Monday, January 30, 2017

DIY Fence Planter

Short on space?

Fence planters are efficient ways of taking advantage of your outdoor area.  Normally unused vertical spaces can be filled with plants and flowers that look good and add a bit of "you" to your backyard.

Of course there are lots of ways to spruce up your outdoor living area.  Store bought planters can be purchased in just about any design if you have the budget for it.

You can up-cycle pallets or wooden crates for an extremely cheap version.

However, I like to go somewhere between economical and aesthetically appealing.  After all I am the one that has to look at it whether their are plants in them or not.

DIY Fence Planter


36 - 1x4s

4 - 2x4s

2 - 2x8s

NOTE: All board lengths are 8' long unless otherwise noted.

Choice of Stain

Cut List

16 Long Side Pieces - 10.5 x 36

16 End Pieces - 10 x 10.5

8 Bottom Piece - 10 x 36

16 Ledge Braces - 7 x 9

4 Vertical Supports - 3.5 x 90

Cutting Diagrams




Step 1

Lets start with the planter boxes.  The two longer sides I set at 36 inches long and 10 inches deep.
The length is arbitrary but the depth is actually by design.  It will allow you to plant just about any type of plant you want.

You can buy 1x12s is you don't want to do edge gluing.  I always do so because I find it to be more economical.  Three 1x4s edge glued together will give the width required.

Step 2

I wanted to keep this design as simple as possible to assemble.  So simple butt joints were incorporated instead of dadoes and  rabbets.

However, these butt joints will NOT hold as a final joinery for a project like this.  Once the sides have been assembled and the glue given a chance to dry I like to add dowels.

"OH NO, Dowels are complicated!", you say.

I'm offended at your accusations!!!  I don't do complicated.  I have several videos showing how to add dowels to a projects joints in a simple and easy manner.

Step 3

The bottom can be glued in place along with dowels in the same manner as the ends.

Once you have built the number of grow boxes you want for you vertical planter garden, it will be time to move on to the supports.

Step 4

The support brackets are from 2x material.  Neither the length nor the width need be precise.  You don't even need to cut the angle.

However, it may be wise to do so because you will find yourself to have  tendency to scrape your knuckles on the bottom corners.  Trust me, you will, no matter how careful you tell yourself to be.

Again you could by 2x8s for this or edge glue a couple 2x4s together to get the 7".

Step 5

You can leave the vertical supports alone if you want.  However, I set the length at what 3 or 4 planter boxes spaced at the below measurements apart would be.

The supports can simply be screwed in from the back side with 3" screws.

You will need two of these vertical pieces with the spacing shown below.

Step 6

You will need 2 more vertical supports with brackets spaced as shown below.

Step 7

If you are attaching your new garden space along a fence then now is the time to do this.  Be sure to measure and attach them at the widths listed below.

You can attach another 2x4 to the back side of your fence and then use 3.5" screws driven from one side to the other to give more structural support.

Step 8

Now you can set the boxes on top of the brackets and attach them using 3" or 3.5" screws from the bottom up.

Final Thoughts

A few coats of your choice of water resistant stain can be applied to the outside however I would refrain from applying it to the inside of the boxes.

There are many different materials that can be used in place of the wooden boxes.  I've seen old purses that were purchased from a thrift store for a few dollars each be used as planters hung from each ledge.

Old coffee cans attached with screws was another brilliant idea.  Wooden crates, you know the free standing ones you see at the store for $8 to $10 each.

Simple hanging plastic planters if you have enough of those or perhaps a combinations of each for a real up-cycled rendition to make this project your own.

I hope you find just as much inspiration building you vertical fence planter as I did putting these plans together.

Until then!


Saturday, January 14, 2017

DIY Simple Wooden Toy Boat

In our home we have several well constructed wooden toys. A favorite is this Melissa and Doug brand car carrier truck. It was given to our son as a gift several years ago and is still played with often.

It has four cars and at the time this photo was taken, only the red and green ones were accounted for. (By the way, usually there are four colorful cars that ride on this trailer lift!)

Also pictured in the background are wooden peg puzzles. They as well have years on them but are still played with frequently and even after four children all of the pieces are still accounted for.

Both puzzles and wooden toys are a must in every family with children. Putting together puzzles ignites math and other problem solving skills in young explorers and free play with wooden toys such as the car carrier that moves up and down encourages motor skills and imagination.

Not to mention that the toys are durable and outlast many plastic toys that are so often thrown away within months of buying them.

However, wooden toys when purchased in a store can run some money.

So when Joe from Joe's Basementwoodworking YouTube channel featured this toy boat project, I knew it was a home run project.  Not just because it was simple, but because it was also easy on the wallet.

DIY Simple Wooden Toy Boat:


Choice of Stain

Miter Saw

Scrap wood

Table saw

Thickness Planer (optional)

Bandsaw (optional)

Final Thoughts

An added bonus is that you can customize your boat based on what you've got available in your scrap bin. If you wanted to go the dowel route, you could further customize this project to break into pieces so your child could take it apart and put it back together again.

Don't forget to check out Joe Basementwoodworking YouTube channel to check out even more great project ideas from Joe. Don't forget to subscribe!

Until then!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

DIY Dollhouse Style Bookshelf

So I built the decorative wall shelf and was going to donate it to charity.  Because Christmas.

Then My 4yr old daughter saw it and thought I was building it for her.

I was about to explain to her what my intent was but then I realized that I had already built her brother a shelf of his own  and her older sister a bookcase.

So I guess it stood to reason she would assume that project would be hers.

I decided to not break her heart and go ahead and mount it for her on her side of her bedroom.

At the end of that video you can see how happy she looked.


However,  I will not let it stand that she would have something that truly was not built specifically for her.

So with great thought and care...

Daddy shall build this for his little girl.

DIY Dollhouse Style Bookshelf


2 - 1x8s

NOTE: All board lengths are 8' long and 3/4" thick unless otherwise noted.

Choice of Stain

Cut List

1 Bottom Shelf @ 7.25" x 24.5"
2 Sides @ 7.25" x 24"

1 Middle Shelf @ 7.25" x 24.5"

1 Lower Vertical Divider @ 7.25" x 10.5"

1 Upper Vertical Div ider @ 16-13/16"

1 Roof Side A @ 7.25" x 18-5/16"

1 Roof Side B @ 7.25" x 16-5/8"

1 Chimney @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 3-5/16"

Cutting Diagrams


Step 1

So lets start with the bottom and work our way up.  Cut it to length on a miter saw IF...

you have one that slides.  A regular 10" compound miter saw will not have the cut capacity to handle a board 7.25" wide.

I have an easy jig to build for a circular saw that will make short work of cutting a board this wide.

Then route a 3/4" dado for the vertical divider.

Step 2

Now cut the middle shelf to length in the same manner and route its dadoes.

Step 3

The lower vertical divider can be set and glued in place and immediately move on to step 4 without letting the glue dry.

Step 4

Set the middle shelf in place and use a couple 90 degree clamps to keep the two shelves perpendicular to each other.

Then apply straight clamps to secure the three pieces and allow the glue to dry.

Step 5

The two sides can be cut while the glue is drying.

The side pictured on the RIGHT below gets a 30 degree angle cut in the top end.

The side pictured on the LEFT below gets a 40 degree angle cut in the top end.

NOTE: I'll explain the reasons for the two different angles in the Final Thoughts section below.

A couple dado get routed in both sides so they can be attached to the shelf assembly.

The bottom dado is 1" up from the bottom of both sides.  Then measure a 10" distance between the top of the bottom shelf and the bottom of the top shelf.

Step 6

The upper vertical divider is cut to length and gets a 30 degree angle on the top end.

Step 7

No dadoes for the roof pieces.  However Side A gets a 20 Degree angle cut on one end.

Lay it in place with a line of glue and move on to step 8.

Step 8

Lay Side B in place with a couple lines of glue and clamp in place.

I use a band clamp for odd jobs like this.

Step 9

Once the glue for the two roof pieces are dry you can remove the clamp and add some 1/4" dowels to each of the glue joints to add some strength and visual appeal.

Finally the chimney is options if you want to add some flare.  A scrap piece of 2x2 with a 30 degree angle cut on one end can just be glued in place.

Final Thoughts

Why the different angles?  Why not design the project to use the same angle throughout?

Well the answer to that is aesthetics.

I wanted the roof to not meet in the middle.  I wanted the projects symmetry to be cut into thirds.

In order to do that and get the roof to meet at about 1/3rd over and not have a roof pitch that was absurd, I needed to use different angles on either side.

If you need a simple and easy explanation on how to cut boards to length with angles, I just happen to have one for you.

Until then!


Friday, December 23, 2016

DIY Cutting Board

Growing up, I knew someone whose grandfather had been a butcher. In their home, there was an island in the center of the kitchen. This island was actually his Grandfather's antique butcher block top and it was still in use.

It was definitely used for more purposes than cutting food because in that old farmhouse, it was even an extra counter work space to prepare food.

Meanwhile, back at our home, all we had was one or two old wooden cutting boards. They had deep cut marks and were getting on in years.

Years later, those two well worn boards were pitched for plastic when plastic boards came into style. Our "new" plastic boards were fine until they also showed signs of cut marks.

I'm not into ingesting plastic, are you?

Again I found myself harkening back to those two wooden cutting boards and wondering why I'd parted with them.

Fast forward to today and those plastic boards are gone and we're back to using wood again. This time the boards are hardwood and so much better to work with.

If it's time in your home to update or replace those old cutting boards, be sure to ditch the plastic and get busy one weekend making your own DIY cutting boards.

These ones by Jeff caught my eye because I'm a fan of the mixed materials look. He used a mix of walnut, maple, and bubinga but be sure to go with what you've got available in your local area.

DIY Cutting Board:


Walnut, maple, and bubinga (or your choice of wood selections)

Wood Glue (Titebond 2)

Table Saw

Thickness Planer

Various Size Clamps

Orbit Sander


Gloves and mask

Salad Bowl Finish

Final Thoughts

Working with the salad bowl finish means taking your time with several application coats and also sanding to achieve a great end result. Wear a mask to protect against any fumes and also use gloves to help with any stickiness.

I hope you enjoyed today's featured project and don't forget to stop by "Home Built Workshop" YouTube channel to check out even more great woodworking videos from Jeff. Don't forget to subscribe.

If you liked Jeff's project shared today, be sure to check out another simple and easy creation by Jeff here:

Until then!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

DIY TV Stand

Are you the type of person who wall mounts their TV or puts it on a TV stand?

We've had our TV displayed both ways. Right now our TV sits on an actual piece of furniture, a TV stand. It's serving us well.

The set up is great because we rely on our TV stand for a storage area. It can hold a DVD player, a game console, and lots of DVD's. Some of our school curriculum even resides there.

Like I said earlier we did have a time where we had the TV wall mounted. We still had our TV stand right below it. Why, you ask?

Visually, having it this way ensured the room appeared balanced and organized. Our home's living room was a long rectangular room which was broken up on one wall by an awkwardly placed door.

This meant placement of the couch had to be in one particular spot only. The small section of the wall left by that awkwardly placed door is where the TV had to be placed.

We don't have that issue in our current home, and the wall mounted unit is long gone.

We can rearrange the room's furniture if we wanted to. The TV is at the right height to soothe everyone's needs.

Ever noticed how there's always one person in the family who thinks the TV is too high and the other person thinks it's just right?

Yes, that conversation has happened in our home.

An option for you is to custom build your stand to the height that everyone can agree on. Also, I'm always looking for easy, affordable projects using 2x4's! Chad shares in his video that his project was only about 25.00 .

Talk about affordable!

DIY TV Stand:


Choice of Stain
(he used Dark Walnut)

Miter Saw

Table Saw

Pocket Hole Jig


Various size clamps

2 1/2 inc screws

2x4 material

Final Thoughts:

You could add some corner hardware/decorative bolts to each corner of the piece to enhance the final finish.

In our house, the area behind our TV stand gets dusty fast.  Why not add castors to the leg bottoms to ensure easy cleaning and possible future furniture rearranging?

We hope you enjoyed this great home furniture project from Chad DIY . Be sure to check out their YouTube channel for even more great woodworking projects from Chad. Don't forget to subscribe!

If you liked this project, then you will love this matching rustic DIY Coffee Table. Feel free to check it out! Until then!


Monday, December 12, 2016

DIY Wooden Soap Mold

There are a lot of good reasons to make your own homemade soap.

1.  It's as natural as you want it to be.  The mass produced commercial stuff that you get at a store has all sorts of chemicals and harsh cleansers.  Chemical cocktails you might say. 

Some of them dehydrate the skin which ages it. 

They can cause allergic reactions and have been linked to certain forms of cancer.  (Correlation does not prove causation but it's enough to make me take notice.)

2.  Typically handmade soap is made of oils and/or butters that contain antioxidants and vitamins that may be absorbed by the skin helping to keep it healthy.

3.  Some people report that the use of home made soap has relieved them of itchiness, dryness and skin conditions such as excema, psoriasis and acne.

4.  Infinite number of recipes.  (Well, not infinite, but you get the drift.)  You can tailor what recipe you use based on what your skins needs are at the time.  If they change, then you can simply change the ingredients you use.

I could go on but reading about an arm's length list of benefits gets boring for some so...

On with today's project.

DIY Small Activity Caddy


1 - 1x6

NOTE: All board lengths are 8' long and 3/4" thick unless otherwise noted.

Choice of Stain

Cut List

2 Sides @ 4" x 16.5" or 102mm x 419mm

1 Bottom @ 4-1/8" x 16.5" or 108mm x 419mm

2 End Pieces @ 4-1/8" x 2.25" or 108mm x 57mm

Cutting Diagrams


Step 1

The bottom piece is cut to length on the miter saw and ripped to width on the table saw.

Then measure 1.5" or 38mm in from each end and route a dado for both end pieces.

Step 2

Cut the end pieces to length and width in the same manner as the bottom.

Make sure they are snug in their dadoes.

Step 3

The sides are the pieces that we will spend a majority of our time on. 

First, measure 1.5" in from each end and route corresponding dadoes as shown.

Second, measure up from the bottom 1" and route a dado the length of the board.

Now mark an X from one corner of the board to the corner the dadoes made and vise versa.  That will give a center point to drill a hole for the hardware.

Step 4

The hardware used is a 5" or 5.5" one quarter inch bolt with a flat washer and wing nut.  All of which will be available at any home improvement store.

Final Thoughts

Lining a wooden soap mold before use is essential to being able to get your soap out of the mold in one piece.  We use parchment paper to line our molds but if you are making a lot of soap then that may get expensive.

You can also use a plastic bag if you don't mind a few minor creases on the sides and bottom of your soap.

When it is time to take the soap out of the mold simply unscrew the wingnuts and pull the sides away.

Once the project is dry it can come out of the clamps and be sanded down.  A few coats of your choice of stain along with a few more coats of a project sealer such as some polyurethane will complete this awesome gift giving idea.

I hope you enjoyed our 12th Day of 12 DIY Christmas Gift ideas and the complete series.

Don't forget to check us out on Facebook and Youtube for more great simple and easy DIY projects.

Until then!


Sunday, December 11, 2016

DIY 2x4 Shelf with Towel Hooks

When I did this design I originally had a bathroom setting in mind.  Hence the photo above.

Then I got to thinking that it would like nice just inside an entryway.  You could take your coat off  when you come inside and hang it on one of the hooks. 

Place your gloves and hat on top of the shelf and have everything in place the next time you wanted to go out somewhere or...

Imagine it tucked just inside a walk in closet.  A night robe hung up so you could just reach around the inside of the closet and grab it.

It's a great stylish design that would look good in just about any room and can be purposed for so many different things.

DIY Shelf with Hooks


2 - 2x4s (Might be able to get away with just 1 if you have a few 2x4 scraps laying around.)

NOTE: All board lengths are 8' long unless otherwise noted.

Choice of Stain

Cut List

5 Shelf Slats @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 21"

1 Front Shelf Slat @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 24"

2 Shelf Side Pieces @1.5" x 1.5" x 8.75"
2 Vertical Joiner Pieces @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 8.5"
1 Horizontal Bottom Cross Piece @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 24"
4 Hook Pieces @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 3.5"

Cutting Diagrams


Step 1

The first thing to do is too rip a 2x4 in half on the table saw.  Actually I should be more specific than to just say "half". 

2x4s usually have rounded corners to them.  Run each side through the table saw to remove this rounded portion.  Then set your table saw rip fence to 1.5" and you should be able to get two 8' lengths of board.  Each at one and a half inches or 38mm.

The bottom cross piece is the one that sits horizontal and gets the hook pieces attached to it.  Cut it to length on the miter saw and then take it back to the table saw and you should be able to cut all the slots you see below.

Step 2

The hooks are simple 3.5" or 89mm pieces with a 1/4" to 1/2" section routed out of them to create the hook on the end.

Again the easiest way to do that would be on the table saw.  However, don't cut each piece to it's 3.5" length and then try to cut that section out on the table saw.

Use a longer piece that you can get all four cut out of plus a few inches.  Set the blade height to around 1/4" or whatever height you want the hook part to have and run the piece across the blade using the miter gauge until you are 3.25" in from the end of the board.

Then take the piece over to the miter saw and cut a piece that is 3.5" long and whalahh!  You have one of your hook pieces.

Rinse and repeat for the other 3.

Then glue and clamp in place.


Step 3

The Vertical joiner pieces is what joins the top shelf to the bottom hook portion.  The photo below may look tricky but it isn't.

The miter gauge on the table saw can be used to cut the tenon shown on the top portion of the pic.

However, unless you have a tenon cutting jig for the other side you will probably just want to clamp the piece in a vise and use a pull saw.  A chisel will clean up the inside edges nicely to give a finished fit.

TIP:  Just remember to mark the waste portion of the material before cutting.  Since the cuts are 90 degrees to each other from one end to the other it can be a little visually disorienting.

Step 4

Now those pieces can be glued together with the bottom cross piece. 

Step 5

Lets start on the top shelf.  Again use the same technique you decided to go with in step 4 to cut this piece as well.

Step 6

Now glue the shelf slats between the side pieces.

NOTE:  Make sure you get the end mortise facing the right direction to be joined to the bottom section of the project.

The one thing here is to flush the slat to the end of the side pieces that has the joinery cut into it.  Space each piece 1/4" or 6mm apart and that should leave a 1/4" lip along the front so that when the next step is done the spacing between the slats will be uniform.

Step 7

Glue the front slat in place.

Step 9

Glue to two sections of the project together.

Final Thoughts

Once the project is dry it can come out of the clamps and be sanded down.  A few coats of your choice of stain along with a few more coats of a project sealer such as some polyurethane will complete this awesome gift giving idea.

I hope you enjoyed our 11th Day of 12 DIY Christmas Gift ideas.

Don't forget to stop by again tomorrow for another great project to help you with your gift giving dilemma's.

Until then!