I have boxes upon boxes of Christmas decor, but do you know what I always wish I had more of? Halloween decorations! Most of the spooky decor associated with this ghoulish of holidays doesn't last for more than one season (I'm talking to you, weird bag of spider webs!). Rather than buying stuff to throw it away on November 1st, I wanted to make something I can decorate with this year and the years after. Boosting your own stash of spooky decor is easy enough - keep reading to see how I made these glossy bookends from wood, spray paint, and spooky bobbles.
This week I got to try out Makita's 18-Volt Lithium-Ion sub-compact impact driver. I'm no stranger to the world of impact drivers, and I'm on the record in my belief that it's one of the most basic, versatile tools anyone can own (yes, you probably need one). But this is definitely the smallest and lightest model I've ever gotten my hands on, so I was curious how it would perform, and whether it would earn a permanent spot on my workbench.
"I'm so excited for yard care season to begin!"
- Nobody, never
That is, until me, today! I got to try out Milwaukee's M18 cordless string trimmer kit (which is waaaay more than just a weed whacker - read on for that), and it has me itching to go out and get my yard whipped into shape. In fact, I got so carried away testing out these new tools, that I've been putting off writing up this blog post all morning! Read on to see what I'm so psyched about, and how you can win the same toolkit for yourself!
Hey everyone! Spring is in the air, and that means all of you will be crawling out of hibernation and looking for some DIY projects to tackle! With that in mind, we've got a really great Home Depot #toolschool giveaway for you this week.
It's always fun to share some free tools with you guys, so scroll down for the details on how to enter to win:
Earlier this week we shared some exciting news. We transformed our studio space into a bona fide retail shop! It's been a massive transformation, full of DIYs and clever hacks.
One of my favorite pieces was creating an accent wall featuring our favorite mantra: Better Together. This phrase has been a part of Niche since its inception, and we wanted to work it into the space in a meaningful way. Since we're leasing the space, we decided that a vinyl decal would be the best solution for this feature wall.
We wanted the decal to be large-scale and bold, and hanging it was a mildly harrowing experience. Read on to discover the tricks up our sleeve.
On today's episode of #toolschool we're talking about gallery walls:
I don't think I'll ever be over gallery walls. No matter their size, shape, or style, they never disappoint me. I love how much personality they have. I love that they can be perfectly symmetrical and organized, or relaxed and eclectic. No matter your style, the one thing you need when creating a gallery wall is balance.
Today we've got an awesome Home Depot #toolschool giveaway for you guys! Over the years we've had the opportunity to do a ton of projects using tools from Dremel; everything from rotary tools, oscillating tools, saws, soldering irons, burning and etching tools, cleaning products ... you name it.
So this month, we thought it'd be fun to share some of these goodies with you guys! Scroll down for the details on...
Over the last twelve months we worked with The Home Depot to come up with a whole series of projects and tool reviews called Tool School. We had a blast testing out everything from wet-dry vacuums to framing nailers, high-tech measuring gadgets and low-tech (but incredibly useful) cutting tools.
Here are a few that didn't make it into any of our previous projects or roundups, but I still thought deserved a mention:
Storage. We all need more of it. No matter how much room you have, an organized system will always top square footage.
Recently, I was looking for a way to clean up all the bottles in our liquor cabinet. It's not that we drink too much; in fact, it's the opposite. We buy specific products to try a new cocktail recipe. And we'll make it once, and end up with all this extra liquid to store in perpetuity until we can figure out what to do with it.
Everyone likes a smooth, sanded surface on a project, but no one (and I mean absolutely no one) like the tedious process of getting it done. Motorized sanding machines speed up the process greatly, but many of them can be hard to control, or wind up leave swirl marks in the finished surface.
Not so with the random-orbit sander. As the name suggests, its pad follows an entirely random pattern, so you can control the amount of wood removed, and leave your surface free of spirals.
They're great for all kinds of DIY projects, and the only handheld sander I'd recommend for your toolbox.
I'm using this Dewalt XR 20v max 5" random-orbit sander that the nice folks at Home Depot sent me to check out. It uses the same battery platform as my cordless drill, and its awesome to not have to deal with a cord getting in the way. I can move around more quickly and with ease, without feeling tethered by a cord. Plus, it has a feature that stops it immediately when it's turned off, so you don't have to wait for it to stop spinning before you can set it down again. This is an amazing feature!
Here are some do's and don't when using a random-orbit sander tool...
1. Connect a vacuum whenever possible. The sander performs much better, and the sandpaper will last longer, if you're able to suck up the dust as soon as it's created. That's why there are the little holes in the discs. They do a great job, so hook up your shop vac when you can for best results.
2. Slow down. These machines are designed to cut the wood fibers smoothly, but they need a little time to get there. Don't run the tool all over the wood in a random pattern. Instead, you want to be deliberate with your path, allowing the tool to do the work. You want to move only an inch a second. The process is more "mowing the lawn" than "washing the windows".
3. Work your way up the grits. The coarse paper will flatten the surface (or remove paint and finishes, depending on your project). The job of the higher grits is to remove the marks left by the coarse paper. You only want to go as rough as necessary to get the job done; otherwise you'll spend all day trying to get things smooth. I tend to use 100-150-220 grit sanding discs (I buy them in bulk), but a 120-180-220 system works great too.
4. Don't press down. The weight of your hand and the machine is more than enough to get the job done. You only need to control the movement of the machine with a light touch. Pressing down actually makes the machine less efficient and wears out your sandpaper sooner.
6. The sander must start and stop off the wood. To get the best finish, make sure the machine begins and ends its cycle separate from the wood grain. Just remember: you want things to be at full speed when in contact with the wood.
7. Don't let the sander dangle over the edge more than 25%. Generally, you'll get the best results from keeping the pad on the wood. A random-orbit sander works best when its motor can register the flat surface to create that swirl-free pattern. Allowing it to breach the edge can not only round over crisp corners, but create a less-than-desirable finished surface.
With a little knowledge, and an extremely affordable tool, you can save lots of time prepping your project for finish. A random-orbit sander is the right way to get there. It will do the work; your job is, simply: not to mess it up. The Dewalt 20v Max can help you get there.
This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. All opinions are mine alone.
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the ProSpective2018 Campaign. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
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.
I live for a great trash-to-treasure project. And this piece literally came from the trash.
I wasn't intentionally dumpster-diving, but one of our neighbors in the building was moving out, and leaving a lot behind. While taking out the garbage, I found a plastic case that had a lovely blue typewriter inside (immediately snatched that up), a squeaky office chair (I left that behind), and this ratty old seat. I went back and forth about whether or not I wanted to take the time to spruce it up. Usually furniture refinishing projects take way longer than I expect them to, but the opposite was actually true this time around. My little dumpster chair only took a half a day to refinish, and thanks to the right tools and attachments, I was able to paint and reupholster this little treasure with no trouble.