Archive | Building & Upgrading Furniture

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 - evanandkatelyn.com

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

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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.

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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!

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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 - evanandkatelyn.com

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).

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

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

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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:

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

DIY simple side table - evanandkatelyn.com

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 - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

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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 - evanandkatelyn.com

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 :)

2

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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

DIY Photobooth- evanandkatelyn.com

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

DIY Photobooth- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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 :)

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Peek a boo! Eye see you.

Basic setup from the inside:

DIY Photobooth- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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

DIY Photobooth- evanandkatelyn.com

Another Home Depot trip fixed that though:

DIY Photobooth- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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

DIY Photobooth- evanandkatelyn.com

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- evanandkatelyn.com

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31

Makin’ Loooooove… COMPLETE! {DIY Marquee Letters}

***UPDATE***

We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]

***END UPDATE***

We finally got to use these at our wedding!! We ADORE how they turned out! It was 100% worth the time and effort.

DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Marquee Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

If you need to get caught up on the DIY Marquee Letter saga, check out part 1 and part 2.  You can also see a budget breakdown and materials list at the end of this post.

Here’s how it started: before we even bought our house, we went to a wedding expo and spotted these marquee letters. We instantly fell in L.O.V.E. with them and had to figure out how to make our own!

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

So we made a template (psst- download it here), cut it out of plywood and stained it, and then we derped around for a few months doing all sorts of house things instead of completing this project.

Finally, we decided it was time give the people what they wanted finish ‘er up. And that meant doing the hardest part: adding the metal flashing to the sides. We bought four rolls of 6-inch aluminum flashing because we wanted our letters to have metal siding (there are some tutorials online using poster board for the sides but we wanted something a little more sturdy). We couldn’t find any tutorials for making wood and metal letters so we decided to wing it.

(Before we get into all the pictures, a quick side note: we worked on this project on and off over several months so don’t be surprised if our outfits, location, time of day, and Evan’s haircut-necessity-level change from picture to picture.)

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We started with the L because it was the easiest and because we are just OCD enough that the thought of doing the letters out of order bothered us. The first step when adding the flashing is to unroll your metal and sit the letter on it.

Choose where you want the start and the end of your metal to meet (for the L, we chose the bottom of it), then make your first bend in the metal. We used the help of a putty knife and a hammer to make our bends.

Draw a line on the metal where you want your bend to be, place the sharp end of a putty knife (or similar object) on that line, and hammer the handle of the putty knife so that the sharp end is pounded into the metal. This works best if you’re working on carpet or a rug instead of a hard table top or hard flooring. You need some give underneath the metal to allow the putty knife to push into it.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

You’ll notice in the photo above we have a few bends in the metal already. Once you make your first bend, you’ll need to measure along your letter to find out where on the metal roll to make the next bend. So for the L, we did it like this:

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We started the edge of the metal where it says “Start” above and measured how far that point was to the lower right hand corner of the L (where “A” meets “B”). On the metal, we measured that same length from the edge and made a 90 degree bend using the putty knife and hammer technique. We did that all around the L. The angle marks above our rainbow-esque metal flashing in the guide above indicate what direction the angle is bent at.

It’s pretty easy to do this for each letter as you go, but if you chose a complex looking font it could get tricky. Therefore, we highly recommend a sans-serif font!

For some letters, like the L, it was pretty easy for just one person to do the measurements and bends.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

But other letters were two-person jobs, like the E. I never thought about how many angles a capital E has until we had to bend sharp metal around every one of them! For the E, I needed to hold the flashing up while Evan measured and bent so that it didn’t fall onto itself. And sorry about the PJ’s. Although it took us months to finish this project, extra time could not be spared to get properly dressed.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Once you have all your angles made, you’ll see the shape of the letter start to form and you can wrap the metal around your letter! Ahhhh!! Exciting!! Just don’t forget to cut off the extra metal (see it to the left of the L in the image below) with some sturdy clippers. We liked to leave a couple inches of overlap when we cut it.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We did not take a picture of the O at this stage of completion because it required a slightly different method. Since the metal did not have any bends or corners to hang onto, it wouldn’t stay put. So I had to pretty much wrap myself around the letter while Evan hammered nails in to anchor it. This is actually the only picture we have of this stage of the O because it was all hands on deck for this one.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Which brings us to our next step: attaching the metal.

First we made guide lines on the metal so that we could center it against the edge of our plywood. Since our plywood was 1/2-inch thick and our metal flashing was 6-inches wide, we marked dots that were 2-3/4 inches from each side (so that there was a 1/2-inch space between them going down the center of the metal).

Then we connected our dots and used those as our guide. These marks were made on the side of the metal that would be attached to the wood.

In hindsight, it would have been easier to do this before bending the metal. Oh hindsight!

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

On the other side of the metal (the side facing outside), we marked dots along the center of the metal (3 inches from the edge) so that we knew where to nail. We made a dot every inch or so, but you could do more or less if you wanted.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Since we had our plywood and nail guides, we wrapped the metal around the letters, aligning the plywood with our 1/2 inch space on the inside of the metal. Evan hammered in a nail or two while I held it in place to keep it from shifting.

We used short 1/2-inch finishing nails to do the job. We started out originally using longer nails, but a few times we didn’t hammer them in straight enough and their ends poked through the wood (ooops!). When that happens it’s kind of a pain to carefully pull them out without causing more damage.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

But the 1/2-inch nails were harder to hammer because holding such a tiny nail was difficult. So we used our longer nails to hammer little pilot holes through the metal and just barely into the wood, and then hammered our shorter nails into the pilot holes. It was WAY easier. Also, we still (carefully) used the longer nails at the corners because we felt like that they might be a better anchor.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

So after Evan hammered in a couple nails to keep the metal from shifting, together we’d go down each side of the letter and create pilot holes, and then add our 1/2-inch nails. Lots and lots of nails.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

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The V and the E needed a little extra help because there were areas in each that we couldn’t nail due to lack of space for the hammer. On the V, we couldn’t get the hammer passed a certain point in the “dip” of the V. So we decided to nail as far as we could and then use epoxy.

That didn’t work too well because it was hard to hold the metal against the wood long enough for it to set. We didn’t have a big clamp, so we tried to wedge enough random tools in there to hold the metal down in place. I’ll pause while you laugh.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Yeah. That didn’t work. So we went to Home Depot, got some Gorilla Glue, and picked up a big clamp. And then taped the crap out of the whole thing because we really really didn’t want another glue fail.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

The Gorilla Glue worked! But it squished out the sides (womp womp) and we had to cut the excess off with a razor blade, which was annoying. When we did the other side of the V, we made sure to apply as little glue as possible so that we didn’t have the same problem again.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Even though the Gorilla Glue worked, there were a lot of places on the E that we couldn’t use nails and we didn’t want to deal with all the gluing and clamping again.

So for the parts of the metal that went in between the “legs” of the E, we bent them so that the sides were curving toward the wood of the E (like the colored pieces in the image below) and then hammered a few nails in between each bent piece of metal to hold things in place (along with nails around the perimeter of the letter too of course). Since the curved metal naturally wanted to press against the wood, we didn’t need any glue there.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

After the metal was firmly attached to all our letters, it was time to screw in our lights! We used two packs of these outdoor lights. Depending on the size of your letters and the closeness of the holes you drilled, you may need more or less.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We had to screw in the lights in a way that made sense with the flow of the letters. Meaning for the L, we started at the bottom (so that we didn’t have to have a cord running from the floor to the top of a letter) and we added lights going toward the top. But we skipped every other light so that when we reached the top of the L we could make our way back to the bottom, filling in the lights we had skipped on the way up.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

On the O, we went straight across from the L to the base of the O and looped around clockwise until we got to the part of the O that was closest to the top of the V, filling in every light up to that point. Then as we continued the O (past the point closest to the top of the V) we just filled in every other light again until we reached out O starting point, where we then backtracked and filled in the holes we missed. Similar to the method on the L.

Basically, any time you know you’re going to have to backtrack, start skipping every other hole so that when you make your way back you have holes to fill in.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We wired the lights this way because we didn’t want to have long stretches (like from the outlet to the top of the L or the base of the O to the top of the V) where there were lights that weren’t being used. Because that meant wasted lights, and we really didn’t want to buy a third pack. Hope the graphic above helps make sense of it! If not, it will make more sense when you get to this point and start playing with it.

I am happy to say, after much measuring, hammering, cutting, hammering, gluing, and hammering… we are FINALLY done!

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

So of course we had to take a million pictures…

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We love the look of the metal and wood. On this zoomed in picture of the O you can really see how snugly everything fits together.

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

We L.O.V.E. them sooooooooo much! Can’t wait to have these at our wedding, and we are super excited that they’ll have a spot in our home for us to enjoy forever :)

{DIY Marquee Letters} - evanandkatelyn.com

Finally, here’s the budget breakdown. This is all rounded, but it’s pretty accurate:

(2) 2ft x 4ft pieces of pre-sanded plywood – $30
(4) rolls of 6 inch metal (similar to this but longer and therefore pricier) – $24
(1) 8-oz can of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut – $5
(2) packs of clear globe lights – $38
Nails, hammers, clamps, saw, brushes, etc – already owned/needed to have anyway

TOTAL = $97

Not bad for four very sturdy 2-ft tall letters that we love!

PS- Check out part 1: making the template and part 2: cutting out and staining the letters for the full tutorial of this project! :D

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157

Our Besta-est Friend!

We heart the Ikea Besta. Yesterday we showed you a preview of a stack of Ikea boxes and you can bet they were stuffed full of Besta goodness!

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

But let me backtrack a bit. We’ve been struggling with our media center layout lately (#firstworldproblems am I right?). You may have noticed our tall Besta cabinets hopping around to different spots in our house over the last few posts. They were here when we revealed our new couch.

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Over here for our latest house tour:

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

And over here when we finally put up curtains:

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

The layout that worked so awesomely in our apartment was just not fitting right in our giant living room against that 27 foot wall. We felt like it was too choppy, it looked odd with the sloped ceiling, and it brought attention to the two AC vents above it. Plus I’ve been wanting to move away from having all black furniture, and that behemoth just felt too dark and oppressive.

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

So we thought maybe removing one of the tall cabinets would lighten things up and give us more room for art on the walls. We removed the left one and kept the right one in place to balance the side of the room that the chaise lounge is on. But that ended up looking just plain awkward. And still too dark and oppressive for the rest of the room. It’s like a black hole that your eyes get sucked to.

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

So we decided to scrap the black Bestas entirely. Well not entirely. They were broken up *sniffle* and found spots elsewhere (the two tall cabinets landed in our office, and the horizontal unit is now giving our junk room future workout room TV a place to sit).

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Oh future workout room. we’ll get to you one day.

Anyhoo, back to the drawing board we were. Literally. We started sketching different options for media centers, and Evan suggested doing something low and wide (since our problems with the current arrangement were that its height chopped the space in half and it wasn’t wide enough to fill the huge wall).

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

I suggested maybe doing white instead of black this time so that we could gradually start phasing out our all-black look. We photoshopped up our brain baby and both loved the results, so off to Ikea we were (picture us skipping down the aisles with cinnamon rolls in hand, we love Ikea!)

Five hours and a couple hot dogs later (seriously, we could hang out there all day), we made it back home with a buttload of boxes and couldn’t wait to get started!

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

We have a lot of fun building Ikea furniture, it’s like Legos for big kids!

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Plus Evan got a power screwdriver (not to be confused with a power drill- it’s more chill, not quite as VROOM VROOM) and that made the process go by a lot faster.

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Of course, Mochi helped too. Step one, lay out your materials:

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Step two, read instructions:

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Step three, roll around on instructions and look cute:

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Teheheheheehe!! Our little soot sprite is such a fluffy puff!!! Kk sorry, got distracted by cute cat pictures (story of my life), back to business!

By the time it was dark, we had put together almost 22 feet of cabinets!

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Eeeeeeeeep!!!! We love it!!!!! Sorry the lighting isn’t great, I was too excited to wait til morning to take the pics! We were originally going to go with white doors but we saw the new birch ones and thought it might add some interest and warmth. We have a couple more doors that we still need to put on, and of course we need to fill the open cabinets with decor-type-stuff, but I couldn’t help sharing now!

You can’t tell in the pics but we got the glass top that goes over the units and makes them look a lot more polished (and it will protect our white from getting dirty). We also bought the faux sheepskin throw Mochi is lounging on in the first picture, and the lamp on the left end of the Besta.

Doesn’t it fit the space so much better than the old arrangement did? It feels like it was made for this room instead of forcing itself to awkwardly hang out there. Plus it fills up that empty space in the room near the windows that we didn’t know what to do with. The old set up kinda felt like we were on “living room island” in the middle of a sea of hardwood.

Our Besta-est Friend! - evanandkatelyn.com

Next on the agenda… add all our art! That big wall is begging for it! Also we need to add the other doors, organize the crazy spaghetti of cables this is hiding, add more decor to the barren shelves, and screw the units together so that they are more seamless.

Super Wide IKEA mediai console - evanandkatelyn.com

5

DIY Cat Box Cabinet

In our last laundry room post, I mentioned a DIY project Evan and I tackled back when we were still in the apartment. This project was all about hiding poop. Cat poop. And litter and stuff. The scourge of the clean freak cat owner.

Being in an apartment meant we had no good place to hide Mochi’s litter box. Our laundry room/pantry only had a couple square feet of floor space, and shoving it into the corner of our only bathroom where guests would see it was not ideal either. Especially because Mochi, bless her little crazy heart, spazzes out after each time she goes potty and bursts out her litter box in a mad dash trailing a flurry of litter-bits behind her like pebbly cat star dust. This meant litter was EVERYWHERE. All. The. Time.

We weren’t sure what to do about our little Pooper. But then we saw this

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

Ikea + jigsaw + kitty door = a cat box cabinet! We immediately scoured the internet and found all sorts of tutorials. In addition to the one above, we got inspiration from here, here, and here. We sort of took what we liked from each and created our own kitty litter containment center. Here it is in all it’s glory! (hanging out in it’s old home in the apartment)

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

We chose a two-compartment Besta unit at IKEA as our base since it’s our cabinet of choice (we used it for our media center and wanted everything to be cohesive). We discarded the extra shelves that came with it and bought a full-height cabinet door for the left side, and a drawer and shorter cabinet door for the right side. We also ordered this kitty door to add to one side so Mochi could get in and out.

Before putting the unit together, we grabbed the side piece we wanted to put the door into and traced an outline to give us a where-to-cut guide.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

Then we took it out onto our balcony (in the middle of the night it seems!) and cut out the shape with our jigsaw.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

Next we spray painted the door black so that it blended in better with the Besta.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

Please forgive us, at the time we didn’t know we’d be sharing this tutorial on a blog so we didn’t take pictures of the next steps. After the door dried, we popped it into the hole we cut like the instructions say to do. We took off the magnet that makes the door snap shut because Momo couldnt figure out that she had to push a little harder to get through and she kept accidentally “locking” herself inside the box. Oh Momo.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

The next step, which we also did not take a picture of at the time, is to use the jigsaw to cut a doorway through the middle panel of the Besta. I’ll show you what I mean in the picture below.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

See the part marked “doorway”? I outlined it in white so you could see it better, but basically before assembling the Besta we traced a Mochi-sized opening in the middle panel to connect the two compartments of the cabinet and cut it with our jigsaw. The edges were raw, so we were super classy and finished them off with duct tape (see that gray inside part of the “door frame”?).

Once our doorway and kitty door were made, we assembled the Besta and added some weather stripping along the bottom of the inside of the cabinets to keep litter from coming out the cabinet doors.

After that, we just popped in her box on the left, a litter mat on the right, and filled the drawer with all her stuff (minus her toys, which she hides in secret places around the house).

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

Close the cabinets and drawer and you have an inconspicuous cat box cabinet/good place to set your keys.

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

This cabinet is AWESOME. No ugly litter boxes. MUCH less litter out on your floors (there’s still a little but not bucketfulls like before). No stinky-ness. Good place to store cat stuff. Win win win win! Plus it was easy- just make sure you find a box that fits, that was the only challenge! The best part is Mochi likes it, and a happy cat means happy hoomans!

DIY Cat Box Cabinet- evanandkatelyn.com

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You can also find us at:YouTube (all our DIY videos)
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Pinterest (stuff that inspires us)
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Instructables (straight up tutorials)
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60

DIY West Elm “S” Shelf

One of the first DIY projects we did in our apartment was super simple and we were able to save lots of money- win! It started when we spied the “S” shelf at West Elm…

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

We thought it would be the perfect thing to go above our TV without adding too much visual weight (that side of the room was already super heavy with our big media center). I remember it being around $120-$140 (don’t quote me on that), which seemed sorta crazy for something so simple. I don’t know if they still sell it, but lucky for you it was super easy to make and we’ll go through the steps here.

First off, we made a trip to our beloved IKEA and picked up some Lack wall shelves in black (four of the 11-3/4″ ones for $6.99 each, and one of the 43-1/4″ ones for $14.99). Unfortunately we did not remember to take any pictures before assembling it, so instead I drew up these instructions for doing so:

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

It was as simple as that! Before we put it on the wall I did manage to snap a picture of the assembled “S” shelf… but it was before we moved the “L” bracket to the correct location. In the picture below you’ll see the “L” bracket on the far left. Which was fine, but it would have stuck out underneath the shelf. So instead we decided to add it to the bottom of the “U” part of the shelf (see comic above) so that when you flip it and put it on the wall, it’s above eye level (even for tall people) and doesn’t show.

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

Just follow the IKEA instructions for attaching those brackets to the wall and you’ll be golden. Note- we left the screws as is, but if you wanted them to blend more you could color them with a black sharpie. You could also use any of the other Lack shelf colors if you wanted to mix things up.

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

This project was super easy, fast, and wayyyyy cheaper than the West Elm version.

Here’s the budget breakdown:

  • Four 11-3/4″ IKEA Lack shelves (with brackets and screws)… $6.99 a piece
  • One 43-1/4″ IKEA Lack shelf (with brackets and screws)… $14.99
  • Power drill (or you could use a screwdriver)… already owned
  • TOTAL… $42.95

I’d say compared to $120-$140, that’s a heck of a deal! And requires pretty much no DIY skills to put together yourself. Woohoo!

 

 

3

Makin’ Loooooove… part 2 {DIY Marquee Letters}

***UPDATE***

We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]

***END UPDATE***

(Continued from part 1) There are a ton of great toys you can use for this next step… I mean… power tools… I used my jig saw. It’s a great wood/everything cutting power tool when you’re living in an apartment and don’t have a garage to store big toys. Soon to be fixed ^_^ (I’m sure there will be a post with a handyman garage setup).

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Since we traced the letters in the previous post cutting them out was pretty easy. Remember, don’t push too hard or the edges will be rough and require more sanding. If you are unfamiliar with using a jig saw I would practice on some spare lumber. Also, since we bought our lumber before hand we planned the height of the letters so they would not require any cutting on the top and bottom. Before you know it you’ll have a masterly crafted letter in your hands:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Letters like the L are pretty easy to cut. No hard to reach corners. But when tight corners do arise don’t loose hope. Again, get some extra lumber and test to see how tight corners you can cut with whatever power tools you are using. With my jig saw I ended up doing a gradual turn and then backtracking to get that straight edge I wanted:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Before you know it you’ll have all your letters cut out! Good thing we remembered to take a picture when we were all done and not just partially so!!… not.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Whatever could we be spelling?! Live?!… umm can’t think of anything else but the other live… and love :)

Next we roll out the template again and gently hammer a nail in (somewhat of an oxymoron). Just nail it partially in to mark where you’ll be drilling later:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

For the lights that we mentioned earlier a 13/16″ spade drill bit worked PERFECTLY! Just barely lets the light socket through. Make sure to measure a properly sized hole if you aren’t using our same lights. Run to your fav hardware store and pick up a your fav type of hole drill and have at it!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Follow the pattern you laid out earlier with your gentle nailing and you’ll do swell! Lay out your letters and admire your handiwork:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

After you’ve made all the holes for your light bulbs, you’re gonna want to sand things down a bit. Because the plywood we got was pre-sanded, this part was pretty easy. We just did a few gentle swipes along the face of the letters and focused mainly on the edges using 220 grit sand paper.

Next came my favorite part… staining!! This was the first time we stained anything and it was awesome. Now we want to stain ALL THE THINGS! Before you go all stain crazy on your letters though, I’d recommend testing the stain on some scrap wood first. Again, we used Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on some projects over at Young House Love!)

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We tested how the stain looked after sitting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes. When each section was done, we wiped things down with a clean old T-shirt. The visual difference between the stain times was pretty subtle so we decided to go with 1 minute. Hey, we are impatient!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Now it’s time to go to town on the letters! Make sure to wipe them down to get rid of dust and stuff first. Also, work somewhere well-ventilated. For us that meant our wittle teeny apartment balcony. Gotta work with what you’ve got! Also, remember to lay down a dropcloth or something to catch any drips. I read online that you’re supposed to apply the stain with the grain, so that’s what we did. The internet said so, so it must be true!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We didn’t worry too much about our edges because they won’t show once we add our metal sides. Also, by the time our minute of staining time was up almost all the stain was absorbed by the wood, but we still wiped off the little bit of excess with a clean old T-shirt.

Literally like 5 minutes later, we were done! Of course, you know we also had to pop some light bulbs in and test how they looked with the stained wood. One step closer to marquee-style letters for our wedding!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

PS- Check out part 1: making the template, and part 3: attaching the metal siding for the full tutorial of this project! :D

………………………………………………………………
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!

 
DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com
11

Makin’ Loooooove… {DIY Marquee Letters}

***UPDATE***

We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]

***END UPDATE***

Makin’ loooove…letters! As in L.O.V.E, sheesh! Just look below and see what I mean…

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We saw these marquee letters at a wedding expo and immediately thought they’d be awesome to have at our wedding. But renting them from a wedding decor company would be hella expensive, so my engineer fiance got to work! First we took some super precise measurements by taking a picture of my arm against the letters so we could eyeball the size later. You can tell by my expression that I totally did not feel awkward at all posing in the middle of the display.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Then we got home and got to work! We figured out from the above picture that we wanted them to be about 2 feet tall, and we went from there. We sorted through my library of 1,300+ fonts (I have a font problem… and I’m not ashamed) and picked one that suited us. Then we made a to-scale image in Photoshop. You can download it here if you’d like to use the font we used as a template.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

The little circles are guides for where the light bulbs would need to go. Then we just printed it and boom- instant template!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

When it came to supplies, we had to decide if we wanted to use wood, metal, foam core (that’s what most the online tutorials use), or something else. We ended up deciding on wood for the letters and metal for the siding. We found pre-sanded 2-foot-tall birch plywood that said “ready-to-stain” at Home Depot for $14 a pop. Sold! We picked up two of those, a roll of 6″ galvanized steel, some Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on Young House Love!) and a couple packs of outdoor lights.

We were just sort of wingin’ it and picking up what looked like it should work. We’ll do a full supplies list and cost breakdown at the end of things since I’m sure there will be more stuff we need to get along the way.

Next we cut out our letters, taped them together into something traceable, then laid them out on our plywood and traced away!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Once our letters were traced, it was time for the fun part- sawing! But this post has gotten pretty long, and Evan’s definitely the power-tool-wielding one in the relationship, so he’ll probably write about the sawing stuff. So for now we’ll end things here and pick back up later with part-2! On a side note, I should try to remember NOT to wear my super flattering XXL comfy pants when we’re taking pics for the blog… oh well!

PS- Check out part 2: cutting out and staining the letters, and part 3: attaching the metal siding for the full tutorial of this project! :D

………………………………………………………………
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!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com
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