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

12 DIY Home Storage Tutorials | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s January and you know what that means! Time to clean and purge the house of all the excess stuff. Last year I was too busy with projects to purge, so this year I’m taking advantage of some warmer days to clean out our home. I hope you’ll excuse me while I’m in clutter busting HELL mode. In the meantime you might enjoy these 12 DIY Storage Projects to help you organize your home (and hide clutter.)

mudroom_shoe_storage_bench
Make a Coat Rack from an Old Door
 and Make a Shoe Storage Bench with Kitchen Cabinets

full_flow_wall_above_washerLaundry Room Storage using Flow Wall Read more

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

My favorite place to write my tutorials is outside on our screen porch when the weather is pleasant. I love listening to the birds and feeling the breeze blow through the screens. Up until this weekend, I was using an old card table as a desk. But, it was heavy, large and awkward. I wanted a table that was the perfect height and that I could fold and store away when I wasn’t using it.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

As a brand ambassador for Dremel, I enjoyed the challenge of designing plans for this simple farmhouse style folding laptop/writing table. The materials are simple 2 x 4’s and 3/4 inch plywood. The majority of the steps can be done using simple handheld tools like a drill, Dremel Multi-Max and the Dremel Ultra-Saw. (Feel free to use other tools or alter the plans to fit your size preferences.)

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.)

Cut list:

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Top:

  • 3/4″ finish grade plywood cut to 18″ x 36″

Apron (use 1×3 boards or you can rip excess plywood):

  • 2 – 1″ x 3″ cut to 14 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 3″ cut to 34″

Legs:

  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ cut to 28 1/4″
  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ cut to 26 3/4″
  • 1 – 2″ x 2″ cut to 14 1/2″ (if ripping a 2″ x 2″ yourself, remember actual size is 1.5″ x 1.5″)
  • 2 – 1″ x 4″ cut to 14 3/8″

Hardware:

Tools:

Additional materials:

Instructions:

Cut your lumber to the size specified above in the cut list. Read more

Painted Bedside Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

In the quest to makeover our master bedroom and save money, I’ve been painting several pieces of furniture to coordinate with the new bed I built.

One of the pieces I painted was this small desk that doubles as a nightstand. Our bedroom isn’t very large and our master bathroom is even smaller than what can be described as a “master” anything! Doing my hair and makeup in our bathroom isn’t a viable option, especially when both Pretty Handsome Guy and I wake up at the same time. When I saw this little desk at a local thrift store, I grabbed it. Especially because she was only $20!

Painted Bedside Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

She had lots of age, but not much character.

top-of-wood-vanity

However, she was the perfect size and had just enough storage for a makeup vanity.

With a light sanding, primer and a coat of Benjamin Moore Advance paint, she is now showing her more glamorous side. Read more

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

Happy Friday!!! I finally finished my son’s room makeover. Poor kid has been asking for over two years when I was going to work on his room.

Boy's Room Before | Pretty Handy Girl

It feels so good to be done and be able to share the final reveal with you. The theme started four years ago when I converted his extra closet into a reading nook. The blue, white and red work beautifully together.  Read more

Need a desk but lack floor space or the funds to buy a desk? This Wall-Mounted Desk tutorial will meet your needs! Plus, you can customize the length to meet your needs.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Wall Mounted Desk Tutorial

Hey, I hope you had a fabulous weekend! Was it productive? Full of DIY activities? Well, I’m back with a tutorial for building a wall-mounted desk. The great thing about a desk that is wall-mounted is it can be small or large and it won’t take up any floor space! This gives a nice clean look and makes the room feel larger. Plus, the materials will almost certainly cost less than buying a desk.

My son is starting to have more homework in school. (I didn’t realize that first grade was the new 3rd grade!) I figured soon enough he’s going to need a spot to sit and work on homework. Plus, he’s an avid Lego builder and this makes a great surface for him to build on.

Materials:

  • Finish grade plywood (my desktop is 16″ x 40″)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • 1 – 2″ x 4″ x 93″
  • 2 – 9.5″ x 9.5″ bird’s mouth brackets
  • 4 – 3″ cabinet mounting screws
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Level
  • Pencil

Instructions: 

Begin by assessing where you want to mount your desk. For better perspective, you can outline the desk area with painter’s tape on the floor.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut your finish grade plywood to size. Using the Kreg Rip Saw with my miter saw is much easier than hauling out the table saw and getting as assistant to help lift the plywood. If you put a piece of rigid foam insulation underneath, you can cut almost anywhere! Just set your saw blade depth slightly below the plywood.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut your 2″x4″ stud 4″ narrower than the length of your desk top surface. (My desktop is 40″ long, therefore my mounting stud is 36″ long.)  Locate the studs in your wall. Mark their location.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Pre-drill holes in the mounting board at the stud locations. Use a small bit slightly narrower than your screws. Then use a larger bit the width of your screw head to create a countersink hole. Drive the cabinet mounting screws into one end of the mounting board and into the stud. Use a level to make sure your mounting board is level, then drive the additional mounting screws into the other studs.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut two pieces of 2″x4″ at 8″ long. These will create the supports for the shelf brackets. For a clean look, bevel the end at a 45 degree angle when you cut them. Attach the 2″ x 4″ pieces below each end of the mounting board as shown below.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Your mounting boards should look like this:

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Set two small screws into the shelf bracket keyholes. Line the bracket up with the top of the mounting board and center it on the vertical supports already attached to the wall. Make a pencil mark where the screws need to be set.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Use the pencil to mark the depth of the keyholes on the screws so you know how deep to drive the screws into the bracket support.
Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the small screws to the vertical support where the pencil marks were and drive them to the point where you marked on each screw.

Slip the bracket onto the screws.

For added support, pre-drill one hole through the top of the bracket and into the mounting board. Pre-drill a second hole through the bird’s eye bracket at the narrowest point.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Drive screws into the two pre-drilled holes to further secure the shelf brackets to the mounting boards.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Repeat for the second bracket.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay your desktop surface on top of the brackets. You can either drive small screws through the top of the desk and into the mounting board. Or drive a small screw up through the underside of the bracket and into the desktop. I prefer the latter because you won’t have to wood putty the desk surface.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Wood putty all your holes. Allow the putty to dry and sand the putty smooth. Paint your brackets, mounting boards, and desktop. I chose to paint my desktop beforehand with a chalkboard surface.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Let the paint dry. If you want to protect the desk surface, you may choose to paint a few coats of polycrylic on top.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

And my son has a spot to do homework, legos, or create a little book.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Don’t you just love his lego pencil holder he created?! I think he needs to start an Etsy store ;-).

Lego Pencil Holder | Pretty Handy Girl

I had fun decorating the wall with some vintage signs and an adorable London themed tea towel calendar from Spoonflower. Making tea towel calendars every year in November/December has been a tradition I started over a year ago. We anxiously await the release of the newest calendar designs on Spoonflower.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Source List:

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. It was an easy solution for my son’s room. Best of all, you can expand the width, but if you do add more brackets.

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DIY Wall Mounted Desk

If you liked this tutorial, you might also like this inexpensive desktop for $40!

How to Make a Chalkboard Surface Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

As part of the makeover of my son’s bedroom, I wanted to create a fun chalkboard desk surface for him to write and build legos on. The idea of a chalkboard coated surface came to me when I remembered how much he liked the mini-chalkboard decals that used to be on his room wall.

Creating a chalkboard surface on any desk or flat surface couldn’t be easier with the right tools. Here’s how you can create your own chalkboard desk!

Materials:

  • 3M fine grit sanding block
  • Valspar High-Hiding Primer tinted gray
  • Rustoleum chalkboard paint
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Foam brush
  • Small craft paintbrush
  • Desk surface (I used pre-cut finish grade plywood)
  • ScotchBlue painter’s Tape
  • General Finishes Water-based sealer (or satin Minwax Polycrylic)

Instructions:

Begin by lightly sanding your desktop with the sanding block. Wipe any dust off with a damp rag.

Paint one coat of primer on your desktop surface. (A little note about my primer: I asked the Lowe’s paint department to tint it as dark as they could with black colorant. This helps when you are painting over the primer with a dark color.)

How to Make a Chalkboard Surface Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

After the primer has dried, create a border on your desktop with painter’s tape. Press the edges down firmly with your fingers. Paint one coat of chalkboard paint with the paint brush. Brush the paint in one direction. Let that layer dry. Repeat with a second coat brushing across the original strokes (i.e. vertical then horizontal.) Read more

How I Re-Built My Own Kitchen (after a leak) | Pretty Handy Girl

2013 Could be called the year of the kitchen renovation in our house. Or the year that nearly killed me. Or the luckiest year of our lives. I’m still debating the title. What I do know is that, I decided to take on my biggest DIY project to date. I re-built my own kitchen from bare studs and subfloor.

It started one morning as I was confronted with a foul odor. It’s only describable as that odor that usually lives in the high school gym locker room. I thought my 9 year old son’s feet were starting to stink. Unfortunately a stinky pair of shoes wasn’t the culprit, it turned out to be a very minor leak that turned into a very big kitchen renovation. We persevered through 45 days without a washer and dryer and many months without a kitchen. But, it was like being a contestant in Survivor. I lasted the year of construction; the set backs and sore muscles; and in the end I was rewarded with a brand new kitchen!

Today, I walk into our beautiful kitchen and I know it was all worth it! It was worth all the sweat equity, the daily Advil doses, and the tree falling on the house. If you want to reminisce with me as I recap my kitchen renovation of 2013, here’s your ticket to all the tutorials and posts: Read more

scrap-wood-ipad-tray

Today I have the honor of having the Queen of DIY here to show you how to build an iPad tray stand! Beckie from Infarrantly Creative is a triple threat DIYer (she manages three blogs.) I am so excited about this frugal gift idea, I can’t wait to make one!

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Hello Pretty Handy Girl fans.  My name is Beckie and I blog at Infarrantly Creative, Knock off Decor and Roadkill Rescue.  Besides sharing a “B” name, Britt and I have a love of power tools, doing things on the cheap, and dancing…yep you should see us…we can BREAK IT DOWN! Today I wanted to show you DIY girls, or those with a DIY hubby, a most likely free gift. If you are accustomed to DIY projects, you have probably amassed quite the stockpile of leftover wood.  In August, I made some hanging beds for my son’s room and had leftover 2” x 12” wood that I used for this project.  Pssst…never throw out scraps, right Britt?

Supplies:

  • 2” x at least 6”
  • table saw
  • pre-wood conditioner
  • stain
  • sandpaper

Instructions: Read more

Beach-themed Succulent Garden | Pretty Handy Girl

You like the beach right? Who doesn’t?! Come December I long for the feeling of burying my toes in the warm sand. Bring back those memories by having a Beach-Themed Desktop Succulent Garden nearby. The idea for this garden came as I sat looking at all the shells I’ve collected that were hidden away in the attic. I chose a big conch shell that had few holes and decided it would make a great little planter.

Material:

  • Succulents
  • Conch shell
  • Smaller shells, beach glass or colored glass filler
  • Play sand
  • Potting soil
  • Plant tray

Optional: Hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, felt pads

Instructions: Read more