Friday, July 17, 2015

New DIY Plans - The Shelby Bench

Happy Weekend everyone! I've been sitting on the plans that I drew up for the Shelby bench (from my Bench Building Workshop) for a few months. Got an email asking if I wouldn't mind sharing them, so let's get to that!!

We're covering the bench on the right, today.

This bench was requested by my lovely, talented friend, Shelby! It was the quickest and easiest (those two don't always go hand-in-hand) bench of the bunch, and it was cheap!

Totally a bonus.

Here's what we based the bench plan on.

And this is what Shelby made!

(We obviously hadn't included the rods/hardware at this point)

And here are the plans so that you can make your own!

48" W x 13 1/2"D x 17 1/2"H

Shopping List

  • 2 - 2 x 6 x 8'
  • 1- 2 x 4 x 8'
  • 1 - 2 x 2 x 4' (optional)*
  • 2 1/2" pocket hole screws
  • 1 1/2" screws
  • wood glue

Cut List

  • 2 - 2x6 @ 17 1/2" (legs)
  • 2 - 2x4 @ 17 1/2" (legs)
  • 2 - 2x6 @ 16" (legs)
  • 1 - 2x6 @ 45" (top)
  • 1 - 2x6 @ 48" (top)
  • 1 - 2x4 @ 45" (top)
  • 2 - 2x2 @ 13 1/2"* cut to fit

* I ripped a 2x2 at 45-degrees to get two inconspicuous corner brackets for this, but we didn't end up using them because the bench was solid enough without it. They're included in the plan, but you may be able to get away without them if you don't have a table saw to rip it, or don't want to use the 2x2 at all.

Step 1

Using pocket hole screws, built two sides as shown above (note, the smaller measurement should read 16", not 15"). They will need to mirror each other. Pre-drill pocket holes in the center board facing upward to attach the top, later.

Step 2 

Using pocket hole screws, build the top as shown above. Be sure to add pocket holes to the ends of the shorter edge pieces to attach the legs to, later.

Step 3

Attach the legs to the top using the pocket holes that were previously drilled.

Step 4

Cut bracing to fit and attach using glue and 1 1/2" screws into the sides and top of the bench.

I've uploaded plans to my 3D warehouse page for you to download. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Big Kid's Solar Oven

Hi Everyone! I have an extra-special guest here today! My eldest (lovingly referred to as "The Big Kid" on my blog) made her own solar oven and is here to tell you about it! Let me preface this with a little back story... She had asked me to make her a solar oven last week, and I tried to do it without researching how they work... Let's just say it wasn't my greatest project. So the Big Kid went and researched it, and made her own. Here she is to tell you all about it!


two boxes
black paper
plastic wrap
aluminum foil

Hi. My mom's making me do this so I can get some cookie dough. You need to start with two boxes. One needs to fit inside the other.

 Cut a hole in the smallest box

Now then you put black paper in the bottom of the smallest box. I used glue and scissors to cut because the black paper didn't fit in there.

I put the plastic wrap on the top of the smallest one with tape. Maybe glue I forgot.

Yeah I think it's glue. (Mom correction - it was actually tape)

The bottom of the biggest box has glue on it and then I put the smallest box in the middle.

And then I wrapped newspaper around it so it keeps it insulated.

Then I put aluminum foil on the top of the box with tape. Maybe glue, I forgot that one as well. (Mom correction - she used glue *and* tape. She glued the aluminum foil to the bottom of the lid, wrapped it around the sides, and taped the edges of the foil to the top of the lid)

That is the finished result. Now we're going to cook in it. Make cookies in it! Make pizza in it!


Isn't she charming? For the record, I went and fixed a couple punctuation errors. Otherwise, that was all her (proud momma moment!). 

I'd say that I should start a blog for her, but I had to bribe her with cookie dough to get her to agree to do this... So I guess I have to go make some cookie dough now..!

Happy Thursday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

DIY Slipper Chair Slipcover Without a Template

Raise your hand if upholstering freaks you out!!!


Me too.

Who would've ever thought that fabric and staples would be scarier than circular saws and 2x4s? And then if you have to use a sewing machine??!! No frickin' way!!!

But sometimes you just HAVE to upholster.

Like when you build a slipper chair for the sake of building a slipper chair (click here for plans), and then you don't document the upholstering process, so you build a toddler slipper chair. 

The toddler slipper chair (click here for more on that or click here for plans) was built solely to document the upholstering process, but then I had to reupholster my Target slipper chairs (thanks to cats & kids - click here for more info).

And of course, if you want an upholstered bed... you have to upholster it!

Then if you decide to build an upholstered swoop chair (I've got some more info on this for a future post, if you're interested!)... it really seems like it never ends.

Alas, cats and kids have struck again, so my already-reupholstered-Target-slipper chairs were in dire need of some more reupholstering.

This time I had some criteria that I wanted the outcome to meet. First, I wanted these to be slipcovers so that I could remove them to launder them (and if we're going away overnight, so the cats don't decide that they're scratching posts!). Secondly, the slipcovers had to fit snugly, because I don't like loose-fitting slipcovers. Finally, they had to be done without a pattern, because I have issues transferring patterns onto paper and then onto fabric, and THEN sewing them.

This is what I came up with!

And, as is the case of nearly all of my upholstering projects, let's cue in some clearance curtains from Target.

The first thing most people do is wash their fabric... but I didn't do that. You probably should. I draped the fabric over the chair, making sure that there was enough on each side of the chair and the front and back for the slipcover. An 84" panel will cover an Avington slipper chair from Target.

note: all of the sewing/pinning/working will be done on the "wrong" side of the fabric

Then I pinned and sewed the front corners (is this looking familiar? This is how I started both of my previous slipper chair upholstering tutorials!).

When the front corners are sewn, it's easy to pull the fabric to the back of the chair nice and taut. Then I smoothed it back the seat and down the sides and pinned it in place. From my experience, it's easier to work on one side of the chair at a time.

The pins should be where the seat connects to the back of the chair. This is important to do, because the scariest part is coming up next.

You have to cut the fabric. I cut the fabric to almost the top of the seat, but after having done this four times (two sides of two chairs) I can say that it can either reach the seat or be below the seat.. Precision isn't required. Give yourself about 1/4" past the part where the seat and the back meet for seam allowance when you sew.

After you've gone past the point of no return, drape the fabric up the top of the chair and pull taut back the sides (tuck the "bunched" fabric into the seam of the chair if there is any. That's where it'll go when you're finished with the slipcover, anyway).

I liked pinning it in place so that I didn't have to worry about the fabric shifting as I pulled and tightened everything.

Now, the fabric draping over the top and the fabric that you pulled toward the back need to be pinned together so that you have a seam that goes from the top, down the back of the chair. The fabric may bunch a tad at the top of this seam, but it will look fine after it's sewn and turned inside out.

Sew along the pins down the back.

When you reach the end of the shorter piece of fabric, you'll realize that there's plenty of fabric remaining on the back. I pinned the middle of the back to the back of the chair, pulled the fabric on the side I was working on, and cut a slit about where the shorter piece of fabric ended (hopefully this picture helps clarify what I'm trying to say).

What you're going to do is use this fabric to "fill" in the square you made after making your first cut. Pin it to the top of the back and to the side and sew it.

This picture's from the other side of the chair, so don't worry if everything seems backwards. 

Here's a picture of it sewn and the excess fabric trimmed (I trimmed the excess at the front of the chair at this point, too) to show what it's supposed to look like.

If you do what I did and leave an accidental hole where those two seams meet, it's easily fixed when you reinforce the seams (or you could go back and do it before moving on.. I didn't).

And that's really all it is! Just do the same thing to the other side, making sure you pull everything taut as you pin/sew!

After that's all finished and all excess fabric is trimmed, you can turn the slipcover inside out and try it on the chair. If there are any adjustments to be made, now's the time to do it..!

Now it's time to think about the hem. Go back and reinforce all of the seams and sew a hem (reinforcing it, as well!). You can create a ruffle hem (just don't ask me how!), a straight hem, or steal the velcro off of the removable bottom cover-thingy and sew that onto the bottom of your slipcover so you can velcro it in place and have a nice, well-fitting slipcover.

I used velcro, but even after doing two chairs, never really got it right. My suggestion is to loosely put the velcro in place, pull the fabric over it and pin it. Then it should line up perfectly.

And now, if you need to wash your slipcover...

Just make sure that you follow the care instructions on the fabric (or curtain packaging, if you used one!).

Now the only thing to do is to see how long this one lasts.

Monday, June 29, 2015

DIY X-Stool or Table

Happy Monday! I've been on an "x" kick when it comes to planning patio furniture, and the first thing I've put into play is a new x-end table (which is also seat-height, so it can double as extra seating!).

If you were here last week, you've already seen this

Can I just say that I. Am. LOVING. This??!!

Which is based off of some tables in an image that I'd pinned a while back.

I reused the wood from the first thing I'd ever built (which fell apart, but I was too sentimental about to throw away), and didn't have enough wood to do the four sides with the "x", so my new design only calls for the x's on two sides.

And below are plans if you want to build your own! As with my last bench, the plans don't include instructions for the top. Mine is a 17"x17" concrete slab, but you can make a wooden top or mosaic or plain tile.

Shopping List

3 - 1 x 3 @ 8'
1 - 1 x 2 @ 6'
1 1/4" outdoor Pocket Hole Screws
Outdoor Wood Glue (I use Titebond III)
1 - 17" x 17" top

Cut List


4 @ 17"
4 @ 12"
4 @ 12 1/2"
2 @ 17", both ends pointed at 45-degrees
4 @ ~7 1/4", one end pointed at 45-degrees


4 @ 17'

Step 1

Build the sides as shown above with the 12" and 17" 1x3s using wood glue and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. You'll make two of these.

Step 2

Cut the long x-sides to the specifications above.

Step 3

Cut the short sides of the "x"s as shown above. Measure the opening in your sides and cut to fit.

Step 4

Build the non-x sides as shown above with pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 5

Assemble the stool by screwing or nailing through the face of the "x" sides into the non "x" sides. You could also try to pre-drill pocket holes in the 1x2s to attach the outer sides, but I didn't have luck with that.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mr. Goats' Father's Day Gift

Hello lovelies! It's Friday, and I've got The. Perfect. weekend project for you!

This is what I gifted Mr. Goats for Father's Day!

He loves his charcoal Weber grill, but we only had the aluminum tripod that it came with. There was nowhere to prep food, place food, or hold grilling tools, so this was obvs not super functional.

The photo above has been pinned on Pinterest countless times, but I can't seem to find a source for it. 

The design is based on a photo I saw of a potting table, which goes to show this would also make an amazing potting bench (cut the hole on top to suit your needs, or create a slab-top and use this as an outdoor buffet/serving station!).

Oh, I didn't mention!! It has a tilt-out bin!

And I've got plans so you can build your own!

Please note that these plans do not include instructions/materials for the top of the table. I planned to do a concrete top to inset the grill, but Mr. Goats broke his toe and I am physically unable to handle an 80# bag of concrete. The top photographed is made from cedar fence pickets and i would be perfectly content with it if I hadn't had my heart set on a concrete top. It's weather-resistant and beautiful! If you love it, add 5 fence pickets to your shopping list. 

Shopping List:

8 - 2x4@8'
12 - 5 1/2" x 72" (1x6) Cedar Fence Pickets (we only have dog-eared, so that's what I used)
3 - 1x2@8'
1 - set outdoor hinges + pull (I used these)
1 1/4" outdoor pocket hole screws
2 1/2" outdoor pocket hole screws
Outdoor Glue (I use Titebond III)

Cut List:

  4 @ 49" (stretchers)
  4 @ 32" (legs)
  2 @ 24" (shelf stretcher)
  2 @ 24 1/2" (front/back divider)
  8 @ 25" (deep stretchers)

1x6 Cedar Fence Pickets
  15 @ 28" (shelf boards and side slats)
    7 @ 22" (front and back of "drawer")
    6 @ 21" (sides of "drawer")
    3 @ 22" (bottom of "drawer")

  2 @ 24" (drawer frame front stiles)
  2 @ 17" (drawer frame back stiles)
  4 @ 19" (drawer frame rails)
  4 @ 21" (drawer stretchers)


56 1/2" W x 30" D x 33 1/2" H
(dimensions are given based on suggested tabletop size, accounting for a 1 1/2" top)

Step 1:

You get two pictures in one step because I didn't capture all of the dimensions in a single shot.

Begin by building the main frame using wood glue and 2 1/2" pocket hole screws. The top "shelf" can be placed at your desired height, but make sure to match the front and back frames. Make two.

Step 2:

With your front and back frames built, you can add the 25" stretchers as pictured. I found it easiest to start from the outsides, in. The only thing to pay special attention to is the bottom, middle stretcher. It should be flush with the top of the adjoining boards.

Step 3:

Finish adding the stretchers to create the top shelf.

Step 4:

Make the front frame for your "drawer" using glue and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.

Step 5:

Make the back frame for your "drawer".

Step 6:

With your 21" dividers, create your drawer "box" as shown above.

Step 7:

 Finish your box by first gluing/screwing the side boards in from the front and back of the frames (countersinking your screws) and then gluing/screwing the front and backs. I screwed from the inside of the drawer frames into the outer boards. Set aside.

You have the option of leaving gaps between the boards to fill up all the space or ripping a board to the remaining gap, but I just left the space at the top. 

Step 8:

Notch out four of the shelf boards to the dimensions above. These will be the front and back boards of your shelves.

Screw your shelf boards in place, starting with the bottom shelf, first. Use glue and 1 1/4" outdoor screws (I used pocket hole screws w/o pocket holes, because it was what I had).

Step 9:

Insert the pull out "drawer", using a 1/4" spacer on the bottom. Attach hinges and drawer pull. If necessary, add a stop block (created with a wood scrap) to the inside of the frame using glue and screws.

Step 10:

Screw on the side slats using glue and 1 1/4" screws.

There! Your table is built!! The choices on tops are endless, from tile to wood to concrete! Suggested dimensions for the top are 30" x 56 1/2".

I'll be t.h.r.i.l.l.e.d. when we can get our concrete top built! Then, Mr. goats will stop using my newly finished bench to hold his super hot tools.

Plans for her are coming soon ;-)

Disclaimer: Please use common sense when building. In this case, use common sense when grilling. Fire may come out the bottom of the grill, so add a barrier to prevent your newly-built (and amazing) grilling table from catching flame, and avoid grilling items that may cause the fire to crackle. I, Gina @ am not responsible for loss or injury incurred by building/using your table. Build and use at your own risk! Have fun!