Tag Archives: DIY

Floating Headboard DIY (no nail holes!!!)

When I stumbled upon these pictures from Brian’s blog, Hazzard Family Blog, on Pinterest I knew immediately that this was the headboard project for me.

Initially I was leaning towards a DIY tufted headboard (cause they are all over Pinterest), but my fiance reminded me that he lives here too and the tufted style is a little too feminine for our bedroom.  (You’re welcome Nick!)

Here’s how we accomplished this project:

1. Buy Materials

  • 1 x 6″ boards. Make sure to get ones that are straight! I’d recommend a lumber store over a large home improvement retailer for better quality wood.
  • Stain – We love using Miniwax band stain. The color we picked was Dark Walnut (2716)
  • Polyurethane – We used a semi-gloss so that it’s glossy enough to be easy to dust but not super shiny.
  • Sandpaper – 220 grit for a smooth finish. You might want to buy a lower grit if your wood is rough and sand with that first.
  • Painters tape
  • 3M Command Strips – 12 lb. These are the heavy duty kind. You will need 4 per board for safety!
Here's what we used for stain, seal and strips!
Here’s what we used for stain, seal and strips!

2. Sand the BoardsPile of Wood Dust

Sand the flat part of BOTH SIDES of the boards. Don’t forget the edges too! You can hand-sand these, but if your neighbor has a sander I’d recommend borrowing it. There will be wood flakes everywhere, so be sure to do this activity in a space that can handle the mess. 


3. Stain the Boards

This is the BEST step. Staining wood is so very satisfying. Watching the wood go from plain to colorful is the best part of any wood project.

For this project I stained the wood once, let it dry overnight and then stained a second time the next day to darken the color. I used a roller to apply the stain and wiped it down with an old t-shirt.

Stain Layers

4. Seal the Boards

Polyurethane is basically a liquid plastic that will help seal in the color and give wood a finished look. Without it your wood project swill collect dirt and can stain with water.

*** Make sure to use a tool that you are ok throwing away for this step. Polyurethane is nearly impossible to wash out of a nice brush.*** I learned this the hard way 🙁

Applying Sealant

Apply the polyurethane using a roller. GO SLOW to avoid micro bubbles. Try to stir the can every few minutes using very smooth and slow strokes, trying to minimize the amount of air getting stirred in. If you have any bubbles that don’t go away in a few minutes, use a brush to smooth the sealant.

With and Without Stain

5. Hang the Boards

Ok folks, this is where the fun begins. I know that hanging 4 to 6 boards perfectly horizontal and keeping consistent spacing seems like an impossible feat, but believe me when I say THIS TOOK LESS THAN 45 MINUTES. Here are the methods I used to hang the boards.

To hang each board I used 3 or 4 of the 3M Command Strips shown above. The boards near the bottom got 3 and the ones near the top got 4. I was worried at first that this was a huge risk and I’d wake up with a broken nose, but our boards have been hanging for months and there have been zero issues.

To hang the first (lowest) board, use a piece of painters tape to create a level line on the wall. Align the board with this line to adhere to the wall. (If you need more help, check out my tutorial for hanging a mirror here. The same rules apply).

Apply a piece of level tape to the wall to place the first board.
Apply a piece of level tape to the wall to place the first board.

Now, I know that if you wanted to measure out an inch or two from the top of the first board and then reapply the tape and re-level the tape and then stick on another board, you could. BUT remember I promised getting this done quickly. So instead of doing it that way, I took about 5 minutes and turned on my engineering brain to find a better solution. The answer: BOUNCY BALLS! 

I tapes 4 bouncy balls to the top of the board and then set the bottom of the next board on top of those. Then move the bouncy balls up to the top of the new board and keep going. It took about 10 minutes to get all 5 boards (not including the first one) applied to the wall.

How to hang perfectly spaced boards
How to hang perfectly spaced boards

I also applied a piece of tape, leveled vertically, to the edge of the boards to help keep them aligned on the edge for a sharp modern look.


Before and After

Before and After

Completed Floating Headboard DIY Project

DIY Magnets – The perfect gift on a budget

I am dedicating this post to my friend, Anna Fiore, who taught me how to make these wonderful magnets last winter.  Since then, I’ve made over 40 magnets and have sent them to friends all over the US!

What you’ll need:

  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush
  • Old Magazines
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Super Glue (I recommend Loctite gel control)
  • 1 – 1.5 inch Clear Glass Mosaic Circles (Check out the sidebar for a link to Amazon to buy 50 for $9.99)Magnets
  • Magnets – Do not use magnet tape, it is not strong enough.  You can get these “Flexible Magnets” at most craft stores. They are worth the few extra dollars.


Steps 1-3 edited

Step 1: Find an image in a magazine that you think would make a cute magnet.  Place the glass circle over the image to ensure it will fit.  Use the pencil to draw a line all the way around the circle, as close to the base as possible.

Step 2: Cut out the image, cutting along the INSIDE of the circle.

Step 3: Use the paint brush to apply Mod Podge to the TOP of the image. That’s right, cover the image that you want to turn into the magnet with the Mod Podge.

Steps 4-6 edited

Step 4: Place the glass circle onto the sticky side of the image.  Turn the glass circle over and Mod Podge the entire back.  Ensure to smooth down all of the edges.

Step 5: Separate one magnet from the stack.  Use the super glue, Loctite in my case, to glue the magnet to the back of the magazine image.

Step 6: Let dry for about 15 minutes.

The best thing about this gift is that you can fully personalize the magnets.  Here are some examples:

For a Male Friend



I made these for a friend who likes hamburgers, football, and the IU Hoosiers.



Gift for a Girl




I made these for a girl friend who likes mail, coffee, and kittens.



Magnet Set 3



These three were made for a sorority sister who likes makeup and is an engineer!



Here’s a set of magnets that I’ve gifted to two friends over the course of a year.  You can tell based on the images I chose that they like Breaking Bad, Girls, Game of thrones, and the Voice.  Penguins are Shanna’s favorite animal and I thought Adam would appreciate the shark and the bacon.

Magnet Gifts
Customize your magnets gifts to the likes and interests of your friends!

How to Fix Leather and Suede Boots After Winter Weather

Nothing is worse than buying an expensive pair of leather or suede shoes and seeing them ruined by snow, salt, and dirt.  The good news is there there’s an easy way to clean and refurbish them.  The better news is that it’s also cheap to do.

Leather Shoe Chapstick before and after

First let’s talk about leather.  There’s a secret product called Chelsea Leather Food that is made for extending the life of high end leather soccer cleats.  You can find it on Amazon for about $16, direct link is in the sidebar for either the clear or black variety.  One jar should last a few winters depending on frequency of use.

Using Leather Food on Shoes

To use, just wipe the shoe clean with a damp cloth and then use a dry cloth to rub in the leather food.  I like to describe it as “chapstick for your shoes” because it’s got a soft wax consistency and you can immediately see the difference.  The Chelsea Leather Food will moisturize the leather (just like chapstick on lips) and will extend the life of the shoe.  My shoes pictured here have made it through three winters and they still look brand new.

Cleaning Suede Shoes

Moving on to suede.  Everyone knows that it’s impossible to keep suede clean.  My first suggestion is to not buy suede shoes, but if you have to (because they’re adorable and comfy) do yourself a favor and buy a dark color.

To clean dirt and salt off of suede make a small bowl of equal parts warm water and vinegar. Use a clean cotton towel to wipe the shoe clean. It only takes a few minutes. Make sure the suede has time to dry before wearing, and if there are annoying particles stuck to the suede when it’s still damp, you can brush them off after the material has dried.


Suede Shoes Before and After

Hope this helps keep your feet sparkling through winter!

How to Hang a Perfectly Straight Picture or Mirror

We’ve all been there… spending 30 minutes to hang something and then stepping back to realize that it’s crooked.  This is such a deflating and annoying feeling that is easily avoidable.  If you follow these easy steps it will guarantee that everything you hang will be perfectly level.  I used hanging a very heavy mirror in the example pictures since this is a time when I absolutely could not afford to hang it cockeyed.

Step 1) Lay whatever you are about to hang on a flat surface.  Place painters tape or masking tape on to cover the hooks on the back of your frame. 

1) Lay on flat surface 2) place painters tape on hooks

Step 2) Mark X’s onto the tape over the location of the hooks or hangers.

2) draw x's where the hooks are

Step 3) Remove the piece of tape from the mirror or frame and place it on the wall. Measure the height of the object you are hanging to make sure that it will fit below where the tape is placed.

Use a level to ensure that the tape is perfectly level.Step 3) Apply tape to wall and level

Step 4) Depending on the weight of your mirror or picture you might need to use drywall anchors.  The mirror I hung is very heavy (30 lbs +) so I used large drywall anchors and screws. You can buy these in a package of 10 with matching anchors and hooks so you know the size is right and the package generally says how much weight they can hold.

Use a drill to drill a hole through the middle of the X on the tape. Remove the tape and hammer in the drywall anchor. Finally, use a screwdriver to insert the screw into the drywall anchor.

Steps for installing drywall anchor and screws.
Steps for installing drywall anchor and screws.

Step 5) Finally hang your masterpiece and use the level to ensure that you nailed it (pun intended).

5) Hang Mirror and check Levelness

Completed Hanging Mirror

Ms. PacMan Birthday Cake

Truth be told there are a lot of “Totally Rad” cake options for an 80’s party.  But for the birthday boy that our 80’s party was created for there is only one option: Ms. PacMan.  Inspiration for this cake came from a few places.  Serenity Now posted a neat Mr. PacMan cake as well as Claudia’s Cakes Mr. PacMan Cake (which totally out does mine, but let’s not forget that I’m an amateur!)  The only problem was that both of these cakes were Mr. PacMan and this birthday boy is all about MS. PacMan.  I might not have noticed and would have made the wrong cake, but luckily our friend Jason pointed out that the cake concept ideas we had we all Mr. PacMan.

using a toothpick to stencil in the lines on the Mrs. PacMan board.Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff… how did I do it?  Well I bought a sheet cake from a grocery store and had them ice it in chocolate.

If you’ve never used black icing or tried to dye icing black I highly recommend NOT trying it.  Plus the chocolate tastes better! And it gets the point across.  I used a printout of the Ms. PacMan Level I board as a template to stencil the main design of the board.  By using a toothpick and some eyeball measurements I was able to get a really great stencil.  Next I used orange icing and piped along all of the stenciled Orange Lines of Pacman Board Cakelines to make the game board.  Orange is the color of the boundaries for Level I of Ms. PacMan.  It was very important to be accurate to please these party guest (i.e. we’re all nerds).  I also left space at the top to write “Happy Birthday Adam”.  Since the stenciling went so well I used the toothpick to stencil this in as well.  For an icing tip I used a medium sized regular round tip.  I bought orange icing and whipped it up in my stand mixer to make it easier to spread.

Everyone knows that both Mr. and Ms. PacMan LOVE EATING DOTS!!!  The obvious option for making dots would be to just pipe icing.

Dots materialPlaceing Dots - Full View



I however thought this seemed tedious and potentially aggravating  so I bought a few candy decorating items to help get the job done.  I used the small white dots as the normal PacMan food and the larger white dots as the special corner foods.  Then the interesting part… How do you place about 100 tiny white dots so that they line up and look nice?  Well I had an idea to try to use a plastic bristle paint brush to pick up and place these tiny white dots.

Placing Dots -Close Up It worked like magic!  I used a tiny bit of water to get the bristles wet and was able to quickly and very precisely place all of the dots!

I know what you’re thinking… “Is this cake/PacMan board really accurate down to the last dot?”  Although I was striving to get it 100%, there is one flaw.  But even the birthday boy couldn’t tell so I’ll let it go.  The finishing touches were to make the ghosts (I used colored icing and a

flat tip to pipe out a little rectangle and added eyes), the text at the top, and a border.  I think it’s important to mention that NO FONDANT WAS USED making this cake.  Honestly it tastes gross, it’s kind of cheating, and is hard to deal with.  You can do anything with icing it you put your mind to it!  Well that’s about it.  Let me know if you have questions and as always…

Adding ghosts to a Mrs. PacMan Birthday Cake

 Happy Pinning!

Valentine’s Planted Hearts Nail Art

Originally Pinned and designed by Rina Alcantara from Simply Rins

I love this nail art design by Rina Alcantara and I found it just in time for Valentine’s Day.  I think it is the epitome of cute meets classy.  Rina used a nice light green background.  My nail model this time was Colleen who already had a light taupe base coat so we used that instead.

To make the hearts I used the end of a bobby pin as explained in my Valentine’s Kisses Nail Art post.  This helps give the heart s a nice roundness that is extremely hard to attain with a thin brush.Planted Hearts Thumb Close Up  Next I used a thin black nail art brush to paint the stem and finished it off with some leaves in green.  I’ll openly admit that my planted hearts didn’t turn out as well as Rina’s.  Although this design looks easy, getting the correct symmetry and smoothness to the heart can be difficult.  Colleen however was pleased with the outcome and said that these Planted Hearts made her smile for the week!

Happy Pinning!

Valentine’s Kisses Nail Art

Original nail art design by Nail Art 101.  Check out the tutorial video here Valentine’s Kisses.

Valentine’s Day Kisses is the best choice for themed nail art in February.  I love heart designs as much as the next guy, but it’s not the most original.  These lipstick smooches are just as easy to do and way more fun!

bobby pinIn the video by Nail Art 101 they use a fancy nail art tool.  In lieu of this I used a bobby pin and it worked great!  Easier to handle than a paintbrush and it gets just the right amount of nail polish on the tip.



Ring finger with white close upI tried this with two fingers.  On my ring finger I added the white lip creases as shown in the tutorial video.  On my thumb I left the lip creases off.  I think both are cute, it’s up to you which you prefer 🙂


Pucker up and Happy Pinning!

Cupcake Nail Art

There are a plethora of trending cupcake nail art Pins on Pinterest.  I choose to use Nail-Art-101‘s tutorial as my starting point (See the Cupcake Nail Art Tutorial Here).  The instructions were easy to follow and I loved the design that Lisa used on Nail Art 101.  I tried a few of these cupcakes on my friends and on willing friends (thanks Julia and Shannan!) with one small design change.  I didn’t have two similar color tones for the muffin liner so I used my thin black nail art brush from Kiss to create the effect on the muffin liner.

Sophia's Cupcake Nail
First attempt at a cupcake nail!

I’m right-handed, so generally only my left hand gets cool nail art.  This was definitely the case for the cupcake nail.  I do think it’s possible to do with your non-dominant hand, but it might be easier to just ask a friend to do it for you!

Some cupcake nail artists use a rhinestone instead of a red cherry, but I stayed with the traditional cherry.

For Shannan’s nail I used a red color for the muffin liner.  I also varied the lines on the liner instead of making them uniformly spaced as on my nail.

For Julia’s nail we got really wild and used gold for the muffin liner.  She also let me try painting her thumb to see if the proportions still worked out.  I was worried since thumbs are so wide, but I think it turned out great!

Julia’s thumb nail cupcake
Shannan's cupcake nail
Shannan’s cupcake nail


Homemade Armpit Stain Remover

Originally Pinned by The Prudent Pantry
See original pin here

Let’s face it, everyone hates armpit stains. I hate them so much that in recent years I have completely avoided buying any white shirt that has an arm at all! Luckily 21st century girls have Pinterest to remind us that there are simple fixes for common pesky issues like, to put it eloquently, “pit stains”.

Good news! This pin not only works but is CHEAP and SIMPLE! A double whammy. Just mix one part dish soap, two parts hydrogen peroxide and enough basking soda to form a paste.

Rub into the pits of your favorite white shirts and let sit for about an hour. Then throw them in with your light wash load and it’s done!

Here’s the before picture. This was a 100% cotton shirt that I have owned (and sweated in) for 5 years. It was my worst all all pit stains (and I’ll admit I’m slightly embarrassed to share a picture of it).

And the after, amazing!

May your white shirts rejoice, Happy Pinning!

Masking Tape Painting

Originally by Maria Teorien  See original Pin here
Like most crafty women on Pinterest, I saw this pin and immediately thought “that is so pretty and totally doable”. After having actually done it I can contest that yes, it is pretty and definitely doable. The materials are not cheap unless you already own acrylic paints (which I did). I will also caution that this took me about 4 hours from start to finish. I gave this to my younger sister as a birthday gift and it made a great addition to her teenage bedroom.

Canvas – I bought this size at a craft store for about $20
Paint brushes – larger brushes make the project go faster. Also having more than one will speed things up, otherwise you have to run to a sink and wash between each color change.
Various acrylic paints – I HIGHLY SUGGEST buying white and dark colors so that you can mix to make more color options. I also used a shiny gold which I think added some interest. In Maria’s pin she used gold as the backdrop; silver would also look nice.
Tape – Maria used regular masking tape. I used “drafting tape” purchased at the craft store which I think gives slightly crisper lines.

Slowly peel off the tape
Masking Tape Painting – Paint and Let Dry











Place the tape in a pattern that has a focal point (In this case, most of the lines are directed towards the bottom right side of the canvas).

Both Maria and I used this technique and I think it brings depth to the finished work instead of having all of the tape lines completely random.

I also taped the edges of the canvas to help give it a clean edge. Unlike Maria’s painting I used the canvas white as my backdrop instead of painting a metallic background (mostly cause I was feeling lazy).
Wait until the tape dries to peel off. I had to do each section with AT LEAST two coats of paint.

Hang on a wall and voila!

Happy Pinning!