Make a Manly Trinket Box

dads-trinket-boxBear and I have been married for 17 years. And over that time the only thing we fight about is how messy the house gets. With my OCD I’d be happiest with everything always put away in its designated place and if nobody ever moved anything. Bear would be happy if he left things wherever he happened to be standing when he stopped using them. Even if that was in the middle of the living room, or the bathroom, or in the middle of our bed. It’s been a journey to try and find the middle ground between us, and for many years I had to settle for “hygienic enough to not get CPS called.” Bless him, no matter how he tries, Bear just doesn’t seem to possess a cleanliness gene. So since I’ve learned that he’s never NOT going to have piles of crap around, I can at least give him places to put those piles of crap that won’t make me crazy.

Even if you don’t have the pile problem that Bear does, you probably have keys and spare change and earbuds to corral. And since handmade gifts for dudes are always so hard to come by, this project solves a lot of problems at once.

 

suppliesSupplies:

  • Wooden Box with a frame on the top
  • Cardstock for the inside of the box (I used this script paper)
  • Cardstock to decorate the inside of the frame
  • Wax Metallic Finish (I used Spanish Copper)
  • Alphabet Stickers
  • Clear Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel
  • Nailheads
  • Chain
  • E-6000 Adhesive

step-1Apply the wax finish to the box by rubbing it in with a shop rag and buffing until absorbed. I loved working with this as an alternative to paint and I ADORE how it looks when it’s done, but this stuff reeks to high heaven and will stain anything it touches until it’s cured. So use gloves, open the windows, and wash your hands when you’re done.

 

step-2Cut the paper to fit each side of the inside of the box and glue it in place. Cut another piece to fit the backside of the inside of the frame.

 

step-3Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay out your box and the frame inset piece. Cover both with ultra thick embossing enamel.

 

step-4Heat in a 300 degree oven until melted. Repeat with a second layer if necessary to get the coverage you want. Repeat this process for every side of the inside of the box. Watch it closely because as soon as it melts it will start to drip. Let each side cool before applying the embossing powder on the next side and watch it close again. If the embossing gets away from you and you end up with a pool on one side of the box, a heat gun can help as you keep the enamel melted and spread it around where you want it.

 

step-5The cardstock I used for the inside of the frame had this great texture that could be sanded to reveal the interior color. I took full advantage of that, but you could decorate yours any way you want.

 

step-6I am always looking for an excuse to add nailheads to my paper projects, and making a masculine box is a great one. Push the nailheads through the front of the paper and bend the prongs down on the inside. Make sure you don’t put these too close to the edge or they’ll get in the way of the frame.

 

step-7Use letter stickers to finish the decoration.

 

step-8Insert the decoration into the frame and pour more embossing powder over the top. Bake as before but remember that all your enamel on the inside could melt again too. Position it on the cookie sheet with the box open. Watch it closely and take it out as soon as the powder melts. Since these frames aren’t made to be water tight it might start to leak. That’s another reason you want it to only get hot enough to just melt the powder. It might even help you if you use a heat gun to finish it. Keep adding layers as necessary to get the look you want.

 

step-9Cut the chain to be long enough to fit around the outside of the frame and glue down with the glue. This stuff is pretty dang stinky too, so keep those windows open.

 

trinket-boxWhen I gave this to Bear he was so excited. “You made me a box for my crap! You made me a crap box!!” Everyone loves to be seen and embraced for who they are. And God love him, I love this big lug. Piles of crap and all.

 

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Decorate a Vintage Inspired Lampshade

vintage-inspired-lampshadeEvery room in my house is chock full of midcentury antiques or midcentury replications. I’m obsessed. From the vintage Fire King Peach Luster plates on my wall to the acid green couches I bought directly from their original owner, I am so deeply in love with this period of design that I couldn’t leave it out of my bedroom. Plus I needed a little femininity in this room so I thought a little tulle was exactly what was in order to restore the careful balance of feminine masculinity I’m going for. Lampshades are so much fun to customize. You buy the cheapest thing available and with just the simplest effort you can make it perfectly fit your room.

 

step-1Cut your tulle to be as tall as the shade plus a little extra, and wide enough to fold in half and still give the look you want. Mine measured 18″ tall by 12″ wide. Cut wice as many pieces as you’ll need to go around your shade so that you can double layer each section. The tulle needs a few layers to really show up. Fold the sides in to meet in the middle so that all the raw edges will be in the back.

 

step-2Your lampshade will probably have a binding, so if it does, rip it off. Glue the tulle to the top rim. I used hot glue because it dries super fast and you don’t have to hold anything in place, but that glue will seep right through the tulle so watch your fingers. Keep the glue line as thin as you can so it’s easy to cover up later.

 

step-3Glue each piece overlapping the one next to it to get all the way around. The more you overlap the better as it really adds to the look, but remember to space them out evenly around the shade.

 

step-4Glue the other end of the tulle to the bottom of the shade. If your shade flares out like mine does you’ll have to pull the bottom of the tulle out to get the same overlap look. Just don’t pull it out so much that your raw edges break through to the front. When all your pieces are glued down, trim the edges to be flush or just below the edge of the shade.

 

step-5Pinch each panel around the middle to gather it. Use a coordinating ribbon or thread to bind it in that position.

 

step-6Make sure that when you tie your knots after you’re done binding the panels, you turn it around to the back so you only see a nice smooth decoration. I even used a dot of hot glue to keep it there so the knots couldn’t slide around to the front.

 

step-7Glue a ribbon or bias tape around the top and bottom of the shades to cover up all the cut edges. Fold the end of the bias tape over before gluing to hide that cut edge too.

 

vintage-lampshadeI love how this lamp looks, especially on top of my bookshelf bedside table. The table is so dark gray and clean lines it’s almost industrial, I’m a little obsessed with the contrast. Which is exactly what I’m going for in this room, which is why doing things yourself is just so. much. fun.

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Build a Bedside Bookshelf Table

bookshelf-bedside-tableAll my life I’ve had trouble keeping my books corralled. When I was a kid I used to spend the whole summer moving from one spot in the house to another carrying a large cardboard box full of my library books. These days the books are in piles next to every one of my chairs. You can even usually find one propped open on the bathroom scale waiting for me to need to spend a while on the john. I don’t like to waste a moment.

So obviously with that kind of a habit, my bedside table was drowning in books. Stacked up on each other until they fell over, piled up on the floor until the cats got to them, Atti has grown up playing with books like they were building blocks. The bedside table of my dreams had to be as much bookshelf as bedside table, so I had to build it myself.

 

step-1Pictured here:

The tabletop, which is a piece of 1/2″ plywood cut to 24″ x 24″, with 2″ squares cut out of two corners to fit table legs.
The bookshelf, which is a 5 x 8 cut 24″ long
The leg braces, which are 3 2 x 2’s cut 21″ long
The legs for the bookshelf which are 2 2 x 2’s cut 11 1/2″ long

 

step-2Pictured here:
Pieces for the table apron which are 4 2×4’s cut 21″ long
Front legs which are 2 2×2’s cut 30″ long
Back legs which are 2 2×2’s cut 42″ long

 

step-3I wanted all my screws to be hidden so I drilled each pilot hole with a countersink bit. This drills a wider hole around the smaller pilot hole so the head of your screw can hide down underneath the surface of the wood. You just fill this hole with wood filler and no screws to mar your paint finish.

I used 2 1/2″ screws for most of the assembly, accept for attaching the plywood tabletop where I used 3/4″ screws.

 

step-4Start with the front legs and sandwich one of the apron pieces between them. Drill countersunk pilot hole and attach with 2 1/2″ screw. Attach the other front leg to the other side of the apron piece.

 

step-5Attach the side apron pieces to the front legs, offsetting the screws so they don’t run into each other. Make sure your apron pieces are lined up and check for level as you work. You need the plywood tabletop to lay flush, so the apron pieces have to be even.

 

step-6Line the back legs up so that one end is flush with the front leg and the other side extends beyond the apron pieces by 12″. It’s important to get these pieces positioned right or else your table will wobble and your bookshelf won’t be straight. Measure, check for level, measure again. Then screw into the side apron pieces, and attach the last apron piece in between the two legs.

 

step-7Before you attach the tabletop, you have to attach the legs that will hold up the bookshelf. Lay the bookshelf piece on top and mark where the edge hits. Line the legs up with that edge on one side, the side of the tabletop on the other. Then screw up from the bottom of the tabletop into the legs. This part doesn’t have to be countersunk of course, so be sure and switch your drill bit before you drill right through your tabletop.

 

step-9Check the table legs for level. Here’s where you do any fixing that you need. Sand the aprons that aren’t lining up, sand the legs that you measured funny *ahem* (me), check your bookshelf for level and repeat the process. When you’re happy with how things are laying, attach the tabletop to the apron using the 3/4″ screws. Attach the bookshelf to it’s legs in the same way. Fill in the holes with woodfiller and let it dry.

 

step-8I used the woodfiller around the whole project. It helps make cheap lumber not look so cheap, covers up any sins from your cuts not being perfect, it just gives the whole piece an airbrushing. Sand it all down once it’s dry and blend the woodfiller in to the rest of the surface. Then paint the piece in whatever way you like best. I primed it (because raw wood requires it) and then used a few cans of spray paint to build up the color.

 

bookshelf-tableI love the industrial gray color that came out of my experimenting. It almost looks like one of those old file cabinets to me, which, for this project, in this bedroom, is perfect. Now my books are safe from Atti chomping, from cat barfing, and all I have to do is limit myself to the books that can fit inside this space. Which is already proving to be difficult. My next step is just to start sleeping in the library.

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Make a No Binding Blanket

no-binding-blanket
I am obsessed with snuggly blankets. They are piled on every surface in my home, spread across my lap during every binge watch of the Golden Girls, and fought over with Atti as he tries to claim them for his own. A fuzzy blanket is a prized commodity in my house, which is why I had to make one for my dream bedroom.

While I was at it I tried to solve a mystery that has been plaguing me my entire sewing experience. I knew there had to be a way to make the back of a blanket wrap around to be both the back and the binding. If you’ve never sewed a quilt or baby blanket before, there are basically two ways to finish it so that there are no raw edges to interfere with the snuggling. You can sew two pieces of fabric together and turn it right side out, with all the raw edges inside, or you can put a binding on it to coverup the raw edges after the quilt is finished. Both techniques have their pros and cons, but I find the binding to be too important to the life of the blanket to leave off. That’s the part that rubs up against your chin when you’re sick. It’s the outline to the drawing. But it’s also a lot of extra work. I wanted to create a technique that had the ease of the inside out option, with the benefits of a binding. So I did.

step-1

This technique will work on any sized blanket with any sized fabric. As always, my haphazard measurements are done after the fact. I was working with scraps of fabric I had on hand so I just went with the sizes they came in. If I was measuring for this I’d cut the soft minky fabric to be the size I wanted the finished blanket to be, plus the size I wanted the binding to be. Then the lining fabric I’d cut to be the finished blanket size minus the size of the binding. Just remember to account for seam allowances or your finished size will wide up being an inch smaller on all sides than you meant it to be. So let me do a math problem for you so you can see what I mean. Let’s say we want the finished blanket size to be 50″ x 50″ (which would be a horrible size for a blanket but an easy size for a math problem). And let’s say I want a 4″ binding on each side, and a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side too. That would be 50″ + 4″ + 4″ + 1/2″ +1/2″ = 59″  And then the lining would be 50 – 4 – 4 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 43.

Once you get your fabric cut to the size you want, fold each in half to find the middle point, then lay them right sides together by matching those middle points and pinning them in place. By matching the middles you make sure that all the extra binding fabric is evenly distributed on both sides. Sew the pieces together and repeat for all four sides, making sure to leave a few inches open in the middle of one side so you can turn it right side out.

step-2

It starts to look like a bit of a bunched up mess as you sew each side together, matched up in the middle each time. All that extra fabric that will eventually become the binding can start to look like a nest. Keep the faith, it will all work out.

step-3

You can see the natural miter that starts to take place in the corners. There is totally a point in this project where looking like a mess means you’re doing it right.

step-4

Lay the blanket out on the floor pulling the lining fabric taut and evenly distributing the binding on all four sides.

step-5

Now is when we turn our attention to those corners and make the miters. If you lay the corner out smoothly it will fall into place pretty obviously. Take the time to smooth everything out well to get it to lay right and you’ll see a triangle made up of the leftover fabric from each side.

step-6Use a row of pins to make the diagonal line from the corner of the binding to the corner of the lining fabric. Take it to your machine and sew a line right where those pins were and then cut off all that extra fabric to leave a 1/2″ seam allowance.

 

step-7

With the corners finished, turn the blanket right side out through the inches you left open where the lining meets the backing binding section. Lay it back out flat and then sew a line where the lining meets the backing binding. This will not only close up the part you left open, but provide enough quilting to keep the two pieces from shifting around and keep it as one solid piece.

Quilting and binding will always be my favorite technique, but sometimes the clock just won’t allow it. This technique results in a great looking, great to use, and easy to make blanket. I’ll be using it for every baby shower I go to from now on.

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Make a Mosaic Medicine Box

mosaic-medicine-box
The timing of this project is just too good to resist. I’m still cranking out tutorials for my big bedroom makeover, and after last weeks big announcement, I knew the next project just had to be this one. After sharing that I’ve been diagnosed with MS I got such overwhelming support and love that I had to hide a little bit. It was almost too much to take in. I feel so loved and encouraged and I’m once again endlessly grateful for this community of readers and friends I’ve got backing me up. You all are the very best and I can’t thank you enough.

Even before the MS diagnosis I had a world of pills by my bedside. My health has been a problem for a very long time which means that I’ve got sleeping pills and pain pills and mental health pills and so many more all crowding my bedside table. It took up a ton of space, it was an ugly eyesore, and I really don’t need the visual reminder of how much is wrong with me. I needed to solve this problem and make it beautiful, so I made myself this mosaic box. Now I can stuff all the medicine away until I need it and just keep myself surrounded by pretty.

step-1

I found this box at Target, but just about any box will do. This one was light wood with an inlaid blue plastic top, but it was on clearance and I knew I could do something with the rim around that top, so I snatched it up and spray painted the whole thing white. Because of the materials it was made of I started by spray painting on a primer, and then following that with a couple coats of glossy white.

step-2

Spread a tile adhesive across the top of the box and lay your tiles in position, spacing them evenly across the top. I bought my mosaic tiles at Home Depot so they came preinstalled on a mesh backing that automatically spaces them for you. Since I had to keep my tiles inside that rim and I didn’t want to have to cut any in half, I cut the tiles off the mesh backing so I could space them as close together as I needed to to make them fit evenly. I put a tile in each corner and then filled in the sides to get the spacing right, then just filled in the middle by following the spacing in the finished rows. Clean up any excess glue before it dries and let it set for at least a full 24 hours.

step-3

With the glue dry it’s time to add the grout. I used a non-sanded grout because that’s the kind that works best when the spaces between the tiles are very small. Add water to the grout until it’s the consistency of frosting. Spread it over all the tile with a float or putty knife, making sure that the grout gets worked all the way down between each tile. Let it dry for around 15 minutes or so, and then use a wet sponge to clean the majority of the extra grout off of each tile. Just focus on removing big globs, don’t try and get the tile too clean yet. Until it’s drier it will be impossible and you’ll just wash your grout away. Run your finger along the outside edge to create a nice smooth finish. After letting the grout dry for another 15 minutes, come back with a dry sponge or a piece of a foam pool noodle and buff the leftover grout haze off the tile. Let the whole thing cure for at least another 24 hours before disturbing it.

mosaic

I love how clean and crisp this box looks. Mosaics just look so elegant to me, and such a vast improvement from the row of bottles I had before. A row of bottles that would inevitably get knocked over by a cat or my sleepy hands and wide up scattered on the floor. Plus, I always feel better when my spaces are beautiful. Having a box like this for all my pills is like taking a shower and getting into fresh jammies when you’ve been sick for awhile. You start to feel a little more like your old self and that there’s a world beyond being sick. In that weird overthinking way I have, this box actually gives me hope.

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Build a DIY Hanging Lamp

Drum Shade Lamp

This corner of my bedroom needed some help. It’s furthest away from the light, and it’s right where I read. Plus, every time I looked at the furniture in my room, I just knew something tall needed to be in that space. I’m sure there’s a design principle I should reference, but I wasn’t going off of one. I just knew this space seemed to beg for something to take up space near the ceiling and I knew a fabulous light would solve both those problems.

Supplies

To make this light fixture here’s what you’ll need:

2 16″ macrame hoops
a roll of floral mesh
3 rolls of rhinestone bling
thick wire
a lamp kit
lamp harp
fabric for lining

Step 1

Cut a piece of the floral mesh long enough to wrap all the way around the outside of a hoop with a few inches overlapping. Wrap the long end around the hoop and sew in place. I found using a zipper foot really helpful so I could get right up to the hoop easier. This project does take a bit of wrestling with the machine, between sewing materials that aren’t flexible and the mesh that is so open it can get caught on things easily, so maybe don’t do this with small children around so you can swear as necessary. Sew the other hoop around the other end the same way.

 

Step 2

Pin the center together, folding the edges to the inside as you do. Sew in place. Doing this in a different order might make more sense to you, so by all means, do it in the way that works. I went this route for two reasons. 1) My math skills are shaky and determining circumference is not second nature to me, so this method means I don’t have to do that and 2) It helped me to keep the top and bottom the same size so I made a drum shade and not a cone.

Step 3

I cut my rolls of rhinestones into a bunch of strips and arranged them onto the mesh. When I was happy with where I put them, I sewed them in place by sewing over the layer of rhinestones and mesh with my sewing machine, just going around each side of the rhinestone rectangle. After making a bunch of mistakes I hit upon this method and I’m so happy it worked out this way because I like it so much better. Mistakes for the win!

Step 4

I didn’t want the naked bulb to show through, so I decided to line my shade. I died this fabric with Rit Dye Pearl Gray so it would match a bunch of other stuff I was doing in the room, including the bedskirt. I folded the fabric in half and then cut it 26 1/2″ long and as wide as the drum shade with room enough to hem both edges. Sew the ends of the fabric together at 25″ to leave 1 1/2″ seam. Make a french seam by rolling that extra fabric in twice to encase the raw edges and then sewing it down.

Step 5

Attach the lining by sewing it to the drum shade just below the hoop. Sew on both ends.

Step 6

With your shade finished, it’s time to assemble the lamp. Run the wire through the lamp harp before attaching any other lamp parts.

Step 7

Follow the package instructions to finish installing the lamp kit.

Step 8

For the shade to be suspended, we have to give it something for the electrical works to hang on to. Run a piece of wire from one end of the shade to the other, wrapping it around the hoop and then twisting it over itself to make it extra secure. Keep the wire as tight as you can.

Step 9

I repeated this until there were four wires crossing over each other, and then fed the plug up through the center of that criss cross. The wires will hang on the lamp harp nice and sturdy.

Step 10

Hang in place and run the cord down to a convenient plug.

Lampshade

I think this looks so elegant and brings such a great bit of class to that spot of the room. Bedroom chandeliers were so in for a second there and those were never quite my thing. But a midcentury inspired drum shade with rhinestones reminiscent of a city skyline? Oh yeah, that’s got my name all over it.

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How to make a custom bedskirt

Bedskirt

If you put all the effort into a gorgeous bed like this one, you can’t just throw old dorm sheets on it. I have spent way too many years with my mattress on the ground and my comforter dragging on the floor, but now it’s time to do things right, which means I don’t want an old mattress with pet stains around the bottom poking out from my beautiful bed. The solution is to use a bedskirt, which is a layer that sits between the mattress and the box spring just to cover up the box spring. You could buy a bedskirt as part of a bedding set, but you all know I’m not going to be content with that.

Step 1

Because most of the bedskirt will be covered by the mattress, you don’t want to use a fancy fabric. You could use anything cheap, but I went with muslin because it’s pretty much the cheapest you can get, but I’d avoid a lining fabric or something slick so that it doesn’t move around on you too much. Depending on the size of your bed you might need to sew a couple pieces together to get the fabric the right size. Box spring manufacturers save money too, so the muslin should be the size to cover the cheap fabric the manufacturer uses because that’s the part that won’t ever be visible.

Step 2

The fabric you want to be visible will need to be the same length as your muslin piece, and about 17″ wide. 17″ is what will be long enough for hemming, seam allowance, the side of the box spring, and the couple of inches of the top of the bed it will have to cover. Sew your side fabric to the muslin piece.

Step 3

Hem the three sides that aren’t sewn to the muslin.

Step 4

The corners of your box spring will poke out if you only have the four sides covered, so you need a corner piece to bridge that gap. Mine measures 8″ wide and 17″ high, although if I was making it again I would make it a few inches wider, so I had plenty of room to overlap. Hem the three sides that won’t be sewn to the muslin.

Step 5

Find the center of your corner piece and pin that to the corner of the muslin. Pin the rest of the corner piece down so that it overlaps the side pieces. Snip the corner piece right in the middle, just to the seam allowance. This will give you more room to change directions easier around that corner. Sew it in place.

Step 6

That’s all the sewing there is, it’s pretty simple. Now you can lay it out on top of the box spring and place your mattress on top.

Step 7

Here’s a closeup view of that corner piece. It’s a little confusing to write out, but it’s really simple in practice. You just need to make this piece bridge the gap.

Step 8

I still have a lot of bedding work to do on this bed, but I am super happy to have the mattress completely covered up. Now I can go crazy with quilts and pillows and I won’t have my relaxing oasis marred by the eyesore of something as functional and unattractive as a box spring.

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How to make an upholstered wingback headboard

Wingback Headboard

So, I promised this a couple weeks ago already, but travel and doctors appointments and first days of school have foiled all my good intentions. But I’m getting my feet back underneath me, so let’s pick up where we left off in this bedroom makeover, shall we? I made a bedframe, and now we’re going to make the over the top fabulous headboard that goes with it. To recap, the theme for this bedroom was feminine masculinity. So in keeping with the upholstered bedframe, I knew I wanted an upholstered headboard that would look like a pinstriped blinged out suit, and evoked the big wingback armchairs of an old-fashioned library or smoking lounge. The only problem is that the one I wanted cost over 10 thousand dollars. So what was a girl to do? Make it myself of course.

This does require a bit of woodworking, but it’s my kind of woodworking where you can be a little sloppy with things and it won’t matter because it will all get covered up with fabric. Even if you’ve never cut a piece of wood, I think you can do this.

All the lumber I used were simple 2×4’s. You might also see them labled as “studs” in the lumber aisle. Since this is all getting covered up, save yourself some cash and use the cheap stuff. All the screws I used were 2 1/2″ wood screws.

Step 1

The headboard is made up of three pieces: the two wings and the center piece. Each are built pretty much the same way, just build a box with a cross piece to keep things square. The crosspieces go inside the long pieces, and everywhere two pieces meet gets secured by drilling pilot holes for two screws and then attaching the pieces with the wood screws. Build two boxes exactly the same to be the two wing pieces.

Step 2

Because the center piece is so much bigger, it needs some more support on the inside. Pay special attention to how the pieces are arranged because that would really mess up all your measurements. Build the box part first, with the top and bottom pieces inside the side pieces. Then add the center vertical post. Measure so that you’re installing it right in the center because that will matter in a couple of steps. Pilot holes and two screws in each spot where they join. Then you need the two cross pieces, but they need to be offset so you can attach them to the center post.

Step 3

Here’s the three pieces all framed out. Attaching them altogether won’t happen until they’re upholstered.

Step 3a

And a closeup on how those screws are used to keep the crosspieces in place. Drilling pilot holes with a drill bit the same size or just smaller than your screw will keep the wood from splitting and save your sanity from trying to screw in a screw that refuses to go where you want it to.

Step 4

Next each of these framed boxes you’ve made need to be covered with plywood. I could not find plywood big enough to cover my center piece in one piece, so I had two pieces of plywood cut just wide enough to meet in that center post and then screwed them into that.

Step 5

Wood screws all around the sides until the plywood is stuck for life.

Step 6

From this point on I brought it in the house to upholster. You don’t want to attach anything yet because that will make upholstering a million times harder, but you do want to know *where* you’ll be attaching things when it’s time for that. So it’s time for more pilot holes. Drill four holes along each side where the wings will attach to the center. Line the side of the wings up flush with the back of the center headboard piece, and drill a hole through at the top, two throughout the center, and one more at the bottom. Put more pilot holes along the bottom of the headboard where the bedframe will attach. One hole on the left, a couple straddling that center beam, and one more on the right. REMEMBER: Don’t use wood screws yet. You’re just leaving a mark to upholster around.

With the holes drilled, upholstering can begin. I neglected to take pictures of this part of the process. Sometimes I get on a role with the making and forget that some parts of this aren’t common knowledge. Each of the three pieces needs to be covered with a layer of batting. This adds a layer of softness to the whole thing while keeping the fabric from wearing out by rubbing against the unfinished wood. Lay the batting out and then place your wood piece on top of it, plywood side down, bringing the extra batting around to the back and then staple it in place.  Remember, the batting will not be visible so it can be ugly as ugly in there and as long as it’s not lumpy no one will ever be the wiser.

For the center piece, upholstering with the final fabric is done in the exact same way. Lay out your pinstripe fabric and place the center piece over it, flat side down. Being careful not to pull so hard you warp the fabric pattern, pull the extra fabric to the back of all four sides and staple it in place. For my king size bed and the fabric pattern I chose, I had to sew a couple pieces together to get it wide enough to cover the whole piece. For a bonus technique you could sew three pieces of fabric together so that the seam doesn’t run right down the middle of the headboard. Two seams are better than one if they are off to the sides and out of the way.

Step 7

To upholster the wings, it looks best if you do a little sewing. This tutorial might help if you’ve never had to do this kind of thing. You’re basically just sewing a bench cushion while leaving one end open. For each wing, you need to sew two side pieces to the gusset, which is the piece that runs down the middle. Sew each side to the gusset on the top, a long side, and the bottom, leaving the other long side open. When you’re done you’ll have a little cover ready to slide right on to the wing.

Step 8

If you press your fingers over the fabric, you’ll find the pilot holes you created. Cut out a square of fabric and batting to reveal the hole without any fabric in the way. Drills and fabric are mortal enemies, so you want to make sure you’ll be able to get the wood screw in place without any of the fabric snagging and ripping your beautiful creation. These holes will be sandwiched behind the other pieces and won’t be visible. Cut the same holes in the headboard where it will join the bedframe.

Step 9

Now that the upholstery is on all three pieces, you can attach them together. It takes a little bit of wrestling, but pull the outside wing upholstery back just enough to get the drill in and screw through all your pilot holes. When the piece is attached, you can then bring all the extra fabric around to the back and staple it in place. Remember, if you’re using a pattern like pinstripes you don’t want to pull so hard you pattern gets out of alignment, but you do want it nice and snug.

Step 10

Now it’s time to address the back. Theoretically, you can leave this alone, but my brain will never allow that to happen. On the sides without plywood I like to add a layer of muslin to add another layer the wood has to wear through before it makes a mark on my pretty fabric. So with a piece of muslin, and a piece of suiting material, both wide enough to cover the entire back piece, I take the top edge and staple it along the whole back of the headboard. But! You can do it in a way that hides all your staples if you lay your fabric out right. Lay the patterned piece over the front of the headboard, right side touching the right side of the front. Then lay your muslin over that and staple away. Flip the fabric towards the back and all your staples will be on the inside.

Step 11

For the other three sides you could get some fancy upholstery tools involved, or you could just neatly fold the edges in and neatly staple it in place. I went for the neat staples. This will be facing my wall, after all.

Step 12

I wanted to finish off my headboard with a row of nail head trim along the wings. The trim comes in a long roll that you bend in to place and then nail every 4th nailhead. It saved me a ton of time and looks great.

Step 13

With my headboard finished we brought the bedframe back in and attached it through the pilot holes we created.

Upholstered Headboard

I’m pretty much obsessed with it. It is such a grand statement and super comfortable, and I saved myself about $9500 off my dream bed. Now I need to outfit this bed with more pillows than a person needs.

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How to make an Upholstered Bedframe

Upholstered Bedframe

My bedroom makeover project has been finished for a while now, but with all of the horrors of the last couple of years, I couldn’t do the work to share it. There’s a tremendous amount of work to pull together a decent tutorial with video, and seeing how I’ve been pingponging between fertility procedures driving me to the mental hospital to surgeries for my baby and then more fertility procedures that ended badly and more surgeries for my baby, there has been no brainspace available for things like describing furniture builds. But now that I’m feeling like I’ve got my feet back underneath me (BRB gotta find some wood to knock), I can finally commit to sharing the big bedroom makeover I’ve been wanting to get to for over a year. I have A LOT of projects to share for this bedroom makeover, and I am THRILLED with the result. So buckle up, because I have tons and tons of ideas for you. Starting today with the centerpieces of any bedroom, the bedframe.

I wanted this room to be a kind of masculine take on a feminine bedroom. An androgynous bedroom. Something peaceful and restful and beautiful, that actually looked like it didn’t just belong to one or the other of us. I wanted to blend our styles. So if I was going to do something as soft as an upholstered bedframe, I wanted to do it in a fabric that would read masculine. So I bought myself 100 yards of suiting material and decided to make myself a pinstripe wingback bed.

 

Step 1

Because we have a California King bed, I needed to make a giant bedframe. Beds can be surprisingly non-standard in their measurements, so since you’re building yours from scratch, the first thing you should do is measure your bed. I’ll give you the measurements I used, but unless you also have a giant bed, you’re going to need to customize them.

You’ll start by building yourself a great big box. Measure the length and width of your bed. I added an inch on each side to give myself room to maneuver. That extra inch means 1/2″ on each side so you don’t have to squish your bed into position. My bed measured 72″ x 83″, so the finished size I was shooting for was 73″ x 84″, except I made a bunch of mistakes with my measurements so learn from my example and measure everything three times and double check your math. Luckily as long as your mistakes are consistent, this project is pretty forgiving.

You need 2 2×4’s to make the top and bottom of your box, and those should be the finished width of your bed. I cut mine 74″ long, which was a mistake but one that was no biggie. Then you need 3 2 x 4’s to make the sides and middle of your box. These should be the finished length of your bed, minus the width of the 2×4’s you’re using for the top and bottom pieces. Those top and bottom pieces sandwich all the vertical pieces, so you need to take their width into account to get your finished length. 2×4’s usually measure about 1 1/2″ wide, so if you subtract 3″ from your finished size, you’ll know how long to cut your side and middle pieces. I cut mine 81″ long.

Set the pieces up together and drill pilot holes where they’ll be joined. Screw them all together with 2 1/2″ wood screws.

Those other pieces of wood you see outside the box are the pieces that you’ll be upholstering. Given how loosey goosey I was being with my measurements I had to make sure they’d be cut the right size so I laid them right up next to my 2×4 box to make certain. I cut 2 1×8’s 84″ long for the sides, and then one more 76″ long for the bottom. The side pieces should be the same size as the finished 2×4 box, and the bottom piece should be the same length of  the 2×4 box plus the width of the 1×8’s which is about 3/4″ each. If I was being careful I would have cut it 1/2″ shorter, but I think I’ve already shown I was not being careful.

 

Step 3

Set up your 1×8’s next to where you’ll be installing them on the box. They should be standing upright so that the wide sides of both pieces of wood are touching. Once they’re lined up, drill a hole from the inside of the box, through the 2×4, and into the 1×8. This pilot hole will tell you where you’ll need to keep the upholstery out of the way so you can screw the pieces together without ripping through your fabric. Fabric and drills are not friends.

 

Step 2

Wrap batting around the entire 1×8 piece, securing it with staples.

 

Step 4

Wrap your upholstery fabric around your 1×8 pieces, continuing to secure it with staples. I wanted to keep the staples as hidden as possible, so I wrapped the wood like a present, keeping all my seams where they would be hidden by being attached to the 2×4 box. Fold your corners neatly and tuck raw edges under before stapling. Feel through the fabric for where those pilot holes are and cut the fabric away neatly to leave yourself room to attach it. Use 2″ wood screws to attach the 1×8’s to the 2×4 box, screwing through those pilot holes you drilled. Make sure you use wood screws that aren’t too long or you’ll go all the way through your 1×8 and have a screw poking through your fabric. I attached the 1×8’s in six different spots to make sure they’d be attached super strong and stand up to kids and pets climbing all over them.

 

Step 5

Now you need to add slats across the bed. Nobody likes sleeping on a saggy mattress, so you need to make a nice firm foundation. I used 1×3’s and cut them 74″ long so they’d fit nice and snug on top of my 2×4 box.

 

Step 6

I attached six slats total, spread out across the length of the bed.

 

Step 7

Now we need to get this thing up off the floor and add the legs. There’s many ways to do this, but the way I went with was to use this straight plate. I screwed it into three corners but if you add a little block of wood into the corner of the 2×4 box you can attach all four sides. I didn’t think it was necessary because I’ve got some extra steps coming, but if these legs are all you’re using to hold up all the weight of the bed and the people and jumping kids and pets in them, you probably should.

 

Step 8

I found these great midcentury inspired legs online. These just screw into the straight plates.

 

Step 9

Now, a California King is heavy. Two tall grown adults are heavy. Wrestling kids who jump on the bed are heavy. And a California King is wide, so without a middle support, you’re going to end up eaten by a sagging bed. But a middle support is also hidden under the bed and doesn’t have to be pretty. So I took the scrap pieces of 2×4 and made two middle legs that will keep this thing so stable that a parade could march through and the bed would be rock solid at the end of it. The middle piece should be the height of the legs, including the straight plate. Basically the distance from the floor to the 2×4 box. Then the two outside pieces should be 2 1/2 – 3″ taller so that it can fit onto the middle beam and leave you room for screws. Use wood screws to stick those pieces together, making sure they’re flush on the bottom.

 

Step 10

Slide those legs around the middle beam and use wood screws to attach it from both sides.

 

bedframe

If you aren’t making a headboard, you’d probably want to finish the top of this bedframe with another upholstered piece at the top, but I didn’t want it to get in the way of the giant headboard I’ll be building. And that I’ll be showing you how to build next week.

 

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Make a windchime from dollar store supplies

Windchime In my quest to outfit this superstar backyard of mine, as is my duty as Park Ranger of this place, I’ve been searching for a windchime that was both 1) not obnoxious and 2) not so outrageously expensive I would resent it every time I heard it’s gentle chime. So as usual, I knew I had to make what I was looking for. I love the sound of bamboo windchimes because they’re so light and subtle and not glaringly high pitched, so when I found bamboo windchimes at the dollar store I knew they were exactly what I needed. Now I just needed to make them grand enough to fit into my very grand backyard. I bought five of the windchimes, a bowl, and used some rope I had on hand, so for $6 plus tax I’m making something that would have cost me a fortune otherwise.

 

Step 1 If you are a regular blog follower, by now you are a pro at drilling through glass and pottery. But in case you’re coming to this tutorial fresh I’ll give you a nutshell version of how to drill through a bowl. 1) Get yourself a drill bit made for the job. It will say so on the packaging. I like the ones that come in a spade shape because they’re easier to control as you drill. 2) Set up a drilling station. I have here a plastic tub, an old towel, and some cool water. You really just need the cool water and a way to keep your bowl from sliding around. The towel gives you a nice non-slip surface and the tub keeps the water where you need it, but there are a million variations on this. 3) Make sure you’ve got water on both sides of what you’re drilling, then go steady and slow without a lot of pressure. If you push on the drill you could crack the bowl. If it gets too hot you could crack the bowl, and if you create too much friction through heat or non lubrication (which the water also takes care of) you could crack the bowl.

 

Step 2 Here’s my bowl with the hole drilled through, and  you can see that it is off center. Really not a big deal. I’m showing this as proof that perfection is not worth the stress.

 

Step 3 Run your rope through the hole you’ve made. Ropes fray, so wrapping the end with some tape will save you some major frustration.

 

Step 4 Now it’s time to deal with your bamboo windchimes. Lay them out to make you’re new configuration. At first I thought I was going to cut them all apart and start from scratch, and then I decided it would be enough just to attach them all together. Do some experimenting and see what works for you. I ended up stringing three sets across the top, and then two more hanging down from the middle. It makes a kind of inverted pyramid shape. Remember to leave enough room between the pieces for them to move around and make that lovely noise.

 

Step 5 With all your decisions made, drill holes where you need to attach them together.

 

Step 6 Tie them together with rope or string. Remember the tape trick, this can get frustrating.

 

Step 7 Tie the top of your newly assembled wooden pieces onto the rope and make a big giant secure knot. Remember, this is going to stand up to wind, so triple knot that baby.

 

Step 8 Pull the rope all the way through the bowl so the knot catches. Then tie the rest of the rope into a loop you can hang the whole operation from.

 

Windchime hanging I made my windchime super long, so I hung it from a high point on my roofline. I wanted the look and the sound, but I also didn’t want anyone to get wrapped up in it as they walked around the yard. Fittingly enough, the day I hang this up it was super crazy windy, which you’ll hear on the video, but you’ll also hear how great this sounds. Even better, each time I hear it I am reminded that it only cost me $6.

 

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