Author Archive | Evan Sheline

Tools for beginners

It can be super intimidating trying to buy the tools and stuff you need when you first start getting into DIY. When we bought our first house, we got a 10% off coupon for Lowes and decided we would try to buy everything we needed for all the projects on our list ALL AT ONCE. I’m not sure why. 10% off isn’t even that much. We still have stuff we bought that day that has never been used (see old throwback photo at the end of this post).

So we figured we would help you guys learn from our experience. You don’t need all the things. But you’ll probably need some things. Below is a list of tools we’d recommend for the new homeowner, the beginning woodworker, the advanced woodworker, and craftperson.

Note: assuming that they’ll have most everything in the homeowner category

Note: assuming that they’ll have most everything in the homeowner and woodworker category.

Throwback to our early days buying too much with that 10% off coupon :P

Still not sure why we bought that sledgehammer but I have no regrets about it when I see it on our wall :)


DIY Marquee Letters

Hey guys! So, if you were familiar with our blog before we got started on YouTube, you probably remember our DIY Marquee Letters tutorial of yore (here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3). We built them for our wedding and they were actually the first DIY project we ever started. I say “started” because we didn’t complete them until months later, but still – I count them as the first!

We still get comments and questions about these letters, so we thought doing a video tutorial would help show how we made them. Plus, since this is our second time around and we have a few years of DIY experience under our belts, we came up with some ideas to make a couple tricky parts easier. So check out the video above to see the tutorial! And if you wanna see a budget breakdown, scroll to the end.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a second it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. Since we’re brand new to YouTube, every view, like, and subscription makes a huge difference for us. Click here to see the whole channel. Thank youuuuu! We’re doing a big goofy happy dance right now!]

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

So if this looks like something you want to tackle, here are the steps in the video broken down. You can also look at the old 3-part tutorial linked to above, but this version has the updates we made and is a little more succinct (since we did it in a weekend instead of over a 6-month period haha)

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn


DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn


Step 1: Making guides

This step is a tiny bit of up front work that is going to make things way easier later in the project. We’re going to make a few wooden blocks to use as guides. We didn’t do this the first time we made these DIY marquee letters, but they helped so much this time around.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn First, we cut four 2-5/8″ long blocks out of some scrap 2x4s. These will hold up the letters to the correct height for nailing in the metal flashing later. We used our miter saw, but a jig saw works too, just cut slowly (and maybe use a clamped-on straight edge to guide you).

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Next we’re going to make a height guide to help us nail in the right location. We cut another piece of scrap wood to be 3-3/8″ long and drew a line at 2-5/8″. This will show us where the plywood is from the outside of the flashing.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Both of these measurements are based on using 3/4″ plywood. These guides will make more sense once we get further along in the project, but trust us, you’ll want to have them!

Step 2: Making the letters

We made printable templates for every letter (you can download them here). These are PDFs that will print out on several pages and be the right size to cut out a 2-foot tall letter. We taped together the template, which is easier said than done, at least when you have a cat.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Then we cut out the outline of the letters, taped them onto our plywood, and traced around them using a yardstick as a straight edge.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Before removing the paper, you’ll want to use the hole center guide we included in the template download to mark where to drill each hole.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn NOTE: The lights we used are a pack of 25. Our E and K had 25 total holes. If the letters you chose have more than 25 holes, you might need reduce the amount of holes and eyeball how to space them out OR look for a bigger set of lights.

Line up the center template with each circle on the letters, then either use a center punch or tap a nail a few times into the center mark.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn When you remove the paper templates, you’ll be left with tiny starter holes to show you where you need to drill.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We drilled through these using a 13/16″ spade bit, but you could also use a forstner bit or hole saw. We’d recommend double checking the diameter of the socket part of your lights before doing this. You want it to be a snug fit.

Sometimes drilling all the way through in one go can cause a little tear-out. It’s not a huge deal because the back of the letters will never be seen anyway, just make sure you’re drilling into the front of the letters. Or you can play it safe like we did by drilling halfway through the letters from the front, then flipping them over and drilling the rest of the way through.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Next we cut around the outlines of the letters with a jig saw. This is easiest to do if you have a couple clamps to hold the wood still, but we made the first set without any. Carefully guide the jig saw around the outline of your letters.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn There might be a couple places where you need to turn a corner and can’t, like the inside cuts of our E. Just drill a hole along the line you need to cut, then place the jigsaw blade in that hole and start cutting along that line.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Woohoo, at this point things are starting to take shape!

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

Step 3: Sanding and staining

Before staining them, we’re going to give the edges a quick sand. For the outside edges of the letters, we used a 220 grit sanding sponge because it’s easy, flexible, and can contour to the edges a bit.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We used little scraps of 220 grit sandpaper to sand inside the holes we drilled.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Then we applied one coat of Minwax stain in dark walnut. To keep the coat of stain even, Evan applied it and I wiped off excess as he went. This prevents it from pooling or soaking in too much in some areas and coming out splotchy. It’s not 100% necessary to do it this way, but we think it helps. Don’t worry about staining the edges or inside the holes, they won’t be visible when you’re done.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

Step 4: Adding metal flashing

This next part, adding the flashing, was definitely the hardest step the first time we did this project. But because we made those scrap wood guides earlier, it’s gonna be a lot easier this time. Go ahead and place your first letter on the 2-5/8″ scrap wood blocks to raise it up off your work surface.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn First we sketched out our letters and measured all the sides, writing the measurements down on our sketch. We planned for the flashing to start at the middle of the bottom of each letter, so the first measurement is just a partial length and we allowed for some overlap at the end.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We start our flashing at the bottom of each letter and plan for a little overlap We used those measurements to pre-bend the metal flashing. We’ve found the easiest way to do this is to grab a hammer and a sturdy (thick) putty knife, and find yourself something cushy to work on, like carpet. Because we were working outside, we used our doormat. Having your flashing on a cushioned surface lets the putty knife sink into it when you’re hammering.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Put on some gloves (the flashing is sharp). Measure from the end of the flashing to where you need to make the first corner on the letter and draw a line at that point.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Then align the edge of the putty knife with that line, and hammer the handle so that it indents the metal.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Once you’ve given it a few whacks of the hammer, you should be able to bend it easily by keeping the putty knife edge in the crease and folding the metal against it by hand.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Every time we made a bend, we made sure to a) measure the side of the letter again just in case before bending, b) make sure we were bending in the right direction (bending inward or outward), and c) test fit the bend to make sure it fit the letter before moving onto the next bend. We caught a couple measurement mistakes on our end, so we definitely recommend playing it safe!

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Here’s what we mean by corners that bend inward toward the letter.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn And here are the corners that bend outward away from the letter.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn If you do happen to make a bend in the the wrong spot or in the wrong direction, you can undo it. Lay the metal against a hard surface and hammer the bend flat. Then you can re-bend it in the correct spot/direction.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn When you have all your bends made and everything fits, it’s time to secure the metal to the wood. This is where the guides we made are going to come in handy. The blocks we made earlier hold the letter up to the correct height so that when the flashing is wrapped around them, the plywood is centered in the flashing.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn And the 3-3/8″ block will show you, from the outside of the flashing, where the plywood is so that you can nail into it.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn The first time we did this project, we were trying to simultaneously hold the flashing centered with the plywood and hammer into it at the same time. It was not the easiest thing in the world. So trust us when we say these guides will save you!

Another thing that made the project easier this time around is having a nail gun. We haven’t used it much so we did have a slight learning curve, but once we got the hang of it it made nailing the flashing into the wood much faster. We used the outside height guide to show us what height to make the nails at, and we ended up cutting a little notch in it with our jigsaw to even use it as a place to rest the nail gun so our spacing was more consistent.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn However, this is totally 100% doable with just a hammer and finishing nails. It’ll take a little more time, but it’s not difficult. We recommend nails that are only 3/4″ or so so you’re not hammering forever. Use the height guide to line the nails up with where the plywood is and hammer them in.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Whichever method you use, it definitely helps to have one person hold the letters secure while the other nails into them.

If a nail goes through your wood don’t worry, just pull it out with pliers, sand over the rough spot where it exited the wood, touch it up with a dab of stain, and re-hammer in the nail. Just think of it as added character.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn There will be a few areas you can’t nail into because a hammer or nail gun won’t fit. We secured these with super glue. We used gorilla glue last time, but in our opinion, super glue was easier.

Some places won’t need nails or glue (like the tight corners of the K), but other places will (like inside the E).

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We dabbed some super glue in between the metal and wood, then used scrap wood and rubber bands to hold them tightly together. You may not need to do this step at all, it all depends on your letters. You can also often bend the metal so that it’s bowing against the wood, which holds it against it. But adding a little super glue is easy in a pinch.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn And congrats! You’re done with the hardest part!

Step 5: Adding lights

The last step is adding the lights. All in all, this is pretty straight forward. Just unscrew the bulb, pop the socket through the hole, and screw the bulb back in.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We had 25 lights and 25 holes, so we made sure that a light was used in each one. This meant we had to do a little back tracking on the legs of the letters. Where you have to backtrack, skip every other hole on and then fill the ones you skipped on your way back. See how I skipped the holes on the leg of the K? I’m going to fill those on the way back up.

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn Annnnnnnnd done!!!!

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn We are so happy to have another set of these DIY marquee letters, and this set was WAY easier to build than our first. Maybe that’s a testament to the skills we’ve learned over the past few years, or maybe it was just because while making the first set we were also trying to fix up our newly bought house and plan a wedding at the same time haha. Either way, we’re super pleased with how these came out.

They are perfect for a wedding (we might be biased) but would also be awesome for an engagement shoot, baby shower, party, or even just as home decor. We have our set that spells LOVE in our living room and they make us happy every day. Hope you enjoyed our DIY Marquee Letters tutorial!

DIY wood and metal marquee letters - Evan & Katelyn

Budget breakdown


Tools (the required ones only, we used other things just because we had them. Also, I’ve linked to both the versions we have and more budget friendly versions. We tend to invest a little more in tools because we use them all the time, but if you want to save the less expensive versions below all got good reviews)

DIY Marquee Letters - Evan & Katelyn ………………………………………………………………
You can also find us at:

YouTube (all our DIY videos)
Instagram (sneak peeks @evanandkatelyn)
Patreon (if you wanna support us, but no pressure!)
Pinterest (stuff that inspires us)
Twitter (us, in 140 character doses)
Facebook (be our friend)
Instructables (straight up tutorials)
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting us!


Abstract Painting Tutorial

We both grew up with art as an important part in our lives and love that when we want to change up our walls we can grab a canvas, brush some paint on it, and have instant new art. But if you’re not super comfortable with a paintbrush in your hand, that can be kind of intimidating. So we set out to create an abstract painting tutorial that you can do even if you don’t consider yourself a painter. As proof, we convinced my mom (who doesn’t paint) to give it a try and see if she could follow along. Results = success!

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial -

We used acrylic paint (which we think is the easiest paint to work with) in just two colors, and topped it off with shiny copper tape that adds an instant geometric punch. We are super excited for you guys to try your hand at painting too!

This video covers everything step by step (it really helps to watch Evan’s brush in motion), and we’ll go into even more detail below.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a second it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. Since we’re brand new to YouTube, every view, like, and subscription makes a huge difference for us. Click here to see the whole channel. Thank youuuuu! We’re doing a big goofy happy dance right now!]

Materials needed:

Step 1: Wet your canvas

The first step (that might not be an obvious one) is to brush water across your canvas. The water is going to help the paint blend. If the canvas is try, it tries to grip onto the paint and makes everything less smooth. You just want a very thin layer of water (the canvas should glisten but there shouldn’t be any pooling).

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial -

Step 2: Add background

We’re going to use just two colors in this tutorial: Titanium White and Payne’s Gray. You could easily swap these around (white and blush would be really pretty too, or white and teal)

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Get mostly white on your brush and just a little bit of gray. You don’t want to mix them too much because you’ll just end up with a really light gray. Instead, you want white with streaks of grayish blue to end up on your canvas. So get both on the brush without mixing them.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - At this point, do all vertical up and down strokes until everything looks smooth and you have some nice blue striation mixed into the white.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Abstract Art Painting Tutorial -

Step 3: Add variation

Next we are going to add some variation in the form of left and right strokes, stronger concentrations of gray, and stronger concentrations of white. We like an asymmetrical look, so we are going to add some darker gray areas in the bottom right, top left, and bottom left.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - We mix in some horizontal strokes with our vertical strokes by cross-hatching them so that not all the brush strokes are going in the same direction.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - And then we blend these additional marks so there aren’t hard edges (this is personal preference, you can leave it less blended if you prefer it that way). When you apply color you should hold your brush at about a 45 degree angle, but when you blend you should hold it much lower, about a 20-30 degree angle. Make your brush strokes very light handed, letting the weight of the brush pull the paint but not really applying too much extra force on top of that.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - The blending step is much easier to understand in video form. The good news is, there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. If you look at Evan’s painting and my mom’s painting, they both look a little different and it’s totally ok.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial -

Step 4: Add copper tape

After letting it fully dry (we wait a couple hours), you’re going to add the copper tape. First we drew out a few different patterns that we could lay our tape in. We recommend doing this to decide on your tape pattern before you actually place your tape.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Again, there’s not really a wrong way to do this. I tried like 20 options and I think any of them would have worked. We will say for this more minimalist look, 3-5 lines probably works best.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - To apply the copper tape, first unroll and cut off the amount you need, leaving a little extra on each end to wrap around the edges of your canvas. The cut off piece wants to curl, so we straightened it by bending it agains the direction it wanted to curl. Remove the backing carefully so that it does not stick to itself, and pull tightly (but not so tight you break it!) across your canvas. Press down onto your canvas and wrap the tape around the edges.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - And you’re done!

So the reason this works so well as abstract art, even for beginners, is that the copper tape is what your eye focuses on and the painting acts as a backdrop for that. So even if you’re not super confident in your painting skills, don’t worry, it won’t be the main focus. Heck, you could even just do a solid color backdrop.

Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - Abstract Art Painting Tutorial - So please give this a try and let us know how it goes! We’d love to see how it turns out, so tag us on Instagram @evanandkatelyn if you end up posting pics!

You can also find us at:

YouTube (all our DIY videos)
Instagram (sneak peeks @evanandkatelyn)
Patreon (if you wanna support us, but no pressure!)
Pinterest (stuff that inspires us)
Twitter (us, in 140 character doses)
Facebook (be our friend)
Instructables (straight up tutorials)
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting us!



Fixing a bathtub with a 3d printer

Hey y’all, Evan here! *gasp* yes I know I haven’t posted in forever, I’ll try to be better! I’ve actually started my own freelance product design and engineering consulting company at, which has been keeping me very busy, but hopefully this will also lead to some more crossover posts.  As you might have seen in “office saga continues“, I’ve setup a home office that is very much still in progress but I’ll get working on an update posts with lots of fun things in it such as a custom standing desk, new shelves, and other storage solutions.

For now I thought I would dip my toe back into blogging with how my 3d printer totally saved us. Now to add a qualifying remark here: 3d printing is awesome and you should totally get a printer but it really is only useful if you have 3d modeling skills or are up for learning the programs you need to make 3d printed parts.

For ours I went with a fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3d printer (there are so many types out there but most consumer ones use are FFF) from Lulzbot called the TAZ.

lulzbot-taz So to get into the problem, the hot water handle on our bath tub broke… Not an easy to replace part either. It was the stem coming from the valve that broke in half. No good way to get a good picture of it so I found this illustration online that will help:

Two-handle_faucets  (source unfortunately unknown and unattributed)

Now to replace the stem I would have to replace the valve itself, which was underneath the frame of the bathtub and completely inaccessible without tearing up our slate tiles (not at all an appealing idea). I noticed however that the stem that broke off was actually threaded! Using my nut and bolt thread checker (must have tool in my opinion, so good) I found out that the threads were M6-1.0.


This lead to the temporary solution below of a bolt and hex key as a make shift handle:


Not at all pretty but it got me thinking of printing an adapter between the bolt and the handle… Using my calipers I measured the broken off stem and modeled it in Solidworks (but plenty of other cheaper/free 3d modeling software out there).


simple-adapter 61yJDhVX39L._SL1000_

To strengthen the print I added a hex key down the shaft and then glued it together with cyanoacrylate (typical “super glue”) with a kicker. Now I really never understood how great super glue could be until I used it with the kicker/accelerant/insta-cure. Usually you have to find a way to hold two objects in compression for 10 minutes, then 24 hours for full cure. Most of what I’ve tried gluing together are not easy to hold without movement while maintaining compression. This kicker allows for setting in just seconds though. You can put super glue on one side and the kicker on the other or just spray the kicker on top and BOOM you got a good solid connection. I also didn’t know recently that there was a super glue debonder. Great for when you glue your fingers together and don’t want to rip the skin. Or you know, to debond your actual parts. It stinks and is super strong, but works well! Anywho, back to the project…


Using this little guy allowed me to connect to the original handle!

ezgif-1363390562 Success!!!

ezgif-2331949995 I know this post may be a little technical and not applicable to those without 3d printers but I wanted to share a nice little successful project with y’all. Let me know what you think about these types of posts!

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!


DIY Simple Side Table

Evan here again! So for a while, I hate to admit it, we were using my old TV tray as a side table. Hey. It fit. But it was not a good long term solution for two picky DIY artists. By this time (back in 2013 actually, sorry for such a late update!), I had gotten my woodworking confidence up, but I had not done any major projects with woodworking yet. So let me share my first one with you:

DIY simple side table -

Muuuch better, right? This journey was not the smoothest… At first I was inspired by this pallet I found:


It seems like they are all the rage in the DIY community. I must have had really bad luck. This was some super heavy duty super nailed together super pallet. But not super good for getting good wood from. I really did try. Then I put it in the scrap pile and went to Home Depot.


Got some nice real wood (no plywood for my first big project!) All the same width. All I needed to do was cut them to length and start joining!


This was before I had more toys tools in my arsenal garage, so I made do with some scrap wood to help me cut. Prooobably not recommended. A table saw would have been muuuuch better. Now that I have one (a shoutout of thanks to my brother and sister in law here for hooking me up for our wedding (yes, this project was that long ago)) I know how awesome it is.

DIY simple side table -

Once cut to size (measure, measure, measure, cut) I did a test fit! Looks good so far. I went with a nice basic shape (a blocky A?). To join them I drilled holes and glued in dowels! If I were to do this again, I would have used screws and counter-bores then capped them with tiny lengths of dowels on top (picture below sums it up better). I used dowels instead of just screws so that the entire outside of the side table would be wood (say that 5 times fast… wait, I just did it too and it’s not that hard, please ignore).


But this was my first project so I just went for it.


Not the prettiest work but that is why I bought wood filler.


Katelyn helped me out with joining them all together with the dowels and glue (and therefore we didn’t get too many pictures of the process). But I did get this gem:


Once everything was joined it was time to liberally apply wood filler.

DIY simple side table -

When it all started to look awesome is actually when I took the sander to the side table. It started to feel like a finished product. All the rough edges or mismatches were worn away and it came together into one piece.

DIY simple side table -

And if sanding is when it started to look finished, staining is when it really DID look finished. This might be the most satisfying step because there is such a large change for fairly low effort. I’ve adopted the wipe on, wipe off method. Get the stain on the wood and wipe it off right away.


Since this was going to be a piece of furniture we would use regularly and possibly with drinks/spills/condensation, I went ahead and sealed it too.

DIY simple side table -

Hope this post helps people at the beginning of their DIY adventure like I was to jump in and try their hand at something new, or get a more experienced hand out into their workshop again :)


DIY Photobooth

OMG Evan’s back too?! Yes my dear readers. Search now works again (oops) and I’ve tuned up the website’s inner workings. Oh and I have an awesome project to share!

One of my big wedding responsibilities was to make a photobooth. We did a lot of research into DIY vs rent. Rentals were quite expensive (around $600-$1200) and DIY range from $0 on up depending on how much you already have. On the easy side there was: setup your computer with its web cam and use some photobooth like app. On the hard side there were custom circuitry with fancy triggers and printers etc. I knew I could not live with myself (being an engineer and IT nerd) if I went with a computer that you pressed the spacebar on. But I also knew time would be limited and I could not delve too far into coding and wiring.

So I came up with my own in between. Most digital cameras now have some sort of digital output (usually micro HDMI). When hooked up to a monitor the camera can display pictures that have been taken, or (and more interestingly for this project) it can show whatever the camera is seeing! On my camera the HDMI out was hidden on the bottom near the batter (that top port in the picture below).

DIY Photobooth-

The best part of a photobooth is people seeing themselves before the photo and being silly! Since my camera has that output all I needed to do was point the camera one way, have a monitor facing the same way, then throw in a remote and watch the chaos. And there was literally chaos. You’ll see in the end (though that was mainly the props’ fault, not my photobooth). In order to make everything pretty though I had to build a box to hide the technology. Went to Home Depot and bought 2 pieces of plywood and found some spare 2×4’s in the attic. Found a flush mount monitor kit on amazon and a spare computer monitor in a closet. I started with the main front face (where the monitor would be attached facing the photo-takers).

DIY Photobooth-

Added 2x4s to the back of the front face for structural support (you can see where I screwed them in along each side in the photo below). Then started to attach my monitor mount.

DIY Photobooth-

I had to add some 2x4s on the back for the mount to attach to.

DIY Photobooth-

Dropped the monitor in for a fit test. So far so good!

DIY Photobooth-

I wanted the camera to be above the monitor because pictures from above are more attractive (or so my wife tells me). I bought a little swivel that I could mount into the wood, so I put another 2×4 at the right height for that. Here is where my previously unmentioned planning came into play. I actually did measure my monitor and camera to make sure everything would fit on the front panel. From there it was a bit of improv as the project went on though :P For this build I had the overall shape in my head but determining all the lengths, angles, heights etc ahead of time didn’t seem necessary for something that would most likely be used a few tines. I would add each element off of the previous and measure everything to fit together as I went.

DIY Photobooth-

I wanted the whole back panel to open on hinges so that the camera would be easily accessible and the whole thing would be easy to assemble and break down. A quick trip to Home Depot and we found these cabinet hinges that worked out well.

DIY Photobooth-

Also note in the picture below, my handheld cordless screwdriver. It is amazing and I totally recommend it to any DIYers out there that work with wood/ hang curtains/ assemble things/ etc/ basically every DIY project lol.

DIY Photobooth-

For the sides I just pressed a sheet of plywood against it’s current shape. Traced the lines. Measured in by the width of the sheet, then cut!

DIY Photobooth-

To cut the hole I needed for my camera lens, I used my Milwaukee hole cutting set. A bit on the pricey side but they are AMAZING! Plus I love the case as I’m a have-a-place-for-it-or-loose-it guy. Except Katelyn helps a ton with that :)


Peek a boo! Eye see you.

Basic setup from the inside:

DIY Photobooth-

For a more finished look we used our favorite Minwax dark walnut wood stain. Super easy way to unite all the wood in a piece and make it look a lot more finished. Of course we didn’t get pictures of this though :P But I use an old rag or t-shirt and wipe the stain on and off and it is super fast. I also usually wear rubber gloves too bc that stain works on skin too.

DIY Photobooth-

We tested out the height that it assembled at and with the table we were going to use we thought it was better to be a little higher up (tested the increased height with an improvised booster), so I whipped up a quick stand to raise it up (then we stained that too!).

DIY Photobooth-

Almost all finished, but moving it around was a little troublesome. No grips on the sides.

DIY Photobooth-

Another Home Depot trip fixed that though:

DIY Photobooth-

Dropped a power strip in the back and ended up tying everything down and organizing it but this will get the idea across:

DIY Photobooth-

In this picture you can also see the hole I cut in the middle to feed out the power and video cables to the monitor.

Of course during this we had to take a whole bunch of pictures. Thankfully google plus stitched some together into a gif for us.

DIY Photobooth-

The little black thing you can kinda see in my hand was the bluetooth remote. Below Katelyn is holding it after we secured it to the booth with some baker’s twine.

DIY Photobooth-

We ended up getting over 500 pictures from the booth at our wedding!

DIY Photobooth-

Remember that aforementioned chaos? Something about photo booths. And when you throw in props and the ability to fit in so many people? Extra chaos. But the good kind :)

DIY Photobooth-

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!

We’re Experiencing Technical Awesomeness

Hey guys, Evan’s back! I recently noticed that I’ve been lacking a bit on my technical duties around the website and thought it was about time for some technical upgrades. Hopefully the changes will make reading, searching, sharing, etc, a more pleasant experience. Being the observant reader you are I’m sure you’ve notices some of them already…

Old way to share share:

We're Experiencing Technical Awesomeness

New way to share (and yes, I did pick the most popular of our posts to screenshot hehe):

We're Experiencing Technical Awesomeness

We’ve long been annoyed about how our search performs. Honestly we’ve gone to Google search before using our own search. NO MORE! I’ve upgraded the search algorithms and settings and now they work great. Go ahead, try it. Wait, wait, then come back here, I still got more cool things coming!

Having our archives in a little drop down box is not that exciting…

We're Experiencing Technical Awesomeness

But having it in picture form all pretty like is hopefully much more enjoyable…

We're Experiencing Technical Awesomeness

Hopefully that little upgrade will make going back and finding your favorite post much easier and enjoyable! We’ve also moved the access to the archive from the sidebar where it was hidden to the top menu where we can show it off with pride ^_^. Also that smiley face I really like (^_^) looks like he has a mole when you put a period after it hehe.

We’re also trying out a feature that shows up at the end of each post and suggests others you might like. Seeing this makes Katelyn realize she needs to work on making her titles shorter… haha!

We're Experiencing Technical Awesomeness

Katelyn also worked her coding magic to make our comments look prettier! The nice light teal is so much easier on the eyes than the default yellow/tan yeckhhh!

We're Experiencing Technical Awesomeness

And Katelyn gave us a new picture on the top of the sidebar from our L.O.V.E. post yesterday. Still obsessing over how cool the finished product is!


I also did some more technical upgrades that are totally boring. Upgrading the behind the scenes framework and automating our sitemap submissions, etc aren’t flashy. But hopefully it will drive some more traffic here which would be good news for everyone. Growing our little community will encourage more comments and more posts from us! We for sure aren’t going to stop here though so expect more little surprises as things go on! Thanks for sticking with us as we figure this all out!


Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes

This is part 6 of the prep work we did to get everything ready to blow GreenFiber cellulose insulation in our attic. At the bottom of this post we have a link to every post in this series if you want to check out the whole shebang :)

After we finished cleaning our attic, getting the wires/cables in order, making the map, fixing the exhaust vent, and re-stapling up the old insulation, we were finally able to get to one of the essential prep-work items all the tutorials talk about- adding vent chutes.

Vent chutes, also called soffit baffles or air chutes, are these styrofoam or cardboard covers that you put at each soffit vent to block blown insulation from clogging it and to guide the air coming in from your soffits up and over the insulation. This helps keep your attic ventilation in order: if you have insufficient ventilation, your attic gets hotter than it’s supposed to and all that insulation you added has to work against much more heat.


Vent chutes are also fun to pose with.

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

Did you notice the ninja Mochi in the above picture? I know I can kinda be distracting so if you did, go you! And yes, woot! This is Evan again. Hi.

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

But back to business. Some things you’ll for sure need to install these things

  1. hard hat (nails poke through the roof from the shingles… and bumping into them hurts)
  2. staple gun
  3. long poking device (we used a garden hoe, pictured above)
  4. vent chutes
  5. some boards to lay on (I chopped some to length for easier carrying)
  6. good breathing mask
  7. head light
  8. eye protection
  9. gloves, long sleeves, and long pants to keep insulation off your skin

To find where your soffit vents are, go outside and look at the edge of your roofline anywhere there is an overhang. You’ll see the outside of your soffit vents from there, so make a mental note of how many there are. Then go into the attic when it’s light outside and turn the lights off. You should be able to see daylight filtering in where you found the vents outside, where the roofline meets the attic floor. If a vent is currently blocked by insulation you won’t see light, which is why it’s good you counted them from the outside already.

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

You’ll want to start by clearing a way as much existing insulation as you can. I used a garden hoe for this; getting it all with my hands would have been hard even for my long-armed self. Make as much room for the chutes as possible because they are flimsy and it is hard to push them past insulation below and nails sticking in from above (these are the things that cause the most trouble).

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

The best method I developed (took me three tries) is after you’ve cleared a path, put your long poking device inside the vent chute (between it and the ceiling) and push down to hold it away from the roof. This way you can guide the chute past the protruding nails.

Once you have the chute in place it is time to staple!

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

No real secrets I’ve found here. Just make sure you have a staple gun you can shoot with one hand. This would have been very difficult (or impossible) if I had to use both hands to shoot it. Try to press with your body and leverage your weight to push instead of your fingers if you can. It recommends doing a staple every 4 inches or so. Do the best you can, and then use your garden hoe again to press the insulation (the excess you pulled out in the beginning) back against the bottom of the chute. This will help hold the base of it against the roof (where it’s harder to reach your staple gun).

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

You might end up at some odd angles, and you will DEFINITELY end up incredibly sweaty, but it really does not take too too long to install these very necessary items.

Attic Prep Part 6- Vent Chutes-

Psst – To see the whole process from start to finish, check out our other posts! You can see our overall plan for blowing insulation, and check out all the prep in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 7, Part 8Part 9, and the actual blowing of insulation. Big project!

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!


DIY-ing Can Swing Both Ways

… just like our shower door. But more on that later.

It’s Evan again! Sorry for the long absence from the blog, but Katelyn has been an doing an awesome job writing about our adventures in the meantime. I’m here with just a quick update on a DIY project that came up a little short.

Sometimes it’s the little details that get you. It started with a quick fix idea I had for our shower. See… the door leaks water out every time we use it. Probably because there are huge gaps all around our nice thick glass swinging door.

DIY-ing Can Swing Both Ways-

I went to the amazing amazon and got a door sweepdoor gap closer (technical terms here only), and some fancy tape to keep it water-tight.

To start with I had to trim these polycarbonate strips to length. Note: you should really practice cutting them a few times before the final one. The good news is that they come way longer than the length you need (ours arrived in a tube twice the size of Katelyn). I used my jig saw to cut them. You could also use a little hacksaw if you wanted though.

DIY-ing Can Swing Both Ways-

As you can see I clamped it down since I do not have three hands (one to hold the jig saw and two to hold either end).

DIY-ing Can Swing Both Ways-

Mine came out a little rough so I sanded the ends down:

DIY-ing Can Swing Both Ways-

Once cut to length it is easy to slip them on the shower door (you just have to make sure you get the right width plastic guards so that they are snug but still slide on).

DIY-ing Can Swing Both Ways-

 Good news: I tested out the shower and the guards protected against the water leaking out!

DIY-ing Can Swing Both Ways-

Look! No puddles on this side of the door!

Now for the bad news. Remember when I mentioned that our door swings both ways? And that it is heavy? When it swings closed, it does so with such momentum and force that it hits the plastic water guard and shakes both glass panes so hard I worry for their mountings! So… success and failure. The plan worked great but it was a little (well… kinda a huge) detail that literally STOPPED the project from being a success. Not sure where we are going to go from here. We can either take the guard off and have a leaky shower or keep it on and always have to remember to gently shut the door behind us. Or there could be a third solution out there. Slow down the door swing somehow? Stop the leaks another way? Have any suggestions? Keep checking back with us and hopefully we’ll revisit this conundrum later.


DIY Attic Air Duct Protector/Bridge

When you buy a house you’ve gotta take the good with the bad. We already love this house but it needs some TLC. One thing I had to fix before it got worse was our air duct. It was in bad shape already, but even worse, every time somebody had to get to the attic above the kitchen they had to crawl over the already damaged air duct. This is the shape it was in when we got it:


The duct is bent and collapsing in on itself and there are tears/holes in the tape patching it up because the only way to get across currently is to do this:


Not ideal. Especially with the electrician and plumber coming in a few days, who both need access to the other side of our attic- they could end up damaging the duct even further. Time to use some of those engineering skills!! I decided to design and build a bridge that would protect the duct when people needed to get to the other side. I could not help getting fancy and planning it in my 3d program:


Since I haven’t been able to get my garage fully stocked with power tools… yet… I got some help cutting boards from Home Depot. We chose the pink boards (get Katelyn’s hint in our previous post now?) because they were the cheapest and because cosmetics weren’t exactly at the top of our priority list with this project.


When you get the boards home no need to cut, you can just start assembly! I started by building the legs that I would secure to studs in the attic on either side of the duct.


I used L brackets in the corners for added stability. They were pricier than the wood itself, but definitely worth it to make our bridge structurally sound. Here you can see the legs for both sides of the duct, with the L brackets on the inner corners.


Up in the attic, I started by securing a long support board to the studs in the attic floor along the front side of the duct. Then I used more L Brackets to secure one set of legs to the support board.


Then I carefully crawled over and did the same thing to the other side. Once the legs were in place, I nailed 7 boards across the top of both legs to make the top of our bridge.


I had to add some additional support because it wobbled some when I tested it out. I used some extra scrap wood and cut 45 degree angles on both ends and screwed it into the legs and base support (see picture below). I pre-drilled pilot holes to make those 2.5″ screws go in easier and prevent the heads from stripping.


Nearing completion:


I added similar supports to the legs at the back of the duct as well.


All done! Now anyone who needs to can get around our attic without damaging our air duct anymore.


Not sure if you can see it in the picture above but I also used a power sander to make sure the edges were smooth and splinter free. Also please note the face mask which you NEED if you’re going to be in the attic for more than 1 minute. Trust me.

Here is the budget breakdown:

  • 7x 2″x4″x92″ studs at $1.87 – total of $13.09
  • 8x Framing Anchor (L brackets) at $2.57 – total of $20.56
  • Lots of 2-1/2″ nails ~ $0.20
  • Lots of 2-1/2″ wood screws ~ $0.40
  • Sandpaper ~ $0.50


  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Facemask
  • Oscillating sander (optional)