« December 2011 | Main | February 2012 »

January 2012

January 26, 2012

Recycled paper basket | Design*Sponge

via www.designsponge.com

Anyone else remember learning to sew in Home Ec using paper templates with a spiral pattern (and shrieking as you went off course at full speed)?

Well, sewing on paper just came back in a big way. This is a cool improvised basket constructed from packing paper sewn into lengths with black thread.

January 18, 2012

Beer Bottle Cap Table

via diygadgets.blogspot.com

Continuing my fascination with round things plunked in grout, this would be a great treatment for a basement bar top or even a backsplash.

January 16, 2012

Make your own lapboards for eating, playing, drawing, writing, reading

This is a set of lap boards I made from my friend Leah.  They're made from 1/4-inch oak plywood cut into 10"x16" rectangles, with photos applied using t-shirt transfers (you can do this).  These boards have lots of uses including preventing spills at family buffet brunches!   

Leah's Lap Boards  092


Leah chose a few of my photographs from around the farm and we applied them to sanded plywood


Sometimes the transfers have raggedy edges but I kind of like the randomness.



January 10, 2012

Amanda Edwards and her penny-tiled floor

via www.mandolinmosaics.com

I know, I know, I'm obsessed with coin flooring this week!  Amanda Edwards' stunning kitchen floor is tiled with pennies using black sanded grout. Then Amanda sealed it with clear polyurethane.  And this is only a sliver of her skill.  Lift your spirits in under 5 seconds; visit her web site to see the breathtaking stained glass works she spins from her limitless imagination. The colours and movement in her pieces will make you feel like you just took a vacation.  

January 09, 2012

Nickel Tile Floor! A DIY Bathroom Renovation

via www.apartmenttherapy.com

After the penny tiling investigation (in the previous post), I discovered some long-suffering souls who figured out one way to solve the coin-embedding mystery in their bathroom renovation. Their step-by-step instructions are a testament to determination.

January 07, 2012

Tiled Penny Floor

via www.curbly.com

It's gorgeous, even if it belongs in the curriculum of the Kill Me Now School of Decorating. So tilers, do you think they used black grout? Or did they use clear epoxy over the pennies?

January 06, 2012

Homemade easel for kids


This was one of the more successful Christmas presents Daniel and I made for our little friend Charlotte (3). 

We used poplar, small hinges and string.  

Image 2

The red side of the easel is a chalkboard (homemade chalkboard paint, baby), the other side is a dry-erase board cut from a cheap 4x8 sheet of white bathroom paneling.

Image 1

Charlotte's mum clamps newsprint to the whiteboard side any time Charlotte wants to paint. The easel folds flat for storage.  

P.S. I forgot to take step-by-step photos during the white-hot frenzy of creation so let me know if you want instructions and I'll build another.

Hanging a curtain rod {made simple}

via missmustardseed.com

Here's a brilliant idea from a decorator who hangs lots of curtains; make a template with pre-drilled holes.  Just flip the template to do the opposite side of the window.  Saves a ton of fussy measuring and speeds up the job by about 600%.

Make The Best of Things: DIY crackle finish with Elmer's Glue and paint

Crackle tutorial 001

via makethebestofthings.blogspot.com

I've always used fish glue (from Lee Valley Tools) or 'mucilage' - the paper glue we used in kindergarten with the little slitted pink rubber top - to create crackled and crazed paint effects.  

The minor aesthetic problem with mucilage and fish glue (which, just FYI, smells like dead fish) is that they both give a very glossy effect to the cracks, which looks sort of cheesy on some projects.

Using white glue or carpenter's glue offers a much softer matte finish, as detailed on this lovely blog, Make the Best of Things. I love this girl's work and I never thought of doing a crackle finish on cloth. How cool. She gives lots of detail about her experiments in creating crackle finishes with different base coats and degrees of thinning (both glue and top coat). Give 'er a click, eh.

January 05, 2012

Turn your artwork or photo into DIY wallpaper

I love this concept from young entrepreneur Matthew Pullerits.

Choose from millions of high res shots or upload your own image to Ink Shuffle, a Toronto company that will print a custom mural for you.  And it's easy to remove if you want to replace it, unlike most wallpaper I have known.  Plus Ink Shuffle's adhesive won't damage walls.  If you're an artist, you can earn royalties by uploading your images.

Here's how to get your own DIY wallpaper.  Prices start at around $50 - an average wall costs around $250. Every order is custom sized to fit your wall.  (as big as 20x20 feet)

Screen Shot 2012-01-05 at 10.01.01 AM

Screen Shot 2012-01-05 at 10.02.22 AM

Screen Shot 2012-01-05 at 10.04.16 AM






  • Get ToolGirl's Newsletter
  • Watch ToolGirl's videos


  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest

Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie