Tag Archives | woodworking

Simple DIY cutting board

We’ve been wanting to get into hardwoods lately. We’ve done some “light” woodworking in the past (like this simple side table we made or our DIY marquee letters), but we’ve always just used whatever cheap wood we could find at Home Depot.

Don’t get me wrong – there is a lot you can do with inexpensive framing lumber, plywood, etc, and we will continue to use it I’m sure. But for this project, we needed to get our hands on something a little more specific/fancy/drool-worthy.

Enter the DIY cutting board. Our excuse to get our hands on something really really nice.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com

You can watch the video that covers everything below, or keep scrolling for all our choices, steps, and tips in blog-format.

[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!]

We originally wanted to make these cutting boards as gifts and/or to sell on our Etsy shop, but we liked them so much we couldn’t help but turn this into a tutorial too.

So pretty much as soon as we could, we found the closest lumberyard and got our butts over there. Side note, we realized that lumberyards are often closed on weekends and evenings, so if you work full time like we do you might want to check their hours before you drive all the way over there *cough* learn from our mistakes *cough*.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com (sorry about the bad selfie quality!)

Walking in, we had a “a whole new wooorrrld” moment. It was amazing, we could have stayed there all day. Literally, they had to politely ask us to to make our purchase and head out because they were closing. But enough about our lumberyard adventure, let’s get to the real meat of this tutorial.

Here’s what you’ll need

Side note, we’ll be making a face grain cutting board, which is often the prettiest and easiest, but is not the most durable option. We will be making another tutorial for an edge grain or end grain cutting board soon though which are more durable but more difficult to make, so keep your eye out.

Wood selection is key in this project. There are a few different things you need to look for when choosing it. It needs to be:

  • Durable
  • Food safe
  • Close grained

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Some good options we came across in our research are maple, cherry, and walnut. Maple is on the cheaper end, so we started with that (note: we’ve since gone back and made another out of walnut too and it’s preeeety).

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com When picking your board, check for damage and flatness/straightness. Damage is pretty obvious, just know that even little imperfections that might be ok in other projects will cause you extra headache on this cutting board, like little dinks in the wood or a cool knot.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com A good way to quickly check for flatness is to look down the length of the board at a steep angle and see if it still looks straight. The steep angle amplifies any changes in the straightness. If it looks bendy or wavy at all, see if you can find a straighter piece.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com We ended up choosing an 8-inch wide piece of hard maple. Feeling pretty fancy after dropping more than $10 on a piece of wood, we got kicked out went home to get started.

First, we cut our board to about 16 inches long using our miter saw. The length (and width) are really up to you, but we thought the 8”x16” size looked good.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com We also decided to cut off one corner to add some visual interest, but again, totally optional. We just liked the look of it.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Then we marked where our hole would be drilled. The hole can be used for hanging the cutting board, and it also adds even more visual interest. We marked the center of our corner cut, and made a mark about 1 inch inward from the center (we used a combination square). That mark became the center of our hole.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com We used a drill press with a 1-⅛” hole saw to cut the hole. Make sure to not drill all the way through from one side of our board. This could damage the grains on the other side. Instead, just as the tip of the drill exits the wood, stop drilling, flip the board, and continue drilling from the other side, using the tiny hole you made with the tip of the drill as your guide.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Woooo, that’s all the cuts you need to make! Pretty simple right?

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Now it’s time to make it smooth and pretty. First, sand top side, bottom side, and outer edges with a random orbit sander using 220 grit sandpaper. I spent some time on the edges of the 45 degree cut to round the sharp edge. Don’t worry about the 90 degree corners, we’ll handle those later.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Then use a router with a ⅛” radius roundover bit to take the corners from a sharp edge to a round edge. This bit is a game changer! I never thought about how much of a difference having that rounded edge made.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com I also rounded over the 90 degree corners with this. It makes the finished product look extra nice because all the corners will have the exact same radius.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Next, we hand sanded our newly rounded corners and the inside of our hole with some 220-320 grit sandpaper. We found that sanding a higher quality hardwood is much easier and quicker than something like pine, that gets more splintered when you cut it.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Final step – oil your wood! Make sure to get the outside edges and inside the hanging hole too. We are in love with Natchez Solution wood oil, it’s the same stuff we’ve been using on the butcher block dining table we DIY’d a few months ago. It’s got mineral oil, lemon oil, and beeswax.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com After waiting 24 hours, your cutting board is ready to be used! Cutting on it for the first time was a little nerve-racking, I’ll admit. It was so pretty and perfect I didn’t want to mess it up. But I’m happy to report that it works and washes up well! A few light knife marks and no staining so far.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Hope you guys like this tutorial! If you want one of these cutting boards but not sure if you want to tackle the project yourself, we actually sell them too! You can find them in a few different wood options on our Etsy shop.

DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Solid Wood Cutting Board - evanandkatelyn.com Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!

2

DIY wood canvas frame

Hey guys! Quick project on the blog today. We’re going to be walking you through how to make a simple, simple frame for any art you have laying around. We did it for a wrapped canvas, but we’re pretty sure you can use the same method for anything else you might frame (a poster, a print, etc). Here’s the finished product:

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

Custom frames can easily cost a couple hundred bucks (which is like, dozens of chickfila spicy chicken sandwiches). Our frame only cost us a few dollars. Meaning I have a lot of spicy chicken in my future.

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

Here’s what you’ll need:

Tools used:

So here’s how we did it. We started by measuring the outside edges of our canvas. We wanted the corners of the frame to meet at 45 degree angles, like in the graphic below. When you are measuring, make sure that the inside of your frame pieces is what matches up with the canvas measurement, and draw a 45 degree line out from that. The outside of your frame pieces will therefore be a little longer than the inside.

Alternatively, you could forego a 45 degree cut and just have them meet perpendicularly.

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

After marking on our trim wood pieces where the cuts needed to go, Evan quickly sliced the wood on the miter saw but you could use a simple jigsaw instead if you have a steady hand.

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

Once all four pieces were cut, we put wood glue at each corner where the pieces met. We used right angle clamps to hold the pieces together. You don’t have to buy four: if you have patience, you can just get one and do one corner at a time. Make sure to wipe off any excess glue that squeezes our, then let them dry overnight.

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY wood canvas frame - evanandkatelyn.com

When we took the clamps off everything was nice and sturdy. Then we used an old rag to wipe on some Minwax stain in Dark Walnut (our favorite!) and let that dry for the recommended drying time.

The easiest thing about this frame? It just pops right onto the canvas. Simple tension holds the canvas in place, so there is no glass or hardware needed.

img_8335

If making the same frame for a print or poster, you can simply tape the print/poster to the back of the frame or staple it in if you want something a little sturdier.

Hope this helps you out with some of that art you’ve been meaning to frame!

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

0

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table

Hey y’all! You may have seen on our Instagram recently a post about what the heck we did to our dining table. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a hint: it involved drawing all over and drilling holes into a perfectly good West Elm Parsons table (side note, I think we have an older version because ours is longer than what’s online).

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Are we crazy? A little. Justifiably crazy? I think so! Because the end result of everything was this!

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com But I’ll backtrack a bit and explain how we got here. First off, yes our table was perfectly good. It is SUPER sturdy, has a leaf which made it usable in both our little apartment and our current larger dining room, plus it’s lovely and simple and modern.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com BUT we got it secondhand. And the previous owner had abused it with a combination of things-that-were-too-hot and things-that-were-too-wet. So the oak veneer surface was looking pretty rough. I’ve circled some of of the trouble spots below.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com The damaged parts have continued to get worse over time, and we knew eventually we would need a new table. Because our issues stemmed from veneer, we reeeeeally had our hearts set on solid wood. But as you know… Solid wood tables cost an arm, a leg, your first born, and your entire collection of Pokemon cards. Specifically I had my eyes on the Blu Dot Branch table that Chris and Julia are rocking. The light wood top and black metals legs had me all googly eyed, but the $1600 (+ shipping + tax) price tag did not. So I put the solid wood dream temporarily out of my mind.

Then one weekend we found ourselves enjoying $2 hot dog and drink combos at IKEA on an un-table-related trip, and we saw that they have a couple solid wood tables at really good prices (in the $380-$450 range). Ring ring, it’s your hopes and dreams of a solid wood table calling back! Here and here are a couple we saw.

But after some measuring and test-sits, we realized that none of them could fit as many people as our current table, which wasn’t going to work for us. We felt kinda bummed until we made our way to the kitchen area and saw Hammarp butcher block in solid beech on clearance ($49 for the 72″ pieces and $69 for the 98″ pieces)!!!!! Wheels started turning. Could we have the solid wood table top we wanted and whatever size our hearts desired?!?!?

Naturally, we bought the entire remaining stock.

Haha, that sounds way crazier than it is. We actually have several projects in mind that could use butcher block (we’ve already used it once for Evan’s desk – we owe you a post on that!) and the “entire remaining stock” was five pieces of the 98″ length. Sorry everyone else in the Houston area. IKEA is fresh out of Hammarp beech.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We actually had friends coming over for dinner that night so we couldn’t construct the new table quite yet. Butcher block needs to be treated before it’s safe from spills and such. We didn’t feel confident in the neatness of ourselves or our friends when spaghetti sauce is involved, so we decided to start the sealing process before the butcher block was attached to anything. We picked up some of those painting pyramids (how have we gone so long without them?!?) and spaced them out the length of the butcher block, then laid the butcher block on top of them.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We did some research and found that there are basically two options when it comes to sealing butcher block: Waterlox or a mineral oil mix. Waterlox is a little more hardcore: if you stain your butcher block you have to use it to make it food safe, and it’s also very waterproof, but it’s harder to apply. Mineral oil is easier and cheaper, but not as immediately waterproof (it takes lots of applications and builds up more of a seal over time). Since our butcher block was for our table, not near a sink or where food would be prepped, we opted for a mineral oil product. Specifically, this one:

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com It’s called The Natchez Solution Complete Furniture Care. It’s got mineral oil, beeswax (which helps fill any little imperfections in the wood) and lemon oil (which helps bring out the natural luster of the wood). It goes on smoothly and has a consistency like… salad dressing? Haha not as liquidy as water, but thin enough to be spread. And it really does make a HUGE visual difference in the look of the wood! In the photo below you can see the difference between wood that’s been oiled and wood that hasn’t.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com The whole process was really painless. Plus the oil smells nice :)

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com While I worked on treating the wood, Evan got started doing the scary part:

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com So here was the general plan – instead of buying new legs for our butcher block or removing the legs from our current table and using those, we decided to just put the butcher block directly onto the old table. Almost seemed too easy to work haha. So to do this, we needed to:

  1. Draw out guidelines on the old table for placement of the butcher block.
  2. Drill holes through our table (eek!).
  3. Place butcher block along guidelines, and mark through the holes onto the butcher block.
  4. Where we marked, add T-nuts into the butcher block.
  5. Replace butcher block onto table along guides and screw through the holes into the T-nuts.

1.  DRAW GUIDELINES

Not gonna lie, drawing all over our table was a little nerve wracking. It was that once-we-do-this-we’re-committed moment.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We drew one line along the center of our table length-wise, and drew two more lines halfway between the center and the edge.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com The center mark was where our two butcher blocks would meet. Our table was 96″ x 38″, and each butcher block was 98″ x 25″, so we needed two. I made a couple illustrations below to show what the plan was.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com 2.  DRILL THROUGH TABLE

X marks the spots we drilled in the illustration above. We did have to adjust slightly to avoid hitting some of the leaf hardware, but the adjustments were minor and we still stayed pretty close to the line. This was the scariest part! By the way, our awesome Dewalt 20v drill was Evan’s best friend during this project. We use it FOR SO MANY PROJECTS and it’s a powerhouse. If you’re in the market for a drill, we HIGHLY recommend it.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com To keep the drill bit going straight down and not at any funky angles, Evan used this V-drill guide. It’s suuuuper handy. We used it to help us drill all four holes.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com 3. PLACE AND MARK BUTCHER BLOCK

In this step we used our guidelines to place the butcher block centered on the table. We had about 6 inches of butcher block overhanding each side width-wise, and about 1 inch on each side length-wise.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Evan got under the table and put some white paint from our paint pen (the same one we used to mark up the table) on the end of his drill bit. He poked it through the holes we drilled in the table and onto the butcher block sitting on top of the table.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Hehe. He’s cute :)

4. ADD T-NUTS TO BUTCHER BLOCK

We pulled the butcher block off the table and placed it bottom-side-up on the floor so we could see the paint marks Evan left. Then he measured the depth of our T-nuts and marked that depth on the drill bit so we could drill holes to the perfect depth.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com For those who don’t know, these are T-nuts, which are fasteners that have internal threading you can screw into. We could have just screwed into the butcher block directly, but we knew when we move we might have to remove the table top to make it more portable. Unscrewing and re-screwing into the same hole can eventually weaken the grip you have. These metal internal threads won’t deteriorate like screwing directly into wood would.

So to add the T-nut, Evan first created a recessed area for it to snuggly sit so that it was flush with the bottom of the wood. To do this he used a forstner bit that was the same diameter as our T-nut’s diameter. He also drilled a small pilot hole into the center of the recessed area.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Next he used his drill with the marked bit to drill the correct depth for the T-nut. That cylinder in the middle of the T-nut is where the internal thread is, and that goes into the hole we drilled (the teeth grip it in place). You can see in the photo below how he stopped right at the paint mark.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Evan sprayed the T-nut with super glue accelerant (which is amazing by the way… it makes super glue set INSTANTLY) and then applied super glue to the T-nut and pressed it into the hole. The super glue was an optional step to make things even more secure, but you wouldn’t necessarily have to do it.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com To get the teeth of the T-nut to dig in, you whack it with a hammer while having way too much fun not being still enough for your wife to take a photo :P

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com Here’s how it looks when it’s in:

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com 5. ATTACH BUTCHER BLOCK VIA T-NUTS

Almost done guys! The last step was to replace the butcher block on our table, once again aligning with our guidelines and making sure the T-nuts aligned with the holes we drilled in the table earlier. Evan drilled through the holes and into our T-nuts, adding a washer to distribute the force of the screw. He did this through all four holes in the table, so each butcher block was attached at two points.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com That’s the last step! Then we stepped back and admired our beautiful solid wood table top.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We weren’t sure initially how we’d feel about size of the table, since it’s significantly wider now than it used to be. But we don’t mind the overhang of the wood and actually REALLY love how much of a statement the extra big table top makes.

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We feel like overall it brightens up the space SO much. It was crazy to see our space go from this:

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com To this:
DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com
Also we don’t feel like we need a runner anymore. We tried it with the runner but opted to go without it and just place a few simple faux plants (and super cheap planters) from IKEA along the center. The wood is so pretty, it really doesn’t need much on top of it.

After the first few coats of oil soaked in, we had our first dinner on it to make it official!

DIY Butcher Block Dining Table - evanandkatelyn.com We are pretty much enamored with our upgraded table. I like to walk by and pet it with hearts in my eyes. It’s true love!

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

(2) 98″ Hammarp butcher block in beech: $69.99 (x2)
(4) T-nuts: ~$1 (x4)
(1) Forstner bit: $7.89
(1) Natchez Solution: $15.95
(1) set of painting pyramids: $4.97 (optional)
Drill, bits, screws, washers, V-drill guide, super glue + accelerant, and badass skills already owned.

TOTAL = $172.79

Much cheaper than even the IKEA-level wood tables… and insanely affordable compared to any other solid wood table we found, especially considering how large it is. We are super proud of this and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Have you guys used butcher blocks in any projects? We have a few extras and we can’t wait to decide how to use them, so we’d love to hear what you’ve done!

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!
0

Gut(ter) Reaction

Welp. Today’s post was supposed to be about how we’ve continued to update our patio. About how we bought some more furniture and lights on our path to turn it from just functional to functional AND pretty. Then we woke up to find it NOT functional and definitely NOT pretty.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com Yep. Not something you want to see as you’re headed out the door for work. A big storm blew through last night and knocked off over 20 feet of our gutter, bending it at a weak point and taking our fascia (the wood trim that caps off the ends of your rafters) with it. And it broke a strand of my lights darn it!

So yeah, not exactly the patio update we were planning on sharing with you guys… BUT the good news is we are earning +10 home exterior DIY skill points and we get to share what we’ve learned with you. Lesson #1: clean your gutters.

The other good news is I’m going to write this post as we go, so as of now as I’m typing, we are still in progress. Dunno how it’s gonna turn out yet. Kinda scary, kinda exciting, but we are all in this together!

Day 1:

So before we could leave for work, we had to address the 6 inch tall, 20+ foot long hole leading into our attic. You can see it in the photo above right under our roof line. We didn’t want rain getting it wet or squirrels letting themselves in, so we set to cover it up with plastic tarp til we could fully deal with it.

As we climbed up to take a closer look at the hole, we realized that the still-attached part of the gutter was starting to pull away too so we decided to cut off the detached piece (in retrospect we maybe shouldn’t have cut it since it may have been salvageable, we’re not sure though). We couldn’t find our flashing clippers so Evan grabbed his saw zaw. Then that died so we grabbed our jigsaw. Lesson #2: owning the right tools is great, but if you can’t find em or they’re not charged, they aren’t any good.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com By the time Evan got it cut he was covered in gutter juice.

2016-03-24 (1) But at least we didn’t have this hanging from our house anymore:

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com Next we put up a strip of plastic tarp with a few quick tacks from our staple gun, called it a morning, and headed to work, leaving our patio looking like a war zone.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com After work Evan swung by Home Depot to get supplies and then pulled off the remaining few feet of gutter that was still attached to the house. Now that we had a clean slate, we could replace our fascia. Having a big hole running into our attic was no bueno, so our goal was to install new fascia by the end of the night. Since at this point we didn’t even know what fascia was (we’d just been calling it “siding under our roof”), we weren’t too hopeful haha.

2016-03-25 (2) But before we could add anything new, we needed to figure out what was going on with the hot mess we left behind.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com We just decided that anything that didn’t seem structurally sound we would cut off. Seems logical right? And here’s Evan using hedge clippers to trim the flashing above the wood. Still couldn’t find those metal clippers so we used what we had haha.

IMG_7498 Once we had all the bad stuff off we could start adding the new stuff. Time for power tools!

IMG_7503 IMG_7510 We saw that the existing boards were cut at 45 degrees so we did the same with our new boards. One at a time, we lined them up along the roof line and screwed in at every rafter tail. In the photo below you can see the hole into our attic and the rafter tails peeking out. And oh hi there soffit vent chutes, we remember installing you and almost stabbing our heads with roofing nails.

IMG_7504 So I held up the board on one end while Evan screwed it in on the other. Once we got a couple screws in I could let go and get the next piece ready.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com We noticed that under the old gutters there was a 1 inch thick piece of trim acting as a spacer between the top of the fascia and the gutter, so Evan had also picked up some trim on his Home Depot trip. It was getting dark at this point but you can sorta see the trim along the top of the board in the photo below after we screwed it in.

2016-03-24 (4) We were luckily able to finish our goal of replacing the fascia by the end of the night! It’s hard to see much in the photo, but it sure looks good to us :)

IMG_7513

Day 2:

With the hole to our attic officially closed off, we could sleep easy. The next day we hit our fascia with primer, caulk, and paint to really seal the deal. We read somewhere online that sometimes primer can help caulk stick to wood so we decided to do the primer first. We used Zinnser Cover Stain primer, which felt nice and solid.

IMG_7514 As the primer dried, I was on caulk duty. We used the same Dap Alex latex caulk from when we patched our siding out front and it worked just fine.

IMG_7518 After letting it dry for a couple hours, it was time to paint! I took first paint shift and thought it would be cool to take painting selfies. #shouldbeholdingontothatladder

2016-03-25 (4) When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com Then Evan got out there for shift 2 of painting. All in all this was the easy part so we don’t have too many photos. But we are super excited because now we are DONE with replacing the fascia, woooo!

IMG_7521 Just need to power wash the patio. And put up our lights. Oh yeah and add gutters! Well we can at least do one of those three things tonight.

IMG_7524 IMG_7528 We still need to do more research to see if we want to tackle installing gutters ourselves or hire it out. Looks like it’s not terribly complicated to DIY, but the downside of DIY-ing it is that you have to buy gutters in smaller sections (which is weaker) instead of getting a seamless run from a professional. So we will keep you guys posted! For now, it feels good to just not having a gaping hole leading to our attic. Have a great weekend guys!

4

DIY Industrial Outdoor Bench

Hey y’all! As usual, work is crazy- crazy enough that we realized we have a few projects we totally spaced on and never posted about. One that we are super excited to share is our DIY bench!

We wanted to create some flexible additional seating that could be used inside or outside. So these were our requirements for the bench:

1) it had to be ok to use outdoors and indoors

2) it had to fit 2-3 people

3) it had to be relatively cheap and easy to make

We pictured in our mind something industrial looking using metal and wood. Basically we pictured this: (spoiler- it’s our finished bench)

DIY industrial bench - evanandkatelyn.com We went to Home Depot and found some aluminum angle stock that we could use for the legs/frame. Totally did not know that’s what it was called until writing this post, but hey we are all learning here! Anyways, this stuff is great because it’s lightweight, cheap, and rust-proof. Perfect!

For the top of our bench, we got some pressure treated wood. It’s a little more expensive than normal wood, but it will hold up outdoors against the elements so it was a must. And it’s fine to use indoors too unless you’re preparing food on it, which we didn’t plan on doing.

So first off, we decided what size we wanted our bench to be. Based on research of what’s out there, we decided about 4 ft wide by 10.5 inches deep (the depth of three 2×4’s) and 14 inches tall. So we measured out 4 legs and 4 pieces for the frame. The aluminum is pretty light/thin, so we were able to just cut it with our jigsaw.

IMG_6900 IMG_6902 We cut our legs first. And got really excited about it :D

IMG_6906 The cuts were pretty rough, but we sanded them down. You can see the difference between unsanded and sanded in the photo below.

IMG_6908 For the legs, we left the cuts at right angles. But for the frame pieces, we cut them at 45 degree angles for a nicer looking seam.

IMG_6922 Once our frame was cut we could see it coming together!

IMG_6921 We laid it upside down on the garage floor so that we could fit the legs into place. We tucked them inside each corner and used a sharpie to mark where we wanted to screw in the screws to hold it all together.

IMG_6924 Each leg was attached to 2 pieces of frame. In the photo below, you can see the leg (the vertical piece) and one side of the frame (see the 45 degree cut in the corner?). Hope this helps make sense of how everything was attached.

IMG_6929 IMG_6933 The awesome thing about this frame is it is so light!

DIY industrial bench - evanandkatelyn.com To add a little extra stability to the legs, we also took these flat aluminum pieces and attached them about 1/3 up the legs on both sides.

IMG_6942 Woohoo finished frame!

IMG_6945 Next up we tackled the wood we wanted to use for the top. I was on sanding duty while Evan made the cuts.

DIY industrial bench - evanandkatelyn.com We used three 2×4’s with a short trim piece on each end to finish it off, which we attached with pocket screws. We may have gone overboard with the pocket screws… but the kreg jig was still new at the time and we got excited.

IMG_6956 We set it on top of the frame to test the size… perfect fit!

DIY industrial bench - evanandkatelyn.com We took it one step further and gave it a nice stain.

IMG_6966 With the wooden top upside down on the ground, we sat the frame on top of it and screwed through the aluminum into the wood.

DIY industrial bench - evanandkatelyn.com

IMG_6973 And tada, finished bench!

IMG_6974 Not the most glorious completion photo since it was late at night in a dirty garage, so we got some nice photos of it where it used to live on our patio:

DIY industrial bench - evanandkatelyn.com And where it currently lives in front of our living room windows:

IMG_7428 DIY industrial bench - evanandkatelyn.com Evan even 3D printed some little feet for it so it doesn’t scratch our floors (you can see them in the photo above). But you could also use felt pads (or just not worry about the feet if it’s gonna live outside full time!)

Well there you have it! A simple industrial bench that was easy to build, can live inside or outside, and didn’t cost much at all.

6

Prettier Pantry

We never really expected to upgrade our pantry in this house, but when I was hit with the sudden urge to clean it out and get rid of old stuff it was the perfect opportunity to beautify the pantry a bit. Mid-clean you can see that our pantry is nothing fancy but nothing terrible either.

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It’s not the biggest, but it’s plenty of room for our little family of two. The main problem we had with it was that the shelves were not so pretty. And not so functional. They look alright from far away, but when you get up close…

IMG_6761

You’ll notice that each shelf is made of two pieces. These two pieces were uneven and bowing, so when you tried to slide something to the back or pull something out it would catch. Also, these shelf-pieces were covered in layers of painted-over contact paper which tended to get beat up on the edges (and it’s kinda gross too).

So we thought it would be pretty easy to say goodbye to the old shelves and say hello to some pretty new ones. Hello pretty new ones.

IMG_6765

We went to home depot and picked up some nice plywood and trim pieces, and cut the plywood to the size we needed our shelves to be. Then Evan nailed the trim pieces to one edge of each shelf (the edge that would be facing out). You can sorta see the trim piece that is attached to the top of the shelf below. But I know, it’s hard to notice things like trim when you’re distracted by that dazzling smile.

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Here, now you can see the trim :P

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He also sunk the nails so that we could add wood filler and stain right over them (so that in the end it would look pretty seamless and you wouldn’t be able to tell there were nails).

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Evan then sanded the edges that we had cut when cutting the shelves to size. The cuts were a little rough but they sanded right out.

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While we were in the garage, Mochi was having a pantry party.

mochi pantry

Then Evan started the longer-than-expected staining and sealing process.

Maknig new pantry shelves - evanandkatelyn.com

The reason it took so long was because of the required wait time between multiple coats of sealant. We wanted to make sure our shelves had a nice solid seal to make them spill-proof and easily wipe-able (since they’d be around food) so we had to do a few coats of the stuff. And after each coat you had to let it completely dry, give it a light sand, and then reapply.

But its ok, we used the wait time to buy a few organizing baskets from Target so we could ditch the cardboard boxes that had been serving that purpose for way too long (scroll back up to earlier photos to see that sadness).

After much patient waiting, I was so excited to load everything back into the pantry with our new and improved shelves! The wood is so pretty and shiny and smooth. It looks great AND is super easy to clean.

Maknig new pantry shelves - evanandkatelyn.com

Maknig new pantry shelves - evanandkatelyn.com

Never thought I’d be so proud of our little pantry! It’s come a long way *tear*

8

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II)

Hi again errybody! I’m back today to share part II of our DIY backdrop. A couple weeks ago, I told y’all about how Evan and I decided to create a backdrop for our wedding. It was going to be used for the ceremony AND our DIY photobooth, but the ceremony area ended up having the prettiest flowers on the big day so we decided to keep it for the photobooth only- and we’re so glad we did! The photobooth was a HUGE hit!!

In the last post I shared how we (and by “we” I mean Evan. I was just the assistant) made the wooden frame for our backdrop. Today I’m going to take you through my contribution to this project- the actual fabric itself.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

I’d seen TONS of pretty fabric and ribbon backdrops on Pinterest- but ribbon would get real expensive real fast, so that option was nixed pretty early on. I liked the idea of fabric strips, but I wanted to do a really soft, subtle gradient and I wasn’t sure I would find all the colors I needed to do that. So I decided to make the colors myself aka become a fabric dye mixologist aka end up with really weird looking perma-stained hands.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

So I bought some white muslin fabric since it was super cheap and easy to dye. We guessed what length we would want it to be and just bought just enough for that. When we got home, we laid it out and got to tearing! If you have a cat, they can really help with this part.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

Unfortunately, because we were Mochi-wrangling, we didn’t get a pic of the tearing process. But it’s super simple: just make little snips with scissors along the edge and start ripping. We made our snips 2-3 inches apart so that our strips would be 2-3 inches wide. With other fabrics you might need to cut down the whole length of the strip, but with muslin it’s way easier to rip away. Plus I liked the natural looking ripped edges more than I would have liked a sharp cut edge anyway. We left a few pieces in bigger sections so I could test out if it was easier to rip and then dye, or dye and then rip.

Speaking of dye, I bought a few different colors of Rit dye (Petal, Violet, and Aquamarine) and got everything ready to go!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

To use the dye, just follow the instructions on the bottle. You get warm water and put a weeeee little bit of dye in and mix it about. The water doesn’t have to be boiling or anything, just warm. Though it even works with cold water if you leave it in there long enough.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

Please excuse the nail polish haha. Anyway, I left the fabric in the dye for a little while and impatiently checked and checked until I decided to pull it out to prevent it from getting over-saturated. Since I was going for pastels, I wanted the color to be very faint. Unfortunately, even at it’s faintest it was still… too much.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

See that light pink in the middle of the pile that looks like a washed out highlighter? That’s how it turned out, and it was a little too glowy for me. So I decided I’d try mixing my colors to (hopefully) tone it down. Spoiler: when I used the mixed dye to color the fabric, it turned out like the darker pink part of the pile in the photo above. Which had better, warmer undertones, but was too dark to be pastel. Dang.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

Then I discovered that Rit actually has a color mixing guide on their website! Totally should have checked that out beforehand! Turned out I needed to get some tan dye to warm up and subdue the brightness of my colors.

I started out following the rules, measuring teaspoons of dyes and cups of water, but by the end I was winging it. The dye was really forgiving, and because I wanted all my strips to vary, it was ok if the color was a little different each time. Also, if you dye the fabric one color and don’t quite like it, you can dye it again in another color to get sort of a wash of that second color onto the first. For example, many times my pink mixes were still too pink or my blues were still too blue, so I’d make a batch of tan dye and leave the pinks and blues in there for a while to soak up the tan. Hope all this makes sense and isn’t too confusing. It’s not that hard once you start getting your hands dirty, I promise :)

I found that I liked tearing the fabric into strips first and then dying it, but you may like doing it the other way around. After I pulled out each strip from the dye and rung it out, I let it air dry hanging in the shower. You can see that it dries pretty wrinkly, but I thought that actually gave it a nice shabby chic effect.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

Once it was dry, I set up a couple curtain rods so I could see how it would look once it was more put together. As I mentioned in the last post, we decided to use two curtain rods for the backdrop: one in front for the fabric, and one behind to hang sheer white curtains from (to act as sort of a backdrop for my backdrop, if you will).

Here’s how it looked when I hung it all up!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com And here’s how it looked about 30 seconds later.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

To attach the fabric to the curtain rod, I just folded it over and pinned it to itself with a safety pin. I kept going, adding more and more neutral pinkish-tan pieces to pull everything together. Once we finished the wooden backdrop frame, I was super excited to actually put it all together!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

And then… womp womp. Somehow in my excitement about dying, I totally got the wrong length for my fabric. It was like our backdrop was wearing high waters. Luckily, I had bought the last of a bolt of fabric and was cutting it as I went, so I still had a little bit that was uncut.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

But it definitely wasn’t enough to match the amount of too-short strands. It ended up looking like just a handful of full length pieces peeking out from underneath the short ones. But I didn’t want to toss all my beautifully dyed, vertically challenged fabric and I didn’t want to buy a buttload more fabric either. So I got sneaky.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

Yep, I took a few of the short strips and cut them up into even smaller bits that were just long enough to bridge the gap from the short strips to the floor. I tried to match up colors and widths on some so it would look like a continuous strand. On others, I’d purposefully pin (for example) a skinny blue piece behind a wide pink piece and just look at it and pretend that a full length blue piece was hiding behind the big pink one. Which is totally what it looked like!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

After pinning everything in place, I just hand stitched it together. Unless you were looking at it as closely as this photo was, the seams were pretty much invisible!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

Excited about my fabric ninja skills, I made my way across the bottom and filled in the gap to the floor.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

And finally… ta-da!!!!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

To transport the fabric to the wedding, I split the curtain rod in half and rolled up each side. Then I put them both in a trashbag together to keep the rolls of fabric in place.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

And there you have it! It was super easy to transport, reassemble, and disassemble at the end of the night. Plus… it looked gorgeous!!!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part II) - evanandkatelyn.com

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16

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop (Part I)

Good golly I love bad puns!

After our wedding got published on Wedding Chicks, our blog traffic got cah-razy and we’ve been getting lots of requests for more wedding tutorials- especially for the backdrop we made for our DIY photobooth!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

The photobooth was SUPER popular, and we knew our family/friends would be taking tons of photos, so I wanted to make a nice backdrop for everyone to stand in front of.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

We actually planned on using the backdrop as our ceremony backdrop and then later moving it to the photobooth area, but we decided against that for a couple reasons. First off, the wind was SUPER crazy during set up and we worried it would be blowing all over us during the ceremony. Observe.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Luckily the wind was just a light breeze for the rest of the night so this ended up not being an issue anyway. But also, the flowers that day on the gazebo were so so beautiful that we did not want to cover anything up. (Plus they matched the flower in my hair so it was pretty much meant to be!)

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

But enough pretty pictures (though I could look at these all day!) – onto the DIY (aka lots of not-as-pretty but hopefully helpful pictures!)

Our backdrop consisted of a couple parts- the frame and the fabric. I’ll start with the frame.

To make our frame, we decided to build two legs with feet to keep them sturdy, and notches on top of the legs that could hold 2 curtain rods for our fabric to hang from. In the picture below, you can see the front-on view (along with close up photos of the notches).

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Here is a top-down view of the feet. I’ll get into more details about these soon, just wanted y’all to have a visual first.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

We knew we’d be driving this contraption from Houston to Austin for the wedding, so we wanted something that would pack well and be easy to set up. To make it pack well, the legs needed to be removable from the feet so everything could lay flat. And instead of doing wood across the top we decided on curtain rods because they were also easy to remove AND the curtain rods would allow our width to be adjustable (we didn’t want to be locked into a specific width).

We started with the feet. We knew we wanted them to be able to hold a 2×4 vertically in place as a leg, but that 2×4 also needed to be easily removable. We bought some 2×4’s and got them cut at Home Depot into 6 pieces. Evan sanded a few rough edges, but how much sanding you do will depend on how polished you want it to be. We didn’t do much haha.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

For each foot, Evan placed 2 pieces parallel to each other and one across the top. The plan was to secure the top one to the bottom two with some long screws, so he drilled pilot holes first.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

With the pilot holes drilled, he then secured the boards with 5 long screws on each side. We wanted this backdrop to be sturdy people! I’ve seen too many “wedding fail” videos to risk this thing crashing down on us (or small children, or grandparents, or drunk uncles).

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

To make assembly and disassembly easy, Evan decided we could use L brackets and these little bolts with pins to hold everything in place. You’ll see what I mean as we get there. First, we used a 2×4 to space two L brackets in the center of each foot. We made sure they were as tight as they could be against the 2×4.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

As you can see above, we secured those to the foot with screws and washers. Since I was holding the 2×4 steady, I didn’t get photos of the next part, but basically Evan then drilled screws through those two holes in the L bracket and out the other side of the 2×4. These holes were just barely big enough to hold our bolts, so everything was nice and snug. Then we used a rubber mallet to pound the bolts through the holes, like so:

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

And below is a photo of what the bolts and pins look like in real life. You can get these at Home Depot.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

After the bolts were pounded through, we made things extra extra secure by popping a little pin through the other end. Like I said, I was not taking any chances of this thing being flimsy! The photos below were taken after we stained it, but they really help demonstrate, so just pretend that wood is still a blonde :)

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

For the legs, you can really do whatever height you want. We wanted something that was tall enough for Evan to stand in front of, so we just used the full length of the 2×4’s you get at Home Depot.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Evan stained them using the same stain we used for our marquee letters and string-and-nail letters: Minwax’s Dark Walnut.

After we stained it, we labeled the feet and legs so that when we reassembled things we would put the correct leg with the correct foot. Even though you’d think 2×4’s are all the same size, there is a little variation sometimes. And since we wanted the legs to fit so snugly in the brackets on each foot, we wanted to make sure we paired the right leg with the foot that was fitted to it. So we labeled the left foot and leg with an A, and the right foot and leg with a B.

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Then we cut notches in the top of each 2×4 that would be able to hold the curtain rods going across the top. Again, we chose to use curtain rods (instead of another 2×4 or PVC) because they would be width-adjustable. Plus, we already had them, so they were freeeee.

We roughly sharpied on some zig-zags onto our wood as guides (since that would be easier to cut than anything rounded out).

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

Then just a couple quick cuts and we had notches for our curtain rods to sit nicely into!

Pssst, the reason we did two notches on each leg instead of one is because I’ve seen too many barren-looking backdrops. You know, where the breeze flutters it a bit and you see how sparse all those fabric strips look when there is no solidity to them. So I decided to have one curtain rod with fabric strips, and another curtain rod behind it with white sheer curtains that would act as a solid background for the fabric. The awesome part was that we already had cheap white sheer curtains from Ikea so we just used those!

The curtain rods sat nicely in the top of the notches when everything was assembled. And that’s pretty much it for the frame, all done!

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

This post is starting to get long, and now that we’ve finished going over the backdrop frame, I think we’ll call it a day and write about the fabric in part II! But below, you can get a little sneak peek of how it all started coming together :)

To-Dye-For DIY Backdrop - evanandkatelyn.com

PS- you can hop on over and see Part II (making the fabric) right here!

0

Nailed It! DIY Free-Standing Nail & String Letters

You guys learned about our love of large typography when we made our DIY L.O.V.E. Marquee letters (which looked AMAZING at our wedding by the way!)

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

Well the large-wooden-letter train did not stop there! We also wanted to do a large “E” and a large “K” (for Evan and Katelyn) to hang at the entrance of our venue. But it was sort of a last minute addition to the DIY to-do list (and by “last minute” I mean we still had like 2 months… I plan things very far in advance, so 2 months to go counts as last minute), so we didn’t want to take on anything too complicated.

Then I remembered seeing all those cool string & nail letters on Pinterest and it was settled! (Not sure what I’m referring too? Check out these). Of course, we had to do something a littttttle different than what was already out there. You’ll notice that most existing examples are some sort of rectangular “canvas” (wood, foam board, etc) with the nails outlining the letters. We wanted free standing letters.

First we chose a font and printed it really large, similar to how we did for the L.O.V.E. letters, across multiple sheets of paper.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

There are a couple ways to print them that way. When we did the marquee letters, we used a Windows computer which gives you the option to tile your print. You just mess with the settings in the “Page Setup.” Here are some more detailed instructions:

http://scottiestech.info/2009/08/08/how-to-easily-print-a-large-image-to-multiple-pages-in-windows/

This time we used rasterbator.net (aka the most awkward website to tell your friends to go to), which is a site that will print large scale images as multiple dots. It asks you to upload an image, set how many sheets you want it to be, and adjust the frequency of the dot grid (how tight or far apart the dots are). When you print your image, you kind of have to connect the dots (literally) to get your solid outline, but it works in a pinch if you don’t have a Windows

Once we taped together our sheets and cut out our letters, we were ready to go. Mochi wasn’t ready for us to go, but we were ready to go.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

We picked up one piece of 2 feet x 4 feet pre-sanded plywood (the same kind we used for the marquee letters), we traced out the letters, and Evan cut them with his jigsaw. Somehow forgot to take photos of this part. Then we hammered thin finishing nails at regular increments around the perimeter of the letters. Somehow forgot to take photos of that part too. Seriously, we stop blogging for a few months to plan a little wedding and all our tutorial-making skills go out the window. Anyway, here is how things were looking after the nails were in.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

We tried to get pretty close to the edge with the nails, but not tooooo close because we didn’t want the wood to split.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

In retrospect, we should have stained them before we added the nails. But the nails weren’t too hard to stain around. And since they were a dark color, any stain that got on them didn’t really show up. We used a Minwax stain in Dark Walnut and Evan swiped it on with a brush and then spread it out with an old T-shirt rag.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

Then we moved onto the E. Looking good!

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

Once they were dry we took them inside to start stringing ’em up. This was the fun part :D

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

I couldn’t decide on what colors to use so I got 3 different teals and 3 different peaches to choose from. We ended up using… all of them! Yep, we got started with a teal on the E and a peach on the K and then just decided to keep going until we used up all the string because we didn’t want to go back to the store, even though the colors weren’t the same. It turned out pretty sweet though!

Below you can see the K after one color of string (it looks white in the photo but it’s actually a light peach) and again after all three colors of string were added.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

To add the string, we would tie one end tightly to a nail and just start zig zagging around, trying to get the string pretty evenly distributed around the letter. When we finished one color, we would tie it off on the closest nail and start a new color.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

Annnnnnd done! It was super fast and easy adding the string.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

The letters looked super cute at the wedding! We used fishing wire to hang them on the big wooden doors at the entrance of our venue.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

And the awesome part is that now we get to use them as art in our home! There is a lot of wedding decor that gets used on the big day and never again, but we tried to make as much as possible usable in our home after the wedding. Now we have these letters hanging on the brick in our entryway.

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

You can see them here looking into our living room. (Pay no attention to those stray wires hanging from the ceiling, all will be explained in good time…)

DIY Nail & String Letters - evanandkatelyn.com

13

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:

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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:

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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:

attic-vent-cover

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Nearing completion:

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

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

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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

Tools/Misc

  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Facemask
  • Oscillating sander (optional)
2