DIY http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4801/all en-US 9 Amazing DIY Lamps You Want in Your House http://www.wisebread.com/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lamp-471232235.jpg" alt="lamp" title="lamp" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A good lamp does more than just shed light. With the right size, shape, color, and texture a lamp can compliment your furnishings and demonstrate your sense of style. To paraphrase the immortal words of The Dude, it really ties the room together. But new lamps can be expensive, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store">thrift store</a> lamps, while affordable, can be hit or miss. Why not take matters into your own hands? We've rounded up nine amazing DIY lamps that can be made with simple materials, and customized to complement (or contrast!) your existing decor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do?ref=seealso">30 Awesome Decorating Hacks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stacked Cookie Tin Lamp</h2> <p>Have you been the recipient of homemade treats in reusable tins? You could save them up for re-gifting during the holidays, or you could make this clever lamp. The creators of this <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/how-to-make-a-floor-lamp-out-of-snack-tins/index.html">floor lamp</a> suggest painting the tins or covering them in a textured fabric for an even more unique look. Use a short stack to make it a table lamp! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating?ref=seealso">40 Ways to Decorate With Spray Paint</a>)</p> <h2>2. Paper Gift Bow Pendant Lamp</h2> <p>Are the bows your favorite part of a wrapped gift? Then this <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Giant-Decorative-Bow-Paper-Pendant-Lamp/">bow lamp</a> might be the project for you. Fold your favorite colored paper into a unique shade for a pendant lamp.</p> <h2>3. Recycled CD Case Lamp</h2> <p>If you've long since switched to digital music, but aren't sure what to do with all of those plastic jewel cases, this is the perfect upcycling project. Turn them into a <a href="http://inhabitat.com/fathers-day-diy-gift-how-to-make-your-dad-a-recycled-cd-case-lamp/">one-of-a-kind desk lamp</a> that makes a perfect Father's Day gift. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-celebrate-father-s-day?ref=seealso">Free Ways to Celebrate Father's Day</a>)</p> <h2>4. Designer Paper Yarn Lamp</h2> <p>Paper yarn? Yep it's a thing. Even better, it's a thing you can use to make <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Designer-Paper-Lamp/">pendant light shades</a> or regular lampshades. This version uses a 2-liter soda bottle as the form, but you could use anything &mdash; maybe even the lampshade you're replacing?</p> <h2>5. Enameled Colander Lamp</h2> <p>The perfect lamp for foodies, this idea turns an <a href="http://www.shelterness.com/diy-pendant-lamp-of-enameled-colander/">old colander</a> into a beautiful pendant light fixture. It also works with a large salad bowl! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things?ref=seealso">Kitchen Cast-Offs You Can Repurpose</a>)</p> <h2>6. Skyscraper Lamp</h2> <p>If you're looking for unique &quot;mood&quot; lighting, the geometric patterns created by this lamp made from <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Skyscraper-Lamp/">stacked wooden dowels</a> is quite pleasing.</p> <h2>7. Tin Can Lantern</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-things-to-do-before-the-summer-is-gone">Summer</a> will soon be here, and that means lots of outdoor meals and relaxing on the patio. Add a magical flare to your next summer party with this lantern made from a <a href="http://inhabitat.com/how-to-recycle-a-tin-can-into-a-gorgeous-outdoor-lantern-for-summer-parties/">recycled tin can</a>.</p> <h2>8. Hanging Paper Orb Lamp</h2> <p>Made using decorative paper cupcake liners, these <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2012/03/diy-project-sculptural-paper-orb-lights.html">paper orbs</a> is a textured twist on the classic paper globe lamp.</p> <h2>9. Stacked Book Table Lamp</h2> <p>This is the perfect project for someone who hates seeing old books end up in the wastebasket. Turn them into a delightful <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/accessories/stacked-books-table-lamp/index.html">vintage-looking table lamp</a> instead!</p> <p><em>Have you made any awesome DIY lamps we want in our house? Please share them in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-amazing-diy-lamps-you-want-in-your-house" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Amazing DIY Lamps You Want in Your House" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home crafts DIY lamps lighting upcycle Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:24:21 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1135882 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/denim-467362711.jpg" alt="jeans" title="jeans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Denim fabric is one of the few things in life that actually looks and feels better as it ages. And, unlike other textiles, denim never falls out of fashion. As a result of its timeless style, used denim, in the form of old jeans, is an inexpensive and easily available craft supply for just about everyone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <p>If you don't already have an old pair of jeans languishing in the back of your closet, collect a few pairs from your friends and family for free, or buy a stack of them at a charity shop or garage sale for less than $10. With a little planning and creativity, one pair of jeans can be cannibalized into more than one project. Even the grungiest jeans can be turned into something lovely, as spots and holes can be cut out.</p> <p>Whether you are a novice crafter or a advanced sewist, old jeans are a great starting point for a huge number of DIY projects, that range from charmingly primitive to sophisticated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-uses-for-old-ties?ref=seealso">Great Uses for Old Ties</a>)</p> <h2>Quilts</h2> <p>There are tons of great examples of <a href="http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/budget-friendly-denim-quilt-project/">denim quilts</a> (with free patterns) available on the Internet.</p> <h2>Rugs and Floor Mats</h2> <p>By the way, denim quilts are very heavy and can also be easily used as area rugs.</p> <p>In addition to quilted floor mats (AKA the quilt you put on the floor), denim can also be used to create <a href="http://lieslmade.com/2013/07/16/woven-denim-rug-or-trivet-diy/">woven rugs</a>, <a href="http://proverbs31living.blogspot.com.es/2012/03/fluffy-denim-rag-rug-tutorial.html">rag rugs</a>, or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_H5JOGi5lA">braided rugs</a>.</p> <h2>Place Mats and Table Runners</h2> <p>Smaller strips of fabric left over from other project can be used to make mini quilts as place mats or table runners.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/denim-180857677-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Pillows</h2> <p>Although denim patchwork has long been a staple of country style, it can look surprisingly modern. I like the idea of making <a href="http://www.ashbeedesign.com/2013/03/old-jeans-recycled-into-ampersand.html">denim pillows</a> appliqued with punctuation marks rather than a traditional monogram.</p> <p>Jeans have long been associated with the American West. However, a <a href="http://quiltinspiration.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/free-pattern-day-union-jack.html">Union Jack pillow</a>, made from vintage denim can inject a little English Punk Rock into any decor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-home-decorating-ideas-for-under-5?ref=seealso">Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5</a>)</p> <h2>Floor Cushions, Poufs, and Pet Beds</h2> <p>Because denim is so tough, it's also a good fabric choice for <a href="http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/diy-eco-geometric-deni-cushion/">floor cushions</a>, <a href="http://www.michelemademe.com/2011/09/drop-dead-denim-one-tough-pouf.html">poufs</a>, and <a href="http://krydasu.blogspot.com.es/2013/03/denim-jeans-dog-bed.html">pet beds</a>.</p> <h2>Coasters</h2> <p>You really don't even have to know how to sew to make <a href="http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2010/05/16/recycled-denim-coaster/">denim coasters</a>. Use fabric glue or hot glue to make spiral-shaped coasters from the seams of old jeans. Pro tip: put a thick rubber band around the outer edge of the coaster while the glue cures. It will keep the spiral tightly rolled, and preserve the round edge.</p> <h2>Outdoor Furniture</h2> <p>The woven denim straps on this <a href="http://www.ecouterre.com/recycleddenimchallenge/wove-denim-charpai-cot-ready/">charpai</a> (Indian string cot) gave me a great idea for refurbishing old-school, fold-up lawn chairs that have lost their uncomfortable nylon webbing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks?ref=seealso">Simple Tricks to Make Old Furniture Shine</a>)</p> <h2>Director Chair Covers</h2> <p>Instead of buying new canvas, create <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9-or5bqk6w">padded seats and backs</a> from salvaged fabric.</p> <h2>Handbags</h2> <p>The Internet is full of patterns for <a href="http://verypurpleperson.com/2010/04/making-reversible-bag/">denim handbags</a> that range from chic to hideous. Use good judgment.</p> <h2>Firewood Totes</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/chirina/post143260512">firewood tote</a> would also make a great picnic basket. (Yes, they re-use and recycle in Russia, too.)</p> <h2>Storage Bins</h2> <p>Although craft maven Betz White originally designed the <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/denim_do-it-all_bins/">upcycled Do-It-All bins</a> to hold craft supplies, they would also be great for storing toys. Make these as gift baskets for food gifts. They would also be the perfect wine or water tote.</p> <h2>Sewing Machine Pad/Organizer</h2> <p>Keep all your <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluecottage/6176216490/">tools handy</a> for your next crafting binge.</p> <h2>Baby Bibs</h2> <p>Because used denim is soft and washable, it's a perfect material for making <a href="http://www.craftstylish.com/item/45454/how-to-make-a-recycled-bib">baby bibs</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>Aprons</h2> <p>Adult bibs, AKA aprons are a good way to use up random pockets. This apron tutorial is in Korean, but the photos show the step-by-step process of turning denim fabric and a washcloth into a cute <a href="http://blog.naver.com/hohuk212/20197089599">wrap-around apron</a>.</p> <h2>House Slippers</h2> <p>There are a number of free patterns for house slippers floating around on the Internet, but I thought <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/18/how-to-make-slippers-from-jeans">these were the cutest</a>. Pro tip: To make your own pattern, trace around the soles of a pair of flip-flop sandals for a more custom fit.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/denim-120289526-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Softie Toys For Dogs and Babies</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/112018612/left-pocket-elephant-stuffed-toy-for%20">softie</a> would make the perfect tooth fairy pillow because of the pocket.</p> <p>FYI, when making toys for babies and <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Sew-Denim-Dog-Toy/">pets</a>, make sure to not use buttons, loose strings, or anything else that could be a choking hazard.</p> <h2>Cat Toys and Christmas Decorations</h2> <p>Although these were intended to be <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/12967142@N05/3561993269/in/faves-lottakind/">cat toys</a>, these would also make very cute holiday decorations.</p> <h2>Christmas Wreaths</h2> <p>Speaking of holidays, a <a href="http://afishwholikesflowers.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/from-rags-to-wreath.html">denim Christmas wreath</a> is an easy, no-sew project that even kids could make.</p> <h2>Masks</h2> <p>Carnival is just around the corner! If you have a pair of embellished jeans that have seen better days, repurpose the denim and the doodads into a <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/halloween_fantasy_mask/#more">fabulous mask</a>.</p> <p><em>What's the best repurposed denim item that you've seen or made?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-new-things-you-can-make-with-old-denim-jeans" class="sharethis-link" title="20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living/diy">DIY articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY denim fabric uses recycle repurpose Fri, 21 Feb 2014 23:29:47 +0000 Max Wong 1198 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways You Can Use Towel Rods for Efficient Storage and Display http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kitchen-147283717.jpg" alt="hanging kitchen tools" title="hanging kitchen tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you bought a couple extra towel rods from Ikea or if you have some lying around after home remodeling, towel racks can be an innovative way to save space and add some convenience to your life. Here are few amazing ways you can put these little helpful fellows to use. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Use Tension Rods</a>)</p> <h2>1. For Closet Space</h2> <p>Attach a towel rack to the side of your closet, and you&#39;ll have the potential to store a lot of things! You can use &quot;S&quot; hooks to hook a shoe or jewelry organizer to the door. You can also use the &quot;S&quot; hooks alone for jackets and such. Finally, you may want to put extra sheets and linens on the towel rack so that they don&#39;t get wrinkled or jammed too far down into the closet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-organize-a-messy-closet?ref=seealso">How to Organize a Messy Closet</a>)</p> <h2>2. As a Coat Rack</h2> <p>Use those valuable &quot;S&quot; hooks with your towel rack and you&#39;ll have a handy coat rack that won&#39;t take up any floor space! Simply put the towel rack up in a public area, higher than eye level. Then, affix the &quot;S&quot; hooks. You&#39;ll have a bunch of hooks for visitors to put coats, umbrellas, hats&hellip;you name it!</p> <h2>3. To Hang Art or Tapestries</h2> <p>If you have art, pretty fabric, or tapestries that are begging to be seen, you may want to display them using towel racks. It&#39;s important that the rack is helpful in display (remember, you do have to fold them over the rack if you are going to use this method). Once this is done you&#39;ll have some lovely art on the walls that won&#39;t easily be knocked down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art?ref=seealso">12 Inexpensive DIY Art</a>)</p> <h2>4. To Create Storage Space</h2> <p>Use towel racks in living spaces and your kitchen for things like coffee mugs, towels, knick-knacks, and more! This tip is really handy if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space">live in a small space</a> and lack a lot of storage space.</p> <h2>5. As a Magazine Rack</h2> <p>A low-hanging towel rack can double as a place to hold magazines. Either affix a trough at the bottom of the rack to stow the magazines, or simply drape them over the rack (bonus points: you won&#39;t lose your place in the magazine!).</p> <h2>6. As a Fisherman&#39;s Friend</h2> <p>Attaching a towel rack to the side of a garage or storage shed can easily organize tools or, in this case, fishing rods, and supplies. Keeping the rods tucked behind the towel bar will make it easy to not get the rods tangled or damaged when they aren&#39;t in use. It will also keep other garage or storage items away from the rods themselves. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garage-triage-organize-your-garage-for-maximum-chore-and-storage-efficiency?ref=seealso">Tips to Organize Your Garage</a>)</p> <h2>7. As Pot Racks</h2> <p>First, look for a rack that doesn&#39;t look like it belongs in the bathroom. Next, simply affix the rack to your ceiling or wall in a location that aligns with your things. If you want, you can attach several racks in your kitchen to create a row above your stove or on a wall. The final step? Attach &quot;S&quot; hooks so you can put those kitchen utensils and pans in a convenient location!</p> <h2>8. To Hang Family Photos</h2> <p>Towel racks can be great for art or photos. Photos are a little more delicate, but there are <a href="http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/1097232/list/hang-photos-on-wire-with-clothes-pins">clips and wires</a> that will make the photos seem like they&#39;re floating or hanging mid-air. It&#39;s a really cool effect!</p> <p><em>Have you found any alternative uses for towel rods? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-you-can-use-towel-rods-for-efficient-storage-and-display" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Ways You Can Use Towel Rods for Efficient Storage and Display" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rebecca-leib">Rebecca Leib</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home DIY towel racks towel rods Thu, 30 Jan 2014 21:55:18 +0000 Rebecca Leib 977185 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 DIY Laundry Detergent Recipes http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laundry-86515386.jpg" alt="doing laundry" title="doing laundry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities. I&#39;m relatively confident when picking and choosing my whole and packaged foods. I can evaluate freshness, scan labels, and quickly figure nutritional contents through much practice and passion. When it comes to buying household cleaning products, though, I become rather paralyzed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-all-purpose-cleaners?ref=seealso">Best All-Purpose Cleaners</a>)</p> <p>In those final grocery store aisles, I can spend what seems like hours scrutinizing items like dish soap, glass cleaner, and laundry detergent. I choose based on brightly packaged promises and then play an exchange game based on which one has the best unit price. Seems like no matter how hard I&#39;ve tried, I&#39;ve never developed tried-and-true mainstays that meet all my criteria.</p> <p>Eventually, I grew tired of these shenanigans. I favor a simplified routine anyway, but a lot of natural cleaning products are pricey. So, I decided that making my own is not only easier and less toxic, but it also saves my family money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-other-green-cleaners-already-in-your-house?ref=seealso">8 Green Cleaners You Already Have</a>)</p> <p>In fact, my mom &mdash; a DIY detergent goddess &mdash; has always told me there&#39;s no better place to start than with laundry detergent. She&#39;s been making her own soaps for years and, through trial and error, helped me discover these five great DIY &quot;recipes&quot; to try.</p> <h2>Basic Powder</h2> <ul> <li>1 bar laundry soap (like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001B32NVO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001B32NVO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Fels-Naptha</a>)</li> <li>1 cup borax</li> <li>1 cup washing soda</li> </ul> <p>Grate the soap bar either by hand or in a food processor. Then combine all ingredients in an airtight container and mix to evenly distribute.</p> <p>Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.</p> <h2>Basic Liquid</h2> <ul> <li>1 cup hot water</li> <li>1 cup liquid castile soap (like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AOZ78A/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001AOZ78A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Dr. Bronner&#39;s</a>)</li> <li>1/2 cup borax</li> <li>1/2 cup washing soda</li> </ul> <p>Combine the borax and washing soda in a bowl or tub. Pour in the hot water and stir until everything is combined/dissolved. Then pour into a gallon container and slowly pour in the castile soap. Gently tip up and down to fully incorporate (without agitating too many bubbles). Allow to cool, then add cold water to container until full.</p> <p>Use 1/4 cup per load.</p> <h2>Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent (Liquid)</h2> <ul> <li>1/4 cup borax</li> <li>1/4 cup washing soda</li> <li>3 tablespoons <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002W3EEO6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002W3EEO6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Dawn Dish Soap</a> (must be &quot;original&quot; kind)</li> <li>5 cups hot water</li> </ul> <p>Combine the borax and washing soda in a bowl or tub. Pour in the hot water and stir until everything is combined/dissolved. Then pour into a gallon container and slowly pour in the Dawn Dish Soap &mdash; which cuts grease, meaning it won&#39;t build up in cloth diapers. Gently tip up and down to fully incorporate, then allow to cool. Fill container with cold water until full. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <p>Use 1/4 cup per load</p> <p><em>Note: While stripping my cloth diapers one afternoon, I learned that original Dawn is a powerful weapon. So, I searched around and found a <a href="http://theparsimoniousprincess.blogspot.com/2013/03/i-made-laundry-detergent-again-easy.html">great laundry soap recipe</a> which includes this key ingredient. Over time, I adapted it to the one you see above by adding in more of the active ingredients.</em></p> <h2>Borax-Free Detergent (Powder)</h2> <ul> <li>1 bar laundry soap (like Fels-Naptha)</li> <li>1 cup baking soda</li> <li>1 cup washing soda</li> </ul> <p>Grate the soap bar either by hand or in a food processor. Then combine all ingredients in an airtight container and mix to evenly distribute.</p> <p>Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.</p> <h2>Borax-Free Detergent (Liquid)</h2> <ul> <li>1 cup liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner&#39;s)</li> <li>1/2 cup baking soda</li> <li>1/2 cup washing soda</li> <li>5 cups hot water</li> </ul> <p>In a large container, combine the hot water and washing soda. Stir until dissolved. Then add in the baking soda and, again, stir until dissolved. Pour into a gallon container and fill container with additional cold water until almost full. Then slowly add the castile soap. Gently tip up and down to fully incorporate.</p> <p>Use 1/3 cup per load.</p> <h2>Making It Smell Good and Other Extras</h2> <p>You can jazz up the liquid recipes by adding drops of different essential oils. My favorite scents include lavender, eucalyptus, and even peppermint. In addition, you may choose to add sea salt as an extra water softener if needed (though washing soda alone usually does the trick). For a boost in whitening and brightening, add some vinegar to your rinse cycle. It&#39;s all about experimentation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-weird-and-wonderful-ways-to-use-vinegar?ref=seealso">Weird and Wonderful Ways to Use Vinegar</a>)</p> <p>As far as how these laundry soaps work on HE machines versus standard, it&#39;s a bit of an experiment. My mom says liquid is best for her HE machine, which accords with most <a href="http://laundry.about.com/od/HomemadeLaundryProducts/f/Can-Homemade-Detergent-Be-Used-In-He-Washers.htm">HE detergent advice</a> I&#39;ve found. I use mostly powders in my standard washer. A little testing should help you discover what&#39;s best in your situation.</p> <p><em>What&#39;s your favorite homemade laundry soap recipe?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes" class="sharethis-link" title="5 DIY Laundry Detergent Recipes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home diy detergent diy soap laundry detergent soap recipes Thu, 30 Jan 2014 11:36:20 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1119567 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fun Ways to Wrap the Gift of Cash http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-ways-to-wrap-the-gift-of-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fun-ways-to-wrap-the-gift-of-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash-90087167.jpg" alt="cash gift" title="cash gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cash in a card for Christmas is acceptable, but, let&#39;s be honest, it&#39;s not very creative. This year, make your loved ones work hard for their money by presenting their cash gifts in exciting and intricate ways. Take a look at these fun ways to wrap the gift of cash that are sure to bring a smile to everyone&#39;s face. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-give-cash-as-a-gift?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Gift Cash</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stuff the Cash in Balloons</h2> <p>The occasion of<a href="http://www.shescraftycrafty.com/2012/01/birthday-balloons.html"> this post from She&#39;s Crafty</a> was a birthday, but it transfers to the holidays just as well. Grab a few balloons &mdash; preferably red, green, and white to make it more festive &mdash; stuff a dollar bill (or a high dollar amount if you&#39;re a big spender) into each balloon, and blow them up. Stuff the balloons in a box, wrap it, and enjoy the merriment of watching the recipient pop his or her way to riches.</p> <h2>2. Craft a Festive Money Tree</h2> <p>We can all agree that life would be much better if money grew on trees, but since that&#39;s not likely, the next best thing might be <a href="http://www.thenshemade.com/2010/12/week-of-gifts-day-5.html">this money tree made from actual money</a>. And unlike the dying spruce in your living room, this tree is truly evergreen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-clever-and-attractive-ways-to-save-on-gift-wrapping-paper?ref=seealso">15 Cheap and Clever Ways to Save on Gift Wrapping</a>)</p> <h2>3. Weave a Tropical-Inspired Money Lei</h2> <p>Can&#39;t afford to send your favorite nephew on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii? At least you can help him get into the tropical spirit and facilitate saving for the trip with this<a href="http://lilluna.com/how-to-make-money-leis/"> money lei</a>. It only takes a few supplies to put this together &mdash; about 30 to 35 bills (printing paper in the color of your choice), glue spots, a hot glue gun and sticks, and ribbon &mdash; and the post includes instructions on how to fold the bills into lei-like &quot;flowers.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Attach a Money Rosette to a Wrapped Package</h2> <p>Thinking of giving a cash gift in addition to a packaged gift to a recipient this year? Make the present really pop by attaching a <a href="http://justsomethingimade.com/2013/03/amy-powers-inspired-ideas-spring-issue-and-the-money-rosette/">money rosette</a>. This project may take a bit of dedication &mdash; there&#39;s lots of precision folding involved &mdash; but there are step-by-step instructions available that will walk your through the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-holiday-gifts-that-you-yes-you-can-make-with-paper?ref=seealso">10 Gifts You Can Make With Paper</a>)</p> <h2>5. Slip a Money Ring on His Finger</h2> <p>If diamonds are a girl&#39;s best friend, bling made out of a Benjamin might just be a guy&#39;s.<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-an-Easy-Dollar-Bill-Origami-Ring-for-Y/"> Instructables has easy directions</a> on how to turn money into a fashion-forward accessory using an origami technique. To present it, place it in a nice ring box and wrap.</p> <h2>6. Design a Money Book</h2> <p>The recipient won&#39;t have to work as hard to get the money out of this gift presentation as they do with the previous suggestions on this list, but it&#39;s a cute idea nonetheless. While there aren&#39;t any detailed instructions <a href="http://emmersideas.blogspot.com/2008/03/gift-idea.html">how to create this money book</a>, it seems fairly simple. Find a money-sized photo album at a craft store, remove the insides and replace with bills. The crafter hot glued the bills together so they stayed put but also so they can be torn off one by one like pages from a notebook.</p> <h2>7. Deliver a Bucket O&#39; Bucks</h2> <p>I like this<a href="http://janie-mac.blogspot.com/"> bucket o&#39; bucks idea</a> because it can serve as two gifts in one for an outdoorsy person in your life, and it&#39;s super easy to put together. First, find an appropriate vessel in which to put the money &mdash; it could be a bucket, a cooler, a lunch box, whatever container is useful and that you think the recipient would like. When you have the container, fill it with rolled-up dollar bills held together by ribbon, string, or even rubber bands. This gift also makes for a nice surprise because the recipient will probably expect to open an empty container, but then, whoop, there it is! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-stress-free-holiday-gift-giving?ref=seealso">Stress-Free Holiday Gift Giving</a>)</p> <h2>8. Hang a Money-Filled Ornament From the Tree</h2> <p>For this idea, you&#39;ll need a clear glass globe ornament, ribbon, bills, and decorating pens/paint. First, decorate the outside of the ornament with decorating pens or paint; you&#39;ll want to do this first so you can start with a new ornament if you mess up. You can write the recipient&#39;s name and add other festive features. Next, remove the aluminum cover from the top of the ornament and stuff in rolled dollar bills tied with ribbon. Replace the aluminum cap and attach a ribbon at the top of the ornament for decoration and string a thin ribbon through the hanging hole so you can hang the ornament on the tree.</p> <p>Unfortunately this is not a keepsake ornament as the recipient will have to break the ornament unless they plan to spend most of the day fishing out the bills with a pair of tweezers, but the thoughtfulness of the presentation will go a long way.</p> <h2>9. Freeze Cold Hard Cash in a Jar</h2> <p>I saw this idea on Pinterest, and it&#39;s really cool. In a large jar, add a layer of coins and add just enough water to cover the coins. Freeze the jar. While the previous layer is still frozen, repeat these steps with different colored water until the jar is full. It&#39;s a tedious process, and it will make the recipient work a bit harder than they may want to, but it&#39;s at least a little bit funny &mdash; so long as the recipient has a good sense of humor, of course.</p> <h2>10. Replace a Few Chocolates in a Box With Money</h2> <p>This money-gift presentation couldn&#39;t be easier. Pick up a nice box of chocolates &mdash; there are plenty available this time of year &mdash; and remove a few piece of chocolate from inside. In their place, put folded bills in the paper wrappers. Voila, instant double gift! This also is a pleasant surprise for you, too, since you get to eat the pieces of chocolate that you remove. Just don&#39;t go overboard!</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas on how to present a money gift in a fun, fresh way? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-ways-to-wrap-the-gift-of-cash" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Fun Ways to Wrap the Gift of Cash" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY cash DIY gift wrap gifts Wed, 18 Dec 2013 10:48:46 +0000 Mikey Rox 1100563 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 DIYs For a Sparkling Clean Bathroom http://www.wisebread.com/8-diys-for-a-sparkling-clean-bathroom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-diys-for-a-sparkling-clean-bathroom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cleaning-153187215.jpg" alt="cleaning" title="cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Transform your bathroom into the best room in the house with DIYs that save you money and keep things nice and clean. And all of these cleaners are so easy to put together, which makes having them on hand a big plus. Here are a few of our favorites:</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Cleaning-Products-28901279">Make These 24 DIY Cleaning Products For Pennies</a></p> <h2>Toilet Bomb Fizzies</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-fizzles-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 549px;" /></p> <p>Make these <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Toilet-Bomb-Fizzies-31734698">toilet bomb fizzies</a> to flush away the bad smells &mdash; it works much better than lighting a match.</p> <h2>Counter Wipes</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-wipes-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Not only do these <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Make-Cleaning-Wipes-29438958/">counter wipes</a> do a great job of quickly cleaning your space, they look pretty nice, too. Don&#39;t have a coffee can hanging around? Use a 64-ounce yogurt tub instead.</p> <h2>Tub, Tile, and Grout Help</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-tub-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Stash a container of this easy and <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Bathroom-Cleaner-27898727/">eco-friendly tub, tile, and grout scrub</a> under your bathroom sink to keep your bath sparkling.</p> <h2>Commode Cleaner</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-toilet-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Keep things spotless with the help of this <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Toilet-Bowl-Cleaner-28855947/">DIY toilet bowl cleaner</a> that helps you scrub away stains and unwanted smells.</p> <h2>Bye-Bye, Hard Water Stains</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-hardwater-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>If you&#39;ve got glass shower doors, <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Clean-Hard-Water-Stains-31408262/">this DIY</a> does an amazing job of busting through hard water stains.</p> <h2>Happy Drains</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-drains-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Keep your drains flowing with the help of this <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Drain-Cleaner-30796532/">all-natural drain cleaner</a>.</p> <h2>Toilet Roll Trick</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-roll-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>You&#39;ll wonder why you didn&#39;t think of <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Scent-Toilet-Paper-Roll-Essential-Oil-32376451/">this smart idea earlier</a>.</p> <h2>Air Freshener</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/popsmart-airfresh-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 550px; height: 550px;" /></p> <p>Sometimes you need a little extra help making things smell better in the bathroom, which makes tucking a bottle of this <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Air-Freshener-26680750/">eco-friendly air freshener</a> in your medicine cabinet a smart idea.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> From air to toilet to tub, keep your bathroom nice and clean with these easy (and effective!) DIY cleaners. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Organize-Bathroom-22525237">8 Smart Ideas for Bathroom Organization</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Bathroom-Cleaning-Checklist-28307560">Scrub-a-Dub: The Ultimate Bathroom Cleaning Checklist</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Shorten-Cleaning-Time-22498197">11 Ways to Have a Clean Place Without Cleaning</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Green Living bathroom DIY household cleaners Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:48:09 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1098646 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Holiday Gifts That You (Yes, You!) Can Make With Paper http://www.wisebread.com/10-holiday-gifts-that-you-yes-you-can-make-with-paper <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-holiday-gifts-that-you-yes-you-can-make-with-paper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/holppr-185866995.jpg" alt="origami" title="origami" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you an artist or a crafter? Do you like making handmade gifts, but you&#39;re bored with the usual round of knitted/crocheted gifts, and you&#39;re not sure what else there is?</p> <p>Well, you don&#39;t need to look any further than your newspaper, wrapping paper stash, or that ream of paper just waiting for your printer.</p> <p>Unless you have little kids, paper is usually overlooked as a material for making presents. After all, a handmade card only goes so far. However, there are many, many other things that you can make out of paper, many of which actually turn into classy, nice presents. Still skeptical? Check out these 10 ideas for gifts you can make out of paper.</p> <h2>1. Papier Mache</h2> <p>You can make almost anything out of <a href="http://www.gourmetpapermache.com">papier mache</a>. Whether you&#39;d like to make a fun sculpture for a child&#39;s room, a piece of religious art, or maybe a set of safari or forest animals for display, papier mache can be your friend. At its most basic, you mix pieces of newspaper with diluted paste, attach them to some sort of mold, and wait for them to dry. However, the site above has some more sophisticated ideas, too, if you want to do a more complex sculpture.</p> <h2>2. Paper Airplanes</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holppr-147707020-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Do you think paper airplanes are just for kids, and that most of them don&#39;t really fly anyway? Think again. These <a href="http://www.paperairplaneshq.com/paper-airplanes.html">paper airplanes</a>, for example, come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Practice folding your favorites for a whimsical gift, or fold several and let the your recipient test them for distance, acrobatics, etc.</p> <h2>3. Paper Models</h2> <p>You can build castles, vehicles, buildings, dollhouses and interiors, and lots more out of paper. If you&#39;re not sure where to start, you can buy these already printed and ready to be assembled, or you can print your own. Check out <a href="http://www.papermodels.net">some of what&#39;s available</a>, so you can get a feel for how this works, then decide if you want to design your own or purchase someone else&#39;s design.</p> <h2>4. Quilling</h2> <p>Quilling is basically art made out of paper that is cut or torn into thin strips, curled, and arranged. You can start with a simple project like <a href="http://www.craftexpert.co.uk/QuillingGuide.html">this delicate filigree pendant</a>, and work your way up to more complex ones like <a href="http://www.thinkthe.me/articles/40-inspirational-quilling-patterns/">these inspired designs</a>. Also called paper filigree, quilling can be a fairly simple way to make beautiful and unique art that your friends and family will be proud to display.</p> <h2>5. Other Paper Art</h2> <p>If quilling isn&#39;t your thing or you want something a bit more sophisticated, get some inspiration from these works of <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/05/29/the-beauty-of-paper-art/">paper art</a>. The site doesn&#39;t link to many instructions, but that&#39;s kind of the point. Use these pieces as a jumping-off point or as inspiration for what simple paper can actually create, then do some experimenting. Trial and error can get you far in the world of creating with paper, and you&#39;ll probably come up with something fun and memorable for your intended recipient.</p> <h2>6. Origami Nesting Boxes</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holppr-174456996-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Origami is often relegated to the realms of children or Japanese artists. However, paper folding can also create beautiful and useful gifts. These <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/272584/origami-nesting-boxes?lnc=535a7dbc53cee010VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&amp;rsc=taxonomylist_crafts_paper-crafts">nesting boxes</a> from Martha Stewart are easy, as well. Choose some high quality paper and simply follow the directions to create boxes in all sorts of sizes. You can even choose a theme, like Christmas boxes or boxes to go with the decor of a particular room.</p> <h2>7. Paper Mosaic</h2> <p>If you&#39;re working mostly with scraps of paper or looking for a gift project that can use the scraps left over from other papercraft projects, try making a <a href="http://carlisclan.blogspot.com/2008/08/scraps-and-glue.html">paper mosaic</a>. You&#39;ll want to lightly sketch your picture onto canvas or paper before you begin, then organize your paper scraps by color. Finally, you can arrange them onto the picture and fix them in place with glue. Let the project dry, and you have a homey piece of art that will be a bonus in any home.</p> <h2>8. Tissue Paper Trees</h2> <p>Are you sick of wrapping with your tissue paper, or wishing you could use some of those colors that don&#39;t really fit in with the holiday season? Make a <a href="http://spunkyjunky.blogspot.com/2010/11/tutorial-tuesday-tissue-paper-christmas.html?m=1">tissue paper tree</a>! These are easy enough that the kids can help you make them, and yet they&#39;re decorative for the holiday season and beyond. Try making a whole forest of them in several different sizes, or make large ones to flank a fireplace or a sofa. These are great for when you need a lot of similar gifts, because they come together quickly and they&#39;re always a hit.</p> <h2>9. A DIY Journal</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holppr-185691426-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>The writer in your life probably has plenty of journals already, but they don&#39;t have one handmade by you! While making a book by hand is <a href="http://curiouslycrafty.wordpress.com/tutorials/">no small task</a>, the final product is something that will be treasured for a long, long time. If you don&#39;t know anyone who will fill a blank book with words, you can always make one of these and then fill it with photos, drawings, or notes for the recipient.</p> <h2>10. A DIY Journal From an Old Book</h2> <p>If you want to make a book but don&#39;t want to start from scratch, or if you have an old copy of a book your recipient will especially enjoy, try making <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/how_to_new_journal_from_an_old/">an old book into a blank book</a>. Again, this can be a fairly extensive project. However, if you use high quality paper and perfect your craftsmanship, you could be creating an heirloom.</p> <p>These are just a few of the projects you can make from paper that would also make high-quality gifts.</p> <p><em>Have you ever made a gift from paper? What did you make and how did you do it?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-holiday-gifts-that-you-yes-you-can-make-with-paper" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Holiday Gifts That You (Yes, You!) Can Make With Paper" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY buying guide DIY gifts holiday gift guide paper gifts Mon, 25 Nov 2013 10:48:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1098524 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baking-2751387-small.jpg" alt="baking" title="baking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Baking is one of those things most people look forward to around the holidays &mdash; the cookies, the cakes, the breads &mdash; oh my! They&#39;re fun to make, and they&#39;re some of the best, most frugal, oh-so-thoughtful gifts you can give. The problem is deciding <em>what</em> to bake, because while most people love getting baked goods as a gift, they tend to get pretty inundated with cookies and sweets, often more than they can (or ... um ... <em>should</em>) eat. So, I dug out some delicious recipes that are both a little out-of-ordinary, and have a longer shelf life so that your friends and family can enjoy them right into the New Year. Here are 15 beautiful, homemade gifts you can bake, including simple, savory, sweet, and distinctly seasonal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-savory-holiday-food-gifts?ref=seealso">7 Savory Food Gifts</a>)</p> <h2>Simple (Non) Baking</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holbake-131545039-ggnoads.jpg" style="line-height: 1.6em; opacity: 0.9; width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Sometimes the best way to gift fresh baking is to leave the baking to the recipient. The holidays are so busy and so filled with gatherings and food, it can be nice to give something that&#39;ll be fresh and fragrant when whoever you&#39;re giving it to has some time to really enjoy it ... which, let&#39;s face it, probably won&#39;t be until January. Here are a few simple ideas.</p> <h3>1. Scone Mix</h3> <p>Scones are delicious and simple to make, but they&#39;re best straight out of the oven (with lots and lots of butter!). You can choose any scone recipe you like; just combine the dry ingredients in a jar and include a label with instructions on how to complete the recipe. This <a href="http://www.yummymummykitchen.com/2011/12/cherry-oat-scone-mix-homemade-gift-with.html">cherry oat scone recipe</a> is super simple &mdash; and even includes a printable label for your jar. Remember, presentation is everything!</p> <h3>2. Muffin Mix</h3> <p>Muffins are easy enough to make from scratch, but many people still buy muffin mix. The homemade ones are so much better, and a simple muffin mix makes a great gift for beginner bakers. This <a href="http://www.positivelysplendid.com/2012/11/cinnamon-spice-muffin-mix-free-printable.html">cinnamon spice muffin mix recipe</a> has just the right holiday flavors. Include some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/go-tea-go-the-10-best-online-tea-merchants">gourmet tea</a> or coffee for a perfect breakfast treat.</p> <h3>3. Frozen Bread Dough</h3> <p>If you enjoy making fresh bread, chances are just about anyone on your list will enjoy receiving it. If you deliver an unbaked loaf, you&#39;ll also be giving the gift of the <em>smell</em> of fresh-baked bread, which is almost as good as the taste. Here are instructions on how to <a href="http://breadbaking.about.com/od/beginnerbasics/ht/freezedough.htm">freeze and thaw bread dough</a>. Once you&#39;ve got that down, you can make just about anything, from a <a href="http://www.aperturesandappetizers.com/basic-soft-white-sandwich-loaf/">simple white sandwich</a> bread, to these <a href="http://flourarrangements.org/2013/10/pumpkin-dinner-rolls/">adorable pumpkin dinner rolls</a> to <a href="http://thebatterthickens.blogspot.ca/2013/09/giant-cinnamon-rolls.html">cinnamon buns</a>.</p> <h2>Sweet Baking</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holbake-160237202-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>When you think holiday baking your probably think Christmas cookies. No one turns those down, but there are so many other options. Here are a few of my favorites.</p> <h3>4. Poppycock</h3> <p>Every year, my mom makes a sweet, sticky, nut-studded popcorn mix called <a href="http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/appetizers-and-snacks/poppycock-2/">poppycock</a>. No, I have no idea why it&#39;s called that, but it&#39;s delicious. There are many many variations of sweet popcorn. When packaged in a sealed bag or container, it keeps well for several weeks. I like this <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/355397/caramel-almond-popcorn?czone=holiday%2Fsantas-workshop%2Fsantas-handmade-gifts&amp;gallery=274972&amp;slide=355397&amp;center=307035">caramel almond version</a>.</p> <h3>5. Granola</h3> <p>Homemade granola makes a great gift. It&#39;s healthy, it&#39;s delicious, and it tastes way better than anything you&#39;d get in the store. Plus, you can load in as many nuts, raisins, and other goodies as you want. This <a href="http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/12/homemade-holiday-granola-recipes-plus-5.html">holiday granola recipe</a> has all the right spices, and is beautifully packaged with a cinnamon stick. You could also whip up some <a href="http://sweet-treats-baking.blogspot.ca/2013/10/copycat-kind-bars-gf.html">homemade granola bars</a>. They make a great, healthy treat for both kids and adults.</p> <h3>6. Mini Bundt Cakes</h3> <p>Bundt cakes are simple, delicious, and, because they&#39;re very moist, don&#39;t go stale as quickly as other cakes. That&#39;s especially true if you prick them with a fork and soak them with rum, brandy or some other liqueur of your choice. (You should totally do that, by the way.) Mini bundts are also cute and portion-controlled, which people seem to like. There are so many bundt recipes it&#39;s hard to know where to start, but I like the holiday flavor of these <a href="http://kirantarun.com/food/2013/10/18/plum-tea-cakes/">plum bundt cakes</a>. You could also try <a href="http://lifescoops.blogspot.ca/2013/09/cranberry-orange-mini-bundt-cakes-or.html">cranberry orange</a>. If you&#39;re really having trouble deciding, go with <a href="http://www.thisgalcooks.com/2013/10/02/mini-chocolate-bundt-cakes-coffee-glaze/">chocolate</a>. Everyone likes chocolate.</p> <h3>7. Truffles</h3> <p>Truffles are sweet, delicious, adorable, and relatively easy to make. Plus, they always look amazing in a holiday candy box of some sort. You could try these unique <a href="http://www.traceysculinaryadventures.com/2013/10/pumpkin-spice-truffles.html#.UmqxjPmminp">pumpkin spice truffles</a>, <a href="http://www.incrediblyedible.org/2013/10/cacao-seed-truffles.html">healthy, date-sweetened truffles</a>, <a href="http://dajana-bakerscorner.blogspot.it/2013/09/white-chocolate-strawberry-truffles.html">white chocolate strawberry truffles</a> or, you know, <a href="http://talentadongchef.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/classic-chocolate-truffles/">go with chocolate</a>.</p> <h3>8. Biscotti</h3> <p>Biscotti were originally designed by the Romans as a portable, non-perishable food that could be carried by travelers. Recent recipes have gotten a lot more flavorful than those little rock cakes, but the results still keep well. Try this recipe for <a href="http://www.sweetsonian.com/2013/09/guest-post-chai-tea-biscotti/">chai tea biscotti</a>. Or, keep the flavors simple with this <a href="http://www.lemonsforlulu.com/2013/09/08/maple-glazed-biscotti/">vanilla white chocolate version</a>. And don&#39;t forget about <a href="http://mamasgottabake.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/chocolate-biscotti/">chocolate</a>.</p> <h2>Savory Snacks</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holbake-173313060-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Christmas tends to revolve around sweet things, but it&#39;s definitely possible to have too much of a good thing here. Plus, not everyone likes sweets. Here are a few savory options to try.</p> <h3>9. Crackers</h3> <p>Cheese platters and dip trays are common at Christmas, so why not give out homemade crackers? This <a href="http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/savory-crackers-recipe-clv1212">savory cracker sampler recipe</a> provides a base recipe you can split into four different cracker varieties, which makes baking them simple. It&#39;ll also make you look like a super-star.</p> <h3>10. Breadsticks</h3> <p>Everyone loves breadsticks, especially if they come with a delicious, homemade dip. These slender Italian &quot;<a href="http://www.jocooks.com/bakery/breads/bread-sticks-grissini/">grissini</a>&quot; make a beautiful and unique gift. They&#39;re also pretty easy to make, especially if you whip up the dough in your bread machine.</p> <h3>11. Snack Mix</h3> <p>You can call it Chex mix if you want, but it&#39;s tastier when you make your own. You also get creative license. Try this <a href="http://spicysouthernkitchen.com/spicy-snack-mix/">spicy snack mix recipe,</a> or mix things up by substituting your favorite cereals, nuts, and flavors.</p> <h2>Seasonal Show-Stoppers</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holbake-166669383-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Some gifts just scream Christmas, which is exactly what makes them so lovable. Here are a few of my favorites.</p> <h3>12. Christmas Ornament Cookies</h3> <p>Yes, you can make Christmas cookies that look like ornaments, and even hang them right on the tree. That&#39;s assuming you don&#39;t have kids. Or a dog. At any rate, <a href="http://www.mysweetandsaucy.com/2008/12/christmas-decorated-sugar-cookies/">this simple sugar cookie recipe</a> includes lots of photos of beautifully decorated cookies. Mine tend to be more ... uh ... <em>rustic</em>. I&#39;ll try not to hate you if yours are perfect.</p> <h3>13. Sugar Button Cookies</h3> <p>These <a href="http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/sugar-cookie-buttons-recipe-clv1212">simple, button-shaped sugar cookies</a> can be stacked and threaded together by running a ribbon through their button-holes. They&#39;re sweet and cute as a, well, you know.</p> <h3>14. Fruitcake</h3> <p>Nothing signals the start of the holidays like the appearance of fruitcake ... or fruitcake bashing. But honestly, I don&#39;t know where all those hard feelings come from; homemade fruitcake tastes like holiday heaven. I like a <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/christmas-fruitcake/">classic fruitcake recipe</a> with plenty of candied fruits and spices. If that isn&#39;t your thing, try a <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/White-Fruit-Cake/">white fruit cake</a>. It&#39;s a lot lighter, which might appeal to those who can&#39;t stomach a denser brick. I even found a recipe for a <a href="http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2009/10/29/fruitcake-yes-fruitcake-%E2%80%93-get-over-it-this-is-good-fruitcake/">unique fruitcake</a> that uses banana and dried fruits. It&#39;s specifically for those who don&#39;t like fruitcake. Give it a try!</p> <h3>15. Dough Ornaments</h3> <p>Here&#39;s one gift you can bake that your recipients <em>can&#39;t</em> eat. And sometimes during the holidays, that isn&#39;t such a bad thing. This <a href="http://spoonful.com/crafts/salt-dough-ornaments">salt dough recipe</a> allows you to bake your own Christmas ornaments. If you put these together well and then paint and glaze them, they can last for years.</p> <p><em>Do you have a few home-baked gifts of your own? Share your favorite recipes in the comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Food and Drink buying guide gifts holiday baking holiday gift guide holiday gifts Mon, 18 Nov 2013 10:48:06 +0000 Tara Struyk 1096694 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Great DIY Gifts for Geeks http://www.wisebread.com/15-great-diy-gifts-for-geeks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-great-diy-gifts-for-geeks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7377611424_70d2390024_z_0.jpg" alt="Star Wars fan" title="Star Wars fan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What is a geek?</p> <p>Well, I think it&#39;s safe to say most of us have a little bit of geek in us these days. I know I&#39;m a complete geek when it comes to things like &quot;Star Wars,&quot; &quot;Breaking Bad,&quot; &quot;Sherlock,&quot; and a whole bunch of movies and TV shows too numerous to mention.</p> <p>In fact, the term geek has become something to be celebrated, equating to an extreme love of many aspects of our society. Stores like Urban Outfitters and <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10356146" target="_blank">ThinkGeek.com</a> also celebrate this, and whether you&#39;re a geek about something yourself, or know someone who is, there are so many ways to entertain that &quot;inner geek.&quot;</p> <p>But it can also be expensive. From collectible action figures to costumes and steampunk, there&#39;s a lot for the average geek these days. A <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005Y3EDR4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005Y3EDR4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20" target="_blank">replica Ghostbusters trap</a> (I want one) costs $500. I wonder if the real one cost that much to make? Props from TV shows and movies run into many thousands of dollars. Even t-shirts can empty your piggy bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/love-your-geek-10-romantic-gifts-for-under-25?ref=seealso">10 Romantic Geek Gifts Under $25</a>)</p> <p>So, if you have a &quot;geek&quot; in your life, and want to make them happy without slashing your savings, here are some DIY gift ideas that will work.</p> <h2>1. Get Your Legos Out</h2> <p>Not the new Lego sets that let you build a pirate ship or fire truck. You need the classic Legos. You can pick them up cheap online. You probably have some lying around at home. With a little imagination and some super glue, you can make some permanent fashion accessories that are unique and fun. Try a <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/151456198/colourful-geek-bow-tie-made-of-lego?ref=sr_gallery_6&amp;ga_search_query=lego+bow+tie&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_search_type=all">Lego bowtie</a> or necktie. Maybe a Lego pair of eyeglass frames. You could also make Lego pins, hair ties, and penholders. The best part&hellip;it&#39;s fun for you, too.</p> <h2>2. Decorate With Old Comic Books</h2> <p>With a little glue, a pair of scissors, and some patience, you can create a comic themed gift that no one else owns. From <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/154852205/custom-order-comic-book-shoes-you-pick?ref=sr_gallery_28&amp;ga_search_query=comic+book+shoes&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_search_type=all">a pair of high-heeled shoes</a> to photo frames and coffee tables, the only limit is your imagination. Just cut small pieces of the comic up, glue the back, and stick them down until the item is covered. Then, to protect them from the weather or other elements, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YQMFXK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000YQMFXK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20" target="_blank">use a waterproof coating</a>. This can be painted or sprayed on and can be found in most hobby stores. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-shopping-at-the-craft-store-even-if-youre-not-a-crafter?ref=seealso">Save Money by Shopping at the Craft Store</a>)</p> <h2>3. Custom Tees</h2> <p>You don&#39;t need to be a designer to make a cool t-shirt. You have several options. The easiest is to buy some t-shirt transfer paper for your inkjet printer and a blank t-shirt. Find a hi-resolution image of something the geek in your life loves, print it out, iron it on, and bingo! Instant awesomeness.</p> <p>If that&#39;s too much, grab some fabric paints or markers and do something inspired. It doesn&#39;t have to be realistic. Maybe it&#39;s just one word from something they love. Or use glow in the dark paints for something different, like <a href="http://www.theshirtlist.com/space-invaders-glow-in-the-dark-shirt/">Space Invaders</a> or a secret geeky fan word. Heisenberg anyone?</p> <h2>4. Typewriter and Keyboard Keys</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/geek-963002-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px;" /></p> <p>Pop to your local Goodwill, and you&#39;ll find plenty of cheap computer keyboards. If you&#39;re lucky, you&#39;ll find a cheap old typewriter, too. If not, Craigslist is a great resource for them. The keys can be used for anything from rings and necklaces to toys and even car number plates. I saw <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeOCuVbDmQk">a great Rubik&#39;s cube</a> that used old computer keyboard keys on each square. It looked awesome, and is really, really difficult to solve. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">18 Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <h2>5. Zombify Something</h2> <p>Anything that has a face can be zombified. From an <a href="http://beautifuldecay.com/2010/11/04/jessica-harrisons-pride-prejudice-and-zombies/">old porcelain doll</a> to a painting, action figure, even a photo of the person the gift is for. You can do it with paints, on the computer, however you want. It will be original and unforgettable.</p> <h2>6. Office Supply X-Wing Fighter</h2> <p>You can see the <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/X-Wing-Fighter-from-Office-Supplies/">full instructions here</a>, but all you need to create this mini-masterpiece is: one big Sharpie, four pen lids, a pencil sharpener, butterfly clips, medium and large binder clips, an old SD memory card, and some glue to keep it all together. You can leave it as is, or if you want to take it to the next level, spray it in primer and a color.</p> <h2>7. Custom LED Shirts</h2> <p>Now, if you fancy getting into a little bit of electronic experimentation (and really, it&#39;s very basic) you can create some unique t-shirts that light the way! LED shirts can be expensive, but you can make your own for yourself or a friend using just a few basic tools and your unlimited imagination. From a <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e60f/">glowing Iron Man chest plate</a> to <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-T-shirt/">something a little more bizarre,</a> it&#39;s one way to guarantee a fun and unique gift. If you&#39;re feeling really adventurous, try <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StDxXMqkcMA">glasses</a>.</p> <h2>8. Circuit Board Jewelry</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/geek-5243860-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>One of the few advantages of technology getting old so quickly is that you get a lot of cheap, old parts. Some are just dumped in the trash. And that&#39;s good news for people willing to spend a little time turning old circuit boards into new accessories. Just go to Pinterest and <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=circuit%20board%20jewelry&amp;rs=ac&amp;len=16">check out some of these stunning, cheap designs.</a></p> <h2>9. Give Old Art a Makeover</h2> <p>Pop down to your local charity store, or look in your own basement or attic, for an old painting that is long past its prime. Now, what would make a great addition to that tired old farmyard scene, or boring seascape? How about an <a href="http://www.kulfoto.com/funny-pictures/47267/star-wars-in-boring-old-painting">AT-AT from Star Wars</a>, or Godzilla? You can paint it in yourself, or if you don&#39;t have the skills, simply find a picture online, cut it out carefully, and stick it on. These are not just funny and original gifts, they are great talking points. And they&#39;re really, really cheap to make! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-diy-ideas-for-creating-inexpensive-art?ref=seealso">DIY Ideas for Creating Inexpensive Art</a>)</p> <h2>10. Make a Clock Out of&hellip;Anything</h2> <p>Basic clock parts are super cheap and easy to come by. All you really need to do is think of something cool to drill a hole through. From old metal lunchboxes and <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/TECOART?ref=l2-shopheader-name">hard drives</a> to gift boxes and photographs, the world is your oyster. And sometimes, you don&#39;t even need to drill the hole -- an <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/128357907/evil-dead-style-design-vinyl-record?ref=sr_gallery_37&amp;ga_search_query=geek+clock&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_search_type=all">LP</a> or vinyl single is ready to go.</p> <h2>11. Steampunk Something</h2> <p>From Comic Con to the high street retailer, Steampunk&#39;s following is growing and growing. And it&#39;s really cool. Steampunk, if you don&#39;t know it yet (and you will) is the point at which science-fiction meets the steam-powered machinery of the 19th century. Of course, it&#39;s become a lot greater than that, and a lot more broad. Some of the greatest examples are elaborate computer <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/steampunk-keyboard/">keyboards</a> that look like they came from an H.G Wells novel. Now, with the right pieces of equipment and a little glue, you can turn anything into something that looks &quot;steampunk.&quot; From <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Steampunk-Flashlight/">flashlights</a> and <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/105871100/uno-dos-tres-steampunk-bracelet-zipper?ref=sr_gallery_37&amp;ga_search_query=steampunk&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_search_type=all">jewelry</a> to <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/164623201/steampunk-owl-gas-mask-respirator?ref=sr_gallery_21&amp;ga_search_query=steampunk&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_page=2&amp;ga_search_type=all">masks</a> and <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/151637834/victorian-steampunk-goggles-aviator?ref=sr_gallery_10&amp;ga_search_query=steampunk&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_page=3&amp;ga_search_type=all">goggles</a>, once you have the basic look down, anything goes.</p> <h2>12. Old Bottles, New Tricks</h2> <p>I first saw the <a href="http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/stormtrooper-helmet">milk jug Stormtrooper</a> a few years ago, and was blown away by it. But although it&#39;s possibly the most creative use of a few empty jugs or bottles, it&#39;s not the only use. For instance, you can create a an <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8iNuIP6pT0">R2D2 drinks dispenser</a>, or make some <a href="http://i.imgur.com/cbSQO.jpg">booming speakers</a> for your iPhone (of course, feel free to jazz them up a bit).</p> <h2>13. Sharpies Rule</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/geek-294489-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Sharpies come in all different colors and thicknesses, and are permanent. Now, that doesn&#39;t mean you can expect to draw something on a mug and expect it to last forever, but if it&#39;s something collectible, you&#39;re in luck. You can decorate masks, bowls, shoes, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFHwf_zRLkg">even cars</a>! And you don&#39;t need a ton of artistic skill. I recently saw someone wearing a pair of white converse shoes that he had doodled all over. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8krXn-iLlg">And here&#39;s another awesome example.</a> They look really cool.</p> <h2>14. Re-Use Old Floppy Discs</h2> <p>Back in the day, those 3.5-inch floppy discs held all of our vital information. These days, they couldn&#39;t hold a simple photograph. They stored just 1.44 Mb of information! However, although practically useless as storage devices, they can be used to create plant pots, wall art, or hold USB cables. <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/129191668/35-inch-floppy-disk-coaster-set-of-4-up?ref=sr_gallery_32&amp;ga_search_query=floppy+disc&amp;ga_view_type=gallery&amp;ga_ship_to=US&amp;ga_search_type=all">They also make great coasters</a>. And they&#39;re cheap and chic.</p> <h2>15. Old Books for New Tech</h2> <p>Almost everyone has a tablet, smartphone, or laptop these days. The protective cases for them can be expensive, costing up to $100 or more. But you can make someone a case from an old book, and it will cost a fraction of the price. You can also customize it to be a book that ties to something they really love. You can <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Sew-Book-Cover-for-your-eReader-or-Tablet/">see the instructions here</a>, and old books can be purchased at thrift stores for just a few dollars.</p> <p><em>What&#39;s on your geek&#39;s wishlist? Will you be DIYing it this year?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-great-diy-gifts-for-geeks" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Great DIY Gifts for Geeks" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY buying guide DIY gifts holiday gift guide Wed, 06 Nov 2013 10:24:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1079810 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Old Furniture Shine With These Simple Refinishing Tricks http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chairs-5252078-small.jpg" alt="wood chairs" title="wood chairs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you&#39;ve scored an awesome piece of wood furniture at an estate sale, on Craigslist, or at your local dumpster, but it&#39;s looking a little worse for wear. How can you make that old wood furniture new again? The easiest thing to do is to give it a light sanding and then paint it in a fun new color. However, if you&#39;re into the look of wood grain, stripping it down and re-staining that wood furniture might be your best bet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ruin-an-antique-how-to-tell-if-you-should-refinish-wooden-furniture">How to Tell If You Should Refinish Wooden Furniture</a>)</p> <h2>Is It Possible to Restore Without Stripping?</h2> <p>First things first: are stripping and re-staining really necessary? I&#39;m not going to lie &mdash; stripping the original finish off a piece, sanding it down, and re-staining it can be a long and arduous process. If you&#39;re not up to the task, you may have a half-finished piece of wood furniture sitting in your garage for the next eight months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">10 Costly DIY Mistakes</a>)</p> <p><strong>Refresh Instead for Short Term Shine</strong></p> <p>If the wear and tear on the piece is superficial, or if the finish is just looking a little dry and tired, refreshing your wood piece might be an easier (if somewhat temporary) solution. This <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2010/10/before-and-afater-basics-refreshing-wood.html">helpful tutorial from Design*Sponge</a> details how to lightly sand your piece, oil it with Teak Oil, and finish it off with a coat of furniture wax. This method will greatly improve the look of your piece but will require additional maintenance over time.</p> <h2>Stripping Off the Finish</h2> <p>If your piece does require full stripping of the previous finish, here&#39;s what to do.</p> <p>The goal of using a chemical stripper is to remove the protective coating on the wood furniture, exposing the grain of the wood. I prefer a relatively &quot;safer&quot; gel stripper like <a href="http://www.wmbarr.com/citristrip/default.aspx">CitriStrip</a>, which gets the job done with fewer caustic chemicals. Be sure to follow the manufacturer&#39;s instructions for whichever stripping product you use, and do it in a well-ventilated area (preferably wearing a mask).</p> <p>After cleaning your piece, apply the gel stripper using a brush, covering the entire surface of the wood. Wait the appropriate time detailed in the instructions. The stripper will cause the finish on the wood to crinkle up, allowing you to scrape it off with a paint scraper. Repeat if not all of the finish was removed.</p> <p>When the protective finish has been removed to your satisfaction, wipe down the piece with mineral spirits (this will deactivate any remaining stripping product that may be in the grain). Be aware that if the piece was stained, the color may still remain after stripping because the stain has soaked into the wood itself. Leftover stain may prevent new stain from absorbing evenly. If you use a similar color stain, however, it may not be a problem. The only way to completely remove stain is to sand it out.</p> <h2>Sanding Down the Surface</h2> <p>After you&#39;ve stripped off the protective coating, sand the wood furniture to smooth it out and to remove surface scratches and imperfections. You won&#39;t be able to do much about deep gouges unless you want to fill them with wood filler, but the filler will take future stain differently than the original wood (I say, stick with the gouges &mdash; they add &quot;character&quot;).</p> <p>Remember that if your wood furniture is made of veneer over plywood, you won&#39;t be able to sand too far without sanding through the veneer (a lesson I learned the hard way). If your furniture is made of solid wood, you can do a lot more sanding, and you should able to remove any old stain by sanding down to raw wood (in which case, invest in an electric sander). Start with an coarser grit sandpaper (60-100 grit) and finish with a finer grit sandpaper (220 grit) for a smooth finish.</p> <h2>Staining the Wood</h2> <p>Now that your wood furniture is stripped and sanded, wipe the whole thing down with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris. You may wish to treat the piece with a pre-stain treatment or wood conditioner to help the stain go on more evenly (though I have never found this to be necessary).</p> <p>Apply wood stain in the color of your choice. If you weren&#39;t able to sand out all of the old stain, you will need to choose a similar color for your new stain. I like to use oil-based stain for a longer drying time and therefore a more even application, although water-based stains have fewer harmful chemicals. Again, do this outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. I prefer to apply stain using an old lint free rag dipped in the stain (you can also use a brush). After a few minutes, wipe off any excess stain (do not allow excess stain to dry or it will stay tacky forever). Repeat until you have the color you want. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/repaint-your-old-furniture-for-a-budget-d-cor-update">Repaint Your Old Furniture for a Budget Update</a>)</p> <h2>Protecting the Wood</h2> <p>After your stain is thoroughly dry, you&#39;ll need to add a protective finish. There are a range of water and oil-based polyurethanes available that are easy to brush on for a shiny, hard, and durable finish. In a well-ventilated area, apply the polyurethane in thin, even coats, allowing time to dry in between each coat. You should sand between coats with fine-grit sandpaper (wiping off any dust) to ensure a smooth finish and to improve the adherence of the polyurethane.</p> <p>If you prefer a more hand-rubbed look, using paste wax (brown or clear) is another option for a protective finish. Apply the wax with a brush or rag, and then buff it out for a smooth finish. Wax will not offer the hardness of a polyurethane, but some people prefer the greater depth and color it gives the finish. Also, with wax, minor surface scratches can be buffed out. You will need to re-apply the paste wax periodically to maintain the finish. If you can&#39;t decide which to use, this <a href="http://www.jenniferrizzo.com/2012/09/using-paste-wax-vs-polyacrylic-sealers.html">comparison of paste wax vs. poly</a> may help.</p> <p>Let the protective coating on your wood furniture cure for a few days, and you&#39;ll be ready to use your newly restored piece of furniture!</p> <p><em>Have you ever stripped and stained old furniture? How did it work out?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks" class="sharethis-link" title="Make Old Furniture Shine With These Simple Refinishing Tricks" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY DIY furniture furniture refinish wood furniture Wed, 30 Oct 2013 10:00:03 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1044965 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8518418075_97337d97d2_b.jpg" alt="standing desk" title="standing desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ernest Hemingway wrote at <a href="http://www.davidpaulkirkpatrick.com/2013/01/02/the-paris-review-app-writers-at-work-series/">a standing desk</a> (<a href="http://kottke.org/12/05/ernest-hemingways-standing-desk">sometimes a very frugal DIY one</a>). Charles Dickens wrote at one, too, and generations of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Architect.png">architects</a>, <a href="http://www.designboom.com/architecture/architecture-in-uniform-designing-and-building-for-the-second-world-war/">engineers</a>, and <a href="http://peabody.yale.edu/sites/default/files/images/exhibits/james-perry-wilson/bgg_studio.jpg">draftsmen</a> did their work at standing desks and tables. The writers claimed standing helped them find inspiration and maybe that is also true for the artists and designers. Most folks agreed that sitting was for slackers. Standing at their work was also much better for their health. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-standing-desks">The Top 5 Standing Desks</a>)</p> <p>Unfortunately, these days many of us spend our working hours planted firmly in our chairs, and we&#39;re suffering because of it. In the past few years, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/business/stand-up-desks-gaining-favor-in-the-workplace.html">health researchers have determined</a> that <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sitting/AN02082">sitting all day is killing us</a>. It&#39;s bad for our backs. It&#39;s bad for our postures. It&#39;s bad for our muscles and our hearts and our metabolism. It&#39;s bad for weight loss. Worse? Sitting&#39;s ill effects cannot be undone by a few hours a week at the gym. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-reasons-to-get-out-of-your-office-chair">25 Reasons to Get Out of Your Chair</a>)</p> <p>Those alarming studies were followed soon by an Internet mini-boom in standing desk chatter and design ideas and sales pitches. You can spend a lot of money for <a href="http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-standing-desks/">a custom, automatic desk</a> that switches from sitting to standing at the touch of a button. Or you can spend nothing at all for the kludgiest, DIY standing desk imaginable &mdash; <a href="http://scrivel.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/standing-desk-prototype-2/">a folding chair on a desk</a>.</p> <p>What follows is a collection of 11 standing desk designs that fall somewhere in between touch-of-a-button and chair-on-a-desk. Stuff that won&#39;t embarrass you if your spouse or neighbor or co-worker catches you working at it. Some are high design and some are DIY hacks. All are probably better for you than the desk you&#39;re using now.</p> <h2>1. Steel Pipe</h2> <p>The only thing blowing up bigger than standing desks in the lifehack DIY corners of the Internet is stuff you can make with black or steel pipe. Of course you can make <a href="http://www.brianhirschy.com/tag/pipe-standing-desk/">standing desks</a> with pipe, too. This <a href="http://spacekat.me/blog/2012/07/31/steel-pipe-standing-desk/">one is a little cleaner</a> and simpler.</p> <p>I really like this high design (and unfortunately high dollar) <a href="http://ohiodesign.com/product/adler-table/">riff on on the steel pipe standing desk</a>. The Adler Table adjusts from sitting to standing with an old timey <em>hand crank</em>.</p> <h2>2. Steel Pipe Kits</h2> <p>If you don&#39;t want to bother with cutting the pipe yourself, you can order <a href="http://www.simplifiedbuilding.com/blog/adjustable-height-sitting-and-standing-desk/">a pre-cut kit with some clever pipe-unions</a> from Simplified Building. The height is adjustable although you probably ought to move everything off your desk before you start fussing with it. In addition to the $200 for parts, you&#39;ll need to source a desktop.</p> <h2>3. Wall Desk</h2> <p><a href="http://www.swiss-miss.com/2013/07/wall-standing-desk.html">Wall desks</a> have been around for a while and <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/less-is-more-fold-away-wall-desks.html">they&#39;re great if you work from a laptop</a> and want make the switch to a standing desk part-time. Just mount at standing desk height rather than sitting, and you&#39;re ready for few hours on your feet.</p> <h2>4. Sawhorses</h2> <p>I haven&#39;t priced this out in detail, but <a href="http://designsbystudioc.com/build-sawhorse-table-brackets/">a hundred bucks should get this done</a>. And probably with enough cash to spare for snacks and beverages after. You&#39;ll need some steel sawhorse brackets, several lengths of 2x4 lumber (check the bracket package for a chart that explains how long to cut your lumber for a given table height, otherwise <a href="http://www.basiccarpentrytechniques.com/Sawhorse%207.html">the math is here</a>), a hollow core door for the desktop, and a quart of paint if you <a href="http://www.mintdesignblog.com/2012/08/diy-standing-desk/">want to get crafty</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/repaint-your-old-furniture-for-a-budget-d-cor-update">How to Repaint Old Furniture</a>)</p> <p>Too rough and tumble? Try this elegant, <a href="http://www.absolutebodo.com/?p=3783">adjustable tall sawhorse design</a>.</p> <h2>5. Box on a Desk</h2> <p>Dangerously close to folding chair on a desk, <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5642232/the-improvised-standing-desk-+-gallery">the box on a desk</a> offers a little more stability than the chair and almost as much frugality. I&#39;ve got a soft spot for boxes (and milk crates), and this is a good cheap solution for folks who want to experiment with standing.</p> <h2>6. Modular Shelving</h2> <p>You can find all sorts of modular shelving systems &mdash; <a href="http://www.containerstore.com/shop/elfa/bestSellingSolutions/officeSpaces?productId=10024656&amp;N=77773">Elfa from the Container Store</a>, for example &mdash; that include parts for desks. When you&#39;re setting up your home office work space, just configure the desk at standing height.</p> <p>Modified <a href="http://toolmonger.com/2012/03/28/hungarian-shelves-ftw-or-why-tm-readers-rock/">Hungarian Shelves</a> would <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/qwnu/4549401462/">work well</a>, too.</p> <h2>7. IKEA Hack</h2> <p>Ikea products are inexpensive, and durable enough for most of us, and really well-suited to hacking, including into <a href="http://www.howtogeek.com/102604/diy-ikea-standing-desk-offers-space-storage-and-style-inexpensively/">standing desks</a> in a <a href="http://mycrankygut.com/2012/09/10/its-not-always-about-cranky-guts-and-fancy-diets/">variety</a> of <a href="http://shortbluesky.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-diy-standing-desk-with-ikea-parts.html">designs</a>.</p> <p>Or you can get a kit that turns some inexpensive IKEA parts into <a href="http://www.diystandingdeskkit.com/kit-details/">an adjustable height standing desk</a>.</p> <h2>8. High Shelf</h2> <p>Few DIY jobs are simpler than <a href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80091713/">mounting a shelf on a wall</a>.</p> <p>For a long time I sweated over the details of a DIY version of this <a href="http://www.2modern.com/modern-furniture/Desks/mash-wall-mounted-desk">pricey wall-mounted, floating desk</a> that I wanted to build and install in my home office. Alas, I need more tools (and money) to make it happen.</p> <h2>9. Laptop Stand</h2> <p>Back toward the chair on the desk end of the spectrum is the simple and elegant <a href="http://betanews.com/2011/05/13/turn-your-normal-desk-into-a-standing-workspace-in-3-steps/">desktop laptop stand</a>.</p> <h2>10. Home Built</h2> <p>If you don&#39;t mind your workspace looking like a tall workbench or potting table, <a href="http://www.barrettmorgandesignllc.com/blogs/2010/09/standing-desk-drafting-table-all-one">you can put one together yourself</a> with a few basic power tools (just a drill and a circular saw, which I do have). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-own-furniture-9-helpful-tips-for-non-carpenters">Build Your Own Furniture: 9 Tips for Non-Carpenters</a>)</p> <h2>11. Recycled Drafting Table</h2> <p>And here we are right back where we started &mdash; the drafting table. An <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HF4RAM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000HF4RAM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">adjustable drafting table</a> is the solution I have decided to try in my own home office &mdash; soon. Durable, sturdy, spacious, adjustable, and affordable (under $250 new, less if I can find a used one in good condition). It&#39;s not the most attractive of the bunch, but it&#39;s got the right mix of features and price, and it&#39;s a form I trust and recognize from high school drafting class.</p> <p><em>What about you? Have you switched, or are you planning to switch, to a standing desk? What&#39;s your affordable solution?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-attractive-standing-desks-you-can-actually-afford" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Attractive Standing Desks You Can Actually Afford" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks DIY desks home office office furniture standing desks Mon, 28 Oct 2013 09:36:04 +0000 Lars Peterson 967796 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Great Uses for a Bandana http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-uses-for-a-bandana <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-great-uses-for-a-bandana" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-5481657-small.jpg" alt="bandana scarf" title="bandana scarf" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These days, the bandana is so much more than cowboy couture! The classic patterned kerchiefs we know and love have made their way into crafting, fashion, decoration, and even play a role in human health and survival. Here are 20 offbeat, awesome, useful, and sometimes brilliant ways you can rock a bandana. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-practical-uses-for-bobby-pins">Practical Uses for Bobby Pins</a>)</p> <h2>1. Fabric Napkin</h2> <p>Bandanas are a cheap and fun way to give a dinner party, barbeque, or picnic a little extra pizzazz. They don&#39;t show stains like white napkins, and have a little more class than a paper towel. Try <a href="http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/cr_linens_fabrics/article/0,2025,DIY_13765_4377503,00.html">these fancy folding techniques</a>, if you do decide to throw a bandana-enhanced soiree.</p> <h2>2. Scarf</h2> <p>Wearing a bandana will keep your neck from being too cold, too hot, or too sunburned. It&#39;s light, and you can always switch it out if you have another.</p> <h2>3. Trail Marker</h2> <p>Because bandanas are so easy to see and to tie, they&#39;re great to mark a trail for those who are following you, or in case you yourself get lost. Just make sure to tie that bandana tight, if it&#39;s important to you or your fellow hikers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/close-to-home-outdoor-adventure-basics">Outdoor Adventure Basics</a>)</p> <h2>4. Halter Top</h2> <p>When the summer months are upon us, it&#39;s important to feel comfortable. Making or buying a bandana halter-top can prove a fashionable and inexpensive way to beat the heat. Make <a href="http://www.makingfriends.com/summer/bandana_halter.htm">your own halter-top</a> with your favorite bandana, or buy one in nearly every color under the rainbow!</p> <h2>5. Hair Tie</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/band-17491-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>When your hair needs to be tied back and out of your face, a bandana can help. Tie your hair up in the bandana like a bow, or tie the bandana around your head and tuck your hair in. Either way, you&#39;re good to go.</p> <h2>6. Ice Pack</h2> <p>A bandana&#39;s size and thickness makes it a great candidate for a makeshift ice pack if you&#39;re sore or sustain an injury. Put ice or frozen veggies in the bandana, and make contact with the injured area. You&#39;ll be on the mend in no time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-all-natural-ways-to-relieve-sore-muscles">8 Natural Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles</a>)</p> <h2>7. Wrapping Paper</h2> <p>When you wrap a smaller gift in a bandana, you&#39;re really giving your friend the actual gift and&hellip;the <a href="http://furoshiki.com/techniques/">gift of bandana&#39;d possibility</a>. (Bonus points if you print out this list as a part of the gift).</p> <h2>8. Lamp Shade</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/354452/bandanna-lampshade">DIY bandana lampshade</a> can be a super fun addition to your dwelling. You can drape a bandana over a wire lampshade frame or sew it onto an actual shade for more structure. Either way, make sure your bulb is appropriate for the fixture&hellip; bandanas are awesome, but they ARE still flammable.</p> <h2>9. Wash Cloth</h2> <p>In a pinch, a bandana&#39;s cloth body can be used to wash with soap, water or cleaning solution. It&#39;s small enough that it can be wadded up for extra pressure, or kept unfolded to cover more area.</p> <h2>10. Team Accessory</h2> <p>If you&#39;re like me, you love an impromptu game of basketball, baseball, or capture the flag. Use a bandana around your arm, neck, or leg as identifiers for one team, so the game doesn&#39;t get confusing. Hey, it&#39;s better than skins and shirts, right?</p> <h2>11. Basket</h2> <p>Keep a kerchief with you to carry smaller things in the woods, at home, or in your purse. Sharp edges won&#39;t usually tear your bandana, and the sturdiness of the cloth will keep most things safe and secure!</p> <h2>12. A Sit Upon</h2> <p>Need a clean, comfortable place to park your backside when you&#39;re out in the world? Try making your own <a href="http://spoonful.com/crafts/bandana-sit-upon">bandana sit upon</a>! Bandanas are the perfect size for a portable pillow, so you can be comfortable and not get dirty when you&#39;re having a seat.</p> <h2>13. Beach Bag</h2> <p>All you need are two bandanas, some cord, and a safety pin to make a conveniently sized, <a href="http://www.makingfriends.com/teencrafts/bandana_bag.htm">versatile little beach bag</a>! These are great because you can take them anywhere, and if they get dirty you can just pop them in the wash.</p> <h2>14. Playing Cards Holder</h2> <p>Lost your cardboard playing card case? No worries! A bandana will hold your cards comfortably and securely. Open your bandana, put the cards in and fold them into the fabric, tying the bandana at the end.</p> <h2>15. Dog Accessory</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/band-267501-small-ggnaods.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Putting a bandana on your dog useful in identifying your dog and absorbing sweat on a hot day. Also, it&#39;s doggone adorable! (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-pulling-dogs-walk-easy-with-the-easy-walk-harness">Dogs Walk Easy With the Easy Walk Harness</a>)</p> <h2>16. Glasses Case and Lens Cleaner</h2> <p>It won&#39;t protect your glasses if they, say, get run over by your Dad&#39;s tractor, but keeping your sunglasses in a bandana is a great way to clean and protect your glasses while on the go.</p> <h2>17. Water Filter</h2> <p>We don&#39;t often think about cloth as having holes, but the tiny little holes between a bandana&#39;s fibers can make a great way <a href="http://survivalcache.com/30-uses-for-a-bandana/">to filter water while camping</a>. Clean water is important; who knew a bandana could help?</p> <h2>18. Sling</h2> <p>If you aren&#39;t too outrageously small or large, a bandana can make a great impromptu sling in times of injury. If you&#39;re camping and you get into trouble, your bandana might be the thing that helps <a href="http://www.helium.com/items/1586210-how-to-make-a-homemade-sling-for-your-arm-arm-slings-homemade-arm-slings">keep your injured appendage secured</a>! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-items-you-might-have-forgot-in-your-emergency-kit">Items You Might&#39;ve Forgotten in Your Emergency Kit</a>)</p> <h2>19. Window Curtain</h2> <p>The bandana&#39;s fun patterns and thickness make it a great candidate for curtains! Small windows may just need a couple, but big ones could mean sewing multiple bandanas together, <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_4780365_make-bandana-curtains.html">like so</a>.</p> <h2>20. Sleep Mask</h2> <p>Need to sleep but it&#39;s too bright out? A bandana can help! Fold the bandana and put it over your eyes, or tie it around your head for more secure mask. Sweet dreams, happy campers!</p> <p><em>How do you use a colorful, versatile bandana?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-uses-for-a-bandana" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Great Uses for a Bandana" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rebecca-leib">Rebecca Leib</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY bandana DIY Fri, 25 Oct 2013 19:21:42 +0000 Rebecca Leib 1304 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Common Kitchen Cast-Offs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5133065-small.jpg" alt="corks" title="corks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Next time you finish up that last bit of tomato sauce from the jar, don&#39;t just think it&#39;s destined for the trash or recycle bin. There are plenty of opportunities to transform some common food packaging and kitchen cast-offs into repurposed treasures. This not only makes for useful new items around the home, but it will also save you money while being environmentally friendly. Here are just a few ideas you can try today. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products to Reuse</a>)</p> <h2>1. Coffee Cans</h2> <p>Upcycle a standard metal coffee can into an attractive kitchen tool holder by painting or covering the sides with a nice piece of fabric. Or, use decorative paper to make a nice-looking container to hold scissors and markers for arts and crafts. You can also paint the outside of coffee cans and poke holes in the bottom to make <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/10/22/10-simple-reuse-projects-in-30-minutes-or-less/2">coffee can flower pots</a> for herbs or small plants. For kids, transform a can into a piggy bank by cutting slots in the plastic top and decorating with stickers.</p> <h2>2. Milk Cartons</h2> <p>Cut the tops off plastic, gallon-sized milk jugs and fill them with sand to hold a candle steady. Line the cartons along a driveway or walkway for a great holiday or night time party effect. Or, <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/How-To-Cook/How-to-Make-Candles">use quart-sized milk containers as candle molds</a> to make unique, new candles to use as decor. Regular cardboard milk cartons also offer a multitude of craft ideas, such as <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/crafts-hobbies/milk-carton-sailboat-00000000039214/index.html">milk carton sailboats</a>, <a href="http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/milkcartonscontainersartscraftsideaskids.html">milk carton traffic lights</a> and <a href="http://www.parents.com/fun/arts-crafts/kid/make-a-milk-carton-bird-feeder/">milk carton bird feeders</a>.</p> <h2>3. Wine Bottles</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/ktnrp-4358144-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Wine bottles are perfect for dressing up with ribbon, paper, fabric, or leaving as-is to make flower vases. You can go for a rustic look at a dining table by placing candles in a pair of matching bottles. Melted wax down the sides also makes for a very romantic, Italian eatery feel. Interesting bottles, such as those with clear glass, unique labels, and distinct shapes can act as beautiful shelf decor on their own.</p> <h2>4. Paper Towel Rolls</h2> <p>The inside cardboard roll of your paper towels is great for holding and organizing folded plastic grocery bags, preserving documents by rolling them up to prevent creases, or organizing loose ribbon by wrapping around the roll. Paper towel rolls also make excellent boot trees for propping up knee-high boots.</p> <h2>5. Baby Food Jars</h2> <p>Remove the labels from baby food jars and keep your nails, nuts, bolts, and screws organized in a tool drawer. Or, for the crafter, use them to collect and organize everything from push pins to beads to glitter. In the office, store a small stash of rubber bands and paper clips in such jars. For the cook, small baby food jars make great containers to hold homemade spice mixes and dried herbs.</p> <h2>6. Parmesan Cheese Container</h2> <p>Repurpose a parmesan cheese container into a holder of all things shaken, such as a sugar and cinnamon mixture to distribute on your morning waffle or glitter that can be easily shaken onto crafts. Or, fill it with baking soda to use along with your cleaning supplies for sprinkling into sinks or onto the carpet. It also makes a nice container for taking kids&#39; snacks on the run (think goldfish, mini pretzels, or any bite size foods).</p> <h2>7. Medium-Sized Jars</h2> <p>Medium-sized jars &mdash; like those for salsa, jam, or olives &mdash; can easily be decorated and repurposed into candle holders for small pillar candles. You can also fill these jars with decorative pebbles or bath crystals for a spa look in the bathroom. Jam jars are great to collect and use as a set of cool drinking glasses, especially for juice in the morning or fun cocktails at parties. Also try medium-sized jars for holding pencils and notepads near the phone and loose change and keys by the door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sanity-saving-ideas-for-canning-jars">Ideas for Canning Jars</a>)</p> <h2>8. Cereal Boxes</h2> <p>Cover your average cereal box with scrapbook paper and you have instant decorative storage for papers, bills, and kids&#39; artwork. Cereal boxes can also be upcycled into attractive <a href="http://spoonful.com/crafts/magazine-holder">DIY magazine holders</a>. They also make great places to store special photo copy paper and large mailing envelopes. Cool kid&#39;s crafts also abound, like the <a href="http://spoonful.com/crafts/park-and-play-garage">park and play cereal box garage</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes">Creative Uses for Empty Cereal Boxes</a>)</p> <h2>9. Plastic Lidded Containers</h2> <p>Your butter, Cool Whip or deli meat containers are perfect for using as take home containers for guests or freezing foods. In addition, they make useful tubs to store dry goods, art supplies, office supplies, and small power cords in one place. For food items, just be sure to avoid heating things in these containers as certain types of plastics can leach into foods more easily.</p> <h2>10. Plastic Berry Baskets</h2> <p>Those green mesh-like baskets that hold fruits and berries at the supermarket make great under-sink storage for sponges and microfiber cloths. Or, cover a basket in fabric to hold small items, such as business cards, phones and chargers, or spools of thread. You can also follow <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/265483/decorated-berry-baskets">Martha Stewart&#39;s guide to decorated berry baskets</a> for a cute gift idea.</p> <h2>11. Wine Corks</h2> <p>Get creative with all those leftover wine corks and make a homemade bulletin board by gluing corks over the surface of a piece of wood. You can also try your hand at making your own <a href="http://www.youreallymadethat.com/wine-cork-trivet.php">wine cork trivet</a> or <a href="http://www.save-on-crafts.com/corkwreath.html">wine cork wreath</a>. Another idea is to label your corks with the event and date when you drank your bottle, and collect them in floor vases to make a unique, decorative display. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-do-with-used-corks-including-making-money-with-them">25 Things to Do With Used Corks</a>)</p> <h2>12. Large Jars</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/ktnrp-4415531-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Large-sized jars, like those for spaghetti sauce or pickles, make great homemade vases. Simply decorate the outside with ribbon, glitter, or other embellishments. For faux flowers or to make a shelf display <a href="http://www.michaels.com/Cre8time-Painted-Jar-Vase/34507,default,pd.html">of painted jar vases</a>, pour colored paint inside a collection of jars. Large jars can also hold hair brushes, large cooking utensils, paint brushes, and tools. And lastly, there&#39;s no need to buy mason jars when you can reuse your large jars for making your own soups and sauces.</p> <h2>13. Mesh Produce Bags</h2> <p>Use your mesh bags that hold bunches of oranges, lemons, or onions to make kitchen scrubbers. If you wad a few bags together into a ball and secure them with a rubber band, you now have a great tool for scrubbing pots and pans. You can also string a thin rope or shoelace through the top of these bags to make an easy closing tote for carrying items to the beach or small sports equipment to the field. Also try to take empty ones to the farmer&#39;s market to use for new produce you buy.</p> <h2>14. Dish Soap Squirt Bottles</h2> <p>Once your dish liquid is gone, fill the bottle with vinegar to use for cleaning jobs around the house. I especially like this use for cleaning glass shower doors, as it&#39;s easier than lugging a jumbo bottle of vinegar around. Squirt bottles also work great for other cleaning solutions, like carpet cleaners and clothing stain removers, where you want to disperse liquids onto targeted areas.</p> <h2>15. Coffee Sleeves</h2> <p>If Starbucks or any other coffee shop is a regular part of your day, then start collecting your <a href="http://birdsandbloomsblog.com/2012/03/16/turn-your-favorite-cup-of-coffee-into-planters/">coffee sleeves to use for starter seeds</a> for indoor plants. If you&#39;re crafty, you can cut sleeves into shapes to make artsy, corrugated gift tags to use on presents, or try making yourself a <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/coffee_sleeve_wreath/">coffee sleeve wreath</a>. And, one very green action is to literally save your sleeve and use it again for its original purpose during your next visit to the coffee shop.</p> <p><em>What other items do you repurpose around the house?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-common-kitchen-cast-offs-you-can-repurpose-into-cool-new-things" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Common Kitchen Cast-Offs You Can Repurpose Into Cool New Things" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY DIY recycle repurpose storage Mon, 21 Oct 2013 10:24:03 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1034262 at http://www.wisebread.com 40 Ways to Use Spray Paint for Cheap and Easy Decorating http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-4435853-small.jpg" alt="colorful chairs" title="colorful chairs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What&#39;s super cheap, highly versatile, available in every color, and something that anyone can use to make beautiful decor? The answer is spray paint, of course.</p> <p>Whether you are looking to restore a great flea market find, simply touch up an existing item, or go for a dramatic change of color, spray paint gets the job done. While you can spray-paint just about anything, here&#39;s a host of suggestions, sorted by color, to help you start putting this awesome and affordable DIY tool to work for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cheap-home-decorating-projects-that-look-amazing">7 Cheap Decorating Projects That Look Amazing</a>)</p> <h2>Black Spray Paint: Touch Ups to Modern Looks</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/spraypaint-5067667-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>1. Mailbox</strong></p> <p>An often neglected element of curbside appeal, a black mailbox can benefit from a nice touch up with some black spray paint and rust protector to look good as new.</p> <p><strong>2. Entertainment Center</strong></p> <p>Whether you have a bachelor pad or just love modern decor, painting a wooden entertainment center with black spray paint can give your TV and gadgets area a sleek, updated look.</p> <p><strong>3. Halloween Decor</strong></p> <p>Using a can of black spray paint, there are many awesome ideas for <a href="http://www.remodelista.com/posts/5-quick-fixes-instant-halloween-decor-black-matte-edition">transforming everyday items into Halloween decor</a>. From using it on pumpkins to wine bottles, you can easily have the spookiest house.</p> <p><strong>4. DIY Chalkboard</strong></p> <p>Grab a can of black chalkboard paint and spray-paint a piece of sanded and primed wood to make your very own chalkboard. Or, use a picture frame, and spray-paint the glass area. Hang it on a wall in the kitchen or by the door to write notes and keep lists.</p> <p><strong>5. Modern Vases</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.rustoleum.com/en/project-catalog/decor-and-craft/modern-silhouette">Turn a collection of vases into modern decor</a> by spray painting them in black matte. Add a single flower or greenery for a Zen feel.</p> <p><strong>6. Trivet Wall Decor</strong></p> <p>Add a layer of black spray paint to a metal trivet and hang it on a kitchen wall for instant country kitchen decor.</p> <p><strong>7. Accent Shelving</strong></p> <p>Add a nice touch to a light colored wall by spray-painting individual wall shelf ledges in black. Install on the wall to hold small accent pieces or display photos.</p> <p><strong>8. Fireplace Screen</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.krylon.com/projects/home-decor/fire-place-screen/">Freshen up an old fireplace screen</a> by coating it in black spray paint for a shiny new look.</p> <h2>White Spray Paint: From Shabby Chic to Clean Lines</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/spraypaint-5434852-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>9. Distressed Headboard</strong></p> <p>Spray-paint a wooden headboard in white and use some sandpaper to distress it for a shabby chic look. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/repaint-your-old-furniture-for-a-budget-d-cor-update">Repaint Old Furniture for a Budget Decor Update</a>)</p> <p><strong>10. Cabinetry</strong></p> <p>Transform dark and dingy looking cabinets in the kitchen or bath with white spray paint. This makes for a classic, clean look that can really brighten up a space.</p> <p><strong>11. Flower Box Crates</strong></p> <p>If you can find an old wooden crate (think produce stands or flea markets), then you can add a nice coat of white outdoor spray paint to make a great flower box for your porch or patio.</p> <p><strong>12. Seashell Decor</strong></p> <p>Spray-paint large sized seashells in white to make some great tabletop decor. Or, use white spray paint on a handful of smaller shells and display as a collection in a glass vase.</p> <p><strong>13. Adirondack Chairs</strong></p> <p>This classic white piece of lawn furniture deserves a fresh coat of spray paint to keep it looking like new next to the water or in the garden.</p> <p><strong>14. Pots and Planters</strong></p> <p>Spray-paint a terra cotta pot or other large planter using white paint. This makes for a great blank canvas to add designs in other colors, such as chevron patterns or stencils.</p> <h2>Metallic Spray Paint: Add Traditional Style and Richness</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/spraypaint-5397275-small-ggnaods.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>15. Candlesticks and Candelabras</strong></p> <p>Add a more formal touch to any candlestick or candelabra with gold or silver spray paint. Or, <a href="http://www.krylon.com/projects/wedding/striped-votives-and-vase/">spray-paint small glass votives in copper metallic</a> to use on the table for special occasions, like a wedding or big party.</p> <p><strong>16. Hinges and Knobs</strong></p> <p>Spruce up any plain door by spray-painting a hinge or knob a metallic color, like satin nickel or antique gold. This can make even the little details seem high-end.</p> <p><strong>17. Baskets</strong></p> <p>Use some silver spray paint to <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/901710/spray-painted-straw-baskets">transform a regular straw basket</a> into an instantly glam storage vessel or decorative accent.</p> <p><strong>18. Bowls</strong></p> <p>Coat any large bowl with platinum or gold spray paint to make a fancy table centerpiece.</p> <p><strong>19. Holiday Arrangements</strong></p> <p>For instant holiday decor, find sticks or pinecones from your yard or purchase some at craft or dollar stores. Spray with a metallic spray paint to use in table arrangements or outdoor planters. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-festive-frugal-ways-to-spruce-up-your-home-for-the-holidays">6 Frugal Ways to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays</a>)</p> <p><strong>20. Table Lamp Bases</strong></p> <p>For a more elegant tabletop look, transform a dull lamp base with gold or silver spray paint to instantly spiff up your lighting.</p> <p><strong>21. T-Shirt Designs</strong></p> <p>Add a design to a solid colored tee using silver spray paint and stencils. Michaels Crafts gives you the full <a href="http://www.michaels.com/Spray-Paint-Floral-Shirt/e10589,default,pd.html?cgid=projects">spray-paint t-shirt project directions</a> for making a one-of-a-kind shirt.</p> <h2>Pastel Spray Paint: Fun and Whimsical Decor</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/spraypaint-1609667-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>22. Chairs and Stools</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.chickabug.com/blog/2012/09/make-over-your-folding-chairs-with-spray-paint.html">Spray-paint a set of folding chairs</a> or <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/how-to-spray-paint-plastic-10000000695657/index.html">give an old white plastic resin chair some color</a> by using pastel shades. Or, add some pizazz to ordinary wooden bar stools by coating them in a pale green or light blue to brighten up a dark kitchen.</p> <p><strong>23. Jars</strong></p> <p>Spray paint repurposed mason jars or large glass vessels with pastel spray paints to make beautiful flower vases or some nice shelf decor.</p> <p><strong>24. Children&#39;s Furniture</strong></p> <p>Think of pastel spray paint for dressers, headboards, and bookcases in your little one&#39;s bedroom or nursery. Besides the usual light pink, purple, or baby blue, don&#39;t forget pale yellow and mint green for more neutral hues. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-design-ideas-for-a-kids-playroom">Budget Design Ideas for a Kid&rsquo;s Playroom</a>)</p> <p><strong>25. Birdhouses</strong></p> <p>Turn an average birdhouse into an attractive shelter for any bird by using some pastel spray paint. This also makes a fun, decorative accent for the yard.</p> <p><strong>26. Light Switch Plates</strong></p> <p>If you want to add a nice color detail in a subtle way, try spray-painting an ordinary white light switch plate with a nice pastel shade to add some contrast against a darker wall.</p> <h2>Red Spray Paint: Go For a Dramatic Pop</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/spraypaint-5242267-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>27. Hall Table</strong></p> <p>Spray-paint a boring brown hall table in red to create an eye-catching piece. A red table in this location works great as it won&#39;t clash with other furniture and can brighten up dark spaces.</p> <p><strong>28. Wagon</strong></p> <p>Repurpose a little red wagon into some instant garden decor with a fresh coat of red spray paint. You can use it to hold potted plants or just let the kids play with it.</p> <p><strong>29. Dining Chairs</strong></p> <p>Give a pop of color to an otherwise neutral kitchen or informal dining space with some glossy red spray-painted chairs.</p> <p><strong>30. Outdoor Benches</strong></p> <p>Create some contrast in the garden or on a front porch by using <a href="http://www.krylon.com/projects/outdoor/refurbished-metal-garden-bench/">red spray paint on an ordinary metal or wooden bench</a>. This can create a standout piece to give any outdoor space a cool look.</p> <p><strong>31. Watering Can</strong></p> <p>Give a metal watering can a great burst of color by painting it with red spray paint. It makes a great gift or just looks nice when you use it around the yard or house.</p> <p><strong>32. Chandelier</strong></p> <p>For a bold look, spray paint a metal chandelier with red gloss spray paint.</p> <h2>Navy Blue Spray Paint: From Nautical to Not Expected</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/spraypaint-5032267-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>33. Nautical Decor</strong></p> <p>Whether you live near the beach or not, nautical decor can make a cool theme in any room. Use some navy spray paint on flea market finds or replicas of old ship&#39;s wheels, anchors, and other items to make great wall decor.</p> <p><strong>34. Large Hutches, Sideboards, and Dressers</strong></p> <p>For an unexpected splash of bold color in a living room or bedroom, try spray-painting one piece in navy blue and add a glossy finish. The finish makes the piece look lux and navy is a nice change from the usual brown or white.</p> <p><strong>35. Frames</strong></p> <p>Get some inexpensive picture frames and remove the glass in order to spray paint the frames in navy. A set of navy frames look great together on the wall or hang in a boy&#39;s bedroom for a more grown-up look than baby blue.</p> <p><strong>36. Wicker Furniture</strong></p> <p>Navy blue and white rooms can look fantastic when done right. Turn a sunroom or porch into a unified theme by spray-painting some wicker chairs in navy blue. Add some white cushions to complete the look.</p> <h2>Green Spray Paint: Fresh Looks Outdoors and In</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/spraypaint-4600488-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p><strong>37. Raised Garden Beds</strong></p> <p>To turn a backyard, raised garden bed into a natural part of the landscape, spray-paint garden box sides in a deep green to blend in with the greenery.</p> <p><strong>38. Kitchen Island</strong></p> <p>Add some flair to any kitchen by using <a href="http://www.rustoleum.com/project-catalog/kitchen/cooking-island/">olive green spray paint on the sides of a cooking island</a> to contrast with the trim and island counter top.</p> <p><strong>39. Hose Reels</strong></p> <p>Spray paint an outdoor hose reel or hose storage box in dark green to make it blend in among the grass and bushes.</p> <p><strong>40. Wheelbarrow</strong></p> <p>Revive an old wheelbarrow by spray-painting the main body in green to hide dings and look like new.</p> <p><em>What are some of your favorite spray paint projects to add to the list?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-ways-to-use-spray-paint-for-cheap-and-easy-decorating" class="sharethis-link" title="40 Ways to Use Spray Paint for Cheap and Easy Decorating" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Home DIY paint spray paint Thu, 10 Oct 2013 10:24:04 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 978060 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/books-2505662-small.jpg" alt="man surrounded by books" title="man surrounded by books" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently I decided to get rid of my books, moving most of my collection into banker's boxes and stacking them in the office closet and the garage. Eventually I will move those along to a library that'll take them, or give them away as door prizes, or maybe send some to be scanned, digitized, and pulped. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-books-little-libraries-that-build-community-and-save-you-money">Free Books: Little Libraries That Build Community and Save You Money</a>)</p> <p>But I haven't been able to part with all of them. There's still the &quot;Read Next&quot; shelf, the &quot;Try to Finish It One Day&quot; shelf (some dense Delillos and Pynchons live there), and several &quot;All Time Favorite&quot; shelves holding books that I often leaf through and still enjoy. Plus a couple of shelves of reference books and how-tos. Oh, and some cookbooks.</p> <p>So I still have plenty of books, and that means I need a way to display and store them. Cheaply. And attractively.</p> <h2>1. An Old Ladder</h2> <p>This looks daunting, but doesn't require too many DIY skills. <a href="http://dandelionexpress.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/cheap-diy-antique-ladder-shelf/">Mount &quot;L&quot; brackets to the wall</a>, attach your old wooden ladder, and then arrange your books.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/ladder-3452095-small-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <h2>2. Ladders and Boards</h2> <p>I saw a lot of these during my search for interesting bookshelves, and frankly I'm underwhelmed. It's a clever use of materials: a ladder (or two ladders side-by-side), <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-gazillion-use-125302">shelves supported by the ladder rungs</a>. But it takes up so much room and looks messy and cluttered.</p> <p>This version, however, is a big improvement. It's a ladder, <a href="http://lesserevillife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ladder-shelves.jpg">mounted upside-down on the wall</a>, with the shelves once again resting on the rungs. Simple and elegant, and cheap depending on how you source the materials</p> <h2>3. A Book</h2> <p>Mount some &quot;L&quot; brackets to the wall (dress it up by mounting an attractive board to the wall first, then mount the brackets to <em>that</em>), <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Invisible-Book-Shelf/">then mount an old, thrift-store hardback to your brackets</a>. Stack your books or knick-knacks on your &quot;book&quot; shelf.</p> <h2>4. Skateboards</h2> <p>You could store <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Skateboard-Bookshelf/">your old skate punk CDs here</a>, your old Tony Hawk game cartridges, or a first aid kit.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/skateboard-iStock_000008646610Small-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <h2>5. Stacked Tables</h2> <p>Cut an old coffee table in half, <a href="http://style-files.com/2007/10/02/bookshelf-made-from-two-vintage-tables/">stack the two halves against a wall</a> (&quot;L&quot; brackets, again, or a French cleat), and then pile on the books. Or go another couple of shelves higher with a smaller table cut in half.</p> <h2>6. Boards and Bricks</h2> <p>A classic, like blue jeans, and the <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-a-brick-and-board-92994">DIY bookshelf against which all others are measured</a>. Support the shelves with bricks (new or used), cinder blocks, blocks of wood, or even other books. These can be as rustic or as elegant as you like, depending on the raw materials. Once I tried to impress a girl with my handyman skills by creating a set of these for her apartment. They supported her books well enough, and that's as far as that went.</p> <h2>7. Bottles and Boards</h2> <p>This is a twist on the boards and bricks theme <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Ten-Green---modular-shelving/">that replaces bricks with bottles</a>. A little more handiwork is required &mdash; measuring and drilling, instead of just stacking and stacking.</p> <h2>8. Ropes and Boards</h2> <p>Most bookshelves rest confidently on the floor. These <a href="http://theruncible.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/hanging-bookshelves/">dangle from the ceiling</a>. I'd worry about knocking into them and dumping my books onto the floor, but maybe with some tension in the ropes (by attaching to the floor or brackets mounted in the wall, as with the example here), one could keep the jostling to a minimum.</p> <h2>9. Leather Belts and Boards</h2> <p>Another in the dangling book genre, <a href="http://www.poppytalk.com/2012/04/clever-leather-book-shelf.html">this design uses old leather belts and straps</a> to suspend the shelves. These seem more decorative than practical (wouldn't it be a pain to reach around those straps for your tomes?).</p> <h2>10. Board and Brackets</h2> <p>You've seen those &quot;<a href="http://chewbrew.com/2008/04/08/the-ladder-bookshelf/">ladder bookshelves</a>&quot; that lean against a wall? This is like those, but <a href="http://www.creativehomelife.com/studio-ve-bookshelf.html">it's a single wide board with metal brackets for shelves</a>. That second link is to a high design (and probably high dollar) example, but one could easily DIY this.</p> <h2>11. Boxes and Binder Clips</h2> <p>Stacks of plywood wooden boxes, in various, complementary sizes, <a href="http://www.handmadecharlotte.com/easiest-diy-bookshelves-ever/">held together with common binder clips</a>. This design has a lot going for it: it's cheap; it's relatively easy to DIY; it's elegant. Make it even more awesome by cutting handholds in two of the sides; then you could use your boxes to carry your books around, too.</p> <h2>12. Milk Crates</h2> <p>It was <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Milk-Crate-Makeshift-Bookshelf/">the milk crates</a> that gave me the idea to cut handholds in the plywood boxes above. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/crates-3844044-small-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <h2>13. Wooden Boxes</h2> <p>Instead of stacking your plywood boxes, <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/woodworking/shelves/diy-box-shelves/view-all">mount them on your wall</a>. You can use the binder clips to help hold them together, or arrange them however you'd like. An elegant &mdash; and secure &mdash; way to mount stuff on the wall is to use <a href="http://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/showthread.php?t=21434">a French cleat</a>. You can make your own out of scrap plywood, or you can buy them ready made at the hardware store (or at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003WE9XU4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003WE9XU4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Amazon.com</a>). Don't forget to cut handholds.</p> <h2>14. Old Dresser Drawers</h2> <p><a href="http://olivebites.blogspot.com.es/2011/10/upcycled-tutorial-drawer-repurposed.html">Repurpose drawers from old dressers</a> you find at thrift stores, or yard sales, or on the sidewalk, into boxes you can mount on your wall. These are another candidate for a French cleat.</p> <h2>15. Custom Cut Cardboard Boxes</h2> <p>You can buy these modular, <a href="http://www.danygilles.com/stricubes.html">stackable cardboard boxes from the designer</a> (20 Euros for a box of three, I think; I don't read French), or you could borrow the design and use it on your own cardboard. If you were really handy with computer assisted design tools, you could design a version of this in thin plywood, and have the parts fabbed at an Internet CNC service, <a href="https://www.ponoko.com/">such as Ponoko</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-uses-for-the-humble-cardboard-box">30 Uses for the Humble Cardboard Box</a>)</p> <h2>16. Black Iron Pipe</h2> <p>Just the pipe, <a href="http://www.shelterness.com/industrial-pipe-bookshelves/">arranged however you like</a>, with the books resting on the pipe and leaning against your wall, or go all out and <a href="http://www.courtandhudson.com/2012/02/diy-pipe-bookshelf.html">use the pipe as supports for proper wooden shelves</a>.</p> <h2>17. Hungarian Shelves</h2> <p>If you have lots of books to store, or you want to try a basic, DIY modular system, <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Hungarian-Shelves/">Hungarian Bookshelves</a> are the answer. Attach notched 1x2s or 2x4s to wall studs, then attach notched shelves to those. I'm considering a variation of this design for a DIY wall unit in my home office.</p> <h2>18. Cleat and Sticks</h2> <p>And why haven't I made the Hungarian Shelf wall unit in my home office? Because I am enthralled by this <a href="http://www.dwr.com/product/sticotti-shelving-unit-a.do?sortby=ourPicks">Sticotti Shelving System</a> from Design Within Reach. They share the same basic design as the Hungarian Shelves &mdash; interlocking notched shelves and supports &mdash; but instead of attaching to wall studs, the support rails hang from a single, elegant cleat. At $2,000 and up, these shelves are definitely out of my reach, but they are certainly DIY-able, assuming a few expensive power tools. Someday.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite low-cost, high design bookshelf ideas?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves" class="sharethis-link" title="18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY books design DIY storage Thu, 19 Sep 2013 10:36:02 +0000 Lars Peterson 935179 at http://www.wisebread.com