove a wall, install an island and do flooring for the first floor. I'm addicted to rehab as Nicole Curtis would say.

There's a funny meme going around Pinterest that says "Why buy something when you can spend twice as much on craft supplies and do it yourself?" It makes me laugh, because for the most part I try to do things cheaper than buying them. However, every once in a while I ended up in a DIY black hole and the cost of supplies far exceeds the cost of buying something new. Mostly it's just pride that makes me continue to sink money into the project. I will finish you!!!! AHHHHH! (That's my DIY battle cry). This picnic table was definitely my outdoor black hole this year. That stupid table probably cost me more than buying new...not to mention the hours I spent working on it.

This month it's this darn rustic wood mirror. The idea started out simple enough. I had two mirrors left over from the previous owner of the house. I had old wood left over from the bench project. Free project! I just had to make a frame, attach it, and ta da! New more stylish mirror.

Four mirrors later, I almost gave up. I have enough bad luck to last me and my children's lifetimes. However, all my screw ups mean I know how to do this project correctly the first time. So, lucky you! You can learn from my many....many mistakes. Sanity saved and black hole project justified. All in a day's work.

DIY Rustic Mirror and Frame


Mirror (If you're buying a new mirror, I would suggest this heavier duty beveled side mirror. It holds up better than the $5.00 cheap-o mirror.)
Rustic Wood (If you can't find the wood you're looking for, you can follow this tutorial and make your own)
4 Corner Braces
2 Hinges
Tape Measure
Miter Saw or Hand Saw and Miter Box
2 Bolts with Nuts (Long enough to go through two boards and a bit extra. I took some left over gold spray paint and painted them so they would match my chain.)
4 Eye Screws
Optional: Liquid Nails Mirror Adhesive


Step One: Build Frame

Building a frame for your mirror is relatively easy and straight forward. You will use your saw to cut 45 degree angles. You should make the smaller inside edge just a bit smaller than the size of the mirror. After the angles are cut, use corner braces to connect all the pieces. If you don't want fancier 45 degree corners, it's perfectly acceptable to attach the four pieces without the angles. Adjust your measurements as necessary.

Step Two: Drill Holes for Brace

I decided to do a brace horizontal across the back to 1) keep the mirror attached to the frame more securely, and 2) have something to attach the hinges/stand to. I wanted my mirror to be mobile so I built a stand. You absolutely can do this project without the stand.

The first thing to remember (and the most important thing) is to never drill anything while the mirror is close to the frame. You will predrill everything before the mirror gets attached. I broke two mirrors being stupid about this. I had everything cut and ready to go and broke the mirror when I was trying to attach it to the frame. You're going to predrill everything and then carefully hand tighten with a screwdriver.

First of all, carefully place the mirror on the back of the frame and outline the mirror with a marker. This outline will give you an idea where to drill everything without having the mirror anywhere near the drill. Remove the mirror and put it in a safe place. You will then want to cut a piece of wood for the brace that fits across the back of the frame. Drill a hole (a bit larger than the bolts you have) on each end of the brace, as close to each end as you can get without compromising the hole. You don't want the bolts to interfere with the mirror, so your holes will need to be outside the outline you drew.

Once you have the holes drilled, place the brace on the back of the frame. I placed mine in the middle of the frame. Then, put a pencil through each hole and mark on the back of the frame where the holes on the brace hit. Finally, drill holes in the mirror frame on the places you marked.

I should note that my iPhone 6 died and I had to use my iPhone 5 to take pictures. The quality is crazy different. Sorry for the blurry pictures!

Step Three: Cut and Attach Legs

Since I decided to do a stand, I needed to cut some legs. I eyeballed about how long they need to be by holding the frame at the angle I wanted it to be and measuring the length to the floor. You can adjust the leg length before you attach the mirror, so don't get too worried about it. The most important thing is each leg is exactly the same length. You don't want your mirror leaning to one side.

Once you have your legs cut, you can hold them up against the mirror frame to make sure they are short/long enough. Now is the tedious part. You have to attach the hinges to the brace and the legs. Before you do this, I would put the bolts through the front of the mirror and brace so you can make sure the legs and hinges don't interfere with the bolts. There's no good way to attach the hinges. It's going to be awkward when you go to attach the the other side. A magnetic drill bit/screw driver will make it a bit easier. A second set of hands would also make it easier, but since I decided to put this mirror together at 2 am I was on my own. (I really should teach my dogs to help with these sorts of things)

I should note, that my legs on my mirror are a bit loose from side to side. I could fix this by placing another brace towards the bottom of the legs so they would be connected to one another. I have decided against this because I can now move my legs out a bit so the base is wider and more stable. So I get a bit more stability, but when I go to move it, it's a pain to pull out each leg separately. Just a FYI.

Step Four: Drill for Mirror Clips

Using the clips that are included with the mirror, attach them around the sides of the mirror outline you made. You may need to use shorter screws if you're frame isn't very thick. You will want to start the screws without making them too tight since you need to swivel the clip around to get the mirror in. You basically are starting the screws and will hand tighten them once you have the mirror attached. You will want to do this step while the brace is attached so you don't interfere with it.

Step Five: Attach Eye Screws

Now you should have a frame and stand put together. You should be able to stand it up and look at your fine creation. If you're on carpet, you can now place your mirror at the angle you would like it to sit all the time. Now it's time to mark where the chain and the eye screws should go. I just eyeballed where to put the eye screws. One screw will go in the back of the leg and the other will go in the back of the frame. You should try to make them level with one another. You will also want the other side to be level with the screws so the chains hang at about the same place. Mark with a pencil/marker where you want to put the eye screws in. Once again, make sure you are placing the eye screws outside of the outline you made for the mirror.

While you have your frame sitting up how you would like it, use a tape measure to measure how far the two eye screws are apart. This will be how long you will make your chain. You will attach the chain after the mirror is attached to the frame.

Now you can place your frame flat and screw in all the eye hooks. I usually just muscle them in, but it can be really helpful to drill a pilot hole.

Step Six: Attach the Mirror

This is the moment of truth. After breaking four mirrors, I was a sweaty mess with this step. If I broke this mirror, I am pretty sure I would have needed to be committed. My husband would have found me in a ball on the couch cursing about the stupid mirror project.

Remove the bolts from the frame and brace. You should now have two pieces: 1) The frame with all the mirror clips loosely attached, and 2) the brace with the legs attached.

Carefully place the mirror on the back of the frame. You will want to make sure you are clearing all the mirror clips and not scratching the surface of the mirror. If you are so inclined, prior to placing the mirror on the frame, you could do a bead of Liquid Nail mirror adhesive around the frame inside the outline. I did not do this because I wanted to be able to remove the mirror if it ever got broken.

Once the mirror is on the frame, swivel each clip and make sure they are all hitting at the right place. If a clip is off, you will need to remove the mirror, move the clip and replace the mirror on the back of the frame.

Carefully hand tighten each clip. You want the clips firmly holding the mirror in place, but don't get overly aggressive. You don't want to hear a crack as your tightening the clip.

Once the mirror is attached, you can place the bolts through the front of the frame and reattached the brace and legs.

Step Seven: Attach the Chain

Measure out how long you need the chains to be. Make sure they are equal length so the mirror doesn't lean to one side. To "cut" the chain, you can use some pliers to pry open a link and make the chain the proper length. Attach the chain to the eye hook by squeezing the end link shut with your pliers.

The mirror should be finished! I hope you enjoy your new fancy mirror and mostly I hope my bad experience made the process easy and painless for you!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chalk Markers v. Chalk Pencils

Happy Hump Day!

I'm working on a tutorial right now, but until that's ready, I figured I would share a new product I found while shopping with a friend (shout out to my home slice Lisa!) at Target. I'm all about the chalkboard craze. Before Pinterest made it cool, I had a chalkboard hanging in my room in high school. It was a great place to doodle and leave notes. So, I'm loving that new accessories are coming out to make drawing a bit more refined (my sidewalk chalk skills aren't all that great..just ask my 5 year old daughter).

I love chalkboard markers. I have used them pretty regularly since they came on the market. However, they are very bold. You don't get a whole lot of control with how much comes out of them. It's hard to shade in without just creating a blob of liquid chalk which inevitably will smear all over the drawing when you try to remove it. Which leads to cursing and wine drinking...which really doesn't help the whole "staying in the lines business." Then I saw these new fangled chalkboard pencils. Yes. Think colored pencils but for a chalkboard. They even sharpen like pencils. (Say what!?) Although my husband, aka the Grinch,  is strictly on the "No Christmas Decorations until after Thanksgiving" bandwagon, I decided to give them a try with some Christmas art. He will just have to advert his eyes for a few more days.

Chalk Markers v. Chalk Pencils

First of all, chalk pencils are seriously awesome for outlining what you want to draw. Instead of doing my usual chalk on paper and trace the paper trick, I could sketch right on the chalkboard. The pencils erase easily, and you can control how dark you want the pencil line to be. It made doing my large chalkboard way easy. I just sketched the entire thing and followed with a chalk marker.

I decided to use the marker on my large chalkboard, because the pencil was a bit too light for the dark hallway and dark chalkboard. However, I did use the pencils to shade in between the marker lines.

I also used the chalk pencils on some smaller chalkboards where I wanted a more sketched look. The dark colors (blue and purple specifically) don't translate very well to the black chalkboard, but maybe they would work well on a lighter color chalkboard. They erase much easier than markers which made correcting mistakes as I went much easier. However, that also means that they will easily erase if they rub against something else. And of course, they smudge and blur easier.

So, over-all I'm happy that I found the pencils. Although now I'm wondering where that chalkboard from high school ended up....(Mom?!?)

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