A few years ago I gave my stepmom’s screen porch a much needed makeover. At the time we noticed the seat cushions were starting to sag, but decided they still functioned. This year, my stepmom told me they had to be fixed. Boy was she right! Today I’m going to show you the easiest (and most permanent) way to fix sagging furniture seat cushions for good!

If you’ve ever dealt with sagging porch furniture I have a simple solution for you! Let’s get fixing!

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.)

Track Saw
Tape Measure
Chalk Line
Centipede Portable Work Stand
Palm Sander
Screws
Scissors

Fix Sagging Furniture Seat Cushions Instructions:

Feel free to watch the video or read the full tutorial below. It’s your choice.

If your furniture has removable seat frames, take them off the seats. Measure the seat frames and figure out how much plywood you’ll need to cover the seat frames.

Lay the seat frames onto the sheet and mark around the seats. (Alternatively, you can make a paper template of your seats and transfer them to the plywood.)

Cut the plywood to the size of your seats using a circular saw (or my preferred tool: the track saw.)

Here’s a tip for cutting sheet lumber:

Put a piece of rigid foam insulation under your plywood sheet. Set the depth of your blade just slightly deeper than your lumber. Cut the plywood on top of the insulation. The insulation supports the plywood while the saw blade cuts into the insulation and not your work surface.

If your seat frame has webbing, go ahead and cut it off the frame. Throw away the webbing.

Trace around any corners or specific shapes of your seat frame.

Use a jigsaw to cut off these shapes.

Sand all rough edges and give the entire plywood seat a good sanding to remove splinters.

If your plywood seat will be exposed to the elements, it’s a good idea to seal it with primer and/or paint.

To secure the plywood to the seat frame, drive a screw through the plywood at each corner of the frame. Stop when the screw head is resting on top of the frame. Add more screws at any cross supports. The screws are mainly to keep the plywood centered on the frame, so they don’t have to be super strong structurally.

Set your plywood seat frame back into the furniture. We chose to have the old frame on top otherwise you would see the edge of the plywood.

Fix for sagging cushion. Plywood under cushions

If your furniture didn’t have a removable frame, you can put the plywood directly onto the seat (under your cushions.)

“Ahhh, much better. ” 

I hope this tutorial helped you fix your sagging furniture cushions! Let me know if you tried this fix and how it worked for you.

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*Many have asked me about the photography and video equipment I use. I finally put together a list of the equipment I used here.

 

Earlier this week when I showed you the master bedroom in the Saving Etta house, you probably noticed the sliding barn door. I am in love with that door and especially excited that I was able to salvage the old beadboard and repurpose it as cladding on the barn door. Now it’s time to show you How to Build a Reclaimed Wood Sliding Barn Door. Let’s get building!

Notes about Materials:

To build your custom barn door you’re going to need to purchase a 4×8 sheet of plywood. The plywood will offer strength and rigidity and will add some thickness to the barn door. You don’t need to buy the finish grade plywood, instead purchase the cheapest plywood you can find because it will be covered up. One side will get a sheet of masonite bead board, and the other will be clad with the reclaimed lumber. And the sides will get trimmed out to hide the layers. So, as long as your plywood isn’t warped, it won’t matter how it looks. For my door I used 3/4″ plywood, but it was heavy. You may want to use 1/2″ plywood instead, but be sure to check the thickness requirements for your barn door track and hardware. This will ultimately dictate your width and weight!

Stripping Paint and Lead Paint Warning:

When you are using reclaimed wood, always test any paint with an instant lead check swab. Or treat it like it is lead paint. Because of the age of the bead board, I’m pretty sure my wood had lead paint. Before stripping lead paint, you definitely need to wear a dust mask or respirator and gloves. Eye protection is a good idea. And since my HEPA vacuum is loud, I wear hearing protection too.

Put down a plastic sheet under your work area and onto the floor. Make sure the sheet extends enough in each direction to catch any wayward paint chips.

The one thing you never want to do with lead paint is create airborne particles. This means you never want to dry sand it or use power tools to remove the paint. In the video, I’ll show you how I prefer to remove lead paint. In the past, I have used a chemical stripper like CitriStrip (although, the CitriStrip has a lot fewer chemicals than other strippers, it still makes a gooey mess). Instead, I found this ProScraper tool on Amazon and thanks to the recommendation of my friend at The Craftsman’s Blog, this is my new go to tool for paint stripping.

To use the ProScraper, clamp your wood to the table top. Use the ProScraper tool attached to a HEPA vacuum hose. While the vacuum is on, use firm pressure and pull the ProScraper towards you. It will take several passes to remove all the paint. Especially if your wood is old like mine and has over 100 years of paint layers on it.

After you finish scraping, be sure to vacuum up any paint chips and dust around your work area. Use a disposable damp rag to clean off the wood and remove any remaining dust.

When you are finished, place the damp rag and any other disposables into the center of the plastic sheet. Carefully gather the plastic sheet in towards its center. Deposit the plastic sheet and trash in a sealed plastic trash bag. Clean your work area to remove any remaining paint dust.

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.)

In case you are curious, these are the other tools in my workshop

Video Tutorial:

Feel free to watch the full tutorial for making this reclaimed wood barn door below in the video tutorial.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more DIY video tutorials and tips.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel
Instructions:

Time to cut your materials. Measure and mark the size of your door on the plywood and masonite bead board sheet. (Be sure to add two inches to your door opening so the barn door will cover the opening.)

measure and mark on plywood for door size

mark size of door on masonite bead board

Cut your wood with a circular saw, or if you have one, use a track saw! I’ve found this battery-powered track saw by DeWalt to be invaluable for cutting down large sheets. Because it runs on batteries I can even bring it with me to the store and cut the materials in the parking lot if necessary!

using DeWalt battery-powered track saw to cut plywood

The hanging hardware for my barn door has a small bar that mounts on the floor. I needed to cut a groove into the bottom of my door to accept the bar and keep it from swinging back and forth when opening or closing.

use Dremel Saw Max to cut groove in bottom of barn door

Add a fair amount of construction adhesive to one side of your plywood door. Then lay the masonite bead board sheet onto the plywood and press firmly into the glue. Drive a few brad nails into the masonite to keep it in place as the glue cures.

lay bead board on top of plywood

Flip your door over and start laying out the border design. Did you know these are the back sides of the bead board? So pretty!

dry fit border on barn door

Apply construction adhesive under the border pieces and set them in place. Then add some brad nails to hold it until the glue cures.

nail border pieces in place on reclaimed wood barn door

I decided to sand the border pieces to remove any rough edges and splinters, but made sure not to sand too much or I’d lose the dark weathered look.

To cut the interior bead board pieces, cut one end of the boards at a 45˚ angle. Then set them into the border frame. Using a ruler and pencil, mark where to cut the other side.

cutting bead board to fit in border on door

Test the fit of your bead board. Continue marking and cutting all the bead board pieces. Make sure they all fit before moving on.

almost all bead board pieces dry fit in reclaimed wood door border

Secure all the interior pieces with construction adhesive and brad nails. You might find your last piece isn’t as wide as your boards, cut this piece on a band saw or jig saw if necessary and fit in place.

To hide the plywood, rip pieces of bead board or use flat trim to finish the edges of your door.

nailing trim on door sides

Use a polycrylic or water-based top coat to seal the door (and prevent exposure to any lead paint left on the door). I prefer the General Finishes High Performance Flat top coat. What I like about it is it has no sheen. The top coat protects the wood while letting the beauty of the grain show, and there’s no shine to detract from the wood.

And now onto the reveal!

I purchased the Barn Door Hardware and Barn Door Handle from Amazon and was very happy with the quality.

What do you think? Do you like how I reused the bead board? I hope the door lives for decades in the Saving Etta home.

To keep our cast iron fixtures looking new, I have a never-fail formula to clean and remove all those scuffs and scratches! Here’s how I clean our cast iron sinks and bathtubs.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub

How to Clean Cast Iron Sinks and Bathtubs

While I was helping my client get her house ready to sell she said they were committed to replacing the cast iron bathtub in their boys’ bathroom because it was scratched and stained. I told her to hold off because I knew How to Clean Cast Iron Sinks and Bathtubs to look new again.

I use this same technique on our own cast iron sink every few weeks when the scuffs and scratches get noticeable. And if we get any scratches in our bathtub I clean it the exact same way.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

Let’s get started and turn back time on your dirty, dingy, scratched cast iron sink or tub. It will look new when we are done. Promise!

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.)

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub Instructions:

For your convenience, I made a video to show you exactly how I clean our sink. Feel free to watch the video or keep reading.

Rinse any food debris out of the sink. Next, sprinkle baking soda liberally in the sink and on a scrubber sponge. (If your sink is really dirty you can add a drop of dish detergent onto the sponge.)

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

Scrub the sink using a little muscle. Pour vinegar onto your sponge and in the sink. Use the sponge to wipe and clean the baking soda out of the sink. Rinse the sink with water.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

Your cast iron sink (or tub) should be clean now, but you might still have some scratches and marks on the surface. That’s okay, because it’s time to break out the Kohler Cast Iron Sink Cleaner. This is a miracle in a bottle!

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

This is the cleaner recommended by our kitchen designer. Honestly, if I didn’t know about this cleaner, I would have been disappointed with our farmhouse sink a long time ago because it does get a fair amount of scratches from cast iron pots and pans. (Want to know if I’d buy a farmhouse sink again? I’ll answer that and tell you what no one tells you about owning a farmhouse sink in this post.)

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour a small amount directly onto marks and discolorations. Use a clean dry paper towel to buff the cleanser into the scratches.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

Rinse the sink with water and look…the marks disappeared! If you look closely you can see that the scratches are still in the sink, but they visually disappear.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember those marks before:

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

And after:

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub | Pretty Handy Girl

Hope this cleaning method helps prevent you from ripping out a perfectly good cast iron sink or tub! Keeping them looking great is as simple as knowing How to Clean Cast Iron Sinks and Bathtubs to look new again. Be sure to share this post with a friend. 😉

How to Clean a Cast Iron Sink or Tub

You might also want to read this post on What No One Will Tell You about Farmhouse Sinks.

What No One Tells You About Farmhouse Sinks | Pretty Handy Girl

Can This Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Really Replace a Gas-Powered Mower?

I have underestimated the abilities of battery-powered mowers for years. But, recently I received the STIHL RMA 460 Battery Powered Mower to test out. Did it live up to the claims? Would I sell my gas-powered mower? You be the judge.

Before we begin, I want to tell you that STIHL sent me this RMA 460 battery-powered mower to try out and use. You may recall that STIHL was a Saving Etta project sponsor. However, this post is written solely on my own decision to share my experience with the mower. 

If you want to watch the video, you’ll get all the information and some of the reasons I like the STIHL RMA 460 mower.

For more details and photos, read on.

Here’s My Honest Opinion of the STIHL RMA 460 Battery-Powered Mower:

Folding the mower handle down is super easy. You just need to loosen the two knobs on either side.

folding down mower handles

It’s the first mower I’ve been able to lift into my truck unassisted. Although the mower isn’t weightless, at 60 pounds I can easily lift it and set it in my truck by myself. Before using the RMA 460, I needed my husband’s help to get our gas powered mower into the truck. When I got to the job site, I usually finagled one of my subcontractors to help me unload it.

Brittany lifting mower into truck unassisted

Another advantage of this battery-powered mower is not having to haul a gas can around. And anyone who uses gas-powered lawn equipment knows you inevitably end up smelling like gasoline after finishing the work.

Battery and Start Up Features of the RMA 460:

The STIHL RMA runs on the AK-series batteries. One port for the battery being used and the other port holds a spare should the first one run out. Although the mower runs on the entire AK line of batteries, I highly recommend using the AK30 for the longest run times. To see how much battery life is left, press the button on the top of the battery. The display will show how much charge is left.

pressing button on battery to see life left in battery

The mower has a removable locking key to prevent accidental starts. (As a side note, I do wish the key had a string or somewhere to store it with the mower to prevent it from getting lost.)

The switch inside the mower activates the ECO MODE which should help the battery last longer in shorter grass. When the mower senses taller or thicker grass, it will return to full power mode for faster cutting.

pressing eco mode on STIHL RMA 460

Raising the mower height is easily accomplished by grasping one handle to lower or raise all four wheels at once.

Adjusting mower height handle

To start the mower, press the orange button and pull back the handle bar. You can see how easy it is to start. No more yanking on a rope to start a mower! This mower is much quieter in comparison to a gas-powered mower. To stop, simply release the handle bar.

starting and stopping a battery-powered mower

Can the STIHL RMA 460 Handle Super Tall Grass?

I had been using the STIHL RMA 460 mower for a month or so to cut the lawn at my flip property. But, then we went on a family vacation for over three weeks and I came home to this mess.

Be sure to watch this video to see how the mower did against the jungle of a front yard.

Brittany cutting thick lawn with STIHL RMA 460 mower

Although I had to make several passes for each section, the mower powered through the super tall grass. Before you lawn aficionados get on my case, I easily could have used the bag to collect clippings, but the property was still under construction and I wasn’t trying to protect the weedy grass that was there. If it were our lawn (which is already beautiful and well established), I would have bagged the clippings to prevent them from damaging the lawn. If you look close, you might notice that even with the height of the grass, there were no mounds of grass clippings left behind. The mulching feature on this mower did an outstanding job! To say I was impressed is an understatement.

How to Insert the Grass Collection Bag on the Mower:

Simply lift the back flap on the mower and remove the plug. 

lifting back hatch on mower

Then hang the bag from the mower and you can collect your grass clippings.

inserting grass collection bag onto mower

Will You Sell Your Gas-Powered Mower Now?

I have to tell you my husband has been cutting lawns since he was a teenager. He’s rarely impressed by new lawn mowers, but I caught him trying out the RMA 460.

When I asked him what he thought, he told me he really liked it. But, old habits die hard with this guy. He still prefers his gas-powered mower. (Must be a manly thing.)

Our teenage son has recently started cutting lawns and the STIHL RMA 460 is the only mower he wants to use.

Before trying this STIHL mower, I never thought I’d be happy using a battery-powered mower to cut our grass, but I’m a convert. Plus, it feels good knowing this mower is more environmentally friendly. For now our gas mower stays in the shed for my husband, but my son and I will only use the STIHL mower.

How Much Lawn Can the RMA 460 Cut?

Per the STIHL website, the RMA 460 Mower using the AK30 battery should be able to cut just under 3,000 sq. feet of lawn (depending on height and moisture content.) We have about ¼ acre of grass to cut and the mower cuts it using one and a half batteries (assuming this is for weekly trimming on non-wet grass.)

What do you think? Could you sell your gas-powered mower and replace it with the STIHL RMA 460 battery-powered mower?

Pin this image to share with a friend:

Disclosure: STIHL sent me this RMA 460 battery-powered mower to try out and use. I was previously sponsored by STIHL on another project, but this post is my own decision to share with you my experience with the STIHL RMA 460 mower.

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.)

Tools:

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!

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

How to Drill New Holes for Door KnobsHow to Drill New Holes for Door Knobs

Every once in a while, you might find yourself with a new (or old) door that needs a hole drilled into it for a door knob (or a deadbolt). Today I have the perfect tutorial to ease your mind and help you learn how to drill a new hole for door knobs in your door.

While working on restoring the original 1900 portion of the Saving Etta house, I removed the original bedroom doors and took them to a local workshop to have the lead paint stripped off the doors. It was a pricey decision, especially because I didn’t know what the doors would look like when they were stripped. But, as you can probably tell from the photos, they came back more beautiful than I could have imagined! In fact they were so pretty, I didn’t stain them. They just got a clear sealant to protect them. The restoration company had to do some “surgery” on one of the doors, basically adding a new stile. When I received the door it didn’t have a door knob hole. But, I knew I could drill a new hole (if I could stop drooling over the beauty of the wood grain).

bedroom with 1900 wood door and glass door knob in the background

Doors this gorgeous needed exceptional door hardware. For that reason, I reached out to Schlage and asked them to be a Saving Etta sponsor. Luckily, they responded that they would be thrilled to send me door knobs and hinges for the whole house.

Two Schlage Hobson Door Knobs

While perusing the Schlage door knob selection, I was halted by these classic Schlage Hobson round glass knobs. The beauty in these knobs was unique and captivating. For an old look, I decided to pair them with the oil-rubbed bronze Century backplate trim.

with intricate details in the glass knob

The coolest thing about these knobs (besides the intricate detail inside the glass), is you can purchase a variety of backplates to compliment your style:Schlage Hobson Knobs with other Backplate trims

I loved the look of the round and square backplates, but felt the rectangle was more fitting for a historic house.

Reclaimed wood door with round glass door knob

Ready to learn how to drill new door knob holes in your door? Luckily, I’ve drilled holes for knobs in many a door and each time I’m amazed at how simple it is to accomplish with a good door knob jig. Ready to learn how to drill a new door knob hole? Watch this video or read the step-by-step tutorial below!


Tools:

(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:

Measure the height of the door knobs on other doors in your house. Transfer this measurement onto your slab door.

Measure and mark door knob heights

Be sure to select the backset for your door knobs on the jig before you begin.

Selecting setback on Irwin Door Knob Hole Jig

Locate the latch face plate screws with your door knob. Use these screws to secure the door knob hole jig to your door.

Removing Door Knob Hole Jig

Grab your drill and insert the 2 ⅛” hole saw into the drill. Apply firm pressure as you drill the hole into the door making sure the hole saw is flat and not angled as it goes through the door.

Once the center bit protrudes through the door, stop and switch sides. Continued drilling through the opposite side until you complete the door knob hole in the door.

Small center bit hole drilled through door, switch sides to drill door knob hole

Now find the 1” hole saw and insert it into your drill. Drill through the edge of your door to create the hole for the latch. Use the same firm pressure and make sure the drill is perfectly perpendicular to the door edge.

Drilling 1" hole for latch

Sweep out any sawdust in your door knob holes. Remove your face plate screws from the jig and set them down nearby. Remove the jig.

Attach the face plate to the door using the same screws you used on the jig.

Attach face plate onto door edge

Using your utility knife, carefully score a line around the face plate.

using utility knife to score around latch plate

Remove the face plate. Use your chisel and a hammer to remove some of the wood material inside the marks you made.

Chisel out area for latch face plate

Now you are ready to add your door knobs and latch assembly. I have another video showing you how to install door knobs in five minutes or less!

Add New Door Knob Hardware

Feel free to watch that tutorial below:

Please excuse me while I drool over these gorgeous glass knobs I installed on the doors in the Saving Etta house. They have to be the most beautiful door knobs I’ve ever seen!

 

Sun glinting off glass door knob on raw wood door

Gorgeous Schlage Hobson Glass Door Knob

Door opening with ocean painting showing. Glass door knob with sun glinting on it.

Wasn’t drilling a door knob hole easy? I know you can do this (assuming you have a wood door of course.)

Disclosure: As a sponsor of the Saving Etta project, Schlage sent me the door hardware for the doors. I was not told what to write, all opinions are my own. 

 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!

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

Saving Etta: Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

About that Saving Etta laundry room, did you get a peek last week? If you missed it, I showed you how I installed the cement tile floor. We can all agree, the star of the laundry room is the floor. But, there’s another star in this room that’s hard to show in pictures. It’s this little guy:

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

That, my friends, is a Decora motion sensor in-wall switch from Leviton (one of the proud Saving Etta sponsors.) And it works automagically! When you walk in the room, the light comes on. Then it shuts off after a predetermined amount of time (choose between 30 seconds, 5 minutes, 15 minute, or 30 minutes for the time-out period.)

Before I tell you more about this fabulous no hands light switch, I need to give you the full details about the laundry room and discuss something I would definitely do differently next time.

Saving Etta: Laundry Room Update

After the cement floor tiles were installed, I had to cover them up with Builder Board from Surface Shields to protect them. The small area covered was protected, but I should have covered the entire floor because my mechanical subcontractors were the messiest bunch of guys I’ve ever met. Every time they came into the house I had to follow them around cleaning up mud and dirt. Plus, I lost track of the number of fingerprints they left on the walls. Seriously, it was like following children who had just played all afternoon in the mud.

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

To make matters worse, they didn’t share my eye for aesthetically pleasing mechanics.

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

Avert your eyes from the giant hole in the ceiling and look at the water heater vent pipe. Did you count all the sections?

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

One, two, three, four sections. What the fizz?! When I called my mechanical contractor, I told him this looked like a preschooler installed it. In all fairness, it would have passed the inspections, but I hated how it looked. Instead of letting them monkey around more, I took matters into my own hands and ran to Ferguson to purchase one vent pipe. It looks much better, right?

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

I’m sure you are wondering about the giant hole in the ceiling — it’s for make up air. This is required when you have a gas appliance in an enclosed room. The codes want to make sure that gas can’t build up in the room. I had already installed a built-in vent over the door, but the inspector wanted more. We added make up air in the floor. (You can see it in the picture below. It’s the hole in the floor on the left. And it eventually got a floor vent cover.)

Installed Avington Cement Tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com

But, the inspector still wanted more make up air. My mechanical contractor suggested cutting holes in the wall into the kitchen, but I said “No way!” Ultimately, the best (and least unattractive) solution was a ceiling vent which eventually got a round diffuser placed over it.

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

It felt like the issues around the gas water heater were never ending. One of the inspections noted where there wasn’t enough clearance between the vent pipe and the framing. It was easily fixed, but between this and all the makeup air required for the gas water heater, I have vowed to go tankless next time. In the next flip, I’ll listen to my plumber’s suggestion to install a tankless water heater. It will cost more, but will look a lot better and not have as many issues during installation. A tankless water heater will still need to be vented, but it can be vented out the wall instead of the roof.

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

Live and learn, right? Regardless, the laundry room is still a show stopper with the cement tiles and room for a side-by-side washer and dryer. (Most of the houses in the downtown area only have room for a stackable washer and dryer.)

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

How to Install a Hands Free Light Switch

Now, onto the one affordable upgrade I will make again and again! The Leviton motion sensor switch is a wonderful addition to a laundry room or other areas in your home where you frequently have your hands full carrying things such as laundry or groceries. Or you might be carrying something so filthy you don’t want to touch the light switch. As soon as the door is opened (or someone walks into this room) the sensor detects your presence and turns the light on. It will also automatically turn the lights off, saving you frustration and money in rooms where lights are frequently left on.

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

The Leviton Decora Motion Sensor is set to turn off after 15 minutes when no motion is detected, but you can set the device to turn the lights off at 30 seconds, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. The motion sensor can also be tweaked to detect motion in a certain range from the sensor.

You’ll definitely want one in your house, so here’s the video tutorial to learn how to install a Leviton Decora Motion Sensor switch:

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:

Before installing the motion sensor, turn off the power at the circuit breaker to your switch. Using a voltage tester, make sure the power is off.

Disclaimer: Always use caution when working with electricity. Follow the instructions provided with your device. Do not attempt to make changes to your home’s electrical system without prior electrical experience and knowledge of your area’s electrical codes. Contact a licensed electrician if you have any questions. Pretty Handy Girl can not be held responsible for personal injury or harm.

  1. Remove the Leviton Decora Motion Sensor from the package and read the instructions.
  2.  Look at your wiring, you should have a ground wire (bare or copper), a neutral wire (white), a line wire (this is the live wire that’s usually black), and a load wire (sometimes it’s also black and sometimes red.) The line wire is the wire that carries the electrical current from the circuit breaker to the switch. The load wire carries the power from the switch to the light fixture.
  3. Strip ⅝” of the insulation off the wires. You don’t need to bend your wires into shepherds hooks, the wires can be inserted straight under the screws on the Leviton Motion Sensor.
  4. Always connect the ground wire first. 
  5. The neutral wires should be connected to each other not the sensor.
  6. Next connect the load wire to the black terminal.
  7. Finally connect the line wire to the red terminal.
  8. Gently fold and tuck the wires into the wall box. Make sure the word TOP is facing up on your sensor.
  9. Drive the screws into the top and bottom of the motion sensor.
  10. Turn the power back on and test your motion sensor. If it works, great!
  11. Follow the instructions to make any adjustments to the length of time the lights stay on and the motion sensing field.  
  12. Attach the cover to the motion sensor.

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

Enjoy hands free control of your lights with the Leviton Decora Motion Sensor

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

You can also install the motion sensor in a room where little kids like to play but aren’t good about turning out those lights. Or in that dark room where you always fumble for the light switch.

What about you, where would you install a motion sensor light switch?

Laundry Room Update and a No Hands Light Switch

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Leviton. I was compensated for my time and efforts to promote the Leviton Residential 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.

 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!

Want more automation in your home? You’ll definitely want to check out these tutorials:

How to Install Smart Dimmer Switches

How to Install Smart Dimmer Switches

 

How to Install USB Charging Outlets

How to Install a USB Charging Outlet

DIY Leather Word Bracelet

DIY Leather Word Bracelets

With Valentine’s looming just around the corner, I’m sure you are looking for a fun DIY project to make for a friend. Or perhaps you participate in the challenge to choose one word for the year. Either way, this is the jewelry making tutorial for you! Why not embellish a leather bracelet with a word, a name, or be rebellious and add a date to your band? It’s easy and fun to make these DIY Leather Word Bracelets. Ready to learn how?

golden tan and dark tan leather bracelets with "creative", "hope", and "determined" stamped on them.

A big thank you to Arrow Fastener for sponsoring this tutorial. To be truthful, I’ve never owned a rivet tool before, but after making these bracelets I’m hooked! Not only is a rivet tool perfect for making leather jewelry, but it’s also great for gutter repairs, home decor projects, and more!  To make these bracelets you’ll want to invest in an Arrow Rivet Tool.

Materials:

tools for making stamped leather bracelets

(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.)

  • Arrow Rivet Tool RH-200S
  • Leather Band
  • 1/8″ x 1/8″ Rivets
  • Safety Glasses
  • Ruler
  • X-acto Knife (or Scissors)
  • Cutting Surface
  • Awl
  • Hammer
  • Needle-nosed Pliers
  • Jewelry Clasps
  • Scrap of Wood
  • Metal Leather Stamps
  • Paintbrushes (small and large)
  • Water
  • Enamel or Acrylic Paint

How to Make DIY Leather Word Bracelets:

Grab your coffee and watch this three minute video to learn how to make a stamped leather bracelet. Or keep reading for the step-by-step tutorial.

Instructions for Constructing the Leather Bracelet:

Step 1. Cut your leather into strips or bands approximately 1/2″ wide. (If you purchased pre-cut leather strips, skip this step.) Using a sharp x-acto knife, and a ruler as a guide, make several passes with your knife until the blade cuts through the leather.

cut leather strip

Step 2. Taper one end of your band by cutting off the corners.

cut end tapered

Step 3. Position your leather band on a scrap piece of wood. Using your awl, poke a hole into the leather band at the tapered end. Hammer the awl until it punctures the leather.

puncture first hole into leather band

Fold over the tapered end and poke the awl through the first hole and into the band again as shown below. Use the hammer to strike the awl and punch the second hole.

puncture second hole into leather band

Step 4. Feed your jewelry clasp through the tapered end.

insert clasp into leather band

Step 5. Insert the short end of the rivet through the two holes. If the rivet won’t fit, try widening the holes by working the awl through the holes.

puncture second hole into leather band

You can also try using pliers to help squeeze the leather over the rivet.

squeeze band over rivet with plyers

Step 6. Feed the long end of the rivet fully into the rivet tool.

insert rivet into rivet gun

Put on your safety glasses. Squeeze the rivet tool handles multiple times until…

insert rivet into rivet gun

…SNAP! The long end of the rivet will automatically snap off when the rivet is set.

rivet tail released

Step 7. Wrap the bracelet around your wrist, mark the length that’s comfortable for you. Subtract the length of your clasp from this mark then add 1/2″ back to account for the fold over.

measure band width

Now you can cut the band to length.

cut leather band to length

Repeat steps 2 – 6 above to secure a jump ring to the other end of your bracelet. 

Instructions for Stamping Leather:

Wet the leather to soften it. Let it sit a minute or two to allow the water to penetrate the leather.

painting water onto leather band

The easiest way to center a word on your bracelet is to start with the middle letter(s). Set the metal letter stamp in place and strike it lightly with a hammer. For a crisp letter, roll the stamp and hammer it lightly several times.

stamping letters into leather

Continue stamping letters to the left and right of the middle letter(s).

metal letter stamps

You don’t have to paint the letters, but I like how the word shows up better. You can use any acrylic or enamel paint to fill in the letters. The key to crisp letters is a steady hand, a good fine round brush (size 00 or smaller), and moving the band around to comfortably fill in each stroke (no need to be a contortionist). If you screw up, use the x-acto knife to lightly scrape up the paint.

painting gold letters on leather bracelet

If you want, you can paint the rivets with enamel paint.

painting rivet gold

Allow the paint to dry.

DIY Stamped leather bracelets make a great gift idea

What word would you put on a bracelet? Do you choose a word to define your year?

diy stamped leather bracelets

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Arrow Fastener. 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!

Thanks for joining me for this little jewelry making craft today. If you liked this tutorial, you’ll love these copper ring necklaces:

DIY copper ring jewelry

 

How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results

How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results

If you’ve been browsing Pinterest lately or flipping through the pages of your favorite home design magazine, you’ve probably seen (and likely fallen in love with) real cement tiles. Cement tiles are trending, so much so that porcelain and ceramic lookalikes are popping up at most tile retail shops. The first thing you’ll notice about real cement tiles, is the price tag can be steep. What you probably don’t realize is cement tile can be a bit trickier to work with than standard ceramic or porcelain tiles. Don’t let this dissuade you, because today I’m going to show you how to install those beautiful authentic cement tiles and achieve professional results. Plus, because we’re friends, I’m going to share with you my affordable source for real encaustic cement tiles!

Cement Tile Look Alike on Bathroom Floor

Cement tiles purchased from most tile retailers can run upwards of $20 per square foot. But, I’m about to let you in on my secret tile source. Shhhh, lean close so I can whisper it in your ear. “TheBuilderDepot sells real cement tiles for less!”  In fact they sell more than just cement tiles and their prices can’t be beat! You might remember I used beautiful marble subway tiles from TheBuilderDepot when I was renovating my kitchen.) The Builder Depot offers popular tiles at a discount because they cut out the middle man. (Here’s a brief explanation on why their prices are lower than other retailers.)

How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results

Seeing those beautiful cement tiles and a great price prompted me to contact my friend at The Builder Depot and ask him about being a Saving Etta sponsor. He agreed but on one condition; he asked me to write a tutorial on How to Install Cement Tiles and discuss the pitfalls and risks associated with improper installation techniques. Apparently customers were unaware of the proper way to install cement tiles. In fact, even seasoned tile installers were making costly mistakes because they were treating cement tiles like ceramic and porcelain tiles. There is a big difference between them.

What’s the Difference Between Cement Tiles and Porcelain or Ceramic Tiles:

  • Ceramic and porcelain tiles are slick (often shiny) and aren’t absorbent on the surface.
  • Encaustic cement tiles are highly porous and absorbent from the surface to the base.
  • Porcelain and ceramic tiles can be grouted immediately after the thinset mortar has cured.
  • Cement tiles must be sealed before grouting or you risk the grout staining (or permanently sticking to) the surface.
  • Porcelain and ceramic tiles do not need to be sealed.
  • Cement tiles need careful handling to avoid staining and scratching the tiles.
  • Porcelain and ceramic tiles are forgiving and can stand up to a lot of abuse.
  • Encaustic cement tile patterns are created by pouring different colored clay baked into the tile. It’s not merely a coating.
  • Porcelain and ceramic tile patterns are applied in the glazes (painted on top of the tile).

Here’s a beautiful video showing exactly how encaustic cement tiles are made:

Now that you know more details about cement tiles, you can have a beautiful cement tile floor. But, you need to follow this tutorial closely. (Almost all these instructions will apply to installing cement tiles on a wall, so keep reading.)

Making Manzanita's tile shower niche cement tilesCheck out this beautiful bathroom makeover with a Cement Tile Niche
by Making Manzanita

How to Handle Your Cement Tiles:

When you receive your cement tiles you’re going to be tempted to rip open the box and rub your grubby hands all over the smooth tiles (or am I the only weirdo that likes to stroke tiles?) Regardless, before you open the box, wash your hands. Cement tiles are EXTREMELY porous and will absorb oils and stain easily. Until you get to the sealing step, you’re going to have to handle these tiles with care (kid gloves wouldn’t be a bad idea.) Lest you think you can seal the tiles before installation, don’t try it. The tiles have to be porous to release moisture while the mortar is curing. If you seal it ahead of time, there’s a good chance your tiles will develop a ghosting appearance.

Cement tiles can scratch easily. Keep the packing material between the tiles until you are ready to install them. Don’t mark your tiles with a pencil or pen for cutting (unless you will be cutting off the marks.) Even faint pencil lines can’t be easily removed from the tile surface.

How to Prepare Your Floor for Cement Tiles:

(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.)

Just like when you paint a room, you’ll get the best results if you take the time to prep your space before you begin.

Before laying tiles on your floor, you must put down a substrate to prevent future flexing that can lead to cracks in your grout or worse in your tiles. Typically tile installers will use cement backer board. But, because the cement tiles are so thick, I chose to use an uncoupling mat to reduce the finished floor thickness.

cutting uncoupling mats.

Measure and cut your mat (or cement board) with a utility knife. Dry fit the mats (or boards) before proceeding.

Whichever substrate you use, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. For improved waterproofing, you’ll want to cover seams with the recommended seam tape. For completely waterproofed floors, add seam tape around the perimeter of the room (as shown in this video.)

Installed uncoupling mats, finding center of room. Marking perpendicular lines.

Next find the center of your room and mark perfectly perpendicular guidelines to use as a guide when laying out your tiles.

Layout cement tiles starting in the center.

Dry fit the tiles with spacers in your room before you begin. Make any adjustments to the tile layout or pattern before you begin.

Dry run. Layout cement tiles before installation

How to Install Cement Tiles:

With your substrate installed, it’s time to install your tiles. Before we begin, make sure you have these tools and materials. A quick note on cutting the tiles. You can use a score and snap manual tile cutter for straight lines, but nothing beats a wet saw for angled and more complicated cuts. If you don’t want to buy a wet saw, you can rent one. Tile setting is a one person job, but it helps to have an assistant to speed things along by making cuts and mixing more mortar and grout.

Materials:

Instructions for Installing Cement Tiles:

Here’s a video I made to help you learn how to install cement tiles properly and keep them looking beautiful!

Mix your thinset mortar according to the package directions. (I usually try to achieve the consistency of peanut butter.)

Prepping Your Cement Tiles:

One of the most important tips for working with cement tiles is to soak them in water before installation. Allow them to soak for at least 30 seconds before laying them into the mortar. If you don’t soak them, the tile will absorb too much moisture from the mortar.

Soak tiles in water tub

Starting from the center of your room, apply the thinset mortar to a small area and use your 1/2” notched trowel to comb the thinset. Lay your tiles down. Lift one tile to check and see if the mortar is completely covering the back of the tile. If not, your mortar consistency may be too dry.

Avoid the temptation to lay more than a few tiles at a time.

Lay first four tiles in thinset mortar

After your first small group of tiles are set, insert spacers. Check to make sure the tiles are level and the same height. Then immediately clean any and all thinset off your tiles using a damp sponge.

Now you can move on to installing the next small grouping. Periodically check to make sure your tiles are lined up with each other and there are no lips between tiles. (Using these self leveling spacers will eliminate any lippage on tiles.)

After all your tiles are installed, block off the room and keep off the tiles for at least 24 hours while the thinset hardens.

How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results

Sealing Cement Tiles:

We’ve arrived at the most important step when installing cement tiles! You must seal the tiles before grouting them. Use a penetrating sealer made for porous stone or cement tiles. Before sealing, make sure your tiles (and the thinset for that matter) are completely dry. You can test the tiles for any remaining moisture by laying down a piece of plastic on the tiles after installing them. If there is moisture the next day when you lift the plastic, they aren’t dry enough. Wait for them to dry or you could risk discoloration of your tiles.

Clean the tiles by sweeping off any debris and clean with a ph balanced cleaner (a bucket of warm water with one drop of dish soap is a good cleaner.) Let the tiles dry. Wipe or buff with a rag.

Pour the sealer into the dish pan. Dip your pad applicator into the sealer liquid. Squeeze off excess sealer against the edge of the dish pan.

Apply sealer with pad applicator

Apply the sealer in thin coats working in one direction. Remove any excess sealer from the tiles BEFORE it dries. (See the streaks below? Those streaks and any puddling needs to be buffed off to avoid uneven drying.)

Avington Black & White Cement Tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com

Let the first coat of sealer dry completely. In fact you may want to take a break for 30 minutes or so between coats.

Buff off excess sealant from tiles.

Be prepared to apply many coats before your cement tiles are fully sealed. (My tiles needed 5 coats to seal them. Then I had to wait another 24 hours for the sealant to fully cure before grouting.) It may seem like a long process, but this insures the tiles will withstand regular use and resist stains.

After each coat of sealant dries, you need to test to see if the cement tiles are completely sealed. Drip water onto the tiles. If the water beads up, they are sealed. However, if the water absorbs into the tiles, add another layer of sealant and try the water test again later.

Water beading up on cement tiles means it's ready to grout.

Once your tiles are fully sealed, wait 24 hours before grouting.

How to Grout Tiles:

Because I work alone, it takes me a little longer to grout. To prevent my grout from hardening too quickly, I like to float my mixed grout container in a bucket of ice water to slow down the setting action.

Load up your float with fresh mixed grout. Holding your grout float at a 45 degree angle against the floor, spread the grout over the gaps between the tiles in a diagonal motion. Work in small 3 – 4 square foot areas. Then scrape any excess grout off the tiles using a clean grout float.

grouting tiles with grout float

Immediately wipe off any excess grout using a clean damp sponge. Ring out and refresh your sponge with clean water frequently.

It is imperative to get all the excess grout off the tiles or you risk the grout staining or settling into the tiles. Go ahead and move on to the next section, but go back to the previous tiles and buff off any haze with a dry rag.

Avington Black & White Cement Tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com

After the grout has cured, clean your floors with a pH neutral mild cleanser. Then apply one final coat of penetrating sealer. A new coat of sealer should be reapplied every 6-12 months for floors, and every 2-3 years for wall tiles.

Avington Black & White Cement Tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com

Cement Tile Maintenance:

To protect your beautiful cement tile floors, clean up any spills immediately. Never leave anything sitting on the floor that could stain or scratch your tiles. If your tiles get scratched or stained, you can use a fine grit sandpaper to sand off the stain. Just be sure to re-seal your tiles after sanding.

Still on the fence about installing cement tiles in your home? This is a good article breaking down the pros and cons of cement tiles.

A big thank you to The Builder Depot for providing the laundry room tiles for the Saving Etta project and for giving me excellent instructions for installing the cement tiles. What do you think? Do you love the cement tile look?

Laundry Room with Avington Cement Tile Floor.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Happy tiling!

How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results

Disclosure: The Builder Depot is a proud sponsor of the Saving Etta project.  I was provided with materials for this project. I was not told what to write. All opinions and ideas are my own.

 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!

 

If you liked this post, you’ll also find these tile posts helpful:

How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results

How to Tile a Backsplash

 

How to Install Cement Tiles and Achieve Professional Results

How to Grout Tiles

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Did you enjoy that sneak peek of the pantry renovation project? I’m sure you are dying to see what lies behind that closet door. Well, you’re in luck because today you get to see the reveal and learn how I made these Pull Out Drawers with Chalkboard Fronts.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Recently I’ve been putting the finishing touches on the big pantry renovation. Although the space wasn’t that big to start with, I’ve created more usable spots to store our food and pantry items. Part of the renovation involved putting up a wall to create a closet with pull out shelving. This area is 1/3 of the original pantry. But, it holds about 2/3 of the original food items. Amazing!

I started with your standard 6′ wide by 3′ deep closet with bi-fold doors. It may sound like a fair amount of storage space, but the shelves were only 12″ deep and there were only five shelves. Trust me when I say there was a lot of wasted space.

Ready to see the new closet portion of the pantry? Let’s throw open that door and let you see the organization I have in there now!

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Hark, I think I hear singing angels! Keep in mind this is only 1/3 of the pantry renovation. The other two thirds will have more storage than you can shake a stick at.

A drastic improvement from the before:

Enough of the ugly, I’m sure you’re really here to find out how to create these fun Pull Out Drawers with Chalkboard Fronts.

Before we begin, I want to thank my sponsor for providing me with GE Iron Grip* 100% silicone adhesive for this project and for the giveaway. Just to be clear, I have partnered with the manufacturer of GE-branded sealants and adhesives to bring you this post, and have been compensated for my honest opinions.

Since receiving this product, I have put it to the test. So far I give it a top score. The curing time is much faster than some other adhesives I’ve worked with. What really sets it apart for me is the clear color, so it blends in with any project: wood, metal, masonry, tile, glass, you name it.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Ready to get building? Great! Let’s get busy making these fun organizational chalkboard front drawers.

Building Chalkboard Front Drawers:

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

This is an easy build project. You don’t have to use a nail gun if you don’t have one. The brad nails simply hold the box structure in place while the adhesive cures. If you do choose to not use the nail gun, be sure to secure the box with clamps for the required clamp time.

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.)

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Optional: Painter’s tape

Cut List:

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

1/2″ Plywood cut list:

  • 2 – 15 ½” x 6 ¼”
  • 2 – 11″ x 6¼”

1/4″ Plywood cut list:

  • 12″ x 15 ¼”

Masonite panel:

  • 12″ x 6 ½”

Backer band moulding:

  • 12″

Note: If you are using the drawers in an existing cabinet box, measure your opening and create the drawer to your specifications. You’ll also want to follow the guidelines and measurements provided by the drawer slide manufacturer*. 

*For this project I used the Blum Tandem full extension soft close drawer slides.

To make things simple for you, I put together this brief video to show you how to build the chalkboard front boxes:

Instructions:

Sand the edges of your plywood pieces to knock off any splinters.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint one side of the masonite panel with two coats of chalkboard paint (sand between coats.)

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Dry fit your plywood drawer pieces together.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut off the tip of your GE Iron Grip* adhesive tube.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Use the stick on your caulk gun to puncture the inner seal.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Run a line of adhesive along the sides of your front and back pieces.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Sandwich the front and back pieces between the side pieces.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Check the box to see if it is square by measuring both diagonals and making adjustments until they are the same length.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Add 2-3 brad nails into the side pieces to secure the box while the adhesive cures.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Wipe off any excess adhesive with a baby wipe or damp paper towel.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

If you haven’t cut your 1/4″ plywood base yet, that’s fine. I prefer to cut the base after building the drawer box to insure an accurate fit. Lay the box on top of the 1/4″ plywood and mark the perimeter onto the base.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut the plywood base and sand any rough edges.

Run a line of adhesive along the bottom edges of your drawer box.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Line up the base and press it onto the drawer box.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the base with a few nails to hold it in place while the GE Iron Grip* adhesive cures.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Wipe off any excess adhesive that may have squeezed out.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Time to add the chalkboard face. Add a liberal amount of GE Iron Grip* adhesive to the front panel of your drawer.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Center the chalkboard panel on your drawer front. Press firmly on the chalkboard panel to set in place. Let the drawer sit face up until the adhesive has cured.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

For a finishing touch, add your backer band piece to act as a handle. Run a line of GE Iron Grip* adhesive along the inside edge of the backer band moulding.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Press the backer band over the front edge of the plywood drawer and chalkboard panel.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Insert your drawers into any cabinet box using the drawer slides of your choice or simply slide the drawer box onto a shelf for better organization of smaller items.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m loving my new full extension chalkboard front drawers. It helps the kids (and me) find all our pantry items and keep them organized.

Make Your Own Chalkboard Front Drawers | Organized Pantry | Pretty Handy Girl

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for GE –branded sealants and adhesives.

*Iron Grip is a trademark of Momentive Performance Materials Inc.