Tagged: DIY videos

Nov 15

How To Make A Wreath Out Of Old CDs

How To Make A Wreath From Old CDs (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Short on holiday decorations, but long on old CDs? Tis the season to be crafty! You will need:

A plastic, wooden or foam craft ring
30 old CDs
A hot-glue gun
A picture hanger
A strand of battery-powered holiday lights
Batteries
A holiday bow or ribbon
A hammer
A nail
A plastic scraper (optional)

Optional: An over-the-door wreath hanger

Step 1: Arrange the CDs in evenly spaced intervals completely around the craft ring, shiny side facing out, and glue them into place.

Step 2: Glue a second layer of CDs so that they’re evenly spaced between the CDs on the first layer.

Step 3: Glue the picture hanger to the back of the ring so the wreath will hang properly.

Step 4: Glue the battery pack for the Christmas lights to the back of the wreath, opposite the hanger. When the glue dries, wrap the strand of lights around the outer edge of the wreath, with the lights hanging over onto the CDs. After positioning the lights, glue the strand to the backs of the CDs to hold it in place.

Step 5: Glue the bow or tie the ribbon to the bottom of the wreath to give your creation some holiday flair. Before displaying your wreath, remove any stray bits of glue with your hands or a plastic scraper.

Step 6: Tap a nail into your door and hang your wreath. If you can’t use nails, use an over-the-door hanger. Turn the lights on and bask in the colorful glow!
Did you know? In 2000, global sales of CDs peaked at 2.5 billion. In 2006, that figure was down to 1.8 billion.

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Nov 11

Learn How To Furnish An Apartment For Almost No Money

How To Furnish An Apartment With Practically No Money (courtesy of Howcast.com)

You can’t be a couch potato without a couch. So stop squatting and listen to these hints! You will need:

Investigative skills

A dose of humility

And a keen eye

Step 1: Spread the word among friends and family that you are in the market for furniture they no longer need or want.

Step 2: Check out www.craigslist.com for free stuff, trade possibilities, or the opportunity to barter one of your skills.

Step 3: Comb thrift stores and second-hand stores in your area. Make friends with an employee at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army store so they can alert you if the perfect sofa, desk, or whatever comes in.

Step 4: Go curb shopping—that is, drive around looking for perfectly good pieces of furniture that people have thrown out. Some communities have designated “big trash” days when large items are allowed to be discarded. Time your curb shopping for maximum results. The end of the month at apartment complexes is good, as that’s when people move out, as is early May around universities, when college kids are cleaning out their dorm rooms.

Step 5: Check community websites for “freecycling” postings.

Step 6: Be creative. See the possibilities in things: an old bedspread can become drapes by sewing a pocket for a curtain rod; old dressers and bookshelves can be jazzed up with paint and new hardware; chair slipcovers can make the ugliest chairs look elegant.

Step 7: Check for discounts. Visit your local furniture stores to see if they have any scratched furniture or showroom samples available at deep discount.

Did you know? An Englishman vacationing in Australia in 2004 paid $36 for a suitcase that turned out to be filled with Beatles memorabilia worth nearly a million dollars!

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Oct 24

Learn How To Make Pendant Lights From Thrifty Vintage Finds

How To Make Pendant Lights out of Thrifty Vintage Finds (courtesy of RetroRenation.com)

Hi! I’m Pam Kueber from RetroRenovation.com.

Hi! I’m Susan Schneider from Shandells.com,

…and we’re here today to talk to you about how to take thrifty finds from, maybe Grandma’s attic or your local re-store – even take just unique household items – and transform them into pendant lighting that you can enjoy every day! The name of the show is, “Put A Bulb In It”.

So, what do we mean by Put A Bulb In It? Well, Pam sent me an email with these amazing pendants from all over the country, different artists and different vessels and all different things, and I said, wow, this should be something fun to do! So, I went out to our local thrift store and our local junk store to see what was around that I could put a bulb in. And this is what I came back with. Here is a before and after of a Put A Bulb In It.

This is a pair of lamps that I found. Not the favorites, but they were ok, but they were glass, they had a beautiful shape, they were fluted, they had a wonderful scallop on it. But, the best thing is, they had a hole in it. Everything is already pre-made, easy for you to take everything apart, turn it upside down and Put A Bulb In It.

Hey, Precautionary Pam here, warning you, as I often do on the site, about making sure whenever you undertake a project, that you’re using proper environmental and safety procedures. Now, with the project, we’re not really giving you the advice – the DIY advice – about how to do wiring or hanging, or even about the exact wattage that should go into these puppies. That’s because every project’s gonna be different. So, make sure, when you’re going through the actual steps of rewiring, hanging and putting in the bulbs,that you’re consulting with proper, expert, professional advice. A local electrician can be a great resource. Another place to get started with good information about lots of safety stuff in the house is Underwriter’sLaboratories.com. Again, always be sure to renovate safe!

Oh! Am I live? OK. Hey Pam! I went shopping after that wonderful email that you sent me about those pendant lamps. And look at what I found here, on the table! Oh! It’s just amazing! But, let’s start with how this all started with putting a bulb in it. It started with a Ball jar. Mason jar, canning jar, they were putting bulbs in it and hanging pendants. A company that advertises with you, Barnlight Electric, they have them right on their site. So, if you don’t want to do any of this and be creative on your own, they’re made up, ready to go from them. But, here we are today, looking at all these different things that we can put a bulb in it, and we’re gonna do it ourselves.

What we need is a vessel – a glass vessel is what we have here. And we need 2 things to be with this – we need a cap and we need a hole. This one has a cap. All we need to do is to make a hole through this. We need to trash the inside here, to break the porcelain,then put a hole in it. Then, we can electrify this, hang it as a pendant. So, that’s one that’s around all over. I went and I said, let’s do something a little bit different. Here’s some old-fashioned sugar shakers. They have a wonderful column, with all the ridges going up and down. An architectural feel. And when the light comes through this, it’s a bit of a prism. This one here has a hole as well as a cap. Very easily to be electrified. Hang the pendant in the kitchen, over a dining suite, would be perfect – Put A Bulb In It! And then, we have colored glass. Colored glass – we can have green, there’s blue, there’s amber, pink, just all different jars. All that you can find in your thrift store and your bottle shops locally. And, most of them all come with caps in it. And, you can find a box of old jar caps and match your caps to it. Here we are with green ones – all we have to do it drill, put the electrical in, and there we have green pendants to hang in the kitchen.

Then I though, oh! I found these. These were peanut butter jars. They were so adorable! They were shaped a little bit different. They were rectangle, they had embossed peanuts all around them. So I thought, wow, wouldn’t these look great! Instead of the round, normal ones, have a little bit different of a shape. They have a cap in it. You unscrew these, make a hole in it, electrify it, hang up, and there you have a pendant all to your own!

These are kind of utilitarian, kitchen vessels that are all around the house. Let’s go a little bit fancier. I found these little, tiny lamps which were ok. But the nicest part about it is they were all crystal. Crystal, and they were all pressed glass. And, the best part is, they all have holes in it – that’s what you need! Unless you want to go down the route of drilling your own glass, but, that’s up to you. These have holes in it. I took them apart, cleaned them up, hang them up all electrified together, at different heights or 3 over a dining room table, 3 over a counter in a kitchen. There, you have your pendants, unique to yourself, to Put A Bulb In It!

OK, down to the next one. These were mid-century, probably outdoor fixtures that hung outside. Now, we’re gonna reclaim them, we’re gonna re-purpose them to indoor lighting. We’re gonna make a pendant out of them. What we want for this is, we need something to hold it up. So, we need a cap to go on top. The cap will hold all your electrical on the inside, and they have little tiny screws here that screw right into this lip, to hold it in. So therefore, you can hang them on their own, together, in clusters of 3, 4 and 5. Be creative, enjoy, and see what’s out there!

And also I found these, which are great. Beehive design with an iridescent feel to them. And the same thing as the ones with the gold on top of it, you need the cap that screws onto the little lip that holds it up. Then you put the electrical inside of it, and there we have a pendant, all to its own.

Here’s the absolute best thing that I found – this wonderful crystal lamp. Look at this – I thought this was great! It had a fabulous shape to it, wonderful design. It wasn’t my favorite as a lamp. Some people might like it, but I didn’t. And I thought, wow, let’s take this apart. Because this is not one piece of crystal…this is 3. So, I took this apart, cleaned it all up, and look at this. Classical, beautiful shapes that you will electrify to make a 3-pendant ceiling fixture. There you go, Pam. Stuff I found on my trip, to Put A Bulb In It!

Pam! What did you bring me?

Ok Susan! I got so excited! I went through all of my junking areas – the attic, the basement, my office – everyone knows – looking for things that we can put a bulb in, so I want to make sure that I have the right idea now. Vintage cheese grater – can we put a bulb in it?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Put 7 of them across your counter!

You know, I knew the answer was yes, because that’s exactly what in that 70s house…That 70s Show…the kitchen, if you look carefully, it has 7 pendant lights basically made out of cheese graters. And these are great!

What about a vintage coffee cup? It’s kind of translucent. This is my Blue Heaven pattern. Can we turn this into a little light?

Yes, we can. I love the pattern, will be great. Doesn’t have a hole in it, so, what I would suggest is, take this to your local tile guy, your glass guy. They’re the ones who are gonna be able to drill through glass and tile.

Tile guy. I wouldn’t have ever thought about that – that’s a great idea.

Tile guys. The important thing about drilling glass is you need water. You need the fusion of water, because that’s what’s gonna make it…you might lose some…it might happen. It’s always the weakest link that’s gonna blow. But, you can Put A Bulb In It. Good idea, too, ’cause that’s not enough coffee for me!

Alright, so how about a pendant made out of an old cake topper?

I love it! I love the shape, because it’s wonderfully smooth…we’re gonna lose this, but you know what? If you’re gonna hang it up, you’re not gonna see this. I mean, take it off and repurpose it for something else.

You wanna put 2 lights on this one?

2 lights. I like them. You’ll get a lot more light, instead of driving down. Remember, you’re gonna have to hang it up high enough so you’re not gonna have a bulb sticking in your eyes. So, the cluster lights is gonna be an easier way to go with that one.

The other idea I had – I didn’t have one at home – but when I saw this I thought, you know, there are a lot of chipping, painted cake plate toppers that would be beautiful as pendant lights.

That’s great! There’s ones with plaid all around it, just fabulous. And those are all around.

I’m super proud of this one – this is the coffee holder for one of those big Westbend guys, and I thought, oh, that would be cute! Can we Put A Bulb In It?

Yes, we can! It would take a little bit more than just, you know, throwing some wires on this, because if you want to keep the shaft and use it to hold your pendant, then we need a welder. Epoxy is not gonna hold this together. You need this to be solidly fixed, welded. You need holes drilled into your metals, so you could put a cluster body inside there.

Ok, so a little bit more professionalism if you’re gonna keep this piece, but if you’re just gonna use this as a shade, it looks to me like you could put a bulb in this one really easily.

Absolutely. This piece can come off, this one would be a lot easier. If you want to keep this, which I think we both agree is the nicer of the 2 because of its wonderful shape here, then you need to go to your professional to help you out. Yea, get some help.

Um, ok, Susan, you’re a gluten food girl…

I know, and I don’t use one anymore!

So, can we turn this into a pendant light?

Yes, we can. We can turn it into a pendant light, and what about doing it as a ceiling light? You know…doing it the other way around, so that light seeps down this way. It’s been done, but who says it can’t be done again? Perfect to put a bulb in.

OK, I’m kinda pushing limits here, he ain’t heavy, he’s my blender. It’s pretty heavy, this one. It’s like an old Oster blender top. Can we put a bulb in it?

Yes, we can put a bulb in it. It has all of the parameters. It has a top here, it has a hole, so all we have to do is take out the spinning mechanism. You can put your electrical through here, and you can hang it up. But, this needs to go into a support stud. Because, you know, you don’t want to be drinking your morning coffee and having this hit your head.

So, you need a stud for this one?

Yes, you need a stud for this one. Love the birdcage!

The birdcage. Now, this isn’t real dear. This I just got at my – I think TJMax about 5 years ago.

But, you know what? Even thought it’s not dear, it might be the perfect thing for the room that you need. So, regardless of…what about a hallway?

And, we talked about how you could cut this out and put glass in the bottom and it would shine down – more light down as well as out. And you had another idea…

I had another great idea is to open it up, and then line the insides with rice paper…a color – you know, yellow, blue green – make it bright and fun. There’s so much to do, and you can sit/put birds in it!

So, you could decorate the inside and then Put A Bulb In It. Yes! So, this is one of my favorites. It’s an old Lennox pepper mill with the welcoming wheat. I just love the shape! I mean, once you get this idea in your head, you just start looking at these objects in a different way. So, it’s a pepper mill, and obviously there’s a mechanism running down the middle of it that you can rip out. And then, what about this? Can we save this?

Yes, we can. I mean we won’t be able to save the little top here, but what we will do is we’ll drill a bigger hole than the existing hole already in this. So, that’s an easy step. You’re not going into blank, starting from scratch. So we make this hole wider so we can drop the cord down. And I think like a round little bulb on the bottom…I think it would be so adorable with a bulb. Put A Bulb In It!

OK, last but not least, Susan’s favorite – the Good Seasons dressing bottle, which I found at an estate sale in a basement. It’s still got the packaging inside of it, so they never put…how’d you make it back in the day?

Well, exactly like it says. Add vinegar, water, oil, and then put the seasonings. That’s it – every night for dinner! And shake it up. I loved to…

So can we put a bulb in it?

No!

No?

Let’s not put a bulb in it, let’s put a bulb ON it. I mean, can you imagine, just putting a little bulb on it, a little tiny lampshade, in your kitchen, keeping all of this original right here? I think this is our next project, Pam. Let’s Put A Bulb On This.

Alright, so next time we’ll get together and talk about how to Put A Bulb ON It.

Not in it Pam, on it!

You send us your ideas! If you have any lamp bases that you want us to try to work with, challenge us! See what we can do!

I’m Pam Kueber from Retrorenovation.com,

and I’m Susan Schneider from Shandells.com,

and we want to encourage you to Put A Bulb In It!

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Oct 08

How to Repair Cane Furniture Part 1

How To Repair Cane Furniture Part 1 (Wickerworks.com/au)

Here we have an antique child’s highchair, and we’re gonna put a new seat in. And, I’ve actually fixed it all up before. It was all cracked around the front area here, as you can see, but, it’s nicely glued up. And, what we’re gonna do is show you how we can hand-weave a new seat – the traditional method of caning, individually laced through all these holes.

What you’re gonna need first of all is a good-sized cane. This one is 2 ½ mil, rattan chair cane, and you can buy it at any supplier. And you also need some golf tees. I’ve got a mixture of wood and plastic golf tees in there, so you can hold the cane in place.

OK, before we get started, what you need to do is soak the cane for about a couple of minutes – 5, 10 minutes at tops – so it becomes a lot more supple, easier to weave, and you can stop and start as often as you like when you’re starting this project, as long as you ensure that the cane is wet. Obviously, if you’ve got cane in the seat partially done, soak that for a little while, and also the new strands that you start weaving, and then that way, you’re gonna find it a lot easier to slide the cane through and make a better job. Because, once it dries out , it tightens up.

Now, there’s a little tip here I want to show you. You won’t be able to see this too well on the camera film, but there’s a little node – little barbs – where the leaves come out from the rattan. It actually grows that way – outwards of course – and the leaves come out this area here. These little barbs catch on your finger, or your fingernail, as you run through there. So, it’s imperative that, when you start weaving – especially the last 2 areas – to run it so that it runs smooth against the rest of the cane. Otherwise, you’re gonna keep catching this on parts of the weave, and it will just cause a bit of a nightmare. In fact, it might even fray or split. So, there’s a little tip for you. Run your finger on the top, and if it’s nice and smooth, that’s the direction you’ve gotta weave, ok? Now, let’s get started!

OK, the very first step you want to do is to ensure that you keep a nice, straight edge from the front to the back – so it’s not sort of going over to the left or the right – by your eyes, make sure you’ve got a nice, straight side there. So you can see that’s pretty straight. You don’t want it over in that hole over there – it would look a bit silly. So, put your first strand here, have a little bit hanging down below here and golf tee in there. Make sure you have the shiny side of the cane up on top, of course, pass it through the hole that you think is dead straight, and bring it up and under next to the right or the left – whichever direction you want to take to. I’m gonna go to the right, because I’m right-handed, so it makes it a little bit easier. Bring it up through the 2nd hole. And, always ensure that you’ve got it nice and fairly tight. Pull it taught. I’m doing this with one hand and holding the camera with the other, but, I can get it fairly tight. And then, when you want to stop, just put a little tee in there, a little golf tee in there and that will hold it in place.

So then, you just keep on going through, down to this hole, run it parallel, into the next hole, crossing, and do that right on to the very end, until you get to the straight, and I’ll show you that in a sec.

So, here’s the first part done, and you can see where I’ve kept it nice and parallel, and there’s no more room for anymore. You don’t need to put any more here. And, so they’re secured by the golf tees. Now, what I’m gonna do is just carry on across the end here. And, once we’ve got all this part in, we’ll go to Stage 2, Step 2.

So, Stage 1 is done. All the strands from the front to the back of the chair are in place. And, I’ve got a fair bit left over, so I’ve brought up the other over here, and now what we’re gonna do is Stage 2 or Step 2 – come across 90° to the first step. So, as you can see – I’ll move the camera around – you’re gonna come across there and weave through those holes and then come out the other hole next to it, and then go back and forth so you’ve got a nice, square pattern.

So, you can now see how we’re forming a nice, square pattern. The cane just sits straight over the top of the first stage. And make sure it stays nice and parallel. And so you’re following every other hole that goes round – every hole that goes round. And we’ll complete that to the very end, here. There’s also a strand parallel to that one. Now, I can get one more in here. As long as it’s run parallel. So, you’ll miss another couple of holes here…so, come up, say from that hole there and run parallel to this string, and that should finish that there off. There’s a few more golf tees in here now – that’s because there’s some ends here that I haven’t tied off but you need to keep them in here, anyway. And then, be sure that you keep this rattan wet as you’re weaving away.

OK, having done Stage 2, now we’re doing Stage 3, and that’s really the same as Stage 1. I’ve come up through this little hole here, as you can see, I’m gonna run parallel to the first stage. On top, once again, and keeping it to the right of the first stage. And you’re gonna go underneath here and, I’m gonna go from left to right just to finish this little bit here off because I’ve got enough cane, and then I’m gonna start on the other area.

So now we’ve successfully done Step 2, or Stage 3, and all the parallel lines are done. And Stage 4 will be doing the same as Step 2 or Stage 2…I’m getting them mixed up here, but it doesn’t really matter there – you get the gist of it all! So, now, we’re gonna go from left to right and follow the Stage 2 ones that run parallel. But, this one is a little bit different. Just start the ball rolling by putting the cane in, and I’ll show you what I mean.

So, for Stage 4, I’ve come up out of this hole here, and if you can see close enough, I’ve gone under the first strand and over the 2nd one. And you have to do that to the next parallel one running here, too – under the first one and over the 2nd one. So, you see, there’s a nice, little square pattern forming there. I’ll just do a couple of other strands so you can see. See these little square patterns forming here? So, don’t forget, it’s under over, under over, under over – just keep on going. And don’t forget to keep the cane fairly damp. I use a little spray bottle, here, which does the trick. Just spray a little water so it slides easier, too. And don’t forget the little tip I told you before with having that running of the cane smoothly up your fingers, because as you start pulling this through, it might catch on some of the cane and break. So make sure it runs nice and smoothly. You don’t need to go right across in one go – you can do it in stages and just gently pull. See? Watch this, where it slides quite easily, and pull that nice and tight til we get to the end, here. Now, when we get to the end here, make sure you don’t get the cane twisting on anything, make sure it stays nice and straight. Keep a nice, straight square pattern here.

And there you go. So, there’s the beginning of Stage 4. So, just keep on doing that, and I’m gonna do a few more strands so you can see what it looks like. So now you can see it’s starting to form a nice square pattern there. I’m just gonna put this black fabric underneath so you can probably see it a lot easier. There you go! That’s a lot better, isn’t it? So, that’s what you’ve got to achieve – keep the squares nice and close to one another and keeping them all parallel. See? It’s looking quite good now! So, I’m gonna finish this off now and then I’ll show you what it looks like when I’ve done the whole – finished the Stage 4.

So here you can see – now, I’ve finished the 4th stage, so we’ve got a nice, square sort of pattern, and all we need to do now is the next 2 stages – these are the diagonals. (Go to How To Repair Cane Furniture Part II)

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Oct 06

Learn How To Maintain Your Gutters

How To Maintain Your Gutters (courtesy of Lowes.com)

Welcome! I’m Courtney. Where is Joel? Right where you’d expect to find him – in the gutter!

Hilarious! Here, I think you missed something, Courtney. Gutter maintenance is not the most fun of chores, but, it is essential in preserving your home. Here are a few things you’ll need to get at your gutters!

A ladder

A bucket to collect your debris

A trowel of some kind for scooping out the gutter gunk

A garden hose to wash out the gutter

A pair of gloves to protest your hands

Ideally, you want to clean out your gutters a couple times a year. Spring and fall are good times. The great thing about gutters is that they keep water away from your windows and walls, as well as your home’s foundation, by sending the water down and out these spouts.

The downside of gutters is that, if they’re not cleaned properly, water will gather in them, and they will damage your roof.

If it’s been dry, removing gutter stuff may only take a good blast from your blower. However, if the dirt and leaves in your gutter are wet, you’re gonna need to get a tool like this gutter scoop, or a trowel, to get it out. Be careful not to damage or scratch your gutter.

Once you get the big stuff out of the gutter, it’s not a bad idea to flush out the whole gutter channel with your garden hose. It helps clean them out, and will help identify any areas that aren’t completely unclogged.

Installing guards is easy, and can go a long way towards reducing the amount of stuff that can get in your gutters and clog them.

One you get your gutters clean, you may find some leaky spots. These can be fixed nice and quick, by applying a little spot caulk to the inside of the gutter. If you discover larger holes or corroded sections in your gutters, you’ll need to get some patch made from the same material as your gutters. This can be laid inside, over the damaged area, set in place with epoxy and roofing cement.

You may find that sections of your gutter are sagging. This is usually a case of the nails working themselves loose. Try resetting them with a hammer, and, if they won’t hold, you replace the nails with screws!

And, that’s the 101 on your gutters. Later!

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Jul 06

How to Replace a Bathroom Toilet

How To Replace A Bathroom Toilet (courtesy of HomeDepot.com)

The next time you’re remodeling, or sprucing up the bathroom in your home, consider replacing your old toilet, along with the other fixtures. It’s easier than you think! And, with today’s wide range of color and design choices, there’s bound to be one that will fit your new look.

Now, before you go shopping, you need to measure the distance from the wall to the floor bolts. If it measure 12 inches, you’re in luck! You have a standard toilet. Sometimes, especially in older homes, this varies – so, know before you go! Once you’ve made your decision and brought your new toilet home, it’s time to remove the existing one.

First things first! You want to turn the water off at the supply valve, and flush the toilet to empty the tank.

Now, remove any water left in the tank or bowl with a sponge and some rags. And be sure to wear some rubber gloves to protect against bacteria.

Now, once the toilet’s dry, remove the tank bolts and disconnect the water supply line.

Now, straddle the bowl, and lift the tank UP off the bowl. And be sure you lift with your legs. These things can be pretty heavy!

With the tank removed, it’s time to work on the bowl. Remove the decorative caps that cover the floor bolts. And, use a socket or adjustable wrench to remove the nuts.

Once the bolts are off, rock the bowl back and forth, until the wax seal underneath is broken, and lift the bowl up off the floor.

Scrape away any remaining wax with a putty knife, and plug up the drain opening with a rag, so you don’t have sewer gases wafting up into your home.

OK! Now for the new toilet!

You may want to start by replacing the existing flange around the drain opening. Or, at least, replace the mounting bolts.

Then, fit a new, wax ring around the base of the toilet. Now, for the tricky part!

Lift the bowl up, and line the toilet up over the anchor bolts. Once the bolts are fed through the holes, rock the bowl back and forth, to seat the wax ring, and then hand-tighten the nuts.

Insert shingles where needed, to make the bowl level, and then tighten the bolts up with an adjustable wrench. Tighten the bolts gradually, alternating from one bolt to the other. And be sure you don’t over-tighten, and crack through the bowl.

Cover the bolts with the supplied caps, and place the tank on the bowl. Guide the tank bolts into the corresponding holes. Tighten the bolts, but don’t over-tighten.

Install the toilet valve assembly.

Reconnect the water supply.

Caulk around the base.

And, you’re all set!

So, the next time you take on a bathroom makeover, consider including a new toilet on your shopping list!

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Apr 15

How to Re-Grout Bathroom Tile

How To Re-Grout Bathroom Tile (courtesy of Housemaster.com)

Periodic maintenance of tile caulking and grouting is required to prevent water seepage, and consequential damage. The joint between the base of a tiled wall and the shower or bathtub is the area most likely to need attention on a regular basis.

Before beginning, it’s a good idea to add a cover over the tub or shower surface, to protect it from damage. All loose materials should be removed, and the tile cleaned and dried. Be careful, however, not to damage the tile. Use of a plastic scraper is recommended.

Grout is designed specifically for use as a filler between tiles. It should not be used at any joint where movement is possible.

For the typical repair job, a pre-mixed or tube-type is recommended. The grout should be applied liberally and forced into any gaps, using a sponge, trowel or, if suitable, your finger.

Remove any excess material.

Allow the grout to cure for the specified time, and then remove any residue, using a damp sponge or cloth.

Don’t allow the grout to fully set, as it will be difficult to remove!

Wiping at a diagonal will help maintain a uniform grout depth.

When totally dry, the tile should be polished with a dry cloth.

Caulk is a flexible sealer, intended for use at any joint between the tile and the fixture surface.

For small jobs, tube-type caulks are ideal.

The thickness of the joint to be caulked will determine the size of the bead.

In all cases, the caulk should be applied so that there is even coverage on both sides of the gap being sealed.

Hold down the tube at an angle, and lay down a continuous bead of caulk with long, steady strokes.

Depending on the particular product used, it can usually be smoothed out using either a wet finger, sponge, or special tool. Any excess caulk should be removed immediately.

Allow new caulk and grout to cure for the specified time, before using the fixture.

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Mar 17

How to Change a Furnance Filter

How To Change A Furnace Filter (courtesy of Dummies.com)

Dust, dirt, carpet fibers, pet dander…these are all of the things your furnace filter takes out of the air, to help keep your house cleaner, and help keep allergies under control. When your filter is working hard, your furnace is really efficient. And, without all that stuff in the airflow, the blower motor lasts longer. The filter also prevents the compressor coils from getting clogged. So, you’ll want to change the filter regularly.

Buy furnace filters a case at a time. It’s cheaper that way. Open the case, and label each one with the date that you plan to install it. Changing the filter is easy!

First, open or slide the door panel to get access to the furnace. You usually find the filter near where the cool air enters the furnace, in the cold air return duct, or at the entrance to the blower chamber. Or, sometimes, in both locations!

Next, slide out the old filter, and replace it with the new one. Make sure the airflow arrows on the side of the filter are pointing the right way – toward the blower, and away from the cold air.

Now, replace the panel or door.

Furnaces need attention, so you want to replace the filter every month during the heating season. And, if you have air conditioning in the system, then change the filter every month all year long.

A little preventive care increases the life of your furnace, and makes your house cleaner and fresher!

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Jul 17

DIY Solar Panel Tutorial

How To Make Solar Panels (courtesy of GreenPowerScience)

Hello there! I’m your host, Dan Rojas.

And I’m Denise Rojas. And, today, we’re gonna make our own solar panels! This is the famous Harbor Freight Solar Panels that were used in many of our previous videos. Today, we’re gonna be using cells of a different type!

There are 3 basic types of cells used in most solar panels. The least efficient and least expensive of these cells is the Amorphous cell. Now, this what the Harbor Freight system is. The cells are deposited on glass, usually, and there are kits that come with this, they’re really tricky to work with. I pretty much don’t advise you to try to make these. The nice thing about these, because they are deposited on glass, even though they are less efficient than the other type of cells, is the fact that you can just dunk these in water. You can just pretty much do anything with them. They’re really, really durable.

There’s also Monocrystalline. Those are hexagon cells, Those are the most efficient, and the most expensive.

The cell that we’re gonna be working with today is Polycrystalline. These cells are almost a watt and a half, almost 2 watts a piece, and you can get these in lots of 100, and you can get them in just about any size. These cells, you have to tab them together. Now, one thing about these cells is they’re very fragile. And, um, you can see that it didn’t take much at all to break that. You’ve gotta be really careful when you work with these, because that was about a $2.00 break that I just did right there.

Now, one thing about these cells is, they are, like I said, about a watt and a half to 2 watts a piece, but they’re .5 volts. So, in order to get your voltage up, to say, 18 volts to 20 volts, you need to chain together 36 of these, or 40 of these, depending on what voltage you’re looking for. So, what we’re gonna be doing is tabbing these cells together today.

There’s basically 3 different things that you need for this. You need:

Tabbing wire, which is a thin wire that’s got a deposited metal on it. This actually solders to the cells.

There’s also a bus wire, which is basically the same thing as tabbing wire, but it’s a lot thicker, so it handles more amperage, and you use this to tie your strings of cells together.

There is also some silver solder, which is basically, you use to enhance the soldering joints.

You also are gonna need a soldering iron. They usually recommend that you use a 65-watt iron. We’re gonna use one a little bit less than that.

We’re gonna show you the basics for this, and, in future videos, we’re gonna show you how to add a lot of components to the solar panels.

So, we’re gonna get started! I’m gonna plug the soldering iron in. On thing that Dan forgot to mention is that he’s gonna be using this flux pen. Now, this pen, it actually smells like rubbing alcohol and, what it does is it opens up the cells, so that way it can accept a better soldering joint.

When you get your cells, they usually come in a bundle, like this. And, as I said, they are extremely fragile – this is another one that I broke! So, you want to be very careful with these, and handle them with care. I’m gonna show you a close-up of these, and explain exactly what’s going on with them.

What you’re gonna notice with these cells, is that there’s a series of small white lines, and 2 big lines. This is where you tabbing wire goes. Now, on the back side, there’s also 6 little joints where you solder the tabbing wire to. Most solar cells like this are usually negative on the front, positive on the back. So, in theory, you could take a bunch of them and stack them like batteries to build up the voltage. The problem is, only one cell would get the sunlight, so you can’t do that.

So, what you end up doing, is you end up taking tabbing wire, and you run it down the length of this, and you leave some extra. And, the next one attaches to the back of the next cell, and you go from there. So, you end up tabbing them together like this in long chains.

We’re gonna lay it flat, like that, and the you take your flux pen and you basically just go right up and down it. Now, it’s a good idea not to drink a lot of coffee on the day you do this, like I did, because, the steadier your hands are, the better off you are! You want to have your tab wires to be twice the length of the cell. Now, I went ahead and cut these in advance. You basically just measure it and double it over. It’s a good idea to do all of your tabbing wires in advance. That way, you don’t have to come back and do this step. Also, be careful with your soldering iron. I just grabbed it in the wrong spot and burned my fingers, so I’m gonna have 2 nice blisters, but, you basically try to get it started so you know where you’re gonna end. And, you hold it down, and the tin that’s on the outside of this should adhere to this. And, you can see that that locked down. Now, you’re gonna hold it the length, just like I have it. You take your soldering iron and you hold it flat like this, and you just gradually work it down the length of the cell.

Now that you have 2 of these tabs, you’re gonna take them and flip them over, and you’re gonna attach them like this. You’re gonna want to get this tabbing wire nice and flat – get it nice and straight. And, you’re gonna arrange them like this. Now, it’s a good idea to have a setup of exactly what you’re doing. Some people will build a little form, so that these are in a perfect, straight line and they don’t look like crap whenever you’re done. But, what you do is you bend the wire up, and you take your flex pen and you want to put it on every single one, like that.

Now, this is an area where the solder actually comes in, and you can actually use it for this. Basically, get yourself a little bead of solder on there, and what you’re gonna do is, get your tabbing wire positioned. I’m gonna use a little clamp to hold it down, because this wire does build up some heat. Let me get the first one in place here. We now have 2 cells that are joined together! So, we’re gonna go outside and we’re gonna see if this produces one volt real quick, because you want to test these as you go along. The time to replace a bad cell is now, versus once you’re completely done with your project.

Now, the way that you want to test these, is, you attach your negative lead to the front, which is this tabbing wire here, and then, you can touch pretty much anywhere on the back. Alright, so you basically take it and, we’re gonna test it and touch this to the back of this here. And you can see that we’re getting one volt out of this, which is, these 2 together produce the one volt. And, if I cover them up, they drop. So, these 2 panels – these 2 cells, are actually good to go.

So, what you’re gonna have to do in order to get a…something to charge 12 volt batteries – like these over here – what you’re gonna have to do is you’re gonna have to do this 36 times, total. So, you’re gonna need 36 of them to get to the 18 volts that you need.

So, this is what we did just now, I got a couple of blisters in the process! And, you can see that it’s a pretty tedious process to do, and, doing is this way comes out to be about $2.00 a watt, maybe a little bit less than that. As you can see, these are very fragile and they break easily, so you have to encase them really good. So, you need to put a glass cover over them. You need to seal this so moisture doesn’t get in there. There’s really a lot to the DIY process with this.

To encase it, does somebody improv on that, or, is there a professional case to use?

We’re gonna be doing that in future videos. We’re gonna be actually trying different ideas in order to…you basically make a frame, encase it in glass and seal it, so that moisture doesn’t get in there. Some people will seal these in resins or waxes, and that’s a good way, too. You just…it is a pretty tricky process! I personally don’t really see…I don’t really necessarily have the patience to do an entire panel…we’re gonna do it for our video.

Well, it seems a little hard to get the soldering and the strips on it just right, but, within time, it would come a lot easier. It’s definitely a practice thing. And, our soldering iron, by the way, is not a good soldering iron for this! You want to get – you wanna buy a good one that gets a really good heat buildup to it, and it will be a lot easier.

It looks great, and, so, somebody would have to get this…how many times would they have to produce this?

To charge a 12 volt battery, you would need to put 36 of them to get to 18 volts, or, if you wanted 20 volts, you would need to do 40 of these.

So, does it go in a row, or,how does that work?

What people usually do, is they’ll do 18 of these, and then 18 of these, and then tie those together, so that jumps the voltage up. And then, the bigger panels, if you want to increase the…’cause 36 of these would produce about 60 watts, 65 watts. The Harbor Freight system that we have outside is 45 watts, so if you put 36 of these together – make sure I’m doing the math – yea, if you put 36 of these together, you would have a more powerful system than the Harbor Freight out there. It would cost you probably about 100 bucks to do that with these cells, the tabbing wire. You have to take in to account that you’re gonna break some along the way. And, then you have to add the case cost to it, because sealing these…the Harbor Freight system has been out in the sun, it’s been out in the rain, it’s been dipped in water (some of the smaller panels), and they work fine. This is gonna be up to you, how well that works out.

Can it be embedded in acrylic, or is that too…

You can encase this in resin – you can definitely do that – different types of resin. You just want to make sure that the contacts all stay good together. And, it’s really important to test these as you go along in case they don’t work. You also need to add some blocking diodes to this, because you don’t want it to drain your battery. You need to make sure the voltage only goes in one direction.

This process is good for somebody who’s on a budget, who has a lot of time on their hands, and who is very patient and wants to do it yourself. If you’re not that type of person, buying a pre-manufactured system is probably gonna cost you double, or a little bit more than that, but that’s your call with it.

Well, I definitely think it’s worth completing, as many as we have, and embedding it into something, for a future video. We spent about $400 on a 150-cells, a little bit more than that, and that’s the equivalent of about 300 watts. So, if we can get one together, a 300-watt solar panel is – well, we wouldn’t do one, but, 300 watts of solar panels is pretty expensive to buy.
I think the challenge is worth the effort on it. You do get better at this, by the way. This was like the 3rd one that I did, and again, the soldering iron – crappy!

If you go to our website, we will have information on where you can buy all this stuff. There’s different people that sell it on eBay and that sort of thing. We’ll have some links to that, and you can at least buy some cells, buy some of this stuff, and see if it’s for you!

I’m your host, Dan Rojas…

and I’m Denise Rojas!

Thank you for watching, and enjoy our videos! Oh, and don’t grab the soldering iron in the wrong place – that really hurt!

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Dec 25

How to Crochet a Hat

How To Crochet A Hat (courtesy of Threadbanger.com)

Hey, what’s up everyone? Happy Holidays and welcome to Threadbanger! This week, we’re giving you a lesson a lot of you requested. Not only is it great for the winter months, but it’s awesome for a last-minute gift idea. The lights are startin’ to freak me out – can we get out of here?

In Meg’s cape episode, I wore this hat, and a bunch of you commented on how much you liked it. I am super proud of this hat – it’s the first one I ever made, and my grandma just taught me how to make it over Thanksgiving! Liquid Skyflier, Mercy Mile and Brooklyn Homies, listen up! Not only is it super easy to make, but it’s super quick! So, this week, I’m gonna show you how to make one just in time to gift it to someone for the holidays! That’s what I’m giving to people…sshhhh!

The first thing you’re gonna want to do is check out our “How To Crochet” episode that we did a while back. For this project, I’m using a size 10.5 crochet needle and some organic, cotton yarn.

We’re gonna start by doing a slip stitch and 8 chain stitches.

Once you have your 8 chain stitches, you connect the 2 ends by putting your needle through the first stitch and doing a single crochet stitch.

Alright! Now that you have your little ring formed, you just put your needle in that first stitch there and do 2 single crochet stitches in each stitch. So you end up with 16 stitches around the outer ring.

So for the next row, the way that I remember it the best is by going in the 1st stitch, you do single crochet. In the 2nd stitch, single crochet. In the 3rd stitch, single crochet. In the 4th stitch, 2 single crochets. And you’re gonna do that until you reach the end of the row, marked by your tail.

So the next row is a single crochet all the way around, so you don’t have to worry about counting! This could be a hat for a little baby!

We are going to do 2 singles in each stitch. We’re trying to flatten this out – we don’t want it to roll up like that yet.

And, for the next row, you do a single crochet in stitch 1, a single crochet in stitch 2 , a single crochet in stitch 3, a single crochet in stitch 4, and then 2 single crochet stitches in stitch 5.

So, when we reach the beginning of the row again, single crochet all the way around for the next row.

Instead of doing 2 single crochets in stitch 5, we’re gonna do 2 single crochets in stitch 6.

Again, it’s a single crochet in each stitch, all the way around. Let’s do it!

We are gonna start counting again, with 2 single crochets in stitch 7. And this project is very easily done with recycled yarn. Again, you can see that in the How To Crochet episode.

Alright! We’ve reached the beginning of the row again, but, instead of doing a row of single crochet all the way around, like we did after the previous counting rows, we’re gonna do 2 single crochet stitches in stitch 8.

The next row is gonna be 2 single crochets in stitch 9.

For this row, we’re gonna do 2 single crochets in stitch 10, You rockin’ stitch 10, that’s right!

Now, the next row is doing 2 single crochets in stitch 11…lookin’ good!

The next row is gonna be the magic number 12.

This is gonna be the last row where you have to count for a while – 2 single crochets in stitch 13. Get to it! Omg, this is super exciting! We just finished our last row of counting, for now. So, now what we’re gonna do is just a single crochet in every stitch, around and around and around and around, until it’s the depth that we want it.

As you keep going around and round, you’ll see it start to curl up, like this. This is good! This is exactly what we want – just keep going!

Our hat’s almost done, but we’re almost at the end of our yarn, so we’re gonna have to attach a new skein of yarn. And it’s really easy – all you do is take the end of this one and tie it to the end of this one, and tie them in a knot. Simple as that. This skein of yarn is 103 yards long, which basically tells you, you’re gonna need more than 103 yards of yard to complete your project. So, when you buy your yarn, make sure the skein is either big enough or that you buy multiple skeins, because a lot of times, they discontinue a color. Or, when they dye yarns in different dye baths, they turn out slightly different. So you just want to make sure you have enough yarn to be able to complete your hat!

Our hat is finally the depth that we want it, but now, we have to close up the rim so it fits our head better. It’s really easy! All you have to do is do a single crochet in stitch one, a single crochet in stitch 2, a single crochet in stitch 3, skip the next stitch, and do a single crochet in the following stitch. Then, you just start counting all over again and do that all the way around, until you reach the beginning of the row.

For the following, and final row, you’re gonna do the same thing you did for the previous row, but instead, you’re gonna skip 2 stitches.

Just pull that loop out really big, nip the end of the year, tie a knot and you are done! Also, make sure to snip any loose ends you may have. And now, you have a great gift for one of your friends, or, for yourself!

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Aug 26

How to Faux Finish Using a Color Wash

How To Faux Finish Using A Color Wash (courtesy of FauxLikeAPro)

Well, if you’ve got a big area that you’re painting and you can’t decide between 2 colors, you might be able to put them together with a color wash. And, Sandra from Faux Like A Pro is gonna show us how to do it!

Now, this is the colorwash?

Yea! Now, these are the 2 greens that you’re talking about. We’ve got 2 colors that we put together. We’ve got a blue-green and we’ve got some blue color – very complimentary to one another.

The important ingredient here is the glaze. You need a long open time glaze. I’m working with the Faux Like A Pro glaze.

And, open time means it stays wet longer?

Yea. More time to work. And we’re doing a wet on wet technique, so the entire wall needs to stay wet.

Our ratio for this is going to be 5 parts glaze to 1 part color.

The 3rd bucket we’re gonna keep as clear glaze, and that’s gonna be our 3rd color.

Ok, these are color washing brushes. This, again, is a soft-hair brush. The approach here is just to use long, sweeping strokes, because we have a huge wall to cover. I’m just gonna work with the green first, because that is the most dominant color.

Now, notice the spacing I have between each stroke. That’s gonna leave some space for the blue and also the clear glaze.

The blue can intersect with the green a little bit, almost like you’re doing a little blending while you’re stroking. Each time you place your brush down, you need to move to another area.

The final pass is going to be the clear glaze, and, we’re gonna just kind of fill that in and blend with this brush a little bit.

And that’s just gonna soften the colors?

Yes, it softens – all I have is clear glaze on here, and see what’s happening? Pick up a little of the green, and we can kind of just place a little bit in here. And, then, go back in and blend.

Once the glaze is set up, you can basically switch over to what’s called a bristle block brush, and we’re gonna blend this, and we’re also drying up the glaze, because the glaze stays wet for up to an hour.

We’ve got a lot of glaze in here and very little color. And, just by pulling up on this brush, you can eliminate all of those brush strokes if you don’t like them.

Alright – I’m ready to give this a shot!

You ready to go? Ok, good!

Nice, broad strokes – wonderful! And, the angles are important! You know, we don’t want to do vertical, we don’t want to have these angles, and spread the glaze as much as you can. See how beautiful!

And then, the final finish, we’re just gonna do another softening with this bristle block.

Ok, well, Sandra and I are gonna finish up this wall, but, this color wash is a great idea if you’re just looking for a little, subtle color. Beautiful! I can see why this is popular!

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