Tag Archives: DIY

 Instructables: Upcycled Vintage Suitcase Boombox – By Robb

Robb was once an Artist-in-Residence at Autodesk’s Pier 9. He went to Carnegie Mellon to study Art. He mostly does tangible artifacts that are often complex.

I am currently an Artist in Residence at the San Francisco Dump, run by Recology.There, I have witnessed unending tons of unwanted debris flow from the consumer into recycling centers and landfills. I noticed that nearly all of the E-waste was almost entirely functional, so I decided to make myself a speaker set made entirely from waste.

Source: Upcycled Vintage Suitcase Boombox

How To Build A Tiny Home On A Tiny Budget – Earth911.com

As best you can, try to find salvaged or scrap materials. You can especially save a lot by finding second-hand finished components like cabinets, flooring materials or appliances. Find your local Habitat for Humanity Restore, a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, appliances and all kinds of building materials at an affordable price. Buy reused building materials at a fraction of the cost on Planet Reuse, an online marketplace for reclaimed materials.

Source: How To Build A Tiny Home On A Tiny Budget – Earth911.com

A DIY Goat Barn for Less Than $1,000 from Reclaimed Materials – DIY – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Something is very satisfying when a person can complete a project from reused items so that they don’t end up in a landfill while saving money in the process. Last year, we constructed a goat barn using mostly reused building materials and it cost us less than $1,000.

via A DIY Goat Barn for Less Than $1,000 from Reclaimed Materials – DIY – MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Mushroom Materials: DIY Kit Grows Custom Compostable Products | Urbanist

pendant lamp mush lume

Turning agricultural waste and fungal mycelium into construction materials, this do-it-yourself kit lets you grow your own compostable bio-plastic objects, from packaging furniture to surf boards and architectural building blocks.

via Mushroom Materials: DIY Kit Grows Custom Compostable Products | Urbanist.

Cordwood Flooring by Sunny in sunny Arizona | Cordwood Construction


See this entire project and steps on how to do it at Cordwood ConstructionSunny Pettiz Lutz Cordwood floor 6

Prepare surface by sweeping and mopping clean. We are gluing directly onto our concrete slab.  Sand both sides using a belt sander. Begin to layout disks on the floor. Try to get them as close as possible. Work in 2′ sections.

Cordwood flooring by Sunny Pettis Lutz in Cornville, AZ 2 step by step instrucitons work on 2 foot section at a time

via Cordwood Flooring by Sunny in sunny Arizona | Cordwood Construction.

Upcycling makes the old look brand new – The Park Record

Habitat for Humanity of Summit and Wasatch counties recently held a contest to see who could best upcycle used furniture. A bench made from an old

Habitat for Humanity of Summit and Wasatch counties recently held a contest to see who could best upcycle used furniture. A bench made from an old headboard was the winning piece, submitted by Joli Pichot, of Ogden. (Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity)

via Upcycling makes the old look brand new – The Park Record.

Fall Decorating – DIY Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins – Finding Home

Front Door Fall Pumpkins Fall Decorating   DIY Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins

Truth be told, I am quite the sentimental girl.  All of the wood we used was salvaged from my Grandfather’s house, that he built by hand, piece by piece.  It had to be torn down 2 years ago and I salvaged what I could.  This project seemed like a perfect way to actually use the wood and get it out of storage.

via Fall Decorating – DIY Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins – Finding Home.

Concrete Tiki Rocket Stove – By TRexGraphix on Instructables

Well now, a new favorite in town!  TRexGraphix is our kind of salvage beast!

Picture of Concrete Tiki Rocket Stove

Materials List:

Plastic bucket from local bakery – $1

1 Empty soup can – Free

1 Eight inch scrap metal tube –Free

2 Plastic paper roll end caps from sign shop – Free

1 9 x 12 wood board  1 ½ thick – Free

1 Counter top board – Free from estate sale

1 Bag CHENG Outdoor Pro Formula Mix Charcoal color – $30

1 Bag Volcano rock – Free leftover from gas fireplace insert

2 Bags (120 lbs) of  concrete mix – $8

20 Drywall screws

1 Roll Duct Tape

1 Gallon of water

via Concrete Tiki Rocket Stove.

Halloween 2010 & the retelling of Singy Jack – by OttoH @ LumberJocks.com ~ woodworking community

I have it sitting on a cart I made last year before I joined the LumberJocks site the cart is made out of reclaimed pallets and shipping containers. The cart was built on the fly with just a rough sketch and then modified tremendously during construction. The rear wheels are from an old kick-bike whose frame got bent and the front wheels were purchased at the local hardware store. The sheet metal top was also reclaimed from an old paint booth.

via Halloween 2010 & the retelling of Singy Jack – by OttoH @ LumberJocks.com ~ woodworking community.

Finding Reclaimed Materials for Bar Tables for the Basement Pub in Portland, Oregon – Sara Badiali

Finding Reclaimed Materials for Bar Tables – by Sara Badiali

The larger picture of building material reuse encompasses policy, education, and awareness. In my practice, I can spend months not even looking at actual materials.  This week I’ve been overjoyed to get my hands dirty in the local marketplace for reclaimed materials.


Picture It

My friends are updating the interior design of a Portland bar called the Basement Pub.  When they mentioned that the tables are going to be constructed of reclaimed wood I immediately offered my services.  My love of reclaimed materials is matched only by my passion for research (and possibly spreadsheets). This is my approach to finding reclaimed materials for a large project with a limited budget.



Scouting reuse centers or salvage businesses is my first step. I spend time online looking at the type of business that sell salvaged materials to get a feel of their prices. More and more business who deal in reclaimed materials are popping up these days. The reclaimed building material market ranges from one-offs on Craigslist to boutique style specialty stores. The prices for materials vary wildly in range.  My approach is to match the client’s style and budget, allotted time for the project, the resources available, to available materials in the marketplace. In this case, we have a month to scout materials and people available with skills to turn raw materials into tables.  Our budget is small and the tables are only one part of a large remodel project.



Time is a key factor in using reclaimed materials. The more time to plan a project and scout for materials, the better the outcome and the more enjoyable the experience.  For the Basement Pub’s tables, we want to fall between semi raw and processed materials.  We don’t want to harvest our own because we are not a licensed and bonded company.  Anyone can harvest materials, but the property owner is liable for any accidents or issues that may occur.  As a property owner, it is good practice to allow only insured companies deconstruct or remove materials.  We also don’t want to spend time and labor on denailing lumber.  We do have craftspeople who can build, but not to mill. This project falls square in the middle of perfect for the available skill set and allotted amount of time.


Organizing Resources I

The first tab of my resources spreadsheet is organized by local type of business, inventory and cost. Since we are on a limited budget, I start with the reuse centers.  There are over 850 Habitat for Humanity Restores in the country (last time I checked) so this is an easy source along with local nonprofit reuse centers. Then I start looking at the small architectural salvage businesses. I check for independent contractors that have a website with both reclaimed materials and urban tree removal. Tree and stump removal business often overlap in milling street trees and reclaimed wood.  Larger and more expensive reclaimed material operations typically have a solid web presence with an extensive list of inventory. I add these business to my list and give them to the client as a reference point. They tend to be pricey, along price lines of the upper echelon of the design goods stores.  I put off checking in with demolition companies because that usually means I have to make phone calls, but sometimes they have great leads. Then of course there are deconstruction companies, if they sell their own salvage then they go on the resource list.


Client Communication

Good communication with the client is important to shake out expectations in a project. For example, it took me three conversations about the tables to learn that they don’t want them created out of Douglas Fir. In the Pacific North West, Doug Fir is the most prolific reclaimed wood. There are entire old growth forests captured in the structures of Portland so it’s the easiest to find.  With this information, I am less likely to look for salvage from the interior of buildings.

Basement Pub Local 1028


Organizing Resources II

The second tab of my spreadsheet is the materials themselves. Armed with the knowledge that I am not going for salvaged interiors, I am looking for unique supplies.  My first thought is reclaimed cedar fencing. On occasion the reuse center I where I used to work would get a load of cedar fencing. Tables made from cedar would be dazzling (but I would have to hurdle the milling issue).  For items like these, the only local resource is Craigslist.  In Portland we are lucky enough to have an online reclaimed materials website called Boneyard Northwest, but it is not yet the materials juggernaut that is craigslist.

On Craigslist I find many items that would make good tables. Although I am looking under the “Materials” section of craigslist, the “Farm and Garden” section also has reclaimed items.  My finds range from: Reclaimed hardwood bleachers, and tropical wood reclaimed from truck beds, to rough table tops already made from reclaimed wood (Doug Fir of course).  I email these places to check if the inventory is still available. I list pictures of the materials along with dates and prices. I find the top seven to ten items that I think would fit the project, wait for the sellers to confirm the inventory and send my list off to the client.

The next step is to go see the reclaimed materials. I will do this with the primary craftsperson. Who, in this case, is the architect who will be designing and building the tables.  My feeling is she will also be managing those of us who show up as volunteer labor (the perks of volunteering for a pub are delicious).


To be Continued

These are the first steps in finding and working with reclaimed materials. If none of the Craigslist items are suitable then I will widen my search by making phone calls and contacting my friends in the field.  If all goes well we will start making the tables in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more adventures in finding and working with reclaimed building materials for the Basement Pub in Portland, Oregon!

Before & After: A Bunch of Old Pallets Gain Purpose | Apartment Therapy


After measuring the space, he laid the pallets where he wanted the deck to be. Starting with the first row, Kevin lined up all gaps and used pavers to level and support the pallets. He then cut strips from 8-foot plywood to fill in the gaps and then nailed them into place and secured them to the neighboring pallets. After treating with water resistant stain, the deck was done. When all was said and done, it cost under $100.


via Before & After: A Bunch of Old Pallets Gain Purpose | Apartment Therapy.

sarah m. dorsey designs: Adding Legs to a Mid Century Modern Dresser | How To

This is just a fantastic tutorial, and the pictures are also wonderful. Go see the entire article on sarah m. dorsey designs.

I guess we were the only ones who saw the potential because we got it for $8!!

via sarah m. dorsey designs: Adding Legs to a Mid Century Modern Dresser | How To.

Tim and Hannah’s Affordable DIY Self-Sustainable Micro Cabin House Tour | Apartment Therapy

The two integrated as many recycled, salvaged, low-impact materials into their design as possible. A good amount of building material was acquired for free from Craigslist. Seconds, mis-sized, and salvaged materials were sourced from their local lumbar yard and the Restore.

via Tim and Hannah’s Affordable DIY Self-Sustainable Micro Cabin House Tour | Apartment Therapy.

Real-Life Decoration Inspiration: 5 Different Ways to Paint a Radiator | Apartment Therapy

We love radiators here at the RA and unfortunately went so far as using the term “Radiator Porn” in a post (what were we thinking?).

It looks like Apartment Therapy does too – check out their DIY radiator resuscitator article.

Anyone disenchanted with their radiator should consider a paint job.

via Real-Life Decoration Inspiration: 5 Different Ways to Paint a Radiator | Apartment Therapy.

Wood stove made from scrap – Instructable by NutandBolt

This Instructable by Nut and Bolt is sure to keep you warm!

DSCN2119 (Large).JPG

In this instructable I will show you how I made it all from recycled scraps at minimum cost. The total I think was 20 bucks. The only spend was on grinder discs, welding electrods and a special stove paint although you can save on that to if you don’t wish to paint it.

Yesterday we used the stove first time and we sat beside it for over 3 hours and it kept us warm. The only thing I will have to change is to a bigger flue pipe but other then that its a super success.

Picture of Wood stove made from scrap

via Wood stove made from scrap.

Filing Cabinet Smoker by tmack0 on Instructables


Just in case you need an extra project this holiday season, why not try tmack0’s filing cabinet smoker from Instructables!265095_10150702707955198_2503288_n.jpg

This Instructable covers how I made a Smoker (for smoking meats) from an old office filing cabinet. The end result is a smoker that has a drawer for the fire, and a couple drawers for meat. Its a direct smoker, much like the black cylindrical metal ones you can get fairly cheap at the local hardware store, so regulating smoke and temperature takes a little practice.


Picture of Filing Cabinet Smoker


via Filing Cabinet Smoker.

Old Wooden Trunk Makeover | NimiDesign

Saw this on DesignSponge and followed the link to Nimi Design. So glad I did!

Minni, is an industrial designer and furniture design student from Finland with a passion for design, decor, and DIY. She now has a fan in us, that is for sure!

Old wooden trunk makeover, stripping paint, diy

Layers and layers of chipping paint, duct tape (?!) under the paint to cover the space between the two wood planks on the top and badly made replacement decorative metal piece on the front. Needless to say, this trunk needed a lot of help. So after some sweat and tears (and a few blisters) here’s how it looks like now:

Old wooden trunk makeover

Old wooden trunk makeover, stripping paint, diy

via Old Wooden Trunk Makeover | NimiDesign.

DIY: Teach an old door new tricks | Vancouver 24 hrs

Here is the door from Habitat for Humanity's ReStore! You can see where I'm going to saw in order to make the shelf. (JULIA DILWORTH/ 24 HOURS)

Every DIYer has their comfort zone, and sawing wood is about as far out of mine as possible. Still, I wanted to push myself to try something new with this door challenge, and despite countless miscalculations/errors/accidents, I managed to execute my hanging shelf concept: something to help organize towels and toiletries in the bathroom, or scarves and belts in the bedroom.

via DIY: Teach an old door new tricks | Vancouver 24 hrs.

Body Impaling Special Effect for Halloween

This Instructional was too funny to pass up! Just be sure to make it from reclaimed materials (the author chose Home Depot).


Some fine folks where I live organized a “Zombie Walk” fundraiser and i just knew I needed to take part in that. But, I also knew my makeup skills were lacking. I needed a prop to get me through with my dignity intact. But what? I know! A striking zombie body impalement would do the trick.

via Body Impaling Special Effect for Halloween.

DiResta: Old Plank – YouTube

Here’s what to do with your old plank this weekend.

(Not to be confused with Old Greg – that is entirely different activity)


I found this old plank at the waters edge under the Brooklyn bridge few years ago. In this video i simply add 1″x1″ steel legs, TIG welded together by my GF Taylor. The texture of the drift wood was too nice to do any thing but showcase it. I did remove the nails. enjoy and thank you.

via DiResta: Old Plank – YouTube.

Reclaimed Wood Skateboard By RobertBean

RobertBean made a beautiful skateboard and posted it on Instructables.


Its summertime which means it is time to enjoy the long days and warm weather. One of my favorite summertime activities is cruising on a skateboard. I designed this board to be cheap, durable, and simple. I drew my inspiration for this board from the Z-boys. An innovative group of teens from 1970’s Venice, CA, the Z-boys were surfers who evolved the sport of skateboarding. I read that some of them would cut and shape there dresser drawers and attatched rollerskate wheels to make their own boards. With my inspiration in hand its time to start.

via Reclaimed Wood Skateboard.

Greg Carter’s Reclaimed Wood Blog

Welcome to the nighborhood –  Reclaimed Wood Blog by Greg Carter.

Hi. My name is Greg Cater and I’m a sucker for wood that has a story behind it. I knew that woodworking had to be part of my life shortly after starting Mr. Johnson’s woodworking class in high school. After college I did a short stint as a Cabinet shop owner, but realized very quickly that production woodworking was not my pile of sawdust. All these years after Mr. Johnson’s class, I enjoy woodworking more than ever. I live with my wife and kids in Northern California, about 30 miles east of downtown San Francisco.

My goal for the blog is to share ideas, generate feedback and make this a place where we can have some show and tell about our reclaimed wood projects.

via About | Reclaimed Wood Blog.

Reclaimed 6 drawer Dresser (TECHSHOP BUILT)!!

KJBills of Instructables built this gorgeous dresser from reclaimed wood.  His other projects are just as glorious and worth a visit.


First I found out about a guy in Half Moon Bay with a sort of reclaimed lumber yard. I went there, and stumbled upon a relatively rare wood called IPE. (EEPAY). It is a rock hard hardwood similar to teak and is a really impressive wood. I bought the whole stack for like 60 bucks.

I used a lot of it for a playhouse for my kids, but I had a bunch left…It took a bunch of planing and cutting, but I milled it down to usable planks.




via Reclaimed 6 drawer Dresser (TECHSHOP BUILT)!!.

How To Make a Simple Tree House Apartment Therapy Tutorials | Apartment Therapy

Too cute on Apartment Therapy today. Perfect day to build a tree house for someone you love.

How To Make a Gypsy Tree House

This tree house was built out of scrap wood and branches I had in our yard, and is a strong enough design not to require any more reinforcement than what you see here. It’s also located at the start of our zip-line, which we put up last summer, and makes it a good place to climb up to and launch off from when needing to head out quickly across the yard.

How To Make a Gypsy Tree House

via How To Make a Simple Tree House Apartment Therapy Tutorials | Apartment Therapy.

$10 DIY One Hour Upcycled Firepit | House & Fig

House & Fig is one great blog – check this out:

A few years ago while on a trip to Joshua Tree Joe’s friend Jens introduced him to the washing machine drum firepit. It’s a super-easy project and the design of the washing machine drum is perfect for a fire. Its small holes around the drum not only allow for oxygen flow to the fire but also make for a pretty light show. Joe added some welded feet to ours and painted it black but if you omit the extra features you can make this in an hour or less. It couldn’t be easier.

For instructions and a super read go to  $10 DIY One Hour Upcycled Firepit | House & Fig.

LittleMissMaggie: Cocoas and Eclairs

Little Miss Maggie knocks it out of the park making signs from cabinet doors.

Cocoas and EclairsOr maybe I should have called these American Eateries in Paris.  I had great plans to name these signs something very French sounding, but the doors were so narrow, I had to get very creative with the names.  At any rate, I purchased these television armoir doors from a fellow dealer and knew I wanted to create a pair of vintage looking signs with them. The doors were just modern wood doors with some nice detail in the molding.  I always look for detail when looking for sign material.  My husband painted both of these a dark chocolate brown base coat.

Check out the process via LittleMissMaggie: Cocoas and Eclairs.

Turn waste into wonderful for your home – USA TODAY’s HOME

 Imagine walking on your kitchen’s stone floor each day, knowing that the surface below your feet was worn down over hundreds of years by carts, horses and pedestrians half a world away. Or imagine that the vanity where you get ready for work each morning was crafted from oaking staves once used to flavor wine.

Such is the hidden wonder and appeal of reclaimed materials.

Wynne kitchen cabinets

via Turn waste into wonderful for your home.

DIY Advent Tree – A Beautiful Mess

Building an advent calendar

To build the tree, I sourced scrap wood from old pallets and cut them from large to small—you can cut the wood any size you’d like. I then sanded wood and covered it with a matte sealer. The beauty of this project is that you can make the tree as straight and clean or as wonky as rough as you’d like.  After the tree was built, I wrapped up small prizes and treats and made activity cards to hang from push pins.

DIY advent calendar

DIY Advent Tree

via DIY Advent Tree – A Beautiful Mess.

Upholstery Inspiration: Crewel Chair | Design*Sponge

Do not miss this inspiration and wonderful upholstery story on Design*Sponge.

If you meet me here every month, or have upholstered furniture before, you know that even the smallest project can turn into a labor of love, requiring hours of time and producing blisters and callouses. So what is it about upholstery that drives us to spend our wee hours of free time stripping, hammering and stapling away on a piece we pulled out of a dumpster? For me, history, textiles and restyling often pave the way for a spectacular transformation, turning a piece of trash into a useable, personal and handmade artifact.

via Upholstery Inspiration: Crewel Chair | Design*Sponge.

10 Architectural Salvage Ideas for Windows

Lovely article on the creative reuse of windows. Go check out the entire post. Meanwhile here’s a little teaser.

 Today’s curation delves deep into the realm of DIY projects and broad, inspired creativity; architectural elements that once let the light shine into an interior space are now serving as jewelry holders, wall art, headboards, coffee tables and more.  It’s architectural salvage ideas at their finest; a little sanding, imagination and a fresh coat of paint yield amazing results when executed properly.

shutter walls

typography windows

repurposed windows

via 10 Architectural Salvage Ideas for Windows.