Sunday, April 26, 2015

DIY Workshop Step Stool

Ana White is currently hosting the #GetBuilding2015 challenge. This month's theme is #BuildCave which involves building something for your workshop. Originally, I had planned on building something to corral and organize my scrap wood. It had been shoved in piles and I had to dig through it whenever I wanted to build something.

While I was in the basement trying to think up a plan to build, I realized that I had an old metal filing cabinet that I hadn't used in years. I took out the drawers, turned it on its side, and it was the perfect solution! The only problem was the shorter pieces were getting lost in the bottom. I simply put some empty cat litter buckets in the holes where the drawers used to be. I put the longer pieces around the bucket and the shorter pieces inside the bucket. It worked out perfectly. But, I no longer had an idea about what to make for the challenge.

While I was putting some stuff away on the top shelf of one of the shelving units, I realized that I could use a step stool. I had been standing on top of a Rubbermaid tote whenever I needed to get to the top shelf. I searched the internet for some ideas for a simple step stool and I found this plan on This would perfectly fit my needs. Not only does it give me a step stool, but also a small table top or stool to sit on.

This step stool does not take much to make. I actually had all the needed supplies in my scrap pile. If you need to buy the supplies, you can buy everything for under $10. You can view the complete plan here. I did not follow the plans exactly, but here are the steps I took to make it.

Needed materials:
2 - 1" x 3" x 8'
1 - 1" x 4" x  2'
1 - 1" x 6" x 3'
1 - 1" x 8" x 2'
Countersink drill bit
Kreg Jig (optional)
1 1/4" wood screws
2" wood screws
1 1/4" pocket hole screws (optional)
Wood glue
Sander or sandpaper

Step 1: Cut your boards. I started out using my miter saw for this, but it broke and I finished it with my circular saw.

Needed Cuts:
4 - 1" x 3" at 25" (legs)
6 - 1" x 3" at 14" (rungs)
1 - 1" x 4" at 16" (back brace)
2 - 1" x 6" at 16" (steps)
2 - 1" x 8" at 19" (top)

Step 2: Using wood glue and countersunk 1 1/4" screws, attach the top rung to the legs. This rung should be flush with the top of the legs.

Step 3: Using wood glue and countersunk 1 1/4" screws, attach the middle and bottom rungs to the legs. The top of the middle rung should be 8 3/4" from the top of the top rung. The top of the bottom rung should be 17 1/4" from the top of the top rung. Make two sets of these.

Step 4: Using a Kreg jig set at the 3/4" setting, drill pocket holes in each end of the back brace. You can skip this step if you are not using pocket holes.

Step 5: Using the pocket hole screws, attach the back brace to the legs. You could also use 2" countersunk screws to attach the brace.

Step 6: Using wood glue and countersunk 2" screws, attach the two steps. The bottom step should be flush with the front. The second step should be 3 1/2" in from the front.

Step 7: Attach hinges to the two top pieces. The plans suggest using non-mortise hinges. I just grabbed regular hinges that I had at home. It left a slightly larger gap between the two boards on the top, but that's not a big deal.

Step 8: Using wood glue and countersunk 2" screws, attach the back top piece to the top rung.

Step 9: I normally would fill any holes with putty, at this stage. But since I am only going to be using this when I am working in the basement, I did not bother with this. If I ever decide to use it somewhere else, I can do it at that time.

Step 10: Sand all surfaces. I gave this a quick once over with my Random Orbital Sander. I actually won this sander as a give-away over at Home Repair Tutor. If you haven't checked out that site before, it is definitely worth it. He has a ton of great ideas!

Step 11: I normally would paint or stain at this point, but I don't need it to look pretty in my workshop. I may decide to paint it at a later time.

Step 12: Enjoy your new step stool/table!

This was really easy to make and I know I will use quite a bit.

If I was to do this again, I would have used pocket holes screwed into the rungs to attach the steps and the top. I didn't think about doing this until after I had the ladders built, so I only used pocket holes for the back brace.

Be sure to check out all the other #BuildCave projects on

Sunday, March 29, 2015

DIY Scrap 2x4 Bunny

Although there is still some snow lingering in the back yard, I wanted to make a quick spring decoration. I dug through my scrap wood pile for some inspiration. This past winter, my Little Sister made these cute snowmen out of 2x4s. I love how they turned out!

I decided I would make a bunny out of some scrap wood. 

If you would like to make your own, here are the steps I took to make mine.

Needed materials:
2" x 4" @ 6"
1" x 2" - @ 7"
1/4" plywood scrap (optional)
Wood Glue
Sander or sanding block
Miscellaneous craft supplies (ribbon, wire, pom pom, felt, foam sheet, fabric, etc.)

Step 1: Cut your wood. I used scraps, so I did not have to cut anything, but here are the sizes I used. You can make your cuts any length you want.

Wood cuts:
1 - 2" x 4" cut at 6" (body) - I grabbed a scrap that was about 6" long.
2 - 1" x 2" cut at 3 1/2" (ears) - I used scraps that were about 3 1/2" long.
1 - 1/4" plywood cut at 1 3/8" triangle (nose) - I used a scrap from when I made the charging stations, so the dimensions were not perfect at all. These would also be cute with a larger or smaller sized nose. If you don't have any 1/4" plywood laying around, you could use a piece of felt or foam or even just paint the nose on.

Step 2: Sand your wood pieces. I forgot to take a picture of this step, so this is an old picture, but sand everything. You may also want to round the corners on the nose.

Step 3: Paint your bunny body, ears, and nose. Again, I just used paint that was left over from other projects.

I didn't bother making a template for the inside of the ears. I just painted it by free hand. If you don't want to paint, you could glue on felt, foam, or other fabric for the inside of the ears.

Step 4: Using wood glue, glue on the ears and nose. Again, I forgot to take a picture at that step. Sorry! 

Step 5: Paint on the eyes and mouth. I just did this by free handing it. I'm not very artsy, so my eyes are not great. You could also try using googly eyes for a goofy looking bunny.

Step 6: Add the whiskers and bow. I used some floral wire for the whiskers and a piece of ribbon and a button for the bow. 

Step 7: Add the tail. A bunny would not be complete without a pom pom or cotton ball tail.

This was super easy to make and it didn't cost me anything at all! What makes it great is that it is completely customizable! This would also make a great spring craft for the kids!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY Land of Nod Inspired Tabletop Puppet Theater

Ana White is currently hosting a #GetBuilding2015 challenge. This month's theme is #ScrapWorkLove which requires the use of scrap wood to create a project. My niece's 4 year birthday was coming up, so I decided I would make something for her. I looked through my wood scraps and tried to come up with a project. A few years ago, I had made this puppet stage for another niece and she loved it.

I didn't have enough scrap materials to make something that large, plus this was going to be for a 4 year old, so I decided to make something smaller. I saw Land of Nod's Tabletop Theater. I knew this would be perfect! My measurements are not exactly the same as the Land of Nod version because I was using scrap wood, but it worked out great! You can easily adjust this to make due with the scraps you have on hand.
If you do not have scraps, here are the needed materials:
1 - 1" x 6" x 3'
1 - 1" x 4" x 10' (You can get an 8' board, but you will need to change the 21" cuts to 20 1/2" cuts)
1 - 1" x 3" x 4'
1 - 3/8" x 3' dowel or a tension rod
Saw (I used a miter saw and a jig saw, but you could even use a hand saw)
Kreg Jig or countersink drill bit
1 1/4" pocket hole screws or wood screws
Spade drill bit (if you are using a dowel)
paint or stain
small amount of fabric
needle and thread or sewing machine
Coat hooks (optional)

Here are the steps I took to make the puppet stage.

Step 1: Cut your boards. I used a miter saw for most of the cuts. but any saw will do.
1 - 1" x 6" cut at 18" (bottom sign)
2 - 1" x 4" cut at 21" (sides)
1 - 1" x 4" cut at 18" (top sign)
2 - 1" x 4" cut at 18" (stage and top sign base)
2 - 1"x 3" cut at 6 1/2" (bases)
1 - 3/8" dowel cut at 20 1/2" or a tension rod
Step 2: Using a Kreg jig set a the 3/4" setting, drill pocket holes in each end of the inside of the stage, and top sign base. 
Step 3: Using a Kreg jig set a the 3/4" setting, drill pocket holes in each end and the top of the inside of the top sign and the bottom sign.
Step 4: Using the pocket hole screws, attach the bottom sign to the sides. If you don't want to use pocket holes, you can use countersunk screws.
Step 5: Follow this process for both sides.
Step 6: Using the pocket hole screws, attach the stage to the sides and bottom sign.
Step 7: Follow the same process for the top sign and top sign base.
Step 8: Draw the curve for the front edge of the bases. An easy way to do this is to trace around a paint can or something similar.
Step 9: Use a jig saw to cut around the curve. If you don't have a jig saw, you can just leave these as blocks on the sides instead of being curved.
Step 10: Attach the bases to the sides using countersunk screws from the inside of the sides.
Step 11: Using a spade bit, drill holes into the sides where you want to place the dowel.
Step 12: Drill a small hole in each end of the dowel (This step is optional.)
Step 13: Make your curtains. I am not an expert at sewing, but these were pretty simple. Just cut your curtains to size. Fold over about 1/4" and sew around the edges. Fold over the top edge. Be sure to make this long enough to fit the dowel or tension rod. Sew that top part down.
Step 14: Slide your dowel into the hole in the side. Slide the curtains on, and put the dowel through the other side.
Step 15: I wanted to ensure that the dowel would not slide back and forth, so I put some small screws into the ends of the dowel. This also will allow the curtains to be removed and washed or changed.
Step 16: I also placed a couple coat hooks on the sides so hold the curtains back. This is not necessary. You could also use a ribbon or a piece of the fabric to tie the curtain back.
Step 17: Fill any holes with putty, sand all surfaces, and paint or stain. I normally paint everything at the end, but because I was using more than one color, I decided to paint as I went.

Step 18: Have fun! My niece loved her new puppet stage. 
It was a Frozen party, so the puppet show starred Elsa and Olaf. She had a great time!

This was a quick build and did not cost a thing to make! You can make easily make one for a fraction of what it costs to buy. This would also make a great classroom gift!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Crocheted Lego Throw

It was my niece's birthday earlier this month. She loves Legos. When I saw this pattern, I knew that I had to make it for her.

This free pattern can be found on the Red Heart website under Building Blocks Throw. The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and is in the traditional Lego colors. I chose to use the colors from the Friends line of Legos.

This was a very easy throw to make and you can easily customize it to your liking.The hardest part is sewing on all the dots because you have to make sure they all line up so they look like Legos.

You can check out more details for this pattern and see some of my other knitting and crocheting projects on my Ravelry project page.