Salvage Yard Mirrors



Sometimes it takes failure to see things in a new light. In this case, it was a mirror. This mirror.




I’ve had it for about five years now, back when I was a bachelorette living in a Dallas apartment. It was cute, but not really my style anymore. Plus, I didn’t have a place for it in my house. So I tried to sell it. FIVE TIMES. And nobody every showed the slightest interest in it, even for $10. And then one day I decided to take it apart. I’m so glad I did!




I walked over to my dad’s shop and found some tire rims. I placed two of the mirrors inside and found that the larger circle was a perfect fit! It was fate. So I went scrounging around and found other things they might look good on. Like some farm equipment gears.




I loved it! They’re unique, and exciting, and best of all, reuse old things in a beautiful new way. So, how to get them up on the wall? Well the tire rim was the easiest. It had a hole on the back, so I just drilled a large bolt into the wall stud and hung the tire on the bolt. For the gears, things got creative.



I used a two hole strap intended for conduit to keep the gear on the wall stud. I tend to over-engineer when it comes to hanging things on walls because I don’t want them falling and bashing my babies. Or my toes. So after I hang things I give them a good yank and slam the doors a few times to make sure they really stick.




This gear already had a hole in the center, so I used a screw with a locknut and a washer to keep it on the wall. You can see I missed the stud the first time and had to move it over just a tad. To attach the mirrors, I mixed up a quick setting two-part epoxy and spread it on the high points of the gears, then placed the mirrors on them and held them in place. It was quite the arm workout. But after five minutes I had a good long hold and things were great!



Now I have a unique mirror display on the wall that opened up a whole new world of projects for me. I’m looking at tired castoffs with new eyes to try and envision what they could become!


Floating Cedar Nightstand

diy floating cedar nightstand


Hi everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Year! I kept myself busy working on a few projects, and now have a chance to share one with you. It’s been just over a year since we closed on our home, and we’ve done so much to it already. I’m trying my best to finish up my to-do list of house projects so I can finally call it “done” and take some after photos and post about the entire process. As if I didn’t have enough on the list already, I had to go and add another thing by building this “nightstand”. The last time I showed you my master bedroom, it looked like this:



It was pretty, but as I started adding more and more rustic, reclaimed pieces, it looked too pretty. Once I hung a few rusty reclaimed mirrors (with a post to come!) it sealed the deal. I wanted something different by the bed.




A quick tour of the barn showed me these two cedar 4×8 pieces, which I attached together with a few straight brackets and hung on the wall using galvanized pipes. Here’s the quick and dirty:

• 2- 1/2″ galvanized flanges
• 2 – 12″ long, 1/2″ galvanized pipes
• 2 – 1/2″ pipe caps
• 1 pack of 4 straight brackets
• 2 packs of 3/4″ conduit two-hole straps
• 2 – 4×8 cedar beams cut at 50″ or desired length

Step 1 



The previous vanity was 28″ tall, so I accounted the 4″ of wood thickness and marked 24″ up on the wall for the center of my flange circles. I screwed them into studs using 2″ screws on the top and bottom, and the left and right were just 1 1/4″ as they only struck drywall.


Step 2



Then you just twist in the pipes nice and tight.


Step 3

floating-nightstand-step3 Next you pop on the pipe caps.


Step 4



Then I cut my two beams and attached them to each other with four straight brackets.


Step 5



Once they were together I used the pipe straps to hold the pipe to the wood. This helped to add stability as well as make sure the wood doesn’t slide around on the pipes. It’s a good, solid hold.




That’s it! It took maybe 15 minutes to put it all together. I like that the beam in the front is weathered and worn down to a “live edge” finish. But it would also look good with straight new wood too. You could also use a wide slab of wood from a sawmill. Wouldn’t that be lovely?




This added just the right amount of modern, rustic simplicity that I was looking for. I put a couple of large baskets below to hold pillows and blankets and that sort of thing. I’m not going to pretend to be an interior decorator, but I’m happy with the arrangement of the lamp, tray, mirrors and little frog luminary. I’m sure it will change a dozen more times, but for now I’m pleased with it. And I think I should remedy the gray paint situation on my husband’s grandmother’s vanity and restore it to its former wood glory.



Cedar Play Teepee: A How-To

cedar play teepee killer b designs

With only a few days left until Christmas, we finished up our biggest present just in time! I knew for a while that I wanted to build a playhouse for my girls, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it should be. At first it was a traditional playhouse, then I decided on a teepee. But, what kind? I thought cloth wouldn’t be durable enough. So I set out to research how to build it out of wood. All I found were finished images, no tutorials. A little brainstorming with my husband led us to this design.



For a durable, sturdy outdoor structure I chose cedar. I’m not a fan of treated wood, especially when there are little ones involved. This was simple enough to construct with cedar 4×4′s, 2×4′s, 2×2′s and fence pickets. Things you can find at your local hardware store or lumber yard.



So, how big is it? I wanted it to be large enough to feel spacious and real for the kids, and something an adult can stand in too. The entrance is just tall enough that all you have to do is duck your head a bit to get inside.



I even made a little fire ring with some rocks and firewood. Dad’s teaching Charlie how you warm your hands by the fire :)



You may be wondering, why the slats? While the structure itself is very solid and heavy, we do get some heavy winds here in Central Texas. These will allow the gusts to blow through without providing a solid wall of resistance. Hopefully this will keep it from toppling over during a bad storm.



We also left gaps at the top for even more circulation, and to hopefully prevent too many wasps from nesting in here. Also, you know, stargazing!



I placed it in Charlie’s play area, by the dry creek bed we made with leftover rock from our house siding. It was an area that washed out during heavy rains, so instead of battling the moving mulch we just covered up the bald spots with rock. I love the setting it gives. A little teepee by the creek.

Anyway, enough babbling. Are you ready to learn how to build one of your own? Here we go!

*disclaimer* I am not a professional builder. I am a novice. A mom with some tools and ideas. This is not a guaranteed plan. This is just me sharing how I built something for my family, in hopes it can inspire you to do your own. So if you see any flaws, please share. And build at your own risk.


• 5 – 4x4x10 cedar fence posts
• 4 – 2x2x10 cedar
• 2 – 2x4x10 cedar
• 30ish 6′ cedar fence pickets
• 1 stump, at least 20″ in circumference
• 15 – 6″ hex screws (the hex top helps prevent stripping)
• 2 1/2″ decking screws for base
• 1 1/4″ decking screws for siding


Step 1



My plan was still pretty fuzzy at this point. I wasn’t sure how to attach the square posts to each other at the top. We cycled through a few ideas, then settled on attaching them to a center stump. Jacob found a 3′ section of a rough cedar post so we used that. To come up with the angles, I cut the bottoms of each post at 20 degrees off square. Then I placed them on a 2×4 to keep them flush, and placed the stump in the center. Once I had it all lined up I used a square and another 2×4 to create a center cross and mark the angle for the top that I needed to cut. (and yes, I realize this looks like some sort of strange occult practice here! I had to take a photo of my strange triangle markings and the great sun flare ;) )



You can see above that the left post has been cut at the top, and I set my 2×4 to mark the post on the right.



Both angles matched, so I marked the rest of my 4×4′s and cut them all the same.



Step 2



Now it was time to attach it all together. I decided a tripod would be the easiest way to start. My stump was exactly 25″ in circumference, so I marked 4″ for each post (cedar is typically true cut, so a 4×4 really is 4″ x 4″) and left a one inch gap in between them. I screwed the first two in laying on their sides, and then it was time for the third post. I was assembling it alone, taking advantage of nap time. So I propped up my post with cedar fence pickets. Probably not the safest idea, but I like to live on the edge sometimes. I used two screws per post just to set them in place.



Just as I had finished screwing the posts in my mom pulled up to head over for Charlie’s Christmas program at school, so she helped me tip it up and set it into place.


Step 3


Once I had the three legs set where I wanted them, I propped up the last two and stood on a stool and screwed them in. As I was building it in place on very unlevel ground, I was more concerned with a solid foundation rather than a wobbly “level” structure. So each post is set at a different level. Once they were all in where I wanted them I added another screw for stability.


Step 4



Now to keep those posts from moving. I tried to get all my sides evenly spaced, but somehow I got off on my measurements. I cut five 2×4′s at 45 degrees off square, 65 1/2″ from long point to long point. I set them into place and adjusted my posts as needed. It turns out that the four walls are even, and the front entry side is slightly larger, which worked for me.


Step 5



Next I attached them with 2 1/2″ screws toenailed into the 4×4′s. Three screws on each side. It was quite sturdy. It was starting to look like a real teepee!


Step 6



Now it was time for the 2×2′s. The sides needed a center support for the fence picket siding, to keep them sturdy and not bowing or warping over time. I cut the base at 20 degrees off square like the posts, but since I bought 8′ sticks instead of 10′ they were too short to reach the stump. So we had to improvise. Dad to the rescue!



Since you will be smart and buy 10′ sticks because you learned from my mistake, you can just mark the sticks where they need to be cut instead of having to do our crazy jig. My dad (who is the king of rig-em-ups) had these metal strips with holes in them. I’m not entirely sure what their original purpose was for, but we made them work well enough. We bent the metal in the center and screwed them down into each 4×4 post from the front, then made sure the 2×2 would be flush by holding a fence picket over it, and added a screw in from the metal behind the 2×2. Confusing? You bet. Functional? Yup! Whatever works, right?


Step 7



Time for the picket siding. I had built the entire frame all by my lonesome during the day, but now the baby was awake and my husband came home so it was his turn. He was in charge of the siding. He held up a picket starting at the bottom and used a pencil to mark the angles. He attached the siding with two screws in the center and one on each side. We may go back and add more later, but we ran out of screws!



He just used a scrap piece of 2×4 to make a spacer so they would all be even. But since the sides weren’t exactly level, they don’t line up perfectly. They’re all slightly off from side to side, but the evenness of the gaps tricks your eye into thinking it matches.


Step 8



Once we got five gaps up, it was time to stop spacing. And break for some air guitar on a picket. Because that’s what the cool kids do. Anyway, we wanted to keep it closed at the top to give it a more “official” teepee look. You can keep with the slats if you like, and just make the gaps smaller. Or whatever. It’s your teepee! The beauty of DIY is making it however you like it. We stopped at the top once the 2×2 ran out. I like it because it gives a bit of air venting and there won’t be any water pooling up at the top to rot out the wood.


Step 9



Finish out all four sides with the pickets. Looks pretty legit now, right??


Step 10



Time to finish out the front. He used some scrap 2×4 to bridge the gap in the front to create a brace. Figuring out these angles is tough, so I wish you luck. Ours aren’t perfect, there’s no double bevel, just a single cut at 30ish degrees. Then we cut a scrap 2×2 at 20 degrees at the base and marked the top. These are attached with 2 1/2 inch screws.


Step 11



Next there was more marking, cutting, and screwing in pickets. Hooray!


Step 12



To gussy it up we found a skinnier cedar post for the lintel of sorts. Jacob just pre-drilled a hole and used some giant nails from my dad’s shop to drive into the 2×4 support beam. The bark was flaking off so I decided to just go ahead and peel it all off so it wouldn’t look like a shedding beast.



And then we called ‘er done!



It took two days, building during nap times and the brief hours after work before sunset. So maybe 15 hours total. We spent about $250 on the project, but costs will vary with the price of lumber. You *could* go a bit cheaper with treated wood, but personally I don’t think it’s worth it. Not only for the chemicals, but that treated wood needs to set for a while and can warp quickly because of the pressure treatment drying out. Besides, cedar is a lot prettier! And delicious to smell. And is a natural deterrent for pests and bugs.


So if you’re looking for a fun addition to your yard this spring, I highly encourage you to think about a teepee! I like our version as it’s not permanent. It’s not set into the ground, nor does it have a platform. So if one day our kids grow out of it or we’d like to move it all we need are five or six strong backs to do so :)  And we saved so much money by doing it ourselves, not to mention the pride we get seeing our daughter’s happy face (and soon faces, once our baby Caroline gets big enough to enjoy it along with her sister). Even if Charlie does *sob!* seem to think only daddy built it for her. Her toddler memory decided to get a bit selective and forget the day mom worked on it while she played outside. Ah, well. At least she knows one parent built something for her, that’s good enough for me!


Older posts «

Fetch more items