Magazine File Box Facelift | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s a new year and I want to give a few rooms in our house a fresh new look. Our office was one of the first spaces I completed when I started this blog (has it really been 5 1/2 years!)

I’m tired of staring at the same room day after day. I know many of you feel the same way. You have that itch, or a burning desire to hop in the car and drive to your nearest Home Goods, World Market or The Container Store to buy cute colorful decor or storage bins. I almost caved into that desire because I was tired of looking at the two tone boxes I bought 6 years ago.  But, that would mean discarding the old ones. You know how I feel about throwing things away! If I can upcycle it, I’m going to!

Magazine File Box Facelift | Pretty Handy Girl

Within 10 minutes you could give a Magazine File Box a Facelift (or a storage box)! I saved a lot of money reusing the old. Factor in the gas money I saved by not driving to the store. And the time I saved by not leaving the house. I think I deserve a big fat high five! Put ‘er there fellow savers!

Here’s How to Give Your Magazine File Box a Facelift: Read more

three-book-recommendations

I’m thrilled to share with you a selection of 3 DIY books this holiday season. If you are looking for ideas for someone on your gift list who: has children who love to create; loves rustic metal decor; or wants some simple ideas to love the home they are living in…I have the book for you!

Let’s start with C.R.A.F.T – Creating REALLY Awesome Free Things (affiliate link). This book by Jamie Dorobek was not a book I had originally planned on reviewing. But, when I opened the envelope and set the book on the counter it was instantly whisked away from me. My boys took the book and read it from front to back!

C.R.A.F.T. Book Review

Within 30 minutes, my oldest (a middle schooler) had already cut up a cereal box and was working on his own puzzle.

C.R.A.F.T. Book Review

C.R.A.F.T. Book Review

The next day, my 3rd grader had a playdate at our house. He and his friend asked for the materials to make their own Emoji masks. Read more

Building-Custom-Bookshelves

Matt & Jacque are here today to show you an amazing feat. They will show you how to build custom built in bookcases. You may remember this DIY Performing duo as former contributors. I know you’ve missed them and I’m sure you’re excited to see Matt & Jacque back again!

matt-jacque

Matt & Jacque are the powerful DIYers at The DIY Village. They tackle all types of home improvement projects while raising their daughter Josslyn. These are some busy renovators.Rockstar DIY Series

I believe that’s the whine of two drills that I hear! Let’s give it up for Matt & Jacque.

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Matching-Built-In-Bookcases

I’m a firm believer that one can never have enough storage within their home! Especially, when you’re talking about a craft room! When we purchased our current house, my husband and I agreed would convert one of the bedrooms into a room where I could let my craft “freak” flag fly. Looking back on that decision, I still wonder what he was thinking, but nonetheless, fast forward three years. I have accumulated quite the inventory of supplies and came to the conclusion that the only storage solution would be the addition of matching built-in bookcases.

First off, let’s take a quick look at the basic structure that will make up the bookcase. (I won’t be including any dimensions, as you’ll need to work within the spatial constraints of your own home) The basic frame of the bookcase can be built using 1×12’s, along with a small platform that is made from 1×3. I have a large double window in this room so the best place to install the bookcases is on either side of the window, flanking the window.

Custom-Built-In-Bookcases

One of the easiest ways to assemble your bookcase frames is by using pocketholes.

Pocket-Hole-Joinery

Using a pocket hole jig will make easy work of your assembly. With all of your lumber cut to length, you’ll need to drill pocketholes at the top and bottom of each side. Read more

Sport Gear Storage in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

My home is protected by ninjas! Well, actually Tae Kwon Do athletes, but they are ninjas in training. So, don’t even think about breaking into our house or they will open up a can of whoop ass on you! 😉

Unfortunately, where my boys are plentiful in kicking and punching skills they lack in the picking up your stuff department. Which means that the bottom of the stairway to our bonus room is usually the dumping ground for their gear bags, clothing and gear.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

I knew I could “up” the amount of storage we had in this small unused space by going vertical. I designed and created Sports Gear Storage Shelves in the small space at the base of our bonus room stairs. Adding mesh siding gives the storage system a locker vibe and allowed for better air flow around stinky sports gear.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

Want to know how to build your own Sport Gear Storage Shelves? Hang out for a while and I’ll walk you through the step-by-step tutorial.

Materials:

Cut List:

  • 5 – 15″ x 24″ plywood (shelves)*
  • 5 – 1 x 3 x 15″ (shelf cleats)
  • 5 – 1 x 3 x 23″ (shelf cleats)
  • 2 – 1 x 3 x 88″ (sides of support frame)
  • 2 – 1 x 3 x 4.5″ (top & bottom of support frame)
  • 1 – 5.5″ x 84″ piece of wire mesh
  • Rip edge banding 1/4″ thickness from one 1 x 3″ board

* You should be able to get a sixth shelf cut from your plywood if you wish to use it for a base.

Instructions:

Before beginning to build, sketch out your design with painter’s tape. Take note of the height of any baskets or gear bags you will store on the shelves. This should give you the ability to visualize the storage shelves and make any alterations to your design before you build. Once you are happy with the layout, write down your shelf heights.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

You may wish to clad the walls in wood planks like I did before you build the shelving. If you decide to add the planks, here’s the tutorial for planking your walls.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

Measure and mark the heights of your shelves.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

Using a level, draw a pencil line where the shelves will rest.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the 1×3″ cleats below the pencil line using 2 1/2″ wood screws into studs.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

Continue securing shelf cleats to the wall with screws into available studs.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint or stain the cleats to match the wall color.

Sport Gear Storage Shelves in a Small Space | Pretty Handy Girl

Building Curved Shelves with Edge Banding: Read more

How to Build Custom Rustic Box Crates | Pretty Handy Girl

Making custom rustic wooden box crates is super easy. You can build your crates to fit in a book case or use them as drawers in a cabinet. When I was giving my IKEA cabinet a makeover, I chose to remove a door and build custom box drawers instead.

How to Build Custom Rustic Crates | Pretty Handy Girl

Here’s the super easy tutorial so you can build your own:

Materials:
(some links are affiliate links)

Tools:

Instructions:

Begin by cutting the 1/2″ plywood into four pieces the size you want for your crate sides.

How to Build Custom Rustic Crates | Pretty Handy Girl

Test fit the sides together. Add a line of glue to the ends of the plywood. Read more

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Choosing paint colors can be a daunting task. Looking at small paint chips at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement store can be a bit overwhelming. Especially because there are so many colors to choose from! (That can be a good thing too ;-).)

Luckily I have two tips to help you choose the paint color that’s right for you:

1. Use Valspar paint. Finding a paint color you love is easier with Valspar. If you don’t love the first color you choose, you can have another on them. It’s as easy as, love your color, or change your color. That’s the Valspar Love Your Color Guarantee. And it certainly helps alleviate the stress of choosing the right paint color for your room.

2. Create larger paint chips. Looking at tiny paint chips won’t help you conceptualize that color over the entire wall. Making large paint swatches using foam board and sample paints is easy and can save you time when choosing the ideal paint color. I put together this short video to show you how we selected the final color for the school library.

I knew if I could create big paint chips and let the librarian live with the large chips for a few days, she’d be better prepared to make a final decision. As you saw, she was much more comfortable choosing this way.

The winning color was Montpelier Wedgewood by Valspar. And, luckily after we began painting, we all fell in love with the color she chose.

Here’s how we tackled painting the school library (acoustic ceiling tiles and all!): Read more

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

For a month I’ve been working on the school library makeover that was facilitated by a donation from Overstock.com. This morning I got my emotional reward. I walked into the library ready to put on the finishing touches in the room. There were a few kids in the main section of the library reading. But, when I turned the corner and gazed into what used to be the dark back corner…

library-before-pic-1

…I was surprised to see a dozen kids sprawled on the rug, dog beds and bean bags.

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

They were all piled back there and quietly reading! My heart almost burst. The librarian told me it’s been like that since we finished painting. The kids love to hang out there. And not just the younger grade levels, all the kids love it! My heart is just singing with joy. Read more

Built_in_storage_ideasI love finding unused space for storage. Nothing bothers me more than a wall that obviously hides a large void behind it.  Or a built-in bench that could have been perfect for extra storage.

While on the hunt for creative ways to store more, I found 20 brilliant ways to add built-in beauty AND storage to your home. You can see some above, but there’s plenty more in this curated collection of storage ideas that I put together for you. Enjoy.

PHGFancySign


A few months ago when I got the call that Woman’s Day wanted to send a photographer to photograph me and my garage, I kind of freaked a little. I mean, it was my garage, the least attractive room in our house! Part of the unattractiveness stemmed from my workbench with a huge gaping hole in it.

It was suggested that I could just cover the hole with some fabric (which, yes, I could have done.) But, being that it is my workshop and a sawdust producing place, I felt I could do a little a little better than just some fabric. I decided to build custom doors for the opening. Luckily they turned out to be less of an involved project than I originally anticipated. (I love when that happens.)

Come on in the workshop and I’ll show you how I built these open frame cabinet doors. Read more

I’m back to show you the updates I made to my kitchen. Remember the plans I shared with you?

Well, they have been implemented and I LOVE the results! Best of all, the materials I bought cost me under $25 and that included the white dish set. But, the cherry on top is that I can easily reverse the changes if we move (or get sick of the look.)

And now, I present to you:
Fabric Backed Open Shelving for the Kitchen

When we first met these sad cabinets, they were dark, dreary and had an eclectic collection of mugs:

Within only a few hours (minus drying times), I had a stylish new look that is bright and cheery!

Follow along for the tutorial and the 50 cent tour (please deposit your pocket change on the way out.) Just kidding. I’ll let you in for free.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Optional: 

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1: Empty your cabinets.

Clean the insides with an all purpose kitchen cleaner.

Step 2. Starting from the bottom, remove the screws from the cabinet door hinges. The last screw should be the very top hinge (to keep the weight of the door from wrenching the screw out of the wood.)

Put screws into a ziplock bag and label your cabinet doors in order so that you can return them to the appropriate cabinet opening at a later date.

Now you should have a clean slate like this:

Step 3. If your cabinets are dark inside, you may or may not decide to paint the insides. (Be sure to check with your landlord if you are renting.) I chose to paint mine because the interiors were so dark. If you want to skip this step, fast forward to the next step.

Prime the insides by rolling on primer over the flat surfaces. Use a brush to get into the corners and crevices.

Once the primer has dried, get out the wood putty and putty knife.

Step 4. Using the putty knife, spread a small amount of putty over the holes where the hinges were. Push the putty into the holes, then scrape the excess off. Allow the putty to dry completely.

Step 5. Sand the puttied holes until smooth.

Step 6. Touch up the putty holes with paint or stain. Add caulk to any cracks or seams at the back of your cabinet. Allow the caulk to dry thoroughly.

If you are painting the inside of the cabinets, roll on paint with the small roller and use the brush to smooth out the paint and get into the grooves.

Step 7. Measure the dimensions of the back of your cabinets. Make sure your measurements are precise (measure twice, cut once is a good adage.)

Cut a piece of foam board using the measurements you just took.

Test fit the foam board into the back of the cabinet. If your cabinet’s face frame is smaller than the cabinet back, you will probably have to bend the foam board to get it in.

Step 8. Iron your fabric. Make sure to iron all the wrinkles out.

Cut the fabric 3 inches wider than the foam board. Lay the foam board on top of the fabric (wrong side facing up.)

Step 9. Tape the edges of the fabric onto the back of the foam board. Be sure to pull the fabric taut.

Fold the edges of the fabric as you would on a gift. Tape the ends to the back of the foam board.

Step 10. Insert the foam board into the cabinet.

Push the foam board firmly against the back of the cabinet. The tension of the fabric and the board against the edges of the cabinet should hold it in place, no need to tape or glue anything!

It is a good idea to try to line up your pattern if you have multiple shelves. (Do as I say, not as I do.)

Start putting your coordinated dishes back into the cabinet. Think about displaying them as you might see in a store.

For visual interest and extra storage, I hung some mugs from the top of the cabinet.

It was as simple as pre-drilling some holes and screwing in white cup hooks. (I did measure the same distance back from the face frame and spaced the hooks evenly. But, I’m a perfectionist like that.)

I am in love with my new kitchen! And all it took was less than $25 in supplies and a few hours.

What do you think?

The best part about this project is that I can easily remove the foam boards…

…or tape new fabric onto the back when I want to update the look!

Can you imagine a cheaper, easier or more glamorous update to your kitchen?

Are you an apartment dweller that is restricted from making permanent changes to your home? Or does your budget limit the renovations you’d really like to make? Why not make a few frugal changes that reflect your own style.

Apartment Guide has changes you can make that won’t break the bank:

Want to find even more design tips for your home? Apartment Guide has budget friendly ideas and DIY how-tos for people in any sized home on https://www.movingtoday.com and https://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/

Disclosure Statement:

Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger program.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what project to create or what to purchase. Nor did they influence my opinions! We believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.