DIY Bamboo Shades

I love the layered window treatment look, specifically bamboo shades layered with curtains. I knew from the beginning that I wanted that in my bedroom. But when I started pricing it out, I ran into trouble. Two set of Ikea curtains, enough to cover all the windows, was between $60 and $80, depending on the curtain I chose. Drop cloths weren't much better - $60 to cover everything sufficiently - plus, drop cloth curtains can be difficult. Add in an another $100 for the mostly-decorative shades, and I was looking at prices that I really couldn't justify.

So, as per usual. I thought about it and researched alternatives. Pinterest has a plethora of faux shades, aka, shades that look like bamboo, but are non-functional and don't actually move. But I'm picky about about privacy at night and sun shining into my bedroom in the morning (I'm that rare person who wants more sun,) so I wanted my shades to actually work!

I've made roman shades before, so I figured bamboo roman shades couldn't be that different. I went ahead, and priced out a DIY project for two shades:

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

(Which, short plug here, I love my Project Planner! It's the first thing I grab when I'm planning a project. You can get it for free here!)

I was looking at $78 for the project, compared to $100 for two shades. Honestly, this wasn't the best money save in the world, but I was willing to give it a shot. I ordered the fencing off Amazon, and put the project on my calendar.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

Note: This blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

Part 1: How to Make A DIY Bamboo Shade

Materials
  • Bamboo Fencing - So, full disclosure, I actually used willow twig fencing, only because it was a darker color. From what I can tell, bamboo fencing is pretty much identical, just lighter, and you know, bamboo.
  • 1/2" Dowel Rods - I purchased four 72" long 1/2" thick dowel rods. Since I was cutting them to the width of my window, 33", I was able to get two rods out of each purchased dowel rod.
  • 1" Plastic Rings - You'll need 8 per shade, or 16 for two shades.
  • Lining - This is technically optional, but since my shades were in a bedroom, I wanted them lined. I cut a Walmart twin sized sheet in half and was able to use it for both shades. (Be sure to read Part 3; I'm not sure I would do it this way again.)
  • 1"x 2" Board - In the length of your window.
  • 2" Angle Brackets - Two per shade.
  • Small Screw Eyes - Two per shade
  • Electrical Staples - For attaching the mounting board to the shade.
  • Nylon String
  • Miter Saw
Tools Required
  • Miter Saw - For cutting the fencing to size. You might be able to make another saw work, but this was what I used.
  • Glue Gun and Sticks - For attaching lining.
  • Drill/Driver - For installing shade.
Get Started!

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Step 1: Cut Fencing to Size

Using a miter saw, cut the fencing to the length of your window. This is a bit tricky, since the fencing is bulky, so the saw doesn't go all the way through, but I just would stop and turn the fencing around. It took a little longer than a normal miter cut, but worked.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

Then unroll the fencing out on the floor. To decide the length of the fencing, add 5 to the length of the window. This will give you room to mount the fencing, as well as a little extra shade just in case.

Then cut your fencing at the determined length by cutting all the wires directly under that length. Normal scissors worked for me, although this probably dulled them a bit. 

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

Once the wires are cut, twist them together to secure the new length.

Step 2: Add Dowel Supports

Since I was using dark twigs, I started by staining my dowels to match so if they were visible they wouldn't be super noticeable. This is probably unnecessary if you are using the lighter bamboo.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

Then I determined where to place my dowels by dividing the final length of my shade (not the fencing, the shade) by 4. Lets call that number X. I placed one dowel right at the bottom of the shade, and the other three dowels X distance up from the next lowest dowel. In other words, there should be X inches between each dowel.

To place each dowel, I simply slipped it into the wires that holds the twigs in place. Occasionally I'd have to remove a twig or two to make it fit, but for the most part there was enough space in wires to add the dowel.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

As I did this, I also added the plastic rings to the dowel rod. I made sure that each ring was inside the outermost wire. If that's not possible, secure the rings in place with some hot glue.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY
Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY
Step 3: Add the Lining

Lay out your lining on the shade, cut to size and hemmed if necessary. Then grab the hot glue, and start hot gluing the edges of the lining to the fencing.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

As I worked my way around the perimeter of the shade, I snipped the sheet wherever I found a plastic ring. This will allow me to attach the shade pulls later!

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY
Step 4: Make the Mounting Board

Cut the 1x2 to the width of your shade, and an angle bracket to either end of the shade. I was mounting my shade on the window frame, so my angle brackets were on the ends of the board. You can also mount the shade on the wall or back of the window frame; to do that just move the angle brackets so they're against the back of the board.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

Then add a small screw eye three to four inches in from either end.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

Just to be super clear, the other end of this board looks exactly the same!

Step 5: Attach the Mounting Board

To attach the mounting board to the shade, I used electrical staples around the wire. I first tried to use the staples around a twig, but the twigs aren't strong enough to hold the weight of the shade. The wire was a much better option.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

The electrical staples I used screwed on, but the nail ones should work too!

Step 6: Install the Pull-String

There are two main strings that operate the shade. The first should go through every single ring, including the two eye screws at the top of the shade, as shown in the photo below.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

Tie a secure knot on the lower right hand side to keep the string secure. I used a bowline knot here; I say this as if I'm a knot expert, but actually, I just googled "secure single-string knot," and that came up. I watched this youtube video to figure out what to do, and so far it's held up perfectly!

The second string only goes through the left hand rings, as seen in the photo below.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

One end of the second string should be tied to the bottom ring. The other should remain loose.

At this point, you should have two loose string ends on the left side of the shade. Tie these two strings together with a Double Fisherman's Knot. (Once again, I googled a "strong knot for two strings."

Step 7: Hang Shade

Using the angle brackets on the mounting board, hang the shade in place.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

Doesn't it look nice? Spoiler alert: that's my staging and photography skills coming through, there.

Part 2: Why You Shouldn't Make a DIY Bamboo Shade

This shade... actually sucks. Let me tell you why.

1. It's Ugly

"But it looks so pretty..." is what you must be thinking. Take this as a lesson that us bloggers can make anything look good. Take away those nice curtains flowy curtains, and you get this:

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

The shade is super, bulky and sticks out inches from the window. It's, frankly, unattractive, as are the old maroon curtains that are too short and don't match anything in the room. Please ignore them.

But maybe you're thinking "put them down! They must look better down." No. They don't. At least, not during the day. The sun shines through awkwardly, showing off my bad shade job. I was trying to save money by using one sheet for two shades. It's not quite wide enough for the job, and therefore, looks bad when it can actually be seen.

Admittedly, it does look decent down, at night. But that sheet is thin, and the world can probably see right into my bedroom. So, even then, it's not really ideal.

2. It Doesn't Work Well

The shades/twigs are heavy. That means the string is not super inclined to lift it up when you pull, like string would lift a normal fabric shade. In order to make it work, you have to pull the string and lift the shade from the bottom. It's awkward.

Who wants to do this every morning? Nobody.

3. It's Not a Big Money Saver

Two shades cost me around $80 to build, and I already had some of the supplies in-stock. I could've purchased two new bamboo shades that fit these windows for around $100. Frankly, I wish I had. The $20 savings wasn't worth it at all. To be totally honest with you, I'm taking them apart and banishing the pieces to the "random crap" section of my basement. Maybe someday, I'll make them into something. Stay tuned.

Part 3: If You're Completely Determined to DIY...

If someone stuck a gun to my head and told me to build DIY Bamboo Shades again, I'd try using a bamboo mat/rug instead of fencing. Rugs are flat, and theoretically, using that instead would create a flatter, more attractive shade.

I'm not sure if bamboo mats are lighter, but I'd like to think so, since they're less voluminous than my twigs. If so, that would solve the other problem I had with operation, since if they were lighter they'd be easier to operate. A few steps in the process would have to change - securing the dowels would probably need to be accomplished differently, but I'm sure it could be done.

However, I think bamboo mats are pretty pricey, so I'm not sure if this option would actually save money. If you try it, please let me know how it goes in the comments below. I have so many questions: Did it work? Was it flat? Did you save money? Basically, tell me everything.

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

If you found this useful, or think you'll be tempted to make DIY bamboo shades in the future and need a reminder of my disaster, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest! And if you want to see more projects and/or epic fails, follow me on Pinterest! It's sure to be entertaining!

Learn to make your own DIY Bamboo shades with this complete photo and video tutorial! #WindowTreatments #DIY

DIY Bedside Organizer

As I've talked about before, I'm not a naturally organized person. In fifth grade, my mother had me professionally tested for learning disabilities solely because my organizational skills were so poor. As an adult, I'd like to think my organizational skills are better, but they're still not great.

Enter my nightstand. A plethora of things that I use daily sit on top of it: contact solution, hair ties, a contact case, my glasses, nightly medication, a few pens, deodorant, chapstick, hand cream, and at nighttime, my phone and planner. Now, you're probably wondering if my nightstand has a drawer. Yes, it does. Theoretically, I could put these things in the drawer. But I know myself. Opening and closing a drawer is an extra step that I just wont do if I have the option of leaving the stuff on the top of the nightstand.

The solution? An organizer that has a spot for every item. 

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Note: This blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

The Plan

I grabbed all the things from the nightstand, and laid them out in a way I imagined the organizer holding them. Then I grabbed my laptop and made up a quick sketch.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Since I wanted to make this out of scrapwood, I ran to the basement and took a quick look at what I had around. Honestly, I have plenty of scrapwood, so it wasn't hard to find 1x2, 1x6, and 1x8 pieces to use for the project. I based the plans around these three sizes of wood, so while a few pieces require two different cuts on the miter saw, no table saw is required!

Finally, I knew from the beginning that I was going to paint this piece. Because of this, all of the joints use normal 1" countersunk screws. Before painting, I filled all the screw holes with wood filler so they wouldn't be seen. This is not an option if you want to stain the piece. Because of this, if you plan to stain the DIY Bedside Organizer, you'll need to rework the plan using pocket holes!!

Get the Plans!

Learn how to build this DIY Bedside Organizer with our FREE Printable Plans! Includes a complete cutlist, dimensions, and step by step directions of the entire process!

Materials and Tools

  • (1) 1x2 - This divides the back section of the organizer, and only a few small pieces are required.
  • (1) 1x6 - Makes up the majority of the organizer. I'd imagine that all the pieces together form close to an 8' length, but I haven't actually measured.
  • (1) 1x8 - This makes up the base of the organizer. Only one relatively short piece is required.
  • 1" Wood Screws
  • (1) Angle Bracket
  • Wood Filler
  • Spray Paint - I chose to paint the piece after assembly, since I wanted it done quickly. Therefore I spray painted it, since that was the easiest way to get paint into all the small places.
  • Right Angle Clamp - I have a super cheap one from Harbor Freight, and it gets the job done.
  • Miter Saw
  • Orbital Sander and Sand Paper
  • Caulk

For exact cuts and dimensions, download the FREE printable plans!

Get the Plans!

Learn how to build this DIY Bedside Organizer with our FREE Printable Plans! Includes a complete cutlist, dimensions, and step by step directions of the entire process!

DIY Bedside Organizer Assembly

Part 1: Assemble the Frame

I started by cutting and sanding the three outer frame pieces as well as the base 1x8 to size. Since they were all pulled out of a scrap wood pile, they needed a bit of work to look pretty. I have a pretty formulaic process that I use for this, which you can check out here!

Then I attached the three sides together. The right angle clamp comes in handy here to keep things square, although I typically add another clamp on top to keep the pieces tight. My setup looks like this:

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

That scrap piece of 1/2" plywood you see underneath the ends of the wood is just there to keep everything level.

Then I just add three screws from the outside corner into the joint as seen in the photo below. As you'd expect, I remove the clamp to drive the last screw.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Since these screws are on the outside of the organizer, I make sure to countersink them so I can cover them up later. It's easy to do by pre-drilling the hole with a countersink bit.

Once the three sides are attached, I flipped the frame over and attached the base. To do this, I drove screws from the top down into the frame (or, in terms of the organizer, from the bottom up into the frame.)

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Then I had a frame!

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking
Part 2: Make the Back Section

Since I divided the back section in three parts, I wanted to have the smaller dividers attached before securing the back portion to the frame. I started by securing the 1x2 pieces together in an "H" shape.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Then I attached the "H" shape to the main piece.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

I started with just two screws on the bottom half of the piece because two higher screws would be visible from the front, but I ended up adding two more screws later in the process because the "H" was wiggly.

Finally, I attached the back piece to the frame. I drove screws from the outside of the frame into the back piece on all three sides.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

You might notice there's a visible gap on one side of the back piece. Yeah. I did a bad job cutting accurately, apparently. I just filled it with caulk later, and everything was fine!

Get the Plans!

Learn how to build this DIY Bedside Organizer with our FREE Printable Plans! Includes a complete cutlist, dimensions, and step by step directions of the entire process!

Part 3: Assemble the Front Piece

I actually broke the front portion into two different parts. I started with the middle and shelf pieces, attaching the shelves to the middle piece.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

The right angle clamp came in handy again here - definitely the MVT  (most valuable tool) of the project!

Then I attached this to the frame. In order to ensure the shelves were level, I put some small scrap wood pieces underneath them while I added the screws.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

I put two screws into each shelf from the outside of the frame. Additionally, I added two screws that went from the bottom into the middle piece.

Then I added the last two pieces. I started with the bottom of the shelf. Two screws went from the outside of the frame into the shelf bottom. Once again, I shimmed the shelf to make sure it stayed level.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Since there was no good way to add screws on the other side of the board, I added an angle bracket to make sure the shelf was sturdy.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Finally, I added the last front piece. I added two screws from the front, two from the frame side, and one from the shelf side.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

All that was left was finishing the piece!

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking
Part 4: Finishing the DIY Bedside Organizer

I wood filled all of the screw holes and gaps between boards. For gaps that were particularly large, I grabbed some caulk and used that instead, which was a bit easier to work with.

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Then I sanded down the wood filler, and spray painted the piece!

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Final Thoughts

My nightstand look so much better with this organizer corralling all the junk! Plus it was free - everything I used I already had in inventory!

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

It took me about 3 hours to build the DIY Bedside Organizer, which I definitely thought was worth it! I love projects that are done in an afternoon!

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

I'm absolutely thrilled with how this turned out; if you like it too, go ahead and save it to Pinterest so you can find it again later. And if you think you might build it, make sure you download the free printable plans so you know exactly what to do!

This organizer is the perfect thing to keep your nightstand clean and free of clutter! Includes full photo tutorial and FREE Printable Plans! #organization #woodworking

Before and After: Painted Nightstands

So, full disclosure: I had a really tough time with these side tables. Not because they were particularly difficult, but because I never really had a vision for them. I knew I wanted this pair of side tables to sit on either side of the bed in my bedroom. But I wasn't really sure what I wanted them to look like, and more than that, I struggled to envision a finish that would even look good.

But I wanted these tables done, so I started the project anyway. The two nightstands were clearly a matching set (from Ethan Allen, if the stamp inside the drawers is to be believed,) but one had been painted by the prior owner at some point in time.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

The other was still the original, highly glossed "walnut."

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I figured that by stripping the painted nightstand, I could see what was underneath, and decide what to do from there. So I started there.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Note: This blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

Part 1: Stripping the Painted Nighstand

I used Citri-Strip to strip the table. This is the third or fourth time this year I've stripped a piece of furniture, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. I start by applying a thick layer of stripper, covering the paint stripper with plastic wrap as soon as I've finished a section.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Then I work my way around the piece, section by section applying the paint stripper and plastic wrap.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Once the piece is completely covered, I let it sit for at least 30 minutes (sometimes longer if I get distracted!) 

Then I remove the plastic wrap one section at a time, scraping the paint stripper off as a go I with a plastic putty knife. In this case, there was still a fair amount of finish remaining after my first go around, so I repeated the process to get everything (paint and original finish) off.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Once most of the paint and finish is removed, I clean up the piece with mineral spirits and Scotch-Brite scouring pads. The mineral spirits unstick the paint/stripper combo, and the scouring pad scratches it off the piece. I tend to go through a bunch of scouring pads, but I buy them in bulk at Sams Club, so I don't feel too bad about that.

After a ton of work, the table looks like this:

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I don't like it. And by that, I mean I carried it into the bedroom, stuck it in place, and decided it was way too dark for room. But the thought of sanding down all those crevices to remove the walnut stain (twice!) was too much. So guess what I did? I painted it. Yes, right after I'd spent a day stripping the paint off. Talk about depressing.

Part 2: Finishing the First Table

I mixed some leftover white chalk paint with some beige latex paint to get an "antique white" color. If you hang around here for any amount of time, you'll come to realize I'm not a fancy paint person. I'm a "get the right color without having to buy new paint" kind of person. It hasn't burned me yet!

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I left the top and drawers natural, to create what has to be a completely overdone, two-toned look. Obviously, you haven't seen enough of these, so here's another one:

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I didn't totally hate it, so I decided it was good enough. Also, there was no way I was stripping the table again, so this would have to do.

Part Three: The Second Table

Since this time I knew what I was aiming for, the project went a lot faster. I only stripped the top and drawers of the glossy finish:

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted
Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Then painted the rest of the piece with my chalk/latex paint mixture. It looks... just like the other table.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I did put some furniture wax on both tables to protect them from damage. It's fancy Miss Mustard Seed stuff that I found in at my local Habitat for Humanity Restore... full price, it's crazy expensive, and I'm kind of sad that I like it since I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out of the cheap thrift-store jar. But that's a problem for another day.

Final Thoughts

These tables are fine. They are exactly like every other two-toned side painted nightstand you've ever seen on Pinterest.

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

I'm pretty neutral about them in the space, actually. I'm not going to proclaim my love for them. Shocking, right? Isn't that what bloggers are suppose to do? Proclaim how much they love their projects, and convince you to try it too?

Two-toned thrifted nightstand before and after shows all the details of the transformation! #furnitureflip #thrifted

Meh, not today. Like I said, they're fine, I guess. Even bloggers have off projects. Maybe someday I'll come up with a real vision and redo these tables. In the meantime, if you've never seen a two-toned painted nightstand, or more likely, never seen a blogger post a project they didn't love, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

DIY Under the Bed Storage Drawer Plans

I'd like to tell you a bit about my "guest" bedroom. You'll note the "guest" is in quotes. It's supposed to be a guest bedroom. But the reality is that I've been sleeping in it for over a year. The master bedroom upstairs isn't quite ready for habitation (and might not be for a while,) so I've been guest bedroom-ing it up.

Like most guest bedrooms, my guest bedroom is small. Small enough that once my queen bed is in the room, there's not a whole lot of space for anything else. As as a result, I've been living without a real dresser for the past year, instead pretending that some clothes-holding cardboard boxes are a reasonable alternative. Spoiler alert: they are not.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

So when I tore my bedroom apart a couple weeks ago in order to refinish the floors, I decided that there was no way I'd put my bed back together without building an under bed dresser first. FYI, if you're looking for a quick way to motivate yourself, sleeping on the living room floor until you finish the task is quite effective.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

DIY Under Bed Storage: Plans and Ideas

I knew before I even started that I wanted my under bed storage to take the shape of fully enclosed drawers. There are a number of plans for underbed drawers on wheels out on the internet, but there are a couple issues with those that made me pass them up. First of all, casters take up a lot of space, and I only had 7 inches to work with. Secondly, wheels are only easy to operate on a hard floor; there was a rug underneath my bed that would make smooth operation difficult.

So enclosed under bed drawers it was. Next up was figuring out dimensions. The distance from the top of my rug to the lowest part of the bedframe was 7", so I determined the exterior height of my drawer would be 6 3/4" inches. I also needed to account for the nightstands next to the bed. When the drawers opened, they needed to clear the nightstands. That gave me about 68" from the end of the nightstands to the foot board. To give myself a little extra space, I made each drawer 32", for a total of 64" of drawer space, and 4" of wiggle room. 

Then I designed a little diagram to help me visualize the drawers. In order to maximize the interior dimensions of the drawers, I made everything out of 1/2" plywood except the drawer front (which was 3/4" plywood.) 

Things looked like this:

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

While I'll provide the dimensions I used in this post, I haven't made printable plans because you'll probably need to edit things to fit your own bedframe. However, I hope the process I detail helps you figure things out, and avoid little mistakes along the way!

Note: This blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

Materials Needed

The materials I describe below are what is required for one drawer. Scale up to the number of drawers you plan on building.

  • (1) 4'x8' Sheet of 1/2" Plywood - It worked out almost exactly that each drawer required a sheet of plywood.
  • (1) Pair of Drawer Slides - I bought this 5-pack off Amazon, and they've been great so far.
  • Drawer Front Material - I used some scrap 3/4" birch plywood I had around, however more 1/2" plywood, or trimmed 1" x 8" could suffice as well. I opted for the 3/4" plywood purely because it was nicer looking that the cheap 1/2" plywood I'd purchased for the drawers. There was no structural advantage to using thicker plywood.
  • Countersink Bit - This helps fully drive screws into the proper location.
  • 3/4" Screws - For building drawer.
  • 1" Pocket Hole Screws - For attaching drawer front
  • 1/2" Screws - For installing drawer slides. While many drawer slides (including the ones linked above) come with screws, the ones included are likely too long, and will poke through the 1/2" plywood.
  • Drawer Pull - I had these left over from my kitchen remodel.
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Part 1: Build Drawer Frame

Step 1: Cut and Sand Frame Pieces

In my plan, the frame was built out of 1/2" plywood, and the dimensions were as follows:

  • Top and Bottom (2): 25 1/2" x 32"
  • Frame Sides (2): 25" x 5 3/4"
  • Frame Back: 32" x 5 3/4"

Since I was using cheaper plywood, I sanded it down a fair amount before attaching the pieces. If you buy nicer, pre-sanded plywood, this might not be necessary.

Step 2: Attach Sides

I used a right angle clamp to set up the back and one side of the frame, along with a bar clamp to keep everything in place, as shown in the picture below:

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

To help keep everything level, I folded up some paper towels and placed them under the ends of the boards. I also checked that the corner was square one last time. Finally, I used a countersink bit to pre-drill the lower two screw holes that connect these pieces.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Then I added the two 3/4" screws, removed the clamp, and added one more screw at the top of the joint.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

If you're wondering if pre-drilling and countersinking are absolutely necessary here, yes, I think so. Since the screw is entering through the end of a piece of plywood, it's likely to split without being pre-drilled.

After the first side was attached to the back, I repeated this procedure for the second side.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage
Step 3: Add Bottom Piece

Flip the frame over, and place the bottom piece on top of the frame. Then secure each side to the frame by countersinking 3/4" screws.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

I think it's particularly important to countersink the screws here, because if they stick out at all, they'll raise the height of the drawer, which could be an issue. They could also scratch the floor, if you're placing this on a hard floor.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Your frame should look like the above photo right now. You also should have a top piece sitting around somewhere. Just set that aside; we'll add it to the frame after the drawer and drawer slides are in place.

Part 2: Build Drawer

Step 4: Prep Drawer Pieces

I made the drawer out of 1/2" plywood. The following dimensions are what I generally used, however, I definitely measured the inside of the built drawer frame before I did any cutting. The drawer should end up exactly 1" smaller than the frame in order for the drawer slides to install correctly, so sometimes I edited my dimensions to make sure that happened.

  • Drawer Bottom: 29" x 24"
  • Drawer Back: 30" x 5 1/2"
  • Drawer Sides (2): 24" x 5 1/2"

Once the drawer pieces were cut, I added pocket holes to the front of the drawer sides, and the bottom of the drawer bottom. This is so the sides and bottom can ultimately attach to the drawer front. You can see how I aligned the pocket holes in the photo below.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Finally I sanded the pieces.

Step 5: Attach Sides

I attached the drawer sides the exact same way I attached the frame sides in Step 2. 

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage
Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage
Step 6: Install Drawer Bottom

The bottom is designed to go inside the drawer sides, not on top as the frame bottom did. So to install it, I clamped it into place front-back:

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Then pre-drilled and drove screws from the back into the bottom of the drawer.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Then I clamped from side to side, and pre-drilled and drove screws from both sides into the drawer bottom.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Part 3: Install Drawer Slides

Note: In my head, this was a major ordeal, because the internet seemed to imply everything could go wrong. Therefore, the drawer slides got their own "part." In reality, nothing went wrong during any of my drawers, and this took less than 20 minutes per drawer.

Step 7: Install Drawer Slides

This job is made much, much easier from the fact that the drawer slides sit at the bottom of the drawer. Therefore, there isn't as much error when installing the slides, since they sit flat on the floor of the drawer frame. Regardless, this was the first time I installed drawer slides in an actual drawer. I found this really helpful video that detailed installing the sides, and I highly recommend watching it before starting this step. 

The general summary, though? The slides separate into two pieces, one that attaches to your drawer, the other that attaches to the drawer frame. Start by attaching the "frame" piece of the drawer slide to the frame. It's hard to screw this up, since the slide should be sitting on the frame bottom, all the way at the front of the frame, as seen in the picture below.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Then attach the second piece to the side of the drawer. It needs to be a very specific distance off the bottom of the drawer; to find out that distance, measure the primary slide from the bottom of the slide to the holes. For me, that was 3/4" of an inch. So therefore, the screws attached the drawer slide to the drawer exactly 3/4" off the bottom of the drawer. See the linked video for a detailed explanation and demo of this.

Once both slides were installed, I slid the drawer into place.

Part 4: Finishing Touches

Step 8: Cut Front Pieces

I cut my front pieces to be 1/4" shorter than the frame. This was because I didn't want the fronts to drag across the floor, or on the bottom of the bed frame when I open the drawers. By making the drawer fronts a little shorter, I can leave space below and above them. Therefore, my drawer fronts were each 32" x 6 1/2". 

Step 9: Attach Drawer Fronts

To attach the drawer fronts, I opened the drawers a tiny bit, set the drawer in place, and marked on the back where the front should line up with the drawer. This made sure the drawer front was centered side-to-side on the drawer.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Then I opened the drawer all the way, set the drawer front in place, and folded some paper towel under the drawer front. This lifts the drawer front off the ground and ensures it doesn't rub on the floor as it opens.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Then I added 1" pocket hole screws to the pocket holes I drilled in step 4. This includes the pocket holes on both sides of the drawer, as well as the bottom of the drawer.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage
Step 10: Add Frame Top

Using 3/4" screws, pre-drill holes from the top-down, and attach the top of the frame to the sides of the frame. I found it was easier to do this step after installing the front (or really, it was easier to install the front first,) but truly the two steps are interchangeable.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage
Step 11: Add Drawer Pulls

I didn't use any fancy equipment, just measured the center of the front, drilled a hole, and screwed in the drawer pulls.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage
Optional Step 12: Attach to Bed Frame

As I put the bed back together, I threw some screws down from the bed slats into the top of the frame. This was to prevent the drawers from moving around when I opened them. I wasn't actually sure this step was necessary, the drawers seemed pretty snug already, but I did it anyway for extra security.

Final Thoughts

This cost me about $30 per drawer ($20 for the plywood, $10 for the drawer slides) money-wise, and 4 hours per drawer time-wise. I really wanted this under bed dresser, but I recognize that may be quite the investment for someone who has other options. 

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

Regardless, I love the way it turned out. It's so easy to use, plus my clothes finally have a real storage location!

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

And while I planned to put a bed skirt around the bed to hide the drawers, I think they look nice enought that I don't have to.

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

If you like it too, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later! And if you build your own, please let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear how it turned out for you!

Come see how to build a DIY Dresser under the bed! These under the bed storage drawers are easy to use, and only cost $30 a piece! #woodworking #storage

How to Use a Kreg Jig 320

A few weeks back, I went to my very first blogging conference. It was specifically geared toward DIY and home bloggers, and at check-in, we were all given a large bag of swag provided by the various conference sponsors. My very favorite thing in the bag? The new, not-quite-on-the-market-yet, Kreg Jig 320.

Up until this point, I'd been happily using the Kreg Jig R3. But a couple projects where I played around with the Kreg Jig 320 showed it was very much an upgraded version of the R3. The Kreg Jig 320 can do everything the R3 did, plus a little bit more. And that little bit more made it much easier to put pocket holes in a 2x4, which means it was a very important "little bit more."

I am so excited to show you all the things the Kreg Jig 320 can do!

Note: This blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

Part 1: The Parts

When you open the box, your Kreg Jig 320 should look something like this:

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

There are five pieces and a stop collar that comes off the drill bit. The largest plastic piece is the primary jig; the others are all for adjusting the jig, drilling the holes, and driving the screws. Here they all are labeled:

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

The Kreg Jig 320 may have also come with some sample screws, which are useful but won't be discussed here. 

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Part 2: The Configurations

Lets talk about the primary jig a bit more before we move on. It can be conveniently broken into three sections with a "Pull Back - Twist - Pull Sideways" motion. 

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

The fact that the jig breaks into different pieces allows for three different configurations of the jig. A single hole jig:

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Two pocket holes side by side: 

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

And of course, the original configuration. 

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

This is convenient in that it allows you to drill further spaced pocket holes without reclamping the material. This is a major time saver, especially when adding pocket holes to the end of 2x4s. Additionally, extra spacers can be purchased to allow for even more configurations. 

Part 3: The Settings

Before drilling a thing, you need to configure your Kreg Jig 320 to match the thickness of the wood you'll be working with. To do this, start by measuring your wood (the name of the board, i.e, 2x4, doesn't match the dimensions exactly. Measure!) Kreg has helpfully designed the hex wrench to double as a measuring stick as shown below.

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Then adjust the stop collar on the drill bit to match the thickness of the wood. The open circle should align with the appropriate thickness, as shown in photo below. Use the hex wrench to tighten the collar.

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

The primary jig needs to be adjusted as well. You'll notice that there are gray tabs on the back of the jig.

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Press the end of the gray tabs to move the tabs to the appropriate setting. In my case, the gray tabs should line up with 1 1/2" because the wood I was working with was 1 1/2" thick.

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Part 4: Drilling the Pocket Holes

Add the clamp adjuster pad to the Kreg Jig 320, and then line the jig up on the board where you want your pocket holes to go. Be sure that the gray tabs are pressed fully up against the edge of the board. Clamp securely to a workbench or other surface.

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Then use the provided drill bit to drill the pocket holes. Be sure to push the drill bit all the way in; the stop collar should touch the primary jig.

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Unscrew the clamp and admire your new pocket holes!

Part 5: Attaching the Pieces

Kreg actually has an awesome resource on their website for picking out the right screw for your project; take a look at it here. Once you've picked the screws you'll use, clamp your wood pieces into place.

The learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Kreg also sells a number of clamps, some which are designed intentionally for pocket hole assembly. They look really cool, and I want to try them out. That being said, I've never absolutely needed them, and have always found a way to clamp my boards with normal inexpensive clamps.

Once your pieces are clamped, drive the screws using the driver bit that came with the Kreg Jig 320.

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Then admire you two newly attached boards!

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

Final Thoughts

The Kreg Jig 320 is a definite upgrade from the Kreg Jig R3. If you often connect 2x4s, it's definitely worth the extra cost. Additionally, I somewhat expect the R3 to be phased out in the next couple months, but we'll see what happens.

If you're looking for some projects to do with your new Kreg Jig, go check out my two favorites: the Monitor Riser Desk Organizer, and the DIY TV Lift Cabinet. The monitor riser is a great project for a beginner, if you're just getting started!

Finally, if you found this helpful, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so others can find it too!

Learn how to use the Kreg Jig 320! It's brand new, and has a whole host of features to help you build awesome DIY furniture projects! #Kreg #diyprojects

How to Reupholster Outdoor Chairs (The Easy Way!)

Back in May, when the weather first became nice, I decided I should make my back porch a bit more of a priority. Up until that point I'd mostly used it as an upstairs workshop, painting and building things that I didn't feel like dragging down to the basement. But in the spring, when the porch actually seemed like a nice place to sit, it seemed pertinent to get some furniture out there.

I started with a sofa. This DIY outdoor sofa is comfy and awesome and perfect for napping on mid-afternoon. But I wanted a whole seating area, so I stayed on the lookout for some nice outdoor chairs. And lucky for me, a couple weeks ago, I found some! They were $10 each at my local Habitat for Humanity Restore, which was exactly the price range I was hoping for!

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Now they needed some work for sure. The fabric was faded and dirty, and some of the wicker was chipped. But new fabric and a little spray paint would go a long way with these chairs, and would be an easy weekend DIY!

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Note:  This post is sponsored by Arrow Fastener. All opinions are my own. Additionally, this blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

Materials and Tools

  • Thrift Store Outdoor Chairs
  • Spray Paint - I scoured my basement, and found some Rustoleum spray paint in Aged Copper. It was only enough for one chair, so I had to buy another can for the second chair, but that's still better than buying two new cans, right?
  • Fabric - I had fabric leftover from the DIY Outdoor Sofa project, which I used so the furniture would match. It's neutral colored Duck Canvas, for anyone wondering.
  • Arrow's T50 Staple Gun - I used to have a cheaper staple gun that was difficult to operate at strange angles. Half the time I just used my electric brad nailer instead, even though the result was less secure, purely because I didn't want the hassle. I'm happy to tell you that Arrow's T50 staple gun doesn't have this issue at all. It's easy to press, even at strange angles, and its heavy-duty nature means the staples will drive through a wide variety of materials. The product I've linked to comes with the stapler, staple remover, and a pack of staples. It's a great deal that has everything you need to get started! #madewitharrow
  • Staple Remover - This is the first time I've used a real staple remover (in the past, I've just pried staples up with screwdrivers and pliers,) and goodness, does it make things easier!
  • Arrow GT30Li Cordless Glue Gun - Today was the first time I've ever used a cordless glue gun, and it's amazing! No cord to work around. No need to be near an outlet. The glue heats up and is ready to go in less than a minute. I swear, I'm never going back. If you don't have a cordless glue gun in your life, this is the upgrade you need.
  • Fabric Glue - I used this to recover the piping I pulled off the chairs. Some people sew. That's probably the right way to do things. But my sewing machine is currently out of commission, so fabric glue it was!
  • Straight Pins
  • Drill/Driver
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
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How to Reupholster Outdoor Chairs

Step 1: Detach Removable Parts

In the chairs I purchased, the seat area was attached to the chair frame by four screws. Unscrewing these screws removed the seat from the frame. This was great for two reasons: 1) I had more leverage spray painting the frame; and 2) I could reupholster the seat separately from the rest of the chair.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Unfortunately, the back fabric portion did not detach from the chair, so I had to spray paint and reupholster it in place. However, some backs do detach, so definitely look around your chair to see if you can remove the back!

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture
Step 2: Spray Paint the Chair

I used Rustoleum's Aged Copper spray paint on my chair, and it took about one can per chair. Pro tip: Hold the can 10-12 inches away from the chair. I know it says this on the can, but I tend to find myself drifting closer as I paint. But holding the can further away results in a smoother finish, so it's definitely worth doing!

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

You'll note I didn't bother taping up the back fabric before spray painting. Since I was going to be removing it and recovering it anyway, I wasn't too concerned if it was painted.

Step 3: Recover Chair Seats

For the record, I did not remove the old fabric from the chair seat before I started. Why? I didn't need it. Since the chair seat detached from the chair, it was easy to cut a new piece of fabric without the old fabric as a template. Plus, removing the old fabric (and all the staples that went along with it,) would have been annoying and time consuming.

Place the chair seat on the fabric, and cut a piece of fabric that is large enough to cover the top and all sides of the chair. I typically cut a couple inches larger than necessary just to be sure.

Place the chair seat top-down onto the fabric. Starting in the middle of the front, wrap the fabric up the side and secure in place with your Arrow T50 Staple Gun and 3/8" staples. Then work your way toward the corners, ensuring the fabric is smooth as you go.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

You'll note that in the above picture, I have one hand pressing the lever, and the other hand pushing the front of the stapler onto the seat. This really helps drive a secure staple!

When you reach a corner, neatly fold the fabric around the corner. No need to overthink this: your goal is to make things look intentional. Just do your best; I've never finished a chair and had the corners look terrible, no matter how poorly I thought I was doing.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Once your first corner is done, continue working your way around the chair seat. On the third and forth sides, be sure to pull the fabric taut before stapling.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture
Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

As you can see in the above photo, there was some extra fabric in the corners. I cut it off right after taking this photo!

Step 4: Remove Fabric From Back

While I didn't remove the fabric off the seats before recovering, I did remove the fabric from the back. There were two primary reasons for this: 1) The back was more difficult to cover than the seat, so I wanted to use the fabric that was already on the chair as a template for the new fabric I'd cut out; and 2) I didn't have any piping around the house, so I wanted to recover the piping that was already on the chair. I could get away with no piping on the seat, since all the staples would be on the bottom, but this wasn't the case on the chair back. Thus piping was needed to cover the new staples.

To remove the piping and fabric, I just ripped it off. Really. You could spend time removing each staple, but that takes time, and ripping took less than a minute. 

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Ripping the fabric and piping will dislodge some of the staples, so go back through with a pair of pliers and pull out any staples that that have loosened and could be dangerous. Staples that are still well-embedded in the chair can stay though!

My chair had fabric on the the front and the back of the back of the chair. I removed both pieces of fabric at this step.

Step 6: Recover Chair Back

Take the pieces of fabric you removed from the chair back, and lay them out on your new fabric. Trace an outline onto your new fabric. I typically trace a half inch or so larger than the piece of fabric to make up for wrinkles and give myself a bit of extra fabric to work with.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Cut out your new fabric, and lay it out on the chair. Then, starting at the top of the chair, staple the fabric to the back of the chair. Slowly work your way around the fabric.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

I started with the chair in an upright position, but laid it down when necessary to get a better angle for stapling.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

It was difficult to get the staples embedded in the wicker, since the wicker wasn't flat. This is when the staple remover came in handy. Anytime I stapled and didn't get the staple fully embedded, I just pulled it out with the staple remover and tried again.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Make sure to do this on both the front and back of the chair back, if there was fabric on both sides.

Step 7: Recover Piping

The official way to make piping involves sewing the new fabric around the piping. Since my sewing machine is currently out of commission, this was a no-go. Instead, I just glued the fabric around the old piping with fabric glue. 

(Tip: If you don't have fabric glue, I bet hot glue would work just fine! I didn't try it, since I did have some fabric glue around, but if you give it a shot, let me know how it goes in the comments below!)

Cut a 1 1/2" wide piece of fabric that is the length of your piping. Then glue the piping down the length of one side side of the fabric, as seen in the photo below.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Wrap the fabric around the piping, making sure it's taught. Secure with pins.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

Then work from one end down the piping, gluing the fabric in place.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture
Step 8: Glue Piping in Place

Using the hot glue gun, glue the piping to the chair, making sure to cover up any visible staples, as well as the raw fabric edges.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

I always dry fit the cording before I start to make sure everything fits properly. Then I work from the top of the chair down.

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

It is important to use the hot glue here, not the fabric glue. While you are gluing fabric to fabric, it's at a strange angle, and in some places there's likely to be space between the piping and back of the chair. Therefore, the thicker hot glue is necessary to fill those gaps and make sure the bond is secure.

Step 9: Reattach Chair Seat

Finally, using the screws that came with the chair, reattach the seat to the chair. Then appreciate your new chair!

I love how the fabric matches the sofa, but the wicker is just different enough to add interest to the space!

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

And the piping! I was shocked at how nice my makeshift piping job looks. It makes the chair look so much classier, don't you think?

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

To be totally honest with you, the second chair isn't quite done yet... but I can't wait for it to be ready so I can make a real seating area here!

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

I love the way this chair turned out! Plus, with the Arrow stapler and glue gun, it really wasn't too difficult to make! If you think you might refinish or reupholster an outdoor chair, go check out the Arrow website so you've got all your supplies, as well as save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later! 

Learn how to refinish an outdoor chair with this quick furniture before and after. Includes upholstery and how to recover piping! #upholstery #furniture

DIY Kids Workbench Plans

Last week, my friend and I built a goat milking stand in her garage, while simultaneously chasing around her 15-month-old daughter. It was a ton of fun, but you know what I thought would make it even more fun? If her daughter had her very own DIY kids workbench to play at! While 15 months might be a little young for workbench set, I figured if we planned it right, the workbench could be something she grows into. 

(Plus, I am philosophically opposed to any child thinking building is only for boys. Am I brainwashing kids from the cradle? Maybe.)

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Note: This blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

Ideas and Planning

Since I was making this for a child so young, I really wanted to make sure it was something that would both be fun now and yet still relevant in 1-2 years. There are a couple of ways I accomplished this:

  1. There are two lower shelves in this plan. The lowest shelf holds a box of scrap wood. At 15-months, stacking is still a lot of fun. The scrap wood pieces I grabbed are a variety of basic shapes- rectangles, squares, triangles and trapezoids, that can be stacked in interesting ways. When she gets older, the scrap pieces can be used as "building material."
  2. The DIY kids workbench is built with the tabletop at 24" tall. This is a little tall for her right now, but her mother assured me that we can put a block or stepstool in front of it for her to stand on until she's tall enough.
  3. I intentionally chose an interactive toolset that had large pieces. There are a number childrens' toolsets available on the market. Some are realistic. Some have screws and nails that can be attached to other pieces. At the moment, large play tools are what is age-appropriate, but in a year or two, I want her to have an interactive experience. Thus, the toolset I chose has large tools, but also contains screws and nails that interact with the top. For now, the smaller pieces live in the toolbox underneath the workbench, but someday....
  4. I painted the top with chalkboard paint, so it can be drawn on with chalk. I was doing everything I could to make this an entertaining toy, so my friend could get some work done in the garage!

Materials and Tools

  • (4) 2 x 2 x 8 Foot Boards - For the frame
  • (1) Half Sheet of 3/4" Plywood - For the shelves and top
  • (1) 2' x4' Pegboard Piece - For the back
  • (1) 1" x 2" x 8' or Thin Scrap Wood - For securing the toolbox top
  • 2 1/2" Pocket Hole Screws
  • 1 1/4" Pocket Hole Screws
  • 1" Screws
  • 2 1/2" Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Battat Builder's Toolkit (or other play toolset)

For the full cutlist, cut diagram, including all dimensions, download the free DIY Kids Workbench printable plans!

Get Started!

Know exactly how to build your own DIY Kids Workbench with our FREE printable plans! Simply click the button below to get your DIY Kids Workbench Plans delivered straight to your inbox!

DIY Kids Workbench: The Process

Step 1: Cut and Prep All Frame Pieces

Cut, sand, and add pocket holes to all 2x2 pieces that will make up the frame. For cut diagram, exact dimensions, and pocket hole placement, download the free printable plans!

Step 2: Build Sides

Lay out each the side pieces on the ground as shown below. I faced the pocket holes toward the middle of the structure, but it would probably be better if they faced down. 

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Notice that the long pieces are on opposite sides. This ensures that when the workbench stands up, my pocket holes will face the inside of the structure, and therefore wont be seen. This is a non-issue if you faced your pocket holes down as I mentioned above.

Attach the middle pieces to each of the legs using 2 1/2" pocket holes screws and wood glue. Be sure to clamp each joint securely before driving screws.

Step 3: Connect the Two Sides

Balance the sides on the long legs, so that the sides are perpendicular to the ground. Lay two middle pieces between the sides, making sure the two new pieces have the pocket holes facing down.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Clamp to secure, the attach each piece with pocket hole screws. Then flip the frame over, and attach the two front pieces using wood glue and pocket hole screws.

Finally, stand the structure either upright or on its front, and attach the remaining two back pieces using wood glue and pocket hole screws. The pocket holes should be facing the back of the structure as to not be seen.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking
Get Started!

Know exactly how to build your own DIY Kids Workbench with our FREE printable plans! Simply click the button below to get your DIY Kids Workbench Plans delivered straight to your inbox!

Step 4: Cut and Install the Lower Shelves

We held off cutting the shelves in step 1 because they go in the middle of the frame we built. Because of this, they need to be very accurately sized, else they may not fit. While I've provided approximate measurements in the free DIY Kids Workbench Plans, you should definitely measure your space before cutting.

Once you've measured and cut the 3/4" plywood shelves, add pocket holes to the back. I added three pocket holes on each shorter side, and four on each longer side, as shown below. I 100% eyeball the pocket hole placement. Nobody's going to see them, and it doesn't affect the structural stability of the workbench.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

You'll note that I painted the frame and shelves before moving on. I thought that would make it faster, since they were going to be different colors. But honestly, it really slowed things down, and I'd recommend painting the piece at the end, not in the middle like I did.

Start by attaching the upper shelf to the frame using 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. I started with what I thought was a clever setup:

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

But honestly, it was easier to just lay the frame on its back and use my hands to make sure the plywood was aligned with the frame.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking
Step 5: Prepare Top

Once again, this piece needs to be measured to fit the frame you've built. If in doubt, cut a little bit to be sure the top fits around the frame. Once you've measured and cut your top, add pocket holes to all four sides of the plywood. If you're embedding a pre-built piece into the top, and the piece comes close to the edges, make sure to shift your pocket holes as necessary.

Since I embedded the Battat toolbox top into the the workbench, I had a bit of extra work to do. I started by tracing the toolbox top on my plywood.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Then I drilled a hole in each corner, and cut out the rectangle with my jigsaw.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

After I had a general rectangle cut, it took me another 10-15 minutes of trimming the cut (still with the jigsaw) to get the toolbox top to fit.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Once I knew the toolbox top fit, I took it back out, and attached the plywood piece to the remaining frame pieces (with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.) This allowed me to lay all the pieces flat on the floor, which wouldn't have been possible if I'd already secured the toolbox top.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Finally I secured the toolbox top. Since the sides were angled (the top footprint was smaller than the bottom,) it would be difficult to pull the top out. Therefore, a little glue on the sides and some scrap wood pieces screwed underneath the toolbox top were all that was necessary to keep it in place.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

I actually ended up removing the Home Depot paint stirrer in the middle; it could be seen from the top of the workbench, and I didn't like how it looked.

Step 6: Install Top

Place the top in its spot on the frame. Mine fit snugly, so I was able to make sure it was level in the upright position, then turn it on its back to drive in the pocket hole screws.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Then I turned the DIY kids workbench upright, and drove one 2 1/2" screw from the top down into each front leg. I was careful to countersink these screws so that they could be covered with wood filler, sanded, and painted.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

Finally, to make sure the 2x2s surrounding the top were connected to the main frame in the front, I drove one 2 1/2" screw through each front leg and into the 2x2 on the front of the top.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking
Step 7: Attach Pegboard

Truthfully, I did this before I attached the top, because I was waiting for the paint to dry, but I think attaching it last makes the most sense otherwise. Lay the workbench on its front, place the pegboard in place on the back of the workbench, and drive a 1" screw into each corner of the pegboard.

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

If you have a brad nailer, add brad nails along the sides of the pegboard for extra support. If you don't have a brad nailer, adding more 1" screws works as well. 

Final Photographs

I am obsessed with how cute this looks. I thought it'd be a fun toy for the garage. I didn't think it'd look adorable enough to take inside. I was wrong.

I haven't had the chance to deliver it yet, but I think it's going to be very loved!

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

And hopefully, it'll be entertaining enough to give my friend a couple more seconds to get something done without being interrupted!

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

If you like this post, and think there's a child in your life who could totally use their own workbench, download the free printable plans and save this post to Pinterest!

This DIY Kids Workbench is perfect for your budding builder!  The children's toolbench tutorial has step by step photos and comes with free printable plans! #woodworking

DIY Goat Milking Stand (With Free Printable Plans!)

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

So, before we begin, I should be completely honest with you. I am not a homesteader. I do not own any goats. Or chickens. Or pigs. I don't even have a garden. But my friend Lillie does. And Lillie and her husband Tyler are nice people who regularly go out of their way to help me, so when they mentioned they needed to build a goat milking stand, I was on it. 

So Tuesday morning I showed up at their house, tools in tow, to help Lillie build a goat milking stand. I'm a planner, so of course I had multiple goat milking stand plans ready for Lillie to choose from. For multiple reasons I'll detail below, this was the one we ended up building!

Ideas and Planning

There are lots of posts on the internet about how people built their goat milking stands for free. Then it turns out they built the stand out of pallet and/or scrap wood. That's cool, if you've got usable scrap wood sitting around. But not all of us do. Lillie had some pallet wood, and I made a plan that used it, but we decided the pallet wood wasn't really sturdy enough to use for this project. 

Thus, this plan uses wood that is easy to purchase from your local home improvement store. If you want a natural wood look and have a bunch of money to spend, making a solid cedar goat milking stand is an option. Cedar has anti-rot properties, so it'll be fine unfinished outside. However, Lillie and I are not rich, so we purchased pine with the knowledge that we'd paint it with exterior paint to protect it from the elements. 

You might be wondering about pressure treated wood. It is intended for exterior use, but since much of the goat milking stand comes in contact with humans/animals, we decided against it. Pressure treated wood can be dangerous, so I avoid it except when working with pieces that don't come in contact with people.

Now, full disclosure, Lillie and I did not build this plan as written. She had a 28" wide piece of 1/4" plywood sitting around, so we edited the dimensions a bit to make that be the top. While I could have edited my plans to match what we made, it is much easier and cheaper to source a 24" top than a 28" wide top, so I left them the way they were originally written.

Finally, Lillie's goats are Nubian goats, aka, really small. These goat milking stand plans are intended for Nubian goats. I imagine if you have larger goats you'll need a larger sized goat stand, as well as a completely different head-hole placement. While you could totally use these plans as guide, you'll need to edit the dimensions significantly for larger goats.

Note: This blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

Materials and Tools

  • (5) 2" x 4" x 8' Boards
  • (5) 1" x 6" x 48" Cedar Fence Pickets - Four of these are for the top. I designed the plans with cedar fence pickets in mind, because they're cheap and easy to work with. Aka, no cutting large pieces of plywood. However, if you already have a 1/4" piece of plywood sitting around, or have a table saw and don't struggle to cut large pieces of plywood, a 39" x 24" piece of plywood is probably cheaper.
  • (2) or (4) Screw Eyes - The first two screw eyes are mandatory for attaching hardware to close the head gate. Lillie was really worried her untrained goat would kick and run off the structure, so in addition to using two screw eyes on the head gate, we also put two at the back of the structure so Lillie could tie the goat's legs in place.
  • (3) 6" x 8" Shelf Brackets - For extra support.
  • (2) Small Cup Hooks - For attaching a food bucket.
  • (1) 6" Long Bolt and Matching Washer and Nut - For securing the moving headpiece. 
  • Bungee Cord - For closing the head gate.
  • 2 1/2" Exterior Screws
  • 1" Exterior Screws
  • Jigsaw - This is necessary. Ours broke halfway through, and we tried to saw the hole with a handsaw and it did not go well.
  • Miter Saw
  • Extra Long Drill Bit - This needs to match the size of the bolt you purchased.

For full dimensions and cuts, download the Free Goat Milking Stand Plans below!

Get Started!

Know exactly how to complete this project with our FREE Goat Milking Stand Plans! Simply click the button below to get your Goat Milking Stand Plans delivered straight to your inbox!

Process

This is normally the part where I show you nice step-by-step pictures of us building the goat milking stand. However, I edited the plans and process afterward to make it simpler (no Kreg Jig required,) so the photos I have don't actually match the easiest way to assemble the structure. (Plus, we messed it up and had to fix it in a way that would be really confusing if I posted pictures.) So, if you're wondering why there aren't real-life photos of the steps, that would be why. I highly recommend downloading the Free Goat Milking Stand Plans so that you have dimensions and 3D views of each step!

Step 1: Make all Cuts

We didn't do this. If we had, we probably wouldn't have messed up, and you would have nice helpful process photos.

Step 2: Assemble the Frame

In order to not require a pocket hole jig, the frame gets assembled a bit strangely. Start by attaching the two long sides to the back end of the frame.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

Then add a piece a couple inches before the front of the frame. This leaves space for the front of the frame, as well as the future legs.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

Since the top is made up of either thin wood or 1/4" plywood, it needs a support piece. Thus, add a long piece in the center of the frame to support the top. It helps to flip the frame over so that this new piece can lie flat on the floor while you secure it in place.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

Finally, attach the front piece to the frame. By doing things in this order, you were able to access all of the screws for the middle piece, and not require pocket holes to assemble it.

Step 3: Attach the Back Legs

I used three screws on each of the back legs; two from the back of the frame, and one from the side of the frame.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

You'll note you can't see the middle support piece in the above photo... because we didn't install in the order I mentioned in step 2. Trust me, what's written above is definitely the easier way to do things.

Step 4: Attach the Back Leg Supports

If you were to leave these legs as is with no extra support, you would put a lot of strain on those three screws. So to avoid this, and because Lillie wanted the ability to drag the goat milking stand around without comprimising its structural integrity, we attached leg supports.

These supports are mitered on both ends, and fit perfectly between the legs and sides of the stand, as seen below.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject
Get Started!

Know exactly how to complete this project with our FREE Goat Milking Stand Plans! Simply click the button below to get your Goat Milking Stand Plans delivered straight to your inbox!

Step 5: Add the Front Legs

This is a little bit tricky since the front legs extend above the tabletop where the goat stands. So to install them, I balanced the goat stand on its front, and shimmed the legs to correct height, as seen in the photo below.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject
Step 6: Add the Top

This is when the goat milking stand actually starts looking like a goat milking stand, and it's quite satisfying. We attached our top using 1" screws, but if you have a brad nailer and construction adhesive, that works too!

Step 7: Add Front Supports

There are two front supports that span the width of the milking stand. These help keep the goat head gate in place, as well as provide a place to hang a food bucket from.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

Technically, you should probably wait to add the food bucket and accompanying hardware until after you've painted the goat milking stand, but we got excited.

Step 8: Prep Head Gate Pieces

One advantage to adding the food bucket early was that we could pop our goat up onto the stand to check and see exactly where we needed to put the head hole. This was super helpful, and while I included the head hole dimensions we used in the goat milking stand plans, I highly recommend measuring your own goat to make sure the hole is sized correctly.

At this point, also decide if you want your head gate centered. Centering it looks nice, but gives the movable piece less space to open, meaning a smaller hole for the goat's head to go through when getting them on and off the stand. Our pieces are just a little off center.

Once you've determined the size and placement of your gate pieces, go ahead and cut the head hole out with a jigsaw. You really need a jigsaw for this. Promise. Our jigsaw broke halfway through, and hand sawing it did not go well. Our second piece is a little janky as a result.

Step 9: Add Stationary Head Gate Piece

We used four screws, two through the frame, and two through the higher support pieces, to secure the stationary piece of the head gate in place.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject
Step 10: Add Movable Head Gate Piece

Using the extra long drill bit, drill a bolt-sized hole through the frame, movable piece, and inner frame piece. Then insert the bolt into the hole, and secure with the nut and washer. Note that the hole drilled for the bolt goes through 4.5" of wood, so a extra long drill bit really is necessary.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject
Step 11: Paint and Add Hardware

Lillie and I are both of the opinion that we don't get to use bright, fun colors anywhere near enough. So we opted to paint the goat milking stand a very bright green since it was going outside. It was even brighter than we were anticipating, but we're both pretty pleased with it regardless.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

After the stand was painted, we added the hardware. First up, the supports that went behind the three stationary pieces of the goat head gate.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

These are just shelf brackets, but they go a long way towards keeping the head gate stable. Then we added screw eyes and a bungee cord at the top of the head gate.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

The bungee cord was initially much longer, but a quick cut and a new knot made it the perfect size!

Finally, we added two screw eyes on the top of the goat stand. Lillie's goat had never been milked before, so she wanted the ability to tie its feet to the stand.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

We just have bungee cords in there right now, but Lillie might replace them with real rope if she thinks it's necessary.

Final Photographs

I really love how it looks. Plus, it went together quickly. We built this in a day (with a toddler running around!) When Lillie's husband got home that night, he was super impressed!

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

I'm also a bit shocked at how well it works. Just look at that goat. She is so into her food. Plus, her little tail is going crazy! Super cute.

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

When we first painted the goat milking stand in the garage, we were both surprised at how bright the paint was. But it looks so good against the grass! I'm actually really glad we went with such a bright color!

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject
These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

If you like this too, or are a homesteader who thinks they might someday build your own goat milking stand, make sure you save this post to Pinterest! And in the meantime, download the free goat milking stand plans, just to keep on hand!

These DIY goat milking stand plans are easy and inexpensive. Includes full photo tutorial with free printable plans! #homesteading #diyproject

How to Get Free Live TV (Even If You Live in the Country)

I don't watch much TV. I don't say this to brag; I do plenty of other brainless, waste-of-time things (oh hello, video games,) just not TV. As a result, I am really opposed to paying for cable, Netflix, Hulu, or anything else I'm never going to use. 

But getting the news would be nice. That's pretty much all I want. Local news. The presidential debates. The ability to watch major historical events as they happen. If I lived in the city, this wouldn't be a big deal. Grab an antenna, watch. Done. But I don't live in the city. I live 45 miles from the closest small-city broadcast, and 90 miles from the St. Louis metro area broadcasts. Picking up those signals doesn't come easily.

So I went on mission to get at least one major free live TV channel into my living room. Spoiler Alert: it wasn't that hard.

Ideas and Planning

At the beginning of this adventure, my TV received one signal with four deviations (aka, 16-1, 16-2, 16-3, and 16-4.) All of them were evangelistic christian stations, so I was really set to watch a Sunday church service if I felt so inclined. Regardless, this was important, because it gave me a benchmark to improve upon. I knew my TV and location was capable of receiving at least one signal -- if that signal disappeared during my work, something went very wrong.

I knew it was possible to receive more free live TV channels at my location; the FCC provides a free DTV (digital TV) reception map that indicated there were three moderate strength signals possible, and eight weak strength signals available. Be sure to check the availability of signals in your area before starting. If there's nothing available, don't waste your time. The reception map allows you to type in your exact address to get as accurate a prediction as possible.

My first idea (Plan A, and the option I'm going to talk about in this post) was to purchase a long-range TV antenna and mount it on the roof facing the 45 mile away broadcast. Plan B was building a taller mount to raise the antenna 5-ish feet above the roof. Plan C was giving up and purchasing a CBS all-access pass for $5.99 a month, which would have given me one news station, but was expensive long-term.

Note: This blog contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

Materials and Tools

  • Long-Range Exterior TV Antenna- See FAQs below.
  • Coaxial Cable- For transporting the signal from the antenna to your TV. Make sure you purchase enough coaxial cable to run the distance between those two locations.
  • Rope- For safety on roof
  • Drill/Driver
  • Exterior Caulk
  • Spade Bit
  • Wrenches, Sockets, Ratchets
  • Optional: Signal Booster- I added this a couple weeks later when one of my new channels wasn't reliable. I haven't had any problems since. The signal booster I purchased is no longer available, but here's the old Walmart listing so you know what kind of device you're looking for.
Get Started!

Have a clear plan for your project with our FREE Project Planning Worksheet. Simply click the button below to get your Project Planning Worksheet delivered straight to your inbox!

How to Get Free Live TV

Step 1: Run Coaxial Cable from TV to Antenna Location

I ran my coaxial cable through my basement, out the basement window, then up to the antenna on roof of the second floor. To do this, I started by drilling a small hole in the floor in the corner of my living room with the spade bit. This was the scariest part of the whole installation, in case you were wondering.

Looking to cut the cable? Check out this easy way to install an antenna and get free live TV, even if you live in the middle of nowhere! #homeimprovement

From there, I ran it through the basement. The easiest way to get it outside was through the trim of a basement window. 

Looking to cut the cable? Check out this easy way to install an antenna and get free live TV, even if you live in the middle of nowhere! #homeimprovement

Once the antenna was in place, I came back and caulked this hole with exterior caulk.

Optional Step 1.5: Test Antenna

Since we weren't sure if the antenna would be able to pick up any new stations, before mounting the antenna, we tested it out. My dad held the antenna near its final location on the roof, while I searched for channels on the TV. We picked up two new signals (in addition to the one I already had,) so we decided to go through with the installation.

Step 2: Pinpoint Antenna Location

While you probably have a good idea where you want to install the antenna, in order to be secure it needs to be attached to a ceiling/roof joist. Head into your attic, and find a ceiling joist that is approximately where you want to mount the antenna. Drill a tiny hole next to ceiling joist (yes, all the way through the roof,) and insert a straightened wire hanger through the hole. This hanger will act as a little flag to tell you exactly where to mount the antenna.

Looking to cut the cable? Check out this easy way to install an antenna and get free live TV, even if you live in the middle of nowhere! #homeimprovement
Step 3: Mount the Antenna

Follow the instructions that came with your antenna. Be sure to add caulk to any holes you drilled in the roof to make sure they're waterproof. Additionally, since you've opened up the caulk, this might be a good time to go back and caulk any holes you made to get the coaxial cable outside. Make sure you've pulled any extra coaxial cable into the house first!

Looking to cut the cable? Check out this easy way to install an antenna and get free live TV, even if you live in the middle of nowhere! #homeimprovement

You'll note the rope hanging down in the picture above. It was securely attached to a tree on the other side of the house, and there for safety purposes. My roof was pretty steep where we were mounting the antenna, and if my dad started to slip, he could grab onto the rope to stabilize himself.

Looking to cut the cable? Check out this easy way to install an antenna and get free live TV, even if you live in the middle of nowhere! #homeimprovement

Doesn't my dad look like he's having the time of his life? I come up with such fun bonding activities.

Optional Step 4: Add Signal Booster

One of the two new signals I received isn't super reliable, so I picked up a signal booster to help it during poor conditions. The signal booster is installed at the TV, making it easy to add to the setup after testing out the antenna for a couple weeks. You will also need an extra coaxial cable to run from the signal booster to the TV if you decide to add one.

How to Get Free Live TV: FAQs

What antenna did you buy? How did you make this decision?

I purchased this antenna from Amazon. I specifically looked for a long, 70+ mile range antenna that was higher priced. I was skeptical of the $20 indoor antennas that claimed to have high ranges; they sounded a little too good to be true. The antenna I purchased picks up all three "moderate" strength signals that were listed on the FCC's website, and one of the "weak" signals. All the signals are broadcast from about 45 miles away, but since one of them is a little unreliable I'm guessing the 70+ mile range that's advertised is probably under best conditions only. While I can't guarantee this antenna will work for you since there are so many variables, I'm pretty pleased with it so far.

Note: When I was researching, I found that some of the antenna manufacturers were bribing their customers with Amazon gift cards in exchange for five star reviews. Basically, be careful, and make sure you read the one star reviews as well as the positive ones.

What do I do if I have more than one TV?

I only have one TV in my home, so this wasn't an issue for me. However you can purchase something called a "signal splitter" which will allow you to run coaxial cables to more than one TV in your home. If running cables all over your house sounds annoying, when I was researching I found a product called AirTV. AirTV receives data from the installed antenna (through a coaxial cable), then sends that signal to all the TVs in your house over your home wi-fi system. It's around $80, but means you only have to run coaxial cable to one place.

How much coaxial cable will I need?

I don't know. I'm sorry. Your best bet is to grab a tape measure and measure the distance it has to travel to go from the TV to the antenna. You don't want to over-purchase, because there is some signal loss in the coaxial cable. The longer the coaxial cable, the more signal loss will occur, so try to approximate the correct length as best you can.

How did you decide where to place your antenna?

I knew the free live TV signals I was most likely to pick up were coming out of the small metro area 45 miles to the northwest. Therefore, I placed my antenna on the northwest side of the roof, as high up as I could place it, aimed directly toward that area. At the very minimum, your antenna needs to be on the same side of the house as the signals. Any extra aiming you can do will only help pick up signals.

Final Thoughts

Adding the antenna cost me around $130, which while not cheap, is a better alternative than paying $6 a month indefinitely for a service I'd barely use. Plus, I get a couple extra channels going this route, which is nice.

If you found this useful, go ahead and save it to Pinterest so you can find it again later. And if you're also looking for places to hide your newly working TV, go check out my DIY TV Lift Cabinet, which is pretty much my favorite piece of furniture in my living room!

Looking to cut the cable? Check out this easy way to install an antenna and get free live TV, even if you live in the middle of nowhere! #homeimprovement

How to Remove Wood Veneer

Less than five minutes from my house lives a very unique "flea market" store. It's exactly what it sounds like -- flea market in store form -- except instead of somewhat organized booths selling random crap, it's a completely disorganized building with so much junk stuffed in it you can barely walk around.

Now, this kind of place is my mother's area of expertise. So as you might expect, the first time she visited she wasted absolutely no time bussing herself over to see what the flea market had to offer. When she returned, it was with at least a couple things she did not need, including, but not limited to, this table:

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

It looks nice from afar, but once you're actually sitting next to it, you can see that the veneer is not in great shape.

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip
Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

The table's lived like this up at our Wisconsin cabin for the last year or so, but this summer, I decided to do something about.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you.) I only recommend products that I personally use and love, and any support helps keep this little blog going!

How To Remove Veneer
Materials
  • Heat Gun- My dad let me borrow this one from Harbor Freight. It worked just fine for this little project, though I have no idea how it holds up long term. 
  • Chisel/Prybar/Putty Knife
  • Orbital Sander- I love my Dewalt Orbital Sander. I used to have a cheaper one that took forever to sand. This one works so much better, and I'm so glad I splurged on it!
Get Started!

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Step 1: Warm the Veneer

I started by using my heat gun to warm up the veneer. The heat melts the adhesive, making the veneer easier to remove. It also melts/deforms any finish that's been applied, so it starts looking a bit bubbly.

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

For the most part, the veneer I was removing was pretty loose already, so the lowest level of the heat gun was more than enough. You might to use the higher setting if your veneer is better adhered than mine, though.

Step 2: Pry Off the Veneer

Starting at the edges, slowly lift the veneer off of the furniture. I had the most luck with a putty knife, but a chisel or prybar could work too. I moved slowly, doing my best to keep the veneer in one piece. When my putty knife couldn't reach any further into the veneer, I'd start lifting it off with my hands instead. Sometimes, I got lucky and it came away in large pieces!

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

Since the wood under the veneer was damaged in some places, I planned to paint the piece. This meant I only needed to remove areas with loose veneer, which saved me a bunch of time!

Step 3: Sand

While the veneer on the side of the table came off smoothly, the top was a little more difficult.

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

There were a number of small chips that remained, but a quick sanding with medium grit sandpaper on my orbital sander cleared that right up! I also gave the sides a thorough sanding as well, just to smooth everything else.

Step 4: Finish

I filled in some of the uneven parts of the table with wood filler, then painted all the previously veneered portions a dark grey. I absolutely love how it turned out!

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

I love the contrast between the wood and the grey paint. I'm such a sucker for two-toned pieces! My TV Lift Cabinet is painted similarly, so clearly it's something I'm into.

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

I think it's so much better than the damaged veneer that covered it before. Plus, it was an easy project, which is always a bonus!

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

The final product will go next to my mom's chair up at the cabin. It's going to look great, and I'm so excited for my mom to see it next time she's up there for a visit. If you think it's a great project too, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

Learn how to remove veneer with this quick and easy side table makeover. Thrifted from a flea market, the nightstand was in terrible shape, but a little work goes a long way! #thrifted #furnitureflip

And if you love furniture flips in general, make sure you subscribe to my email newsletter below. I do furniture makeovers all the time, and wouldn't want you to miss out!

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