Tag: Router

From Crib Rail to Blanket Ladder in 6 Easy Steps

 

When the baby grows out of the crib, it’s time to find renewed purpose for the crib parts only the dump seems to take. After three babies, it was time for me to dismantle our hand me down crib. With all the new regulations, you literally can’t get rid of cribs that have lived through a growing family.  My recycling and repurposing side wouldn’t allow me to just trash anything but the mattress support. From there, it was just a matter of deciding what to do with the crib rail that sat in wait in the garage for years. 

I ended up being inspired by the numerous throw blankets and mermaid tails that remained a fixture in my 6 year old’s room. Her room was the smallest in the house and she was the least organized. Those blankets always seemed to be strewn around the floor. It was time to give her a throw blanket ladder!

 

Tool List

  • Circular Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Router and bit
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps

6 Steps to a Crib Rail Ladder

Step 1

 

This particular crib rail had a rounded top bar. Given that it didn’t match the bottom bar, I had to cut off the rounded end. While cutting it off, I also wanted to avoid chipping away the finish of the remaining edge. The best way to do that was to cover it in painter’s tape before starting to saw it off. With the tape in place, I used a circular saw to cut off the curve at the top. Thankfully, there was an indentation that I could use as my cutting guide.  It was also helpful to use an attachable saw guide to keep me completely straight while I went. Admittedly, I am not the best at sawing straight so I’ve come to rely heavily on guides to keep me on the mark. I’m crossing my fingers that refined skill will come with time and practice. 

 

crib rail start

Step 2

 

For step 2, a jigsaw was my best friend. It was time to cut off the extra rails so there would be enough space for the blankets. Using the jigsaw, I cut both sides of the bar as close to the top and bottom rail as I could. For your own project, you could certainly just leave as is at this point, if you don’t mind the extra width. I thought it was too much and wanted it to be narrower. So on to step 3 I went!

 

Step 3

This step was really quite simple. I used the jigsaw to cut the remaining bars from one side. The other side of the bars remained attached to the bottom of the crib rail. Then, it was just a matter of also cutting down the length of the bars to the width I wanted. 

Step 4

For such a small project, I certainly used a variety of tools. I pulled out my handy dandy Ryobi router for this step. It was important that the board stay in place while I routered the bar, so I put it in my clamp sawhorse. I used a keyhole bit that was the exact width of my bars to cut placement slots. It was pretty easy since I could use the previous spots as the guides.

Step 5

 

Using a miter saw, I cut the bottom of the post pieces at an angle so they would rest flat on the floor while leaning against the wall. 

Step 6

The final step was to use some wood glue in each slot before clamping it together to dry. Then it’s really up to you whether you paint it or not. I opted for gray for my crib rail blanket ladder.

Crib rail glued
One of my little helpers. With the constant calls for “mom”, it’s easy enough to get them to stick around to help for a few minutes.

Completed Crib Rail Blanket Ladder

Crib Rail Blanket Ladder in place

I would say that since the crib rail blanket ladder was put in her room, the blankets have been kept tidy….for the most part. I hope this quick run through helped you make one of your own and you find it just as cathartic as I do to find renewed purpose in washed up items! If you’re in need of other organization crafts (aka me time), check out Successfully Controlling Stuffed Animal Clutter with a Craft or 20 Brilliant Ideas for Decorating with Wooden Crates.

 

A Window and Shutter Refinishing Combo Must Do

With three girls in my house, the bows and headbands were getting out of control in their shared bathroom. Previously, I made some headband holders and bow holders. They were overloaded and a bit unsightly. I had several windows and shutters in my garage waiting for a good project idea to hit me. With the desire to spruce up their bathroom, I came up with the idea to use a window and shutter to create an organizer for their hair paraphernalia. I was super excited by the idea as it served as cute décor with purpose. 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, so I hope you enjoy it as well!

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

Bathroom Window and Shutter 411

The window started out as a single pane old window without the crossbars. My initial plan was to use a Cricut to cut a message to stick on the window. After an accidental slip causing the pane to break, I decided to go with a Plan B for the glass area. Plan B included constructing my own crossbars using a router and glue. More on that later…

This is what I was working with at the start.
Incidentally, this is around where it slipped off the bench and cracked the glass. It was a happy accident.

Easy Refinishing Step: Painting

The shutters were in need of a color correction from the cherry red. After separating the shutters into two pieces, I spray painted them with gray. Then, the window frame needed some refreshing with some white chalk paint.

Attaching the Shutters

Then, I attached the shutters to the window frame by attaching one side with the remaining hinges and the other shutter with pocket holes. (FYI: pocket holes are created with a Kreg jig. (If you need more info check out some of my other posts: Shutter Buffet, Living Room Set)

It was after this picture that the windowpane broke. After that mishap, it was on to plan B. I used 1/2″ square dowels and a router to cut out notches for the cross beams to fit together. Essentially, you are notching a 1/4 inch into the dowels in the spots you want the dowels to fit into each other. When they are pieced together, they should remain at 1/2″ width glued together. Four dowels and 8 notches. This requires starting with a square and tape measure to ensure your notches are going to line up correctly. 

Shelves:

Using 1/4″ board scraps, I made some framed shelves for the bottom of the shutters. I thought of them like window flower boxes. Then, I used a metal screen to cover the openings of the shelves. It was easy to cut them to size and hot glue them onto the inside of the 1/4″ wood. Wood, glue, and screws attached the shelves to the shutters.

Pop-out Earring Holders:

 

With plan B in play, I was inspired to utilize the empty space for additional purposes. I decided to replace the hanging owl earring holder with an earring holder window square. The same square dowels were used for the frames as for the crossbars. In case you are interested, I include a tutorial on constructing an earring holder with a frame and metal screening on my picture frame post

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 to Finish it Off:

The builders of our home put one long bar towel holder in this bathroom, which sufficed for the last 5 years. I was tired of not having a place to hang multiple towels separately. With that notion in mind, I decided to put up towel hooks on the bottom of the window frame. I’m really happy about the added options the double hooks now provide.

Bathroom Window and Shutter Finishing Touch

Using a fairly thick wire I had on hand and some fabric, I made a wreath for the window and shutter decor. I used the wire to “sew” (aka poke holes) into the material. 

Then, the bows could then be easily clipped around the wreath. 

With the placement of the headbands, bows, towels, and earrings, this window and shutter bathroom organizer was complete. After all the work was said and done, it was so much more beautiful than the previous version. Thankfully, my daughters corroborated that belief.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

The Easiest Way to Even Out a Wood Slab with Basic Tools

I find it a bit amazing how as life happens, you can stumble onto the opportunities for projects you have wanted to do. This project was spurred by just such an event when I went to a Christmas party hosted by my husband’s coworker. She was much like me and as she gave me a tour of her outstanding house, she explained she had a huge log she was hoping to make into a variety of things. It was quite serendipitous to say the least. I had already had thoughts about things I would make if I could get my hands on a wood slab or stump.

The above photo was the slab her husband cut for me. It was enormous and heavy. They had a lot of other log sizes, so I thought I’d grab a few other wood slabs with a smaller circumference. I hadn’t ever used a chainsaw so cautiously went into trying to cut a piece. It was super difficult, so we came to the conclusion the blade needed to be sharpened. 

The two of us lifted this huge sucker into the back of my Honda Odyssey by bending from those knees. I felt pretty powerful after that. Definitely small but mighty. 

Wood Slab Struggles

The wood slab was just too tall for what I intended. I searched around to try to find a sawmill to cut it in half. I finally found one in Pennsylvania who said they could do it. When I got there, it was too wide for their machine, so they used a chainsaw to cut it in half. It looked quite difficult and took much longer than expected. $50 later, I had two wood slabs, one that was relatively even and another in a fairly rough uneven shape. The rest of this story is about the one in rough shape. 

One side was about 2 inches higher than the other. The best side still had chainsaw divets in it as well. Even trying to use a chain saw to even the height would be quite difficult. This is when the router came into play. A router can be used for a variety of projects and it seemed to be the only option for this one. 

Materials for Evening it Out

The first task is to create a square from the 2×4’s just larger than the size of the wood slab. Then cut the legs for the stand just a smidge taller than the tallest point of the wood slab. 

Next up, creating the router sled. Initially, I used some scrap wood. The boards were not quite long enough, which made it difficult to maneuver. I can verify for you, it’s much easier if you use boards that extend well beyond the frame perimeter. From there, it’s just a matter of setting the height of the straight router bit. I used a 1/2″ straight router bit but would’ve gone with a 5/8″ bit if I had it. Then, it’s just a matter of sliding the router back and forth on the sled, which is meant to keep it level. 

SOOO MUCH SAWDUST

Sawdust is going to go everywhere with this project. Make sure to do it in a fairly clear space for easier cleanup.

https://youtu.be/DL6jSI6Po_w

Smoothing the Wood Slab

The router did a great job of leveling the whole wood slab out. It definitely kicked at times creating a few nicks. I decided to try using a handheld planer to smooth it out as a first step. It was just a matter of running the planer over the surface. I eventually paused on that to see how the sandpaper would work out instead.

The look of progress

Time to Sand

After the router, it was time to put the muscles to work to sand the wood slab with extra coarse sandpaper using the belt sander. That 36 grit coarse sandpaper was wonderful at smoothing it all out. Just be careful not to create a ton of sandpaper grooves while you are going. From there, it’s necessary to sand it with a higher grit to smooth out the coarse lines. 

Look How Smooth It Is!

Not a ton of steps but definitely a lot of effort goes into this method. That was the reason I procrastinated so long on starting it. My back was aching after being bent over the slab for so long. When you don’t have all the special tools, it becomes necessary to find affordable ways to complete tasks using tools you may already have or would be useful in a variety of projects. I rely on this toolset quite a lot, so you can’t go wrong with purchasing at least a router, saw, drill, and belt sander. I hope this quick rundown helps you with your own wood slab project!  Check out some other wood projects you could create with a router, like a Paddle Platter.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Wood Paddle Platter for your Next Gathering

If you’re anything like me, you likely see creative possibilities all around you. Sometimes in comes in the form of more random options. For this easy woodworking project, I was inspired by an oar shape. After some brainstorming, I came up with this oar server idea. 


“She believed she could so she did”

My parents both grew up in the great state of Kansas before moving to Maryland, where I was raised. During my younger years, we would make the long drive once or twice a year to visit our many relatives. I now try to get out there every few years to spend a week visiting with as many in the area as we can. We made the trek to join in the family reunion with the family from these two fabulous people below, my paternal grandparents. They are a crafter and carpenter extraordinaire among a great many other things. The line of DIYers is obviously pretty long. In 2017 when this photo was taken, they were 91 and 94 years old. I can only hope to live as long and fruitful a life as these two.

Grandparents

During this particular reunion, the family was making carpenter stools to match my grandfather’s well-used one. My grandmother was also providing instruction on how to cut a chicken down to make her fried chicken. It was quite a unique and memorable affair. My family knows how to do it right.

grandfathers carpenter stool
Family woodworking at it’s finest. Look at the line of constructed stools. I certainly use mine plenty now.

It wouldn’t be a trip to my aunt and uncle’s house in Missouri without an exotic animal sighting. Missouri seems to have laxer animal rules, so there’s quite a bit of animal variety in the area.

Now on to the Project

Part of this particular Kansas trip included cleaning out my parents’ old shed, which happened to have a couple of boxes of ready-made wood forms. That wood was calling my name, so I had my pick of the stock along with my younger sister. I dragged my selection back to Maryland with me and piled them up to wait for creativity to strike. Some ideas came more easily but those oar shapes nagged at me to figure out what to do. Then it hit me all of a sudden; I’d practice my raw routering skills by making a food platter. I took a trip to Goodwill, found three perfect glass cups and to my garage I went.

Pile of projects
Pay no attention to the foot by the stack of raw wood forms.

I traced the bottom of the glass cups on the long portion of the oar and measured around the base to ensure I had an even border there. Then I used an older router to start cutting out the inside of my markings. It’s important to lock it tight when using a router. If you don’t, the blade will move deeper than you plan on it going. Unfortunately, the router I was using did not stay put and started digging in a little deeper than I’d planned. I can’t begin to describe the disgust I felt with this, so I ended up quitting it for quite a while and picking it back up when I got a handle on my frustration.

Routered oar server

Quick Fixes

Wood filler and a scraper solved the problem to even out the spots that happened by accident. After the wood filler was dry, I sanded it down as best I could using a medium grit (80 grit) sandpaper. Medium grit (60-100) helps with smoothing the rougher areas. For more significant marks, you’d go for coarse grit (40-50). It’s typically best to sand with a fine grit paper (120-220) to create a really smooth even surface before staining.

I’ve since starting using a much better router thanks to my parents, which makes completing projects soooo much easier. This Ryobi router serves me well now. I can’t say enough about having the right tools. Many of the ones I have are hand me downs or are older because I can’t spend the money on better versions of everything. If I had my druthers, I’d get a bunch of new tools to speed up my projects and save my sanity. You get the benefit of seeing you can still accomplish things without all the best tools.

Oar Server with router errors fixed
The bane of this project.

Staining

After the routering was complete, I did two layers of stain with a dark stain I had on hand. I keep old cotton white shirt strips handy for staining just like my mom used to do. My parents were avid woodworkers and often building cabinets, tables or trailers, among the list. My siblings and I helped complete many of the projects when extra hands were necessary. I’ve said it many times as an adult now that although I wasn’t so keen on it as a kid, I’m thankful for the skills gained by having had to help.

Oar server with final stain
There’s a light spot on the end here where I failed to get the stickiness off from some masking tape. Before staining, it’s always important to ensure the wood is completely clean of residue or glue. Sanding is important.
Oar server before polyurethane

The stain ended up being inconsistent in the wood filler spots. I decided the oar server would look better to do chalkboard paint on the inside. If you are looking for other simple projects with chalk paint, check out this easy frame project. Then I painted “Bon Appetit” with white acrylic paint and finished it off with two coats of polyurethane to seal it for food and washing. The clear coating really gives it the finished look as well.

Oar server ready to use

I put a twine hoop on the oar server for hanging to make it a multipurpose server and decor item.

Oar Server hanging as decor

Oar Server: Putting it to Use

Around the time I was working on this, I was attending monthly moms’ dinner nights. If you haven’t participated in these, it’s best described as one mom hosting and choosing a theme to create the main dish around. The rest of the attending moms/friends bring a dish to match the theme. This particular night was Mexican themed, so I went with homemade churros and three different dipping sauces. It all worked perfectly together as you can see below! It just goes to show that random finds can be made into something completely fun and useful. Here’s to inspiration finding you soon!

Oar server put to use at party
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