As we wrap up the year, it's always fun to look back at some of our favorite DIY projects from the last twelve months. This year we worked with The Home Depot to come up with a whole series of projects and tool reviews, called Tool School. Here's a look at some of the DIYs I liked best, along with the tools that made them possible, plus, a selection of new gift ideas just in time for your holiday shopping.
You know the saying "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?" Well, if all you have is a wet/dry vac, then you're going to be just fine, mister, because it's probably the one power tool in my house I would never, ever, not even maybe, give up.
I've written about the amazing versatility and usefulness of my wet/dry vacuum before (here's what it feels like when your basement...
A few weeks ago I took a woodworking class to familiarize myself with some new power tools. The class involved making a simple wood cutting board, much like this one. I was so excited with how mine turned out, and with how quick it was to make! Since it's the holidays and everyone could use a little help coming up with gift ideas, I'm sharing this DIY wood cutting board tutorial with you today. Keep reading to see how to make this thoughtful and special gift!
This week on Tool School, I'm trying out the new Dewalt cordless framing nailer. It's the most powerful cordless nailer they've ever built, so I'm excited to see how it works!
You know you're pushing the limits of what you might call "DIY" when your project requires a nail gun. For most jobs, a hammer and a bag of nails will suffice. But if you're framing an addition, building a deck, or putting up a fence, you'll probably want to reach for a framing nailer. These beasts are heavy, tough, powerful, and (slightly) dangerous. But when you need one, you'll know it, and you'll be glad it's there.
We're lucky enough here at Curbly to have a dedicated office space to work from. Nestled just along the divide between Minneapolis and Saint Paul, our airy studio has hosted many meetings, photo shoots, popups, and has even has doubled as an art gallery for second graders. When Curbly HQ first moved into the building in 2016, the entire space was renovated, from new flooring and lighting to a fresh paint job. Every corner of the studio was considered... well, almost every corner. Our small utility closet has remained untouched until now, and boy oh boy, has it been in need of some TLC.
The Rigid MEGAMax is a hulking monster-tool. It's the Optimus Prime of home improvement. If they ever make a movie about power tools coming to life and taking over the world, forcing us DIYers to labor at the thankless tasks they've plied for so long, well, then this tool will be their leader.
The MEGAMax is a really powerful interchangeable tool system just introduced by RIGID. The Powerbase includes an 18V brushless motor and can automatically identify which tool head you've attached (and adjust battery/motor output accordingly). I tried two of the attachments, the Reciprocating Saw Head and the 1/2 in. Right Angle Drill Head, and I can tell you that I don't think I've ever used a more powerful handheld tool (corded or not) in my life. Here's what I found ...
Every once in a while I discover a gadget that does a lot more than I expected it to do. And the Bosch Laser Measure is definitely one of those. When I received a sample to review, my first thought was, "Great. I have thirteen tape measures on my workbench. What do I need this for?" But after trying it out, I've completely changed my mind. Now I'm thinking, "I have this thing. What do I need thirteen tape measures for?!"
The Bosch 165-ft. electronic laser measure surprised me by doing everything I needed it to do better than my existing tools, and by doing a few things I didn't know I needed (but I did)!
There's a lot happening in kitchen design these days, and everything from countertops to cabinetry to faucets are at your fingertips. While I love trendy kitchens, what I appreciate even more is a timeless kitchen that feels like the people who use it.
We don't often think of kitchens as having a "lived in" feel, but I think they should, and I'm...
For a while now, I've been trying to figure out how to make the kitchen in my apartment more user-friendly. It's tiny house small. It's a classic galley, only instead of countertops and cupboards flanking both sides of a narrow passage, everything is shoved on one side, facing a blank wall. Because the rental kitchen is so narrow, it hasn't made much sense to put anything on the adjacent wall, save for a trash can and recycling bin. But my kitchen seriously lacks counter space, and I figured if my garbage receptacles were going to take up precious square footage, they might as well do double-duty. Enter this cabinet hack:
This week we're giving away a Panasonic HomeHawk ™ Home Monitoring system. Scroll down to see how you can enter!
Home monitoring has never been more simple, effective and secure than with the new HomeHawk™ by Panasonic KX-HN7000 Series of HD cameras. The KX-HN7002W model comes equipped with a front door HD camera, one peripheral HD camera and a wireless access point base to ensure that your...
The modern method of constructing an interior wall is kind of amazing, when you think about it. Drywall is gypsum plaster sandwiched between two layers of paper, and it's what most of the walls you encounter every day are made out of. Drywall (often referred to by one of it's brand names, Sheetrock), is incredible. It's strong, it's (relatively light), easy to cut to almost any shape or size, and easy to put up. It simplifies the process of building a wall.
Hanging drywall is definitely one of those DIY jobs I recommend everyone tackle at one point or another (mudding drywall is a different story). Hanging drywall yourself (with the proper tools), isn't very hard, and can save you a bunch of money. But one thing's for sure, you'll go through a lot of screws. Like, thousands and thousands of screws. To drive those screws, you definitely want to use a drywall screw gun.
The Earth might not be flat, but your DIY projects should be. That's why a good level is one of the most important tools in every homeowner's toolbox.
Levels come in many shapes and configurations, depending on what task you want to accomplish. Need a picture to hang? Use a torpedo level. Hanging wallpaper? You'll reach for a plumb bob. Heck - even the deceptively simply (but super accurate) DIY water level (basically just a long clear hose filled with water) can come in handy. Today, I'm checking out a super nice version of a very common, versatile tool: the box level.
We are in the season of outdoor lounging. Here in the upper Midwest, summer is at a premium and we live outside as much as possible. There's no better way to indulge in this time of year than to sit on the patio and soak it all in.
My parents have a stunning backyard with gorgeous gardens, fruit trees, and fountains. They live outside in the summertime and spend hours on their patio. Though their...
Aviation snips. Tin snips. Metal shears. Compound snips. Whatever you call them, a quality set of aviation snips are the single best way to cut thin and flexible materials like sheet metal, plastic, thick textiles, heavy-duty paper, and wire products like poultry netting (chicken wire), and the like. They're affordable, last for decades, and are an essential component in any DIYer's toolbox. ...
When we think "D.I.Y.," we often imagine tool belts, safety glasses, work gloves, and big, loud, noisy power tools. This isn't inaccurate, but in order to do plenty of the around-the-house projects, you don't need to dress like, or own the tools of, construction workers.
Power tools are great, and make quick work of cutting raw materials when you use them regularly. But they're also expensive, messy, and have an inherent risk to them. Often, the same task can be accomplished with a simple hand saw. It will require a little more labor, but cost only 10-20% of the powered equivalent, take up much less space to store, and be safer to use. Here are a few of the most useful hand saws:
Today we're checking out the RIDGID 18-Volt Impact Driver, which you can buy alongside a cordless drill in a combo kit for $179 at The Home Depot. I've built up a lot of trust for the Ridgid brand over the years. In fact, my very first (ever) impact driver was a Ridgid (the great-grandaddy of this model). But beyond that, I've owned several of their products, including a circular saw (indestructible) and a wet/dry vacuum (unbelievably versatile).
So I was excited to get this combo kit in the mail last week, because I feel a guy can't ever have too many impact drivers. Sure, having the drill is nice too, but to be honest, I only reach for a normal drill in rare occasions. The impact driver is just so much more versatile and useful, not to mention light and maneuverable.
As last year's Curbly House renovation project demonstrated, a truly impressive curb appeal upgrade is the surest way to increase a home's resale value. The front exterior of the home makes the most dramatic first impression, and that first impression will translate to a buyer's perception of the interior as well. Here's a before and after from our project:
This article from Clopay on how to increase home value just confirms what we've learned anecdotally:
Clopay showed realtors before and after images of different homes featuring a variety of garage door styles ranging in price from inexpensive to high-end. Respondents were asked to assign a selling price to each of the houses and were alerted that the only difference in the photos of each house was the garage door.
Realtors estimate that upgrading a garage door can increase the perceived selling price of a home by up to 4%, depending on the style.
With the average U.S. home price estimated at $206,300 in 2017, this can mean an incremental increase of $8,000 to $14,000, just because of the garage door
In fact, the Remodeling 2018 COST VS. VALUE REPORT ranked garage door replacement first among home improvements in resale ROI.
This post is sponsored by Clopay.
When working on a remodel project, there's nothing worse than construction dust falling on every surface in the house. One of my current kitchen remodel clients is interested in being eco-friendly - and has several pets - so it's important to her that the dust is contained to the construction zone. We knew we needed something better than just taped-up plastic, so we were thrilled when we found the Trimaco E-Z UP dust containment system, with floor guards and surface protector. Problem solved!
Spring Yard Maintenance 101: How to Ready Your Backyard Now That Winter is Finally Over
After a long and harsh winter, it's a privilege to get outside on the weekends and do a little bit of "spring cleaning" in your outdoor spaces. Taking care of the little things now will set you and your plants up for success, so you both can enjoy that sweet, sweet sunshine all summer long. Here are the basics to tackle as you work on your spring yard maintenance:
We are always on the hunt for new and interesting ways to display all our leafy friends over at the Curbly office. With spring finally showing up this past weekend (Midwesterners rejoice!), all our office plants are looking more alive than they have in almost 8 months. We think they deserve a new look. Want to take your houseplants to the another level (no pun intended) too, but you're short on time? This DIY plant stand can be completed in roughly thirty minutes.
Watch a quick video to see how it's done, and keep reading for all the details.
- Wood round
- 3/4" dowel
- Acrylic paint and foam brush
- Power drill and 5/8" Forstner bit
- Small screws
- Felt pads
- Handsaw or other cutting tool
To start, drill three holes in the wood round. Before you start drilling, you'll need to divide the wood round into thirds. Check out this graph from our tree stump side table project for help on the math. If thirds seems too daunting, create a plant stand with four legs.
Once you've divided the wood into thirds, measure 1.25" in from the edges of the round, and mark the drill points. Clamp the wood round to a sturdy surface. Using a 5/8ths forstner bit, create three holes in the wood round.
This Dewalt 20-volt MAX drill made quick work of these holes! And that was after we had run the battery on another project for almost 10 minutes of drill time.
Next, clamp the 3/4" dowel to a sturdy surface, and cut into thirds (unless you're creating a plant stand with four legs, then cut into fourths). Sand any rough edges.
Attach felt pads to the bottom of each dowel.
Feed each dowel through drilled holes of the wood round. If they stick on the way down, use a soft mallet to hammer the wood slab down.
Use a level to ensure each leg is sitting at an equal place in the wood round. To keep the dowels from slipping out of the wood round, drill a small screw under each leg. These screws will act as a stop.
Tape the wood round to protect it, then paint! While it may seem like painting the legs first would've been easier, we didn't want to scratch the paint feeding it through the wood round.
Let the paint dry completely, then your 30-minute plant stand is ready to use!
I'm so happy spring is back. With the warmer weather moving in, it's time all the office plants get their yearly shakeup. Overgrown ones will get moved to bigger pots, dead leaves will get snipped, and everyone will get a new round of dirt and fertilizer. Happy spring!
Two more simple IKEA-hack indoor plant stands you can try
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