How I Added a Pull-Out Towel Rack to My Kitchen

Good news: my kitchen is almost functional! The cabinets are in, the countertops are finished and installed, and the sink/faucet works and is leak free! However, yesterday I got this depressing phone call from Lowes to inform me that my appliances had been delayed. Boo. So at the moment, my kitchen looks like this:

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And this:

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See that nice cabinet where I'm corralling all of the tools? Organized, right?

More important to this post, is this nice gap here:

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This gap is 28" wide, and will ultimately house the dishwasher. However, my dishwasher (like most) is only 24" wide. That means I have four extra inches. Now, I could just stick a cover panel over the space, and call it a day, but since my appliances were delayed, and I have the time to build something, I figured I should probably make this space functional.

One of the many times I was procrastinating my life and browsing Houzz.com, I saw this awesome pull-out towel rack. I knew something similar would be perfect for this space, being next to the sink and all. 

The towel rack in the picture above sits in an open alcove. Looking at the other pictures of this kitchen, there appears to be a similar symmetric gap (and possibly another towel rack) on each side of the sink, making the gap look intentional. Given that I only had one gap, I thought it would look strange if I left it open, so I designed my towel rack to have a front to it. This means that I can't put anything too wet on my towel rack, since there's not a lot of air to dry the towels back there, but that's a trade-off I'm willing to make.

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The Towel Rack

I Used:
- 3 1/2" piece of MDF, cut to 30"
- Two pieces of 1/2" by 17" plywood*
- Two pieces of 1/4" Plywood, 30" and 24" long*
- 1/2" and 3/4" wood screws*
- Wood Glue
- 2 Corner Braces*
- Paint that matched my cabinets
- Amazon Basics 14" Drawer Slides (One pair)
- Swivel Towel Bar

*A bunch of the things I chose to use because I had them around the house, similarly sturdy fasteners or wood could be used.

Step 1: Prepare the Front

I have Ikea Grimslov (off white) cabinets, so I chose MDF to make up the front of the pullout because I thought it was the best match for my cabinets texture-wise. However, I was a little concerned about the sturdiness of MDF; I was worried the towel rack would eventually fall off, or the connections between the drawer slide pieces and the front might come loose. So I wood-glued and screwed a piece of 1/4" plywood to the back to add support.

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I clamped the two pieces together while the glue was drying. Yes, the plywood piece is not as wide as the MDF. I got lazy, and didn't want to cut a new piece...

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I added six screws total, two on the bottom, two on the top, and two in the middle. Be careful that the screws aren't where you intend to put your towel rack!

In order to get paint that matched the rest of the cabinets, I took an uninstalled drawer front to Lowes and had them make a sample-sized paint match. I then painted the piece. I really only needed to paint the front, but I decided to paint the back (and the pieces of plywood in step 2) as well to give the wood some protection from damp towels. I also added the knob at this point so that later I didn't accidentally attach something else (the towel rack, the drawer slides, etc) where the knob needed to go.

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The front piece painted and ready to be installed!

Step 2: Prepare the Sides

The ancient kitchen that I ripped apart a month or so ago had pretty grimy 1/2" plywood shelves in all of the cabinets. Thus, I had a nice stack of used-to-be-shelves sitting in the basement.

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I cut two 3 1/2" pieces off (no particular reason for 3 1/2", they could have been 4" or 3" or something else, I suppose,) giving me two pieces 3 1/2" wide by 17" long. My drawer slides were 14", and the pieces really didn't need to be longer than that, but why make extra cuts when I didn't have to? My pieces therefore remained 3 1/2" by 17".

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I sanded off the grime and then painted the pieces white, once again to add protection from any damp towels. Finally, on one end of each piece, I drilled Kreg jig pocket holes so I could later attach the pieces to the front piece.

Note: If you don't have a Kreg jig, because things are expensive, you might be able to still do this with only corner braces. Get super sturdy ones, and give it a shot. That being said, I've found my Kreg Jig super useful for all sorts of things that I didn't initially purchase it for (like installing the butcherblock countertops). And you don't need a fancy one; this one is only $20, and will get the job done.

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The Amazon Basics Drawer Slides (and probably most drawer slides) separate into two main pieces, one which attaches to the side of the cabinet, the other which attaches to the drawer side.

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I attached the "Drawer" piece of the slide to each of the plywood pieces on the opposite side from the Kreg jig holes, as shown below. I also checked that the drawer slide piece was level (with a level..)

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Step 3: Assemble the Frame

I wanted the front piece to be flush with door of the sink cabinet next to it. In order to make sure that happened, I reattached the two drawer slide pieces together so that the entire piece of plywood was attached to the drawer slide. Then I held the front piece where I wanted it to go, and placed the plywood piece accordingly. I took down the front piece and marked with a pencil where the front of the drawer slide was.

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I then separated the two drawer slide pieces, and attached the cabinet piece so that the front just came up to the line I had drawn. Before putting in the 2nd and 3rd screws, I checked that the slide was level.

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I reattached the two drawer pieces to each other, which attached one of my plywood pieces to the cabinet side.

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Then I held my front piece in place, and screwed my Kreg Jig screws into place. These were strong enough to temporarily hold the front in place while I repeated these steps for the bottom piece of plywood.

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Step 4: Reinforce the Frame

As built so far, the towel rack frame operates properly. However, I (aka, my dad) had some concerns about long-term operability in two different places.
1) The Kreg Jig screws went through the edge of the plywood, which is the weakest part of the plywood. Therefore, it would improve stability if the joints were reinforced.
2) The two pieces of plywood were only connected by the front piece. They would operate better and be less strained if they were connected at the back end of the pieces as well.

I therefore reinforced the plywood to front piece joint using a single 1 1/2" corner brace on each piece.

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I also added a 1/4" piece of plywood that spanned the length between the two plywood sides to help add stability. I attached it with wood glue and 1/2" wood screws.

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Step Five: Add the Towel Rack

The towel rack I ordered came with absolutely no instructions, which was honestly fine since I wasn't installing it in a traditional manner anyway. Basically, there were two holes in the towel rack intended for screws, so I just screwed the rack into my front piece with some 3/4" screws and called it a day.

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I was a little disappointed that the towel bars can't swing toward the sink because of the reinforcement piece in the back. I could've redone it so that they could swing either way (and I guess I still could), but it didn't seem worth the effort. Moral of the story: Measure!

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Cost Considerations

Towel Rack: $18.49
Drawer Slides: $13.99
MDF Piece: $6.08
Paint Sample: $3.68

Total: $42.24

Definitely more expensive than a traditional towel rack, but certainly cheaper than hiring a pro to come and install a built-in towel rack! And I used my little 4 inches effectively! I'll take it!

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How I Installed My Butcherblock Countertops

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I'm pretty sure there are hundreds of posts on DIY butcherblock countertops. I would know. I read them all before I started. So I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty of where I bought them (Menards), if I stained them (yes, Minwax Early American), how I sealed them (three coats of Waterlox Original), or how I cut the sink hole (I followed the sink installation directions.) 

What will I talk about? How I secured them to the cabinets. 

As mentioned above, I read hundreds of posts about DIY butcherblock countertops. Not a single one talked about how they secured the countertop to the cabinets. So I made it up. I figured I couldn't go too wrong, since the main goal here is to make sure the countertop couldn't move around. 

Maybe that's why nobody wrote about it? Securing countertops is too easy! (or boring, more likely...)

First thing to note: my cabinets were all from Ikea, but my butcherblock was not (primarily because Ikea doesn't seem to sell true butcherblock anymore.. bummer.) The Ikea cabinets are all supported on top by a metal rail running the width of the cabinet. These little rails have holes already punched in them, I suspect to aid in countertop installation. But since I did not purchase an Ikea countertop, I'll never truly know.

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You can't see from this picture, but the rails have these convenient holes pre-punched in them.

Regardless of what the little holes in the metal rails are actually intended for, I used them as the first mechanism to secure the countertop to my cabinet. Anywhere there was a hole, I added a screw. If there was a space between the rail and the countertop, I also added a shim so that the rail wouldn't bend up to the countertop when I added my screw.

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This is what the rail/shim/countertop looked like from the bottom side right before I added a screw.

This was a great (and easy, thanks Ikea!) start to securing the countertop, but since there were only four holes in most of the cabinets, I didn't want this to be the only way the countertop was secured. So I turned to what is quickly becoming my favorite new fastener, the Corner Brace!

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In the corner of every cabinet, I added a corner brace. Additionally, I added a brace on each corner of the space left open for the dishwasher. In total, each cabinet had 4 corner braces and 4 "rail" screws. After I finished, I felt very confident that my countertop wasn't going anywhere soon.

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You might notice one of the holes against the countertop doesn't have a screw... I couldn't fit my drill driver into the space, so I made the executive decision that one screw would probably be fine.

All the details of how I secured my Menards butcherblock countertops to my Ikea cabinets during my complete kitchen remodel. #AButterflyHouse #Kitchens #Countertops #DIY #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #Butcherblock

Other people on the internet also appeared to go through the hassle of connecting the two countertops together. Many of them had some sort of fancy bolt fastener thing that required a router to install. Oh, no, no. I don't own a router, and I'm one of those people who put off purchasing more things until absolutely necessary. So I used a Kreg jig to add pocket holes to the edges of the countertop that line up, and then used Kreg jig screws to connect the two countertops together.

Special Note: This is just one of the many, many times my Kreg jig has come in handy. I love having it around, and if you decide to purchase one, I'm sure you'll use it for many things. I have this one, but if you have a tight budget, this smaller one will get the job done for only $20!

All the details of how I secured my Menards butcherblock countertops to my Ikea cabinets during my complete kitchen remodel. #AButterflyHouse #Kitchens #Countertops #DIY #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #Butcherblock
All the details of how I secured my Menards butcherblock countertops to my Ikea cabinets during my complete kitchen remodel. #AButterflyHouse #Kitchens #Countertops #DIY #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #Butcherblock
All the details of how I secured my Menards butcherblock countertops to my Ikea cabinets during my complete kitchen remodel. #AButterflyHouse #Kitchens #Countertops #DIY #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #Butcherblock

Overall, I am thrilled with how the countertops turned out. I'm one of those people who's been dreaming of owning butcherblock counters for years, so it probably would've been difficult for me to hate them, but still! They're lovely, and I'm so excited for the day when the kitchen is finished and I actually get to use them!

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Should You Install Your Own Ikea Kitchen? The Ultimate Guide!

When I was planning out my kitchen remodel and decided on Ikea (Sektion) cabinets, I didn't even consider hiring an installer. "It's Ikea," I thought to myself. "How hard can it be?" When the cabinets actually arrived (a month later...) and I started researching how to install them, I realized how foolish that thought was. There were 81 unorganized boxes invading my living room and despite all of my internet research, I had no idea where to actually start. Eventually, though, I figured it out, and a week and a half later the cabinets are officially installed.

I, a 20-something, not super strong female, installed the cabinets almost entirely by myself. I would love to tell you that this is proof anyone can do it. It's not. But, if you have some basic tools and are at least a little bit handy, you can probably manage. Read on to find out exactly what you'll need.

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1) Physical Tools

You know you've left typical Ikea-world when installation requires real power tools. I used a corded drill to drill pilot holes in the cabinets the few times Ikea did not have a pre-drilled hole, a cordless drill/driver pretty much every time a screw appeared, and a jigsaw to cut holes for plumbing fixtures into my sink cabinets. You could go out and purchase these tools if you don't already have them, but consider this: the installation of Ikea cabinets is time-consuming and intricate, and therefore probably not the best project to learn how to use a new tool on. If you don't already have these tools available, you're probably better off hiring a pro. That being said, I go out and buy new tools for complex projects all the time, so I'm a bit of a hypocrite for giving that advice. If you want to try, get my free Beginner's Guide To DIY below to find out where to purchase affordable tools.

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2) Handiness Skill

If you're going to be installing more than two cabinets, be prepared for things to go wrong. Some of the things I encountered: I couldn't find the studs in the wall, the studs I could find were too far apart, the walls were wavy, the cabinet frames didn't line up after being placed on the rail, I put a dowel rod in the wrong spot... the list goes on. Nothing was unfixable, but I had to have the experience and skill to know what to do when I encountered these difficulties. If you've never done a DIY project before, this probably isn't the place to start.

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3) An Occasional Helper

On the very first page of every cabinet's instructions, Ikea, in their pictorial language, says to assemble and install the cabinet with at least two people. I somewhat agree: I could not have installed these cabinets completely by myself. Hanging the larger wall cabinets on the rail would have been impossible for me to do alone. Luckily, my 71 year-old mother was visiting. If you are imaging a mobile and spry elder as my mother, change your mental picture. My mother is one of those 71 year-olds who carries a foldable emergency cane in her purse, and orders a wheelchair when she goes to the airport. Despite this, together we were able to heft the larger wall cabinets onto the rail. 

This was the only time I needed to involve my mother. Everything else I was able to do myself. So while you will need a helper at some point during the process, it's not a requirement for the entire duration of installation.

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Here we are, at the airport!

4) Time

If you're thinking this is going to be a weekend project, think again. Maybe, if you have two people, and the demolition (taking out the old cabinets) is already done, and you work fourteen hour days, maybe you could get this done in a weekend. Maybe. But it took me ten eight-hour days to get all of the cabinets fully installed. Yes, that's right. Ten days. That is ten days without a kitchen, ten days of constant physical labor, ten days of waking up knowing I'm going to spend the day installing more cabinets. Ten days. Basically, each step took two days: Two days of assembling cabinets, two days of hanging/securing the rails, two days of hanging/leveling wall cabinets, two days of hanging/leveling base cabinets, two days of shelves/doors/drawer installation.

If you have two people, some of these steps might go significantly faster (hanging and leveling anything, really), but it will still be a significant time commitment. 

Still Unsure? Take the Quiz!

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The Pros and Cons of Plywood Floors

I put my plywood floor down in the kitchen about 2 months ago. Since then, I've installed cabinets, appliances, and a new tile backsplash in the kitchen, so the floors have seen some action. I would love to tell you I love them, and I do, a little bit. But not enough to start covering my whole house in plywood. I have very mixed feelings, and I thought my opinions could be useful to those of you trying to decide if this is a project worth tackling.

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The Pros
1) Price

I planned for around 192 square feet of flooring (my kitchen is small!!) Knowing that, here's how my kitchen priced out compared to other options. Note that in the table below, I compare my actual cost (the Plywood column) to the lowest laminate and hardwood costs I could find (between Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards) at posting. Menards had sales going on for both laminate and hardwood flooring, making them the easy winner.

Plywood
Laminate
Hardwood
Floor Material
Adhesive
Stain

N/A

N/A

Finish

N/A

Installation Kit

N/A

N/A

Total

$263.42

$177.17

$445.09

Some things to note from the table above: the very cheapest laminate flooring still prices out below the plywood. Now, I hate laminate flooring, so I didn't even consider it an option, but if you're less opposed to laminate, price-wise you're not saving money by going with the plywood.

The other takeaway here is that plywood is almost $200 cheaper than the cheapest hardwood. So if you're like me and hate laminate with a passion, plywood floors are a good way to get the hardwood look for less.

2. Ease of Installation

I called the Home Depot pro desk in advance and asked if they were able to rip 4'x8' pieces of plywood into strips for me; they said yes, had me order the plywood online, and had the planks ready for me in a few hours. It was fantastically easy, and meant that the hardest part of DIY plywood floors (cutting down the plywood) was taken care of for me.

As a result, my job was just to sand the boards, place them on the floor, glue/nail them down, and stain/finish the floor. While it took me two days to lay out all the boards and cut the small pieces to size, there was absolutely nothing difficult about it. Every part of the installation was something I was familiar with already as a DIY-er (sand, cut, glue, nail, stain+finish, done.) While I've never installed laminate or hardwood floors, the process looks at least a little more complicated.

3. Flexibility

You can do literally anything you can imagine with plywood floors. Want to paint them? Go for it! Stain? Yep. Stencil? Sure. Want squares instead of planks? Totally do-able. Don't like what you did in two years? No biggie, you can put another floor type on top of it. Plywood has the ultimate flexibility, which is part of what makes it a great budget floor type.

The Cons
1) Durability

This is the number one biggest con, and despite what all of the bloggers of the world say, it is an issue to be concerned about. My floors have been in place for two months. Admittedly, I've been a little rough; I've installed cabinets, appliances, and tile backsplash in that time. However, there are already visible scratches on the floor. Here's the most obvious one:

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There are other scratches as well; this one is particularly obvious because it's filled with some sort of black mark. I'm pretty sure I can get the mark out if I scrub enough (I intentionally left it so you could see the scratch,) but the dent is there to stay. Next summer, when both me and the cat are leaving for a couple days, I plan to put another layer of finish on, which might fill in the scratches. Regardless, my floors are proof that durability is a concern with plywood flooring.

2) Knots

If you're researching plywood floors, you're probably aware that plywood is made up of many thin layers of wood. The top layer is intentionally made pretty so that it can be displayed. You might also know that knots are the weakest point of wood; sometimes, depending on the wood, if you cut through a knot, the remainder of the knot just falls out.

In the case of plywood, any knots in the surface are less stable than the surrounding wood. On a number of my pieces, the center of knots would fall off the plywood, leaving a less-attractive center behind. See the picture:

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3) Sellability

You think your plywood floors are cool. And admittedly, future home-buyers are unlikely to identify your floors as plywood unless they're real flooring experts. However, home inspectors could very well identify the floors as plywood. I have heard rumors that this is not an approved floor type, and could hold up the sale of your house. Now, these are rumors; this hasn't happened to me or anyone I know. But when I was researching plywood floors, I made a note of this possibility and know in my mind that I may have to cover the floor with laminate before I sell.

Do you have plywood floors? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

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The Ultimate Secret to Removing Peel and Stick Floor Tile

Peel and Stick tile seems to be every DIY decorator's best friend: it's inexpensive, easy to install, and looks good... most of the time. In my new home's kitchen, however, I was not a fan. Here's what I started with: 

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The tile darkened what was already a pretty dark kitchen, and as a part of my kitchen remodel, I wanted to replace the floor with something lighter. So the peel and stick tile had to go. But, we all hear about how easy peel and stick tile is to install, but is it easy to remove??

Spoiler alert: No.

I started with just a prybar and a hammer, and worked to pry the tiles off the floor. Did it work? Sure, if I wanted to spend the rest of my life breaking little pieces of tile off the floor. I quickly realized I needed a faster method; ideally one that pulled the tile off in a full piece.

So I did a bit of research, and learned that the adhesive holding the tiles softens when heat is applied. Since a hairdryer was one of the few things I had already unpacked, that became my preferred method of heat application. 

The Method

Materials:

- Hair Dryer
- Hammer
- Small Pry Bar​
- Baking Soda

Step 0: Prep

I feel misleading calling the prep work a step for this project; it took all of 3 minutes. I removed any materials that were on top of the tile, aka, the AC grate and the transition strips that the previous owner had put at all of the doorways. About halfway through, I also removed all of the cabinets, but I only did that because I was getting new cabinets, and planned to install my new floor under those cabinets. The peel and stick tile didn't actually continue under the cabinets.

Step 1: Warm Up the Tile

The warmer you can get your tile, the easier it will be to remove. I used a hairdryer to do this, since it was easily accessible, although I've also read that using your iron is also a possibility. I imagine if you put a towel down over the tile (so you don't melt the surface of the tile and end up with a giant mess) and then iron, it would heat the tile hotter and faster than my hairdryer method. If you try/tried this, please let me know in the comments below; I really want to know how it goes!!

As I mentioned, I heated my tile with a hairdryer. I put the hairdryer on high, and held it about an inch above the tile. Holding it closer better warmed the tile (yay!), but overheated my hairdryer, since a bunch of the hot air was forced back into the motor (boo.) This a) wasn't good for my hairdryer, and b) meant I had to stop and wait for it cool down, so I tried not to hold the hairdryer to close to the tile.

Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition

I held the hairdryer about an inch above the tile as to not overheat the hairdryer. Typically moving the hairdryer around the tile for about 30 seconds was enough to heat it up sufficiently.

Step 2: Pry Up a Side

Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition

Starting at a corner, I worked the pry bar under the tile, using my hammer to push it further under when necessary. I moved down one side with the pry bar, with the goal of lifting that one side far enough off the floor to be able to grab on to it with my hands. I have this prybar set, and the largest bar was perfect for this project. Additionally, the set has been everything I've ever needed for all of my demolition projects, so if you're in need of a set, check it out!

Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition

Step 3: Pull the Tile

You have one goal when pulling up a piece of tile: get the tile up in one piece. If (when) you fail at this goal, you'll have a little piece of tile that is still well-stuck to the floor. For whatever reason, it seems significantly more difficult to get up the small pieces of tile than one large piece. It is annoying and time-consuming, so you're much better off trying to keep the tile in-tact.

Because of that, I found there was a right and a wrong way to pull the tile.

Wrong Way: Pulling up. On all the tiles where I pulled up (aka, at a 70 degree angle with the floor) the steep angle that I was pulling snapped my tile instead of lifting the remainder off the floor. I was left with part of the tile completely off the floor, and some of the tile still stuck to the floor, and these two pieces connected by the thin decorative layer (that rips off super easily.)

Right Way: Pulling toward myself. By pulling toward myself (aka, at about a 30 degree angle with the floor), there was enough pressure for the tile to slowly raise up, but not enough upwards pressure to snap the tile. 

Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition

This was the angle I pulled at that was successful. I also used both hands, but couldn't manage that while taking a picture!

Step 4: Lay Baking Soda

Once you remove the tile, there is a thin layer of adhesive that remains on the floor, and, as expected, it is super sticky. I didn't find that there was enough adhesive to make the floor bumpy and cause issues with the new floor I was going to install, so I didn't try to remove the adhesive. Instead, I just dropped handfuls of baking soda (which I buy from Costco in a giant size) on the floor, which stuck to the adhesive and hid the stickiness. 

Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition

After finishing the whole floor, I vacuumed up the baking soda before installing the new floor.

Step 5: Repeat (many times...)

The floor will eventually be gone, I promise.

Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition
Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition
Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition

Did you try this? How did it go? Did you use the hairdryer method, the iron method, or something else? Please tell me- I'm sure there will be more peel and stick tile for me to remove in the future... like in the laundry room 🙂

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Find out the easiest way to remove your peel and stick floor tile. # AButterflyHouse #Flooring #PeelAndStickTile #Demolition
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How NOT to Open a Wall

When I purchased my new house, I was vaguely aware the kitchen had some issues: namely, the distinct lack of kitchen appliances.

Pro: This is pretty much a giant excuse for me to design my dream kitchen.
Con: I needed to design and implement that kitchen fast, else risk going hungry.

So, when I moved in, the kitchen abruptly became my number one priority. I was looking at kitchen layouts at all hours of the day, trying to figure out something that would be pretty and functional. But, there were all these doorways cluttering up the room, limiting the space available for cabinets/counters/appliances. I kept making plan after plan, and hating them all.

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

See that doorway? It makes it super weird to put anything along that wall.

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

There's a doorway where I'm standing too.

I thought about tearing down the wall behind the trash can and putting the laundry room somewhere else.. but the wall was load-bearing, and that was just not in the budget (and I'm not brave enough to try that myself...) But eventually, I realized that the entrance to the laundry room didn't have to be from the kitchen. There was a perfectly good hallway that could house a doorway to the laundry room AND that wall wasn't load-bearing. Win! So that became the new plan: Open a new doorway in the hallway, and close up the kitchen/laundry room doorway.

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

Where my new doorway would eventually be!

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I did all my prep work to contain the dust, but I was still super scared to actually open the wall? What if I hit an electrical line? Or a pipe? Or an air duct? After spending an inordinate amount of time in my basement staring at the ceiling, I was pretty confident none of those things were actually back there, but still! So my first cuts were scaredy-cuts. 

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

I managed just enough of a cut to be able to stick my head in the wall. And was promptly confused. Where was the plaster? Why was there a wood under and over my head? Cutting more wall away got me this:

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

There's the lath/plaster!

And eventually: 

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

At this point, I was confident that there's nothing in the wall I'm going hit. Yay! There also apparently used to be an opening in the wall that some past owner drywalled over. Cool! More importantly, I realized that I was doing this job in the absolute dumbest way possible. I was using a combination of a jigsaw/angle grinder (which were not really the ideal tools, by the way. If you try this, don't be cheap like me and actually purchase an oscillating multi-tool. I've been eyeing this dremel, but haven't actually used it.) to hack away at the wall at basically random places. This would be going a lot faster if I actually traced my tape outline like I was suppose to. So, I started doing that, and actually got somewhere.

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

It's starting to look like a doorway. But you might also notice: this photo is super hazy. Breaking down walls is dusty. And in my case, probably dangerous: I feel confident there is lead paint in there somewhere. So I had this super fancy respirator on during the process, which actually made a pretty tight seal around my mouth and nose, and made me feel way safer than one of those flimsy paper things. It also had pink filters, and would've been almost pretty if it wasn't a giant respirator taking up half my face. Regardless, I managed to cut up half my wall without cutting into wires or giving myself a deadly disease, so I kept going.

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

Half a doorway!

I eventually finished half the wall. This took me pretty much an entire day of work; after taking this picture I took a shower and had dinner. A pro would probably have finished the whole thing by this point, but that is why they get paid and I don't.

Day 2, I took down the other half: 

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

I cut the power (by shutting off the circuit the receptacle was on) and disconnected the outlet at the bottom before starting. Ultimately, I shoved the wires back into the basement and capped them with wire nuts before turning the power back on.

Day 3, I cut the studs down, added a "stud" to the side without one to support the wall, and added trim. Once I had the right trim (hello again, Home Depot) it went quickly.

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse
The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

Yes, I did secure my makeshift stud with kreg jig screws, as seen by the funny looking holes in the above photo. I believe professionals nail giant nails into the studs at an angle, but that seemed exceedingly difficult, especially since I would've been nailing up. My Kreg Jig, a super small little portable one, might just be the best Christmas gift my Dad has ever gotten me. It makes a bunch of projects that otherwise would've been impossible for me to do myself almost easy. I highly recommend one if you regularly DIY and don't already own one.

Also note the thickness of the wall in the above photo. Not only was there the plaster/stud combo that was normal, some past owner added drywall on top of the plaster in the laundry room side. My guess was the plaster was cracking, and they wanted to cover that up, but who really knows? As a result, my walls were super thick, and I couldn't just put a 1x6 over the space and call it a day. I don't have a table saw, and therefore was unable to cut down a larger sheet of something, so I had to make due with two pieces of 3 1/2" trim. I did the best I could to make them even, but honestly, even with an abundance of caulk and paint, it looks a little janky. One board certainly would have been more ideal.

The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse

All done!! It's not perfect, but closing up the other door allows me to have a much more functional kitchen. And in the future, if I ever have a table saw, it would be pretty simple to update the doorframe to a single piece!

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The full process of how I safely opened the wall and added a doorway to my laundry room. #DIY #HomeImprovement #Doorway #OpeningAWall #AButterflyHouse
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How I Saved $250 By Repairing My Own Screen

When I was getting ready to sell my condo in California, I was reminded multiple times that it needed to look as perfect as possible. What wasn't perfect? The screen of my balcony door, which had two giant holes in it, one of which my cat was using as her own personal pet door.

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

Yeah. See that hole at the bottom? Cat door.

Thinking this seemed like a hassle to fix up myself, I called some screen repair people, thinking I would very happily spend $50 to let somebody else fix this. What did they quote me? $300. Not quite what I wanted. So I set out on the mission to learn how to fix screens.

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Materials: 
- Correct Size Screen- You'll have to measure your door/window and find out what the correct size is. I needed a super big size, 60 in. x 96 in. There are also different types of screens (insect, pet ready, fiberglass), and various colors. I got a nice inexpensive grey basic fiberglass screen, as I was moving in a month, and I have never thought about screen colors in my life (although my next door neighbor complemented the color when we were standing in the elevator, so maybe screen color really is a thing.. or she was trying to make small talk.) If you need a nicer screen, the process is the same, but you may need a different sized Spline.
- Spline- This is the stuff that holds your screen in place. The screen you buy should say on the packaging what size Spline you need to purchase. My screen said .140 in. or .160 in. I got .140 in. spline, and if your screen gives two sizes, I'd get the smaller of the two if possible, since it's easer to shove a smaller piece into the spline groove than the a larger piece.
- Spline Roller Thingy
- Box Cutter
- Screwdriver

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

Step 1: Remove Screen Door From Tracks
If you look on the side or the bottom of your screen, you should see a little hole. This hole is hiding the tension screw, which is what keeps the wheels holding up the door. By unscrewing this screw, you release the tension of the wheels, allowing for them to be pushed up into the door, and for you to lift the door out of the track.

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

Screw hole on side of screen door. Also, if it's not obvious, I have absolutely never thought about cleaning a screen door track.

Lay your screen door out somewhere flat. Preferably also somewhere that has plenty of clearance around all four sides of the door, but as you see below, that might not possible (and I managed. I did a lot of sitting on the screen, if you were wondering.)

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

Maybe try and get more clearance around the four sides than I had. It will make this much easier.

Step 2: Remove Current Spline
This step was surprising fun- I think because it was easy and I felt super accomplished when I was done. You'll start in one of the corners, and with a tiny screwdriver, lift the spline out of the spline grove. It's probably easier if you start in the corner that contains the two ends of the current spline, but I totally didn't and it still worked out (I just broke the current spline.)

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

I used a small screwdriver to pry the spline out of the spline groove.

Work your way around the perimeter of the screen, pulling out the spline. Once all the spline is removed, you can remove the screen, and move onto the next step. (Note: If the handle of your door is blocking the screen/spline, you may need to remove it.)

Step 3: Lay Out the New Screen
Roll out your new screen on the frame of the door (your old screen should be removed at this point.) Arrange the screen so that there is some extra screen on all four sides of door.

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

Make sure there is extra screen on all four sides of the door, like you see here!

Step 4: Insert Spline into Spline Groove
Your spline roller should have two sides on it, a concave side and a convex side. Use the concave side (see picture below) to push the spline and screen into the spline groove. The screen should be between the spline and spline groove, as the spline is what holds the screen in place.

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

Use this side of the spline roller to push your spline into the spline grove.

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

Notice how the screen is between the door and spline, being held in by the new spline.

You'll need to push fairly hard on the spline with the spline roller to get it into the groove. Go slowly, and be careful not to rip your screen with the spline roller (which almost happened to me a couple times.) I went back over a couple places as I moved along to make sure I had the spline fully in the spline groove. 

On the last two sides, I pulled the screen taught as I pushed the spline into the groove to ensure that the screen was tight. I was really worried about this part at the beginning, but it turned out fine.

When you're worked your way all around the perimeter with spline, trim the spline to end right at the corner you started.

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

New screen installed in door!

Step 5: Trim Off Extra Screen
Use your box cutter to trim the excess screen. Hold the box cutter at a 45 degree angle, and cut the screen as close to the outside part of the spline as possible.

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

It doesn't look like it in this picture, but I'm holding the box cutter at a 45 degree angle!

When you're done, your screen should look like this:

Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair

Put the door back on the track, replace any handles you took off, and you're good to go!

All the money I spent on this was for supplies. 
Screen: $13.20
Spline: $4.45
Spline Roller: $5.22

In total, I spent two hours of my time (that was it! I was shocked!) and $22.87 plus tax! Definitely beats the $300 quote I was given, for sure!

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Save money on a budget by doing your own DIY Screen Repair. Super easy tutorial to repair a screen door or window anyone can do. #budget #windows #doors #repair #screenrepair #AButterflyHouse
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How NOT to Strip a Table

In the early 1970s and nearing retirement, my grandparents decided to purchase a small cabin (and a boat!) a little over an hour away from their western Wisconsin home. They had quite the social life back then, with an array of family and friends rotating through to play card games, go boating, and sign the meticulously kept guest books.

As we approach 50 years of ownership, some things have changed. Cabin decor is now managed by my aunt, while my father is in charge of cabin maintenance. The boat is considered "vintage," and is a regular conversation piece when we take it to the lake. The guest book is much emptier than it was back in the day, so we now encourage all guests to write a full paragraph to help fill it up. One thing, though, that hasn't changed, is this table:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

Rumor has it, the table came with the purchase of the cabin in 1970 and was considered "old" then. In the past 48 years, it has possibly seen a coat of fresh paint and the addition of support braces. That's it. 

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

Snazzy support brace, right?

In addition to the unpainted support braces, the tabletop was warped and stained, and the paint was very, very chipped, and not in that cool "distressed" chip way, either. More the "check out how well this neon orange color from the '60s goes with the turquoise color this table was in the 40s'" way. And so, after my plans were approved by the decor manager, I refinished the table.

The plan was to strip and stain the tabletop, and give an new coat of white paint to the legs. I debated what to do with the legs for a long time. The problem is that the early layers of paint are almost certainly oil-based, which is why the white (probably) latex paint is chipping off. The only real fix for this problem is to strip the table legs completely, like I'm doing with the tabletop. But do you see those grooves?? It would take forever, and frankly, I just don't love this table enough for that. So I settled for just plopping another layer of white on them, and having to recoat in a couple years when it starts chipping off again. 

My dad, the cabin maintenance manager and generally a trustworthy source of handiness tips, recommended that I strip the tabletop with a belt sander (which we already had) instead of chemical stripper (that we would have needed to purchase.) So with my dad's (un)trustworthy Harbor Freight belt sander and 36 grit sandpaper in hand, I got to work.

It started out well. Here's a picture from about a minute of sanding:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

I kept going...

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

And eventually:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

At this point I had clogged up not one, but two new 36 grit sanding belts. The sander moved so fast that instead of tearing the paint off, it melted it, clogging the belt. That's what all the grey in the picture is: white, turquoise, and neon orange paint melted together. At this point, it was apparent that unless I wanted to go through 10 sanding belts, the belt sanding method was not going to work. As a sidenote, it was also about at this point when my dad said "Oh yeah, I remember running into this problem with the garage in the early nineties. I forgot about that, sorry." Thanks a bunch, Dad.

Chemically stripping the table was also probably out at this point: who knew what the stripper would do to the melted grey mess that was now attached to my table? So my dad goes into his massive garage (he has a habit of building monster garages on every property he owns. This is his 3rd, if you were wondering) and pulls out this contraption:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

Yes, that is a wire brush attached to an angle grinder! It is apparently super dangerous and can quickly take a huge chunk out of your arm, as evidenced by the fact my dad was not inclined to let me, a 28 year-old regular operator of power tools, use it. So instead, I have a bunch of pictures of him attempting to strip the table with this thing.

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

The angle grinder brush thing was moderately successful- it got enough of the paint off the table that when I tried the belt sander again, it didn't clog a fresh belt. I ultimately ended up with this:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

Note the mess in the lower right hand corner. Here it is up close:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

We suspect that this table was used as a cutting board in it's early days. I sanded as much as I could to get rid of the jagged bits, but I would have been sanding for quite awhile to get rid of the knife marks, so I didn't really try.

After fully sanding the table, it looked like this:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

I sanded for quite awhile with the 36 grit sandpaper to make sure that the boards were even, and that the tabletop was flat (unlike when I started.) If you were curious, when I was done sanding the cutting board area looked like this:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

You can't see it in the pictures above, but there were considerable marks from the 36 grit belt sander sandpaper. I used my orbital sander and sanded with 50,80, 120, 150 and 220 grit sandpaper in an attempt to get rid of them. I wasn't successful, and it was really obvious when I stained the tabletop.

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

See all the vertical dark marks? That's from the belt sander.

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If I was going to do this again, I'd try a higher grit sandpaper with the belt sander instead of the orbital sander, and see if that helped remove the marks. I'm not too upset about them though; it adds an appropriate distressed look to the tabletop, and blends in with all the cutting marks that were there anyway.

I stained the tabletop with some Minwax English Chestnut stain that I had sitting around, and topped it off with 3 coats of Waterlox Original. The Waterlox was left over from my countertops, which is why I used it. That stuff is expensive, and I don't think I'd recommend purchasing it for such a small project (you'd have so much leftover, and it does not keep!)

Finally, I painted the legs. This was the project of things we already had (I bought nothing to refinish this table!) so the legs were painted with this random paint my dad had in the Monster Garage.

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

Maybe this paint is actually super high quality paint (it says super premium, right?) that will solve all of my oil/latex paint woes. Probably not...

The finished table:

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse

Despite the giant hassle of the belt sander/angle grinder brush thing to strip the table, I am so pleased with how it turned out! It was a quick and free(!) project that brought new life to a table that was at least 70 years old.

Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse
Don't make these mistakes when remodeling furniture! #DIY #DIYProjects #BeforeAndAfter #Furniture #Table #FurnitureFlips #AButterflyHouse
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Five Things To Consider When Adding Board and Batten

I recently transformed my really messy entryway with a board and batten wall. I've been loving it so far- a beautiful place to put my things means I'm much more likely to actually hang up my bag as I walk through the door. Take a look:

Before:

Make sure you have perfect board and batten and wainscoting for your space with these tips and tricks! #wainscoting #DIY #boardandbatten #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #AButterflyHouse

After:

Make sure you have perfect board and batten and wainscoting for your space with these tips and tricks! #wainscoting #DIY #boardandbatten #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #AButterflyHouse

I read so many wonderful blog posts before beginning this project, and they all made it seem so easy! And, for the most part, this was a relatively simple project, but there were some parts that were tricky that everyone attempting a board and batten project will want to stop and consider. So without further ado:

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1. Materials and Cost

There were so many different ways people created the board/batten combo. If you have smooth walls, you're lucky- you can just add battens to the wall and call it a day. But for those of us with textured walls, we also need to consider what the background board will be to cover up that texture.

For the Board- I used a sheet of 1/4" Plywood Underlayment that I had them cut down for me at Home Depot. It seemed like the most inexpensive and easiest option, but I know other people who used a hardboard panel as well.

For the Battens- Like many others, I used MDF Bender Boards, which cost $2.97 for an 8 ft length, but this will not be an option for much longer. Home Depot has discontinued this item, and I had to drive about an hour to find a Home Depot that still had some in stock.

I really did not want my battens to be very thick, which is why I made the drive. If you have access to a table saw, it's not hard to purchase another piece of the 1/4" Plywood Underlayment above, and cut the battens to the width you want. If you don't have table saw, then cutting uniform widths becomes much more difficult, and you're better off buying another type of board.

My backup option was these 1/4" Poplar boards from Lowes. They cost $2.84 for a 4 ft length, which is almost double the MDF boards, but gets the job done. 

2. The Wall Plan

Before you start putting up any boards, you absolutely must have a plan for your wall, otherwise you risk having a board seam showing, or uneven space between battens! I spent about 2 hours drawing things, googling ideas, and redrawing things. I eventually settled with the following plan:

Make sure you have perfect board and batten and wainscoting for your space with these tips and tricks! #wainscoting #DIY #boardandbatten #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #AButterflyHouse

It was to scale, and took into consideration the stud locations as well as where my board seams would be (I had Home Depot cut my underlayment into 2'x4' pieces so it would fit into my car). I therefore knew where I needed to have battens based on that information.

I ultimately settled with having 8 1/4" between battens and/or the beginning of a new batten every 12 inches. I was really worried at the time that these battens would be too close together and look funny, but it was the only way I could get an even space between battens and cover all of the seams. 

I can't emphasize how important drawing out the plan was for me. Every time I doubted myself while building the wall, I checked my plan and reassured myself that this was going to work. And it did. Have a plan.

3. Electrical Outlets 

There will probably be an electrical outlet, or two, or five, along the wall you're board/battening. Consider this when making your plan, so that you know exactly where it will fall. Will it fall on the board area? On a batten? Or half on each?

If you have an electrical outlet that falls only half on a batten, can you adjust the space between battens so that doesn't happen? It's much prettier, in my opinion, if the outlet falls completely on a board or batten, plus it's easier to deal with.

I had an outlet that fell completely on a batten. I built my boards around the outlet, then cut an appropriately sized hole in my batten to fit the outlet through.

Make sure you have perfect board and batten and wainscoting for your space with these tips and tricks! #wainscoting #DIY #boardandbatten #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #AButterflyHouse
Make sure you have perfect board and batten and wainscoting for your space with these tips and tricks! #wainscoting #DIY #boardandbatten #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #AButterflyHouse

Finally, I added an outlet extender to the outlet. Do you see the blue in the above picture? That's the outlet extender. Without it, the plug would be a centimeter or so back from where the plate cover was, which would be both unattractive and difficult to use.

Important Safety Note: Always turn off power to the electrical outlet if you need to adjust/touch/move it in any way. 

4. Strange Architectural Features

You're now (maybe) prepared for working around any electrical outlets, but what about other strange features? What I mean by this- my wall ends at a stairwell, and I wanted my board/battens to mold to the railing and trim around the stairwell. Maybe you have windows that have curvy trim, or some other interesting feature that you don't feel like yanking out of the wall.

I made a template with some scrapwood to fit the stairwell. I didn't have one long enough to run the entire height of the stairwell I was working around, so I made one for the top railing piece, and one for the bottom trim area.

Make sure you have perfect board and batten and wainscoting for your space with these tips and tricks! #wainscoting #DIY #boardandbatten #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #AButterflyHouse
Make sure you have perfect board and batten and wainscoting for your space with these tips and tricks! #wainscoting #DIY #boardandbatten #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #AButterflyHouse

There was not a super great method to this- it was a lot of trial and error and testing my template until it fit well. I then used my template to cut out my board and batten to fit.

5. Functionality

Is your board and batten wall just for looks, or does it have some sort of organizational purpose like mine does? I actively use my wall to keep my things organized by the door. That means that the hooks that I added at the top needed to not only look pretty, but be functional.

The top piece of my wall is some MDF baseboard trim turned upside down. Because it's MDF, I had some concerns about the screws for the hooks holding if I hung heavy things from the hooks. And as a teacher who routinely carries a laptop, textbook, notebook, and stack of papers to grade to and from my workplace, I was going to hang heavy things from the hooks.

So, to make sure the hooks would hold, I put some of the plywood underlayment underneath the trim piece, and made sure that all my screws hit that piece. I also placed two of my hooks where studs were, and then made sure that the screws for those hooks were long enough to hit the studs. This ensures my hooks were strong enough to hold heavy things, and that two of them were extra sturdy.

Have you ever done a board and batten project? If not, are you considering it? If so, how did it go? I'd love to hear all about it!

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Make sure you have perfect board and batten and wainscoting for your space with these tips and tricks! #wainscoting #DIY #boardandbatten #DIYProjects #HomeImprovement #AButterflyHouse
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Super Easy Indoor Trellis Garden

So, you know my entryway redesign project? After finishing the board and batten, I spent some amount of time wondering what I was going to do with all the space above it. The space needed something. Art sounded like a good idea, but art is expensive, especially when I was imagining some sort of three piece set. I could make something, which is an ideal, less costly solution, but what should I make??

That was when I came across this beautiful Wood and Leather Trellis Plant Wall at Vintage Revivals.

Isn't it gorgeous? Unfortunately, it also looks like a lot of work. And requires a miter saw, something that I really do not have room for in my little one-bedroom condo.

So I set out to create a simpler version for those of us lacking power tools.

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

Note: This page contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I will be compensated with no additional cost to you.

Ultra-Easy Indoor Trellis Garden

Materials:

TrellisI purchased this from Lowes, and while I don't consider it the best quality (just a bunch of boards nailed together,) it was also the least expensive trellis out there, and still served my purpose.

Stain; I used this, which I already had. I was aiming for something dark, and it did the trick.


8 4" Clay Pots

Twine

- Gold Spray Paint; I had this stuff still sitting around, and used it to paint the pots. I don't recommend it at all for this project, as it is not a paint intended for masonry. While the paint didn't peel off after it was dry, it did leave gold residue on my fingers whenever I touched the pots. Therefore, I had to try not to touch the pots after they were painted, or risk removing the paint. If I were to do this again, I'd probably use Rust-oleum's Universal Spray Paint, since it claims to stick to more things.

- 8 Cup Hooks; I used these National Hardware ones that I bought at my local hardware store. They came in a pack of 4, and worked great, however, Amazon has this 50 pack for $7, which is clearly a much better value. I would love to know if they work just as well, so if you try them, let me know in the comments!

- Plants!! I was determined to have an herb garden, and while I wasn't able to find thyme or cilantro at this time of year, I did manage to find parsley and chives, which was better than nothing. 

- 2 2'' screws

- Brad Nails

Process

Step 1: Stain the Trellis
The trellis I purchased was already stained a reddish/orange color, which was not what I was going for. I wanted something dark, so I stained with Varathane's Kona color. I was thrilled with how it turned out!

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

Step 2: Mount the Trellis
I started by finding and marking the studs in my wall with my handy dandy stud finder (have I told you how much I love my stud finder? It's the best, aka, cheap and effective. Even my dad was impressed when I showed him at Christmas, and he swears stud finders don't work.)

I then had a friend center the trellis on the wall, and I put in a few brad nails to hold up the trellis temporarily. While I did use a nail gun, it wasn't necessary, and you totally could have done that by hand (or have your friend keep holding the trellis up until you get your screws in.)

Then, in two of the places the top row of my trellis crossed the studs, I drilled small pilot holes for my screws. The goal here is to avoid splitting the wood when you insert the screws. I then drove the screws in, making sure that they hit the studs I was aiming for. These two screws are really what hold the trellis up, so it's important that the two screws both hit studs.

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

The screw was super shiny once I put it in.. killed the asthetic a bit.

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

So I painted the screw with some brown nail polish. It's barely noticeable now!

Step 3: Spray Paint the Pots

There's not really a trick to this, other than to make sure you use paint that is intended for masonry. Don't make my mistake!

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

Step 4: Transfer Your Plants to the Pots

I purchased all of my plants as 4" actual plants (and not seeds.) I know nothing about plants, or proper plotting techniques or anything, so I just kind of pulled the plant (by the green bits...) out of the plastic holder and plopped it into my pot. No plants died or seemed injured, so it seemed to work? 

Update: All the plants died. Probably not because of my poor planting technique, but because this space doesn't get as much light as I thought, plus I'm not very good at watering plants. So I replaced all the plants with fake plants, and all is well (except the dead plants. They're not so well...)

Step 5: Make the Plant Hangers
This is apparently called macrame, and seems to be a thing on Pinterest right now, which I never would have known had I not gone searching for "attractive ways to hang plants." (Have you used/heard of it? My mom insists it's been around forever, and I would love some proof of that!) Macrame looks and sounds intimidating (to me, at least,) but I swear this is super easy, as evidenced by the fact I made eight of these plant hanger things, and I had never heard of macrame before.

1. Cut 8 pieces of string to be about 2 feet long. You don't have to be super picky about making sure each string is identical in length- I certainly wasn't.

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

2. Tie a knot a couple inches above the bottom of string. This knot should encompass all eight strings (as if your bunch of strings was one single string. See picture below.)

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

3. Above your knot, separate the strings into four sets of two. In each set, tie a knot about  1 1/2" above the big knot. These don't have to be perfect- when I was tying mine, I never even measured. When you're done, you should have four new small knots, one in each set of strings.

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

String is sorted into four sets of two.

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

Sorted pieces each have one knot in them.

4. Resort the strings into four new sets of two. Each new set should have one string from each of the old adjacent sets. (see picture below.)

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

The two unpaired strings will pair with each other when you go to tie the knots!

5. Tie a knot in each of the sets roughly 1 1/2" above the previous knot, just like you did in Step 3. 

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

Knots have been tied in two of the four sets.

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

Four knots tied in 2nd level!

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to make your third row of knots.
7. At this point, I put one of the pots into the hanger to check for sizing. Occasionally I would tighten a knot here or there to make everything a bit more even.
8. Finally, using all eight strings, tie one big knot about an inch below the top of the strings. Put your planter in the hanger, and you're all set!

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

Step 6: Mount the Planters

Once again, to avoid splitting the wood (and to make my life easier), I drilled pilot holes in all the places I wanted to put a hanger. Then, I screwed in each of the cup hooks where I had drilled the pilot holes. My hands are sad and weak, so toward the end I used pliers to make sure the cup hooks were all the way in the board. I was careful to make sure all my cup hooks faced up, because that seemed like an annoying mistake to make.

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse

Then I put my plants in the hangers and hung them on the hooks. Success!

Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse
Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse
Like this post?? Save it to Pinterest!
Make a DIY trellis wall planter garden in just a few hours with this straightforward tutorial. #DIY #DIYProjects #Planters #DIYDecor #AButterflyHouse
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