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!
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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!

How to Cut Down a Tree Safely

Fun fact: My grandfather had thirteen siblings. Five of his sisters never married (and never had kids,) but even with that, my father has more cousins than he can count. These days, most of the cousins are between 50 and 80 years old, and all but three of the original fourteen children have passed away.

My Great Aunt Elsie is one of those three remaining siblings. She's currently in her nineties, and lives in a little house in Western Wisconsin, less than an hour from where she and her siblings were raised almost 100 years ago. She never had any kids, but luckily has a number of nieces and nephews who live in the area and check in on her pretty regularly. 

Enter us. Aunt Elsie had a very dead tree in her front yard that needed to come down. So last week, my dad, my aunt, and I trekked over to Aunt Elsie's with the goal of removing the tree. This was a totally new experience for me and my aunt, but my dad's an old pro at this, apparently. Three hours later, that tree was down and on its way to the city's yard waste disposal area.

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

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!

Materials and Tools
  • Chainsaw- For cutting tree
  • Ladder- For cutting high branches
  • Rope- For guiding falling pieces
  • Loppers- For breaking down the smaller tree pieces
  • Tarp- For easy movement of small pieces
  • Brooms/Rakes/Leaf Blower- For final cleanup of small pieces
  • Ratchet Straps and Trailer- For transporting the tree to waste area
Get Started!

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How to Cut Down a Tree
Step 1: Cut Small, Reachable Pieces from Tree

You'll note that Step 1 isn't "cut down tree at base." While that's totally possible to do with a chainsaw, it ends with a giant tree falling in a rather uncontrolled way. Who knows what it will land on. Plus, in addition to getting the tree down, we need to transport the tree pieces to a yard waste disposal center. Moving a large, fully-intact tree might be possible for commercial enterprises, but for us DIY-ers, we'll need that tree to be in smaller pieces.

So instead, we started by cutting individual lower branches off the tree with the chainsaw. If the branch was too large to fit in the trailer, my dad cut it with the chainsaw in multiple places, working his way in toward the trunk of the tree.

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement
Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement
Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

This went really fast. Chainsaws are powerful machines, I guess. Not even five minutes later, the yard/tree looked like this:

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

At this point, we stopped cutting the main tree, and started breaking down the cut branches.

Step 2: Break Down Fallen Branches

My dad and aunt were using the two pairs of hedge clippers we brought to break fallen branches into smaller pieces, while I walked around collecting small pieces and depositing them on a tarp.

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement
Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

When the tarp got full, we'd pick it up and transport the branches over to our trailer, which was parked across the street.

Pro Tip: If your tree has been dead awhile and is pretty dried out, hedge clippers aren't really necessary. Shortly after we started, I realized that for the most part I could break the tree down with my hands.

Step 3: Cut More Branches Off Tree

Once we'd cleared the yard, we started cutting more branches. These were obviously higher up. I'm going to break this into two sections: what we did and what you should do instead.

What We Did

My dad climbed up into the tree and tied a rope to one of the branches. The goal was that someone (in this case, my aunt) would hold the rope, and pull the falling branch in the direction we wanted it to go. That way, the large branch would avoid hitting the house/porch/dad.

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

Spoiler Alert: This didn't go so well.

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement
Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

Yeah, he got thumped by the tree. I didn't get a picture of him lying on the ground, since we were all too busy making sure he was okay (he was fine.) Regardless, it wasn't an ideal outcome.

What You Should Do Instead

Grab a ladder. Repeat step 1, except on a ladder reaching the higher branches. If there's a branch you're worried about hitting something important (Dad got in trouble for hitting the flowers,) grab a rope and guide the piece where you want it to go like we tried to above. If the pieces are smaller/lighter, this should work better.

Step 4: Repeat Step 2

Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all the branches of the tree have been cleaned up.

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement
Step 5: Cut Down Base

Once a stump is all that's left, cut the truck of the tree right above the ground.

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement
Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

This was really heavy, so we rolled it off the grass, then tied a rope around it and dragged it across the street to the trailer. Speaking of which, by the end of this our trailer was pretty full.

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

We used the ratchet straps to not just secure the branches in place, but also to crush them to make room for more branches.

Step 6: Clean Up
Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

There were a fair amount of twigs and debris littering the yard and walkway. We spent a couple minutes raking the yard and sweeping the sidewalks, and then we were done!

My aunt and I were both shocked at how quickly everything went. This is an easy afternoon project, given there are a couple people breaking down the tree limbs. The heat and sun were really the worst parts, it truly wasn't that laborious of a project! If you've been debating hiring someone to remove a medium sized tree in your yard know that it's totally possible to DIY it!

If you found this helpful, save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

Dead trees are dangerous to have in your yard. Learn how to safely cut down a tree with this step by step tutorial! #Backyard #HomeImprovement

30-Minute Removable DIY Bumper Stickers

As you’ve no-doubt noticed, I have this blog. In an ideal world, people would actually read this blog. It would be awesome if that magically happened, but despite what the people who blog about blogging want you to think, traffic doesn’t instantly appear when you launch your blog. I would know.

So in an attempt advertise my blog a little bit, I decided to make some DIY bumper stickers. Maybe they’ll cause one of the people walking their dog past my car everyday to talk a look. Or maybe I’ll hit it real big, and get the dog walker AND some random folks in my parents’ Texas town to take a look (because of course I’m giving them some bumper stickers. Just what they wanted, I’m sure.) Frankly, if I recruit even one new reader, I’ll consider the bumper sticker to be a major win, given it took less than 30 minutes to make.

I expect that if you’re here learning about DIY bumper stickers, you have an awesome bumper sticker idea in mind that might actually be funny or entertaining or something. Brighten my day and tell me in the comments below! And if you’re another blogger thinking maybe you can get a neighbor or the person stuck behind you in traffic to read your blog, well, I see you. God speed.

Learn how to make a removable bumper sticker for your car! An easy 30-minute DIY, this car step by step tutorial will show you how to make the perfect car decal! #DIYProjects

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!

DIY Removable Bumper Stickers
Materials
Learn how to make a removable bumper sticker for your car! An easy 30-minute DIY, this car step by step tutorial will show you how to make the perfect car decal! #DIYProjects
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!

Step 1: Design and Print Your Bumper Sticker

I use Photoshop for most of my logos and photos on the blog, so I used it here as well, although I'm pretty sure any design platform would work (Canva, PicMonkey, maybe even Microsoft Word!) 

Google tells me most bumper stickers are 3" x 11.5" long, and the very biggest bumper stickers are 3.75" x 15" long. My logo is very vertical, so I decided to make my bumper sticker an oval instead of a rectangle. Despite picking a different shape, I kept that largest bumper sticker size in mind. I didn't want my bumper sticker to be too big for the bumper, so I kept the 3.75" in mind as the maximum height for my DIY bumper sticker.

Note that the magnetic sheets I used are 8" x 10," so if you go for a longer bumper sticker, you might want to get larger magnetic sheets.

I printed my bumper sticker on Cardstock, two per page. While I think you could have definitely used normal paper, I had Cardstock around, and I figured the sturdier paper I used, the better.

Step 2: Apply Bumper Sticker to Magnet

My magnet had paper on the back that peeled off pretty easily, leaving an adhesive surface behind. I applied two bumper stickers to each magnetic sheet. See below.

Learn how to make a removable bumper sticker for your car! An easy 30-minute DIY, this car step by step tutorial will show you how to make the perfect car decal! #DIYProjects

A typical piece of paper was larger than the magnetic sheets I used, so I cut off some white space in the middle so that both bumper stickers would fit. You'll also notice I didn't cut out the bumper stickers yet. I found it was easier to get an accurate cut if I cut the cardstock and magnet at the same time.

Step 3: Cut Out Bumper Stickers

The magnet/cardstock combo was actually a lot easier to cut than I expected. Even going super slowly, each magnet was cut out in just a couple minutes.

Learn how to make a removable bumper sticker for your car! An easy 30-minute DIY, this car step by step tutorial will show you how to make the perfect car decal! #DIYProjects
Step 4: Apply Acrylic Sealer

I did four light coats of sealer, 15 minutes apart each. I was a little alarmed at first, because the sealer turned the white cardboard box I was spraying in brown, but it turned out totally clear on my bumper sticker.

Optional Step 5: Apply Lacquer

The lacquer needs to be brushed onto the bumper sticker, so it can only be done after the spray sealer has been applied (otherwise, the ink may bleed.) I added it to my bumper sticker to be extra sure the DIY bumper sticker was waterproof; theoretically the acrylic sealer should be enough protection. 

Then my bumper sticker was car-ready!

Learn how to make a removable bumper sticker for your car! An easy 30-minute DIY, this car step by step tutorial will show you how to make the perfect car decal! #DIYProjects

I may go back and make a larger bumper sticker; I'm not sure this is going to be visible enough from the car behind me. But in the meantime, it'll do.

Learn how to make a removable bumper sticker for your car! An easy 30-minute DIY, this car step by step tutorial will show you how to make the perfect car decal! #DIYProjects

If you think you might make a DIY bumper sticker someday, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

Learn how to make a removable bumper sticker for your car! An easy 30-minute DIY, this car step by step tutorial will show you how to make the perfect car decal! #DIYProjects

How to Waterproof Outdoor Cushions

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!

Last week, I turned some thrift store couch cushions into beautiful outdoor cushions for my newly built DIY Outdoor Sofa. But... indoor cushions don't just magically become outdoor cushions without a bit of extra work to make them weather-proof.

Thus begun the hunt to to find the perfect method for waterproofing my outdoor cushions. I started with this Rustoleum waterproofing spray. It waterproofed the fabric, but the single 11 ounce package only covered one cushion/pillow set (I had three sets to waterproof.) Since I didn't feel like paying $45 to waterproof the cushions, I went looking for a cheaper product for the other two cushion sets. 

I tried this Scotchguard product next. Spoiler alert: it was great. One can easily covered the other two cushion/pillow sets. I had enough left over that I actually suspect one can would have covered all three sets.

This 10-minute process is by far the easiest way to waterproof outdoor cushions! #Sewing #Backyard
How to Waterproof Outdoor Cushions
Materials
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!

Step 1: Prep the Area

I laid a moving blanket down on the ground to catch the overspray from the waterproofer. A tarp or something similar would have worked as well!

This 10-minute process is by far the easiest way to waterproof outdoor cushions! #Sewing #Backyard
Step 2: Spray the Waterproofer

Holding the waterproof spray 8-ish inches away from the cushion, spray the cushion. I sprayed until the fabric was clearly covered by the spray, but not soaked or saturated by it.

Step 3: Wait 24 Hours

I let the waterproofer dry for 24 hours before testing it. And then:

This 10-minute process is by far the easiest way to waterproof outdoor cushions! #Sewing #Backyard

Perfect! I might have to reapply next summer, but given this project took a whole 10 minutes, that's not really a big deal to me. And the fabric isn't crunchy or stiff at all; it feels exactly the same as it did before I applied the waterproof spray!

Find this useful? Save it to Pinterest so others can find it too!

This 10-minute process is by far the easiest way to waterproof outdoor cushions! #Sewing #Backyard

4 Secrets to Finding Cheap Upholstery Foam

Every single time I make cushioned furniture, I'm appalled at the price of upholstery foam. Even with a 50% off coupon at Joann's, for comfy 3-inch foam you're looking at $20 a yard. It's ridiculous. So when it came time to find cushions for my DIY Outdoor Sofa, I went on a mission to find cheap upholstery foam.

The stakes were high. I was already spending $150 on building materials for the couch; If I spent another $100 on the cushions and fabric, I'd be looking at a $250 couch. For that price, I might as well have just bought a new sofa instead.

Luckily, my very first and best idea worked out, and I'm super excited to share it with you below. But I also had three backup plans, so if your thrift stores aren't quite as helpful as mine, you've still got some options!

Buying upholstery foam new is so expensive. Check out this guide for finding cheap upholstery foam for your DIY projects. #Sewing

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!

Four Secrets to Finding Cheap Upholstery Foam
1: Buy Thrift Store Sofa Cushions

I love my local Habitat for Humanity Restore. I go all the time (and if you've got a moment, check out some of my favorite buys- my desk and coffee table,) and while I've always admired their vast couch collection, I've never actually purchased a sofa. But I've looked at the prices, and I knew I could find a couch for $10 if I tried.

My original plan was to buy a couch, haul it home on the trailer, then put the frame out on the curb for pickup, while keeping the cushions for my sofa. But for a small single girl, this was so much work. Dragging the trailer into town. Securing the couch to the trailer. Getting the couch off the trailer and down to the curb. It was a lot of manual labor that would be time consuming and unpleasant for one person.

So instead, I asked the nice people at Habitat if I could pay the normal price for the sofa, but just take the cushions home, leaving the frame behind. To my surprise, they said yes!

So, $8.75 later, I had this:

Buying upholstery foam new is so expensive. Check out this guide for finding cheap upholstery foam for your DIY projects. #Sewing

Which, after I took off the old fabric and recovered the upholstery foam, soon became this:

Buying upholstery foam new is so expensive. Check out this guide for finding cheap upholstery foam for your DIY projects. #Sewing

Now, I recognize that not every thrift store is going to let you walk away with only the cushions, if they even have $10 couches to begin with. But it's always worth a shot to check, which is why I put this tip first. 

2: Use Extra Thick Mattress Pads

If 1-inch upholstery foam is thick enough for your project, take a look at some of the mattress pads on the market. Walmart's Mainstays Twin Extra Thick Mattress Pad comes in around $14 for a 75" length. This is considerably cheaper than buying 1-inch upholstery foam by-the-yard elsewhere.

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3: Check Out Ikea's Seat Pads

Ikea has two different lines seat pads for around $5 a pad. The Malinda pad is a 3" polyester fiber chair pad (aka, not foam.) My backup plan was to buy four of these, waterproof the fabric and just put them in a line on my sofa.

If you require actual foam, Ikea also has a 2" Justina pad that is truly foam and around the same price as the Malinda pad.

Honestly, Ikea has a pretty large selection of cushions that could be useful to you, but these were the only two that were cheap enough for me to consider. Take a look around if you're not quite as budget constrained as I am.

4: Home Depot Has a Cheap Upholstery Foam Option

Home Depot sells a 72" length of 3" thick upholstery foam for $25. They don't have it in-stock at my local store, so it might be something you have to special order, but it does exist, and is truly a bargain!

They also have 2" thick foam, 4" thick foam, and 6" thick foam for your cost comparison purposes. Check the dimensions before you buy, as they vary depending on the thickness.

Final Thoughts

I hope these four ideas gave you some options for finding cheap upholstery foam. If you find an even better option, let me know in the comments below; I'd love to hear about it! And in the meantime, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it next time you're in the market for upholstery foam!

Buying upholstery foam new is so expensive. Check out this guide for finding cheap upholstery foam for your DIY projects. #Sewing

DIY Outdoor Sofa (With Free Printable Plans!)

I have a gorgeous screened-in porch in my backyard. For the last year, it's sat empty and sad, serving only as a temporary dumping ground for building materials that I didn't feel like lugging into the house.

Back in April, though, we had some nice weather that made me realize my life would be better if I could actually use my porch as intended. So I started the "remodel" process. First, I painted the carpet gray. Then I stuck a rug on one side of the porch, and decided some furniture was needed.

First up? An DIY outdoor sofa. I know myself. If I'm actually going to use the space, I'll need furniture that I can actually lie down on.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #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!

DIY Outdoor Sofa
Materials
  • 7 Cedar 2x4s- Cedar is a rot and weather resistant wood great for outdoors, but is about double the price of pressure treated lumber. Pressure treated lumber is cheap wood that is treated to withstand exterior conditions, but the treatment process introduces chemicals that make slivers and other abrasions caused from the wood more likely to become infected. Thus, in this plan cedar is the primary wood used, however in a few spots that are unlike to contact people, pressure treated lumber is used to save money.
  • 2 Pressure Treated 2x4s
  • 20 48" Cedar Fence Pickets
  • 1 Cedar 1x2
  • 2 1/2" Exterior Kreg Screws

For the complete cutlist and sofa dimensions, grab the free downloadable plans below!

Build This Plan!

Get all the details about the DIY Outdoor Sofa in these FREE printable plans! Full cutlist, dimensions, and step-by-step photos included to make sure your build is a success!

Step 1: Cut and Prep Pieces

Make all cuts and add pocket holes accordingly to the printable plans with the Kreg Jig set to 1 1/2". Then, sand down any visible pieces. The cedar fence pickets I purchased were quite rough; if yours are similar, take a look at my "How to Make Cheap Wood Pretty" post, which walks you through the process of making them more presentable.

Here's what most of my fence pickets looked like when I brought them home:

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

See how rough they were? You can barely see the pretty cedar underneath. After sanding, though, the pieces were gorgeous.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking
Step Two: Assemble Arms

Each arm should consist of five different cedar 2x4 pieces. 

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

From left to right: Top piece, two middle supports, two main sofa legs.

Note how on the sofa legs, the pocket holes are on opposing sides of the pieces. This is so that when assembled, the holes will be hidden by the top support piece.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

Start by attaching the two main legs to the top piece, keeping the middle pieces between the legs to act as spacers. Then attach the two middle pieces to the legs. Make sure to repeat this for both arms!

Step 3: Make Frame

Attach the two long front and back cedar pieces to the arms. I accomplished this by arranging the arms as if the sofa was lying on its side, that way, the new pieces were flat against the ground. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of this, but here's what your completed frame should look like:

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking
Step 4: Add Center Frame Supports

This is where the two pressure treated boards come in. Since they'll be entirely hidden by the final cedar fence pickets, they're difficult to reach and I was therefore comfortable using them. To add them to the frame, I propped them into place with a crate and some scrap wood, then screwed them in.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking
This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking
Step 5: Add Center Legs

I didn't quite trust the four 2x4s to hold the weight across that long stretch, so I added some middle legs to the sofa. Note that since the front and back 2x4s are perpendicular to the middle 2x4s, the front and back leg supports will be shorter than the middle supports. 

Additionally, the front and back 2x4s will be attached with pocket hole screws, since adding a top-down screw would require at least a 4" screw. The middle leg supports, on the other hand, can be attached using a simple top-down screw, since the board is only 1 1/2 inches thick.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking
Step 6: Attach Seat Planks

Using brad nails and glue, attach the sanded cedar planks to the seat portion of the bench. 

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

The last piece will likely be too wide to fit onto the sofa. Rip it to the measured width using a circular or table saw.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking
Step 7: Attach Back Supports

The internet told me that the ideal angle between the seat and the back of a couch is 110 degrees. This is kind of difficult to implement in practice, but some high school level geometry (two parallel lines cut by a transversal) tells us that the triangle formed by the top support and the arm of the couch is a 20-70-90 triangle. 

Using trigonometry, we can determine the legs of this triangle are around .5" and 1.4." I used that information to place the piece at an appropriate angle.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

And my students say you never use math in real life.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

Once the main back support was secured, I rested some cedar pieces against it, and marked where the cedar pieces met the seat. Then, at that mark, I placed the second back support, the 1x2, with wood glue and brad nails.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking
Step 8: Attach Back Cedar Pieces

Using wood glue and brad nails, I secured the cedar pieces to both back supports. 

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking
This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

Once again, the last piece is unlikely to fit perfectly, and will need to be cut to fit your remaining width.

Step 9: Attach Cedar Side Pieces

To cover up the pocket holes on the outside of the arms of the couch and prevent pillows from falling through the sides, I added a few more cedar fence pickets. Once again, they were secured with wood glue and brad nails.

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

Finally, the couch was done!

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

I absolutely love sitting out on the porch now, even though there is no other furniture. The past week has been beautiful, and I've loved relaxing on the DIY outdoor sofa and getting some work done!

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

If you love the cushions, check out how I made them for $8.75. It was definitely a budget project, and I'm super proud of how it turned out!

If you think you might make this, go ahead and download the printable plans so you know exactly what cuts to make! And if you found this plan useful, go ahead and save it to Pinterest so others can find it too!

This DIY Outdoor Sofa, complete with free printable plans, is an easy weekend build. Made of cedar, this couch is ready for any weather! #OutdoorFurniture #Woodworking

Cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions

Once I'd decided to build an outdoor sofa for my porch, the first thing I went about doing was finding cushions. Why? Because cushions are expensive. I wanted to find the cheapest cushions I possibly could, then build my couch to fit those cushions.

After a ton of research, I had a Plan A (and B, and C, but that's a story for another post.) I'd start at my local Habitat for Humanity Restore, where they frequently sell used couches for $10, and see if they'd let me take the cushions home for that price, but leave the couch frame behind.

Low and behold, they let me. 30 minutes and $8.75 later, I left the store with a car full of couch cushions ready to be converted into cheap DIY outdoor cushions. Here's what I did.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

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!

Cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions
Materials
  • Used Couch Cushions- I got mine at the local thrift store. Be sure to check carefully for bedbugs- cheap cushions are not worth spreading an infestation into your home! Additionally, I specifically looked for cushions with zippers, so I could remove the zipper and use it on the new covers. This way, I wouldn't have to buy zippers!
  • Outdoor Fabric- I used duck canvas from Joann's, which cost me around $30 for 6 yards of fabric.
  • Sewing Machine and Matching Thread
Get Started!

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Step 1: Determine Size of Cushions

After dragging the cushions into my house from the car, I was left with a sad, dirty pile of used cushions:

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

I immediately took the fabric off the seat cushions, and measured them. 

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

My cushions were 25" x 23" x 5". 

Step 2: Cut Two Primary Fabric Pieces

The cushion cover consists of two different parts: the top piece that covers the top of the cushion and the sides of the cushion, and the bottom piece that covers the bottom. The two pieces are sewn together on three of the four sides (the fourth side is the zipper) to form the cover.

To determine the size of the top piece of fabric, I added 11 inches to the length and width measurements of the cushions. This was to account for 10 inches of sides, plus 1 extra inch for seam allowances. For your own cushions, you can use this formula:

Each Dimension of Top Piece of Fabric = (Width/Length of Cushion) + 2(height of cushion) + 1

For my cushion, this came out to be a 36" x 34" piece of fabric.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

For the bottom piece, I just added 1 inch to the dimensions of the cushion to account for seam allowances. Since my cushion dimension was 25" x 23", my bottom piece of fabric was 26" x 24".

Step 3: Cut Out Corners

On each corner of the top, larger piece of fabric, I cut out a 5" x 5" square. This was the height of my cushion, if you're working with a different sized cushion, cut out a "r by r" sized square from each corner, with "r" being the height of your cushion.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

This accounts for each corner of the cushion.

Step 4: Pin and Sew Corners

Fold over and pin each of the four the corners, right sides together if your fabric has a clear "right" and "wrong" side (mine did not.)

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects
This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

Then take your fabric over to the sewing machine, and sew each of the four corners! After sewing, my fabric looked like this:

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects
Step 5: Pin and Sew Bottom Piece

On three of the four sides, pin the bottom piece to the top piece, right sides together.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

Sew the three sides in place. To sew the two corners, when you reach them lift the presser foot up and turn the fabric 90 degrees. Then put the presser foot back down and keep going!

Once the three sides are sewn in place, pin and sew two to three inches on either end of the fourth side. Only a couple inches are necessary; the zipper will go in the middle.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects
Step 6: Cut Out and Attach Zipper

It's disclaimer time. In pretty much ever sewing post I've ever written, I take a moment to stop and tell you how bad I am at sewing. For this post, that moment has come. Sewing is a means to an end for me, and I'm satisfied with anything that's "good enough."  

Thus, I have no idea how one actually installs a zipper. I tend to wing it. I know my sewing machine has a "zipper foot," which I have absolutely never touched, so I know whatever I'm doing is definitely wrong. If you actually know how to install a zipper, please, use your knowledge and skills correctly. On the other hand, if you also have no idea what you're doing, and are perfectly happy with "good enough," keep reading.

I started by cutting out the zipper from the original fabric.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

Then I pinned each side of the zipper to one piece of the fourth edge. See picture below. I also made sure that the zipper part would be on the outside of the cushion cover, while the scrappy fabric part would be on the inside of the cushion cover. In sewing terms, this means I pinned/sewed the wrong side of the duck canvas fabric to the right side of the zipper.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

Note that the cushion cover is still turned inside out.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

On sides that were not the salvage (yes, I used the salvage. Sue me,) I folded the edge under before pinning to create a little hem so the fabric wouldn't unravel. 

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

The zipper I'd cut off the original fabric was a little longer than necessary, so I cut it down using normal scissors.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

I cut it an inch or so past the opening, so I knew it wasn't too short.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

Then, finally, I sewed the zipper into place (with my normal sewing foot/needle, just like I sewed everything else.) It was a lot of fabric for the needle to go through; the duck canvas, the thick old fabric, and the zipper fabric, but as long as I went slowly, my sewing machine handled it fine.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

I did not sew the ends of the zipper to the fabric. Yes, this is technically bad. But they'll be tucked inside the cover, and frankly, this is a cushion cover, not a jacket. This zipper won't get much use, so I expect it'll be just fine.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

And if you're nervous about what the zipper will look like, here's a picture of the finished zipper. You can't tell the ends aren't sewn in at all.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects
Step 7: Insert Cushion

Turn your cushion cover right side out, making sure to poke all of the corners out.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

Then insert your cushion. If you're lucky, it'll fit right in with a little squishing. When I tried to do this, it became readily apparent that there was no way I was going to get my cushion through the small opening easily. So instead, I found this handy video.

Basically, the woman in the video uses upholstery silk to vacuum pack the cushion, then slips the much smaller version into the cushion cover with ease. Since I certainly didn't have upholstery silk sitting around, I used a trash bag.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

I squished the cushion down enough to be able to seal the top around the hose of my vacuum, then turned on the vacuum. Shockingly enough, this actually worked, and my cushion was soon a scrunched mini-version that slipped right inside the cushion cover.

I unfortunately don't have any pictures of this, since it was an all-hands-on-deck procedure, but here's a picture of the cushion in the cushion cover, aka proof this actually worked.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects
Step 8: Waterproof

Finally, I waterproofed the cushions with waterproofer spray. It took a fair amount of spray to soak the heavy duck fabric, so both cans in the two-pack were necessary. I'll be writing a whole post on the process soon, so stay tuned!

I absolutely loved how these cushions turned out! I've laid outside on the couch a couple of times this week, and it's awesome having truly comfortable furniture to relax on!

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

Note that the total cost to cover my outdoor sofa was around $60; $8.75 for the upholstery foam/pillow padding, $30 for the fabric, and $20-ish for the waterproofing spray. Just a friendly reminder that although these DIY cushions were super cheap, the price of fabric and waterproofer still upped the total cost a bit.

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

If you're wondering about the back pillows, they were made from the same $8.75 couch cushion purchase. I made DIY pillow inserts, then stuffed the pillows into my favorite style of DIY envelope pillow cover. They were much faster to make than the seat cushions!

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

Finally, if you found this post useful, go ahead and save it to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

This full, step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make cheap DIY Outdoor Cushions. Some quick waterproof spray means they're weather friendly! #sewing #outdoor projects

8 Innovative Tools That Will Change How You DIY

Anyone who's looked at woodworking plans in the last decade knows there are some basic tools every DIYer needs: a drill, a hammer, a miter saw, etc. This is not that list.

Instead, this is a list of smaller, innovative tools. Tools that make something really hard into something really easy, or tools that allow me to build something that was otherwise beyond my skillset. The tools that actually change how and what I DIY. That's what I set this list out to be.

Most of these tools are under $100. Some of them are under $10. All of them are tools I use every day, and absolutely love. While I do make a commission if you click and purchase a product I recommend, every product on this is list is something I find essential to my DIY work, and consider a quality product; I would not recommend it otherwise.

8 Innovative DIY Tools
(To Change How You DIY!)

These eight tools are fantastic things to keep around the shop. All of the tools are beginner friendly, and some are under $5! #homeimprovement #tools

90% of the time I refinish furniture, I find myself re-drilling holes for new knobs and pulls. Which is cool. New hardware is nice. But it used to make me really nervous (and take forever) for me to drill those holes. I'd measure. And measure again. And measure again from every possible side, because I wanted to make sure those pulls lined up perfectly if there were multiple drawers. And then, after all that measuring, half the time they would still not line up, and even if they did, I'd look from another angle and convince myself they didn't line up, because I'm neurotic like that.

This jig completely solves that problem. Set the distances once, and use the jig again and again to drill holes that line up perfectly. I used this jig to add hardware to my entire kitchen, and it made my life so much easier!

One other note: Kreg has produced a similar jig if you're like me and tend to love their products, but it only measures from one side of the cabinet/drawer instead of two, making it harder to create perfectly aligned pulls. I think the product discussed here is a much better design.

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!

This speed square is $3, and worth every single penny. I use is constantly to make sure I've drawn perfectly perpendicular lines on all of my pieces. Additionally, back in the day before I had a miter saw, I used to it make sure my angles were precise before making an angled cut with my circular saw. It is super handy, especially if you regularly make freehand cuts with an circular saw or jigsaw.

Back when I was a kid, my dad used to insist stud finders were pointless wastes of money. He claimed they never worked, and instead used his "tried and true" method of whacking the wall, then drilling tiny holes where he thought he heard a stud to see if he hit it. In case you were curious, he tended to make a lot of little holes.

Fast forward 20 years, and I, as a busy adult, do not enjoy repairing a bunch of little holes because I'm bad at hearing studs. So instead I got this stud finder, and, low and behold, my father was wrong. This thing is amazing. And by amazing, I mean it reliably does what it claims and finds the stud (without drilling a bunch of holes in the wall). For less than $10. I'm pleased.

These eight tools are fantastic things to keep around the shop. All of the tools are beginner friendly, and some are under $5! #homeimprovement #tools

Kreg makes such innovative and interesting products that it'd be almost impossible not to have them on this list. This saw attachment is fantastic, in that it allows me to make reliably straight cuts with my circular saw. If I didn't have this jig, things like my cabinet extension project and TV lift cabinet would have been impossible for me to build, because I wouldn't have had the tools to cut the pieces of wood.

If you've been eyeing a table saw, or wish you were able to rip pieces of plywood like a table saw does, but don't want spend x-hundred dollars on a table saw, this is the product for you

5. Pair of Sawhorses
These eight tools are fantastic things to keep around the shop. All of the tools are beginner friendly, and some are under $5! #homeimprovement #tools

This goes right along with number 4, because if you're going to be making long cuts with a circular saw, you're going to want something to support your piece. Back in the day, before I owned sawhorses, I would clamp my wood to two step stools. It was sad and kind of annoying, but it worked. Sawhorses are better. 

I don't have a product recommendation for you, because mine were built (by my father, or maybe even my grandfather; I'm actually not sure) out of scrap wood. Build them yourself, or purchase from a store; either way, they are useful to have!

These eight tools are fantastic things to keep around the shop. All of the tools are beginner friendly, and some are under $5! #homeimprovement #tools

This is, by far, the most expensive tool on this list, clocking in at over $100. It is also the most typical "tool" listed. However, it truly has changed how I DIY, so I really couldn't leave it off. This brad nailer allows me to do projects that otherwise would have been annoying and tedious, such as installing plywood floors, or adding vertical shiplap wainscoting to my living room. It made my small scrap wood wall organizer quick and easy. I really couldn't DIY without it.

There are plenty of brad nailers on the market, so why this brad nailer, you may ask? Simple: it doesn't require a compressor. It's one of the few brad nailers available that is completely electric, so no air compressors are necessary. Additionally, it's a Ryobi product, which is one of the lower cost tool makers on the market, an added bonus!

These eight tools are fantastic things to keep around the shop. All of the tools are beginner friendly, and some are under $5! #homeimprovement #tools

This thing is less than $2, but it is so handy! By lengthening the end of your drill, it allows you to easily access small spaces that otherwise would have been difficult with a large drill. Additionally, it just makes driving screws with short bits much easier and more pleasant.

These eight tools are fantastic things to keep around the shop. All of the tools are beginner friendly, and some are under $5! #homeimprovement #tools

It took me forever to break down and get a Kreg Jig, but after I did, I wondered what took me so long. These jigs are present in almost every woodworking project I find on the internet, because they are just that handy. 100 years ago, pocket holes were hard to make, so woodworkers built strong joints by intertwining the wood on the different pieces (finger joints is an example.) However, those types of joints take skill. Pocket holes are easy, and allow a newbie DIYer to create strong joints without any particular skill.

I've used my pocket hole jig on almost everything I've built; the TV lift cabinet, coffee table, and monitor riser desk organizer are just a couple of examples. While I have a mini-jig in the $40 range (linked above), Kreg even sells a mini-er version for $20-ish if your budget is really tight. It's worth it, I promise.

Final Thoughts

I absolutely love the eight tools listed above, and I know they will make your DIY projects so much easier. Some of them are under $5, and 100% worth the cost. I can't recommend them enough. If you discovered something new today, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so that others can find it too!

These eight tools are fantastic things to keep around the shop. All of the tools are beginner friendly, and some are under $5! #homeimprovement #tools

Easy DIY Throw Pillow from Napkins

This is the third pillow project I've done in the past few months (take a look at my table runner pillow,) and I think we have a love-hate relationship. I absolutely love how fast the project is done. One hour projects means I can do a project and write the post in a day, which makes me feel incredibly productive. Furniture projects that take three days to do, and another day to paint? Half my week's gone already...

But I know how to do furniture projects. I see a piece, can imagine a vision, and know exactly how to get there. Decor projects? Not so much. Take this project. Halfway through, I decided my original idea looked silly, so I ripped off the embellishments I'd added and came up with something else instead. Frustrating.

But, hey, it was still done in under an hour. That's got to be worth something, right?

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

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
  • Old Pillow
  • Pair of Napkins
  • Fake Flower

Note: I got all of these things at thrift stores, and I'm pretty sure I paid less than $4 for all three things. Thrift stores for the win!

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor
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!

One Hour Cloth Napkin to Throw Pillow DIY
Step 1: Pin and Sew Napkins Together

Wrong sides together, pin the napkins together on three sides.

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

Then, as close to the edge as possible, sew the three sides of the napkins together. I'm not the best sew-er in the world, so I picked a thread color similar to the napkin so it wouldn't be seen.

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

Three of the four sides are sewn together... Can you even tell?

Step 2: Insert and Arrange Pillow

Insert the pillow into the last open side, fluffing/arranging the pillow as necessary so it is evenly distributed between the napkins.

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor
Step 3: Pin and Sew Fourth Side

Pinterest tells me this is when most people hand-sew. Lol. No. I don't hand sew. It seems tedious and annoying, plus, I don't actually know how. So, this baby got pinned and then stuck back into the sewing machine, albeit a little awkwardly.

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor
Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor
Step 4: Add Embellishments

After making some foolish-looking flowers out of the drop cloth I had left over from recovering my couch, I found a fake flower sitting around that wasn't actually being used. Did you know it's actually pretty easy to take apart fake flowers? 

I started with this:

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

Using scissors, I cut the flower stem between the petals and the leaves.

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

Then with my fingers, I pried the plastic green bits off and removed the leaves.

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

Then hot-glued the leaves to the pillow. 

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

The flower soon followed.

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

I really like simple elegance, and I think this pillow falls into that category!

If you like it too, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

Need to change up your living room? Check out this easy DIY Pillow project- from napkins! #Pillows #DIYDecor

Simple Scrap Wood DIY Laptop Desk

Want to know a semi-secret about me? I'm a gamer. When I tell people this, I always feel the need to clarify a bit- not one of those first person shooter gamers. Violence freaks me out. But simulation games (Sims, city builders,) and strategy games (Settlers of Catan on steroids,) I'm all for. 

As you might expect, I have a pretty hefty laptop. It gets hot. Really hot; enough to burn my legs. And if my legs are burning, that's probably a bad sign for the insides of the laptop. So I wanted to create a laptop desk that not only holds the laptop off my lap, but also helps cool the laptop. What I mean by this: most laptops have fans on the bottom of the machine that blow hot air out of the machine. On a normal desk, the hot air hits the desk, and then is pushed right back into the machine by the desk. But on the DIY laptop desk I built, there are spaces between the wood, allowing that hot air to escape.

Those spaces are a simple solution to help keep laptops cool and therefore extend their lifespans. Plus, this plan is super easy, coming together in under an hour of work!

This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking

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!

Materials

I used scrap wood I had around to build the DIY laptop desk. You could totally use different pieces based on what was available to you.

  • 1" x 2" furring strip, cut into four 2' lengths
  • Two 9" long pieces of a 1" x 12"
  • Stain 
  • Wood Glue
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!

DIY Laptop Desk Process
Step 1: Prep Wood and Make All Cuts

Since I used furring strips and old scrap pine boards for this project, I did a fair amount of sanding to make sure the boards looked good before I started. I have a whole post on how I make cheap wood look pretty, go check it out if you're interested in detailed instructions.

Once I was done sanding, I cut my boards into the pieces listed above; 4 pieces of 24" long 1x2s, and two pieces of 9" long 1x12s. 

This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking
Step 2: Stain Wood

I used Varathane's "Dark Walnut" stain. Since I thought some of the places might be difficult to reach after I assembled to the DIY laptop desk, I did this before assembly for easy access. Important Note: Testing your stains on scrap wood before you start is important! I used wood condition on the the 1x12 pieces, but not the 1x2 furring strips, because that's what made the boards match the most! Always test before staining!

Step 3: Assemble

First, I "dry-fit" my plan, using some scrap boards to help hold everything in place:

This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking

Then I used wood glue and brad nails to secure each board in place.

This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking

I have this brad nailer, which makes everything super easy. I love that it's electric, and I don't need to haul around a compressor for little jobs like this. While I totally recommend it for anyone who works with wood, if you don't have a nail gun you can still make this project work, you just might need to do a little extra clamping!

Step 4: Add Extra Support

After the glue was dry, I was a little concerned that this wouldn't hold up over time, so I cut two more furring strips and added them to each end of the desk for extra support:

To secure the support strips, I used glue and 1 1/4" screws.

Then my DIY laptop desk was done!

This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking

I absolutely love it. Not only does it keep my laptop cool, but I also use it as a dinner tray if I'm ever eating on the couch. It's so convenient to have around!

This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking

The laptop desk also matches all the other wood in the living room, which is a nice touch as well!

This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking

If you've got some scrap wood sitting around, this is an excellent way to use it up. If you've got way more scrap wood than you ever need, then maybe you should check out my other popular scrap wood projects: a Wall Organizer, Drawer Organizer, and DIY Heart Curtain Ties.

And if you're not quite ready to build the DIY Laptop Desk yet, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!

This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking
This easy DIY Laptop Desk has a simple solution to an overheating laptop- lift it up! Complete with full photo tutorial to a one hour scrap wood couch tray table! #ScrapWood #Woodworking
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