It’s amazing how serving food on a rustic tray can elevate your standard meal or dessert into an elegant occasion. This simple decorative rustic pallet serving tray is a simple project anyone can do!

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray

When I worked on a deck makeover with my sister, Caitlin (of Symmetry Designs), we shopped for a lot of the accessories ahead of time. She wanted me to find the perfect Bali-esque tray. Unfortunately I was coming up empty-handed. But, sometimes, you just have to DIY it! This Rustic Pallet Serving Tray was the brainchild of my sister, but I took her idea and ran with it.

Here’s how to make one for yourself.

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.)

Instructions:

Fold a piece of paper into eights. Cut a design along the edge. (I used a simple scallop shape like this “}”.)

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

When you unfold the paper, you should have a paper template to use for tracing.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Trace the template onto a piece of thin plywood.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Use a jigsaw or band saw to cut out the shape. You might find this tutorial helpful for cutting out intricate shapes.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay your plywood shape on top of the rustic boards. Move the boards around until you like the sections that will make up the tray. Mark a square around the shape with a ruler.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut the boards down to size using the pencil mark as a guide.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Dry fit the boards together on the plywood shape.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Wet both the plywood shape and the boards with a damp rag.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply Gorilla Glue to the plywood shape.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the rustic boards into the glue on the plywood shape.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Weigh the boards down with weights or heavy books.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Allow to dry for at least an hour. Remove the weights and clamp the boards onto a work surface (with the area needing to be cut hanging over the edge. Make sure there is clearance for the jig saw blade. You’ll need to cut half the boards and then turn and re-clamp to cut the entire circumference. The Rockwell JawStand works beautifully for this task.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Draw a pencil line 1 inch out from the plywood shape. Cut around the pencil line with a jig saw.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Sand edges and grooves with sandpaper or Dremel Multi-Max.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Measure and mark the location of the handles on the tray.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Pre-drill holes using a bit that is the same size as the handle screws.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Flip the tray over and drill countersink holes with a larger drill bit.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the handles with the screws. The screw heads should sink into the plywood.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

If you want a truly rustic look, lightly sand your handles.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

If you are going to use your tray for food, use a plate or doily under the food.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

What do you think? Do you like this beautiful rustic tray? Think you could make one? I bet you could!

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

You can see this tray and our Bali-inspired deck makeover here.

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This DIY Rustic Pallet Serving Tray is easy to create with a cutout pattern | Plank serving tray | Pretty Handy Girl #DIY #woodworking #DIYtray #servingtray #rustichomedecor

This is by far one of my favorite gift crafts. Grab a few recycled jars or bottles and use your favorite chalk paint to create simple chalk-painted jars!

DIY Chalk Paint Mason Jar Flower Vase

Simple Chalk-Painted Jars

Two weeks ago I spent less than 20 minutes whipping up some really cute vases using recycled jars painted with Farmhouse Paint. Wait…What is this paint?

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

Well, it’s a one-step furniture paint (previously known as chalk paint.) I was sent a few jars to try. But, you can use any chalk paint you already have or make your own using this tutorial to make any color chalk paint.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

The key material is recycled jars, I like to keep a fair amount on hand.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

All you have to do is wash the jars well. Remove the labels and any glue residue. Here’s a great tutorial for easily removing glue from bottles.

Dry the jars thoroughly then coat with two coats of chalk paint. I’m in love with the Farmhouse paint. The colors are vibrant and you don’t need to wax after painting. Just a light sanding with fine-grit sandpaper and it gives you the same soft sheen as waxing would.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

After the paint has dried, sand some areas (especially on any writing) to distress them.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

Finally, add some fresh cut flowers from the yard and tie a string around the neck with a personal message.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

These little vases were adorable. They were cute and they seriously took me less than half an hour to put together (20 minutes to paint and a few more minutes cutting flowers in the yard.)

In the past, I made these little chalk painted vases for teacher gifts. This year, sadly we never got to say goodbye to my sons’ teachers. For all you teachers out there, we appreciate you more than you can imagine. Especially as we do our best to homeschool our children during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

What do you say? Why not whip up a little chalk-painted vase to appreciate a friend, a loved one, an essential worker, or just to brighten your day!

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P.s. Did you like the chippy paint board backdrop I used? It’s not real wood, it is actually a vinyl backdrop made by my good friend Leen the Graphics Queen. It rolls up and stores neatly away. She should be selling them soon.

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DIY Chalk Paint Mason Jar Flower Vase

I’m a serial upcycler. When I can find relatively free materials and turn them into something worth displaying, I’m thrilled! This Magnetic Chalkboard frame is one of those upcycled projects I am proud of.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame

Earlier in the week, I showed you the changes I made in my oldest son’s bedroom. One of the switches I made was to replace his bedroom door because the old one had cracked after one too many slammings. Ugh, cheap hollow door.

In an effort to keep my son from taping all types of signs to his new door, I found an ugly old frame and married it with some scrap metal from a junky set of shelving a neighbor was throwing away.

bookcase in love with ugly frame

That’s not real wood, it’s metal…fake wood metal. Yuck. Wait until you see how they were transformed. You won’t believe your eyes, so watch closely how I made this Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame.

Before you leave this tutorial thinking you can’t possibly make this project because you’ll never be able to find cheap faux wood shelves, let me share with you some alternate materials you can use!

(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.)

Magnetic Material:

Non-Magnetic Material for Chalkboard:

Now that you have some additional material options, let’s get busy making a Magnetic Framed Chalkboard (or just a framed chalkboard).

Materials:

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Optional: You may need some Goo Gone, a scraper, and rag to eliminate any glue on the back of the frame.

Instructions:

Begin by cutting your metal (or backing) to fit into the back of the frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint one side of the metal with chalkboard paint. Let it dry. Apply a second coat of chalkboard paint. Let it dry.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

While the chalkboard paint is drying, time to work on the frame.

If your frame has paper on the back, peel it off and use Goo Gone, a scraper, and sander to remove any of the glue residue.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

 

When the chalkboard paint has dried, insert it into the frame, chalkboard side up from the backside of the frame (are you seeing where I’m going with this?)

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

The back of the frame is much prettier than the front, but in order to hold the chalkboard in place, we need to cut some picture molding. Cut the end of your molding at a 45 degree angle. Fit it into the frame and mark where to make your second cut.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Continue fitting and cutting molding around your frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Once all four pieces of molding fit, you are ready to secure them.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply a bead of wood glue along the inside edge of the back of the frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the molding pieces in place and wipe up any glue that squeezes out.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Clamp the molding pieces and the frame. Allow the glue to dry for at least an hour.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

When the glue has dried. Attach two D-rings to the back of the frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Season the chalkboard with the side of a piece of chalk. Then use a dry rag to buff it off.

Time to hang it up! (In my case, I hung it on my son’s door.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

To keep the frame from bouncing any time the door is opened or closed, I put a 3M Command velcro strip between the bottom of the frame and the door.

Now my son can put up pictures, messages, and more without damaging the door.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Pretty cool huh?! Would you ever guess the back of an ugly frame and metal shelves could look this beautiful?

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

I especially like the little metal fasteners showing in the corners of the frame.

Tell me, do you have an ugly frame hanging around your house? Have you ever looked at the back and found it more beautiful than the front?

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Are you a wine drinker? Nope? Well how about a beer drinker? Either way you can stop throwing away those pretty bottles and cut them to use as glasses, containers —or my favorite—flower vases!

don't throw away wine bottles. Cut them in Half

Don’t Pitch Bottles! Cut Them in Half!

About a year ago I bought a bottle cutter off Amazon. I had grandiose plans to make vases and drinking glasses galore. Instead the glass bottle cutter sat in the box. Recently I decided to take the leap and try it out. (Especially because my yard is overflowing with flowers to share.) I figured this was a great way to upcycle wine bottles and use them as free vases for friends and neighbors. Ready to learn how to make wine bottle vases, or drinking glasses, glass containers, or votive holders?

We’ll need a few tools to make this magic happen.  

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.)

Feel free to watch the video or keep ready to learn how to cut glass bottles easily and safely.

Instructions:

Before cutting your bottle, you’ll need to remove the label. Here’s another tutorial to easily remove labels from bottles

Make a small mark at the bottom of your bottle. This is where you will start and stop your cut.

mark bottom of wine bottle with white paint pen

Adjust the glass cutting wheel to where you want to make your cut. Release the glass cutting wheel on the cutting jig. Slowly rotate the bottle until you have completed one full rotation.

turning bottle to cut

Remove the bottle and check that your bottle has been scored the full way around.

pointing out scored cut line on wine bottle

Time to move into the kitchen. Make sure you are wearing those safety glasses.

Have a pot of hot water on the stove almost to boiling. Next to this have a container with ice water ready.

Dip the wine bottle into the hot water, making sure to submerge the bottle to the cut line. Hold it there for 15-20 seconds.

wine bottle in hot water

Then immediately immerse the bottle into the ice water. Try to separate the bottle (if it doesn’t separate on its own.)

wine bottle in ice cold water

If it won’t break, resubmerge into the hot water and then the ice water again. 

cut wine bottle in half

Once the bottle has separated, the edges need to be filed. For even smoother edges, sand the rim with progressively finer sandpaper. I started with 150 grit and worked up to 600 grit. 

Be sure to clean up your glass shavings, take care because they can cut you.

Now you can use your newly cut bottles as containers, drinking glasses, or vases!

Fill them with water and flowers to give as a gift. 

wine bottle vases

Now promise me you’ll never throw away glass bottles again. They are too pretty not to re-use. Especially once you have a bottle cutter.

Need a quick gift using scrap wood? A Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holder is an easy and fun gift to make and certainly a project that you can customize to meet your needs. Best of all, the kids can help with the painting step!

create_art_block_holders_sm

Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holder

Mother’s Day is this coming weekend! Have you decided how to show her your appreciation and love?! I did! My mother is a professional artist. She creates amazing paintings that inspire others and brightens their homes. For Mother’s Day I wanted to brighten her studio with these art utensil holders. I call them “Creative Blocks.”

Go ahead and raid your scrap pile and join us as we make these colorful and fun Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holders.

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.)

materials_wood_blocks_sm

Instructions:

1. Block assembly: Select two 2×4″ scraps cut to the same length. Spread glue on one board and sandwich them together.

glue_blocks_together_sm

Clamp the wood together and drill two small holes to countersink the heads of the screws. Drive two screws into the bottom of the wood to hold the pieces together.

drill_blocks_together_sm

Use a band saw, jigsaw, or table saw to trim off the rounded edges of the wood so you have a square block of wood with straight corners.

square_off_2x4s_bandsaw_sm

Putty any cracks or holes. Sand until smooth.

putty_and_sand_blocks_sm

2. Creating the mask:

If you have a craft cutter (Silhouette or Cricut) you can create a mask in vinyl easily. But, if you don’t you can use the computer to print out your words. Lay the print out on top of a strip of Painter’s Tape. Use a few pieces of tape to secure the corners.

create_art_printout

Trace around the words with the X-acto knife (be sure to have a few fresh blades on hand.) Transfer the resulting cut-out tape onto the block of wood. Press the edges of the tape mask to secure the tape.

add_scotch_blue_tape_letters

3. Painting the block: Paint a base color onto the block. Then use a brush and/or palette knife to dab thick paint over the block (minus the base.) Use the X-acto knife to gently peel off the tape mask. Let the paint dry thoroughly overnight.

lift_tape_up

4. Drilling Holes:  After the paint has dried completely, mark the location of the utensil holes with a pencil. Put a piece of painter’s tape on the drill bit to mark the depth of your holes. Clamp the block and drill holes at each pencil mark.

drill_holes

Dump sawdust out of the holes.

Wrap up the blocks in gift wrap and enjoy the look of joy as your Mom opens her Creative Block Mother’s Day gift!

create_pencil_holder_sm

art_brush_holder

You know, as an artist myself, I almost loved these too much to give them away. But, my Mom is worth it. (And I can make another set if I want ;-).)

create_art_block_holders_sm

For more last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas and many other creative projects, check out the Gift Ideas section here on the blog.

PHGFancySignIf you liked this project, you’ll love these floating picture frames using more 2×4 scrap wood.

wood-block-picture-frames

Want to give something the look of zinc metal without spending money on zinc metal? You can create the look with spray paint and this technique.

How to Create a Faux Zinc Texture (with Spray Paint)

A while ago I was thrifting with a few friends and stumbled across an ugly cabinet at our local Goodwill. The metal chest had extra wide and deep storage, but the worst colors imaginable! The hot pink and mint green were disguising the true potential of the chest. Like a color-blind dog, I was able to see beyond its garish appearance. In my mind, I pictured a vintage metal cabinet with a faux zinc side and chalkboard drawer fronts.

I scooped it up and brought it home. Then the poor chest sat in our garage for months and months until I had a chance to work a little spray paint magic and turned it into….this thing of beauty:

Yes, that is the same chest of drawers! You could do the same transformation. Let’s learn How to Create a Faux Zinc Texture!

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.)

Instructions:

Clean off your furniture piece really well. Remove any dirt or debris (I actually had to use a little Goo Gone to get rid of some sticky residue. But, lemon essential oil will also work for this task.)

Spray paint your object with automotive primer. (I prefer the automotive primer because it sticks to metal and can withstand a lot of abuse.)

Let the primer dry.

Adding a Faux Zinc Texture:

This is the most exciting part of the tutorial. I created this technique by trial and error and I’m excited by how well this method works for creating a faux zinc texture.

Getting a faux zinc texture is really easy. Just have some gloves on and use a crumpled up piece of craft paper. (A loose crumple works best.)

Spray paint your object with a thick coat of the hammered silver spray paint, (but not so thick that it runs). Let the paint get tacky by waiting a few seconds.

Then use the crumpled piece of craft paper to blot into the wet paint.

Work in small 1 foot sections and pounce the paper a few times. (Too much pouncing and you’ll lose the large textured pattern.)

Let the paint dry thoroughly. Then enjoy your beautiful faux zinc paint job!

Chalkboard Painted Metal Drawers:

For my cabinet, I chose to paint the drawer fronts with chalkboard paint for a nice contrast.

Remove the drawers from the chest. Tape over the drawer glides and slides. Mask off the drawer sides and insides by covering the drawers with tape and craft paper, leaving only the drawer fronts exposed.

Spray paint the drawers with chalkboard paint. (Use three fine coats of paint instead of one or two heavy coats.) Set them aside to dry.

Insert the chalkboard drawers back into the cabinet frame.

Add chalkboard art to your drawer fronts.

The thrifted cabinet has a wonderful texture now and the black and zinc colors work with any color scheme.

The chalkboard drawer fronts allow the flexibility for me to store and label other items inside.

I’m so thrilled with the results! I hope you try to transform your own object, now that you know how to Create a Faux Zinc Texture.

If you use this tutorial, I’d love to hear about it. Better yet, will you send me a picture?

Share this with a friend! Pin this image:

How-to-faux-paint-a-fake-pumpkinHow to Fake a Fake Pumpkin

Have you seen those neon orange fake pumpkins and nearly vomited because you wouldn’t dream of decorating with them. I mean—get real—everyone would know they were fake. Ah ha, but have you seen the price tags? $1 – $6? For that price you might just be willing to take a leap of faith with me, wouldn’t you? Awesome, because I’m going to show you how to faux paint a fake pumpkin so you can decorate with them year after year and fool your friends.

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.)

materials

Instructions:

Start by painting all the pumpkins with Chalk Paint (use gray, white, green and blue paint.) Allow the pumpkins to dry.

paint-pumpkins-french-linen

Painting Realistic White Pumpkins:

It helps to look up some pictures of real pumpkins to refer to.

pure-white-country-grey

Using the stencil brush, paint a mixture of grey and white on one of the pumpkins.

paint-white-mixture

Before the paint dries, dab some of it off with the sea sponge. (Keep your sea sponge dry, not wet during the process.)

sponge-off-white

Dip the stencil brush into the white paint and add paint on the outer most bumps on the pumpkins. This is adding highlights.

highlights_on-white-pumpkin

Dab the highlights gently with the sea sponge to blend.

sponge-off-white-2

Use the fan brush dipped in a small amount of green paint inside the pumpkin ridges. Dab the ridges with the sea sponge to blend.

white-gourd-pumpkin

Have you ever seen a truly unblemished pumpkin? I think not. It’s time to add some spots or marks on the pumpkin to truly fool your friends. Dip the end of the paint brush into brown paint and dot it onto the pumpkin. Blot the spot with a sea sponge and maybe even transfer a few new spots with the sponge.

add-blemishes

Paint grey around the base of the stem and into the grooves with the round paint brush.

add-dark-depth-around-stem

Paint brown and green paint onto the pumpkin stem. Blend slightly with the sea sponge.

paint-sponge-stem

Can you spot my fake white pumpkin? Well, of course you can because I just showed you how to paint it. But, it will definitely fool your friends!

grouping_left_pumpkins

Painting Realistic Blue Pumpkins:

Painting blue pumpkins uses the same technique as painting the white pumpkins, only using a few different colors.

Use the stencil brush to paint blue onto another pumpkin. Dab the blue paint while it’s still wet with the sea sponge.

add-duck-egg-blue-sponge

Use the fan brush dipped in gray and brown craft paint to fill in the ridges.

darken-crevices

Dab the paint with the dry sea sponge to blend.

sponge-crevices

Add some highlights with a mixture of grey and white. This serves two purposes. 1) It adds dimension. 2) It tones down the excess blue on the pumpkin.

add-highlights

Paint the stem the same way you learned above.

To truly fool people, set up your fake pumpkins with some real pumpkins and real gourds. Sooo, can you spot the fakes?

guess-the-fakes

How many did you get right? The metallic gourd is simply spray-painted with copper spray paint. But, I did try my hand at faking a green and yellow gourd using the same technique as the pumpkins, but adding green to the top and yellow to the bottom.

the_fakes

Okay, I’ll give you a second shot. Guess the fakes:

vertical-fall-vignette

How did you do this time? Ha, you can now apply for a job as an art forgery detective ;-).

truth_fake_gourds
Now seriously, how many people will be viewing your pumpkins that close? Umm, next to no one. Normally they’ll view them from afar.

full-living-room-shot

Get your paints and palette out and go fake some fakes! It will be our little secret.

fall-vignette-grouping

PHGFancySignDid you like this painting post? Ahhh, then I know you’ll like this Ballard Pear painting tutorial:

Or if you’re feeling like taking on a larger scale project…how about Faux painted bricks!

Or perhaps you’d like to perform some faux zinc painting magic:

You can do it! I know you can.

How to Stretch Tight ShoesHow to Stretch Tight Shoes

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes because they were super cute, but they were a tad too tight. If you’re like me, you probably bought them and thought, “They’ll stretch out if I wear them enough.” Then a year or two later you put them on and remember why you don’t wear those shoes. They are just too tight. Frankly life is too short to wear uncomfortable shoes!  I’m sure you are thinking, “Are you telling me to get rid of my uncomfortable shoes?” On the contrary, most too tight shoes can be stretched. Today I’ll show you how to Stretch those Tight Shoes and start wearing them comfortably!

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.)

shoe stretcher materials

Instructions:

I created this short video for you to see how easy it is to stretch your own shoes. Let me know if you have any questions after watching the video.

Step 1: Determine Tight Areas

Determine where the tight areas on your shoe are. If your shoe stretchers have plugs, you can add them to the stretchers for maximum stretching in those areas.

Step 2: Use Stretcher

To loosen leather shoes, you may want to use a Shoe Stretching spray. Spray inside the shoe. Turn the knob on the stretcher to adjust the heel stretcher. Insert the shoe stretchers into your shoe. Tighten the heel knob. Then turn the metal rod until the stretchers are as wide as they can get in your shoes.

Step 3: Set in Warm Area and Wait

Set the shoes in the sun or leave them in a warm area for 24 – 48 hours. It’s a good idea to check your shoes after 24 hours. After 24 hours my shoes were still a little big snug. I left the stretches in for another 24 hours and set them in the sun because the heat helps stretch leather.

Step 4: Try Them On Again

Time to try your shoes on. If they are still too tight. Spray the stretching spray and turn the shoe stretchers to stretch more. Wait another 24 hours.

silver clogs on table

I’m so happy I can wear these clogs comfortably! And now I can stretch any future cute shoes I buy (within reason.)

Do you have a pair of tight shoes you want to try this on? Get to it, those shoes want to be worn.

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.

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.)

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.

Instructions:

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

DIY Pencil Vases

DIY Back to School Pencil Vase

Last year my son’s teachers asked for a pack of pre-sharpened pencils. Instead of just giving them a box of pencils, I wanted to give his teachers something prettier than a box of pencils. When I found a colorful package of pencils, I knew I was on to something. After some  sharpening pencils it was time to get creative.

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.)

Instructions:

Remove the label and clean your recycled glass bottle. Dry it thoroughly. Apply double-stick tape to the top and bottom edges of your bottle.

Lay one pencil onto the bottle vertically. Press it against the tape for a temporary hold.

Continue adding pencils around the bottle. At about 1/3 – 1/2 coverage, slip a rubber band around the middle of the bottle over the pencils. This will help hold the pencils in place.

Continue adding pencils until the bottle is completely covered.

Choose a coordinating washi tape and tape one end of the pencil stack.

Press the tape firmly against the pencils and repeat along the bottom edge of the pencils.

Remove the rubber band.

Fill the bottle with water and add some flowers.

Deliver this beautiful DIY Back to School Pencil Vase to the recipient.

You might have to convince them it’s okay to remove pencils as needed.

Either way they look cute on the desk for a while.

Here’s a video tutorial to show you how easy it is to make the back to school pencil vases:

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DIY Pencil Vases

If you liked this idea, you’ll love some of these other teacher appreciation ideas:

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas Series | Pretty Handy Girl