Easy DIY Wood Crates

I have a bookcase that I’ve been wanting to put some sort of basket in. I started sewing a fabric one, but wasn’t happy with the results. So I got the idea to do wood crates, but I wanted them to fit perfectly in the shelf space. This meant I would have to make my own. Woodworking always intimidates me because I don’t have any of the big tools most folks use. I’m excited that I was able to make these with only simple tools!

Step 1: Determine sizes

I measured the bookcase and determined that it needed to be 19″ long, 11″ deep, and 9″ high.

From that I needed to determine the sizes of wood to buy. I went to Home Depot with a plan, and learned that the dimension listed on the wood for sale is not actually the size. For example, a 2×4 is actually 1.5″ x 3.5″. This caused me to sit down on the floor in the wood department and rework all my wood sizes. Hopefully this will save you some on-the-fly measurement calculations yourself!

The sides and bottom were only 1/2″ in depth. The slats were 3/4″ in depth. The 1/2″ depth was very difficult to get a nail in without splitting, so keep that in mind, and maybe go up to 3/4″ depth for all wood. I was worried it would be too bulky, but in hindsight it would have been easier and not bulky.

Step 2: Get supplies

You’ll need the following supplies from a hardware store:

  • Wood per the sizes and amounts above. You can ask them to cut it to size for you! The exact kind of wood doesn’t matter, so we went with a cheaper wood, the benefit is that it’s lighter weight too then. Just make sure it’s not rough on either side or you’ll have a lot more sanding to do.
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails (the skinniest possible, but long enough to go through both pieces of wood)
  • Sand paper (around 100 grit)
  • Hammer
  • Primer
  • Paint

Step 3: Sand, prime, paint

The first thing I did was sand down the rough edges from the cuts. Then prime and paint all the pieces. These Painters Pyramids were a huge help at getting all the sides painted faster.

Step 4: Nail together

See the picture to the left for how you will assemble and nail the pieces together. The sides and slats will all be flush with the ground. Be careful when nailing that you don’t go too far to the edge and split your wood.

Nail the left and right sides to the bottom first. Then the slats. I did the top slats to make sure they were lined up with the top edge. Then the bottom slats to line up along the bottom edge. Then just measure and evenly space the middle slats.

Step 5: Finishing touches

Finally you’ll likely need to do a little touch up paint from the nails. Then add any final touches such as handles as you wish. I did also add some felt pads to the bottom since it was going into a wood bookcase.

Share pictures of your creations!


Easy DIY Doll Jewelry

Doll BraceletIt’s easy to make doll bracelets and necklaces with a few simple supplies!

My 7 year old daughter loved making them herself as well.


To start you cut a length of elastic bead cord a little longer than the length you want the jewelry piece to be. For instance, for the bracelet, I looped the cord around the wrist, then added a bit more for the knot.

Doll BraceletTie a knot at one end of the bead cord just to keep your beads from falling off as you string them. Then start adding beads and charms! For an 18″ doll bracelet it took 39 beads and 1 charm. Once you have it the length you want, then tie a simple knot with the 2 ends, cut the extra, and enjoy!

You can use a variety of colors or charms, although I used the star charm because we were making them for an American Girl theme party.

Doll Bracelet

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DIY Ballet Barre

Ballet Bedroom

This has been one of my more popular projects! A ballerina bedroom with ballet barre! My daughter wanted to be a ballerina and loved this barre!

Make sure wherever you pick to put it in the room has floor space in front of it for your child to dance and move without hitting anything!

I looked online and found a giant mirror with height 59.5″ and width 39.5″. I wanted something tall enough to be full length, and fit the width of the space perfectly. I figured this was worth the investment since even when she’s a teenager she’ll still love having a big mirror.

For the barre you can certainly look online and just buy a wall mounted ballet barre. However, I didn’t like the look of the mounting brackets and lengths were limited. I tried a ton of lumber and hardware stores and couldn’t find the diameter I needed. Then I found an online stair railing website that would cut to any size you needed! Stair railings were the perfect diameter (I got 1.75″ diameter), and there was a ton of colors in different price ranges to choose from! I ordered the length I needed and it shipped right to my house. Make sure when you determine the length of your barre that you leave extra space for the brackets, and room for it to hang longer at the ends. My barre is 51.5″ long.

Then I ordered curtain rod brackets in the color I wanted. You do need to make sure you get ones that fit the larger 1.75″ diameter.

Finally I installed everything to the wall. Make sure the mirror is safely attached. Then I installed the curtain rod brackets so the barre would be 31″ from the floor to the top of the barre. Feel free to install higher or lower based on the height of your child, or measure the height of the barre they use at class.

Then we added some ballerina knick knacks and vinyl ballerinas on the wall to complete the look. Even though she switched from ballet to gymnastics she still loves using that space to practice, or even to just dance for fun! And the barre helps with fort building too!

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Family Calendar

Family Calendar

When my daughter was 3 years old, I made a family calendar. Her dad and I had recently divorced and she needed a way to visually see that she was always going to see both parents, and how far away each visit was. It helped a lot! Now that she’s 7, we still use it to help her see when there are special events, school functions, extra curricular activities, or changes to the custody schedule.

I have the calendar up in a common, main traffic area of the house that we pass by all the time. Additionally, I only fill out 2 weeks so she’s not overwhelmed with too much information. Every once in awhile if there’s something further out that she’s excited about we’ll put it on the calendar so she can see how far away it is and stop asking me 🙂

To fill out the calendar you could just write things in, but the best part about our calendar is the magnets! When she was 3 she couldn’t read yet, so the pictures were super important, and having the magnets made it so easy to update the calendar without having to redraw all the time. I do write in special one time events with either pictures or words.


Instructions to create the magnets:

Note: these instructions are for creating the images with a computer. However, if you don’t have access to a computer you can hand draw them on paper. Then start at step #7 below.

For image editing programs, I’m on a Mac and recommend iPhoto and Gimp.

  1. Find images: In order to get the images you can either hand draw them, or find images on a computer (search on the web!). For the Mom and Dad magnets I hand drew them, then scanned them into the computer. I’ve also considered using real photographs but worry they are so small it would be hard to see them. Simple images tend to do best.
  2. Clean up: Do this only if your image looks messy. Open your favorite image editing software and remove the bits you don’t like, edit as needed, etc. For my hand drawn image the scan added some messy bits to the blank areas. Since it was just black and white I increased the contrast on the image and it reduced the mess.
  3. Crop to square: Using your favorite image editing software, crop your image to a perfect square. Some images may not fit well in a square. In this case, you’ll first want to add more blank padding around the image so there’s more room to work. Or just find another image.
  4. Scale to size: Using your favorite image editing software, scale the image to the same size as your magnets diameter. Round down if you need to, it’s better to be a bit small than too large.
  5. Shape to circle (computer method): Some image editing software programs have the option to put a circle matte around your image. Sometimes this is called a vignette. Do this until the edge of the circle lines up with the edge of your image. If you don’t have software that does this, no worries, you can do it by hand in step #7.
  6. Print: Print as many copies of your image as you need. Make sure your scale is set to 100% so they don’t print bigger or smaller than your magnet!
  7. Shape to circle (by hand): If you weren’t able to use the computer to shape to a circle in step #5, you can do it by hand. Take one of your magnets and place it over your image. Trace around it.
  8. Cut: Cut each of your images out around the circle.
  9. Glue: Put a layer of mod podge on your magnets. I use a paint brush to easily apply it. Then put one of your image circles on the magnet and let it dry.
  10. That’s it! Hang your calendar on the wall, write in dates and special events, add magnets, and show your family!

    If you want more details on how to edit the images on the computer, just let me know in the comments! And share any cute magnet ideas you created!

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Easy Heart Hairstyle

Heart HairOur favorite hairstyle for Valentine’s Day is a heart shape! Here are instructions so you can do it too. It’s easy!
Heart Hair 1First, section off some hair and secure with a rubber band. I personally love using an inexpensive plastic rat tail comb like this one to section hair.
Heart Hair 2Slide the rubber band down a little and split the hair above the rubber band in half.
Heart Hair 3Now you want to pull the ponytail through the hole you just made. Do this by rotating the rubber band down towards the head, then up through the hole.
Heart Hair 4Pull the ponytail all the way through.
Heart Hair 5It should now look like this.
Heart Hair 6Pull the rubber band tight.
Heart Hair 7Use water or hair gel to get the ponytail smooth. Then divide into 2 equal sections.
Heart Hair 8Individually twist each section in the direction of the other one. This means the left section will twist over to the right, and the right section will twist over to the left. Keep twisting until you have the size heart you like. Secure the 2 ends together in a rubber band.
Heart HairThat’s it!
Heart Hair with RibbonYou can also decorate with ribbons…
Heart Hair with GlitterOr our personal favorite is to sprinkle with glitter!

I hope you found this hairstyle easy to do. Share pictures of your creations too!

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