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DIY Key Holder

DIY Key Holder

Our key holder was actually the first thing that Chloe and I built for the house together. We had bought a desk from a man on craigslist to cut down and make into two end tables (I’ll have to post that later). When we cut the desk down we had leftover wood from the top of the desk that was just laying around. We simply cut the wood down to pieces we liked the size of and laid all the hardware out. Then stained it with our favorite stain. Glued and screwed it together. We wanted something to add to it other than just four key hooks. While we were walking around hobby lobby Chloe spotted a old looking milk glass and asked if we could attach it somehow I said sure and we grab from fake flowers while we were there. I grabbed a standard radiator clamp from the shop and we had a key holder.

DIY Dining Room Chandelier

DIY Dining Room Chandelier

I was growing very bored with my current dinning room chandelier. It was a standard contractor grade fixture that the previous owners had installed I assume when the house was built. Chloe started sifting through pins on Pintrest and we found a pretty cool design that someone had pioneered.  This is just some photos of the process.


My buddy Alex has a bandsaw mill and cut some water oak thin a while back for some rudimentary shelves in his shop. He graciously gave me a piece and I squared it up with a circular saw. After I had the bottom squared up I went about making the box frame using some 1×3 pine from Lowes and pocket screws. Next I broke out the ruler and carpenter’s square to mark where all the holes would be drilled. I evenly spaced out my holes 3 inches apart to make the grid. It ended up requiring 60 holes to be drilled.IMG_1734

Next was to apply some dark walnut Rustolum Stain.IMG_1735


I wish that I had taken more photos of the process in between these two shots. I decided that 6 of the 60 bulbs would actually be lit while the rest would be just for show. I mean who wants to wear sunglasses while dining or upgrading a breaker. Basically I bought some standard 1″ conduit from Lowes and used a bandsaw to cut it into 52 2 inch pieces. I also bought 52 knockouts that fit inside the conduit and drilled each of them. I bought enough black paracord to create the illusion of the fake light sockets having a electrical cord.

Next was actually wiring up the working bulbs. I’m not going to get into how to do that. If you are unsure about electricity then you should read up on it in a more through article or seek help from someone with more experience. IMG_1788

Just doing a test run to see if it lights up.IMG_1821 IMG_1820 IMG_1823 Getting ready to take down the old fixture.IMG_1824

To mount the new fixture I went into the attic and found the wire coming through the ceiling. I measure how far from the hole the rafters were in the direction that I wanted the fixture to run. Then I took two pieces of scrap 2×4 that were cut to the exact length to just slip inside the new light’s width running the direction of the rafters. I then pre drilled the two pieces of scrap and ran screws through them into the rafters above the ceiling sheetrock.

There she is with all her glory. Not many people notice that only 10% of the lights actually work.


DIY Picture frames – with Shapeoko 2

DIY Picture frames – with Shapeoko 2

Designing and carving picture frames using the Shapeoko and Easel is pretty easy. Needing some Christmas gifts for the family, Chloe and I decided to take a piece of 12″x1″ pine from Lowes. Cut it down to a bit bigger than a 8×10 photo. Stain it using Rust-Oleum Dark Walnut. Then, engrave the names of each of the children in the family using the Shapeoko. It was a fairly simple process and pretty self-explanatory with the Easel software. After the engraving was finished some very light sanding was done to remove the tear out from the router bit. I used some Super Glue to glue on some bull dog clips and we were good to go.

Here are some pictures.

DIY Engagement Ring Box – with Shapeoko 2

DIY Engagement Ring Box – with Shapeoko 2

So I have been planning on asking Chloe to marry me for a while. After getting my Shapeoko 2 I decided how I wanted to do it. I had some inspiration from Reddit a while back. I fired up LibreCAD and went to town. 8 months later I had this.DSC_7966 DSC_7967 DSC_7968 DSC_7969 DSC_7970 DSC_7971 DSC_7972

Here is a video of it working.









Here are some random shots of me testing and making the box.IMG_1994 IMG_1995 IMG_1996 IMG_1997 IMG_1998 IMG_2004 IMG_2005 IMG_2007 IMG_2008 IMG_2009 IMG_2022 IMG_2052 IMG_2053 IMG_2054 IMG_2055 IMG_2056 IMG_2057 IMG_2058 IMG_2059 IMG_2060 IMG_2063 IMG_2066 IMG_2067 IMG_2070 IMG_2071 IMG_2072 IMG_2073 IMG_2074 IMG_2075

DIY Farm Dining Table

DIY Farm Dining Table


So I’ve been getting really tired of not having a table in the kitchen. Eating all my meals on the couch has its perks, but it is kinda lame too. I started looking for plans, as I always do, for tables. I ended up deciding on these plans. After reading the plans and getting the measuring tape out, I knew very quickly that it wouldn’t fit in my kitchen. The plans called for the table to be 95 1/2 inches long. My small cozy kitchen couldn’t handle that. The only modification that I made to the plans was to adjust the length of the base from 81 inches to 60 inches. I pretty much followed the plans after that.


Notching. Here is where I notched out the boards using a circular saw. The basic idea is to mark off where you want to cut and make the initial cuts. Then make small cuts about 1/4 inch apart from the last cut. The end result is a bunch of small chunks of wood that can easily be knocked out with a hammer. There will be some pieces left on the boards after you break away the wood chips. I handled them by making slow passes with the circular saw again. Be very careful and wear eye protection. IMG_1575 IMG_1576


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Gluing legs. After I notched all the boards, I applied wood glue and screwed them together.IMG_1582



Leg Assembly. Next, I used the same method to notch the horizontal runners and screws them together. I made sure to run the screws into the wood far enough that I could fill in the holes with filler later.

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Frame Assembly. Next was assembling the top pieces. I took my Kreg jig bit, set the collar to about 1/4 inch on the fatter part and used the bit to counter sink the holes for the slats. I didn’t want the 2x2s being uneven later.IMG_1585


Sanding. Next, I took the boards used for the table top and sanded…and sanded… and sanded. I did a once over with 80 on all the boards. Then went back with 220 to polish the wood. I then sanded the lower frame the exact same way. In this photo. I just laid the boards on top to see how they fit.


Staining. Using Rustoleum Dark Walnut, Chloe and I worked in a clockwise fashion to stain the top. She would apply the stain and I would come behind her and wipe up the excess stain with a rag. This allowed me to vary the amount of pressure I was applying to the wood to give it a uneven look.  IMG_1607

Here is what the top looked like before applying polyurethane. IMG_1609

Finishing.  After the first coat of polyurethane I took 0000 grade steel wool and went over the entire table. I recommend wearing some gloves to keep from getting cut and crazy blisters. Next, I applied another coat of poly to the table. I sanded it again with the steel wool. After I applied the last coat of poly to the table, Chloe and I weren’t impressed with the sheen of the table. So, I knocked the sheen off by lightly sanding the table with the steel wool again. The end result was amazingly slick with a dull finish. The first thing multiple say after running their hand over it is “Wow! That is smooth.”

Chairs. Lastly, I didn’t have any chairs. Chloe and I went to the local flea market in search for chairs. We found a good deal of 4 chairs for $15. After walking the entire flea market looking for more chairs, we were unsuccessful. I remembered that one of my old college roommates had a plethora of chairs left over from his wedding. They’d had an entire field full of mismatched chairs. I contacted him and he said his father-in-law still had some. Long story short, I found all the chairs my table could handle. While picking some chairs out his father-in-law said something that made me smile pretty big:

Well I’m happy someone in the wedding is getting these chairs… makes me feel like their weddings is living on.


Here is the final result. I plan on adding a cool centerpiece I found plans for and Chloe is talking about making a table runner. The stain is a little darker than this photo makes it appear. IMG_1626

If I were going to do it over again I probably would have used some type of biscuit joints to pull the table top flush and together.

// lance



DIY Queen Pallet Bed and Headboard

DIY Queen Pallet Bed and Headboard

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So, I’ve been looking around and toying with the idea of getting a “grown-up” bed for some time now. The college days of a $30 frame holding up the box springs were over. I walked around World Market a few weeks ago, and it was then that I really decided that I wanted a more adult looking bed. The price tag for furniture still astounds me most days. So, naturally, I fired up Google and started poking around. I ended up looking at pallet furniture ( which is basically furniture made from re-purposed pallets ). I found this guy’s posts (headboard and bed) and was convinced I could build it without much of a problem. I also wanted something smaller, so Packets could get on and off the bed without me worrying about him breaking his legs each time. The plans I found were perfect for those goals. All in all, it cost me about $130-140 for the headboard and bed. I pretty much used the plans found on his site. Except, I modified the measurements to fit a queen size bed instead of a king.


Quick trip to Lowe’s resulted in some lumber. IMG_1496 IMG_1499


I finally got to use my new Kreg pocket hole jig and clamp. Best money I’ve spent in a while…seriously. IMG_1500 IMG_1501


Chloe swore up and down that the bed was way too small. I told her to prove it.
She, Packets and his 50ft leash fit nicely. IMG_1502




She’s not into sanding…. but beating up the wood with a bag of random hardware was her thing. IMG_1511


Sanding for hours.IMG_1513 IMG_1515


Packets and his ham.IMG_1522


Mom and Chloe staining. We used Rust-Oleum Dark Walnut.IMG_1524


We waited about a min or so, then wiped off the stain with rags. I took some 220 sand paper and LIGHTLY sanded the stain, so that it was a little uneven. IMG_1535


I brought the bed into my bedroom and made quick use of my staple gun. Notice I used a 2×4 as a spacer. IMG_1540 IMG_1541 IMG_1544


Packets checking out how it’s going.IMG_1545

Here is where the headboard was started. Looking for a good excuse to used the pocket hole jig, I made some holes in the bottom board.IMG_1553


All we needed to do here was know how wide the head board needed to be. Then, we picked one or two random numbers and cut to those lengths. The last board for each row just needed to make the row equal to the width of the headboard. Taking a sharpie, we noted the row each board belonged in. I then took each row and sanded them smooth with 80/220. I also drilled holes in the ends of the boards to make them appear to be old pallet boards. I beat the drilled holes with a hammer too, to add to the effect.IMG_1555

We then took some of the spare 1×3 wood from the bed slats and pulled all the rows flush with screws. IMG_1560

Each row was individually stained by Chloe. She left the stain on longer on some boards and put water on some. The effect was pretty cool. The headboard appears it was made from different kinds of wood. But it was all the same kind of wood and same stain. IMG_1558

Some more pocket holes to pull the top down.IMG_1559

Put on a thin coat of satin polyurethaneIMG_1561 IMG_1563


The end result.



// lance

DIY Pallet Dog Bed

DIY Pallet Dog Bed


While I was waiting on some stain to dry on a bed frame I was building, I glanced over and noticed I had a pretty good amount of leftover wood. I glanced down at Packets who was sleeping in his bed and the wheels started turning. I had more than enough extra wood to make a miniature version of my bed. I figured “ehh why not”

Cut List:

  • 2×6 @ 22in X 2
  • 2×6 @ 14in X 2
  • 1×3 @ 26in X 2
  • 1×3 @ 11&3/8 X 1
  • 1×3 @ 22in X 2
  • 1×3 @ 11&1/4 X 6
  • 1×2 @ random widths that equal width of the bed

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I made sure everything was square. Also, I put the ugly sides of the wood down and on the inside.IMG_1528   IMG_1531


I put the top on with some glue and staples from a pneumatic staple gun. I figured that with glue and staples, a 3lb yorkie probably can’t knock it loose. I apologize for the poor quality photo, I wasn’t paying attention. IMG_1532


This is after filling in staples with filler and sanding with 80/220. I rubbed on some stain and let it dry.IMG_1534


Next, a test fit with Packets to make sure the bed would work. It is a standard pillow with a grey pillow case. You can see my bed in the background getting a coat of poly. IMG_1537


I took the scraps of the slates from my bed and stapled them to a piece of 1×3 running along the long side of the bed. IMG_1536


I used the same technique as the the one used on my bed. Some spare 1x2s and 1x3s were cut up to mimic the appearance of my bed. This is the front.IMG_1547 IMG_1549 IMG_1552

Here is the headboard and bed screwed together with a coat of satin poly drying. IMG_1548


Packets checking out his new bed.DSC_7519


// lance

DIY Key Hanger

DIY Key Hanger


After spending countless hours looking for my keys, I decided it was time to buy/make a key hanger. I looked around on Pinterest and Etsy for a while before deciding on a basic design to begin with. I liked this one and this one. The design I came up with is a mix of both. I liked the chalkboard design, except without most of the materials being leftovers, it would cost way too much to buy and build. The other design is nice, but I ultimately decided it was too bland.

I happened to have the leftover top from a desk that I was cutting down to make two bedroom end tables ( I’ll post about that later ). When I unscrewed the top, I noticed how bent it was and how it wouldn’t work for my end tables. Something told me to hang on to it. Turns out, it was perfect for this.



I looked for the “most straight-ish” piece that I could find and cut two small pieces out. I made sure to utilize the routed edge of the top as the top of my key holder. The desk had a hard life before I got it, so there was already a somewhat distressed look in the wood grain. Luckily, the underside of the top had some 1×1.5 inch slats under it. I took those off to be used as spacers for the front. I took my orbital sander and sanded everything with 80 then smoothed it out with 220 grit sand paper. Next, Chloe grabbed some Rust-Oleum “Dark Walnut” and stained it. I used some 160 grit sandpaper that I had left over to scuff up the edges and get it a distressed look (less is more).


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After letting the stain dry, I lined up the hooks where they looked decent and evenly spaced. Chloe and I went to Hobby Lobby and found a old-ish looking glass milk bottle on sale for %50 off. I attempted to find a pipe tie strap like used in this design. However, I don’t think that Lowes carries that product anymore. With this in mind, I went after a radiator clamp and mounted it on the key holder with a screw  (I drilled a hole in the clamp for the screw to go through).

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The end result is a simple, little key holder that can also hold mail. I will try in the future to take more photos, to achieve a more detailed walk-through.



// lance


DIY Glass Whiteboard

DIY Glass Whiteboard


So, I needed a whiteboard for my new office. I had heard that writing on glass was very nice but never had the opportunity to try it out. I started pricing out whiteboards that I liked online and quickly discovered that whiteboards must be laced with copper or gold. This is a small post about how I built a glass whiteboard for ~$30.

I found a few DIY posts about making glass whiteboards; this one was my inspiration. I wasn’t fond of the $200 price tag and the sharpness of the glass in that design.

I started my project with a quick search of Craigslist for “glass dining tables”. I tried glass tables but kept getting end tables that were much too small for the whiteboard. The only downside to targeting dining tables is, sometimes they are 1/2 inch thick. This makes them entirely too heavy to hang on the wall. I got a lot of puzzled responses when I asked how thick the glass was on Craigslist ads 🙂 . I wanted a frosted piece of glass, so I wouldn’t have to do much to the wall or glass to have enough contrast to see the markers. After a week, I found what I was looking for on Craigslist for $20.


I liked the look of the aluminum strips that were used in the above link, but I didn’t like the price tag at Lowes. Chloe, I think, mentioned why not use wood. I thought about it for a bit and ended up in the moulding section. I ended up picking out this style of moulding for the project. The width of my glass required two 8 ft pieces of moulding at ~$5 putting me at $30 total.

Next I took the moulding home and put it on the table saw. I cut a 1/4 inch groove on the back side of the moulding to hold the glass against the wall.



I took my miter saw and chopped the ends off at a 45 degree angle, so they wouldn’t have a blunt edge. I also wanted a finished look. After cutting them, I broke out some of the ultra white paint that I had been using on the chair rail moulding and sprayed the newly cut moulding. This gave it a smooth clean white look to match my chair rail.

The next step was to use my stud finder to locate the studs on the wall. I marked where they were. I could only fit three studs in the width of my moulding so I used the center stud as the center on the whiteboard moulding. Lining up the two pieces of moulding I clamped them and drilled through them. This ensured that the holes lined up on both pieces of moulding and would hit the studs each time.

I used some extra screws from another project to screw the bottom piece to the wall. I purposely left them loose (I made sure I hit the stud… but not snug to the wall), so that I could slip the glass in behind the moulding. Then it was a matter of getting Chloe to hold the glass while I screwed the top moulding piece to the wall, securing the piece of glass.


Ignore the “#yolo” it was a joke for one of my friends.

// lance



DIY Stacked Washer and Dryer

DIY Stacked Washer and Dryer

Since moving to Atlanta I’ve had a laundry problem. My new apartment required a stacked washer and dryer. I’ve had a standard top loading washer and dryer for years. Naturally, I began surfing craigslist for stacked washer and dryers. To my surprise they were pretty cheap ~ $300. Then I got to the gotchas. Almost everyone I called said there was something slightly wrong with the machine. Usually they worked but needed a little loving care before they would complete the entire cleaning cycle. This was a mild annoyance since I knew I had a perfectly good washer and dryer sitting in my parents carport.

As a joke I mentioned to a coworker that I should just make a stacked washer and dryer from what I already had. I mulled it over for a bit and decided that I should think it over more. I was a little hesitant at first, thinking that I would probably be better off buying a stackable washer and dryer. I had lunch the next day and mentioned it to some more coworkers. After they poked and prodded me saying that it probably wouldn’t work I knew it had to be done.

I called up my Dad and told him to get his engineering hat on cause we were going to make a stacked washer and dryer. He sounded hesitant at first but I knew I could sway him. I sat down with a piece of paper and pencil and started working on a plan.

The plans

Most of the drawings on the left are me attempting to explain my idea to Dad. We usually are thinking the same thing we just say it differently.

The basic idea was to build a stilt system to hold the dryer above the washer. I went to and priced out weldable steel angle. It was ~$18 for 72 Inches. At that rate I was staring down a price tag of ~$100 in material.

I remembered that one of my friends had a ton of angle that he picked up from the flea market. I gave him a quick call and he said he had more than I needed and to come get some. That took care of the materials.



So Dad and I started measuring, cutting and welding. The end result was a simple shelf that would hold the 2

There really isn’t much to get to excited over it is more or less just angle and 4 1″ square tubes. I decided to put a coat of Rustolum on it to keep it from rusting real bad.

After we had the frame built we tackled the next problem. Since I’m about 5’6″ there was no way I could reach the controls on the dryer once it was elevated. Especially since they were on the back of the dryer in the traditional location.

My first thought was to relocate them to the front of the dryer. Quick and dirty style. Drill a hole in front where it will miss the drum and mount the controls. Sharpie some points so I know what settings there are. Naturally, Dad had a much better and more elegant solution. He wanted to just move the entire instrument panel to the front of the dryer and point them down. This was simple enough and would give it a more polished look. So that’s what we did. We cut the wires and spliced in extensions for all the controls. Since it was going to be elevated and there was a risk of the wires rubbing the rotating drum we decided just to run the wires on top of the dryer. The end result looks factory and dang good.

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As you can see it works well and it doesn’t shake.

// lance