DIY Built In Fire Pit Benches

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

These simple DIY built-in fire pit benches are a simple and attractive design. The lumber costs are low and the skills required are minimal — a winning combination in my book! Just think, you could have these permanent benches built around your fire pit by the end of the weekend.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Years ago, I created a very simple (and inexpensive) fire pit using some stumps from a tree we had to have taken down. I simply asked the tree guys to cut the tree into 18″ stumps.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Having fire pit get togethers with friends and family is one of our favorite activities. During these gatherings, our meal planning is usually nothing fancy. Most of the time it consists of hot dogs, salad, s’mores, and good conversation over a warm fire. Unfortunately, after a few years, our stump seats rotted out. For the past year or more we haven’t had any friends over for a fire pit outing because I was afraid the stumps might disintegrate the minute someone sat down. That would be awkward, right?

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I toyed with the idea of buying more permanent seating, but all the options were expensive (especially when trying to provide seating for 12-15 people.) As luck would have it, after finishing all the construction on the Saving Etta project, I had some leftover lumber (a few pressure treated 2x10s, 2x6s, and 4×6 posts. On the day before the open house, I threw the lumber into my truck and hauled it home thinking I might be able to build benches for around our fire pit. (Note to self, 2x10s placed on top of rotting stumps is no more attractive than rotting stumps.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

After a few days (and several cold days where you couldn’t drag me outside), I finished building five built-in fire pit benches and couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. Why don’t you join me and see how this rotten fire pit got it’s groove back with new seating and a new low maintenance stone surround.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Trust me, it is the same fire pit area you see above. Amazing transformation, right?!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches 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.)


Safety Equipment:

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Lumber & Fasteners:

The All Battery Challenge:

The folks at Craftsman sent me all the battery-powered tools used in this project. This is a sponsored post for Craftsman, so I decided to really challenge myself by only using the Craftsman V20 battery-powered tools and forgo dragging an extension cord out to the job site. (I also vowed not to cheat and use any of my corded power tools in my workshop.) Want to see if these tools lived up to the challenge?

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I can’t forget this Craftsman Cordless V20 blue tooth speaker that doubles as a USB charger when my phone battery get low while jamming out. Hard work is always easier with some rockin’ tunes.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches  Video Tutorial:

Some people learn best by watching others, I get that. Which is why I made this tutorial video for you! Feel free to watch the video below to learn how to make the built-in fire pit benches. I will include the step-by-step tutorial below with a little more detailed instruction. Let’s get building!

Site Preparation:

Before building your fire pit benches, clear your build area. It took me a bit of physics ingenuity to clear out the old rotting stump seats from our fire pit area. (Definitely watch the video to see my magnificent solution for lifting the stumps into the wheelbarrow. They may have been rotting, but they were still very heavy.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

After the area is cleared, drive a stake into the center of your fire pit area.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Measure out 5’ from your fire pit center (or the distance you want your benches to sit.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Attach the string to the stake. Make a loop big enough to fit your hand through at the 5 foot mark. Insert your hand into the loop and use a can of spray paint to trace a circle around the fire ring.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Cut your 2×10 pressure treated lumber to the size you want your bench tops. (Personally, I chose alternating 4’ and 5’ benches for our fire pit. The 5′ benches can accommodate three adults each or more little ones. These five benches will accommodate 13 adults comfortably and probably more people if we squeeze kids on some of the benches.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Lay out where your benches will sit and mark the locations for the support posts. I suggest centering the support posts 18” narrower than the bench seats. (Nine inches in from each side.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Dig a hole three times the widths of your posts. The depth will be determined by your frost line for footings as referred to on this map or in your local building codes.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Set a 1-2″ layer of drainage rock into the base of your hole. Drainage rock provides a sturdy base for your post, but it also allows water to seep away from the post.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Use your post to tamp the gravel down and create a firm base.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Measure the depth of your hole. Add 16 ½” to your hole depth and cut your posts to this length. (Hole Depth + 16.5″ = support post length.) This should give you an 18″ bench height, which is standard chair height.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I had my doubts that this battery-powered saw could cut through all the pressure treated 4×6’s. But, with a fully charged battery and a steady feed, they cut through each post! (Tip: If your saw isn’t cutting through the lumber, swap out your battery for one with a full charge.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Place your first post in the hole. Then set your bench seat on top of the post. Level the bench seat and measure the distance between the bottom of the bench seat and the bottom of your hole to determine the length of your other support post.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Set the second support post into the hole and check to make sure it is level with the first support post. Add or remove drainage gravel until the bench seat is leveled. Line up the two support posts so they are even and plumb in both directions. Secure a scrap 2×4 between the posts to hold them in place while adding the concrete mix.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Follow the directions on your concrete mix. Fill the holes with the mix and add the water. Allow the posts to set overnight.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

To cut the bench support pieces, trace a trapezoid shape onto a 2×6. The narrowest part of your trapezoid should be the width of your posts and the widest part of your trapezoid should be 1” narrower than your bench depth.

Cut trapezoid support piece

Each support post gets two trapezoid support pieces sandwiched onto either side. Use a clamp to hold the supports while you level them side to side and front to back.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Then drill three pilot holes into each support piece.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Drive ⅜” lag screws or structural wood screws into the pilot holes.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Clamp the other support trapezoid pieces to the second post. Check to make sure the top of the supports are level with the first supports. Make any adjustment, then drill pilot holes and drive structural wood screws through the trapezoids (like you did on the first post.)

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Center your bench top side to side and front to back on top of the support posts.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Drive 2 ½” wood screws through the bench top and into the support pieces. Two screws on each side of the seat should be sufficient.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Using a circular object (like a glass or water bottle) trace a curve onto each corner of your bench seat. Use a jigsaw to cut along the lines and round off the sharp corners.

Trace circle around water bottle on bench corners

Sand all surfaces and edges smooth on your bench. Wipe off with a damp rag and finish your benches with paint, stain, or a sealant.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

These benches are sure to last much longer than my rotting stumps. It’s time to call the family out and enjoy some s’mores by the fire!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Want a peek into my real life struggles? This was my goal: Take a nice family photo of my boys happily enjoying roasting marshmallows.

Result 1:  One boy who can not sit still.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Result 2: If you put sticks in boys’ hands you can expect a wild rumpus.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Result 3: Bribe boys with one more marshmallow if they sit still for 2 seconds. Success!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

We are loving the new built-in fire pit benches. I can’t wait to invite the first group of friends over.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I bought a new bag of marshmallows and chocolate just for the occasion!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Of course, the fire pit area is also nice for just two people. Pretty Handsome Guy and I had a little wine and marshmallows after the boys went to bed. You can’t get a more frugal date night.

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

I hope you liked this tutorial. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, especially if you have questions or build these benches for yourself!

DIY Built-In Fire Pit Benches

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Craftsman. I was not told what to write. All words and ideas are my own. I am very particular about the brands I work with, and only partner with companies that provide quality materials and/or services.

 If you haven’t done so already, be sure to *subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

*My followers on YouTube get sneak peeks of some of the projects I’m working on, so subscribe today!

Rustic Wooden Caddy with a Branch Handle

Spring is right around the corner and I’m itching to cut some fresh flowers to bring inside. I love displaying them in jars placed inside rustic wooden caddies. Making a little caddy or tote out of salvage wood and branches can be an easy beginner DIY project. But, it’s also satisfying for experienced woodworkers looking to use up some old scraps or upcycle an old wooden box. Here’s how to elevate a simple wooden box into something more quirky and special by adding a branch handle.


(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.)

I happened to be browsing through a yard sale and spotted a sad little box begging for me to buy it and give it a new life:

How could I say no! It was only $3. I couldn’t leave it at the yard sale in its sad burgundy dust-covered state. I brought it home so it could sit in my garage collecting more dust. (This happens more often than I’d like to admit. It’s a sickness I have.)

Using the pry bar and pliers, I pulled off the lid of the box and removed any nails.

Then I had a basic box to work with. You can use this tutorial to create a simple box if you don’t have one.


Cut upper handle supports out of 1×3 or other scraps. Clamp them inside the box.

Pre-drill holes and drive wood screws through the sides of the box and into the vertical supports.

Now it the time to finish the wooden caddy using your choice of paint or stain. (I like to create a rustic look using a relatively dry brush and by letting some of the wood grain show through your brush stokes.)

While the paint is drying, use a hack or coping saw to remove any bumps or burrs from your branch.

Measure the ends of your branch and select the spade bits that are closest in diameter to your branch (you want the holes to be equal to or wider than the branch.)

Drill a hole into each side of the vertical handle supports.

Insert the branch into the side of the caddy. You might have to experiment with which direction to install the branch.

Fill some jars with flowers and set them inside the crate.

Set it out in a prominent spot in your home.

Enjoy your shabby chic crate, caddy, tool box, or whatever you like to call it.

Personally I can’t get enough of this branch handle:

I’m curious, would you have bought that little dusty box too?!

If you liked this tutorial, you’ll love these other easy DIY Projects:

Mini-Picket Fence Caddy

Make a Driftwood Gift Crate | Pretty Handy Girl

Make Your Own Driftwood Crate

Saving Etta: Kitchen Update & Installing the Range Hood

This kitchen was a big deal for me. It was one of those projects I knew would make or break this house. It was also the first time I’ve taken the reins on kitchen design and installed cabinets. As the project was in the home stretch, I spent many hours and late nights working on the kitchen. Today I’m thrilled to give you another update on the kitchen and show you the installation of the range hood (complete with all the mishaps involved). Speaking of mishaps, I have some tips to help you avoid a potentially dangerous and costly mistake when selecting a range hood.

Before we begin, I’d like to say thank you to all my wonderful sponsors on the Saving Etta project. I could not have saved Etta without their help. When you are looking for products that last and perform well, you can rest assured that I hand-selected these sponsors to represent the Saving Etta project.

Saving Etta sponsors

Where It Started:

If you’ve been along for the entire Saving Etta journey, you may remember the kitchen in the house when I bought it. Then again, you might be like me and need a little memory refresher once in a while. Here’s the kitchen before:

kitchen with cabinets

Saving Etta - The Story of Saving a House Built in 1900 | Pretty Handy Girl

There were only a few base cabinets and five upper cabinets. Lucky thing because it made demolition of the kitchen easier. The first week after purchasing the property, I hauled all the cabinets to the dumpster and started peeling away the layers in the kitchen. It was a lot of work, but so much fun seeing through the decades and discovering old bead board beneath.

The water heater was walled into a little closet in the corner of the kitchen. It was a blast taking a sledge hammer to the wall. Who needs therapy when you can release pent up frustration through demolition?

Unfortunately it wasn’t enjoyable getting the water heater out. My plumber had a tough time removing the water heater from the house!

You might remember asbestos tiles were discovered on the floor and they had to be removed. What was left was a maze of floor joists and pipes where the floor used to be.

I originally hoped to save this room from demolition because it was part of the 1900 structure, but after assessing the lack of crawlspace and a severed structural beam with my architect, we decided it had to be removed.

The picture below is shortly after demolition. The doorway on the right is where the original kitchen entrance was. But, it had been walled off a long time ago to provide space for the refrigerator.

The new kitchen was moved to the other side of the house, as shown in the plans below:

Saving Etta First Floor Blueprints - Kitchen Location

Obviously, after demo, a lot of progress happened to get us to the new kitchen installation. If you want to read the previous updates, here’s what you missed:

Now that you’re up to speed, this is where we left off (right after installing the kitchen cabinets.)

(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.)

To protect the wood floors, we laid Surface Shield Builder Boards on the floor. They worked perfectly to protect the floor from spills, dropped tools, and lots of tracked in mud and dirt. It’s amazing how much dirt got tracked into the house. But, when the ground is scraped clean of any landscaping, things are bound to get messy. I eventually purchased two dirt trapper rubber mats and put them by each entrance. This helped limit much of the dirt from coming inside.

Selecting the Range Hood:

Choosing a range hood for the kitchen proved to be difficult because I liked so many of the Broan options. (Broan is one of the Saving Etta sponsors and provided the range hood for this project.)

The first hood I fell for was the Broan RM519004 Stainless Steel range hood. It’s sleek and modern, with a beautiful curved shape.

BROAN RM519004 Stainless Steel range hood

The style definitely appealed to me because it was different, but the width of the hood is 36″. I was concerned it might look too big in a small kitchen. Ultimately, I think the hood would have worked, but I had already moved on. (I will keep this range hood in mind for future kitchen renovations, because I still think it looks kind of sexy.)

Next I stumbled upon the the B5630SS Broan range hood. It had some curves, but more of a box shape. And the glass hood added some elegance.


Ultimately I decided against this range hood because I worried the glass would show dust or grease between cleanings. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t choose this range hood, because I would have been hit with an unexpected expense. Right before installing the new range hood, my mechanical contractor asked how many CFMs the range hood pulled. “CF-what?,” I said.

What is CFM and Do You Need Make Up Air for Your Range Hood?

CFM is short for cubic feet per minute and it describes the amount of air flow an exhaust fan can pull. Believe it or not, this is one of the most important specifications (besides dimensions) you need to know when considering a range hood. One would think the higher the CFM the better, because it sucks up more cooking odors and steam, right? Not necessarily. Typically 200-300 CFM is adequate for a range hood in a residential kitchen. If you have a commercial stove, or the range hood is mounted further away from the stove top, you may need something stronger. If you need a range hood with a stronger fan (over 400 CFM), you’re required to install a make up air device with an automatic damper. This will add to your expense and requires a licensed HVAC contractor to install it.

For reference, this is the code for exhaust hoods in residential construction:

International Residential Code: M1503.4: “Exhaust hood systems capable of exhausting in excess of 400 cfm shall be provided with makeup air at a rate approximately equal to the exhaust air rate. Such makeup air systems shall be equipped with a means of closure and shall be automatically controlled to start and operate simultaneously with the exhaust system.”

What happens if I don’t add make up air for my range hood?

Stronger exhaust fans can depressurize a house. Resulting in doors slamming shut, air pulled from any cracks or openings in the building envelope, or noise. Some unsuspecting homeowners have turned on their exhaust fan to find it pulls ashes from their chimney. If you don’t have make up air it could create a dangerous back draft situation in the home. This is why it’s important to know what the CFM is for the range hood you want to install. (This article does a good job of explaining the issues with stronger range hoods.)

Luckily the range hood I chose for the Saving Etta kitchen was under the 400 CFM limit. This is the beauty I ordered, a sleek Broan modern stainless steel hood with a square chimney.

BROAN RM533004 Range Hood

No glass to clean and the width is 30″. Plus, the CFM is 370, sufficiently low enough to not need make up air, but strong enough to exhaust cooking steam and odors. This made me happy, especially after all the make up air vents we had to install in the laundry room.)

Installing the Range Hood:

As with many installs at the house, I had to pick and choose which ones to assign to my subcontractors. The range hood was already slated to be installed by my mechanical contractors, so I let them take over installation. I was busy working on another project, but when I came into the kitchen I knew I had to step in and “help.” As before, things were not going smoothly. The first indication that the install may get screwed up was when I found the instructions folded up in the bottom of the product box. I pulled them out and quickly scanned the directions. The second clue was when I found a bracket in the box as well. The guys were trying to figure out how to attach the chimney to the wall (had I not arrived when I did, I’m sure they would have finagled some unattractive solution.) Without an invitation, I took over the role of supervisor and pointed out how the chimney needed to attach to the wall via the bracket in the box. I’m not sure if the guys were relieved or annoyed, but they put up with my directions (thank goodness!)

About Working with Contractors:

Before we go on, I want to point out the fact that these were the so called “professionals”. But, obviously they didn’t know how to install this particular range hood. I chalk this up to lack of experience with this model, not necessarily lack of experience as a mechanical contractor. BUT, they should have been reading the instructions. I want to leave you with this important message:

When you hire a professional, make sure you read the instructions for how the project should be completed. Do your homework and research online so you understand the steps in the project. Speak up if you see something amiss. Just because someone is a professional doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes.

At the end of the day, the contractors go home. If something is installed incorrectly you’ll be the one who has to live with it. And, unless you are working with stellar contractors, it might be difficult to get them back to your house. (Then again, stellar contractors are oftentimes extremely busy. You’ll need to wait to get back on their schedule.)

We worked together to hang the range hood chimney. The guys had already hooked up the ductwork and painted mastic over the seams (also required by code). The fan motor was plugged into the outlet above the duct.

The hanging bracket was attached to the wall, and then the upper chimney was slid into place over the bracket. Securing the chimney to the bracket was a little tricky because the hole on the chimney has to line up with holes on the bracket. Plus, it was difficult maneuvering a drill against the ceiling. Ultimately, the chimney and range hood were installed. The power was turned on to the hood and…NOTHING! We scratched our heads until I climbed back onto a step ladder and peeked into the chimney. See the problem?

Doh! Somewhere along the way we unplugged the fan and forgot to plug it back in. Luckily we all had a collective laugh about it and then slid the chimney back down to plug it in, then re-attached the chimney to the bracket. My words of wisdom: “Always make sure it’s plugged in!” LOL.

We left the protective film on the range hood, and I’m glad I did because it was easier to clean and protect while tiling. Stay tuned for more updates and the kitchen reveal soon! Next up is tiling the backsplash.

kitchen cabinets installed

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Broan. I was compensated for my time and efforts to promote the Broan products. However, all ideas and opinions are my own. I will always let you know when you are reading a sponsored post. You should also note that I’m very particular about the brands I work with.

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

I should probably re-name this post How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Semi-Privacy Fence. But, honestly it’s only semi-private because the lots in downtown Raleigh are so close together and the next door neighbor’s driveway is against the privacy fence. All they have to do is lean against the fence and peek through to eliminate the “privacy” function. But, if we’re going to be honest here, their six foot picket privacy fence has cracks in it where the picket wood has shrunk. And, yes, you can see through their privacy fence too. But, in a suburban neighborhood, this fence would block the view from the road or a distance.

When I was considering fencing options for the Saving Etta project, I wanted to create a beautiful fence that was attractive to look at but also gives some privacy and security.

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

Why I chose to use a window pane lattice fence:

  1. I love the look. It’s a mixture of cottage and modern. And it’s perfect for a modern farmhouse style house.
  2. The new owners can train a flowering vine to grow up the lattice and create more privacy.
  3. It’s neighborly being able to see and talk to your neighbors next door. It fosters community!

As we drew closer to the holidays, I knew I had to push the accelerator on all the remaining projects at the Saving Etta project. Therefore, I did not build this fence, I hired a fence contractor to build it. But, I did design the fence and shared my design idea with the contractor. I took some inspiration from my Pergola with Trellis Screens.

Build a Pergola with Trellis to Screen Your Trash Cans | Pretty Handy Girl

The following tutorial is a basic construction guide for How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate. I didn’t oversee the construction, so I’m going to make some suggested fasteners, but ultimately you should gauge the strength of your fasteners especially when building the gate. If your gate is wider, you may need an additional cross or diagonal brace.

Tools & 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.)

Before we get started, I want to express a huge thank you to Wood It’s Real for being a Saving Etta sponsor. As you might remember, they sponsored the side porch and the front flat sawn balluster project. And now, I have the honor of sharing yet another Wood It’s Real Sponsored project. Let’s learn How to Build Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate using beautiful Southern Yellow Pine.

Wood It's Real Website

This build will take at least two days. Digging the post holes, setting the posts, and pouring the concrete for the posts can be completed on day one. But, you’ll want to wait overnight for the concrete to set up before building the fence panels. For more information on setting fence posts, you might find this tutorial by Quikrete helpful.

Before building your fence, be sure to research your local building codes; know if you have to meet any setback limits, and find out if you have any restrictive covenants for your neighborhood.

Building a Window Pane Lattice Fence:

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

To create the tall privacy fence, we used one 4′ x 8′ lattice sheet vertically between the posts. Therefore, our posts were set four feet apart. After your 6×6 fence posts are set in the ground, you can start building your lattice fence sections between the posts.

set fence posts


Measure and cut two 2×6 pieces of pressure treated lumber to fit between the top and bottom of the posts. Level and secure to the 6×6 posts using exterior grade wood screws.

secure-2x4 horizontal lumber

Center your 4×8 lattice panel in the center of the 6×6 posts. Cut 2×2 lumber to create a frame to support the lattice.

add 2x2 frame to secure lattice

Secure the 2×2 frame to the inside of the 6×6 posts and the 2×6 horizontal lumber. You can use wood screws or 2″ finish nails to secure the 2×2 frame. Add another 2×2 frame to the other side of your lattice.

secured-lattice fence section

Add post caps to the top of your fence to protect the posts from rot (and to make your fence look pretty.)

add post caps

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

Repeat the steps above to create as many window pane lattice fence sections as you desire.

completed window pane lattice privacy fence

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate
Depending on the angle of sight, you can see some shapes through the fence. This is the view from the bathroom window. I’ll be sharing how I added complete privacy to this window in a later blog post.

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

From the bedroom you can barely see the neighbor’s car through the fence.

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Gate:

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

To match the window pane lattice fence, I challenged my fence contractor to build matching lattice gates at the end of the driveway. I wanted the opening to be wide enough to drive a car through (should they want to park in the back of the house or get a delivery of mulch or other landscaping materials.)


Measure and cut your 2×4 pressure treated lumber. For a 4′ x 8′ gate, cut the vertical pieces exactly 8′ in length. The top and bottom pieces should be cut 41″ long. Secure the frame with pocket hole screws in the corners of the frame. (Click here to learn how to use a pocket hole jig.)

build 2x4 frame for gate

Lay the 4×8 lattice panel on top of the 2×4 frame. Tack the lattice in place using 1 ½” finish nails.

add lattice panel to 2x4 frame

Measure and cut your 1×4 lumber using the same measurements as the 2×4’s.

cut 1x4 frame to size

Secure the 1×4 boards to the lattice and the 2×4’s using 2 ½” exterior wood screws. (The lattice will be sandwiched in the middle and the screws should extend through the 1×4’s and the lattice and into the 2×4 frame.)

sandwich lattice between 1x4 and 2x4 frames

Your gate construction is complete. Add hinges and gate hardware and secure to a 6×6 post.

add gate hinges

These gates are rock solid and shouldn’t sag over time. The lattice keeps the gate square.

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

For a decorative touch, we added two 2×6 pieces of lumber across the two gate posts to create a pergola. The new owners can put a potted vine next to each post and allow the vines to grow up and over the pergola.

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

A metal drop rod is secured to the left side gate for stability and to keep both gates from swinging in when latching.

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

The window pane lattice provides plenty of privacy from the road. But, it also allows the homeowners a view to see if anyone is coming up the driveway.

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

What do you think? Do you like the window pane lattice fence and gates? Would you leave it natural or stain it?

How to Build a Window Pane Lattice Privacy Fence and Gate

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored post for Wood It’s Real. It was written as part of their sponsorship of the Saving Etta project. I was not told what to write. All words and opinions are my own. I am very particular about the brands I work with, and only partner with companies that provide quality materials and/or services.

Get ready for the tutorial I’ve been anxious to share with you. Ever since completing the Saving Etta front porch project, I find myself taking breaks to glance out the window at these gorgeous flat sawn baluster railings. Now I get to teach you how to make these decorative railings for your home!

How to Build Flat Sawn Baluster Railings

Anyone who has strolled around a historic neighborhood has probably seen beautiful porches with decorative cut out railings. The patterned slats are referred to as flat sawn balusters. And they are simple enough to create if you have a pattern or can design your own. There are many different shapes and patterns of flat sawn balusters, all you have to do is use Google or Pinterest to find a style for inspiration.

key-west-flat-sawn-baluster-front-porch-pink-doorThis is one of those beautiful architectural features I knew I wanted to use for the front porch at the Saving Etta house. Downtown Raleigh is filled with historic houses that have beautiful old flat sawn balusters. From the moment I laid eyes on the Saving Etta house, I knew the old metal railing would have to go.

Not only were they a safety hazard (some were barely attached), but they also looked dinky. If you remember, during the framing process, we decided the original porch couldn’t be salvaged. It was removed and subsequently we rebuilt a new one in the exact same shape, size, footprint, and ceiling height of the original. This left us with an “open concept” front porch for several months until it was time to add the railings and porch ceiling.

As I designed the new railings, I knew a composite, metal, or vinyl railing wouldn’t look right on a house built in 1900. Therefore, I chose to use real wood for the railings and balusters. To insure the railings would last for decades, I chose pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine lumber.

(This is a sponsored post for Wood It’s Real.)
You may recall that Wood It’s Real is a proud sponsor of the Saving Etta project.

Wood It's Real Website

Building Code Requirements for Railings:

Before I teach you how to create flat sawn baluster railings, we need to talk about current building codes and historic houses (and where the two don’t meet.) Building codes in the US state that if your porch floor is 30 inches or more off the ground, you must have a railing at least 36 inches high. This can be an issue if you want your historic house to look historically accurate. (You may find this article about proportions and railing heights interesting.) If Etta had her original railings, they probably would have been 24″ high and could have been grandfathered in. Because we were starting new, I had to adhere to current building codes. In addition, spacing between balusters must be less than 4 inches apart to meet current building codes.

Before building the new railings, I drew up a design in SketchUp to share with the building inspector. I created a simple diamond cut out that pays homage to Etta’s diamond shape attic vents. This design was a simpler pattern to cut compared to many of the authentic victorian flat sawn balusters. Lucky for us, this design would save time, (and it would have less elements to deviate from the current building codes.)

I was still concerned about the diamond width since it would be wider than 4 inches. To make sure my railings would meet final inspection, I emailed the above drawing to our local building inspector for his opinion. Luckily, he approved my drawings, stating that the diamonds were high enough a child would have difficulty getting their head stuck, and the majority of the spacing was much less than 4 inches wide. (Remember, it’s important to check with your local building official before you build anything that might not meet code. Ultimately each inspector may have a different interpretation of the local building codes.)

Once I had the inspector’s approval it was time to start building. Ready to learn how to make your own flat sawn baluster railings? Great, let’s get building!

How to Build Flat Sawn Baluster Railings

(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.)

Lumber per Railing Section:

  • 3 – 2″ x 6″ x (width between your posts)
  • 4 – 1″ x 2″ x (width between your posts)
  • *1″ x 6″ x 24″ boards for your balusters (figure out how many balusters you need to create a symmetrical pattern between the posts)
  • *1″ x 2″ x 24″ boards to place between the 1″ x 6″ balusters

* You’ll need to figure out your railing length and decide how much lumber you’ll need for your balusters.



Gather your supplies, set up on a workbench or two saw horses.

Cutting Flat Sawn Balusters:

If you want to use the same proportions I designed in the drawing above, use 24″ tall balusters. To save time, layer two 1″ x 6″ pieces of pressure treated SYP (Southern Yellow Pine) on top of one another and cut all the balusters to length.

Make a quick diamond shaped template out of a piece of cardboard and laid it on top of two balusters side-by-side. Once you are happy with the size and shape (approximately 6″ tall), stack your two balusters and cut the triangle shape out of them. It’s quickest to stack the two balusters on top of one another and cut the shape with a circular saw. It’s okay if the saw doesn’t cut completely into the corner of the shape. We’ll take care of that next.

Use your jigsaw to finish cutting into the corner. You may be wondering why we didn’t use only the jigsaw to cut the shapes out. Pressure-treated Southern Yellow Pine is a much stronger wood than your typical pine lumber. The jigsaw takes longer to cut through the lumber. A circular saw makes quicker and straighter cuts into the wood. Of course feel free to use the tools you feel comfortable using.

Assembling the Railing:

Cut three 2″ x 6″ boards to the width between the porch columns. Level and secure the bottom rail 4″ above your deck floor using 2 ½” deck screws. Measure 24″ from the bottom rail. (Approximately 30″ from the floor.) Level and secure your next horizontal rail at this height using two deck screws on each end. Secure the top rail at 36″ above the porch floor.

Cut four 1″ x 2″ boards the same length as your rails. You’ll need them to hold your balusters in place.

Laying Out the Baluster Pattern:

Before you begin securing the balusters, figure out your spacing. We chose to use 1×2 balusters in between the flat sawn balusters. This will give you more flexibility with your layout. (When you look at the finished railing, you’ll notice we finished the ends with two 1×2 balusters where we didn’t have enough room to fit a set of 1×6 flat balusters.) I’m not going to pretend laying out the spacing is easy. You may decide to use math to figure it out or start laying out your pattern using the cut balusters and pencil marks.

Once you determine your layout, lay two 1×2 boards (cut to the width of bottom and middle rails above) side-by-side and mark the location of the balusters and spaces onto them. This will help keep the balusters lined up on the top and bottom and prevent a mix up with your pattern.

Measure the center of the bottom 2″ x 6″ rail. Measure 3/8″ out from the center mark. Using finish nails, secure one 1″ x 2″ board to the bottom rail on the outside of the 3/8″ mark. Repeat the process and add a second 1″ x 2″ board on the underside of the middle rail. These will help hold your flat balusters in place vertically.

Starting in the middle, set two 1×6 diamond cut out balusters in place. Secure with finish nails through the 1×2 supports. Work your way toward one side and then the other.

Secure the other 1×2 boards to the bottom and middle rails to “sandwich” the balusters.

Here’s a look at our railings fully assembled.

Finally, measure the space between the bottom rail and the decking. Cut a support block out of the 2″ x 6″ leftover lumber. Measure the space between the top and middle rail. Cut a second block from the 2″ x 6″ lumber. (If your railing span is five feet or less, you might be able to skip the blocking. Spans longer than 10 feet might require additional blocking to keep the railings from bowing.) Attach the blocking with trim nails or screws.

Here’s Etta’s new flat sawn baluster railings. They look good, but definitely need paint.

Finishing the Flat Sawn Baluster Railings:

Sand any rough edges on your railing. Caulk all screw and nail holes. Caulk all seams, but you don’t need to caulk where the flat sawn balusters rest against the four supports.

Allow the caulk to cure, then prime the railings and porch posts. Finish up by painting them the color of your choice (although personally I prefer a nice crisp Magnolia Home True White.)

The porch floor received two coats of semi-transparent Sherwin Williams Banyan Brown deck stain to protect it from the elements.

As if you couldn’t tell how excited I am about the final results, enjoy a few more shots of the finished project!

The angled railings, were created by cutting the appropriate angle for the balusters. Then we used a line to mark the location for the diamond cut outs. As you can see below, having 1×2 balusters in the mix allowed us to fill in space too narrow for a set of 1×6 balusters.

If were wondering about the colors I chose for Etta’s exterior, you can find them here. (The porch ceiling was recently painted Sherwin Williams Tidewater. It’s the perfect Southern porch ceiling color in my humble opinion.)

Because I get asked this question all the time, the rain chains are from Amazon. They work in place of standard gutters. The water flows down the cups and fills a small round bowl filled with Mexican beach pebbles. I have holes in the bottom of the bowl, but I also tipped it to spill excess water into the yard.

The Saving Etta house is looking amazing from the street. We’re closing in on the finish line!

Do you like the flat sawn balusters? Think you could use them on your own porch or deck?

If you liked this project, you might want to see some of the other deck, porch, and outdoor living projects on the Wood It’s Real website!

wood its real website - plans and ideas

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored post for Wood It’s Real. It was written as part of their sponsorship of the Saving Etta project. I was not told what to write. All words and opinions are my own. I am very particular about the brands I work with, and only partner with companies that provide quality materials and/or services.

Saving Etta: Side Porch Progress

Saving Etta: Side Porch Update

While there was a lot of progress on the exterior of the house, the side porch was built after the interior walls were framed and shortly before the exterior siding was put on. Truth be told, the side porch build started way back before the framing process. In fact, if you really want to get technical, some thought went into the side porch materials before the back of the house was removed.

After the aluminum siding was removed, I could see the original wood siding that clad Etta’s walls. Oh how I wanted to keep the old siding, but most of the siding was filled with large holes, cracked, and brittle.

After assessing all the pieces that needed replacing, I would have needed new siding for 2/3 of the original house. Plus, the new addition siding would never match the old. It was an unfortunate decision, but I chose to remove all of it. Before the excavator arrived, I began carefully pulling the old siding off the house and saving any pieces that were in decent shape. I knew I could use them somewhere, and hoped it would be on the porch ceilings!

The siding (and copious amounts of bead board from the interior of the house) was safely stored away in a trailer for later use. Shortly after the demolition and foundation footers were poured, I began preparing for the side porch construction. While the concrete was still wet, I sunk anchor bolts into the fresh concrete footers under the side porch location.

After the mason finished building the foundation, I cut three 6×6 pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) posts and secured them to the anchors. Then I filled in around the base of the posts with drainage rock to prevent water from pooling around the posts. Although the lumber is moisture and bug resistant, I still didn’t want them sitting in direct contact with the soil or allowing water to pond around the bases. As someone who has seen the destructive capabilities of water, I’m always trying to build to prevent water from deteriorating the materials.

Speaking of being a quality builder, let’s talk about choosing materials for exterior building projects. One thing I knew early on was I wanted to retain the look and feel of this house built in 1900. Back in the day, composite decking didn’t exist. I knew I wanted to use real wood for the porches, that’s why I’m proud to introduce  Wood It’s Real as a sponsor of the Saving Etta project.

Wood It's Real Website

A few other reasons I decided to use Southern Yellow Pine for the decking:

  • Refinish: As the wood ages, it can be refinished and stained again as needed. When composite materials get scratched or faded, it cannot be sanded down.
  • Strength: Southern Yellow Pine is categorized in the soft woods category, but it actually has the strength of a hard wood. SYP is not like soft interior SPF (Spruce, Pine or Fir) framing lumber. They are two different species.
  • Temperature: One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about composite material for decks is it gets hot! In fact, one of my carpenters told me he has tons of work at the beach replacing composite decking because it can warp from the heat of the sun.
  • Beauty: The wood grain is beautiful and takes stain nicely. Being a designer and artist, I like having hundreds of stain colors to choose from instead of a few stock colors.

Side Porch Progress:

I wish I had progress shots of the side porch build— but as often happened—I left for some errands and when I got back to the house “poof” a side porch had magically appeared! As you can tell by the picture below, I was super excited to find the porch built and the little storage closet framed in.

The floor boards are all pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine. To be able to stain the deck sooner, I requested kiln-dried deck boards from my lumber supplier. Regular pressure treated lumber has to dry completely before you can paint or stain it. (Otherwise, the paint might peel off as the wood dries out.)

Within a few days, the framers also installed this salvaged wood door. I wish I could say it came from Etta’s interior, but it didn’t. However, the door is from the same era.

I salvaged it from one of the houses on the old frat house row near NC State. All the houses were built from 1895 – 1920. Unfortunately they were slated to be torn down to make way for apartments. Luckily one of my local followers tipped me off to this travesty. She and I worked with the demolition contractor to salvage doors and windows from the houses. Sadly about a week or two after we salvaged things from the houses they were leveled. Honestly, I can’t drive by there because I want to remember the street with all those beautiful old houses on it. (Granted, they were all in rough shape.)

Sears & Roebucks House from Raleigh, NC near NC State - Maiden Lane

Back at Etta, the side porch didn’t get steps right away, so we used a little “DIY” step stool for months.

In the meantime, I went to my stash of salvaged siding and pulled out the best pieces to clad the porch ceiling. Although I knew they were likely painted with lead paint, I double checked my suspicions using a Lead Check test kit.

That red spot indicates the presence of lead paint. Which meant I needed to remove and seal any of the paint that was chipping off. Working outside with a mask and a tarped off area, I scraped the paint using a ProScraper hooked up to my ShopVac with a new bag and filter to capture all the dust.

After the majority of the paint was scraped off, I carefully cleaned up the siding and rolled up the tarp to dispose in a sealed bag. Then I turned the siding over and gasped at the beautiful old saw marks and wood grain.

Even though the painted side of the siding would not be seen, I still used an encapsulating primer over the paint just in the off chance someone took them down one day.

After the primer dried, I coated the back sides with a clear deck sealer to protect the wood from the elements (even though they had more than weathered 118 years of being exposed to the elements.)

It took me two days to cut and install the siding on the side porch ceiling. It was two of the hottest days in Raleigh. And working overhead was not for the faint of heart.

But, in the end I was thrilled with the porch ceiling.

After the side porch ceiling was complete, I used brown caulk to seal any gaps between the old siding and the large nail holes to prevent bugs from getting through them. After the week of climbing ladders and that little DIY step, my gluteus muscles were incredibly sore. It was time to call my framer and schedule him to come back to build the side porch steps. By now, I was worried one of my subs (or worse yet, an inspector) would trip and fall on the little “step stool”.

The stairs were a huge improvement. I added the risers and painted them to match the trim color.

The stair treads are also Southern Yellow Pine. Be sure to read more about why SYP is the best choice for your exterior projects at Wood It’s Real.

I hope you enjoyed this update from the Saving Etta project. Stay tuned for more updates inside the house!

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored post for Wood It’s Real. It was written as part of their sponsorship of the Saving Etta project. I was not told what to write. All words and opinions are my own. I am very particular about the brands I work with, and only partner with companies that provide quality materials and/or services.

Installing new windows on your home isn’t rocket science, but it is recommended that you have some construction experience before tackling this project. If you have the skills, the install should only take an hour or less. Today I’ll show you How to Install a New Construction Window in your home.

How to Install a New Window

Installing a New Construction Ply Gem Mira Window:

If you read my article on ordering new windows, you’re probably ready to install that new window. Today I’ll take the mystique out of this process. To install new windows (as opposed to replacement windows) you need to start with the correct rough opening. Ply Gem makes it super simple to figure out the rough opening size for your new window with their downloadable window size guides(This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Ply Gem Windows.) 

After your rough openings are cut and ready, it’s time to gather a few supplies.


(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.)


Check that the rough opening is level and plumb. If it isn’t, have some wood shims nearby to help adjust the window after it is set in the opening.

level and plumb rough opening

Cut the first piece of flashing tape slightly wider than the window width. Peel off the backing and attach it one inch below the window opening.

window rough opening

Cut a second piece of flashing tape about 8″ wider than your window opening. Center it on the sill of the window opening. Line up the inside edge of the tape along the inside of the framing (allowing the excess to hang out on the exterior side of the window (as shown below). Press the flashing tape along the sill and up the sides of the window. Cut along the corners of the excess tape. Fold the tape out and down, securing it to the outside of the house sheathing as shown below.

flashing new window for installation

Cut two smaller pieces of flashing tape to cover the corners of the tape you secured above. Cut a slit in the tape where it overlaps the opening. Fold the flaps into the window opening and press your hand firmly on all the tape seams to secure.flashing window around bottom of rough opening Time to install the window! Run a generous bead of silicone along the inside of the nail fin frame.  Be sure to add additional silicone at the diagonal corner seams of the nail fin.

Have an assistant help you lift the window into the rough opening from the exterior of the house. (For upper story windows, you can feed the window out from the inside of the house. Make sure one person is outside to prevent the window from falling.) Check the diagonal measurements of your window to make sure they are the same. This will indicate if your window is square or not.

check window diagonals for plumb and level

Use your level to check if the window is level and plumb in the opening. If not, make adjustments by inserting shims from the inside of the house.

Once the window is square, level, and plumb, secure it to the house sheathing with roofing nails. (For added weather protection, the nail fin should go over the Tyvek house wrap for the sides and bottom. Along the top, lift the house wrap and nail the fin directly to the house sheathing.) The top flap of Tyvek will be secured later.

Continue adding nails to every hole in the nail fin. Your window is now securely installed. Time to add the exterior flashing.

(2.) Cut another piece of flashing slightly wider than the width of the window. Remove the backing and press firmly over the bottom nail fin.

flashing new window

(3.) Cut two pieces of flashing slightly taller than the height of the window. Press the flashing tape over both sides of the nail fin (taking care to overlap it over the bottom piece of flashing.) (4.) Lift the top house wrap flap out of the way. Then add one piece of flashing on the top nail fin (again, take care to overlap the top piece over the side pieces.)

Let the house wrap flap overlap the top piece of flashing. Secure it in place with a piece of Tyvek tape.

Flap of house wrap overlaps top of window flashing.

Congratulations! Your window is installed and ready for trim and siding.

Tell me the truth, isn’t this one of the most beautiful windows you’ve ever seen? The grilles look great on this 1900 house.

New Plygem Mira Window Installed

Even up close, they look like true divided light windows. The grilles I chose are the 7/8″ SDL style grilles available on Ply Gem’s Mira Windows.

On the back of the house, I installed a bank of windows and sliding glass doors to maximize the view of the big yard. The homeowners will love all the natural light pouring in from their beautiful Plygem Mira Windows.

Plygem Mira doors and windows on cream house

If you like this tutorial, share the knowledge with a friend by pinning this image:

How to Install a New Window

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored post for Ply Gem. It was written as part of their sponsorship of the Saving Etta project. I was not told what to write. All words and opinions are my own. I am very particular about the brands I work with, and only partner with companies that provide quality materials and/or services.

50 plus pallet wood projects you can make Pinterest Image50+ Pallet Wood Projects You Can Make!

Do you have a spare pallet lying around from that last large shipment? Or maybe you know somewhere to get free or inexpensive pallets? If you do, here are more than 50 Pallet Wood Projects that you can make with your own two hands!


Bread Crate Cubby Display Shelves

Create Bread Crate Cubby Display Shelves for any room in the house.


How to Create a New Tabletop from Pallet Wood by Shoppe No 5

How To Create A New Table Top instead of throwing out a table.


DIY Pallet Bookshelf by LollyJane

Make a DIY Pallet Bookshelf for your kids’ bedroom or an office.


DIY Wine Glass Carrier by Art is Beauty

Make this gorgeous rustic DIY Wine Glass Carrier to use when serving your guest a glass.


DIY Worm Compost Bin by SweethingsHave you ever tried composting? This DIY Worm Compost Bin For Vermicomposting is an awesome idea.


Pallet Potting Table by Refresh RestyleBuild this Pallet Potting Table to help you complete your gardening goals this year.


How to Build a Wood Deck Cooler by Fox Hollow CottageMake a Wood Deck Cooler before your next outdoor party.


Super Easy Pallet Couch DIY by Boondocks BlogKeep your pallets mostly intact and make this Super Easy Pallet Couch for some cozy outdoor lounging.


How to Make a Pallet into a Round Circle Shape by Fox Hollow CottageLearn how to Make Pallet Wood Into A Round Circle Shape that can be used to decorate any room.


Build this clever DIY Pallet Shelf to help turn your house into a HOME.


Coastal Whale Palette Art by Fox Hollow CottageCreate this DIY Whale Silhouette Coastal Pallet Art if you love bringing the feel of the beach into your home.


Before December arrives make this festive Scrap Wood Christmas Tree.


Start Being Awesome Typography Art by House of HepworthsCreate a “Start Being Awesome” Typography Art for your home as a motivating reminder to all.


DIY Coastal Whale Coat RackThis DIY Coastal Whale Coat Rack would be perfect for a beach home.


DIY Nautical Pallet Wood Coat Rack by Artsy Chicks RuleAn alternative option for a beach-themed home would be this gorgeous DIY Nautical Pallet Wood Coat Rack.


DIY Rustic Pallet Frames by Little House of FourDisplay your favorite photos with these beautiful DIY Rustic Pallet Frames.


Rustic Wooden Advent Calendar made from Pallets by Hazel + Gold Designs

Another holiday project, this Customizable Rustic Wooden Advent Calendar is a great way to countdown in December.


Reclaimed Wood Wall Hook Vase by Pretty Handy GirlBuild this Reclaimed Wood Wall Hook & Vase to add some functional beauty near your door.


Rustic Wood Bathtub Tray by Pretty Handy GirlA Rustic Wood Bathtub Tray would be the perfect luxurious addition to your bathroom.


How to Make a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign by Pretty Handy GirlDecorate your holiday mantle with a DIY Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign.


DIY Farmhouse Sign by Making ManzanitaDIY Farmhouse Sign With Pallet Wood And Repurposed Lug Wrench


Build a Vintage Produce Crate Centerpiece without Power Tools by Pretty Handy GirlLearn how to Build A Vintage Produce Crate Centerpiece full of rustic beauty for your tablescape.


How to Make a Driftwood Gift Crate by Pretty Handy GirlMake A Driftwood Gift Crate to take your next gift to a whole new level.


Painted Wood Pallet Garden by Pillar Box BlueHow To Make A Beautiful Painted Wood Pallet Planter for your yard or porch.


Install Pallet Bookshelves by Where the Smiles Have BeenHow To Make And Install Pallet Bookshelves With Knobs to organize your kids’ books and toys.


Pallet Art Shark by Sand and SisalAdd some edgy Shark Pallet Art to your wall.


Printed Map Pallet FrameMake A Stunning Printed Map Picture Frame to display your ever-changing family photos.


Pallet Blanket Ladder by Farmhouse Made Store and display your favorite blankets on this Easy Pallet Blanket Ladder.


DIY Potting Bench by Amber OliverCreate an amazing DIY Potting Bench like this to work at every year when springtime arrives.


Pallet Planter Privacy Screen by Designers Sweet SpotPallet Planter And Privacy Screen is a fun way to block others’ view to your patio.


How to Make Farmhouse Style Pallet Wood Frames by Create and BabbleHow To Make Farmhouse Style Pallet Wood Frames for a rustic and colorful touch to your decor.


DIY Outdoor Couch Pallet Project by Amber OliverAdd some comfort to your patio with this modern style DIY Outdoor Couch.


Flower Planter Box from Pallets by A Turtle's Life for MeMake a huge statement on your front porch with these Flower Planters using Free Pallets.


Create Rustic Wood King Headboard by Pretty Handy GirlUse a few pallets to Create A Rustic Wood King Headboard for your bedroom.


DIY Nautical Towel Rack by Pretty Handy GirlIf you have a pool, make this DIY Nautical Towel Rack to keep things organized poolside.


DIY Feather Art by Pretty Handy GirlCreate some rustic and beautiful DIY Feather Art. 


DIY Framed Pumpkins by Pretty Handy Girl

Make these DIY Framed Pumpkins, perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving!


How to Install a Scrap Wood Wall by Pretty Handy GirlLearn How To Install A Scrap Wood Wall to create a gorgeous accent wall in your home.


pallet love - pallet wood ideasHere are a bunch of DIY Pallet Projects By East Coast Creative.


Building Porch Swing with Pallet Wood by Pretty Handy GirlCreate a DIY Porch Swing Using Pallet Wood for your outdoor oasis.


DIY Pallet Slat Bin by Pretty Handy GirlCreate a DIY Pallet Slat Bin to hang on your door or use as a centerpiece.


rustic pallet serving tray by pretty handy girlCreate this gorgeous Rustic Pallet Serving Tray for your next brunch or party.


Make an Air Conditioner Screen with Pallets by Pretty Handy GirlMake An Air Conditioner Screen From Pallets to hide that ugly beast of an appliance.


DIY Pallet Plaques by Oh My CreativeThese cute DIY Pallet Plaques are perfect for displaying photos.


DIY Pallet Coffee Table by The Merry ThoughtBuild this stunning and rustic DIY Pallet Coffee Table for your living room.


Tropical Pallet Living Wall by A Piece of RainbowLove vertical planters? Make this DIY Tropical Pallet Living Wall.


DIY Pallet Wood Hose Holder with Planter by DIY CandyBuild some beautiful storage with this DIY Pallet Wood Hose Holder With Planter.

DIY Distressed Headboard How To Make A DIY Distressed Headboard for a beautiful rustic addition to your bedroom.


Super Easy Pallet Sofa Table by Twelve on MainMake A Super Easy Pallet Table for a huge conversation piece in your living space.


Pallet Wood Wall Hooks by Love and RenovationsThis DIY Kids Wall Hooks From Pallet Wood would be great, much-needed storage for any kids room!


DIY Rustic Pallet Wood Flag

Show your patriotism this July by making a DIY Rustic Pallet Wood Flag.

Now that you’ve been inspired, here’s how to harvest that pallet wood:

How to Salvage Wood From Pallets How To Salvage Wood From Shipping Pallets.

I hope you got some great inspiration from all of these pallet wood creations. Re-using pallet wood is a great way to save money and get a unique rustic feature for your home that you built yourself! Which is your favorite? I’d love to hear in the comments. Thank you for reading and feel free to share this post! Pin this image so you can refer back to this post!

50 plus pallet wood projects you can make Pinterest Image

Liked this collection of ideas? If so, you’ll love this round up of Scrap Wood Projects:

71 Practically FREE Scrap Wood Projects

Build Your Own Coat Rack

Build Your Own Coat Rack

Hi I’m Toni from Girl, Just DIY and I’m happy to be here with you today as a guest blogger for Pretty Handy Girl. Today I’m going to share with you how to build your own coat rack. I’ve been saving the old wood shelves from our kitchen remodel for just the right project. When inspiration struck, I decided to make a coat rack!

To prep the shelves, I ripped down the wider boards using my table saw. I know not everyone has a table saw, so feel free to use 1×8 boards to make your coat rack. My finished coat rack is 30″ wide. The back board is 7 ½” tall and the shelf is 6 ½” deep. The following instructions are based on using 1×8 boards (which actually measure 3/4″ x 7 ¼”).


  • 1 – 1×8 board 5.5′ Long
  • 8 – #8 Wood Screws 1-1/4″ long
  • 2 – #6 Wood Screws 1″ long
  • 2 – #10 Wood Screws 3″ long
  • Wood Stain
  • Wood Glue
  • Miter Saw or Table Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Palm Sander
  • 2 – 12″-18″ Clamps
  • Level


Step 1: Start by cutting two sections of the 1×8 into 30″ lengths. You can make your shelf any length you desire but a 30″ shelf looks well proportioned with 3 hooks.

Step 2: To make the braces for the ends of your wood shelf, cut two smaller sections from the 1×8 at 3″ wide each. On one section draw a design you like similar to below.

Step 3: Using your Jigsaw carefully cut out the brace. If you’ve never used a jigsaw before I suggest you practice on some scrap wood to get comfortable or follow Brittany’s tutorial for using a jigsaw.

Tip: The faster your run the blade the easier it is to cut and maneuver.

Step 4: With the first brace cut out, use it as a pattern and trace onto the other 3″ piece of 1×8. Cut out the second brace. Clamp the two braces together to sand even.

Step 5: Sand all sides of your boards and the braces. Gently sand the edges to remove the sharp edges from the saws.

Step 6: Set the back of your coat rack on a flat surface and stand the shelf at a 90 degree. Apply a bead of wood glue to the shelf where it meets the back. Line up the ends and clamp as the glue cures.

Step 7: To attach the shelf to the back of the coat rack make four evenly-spaced marks 3/8″ from the bottom edge of the shelf and pre-drill the holes to a depth of 1″ (use painter’s tape to mark the depth on the drill bit). Be sure to pick a drill bit that’s smaller than the threads of the screw. After the holes are pre-drilled, insert the 1 ¼” screws and wipe away any excess glue with a damp rag (this is especially important if you are staining).

Step 8: When installing the braces, choose the inset you prefer (I set mine in 3/4″ from the edge).

Step 9: Clamp the skinnier section to the back and pre-drill and screw 1-1/4″ screw through the top. Next clamp the fatter section to the shelf and pre-drill and insert two screws into the brace through the back board.

NOTE: Use a 1 ¼” screw on the fatter section and a 1″ screw into the skinnier section of the brace.

Step 10: Fill the holes on top of the shelf with wood putty. Let dry completely and sand smooth. Don’t overfill too much as wood putty doesn’t shrink like spackle. It dries very hard and will take more effort to sand smooth.

Step 11: Wipe the entire coat rack with a tack cloth or a lightly damp rag before painting or staining. If staining, apply stain according to can directions with either a foam brush or rag.

Step 12: Let sit for 5-15 minutes for desired richness then wipe excess stain with an old rag. Be sure to wipe completely from the joints and watch for drips.

Step 13: Evenly space the hooks using tape or a narrow scrap to align evenly to the bottom of the coat rack. Mark/indent through each screw hole before inserting the screws that came with the hooks.

Step 14: To hang your coat rack pre-drill two holes for #10 3″ Wood Screws 16″ apart just below the underside of the shelf. Evenly space the two holes between the braces. Find the wall studs using a stud finder and mark the center point on a piece of painter’s tape applied to the wall. Line up the pre-drilled holes with the marked studs and use a level before screwing in the first of the two screws. Once you get your first screw into the stud you can adjust level before screwing in the second.

That’s it. You’ve just built a beautiful new coat rack.

Thanks again to Brittany for this opportunity to share my coat rack project with you. I hope you’re inspired to make this coat rack for yourself!


Toni - Small Home Soul

Hi, I’m Toni and I’m the creator behind Girl, Just DIY a DIY blog where I share cool and colorful projects to inspire you. I’m a former IT Manager, but a long time DIYer. I was inspired to DIY by watching my mom take care of all our household repairs, while my dad worked to support their 9 kids (I’m the youngest). I love to create and share tutorials that inspire and give women confidence to dive into the world of DIY (you got this!) I love helping women curate a home they love by creating and building items for their homes they can afford and be proud of.

A few of my favorite projects I’ve shared on my blog are a 2×4 Patio Side Table which was the first piece of furniture I ever built by myself. They look great and I still smile every time I see them. The L-Shaped Desk we just built for my Office Makeover is a recent favorite since our only other bedroom has to serve multi-purposes. And, the Dollar Store Backslash I installed in my master bathroom. There are so many more projects that I love and am proud of. I hope you’ll spend a few minutes checking out my blog.

You can connect with me online at Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

If you liked this post, you’ll love these:


Personalized Coat Rack


Seaside Theme Bathroom Refresh #LowesCreator | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Build a Built-In Decorative Shelf

DIY Custom Closet Shelving

I don’t like wire shelving in closets! Who’s with me on this one? I am slowly replacing all the wire shelving at my daughter’s new home. As you may know, custom closets are super expensive. While researching “small closet solutions”, I found a way to transform a plain builder grade wire shelf closet into a custom stenciled closet!

Hi! I’m Maria from Simple Nature Decor here today to show you how to take a builder grade closet and turn it into your own custom dream closet!

Usually I like to create with things I find in nature around my coastal Carolina home. My hanging drift wood chime was created from the driftwood I find on the local beaches. Because the weather is great most of the year, I work on many of my projects outdoors in the fresh air. I love painting furniture outdoors.

But, today I’m turning my talents inside to show you how to give your closet shelves a custom makeover for very little money. Ready? Great, here’s how to DIY Custom Closet Shelving.


(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.)


Remove those wire shelves.

Step 1: Using a small flat head screwdriver, pull out the bracket nails. Then use the pliers to pull them completely out of the wall. All the holes will need to be plastered.

Step 2: Use joint compound (spackle) to fill the nail holes. You may have to use two coats. Spread one coat. Let it dry completely. Sand and repeat to get a smooth finish. Paint your closet walls.

Step 3: Determine your shelf heights. (Tip: Use the same spacing as your wire shelving or measure the heights of items like baskets or products that will be stored on each shelf.)  Use a ruler and pencil to mark shelf heights on the walls. Use a level to draw the lines on all three walls.

Before adding the shelf supports, stencil the entire interior of the closet. Measure and line up your stencil in the center of the back wall. Use painter’s tape to hang the stencil. (We used this Moroccan style stencil.)

Use a small foam roller to paint over the stencil. Make sure to blot off excess paint by running your roller over a paper towel after loading it with paint. Otherwise, it will have too much paint and can bleed through the stencil. Remove the stencil and line it up with an adjacent section. Stenciling an entire closet will take patience, but the results will be a true work of art!

Step 5: Use (4) 1″ x 2″ x 8′ wood strips and 3 sheets of MDF wood. You can request to have the MDF wood cut to your closet measurement. (Tip: Take your width measurement and subtract 1/2″. Measure the depth of your closet and subtract an inch. This will compensate for any irregularities in your wall or door frame.)

Cut the 1″ x 2″s to fit on each side of your closet. Hold the strips at the shelf location marks you made before stenciling. Secure the strips using nails or screws into the stud locations. (Having trouble finding the studs? Use one of these 5 Methods to Find a Stud without a Studfinder!) Repeat for each shelf. This will create the ledge to support each shelf.

Step 6: Paint your wood strips white to match the closet walls.

Step 7: Run a bead of construction adhesive along the top of the shelf support strips. Lay the shelves on top of the supports.

Load up your new custom shelving with items.

What a transformation! Do you like the new look?

Thanks for letting me share with you how to give your closet and storage shelving an upgrade!

Disclosure: Maria was provided with the stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils at no cost to her. All words and ideas are her own. She was not told what to write. 

Hi I’m Maria and I’ve been a lover of nature for my entire life! Five years ago I created a blog called Simple Nature Decor. It’s about bringing what’s beautiful in nature into your home. I create nature-inspired decor ideas for the home. My home in coastal Carolina is filled with amazing elements that have inspired me to create some of my favorite DIYs. Come visit me at Simple Nature Decor!

If you liked this tutorial. You’ll love reading how to turn a closet into a reading nook:

Boy's Red, White & Blue Themed Room | Pretty Handy Girl

Or you might like to learn how to use a stencil on more than just walls, like on this dumpster-destined table: