Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DIY: How to Make Frames from Moldings

Overview:  The frame is made by making a rectangle out of moldings or casings and then making a smaller rectangle out of square dowels that fits inside of the larger rectangle to hold the glass. 

- Molding/Casing/Boards  (must have one flat edge that is atleast 5/8" thick - I used casing so its flat )
- 3/8” Square Dowels
- Glass - Cut to size of picture you would like to frame
- Particle Board/ Cardboard  (for backing of frame) - Maximum thickness for board or paneling -1/4"
- V  Shaped Nails/Double Point staples
- Wood Glue
- Wood Putty
- Sand Paper
- Paint
- Turn Buttons (Optional)
- Stand (Optional)
- Stand Hinge (Optional)
- Hand Saw or Miter Saw
- Miter Box
- Hammer
- Silicone Glue or Glue Gun 

Determine the frame opening size that you want.  You can use a standard photograph size or a custom size.  Just keep in mind that if you choose a custom size, you will have to get custom cut glass.  Certain Lowes locations will do this for you.  If you choose a standard photograph size, you can buy glass that is pre-cut at Hobby Lobby, Michaels and other craft stores.

Once you have determined the frame size, add 5/8” to the length and width to determine the interior measurements of the moldings.  Miter each molding piece so that the interior/short side of the piece matches the needed measurement.  For example, if you would like a frame for an 8”x10” photograph, you’ll cut two molding pieces that are 8 5/8”  (interior/short side measurement) and two molding pieces that are 11 5/8” (interior/short side measurement). 

Lay out the moldings in a rectangle and check to make sure the pieces line up properly.  Don’t worry if there is a little gap, you can fix that with wood putty.   Glue the molding pieces together with wood glue.  Allow to dry.

Moldings have been glued and are drying
Miter the dowels so that the outer edge of the dowel is the same size as the inner measurement of the moldings.  The goal is to build a dowel rectangle that fits snugly inside the molding.

Dowels should fit inside molding - this is the top view
Flip the molding frame over so that the front side rests on a flat surface.  Glue the outer edge of the dowels to the interior of the molding frame.  The dowels should be flush with the top of the molding frame. 

After Gluing Dowels - Dowels should be flush with top edge of casing -Glass will fit under dowel
Allow to dry.  Use v-nails to nail together the molding pieces to reinforce the wood glue.  See Diagram. Use more nails if you're building a larger frame or use metal brackets to reinforce. 

Caulk or putty any gaps in the joints on the front of the frame. Sand the joints and paint.

Now you’re ready to insert the glass. Turn frame over so that the back of the frame is up. Apply glue to the top of the dowels. Insert the glass – it should rest on top of the glue.   If you're using a hot glue gun, apply a thin bead on the inside edge then insert the glass and press down firmly on top of the glue to flatten out the glue. 

Allow to dry.

To make the backing, cut cardboard or thin paneling to match the size of the glass. Insert into the back of the frame. Use turn screws, staples or tape to hold the backing in place.   If you're using staples or tape, but sure to insert picture before backing. 
Turn Button - I had no idea that's what these things were called until this project

Backing in place
If you plan to hang the frame, attach a hanger and your frame is complete.
I used sawtooth hangers.  You could also use wire and eye hooks.
 I think that's the perferred method for large or heavy frames. 
If you don't want to hang the frame, cut a stand from heavy cardboard or thin particle board or paneling.  Use the template on the diagram above as a rough guide.  Make sure that the stand is not visible from the front of the frame in case you decide you want to hang the frame.

Frame stand with hinge attached

Attach the stand to the back of with a hinge.  I found special picture frame hinges that you can just hammer directly into the frame and stand - no screws or nails are necessary. 
Special hinges with teeth you hammer directly into frame
Your frame is complete!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

I grew up in rural farming town and went to a very small school.  There weren’t a lot of options for elective classes. Actually we didn’t have a lot of options for core classes either.  There were certainly no AP classes.  There was one option for a foreign language, Spanish, until the Spanish teacher got fired for smoking weed or some other similar scandal.  Those students who had already taken a year of Spanish were allowed to continue in Spanish with lessons that were played each day on VHS tapes.  Everyone else had to take French from the English teacher. 
All freshmen (all sixty something of us) were required to take a “vocational rotation” for one semester as an elective.  This “vocational rotation” consisted of six weeks of home economics, six weeks of horticulture, and six weeks of welding.
Yes, you read that correctly, WELDING. 

We learned both gas and electric arc welding! How’s that for diversity?  Our teacher was a brilliant guy. I’m not being sarcastic here, he was actually a member of Mensa.  He was also a bit overweight and had a tendency to doze off during class and was frequently called out of class to handle other duties, like checking out flat tires and yesterday's catch. I’m still amazed that no one was critically injured. 

Don't let anyone tell you that highschool doesn't prepare you for the real world job market.
During home economics, I learned the basics of sewing and cooking, or as much as you can learn in six weeks.  During horticulture, I learned that Georgia leads the nation (or did so at the time) in the production of the four Ps.  That’s 1) Pine Trees 2) Poultry 3) Peanuts and 4) Pecans.  I’m sure we learned something else in horticulture, I just can’t remember exactly what it was. I do know that we spent a lot of time in the greenhouse watering plants.  All my house plants are currently alive so I'm going to attribute that to my horticulture training. 
In later years I took a semester of drafting and a semester of small engine repair. During small engine repair I learned how the four stroke engine works and how to change the oil in my car.  Most importantly, I learned that it’s a lot easier to pay someone $30 to change your oil than it is to do it yourself. 

I was also involved in 4-H so I participated in land judging, forestry juding and poultry judging. 

Need to know the approximate grade of your eggs or how to tell if your chicken will by a good layer? Give me a call

Since highschool I've taken classes in acryclic painting, pottery making, and cake decorating. 

Unfortunately six to twelve weeks isn't exactly long enough to master small engine repair, or cake decorating, or most of the other things I've dabbled in.  So I'm mediocre in a lot of things, but atleast I'm well rounded!

That’s me, Jack of All Trades (including Welding, Sewing, and Small Engine Repair),
Master of None.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Picture Frames Are Finished: I Have Way Too Much Free Time

The good news is I finally finished the picture frames that I decided to make from my leftover moldings.  Now I can finally throw away those few remaining scraps with a free conscience. 

I wouldn't recommend this project unless you have a lot of free time.  It definitely took longer than I thought it would.  When I finished the first small frame, the first thing that went through my mind was wow, that was a lot of work for a little frame.

Detail of frame back (taken before I decided that I was over this whole turquoise phase)

I also made two 8 1/2" x 11" frames for BF's office. He has a lot of blank walls and a couple of certificates that needed frames. Making the larger frames was a bit more satisfying but the pictures of those didn't turn out so well since there's nothing in the frames at this point.
8 1/2" x 11" Frame

I'll post instructions in case you too have no life and plenty of free time to waste  enjoy making useful objects with recycled materials!   

DIY: How to Make Sliding Loft Doors

How to DIY Sliding Loft Doors
Overview:  This door is made with a sheet of 4’ x 8’ paneling with a frame attached to the front and back sides for support.  The front and back frames are initially attached with wood glue then wood dowels are inserted through the back frame to the front to reinforce.  Wood dowels are used rather than wood screws for a clean look. 

I made two 4’x10’ doors. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to describe the process to make one 4’x8’ door. You can easily size this down to make a smaller door. It’s also fairly easy to size this up, but you’ll need an additional sheet of paneling and will have to hide the seam where the paneling meets with a cross brace. The size of the door will obviously depend on the size of the opening you need to cover. If you have an eight foot opening, then you’ll need to make the door slightly smaller than eight feet (depending on the hardware that you use). If you use the Johnson Hardware that I used, you’ll need to subtract 2 3/8” from the opening height to determine the height of the door you need to make.

I used the same method to make door in my bathroom to create a closet area in the back of the bathroom.  The bathroom door is smaller and is only has a frame on the front side.  This door is much lighter and is suspended from the ceiling.   

Bathroom Door - Slides open to the left so that door is hidden behind shower wall when open. 
Add caption

1)      Sliding Door Track – Double the size of door
2)      4’ x 8’ Sheet of Paneling -
3)      9 –  3 ½ ”x 8’  MDF Casing/Board   
4)      Wood Glue
5)      3/8” Dowels
6)      Wood Putty and/or caulk (sandable paintable)
7)      Sandpaper
8)      Paint

9)      Drill and bit that matches size of dowel
10)  Hammer/Plastic mallet
11)  Hand Saw*
12)  Miter Box

About materials and tools: 

1)      Sliding Door Track -  I got my sliding door track from Johnson HardwareIt’s very sturdy and was easy to install.  They have a variety of tracks. I used the 138F series but you should pick your sliding door track based on the weight and thickness of your doors.  If you use the materials I used, then your doors should be approximately 1 3/8” thick so the 138F series should work. 
2)      Paneling - I used paneling that had grooves cut into it a  to give the appearance of separate boards.  The panel I chose was only 3/8" thick.  You can use any paneling that you like, but just try to stay away from anything that is too heavy or too thick. 
3)      Casing - I used  casing, which has a flat back surface, rather than molding, which generally does not have a flat back surface.  I used composite rather than real wood because I find it easier to sand and paint and from what I’ve read, it has less tendency to warp.  That’s very important for this job since you’re gluing the frame to the panel, if the frame is warped in any way, it will be difficult to glue.  The width and thickness of the casing or boards does not have to be exact but keep in mind that if it’s too thick, the door will be too heavy and if it’s too thin, it will not provide enough support for the panel.
4)      Wood Glue - Did you know that wood glue is generally stronger than the wood?  It says so right there on the bottle!  Here’s the glue wood glue I used. Its available at any hardware store. 
5)     Dowels - I used three 36” dowels that I cut into smaller pieces but you could also just buy dowels that are precut  You can use a different diameter dowel, just be sure you have a drill bit that is the same diameter as your dowel.  The dowels are used to attach the frame.  The frame is also glued but you need the dowels for additional support (even though according to the bottle, wood glue is stronger than wood).
6)      Wood Putty/Caulk - You'll use wood putty and/or caulk to cover the dowel holes and any other imperfections.  Be sure the caulk is sandable and paintable.
7)      Sandpaper - You'll use the sandpaper to smooth out the caulk/putty that is used to cover the dowel holes
8)      Paint - The paint is up to you, but keep in mind that doors usually get dirty so you should get something that will withstand some scrubbing
9)      Drill - The drill is used to create holes for the dowels. You’ll need a drill bit that is the same size as your dowels.  I have a Black & Decker drill that I bought new on E-Bay.  Its a great little drill for someone like me. 
10)  Hammer or Mallet - The hammer or rubber mallet is used to hammer in the dowels.  A plastic mallet is preferable because you’re less likely to dent the frame. 
11)  Saw - Here's the saw I used.   The hand saw is used to miter corners and made straight cuts for the cross braces. Of course if you have an electric miter saw, you can use that. I didn't have one so I had to make all my cuts by hand. 
12)  Miter Box - I used this  miter box to make the mitered corners and straight cuts.  I find it virtually impossible to make a straight cut without something to guide the blade.  The miter box does this.  This miter box is inexpensive but effective.  I know this may wear out fairly quickly but it was perfect for this job. 
How to Build the Door:  
1.      Miter the ends of the two of the 8’ MDF Boards using the miter box and had saw. 
(See illustration below to show frame pieces)

3.      Place the pieces you’ve just cut on top of the panel to make the frame.  (See First Illustration)  Check your joints for a good fit.  The outside edges of the frame should be flush with the outside edges of the panel.  Don’t worry if there’s a bit of a gap between pieces, you can fill that with wood putty can caulk later. 

4.      Glue the frame pieces to the front of the panel.  Use lots of wood glue.

5.      Use clamps, if you have them, to hold the frame in place.  I just used cans and vases to hold the frame in place since I didn’t have any clamps and my panel was resting on the floor. 

Doors drying
6.      Allow to dry.
7.      Cut the cross braces.  If you using the products that I described, your cross braces should be approximately 41.” I recommend you measure to ensure a tight fit. 
8.      Glue the cross braces and allow to dry. 
9.      Flip over panel and repeat process so that you have framed both sides of the panel. 
10.  Allow to dry.
11.  Drill holes for the dowels.  Drill from the back side of the frame.  Drill only approximately halfway through the front side of the frame.  If you drill all the way through, then your dowel will be visible on both sides.  It helps to wrap a piece of tape around the drill bit to mark the depth that you want to drill too.  If you bought precut dowels, you should drill a hole that matches the length of those dowels.  Be sure the dowel hole is deep enough to go completely through the back side of the frame and panel and atleast halfway through the front part of the frame. 

Close-up of dowel holes.  Gap between corners before I filled it with putty. 
12.  Cut your dowels to the length of the holes you have drilled. 
13.  Put wood glue into each hole then insert the dowel.  Wipe off any excess glue.
14.  Use the hammer or mallet to hammer the dowels flush with the frame. 
Close-up of inserted dowels before sanding

15.  Sand where the dowels are inserted for a smooth finish.
16.  Use caulk or putty to fill any holes or gaps and sand smooth.
17.  Now you’re ready to paint! 
18.  Attach the door hanging hardware.  If you are using the Johnson Hardware sliding track, you will attach two brackets to the top of the door.
19.  Install the sliding track to the ceiling following the manufacturer’s instructions.  This is relatively easy if you have a joist or stud in the right place to screw into.  Just use the screws provided to attach the track to the stud.  I did not have a stud in the right place so I had to attach my track to the drywall and use casters to support the weight of the door so that the sliding track is basically just a door guide.  THIS IS NOT A JOHNSON HARDWARE APPROVED APPLICATION.  I marked the holes in the track on the ceiling and inserted drywall anchors at the marks.  Then I attached the track

20.  Hang the Doors. 


2.      Cut one MDF Board into two 48” mitered pieces
       (See illustration below to show frame pieces)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

And Now for My Next Act.... How to Cut Glass at Home

Most of my friends know that I’m pretty good at breaking glass.  (Sorry about that Mack).  Unfortunately, I find cutting glass into an actual shape is not as easy.   
Now you’re probably wondering why I would want to cut glass.  Well, that’s because  I'm a hoarder and want to put my leftover moldings from the sliding door project to good use by making some picture frames.  So I must cut glass to fit my picture frames.
Now I’m sure you’re also wondering why I would cut the glass to fit the frame rather than making the frame to fit the glass -  you know that standard size picture frame glass that is commonly sold in stores. 
Well Mr. Smartypants, now that would certainly be the easy and logical way to do it.   But if I did things the easy, logical way, I wouldn’t have anything to write about! 
Also, most of my molding scraps are too small to be used to make a standard size frame.
Now the main reason I decided to cut my own glass is that there are all these crazy people on-line who make it look so easy!  According to the internet experts, all you need is  a tiny little glass cutting tool.   Its basically a stick with a little wheel on the end that you use to score the glass.  Then all you have to do is apply a little pressure to snap the glass along the scored line. 

Seriously, check out this this guy.  He doesn't even use gloves!
And we all know that everything you find on the internet is true.
 So how could this go wrong???
It's just a flesh wound! 

My grandfather taught me to always always expect the worst, then you can only be pleasantly surprised.  He was a wealth of little gems like that. 

My first few attempts were not pleasantly surprising.  Instead, they were just about what I expected. 

Results from my first (and second and third and fourth and fifth and sixth and....) attempts

Minor cut, the other result from my first several attempts

Just as I was about to lose all faith in the absolute truth of everything said on the internet, I finally got a clean cut. It seems the trick is to only lightly score the line rather than attempting to cut a deep line.  I also found it easier to break the glass on the edge of the table rather than just snapping it in my hands. 

Glass I cut for my frames
Now aren't you impressed?  Look at all those straightish lines!  

Unfortunately it took me an entire sheet of 11 x 14 inch glass to come up with two 4 x4 squares and those other random sized pieces.   

So yes, I wasted over half of the sheet of glass I bought to avoid wasting my scraps of leftover molding. 

Oh well.  You can't win 'em all.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I took a break from making picture frames to make some Valentine’s Day Cookies!  This making picture frames from moldings idea is turning out to be a bit more difficult than I expected.   
I have a dear friend who makes the most precious Valentine’s Day cookies.  She rolls out literally hundreds of these perfect little bite size hearts and frosts each one individually with a bit of light pink frosting.  Then she hands them out to all her friends and just anyone who happens to be around.  I think this is one of the reasons why she has a lot of friends. 
Friend's Cookie Making Process
My laziness and perfectionist tendencies prohibit me from making hundreds of little cookies.   So I make them extra large and add sprinkles to compensate. 

 I only managed to make nine cookies this time and have already eaten one.   

So friends and family, please know that your failure to receive a Valentine's Day Cookie from me has no relationship to how much I adore you!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One of These Things is Not Like the Other: Painting Striped Walls

A few months ago I decided to paint my bathroom.  The walls were a light khaki, the counter tops black granite, the tub white, the tile floors light khaki, and the vanity stained wood.  I just didn’t think it all went together.  So I decided that painting khaki and white stripes on the walls would be just the thing to pull it all together. 

Now there are tons of tutorials on the internet about painting striped walls.  Two of my favorites are here at Young House Love and Four Men + One Lady. 

Young House Love Striped Bathroom
Four Men + One Lady Stripes

These guys make it look easy but I generally found that to be the case too.  It’s a bit tedious to measure and tape, but once you’ve done that, it’s pretty simple from there.   You just have to be sure that you pull the tape off before the paint completely dries to maintain a sharp line.
I was pretty pleased with my results:

For the first few weeks while getting ready I’d occasionally look at those stripes and pat myself on the back.

( I stand about this close to the wall every morning while getting ready.    Look at that crisp line!)    

But then I saw it. 
Yes, one of these things is not like the other. 
Can you spot the difference? 

I don’t know why it took me so long to see it! The third stripe (from the top) is obviously two inches too small and the 2nd stripe is obviously two inches too large. 

BF says it’s not very noticeable.  
I disagree. 
Every morning that little stripe mocks me.  Oh you think you’re soo good with your fancy stripe painting, hah! You can’t measure!  You can’t measure.   
Of course it’s been mocking me for about six months now.   I’m kind of getting used to it.  It adds character right?