Ribbon Art Holder

This idea is originally from my friend Tami. It is a simple and inexpensive way to display artwork, prints, photos, cards, or a myriad of other things you may have sitting around. The ribbons could be hung from a dowel – I used a branch because of the bird theme of the cards.

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

Funky Fix for Salvaged Bookcase

We got an old salvaged bookshelf from ReStore a couple years ago. It was missing (or never had) a finished end panel. Thinking that it would either a.) be a really long time before we would make a nice paneled trim piece for it, or b.) it didn’t deserve a nice paneled trim piece, I decided to clad it in an old sign (picked up for $1 at ReStore).

What we did:

I wanted to mock up the design so we measured the panel and made a cropping template with paper. Positioned the paper template on top of the sign to get an idea of best cropping.

Marked and cut the sign with a circular saw, with straight edge, clamped to a table. I don’t have a picture of this, but it is the same idea as what we did in a previous project.

Sanded the edges with fine sandpaper to finish off the edges.

Pre-drilled the nail holes in the plywood sign, because it was thin and we were nailing so close to the edge. Nailed it into place. Could have used screws, but liked the look of the nails better.

All done, good enough for now – maybe someday I’ll get around to putting something more refined on there, but then again, probably not!

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

Bathtub Trim Panel

The project: Designing, building and installing a trim panel on a bathtub.


Materials: Salvaged wood from our demo/remodel. Dave, my patient and salvage-obsessed husband, saved the old wood (house built in 1911) and ran it through a planer to clean it up, so we could re-use it for the trim.

Design: I wanted wide horizontal planks (with small gaps in between each) for the face panel but didn’t know how the corner transition would work where the bathtub trim met the baseboard trim. Mary, Monica and I mocked up a couple of rough options to see what would look best.

hmmm, better 1 or 2?

In Version 1 the bottom board of the tub panel aligns with the baseboard trim, the middle board is the same height as the bottom and the top board is the leftover height. Version 2 has all three boards of equal height so the bottom board doesn’t align with the baseboard trim. After all that…we decided to align the bottom board with the baseboard. I have an alignment fetish. The top two boards are equal height, but slightly shorter than the bottom one. Better 1 or 2? I say neither. I like 3. ; )

Prepping: Next was getting the wood ready. After cutting each board to the correct widths/height (Dave helped us cut it, table saws are scary), we sanded, applied wood conditioner, sanded, applied wood finish, sanded, applied second coat of wood finish, sanded, applied third coat of wood finish, then buffed with steel wool. All this wood finishing talk may leave you either a) bored to death, or b) wanting more detailed information. For those of you in the “b” group, we’ll post some detailed info in the next couple days.

Building: We laid the three boards face down on the floor, putting ¼” strips of wood between each to create equal spaces between each board. We attached (by pre-drilling and screwing) 2 small vertical strips of wood to the back side to connect and hold the boards together (below left).

We made the entire 3 board panel longer than necessary so that we could make a single cut through all three boards after it was assembled. We clamped a straight edge to the panel and cut (carefully) a straight line with a skill saw (above right). After a couple rounds of fitting, trimming, fitting, trimming again… it fit!

Installing: First we painted the existing concrete board face panel black in case you’d be able to see through the gaps in the boards.

The 3 board panel needed to be removable for future access to bathtub plumbing. After considering some attaching options, we thought it would easiest to have a “french cleat”, which we made from some leftover scrap trim wood (did I mention Dave likes to save wood?).

I really wanted to make certain the wood panel fit firmly in place on the wall, aligning with the floor and would not wiggle. That required very precise positioning of the bottom/wall and the top/wood panel cleats. There are probably more professional ways to figure this out, but what worked was to mount the bottom cleat to the wall first. Then, we slid the top cleat in position onto the attached wall cleat (above right). We then ran a line of hot glue on the top cleat and then (quickly) positioned the wood panel, pressing firmly. The top cleat was then stuck to the wood panel in the perfect position and we just lifted the panel up and off the wall. Next we pre-drilled holes and used screws to permanently attach the top cleat to the wood panel. We then installed it by simply hanging it in place. All done!

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

Making your own hardware.

Bits and pieces of hardware gathered from salvage yards and hardware stores.

I couldn’t find a style of hardware for our bathroom that worked/fit. I wanted a simple/industrial look that would work with concrete, wood, and metal. I ended up making towel bars, sets of hooks and a toilet paper holder from a few different things that I found while scrounging around in my favorite salvage yards and hardware stores. A person would never be able to find these exact same parts again (even if a person wanted to), but this shows you how you can make something from not much.

The parts. I’m not even sure what these hooks were originally used for – does anyone know? I found them at Archie McPhee’s, our local funky specialty store that also carries yodeling pickles. I had two walls where I wanted repeating hooks so I got a bunch of them. They weren’t super cheap ($3.50 or so), but were very cool.
– Got little clamps (Stoneway Hardware) to secure them to a piece of douglas fir wood that matched the rest of the trim in the bathroom. We finished the wood by sanding (#150), then applying a coat of Benite (a wood conditioner), sanding with #220, and then applying 3 coats of satin Profin. These are great wood finishing products by Daly’s. After the final coat, we lightly wiped with 000 steel wool to knock the sheen off. We painted the shiny silver clamps with enamel paint, using a mix of black + “gold leaf” to give it an oil rubbed bronze look. To make sure the clamp was securely holding the hook, we cut a small piece of bicycle tubing and put it between the clamp and the hook.
– We measured and marked the placement on the wood pieces, pre-drilled the holes, and attached the hooks, painting the screws to match.
– With a stud finder, we found the studs on the wall, measured/marked with a level and attached the board to the wall using exposed screws/washers (also painted).
Towel Rack
The parts. The bar piece is an old rail from a sliding door (2nd Use Building Materials). The bracket/plates are huge steel washers (Stoneway Hardware) that just happen to fit – making the bar stand away from the wall so a towel fits and to make it look more finished.
– We cleaned up the rail with rubbing alcohol, cut it with a hack saw, located the stud in the wall, marked it. Then drilled, screwed in a galvanized lag bolt, and painted the bolt to match the steel.
Toilet Paper Holder
The parts. The piece that holds it on the wall is an old bracket from a towel bar (I think). The bar is an old piece of window hardware (2nd Use Building Materials). The bar was just the right length and fit in the bracket. We secured it using J-B 2 part cold weld epoxy. This is really good stuff if you need to attach things – it is really strong.
Ok, so with 11 hooks in the bathroom, there should never be towels on the floor again. Right?
See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

Fancying up Plain Curtains

Years ago, I made some curtains from some inexpensive muslin for a temporary fix to cover an opening to a storage area. We weren’t using those curtains any longer and when my daughters needed curtains for their rooms, I thought I could just re-use them. But they wanted more color/fun, so I ended up sewing ribbons and buttons as a border on the bottom to fancy them up. It was pretty easy and probably self explanatory from the picture, but if you want a little more detail:

  • buy fun assorted ribbon in your favorite color palette at local fabric/craft store
  • arrange in a pattern you like on your curtain. (I did horizontal stripes, didn’t worry about getting them straight/perfect.)
  • pin, leaving enough ribbon at the ends to turn under.
  • sew perpendicular across the ribbons every 2″ or so. You don’t have to be precise. Extend stitching beyond the ribbon, top and bottom.
  • sew buttons top/bottom where the stitching ends.

You can vary this is in so many ways – use folded up fabric or bias tape instead of ribbon, go vertical instead of horizontal, use any color/pattern of curtains, etc… wow, I’m kind of exhausted from thinking of all the possibilities really.

~ See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.