Category: DIY Projects

$40 DIY Chicken Coop

$40 DIY Chicken Coop

We are having quite an adventure with our meat chickens.  They are already 4 weeks old and only have a couple weeks to go.  They are growing fast and running out of room in their brooder.  Thankfully, it has been beautiful out and they can start living outside. I drew up some plans for a coop that is quite simple.  It consists of 4 corners, 4 panels, and a top made of hardware cloth and plywood.  The coop is 2’x6’x8′ and fits 25 chickens.


40′ of 1/2″ Hardware Cloth



3 – 1×4

1 – 2×2

8 – 1×3

Plywood – 4′ x 6′

The corners are 24 inches high and made of 1x4s and 2x2s.  DIY Chicken Coop Corners




Next, we made the sides panels out of 1x3s and hardware cloth.  The long side is 8′ and the short side is 6′.  We spaced out the 1x3s 24 inches apart and stapled on the hardware cloth. The hardware cloth is stapled on the outside.DIY Chicken Coop Panels



With the scraps cut off from the 1x3s on the 6′ side we added support on each panel.DIY Chicken Coop Panel



The panels tuck inside the corner pieces to help secure the hardware cloth.  We don’t want our chicks getting eaten by anything but us!DIY Chicken Coop Corner


We put in a lot of staples to secure everything in place and ended up with our base.DIY Chicken Coop Base


We used a 1×4 to secure 2 6′ sections of hardware cloth to cover 1/2 of the top.  The other 1/2 is covered by a 4’x6′ piece of plywood.DIY Chicken Coop Top




Ryan climbed in a secured the last bit of hardware cloth.Finishing Our DIY Chicken Coop




After just a couple of hours we have a great looking coop.DIY Chicken Coop Complete



The best part of the coop is that we can move it around the yard so that the chickens don’t get too stinky and our new neighbors won’t hate us.  For now, the coop is fully stocked and the chickens seem happier than ever.DIY Chicken Coop

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Easy DIY Chicken Brooder



We ordered 25 cornish cross chickens to raise for meat.  Since we haven’t done much work on the upstairs yet, we built a brooder we could use in the house and then move outdoors later.  We made the brooder almost completely from scraps, but it would be cheap and easy to buy the supplies.

Easy DIY Chicken Brooder




My parents had some scraps of T11 siding that measured 48″ x 18″ which worked perfect for the sides.  We had some triangular scraps that we cut to 18″ for braces (but you could use 2x2s).  Chicken Brooder Frame


Next, we cut the base (48″ x 49.5″) and secured it on the corners.Chicken Brooder Base


You can add support on the inside of the box to secure the base if needed.  (We added some 2×2 braces just in case).  To finish off the brooder we built a cover out of 2x2s and chicken wire.  We also put a 1×6 support down the center to staple the wire where we had a seam.Chicken Brooder Top



We hung a heat lamp from the ceiling with an adjustable cord so we can manipulate the temperature.DIY Chicken Brooder


We put in the food, water, and thermometer to get everything warmed up for the new chicks, which arrived the next day. (Yes, there are 25 chicks in there!)Day Old Chicks


We put them into their new, cozy brooder and dipped their beaks into the water to get them started.

Cornish Cross ChicksChicks First Day



The dogs were very intrigued.  Every so often they go upstairs to check on them and they have been very gentle.  Bringing Chicks Home


We are learning as we go, but everything has gone well so far.  The chicks are darting around and chowing down food.  We will definitely keep you updated on our new adventure! Thanks for reading!

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Snowboard Storage

Since the snow is finally melting, I think it is officially time to put the snowboards and winter gear away.  We have always had an issue storing snowboards.  They end up in the garage, up in the rafters so they don’t get bumped.  Thankfully, we now have a good space in the house to store them!

When we started the office we decided that we would want a day bed and lots of storage for our hobbies.  We don’t have a day bed yet, but we have a nice futon that was given to us by a neighbor that we have moved place to place with us for years.  We invested in some nice wall mounts for our snowboards to hang over the futon and they look great in the office.  The mount clips have drywall anchors and are made to protect your snowboard, so they are sturdy but gentle. SnowboardMountOfficeFuton


The wall mount clips are Burton brand and we bought them at Scheels (I’m sure you can get them at other sporting stores as well.)

The office needs a lot more work, but we need to get a lot of the boxes sorted out first.  Thanks for reading!

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Kitchen Command Center

I have been seeing a lot of blog posts and pins on Pinterest about “Command Centers.”  Basically, they are a catch-all for that mail and junk that would normally be sitting on the counter.  We definitely have an issue with the counter mess so it seems like this might be a good idea…

We have a small wall on the side of the furnace closet (in our kitchen) that is right next to our office.  Seems like the perfect location for a command center to me!  So, after some cheap Target shopping, we ended up with this neat little place for all of our Ryan’s junk.  We still have some trim and painting work to do, but the furnace closet is coming along nicely.  CommandCenter


The organizer cost $10 at Target and we also scored a $5 picture frame for around the thermostat (another Pinterest idea I’ve been seeing a lot of).ThermostatFrame


So for around $15 we used a great space that would have been empty otherwise.  Now if I can just teach Ryan how to take care of it from here…KitchenCommandCenter


We’ve been busy, so there is a lot more coming.  Check back soon! Thanks for reading!

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Easy No-Sew Curtains

I’ve been staying in the guest bedroom while living here until we get the master bedroom started.  Even though we don’t live in a big town, we have street lights on our street that shine right into the guest bedroom window. I wanted to make curtains, but am only a beginner when it comes to sewing, so I cheated a little bit.

I wanted a curtain that would block out most of the light at night, but let in the sunshine in the morning.  I found this great fabric at Joann Fabrics and it is working great:




This project was so easy and anyone can do it.  All you have to do is make 2 rectangular curtain panels.  Mine are about 4 feet wide and 7 feet tall each.  Give yourself enough room so when you hang your curtains you can adjust the width and height to the place you would like. At 7 feet, we could have them touch the floor by hanging them lower or put them up high.  You don’t have to decide until you are actually attaching the rod.  Once we have trim around the window, the curtains will still make the room look tall (don’t mind my sagging ceiling tiles).



Once you have cut your fabric to the size you would like, fold over the edge of the fabric and iron a straight edge:




Once your edge is ironed, you can add hem tape (you can buy it in the sewing section).  The tape is not sticky until you iron it.  Put the tape between the 2 layers and iron the fold for about 3 seconds in each spot.  You just want to press the iron, do not move it around.  The tape will melt in between the layers and will keep a firm hold.  Just iron one side at a time and make sure both panels end up the same size.

Once you have your panels made, you can buy curtain clips to hang them.  You can find these clips just about anywhere (Walmart, Target, Joann Fabrics) and they come in different sizes and colors. I have 7 clips hanging up each panel:





These are just about the easiest curtains you could possibly make.  It took me about 2 hours to do the entire project, and cutting the fabric to the right size was the longest part.  Now that we have a little bit of privacy, we only need a door!  I will be working on a headboard soon, I just haven’t found the right fabric yet.



We also got a mirror hung up above our new dresserso the room is really starting to feel like home:




In the next couple of days I am hoping to post a dining room update and a bathroom update.  Things have been changing fast, so there is a lot to write about.  Thanks for reading!

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Antique Fireplace Makeover

Our fireplace is easily the most important part of our renovation.  The fireplace was the only original piece of character that our house had left.  Everything else had been stripped out over time.  When we bought the house, the fireplace was in rough shape.  REALLY rough shape:




We stripped of many layers of paint and stain.  There were layers of white, gray, bright red, more white, stain and some permanent marker.  You can see the tutorial here.



Once the fireplace was cleaned up it already looked much better:



Last night we were finally able to sand and stain the surround.  I love the way the stain turned out.  The color matches our dining room table almost perfectly.  (The color is English Chestnut and we let it soak for about 6-7 minutes):



We ordered a custom cut mirror to replace the old one.  Also, I started building a custom made hearth, but it is not quite finished yet.  I will write a tutorial post for that as soon as I finish up.  I will also be putting tile in around our fireplace insert.  Here is our most updated picture (still needs a little work):




It sure makes a big difference in the room! Let me know what you think.  Thanks for reading!


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Dresser Makeover

Soon after we bought our house I was already looking for cheap furniture to put in it.  I have seen a lot of dresser makeovers online and decided to start with a nice easy project.  I found this old, basic dresser at an estate sale for $10:



I recently saw a similar dresser tutorial by Young House Love (with a much nicer dresser) and found that it was very simple. If I can do it, you can.

First I had to get rid of those awful wooden knobs, prime, and paint the dresser white.

Pick an accent color to put on the drawers.  Only the edges of the drawers will be painted and you only need painters tape and paint.  First apply the tape horizontally on the top and bottom edges at whatever thickness you would like (I used 1.5″).  Make sure the tape is very secure so paint can not leak underneath.  Paint the edges with your accent color:



It is important to tear the tape off while the paint is still wet in order to get a nice clean line.  Once the paint is dry, you can tape and paint the vertical edges.  Be sure to paint in the same direction on each edge to make it match:



It’s really just that simple! Just let the paint dry and put knobs on each drawer.  Somehow I ended up one knob short and since I’m no good at photoshop you’ll just have to pretend they are all there until I can find the last one:

Dresser Final


So, for less than $20 and an hour or two you can turn an old, basic dresser into something fresh and new.  Thanks for reading!

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Building Furniture

Ahh! This weekend is graduation weekend! I can’t believe it is finally here, after 5 and a half years of hard work.  While preparing for graduation I paid my student bill (they are squeezing every last dime out of me) and picked up my cap and gown.  No matter where you go, people ask the same question.  “What are you doing next? Are you unemployed?”  Even though I hear it at least once a day, answering that question doesn’t really get any easier (mostly because I don’t have any clue what my plan is).

Ryan knows that I have been stressing about not having a plan, so for graduation he got me a new fun tool to play with.  I am the proud owner of a Kreg Jig! It is a pocket hole jig that makes extremely strong joints when building furniture.

Here is a good video that explains what a Kreg Jig is and why it is used:

I recently became very interested in Ana White.  If you are at all interested in making furniture you have got to check out her blog:  She posts furniture plans online that can be made with basic materials and simple tools.  The only thing I had to get was a Kreg Jig and now I can get started! You can make most of the plans without the pocket hole jig, but it is much easier with this tool.

So, where do I start? We need a day bed for the office, bed side tables for the guest room, a farm house bed for the master, and some book shelves for the living room.

Maybe not having a plan isn’t so bad after all…

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How To: Stripping Furniture


Refinishing furniture can be a very intimidating task, at least it was for me.  We have a beautiful fireplace mantel in our living room that had many layers of paint and even some sharpie marker on it.  I really wanted to strip it down to the original wood finish.  We set up the mantel outside where it was well ventilated and dove right in.

We decided to use a semi-paste stripping compound that would be able to penetrate the paint even on the rounded surfaces.  We purchased a wash-away compound, but decided to use mineral spirits instead of water.  Here is a step by step process and method we used:

  1. We started by applying the stripping compound to a relatively small area (no more than 4 square feet).  You will want to use a natural, but inexpensive paint brush for this task.  Tip: Apply the stripping compound liberally, especially in areas of detail!  It will make a big difference when it comes time to scrape.
  2. Let the compound soak for about 30 minutes.  When the paint has bubbled you are ready to begin scraping.
  3. There are a lot of different tools you can use during the scraping process.  We used a 2″ scraper for the majority of the work.
  4. After the large pieces of paint came off there were still some areas that needed more work.  We coated the area with stripping compound again and let it soak for about 10 minutes.
  5. After the paint looked ready and bubbled, we used steel wool to remove the remaining paint.
  6. Once the paint was removed we used mineral spirits to clean off any remaining paint particles and stripping compound.  
  7. If any imperfections remain, you can use a fine sandpaper before staining or painting.

We are very happy with the final product.  Soon we will add stain and install our mantel back in the living room where it belongs.  We hope you find this tutorial helpful and look forward to comments and feedback.  Thanks for reading!


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