budget home projects http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8181/all en-US Is DIY Home Renovating for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-repair-4429409-small.jpg" alt="renovtion" title="renovation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The DIY movement has really taken off in the last couple of years, and the average homeowner can easily access Internet tutorials on pretty much anything from crafting your own DIY art to installing new can lights to completely gutting and overhauling the plumbing in your master bathroom. But are you cut out for DIY?</p> <p>Not everyone may have the temperament or skills to effectively renovate their home on their own, and a botched DIY job can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes" target="_blank">end up costing you thousands of dollars</a> in labor and materials. Before you start swinging that sledgehammer, consider whether DIY renovating is for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-maintenance-with-these-5-diy-tips" target="_blank">Save on Car Maintenance With These 5 DIY Tips</a>)</p> <h2>1. Are You a Meticulous and Patient Person?</h2> <p>DIY home renovation shows make complex tasks such as installing a lighting fixture or mitering corners for crown molding seem like simple, fast, and easy jobs. However, if you're a beginner to DIY, figuring out these tasks can take a long time and require careful study of tutorials, plans, and measurements. In some cases, a slapdash, haphazard approach can be dangerous and cause major problems down the line (especially with electrical and plumbing). Even if we're not talking about dangerous jobs, you can end up wasting a lot of material and time if you're not careful.</p> <p>Are you the sort of person to measure twice, and cut once? Will you carefully study directions on how to install things correctly, or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants? Will you get frustrated quickly when things don't seem to fit together perfectly? Will your project sit half-done for the next six months (or years)? Consider your own personality before tackling a major DIY job. Although if you aren't a meticulous and patient person, this might be a good challenge to help you grow in that aspect.</p> <h2>2. Is It Worth Your Time?</h2> <p>Yes, providing your own labor <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for" target="_blank">can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars</a> on a renovation project. But consider how much your time is worth. After over a year of renovating our home, my husband and I have adopted the motto, &quot;Everything takes longer than you think.&quot; If you're planning to DIY after a long day of work, consider that you may only have a couple of daylight hours every evening. Also, spending your time doing DIY jobs can take you away from spending valuable time with your family.</p> <p>On the other hand, working on DIY projects together can be a bonding experience for your family, especially if everyone enjoys working with their hands. And if you don't mind having a construction zone in your house for several months, the extra time needed to complete the project may not be an issue for you.</p> <h2>3. Do You Have the Tools?</h2> <p>Doing your own home renovation requires a lot of tools. Do you own, or can you rent or borrow the tools you need? If not, factor in the cost of buying the requisite tools into the cost of the project. Even rentals can cost quite a pretty penny, especially over several days while you learn how to use the tool in the first place. It might be worthwhile to hire in a contractor who brings in his own tools and can knock out the project in a couple of hours.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have the Skills?</h2> <p>Sure, those TV shows make DIY seem like a breeze, but believe it or not, many home renovations take skill. If you're a very handy person, you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice" target="_blank">may be able to acquire those skills</a> in the process and produce something that at first glance approaches professional quality. In many cases, however, your project may end up looking a little &quot;too DIY.&quot; If you don't have an intuition for how things work, an eye for symmetry, and decent hand-eye coordination, DIY might not be for you.</p> <p>Consider whether you can handle skilled jobs such as cutting and installing tile, leveling concrete, and drywalling. For example, my husband and I put up new drywall in our master bedroom. We completed it, but smoothing on drywall mud was a much more laborious and difficult job than we expected (and to this day there are still minor imperfections in the drywall seams). When it came time to tackle the drywall for the family room, we hired a contractor. For a few hundred dollars, he did a beautiful, professional job, and only took one day (it would have taken us a week or two).</p> <h2>5. What's the Worst That Could Happen?</h2> <p>If you're new to DIY, ask yourself what the worst-case scenario could be before you tackle a new project. If it's something with relatively low stakes, why not try it out?</p> <p>Painting your front door or building a coffee table from scrap lumber are fun projects, and if they don't turn out perfectly, it won't really affect your home that badly. However, trying to install your own marble countertops could turn out very badly if you end up breaking a thousand dollars worth of stone. Roofing your own house could turn out extremely badly if you fell and broke your neck. So start small.</p> <h2>6. Do You Understand Workplace Safety?</h2> <p>Every year, <a href="http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2011/06/the-five-most-common-do-it-yourself-accidents.html" target="_blank">thousands of DIYers</a> are blinded, lose fingers, inhale noxious chemicals, fall off ladders, or are otherwise hurt or injured while working on a project for their home. Be informed on the necessary safety precautions to take. Invest in good safety glasses, filtering masks, gloves, and clothing.</p> <p>The considerations above aren't to discourage you from attempting a DIY project. However, it may be wise to start small and work up to a larger project. Doing your own DIY can also be a great opportunity to grow as a person &mdash; to become more patient, more detail-oriented, and to see a task through to completion. And while some jobs may be best left to the pros, others can be successfully tackled by amateurs like us!</p> <p><em>Have your home DIY efforts been successful? Have they been failures? Tell us about them in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-spruce-up-your-unfinished-basement-for-under-100">10 Ways to Spruce Up Your Unfinished Basement for Under $100</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Personal Development budget home projects home renovation Home repair maintenance Tue, 21 May 2013 10:00:32 +0000 Camilla Cheung 974178 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Your Own Curtains http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-your-own-curtains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/450645340_ea84cec280_z.jpg" alt="curtains" title="curtains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although I am a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, sewing is not one of the home skills I enjoy very much. I used to sew a lot, and I think I got burned out. So, when our living room curtains started looking tired, I ignored them. When the cat stretched and put holes in one of them, I ignored them. When they looked dingy, I washed them, but they looked less crisp. I resumed ignoring them. However, the time came when I could no longer pretend they were fine.</p> <p>Thinking I could save myself a lot of fuss, I went shopping for ready-made curtains. Not only was the selection small, but not a thing was the right color, style, or weight.</p> <p>Only slightly daunted, I hit the Internet, and I looked hard. I was determined to find something. Unfortunately, the only ones I liked were expensive &mdash; and the wrong size, which meant they would need hemming, anyway.</p> <p>It was time to suck it up, go to the fabric store, and make my own.</p> <p>If you choose to embark on this project, here&rsquo;s how to do it in 10 easy steps. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cost-effective-ways-to-make-your-own-bookshelves">10 Cost-Effective Ways to Make Your Own Bookshelves</a>)</p> <h2>Step 1: Assess Your Needs</h2> <p>Take a look at your windows to decide your purpose.</p> <ul> <li>Do you need curtains that give you privacy?</li> <li>Are they primarily decorative?</li> <li>Do you need them to help keep the heat in?</li> <li>If you have light sensitivity, do you need room-darkening curtains?</li> </ul> <p>In my case, I needed partial privacy but also wanted my curtains to be decorative.</p> <h2>Step 2: Measure Your Windows</h2> <p>Get out your tape measure and...measure your window openings!</p> <p>A general rule of thumb is that curtains should measure 1.5 to 3 times the width of your window opening. The more generous you are with the fabric, the more folds you will see when your curtains are closed, and the &quot;richer&quot; they will look.</p> <p>For length, you want the curtains to fall at least below the window trim. You also need to allow for the top and bottom hems. You can leave as little as a 2-inch bottom hem; but here again, the more hem you leave, the better the curtains will hang, and the richer they will look. A 3- to 5-inch hem is preferable. Add another &frac12; inch to each hem to turn them under before stitching.</p> <p>Will you be making a folded-over hem at the top? Or rod-and-pocket?</p> <p>An easy compromise is to just make a 1&frac12; inch hem at the top, which can be used as either a folded-over top hem or a rod-and-pocket. Add &frac12; inch to turn the hem under for stitching.</p> <h2>Step 3: Calculate Fabric Needs</h2> <p>This part gets tricky for the math-challenged (like me).</p> <p>If you choose a &ldquo;decorator&rdquo; fabric, they usually run at least 60 inches wide. However, if you purchase a non-decorator fabric, you will need to buy more, as the widths traditionally run about 45 inches. As a result, you need to do two calculations, so that when you decide upon either a decorator or standard fabric at the fabric store, you make sure to get enough.</p> <p>The two windows I was working on are 88 inches wide, and the curtains are partially open all of the time, so I decided that 1&frac12; times the width would be fine. It also worked out well with the 45-inch material I chose, requiring three widths of material per window.</p> <p>I wanted the finished panels to be 60 inches tall to cover my 57 inch high opening, so I added 3&frac12; inches to each panel for the bottom hem, and 2 inches for the top, making a total of 65&frac12; inches per panel.</p> <p>At three panels per window, that equaled 196&frac12; inches of fabric, or about 5&frac12; yards. I rounded this up to 6 yards per window, or 12 yards total.</p> <p>That gave me plenty of extra for un-square cuts from the fabric store, as well as extra material for accent pillows, etc.</p> <h2>Step 4: Gather Tools and Supplies<strong><br /> </strong></h2> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have them already, you will need curtain rods and hardware for hanging your curtains. Most &ldquo;big box&rdquo; stores sell these. You can also be creative. In our case, since bamboo is abundant in Hawaii, my husband cut green bamboo poles and flamed them to dry them and to give them a nice, toasted color. He then mounted them on some homemade, wooden wall brackets. If you are trying to keep your cost down, look around and see what alternatives you have. I also purchased curtain rings. If you choose this look, plan to buy enough rings that you can hang them at 4-inch intervals.</p> <p>Hopefully, you own &mdash; or can borrow&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;a sewing machine. Although curtains can be sewn by hand, this simple DIY job would then become time consuming and tedious.</p> <p>You will also need:</p> <ul> <li>Fabric and thread</li> <li>Pins</li> <li>Measuring tape</li> <li>Sewing or regular pencil</li> <li>Table or large work area</li> <li>Iron and ironing board</li> <li>Washer and dryer</li> </ul> <h2>Step 5: Shop for Fabric</h2> <p>The fabric store needs to be negotiated carefully. If you aren&rsquo;t careful, your fabric can run you as much as ready-made curtains.</p> <p>First off, ascertain whether your store has any discount programs. If so, sign up, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coupons">use those coupons</a>! They can save you a bundle.</p> <p>Since you will need a lot of fabric for curtains, clearance is a good starting place, where you can often find yardage for as little as $4 a yard. Here is a caveat about clearance fabric &mdash; check it carefully! Make sure there are no stains, tears, or other problems with it.</p> <p>Once you have made your selection, choose a spool of matching thread.</p> <h2>Step 6: Prepare the Fabric</h2> <p>If you have purchased an all-cotton or cotton blend, you will need to pre-shrink your fabric. This simply means getting it wet (easy to do in the washer) and drying it in the dryer. (Look at the fabric care instructions to be sure this is recommended.) This prevents your curtains from shrinking or puckering if you wash them later. Before washing, I like to run a stitch along the cut ends, to prevent excessive unraveling in the washer.</p> <p><img width="605" height="380" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsFray.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsFray.JPG" /></p> <p>Once dry, also iron the fabric. It needs to be wrinkle free when cutting and sewing for greatest accuracy.</p> <h2>Step 7: Cut and Sew</h2> <p>With your measurements handy, lay out your fabric on your table or work area. Measure twice, and cut once!</p> <p>I use my dining room table to lay it out and cut it because the table holds the full width of 45-inch fabric, and also because the table has perfectly square ends, which I can use as a cutting guide for nearly square tops and bottoms.</p> <p>After cutting out the pieces, I mark the hems with a fabric marker or pencil, drawing a line the length of each side of the fabric, to aide in making a straight hem. I use a &frac12;-inch fold (or the width of the fabric&rsquo;s selvage, whichever is greater).</p> <p><img width="605" height="401" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsCut.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsCut.JPG" /></p> <p><strong>Iron and Hem the Sides</strong></p> <p>Before hemming the sides, place your fabric on your ironing board.</p> <p>Fold the entire length, carefully ironing as you go. Fold over, and iron again. Pin. Sew. Repeat for the other side.</p> <p>Most instructions advise sewing the side hems by hand, to avoid puckers. Instead, because I know I will never complete the curtains if I have to sew every side hem by hand, I take a couple of steps to minimize puckering while sewing with the machine:</p> <ol> <li>I minimize the downward pressure setting on the pressure foot; and,</li> <li>I make sure that I do not push or pull the fabric, which tends to stretch it, while it feeds through the machine. I just allow the machine to feed the fabric, with minimal interference.</li> </ol> <p><img width="605" height="435" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsSideFold.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsSideFold.JPG" /></p> <p><img width="280" height="350" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsSideSeam.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsSideSeam.JPG" /></p> <p><strong>Iron and Hem Top and Bottom</strong></p> <p>Next, do the tops and bottoms.</p> <p>For the top hem, fold over at &frac12; inch, iron, and pin. Fold over again at 1&frac12; inches, iron, pin, and sew.</p> <p><img width="605" height="466" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_50" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsTopFold.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsTopFold.JPG" /></p> <p><img width="313" height="350" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsTopHem.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsTopHem.JPG" /></p> <p>For the bottom hem, fold over at &frac12; inch. Iron. Fold again at 3 inches. Iron, pin, and sew.</p> <p><img width="605" height="433" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_52" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsBottomFold.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsBottomFold.JPG" /></p> <p><img width="314" height="350" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsBottomHem.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsBottomHem.JPG" /></p> <h2>Step 8: Iron Again</h2> <p>Sorry, yes. I hate ironing as much as anyone, but if you want your curtains to hang nicely, iron them once more before they go up.</p> <h2>Step 9: Hang Your Curtains</h2> <p>This is most easily accomplished if you have a tall helper. If not, a stepstool or ladder is handy.</p> <h2>Step 10: Admire Your Handiwork</h2> <p>Pat yourself on the back for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">being creative</a> and saving some money!</p> <p><img width="244" height="350" alt="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsWindow.JPG" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u805/CurtainsWindow.JPG" /></p> <p><em>Have you tackled this project? Please share your tips and advice in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-awesome-uses-for-milk-crates">20 Awesome Uses for Milk Crates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Is DIY Home Renovating for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-spring-spruce-up-ideas-for-your-home">10 Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Up Ideas for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home budget decorating budget home projects curtains Wed, 30 Jan 2013 10:48:36 +0000 Marla Walters 967360 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/43214834_4e0c661809_z.jpg" alt="painting house" title="painting house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even the nicest, most expensive homes are protected by a skin less than a millimeter thick. Ah, the miracle of paint. If you keep your home's exterior paint in good condition, it can actually save you thousands in home repairs (as well as keep neighbors from gathering in your yard with pitchforks and torches, eager to rid the block of an unsightly blight).</p> <p>Repainting your house is not a casual, finish-in-a-day project, though, especially if you're going to do it right. Here are the steps you must take and the tools you should have at hand to give your home a facelift.</p> <h3>For the Best Results, Do Your Prep Homework</h3> <p>Painting a house is an exercise in patience and preparation, and any painter will tell you that proper prep work is three-quarters of the battle (and yes, about three-quarters of this feature).</p> <p>First, you'll need to start with an honest inspection of your home's exterior. Are the gutters leaking? Do you have rotten wood under the downspouts? Are shingles split? Is mildew building up behind an overgrown foundation planting? Is ivy eating your home? Before you begin to prep your house for painting, you'll want to address any and all of these issues. Only then can you scrub-a-dub your house, since paint won't adhere well to dirt.</p> <p>There are a couple of ways to accomplish this cleaning. You could use your hose and pick up a washer wand attachment meant for cars, or with a stiff push broom. This Old House <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20180479_20399507,00.html">recommends using a cleaning mixture</a> of one gallon of water to one cup of bleach and one cup of a phosphate-free cleaner like a TSP substitute. Once you've washed, remember to thoroughly hose down your siding.</p> <p>If this job is a really big one, or you're a particularly impatient homeowner, you might consider using a power washer. You probably can rent one locally, or you can buy one like the <a href="http://www.fleetfarm.com/catalog/product_detail/tools/power-tools/pressure-washers-accessories/powerboss-3000-psi-pressure-washer-20309">PowerBoss 3,000-PSI Pressure Washer</a>, which has a 25-foot hose, a 1-gallon detergent tank, 4 quick-connect spray tips, and delivers up to 3,000psi. Take care with a pressure washer, though; they have been known to break glass, drive water under siding, or even strip siding off of a house when used improperly. You've also got to wear goggles and protective clothing when operating a power washer.</p> <h3>Get Ready to Paint...With Even More Prep Work!</h3> <p>Next, you'll need to...continue to prep your house's siding for painting. It's time to replace any damaged shingles (from power washing!), patch any noticible holes, adjust popped nail heads, treat mildew, sand rust stains, re-caulk joints, reglaze windows, and generally make sure the you have a clean surface that is water- and air-tight. Now's also the time to trim shrubs and trees away from the house.</p> <p>Of course, the most time-consuming task to prepping your house for a new coat of paint involves the laborious scraping away of <em>old</em> paint. There are a variety of tools and methods you can use to get a smooth, uniform surface. But, before you begin scraping, consider the risk of lead paint. If your house was built before 1978, you might want to take a paint sample to a local lab for testing. If the test comes back positive, you should absolutely hire professionals to scrape your house; they know how to do it without spreading the toxic material.</p> <p>If the results come back negative, consider then how you want to proceed. For those who aren't afraid of working up a sweat, a wire brush, putty knife, and a pull scraper are the right tools for scraping off old paint. The wire brush can easily remove very loose paint. The putty knife will handle more reluctant paint chips, and the pull scraper will attack larger areas of loose paint. The <a href="http://www.buy.com/pr/product.aspx?sku=227415370">Allway 2-1/2&quot; 4-Edge Extendable Pull/Push Scraper</a> has a blade that retracts to access the scraper with chisel blade. It's also threaded to allow use of an extension pole, and features a soft grip.</p> <p>For paint that doesn't come off easily, a heat gun can help break the bond between the wood and the paint. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0025ZA76A">Pit Bull 1200-Watt Electric Heat Gun and Paint Stripper</a> puts out hot air at 570 or 900 degrees, and includes four heat gun nozzles. Another way to remove paint is with an electric paint stripper, which grinds paint off. The <a href="http://www.buy.com/prod/wagner-paint-eater/223014378.html">Wagner PaintEater</a> is a great tool to have, although you'll need to buy replacement disks with use.</p> <p>After scraping the majority of the surface area you'll paint, you'll have to tackle the borders between the remaining paint and the bare wood with an orbital sander in order to eliminate lines in the final paint coat. The <a href="http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3371389">Skil 7492 Random Orbit Sander</a> has a 5&quot; sanding surface, micro-filtration, and will warn you if you are applying too much pressure.</p> <p>Finally, if you're considering using a paint sprayer for the job, you'll need to carefully mask off any spaces you don't want to paint, including windows and door knobs. But be careful with a spray gun: in the hands of the inexperienced, it can lead to uneven coverage, thin spots, drips, and overspray. The extra prep work associated with a paint prayer often eats into the time savings, and of course the equipment isn't free. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.landmsupply.com/product-templates/featured-products-all/wagner-procoat-airless-sprayer-2800-psi">Wagner ProCoat Airless Sprayer</a> has a 2,800psi electric sprayer with a 1/2 horsepower motor, capable of spraying .24 gallons per minutes. It has a 25-foot hose and commercial-grade spray can.</p> <h3>Take Paint and Application Tools Into Consideration</h3> <p>Once the prep work is done, it's time to select your paint and equipment. Almost all house paint today is acrylic latex, which, in modern formulations has excellent durability and is easily cleaned with water. It's versatile in that it also adheres to both latex or oil-based primers. However, if you're painting cedar or redwood shingles, you'll want an oil-based paint. The same applies to high-traffic areas such as steps, porch floors, and cast-iron ornamentation.</p> <p>Now comes the question of how much paint you will need. You'll first want to prime your house, especially if you have a significant amount of raw wood showing. Once that is dry, two coats of finish paint will usually give you the most long-lived protection. To determine the precise quantity you'll need, simply calculate the square footage of the surfaces and compare it to the manufacturer's coverage claim. If you're using a different color for trim, you can estimate you'll need a gallon for every six gallons of your primary color. A pro tip is to, once you've bought your paint, pour all of it into a larger vessel and mix all the gallons together before beginning the job. By mixing it together you'll eliminate the slight differences in tint.</p> <p>While paint can be expensive, don't be afraid to invest some money on your brushes, either. The right brush can make big difference in the smoothness of your coat, and properly maintained, brushes can last for many years. If you're using an acrylic latex paint, you'll want a brush with nylon and polyester filaments. The bristles should be of uneven lengths in order to maximize paint holding. The bristles should also be chiseled &mdash; the bristles on the inside of the brush are longer than those on the outside. A 5&quot; straight brush and an angled trim or sash brush for borders and edgings should see you through painting your house. If you have to paint ornate metal work or porch railings, consider a lamb's wool glove applicator.</p> <p>You'll also probably <a href="http://dealnews.com/features/Reach-New-Heights-and-Save-Money-How-to-Select-a-Ladder-to-Last-a-Lifetime/547405.html?eref=wisebread">need a ladder</a>, like the <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=100658955">Werner 22-Foot Telescoping Ladder</a> which features slip-resistant rungs, numerous configurations, and support for up to 300 lbs.</p> <p>When you're painting, try to work in the shade as much as possible; it's just more comfortable! Expert painters tackle their projects by painting a stripe the width of the surface (in this case, your house), then move down and paint a strip beneath that one and work their way to the ground. It's important to paint the trim after painting the body of the house. And to paint doors, it's best to remove all hardware, remove them from their mounts, and paint them horizontally.</p> <p>Painting a house can be a time intensive and laborious process, but it's one that rewards patience and persistence. You'll be living with the new color and the quality of work you've put in for at least 10 years, so make it count. If you do it right, those neighbors won't be rioting on your front lawn; they'll be looking to your home as the local standard of excellence.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by </em><a href="http://dealnews.com"><em>Dealnews</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A DIY exterior paint job can save you a lot of money, but it&#039;s not a casual, finish-in-a-day project. Here are the steps and tools you&#039;ll need to do it right. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealnews">Dealnews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">How to Keep DIY Projects From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home budget home projects painting renovations Thu, 21 Jun 2012 10:24:34 +0000 Dealnews 935294 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Home DIY Projects You Can Do in One Day http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tools.jpg" alt="hard hat and tools" title="hard hat and tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband and I are in the midst of a major home remodel, and we're faced with big tasks such as tiling new bathrooms, installing flooring, putting up new walls, and rerouting plumbing. Such challenging tasks can seem overwhelming, and I've found that doing a few easy one-day DIY projects gives me a sense of accomplishment. When I'm able to significantly improve my home in one day or less, I feel as if we're making progress, and that encourages me to stick it out for the long haul.</p> <p>Even if you're not overhauling your entire home, some of these easy DIY fixes can freshen up and update your home with minimal effort. One of these projects can be a fun family activity for a Saturday, and everyone gets to enjoy the results. (See also: <a title="Upgrade Your Home Decor for Less" href="http://www.wisebread.com/upgrade-your-home-decor-for-less">Upgrade Your Home Decor for Less</a>)</p> <h3>1. Make No-Sew Curtains</h3> <p>Getting rid of old plastic blinds and installing fresh new curtains is a quick fix that makes your home so much cozier and up-to-date. You can easily make your own custom, no-sew curtains using fabric snapped up at a discount from a fabric store (check online for those 40-50% off ), iron-on hem tape, and clip-on curtain rings. Throw them up on your windows with a curtain rod from Target and you're good to go within an hour or two. YoungHouseLove has an excellent tutorial for <a href="http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/02/nursery-progress-getting-the-hang-of-it/">homemade no-sew curtains</a>.</p> <h3>2. Paint a Sign</h3> <p>Use an old piece of plywood or MDF board and cut it to your desired size. Prime it, and then use craft paint to DIY a simple sign to hang on your wall with the message of your choice, whether it's &quot;Don't Forget to Flush&quot; or something more poetic. Finish it off with a coat of polyacrylic to seal and protect your <a title="Free or Cheap Wall Art" href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-or-cheap-wall-art">new work of art</a>.</p> <h3>3. Paint Trim</h3> <p>Freshening up the trim around your house is a pretty simple project but will have a dramatic impact in making your home seem more up-to-date, clean, and fresh. Cover up that yellowing paint with a bright white, semi-gloss paint &mdash; just be sure to tape off the edges (or make sure you have a steady hand).</p> <h3>4. Spray Paint a Light Fixture</h3> <p>The Habitat for Humanity ReStore is brimming with old light fixtures just begging for a new finish. Buy an old chandelier or other light fixture for a few bucks, as well as a few cans of spray paint (try a dark brown oil-rubbed bronze finish for a transitional look, or a bright color for a punch of cheer). Wear a mask and apply the spray paint evenly in a well-ventilated area. Voila! You've got a brand-new light fixture that no one else will have. CentsationalGirl has an excellent <a href="http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2010/10/spray-paint-faqs/">FAQ for spray painting</a> almost anything.</p> <h3>5. Re-Upholster a Stool</h3> <p>Some upholstery jobs can take days, and many require the attention of a professional. But recovering that old padded footstool you found at the thrift store? You can do that yourself pretty easily. Buy a piece of foam, some batting, and a piece of fabric at your local craft store. Cut the foam to fit, then use a nail gun to attach the batting and fabric. No nail gun? Try using cheap upholstery tacks instead, like in this <a href="http://www.younghouselove.com/2012/01/another-post-that-john-wanted-me-to-name-stool-boom/">quick upholstering project</a>.</p> <h3>6. Back Bookshelves With Wallpaper</h3> <p>Spruce up a &quot;blah&quot; bookcase with some <a href="http://www.thehandmadehome.net/2010/11/put-a-back-on-it/">pretty patterned wallpaper</a>. You can apply it with glue, or even with double-sided tape so you can take it down when you are ready for a new pattern. A vibrant color or pattern can make your books and curios &quot;pop&quot; and look like new again.</p> <h3>7. Sew (or No-Sew) Pillow Covers Made from Napkins</h3> <p>While my husband desperately tries to curb my accent pillow addiction, I just can't stop. A few brightly-colored, well-placed pillows cheer up any space instantly! These <a href="http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2011/03/no-sew-cloth-napkin-pillow-covers/">innovative pillow covers</a> are made from colorful cloth napkins, a super-frugal and easy way to freshen up your living room couch. You can whip out the sewing machine to put them together, or use trusty old iron-on hem tape for a no-sew version.</p> <h3>8. Make a Compost Bin</h3> <p>A compost bin is a handy thing to have outside within easy access. Instead of buying a fancy version that can run into the hundreds of dollars, make your own with just a few hours of work. Compost bins have many designs, from open bins made from scrap wood and chicken wire to &quot;tumbling&quot; bins made from old garbage cans. Both are easy to DIY with plenty of tutorials on the web, such as this frugal <a href="http://supermomnocape.wordpress.com/tag/homemade-compost-bin/">garbage can tumbling compost bin</a>.</p> <h3>9. Paint Your Front Door</h3> <p>Paint your front door a fun color to welcome guests to your home. Take the opportunity to fill any cracks or dents. If the previous paint is in bad condition, you may want to prime the door first. Then paint it with an exterior paint in red, yellow, turquoise, navy, or another high-impact color. Since the front door is one of the first things to greet guests, a fresh coat of paint makes a big difference. Even better, swap out the old <a href="http://homesinoc.info/brass-fixtures-send-cheap-message/">cheap-looking builder-grade brass</a> door handle for something more updated in oil-rubbed bronze or satin-nickel.</p> <h3>10. Plant a Flowerbed</h3> <p>Although we were deep into several other home improvement projects at the time, my husband and I took an afternoon off to plant a flowerbed in front of our home. We dug up the old weedy flowerbed, added some topsoil and compost, and planted a few inexpensive flowers and shrubs. The project took a couple of hours but we've been rewarded with colorful blooms that put a smile on my face every day.</p> <p><em>What DIY project will you be tackling this weekend?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-fun-cheap-projects-to-try-this-weekend">19 Fun, Cheap Projects to Try This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Lifestyle budget home projects DIY DIY Home Improvement home decor Mon, 13 Feb 2012 11:36:28 +0000 Camilla Cheung 892646 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Pretty Projects for Pine Cones http://www.wisebread.com/5-pretty-projects-for-pine-cones <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-pretty-projects-for-pine-cones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pinecone.jpg" alt="Pine cone" title="Pine cone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This is my first year at a home with pine-cone-bearing trees. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are the giant, picture-perfect kind that are often featured on Christmas cards (as compared to some varieties that look more like something my dog left in the front yard), and I&rsquo;m eager to see how I can incorporate them into my frugal seasonal d├ęcor. Here are some of the best project ideas that I&rsquo;ve discovered thus far.</p> <p>To find cones, start with the conifers in your yard. By this time of year, many of the good cones may have been covered in snow, crushed by cars in the driveway, or raked up or mowed over in preparation for a winter yard.&nbsp;You can also ask people in your community if they know of anyone who may have some to spare. (Note: Always ask before taking cones from other&rsquo;s yards or from government-owned property like parks and recreation areas.) As a last resort, pine cones can be purchased from craft stores, farmers markets, and floral shops.</p> <p><img style="width: 351px; height: 308px;" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/pine%20cone%20wreath.jpg" /></p> <h2><b>Pine Cone Wreaths</b></h2> <p>My good friend Myscha thought of this one before I did, and I&rsquo;m grateful for her tips!&nbsp;This natural-looking <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homemade-christmas-wreath-ideas-with-style">pine cone wreath</a> project can be a great way to use up a large amount of cones in varying sizes and shapes.&nbsp;(And they don&rsquo;t have to be used solely during the holidays.&nbsp;With a brown-and-orange color scheme, they would be appropriate to hang anytime during the fall months.)</p> <p><img style="width: 368px; height: 276px;" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/basket%20pinecone.JPG" /></p> <h2>Basket of Cones</h2> <p>Simple, elegant, and just right for the design impaired (like me), throwing a few handfuls of your best-looking cones into the right basket can do wonders for an empty corner table or the top of your hearth.&nbsp;For added flair, consider topping off the bunch with a few additional natural elements (cranberries, dried orange twists, or cinnamon sticks). If you can arrange flowers, this should be an easy task!</p> <h2>Glitter Cones</h2> <p>Fun to do and dazzling to display, the glitter cone project is a popular DIY on many websites, including <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/article/beautiful-glitter-ornaments">Martha Stewart's</a>. She recommends hand-painting each cone with craft glue and strategically dumping the glitter on with a spoon, but you may find a spray enamel (used in a well-ventilated area, of course) to be easier and faster for doing large batches of cones. If you find a product that incorporates the glue and the glitter in one (like <a href="http://www.elmers.com/product/detail/E642">Elmer&rsquo;s Glitter Glue Pens</a>), you may have more control over the where the glitter ends up. These look pretty turned into ornaments for a tree or mantle.</p> <p><img style="width: 316px; height: 210px;" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/bird%20feeder.jpg" /></p> <h2>Bird Feeder</h2> <p>This is a simple project for bored kids to do on a winter day. Spread smooth peanut butter all over the pinecone (using a grilling brush might make it easier), then sprinkle bird seed all over the surface of the cone. The seed will stick, making it a perfect way to deliver the yummy treat to birds &mdash; not squirrels! Hang it from a tree off the side of your house high enough to be out of reach for curious dogs or cats.</p> <p><img style="width: 326px; height: 244px;" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/pine%20cone%20potpourri.jpg" /></p> <h2>Air Freshener</h2> <p>This pretty project is essentially a homemade potpourri using cones as the natural ingredient. The <a href="http://familycrafts.about.com/od/pineconecrafts/a/PineConeAirFreshener.htm">full tutorial</a> for making it gives you step-by-step directions as well as a photo.&nbsp;Christmas lights add an extra-special touch, and the project can be done with any size glass jar for an accent that will go well with every room in your home.</p> <h3>Some Additional Tips for Working with Pine Cones</h3> <p>From <a href="http://familycrafts.about.com/od/pineconecrafts/qt/Pineconehints.htm">About.com&rsquo;s Family Craft site</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Bake the cones for about an hour at 200&deg;F on a foil-lined pan to kill any bugs or mites that might be living inside.</li> <li>To make cones close up after baking, plunge them in ice-cold water. (They will reopen once dry.)</li> </ul> <p>Depending on the type of cone, they may be sharp or have spiky edges. Use care when handling, and if children are working with the pine cones, they may want to use rubber kitchen gloves or child-sized garden gloves for protection.</p> <p>Pine cones are a natural, affordable way to bring the beauty of nature indoors. Even though they are usually associated with the winter holiday season, they can be incorporated into the overall look and feel of your home any time of year. Just make adjustments to the color and tone as you see fit.</p> <p><em>How have you used pine cones to make your house a home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pretty-projects-for-pine-cones">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-upcycle-used-baby-furniture">8 Creative Ways to Upcycle Used Baby Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living budget home projects crafts decorating pine cones Thu, 16 Dec 2010 14:00:21 +0000 Linsey Knerl 389947 at http://www.wisebread.com