Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DIY Charging Station With a Power Strip Compartment

I live in a 120+ year old house. If you have ever been in an old house, you will notice that there is a severe lack of outlets. Obviously, when electricity was first put into homes they did not have all the gadgets that we have now. However, the shortage of outlets leaves my counter looking like this while I alternate each thing that needs to be charged.

You can make this charging station to house all your electronics for under $5. The best part is that it is made so a USB charging multi-port or a power strip can fit inside and only one cord needs to be plugged in to the wall! This is also completely customizable to fit your electronics.

Needed Materials:
1- 1/4" plywood or other panel product at 2' x 2' 
Saw to make your cuts
3/4" Spade Bit
Wood glue
Finishing nails (Optional - I used only wood glue to construct mine and it is very sturdy. You can also use finishing nails, but they are not necessary.) 
Paint or varnish of your choosing

Step 1: Make your cuts.
1 - 11 1/2" x 5 1/4" (bottom)
1 - 11 1/2" x 4 3/4" (back)
2 - 11 1/2" x 1 1/2" (bottom strips)
1 - 11 1/2" x 5 3/8" (middle back)
1 - 11 1/2" x 5 3/16" (middle front)
1 - 12" x 3 3/4" (front)
2 - 1 1/2" x 5 1/8" Cut at a 45 degree angle on one end. The long point should measure 5 1/8". (middle dividers)
1 - 1 1/2" x 5 1/4" Cut at a 45 degree angle on one end. The long point should measure 5 1/4". (front divider)
2 - 7" x 5 1/4" First cut the rectangle. Then cut the incline at a 45 degree angle. The top flat part should measure 2" and the front flat part should measure 3 3/4". (sides)

I used my circular saw for most of the cuts. I then used my miter saw for the 45 degree angles.

Step 2: Using a 3/4" spade bit, drill holes in the 1 1/2" strips and the bottom of the middle front piece (11 1/2" x 5 3/16"). The spade bit needs to be at least 3/4" so the USB can fit through. Check the size of your cords and make any necessary adjustments. 

The number of holes you drill depends on your electronic needs. I drilled two holes for the back section strip, three holes for the middle section strip, and four holes in the middle front piece. It's better to make too many holes at this point, than to wish you had made more holes after it is done. If you make more holes than needed, you can cut a piece of cardboard or wood to cover it until it is needed. 

Step 3: Glue the sides to the bottom and clamp it. The bottom should be between the sides. The sides should not be on top of the bottom.

Step 4: Glue the back to the sides and clamp it. Again, the back should be between the sides.

The top of the back should be flush with the top of the sides.

Step 5: Glue one of the 1 1/2" strips to the bottom of the back and to the two sides and clamp it. Be sure not to clamp too much. You want to make sure that this is square.

Step 6: Glue the middle back piece (11 1/2" x 5 3/8") to the strip and the sides and clamp it. The top should be flush with the top of the sides. The bottom should extend about 5/8" lower than the back piece.

Step 7: Glue the other 1 1/2" strips to the bottom of the middle back and to the two sides and clamp it. Again, be sure not to clamp too much. Make sure it is square.

Step 8: Glue the middle front piece (11 1/2" x 5 3/16") to the strip, the sides, and the bottom. This piece will go all the way to the bottom. Glue the two middle dividers in place. I sectioned mine off in thirds, but you could divide this up into sections to fit your devices. The dividers will also help keep it square when you clamp it.

Step 9: Glue the front piece the sides and the bottom and clamp it. The front will sit on top of the side edges and bottom edge, not between them. Glue the front divider in place. I put mine in the middle, but you could divide this up into sections to fit your devices.

Step 10: Fill any holes with putty and sand, as necessary.

Step 11: Paint or stain to your liking.

I used some Antique White paint that I had leftover from another project. You could stencil or decorate it to match your decor.

Step 11: Decide where you want to place your electronics and put the cords through the holes. Plug the USBs into your multi-port USB charger or power strip. This will fit a small power strip or multi-port USB charger. Check the dimensions of your power strip/charger prior to making yours and make any necessary adjustments. I used this 6 port charger due to the ability to plug any device into any port, but there are many options available that would fit. 

Step 12: Tuck the cords and charger inside and plug it in.

Step 13: Enjoy your new charging station and all the extra outlet space that has been freed up!

These charging stations also make great gifts. I made three of them for Christmas presents this year!

Friday, January 2, 2015

How to Remove Chap Stick Grease Stains from Clothing

Last week, I managed to wash TWO tubes of Chap Stick with my laundry.The worst part is that I did not notice it until after the clothes had gone through the dryer and the grease stain was set it. All my clothes in that load looked like this.

I gathered up a bunch of supplies and experimented to see what would get the grease stains out of the clothes. There were 2 pairs of jeans and 4 t-shirts that had the most grease stains, so I used them for my tests.

I tried baking soda and Oxi Clean, Borax, Dawn, Tide Oxi, Goop, Oxi Clean, Kids 'N Pets, chalk, Dawn Platinum, clarifying shampoo, and Shout Advanced Grease Busting Foam. After each treatment, I washed the clothes in the warm water with Tide Simply Clean. I let each item air dry until I knew if the stain came out. If the stain was still there, I did not put it in the dryer.

Here is what worked and what failed!