31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to Day 8 of my 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes. Today I have a VERY IMPORTANT tip to prevent a fire from starting in your laundry room.  I’m going to show you how to replace your flexible foil or plastic dryer vent duct with a much safer semi-rigid ductwork. Before we go any further do you know what type of dryer duct hose you have? Go run and check. I’ll be waiting right here when you get back.

Day 8: Replace Plastic or Flexible Foil with Semi-rigid Dryer Duct:

Does your vent hose look like this semi-rigid type:

Or the shiny foil flexible type:

Which do you have? If your dryer ductwork is semi-rigid or solid metal ductwork you can skip the rest of this post and come back tomorrow.

What’s the difference? Well, let me show you what each of these ducts look like after one year of use:

Semi-rigid vs. flexible dryer duct | Pretty Handy Girl

Which one do you think is safer? Exactly! The semi-rigid doesn’t collect lint as easily as the flexible duct! Therefore, you have less of a chance of the lint catching fire.

To replace the duct hose, measure the length of ductwork you need to replace. You can order semi-rigid flexible aluminum duct from Amazon or head to your local home improvement store to purchase it. Be sure to pick up any dryer vent adjustable elbows and hose clamps you might need as well.

Remove the flexible duct and replace it with the new semi-rigid. For more detailed directions you can follow my tutorial for installing semi-rigid dryer hose.

How to Replace Your Flexible Dryer Hose | Pretty Handy Girl

Don’t forget to continue to clean out your dryer vent ducts 1-2 times a year! It’s an easy maintenance task you can do yourself (once you get the dryer out from the wall…which may be the hardest task.)

vacuum out your dryer duct | Pretty Handy Girl

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31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to Day 7 of my 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes. We’re sticking with the laundry room theme for a few days. Today I have a tip to help protect your home from a fire. Cleaning out your dryer vent duct is an extremely important home maintenance task. The good news is that you can do most of this maintenance yourself. I recommend cleaning out any lint build up at least once a year (preferably in the late summer before the drier and static filled air sets in.) Twice a year is best.

Day 7: Clean Out Your Dryer Vent Duct:

 Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the vent duct tube from the wall and the dryer. Normally the duct is held on with a hose clamp. Use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the bolt attached to the clamp.

Remove the duct and use your shopvac to clean out both the dryer and wall ports.

Then clean as far as possible in both ends of the duct hose.

vacuum out your dryer duct | Pretty Handy Girl

If your duct is long or difficult to clean out, you can purchase a long dryer vent duct cleaning brush like this one:

Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning Brush

While you have the dryer pulled out, vacuum off the back of the dryer, the washer, and the wall behind both. Eliminate as much lint as possible. A clean laundry room is less prone to fires.

Re-attach the ductwork to the wall and the dryer. Tug gently on the hose to make sure it is secure. Gently push the dryer back towards the wall being careful not to crush the tube.

If you can reach the exterior vent, go ahead and clean it out also. Make sure the vent closes properly when the dryer isn’t running. Otherwise you may get birds, rodents or bugs in your vent. That reminds me when we had our new dryer delivered. As the delivery guys were removing the old one. I heard the sound of the dryer crashing down, followed immediately by squealing and screaming. Apparently a mouse had made his way into the dryer but electrocuted himself. His dead body dropped out on the floor just as the guys were picking up the dryer. I’m telling you, that guy was the size of a line backer and he was terrified of a dead mouse! I tried so hard not to laugh, but couldn’t control myself. Needless to say, I double check the exterior vent more often now.

Tomorrow I’ll be showing you one more way to keep your laundry room from becoming a fire hazard.

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31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to Day 6 of my 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes. So you finally upgraded to an HE washer. You have to be careful because if you don’t take care of it you’ll have a stinky funky mess. Funky music = good. Funky washer = bad! The HE washers (front load especially) are air tight, which can be the perfect environment for growing mold.

Have no fear, this tip will take 30 seconds of your time! Keeping your HE washer funk free and like new is super easy.

Day 5. How to Keep Your HE Washer Funk Free

After each wash load,  grab a dry wash cloth or rag and wipe off the door.

Then wipe out the gasket (top to bottom) to remove any water and moisture. This is the main area that will get mildewy first. Gently pull the gasket towards you to get into the fold.

Open the detergent dispenser drawer and wipe out any visible moisture. Finally, leave the detergent drawer and washer door open to thoroughly air out your washer.

If you are already stuck with a funky washer, follow these tips for cleaning it out and eliminate any odors. Be sure to read the comments because my readers have a bunch of tips to help keep your washer clean!

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How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl

I have a friend named Holly. She and I live in the same neighborhood and we help each other out with DIY projects. Last week she asked me to help her come up with a solution to hide her dirty laundry.

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl

Holly and I were trying to figure out how to replace her sad laundry room door(s). The right side door had broken off and was unusable. We floated several ideas, originally thinking about creating inexpensive sliding barn doors. But, we scaled back that idea after realizing that inexpensive pipe hardware (spanning over 8 feet) was still too expensive for the budget. We began discussing buying cheap bi-fold doors and dressing them up. However, even new bi-folds aren’t super cheap. I mentioned she “might” have luck going to the Habitat ReStore to find the exact size doors. We both knew that was a slim chance. Then an idea hit me like a bi-fold door falling off its hinges! Among the multitude of things I have stored in my attic, were two sets of closet doors! One that used to be on my son’s reading nook closet. And the second set used to be on the pantry.

Would it be fitting that the only before pictures I have of the pantry doors are these gems?

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl
The Streaker

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl
The Goofball

You get the picture. They are ordinary bi-fold doors. After the doors were removed from our pantry I liked how open it was. Although sometimes I wonder if I am just too lazy to open and shut the doors every time I want food.

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl

Regardless, I liked the open concept, but not necessarily our food being constantly ON DISPLAY. I have plans to add built-in cabinets and shelving to the pantry, similar to what my friends The DIY Village created, but for now we just have it open.

I ran home to dig through the attic and find the two sets of doors that might work for Holly. I held my breath (partly because the attic was stifling hot) as I measured the doors. My son’s closet doors were…too narrow. Whomp wah. The pantry doors were… a perfect width!!! But, they were 2″ too tall. No worries, I knew I could trim them down.

Here’s how to remove (and install) closet doors and cut them down to size using a Dremel Ultra-Saw:

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Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you get your fill of food and family time today. I need to give a big congrats to the Silhouette Portrait Giveaway winner, Kelly Crumpler Kelly! Woo Hoo, you’ll be making all your gifts with the Silhouette Portrait this year, won’t you Kelly?! Speaking of making your own gifts, I’m on a bit of a DIY art kick lately. I think creating your own art is creative, frugal and fun! Today I have a tutorial for creating this laundry quote canvas art, but frankly you can use your own favorite quote! Or create personalized name art for one of the kids on your gift list! The easiest way to create quote artwork is using a Silhouette craft cutter to cut your letters out. You can use the Silhouette for so much more than you ever imagined. I use mine a lot for cutting letters like I did for the laundry sign.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

But, you can also use it for creating custom temporary tattoos, fabric and cardstock shape cut outs, flocking iron ons, stenciling on wood, glass etching, faux pen & ink etching, 3-D paper projects, printable foil labels and much much more!

silhouette-projects

Today we’ll focus on the tutorial for creating your own quote canvas art! (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.)

Materials:

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Instructions:

Type out your quote in the Silhouette studio software. Send the art to cut on adhesive backed cardstock using your Silhouette.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Separate the phrase into sections by scoring around them with an x-acto knife.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Flip the cardstock over and remove the backing on just the letters (if you can keep the rest of the backing in tact it will help with positioning.)

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

I had big plans to show you how to make your own DIY canvas art using scrapbook paper as the background. Everything was moving along swimmingly after I adhered the scrapbook paper to the canvas using mod podge. But, I neglected to let it dry (too impatient) and this happened. Whomp wah…craft fail!

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

But, I wasn’t about to be deterred. So, I created a fun painted background instead. Drizzle paint onto the canvas. Use a palette knife to spread the paint. Be careful not to overly mix the paint. Streaks in the paint give it texture, dimension and interest.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Let the painting thoroughly dry! (Must have patience.)

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Carefully lay your words onto the canvas one section at a time.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Press the letters in place and gently peel up the backing.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Repeat for the rest of your quote.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Here’s the FUN part! I used my Silhouette CAMEO to cut out the word “FUN”  in orange card stock and striped scrapbook paper. Then I layered the word FUN to make it stand out. Creating a layered word: 1. Apply a thin coat of mod podge to the back of the orange letters. 2. Lay them slightly offset onto the white letters. Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

3. Apply more mod podge on top of the yellow letters. 4. Press the striped letters into the wet mod podge, offsetting them from the orange letters. Seal all the letters by brushing mod podge over the letters.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

To create a shadow, use the fine tipped permanent marker to underline the right and bottom sections of each letter.

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

And, that’s it! Loads & loads of FUN don’t you think?!

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

I created this artwork to be included in the laundry themed gift basket, but how fun would it be to create personalized art with a child’s name layered like I did with the word “FUN.”

Canvas Quote Art Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl     PHGFancySign

All the Très Frugal DIY Gift Ideas can be seen here.

Laundry Fun Gift Basket | Pretty Handy Girl

Today I have a bit of an unconventional gift idea. But, frankly it is a gift that is sure to bring some fun and enjoyment to anyone who is tasked with the domestic chore of doing laundry. I think this Laundry Fun Gift Basket would be a wonderful gift for a new homeowner. Or a college student who finally moved out of the dorm into their own apartment. Heck, even Grandma would surely love this gift.

If you don’t have anyone on your list that would enjoy a laundry themed gift basket, I’ll show you how to sew a custom liner for an oval basket! You can use the same instructions to sew a liner for almost any shaped container and turn it into a beautiful gift basket with your own theme.

Laundry Fun Gift Basket | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

Laundry Fun Gift Basket | Pretty Handy Girl

Optional: Pin on flower

Ideas to put into the Gift Basket:

  • Lavendar scented clothes pins
  • Bottle filled with DIY liquid laundry detergent
  • Dryer balls (Check out these West Elm Hedgehog Dryer Balls)
  • Lavendar dryer bags from Trader Joes
  • Fels Naptha Soap (available at any supermarket in the laundry aisle)
  • Linen scented hand soap from Trader Joes
  • Fresh towels
  • Bar soap
  • “Laundry Loads & Loads of Fun” Artwork

Directions for sewing a basket liner:  Read more


Installing Semi-Rigid Dryer Hose to Prevent Fire Hazard
Last year when I showed you how to clean out your dryer hose to prevent dryer fires, I didn’t realize that I still had a fire hazard living in our laundry room. Since then, I stumbled across a video that scared the bejeezus out of me. Matt from Great Lakes Home Performance created this video showing what happens to foil dryer hoses.

I knew that white plastic dryer hoses were bad and had previously replaced ours with the flexible foil hose. But, I felt duped when Matt showed what happens to those “foil” hoses. First, what I didn’t realize is that those shiny metal hoses aren’t foil! They are made of flammable plastic. Go ahead, run to your dryer right now and see what type of duct work you have — I’ll wait. If it is white or shiny foil, I’ll show you how to replace it with semi-rigid duct to keep you and your home safe from a dryer fire. This is an easy tutorial, you can definitely do this (if your exterior dryer vent is on the 2nd floor, you can keep the same vent and just replace the hose.) Read more

Are you ready to get toasty today? Today is the day that I’ll be showing you how to install the WarmlyYours TempZone radiant floor heat. Can I tell you a little secret? I was terrified! I was so fearful of breaking the heating wire, that I handled this roll with kid gloves. And I yelled at ANYONE who dared step on the mats in shoes. I realize now that I may have been paranoid and overreacted a little. I was just so anxious to have warm floors that I protected our radiant floor elements like a Mama bear of her cubs.

Remember on Wednesday how I told you how I had chosen WarmlyYours radiant heating systems because of their awesome warranty? Well, I also read feedback about their customer service and it ROCKS as well! That service starts with the ordering process.  I was in contact with a representative from WarmlyYours who helped answer ALL of my questions (of which I had many.) She reviewed my room layout and suggested the TempZone Cut & Turn Rolls which is one long mesh roll with the heating element woven and evenly spaced throughout the roll. I was doubtful and wasn’t sure how the roll would fit through the doorway and “roll” around our laundry room. But, she reassured me that they would send me detailed plans for installation. And that a DIYer like myself should have no problem with the installation.

Within a week, I received my custom TempZone roll with a layout just for MY space.

Not just a standard layout, but a custom plan for my exact room dimensions and usage. I was extremely impressed to say the least, because the plan was very detailed showing the exact location of the cuts I needed to make in the mesh mat (not the wire.) Having this map saved me hours of brain-twisting planning at the least.

Before installation, I read the instruction manual in its entirety (highly recommended.) Remember, I was a little nervous and didn’t want to do anything to damage the heating mat. I even made sure I was hopped up on caffeine so I could absorb every nugget of the lesson.

I also prepared the floors by installing cork underlayment (as detailed in this tutorial.) Are you ready for the tutorial to install radiant mats? It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated and this part went fairly quickly. Let’s roll! Read more

After you read the title, I guess the cat’s out of the bag. It’s true, I installed radiant floor heating in our mudroom/laundry room and I couldn’t be more thrilled. One of the positives of having a plumbing leak and subsequent gutted room, is being able to make changes that you otherwise wouldn’t have considered. Tile floors with radiant heating underneath was one such change we never entertained until our flooring was ripped out.

Here’s the low down on those two rooms. Our long hallway mudroom that ends in the laundry room was an addition to our home back in the 80’s. It was built on a concrete pad and the owners must have decided not to tie those two rooms into the heating and air conditioning. Consequently, in the winter, these rooms are brrrrrrr…chilly willy! (It’s true, my blood has thinned over the years from living in the south. I think I’d turn into a useless popsicle if I had to spend more than an hour in Alaska like Ana White.) The linoleum flooring that was there didn’t do much to dampen the chill. And, I knew since we were installing tiles in these areas that it would only contribute to that polar ice effect (wimpy wimpy wimpy, I know).

I decided that I wanted to try to add radiant heat in the floors. After a few nights of research, I settled on a company that makes custom configured TempZone radiant heating mats  for your home.

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I picked up this plain vanilla door mat a while ago at a thrift store. I knew I wanted to transform it into something stencil-tacular. But, I couldn’t decided on the right pattern.

While at SNAP I was introduced to Royal Studio Design stencils and won a free stencil to take home. The Chez Sheik design immediately jumped out at me. The moroccan look is very beautiful, don’t you think? Read more