So 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.
So 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.
^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!
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.
A while back I published a blog about glass etching. All the “how-to’s” of that process can be found in that post. It really is a very easy process, using some sort of stencil and some glass etching paste. You can create stencils yourself using painters tape, or you can purchase the adhesive screen printing stencils from any craft store. These are great if you aren’t doing something too personalized; however, a lot of times they will make you buy an entire kit along with the stencils. I tend to make my own with painters tape and a print off of my design, since I’m not made of money (again specific how-to’s of this process can be found in the last post about glass etching).
I think beer mugs (or root beer mugs for the younger crowd) make a great manly present. I made some for my brother, dad, and my guy friends as well. You can put their initials, sport’s team name, and sport’s team logo on the mug. If you are doing these for a younger group of boys, perhaps for a themed birthday, you could etch the letter of the child’s first name, along with an image related to the party theme, maybe a cowboy, lasso, or some sort of cinema image if it’s for a movie night sleepover party! There’s really no limit to what you could put on them. I bought these mugs at WALMART for about 97 cents each! They come in a large and small size. They also sell mason jar glasses with handles, which would also be fun to etch as a present. The etching cream I always tend to have stocked in my craft box.
If you’ve ever bought a pair of TOMS, you know they come with an awesome little drawstring tote bag. These come in handy for a lot of different uses. But if you’ve bought more than one pair of TOMS, you know that you can run out of things to use them for.
Why not use the fabric to make a bracelet? I cut the bag up into about 1 inch strips. Cut across the bag the long way and instead of the short way. That way your fabric strips will be long enough to actually fit around your wrist!
You end up with some white strips, some blue strips, and some strips with black writing. Once you have your fabric strips, just braid them together. The bracelet can have varying designs, depending on which strips you choose. Once its braided, just tie onto your wrist and secure the knot with some fabric glue!
*Note* – the entire bag will make about four bracelets! This way if one gets dirty you can cut it off and tie a new one on.
This tutu and baby onesie were made for a friend of mine at work. She is a big Atlanta Falcon’s fan and just had her first baby girl! They don’t make football jerseys in baby sizes, so why not go with an adorable tutu? I alternated black and red tule around an elastic band. Just make sure you measure the baby’s waist first so its the right size. You can buy elastic from any craft store, and widths vary. If the child is small enough you can just buy the pre-made elastic baby headbands and use them. Next, you just want to loop the tule around the elastic band. I added some red ribbon and bows and just glued on a few around the tutu. The Falcon’s emblem on the onesie was made with red fabric paint. I made the stencil out of freezer paper. I explain the technique for this in an older blog post, so see that for details! You can use fabric glue or hot glue to add bows wherever you’d like. In this case I added one to the collar. Happy crafting!