Instant Curb Appeal

One of our goals for this blog is to show you easy, simple, and inexpensive ways to do things around your house. Also, we want to show you that if WE can do it, then anyone can! Stephen and I are not at all professionally trained in anything DIY-related, and some of the DIY sites seem too overwhelming to actually try. We hope to plant ideas in your heads to help encourage you to try something you might have been wanting to do!

OK, back to why we are here… curb appeal! There are so many ways you can make the outside of you house look nice, or different, or spruced up. When we moved into our house, we were a little surprised that only the front of the house was landscaped. The sides and back just had sod up to the base of the house. No border around it, no bushes… nothing!

Our AC units… but you can see how the grass butts up right against the house!

We decided to do something that was inexpensive, but made a BIG difference. We tilled up the sod within 2 feet of the house, and we laid down black landscaping paper (for grass growth prevention), and put a pine straw border all the way around.

We added a little curve to make it a little more exciting. 🙂

Later, we bought a bunch of brick edgers from Home Depot. At the time, the edgers were less than a dollar each. We measured around the whole house and estimated how many we needed. (NOTE: I would definitely overestimate so you don’t have to go running back to the store for only a couple more!) We lined them up all the way around the pine straw. We also planted different types of plants, bushes and trees all around the house!

It’s amazing how much more uniform and tied together it looks! We have done more expensive border edging at our other houses, but these edgers have stayed in place and done the job very nicely! Check back soon on the blog for how we updated the landscaping around one of our rental houses.

Fun Shiplap Wallpaper

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After my first wallpaper experience (and by wallpaper, I’m talking about the peel-and-stick kind, not the official kind), I was sure I wouldn’t do it again. But… Amazon gets me. They have such dang great deals sometimes! I found this cute shiplap peel-and-stick wallpaper for cheap. I checked out the reviews and looked at the pictures people put of their purchases, and decided to go for it!

The back wall in my laundry room was where I envisioned this wallpaper going. We’re going to get all of our interior walls painted soon, but I wanted a little something different for that back wall that’s visible to anyone who walks by.

Before

I ordered 4 rolls of the wallpaper and paid about $24 total. I started in the top left corner of the wall, and worked from left to right, all the way down. I did my best to keep the wallpaper sticking in a straight direction… sometimes it’s easy for the wallpaper to trend on a slight downward slope! This was especially important with the shiplap look, since you don’t want the boards to look slanted.

You also have to try not to let the paper stick to itself! Luckily, if it did, it came apart pretty easily. It was easy to smooth out wrinkles and bubbles as well.

It ended up being really easy. When you ran out of wallpaper, the next roll picked right back up where you left off. It was easy to cut around plugs, etc. I also used an exacto-knife to cut the excess wallpaper on the edges.

I kept going until I was done! I didn’t wallpaper behind the washer and dryer, since no one will see that until we move them one day! This was a cheap and relatively easy (maybe 3 hour) task. I also added a couple of fun laundry signs from hobby lobby!

Are you a fan of the peel-and-stick look? Check out my shiplap wallpaper here at Amazon!

Framing a Frameless Mirror- Again!

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Once our basement was finished, we had to figure out what mirror to put over the bath vanity. We did some research, and dang- hanging mirrors can be so expensive! A 3-4 foot mirror is easily $150, if not more.

We really liked the look of the rustic mirror frame we did on the main floor, so we decided to go with that idea again. Stephen purchased a 2.5 ft x 3.5 ft frameless, beveled mirror for about $30. The beveled mirror was about $15 less expensive than the completely flat mirror. The wooden frame would cover the beveled section, so it didn’t really matter which one we got.

We held the mirror on the wall and leveled it, then penciled in small “Ls” where the corners would go. We covered the back with gorilla glue, making sure not to get too close to the edge so it would ooze out on the sides, lined up the mirror in the “Ls” and pressed hard. Stephen measured the distance from the top of the vanity to the bottom of the mirror and cut out two small pieces of 2x4s for the mirror to sit on while the glue is drying. You can see the two pieces better in the below picture.

We also measured the top and bottom of the mirror for how long we wanted the boards to be, and cut them accordingly.

Stephen screwed these two holder pieces into the wall. The holes would eventually be covered by the wood.

I had gone ahead and painted the boards ahead of time. We went with gray paint this time to keep with the lighter feel of the colors of the basement. We leveled the top and bottom pieces of wood and made marks where the corners would go. We put gorilla glue on the back and held it up there. (Remember- don’t get too close to the edge! You don’t want it to ooze out on the sides, but also, if the glue is too close to the edge, you can see the reflection of the glue on the back in the mirror!) Stephen cut down the wood piece holders to two shorter pieces to hold the bottom board up.

These two smaller holder pieces were not screwed into the wall, as the wood wouldn’t cover those holes.

We then measured the left and right sides to make sure we cut the side pieces perfectly. Definitely don’t assume that the lengths will be the same! We gorilla glued them to the wall. We liked the top and bottom pieces of wood to overhang the side pieces by about an inch.

The next day, we put the painted brackets on with screws.

Now we have our bathroom mirror, all for about $50!

Check out Antique Farm House for great farmhouse decor.

Repurposing a Wooden Sign

There was one more wooden sign that was in my son’s room that screamed “don’t get rid of me!”. It was a nice, circular wooden sign that was designed to look like a baseball. It’s almost 3 feet in diameter, so it’s a great size! I envisioned turning it into a farmhouse-ish sign for my entry foyer.

Before
I did a coat of white on the red stripes first.

I started off by painting the sign white… besides the coat I did on the red stripes, it took two coats of white chalk paint. I bought a small (~8 inch diameter) wreath from Hobby Lobby for $5, and cut it so that it was about 18 inches long stretched out.

I drilled a hole in the top center of the sign, and used white pipe cleaner to hold the greenery onto the sign. I used white pins to keep the ends in place. I used some burlap ribbon to tie a bow, and used white pipe cleaner to secure it in the drilled hole, too.

I used my Cricut to cut out “Welcome” and applied them to the sign.

And there you have it! This sign was made out of everything I had on-hand, minus the $5 wreathe. Now it adds a nice touch to my entryway!

Farmhouse “X” Side Table

Stephen and I had our basement finished a couple of months ago. Once it was done, we had the fun task of furnishing it. In the TV room, we ordered couches and a recliner chair (Stephen’s fave), but we needed side tables to go between them. Instead of purchasing them, Stephen googled “Farmhouse side table” and found some fantastic free plans. He whipped up these two tables in two days! (I think it took me longer to stain them than it did for him to make them). 😉

Free plans are all over the internet and make things SO easy! The hard part comes when you want to alter the size of the original plan. That’s when you have to use some good old math skills to make sure you adjust all of the pieces of the project to make it work. Stephen built each table differently based on the two spaces we wanted to fill, so he had to do double the math!

These were parts of the plans that Stephen downloaded and printed out, along with his math work for adjusting the measurements: (Note: these were downloaded from one of our favorite DIY bloggers, Ana White, at https://www.ana-white.com)

Stephen did all of the above work, making the tables custom sizes for the spaces where we needed them. Here is one of the final products, pre-staining:

Here came my part! I used a new stain color this time. I find that stains look different based on the number of coats you use, the type of wood it goes on, etc… it’s almost hard to predict exactly how it will look, which can be frustrating! I usually google the stain color while at the store to see what it looks like on different projects people have done before. This time, I decided on Miniwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain in Semi-Transparent Jacobean 2750.

I did two coats, and used a paper towel to wipe the stain all over the wood. I also polyurethane’d the top with water-based clear poly. I like the dark, yet semi-transparent look to it!

Table 1
Table 1
Table 2
Table 2

Stephen guessed that each of these cost about $30 to build. They’d easily go for $150 each in a store! I promise you, if he can make these and I can stain them, then you can, too!

DIY Lego Table

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A few years back, my kids were really into Legos. After about the 5th time of stepping on a Lego (if you know, you know), I decided to look into getting a Lego table. I was surprised to see how pricey they were, and I couldn’t validate spending that much money.

We had an old kitchen table from IKEA in our attic. It was totally scratched up, and I didn’t really have a need for it. I decided to use this to make our own Lego table!

First, we cut the legs down so that they were about 12″ tall. This was a good height for the kids to sit on the floor and play, without it being too low or too high. I purchased 10×10 Lego plates from Amazon (they’re on Amazon right now). These are flat plates with the Lego holes on top. They come in many colors! You’ll have to figure out how many your table top would need to know how many to buy.

For my table, I used 11 total, but I cut a few in half using a razor blade since full ones wouldn’t completely fit. I positioned the plates where I wanted them, and one-by-one, I used gorilla glue to secure them onto the table. I put heavy things on top to add pressure until they dried.

And… that was it!! Now my kids had an awesome Lego table for them to play on. I used big tubs to store all of the Legos in and slid them under the table, so my chances of stepping on Legos was much less. 😉

The different squares were nice “separators” for each kid’s projects!

Dining Room Furniture Makeover

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We fell in love with the dining room set we purchased, but once it was in our house, we noticed the “antique white” just didn’t go with the bright white paneling and trim. I got some chalk paint off of Amazon (which is AMAZING!), started painting… and wow, what a difference!

This is the before of the dining room:

I used Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Interior Chalked Paint for the project. I used Linen White for the chairs and Country Gray for the drawers and table base.

The difference in color! The “antique white” was really like a light tan.

Here’s the after!

Chalk paint is very forgiving, so don’t be afraid to try painting furniture. Just a warning… it can be very addicting!!

Beginner Tips: How to Start DIYing

Hey y’all, it’s Brooke. Here are some things Stephen and I learned pretty early on that we wanted to share:

  1. Having good tools is KEY! For example, Stephen would use a handsaw to try to cut long pieces of wood (which is virtually impossible, seeing that you have to have a perfectly steady hand to keep a straight line). He has either borrowed or invested in tools that better suit whatever he needs. I highly recommend finding the specific tool you need instead of trying to make something work for your need.
  2. If you don’t have certain tools or don’t want to invest in your own, ask around! Most people don’t mind loaning out easily portable tools. Post on your neighborhood page, post on social media, text your friends. Also, you can always rent tools by the half day or full day from places like Lowe’s or Home Depot.
  3. Don’t skimp on nails and screws. Go for the better rated/better branded ones. We have learned the hard way that not all nails/screws are created equal.
  4. If you’re going to be making cuts, invest in a big foam board. It makes it so easy to cut on top of without worrying about cutting what’s underneath.
  5. Try to make space that’s set aside for all your stuff- tools, etc.

DIY Lego Table

Hammertime is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our blog, we may earn commissions.

A few years back, my kids were really into Legos. After about the 5th time of stepping on a Lego (if you know, you know), I decided to look into getting a Lego table. I was surprised to see how pricey they were, and I couldn’t validate spending that much money.

We had an old kitchen table from IKEA in our attic. It was totally scratched up, and I didn’t really have a need for it. I decided to use this to make our own Lego table!

First, we cut the legs down so that they were about 12″ tall. This was a good height for the kids to sit on the floor and play, without it being too low or too high. I purchased 10×10 Lego plates from Amazon (they’re on super sale right now). These are flat plates with the Lego holes on top. They come in many colors! You’ll have to figure out how many your table top would need to know how many to buy.

For my table, I used 11 total, but I cut a few in half using a razor blade since full ones wouldn’t completely fit. I positioned the plates where I wanted them, and one-by-one, I used gorilla glue to secure them onto the table. I put heavy things on top to add pressure until they dried.

And… that was it!! Now my kids had an awesome Lego table for them to play on. I used big tubs to store all of the Legos in and slid them under the table, so my chances of stepping on Legos was much less. 😉

The different squares were nice “separators” for each kid’s projects!