Author Archives: the thrifty craft junkie

About the thrifty craft junkie

Remember to always be yourself! .... unless you can be a Velociraptor. Then be a Velociraptor.

Pressure Gauge Table Clock


imageSo one of my hobbies is exploring old and abandoned places. Occasionally I collect trinkets on these visits, this pressure gauge being one of them. It very conveniently screws on and off any threaded pipe of the correct size. Once I got it home, I decided that I was particularly fond of the metered gauge face, and I decided to convert it into a clock. The front clear cover easily popped off, and the metal face comes off with the removal of some tiny screws. The heavy construction, or should I say deconstruction, came with taking out the insides of the pressure gauge. This is to make room for the clock parts that would be added later. This part of the process is dependent on sheer brute strength.  Once you pull, twist, and bend the metal insides enough, they just sort of break off. I bought hands of the clock from Michaels. They run about $5, depending on the size. Make sure you purchase hands that will fit the diameter of your pressure gauge. There’s already a hole in the pressure gauge face, and by following simple directions on the packaging, you can attach the clock parts. The face simply reattached with the screws, securing it and the new clock in place, and finally you can reapply the front cover. The design of the base is completely flexible. I just bought a few different metal pipe pieces from Lowe’s, and played around until I got a look that I liked. These pieces aren’t too expensive, but obviously the more pipe, the higher the cost. Drill two holes in an old wooden board, add some stain I had lying around, and you have yourself a base.


The only part of this project that proves cumbersome is changing the clock battery. The cover has to be removed, screws unscrewed, and face plate removed to change the batteries.


Hanging Air Planter


IMG_1374I made these as ornaments for Christmas, but these can easily be tweaked to be non-holiday and stylish. I picked up some clear plastic ornaments from Walmart. I believe they were about 90 cents. If they aren’t in-store, you could probably order some online for pretty cheap. I traced a circle on the ornament (large enough opening to fit a small plant) and then cut the circle out with an exacto knife. Be careful not to cut yourself as the knives can slip a bit when using so much force. The only thing left to do would be to attach something to hang it with. I left the ornament top on and just attached some ribbon, but you could also use clear fishing line. You could also take the ornament top off completely and attach a chain to a ring larger than the top opening and feed the chain/ring up through the inside (the ring not fitting through the hole is what secures the chain inside the ornament). Insert an air plant and some moss, and you’re all ready to hang your planter!

Wood Burning Wall Art


image1I’ve  made a couple projects recently using my new wood burning pen that I picked up from Hobby Lobby for about $12. All of these projects use wood from wood pallets I picked up from the side of road (try searching by the dumpsters of local businesses). I cut the wood into various size pieces using a circular saw, and secured the wood strips/board together with metal stripping (the kind with holes) from Lowes Home Improvement Store (only about $1 or 2). Length of stripping and screw length/head size will depend on the type of project you’re doing. Wood burning is very simple and is pretty much like writing on wood with a sharpie, except instead you’re burning a design with a very hot metal tip. I usually sketch the design out with pencil before starting. This type of project is a little simpler than the previous one I posted, which used bullet casings for the design. For the foyer key hook project, I just bent some old keys I had found using a blow torch and pair of pliers. Once the keys are bent you can just screw them onto the board; they have pre-existing holes. Happy crafting.

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Bullet Shell Wall Hanging


1653894_10202638503392376_2031364222040844541_nSo this project was completely free to make, except for some minimal hardware costs! I collected some old wood pallets from my neighborhood (found by local and commercial businesses), and I went to my local shooting range and asked if I could sweep up some of their bullet shells. To complete this project, you will also need a drill, some wood glue, and a circular saw. I used the circular saw to cut apart the wood pallets, but you can go about it the old fashioned way with a crowbar and hammer as well. I staggered the boards horizontally so they’d be a little more visually appealing. I screwed in two metal strips across the back of the boards on both the left and right sides to hold them in place (using 1/4-3/8 inch screws since the boards are about 3/4 inch in width). Next I laid out the screws in the desired design, and one by one I drilled holes the same diameter as the bullets into the board. I only drilled down about half way into the boards, enough to hold the shells in place. Once all the holes are drilled, drop the casings into their respective holes, and secure each one with a little wood glue. I’m sure hot glue would also work, as long as you work quickly to get the bullets into the hole. Once dried, I added some picture frame wire to the back, and hung it up on the wall. This project was a little more time intensive than most that I do, but it is a pretty awesome gift for any men in your life. You could also arrange the shells in sports team logos or initials.

Birch Wood Log Candle Holders


DSC06182This project requires the use of a table/circular/chain saw! So grab your safety goggles  and let’s get started! I grabbed these birch logs (about 4 inches in diameter) from my parents fire wood pile. We recently cut some limbs off the tree in our front yard. Using my table saw, I cut these limbs down to three different sizes, so they would appear staggered like this when clustered in a group. Make sure that you are making cuts perpendicular to the log so they will sit evenly on a surface. Once you have your logs cut to the sizes you like, find a drill with a drill bit about the same diameter of these tea light candles. I did not have a drill bit that large, so I just drilled multiple holes until it hollowed out a circle. You will want to drill down far enough so the tea lights sit flush with the top of the log. Be cautious when drilling, as friction + wood = fire. Yay science! I did not drill down quite far enough in my attempt, and as you can see the candles stick out a bit. I was in a hurry, okay!?

Once these are complete, light your tea lights and bask in the calming glow…. as with any burning objects.. please do not leave these unattended and keep out of the reach of children. Woohoo for safety! Happy crafting!

Reclaimed Wood Pallet Porch Pumpkins


10632798_10202803673321521_8757737877177655788_n^well that’s a mouth full! It’s October, and if you weren’t already sick of seeing pumpkins, here is a great tutorial on some fun pumpkin porch decorations. Step one is to comb your local town for discarded wood pallets. Living in Charleston, I find these all over the place. If you live in a place where they are less common to come by, check out craigslist or ask you local chain stores if they’ll lend you some. The type, size, length of wood really doesn’t matter. Just rip apart your wood pallets and try to keep as many boards intact as you can (you may have to recruit some strong man friends for this). I got a good number of the 1×6 boards, cut them all to the same length, and lined them up in a row, about 3 ft wide, 2ft high. The size of your wood square will determine the size of your pumpkins. I took a small thin strip of wood and laid this horizontal across the row of boards. Screw this strip of wood into each board, to secure them into your square shape. Next I just sketched out a general pumpkin shape, and used a jigsaw to cut out the design. I screwed a small 2×4 into the back towards the base to make sure it doesn’t fall over, and you can screw this 2×4 piece into a base piece of wood for the pumpkin to sit on if you’d like it be a little sturdier. For the stem, I drilled a hole into a small river birch branch I pulled from our wood pile, and then screwed it into the middle board towards the top.

I did put a light stain on the boars to give it more “pumpkiny” color, but the look of the plain wood pallets is really cool too, especially if they have weathered a bit.

Give this a try for your Halloween/Fall season, and please comment if you have any questions! Throw a real pumpkin nearby and maybe a large candle!

Planting the Write Way



So this is probably the easiest project out there. Buy any terracotta pot from a garden supply or home improvement store. These are usually pretty cheap, and prices will vary depending on size. You will also need some chalkboard paint. You can buy small bottles of this in any craft store, but I just go to Walmart. It will be in the craft paint section and usually runs less than $2.00. If you are painting a very large pot, I would buy a couple bottles or the bulk bottle of paint.


You can obviously write on terracotta pots with chalk as they are originally. However, I have found that the chalk is sometimes hard to clean off of terracotta, plus the black (or any color) chalkboard paint gives it a more finished look. You could use any color chalkboard paint to match the outside decor of your home.

Next, you just paint the outside and inside lip of the pot with the chalkboard paint. Make sure you paint far enough down on the inside so that where you stop will be covered by the soil. Don’t worry about painting the entire inside of the pot, since no one will see this and that would only waste paint.  I do about two coats just to get a good thick layer of paint on.


Once this is dry, you can fill with dirt and plants of your choosing. I planted some cilantro. You can label these pots with your address if going on the front porch, a cute message, or even label the types of plants you have growing.  You could even write important reminders, like maybe, “WATER ME!!” haha.

*Note – chalk does wash off in water .. So be careful when watering and try to keep the pot under some sort of porch or awning. Although you can always rewrite the message if it washes off.