DIY

DIY Accent Decor: Making Picture Frames with a Cricut Maker

Looking for a fun handmade Christmas present? How about creating a DIY custom slip on frame for a smart digital picture frame? It can also be easily converted into a regular DIY picture frame with a secret compartment! Check out this video to see how a Cricut Maker machine works and how easy it is to create personalized Christmas (or anytime) gifts for your loved ones.

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity) along with some images to highlight the main steps.

I’m giving my mom a smart digital picture frame for Christmas this year. I decided to personalize it with a custom frame so that it matches my mom’s style and decor. I’m going to show you how to make it and also how the same idea can be used to make a regular picture frame with a fun secret compartment. You’ll see they’re easier to make than you think. 

Before I begin, I want to say a special thank you to Cricut for sponsoring this video and giving me the tools to make my ideas come to life. 

I wasn’t sure if my concept for this slip on frame would work. So, I made a prototype first with cardboard to work out all the kinks and get all the dimensions figured out. I needed a material that was rigid yet thin to build the structure. I chose a heavy chipboard to make it. You can also cut this material with an exacto knife which is great, but this project requires a lot of precisely cut components. 

So I was really happy to have my Cricut maker machine to do all the cutting for me. Receiving my Cricut maker machine for the first time was a real game changer for me. It gave me the freedom to dream up all kinds of DIY projects and gifts like this one, and know that I now have a machine that can help me make all of it. 

The Cricut Design Space software really makes it easy to create all the components that I needed and everything can be saved so I can easily recreate this project later if I want to. Chipboard is only one of hundreds of materials that you can cut with the Cricut maker. It can handle the most delicate of paper to fabric to even thick leather. Depending on which material you’re cutting, you just change out the tools that you need, which is really quick and easy to do. Since this was my first time using the knife blade, I had to calibrate it before starting to cut. This machine prompts you on how to do this, it’s very straightforward. Because the star wheels can mark the chipboard, I push them all to the side before starting to cut, I use a strong grip mat and put masking tape all around the edges of the material to make sure that it stays in place. It’s so much fun to watch the Cricut maker do its thing. It works by making several passes over the cut line, which takes a few minutes and then when it’s all done, all the pieces come off and you have a perfectly cut frame. 

I repeated this process for the other components of the frame structure and then I moved on to cutting the wood veneer. The idea is to use this veneer to cover all the chipboard so that this frame looks like it’s made out of solid wood.

For this material, I put back the star wheels and switch to the deep point blade. Cutting thin wood veneer like this can be tricky to do without damaging the material but the Cricut maker cut everything perfectly in just a few minutes. 

I started the assembly process by first gluing the spacer to the back with white glue. It’s important to apply even pressure so that the chipboard glues evenly everywhere and stays flat. The more clamps you have for this the better. Then I glued ¾” wood dowels around the perimeter of the front piece.

The bottom dowel is a few millimeters higher than the edge and that’s so that the digital frame can sit centered in the opening. Then I glued the back piece and finally I glued all the veneer. 

That was by far the trickiest part of this assembly because the veneer has a tendency to curl up with glue on it. Again, I had to apply a lot of pressure to make sure that it all adhered evenly everywhere.

The combination of the wood dowels and the spacer make the perfect width for the frame to slide in, without flopping around once it’s inside. Happy with how this was working out, I moved on to covering up the sides with strips of chipboard covered with veneer. masking tape here served as improvised clamps while the glue dried. The last step was sanding and then adding a few coats of matte polyurethane.

Now this digital picture frame is ready for its upgrade. This sleeve instantly makes this more elegant and substantial looking and keeping the back open allows for all the heat to dissipate and also gives access to the power cord connection.

I thought that this design would also make a great analog frame with a secret compartment. I built it essentially the same way that I built the other frame except that I added a pocket to the front to hold the picture and protective piece of glass.

When the removable top is on it looks like any normal frame.

But it’s easy to take off and then stash some money, jewelry or whatever other small items you want to keep a secret.

I’ll put a link to the details on how to make this particular version in the description below, along with all the links of the materials that I use for the digital frame and the Cricut maker machine. 

Cricut Materials, Tools and Digital Frame:

Heavy Chipboard (2mm)

Wood Veneer (Walnut)

Strong grip mat

Deep point blade

Cricut Maker Machine

Knife blade

Smart Digital Frame

I’m tempted to keep one of these frames, they look so good, but I think my mom will enjoy both versions so they’re both heading her way for Christmas. Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this video and a huge thank you again to Cricut for supporting this channel, and for giving me the tools to make my wildest DIY dreams come true. I think it would make such a wonderful Christmas gift for any DIYer or crafter out there.

 

Looking for a fun handmade Christmas present? How about creating a DIY custom slip on frame for a smart digital picture frame? It can also be easily converted into a regular DIY picture frame with a secret compartment! Check out this video to see how a Cricut Maker machine works and how easy it is to create personalized Christmas (or anytime) gifts for your loved ones.

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity) along with some images to highlight the main steps.

I’m giving my mom a smart digital picture frame for Christmas this year. I decided to personalize it with a custom frame so that it matches my mom’s style and decor. I’m going to show you how to make it and also how the same idea can be used to make a regular picture frame with a fun secret compartment. You’ll see they’re easier to make than you think. 

Before I begin, I want to say a special thank you to Cricut for sponsoring this video and giving me the tools to make my ideas come to life. 

I wasn’t sure if my concept for this slip on frame would work. So, I made a prototype first with cardboard to work out all the kinks and get all the dimensions figured out. I needed a material that was rigid yet thin to build the structure. I chose a heavy chipboard to make it. You can also cut this material with an exacto knife which is great, but this project requires a lot of precisely cut components. 

So I was really happy to have my Cricut maker machine to do all the cutting for me. Receiving my Cricut maker machine for the first time was a real game changer for me. It gave me the freedom to dream up all kinds of DIY projects and gifts like this one, and know that I now have a machine that can help me make all of it. 

The Cricut Design Space software really makes it easy to create all the components that I needed and everything can be saved so I can easily recreate this project later if I want to. Chipboard is only one of hundreds of materials that you can cut with the Cricut maker. It can handle the most delicate of paper to fabric to even thick leather. Depending on which material you’re cutting, you just change out the tools that you need, which is really quick and easy to do. Since this was my first time using the knife blade, I had to calibrate it before starting to cut. This machine prompts you on how to do this, it’s very straightforward. Because the star wheels can mark the chipboard, I push them all to the side before starting to cut, I use a strong grip mat and put masking tape all around the edges of the material to make sure that it stays in place. It’s so much fun to watch the Cricut maker do its thing. It works by making several passes over the cut line, which takes a few minutes and then when it’s all done, all the pieces come off and you have a perfectly cut frame. 

I repeated this process for the other components of the frame structure and then I moved on to cutting the wood veneer. The idea is to use this veneer to cover all the chipboard so that this frame looks like it’s made out of solid wood.

For this material, I put back the star wheels and switch to the deep point blade. Cutting thin wood veneer like this can be tricky to do without damaging the material but the Cricut maker cut everything perfectly in just a few minutes. 

I started the assembly process by first gluing the spacer to the back with white glue. It’s important to apply even pressure so that the chipboard glues evenly everywhere and stays flat. The more clamps you have for this the better. Then I glued ¾” wood dowels around the perimeter of the front piece.

The bottom dowel is a few millimeters higher than the edge and that’s so that the digital frame can sit centered in the opening. Then I glued the back piece and finally I glued all the veneer. 

That was by far the trickiest part of this assembly because the veneer has a tendency to curl up with glue on it. Again, I had to apply a lot of pressure to make sure that it all adhered evenly everywhere.

The combination of the wood dowels and the spacer make the perfect width for the frame to slide in, without flopping around once it’s inside. Happy with how this was working out, I moved on to covering up the sides with strips of chipboard covered with veneer. masking tape here served as improvised clamps while the glue dried. The last step was sanding and then adding a few coats of matte polyurethane.

Now this digital picture frame is ready for its upgrade. This sleeve instantly makes this more elegant and substantial looking and keeping the back open allows for all the heat to dissipate and also gives access to the power cord connection.

I thought that this design would also make a great analog frame with a secret compartment. I built it essentially the same way that I built the other frame except that I added a pocket to the front to hold the picture and protective piece of glass.

When the removable top is on it looks like any normal frame.

But it’s easy to take off and then stash some money, jewelry or whatever other small items you want to keep a secret.

I’ll put a link to the details on how to make this particular version in the description below, along with all the links of the materials that I use for the digital frame and the Cricut maker machine. 

Cricut Materials, Tools and Digital Frame:

Heavy Chipboard (2mm)

Wood Veneer (Walnut)

Strong grip mat

Deep point blade

Cricut Maker Machine

Knife blade

Smart Digital Frame

I’m tempted to keep one of these frames, they look so good, but I think my mom will enjoy both versions so they’re both heading her way for Christmas. Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this video and a huge thank you again to Cricut for supporting this channel, and for giving me the tools to make my wildest DIY dreams come true. I think it would make such a wonderful Christmas gift for any DIYer or crafter out there.

 

DIY handmade Gift Ideas: Plant propagation station

Looking for a great handmade Christmas or housewarming gift idea for the plant lovers in your life? Check out this video where I show how to make two DIY plant Propagation Stations that you can make without having a big workshop or fancy woodworking tools. This will also answer your question about how to propagate a pothos!

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity) along with some images to highlight the main steps.

Today I’m going to show you how to turn a test tube into two different plant propagation stations that will make the perfect Christmas gifts for plant lovers.

For both propagation stations, you’ll want to get test tubes that have a flat bottom and that are at least 25 millimeters in diameter. I started off by cutting 1”x 2” wood scraps that I had on hand. The side pieces are 3 ¼”thick and 3” long. The top and bottom pieces are 3 ¼” long and ⅜” thick. Of course, using a miter saw to cut them would have given me cleaner 90 degree cuts. However, I still find that with a little practice, a handsaw can do a pretty good job too. 

Now the first thing to do is to mark the center of the thin pieces, which will be the top and the bottom. Another thing I like to do is to mark the center where I want to drill with a nail, and I’ll show you in a little bit why that’s important. 

Next, you want to clamp one of the thin pieces to your work surface. I prefer to use C clamps for this, but you could use whatever clamps you have on hand. Next, to make our holes for the test tube, I’m using this Forstner drill bit, it has a slightly bigger diameter than the test tubes, which is what you want. Remember that divot that I did with the nail, it’s going to allow me to line up the tip of the drill exactly where I want it because now it has a little place to catch on to. Then you’re ready to drill your hole out. Before you do that, definitely want to put your safety glasses on whenever you’re drilling, especially with wood like this that can get into your eyes, you want to wear some safety glasses.

You want to make sure you go all the way through and this is why you want to protect your work surface with a scrap piece of wood. Otherwise, you’re going to be making a hole in your table.

Then the moment of truth. You have a nice circle and it’s perfect for the test tube. Love it. This is the most fun part of the project. 

Now next, we need to drill this other piece, but we’re not going to drill all the way through. It’s the same process as the other one except that this time, I’m only going to drill partway. Drill just a little bit just enough for the test tube to catch. 

For the next part, I thought it would be fun to experiment with using iron on wood edging to secure all the pieces together. I’m going to show you how I did that. I measured and cut two strips of edging to be 3 ¾” long. Because this is iron on wood edging it has glue on the backside of it. Essentially, you take the piece of wood edging that you just cut and you line it up to one edge of your thicker wood pieces. You line it up so that there’s enough room for your centerpieces on either side. So once you know that you’ve got it lined up properly, you just take your iron and you heat up the edging. I have my iron on the cotton setting, I believe. You just want to make sure it’s not too hot, because you don’t want to burn the wood. 

Typically, wood edging is ¾” wide, but this roll is actually two inches wide. What’s really nice about this material is that it’s super easy to reposition if you need to, you just need to heat up the glue again and then you can move it around. It’s a bit hot. You want to use a piece of wood to make sure that the glue adheres really well to the piece of wood. Then I can just take the iron and heat up the glue on the sides again. It’s almost as fun as watching paint dry. 

Then you take pieces and put them in place. Just like that these two are attached together, you repeat the same process with the other piece of wood.

When you don’t have woodworking tools, sometimes you have to think of a different way of doing things. So definitely not a traditional woodworkers way of building a little box like this. I think it’s kind of fun that you get to be able to do something like this, even though you’re using just basic tools like a drill and an iron. 

You want to make sure that everything is glued really well together. Obviously, when you’re building something by hand, it’s not going to be perfect, but I think that it adds character and at the end of the day, it’s all the love that goes into making it that’s important. 

So once you have all the edges cleaned off, I like to then take some sandpaper to smooth everything out. This is another tip for you that I think works really well, it’s to staple a piece of sandpaper to a piece of wood like this. That way it holds it in place and you can easily smooth everything out. Now it is essentially done and I could have stopped here but I did want to reinforce the top bit more so I thought it would be fun to use some wood dowels. Now typically, when you’re dealing with dowels, it’s much easier if you have a drill press that allows you to drill perfectly at 90 degrees. But when you’re working with a hand drill, it’s not so easy to do. So this is where this jig comes in really handy. It allows you to position your holes exactly and have your drill be angled perfectly at 90 degrees. So that’s what I’m going to use. You’ll see it’s kind of a neat trick.

You want to position it so that the center here is with the center of the board. You want to clamp this because this is going to have a tendency to want to move around. I’m using a jig for dowels that are ⅜” in diameter because that’s what I had on hand, but with a bigger hole, there’s more chances that the wood might split so I would actually recommend using ¼” dowels instead. 

Before putting in the dowels, I do like to add a little bit of glue and then spread it around to the sides with a toothpick. You don’t want to put too much glue because it’s going to spill out and make a mess. Before putting in the dowels, I did sand down one end so that they would sit flush with the top. Then  you sand the top. It’s ready for the test tube. Just like this. So cute. Now this is just for one, but I made one earlier with three, which I think is really cute as well. Now you can put a little picture frame hanger here to hang it or you can just have it sit like this on the desk. 

The next propagation station is actually pretty easy to make and doesn’t require any power tools. Plus, I scavenged all the materials to make it from things I already had. The process for making this one is fairly simple. So I’m just going to let the video speak for itself. This was really a fun craft project that I hope you also enjoy watching and hopefully making yourself.

* you can see the step by step instructions in this post.

I love how this one turned out too. It’s so cute. I think these would make great Christmas gifts for plant lovers. And I also think it’s great to be able to give something that you made yourself and put a lot of love into. 

Looking for a great handmade Christmas or housewarming gift idea for the plant lovers in your life? Check out this video where I show how to make two DIY plant Propagation Stations that you can make without having a big workshop or fancy woodworking tools. This will also answer your question about how to propagate a pothos!

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity) along with some images to highlight the main steps.

Today I’m going to show you how to turn a test tube into two different plant propagation stations that will make the perfect Christmas gifts for plant lovers.

For both propagation stations, you’ll want to get test tubes that have a flat bottom and that are at least 25 millimeters in diameter. I started off by cutting 1”x 2” wood scraps that I had on hand. The side pieces are 3 ¼”thick and 3” long. The top and bottom pieces are 3 ¼” long and ⅜” thick. Of course, using a miter saw to cut them would have given me cleaner 90 degree cuts. However, I still find that with a little practice, a handsaw can do a pretty good job too. 

Now the first thing to do is to mark the center of the thin pieces, which will be the top and the bottom. Another thing I like to do is to mark the center where I want to drill with a nail, and I’ll show you in a little bit why that’s important. 

Next, you want to clamp one of the thin pieces to your work surface. I prefer to use C clamps for this, but you could use whatever clamps you have on hand. Next, to make our holes for the test tube, I’m using this Forstner drill bit, it has a slightly bigger diameter than the test tubes, which is what you want. Remember that divot that I did with the nail, it’s going to allow me to line up the tip of the drill exactly where I want it because now it has a little place to catch on to. Then you’re ready to drill your hole out. Before you do that, definitely want to put your safety glasses on whenever you’re drilling, especially with wood like this that can get into your eyes, you want to wear some safety glasses.

You want to make sure you go all the way through and this is why you want to protect your work surface with a scrap piece of wood. Otherwise, you’re going to be making a hole in your table.

Then the moment of truth. You have a nice circle and it’s perfect for the test tube. Love it. This is the most fun part of the project. 

Now next, we need to drill this other piece, but we’re not going to drill all the way through. It’s the same process as the other one except that this time, I’m only going to drill partway. Drill just a little bit just enough for the test tube to catch. 

For the next part, I thought it would be fun to experiment with using iron on wood edging to secure all the pieces together. I’m going to show you how I did that. I measured and cut two strips of edging to be 3 ¾” long. Because this is iron on wood edging it has glue on the backside of it. Essentially, you take the piece of wood edging that you just cut and you line it up to one edge of your thicker wood pieces. You line it up so that there’s enough room for your centerpieces on either side. So once you know that you’ve got it lined up properly, you just take your iron and you heat up the edging. I have my iron on the cotton setting, I believe. You just want to make sure it’s not too hot, because you don’t want to burn the wood. 

Typically, wood edging is ¾” wide, but this roll is actually two inches wide. What’s really nice about this material is that it’s super easy to reposition if you need to, you just need to heat up the glue again and then you can move it around. It’s a bit hot. You want to use a piece of wood to make sure that the glue adheres really well to the piece of wood. Then I can just take the iron and heat up the glue on the sides again. It’s almost as fun as watching paint dry. 

Then you take pieces and put them in place. Just like that these two are attached together, you repeat the same process with the other piece of wood.

When you don’t have woodworking tools, sometimes you have to think of a different way of doing things. So definitely not a traditional woodworkers way of building a little box like this. I think it’s kind of fun that you get to be able to do something like this, even though you’re using just basic tools like a drill and an iron. 

You want to make sure that everything is glued really well together. Obviously, when you’re building something by hand, it’s not going to be perfect, but I think that it adds character and at the end of the day, it’s all the love that goes into making it that’s important. 

So once you have all the edges cleaned off, I like to then take some sandpaper to smooth everything out. This is another tip for you that I think works really well, it’s to staple a piece of sandpaper to a piece of wood like this. That way it holds it in place and you can easily smooth everything out. Now it is essentially done and I could have stopped here but I did want to reinforce the top bit more so I thought it would be fun to use some wood dowels. Now typically, when you’re dealing with dowels, it’s much easier if you have a drill press that allows you to drill perfectly at 90 degrees. But when you’re working with a hand drill, it’s not so easy to do. So this is where this jig comes in really handy. It allows you to position your holes exactly and have your drill be angled perfectly at 90 degrees. So that’s what I’m going to use. You’ll see it’s kind of a neat trick.

You want to position it so that the center here is with the center of the board. You want to clamp this because this is going to have a tendency to want to move around. I’m using a jig for dowels that are ⅜” in diameter because that’s what I had on hand, but with a bigger hole, there’s more chances that the wood might split so I would actually recommend using ¼” dowels instead. 

Before putting in the dowels, I do like to add a little bit of glue and then spread it around to the sides with a toothpick. You don’t want to put too much glue because it’s going to spill out and make a mess. Before putting in the dowels, I did sand down one end so that they would sit flush with the top. Then  you sand the top. It’s ready for the test tube. Just like this. So cute. Now this is just for one, but I made one earlier with three, which I think is really cute as well. Now you can put a little picture frame hanger here to hang it or you can just have it sit like this on the desk. 

The next propagation station is actually pretty easy to make and doesn’t require any power tools. Plus, I scavenged all the materials to make it from things I already had. The process for making this one is fairly simple. So I’m just going to let the video speak for itself. This was really a fun craft project that I hope you also enjoy watching and hopefully making yourself.

* you can see the step by step instructions in this post.

I love how this one turned out too. It’s so cute. I think these would make great Christmas gifts for plant lovers. And I also think it’s great to be able to give something that you made yourself and put a lot of love into. 

Making a tripod lamp cord disappear

I recently bought a tripod lamp to brighten up a dark corner of my apartment. I got it on Amazon and of course, everything about this lamp needed to be assembled, including the shade.

After putting everything together, I like the lamp overall, though the lamp shade had some things about it that I didn’t like: the seam is very thick, the edges were a bit uneven, plus I ended up making dents when I was handling it to build it. Despite all of that, I do like the lamp overall so I decided to keep it. However, there is one thing I definitely don’t like about these tripod style lamps: the cord hanging in the middle of the base! 

To hide it, I used this reusable removable double-sided tape called nano tape or alien tape. 

I simply put a few strips of the tape on the side of the leg and then stuck the cord to it. 

It’s a small thing but making that cord disappear is really satisfying.

I’m so happy I finally took the time to give some love to this neglected corner of my apartment. Now I get to enjoy a much nicer view from every angle. You can see the whole process of the transformation, including how I put together the lamp, in the video below.

 

I recently bought a tripod lamp to brighten up a dark corner of my apartment. I got it on Amazon and of course, everything about this lamp needed to be assembled, including the shade.

After putting everything together, I like the lamp overall, though the lamp shade had some things about it that I didn’t like: the seam is very thick, the edges were a bit uneven, plus I ended up making dents when I was handling it to build it. Despite all of that, I do like the lamp overall so I decided to keep it. However, there is one thing I definitely don’t like about these tripod style lamps: the cord hanging in the middle of the base! 

To hide it, I used this reusable removable double-sided tape called nano tape or alien tape. 

I simply put a few strips of the tape on the side of the leg and then stuck the cord to it. 

It’s a small thing but making that cord disappear is really satisfying.

I’m so happy I finally took the time to give some love to this neglected corner of my apartment. Now I get to enjoy a much nicer view from every angle. You can see the whole process of the transformation, including how I put together the lamp, in the video below.

 

Shoe storage hack for storing sandals and flip flops

As you can see, my entryway is so tiny that there’s barely enough room for the door to open. 

My apartment is a “shoes off” zone and I clearly didn’t have any space to store my shoes by the front door. To make space for that, I incorporated some shelves for shoes in the piece of furniture I designed to cover up the A/C unit  (in case you’re wondering, the cane webbing panel comes off when I need to use the A/C).

That’s been really useful, but living in LA, I’m always wearing sandals or flip flops and I just didn’t have enough room for that and my shoes. The solution came by accident during my office makeover: I had gotten magazine holders for my office, but they didn’t end up working out. I wasn’t sure what to do with them until I realized that they were the perfect width and height to fit on the side of my A/C unit cover! 

All it took were a couple of nails to secure them to the piece of furniture.

It’s not a lot of storage, but it’s enough to make a huge difference: being able to have all those sandals and flip flops stored together, and off the floor, keeps visual clutter at a minimum and everything is easily accessible, right where I need it.  

You’ll see that I also snuck some shoe storage on the right, on the bottom shelf of the side table. I like that it’s tucked away so you don’t really see it, but easily accessible right by the front door.

That was only one of many projects that I did to transform this corner of my apartment and you can see the whole process in this video:

 

 

As you can see, my entryway is so tiny that there’s barely enough room for the door to open. 

My apartment is a “shoes off” zone and I clearly didn’t have any space to store my shoes by the front door. To make space for that, I incorporated some shelves for shoes in the piece of furniture I designed to cover up the A/C unit  (in case you’re wondering, the cane webbing panel comes off when I need to use the A/C).

That’s been really useful, but living in LA, I’m always wearing sandals or flip flops and I just didn’t have enough room for that and my shoes. The solution came by accident during my office makeover: I had gotten magazine holders for my office, but they didn’t end up working out. I wasn’t sure what to do with them until I realized that they were the perfect width and height to fit on the side of my A/C unit cover! 

All it took were a couple of nails to secure them to the piece of furniture.

It’s not a lot of storage, but it’s enough to make a huge difference: being able to have all those sandals and flip flops stored together, and off the floor, keeps visual clutter at a minimum and everything is easily accessible, right where I need it.  

You’ll see that I also snuck some shoe storage on the right, on the bottom shelf of the side table. I like that it’s tucked away so you don’t really see it, but easily accessible right by the front door.

That was only one of many projects that I did to transform this corner of my apartment and you can see the whole process in this video:

 

 

Renter-friendly Curtain Rod Bracket – installed with nails!

Anyone else hate the look of vertical blinds? When I moved into my LA rental apartment, all the windows had vertical blinds so I had to come up with a way of dealing with them. 

For the window by the entryway, I removed the vertical blind slats and replaced them with inexpensive accordion paper blinds (I used $3 SCHOTIS blinds from IKEA). They’re not fancy, but they give me the privacy that I need while still letting the light in. 

The one thing missing was curtains to dress up the window. To install the curtain rod I thought about using No-No brackets that go directly on the vertical blind track. I did this in my bedroom and it’s a great option to avoid making holes in the wall. This time I wanted to hang my curtains higher up above the window, because doing that actually makes the window look a lot taller. 

Before installing the curtain rod I had to remove the vertical blind track. Luckily, it was easy to snap out of the brackets. 

I didn’t want to make big holes in the wall to hang the curtain rod. I decided to try these strange looking brackets

Their special design makes it possible to handle the weight of heavy curtains, even though they are secured to the wall with just two small nails. No need for anchors or screws. 

I placed them so that the rod would be about eight inches from the ceiling and how far apart you install the brackets really depends on your window. However, installing the brackets higher and wider will make the windows appear taller and wider, so that’s something to consider when choosing the location of the curtain rod brackets.

Regardless of where they are placed, it’s important for the brackets to be installed perfectly straight to work properly. 

The curtains I chose are a bit more see-through than I would have liked and as a result, the brackets are somewhat visible. I may end up painting the brackets wide so that you don’t see them as much or I may change the curtains for more opaque ones. 

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to finally have curtains up – hanging them higher up close to the ceiling really makes the window look a lot taller but the fabric adds some softness and warmth to that corner of the apartment. So much more cozy and inviting. This was just on of the projects for that space, and you can see the whole process of the transformation in the video below.

 

Anyone else hate the look of vertical blinds? When I moved into my LA rental apartment, all the windows had vertical blinds so I had to come up with a way of dealing with them. 

For the window by the entryway, I removed the vertical blind slats and replaced them with inexpensive accordion paper blinds (I used $3 SCHOTIS blinds from IKEA). They’re not fancy, but they give me the privacy that I need while still letting the light in. 

The one thing missing was curtains to dress up the window. To install the curtain rod I thought about using No-No brackets that go directly on the vertical blind track. I did this in my bedroom and it’s a great option to avoid making holes in the wall. This time I wanted to hang my curtains higher up above the window, because doing that actually makes the window look a lot taller. 

Before installing the curtain rod I had to remove the vertical blind track. Luckily, it was easy to snap out of the brackets. 

I didn’t want to make big holes in the wall to hang the curtain rod. I decided to try these strange looking brackets

Their special design makes it possible to handle the weight of heavy curtains, even though they are secured to the wall with just two small nails. No need for anchors or screws. 

I placed them so that the rod would be about eight inches from the ceiling and how far apart you install the brackets really depends on your window. However, installing the brackets higher and wider will make the windows appear taller and wider, so that’s something to consider when choosing the location of the curtain rod brackets.

Regardless of where they are placed, it’s important for the brackets to be installed perfectly straight to work properly. 

The curtains I chose are a bit more see-through than I would have liked and as a result, the brackets are somewhat visible. I may end up painting the brackets wide so that you don’t see them as much or I may change the curtains for more opaque ones. 

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to finally have curtains up – hanging them higher up close to the ceiling really makes the window look a lot taller but the fabric adds some softness and warmth to that corner of the apartment. So much more cozy and inviting. This was just on of the projects for that space, and you can see the whole process of the transformation in the video below.

 

How to Decorate an Entryway

Looking for inspiration on how to decorate an entryway? I decided to give my entryway a makeover, I covered up an awkwardly placed AC unit, created storage space, vamped up my old vinyl floor, replaced vertical blinds with curtains, and more! Take a look at how I did all this in the video below. 

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity and flow) along with some images to highlight the main steps.

Before I get started, I just wanted to share with you that we can now connect on Patreon. I’m really excited about this because it’s going to give us a chance to connect on a more personal level. Also, by becoming a patron of Engineer Your Space, you not only help support this channel, you will also get access to exclusive perks like detailed plans on the projects that you see, exclusive content you won’t see anywhere else, and live Q&A sessions with me. So if you’re interested in joining the EYS family, I’ll have a link in the video description below so you can find out more details. 

Alright, now back to this makeover. This is what the entrance of my apartment looked like when I first moved in. I’m not a fan of the vertical blinds and the view from this window isn’t exactly pretty either. Plus there was this awkwardly placed AC unit, it’s quite the eyesore, so I designed a custom piece of furniture to hide it when I’m not using it. 

Since I don’t have a workshop or a dedicated space to build. I had all the wood cut at the hardware store. My design was simple enough to put together with just a drill and some basic hand tools. I made a video showing all the details of this build, which I’ll link in the description below. The key feature to this entire thing is the front panel, which is simply held in place at the bottom with some brackets and some magnets at the top, so it’s really easy to take off whenever I need to use the AC unit.

I’m so glad that I also incorporated shoe storage, including this recent addition of the magazine holder flip-flop storage. Having everything off the floor just really helps keep visual clutter to a minimum. 

The old vinyl floor is another eyesore that got a renter friendly makeover recently. I covered it up with the Ram Board that I painted, Ram Board is a really thick cardboard that’s typically used to protect floors during construction. To make this renter-friendly, I used removable double-sided tape to attach the Ram Board to the vinyl floor. The compass rose design is something that I made with my Cricut machine, which is sort of like a printer, except that instead of printing, it cuts out your designs with very precise blades. You can cut in all kinds of materials and I’m really happy that I used this machine instead of painting because I’m not so sure that my design would have come out as perfect as it did.

I was concerned about the surface getting chipped and worn since this is in a very high traffic area. So I added two coats of polyurethane to protect it. After four months of having this floor it still looks great and it’s also been really easy to keep clean. You’ll find the link to the video that goes into detail about this project here.

The next project was actually inspired by the black accent in the compass rose, it gave me this crazy idea to make the inside of my front door black to add some drama and style to this space. I also wanted to add depth and architectural interest to the door. So instead of painting it, I decided to do the same wall treatment that I did in my bedroom, using contact paper and RAM board to create stripes with different textures. Since I have black matte paint leftover from the bedroom project, that’s what I use to paint the Ram Board. I also use the same removable double-sided tape to attach the cardboard to the door. Because the door has a shiny enamel finish, I thought that it would be fine to stick the tape directly onto the door, but more on that in a bit. 


The solid stripes are fairly easy to install, but the middle stripes were a bit more challenging because of the door hardware. It took me a couple of tries and some adjustments to get the measurements right, I eventually got it all to fit. One of the downsides of using paint with a matte finish is that it got a lot of scuff marks from handling it during the installation. So after touching up the paint, I thought it would be a good idea to protect the cardboard with matte polyurethane, unfortunately doing that caused the cardboard to bubble in many spots. I had to take off the stripes to smooth them out again. When I did that, big sheets of paint came right off the door. 

I’m thinking that this happened due to a combination of this door having been painted many times over without proper surface preparation. Also, because I put the double-sided tape directly onto the door. Word of caution that this can happen, especially if it’s an old door. Now even though this didn’t go as planned and I’m going to have to repaint the door when I move out, I absolutely love the way the black door looks. I’m really curious to know which door you prefer. So let me know in the comments which version of the door you prefer.

With the door finished, I turned my attention to the window. I had already replaced the vertical blinds with inexpensive accordion paper blinds. They’re not fancy, but they give me the privacy that I need while still letting the light in. The one thing missing was curtains to dress up the window. To install the curtain rod I thought about using No-No brackets that go directly on the vertical blind track. I did this in my bedroom and it’s a great option to avoid making holes in the wall. This time I wanted to hang my curtains higher up above the window, because doing that actually makes the window look a lot taller. 

Another trick is to extend the curtain rod on either side of the window and that will make it look wider.

Before installing the curtain rod I had to remove the vertical blind track. Luckily, it was easy to snap out of the brackets. I didn’t want to make big holes in the wall to hang the curtain rod. I decided to try these strange looking brackets

Their special design makes it possible to handle the weight of heavy curtains, even though they are secured to the wall with just two small nails. No need for anchors or screws. I placed them so that the rod would be about eight inches from the ceiling. How far apart you install the brackets really depends on your window. It is important for the brackets to be installed perfectly straight to work properly. The curtains I chose are a bit more see through than I would have liked and the brackets are somewhat visible. I may end up painting the brackets wide so that you don’t see them as much. 

The last thing I did to this space was add a tripod lamp that I got from Amazon. Everything about this lamp needed to be assembled, including the shade. Putting it together isn’t difficult, but I find that shades that require assembly don’t look as nice as readymade ones. This particular shade had a really noticeable seam, the edges weren’t so great, plus I ended up making dents when I was handling it to build it. I do like the lamp overall. I’m going to keep it, but the one thing I don’t like is the cord hanging in the middle of the base. To hide it, I used this reusable removable double-sided tape called nano tape or alien tape. I simply put a few strips of the tape on the side of the leg and then stuck the cord to it. It’s a small thing but making that cord disappear is really satisfying. 

I’m so happy I finally took the time to give some love to this neglected corner of my apartment. Now I get to enjoy a much nicer view from every angle. I especially love the black door, It’s the perfect complement to the floor and my DIY coat rack

That was another fun project that I did recently where I incorporated lighting to brighten up the entryway. You’ll find the link to this and all the other projects I mentioned plus info on all the products that I use in the video description below. 

Would love to connect on Instagram with you. It’s where I share what I’m up to day to day. So hopefully we’ll connect there. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

 

Looking for inspiration on how to decorate an entryway? I decided to give my entryway a makeover, I covered up an awkwardly placed AC unit, created storage space, vamped up my old vinyl floor, replaced vertical blinds with curtains, and more! Take a look at how I did all this in the video below. 

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity and flow) along with some images to highlight the main steps.

Before I get started, I just wanted to share with you that we can now connect on Patreon. I’m really excited about this because it’s going to give us a chance to connect on a more personal level. Also, by becoming a patron of Engineer Your Space, you not only help support this channel, you will also get access to exclusive perks like detailed plans on the projects that you see, exclusive content you won’t see anywhere else, and live Q&A sessions with me. So if you’re interested in joining the EYS family, I’ll have a link in the video description below so you can find out more details. 

Alright, now back to this makeover. This is what the entrance of my apartment looked like when I first moved in. I’m not a fan of the vertical blinds and the view from this window isn’t exactly pretty either. Plus there was this awkwardly placed AC unit, it’s quite the eyesore, so I designed a custom piece of furniture to hide it when I’m not using it. 

Since I don’t have a workshop or a dedicated space to build. I had all the wood cut at the hardware store. My design was simple enough to put together with just a drill and some basic hand tools. I made a video showing all the details of this build, which I’ll link in the description below. The key feature to this entire thing is the front panel, which is simply held in place at the bottom with some brackets and some magnets at the top, so it’s really easy to take off whenever I need to use the AC unit.

I’m so glad that I also incorporated shoe storage, including this recent addition of the magazine holder flip-flop storage. Having everything off the floor just really helps keep visual clutter to a minimum. 

The old vinyl floor is another eyesore that got a renter friendly makeover recently. I covered it up with the Ram Board that I painted, Ram Board is a really thick cardboard that’s typically used to protect floors during construction. To make this renter-friendly, I used removable double-sided tape to attach the Ram Board to the vinyl floor. The compass rose design is something that I made with my Cricut machine, which is sort of like a printer, except that instead of printing, it cuts out your designs with very precise blades. You can cut in all kinds of materials and I’m really happy that I used this machine instead of painting because I’m not so sure that my design would have come out as perfect as it did.

I was concerned about the surface getting chipped and worn since this is in a very high traffic area. So I added two coats of polyurethane to protect it. After four months of having this floor it still looks great and it’s also been really easy to keep clean. You’ll find the link to the video that goes into detail about this project here.

The next project was actually inspired by the black accent in the compass rose, it gave me this crazy idea to make the inside of my front door black to add some drama and style to this space. I also wanted to add depth and architectural interest to the door. So instead of painting it, I decided to do the same wall treatment that I did in my bedroom, using contact paper and RAM board to create stripes with different textures. Since I have black matte paint leftover from the bedroom project, that’s what I use to paint the Ram Board. I also use the same removable double-sided tape to attach the cardboard to the door. Because the door has a shiny enamel finish, I thought that it would be fine to stick the tape directly onto the door, but more on that in a bit. 


The solid stripes are fairly easy to install, but the middle stripes were a bit more challenging because of the door hardware. It took me a couple of tries and some adjustments to get the measurements right, I eventually got it all to fit. One of the downsides of using paint with a matte finish is that it got a lot of scuff marks from handling it during the installation. So after touching up the paint, I thought it would be a good idea to protect the cardboard with matte polyurethane, unfortunately doing that caused the cardboard to bubble in many spots. I had to take off the stripes to smooth them out again. When I did that, big sheets of paint came right off the door. 

I’m thinking that this happened due to a combination of this door having been painted many times over without proper surface preparation. Also, because I put the double-sided tape directly onto the door. Word of caution that this can happen, especially if it’s an old door. Now even though this didn’t go as planned and I’m going to have to repaint the door when I move out, I absolutely love the way the black door looks. I’m really curious to know which door you prefer. So let me know in the comments which version of the door you prefer.

With the door finished, I turned my attention to the window. I had already replaced the vertical blinds with inexpensive accordion paper blinds. They’re not fancy, but they give me the privacy that I need while still letting the light in. The one thing missing was curtains to dress up the window. To install the curtain rod I thought about using No-No brackets that go directly on the vertical blind track. I did this in my bedroom and it’s a great option to avoid making holes in the wall. This time I wanted to hang my curtains higher up above the window, because doing that actually makes the window look a lot taller. 

Another trick is to extend the curtain rod on either side of the window and that will make it look wider.

Before installing the curtain rod I had to remove the vertical blind track. Luckily, it was easy to snap out of the brackets. I didn’t want to make big holes in the wall to hang the curtain rod. I decided to try these strange looking brackets

Their special design makes it possible to handle the weight of heavy curtains, even though they are secured to the wall with just two small nails. No need for anchors or screws. I placed them so that the rod would be about eight inches from the ceiling. How far apart you install the brackets really depends on your window. It is important for the brackets to be installed perfectly straight to work properly. The curtains I chose are a bit more see through than I would have liked and the brackets are somewhat visible. I may end up painting the brackets wide so that you don’t see them as much. 

The last thing I did to this space was add a tripod lamp that I got from Amazon. Everything about this lamp needed to be assembled, including the shade. Putting it together isn’t difficult, but I find that shades that require assembly don’t look as nice as readymade ones. This particular shade had a really noticeable seam, the edges weren’t so great, plus I ended up making dents when I was handling it to build it. I do like the lamp overall. I’m going to keep it, but the one thing I don’t like is the cord hanging in the middle of the base. To hide it, I used this reusable removable double-sided tape called nano tape or alien tape. I simply put a few strips of the tape on the side of the leg and then stuck the cord to it. It’s a small thing but making that cord disappear is really satisfying. 

I’m so happy I finally took the time to give some love to this neglected corner of my apartment. Now I get to enjoy a much nicer view from every angle. I especially love the black door, It’s the perfect complement to the floor and my DIY coat rack

That was another fun project that I did recently where I incorporated lighting to brighten up the entryway. You’ll find the link to this and all the other projects I mentioned plus info on all the products that I use in the video description below. 

Would love to connect on Instagram with you. It’s where I share what I’m up to day to day. So hopefully we’ll connect there. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

 

DIY Faux Fireplace with mantel

You might have asked yourself, how do you make a fake fireplace? Is it hard to do? Well, this modern DIY faux fireplace that I designed is easy to build and something you can customize to your taste with any electric fireplace insert and with any type of tile surround. And since you build it like a piece of furniture, this DIY faux fireplace is perfect for homeowners and renters alike!

***Do keep in mind that this project is for decorative purposes only and is not to be used as a heater***

You can watch the entire project in this video. 

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity) along with some images to highlight the main steps.

I love fireplaces, but unfortunately my current rental apartment doesn’t have one. So I wanted to figure out a way of making one that could be removable but also easy to take with me when I move out. So I did a bit of research online and it turns out that there’s a lot of options out there for fireplaces that don’t require a chimney or even venting. After looking at all the options, I decided to go with this electrical log insert. Now even though it has a heater feature I’m not planning on using that at all, this project is only going to be purely a decorative element. I chose it so I could design and build my own fireplace around. 

To build this structure. I use 2″x3″, but you could also use 2″x4″ because this is inexpensive lumber, it takes a while to find pieces that are straight. I usually have everything cut at the hardware store. But this time I was able to borrow some tools to do it myself, which was a lot of fun. Here I’m cutting the one by twelve pine boards that will be used to create the firebox and serve as the base and the top of the structure. I chose these because the width is perfect for the depth of the firebox that I want, but of course, I could have also used plywood, I started putting together the structure by first making four of these supports using a speed square to make sure that every corner is at 90 degrees.

Next, I attach the sides of the firebox to two of the supports and then attach the top and bottom. Again making sure here with my speed square that every corner is at 90 degrees. You might have noticed that I’m not drilling any pilot holes, and that’s because I’m using a type of screw that doesn’t require any pre-drilling which really speeds up the process. 

Then I attach the bottom of the structure making sure it’s centered, and then secure the last two supports on either end of it. The last piece to go on is the top which I started by securing at one end, and then securing the other support making sure they’re nice and flush with the edge. 

With this design you could easily change the proportions of everything. Make it narrower, taller or have the firebox be higher or lower. 

To cover it I used one sheet of quarter inch thick plywood cut into smaller pieces just to make it easier to transport. I’m using screws to attach the plywood, making sure that all the screw heads are sunk below the surface. You could of course also use nails to attach the plywood. I did add blocking around the firebox to have a place to screw in plywood and before installing the plywood that covers the back of the firebox. I used the hole saw to make a hole to accommodate the electrical cord of the fireplace insert. And then I painted the inside of the firebox with black chalk paint. 

I wanted my fireplace to have a modern yet beachy and casual look. So to cover the fireplace I chose these smart tiles that have a beautiful stone finish that will blend in nicely with the rest of the apartment. Because it’s not recommended to install smart tiles on unfinished wood, I painted the plywood and let the paint dry for 48 hours. 

I started by removing the ends of the first tile using a utility knife and ruler, I used the tile to mark the bottom of the first row. And that space at the top here is going to be covered up by the mantle. I use the level to draw a line as a guide to line up the tiles. It’s really important to get the first row of tiles lined up perfectly. And I did have to readjust a few times to get it just right. Once it was lined up perfectly, I peeled off all the backing and pressed down on the rest of the tile. Since the next tile is going around an outside corner, I marked the location of the bend and lightly scored the tile at that spot and then I bent the tile along the line and this makes it easier for the tile then when you’re installing it, and it makes for a really nice sharp corner. It’s so great to not have to deal with messy grout when doing this. And the way the tiles are designed makes the seams disappear so that you really can’t tell where one tile ends and the other one begins. 

For the mantle, I used 1″x4″ and 1″x2″ to make size, which I then attached to a piece of plywood. This is a bit of a Frankenstein, but one screw to the fireplace and painted, it does the job of giving the look of a thicker, more substantial mantle. Because this fireplace is tall and narrow, it should be secured to the wall with an anchor like this, which you can get at IKEA for free. 

The last thing to do, of course, is put in the fireplace insert. And I have to say I was really surprised at how real it looks for a fake fire. It looks so real that I decided to complete the look of the fireplace with a hearth that I made with wood covered with some more smart tiles in a black subway pattern. 

Now please keep in mind that this entire project is for decorative purposes only. I never used the heater from the log insert. And it’s also not recommended to use smart tiles for floors and especially not in front of a real fireplace. 

I’m absolutely in love with this fireplace. It adds so much character to the boring white walls and it truly makes the room feel cozy and inviting. And since it’s basically just like a piece of furniture, I’ll be able to take it with me when I move out. 

To complement the fireplace, I also made a few other DIY projects like the furry Ottoman, and you can see how I made that in this video:

 

You might have asked yourself, how do you make a fake fireplace? Is it hard to do? Well, this modern DIY faux fireplace that I designed is easy to build and something you can customize to your taste with any electric fireplace insert and with any type of tile surround. And since you build it like a piece of furniture, this DIY faux fireplace is perfect for homeowners and renters alike!

***Do keep in mind that this project is for decorative purposes only and is not to be used as a heater***

You can watch the entire project in this video. 

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity) along with some images to highlight the main steps.

I love fireplaces, but unfortunately my current rental apartment doesn’t have one. So I wanted to figure out a way of making one that could be removable but also easy to take with me when I move out. So I did a bit of research online and it turns out that there’s a lot of options out there for fireplaces that don’t require a chimney or even venting. After looking at all the options, I decided to go with this electrical log insert. Now even though it has a heater feature I’m not planning on using that at all, this project is only going to be purely a decorative element. I chose it so I could design and build my own fireplace around. 

To build this structure. I use 2″x3″, but you could also use 2″x4″ because this is inexpensive lumber, it takes a while to find pieces that are straight. I usually have everything cut at the hardware store. But this time I was able to borrow some tools to do it myself, which was a lot of fun. Here I’m cutting the one by twelve pine boards that will be used to create the firebox and serve as the base and the top of the structure. I chose these because the width is perfect for the depth of the firebox that I want, but of course, I could have also used plywood, I started putting together the structure by first making four of these supports using a speed square to make sure that every corner is at 90 degrees.

Next, I attach the sides of the firebox to two of the supports and then attach the top and bottom. Again making sure here with my speed square that every corner is at 90 degrees. You might have noticed that I’m not drilling any pilot holes, and that’s because I’m using a type of screw that doesn’t require any pre-drilling which really speeds up the process. 

Then I attach the bottom of the structure making sure it’s centered, and then secure the last two supports on either end of it. The last piece to go on is the top which I started by securing at one end, and then securing the other support making sure they’re nice and flush with the edge. 

With this design you could easily change the proportions of everything. Make it narrower, taller or have the firebox be higher or lower. 

To cover it I used one sheet of quarter inch thick plywood cut into smaller pieces just to make it easier to transport. I’m using screws to attach the plywood, making sure that all the screw heads are sunk below the surface. You could of course also use nails to attach the plywood. I did add blocking around the firebox to have a place to screw in plywood and before installing the plywood that covers the back of the firebox. I used the hole saw to make a hole to accommodate the electrical cord of the fireplace insert. And then I painted the inside of the firebox with black chalk paint. 

I wanted my fireplace to have a modern yet beachy and casual look. So to cover the fireplace I chose these smart tiles that have a beautiful stone finish that will blend in nicely with the rest of the apartment. Because it’s not recommended to install smart tiles on unfinished wood, I painted the plywood and let the paint dry for 48 hours. 

I started by removing the ends of the first tile using a utility knife and ruler, I used the tile to mark the bottom of the first row. And that space at the top here is going to be covered up by the mantle. I use the level to draw a line as a guide to line up the tiles. It’s really important to get the first row of tiles lined up perfectly. And I did have to readjust a few times to get it just right. Once it was lined up perfectly, I peeled off all the backing and pressed down on the rest of the tile. Since the next tile is going around an outside corner, I marked the location of the bend and lightly scored the tile at that spot and then I bent the tile along the line and this makes it easier for the tile then when you’re installing it, and it makes for a really nice sharp corner. It’s so great to not have to deal with messy grout when doing this. And the way the tiles are designed makes the seams disappear so that you really can’t tell where one tile ends and the other one begins. 

For the mantle, I used 1″x4″ and 1″x2″ to make size, which I then attached to a piece of plywood. This is a bit of a Frankenstein, but one screw to the fireplace and painted, it does the job of giving the look of a thicker, more substantial mantle. Because this fireplace is tall and narrow, it should be secured to the wall with an anchor like this, which you can get at IKEA for free. 

The last thing to do, of course, is put in the fireplace insert. And I have to say I was really surprised at how real it looks for a fake fire. It looks so real that I decided to complete the look of the fireplace with a hearth that I made with wood covered with some more smart tiles in a black subway pattern. 

Now please keep in mind that this entire project is for decorative purposes only. I never used the heater from the log insert. And it’s also not recommended to use smart tiles for floors and especially not in front of a real fireplace. 

I’m absolutely in love with this fireplace. It adds so much character to the boring white walls and it truly makes the room feel cozy and inviting. And since it’s basically just like a piece of furniture, I’ll be able to take it with me when I move out. 

To complement the fireplace, I also made a few other DIY projects like the furry Ottoman, and you can see how I made that in this video:

 

DIY Renter-Friendly Old Vinyl Floor Makeover

Looking for a renter-friendly way to give your entryway a makeover? Watch how I changed my entryway floor to give it a fresh new look without taking the original old vinyl floor off and without making any permanent changes! The new floor are made with ram board and include a beautiful compass rose design which I made using a Cricut Maker Machine, it was my first project using this machine and it was a lot of fun. You can watch the entire project in this video.

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity)  along with some images to highlight the main steps. 

Episode Transcripts and Highlights

I recently gave my tiny entryway (it’s only 3ft x 3ft) a makeover to brighten it up and I was liking the changes I had done except that now the old vinyl flooring was standing out like a sore thumb. It was just begging for a new look! 

Brainstorming ideas on how I could do this in a renter friendly way, I thought about the ram board that I used to create a dramatic textured black wall in my bedroom. It’s meant to be used to protect floors during construction so it’s very sturdy. Since the rolls are three feet wide, I would be able to cover the entire entryway floor with one piece. 

Then I could paint it a light color and also incorporate a classic Compass Rose design like this one.

I started by painting the ram board. I did the first coat with paint that I had leftover from my office makeover (it was the type of paint that has primer combined). And because this will be on the floor in a high traffic area. I added two coats of floor paint in a light Arctic gray color. I found out the hard way that it’s very important for that first coat of paint to have some primer in it. Otherwise, putting the floor paint directly on the rim board may cause it to dent or warp in some areas. 

After letting the paint dry overnight, it was time to tackle the compass rose design. I considered painting it but it would have taken me hours to get it just right, so I was happy to try out the Cricut Maker Machine to make this part of the project go a lot quicker and easier. 

Once the machine was powered and connected to my computer,  it just took a few minutes to download the Cricut Design Space software and get started. I arranged all the triangles in a way that would maximize the use of the material being cut. 

It’s so much fun to watch the machine cut everything so precisely and quickly. It only took minutes to cut both the dark and light pieces for my compass rose.

With the compass rose triangles cut, I drew the middle lines so I could line up all the triangles with the center of the floor.

Then I painted the border. This took me way longer to do because of having to tape and do several coats of the paint. Plus you can see that the edges were far from perfect and needed lots of touching up.

To secure the cardboard to the vinyl flooring, I use the same removable double sided tape that I  used for my bedroom project

I also placed strips of removable double sided carpet tape in the middle of the floor, and that was to make sure that the cardboard didn’t lift off the floor. I chose this tape because it’s very thin and won’t make any indentation in the cardboard. 

I removed the tape backing only at the front edge initially to make it easier to line up.

Once I had that front section secured. I moved gradually towards the back of the entryway removing the tape backing section by section, until it was all secured in place. Getting a perfect fit around the edges can be tricky but if you have gaps, molding can hide any imperfections. As I was admiring this new floor, I started thinking that having some black to the compass rose design would make it stand out a lot more. It only took minutes to reload the cricut maker machine and cut the new triangles in black.

After doing just the large triangles I felt like that was enough black so I decided to go with this version.

I also made the thin line of my border black but instead of painting it, I used vinyl tape to make this part go quicker.

The last step to protect the floor was to add two coats of glossy polyurethane. It gives such a nice sheen to the floor, and it also sealed around all of the edges of the vinyl pieces, so I can Swiffer the floor without having to worry about any of the pieces coming off.

What a difference from the original floor, and while I did like the two color Compass Rose, I much prefer the one with the black. I find it adds a lot more life and dimension to the design. 

*This project was sponsored by Cricut all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Looking for a renter-friendly way to give your entryway a makeover? Watch how I changed my entryway floor to give it a fresh new look without taking the original old vinyl floor off and without making any permanent changes! The new floor are made with ram board and include a beautiful compass rose design which I made using a Cricut Maker Machine, it was my first project using this machine and it was a lot of fun. You can watch the entire project in this video.

Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity)  along with some images to highlight the main steps. 

Episode Transcripts and Highlights

I recently gave my tiny entryway (it’s only 3ft x 3ft) a makeover to brighten it up and I was liking the changes I had done except that now the old vinyl flooring was standing out like a sore thumb. It was just begging for a new look! 

Brainstorming ideas on how I could do this in a renter friendly way, I thought about the ram board that I used to create a dramatic textured black wall in my bedroom. It’s meant to be used to protect floors during construction so it’s very sturdy. Since the rolls are three feet wide, I would be able to cover the entire entryway floor with one piece. 

Then I could paint it a light color and also incorporate a classic Compass Rose design like this one.

I started by painting the ram board. I did the first coat with paint that I had leftover from my office makeover (it was the type of paint that has primer combined). And because this will be on the floor in a high traffic area. I added two coats of floor paint in a light Arctic gray color. I found out the hard way that it’s very important for that first coat of paint to have some primer in it. Otherwise, putting the floor paint directly on the rim board may cause it to dent or warp in some areas. 

After letting the paint dry overnight, it was time to tackle the compass rose design. I considered painting it but it would have taken me hours to get it just right, so I was happy to try out the Cricut Maker Machine to make this part of the project go a lot quicker and easier. 

Once the machine was powered and connected to my computer,  it just took a few minutes to download the Cricut Design Space software and get started. I arranged all the triangles in a way that would maximize the use of the material being cut. 

It’s so much fun to watch the machine cut everything so precisely and quickly. It only took minutes to cut both the dark and light pieces for my compass rose.

With the compass rose triangles cut, I drew the middle lines so I could line up all the triangles with the center of the floor.

Then I painted the border. This took me way longer to do because of having to tape and do several coats of the paint. Plus you can see that the edges were far from perfect and needed lots of touching up.

To secure the cardboard to the vinyl flooring, I use the same removable double sided tape that I  used for my bedroom project

I also placed strips of removable double sided carpet tape in the middle of the floor, and that was to make sure that the cardboard didn’t lift off the floor. I chose this tape because it’s very thin and won’t make any indentation in the cardboard. 

I removed the tape backing only at the front edge initially to make it easier to line up.

Once I had that front section secured. I moved gradually towards the back of the entryway removing the tape backing section by section, until it was all secured in place. Getting a perfect fit around the edges can be tricky but if you have gaps, molding can hide any imperfections. As I was admiring this new floor, I started thinking that having some black to the compass rose design would make it stand out a lot more. It only took minutes to reload the cricut maker machine and cut the new triangles in black.

After doing just the large triangles I felt like that was enough black so I decided to go with this version.

I also made the thin line of my border black but instead of painting it, I used vinyl tape to make this part go quicker.

The last step to protect the floor was to add two coats of glossy polyurethane. It gives such a nice sheen to the floor, and it also sealed around all of the edges of the vinyl pieces, so I can Swiffer the floor without having to worry about any of the pieces coming off.

What a difference from the original floor, and while I did like the two color Compass Rose, I much prefer the one with the black. I find it adds a lot more life and dimension to the design. 

*This project was sponsored by Cricut all thoughts and opinions are my own.

DIY renter-friendly old vinyl floor makeover

Products I used in this project:

Ram Board

Cricut Maker Machine

Products I used in this project:

Ram Board

Cricut Maker Machine

Home Office Lighting upgrade

I recently gave my home office a pretty big makeover, which included changing the layout so that my desk would face the window. By attaching a two legged desk to the bookcases, it gave me a decent amount of desk space while at the same time leaving enough room to walk around the desk. I’m loving this new desk setup but the one downside is that the desk area inside the bookcase doesn’t get as much light as the rest of the desk. Then it dawned on me that under cabinet lights would be the perfect solution.

Step 1: Configure wires

The first thing I did was to see what configuration of wires I would need to be able to have the lights in both bookcases and have the switches and power supply by the outlet. The under cabinet light kit that I chose comes with many cable extenders that made this customization really easy. 

Step 2: Attach double sided tape

After I was sure that the wire situation was going to work, I put on the double sided tape to install the lights. The hardest part of this entire process is removing the backing. Even when you have nails that can be a bit tricky. 

Step 3: Drill holes

I obviously didn’t want the cords between the bookcases to show at the front, so I needed to make a hole through both sides of the bookcases. The finish on these bookcases tends to fray when you drill into it,  so putting some tape helps keep that to a minimum. The thickest part of the wire is just over a quarter of an inch thick so I chose a half inch drill bit to make the hole. I like to start off by making a smaller hole first and then working my way up to the bigger size. I find it’s easier and more precise to do it this way. Adding a folded post-it note to catch the dust is one of my favorite tips to help keep cleanup to a minimum, plus, it’s really satisfying to see all that dust on the post-it!  

Step 4: Pulling and securing the wires

I love that these under-cabinet lights come with all the hardware you need to install them and to secure the wires. With all the wires neatly secured, they blend in nicely with the bookcase and they’re hardly noticeable. 

Step 5: Controlling the lights

I set up the wires so that they could run under the desk all the way to the power strip and so I could have both the dimmer switch and the on/off switch easily accessible. That way I can easily control the lights when I’m sitting at my desk. 

Let there be light!

Adding the under cabinet lights to the bookcases is a small detail, but it does go a long way to making this tiny office a bit more luxurious.

It’s also a very cozy space to work late into the evening editing videos. 

You can see the entire project and more details on my blog and in this video:

I recently gave my home office a pretty big makeover, which included changing the layout so that my desk would face the window. By attaching a two legged desk to the bookcases, it gave me a decent amount of desk space while at the same time leaving enough room to walk around the desk. I’m loving this new desk setup but the one downside is that the desk area inside the bookcase doesn’t get as much light as the rest of the desk. Then it dawned on me that under cabinet lights would be the perfect solution.

Step 1: Configure wires

The first thing I did was to see what configuration of wires I would need to be able to have the lights in both bookcases and have the switches and power supply by the outlet. The under cabinet light kit that I chose comes with many cable extenders that made this customization really easy. 

Step 2: Attach double sided tape

After I was sure that the wire situation was going to work, I put on the double sided tape to install the lights. The hardest part of this entire process is removing the backing. Even when you have nails that can be a bit tricky. 

Step 3: Drill holes

I obviously didn’t want the cords between the bookcases to show at the front, so I needed to make a hole through both sides of the bookcases. The finish on these bookcases tends to fray when you drill into it,  so putting some tape helps keep that to a minimum. The thickest part of the wire is just over a quarter of an inch thick so I chose a half inch drill bit to make the hole. I like to start off by making a smaller hole first and then working my way up to the bigger size. I find it’s easier and more precise to do it this way. Adding a folded post-it note to catch the dust is one of my favorite tips to help keep cleanup to a minimum, plus, it’s really satisfying to see all that dust on the post-it!  

Step 4: Pulling and securing the wires

I love that these under-cabinet lights come with all the hardware you need to install them and to secure the wires. With all the wires neatly secured, they blend in nicely with the bookcase and they’re hardly noticeable. 

Step 5: Controlling the lights

I set up the wires so that they could run under the desk all the way to the power strip and so I could have both the dimmer switch and the on/off switch easily accessible. That way I can easily control the lights when I’m sitting at my desk. 

Let there be light!

Adding the under cabinet lights to the bookcases is a small detail, but it does go a long way to making this tiny office a bit more luxurious.

It’s also a very cozy space to work late into the evening editing videos. 

You can see the entire project and more details on my blog and in this video:

DIY Coat Rack Light Fixture combo

My apartment has a tiny entryway – it’s only 3ft x 3ft and there’s barely enough room for the door to open! Even though I installed a mirror to make the space look and feel bigger and bring in some light, the space still felt pretty dark, especially in the evening since there’s no light fixture. The dark color scheme also didn’t help.

So I came up with the idea to give the coat rack a new look and turn it into a light fixture with under cabinet lighting! 

Step 1 Taking apart the coat rack

I wanted to give the coat rack a whitewashed worn look so the first thing I had to do was to take it apart so I could sand off that dark brown color.

Step 2 Sanding off the brown stain 

I set up outside to do all this sanding because it’s certainly not something that I would want to do inside my apartment. I went very heavy on the sanding around the edges to give the wood boards an uneven worn down effect. 

And then I distressed the wood even more with this contraption I made with screws. I also used pliers, a hammer and other tools to make gouges. The idea is to make different types of marks in a random pattern to give that over time worn out look. 

I think I went a bit too heavy on the gouges but it definitely does look beat up and old. 

Step 3: Whitewash treatment

I used some inexpensive white latex paint that I thinned out with a bit of water. The key here is to work really quickly to be able to wipe off the coat of paint with a rag before it dries so you can still see the wood grain come through. 

Step 4: The under cabinet lights

I needed to find some sort of light source that would easily fit along the back and the edges of the top board of the coat rack and these lights that I used in the open shelving in my kitchen were a perfect fit. 

Step 5: Making room for the cable

The only thing that I did have to do to make this work was to carve out the wood to make room for the wires so that everything could sit flush with the back of the board. To do this, I used a handsaw to make some grooves and then using a chisel and a hammer, I removed all the wood. It doesn’t look pretty but luckily this won’t be seen once the coat rack is installed. 

Step 6: Installing the lights 

The light kit comes with all the hardware you need to install the lights and the cables which is great. I used the clips to attach the lights to the sides (I could have also used the double sided tape) and the clips to secure all the wires in place so that everything is nice and neat. 

Step 7: Light diffusers

While the lights have an attractive profile, I did want to hide the wires from the side, so I installed light diffusers. I actually had to MacGyver those using plastic corner guards that I covered with parchment paper. They did a nice job of hiding the wires while at the same time leaving enough space on the sides for air to circulate. Which is important since these lights are not meant to be totally enclosed. 

Step 8: Let there be light

I’m so happy with the change to the coat rack and I absolutely love having lights there now. I can control them with the wall switch or using the on off switch or the dimmer, which makes it easy to get the lighting just right, especially in the evening. You can see the entire project and more details on my blog and in this video:

My apartment has a tiny entryway – it’s only 3ft x 3ft and there’s barely enough room for the door to open! Even though I installed a mirror to make the space look and feel bigger and bring in some light, the space still felt pretty dark, especially in the evening since there’s no light fixture. The dark color scheme also didn’t help.

So I came up with the idea to give the coat rack a new look and turn it into a light fixture with under cabinet lighting! 

Step 1 Taking apart the coat rack

I wanted to give the coat rack a whitewashed worn look so the first thing I had to do was to take it apart so I could sand off that dark brown color.

Step 2 Sanding off the brown stain 

I set up outside to do all this sanding because it’s certainly not something that I would want to do inside my apartment. I went very heavy on the sanding around the edges to give the wood boards an uneven worn down effect. 

And then I distressed the wood even more with this contraption I made with screws. I also used pliers, a hammer and other tools to make gouges. The idea is to make different types of marks in a random pattern to give that over time worn out look. 

I think I went a bit too heavy on the gouges but it definitely does look beat up and old. 

Step 3: Whitewash treatment

I used some inexpensive white latex paint that I thinned out with a bit of water. The key here is to work really quickly to be able to wipe off the coat of paint with a rag before it dries so you can still see the wood grain come through. 

Step 4: The under cabinet lights

I needed to find some sort of light source that would easily fit along the back and the edges of the top board of the coat rack and these lights that I used in the open shelving in my kitchen were a perfect fit. 

Step 5: Making room for the cable

The only thing that I did have to do to make this work was to carve out the wood to make room for the wires so that everything could sit flush with the back of the board. To do this, I used a handsaw to make some grooves and then using a chisel and a hammer, I removed all the wood. It doesn’t look pretty but luckily this won’t be seen once the coat rack is installed. 

Step 6: Installing the lights 

The light kit comes with all the hardware you need to install the lights and the cables which is great. I used the clips to attach the lights to the sides (I could have also used the double sided tape) and the clips to secure all the wires in place so that everything is nice and neat. 

Step 7: Light diffusers

While the lights have an attractive profile, I did want to hide the wires from the side, so I installed light diffusers. I actually had to MacGyver those using plastic corner guards that I covered with parchment paper. They did a nice job of hiding the wires while at the same time leaving enough space on the sides for air to circulate. Which is important since these lights are not meant to be totally enclosed. 

Step 8: Let there be light

I’m so happy with the change to the coat rack and I absolutely love having lights there now. I can control them with the wall switch or using the on off switch or the dimmer, which makes it easy to get the lighting just right, especially in the evening. You can see the entire project and more details on my blog and in this video:

Home Office Ideas: Hidden Whiteboard with Barn Door

While I was redoing my tiny 5’x6’ home office set up, I wanted to incorporate a white board, but do it in a way that it could be hidden when I wasn’t working with it.  So I came up with this idea to build a multipurpose wall panel that would allow me to incorporate a track for a barn door that could easily slide back and forth to cover up the whiteboard. This meant I had to do a bit of MacGyvering to come up with a way to make my own DIY barn door hardware!

I built the wall panel out of a 1”x2” furring strips and ¼” thick plywood. 

The legs rest on the floor to hold the weight of the panel and I curved out the back of the legs so that they can sit flush with the wall. To do this, I used a hand saw to make shallow cuts across the back of the 1”x2” and used a chisel to remove them. Not a very refined technique but since you don’t see it, it worked out OK. 

I incorporated some blocking on the backside of the panel (my supervisor likes to do impromptu inspections!) so I could have something to screw into to attach the white board and other things.

I attached a 2”x2” at the top of the panel to give me something to attach the header piece that will have the barn door track.

Making the Header piece and barn door track: 

I built the header with 1”x3” boards joined at 90 degrees. To install the track (a 1” wide aluminum bar), I drilled holes into the bar and then clamped it to the front of the header to drill pilot holes.  

Because the track needs to be installed away from the surface of the shelving unit to leave enough space for the doors, I also needed to make spacers. After looking for something that would work, I discovered these stainless steel straws have the perfect inside diameter for number 10 screws. I marked the length that I needed (¾”) with tape  and used a mini pipe cutter to cut the straw. 

The process was fairly easy but it did take a bit of time and patience to do all the pieces. The most important thing is to make sure that all the spacers are the same way to ensure that the track is straight. 

Once the header was built, I attached it to the 2”x2” with screws.

Hangers:

I wasn’t sure what to use for the wheels initially but after wandering the aisles of the hardware store, I was lucky to find patio door roller kits that have two metal wheels that are the perfect size for my project. 

But first I had to make the hangers out of the same 1” wide aluminum bar I used to make the track. I cut the bar into four 8” long pieces with a hacksaw

It’s not ideal but it does the job. Next I drilled three holes into each of the four hangers. I started by making a divot with a nail and this helps prevent the drill bit from slipping. I used a smaller drill bit to make the first hole to be more precise and then I made the hole bigger with a quarter inch drill bit. The first hanger served as the template for drilling holes in the other hangers to make sure that they’re all identical.

Putting on the wheels

The patio door roller kit comes with two wheels and lots of hardware. And all you need are these two larger bolts. The bolts weren’t long enough to get a very tight fit with the nut so to make sure that the nuts don’t come undone, I added a bit of glue that works with metal – this will keep the nut in place while the wheel is still able to turn.

Installing the hangers

I used a template to mark where to drill the holes on the door for the hangers and then it was easy to attach the hardware with more bolts and nuts. The bolts need to be about half an inch longer than the thickness of the doors. 

Installing the wall panel and door

The panel rests on the floor but the top of the panel also needs to be attached to the wall studs with brackets so that it can hold the weight of the barn door. 

The one thing I didn’t like so much is that the door at the bottom swings back and forth. So to fix that I put in a shelf at the bottom of the wall panel where I installed a track that I made out of metal angles. I also added some stoppers to the track to prevent the door from coming off the track at the ends.  I made them with bent hair bobby pins but you could also use binder clips.

I absolutely love this set up, especially that I can use my whiteboard when sitting at my desk and that I don’t have to look at it when I’m done working. It also serves as a place to hang a calendar, a cork board and even a tiny plant propagation station. This was only one of the projects from my office makeover, which you can watch in its entirety in this video here. 

While I was redoing my tiny 5’x6’ home office set up, I wanted to incorporate a white board, but do it in a way that it could be hidden when I wasn’t working with it.  So I came up with this idea to build a multipurpose wall panel that would allow me to incorporate a track for a barn door that could easily slide back and forth to cover up the whiteboard. This meant I had to do a bit of MacGyvering to come up with a way to make my own DIY barn door hardware!

I built the wall panel out of a 1”x2” furring strips and ¼” thick plywood. 

The legs rest on the floor to hold the weight of the panel and I curved out the back of the legs so that they can sit flush with the wall. To do this, I used a hand saw to make shallow cuts across the back of the 1”x2” and used a chisel to remove them. Not a very refined technique but since you don’t see it, it worked out OK. 

I incorporated some blocking on the backside of the panel (my supervisor likes to do impromptu inspections!) so I could have something to screw into to attach the white board and other things.

I attached a 2”x2” at the top of the panel to give me something to attach the header piece that will have the barn door track.

Making the Header piece and barn door track: 

I built the header with 1”x3” boards joined at 90 degrees. To install the track (a 1” wide aluminum bar), I drilled holes into the bar and then clamped it to the front of the header to drill pilot holes.  

Because the track needs to be installed away from the surface of the shelving unit to leave enough space for the doors, I also needed to make spacers. After looking for something that would work, I discovered these stainless steel straws have the perfect inside diameter for number 10 screws. I marked the length that I needed (¾”) with tape  and used a mini pipe cutter to cut the straw. 

The process was fairly easy but it did take a bit of time and patience to do all the pieces. The most important thing is to make sure that all the spacers are the same way to ensure that the track is straight. 

Once the header was built, I attached it to the 2”x2” with screws.

Hangers:

I wasn’t sure what to use for the wheels initially but after wandering the aisles of the hardware store, I was lucky to find patio door roller kits that have two metal wheels that are the perfect size for my project. 

But first I had to make the hangers out of the same 1” wide aluminum bar I used to make the track. I cut the bar into four 8” long pieces with a hacksaw

It’s not ideal but it does the job. Next I drilled three holes into each of the four hangers. I started by making a divot with a nail and this helps prevent the drill bit from slipping. I used a smaller drill bit to make the first hole to be more precise and then I made the hole bigger with a quarter inch drill bit. The first hanger served as the template for drilling holes in the other hangers to make sure that they’re all identical.

Putting on the wheels

The patio door roller kit comes with two wheels and lots of hardware. And all you need are these two larger bolts. The bolts weren’t long enough to get a very tight fit with the nut so to make sure that the nuts don’t come undone, I added a bit of glue that works with metal – this will keep the nut in place while the wheel is still able to turn.

Installing the hangers

I used a template to mark where to drill the holes on the door for the hangers and then it was easy to attach the hardware with more bolts and nuts. The bolts need to be about half an inch longer than the thickness of the doors. 

Installing the wall panel and door

The panel rests on the floor but the top of the panel also needs to be attached to the wall studs with brackets so that it can hold the weight of the barn door. 

The one thing I didn’t like so much is that the door at the bottom swings back and forth. So to fix that I put in a shelf at the bottom of the wall panel where I installed a track that I made out of metal angles. I also added some stoppers to the track to prevent the door from coming off the track at the ends.  I made them with bent hair bobby pins but you could also use binder clips.

I absolutely love this set up, especially that I can use my whiteboard when sitting at my desk and that I don’t have to look at it when I’m done working. It also serves as a place to hang a calendar, a cork board and even a tiny plant propagation station. This was only one of the projects from my office makeover, which you can watch in its entirety in this video here. 

Small kitchen ideas: open-shelving mini makeover

One of my most pinned projects is the tension rod trick I used in my kitchen to hang things above the sink – it’s a great way to keep things off the counter. 

Another thing I did that totally upgraded my kitchen is to add under-cabinet lighting – it’s so much nicer to cook with good task lighting! The one drawback is that I used 2 different light kits – the one above the sink wasn’t as bright as I would have liked and I needed to turn on each one individually. Not a big deal, just a bit inconvenient. 

So when Parmida offered to send me their ultra thin under cabinet lights to review, I was really excited to give them a try. Each under cabinet light kit comes with six ultra thin light bars – they are very well made and attractive so they are perfect for when there isn’t a ledge to hide the lights. 

Every light kit also comes with 2 switches – an on/off switch and a dimmer switch.

The kit also comes with many cable extenders so with one kit, I will be able to light up under the cabinet, and above the sink, plus I will be able to add lighting to the open shelving which will really brighten up that whole area. 

The first thing I did was remove the existing under-cabinet lights.

The installation is very easy, especially with all the hardware that’s provided with the lights. You can use clips or double sided tape to install the lights. I used tape for the open shelving lights because it was a bit tricky to install the clips on the underside of the cabinet. 

That wasn’t an issue under the cabinets so there I use the clips. After marking where the clips are going to go. I used the nail to make a small hole – this makes putting in those tiny screws a little bit easier. 

Then the lights just snap in place really easily. 

It’s really nice to also have all the hardware needed to secure the cables, not something that is usually provided with these types of lights. Makes it very easy to have all the wires be neat and tidy. 

These lights are really well made and they’re backed with a five year warranty so you know they’re really built to last. They are so much brighter than the other lights I had and having the open-shelving with lighting also made that whole area a lot brighter!

Plus I really like having the option to use the dimmer or the on off switch to control the lights. 

I could have stopped here but then I got the idea to add a blue background to the open shelves to match the accent wall. I didn’t want to paint the cabinets so instead I painted a leftover piece of RAMboard (essentially thick cardboard you can paint) that I had on hand from my bedroom black accent wall project.

Then I used removable double sided tape to secure it to the back of the cabinet. 

I love how the blue makes the white dishes and glassware pop. And I think I actually prefer it to just all white, what do you think? 

Here’s a video that shows the light installation and also how I used them to make a lighted coat rack and upgrade the lighting in my home office.

* this content was sponsored by Parmidaled – all thoughts and opinions are my own *

One of my most pinned projects is the tension rod trick I used in my kitchen to hang things above the sink – it’s a great way to keep things off the counter. 

Another thing I did that totally upgraded my kitchen is to add under-cabinet lighting – it’s so much nicer to cook with good task lighting! The one drawback is that I used 2 different light kits – the one above the sink wasn’t as bright as I would have liked and I needed to turn on each one individually. Not a big deal, just a bit inconvenient. 

So when Parmida offered to send me their ultra thin under cabinet lights to review, I was really excited to give them a try. Each under cabinet light kit comes with six ultra thin light bars – they are very well made and attractive so they are perfect for when there isn’t a ledge to hide the lights. 

Every light kit also comes with 2 switches – an on/off switch and a dimmer switch.

The kit also comes with many cable extenders so with one kit, I will be able to light up under the cabinet, and above the sink, plus I will be able to add lighting to the open shelving which will really brighten up that whole area. 

The first thing I did was remove the existing under-cabinet lights.

The installation is very easy, especially with all the hardware that’s provided with the lights. You can use clips or double sided tape to install the lights. I used tape for the open shelving lights because it was a bit tricky to install the clips on the underside of the cabinet. 

That wasn’t an issue under the cabinets so there I use the clips. After marking where the clips are going to go. I used the nail to make a small hole – this makes putting in those tiny screws a little bit easier. 

Then the lights just snap in place really easily. 

It’s really nice to also have all the hardware needed to secure the cables, not something that is usually provided with these types of lights. Makes it very easy to have all the wires be neat and tidy. 

These lights are really well made and they’re backed with a five year warranty so you know they’re really built to last. They are so much brighter than the other lights I had and having the open-shelving with lighting also made that whole area a lot brighter!

Plus I really like having the option to use the dimmer or the on off switch to control the lights. 

I could have stopped here but then I got the idea to add a blue background to the open shelves to match the accent wall. I didn’t want to paint the cabinets so instead I painted a leftover piece of RAMboard (essentially thick cardboard you can paint) that I had on hand from my bedroom black accent wall project.

Then I used removable double sided tape to secure it to the back of the cabinet. 

I love how the blue makes the white dishes and glassware pop. And I think I actually prefer it to just all white, what do you think? 

Here’s a video that shows the light installation and also how I used them to make a lighted coat rack and upgrade the lighting in my home office.

* this content was sponsored by Parmidaled – all thoughts and opinions are my own *

Kitchen upgrade and more with under-cabinet lights

Thank you to Parmida LED for sponsoring this video! Here’s the link to the ultra-thin under-cabinet lights I used in the kitchen mini-makeover, my entryway and my home office update: https://bit.ly/eysundercabinetlights

Thank you to Parmida LED for sponsoring this video! Here’s the link to the ultra-thin under-cabinet lights I used in the kitchen mini-makeover, my entryway and my home office update: https://bit.ly/eysundercabinetlights

DIY Test Tube Plant Propagation Station – Mother’s Day Gift

Being stuck at home these days has made me get creative with what I have on hand. As I was looking through all of my left over materials from previous projects to see what I could make my mom for Mother’s Day,  I came across 4″ embroidery hoops, and test tubes. Then out of the blue, I got this idea for making a hanging test tube plant propagation station. It took a bit of MacGyvering, but I was able to find all I needed at home, didn’t have to buy a single thing to make it!

Here are the materials and tools I used:

.   

I used the outside ring of 4″ wooden embroidery hoops, jute twine and I had purchased the test tubes on Amazon for another propagation I made – they come out to less than a $1 per test tube so if you get a box, you can make lots of these. They make great house warming presents!

Step 1: I started by taking off the metal brackets with a utility knife. You may find that the wood splits but that’s OK. Then I cut off the first hole on both sides – sturdy scissors worked well for this.

Step 2: I used a utility knife to cut out the middle of a milk jog plastic cap, and traced out where the embroidery hoop will go on either side of the cap, and then cut out those pieces

Step 3: I tested that the embroidery hoops fits – perfect!

Step 4: Next I used a glue gun to cover up the milk jug plastic cap with twine. I didn’t do this but I would recommend using a gold sharpie to “paint” the cap before doing this because if the twine isn’t tightly wrapped, the color may show through.

Step 5: I had some 1″ wooden circles from the craft store that were the perfect size for the bottom of the test tubes to rest on so I simply used the glue gun again to wrap a couple of rows of twine to create walls to hold the test tube in place. If you don’t have these circles, you can use the circle that you cut out of the bottle cap and do the same thing (And use a gold sharpie to hide the plastic, or use contact paper).

Step 6: I used the glue gun again to secure the round base to the middle of the bottom part of the embroidery hoop.

Step 7: The last thing to do is cut a piece of twine and pass through the holes, tie a knot and that it!

I absolutely love it, it’s so cute! It’s prefect for propagating plants or it could also be a vase. Can’t wait to see what my mom thinks!

 

 

Being stuck at home these days has made me get creative with what I have on hand. As I was looking through all of my left over materials from previous projects to see what I could make my mom for Mother’s Day,  I came across 4″ embroidery hoops, and test tubes. Then out of the blue, I got this idea for making a hanging test tube plant propagation station. It took a bit of MacGyvering, but I was able to find all I needed at home, didn’t have to buy a single thing to make it!

Here are the materials and tools I used:

.   

I used the outside ring of 4″ wooden embroidery hoops, jute twine and I had purchased the test tubes on Amazon for another propagation I made – they come out to less than a $1 per test tube so if you get a box, you can make lots of these. They make great house warming presents!

Step 1: I started by taking off the metal brackets with a utility knife. You may find that the wood splits but that’s OK. Then I cut off the first hole on both sides – sturdy scissors worked well for this.

Step 2: I used a utility knife to cut out the middle of a milk jog plastic cap, and traced out where the embroidery hoop will go on either side of the cap, and then cut out those pieces

Step 3: I tested that the embroidery hoops fits – perfect!

Step 4: Next I used a glue gun to cover up the milk jug plastic cap with twine. I didn’t do this but I would recommend using a gold sharpie to “paint” the cap before doing this because if the twine isn’t tightly wrapped, the color may show through.

Step 5: I had some 1″ wooden circles from the craft store that were the perfect size for the bottom of the test tubes to rest on so I simply used the glue gun again to wrap a couple of rows of twine to create walls to hold the test tube in place. If you don’t have these circles, you can use the circle that you cut out of the bottle cap and do the same thing (And use a gold sharpie to hide the plastic, or use contact paper).

Step 6: I used the glue gun again to secure the round base to the middle of the bottom part of the embroidery hoop.

Step 7: The last thing to do is cut a piece of twine and pass through the holes, tie a knot and that it!

I absolutely love it, it’s so cute! It’s prefect for propagating plants or it could also be a vase. Can’t wait to see what my mom thinks!