Crafting my Mental Health Regimen

“How much longer are you going to be?”, “Why are you starting another project when you haven’t finished the other one?”, “When do you think you will be able to clean up your tools?”, and the list goes on of the questions I’m asked when I’m doing my crafting thing. Up until more recently, I found it very difficult to just sit without purpose. While watching tv with the hubby after a long day, I wanted to multitask that time by planning a birthday party, making a cardboard mailbox, pinning a sewing project, drawing up a woodworking plan or scrapbooking. Anything to keep my mind engaged in that way. On occasion, I also acknowledge I might switch from one project to another midstream because another idea inserted itself into my mental focus. I didn’t realize this could be related to my mental health maintenance.

Baking for my mental health

The Creative Mind

When an idea enters my mind, it lingers there and nags at me. Some of those eventually dissipate into memory and some hang on for dear life until I make them a reality. Those are the ones that plague and prod me to action even when I don’t have the time. I admittedly considered myself to be pretty poor at practicing self-care. I’m not one of those moms or women who do much shopping for myself and very rarely get my hair done or get a massage. I don’t frequent the nail salon and actually went a solid 2 or 3 years without going into one. For a time, I hadn’t read a book for years, because I didn’t think I had the time for it. I tried to purposefully take care of my physical and mental health, but often focused more on my family’s needs.

The Overactive Mind

When we moved into our new house 5 years ago, my mission to produce went into hyperdrive. A newly built blank slate. A DIYers dream. We didn’t paint for the first year to allow for the builders to fix all the nail pops and such. It was downright painful for me to abide. By the third year, almost everything was as we wanted. Our kids’ schedules were then taking over the calendar between travel soccer, travel softball, dance, play rehearsal, basketball, lacrosse, band, gymnastics, etc, etc. This ended up meaning there were periods where I wasn’t able to create anything. During those times, you would have instead heard me telling my husband, “I just don’t feel like myself”. My mental health was suffering.

Tools for my mental health

I was drawn to work on projects when I had a few seconds between making lunch and doing dishes. I would find myself sneaking away to get another coat of polyurethane on the antique hutch while the kids were playing. It wasn’t just for the purpose of getting it to the finish line but also to focus my mind; to sort through my mental mess. It was my catharsis.

Woodworking for my mental health

One day, I decided to do a quick Google search. I came across this article which ended up being my lightbulb moment. Having been in the mental and behavioral field for over a decade, I was surprised at how late the realization hit me as to why I was drawn to it. I knew of the many benefits of art therapy but had never applied it to my own mental health.

The Benefits of Sewing and Crafting for Mental Health

“Crafting, sewing or woodworking help you reduce negative emotions and stress by allowing you to create unique pieces of art. For example, woodworking is one of the most effective form of art therapy in the world, because it combines strategies for planning, , getting the supplies, planning your cut list, measuring, cutting, painting.”….and that explains my addiction


Self Care

So whereas I believed myself to be inadequate at self-care, it seemed I was doing it in the best way I knew how. I realized my me-time was hiding away with my thoughts and a paintbrush in my hand. There’s a sort of peace in concentrating on something you enjoy. There’s also fulfillment in seeing your own ability to create something that maybe only you will love. (Although, I always shoot for others liking it too.)

I also like to share the end products of my me time to inspire. I want to show others really anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I’m frequently asked if I sleep, to which I answer, “Definitely. I can’t go without it.” Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have episodes of insomnia that provide me with a bit of extra time to squeeze in some tasks, but generally, I just make time for the things that matter to me.

How Do You Spend Your Free Time?

We all have choices to make on how we use our time and energy. Some have more abundant energy than others or are selective in what they put the energy towards. Maybe I innately have more energy than some others. Or maybe I choose to put it first towards my family, towards my full-time job and then to the things I see as valuable. I see value in activating my mind in creating.

I had been considering starting a blog for some time and got a bit stuck on the name. After this little revelation, I settled on a name that fits the way creating helps me de-stress and stay sane and reinforces the importance of keeping tabs on the status of your mental health. So go forth and craft to benefit your mental health! Try something simple like refinishing frames.

Budget-Friendly DIY Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter

My oldest daughter and I were super excited to do a Harry Potter themed birthday party for her 11th birthday. As I started on the plans, I knew I wanted a Monster Book of Monsters to be apart of it. From there, it was only a matter of finding the supplies and finding time.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Albus

Materials:

  • Wooden Box
  • Fur
  • Eye Balls
  • Clay
  • Paint and Brushes
  • Craft Glue
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Paper and Printer
  • Mod Podge

Ready, Set, Go

I found a perfect wooden flip lid box at Michaels. I’m not sure if they still have this one, so here’s a different wooden book box that is currently available there.

monster book

I used light brown, red, and white clay for the fangs, teeth, tongue, and gums. First, the teeth were constructed into points. After flattening the red into a strip, I positioned the teeth to lie on the red strip. I layered the back with another red strip before pushing the red down around the teeth to show the ‘root’. The only thing you need to be careful of is not touching the white after touching the red. The picture shows that I did a bit of that. The fangs were super easy. Roll them to be smaller on one end and then curve them and presto!

Monster Book teeth

After baking the clay parts, it’s time to kick them up a notch with some paint to add dimension. I painted a bit of dark red and black onto the gums and tongue. Yellowish-brown served to give the teeth a gnarled look. Next, I painted the box with tan and dark brown to give it the look of pages as well as I could. Given that much of it is covered, I didn’t feel like I needed to give it much attention.

monster book pages

Monster Book Fur Cover

For the cover, I used two fur pieces I happened to find on clearance at Michaels. Crafting doesn’t get much easier than this step. Here it comes; glue the fur to the wood. Then….wait for it to dry. After that, I trimmed the length of the fur, because it was definitely too much. I also cut the perimeter into points and extra shagginess. 

 Those Eyes are Looking at You

Now onto the eyes. I also got the eyeballs at Michaels, but you’re not likely to find them in a store if it’s not around Halloween. I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with creating the eye mount. I thought about using oven-bake clay but was afraid it would melt the eyes. I went with a mountain of hot glue instead. After I piled it up, I painted it brown. I didn’t have enough red eyes, so I also painted the irises red. 

Monster book eyes

The book label was created in Microsoft Word and printed on computer paper. I trimmed the fur shorter in the spots where I was going to put the label before gluing the labels down. I put Mod Podge on the label to stiffen the paper. 

From there, it was just a matter of gluing on the fangs, teeth and tongue. I used hot glue initially, which worked just fine. Over time, the fangs have gotten knocked off a few times, so I’ve recently used super glue to get them to hold. As my girls would say, this DIY Monster Book of Monsters is easy peezy lemon squeezy. 

Spot light monster book of Monsters
Monster Book and wands
Finished Monster Book

If you’re looking for other Harry Potter crafts, try some apothecary bottles for Potions class.

Spooky Tree Test Tube Holder for a Unique Apothecary

Troll boogers! Snail Slime! Dragon’s Blood! These are three of the Halloween test tubes I’ve for years as part of my Halloween Apothecary. They have been without a stand for years. This month I decided I was going to finally make a science-esk one out of wood. I was still hesitant because it felt too mundane. In the age of Pinterest, it feels pretty darn difficult to come up with something different. Sometimes, I feel stunted by thinking I can’t come up with anything unique. After some contemplation during a drive, I decided to make a spooky tree with curved limbs. Here’s the quick and easy rundown on this spooky tree test tube holder for any are looking to stray from the normal.

Materials: 

  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Clay
  • Paint
  • Airbrush (if you’ve got it)

For a reason I can’t remember, I’ve had two spools of this wire for years. I’ve used it for several random occasions on other craft ideas. It’s really what inspired me to craft this tree and provide stability. 

All my three daughters all being in fall sports. Sometimes, crafting boils down to finding a way to build in time around events on our schedule. My eldest had a fastpitch doubleheader an hour away from home. I took along my materials to get started on this quick Halloween decor. While the team warmed up for an hour, I worked on my tree in the parking lot.


Building the Base

 

First, I cut 6 wires of similar lengths. Then, I twisted two wires together to start forming the trunk. I added one each additional wire by twisting it around the base and leaving the ‘root’ for the stand and free limbs at the top. I finished it off by twisting two additional wires around the trunk to form curved limbs the would serve to hold the test tubes. Literally, a 10-minute step.

 

Clay for the Tree Test Tube Holder

I had already been making air-dry clay for another project, so I could easily use it for this project. I found this easy DIY air dry recipe from Kitchen Table Classroom to make porcelain clay. It was simple to make from ingredients in the kitchen but admittedly was not as good for what I needed the clay to do. I only used it for the base. I tried another porcelain clay recipe from Natural Earth Paint using only three cheap ingredients; cornstarch, baking soda, and water. This clay was a bit better but still quite loose/limp. 

 

I pressed the clay around all the metal limbs as best I could, adding free-standing clay limbs as I went. Molding the clay for this was unfortunately an example of one of those times when crafting can cause me more stress than alleviating it. I’ll just leave it at being highly perturbed by the difficulties of trying to get the limp clay to stay put. If I were to do it again, I would buy polymer clay from Michaels.  After letting it dry for a day, I started airbrushing.

Airbrushing Zen

 

 

While I completed the many layers of airbrushing in shades of brown, I was mentally focused on the stress I had been feeling around politics and the impending elections. I felt consumed by the emotions generated by the garbage being shared by people I was connected with on Facebook, some of them being relatives. As I slowly watched the paint spray out of the airbrush, I was contemplating how I could make positive steps to shifting others’ views in a positive way. We’ve been doing a fair bit of personal bias assessment as work, so it’s been fully present in my mind to assess if I’m being objective in my views. In fully trying to understand my own thoughts and feelings and contemplate the perspective of others, I couldn’t come to grips with the lies and delusions others allow themselves to believe.

 

Public service announcement on Political Stress

 

To sum it all up, I was feeling oppressive levels of stress around these unending thoughts. After doing a quick Google, I found quite a lot of references to political/election stress syndrome. Even thinking about it now makes my chest tighten. I quite liked this description I found.

Under stress, the Toddler brain (emotional, all-or-nothing, “Mine! No!”) hijacks the Adult brain, impairing its ability to take other perspectives, weigh evidence, see nuance, plan for the future, and create value and meaning. The Toddler brain is highly susceptible to emotional contagion; toddlers take on whatever negative emotions are around them, as any parent who has been tense or irritable near one can attest…

Part of my election stress disorder may be due to the fact that I’m vastly overworked. … Political campaigns set the web of emotion ablaze with negativity.

Psychology Today

If this resonates with you, there are a variety of things to try to combat the feelings. I’ve chosen to focus on the things I can control, to find my Zen in crafting, and to stay away from the offending sources. Although, over the last week I’ve also been immersed in a sea of stressful work deadlines, the political stress remains at bay. 

Back to this Test Tube Holder

I finished it off with a dark brown touch up around bends in the limbs and the roots. I put it with the rest of my Halloween apothecary set up and called it a day. If you are looking for another easy craft to take your mind to another level, try out these apothecary bottles! Happy haunting to you and yours!

How to Make the Best Halloween Apothecary Jars

A few years ago, I couldn’t wait to start a collection of Halloween apothecary jars to add to my holiday decor. I started off with collecting regular food jars and random Goodwill finds to change into new and creepy decor. It doesn’t take much more than some simple materials to really get started.

Halloween Apothecary Jar Ideas

Materials:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Printer and Printer Paper
  • Clay
  • String
  • Paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Glue gun and Glue sticks
  • Food items: egg shells, Cantaloupe rind
  • Store bought creepy crawlers
  • Corks
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw

For this Ear of Troll I used the rind of some eaten cantaloupe. I gave it a week to dry out in the garage before closing it into the jar. I used a blank label in Word to type in the name. Mod podge was my go-to glue for all of these labels to get them to stick and to give it a coating for longevity. For this jar, in particular, used coffee filters served as the lid covering with string and craft glue decorating the jar curve.

Free label sites I used:

Spooky Apothecary Labels from Brooklyn Limestone

Free Halloween Bottle Labels from Holidappy 

Apothecary jar Labels from Halloween Forum

Rattle Snake Eggs

Similar techniques were used for these Rattle Snake Eggs Halloween Apothecary jar. The eggs were from a friend with chickens laying eggs in a variety of shades. Using a needle, I poked holes in both ends with one end being slightly larger to allow for the egg innards to be expelled. It’s also a lot easier to break up the yolk using the needle poked repeatedly through the holes. Once all that was done successfully without breaking the egg, I blew into the smaller hole to force the contents out the larger hole. Then I was ready to eat some scrambled eggs! I also gave the eggs a day to dry out a little more before coating them in Mod Podge.

 

Jellyfish Stingers

The same techniques are applied here for the outside. For the jellyfish stingers, I used hot glue on a baking pan. When it was cool, I was able to peel it off and stick it in the jar. 

Store bought creepy crawlers are center stage in this jars: Worms, mice and cockroaches anyone?

 

Clay Creations

 

Next up, for these three Halloween Apothecary jars, I used baking clay for the unicorn horn and bat wins and model magic for the fingers. I quite enjoy crafting clay creations. For the horn, I first rolled two equal ropes of clay. Then I twisted them together and rolled them on the counter to get a narrower pointed end. Presto! A lovely unicorn horn. I didn’t finish it off with glitter but it could definitely be a nice add.

 

 

Model magic is really easy to shape but doesn’t hold fine details like a real clay does. I used press on nails to give the real nail effect here. These lady fingers were complete with some painted on blood. You could really go grotesque with this if you want!

Pill Bottle Makeovers

 

These 5 bottles were all crafted from empty pill bottles. I used a saw to cut the tops off before sanding the smooth surface. The next step was to draw the label and image with hot glue. I used matte/satin paint in grays, browns, and black to paint all the bottles. Then, I glued on labels and string. 

 

Two Minute Snake Skin

For this lovely Halloween Apothecary jar of Snake Skin, I painted the jar with a few different colors of cheap acrylic paint that matched with the coloring of the label. (The color of the label being the result of a malfunctioning printer. The Lord knows the amount of angst that printer caused me at the end of its life.)   Generally for painting all the lids, I sanded them first to ensure the paint would adhere.

The actual innards of the jar were a combination of plastic wrap and hot glue. I cut a rectangle of the plastic wrap and laid it over the foil to protect the counters. From there, I glued a snake skin-esk pattern onto the plastic wrap. I noticed that as the glue got hotter, the plastic wrap shrunk more, which I was not so much a fan of seeing happen. If I were to do this again, I would do a portion, then unplug the glue gun for a 15 second cooling. Then repeat until finished. 

I got the free label for this jar from: 

Halloween Apothecary with 9 FREE potion bottle labels

 

 

I hope you gathered some of your favorite ideas for crafting some of your very own Halloween Apothecary Jars. If you’re looking more spooky Halloween decor, check out my Spooky Halloween Book Covers.

Haunted Cardboard House for your Kids who Love a Little Scare

Those who know me, know my love of cardboard. It’s such a versatile and cheap product to craft with, which leads me to have stockpiles of it at times. My youngest daughter’s birthday is October 29th, so while brainstorming ideas for her birthday party, we thought about how we could make it a true Halloween birthday party. I’d previously done an indoor cardboard gingerbread house that my girls loved. It seemed perfectly logical to do a Haunted cardboard house for her spooky birthday party. She had grand ideas for how she would make it haunted and couldn’t wait to have her friends over.

Starting a Haunted Cardboard House

The request from my daughter for this haunted cardboard house was that it be bigger than the gingerbread house. We have quite a bit of free space in our basement, so I was okay with accomodating that request. 

For these larger-scale houses, larger boxes make things a lot easier than piecing together smaller ones. The size and shape of the house can really depend on what you have to work. I didn’t have a plan going into making this and allowed the box shape and size dictate how it would work best.

My neighbor had large furniture boxes out for recycling, which I happily took off their hands to get moving on the wall frames. I typically use hot glue to glue the pieces together because it dries quickly and works well with the paper surface. Sometimes, it doesn’t hold together well enough if I’m not quick to get it together. For those times when it wasn’t holding together, I used some wood glue and weights while it dried.

 

In order to set the frame, I decided to utilize some small clamps to hold it while I moved things around to find the right shape and size. I was able to do a fair bit of gluing in the garage to remove the fear of getting hot glue on our basement carpet. Folks, hot glue can only really be cut out of carpet (from previous experience). While in this planning phase, I was also able to cut the door out with a razor and a square on the cement floor.

Time to Move to the Final Destination

With the plan in place, it was time to move all those cardboard pieces to the basement to get this Haunted Cardboard House structure together. With the pieces standing, it was a bit like a maze down there. The girls loved it.

 

I had to put a call out for more cardboard to the neighborhood and thankfully the call was answered. I was then able to construct the roof. That was the hardest part of the whole thing. The cardboard was heavy and shifted while I tried to glue it together by myself. I had to get my helpers on board to hold it while I glued it. For this part, the glue didn’t work as well. I ended up using a drill to make holes and piecing the heavy pieces together with screws, bolts, and washers. They made for a very sturdy structure. 

 

Safety Warning!!

Hot glue is, shall we say, Freakin’ HOT! It was about during this part of the build that I got myself with the glue while trying to get the heavy roof together. As I quickly tried to “stop the burn” (as we say in American Red Cross) by rubbing the glue off, it took a layer of skin with it. I’ve burned myself quite a number of times while working with hot glue, but this was by far the worst. We go through quite a lot of types of bandaids in this house. I’ve got to hand it to these NexCare waterproof bandaids. They maintained through a lot of movement. Investing in heat protection gloves is probably a good prevention idea though. 

  

The structure was thankfully set. My daughter said she had envisioned it being bigger than this, but I was unfortunately out of any larger pieces of cardboard. It would have to do.

Faux Scalloped Siding, Ghostly Windows and Shingles

Now was the fun part of adding the details for a haunted house. Using printer paper, a razor, and my circle cutter, I went about cutting a ton of circles to create a scalloped look on the front panel. I wanted to hide the seam that was there from joining separate pieces of cardboard. I used Loctite Spray Adhesive to make this quick work. That spray didn’t work so well with the cardboard to cardboard gluing but worked here. I spray painted them gray after that. 

 

For the windows and shingles, I cut cardboard to size and drew details or spray painted. If you haven’t tried spray painting cardboard, be warned. It takes a lot of spray paint to cover it. It felt like it would have been a better plan to paint the whole cardboard piece before cutting shingles. For the windows, I painted the cardboard with cheap acrylic paint before gluing on the frames and shutters.

After a quick google search, I found the images I wanted for the ghosts in the windows. I enlarged them and altered their colors in Microsoft Word. If you don’t have a picture editing program, Microsoft Word can be surprisingly handy for this kind of need.

With the addition of some Halloween decorations, spooky lights and sound, the outside of this Haunted Cardboard House was ready!

Stepping Inside

I put the big bubble wrap (the kind that comes in packaging) under the Frozen rug, so it would pop when the kids walked on it. I think this would have worked better if it had been a hardwood floor as opposed to carpet. It took a fair bit of jumping to get them to pop. I had a dollar store spider that drops every so often hanging from the ceiling to give a good scare. 

 

There were some body parts and skulls along with an electrolyzed skull and Frankenstein’s head. My main attraction was the spooky touch and feel center. I had a pumpkin bucket full of eyeballs (peeled grapes), a pumpkin bucket full of brains (cooked spaghetti), a box of witches fingers (carrot sticks), a witch’s tongue (sliced banana), and a box of teeth (popcorn kernels). 

When I brought the group of kindergartners down into the dark basement, they were already on edge. I took one little one into the house to have her do the feeling activity. As soon as the spider dropped, she ran out of the house scared to death. I ended up having to turn on the lights on and encourage my daughter to lead them through the houses. After that, they had a ton of fun! 

Party Fare

Of all the things I do, I think I find using candy melts and molds, one of the most difficult to get right. I’m not sure if it’s something I’m doing wrong or if it’s just tough in general. I made these little oozy cake pop brains as a party treat to be placed along side the Cauldron Cake. The design of the cake was all the birthday girl’s ideas. She was quite happy with the end result and the taste of the Oreo cookie cakey insides.

Frightfully Spooky Halloween Book Cover for your Next Craft Project

This project was inspired by a family visit to the Renaissance Festival, a wonderful place of creativity and imagination. My oldest was enthralled with so many of the crafts there and wanted them all. This was much the same feeling I had as a child going to the Renaissance. As a mother, I would have loved to buy her all the things, but my pocketbook definitely didn’t allow for that desire. For many of the crafted items, I put a pin in the idea in my mental board to create later. One of those wares was the leather-bound books with the intricate faces deftly shaped into them. They seemed like the perfect at-home project. And thus, this spooky Halloween Book Cover craft was born into being!


Spooky Halloween Book Cover Materials & Tools

  • Book
  • Leather-like Material
  • Hot Glue
  • Paint
  • Eyeballs
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Tissue Paper (Optional)
  • Mod Podge (Optional)

For my first two books, I went ahead with using some old books I had but didn’t care much about. For the next two, I took a trip to Goodwill and happened to come across two books with topics that were a perfecting pairing with Halloween; bugs, and strange stories. I was pretty tickled by the finds!

 

Easy Crafting Steps for the Eyeball Look

1. Cut the material to size. With the book open, you want it to be about an inch and a half bigger on all sides. You can definitely make it a little bigger if you’re worried about it being too small.

2. Use the razor to cut small slits for the eyeballs. For my first attempt, I went with one eye on the binding of the book.

3. Being careful not to burn yourself, hot glue the outside of the material to the surface of the eyeball to give it eyelids. I ended up using a large tongue depressor to keep from burning myself. 

I stuck it through the hole and pushed it down while the glue cooled. 

 

 


4. Hot glue the bottom side of the material and pinch it from the outside to create folds. Feel free to do however many you see fit. With the binding being the focus, I opted for quite a few folds.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Options with this step:

Create a scar and sew some stitches in with thick thread. 

 

Puddle the glue or glue some items underneath to add dimension. I did both here: Pipe cleaners and glue dots.


5. Glue the rest of the cover to the outside of the book. As it cools, squish the material together to create ripples.

 

 

 

 

 


 

6. Trim the outside edges and notch the corners so when they are folded in, you get a clean diagonal seam.

 

 

7. Leave as is or add whatever shading or darkening you prefer to age the material. 

8. Set it up to show off.

Spooky Bug Halloween Book Cover

Shading

HOT GLUE!

Much of this cover consisted of piling on the hot glue. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my hot glue guns and stock of sticks. Hot glue is truly versatile when it comes to crafting. My first attempt was to create the centipede on the underside of the leather. It didn’t work so well, so I ended up adding it to the top of the leather. And then I added more…. and then a little more to each bug. Let’s just say I went through a lot of sticks.

Cheap acrylic paint served me well to paint the bugs and do the shading. It stuck to the hot glue pretty well with several coats.

A sharpie was an easy and permanent way to add a few details.

Complete Spooky Bug Halloween Book Cover

Tissue Paper Flare

To create a wrinkled appearance, follow the easy steps:

  1. Apply Mod Podge to the surface.
  2. Then press small squares of tissue paper into the glue.
  3. Get a little extra Mod Podge onto a paintbrush before pushing into the tissue paper. 
  4. Add additional layers of Mod Podge based on your desired look. 

Happy Halloween Crafting!!

20 Brilliant Ideas for Decorating with Wooden Crates

Wooden Crates have been riding the decor trend for a few years now. I fell in love with them years ago after moving into my new house and looking for ideas to decorate the new space. The wooden crates stood out as an affordable and interesting way to get creative with home decor. After running through a good many pins over time, I’ve collected those which seem to be more unique and a few of the ones I’ve done myself. If you’re a DIYer like me, you like to try to do everything yourself and need some inspiration to get your own creative juices flowing. I hope this list helps with generating some of your own home decor ideas!

1. Hanging Closet Storage

This hanging closet storage by Table and Hearth has a such a cute look to it.

What a cool way to use vertical space! Hanging closet storage crates

2. Shelving

I’ve seen quite a lot of crates used for shelves, but this one adds a unique twist with the board used for anchoring. Check it out at Family Handyman.

easy wooden crate shelf project

3. Modular Shelving Unit

It might be the pretty yarn display that pulled me in, but I love this shelving unit concept by Make & Do Crew. Look it up here DIY Yarn Storage Shelves Using Wooden Crates – Video Tutorial

This yarn storage changed my life! Use wooden crates to build an easy shelf to organize your yarn, craft room or books. Perfect for knitters, crocheters and weavers!

4. Sliding Drawer Crate Cabinet

Try your hand at adding some hardware with this crate cabinet with sliding drawers by Virginia Sweet Pea.

DIY Crate Storage Cabinet


5. Locker Cubbies

Jaime Costiglio’s locker cubbies are a great combination of simplicity and creativity to create a unique wooden crate structure. 


6. DIY Crate Lockers

This next idea is so fun! A simple addition of hinges and doors and it’s a whole new look. Get the info from Little House of Four on these DIY Crate Lockers.

How to build DIY lockers


7. Coffee Table

There are quite a few crate coffee table ideas out there. This one stood out to me as being more creative in addition to being rustically appealing. Get the info at Pallets: Pallet Furniture Ideas. 

pallet and crate coffee table


8. Shutter and Crate Sofa Table

Follow Bless this nest‘s lead and throw in a long shutter with the wooden crates for this oh so cute sofa table.


9. Cushioned Stools

When I saw this awesome simple yet adorable idea, I was bummed I hadn’t ever considered it before. An easy storage seating idea for your little ones. Get the details at The Biggest Much.


10. Dog Bowl Stand

This isn’t your typical buy a crate and rework it project but has all the appeal of the crate look. If your looking for a DIY project for your pooch, check it out at Ana White.


11. Train Planter

11. There are quite a few planter crate ideas out there. I choose this one for its creative concept. Definitely not something everyone has room or desire to do, but it’s certainly appealing to see. Head over to DIY Wood Crate Train Planter Tutorial for the details.

DIY Wood Crate Train Planter Tutorial

12. Dog Bed

The little sleeping pomeranian kind of steals the show in this picture. If you’re able to look beyond that cuteness you’ll definitely appreciate the simple and appealing dog bed concept crafted from a store-bought wooden crate. If you want the details, check it out here Little Things.

DIY crate dog bed

13. Bed Platform

I’ve been looking at ideas for bed frames for my daughter and came across this interesting crate bed platform by Moved to Create. 

M2CBedDone


14. Desk

With virtual school in full swing, you can’t go wrong throwing together a desk like this one. Take a better look here Apple Crate Desk.

Apple Crate Desk


15. Closet Shelves

I had overbought crates when I was doing some building, so I decided to repurpose them in a simple fashion in our small pantry closet. I just stacked them up and they were ready for use. 


16. Square Coffee Table

When I was trying to figure out what to do for a coffee table in our new living room, I scoured Pinterest for ideas. I loved the look of this coffee table and went about making it. I also did a matching side table. 


17. Stuffed Animal Storage

The coffee table ended up being much too small for the space. I opted to disassemble it to remake it into a much needed stuffed animal storage shelving system. These days it doesn’t house so many stuffed animals. Check it out in the new teen space.


18. Laundry Room Storage

I’m looking to spruce up my small laundry room. I saw this cute idea on the Home Depot blog for laundry storage space. As a side note, I might go ahead and decorate my washer and dryer with some electrical tape to get this appealing look.

Easy and Inexpensive Laundry Room Makeover

19. Fruit Crate

If your like me and looking to wanting to switch out your fruit bowl, go no further. The Wood Grain Cottage can show you how to craft your own fruit crate.

DIY Stackable Fruit Crates I The Wood Grain Cottage

20. Nightstand

Check out Plaid for this simple nightstand with a pop of color and pattern.

Kid's Nightstand

I hope you found some ideas to fit some of your home decor needs. Thanks for checking out the list!

Free DIY Desk Plan Download for Your Virtual Learner

A week before our virtual learning school year started, my friend texted me to ask if I could build a desk she had ordered but had never arrived. I took a look at the pictures and the measurements she sent and agreed to building it. From my perspective, it was going to be a pretty simple project. I had already been planning to start making my niece a nightstand for her upcoming birthday, so drawing out a desk plan and putting it together could be done at the same time. With the plan in my head, away I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Supplies

  • 1- 1″ x 2′ x 4′ plywood piece
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 6′ pine
  • 3 – 1″ x 3″ x 6′ pine
  • 1 – 1″ x 10″ x 4′ whitewood board
  • Pocket screws
  • Dowels
  • Veneer Edging
  • Wood Filler
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain or paint and/or wax
  • Basket

Measurements and Cuts for this Desk Plan

The desk is 42″L x 24″D X 30″H.

  • 1 – 1″ x 42″ x 24″ 
  • 6 – 1″ x 3″ x 29 1/2″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 17 3/8″ 
  • 1 – 1″ x 2″ x 26 1/4″
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 8 1/4
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 11″
  • 4 – 1″ x 2″ x 9 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 8″ 
  • 1 – 1″ x  13″ x 9 1/2″
  • 1 – 1″ x 19″ x 9 1/2″ 

Cutting a Straight Edge

If you’re like me, you don’t have the fanciest of tools…yet. I would really like to have a table saw but am waiting for garage space and the affordable option to cross my path. I am not good at cutting completely straight without a guide. This inevitably means using older methods (aka pre-table saw invention methods) of getting to the desired end result of a straight cut. There’s no getting around that being a tough task.

I got a maple plywood piece that was the desired width to save me having to make two long cuts.

So, this “older method” includes using a straight edge and a circular saw with a rolling square guide on it. Measure out where the cut needs to be made and use a square to draw it across the full length of the board. Next, measure the distance needed from the edge of the board to the straight edge, so the blade will cut on the line. To keep the straight edge in place, you will use short clamps to clamp the straight edge to the board. 

If all you’ve got is a circular saw and board, you can accomplish this same setup. 

Ready to cut!

Cutting the legs

I went with a 10 degree angled cut for the legs (and subsequent cross beams). To do this, use a miter saw set to the appropriate degree. Both ends need to be cut at this degree for the desk top to be level with the floor. The length of the leg is 29 1/2″ on one side.

I used a flat board to check the length of the legs and to figure out how wide the top connecting piece would need to be. The bottom beam was cut to 17 3/8″.  I decided on this length to be at 2 1/2″ high from the floor. This would be the same for all three of the bottom supports. 

 

 

List of pieces cut at 10-degree angle

  • 6 – 1″ x 3″ x 29 1/2″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 17 3/8″ 
  • 3 – 1″ x 2″ x 8 1/4″
  • 2 – 1″ x 2″ x 11″

Time for Pocket Holes

Pocket holes are an easy way to attach boards together, so you can’t see the hardware from the outside. It’s faster and easier than doweling. Check out some of my other projects highlighting the Kreg jig and pocket holes; Composite Bookcase, Living Room Table set, and Shoe Box.

I put two holes in all of the leg and shelf pieces, including the 1″ x 2″ pieces. The hole placement was wider than the 1″ x 2″, which meant having to reposition after the first hole.

Putting the Desk Plan Together

I opted to clamp the legs to a sawhorse to keep it in place. There are tools that will hold corners together securely, but again, I don’t have those. The clamps did the job well enough while I screwed in the pocket screws. FYI, pocket screws are different than regular wood screws, so you do need to buy those specifically. As with any wood project, it’s also best to glue before you screw. 

I marked the 2 1/2″ mark on the legs to make sure the cross beam was in the correct spots prior to drilling.

Finishing Touches

Here’s a little trick for sanding that I learned from my parents. Wrap the sandpaper around a scrap piece of wood to make it easier to sand. I much prefer it to holding the sandpaper and to paying for the more expensive sanding blocks. Using an electric hand sander is also an easier option. 

I didn’t want the holes at the bottom to show, so I filled them in with wood filler. This particular wood filler dries pretty quickly, which is excellent for wanting to get a project completed quickly. Then it just needed to be sanded smooth. 

Desk Plan Wood Filler

Desk Plan: Putting it Together

I didn’t take photos of the assembly, because I was also trying to help with a bakery and lemonade stand sale that was going on at the same time. Life is never simple with three daughters in the house. To explain what I did; I attached the cross beams for the shelves to all legs prior to attaching the top. The shelves can be put on before or after the desktop is attached, just know that it’s hard to get to the pocket holes if you attach the top-shelf before the top. The base was completely together, so it was easy to just put the top on and attach it. For added security, I also drilled dowel holes in a few spots. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but I felt more comfortable with it. All that was left was to put the glue on the top of the legs and secure the top with the pocket screws.

From there, it was time to put on the veneer edging to give the edges a finished look. This is necessary when using any plywood, unless you prefer the raw edge. This veneer edging is really simple to use. Cut it to size, iron it on, and sand it flush. That’s it! One tip; give it time to cool and set before sanding it, so you don’t inadvertently loosen the hold.

Finished Raw Wood Desk

A frame desk plan

I painted it white and applied dark wax to the edges and top with a paintbrush to give it a rustic or chabby chic look. It’s really up to your personal style what you do with it. 

This Desk Plan is Ready for Virtual School

If you’d like the download of instructions, click the download button:

Check out some other projects:

Faux Wood Plank Shoe Enclosure to Keep Shoes Out of the Way

We got a Greater Swiss Mountain puppy this past year, which ended up meaning our shoes were no longer safe. I decided to use some extra wood sitting in the garage to create a shoe box to keep them safe by the back door. It’s also served to keep the area cleaner and trip free. Rather than keeping the plywood as is, I opted to do a faux wood plank technique to the top.

Our puppy Skye, particularly enjoyed our flip flops.

My Materials

  • 3/4″ plywood
  • 1/4″ plywood
  • 2 hinges
  • Spray paint
  • Stain
  • Drawer knob
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Screws

Tools

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Nail gun and nails
  • Kreg jigs
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Saw horses

Using the circular saw, I cut the plywood to the width of the wall space and the depth of my husband’s shoe. If I had had enough 3/4″ plywood in my scrap pile, I would have done the bottom with it as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t, so I used 1/4″ plywood instead.

I decided to use this Rustoleum spray paint I had from an ombre project I completed for my niece. The pop of color was a nice surprise on the inside. Rustoleum has good coverage.

I used some inch long wood screws to attach the bottom to the sides. Since it was just a simple project to keep our shoes safe, I didn’t worry too much about having 1/4″ board on the bottom being attached with glue and screws.

Faux Wood Plank Time

I thought it’d be fun to give the top the look of panels. To achieve this, I taped it to allow for the stain to create lines. The darker stain was first with two coats to make sure it would be dark. I switched the painter’s tape to cover the dark stain and then did the lighter stain. After that, I did a second coat on a few of the spots to have a third variation.

I put on two hinges I had handy. It seemed better that we’d have to pull up on the door to open it and make it puppy proof, so that is what I went with doing. I drilled an easy hole in the middle of the front panel and screwed in a knob to finish it off.

Safe and sound

The finished product for family shoe organization and safe keeping! If your looking for more organization ideas, check out the Family Command Center above the shoe box here.

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11 Sensational Repurposed Old Windows

Ladies craft night anyone?! Awhile back, I was really into hosting crafting nights. I’d already done some painting parties, so I decided to shift gears into a window upcycling party. I found a stock of old windows for a $20 steal and sent out the invite. The windows were very dirty and very chippy, requiring a good bit of elbow grease. I did all the cleanup before to make it easy. For the event, the guests were informed that I would be providing the paint and paintbrushes but if they wanted anything special, they would have to bring it for themselves. With that, we were ready to relieve our stress by letting our creativity shine through some repurposed old windows.

That party was one of the motivations for putting this list together for you all. Since that party, I’ve had the leftover windows sitting in wait in my garage. I’ve included those generally quick and easy projects below.

11 ideas to give a whirl for repurposed old windows:

1. Bakery Stand Window:

This bakery stand was one of my more recent projects. Click on the pic to see the whole project. My girls were in love with the end results.

 

2. Shabby Chic Display (from my Paint party)

“Every Dream begins with a Wish”

 

3. Shelf and Picture Holder 

My 6-year-old was very excited about getting a desk in her room for Christmas. When I asked if she wanted a window shelf above it, she was all about it. She picked the color and I added shelf brackets. The little ballerinas were a cheap find from Michaels to fit with her ballerina themed room. It was such an easy project.

4. Mantle Decor from Walnut and Vine

5. Mirrored Window by Finding Home Farms

Bathroom Decorating Ideas, Towel Rack and Shelf

This is a tutorial on a footboard towel rack. I love every bit of the total look from antique clocks to pink bottles. Super Cute.

6.  Altered Window Frame by Little Birdie Secrets 

7. Command Center by Dwelling in Happiness

SONY DSC

8. Window Box Cabinet by My Repurposed Life

how to make a repurposed window cabinet MyRepurposedLife

9. Window Planter by Prodigal Pieces

Upcycled Window Planter for Backyard Fence Decor by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #homedecor #garden

10. DIY Mini Greenhouse by HgTV

I’m completely smitten with this adorable upcycle. 

Upcycled Window Greenhouse

The Finale

11. Bathroom Storage Window and Shutters

Last but not least. This was my latest project to spruce up my girls’ sad-looking bathroom. The window started out as a single pane old window without the crossbars. After an accidental slip causing the pane to break, I decided to go with a Plan B. Plan B included constructing my own crossbars with a router and making pull out metal mesh earring holders. I include a tutorial on constructing those on one of my picture frame posts.  It was definitely a win-win situation; I got a larger window and a set of shutters out of my garage stockpile and created a quick organizer for all the bows, headbands,  earrings, and misc items. My girls thought it was a hit!

  

Pop-out Earring Holders: 

Shutter Headband Holder:

To say it simply, my 6-year-old has A LOT of headbands. The shutter pull bar was a perfect way to hold them in place.

Towel Hooks:

The builders of our new home put one long bar towel holder up in this bathroom, which sufficed for the last 5 years. I was tired of not having a place to hang multiple towels separately, so I’m really happy about the added options the double hooks provide.

The very sad looking before photo: a ribbon frame bow holder and an owl earring holder.

End of the countdown on 11 sensational ways to repurpose your old windows

I hope you enjoyed the ideas and that’s it inspired you to create some of your own!

Stunning Picture Frame Upgrade Ideas for Your Home

As I was rooting through some of the remaining boxes of stuff from our old house, I came across a few items that inspired me to do a little crafting. I found childhood picture frames in need of a facelift to get with the times and with my current decor. It was a very simple project aside from deciding what I was going to do and it’s definitely a project anyone could handle. I hope my picture frame makeovers inspire you to have a little fun with some of your own frames and you can decide on a direction to take! From drab to fab frames in no time flat.

My supplies included:

  • Craft Paint and/or Spray paint
  • Paintbrushes (a wider one for the frame and a thin one for details)
  • Sandpaper (depending on the look you are going for)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue or double-sided tape
  • Razor or scissors or paper cutter
  • That’s it!
picture frame before
The Before: classic 80’s/90’s gold opening border mat and a stained oak frame.

To keep the glass clean of paint, you should definitely start off by taking the glass out and painting everything separately. I painted the frame with inexpensive craft paint from Michaels. There’s a Michaels 1.3 miles away from me, so I tend to get everything I need there.

picture frame paint

I painted a full coat, so I couldn’t see any of the wood underneath. Then since I was going for a shabby chic look, I took a piece of sandpaper and lightly rubbed randomly around some edges.

I took the mat out to paint it with cheap chalkboard paint from Michaels. It didn’t seem necessary to better paint since it wasn’t going to be used for writing. I used wax paper to paint on to save my kitchen counters.

Accents make the mat

After the paint dried, I used a thin brush to paint some white accents around the photo openings. Feel free to let your creativity come out here! When everything was dry, I put it all back together so it was ready for some pictures of loved ones. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

A close up of some of the sanded parts.

picture frame complete
A refinished frame in half an hour (or so)

Frame 2

Before

For my second frame, I took the same concept with the frame. I painted it with a coat of paint and sanded it in a few areas. Instead of painting the mat, I tore vintage 12 x 12 scrapbook paper into pieces and glued the pieces onto the mat. I didn’t worry about cutting the paper around the ovals while gluing. After the glue was dry, I flipped it over so the back was faceup. I used a razor to cut the paper overhang around the oval and voila, another finished frame refresh.

After (aka Drab to Fab Frame )

The last frame I redid was a metal gold frame. I took the glass out of each frame and sprayed a few layers of rose spray paint. For those who haven’t had much experience with a spray can, it’s best to do multiple thin layers rather than soaking it with a thick layer that is likely to drip.

Picture Frame 3

I had printed 4×6 photos which ended up being too small for the openings. Probably a good idea to measure before you print, but as it turns out, I liked the end look better than if the picture filled the frame. I decided to make due by taping the photos to a white cardstock paper and adding a border from scrapbook paper.

I used my paper cutter to ensure I cut straight lines. There’s a range of paper cutters you can get. Mine, in particular, was pretty inexpensive and is two-sided for different types of blades. If you should not happen to have a paper cutter, a ruler to draw a straight line and scissors will do just fine.

I used the sliding blade to cut the scrapbook paper for the border.

I used double-sided tape to adhere the photo and paper to the white back paper.

The double-sided tape dispenser is shown here. I, unfortunately, found it difficult to use.

I happened upon some paper flowers at, you guessed it, Michaels, that felt like the perfect touch to add to this frameset.

Drab to fab picture frame

Final Product with my three girls to showcase it! I did a quick photoshoot in my bedroom with the girls to get this together.

Frame 4

These two oval frames came from my grandmother’s basement unused for years. It took me a bit to decide what to do with them. I ended up being inspired by some shabby chic hooks from Michaels. White spray paint, some 1/4″ board wood cut to size and scrapbooked paper gave the finished look.

That’s a wrap on these quick and easy revamps to take them from drab to fab frames. If you are anything like me, you likely already have all the materials. While you’re watching your favorite show tonight, go ahead and let your creativity out.

And if you’re looking for more ideas on how to use those frames, check out Framed Earring Holder

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