Browse all DIY Home Improvement Projects and Tutorials

Jul
16
2014
Hammock and Lounging Area for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition

I gave you the sneak peek last week, and today I get to share the full reveal of this formerly unused space in my backyard! I was asked by my friends at Home Depot to create a fun DIY outdoor game as part of a new edition of their Style Challenge Series.

Macrame Badminton Net and Outdoor Living Space for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Picnic and Entertaining for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Lounge Area for Kids and Pets for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Teepee Tent Fort for Kids in the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Kids Enjoying Outdoor Picnic in Outdoor Oasis for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition

Here in this crazy yard of ours, it's hot in the summertime. Too hot to actually enjoy, which is such a bummer when you have young kids who want to run and jump and play all the live long day. It's also a pretty big bummer for this gal who loves to be outside and adores outdoor entertaining that doesn't involve a sweat off as the designated group activity. With virtually no mature trees in the entire yard except for this little cluster of plum trees in the far corner, it's fairly slim picken's if you are hoping to nab a cozy spot in the shade.

And then it occurred to me... If I couldn't bring the shade to outdoor living space, then perhaps the solution is to bring a new living space to the shade. And just like that my Outdoor Oasis was born, and she's quite the star of the show. 

Bar Cart with Refreshments for Outdoor Sitting Area for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Little Kids Playing Badminton for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Big Kids Playing Badminton for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Outdoor Games and Fun with Relaxing Outdoor Living Space for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition

Without wanting to incur the cost of an entire backyard renovation at this moment in time, I decided to improvise by using items that would create a non-permanent living space and one that I can bring in a store away during the wet season here. I used a heavy duty jute rug as the foundation and then built in the fun that would keep even the littlest occupied while the grown ups got down to business with some friendly competition. There were sword fights, bug stomping, fort making, and some good old fashioned r and r. I even managed to sneak in some healthy treats that are normally pretty tough to get these kids to eat. Of course it helped that it was 100 degrees plus in the sun and that I froze some of the fruit to give it just a bit of refreshing coolness. Anything cold and sweet is considered a popsicle to the Bird so he was on cloud 9 with the crazy good spread to choose from. 

It makes me feel pretty damn good to finish another space here and to have created something that works overtime in the memory making department. We definitely don't get as much of that as I would like... But now we have the Oasis to call our own and something fun for everyone to enjoy, regardless of their age! 

TDC 
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Jun
17
2014
DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint

I am so excited to share this project with you guys today. This was definitely the showstopper from Blake's Boho still Boyish and Beachy Bedroom Makeover and It is one of those that looks really complicated or like you need to have a special skill in painting to get this right, but you do not, I assure you.

Paint Mixture for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint
Apply First Circles for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint

Our first step requires a 1:2:1/2 ratio of color to white to water with half the amount of your color to the amount of white and half of that still in water. You need a decent amount of product for this step so you can start with something like 1/4 cup of your colored paint, 1/2 cup of white and an 1/8 cup of water.

You will work about 2/3's of the way up your wall and the total area you cover will be about 2 feet in height for the majority of the paint application and a few scattered swirls will fall in the foot above and the 2 feet below this strip of swirls. 

We are going to be using a circular swirling motion for every single step of this project. For this step you will swirl your brush into a circle that is approximately 4 inches in size like you see above. They don't need to be perfect, in fact this will be better in the end if they aren't and have some white showing through or if you can see your brush strokes. If you find your paint to be a bit to thick to easily make the circles, just add a few more drops until it's easy to swirl it on, but doesn't run or drip when you apply it. 

** This is very important. Drips will be a problem during any of the steps that have colored paint so make sure your formula is never too runny that you have drips. 

Expand Circle Area for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint
Fill In Circles for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint

You will continue making your circles all the way around your room in a section that is 2 feet high and scattered as you see in the first image above. Once you finish doing this you will follow it up by filling in the white space for the middle portion of your section with a slightly concentrated number of circles that overlap like you see in the second image above. It's easier to do this in two steps so that you don't have a solid 2 foot section and instead end up with the middle being more concentrated than the top and bottom of this section. I learned this the hard way. 

Lighter Color Circles for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint
Lighter Circles Above Below for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint

For this next step you are going to use a formula of 1:6:1 with 1 part colored paint, 6 parts white paint and 1 part water. This will be a much lighter concoction that you will sprinkle over the top of your section in a scattered very spaced out manner. Then you will pull this color down below your section and place your swirls in a very scattered pattern that runs about 2 feet below your section. Once you do that you will also scatter this color above your section sporadically, about a foot above your section. 

Wash Out Circles for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint

While this step might seem counterintuitive, I promise it will be important for helping you get that watercolor look later without using watercolors or knowing how to paint, so just go with me on this. You will need a mixture of 1:1 white paint to water. This should be about the color of milk but not quite as runny, though not much more thick. You don't want to be painting for this step, you will want to be washing, which means when you apply this it will be see-through a bit but will wash out the color your applied so you will need to judge your consistency by testing in a discreet area. 

You are going to keep on swirling and essentially swirl right on over the top of everything you just painted. This includes all of the scattered circles above and below. You want to wash out the color quite a bit so you are left with a milk mess of something that used to a paint project. It will look cray for just a bit. Don't worry. 

If your paint is too thick and it actually just blocks out the color you applied in the previous steps, completely, just add a few more drops of water at a time until it's not so thick. You can use a bit of water over the top of your test spot to 'undo' your test spot so that it isn't different from the other areas of your project. 

TDC 
Add Light Indigo Circles for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint

Now we will go right over the top of our original scatter section only in a more sporadic way using a formula of 1:1:1 ratio of colored paint, white paint and water. You want this to be easy to apply and a bit see-through-ish as you swirl, but not runny or drippy. Your circles will be spread out and you can do just a few that sit above the top of your section and a few that sit below it as well. Sparse is the name of the game here, you can always build, but less is definitely more.

Add Darker Indigo Circles for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint

For the final bit of color before the final step, you will want a ratio of 1:1/2-1 of colored paint to water. You will not use any white paint for this step, only the color itself watered down. This will make it runny to the point where your color is see through even in your paint pan. When you apply your swirls for this step you will need to put your color on your brush and then wring your brush out so that when you actually put it on the wall it's watery, but doesn't run. You can wring your brush out by pressing it against the sides of your container until most of the wetness runs out. If it is still coming out of your brush when you push it agains the side of your container, then it's probably going to cause drips... very dark drips. This isn't a project you can touch up very easily so I warn you against getting sloppy here. 

You are going to apply this layer in small and larger circles that overlap the previous layer and are more frequent than the previous layer, but are still sporadic.

Wash Over Entire Wall for DIY Faux Watercolor Wallpaper Wall Treatment with Paint

Woot woot! Your arm is probably very tired after all this swirling and whirling around your space. Mine was, especially since I did this project over and over again. Also, I learned you can actually wear the bristles on your brush down into a nub if you work it like this for an extended period of time... who knew? 

So for your final step we are going to create a wash again, similar to our wash earlier in this project, only this time it will be more runny and much more watery. Use a formula of 1:2 white paint to water and adjust until it looks like watered down milk. It won't matter quite that much if you have drips of this since it's white, but to avoid drips, wring your brush as in the previous step, and then apply covering the entire area you have painted. It will look like the image above after you apply your wash. You can see that the colors aren't saturated and look as though they have been painted over with a bit of milky water. 

You can also now see all the layers come together into what looks like an entirely watercolor application, and why you did the first several steps as the colors blend a bit and water down into this beauty! Yahoo! It gives you the look of blending with only the need to apply layer after layer of circles one on top of the next. 

Jan
31
2014
DIY Home Decor // How To Make Your Own Removable Wallpaper

There is no doubt I made you lovelies wait just a tad for this DIY project. I could tell you that I am sorry for that, and I am, but the truth is I have been blogging in slow motion since hatching the bird more than a year ago. Can't seem to snap out of it- do any of you have this problem? I'm sure I'm not alone here... it must be a bit like Mommy Brain, which by the way also hasn't gone away for me since bird #2 yet, eek! Anyhoo, as I was saying, the truth of the matter here is that I have had this project done for more than 3 months. Yep, I've been holding out on you...

Materials and Tools for DIY Home Decor // How To Make Your Own Removable Wallpaper

MATERIALS REQUIRED

Marbled Paper - 24" x 36" or a paper of your choosing. 

Double Sided Photo + Document Tape

Scissors

That's it. Except you may benefit from a ruler or long straight edge to act as a guide for cutting, and an exacto knife to touch up your edges if you get a bit crazy, but honestly you can simply overlap a bit more if you are off a tad on your cut dimensions, so not to worry.

Placing the Tape for DIY Home Decor // How To Make Your Own Removable Wallpaper

Ok so here is the skinny... Depending on the size of the area you plan to paper, you may need to cut your sheets down to size. I attempted to find pieces that either complimented each other in pattern or were very contrasting so that it would stand out and look like different sheets or tiles. I varied which of these I did depending on what I had in my patterning. For my space the size was such that I could place a whole sheet, then overlap a second sheet just a tad and cut off about 11" of excess. I did this in an every other pattern so that the top row had the left sheet as it's whole sheet, and the second row had the right sheet as the whole sheet. There is nothing worse than a bunch of accidentally aligned seams. It looks odd, trust me on that. 

Once you have your pattern figured out, place strips of the double sided tape along all 4 edges of your paper. I did a test fit before I removed the tape backing and actually stuck the sheets onto the wall. I also only removed one side of the tape backing at a time so that I could smooth and readjust as needed. I would begin on the top edge and peel back just a few inches of the tape backing, then smooth and peel  for the remainder of that edge, a little at a time. This kept me from sticking an edge down and having to peel it off to adjust. Since the pattern is organic and relatively busy, it's pretty hard to screw this up, but having a crooked sheet near an edge can be a tad obvious depending on the overlap. 

Baby Bird watching the Progress for DIY Home Decor // How To Make Your Own Removable Wallpaper

You can see my progress shot above. And the bird sitting with his babysitter, the tv. Don't judge... my other kid won't even watch tv so I am taking full advantage this time around!

I actually started on the second row first (after measuring down the proper distance), since I needed Mr. TDC to help me reach the top row. We inadvertently installed the Besta cabinet and secured it to the wall before I came up with this idea and so I couldn't reach the top portion, even with a ladder. Picture a velociraptor or T-Rex with short arms, that just can't quite reach. It wasn't pretty, but it might have been pretty funny... I had to get creative for the bottom portion, but found that essentially I could slide a portion of a sheet behind the cabinet pretty easily and just added the tape on the edges sticking out. Since many of the bottom sections only have tape on one edge and part of the top edge, that should tell you how well this particular tape has worked! And of course it's clearly not the kind of tape that will ruin the drywall when you attempt to remove it. Nope, it comes off easily but holds firmly while it's in place. Interesting little thing, this tape is. I guess those scrap bookers know a thing or two, eh?

Finished Wallpaper Project for DIY Home Decor // How To Make Your Own Removable Wallpaper

So that's it. That's all she wrote, quite literally. Wasn't that ridiculously easy? Told you it would be! Yahoo

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TDC 
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Nov
18
2013
Project Image

It only took me a couple of months, but I finally got this fabulous vintage light fixture cleaned up and installed. Some of you might remember this piece in it's ultra vintage condition (seen here), as in extremely dusty and rusty... and in truth it's still a tad rusty, but that is all part of the charm as far as I'm concerned!

There are dozens of tutorials and instructions to be found on the web for installing a light fixture or swapping out one light fixture for another, so I will spare you there. Just be sure you consult with an electrician when necessary and turn your power off completely before you begin messing around with electrical. And by completely, I actually do mean completely. Don't risk it by it by attempting to simply shut down the portion of your house you are working on. Sometimes that isn't enough... Otherwise, the swap is really pretty simple. Just unscrew and unfasten your current fixture, wrap the new wires with the existing wires in your electrical box above where the fixture lives, reattach and screw in place and you are essentially done. Obviously you should attempt to match up the wires (copper ground with copper ground and white with white) as best you can and wrap the matching pairs in the electrical caps. Sometimes they are all virtually identical so you will have to get a bit Sherlock on your electrical, but hopefully yours is not this way! 

Isn't she fabulous? I just love her... she is a beauty and wouldn't you know, the mister now likes her too. Of course he hated her at first, but as usual he couldn't see the vision before the vision was complete. And of course I know this, so I regularly ignore him and go forth anyhow. I always know he will come around once it's finished and will love whatever it is, just as I thought he would. All is right in the world at least for this one small project. Now for the remaining projects left to be done. Fingers crossed I will be just as successful. It's certainly not all rainbows and care bears in the world of DIY. 

Nov
08
2013
Project Image

This post brought to you by BuildDirect. All opinions are 100% mine.

Outdoor 
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Images via: 1 // 2

Oct
12
2013
Project Image

So... I installed crown molding in my home office this week... and it was the hardest and most frustrating experience I have had in a very long time... and I loved it! I'm quite literally covered in bruises and I have many a horror story to tell about the process. The good news is... it looks amazing (beauty is sacrifice, am I right?) and I lived to tell about it.

To complete this project, you will need all of the materials shown above in addition to a compound miter saw. You can also use any number of crown molding jigs if you do prefer, but again, this tutorial will focus on crown molding installation as the 'pros' tend to do it. Those 'pros', they know a thing or two...

Materials:

  • Safety Gear - eye, ear, respiratory protection
  • Ladder
  • Compound Miter Saw (one that miters and bevels)
  • Nail Gun
  • Coping Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Framing Square or Carpenters Square (my personal preference for this project) - optional but helpful
  • Angle Finder
  • Molding -in a style of your choice (I chose molding that is already finished to save time and energy on this project. It costs a bit more, but it was worth it to me!)
  • Caulk or Touch Up (or both)
  • Blue Painters Tape or a Scrap Piece of Lumber (1x2) - optional but helpful
  • Pencil

I find it extremely helpful to keep my supplies in an easy access bucket when I am up and down the ladder every few minutes. Keeps me light on my feet and organized! 

​Overview:

We will work this project beginning with one piece that will be squared off on both ends and will be installed on the wall opposite the door, preferably. Then you have the option of doing the same for the opposite wall (to this first wall) and then making fancy corners for both edges of the two remaining boards (Installation Option 1).

OR

You can do what the pro's tend to do and work in a pattern with the second piece of molding for the adjacent wall (to the first) that will have one squared edge and one fancy edge, then do the same for the 3rd wall adjacent to that (and opposite the first wall), and for the 4th wall you will make both edges fancy (Installation Option 2).

This is entirely up to you and won't make much of a difference except that you will only cut left inside corners for the 2nd and 3rd pieces in the second option above and will cut both corners on the last board, whereas in the first option above you will only cut fancy edges on 2 of the boards and you will do both edges for those. Regardless you will make a total of 4 fancy schmancy cuts.

 

Let's get down to business. You should absolutely measure and mark out the location of where your molding should sit, on all 4 of your walls. If you install even an 1/8" lower or higher than you should it will throw off your angles substantially. This is where I like to use a framing square, because for me it gives me a more accurate measurement. I simply slide it along the ceiling line and mark at my measurement. I get crazy with a tape measure sometimes and my dimensions aren't always accurate especially when I'm working in the very tiny fractional measurements. 

When I am working alone (or even when I'm not) I find it extremely helpful to install a support board just under where my molding will sit. This provides me a bit of extra help in holding my molding in place and also keeps me working at exactly the right measurement, all along the wall. You can also use Blue Painter's Tape to give yourself a proper, and very visual, demarcation if you prefer. It works beautifully and will keep you from having to erase or paint over all of those crazy pencil marks! 

Measure out the length of your longest wall or the wall opposite your door, and cut a piece of crown molding to fit. For this first piece, both ends will be squared off and cut at 90° (or a 0° angle on your saw) while the molding rests flat on your saw (on flat). 

Find the studs along this wall and be sure to attach your molding to the studs at every opportunity possible. You may also feel the need to secure in between the studs, but attaching to the stud's will ensure that your molding won't come crashing down at any given moment (hopefully).

Attach using your nail gun, and place your finish nails or brad nails along the top and bottom of your molding. 

This is the only piece you will install that will have 2 squared off edges if you choose the second installation option above, and if you choose the first installation option, do this exact same series of steps for the wall opposite this first wall, before you continue on. 

When you are ready to continue on to a piece that requires some fancy cutting, you will need to determine which type of corner you are working with before you can start cutting. This step is somewhat crucial and can get confusing along the way, so pay close attention.

The type of corner is always determined when viewing from the corner view like you see above. In other words, when you are looking at the corner itself.  I will show you below how this gets a tad crazy from the 'wall view' in the next step, so just remember each and every corner is it's own entity and the particular cut you will make is determined by looking at the corner itself! 

From this view (seen above), this is a fairly logical step. The left side is the left inside corner and the right side is the right inside corner. Determining the left versus the right here is easy to peg since they do in fact fall on the appropriate sides, and they are all considered inside corners if they are corners in a standard 4 walled room that doesn't have any pop outs or carve outs. Easy peasy, right? No matter which corner you are looking at, it will follow this pattern. No matter what! 

But... things get a tad crazy when you are facing the wall because then your corner types are in fact opposite. As you can see above, the left side of the molding will actually need to be cut as a right inside corner since that is which side of the corner it resides on, while the right side of your molding will need to be cut as a left inside corner... again since that is which side of the corner it happens to reside on. If you don't label your board appropriately, it's easy to forget which is which when you are cutting. So before you head out to your saw, mark your molding properly with the right side of the molding labeled as a left inside corner and the left side marked as a right inside corner. Your pencil is your friend here. Trust me on that! 

The image above shows you approximately how your cuts will look depending on which side you are cutting, or if you are cutting both sides for example. I am showing you this because again it tends to be a bit counterintuitive to how you might think your cuts should look when you are mitering two corners together, but it all works properly, I promise. 

Once you have labeled your side with the proper corner type, you will need to find your spring angle. This is the other crucial step in this project because in combination with the angle of your wall, at the corner in question, the spring angle will help determine the angle you miter and bevel at. Very important indeed. 

To find your molding spring angle you will need to use your angle finder tool (link in materials above) set along that portion of your molding as shown by the yellow line above. Your angle finder tool will likely come with directions and pictures, but just in case I am showing you where it needs to sit in order to take the measurement properly. Molding comes in a variety of spring angle varieties, but the most common tend to be 38° and 45° so we will work with those spring angle options here. 

Using the same tool, measure the true angle of your wall at the corner you are working on. While we all like to believe our home is perfection, it's very likely you may have a corner or two that are off a tiny bit and might actually be closer to 88° or 91°. These slight discrepancies will make a big difference to the fit of your molding so find your true measurements before you cut. 

I have created a chart for you below, for both 38° and 45° spring angles and wall angles ranging from 70° to 110°. Just find your numbers and go forth in bliss...

If you have a different spring angle for your molding you will need to find a crown molding angle finder app or tool on the web to help you calculate your proper miter and bevel angles. I used the Crown Molding Angle Finder App for iPhone and it worked beautifully! If you prefer to calculate on your computer or via the web, this tool is fabulous! 

My molding had a 38° spring angle and my walls did in fact have 90° angles (who knew?) so I was working with a 31.62° miter angle and a 33.86° bevel, which funny enough had marked indicators on my miter saw (thank you Ryobi). That made me feel like I was clearly on the right track! It's the little things, no?

Once you have your miter and bevel angles determined, it's time to set your saw and molding up for a proper cut!

The image above shows the setup for a left inside corner cut. Your miter angle will be to the right and your bevel to the left with the top of your molding against your saw fence and your molding laying flat. You will be keeping the material to the left of your cut.

For a right inside corner cut, the image above shows your proper setup. You will set your miter angle to the left this time and you will flip your molding so the bottom edge rests against the saw fence. Your bevel will sit to the left and you will be keeping the material to the left of your cut, just as with the left inside corner cut previously.

For my process, regardless of whether I am only making one fancy edge or two, I prefer to miter and bevel both edges or miter and bevel one edge and square the other, then check for proper fit before I begin the coping. Coping is a tad exhausting and so I would rather adjust for length and fit before I take the plunge and then have to redo it if the fit is off. 

When you are measuring for length on pieces that will be for the other walls aside from the first wall, I find it helpful to measure both the short and long length, just to give me a guide. The dimension you will definitely need is from the bottom of the molding you have already installed to the opposite edge of the wall or to the bottom edge of the molding on the opposite wall (depending on your installation option). Basically bottom edge to bottom edge since that will be your long length, so to speak (to get a visual of this, refer to the step above with the direction of the cuts diagram). 

If your general length fit is fabulous you can cope to remove material for an even more perfect fit. I find it easiest to mark along the curvy edge of the molding as a bit of a cutting guide. You will essentially use your coping saw to carve away material from the back side of that edge. You will want to carve along that edge as precisely as possible and remove, quite literally, as much of the material behind it as you can. The more you remove, the better and more precise your fit. You can see above what it will look like from behind. You may also need to square off your bottom edge for a nice tight fit. 

Check your fit again, this time to see if you have removed enough material from behind or if you need to remove a tad more.

Install your remaining pieces with your nail gun, just as you did your first piece, by placing your finish nails in all of the studs as well as in between, along both the top and bottom of your molding. Once your molding is in place you can begin your finish work! Use your caulking to fill in the corner seams, along the top and bottom edges where your molding meets the walls, and in all your nail holes. Your installation will appear flawless, even if like mine, it wasn't... Caulk is the magic eraser of the crown molding world, and your very good friend. Use it to your advantage. 

Tip: Overfill along any seams or holes and allow your caulking to sit for a minute. Then use a diaper wipe or a moist paper towel around your finger to wipe away excess with wonderfully accurate precision. Repeat if necessary to build up your layer of caulking and fill in areas that need that little bit of extra help!

Yahoo... congratulations you have just finished installing beautiful crown molding... If you need to paint, paint away, and if you chose the material I did that is already finished, then double yahoo to you!

I couldn't be happier with my outcome, regardless of how I got there (which was definitely the long way around the block). Now I will be onto the next projects in this space, the first of which should probably be some trim around the windows to match! Also I could use a bit of greenery outside the windows to beef up the view... So much to do, so little time... I hope you all enjoyed this and I will see you back here this week for some other fun projects I have done recently! Xx...Rayan

Note

Disclosure: This project was completed in partnership with The Home Depot as part of the #LetsDoThis campaign. I received compensation from them to complete this fabulous tutorial, for your enjoyment and entertainment! All musings, bruises and adventures are 100% my own! 

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