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Easy Fall Woodworking Projects

Now the nights are drawing in and we are all thinking about fall and the onset of winter, it’s time to get busy in the workshop. At this time of the year, it can be fun to start new projects, and easy fall woodworking projects are always popular.

Bird Feeder

One easy fall woodworking project is to construct a bird feeder. We are coming up to winter when the birds require more feeding, so doing this will ensure that your garden or yard becomes a haven for wild birds, giving you and your family plenty of feathered interest in the garden. Bird feeders can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. A simple bird house construction or a mini park bench that you hang in the trees will attract the birds, and you can get the kids to help paint it too.

Garden Table

Over summer you may have been entertaining outdoors, so how about a new garden table? One great design is to use supports on each end connected by a supporting length of timber and make the table top out of 3 or 4 rustic straight pieces of lumber. If you leave a gap between each piece of wood on the table, it is easier to construct, and the gaps will make it easier to clean and to avoid the table getting dirty.

Patio Chairs

Patio chairs can look good too. Perhaps yours have been overused during summer, so fall is a great time to think about next year. Simple chairs are easy for the woodworking beginner as long as you ensure that the legs are plumb and straight.

Planters

Many easy woodworking fall projects are decorative. How about some new planters for the garden? Making a wheelbarrow-shaped planter is an easy enough project that can show off your winter plants and add interest to the garden.

Garden or Holiday Signs

Making a sign for your home is very rewarding and can be achieved with off cuts and basic woodworking skills. One simple way is to use pallet wood and just cut out a shape that you like. Prepare the wood with a stain and paint on the name of your house, and then varnish for protection. Fix two holes at the top of the sign and thread with rustic rope or twine before hanging the sign in place.

If you are planning a fall party or Halloween experience, you can position pumpkins and lanterns around your sign. In addition you can easily make your own sign for your home that reflects the seasons. How about a Halloween sign or a Christmas house sign that is decorated with seasonal images?

Fall woodworking projects can be as useful or as fun as you choose to make them. The great thing is that once you get the woodworking home décor bug , you will undoubtedly discover more ideas and inspiration. The homemade artisanal look is very fashionable right now, and it seems crazy to pay good money for something that looks homemade when you could so easily have the fun of making it yourself.

Things You Can Build with 2x4s

There are plenty of things you can build with 2x4s. This is a fantastically adaptable lumber size so with a little ingenuity, some left over wood plus tools and a plan, you have a wide range of useful objects open to you.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things you can build with 2x4s.

Open Shelf Vanity

How about an open shelf vanity case unit? This is a simple wooden structure that avoids you having to make tricky things like doors. The 2x4s can provide the support structure to the unit, with the shelves themselves also constructed from 2×4 wood pieces. Once you have measured and screwed the fixings in place, you can stain or paint the structure so that all the pieces look uniform and smart.

Storage Shelves

You can create fantastic storage units and shelves for the garden or workshop. If you want to store paint for example you can tailor the width and height of the shelves to your precise needs. If it is for the workshop, it does not have to look that neat but it will tidy your work area and it will add a rustic charm to your surroundings.

Bench

How about a potting bench for your greenhouse or shed? 2x s are great for this. You can easily make a simple wooden table support, plus an integrated high wooden area for hanging things, such as garden tools and twine. A bottom shelf can be added for storing heavier items such as bags of compost.

Other Ideas

You don’t have to only look at functional garden and workshop structures. Depending upon your woodworking skills, there are plenty of things you can build with 2x4s that will look great indoors. Reclaimed wood for example lends itself very well to making rustic tables. Individual shelves and shelving units not only help keep your room looking uncluttered, but they can be great points of interest in their own right.

These types of rustic furniture options have a contemporary appeal, and even if your woodworking is not perfect, careful finishing and staining will bring them back on track, giving even the odd mistake a real wow factor.

As with all woodworking, the secret to success is to measure and to cut the wood accurately. That way your shelves or table will remain straight and be fit for use.

The best way to find things you can make from 2x4s is to decide what you need and then try and find a rough plan online. However, you don’t even need to do this if you are more confident.

 As long as you have some tools, such as a good saw, a mitre, and plenty of wood screws, you can pretty much build what you like. And the good news is that if you are using free or cheap offcuts, any mistakes are not expensive. After all, if your luxury 2×4 table does not go exactly to plan, you can always use it in the shed or the garden, or even dismantle it and have another go!

DIY Friendship Bracelet

Giving a friendship bracelet is a lovely way to show someone you care and a DIY friendship bracelet is even more special. These simple bracelets can be easy to make yet the finished result is always attractive. They can also vary in their complexity so once you get the friendship bracelet bug, you can turn this simple idea into a beautiful piece of jewelry.

How to Make a Friendship Bracelet

According to Native American tradition, the idea of a friendship bracelet is that you should wear it until it drops off naturally.

One of the easiest types of DIY friendship bracelets to make requires four different colored pieces of embroidery thread. Get your four strands, fold them and tie a knot so that you now have eight strands.  These should now be in the order of 12344321.

First take string 1 in your left hand and string 2 in your right hand. Take string 1 and cross it over string 2 and pull the knot tight.

Then do the same thing, still using string 1, on strings 2, 3 and 4 moving from left to right.

Then take string 1 on the right hand side and make the same knot on string 2, 3, and 4 but this time moving from right to left.

Do this right and you will find that the same color strings will be positioned next to each other, once you have moved through all the strings in sequence. Tie them in a knot and then repeat the same process, this time starting with string 2 and first working left to right, and then right to left as previously.

Keep working through the strings in the same order knotting them as you go.

Once you have got your friendship bracelet to the required length, knot the strings, and leave some of the loose threads for tying the bracelet on to your friend’s wrist.

You can also make a simple friendship bracelet by plaiting four strings in different colours, tying and twisting each strand over the other in order to make a pattern. You do this in the similar way as you would plait hair, just using 4 strands instead of 3 and tying each end of the plait work with a knot.

There are numerous designs for DIY friendship bracelets; the candy stripe, the chevron, and you can also add beads and pieces of jewelry and stone for added impact.

The important thing to remember about a DIY friendship is that the whole idea is that it should be original and homemade, so it does not have to be perfect. In addition, a DIY friendship bracelet is surprisingly easy to do. Once you actually get started it becomes surprisingly obvious and simple to make a basic friendship bracelet and of course the more you do this, the easier and better the finished results will be!

Creative Ways to Reuse & Recycle Mason Jars

Mason jars are wonderful. They can be recycled and used again and again for a range of different purposes. We all tend to use them for storage; they are great in the kitchen or pantry for storing food such as rice, dried beans, and pulses. They are also good for storing preserves such as jams, pickles, and chutneys. However, mason jars are not only useful as food storage jars. There are numerous creative ways to reuse and recycle mason jars, so let’s take a look!

3 Creative Ways to Reuse & Recycle Mason Jars

Mason Jar Solar Light

Mason jars make beautiful solar lanterns. These are fantastically easy and cheap to make, they create a magical ambience at night time, and how they work is genius.

To make your mason jar solar lamp, you can simply buy a kit from Amazon, which will provide you with the lids fitted with solar panels, the wire handles, and a string of LED lights.

To turn your mason jar into a solar powered light, just replace the original mason jar lid with the solar panel lid, put the LED lights inside the jar, and fit the handle around the neck.

Don’t forget to leave your solar lamp out in the sun so that it can charge, and that way it will stay bright all night!

Mason Jar Herb Garden

There are many creative ways to reuse and recycle mason jars, and one we loved was this mason jar herb garden. It is easy to do. Simply wash your mason jars and then line the bottom of the jars with pebbles. Add potting compost on top and then plant your herb seeds or small herb plants.

Place your herbs on a window sill and keep them well-watered. You might need to move your herbs later to a larger pot if they grow too big, but this is a great way to start off seeds and smaller plants, and it looks very attractive in the kitchen. Don’t forget to label each jar with an attractive sign – it looks good and reminds you what you have planted!

Mason Jar Citronella Burner

Summer can be spoilt by mosquitoes and other pests that bite! Put citronella oil in a mason jar, add a wick, and make a hole in the lid for the wick to get through and to let light it!  The mason jar citronella light does not only deter insects, but it also creates a lovely candle light and ambience.

Other Creative Ways to Reuse & Recycle Mason Jars

Mason jars are useful and attractive, so it is a mistake to simply throw them away. You can use them to transform your store cupboard or pantry, and they are also fantastically useful in crafts and in your pantry, garage, or workshop for storing materials.

A shelf of mason jars containing all your useful and necessary bits and pieces looks great and keeps your craft area neat and tidy.

Mason jars can be very decorative. Fill them with pebbles or shells from your last beach visit as a tangible souvenir of your day. Fill them with brightly colored marbles so that they catch light in your living room. There are so many creative ways to reuse and recycle mason jars that these great jars should never be consigned to the trash!

How to Build Your Own DIY Quilting Frame

Quilting is one of those important crafts which has been around for thousands of years and is essentially any sewing process that joins three layers of fabric together.

Quilts are also part of American history and folklore. The early pioneers made patchwork quilts for warmth and decoration and as a way to use up old pieces of material, such as blankets and clothing, transforming them into something practical and beautiful. Quilting is a traditional craft, so it is easy to build your own DIY quilting frame, as it does not require too much in the way of DIY skills, tools, technology, or expense.

Build Your Own DIY Quilting Frame

There are different ways to do this, but if you want to keep things easy and cheap, this method ticks the right boxes.

You need:

·       6 pieces of pine measuring 1′ x 4′ x 8′.

·       2 of these pieces should be cut into 8 x 16” lengths.

·       You also need plywood or board, cut into 4 pieces each measuring 8′ x 31″.

To build your own DIY quilting frame you will also need some tools:

·       Mitre saw or table saw

·       Jig saw, Sawzall, or band saw

·       4 clamps

·       Tacks

First, cut the boards to the required lengths as outlined above. The 16” pieces should be cut at an angle on the mitre saw. Do this by marking off 2” from the corner, and set the saw to cut at a 45 degree angle.

To make the bases for the quilting frame, you need to use the eight 16” pieces. Using the Jigsaw cut a notch in 4 of the pieces at the bottom, and cut a notch in 4 of the pieces at the top. The notch should be ¾ inch wide and 1 ¾ inches deep. The pieces of wood will then slot into each other creating a stable base.

Now get the plywood. This will make the table legs for the quilting frame and will need to be fitted into the four bases.  The plywood legs support the struts of the quilting frame above.

Cut a notch measuring 3 ½ inches in the top of 4 pieces of plywood. Insert the bottom of the board into the bases you made earlier, so that this gap is situated on top.

Now sit your quilting frame pieces on top, clamp and tack into place. Once you have made sure that your DIY quilting frame is stable and secure, you can start using it.

There are many other patterns and methods you can use to build your own DIY quilting frame. It is important to remember that the early American pioneers built these from scrap pieces of wood they had lying around, so there is no right and wrong way to go about it ,and it does not need to be finished to a brilliant standard of woodwork. As long as it works and is stable, you can consider your DIY quilting frame a success!

How to Make and Use DIY Farmhouse Shelf Brackets

Storage space is always important, so putting up shelves is a great way to keep your home tidy, as well as display your ornaments and treasured objects. Although a shelf is generally only there as a support to other things, making your own DIY farmhouse shelf brackets can also look stylish and effective. In addition making your own shelves is a cost effective way of improving your home.

Steps to Making DIY Farmhouse Shelf Brackets

First up you will need wood for the body of the shelves. You can use just about anything for this, but if you don’t have any spare pieces of wood lying around, try using pine or alternatively white wood. You can get this from any DIY store, and it is not expensive. You can get this cut to size in the store, which makes life easier.

You will also need to get in the brackets. You can make these from wood, but an easier option is to buy ready-made shelf brackets in metal. Check that the brackets are the right size for your wood. The bracket will need to be able to fit around the wood to keep it in place so this is important.

Stain your wood with wood stain. Even though you may be using pine, you can stain it with an oak finish for example which looks great.

The next step is to fix your shelves to the walls. You need to mark out where they will go and make sure they are straight. Mark where the fixing holes for the brackets will go. Then drill the holes and fix the brackets in place. For most DIY farmhouse shelf brackets, 3 inch screws will probably be enough. Depending upon the length of your shelves you will probably need 2 or 3 brackets for each one.

Once the brackets are fixed to the wall, you can just position the wooden shelves on the supports and the job is completed; a fantastically rustic and functional DIY shelving unit that will suit any room in the house.

You don’t have to just stick with using metal shelving brackets, although these are certainly the easiest option.

You could also make your own DIY farmhouse shelf brackets out of wood if your woodworking skills are up to it. You will need a mitre saw for cutting the wood at right angles and need screws or wood glue to hold them in place. These types of brackets do have a wonderfully rustic appeal and can be designed to fit any size.

When making wooden shelving brackets, it is important to ensure that all are exactly the same size with the same angle.

You should fix a wooden bracket at a distance of around 12 inches per shelf in order to ensure that it is stable and strong. In most cases, 4 brackets should be enough for an averagely long shelf. You can use 2- 1″ x 2″ x 6′ boards- or scrap pieces that are no less than 9″ long fitting them together with screws and wood glue once they are in the gallows position.

DIY Cat Ear Headbands for Kids

DIY cat ear headbands make a great fancy dress accessory for kids. Whether you are going for a blingy sparkly look or something more natural, DIY cat ear headbands are easy to make, and they always look cute and effective. Whether you are thinking of a Halloween costume or you just want your kids to look cute, this is an easy way to always look purrfect!

So how do you make DIY cat ear headbands? Here are a couple of ideas.

Pipe Cleaner Cat Ear Headband

First up you will need a thin black headband, some oversized black chenille pipe cleaners, scissors, and glue.

Cut the pipe cleaner to a length of around 12 inches. Fold the pipe cleaner in half. Shape the cat ear by folding the pipe cleaner into an upward point and then back down again. Repeat this on the other half of the pipe cleaner so that you have two upright ears (like a large M shape).

Glue the ends of the pipe cleaner to the headband and fix in place. Trim way any excess pipe cleaner with the scissors.

The ears will sit on top of your head and look very effective.

Paper Cat Ear Headband

You will need stiff black paper or cardboard, scissors, a ruler, a headband, and either Sellotape or glue.

First cut out your cat ears by drawing two equilateral triangles with 3 inches sides on your paper. After drawing your triangle, add ½” to the base of each triangle.

Line the ears up to ensure they are equal size and then fold the ½ inch area you left at each base.

Attach them to the headband using the ½ inch fold and stick them using either Sellotape or a glue gun. If you are using glue, give them enough time to dry before you wear.

Furry Cat Ear Headband

You can make DIY cat ear headbands more sophisticated by adding fake fur. To do this, follow the previous steps for making paper cat ear headbands but then cut fur fabric to the size of the ears. Glue the fabric to the paper, including the ½ inch area at the base of each triangle. And then fit to the headband as before.

DIY cat ear headbands are not difficult to make, and you can decorate and style them however you wish. You will need to have some basic craft supplies in stock, but with a little time and ingenuity you can create great kids fancy dress accessories very easily for practically zero cost. In addition, making your own DIY cat ear headbands is fun and creative and far more satisfying than buying in fancy dress supplies and is a whole lot of fun too.

DIY Foam Swords for Kids

We encourage our kids to play nicely and in a caring sharing way, but doing this can be boring. After all, kids need an outlet for play where they can imagine they are pirates or knights of old having battles and action adventures.

DIY Foam swords for kids are a great way of helping your child harness his or her imagination without anyone getting hurt if the game gets too lively or out of hand. So making a bunch of foam swords is a great way of making sure that everyone has a good time.

How to Make DIY Foam Swords for Kids

DIY foam swords for kids can be as basic or elaborate as you like. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. The only principle to remember is that there should be some sort of handle and that the form that you use will not actually hurt anyone too badly when they are hit with it.

You can make DIY foam swords simply. One way is to use pool noodles – fun swimming pool floating toys that can be purchased during summer months at Walmart or Dollar Tree for under $5 each in a wide variety of colors.

To make your sword, get your pool noodle and cut away some of the foam insulation so that you are left with a rudimentary handle. (You will need around 5 inches for the handle).

You can secure the foam at the handle with Duct tape to prevent it from slipping. You can also ensure that the foam remains in place on the sword end by gluing it. Use foam or simply electric tape to finish off the handle makes it easier to grip.

Make sure that the “sharp end” is well protected and not likely to slip down. Use tape to fix this in place and if necessary protect the end with additional foam. And that’s it. You now have a robust DIY foam sword.

You can also make DIY foam swords out of foam board or cardboard. This way is more time consuming and not as robust, but the finished product can look amazingly realistic.

To do this, you need two sheets of foam board, a glue gun and some silver paint and a pattern.

To make you cut out two sword shapes from the form – two provides added strength when it is taped together.

You also need to cut out the handle shape and any additional embellishments. Fix all the component parts together with glue and decorate with silver paint.

You can find patterns online for iconic sword replicas because this method is often used in cosplay costumes.

However the big question must be whether this type of DIY foam sword will survive an afternoon in the hands of the average kid? In all honesty no, it will not.

So if you are searching for ways to make foam swords for your kids to play with, a trip to your local arts and crafts store or pool shop to pick up some pool noodles is undoubtedly the best option.If you’re an adult in need of a realistic looking foam and fiberglass sword, you can purchase one for all your LARPing needs.

Tips for Redoing Hard Wood Floors

If you like DIY wood projects, you’ll love our six tips for redoing hard wood floors by yourself. Wooden flooring can look fantastic, but can become worn out and scruffy if it is not maintained. Redoing hard wood floors is not always a difficult job. You may find that you can improve the look of your flooring without carrying out resanding. Alternatively, this may be the best option. Check out our tips to find out more!

6 Tips for Redoing Hard Wood Floors

Tip 1

Try deep cleaning your hard wood floor. To do this, sweep thoroughly with a soft bristle broom, which won’t damage the wood.  Get out the vacuum cleaner to get in between floor boards and into corners. Finally, use a concentrated cleaning product especially designed for hard wood floors. Clean, with a clean microfiber mop and bucket and allow drying naturally.

Tip 2

Once your wood floor is as clean as possible, you may be able to revive the appearance of the wood with a specialist product such as a laminate floor renewal kit, which you can get from your hardware store.  This is quite messy and time consuming as you have to apply it and then leave it for at least 24 hours to dry and around a week to fully harden. This type of product is not compatible with waxed floors, so make sure you read the directions fully before you buy.

Other products are suitable for waxed flooring or polyurethane finishes and may be enough to revive a tired looking wood floor.

Tip 3

If the damage is too bad you may need to think about redoing your hard wood floor. This is not a difficult job in terms of required skills, but it is going to be messy and time consuming. The good news is that once you have done it, you have what looks like a brand new floor. If DIY wood projects are your thing, then going straight to this option may be your best bet.

Tip 4

First you may need to repair damage such as nicks and gouges. Use wood putty and a flat bladed knife to apply, and make sure you leave it to dry. Follow the directions on the wood putty container. It can take around a week for wood putty to fully harden so you may need to be patient.

Tip 5

Hiring a sander is much easier than carrying out this work by hand with sandpaper. It will save you a lot of time and will result in a more even finish. Make sure that the floor is evenly sanded and that any residue from the filler is cleaned away. Ideally, you will want to seal the wood on the same day to prevent the floor from absorbing moisture.

Tip 6

Choose the type of finish that best suits your needs. This is a crucial step when redoing hard wood floors so you need to think about this in advance. There are three basic types of finish for hardwood floors:

Polyurethane Finish: This type of finish is hard wearing and perfect for busy areas in your house and high moisture areas.

Varnish: This can be either in a gloss or matte finish. Gloss is more durable and it creates a wonderful fresh effect.

Penetrating Sealer: This is the most natural option as it creates a natural finish that brings out the grain in the wood. Once the sealer is applied you can wax the floor for added protection. 

What tips for redoing hard wood floors do you have for our readers?

Lemon Air Freshener DIY Tips Using Essential Oils

An air freshener can make your home smell fresh, as it can mask the odour of unpleasant odours such as bathroom smells, cooking, or pets. The problem for many people is that many air fresheners that you buy do smell artificial and chemically, and they can make your home feel like a public swimming pool. There are health concerns too about breathing in yet more chemicals.

A better way to get some fragrance into your home is to use all-natural essential oils. By making a lemon air freshener DIY, your home will smell natural and fresh without that unpleasant chemical undertone.

How to Create a Lemon Air Freshener DIY

To create a lemon air freshener DIY, you have a couple of options. If you want to diffuse the scent throughout your home, you can use a plug-in aromatherapy diffuser or an oil burner. Simply add a few drops of lemon essential oil to water (to dilute the mixture), and enjoy the pleasant natural aroma of lemons as it wafts through your home.

Alternatively, you can make a fantastic air freshener spray very easily. You need a tablespoon of baking powder, 2 cups of water – distilled is best, and 6 drops of essential lemon oil. Mix the oil and soda in a bowl and then transfer to a spray bottle, topping it up with the water. Shake it until the soda has dissolved, and you are good to go. Use the spray around your home paying special attention to problem areas such as the bathroom and the kitchen.

Where to Find Quality Oils

The key to success in making a lemon air freshener DIY is the quality of the essential oils that you use.

Natural Healthy Concepts provides a wide range of potent natural essential oils of all types, including genuine 100% natural lemon oils. Although synthetic oils may smell nice, they often have added chemicals or inferior ingredients that just do not last as well as the genuine oils. 

When you buy from NHC, you can be confident that all the essential oils they stock are formulated by using only natural methods. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that contain powerful active ingredients. To make genuine essential oils, it requires that the natural ingredients are highly concentrated and distilled. According to the company’s product information, it takes around 200 lbs of natural lavender to make just 1 lb of lavender essential oil, for example. This is a similar method when it comes to lemon oil.

We found two great brands that caught our eye. The first is an NHC-based brand called Plant Therapy, which offers essential oils at a great price without compromising on quality.

Another great brand is Wyndmere Essential Oils, a trusted U.S. company that has been providing essential oils since 1995.   Surprisingly, buying essential oils and making your own lemon air freshener DIY is actually cheaper than buying an artificial air freshener or room spray. And with the natural antiseptic benefits of lemon oil throughout your home, you can be confident that your home will always smell fresh, clean, and welcoming.