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Easy ways to upgrade your rental bathroom

Search Results for: bathroom

Camouflaging a dated bathroom light fixture

When I was working on giving a friend’s small bathroom a facelift, I needed a quick inexpensive way to update a very dated lighting fixture that also happened to be off-center over the vanity. Since replacing it wasn’t in the budget, I opted for camouflaging the fixture with a DIY light cover that cost less than $15 to make, all without using any power tools! 

Lighting fixture after

Here’s what the fixture looked like before – very dated, to say the least, and off-center over the vanity.

Old off-centered lighting fixture_edited-2

You can watch this video of how to make it or follow the steps below:

Step 1: Make the structure for the new cover. Here’s what I used to make the structure:

1/4″ x 6″ poplar boards

3/4″ thick square wood dowels

I cut the boards into 3 sections (2 x 4.5″ and 1 x18″) and cut the dowels into 4 pieces (4 x 5.5″) using a hand saw. I used wood glue to attach the square dowels to join the front to the sides (Painter’s tape helps to hold the pieces together while the glue dries).

Connecting the side to the front wood boards_edited-1

Then I glued the other 2 dowel pieces to the back of the sides.

Gluing back dowel pieces_edited-1

Step 2: Paint or stain the wood

Here’s what I used as a finish for the wood:

Chalk paint (sheepskin)

Wood tint

White wax

Plaid products for finishing wood_edited-1

I painted the wood with 2 coats of the paint, then brushed on a coat of the stain and then protected the surface with a coat of the white wax.

Finish for wood - waxing_edited-1

Step 3: Make the light diffuser: Here’s what I used to make it:

Thin linen like fabric

Plexiglass (Acrylic) sheet for diffuser (11”x14” ⅛” thick)

Mod Podge

Double-sided tape

I placed the fabric on top of the non-glare side of the acrylic panel and soaked it with MOD PODGE making sure the fabric is soaked through.  

Gluing fabric to acrylic panel with mod podge_edited-2

I let it dry and trimmed off the excess along the edges with a utility knife. 

Trimming off fabric from acrylic panel

Then I glued it to the structure using double sided tape.

Acrylic panel installed to the back of the lighting fixture cover_edited-1

Step 5: Installing the new cover.

I removed the old cover and placed 3M command strips on either side of it to hang the new cover so that it would be centered over the vanity. The new cover is very light so the strips are fine to hold it and this avoids having to make holes in the wall (but you could also use brackets to attach it to the wall). I didn’t have a level handy so I ended up using an app on my smart phone to make sure the fixture was level!

3m command strips to hang the new cover_edited-1Using phone level to install light

Bottom view of new centered lighting fixture_edited-1 The new cover completely hides the existing fixture and it’s now perfectly centered! So much better than what was there before! 
After-Right-side-vertical-watermarked-high-res
You can watch the entire bathroom makeover in this video here, enjoy!
 
 

 

Search Results for: bathroom

Small Bathroom Remodel: Easy DIY Tile Backsplash

As I mentioned in my previous post reviewing Smart Tiles, my friend Tom asked for my help to makeover his small half-bath in his condo. He had a tiny budget of $200 to makeover his equally tiny 20 ft2 bathroom. Luckily he was happy with the neutral color palette so no painting necessary, but he did want to update the look by adding a touch of warmth and elegance, and he also wanted to have more storage. Here’s the plan I came up with for the makeover:

  1. Add a contemporary tile backsplash above the sink area and a mirror
  2. Upgrade the lighting fixture
  3. Add a storage cabinet above the toilet

The first thing I tackled was adding the backsplash above the sink area:

Smart-Tile-Finished-backsplash

This is what the area above the sink looked like before – a blank slate!

Tom's-bathroom-sink-before

I was really excited to try Smart Tiles for the first time for this project. I don’t have much experience tiling so the fact that these tiles have a peel and stick backing was a welcome simplification – there’s no grout or specialized tools needed so the installation is quick and mess free. I chose the Capri Taupe Smart Tiles from the Mosaik collection because of their beautiful stone and glossy dual finish

Smart-Tile-other-Mosaik-Capri-tiles

I needed 4 tiles to cover the length of the vanity – they are easy to cut using a ruler and utility knife. I cut all the tiles to be 7 inches high and and for the first tile, I also cut off the ends to have a clean edge.

Smart-Tiles-cutting-the-tile

I cleaned the wall with TSP to remove all the dust and grease, marked the height of the tile on the wall and then used a level to trace out the line. I removed some of the existing caulking where the tile meets the vanity to ensure that the tiles sits flush at the bottom. To install the tile, I first peeled back a couple of inches of the backing, used the line as a guide to make sure the tile is straight and then removed the rest of the backing and pressed the tile on wall.

Smart-Tile-Peeling-off-the-backing

Smart-Tile-Installing-first-tile

For the last tile at the edge of the wall, the remaining space was a bit awkward to measure so I used a sheet of paper as a template and used that to cut the tile.

Smart-Tile-corner-tile-template

For a more finished look around the tiles, I used a Smart Edge Brillo (silver) and for a nice clean corner, I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle.

Smart-Tiles-coner-edge-installation

A quick trick to make sure you get a perfect 45 degree cut every time is to first draw a straight line on your scrap piece of wood with a speed square and then use the 45 degree side of the speed square to cut the Smart Edge.

Smart-Tiles-corner-edge-cutting

And there you have it, for about $40 and in less than an hour, the backsplash was done and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Smart-Tiles-bathroom-backsplash-by-Engineer-Your-Space-cropped

It completely transformed the bathroom as you can see in this before and after picture:

Before-and-after-right-side-watermarked

You can see how I did the entire bathroom makeover, including the backsplash and how I tackled the very dated and uncentered lighting fixture above the vanity, in this video:

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

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Bathroom Lighting: Quick fix to update a dated bathroom vanity light

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Small bathroom remodel: budget bathroom ideas

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Bathroom vanity upgrade and Paint Giveaway

I did a lot of upgrades to my bathroom as I showed you in this video tour but the one thing that I hadn’t touched so far is the vanity – the paint was looking very tired and chipped, plus the knobs were very dated and off center to boot! 

drawers-in-bad-shape

Drawer-knobs-off-center-with-lines_edited-1

So I was thrilled when I was approached by Glidden to try their Diamond paint and primer – a highly durable paint that’s easy to clean. Perfect opportunity to finally do something about the vanity and those knobs.

Glidden-paint-can

Since I’m a renter, I had to work within what my landlord would allow. I got the OK to use either a very light grey paint (Glidden color Fossil Grey) or a something similar to the original color (Glidden Parchment white). I didn’t like how shinny the original paint was so I went with an eggshell instead of a semi-gloss finish.

Color-choice-from-web

The first step for this project was to prep the surface for painting (sanding and wiping the it clean). I took out the drawers but ended up leaving the doors on  – it’s better to remove them but the hinges were so covered in paint that it was easier in my case to leave them on. 

Prepping-the-cabinet-for-paintingThen I filled in the holes of the knobs and imperfections with spackling, let that dry, sanded until smooth, and drilled new holes in the right location for the knobs.

Sanding-the-drawers

Then it was time to paint – I decided to try to “Fossil Grey” color. The paint went on very smooth and the coverage was very good, though some of the original color still showed through in spots after the first coat.

 

Glidden-paint-can-with-roller

The color did matched what I expected (though it’s hard to tell from the picture below), but after living with it for a couple of days, the fossil grey color just didn’t work as I thought it would with the rest of the room.

Cabinet-before-and-after---grey-paint

So instead of adding a second coat of the grey paint, I repainted the vanity with the parchment white color which I like much better. I did need to apply 2 coats and sanded in between coats to ensure a smooth finish. The last step was to change out the knobs with new ones that I made with rocks for from the Dollar Store (stay tuned for a video tutorial to come soon).

Drawers-after-front-view

Here is the finished project – even though the color is essentially the same, it’s still a huge upgrade and well worth the effort: the Glidden Diamond paint made my vanity look new and feel very smooth to the touch. And I have to say I’m loving the new knobs – way better that what was there before, plus now they are centered!

Bathroom-vanity-after-close-up

If you haven’t tried Glidden Diamond paint, here’s your chance to try it for free –  just enter the giveaway via the rafflecopter widget below, and you might be the lucky winner of 5 gallons of paint for a DIY project in your home. Good luck and don’t forget to review the paint on Glidden.com once your project is done!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

** This post was sponsored by the Glidden brand paint for PPG but the thoughts and opinions are my own **

Search Results for: bathroom

DIY Wall Art with Shells – Bathroom Decorating ideas

My bathroom is pretty plain with white tiles and white walls which makes it a nice neutral canvas to work with, except for this “vintage” heater that stands out like a sore thumb. With the beautiful year round weather in LA, I never use it and I wanted to find a quick easy way to hide it. Looking around my apartment for something to use, I came across a scrap piece of 1/4″ plywood from another project and beautiful shells I had from previous crafting project. Putting them together, I had an quick and easy solution to cover up my ugly heater:

Shell-wall-art-before-and-after

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I placed my shells on the plywood and marked where my hooks will go to hold up the shells. I drilled holes at the marks using a 1/8″ drill bit.

Shell-wall-art-step-1

Step 2: I cut thin gauge wire in  ~ 2 1/2″ long pieces and bent them to make loops.

Shell-wall-art-step-2

Step 3: I fished the ends of the loop from the back of the plywood through to the front and bent the wires to form hooks and glued the back loops to the plywood to prevent them from moving once the hooks were at the right angle.

Shell-wall-art-step-3

Step 4: I placed the shells into the hooks and adjusted the wires as needed for a secure hold. You could also add some glue along the edge of the shells for extra support. 

Shell-wall-art-step-4And voila, very inexpensive beachy wall art that’s right at home in my bathroom, and more importantly, no one would know there’s an ugly heater behind there!

Shell-wall-art-completed

 

 

Search Results for: bathroom

Bathroom Decorating Ideas: LA Bathroom Tour

Search Results for: bathroom

DIY Bathroom lighting fixture makeover

I really wish I could renovate my bathroom, but being a renter, doing a complete gut job and rebuilding from scratch wasn’t a possibility. The lighting, however, was definitely something that I could upgrade without changing out the existing lighting fixture. So I came up with a plan to change out the shades and to make my fixture more energy efficient.

'Before'-web.jpg

The first thing I did was swap out the incandescent light bulbs for ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs.

                 'Incandescent-bulb'-web.jpg'LED-bulb'-web.jpg

When you consider that a single ENERGY STAR LED bulb can save $75 in electricity costs over its lifetime, it makes the initial investment worth it. The cost of LEDs has dropped in recent years and there are many rebates are available – so they are more affordable than ever.

To select my new light bulbs, I first looked for the ENERGY STAR mark on the packaging or in the description online: or in the description online:

This mark means that the bulbs have undergone extensive testing for things like light quality and color plus they have a warranty of a minimum of 3 years, longer than most electronics!

With so many choices, choosing lightbulbs can be confusing, but looking for the ENERGY STAR helps me know which bulbs are a better investment. I ended up choosing candelabra bulbs to go with the long and narrow shape of the lampshades I designed. Even though I don’t have a dimmer for this fixture, I still purchased dimmable light bulbs, that way if I ever install a dimmer in the future, I’ll still be able to use the same light bulbs. You’ll know that the ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs you’re purchasing are dimmable when you see the word “dimmable” on the packaging:

'Dimmable-package'-web.jpg

The second part of the makeover was to replace the old shades with new ones. You can buy ready-made replacement shades at Home Depot or Lowe’s but I couldn’t find anything I liked so I designed my own mini drum shades. Since I’m using LEDs, the good thing is they give off a lot less heat, so I’m able to make my own shades with a plastic cutting mat, and not worry about burning the shades.

'New-shade'-web.jpg

I made them with 4” wooden embroidery hoops (7), 3/4” and 2” wide iron-on edging (birch) and flexible chopping mats, which came out to about $ 15 per shade. I made the drum shades in 2 parts: 1) the rings and 2) the shade.

Part 1: Rings

To make the rings, I glued the inner hoops of the embroidery rings together using wood glue to make 2 stacks of 2 hoops and 1 stack of 3 hoops. Then I used an iron to cover the outside of the rings with iron-on wood edging and I sanded the edges and the inside of the rings.

'Step-1'-web.jpg

'Step-2'-web.jpg

'Step-3'-web.jpg

I chose to finish the rings with a grey wood stain from Plaid, giving a couple of coats. I let that dry for a couple of hours and then sealed in the finish with white wax, wiping off the excess wax with a clean, lint-free rag.

'Step-4'-web.jpg

'Step-5'-web.jpg

The last thing to do with the rings was to drill 3 holes with a 1/8” drill bit, equally spaced out, at the top of the wider rings. This is for the screws that will attach the shade to the existing fixture.

'Step-6'-web.jpg

Part 2: The shade

To make the shade, I cut the chopping mat in half horizontally and cut it again so that it’s about 1/2” longer than the circumference of the inside of the rings. Then I added masking tape to mark the location of the middle ring and added clear double sided tape to the seam and where the bottom and middle rings will go.

'Step-7'-web.jpg

The last step was to form the shade and put on the rings. Then it was just a matter of drilling holes in the shade material, putting in the machine screws and then attaching the shades to the existing fixture.

'Step-8'-web.jpg

'Step-9'-web.jpg

'Step-10'-web.jpg

I love the way the new shades turned out and the new ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs are perfect to light up my bathroom.

'After'-web.jpg

'After-lit'-web.jpg

Whether you own or rent your home, upgrading the lighting with ENERGY STAR certified fixtures and LED light bulbs is a great way to give a space an updated look when you’re renovating and it can save you money on your electrical bills for years to come.

To find out more about ENERGY STAR, you can visit ENERGYSTAR.gov – it’s a great resource provided by the Environmental Protection Agency where you’ll find all kinds of good information on how to choose and use ENERGY STAR products in your home. You can also visit ENERGYSTAR.gov/rebate-finder – the costs of LED bulbs has come down but you’ll find rebates on this site that can help keep costs down even more. 

You can also see the whole project in this video. Thanks to ENERGY STAR for helping make this project possible!

 

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Bathroom Design Ideas: DIY lighting fixture makeover

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Small bathroom jewelry storage with tension rods

If you need help organizing your home, tension rods might be the answer. I’ve used a tension rod above the sink in my kitchen to hold my sponges and dish towel and most recently, I put tension rods to good use in my bathroom:

I installed two tension rods between the wall and the existing mirror frame and used inexpensive s-hooks to hang necklaces from the top rod. The bottom rod is the perfect spot to keep my hair clips, and watches plus I also had enough room to hang my DIY earring organizer. With this set up, I see all my jewelry options at a glance and I always know where my hair clips are!

If you don’t have a place where you can use a tension rod, you can use a towel rail instead, and secure it to a wall or a door.

Going vertical and using the wall or the back of a door for storage is a great way to maximize the space in a small bathroom and to keep your counters clutter free. If you want more ideas on how to use tension rods in your home, take a look at my Pinterest board – you’ll be amazed at what they can do!

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Makeovers & DIY

Rental kitchen makeover w/ peel & stick tile backsplash

Image_4_Tessas_kitchen_wide_front_view_horizontal_high_res_watermarked

Removable backsplash covers up tile and adds color

Temporary kitchen backsplash

Simple DIY storage shelf

DIY Shelf above the stove

DIY knife rack - no power tools needed!

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

DIY shelf riser for spices

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf

Free up counter space with a Tension rod

Tension rod over the kitchen sink

Ugly kitchen floor cover up with removable vinyl tiles

Tile after side view resource guide no leg

Quick DIY magnetic spice rack and containers

DIY magnetic spice rack 1

Easy DIY wood valance

Wood-valance-installing-it-over-cabinets-square

Tension rod organization

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

Rental kitchen makeover w/ temporary wallpaper

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Old IKEA kitchen Island gets an upgrade

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

DIY pull out cabinet

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 9.01.13 PM

DIY kitchen storage ideas

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

Peel & stick tile backsplash

Smart-Tiles-bathroom-backsplash-by-Engineer-Your-Space-cropped

Bathroom vanity upgrade

Bathroom-cabinet-horizontal-before

Dated Light fixture upgrade

Lighting fixture after

Tension rod jewelry storage

Bathroom-storage-with-tension-rod-side-view

DIY vanity drawer pulls

knobs

Budget bathroom makeover

After Right side vertical watermarked high res_edited-1

Dated heater camouflage

Shell-wall-art-before-and-after

DIY bathroom shades

c221d99e-a960-4f97-9cc8-794242241be9_NzpAMmNr1B4A7vKJTnIR4BBnRMvc8vHdjLc45AZ_ifkzb3S8wWe2PLdwewsX3HI-DvGQQQs2048

Easy ways to upgrade a rental bathroom

Showerhead-before_and-after

DIY over-the-toilet storage cabinet

After left side full view_edited-2

Quick affordable rental bedroom makeover w/ storage solutions

small-bedroom-makeover-after-side-view

Bedroom makeover with DIY headboard & nightstands

Finished bedroom full view better color

Bedroom makeover with DIY headboard & Nightstands

LA-bedroom-malepver-after-wide-shot

Small DIY bedside table you can build with hand tools

DIY-Bedside-table-in-bedroom-other

How to make a DIY upholstered headboard

DIY-upholstered-headboard

How to make a DIY freestanding headboard

DIY-Headboard-with-wood-panels-side-view

NYC rental studio living room with hanging room divider

Living room with phone

Ideas to add color in rental apartments

Living-Room-wider-view

Rental apartment living room upgrade

Small-living-room-ideas_edited-1

Free standing DIY faux fireplace

Fireplace---Living-Room-left-view-watermarked

Studio apartment living area with hanging room divider

IKEA-Ep-6-wider-shot-after-cropped

Tiny LA rental balcony with faux Boxwood

Balcony-full-view-square

NYC rental balcony with privacy panels & banquette seating

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NYC rental Balcony with easy DIY storage bench & garden

DIY outdoor balcony bench made with plastic bins

LA rental Balcony with privacy panels & DIY storage bench

Finished-balcony-front-view-with-flowers-with-speaker

DIY outdoor chair

DIY-outdoor-chair

LA rental balcony with custom bench

DIY-outdoor-Bench-tutorial-main-image

Balcony lighting: smart LED outdoor lights

LEft-side-view-of-balcony-at-night

DIY decor ideas for a small balcony

Herb-garden-full-side-view

Rental balcony privacy panels

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Basic DIY outdoor bench

DIY wood benches

DIY floating lighted decorative wall panels

DIY-lighted-wall-panesl

Budget DIY lighting fixture upgrade

Lighting fixture before and after before after_edited-1

DIY Wall sconces

Wall-sconces-wood

How to make a drum shade

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Bathroom light fixture upgrade with DIY drum shades

'After'-HiRes

DIY wall sconce with built-in shelf

Small-living-room-ideas_edited-1

Balcony lighting: smart LED outdoor lights

LEft-side-view-of-balcony-at-night

10 ways to customize lighting in a rental apartment

Nightime-Wall-sconce-side-view

IKEA HACK: DIY pendant lamp

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DIY drum shade pendant lamp

RG-main image-How to make a pendant lamp

Small entryway makeover w/ DIY coat rack

Entryway-before-and-after

Front door makeover with removable stripes

RG-Ep.8 how to decorate an entryway before and after

Studio apartment bookcase dividing wall entryway

NYC-studio-apartment-entryway-dividing-wall

DIY Wall panels create an entryway w/ charging station

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Entryway DIY Bench/shoe storage/AC coverup

RG-LA-Ep-13-Shoe-rack-table-AC-cover-main-image

How to transform a closet into a tool workshop

LA-Ep-6-YouTube-no-text-THu

Easy way to maximize closet space: DIY hanging rod

Double hanging closet rod

Easy closet customization for renters: DIY shelf riser

Extra shelf top of closet

Renter-friendly DIY shelf riser for kitchen cabinets

extra-cabinet-shelf-for-spices

DIY makeup organizer

makeup-organization-before-and-after

DIY pull out kitchen storage

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 9.01.13 PM

Get more storage out of a plain bookcase

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

DIY hanging earring or jewelry organizer

Finished-earring-holder

DIY picture frame jewelry organizer

DIY-Hanging-Jewelry-Box

DIY over the toilet storage cabinet

After left side full view_edited-2

Ideas to organize a bedroom closet

curtains-instead-of-doors-for-closets

Entryway panels with DIY coat rack and charging station

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DIY charging station and shelf combo

DIY charging Station/Shelf

Upholstered banquette bench

How to build a bench

Simple outdoor chair

DIY-outdoor-chair

Table & shoe rack storage unit

RG-LA-Ep-13-Shoe-rack-table-AC-cover-main-image

DIY white wash treatment

White-washing-rag-first-coat-square

IKEA kitchen Island upgrade

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

Simple DIY outdoor bench

Finished-DIY-outdoor-bench-top-and-front-view-unstained

Get more storage out of a plain bookcase

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

IKEA desk hack: scratching post legs

cat scratching posts

DIY Nightstands: IKEA LACK Table hack

IKEA-LACK-table-hack-Nigthstand

DIY over the toilet storage cabinet

After left side full view_edited-2

DIY upholstered panel for a headboard or banquette bench

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Entryway panels with DIY coat rack and charging station

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 5.37.49 PM

DIY small bedside table

DIY-Pedestal-Side-Table-in-bedroom

DIY freestanding faux fireplace

Fireplace---Living-Room-left-view-watermarked

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How to make knobs or drawer pulls

When renovating a kitchen or bathroom, the cost of changing out the knobs can add up very quickly. The same goes when sprucing up a dresser with new drawer pulls. So I experimented with a couple of different inexpensive ways to make my own, and turns out it’s pretty easy to do! 

First option: Stones

Stone-knob-on-drawer-close-up

For these knobs, I ended up buying river stones from the dollar store – I live in LA and though there are beaches nearby, finding stones that are smooth and the right size proved to be too challenging!

rocks

To turn the stones into knobs, all you need are these nifty things called connector caps (or barrel nuts) and bolts. 

hardware-for-knobs

You can get connector caps in different finishes, like the bronze ones in the picture and you can get bronze bolts to match but since you don’t see them, I went with regular ones to save some money. If you do this, you just want to make sure that the bolt and connector have the same thread size and to stick with either metric or imperial (mixing the two won’t work). The length of bolts you will need depends on the thickness of the drawer face. In most cases, 25mm (1”)  long bolts should work well. 

I found these silver colored Barrel Nuts and bolt sets on amazon.com (20 for about $5) – they work great as well but the only thing is that the bolts are a bit too short (20mm instead of 25 mm), so I bought longer bolts (I had to get metric because the barrel nuts are metric) to make them work.

Knobs-silver-cap-nuts

Wether you use the connector caps or barrel nuts, the steps are the same. The first thing I did was find rocks that have a flat side and I sanded it down to remove any residue and have a better surface for the glue to grip. I cleaned off any dust and also cleaned the connector caps.

sanding-rock

I mixed epoxy glue, and dipped the top of cap to cover it with glue and then placed it at the center of the stone. 

stone-knobs-mixing-epoxy Stone-knobs-Putting-epoxy-on-the-caps

I placed the knobs on a bed of gravel (I had that from another project – it’s actually for aquariums!) so they could be flat during the drying process. You could also use sand for this.

Stone-knobs-letting-the-glue-dry

Then it was just a matter of using the bolts to secure them to the drawers.

Putting-in-knobs

And that’s it – my bathroom vanity got a whole new look thanks to these stone knobs. 

Rock-knobs

Second option: shells

For these drawer pulls, I used shells from the Dollar Store (same issue as with the stones), nuts & washers, bolts (about 1 to 1.5 inches longer than the thickness of the shell), scrap rigid cardboard, rubber bands and epoxy glue.

The first thing I did was cut a piece of rigid cardboard so that it’s the width of the shell and extends past it by about an inch, and made a hole in the middle. It will act as the flat surface of the dresser drawer to set the bolt in place.

Next I inserted the bolt in the hole of the cardboard

I poured epoxy glue into the shell cavity (I used the type that mixes together as it’s poured), making sure to mix the glue with a tooth pick and that there’s enough glue to cover the head of the bolt.

I placed the head of the bolt so that it touches the bottom of the shell cavity, while making sure the cardboard is flush to the back of the shell. Then I moved the bolt around so it is perpendicular to the cardboard.

When the bolt is placed properly, I used a rubber band to secure the cardboard in place, double checked that the bolt is still touching the bottom of the shell cavity and still straight (it doesn’t have to be perfect but the straighter the better), then I placed the cardboard on the edge of 2 glasses. You could also place the shells in sand like I did for the stone knobs. This allowed the epoxy to settle on the bottom and cover the head of the bolt.

Another way to make these knobs is to use oven bake clay (I used Sculpey) and barrel nut and bolts like I used for the stone knobs. I filled the cavity of the shell with the clay, pressed the barrel nut head into the clay to make an imprint, making sure the bolt sits straight, and then baked the shell in the oven as per the manufacturer specs (I baked mine for about an hour @ 275 degrees F). Then I used epoxy to glue the barrel nut to the shell. 

Shel-knobs---oven-backed-clay-method

For either option, I let the epoxy harden and voila, beautiful shell knobs ready to give a new look to a dresser or a cabinet!

You can use these ideas to make knobs out of just about anything, all you need is a little imagination – I hope you’ll share what ideas you come up with!

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DIY over the toilet storage cabinet

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Product Review: Smart Tiles

When I was approached by Smart Tiles to review and try their products, I was very excited because updating kitchens and bathrooms can be quite intimidating. Even the simplest project like adding a tile backsplash can turn into a major undertaking that can be daunting for the novice DIYer.

Smart Tiles are much easier and simpler to install than traditional tiles because they have a peel and stick backing and are very thin (1/16”) and lightweight – no specialized tools are needed and there’s no need to use messy grout. The tiles are cut using a ruler and utility knife, so contouring around electrical outlets or odd shapes is a lot easier to do and the tiles will stick directly to any smooth surface, including existing tiles.

Smart-Tiles-Mosaik-cutting

You can buy Smart Tiles at any Home Depot or directly from the Smart Tiles website and they come in many different types, ranging in cost from $7 to $9 per tile (US). When I got samples of the tiles, the first thing I noticed was the quality of the product and how realistic the tiles looked. The Smart Tiles Mosaiks series incorporates a mixture of finishes from a stone finish to a glossy finish which reflects the light beautifully and the contrast also adds to the overall realistic look.

Capri-taupe-mosails-sample-tiles

There’s also classical mosaic and subway tiles in many colors including a marble finish that is very elegant and would add a touch of style to any kitchen or bathroom.

Carrera-tile-samples-closeup

Another benefit of using Smart Tiles is that they can easily be removed by first using a hair dryer to warm up the adhesive and then simply peeling the tiles off.  This may take off some of the paint but if you decide to change your mind and remodel later, it will definitely be a quicker and less messy process than removing traditional tile.

I was excited to try out these tiles and when my friend Tom said he wanted my help to upgrade a small half-bath in his condo, I knew it was the perfect project for Smart Tiles. I’ll be sharing with you the entire makeover very soon so stay tuned!

Before-left-and-right-side

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **