Building Guides

How to Make Your Own House For Your Dolls

How to Make Your Own House For Your Dolls
A dollhouse is a traditional toy perfect for little girls who are old enough to help you with arts and crafts but still young enough to enjoy playing with dolls.
Building a doll house is a fairly complex at home craft that your daughter (or son) can help you with.
Here’s a quick guide for how to make your own house for your dolls.
Select a Scale
Standard doll house scale is 1/12th–that means that the door is 1/12th the size of an actual door, the windows are 1/12th the size of actual windows, etc. But you can make a smaller or larger doll house by increasing or decreasing the scale.
How to Make Your Own House For Your DollsFind a Cutting Plan
The easiest way to get the bulk of your dollhouse finished is to find an online cutting plan for a doll house and bring it to a hardware store to have your wood cut for you. Search for dollhouse cutting plans and pick the one you like.
Put the Dollhouse Together
Using your cutting plan, start assembling the dollhouse with wood glue and other craft supplies. You still aren’t actually designing anything in this step, but your child can help you assemble the dollhouse. Wood glue is a pretty safe craft material for kids of all ages, just make sure they don’t eat it.
Exterior Design
You’re limited only by your creativity and your craft supplies here. I’ve used fake siding for dollhouse exterior–made from cutting thin strips of wood and layering them like actual siding–and I’ve used plain matte paint. You can go exotic and use actual roofing tiles or siding for your dollhouse, but that adds a lot of extra steps in preparation. Let your child pick the design they like, and get painting.
Interior Design
Let your child design the interior including selecting furniture and other additions to the dollhouse. A trip to your local hobby shop or even a craft store should get their juices flowing. Just make sure you and your child decide ahead of time on a budget. Knowing what rooms you want in your dollhouse is a big help too.
Putting a dollhouse together with your kid is most of the fun of the dollhouse. Dollhouses are a beautiful and traditional addition to any kid’s bedroom, and they’re functional too. Use the dollhouse to store your kid’s dolls, and if you built it well, you may be able to pass it on to your grandchildren and great-grandchildren one day.

How to Make a Barbie House

How to Make a Barbie House

If you’ve ever shopped around for a house for Barbie, you know the market’s pretty limited. You’d think the people at Mattel would understand that Barbie has a lot of stuff and needs a house that can hold it all. But no–most of the commercially available Barbie houses are too small for Barbie’s extensive wardrobe, not to mention her collection of cars and (let’s face it) boyfriends.

If you want a Barbie house big enough for the average Barbie collector, you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands. Building a Barbie house isn’t a huge project–you should be able to put together a sweet new pad for Barbie in a single afternoon.

Materials You’ll Need

Different sized paint brushes

Cheap plastic “bookcases” or shelving units


One or two yards of indoor carpeting



Scrap wallpaper


Hobby saws or knives

Assembling Barbie’s New House

1. Your first step is to gather your materials. The most important feature of your new Barbie house is the small plastic bookshelves or shelving units that actually constitute the house. Make sure the shelves you buy are tall enough to allow Barbie and her friends to stand up inside. Also, you should decide how big you want the house to be. Determining the number of rooms and floors for Barbie’s new mansion is key to figuring out how many plastic shelves you need.

2. Assemble the plastic shelving units. Be creative–if you want a two-story house for Barbie, you should buy a three shelf unit so you can remove one of the shelves and use it for a front porch or an adjoining pool house. Your imagination is your only limit.

3. Barbie wants fancy carpeting, so pick up a yard or two of nice (but thin) indoor/outdoor carpeting. Just cut the carpet to fit the floors and glue it down. Not every room in Barbie’s house needs carpeting . . . maybe Barbie is a hardwood floor or tile girl. Buy materials to suit the look of the interior of her house.

4. If you want, you can purchase two shelving units and hinge them at the back, so that Barbie’s house can open for more living room. Either way, you’ll need to use cardboard or thin hobby wood to cover up the plastic “walls”. You may not even have to wallpaper the back and side walls if you find good enough wood to cover the walls.

5. If Barbie doesn’t like wood paneled walls, use scrap wallpaper to cover both sides of the interior walls and one side of the back and side walls. This is another time when you should get creative. Wallpaper comes in all styles, and most wallpaper or home improvement stores have deals on scrap or older styles of wallpaper.

6. Now it is time to decorate the exterior of Barbie’s  new house. Plastic outside walls just don’t do–so cover the exterior of her house with shelf paper in an attractive color, or (even better for Barbie’s style) go ahead and paint the exterior an attractive color. Hobby stores also sell imitation wood and brick exteriors. Remember to do whatever Barbie wants.

7. Barbie’s house looks pretty plain without windows and doors–using a hobby saw or sharp knife, cut out an appropriate number of window and door holes. Barbie’s house should have a front door and a back door, and maybe  a side door if Barbie’s house comes with a pool or hot tub. As for windows–get creative. Usually, homes have an even number of windows, or at least a balanced look to the windows themselves. A few windows of different sizes should look just fine. Be sure to decorate the exterior of the windows with shutters or dress up the inside with curtains or drapes made from old fabric.

8. You have the option of attaching cardboard walls to the bookcase using glue if your shelving units are difficult to paint on or glue to. You can attach pretty much anything you want to the cardboard interior walls.

Keep In Mind:

Barbie has a lot of furniture and a lot of friends. Make sure your rooms are big enough for slumber parties, dinner parties, and just hanging out time.

Some rooms in Barbie’s house are smaller than others–bathrooms and closets are generally smaller than bedrooms, and living rooms and kitchens should be the biggest rooms of all.

Every type of room has its own style of wallpaper. You wouldn’t want flowery, girly wallpaper in Barbie’s gym, and you wouldn’t paint a bathroom the same way you’d paint a dining room.

Keep Barbie’s size in mind when it comes time to cut windows and doors. If Barbie can’t fit through the door, she won’t be happy with her house.

The biggest thing of all–make sure that there’s a place in your house where Barbie’s new mansion fits. Otherwise, your favorite Barbie collector won’t be able to play with it.

How to Install a Dishwasher

Doing it yourself doesn’t require the services of a contractor, so save money on your next home installation by learning how to install a dishwasher yourself. While dish washer installation isn’t hard, there are one or two safety steps to keep in mind.

Turn off the Utilities

Turn off the circuit break that controls power to your kitchen, so no electricity is throwing through the sockets you’re going to be working around. Electricity safety is key when installing new household appliances.

Next, turn off the water main flowing into your house and kitchen. You should find this in your yard somewhere. Also, shut off the hot water pipe underneath your sink, to make sure residual hot water doesn’t link into your work area. Make sure any standing water or pipe water is removed before you begin.

Remove Your Old Dishwasher

Assuming you have an old dishwasher in your kitchen, unscrew clamps or screws that are holding the dishwashing appliance in place. Disconnect any pipes or electrical cords that are attached from your appliance to the kitchen.

Remove your old dishwasher with the help of a friend. The dishwasher is heavy enough that one person doesn’t need to try manipulating it alone.

Inspect the Dishwasher Space

Now that you have the old dishwasher out of the way, inspect the empty space and learn what you have available to you. Learn where the holes for cords and pipes run, and the best way to reattach an appliance. You should have holes in your cabinet running to your sink drain and from your water supply, as well as a hole for a power cord. Drill holes if none exist.

Install a Dishwasher Air Cap

Remove the hole plug with a quick hammer punch. This shouldn’t take too much trouble. Once this is done, install the air hose and air gap underneath the sink, setting them in place with slip joint pliers and a locknut. Make sure the air gap cover faces towards the sink drain.

Installing the Dishwasher

How to Install a Dishwasher

How to Install a Dishwasher

Next, move the new dishwasher in the vicinity of your dishwasher hole, leaving enough room to maneuver. Attack water supply tubes through the aforementioned holes. Position the dishwasher in its place without pinching any connectors.

Attach electrical cords through the protective sleeve, then attach the wires by color. Attach the ground wire, which should be green (that is, green wire to green wire). Attach the white wire with white wire, then the black wire with black wire. Once this is done, plug the electric cord into the wall socket.

Connect Water Supply

Attach the water supply tube from the sink to your valve. Look for the flexible looking tube, then attach it to the valve’s second outlet. Secure the tube by tightening with a wrench.

Clamp the Short Drain Hose

The short drain hose is going to connect to the garbage disposal, if you have one, as well as the large outlet on the air gap. Pinch clamps on both ends of the shorter drain hosing, then do the same with the long drain hose, which should go on the drain outlet at the bottom of the new dishwasher appliance.

Check Your Work

Before you shove the dishwasher fully into your cabinet nook, make certain every connection is tight and the wiring and washer fits. Align the dishwasher with the countertop and your cabinets, to make sure everything looks nice and uniform.

Once this is done, make certain the dishwasher sets in place, by screwing the dishwasher into the counter. Turn on the circuit breaker and your water supply and run a cycle, to check for any leaks or other problems.

Installing a Dishwasher

Learning how to install a dishwasher from scratch doesn’t require electronic knowledge or handyman skills, but it’s a good idea to have your installation manual beside you as you work. Every new dishwasher should have an owners manual. If you have any other questions, don’t be afraid to ask the handiest person in your family, or even that neighbor who seems to know about handiwork.


How to Build a Toy Box

Most households with children have a problem with toy proliferation. Kids collect toys so quickly, that your house is likely to have action figures, dolls and toy vehicles laying everywhere. Learning how to build a toy box lets you store toys every night, while building a storage item that is sized to your living space.

Steps for Building Toy Boxes

We’ve outlined the steps for building toy boxes in the following passages.  Be sure to pay attention to the measurements and sizes before you begin cutting.

Collect Toy Box Materials

How to Build a Toy Box

How to Build a Toy Box

Buy the wood supplies to build a toy box with. You want un-warped wood that is free of knots, which make nailing difficult, if not impossible.

Buy two 1×10 boards at four feet in length, one 1×8 board at six feet in length and one piece of 3/4th inch particle board or plywood. Also, you’ll need ten 2 & 1/2 inch double-wide corner braces, six 4-inch strap hinges and screws to fit each.

Other building supplies you’ll need are a square, a screwdriver, a saw, a jigsaw, a drill and bit set, a sander, sandpaper, wood glue and polyurethane.

Cut Lumber to Proper Size

Cut your wood supplies into the proper lengths for toy box construction. Cut each of the 4-foot 1×10 pieces of board into a 34 inch long piece and a 13 & 1/2 inch piece. This should give you 2 34-inch 1x10s and 2 13.5-inch 1x10s.

Cut lid pieces from your 6-foot length of 1×8. Cutting this piece should produce two 34 inch long lid pieces.

The particle board or plywood is going to act as the bottom of your toybox. Cut this into one 32 & 1/2 inch by 13 & 1/2 inch piece.

Sand the Wood Materials

How to Build a Toy Box

How to Build a Toy Box

Now that you’ve cut your wood, sand the edges of the freshly-cut pieces to make them smooth. This is also the stage where you cut handles into the side pieces, by cutting a circle pattern in the side pieces. Cut these together, so both side are exactly equal in size.

Building the Toy Box

Place your bottom plywood piece on a level surface. Place the two side pieces onto the bottom of the toy box. Screw in corner braces for the back and front of the toy box, then add a corner brace at the top of these pieces.

Add the end pieces onto the toy box construction by attaching them to the corner brackets.

Building the Toy Box Lid

Next, place your 2 34-inch long lid pieces on the toybox. Make sure both are flush on the container. When these are flush, add your 3 flush hinges to both pieces spaced properly, then attach these hinges to the back of the toy box.

Adding Stain or Finish to the Toy Box

Add finish to the toy box. If comfortable doing so, disassemble the container and apply finish thoroughly, which should preserve the box better. Paint the hinges, if you want the box entirely the same color. Place finish on the inside of the toy box, too.

Toy Box Decoration

Consider adding decoration to the toil box. If you paint, add a coat of primer first. Two coats of paint is going to look better than one.

Also, consider adding your child’s name to the toy box. If you have multiple children, build a toy box for each, then stencil their names to their respective boxes. This gives them each a sense of possession and responsibility.

Add polyurethane when your finished with all staining, painting or other decoration.

Glue for Added Stability

Apply wood glue to your toy box, to give added stability. This way, your toy box isn’t rickety and unstable.

Building a Toy Box

Mastering how to build a toy box lets you add an inexpensive and practical component to your kids’ bedrooms. Once you perfect building your own toy boxes, you can even build them as gifts for the family and neighbors. If you never reach that point of carpentry skill, you can still have a practical toy container for your children’s toys.

How to Build a Fish Tank

One way to save money in this economy is to make those household items you would normally buy in a store, so learning how to build a fish tank keeps you from buying a store-bought fish storage tank. Another advantage is the ability to make a custom-made fish tank fitted to your room, while also making fish tanks as large as you wish.

Building a fish tank requires the proper materials, but these are going to cost a lot less separately than all together. What you need are five pieces of glass, silicon sealant, acetone, silicon carbide sandpaper, and several household items like duct tape and paper towels.

Determine Size of Fish Tank

Determine the size of your fish tank, which also tells you how thick the tank walls need to be. You don’t want to get this part wrong, or else your glass could shatter, leaving your fish dead, your carpet ruined and a huge mess of broken glass.

To calculate the glass thickness you need, use the chart provided as a guideline for the thickness of aquarium glass you need.

Order from the Glass Cutter

Find a local glass cutter and place an order for five pieces of glass. This includes the bottom, the back and front walls and the side walls of the aquarium. You should have your calculations ready, so ordering glass sides should be simple.

Sand the Rough Cut Glass

Use silicon carbide sand paper or emery cloth to sand down the glass edges of the glass you receive. Be careful transferring these glasses pieces from the glass cutter to your car, and from your car to your home. The edges are going to have a sharpness to them, which is a major reason why you’re going to want to sand them down.

Once this is done, mark the 5 pieces of glass as to which are going to be the bottom and the sides, using a simple felt-tipped market. Make certain you can later remove the black markings.

Building an Aquarium

Tear off roughly 15-20 five to six inch strips of duct tape, then touch them lightly to your work table, so you can use them later quickly and with ease. Start with the bottom piece of glass in your aquarium, with the inside of the fish tank facing up.

Use acetone around the edges of this glass piece. Acetone is a flammable organic compound that is the active ingredient in paint thinner and nail polish remover. You can use acetone to clean the surface of your glass, making it easier for the silicon sealant you’re about to apply to work.

Place Duct Tape on Aquarium Bottom

How to Build a Fish Tank

How to Build a Fish Tank

Fix 8 strips of duct tape to the bottom of your fish tank, so that enough of the tape is sticking out and up, that you can later affix it to the other pieces of glass. Place two strips on all four edges of the glass, equidistant apart.

The duct tape is going to keep your glass tight and secure while the sealant works to cement the glass sides together. Once the process is finished, you’ll take the duct tape off (that’s later, though).

Affix the Front to the Fish Tank

Take the front piece of the fish tank, determine which side you want to face out and spread a sealant bead along the length of the bottom of the aquarium, along the side you determined to be the front piece.

Collect the front piece of glass and press it firmly onto the silicon sealant. As you do this, take the two front pieces of duct tape and fix then to the front glass. This should help hold the front to the bottom of the fish tank, while the sealant works its magic.

Add the Sides to the Tank

Next, add sealant to the left side or the right side of the bottom glass – whichever you want to attach next. Follow the same step with both sides that you did with the front. Press firmly against the side, then fix duct tape to help the two glass pieces together.

Continue doing this for all four pieces of wall glass, doing the front, then the two sides, then the back wall of the fish tank. Once you perform this task, the form of your aquarium should come into shape.

Add Sealant to the Inner Lining

Now that you have the aquarium walls in place, add sealant to the inner lines of the fish tank. Do this with the inner lines where the four wall pieces connect to the bottom of the tank horizontally. Then do the same where the four walls connect to one another vertically.

You should now have sealant holding all the pieces of the aquarium together. The sealant is not only is what cement the fish tank, but holds water inside. Let the sealant dry for 24-36 hours before doing anything else with your fish tank.

Filling the Aquarium

After your sealant has dried, fill your fish tank with water. For the next 24 hours, check to see if there are any leaks forming along the joints of the fish tank. If no leaks appear, you have built your fish tank and it’s time to add fish, rocks and anything else to make your aquarium a pleasant and healthy environment for your fish, while making it striking for your guests.

Make Your Own Fish Tank

Learning how to build a fish tank may not give you a huge cost advantage over store-bought aquariums, but it does let you to custom build fish tanks to your home, office and surroundings. Understanding how to make your own fish tank also gives you the advantage of understanding basic fish tank repair.

How to Repair a Toilet

If you are a homeowner or landlord, learning how to repair a toilet yourself lets you save considerable money on toilet repairs. With a plunger or two and a screwdriver set, you have all you need to handle most toilet plumbing concerns. Commodes aren’t so complicated that you need a professional, most of the time.

Inspecting a Toilet

First, learn what is affecting your toilet. Remove the toilet lid and start to investigate. Start by inspecting the “ball cock”, which is the valve attached to the floating apparatus in the toilet tank. This should look like a plastic ball on the end of a long rod of some sort.

When inspecting the ball cock, check to see whether water is leaking from this valve. If so, then the ball cock needs to be either cleaned or replaced. Clean it first and, if this doesn’t work, replace this device.

Check the Tank Flap

The tank flap is a rubber cone which you can find in the bottom of the tank, fitting into the tank hole. Push on the tank flap and see whether this stop water from running. If so, then the tank flap isn’t covering the hole entirely and needs to be replaced. Take this piece off the toilet to the hardware store, to make certain you buy the right size.

Toilet Repairs – Turn off the Water

Once you have made your inspection and it’s time to make toilet repairs, turn the water flow off. There should be a metal twist valve on the piping between the toilet and the wall. Flush the toilet to remove as much water as possible from the commode.

Tank Flap Toilet Repairs

How to Repair a Toilet

How to Repair a Toilet

As mentioned before, take the tank flap off the toilet assembly. This should be easy to remove. Use the broken flap to size the replacement, then replace with relative ease. Once finished, turn the water flow back on, replace the toilet lid and you have made repairs on your toilet.

Ball Cock Diaphragm Toilet Repairs

The ball-cock diaphragm is a little harder to replace than the tank flap, but it’s not that hard. Take the cover off the ball cock, then remove the screws that hold down the top plate of the device. You’ll need a screwdriver to perform this step.

Note that the float-control arm may be spring-loaded, so be careful when removing, to see essential parts don’t fall off and get lost.

Removing the Toilet Diaphragm

Next, remove the toilet diaphragm from the toilet, taking careful note to remember which side is the “up” side. Inspect the diaphragm to see whether there’s an obvious reason it’s broken, such as a small household objects or gravel lodged into the device.

After inspecting the toilet diaphragm, decide whether to clean or replace it. If cleaning doesn’t work, you’ll have to replace. All you have to do is to place the diaphragm where the old one sat, then screw in the top plate. Turn the water flow back on and you’re ready to go.

Repairing a Toilet

These are the basic steps to learning how to repair a toilet, but these tend to be the most common problems affecting a toilet. If repairs on the toilet system itself don’t work, you most likely have problems with plumbing in the wall and it’s time to call a plumber.

How to Build Stairs for a Deck

Building stairs for a deck is a pretty simple procedure, once you’ve built a deck or patio. So far, we’ve covered “How to Build a Deck” and “How to Build a Patio”, but we’ve only brushed over the building of stairs. So to complete our series, here’s “How to Build Stairs for a Deck“.

This is going to be simple, in comparison to the rest of the project. Most of the time, you stairs are only going to require a few steps spaced out evenly, and are hardly the equivalent of building a staircase inside the home. Getting the incline right can be tricky, but in the case of a few steps, a few trial and error calculations should suffice. Learn what the “rise to run ratio” is, then build stairs according to an acceptable ratio.

What Is Rise to Run Ratio?

The conventional approach is to make the run and the rise x2 (twice the rise) should equal between 24″ and 26″. So if the rise is 8 inches (x2 = 16), then the run should be 8-10 inches. If the rise is 10 inches (x2 = 20), then the run should be 4-6 inches (clearly unacceptable). You’ll quickly see the outer limits to what the rise should be, keeping in mind that the ideal tread path should be about ten to twelve inches.

Measure the Vertical Distance

How to Build Stairs for a Deck

How to Build Stairs for a Deck

When preparing to build your staircase, first measure the vertical distance the stairs need to climb. A rough riser height is 7, so divide your vertical distance by 7, to give you the number of stairs you need. This is a rough number, since your rise isn’t likely to divide perfectly into 7.

Calculate the total run of the stairs by multiplying your tread depth by the number of stairs you have, minus one. The -1 is figured in, because the final step is your deck floor. When you get this calculation, you know how far out from the patio your staircase should start.

Measure the Stringers

The “stringers” are the up and down boards that support your treads, which rise and are nailed to your stairs. Imagine walking up the stairs and stubbing your toe as you do so – the stringer is what you would stub your toe again. Usually, a stringer is a piece of 2×12 lumber.

The stringer is important in measuring your overall rise from the ground to the deck. Using rise and run calculations, make your measurements and mark them along the stringer.

Cut Stringers – Set Stringers into Place

Next, using a hand saw or circular saw, cut the stringers out. Set these boards into place on your deck. Cut them to shape with a hand saw, adding a stringer every 16″ along the width of the stairway.

The bottom of the stringers should rest on a cement footing. This footing can be either a prefab cement slab or a poured cement base.

Install the Treads

Once you have the stringers on your stairs, add the treads to your staircase. The treads are the actual steps. The width of the steps should be easy to figure, since the stringers are already in place.

Screw the treads to the stringers by using galvanized decking screws, using 2×6 boards cut to the proper length.

Building Stairs for a Deck

Mastering how to build stairs for a deck has one or two tricky aspects, but after building a full deck or patio, this should be a pretty simple process in comparison. Be careful to calculate rise and run correctly, because you want to build steady and secure stairs, so people from 3 years to 83 years old can make it up the stairs.

How to Build a Log Cabin from Scratch

Those wanting to build a nice structure for camping and seclusion on your farmland or lakeside property can learn how to build a log cabin from scratch, creating a nice live-in residence for relatively cheap. If you pay a carpenter to do the same work, you’ll be out thousands of dollars.

Building log cabins from scratch is an elemental undertaking, which takes you back to the frontier days of America. There’s something quintessentially American about having your own simple log cabin in the woods, so instead of using a cabin kit, build your own frontier cabin from scratch. Like the frontiersmen who did so before you, you don’t have to have specialized skills to build your own cabin or lodge house.

Make a Log Cabin Design

Start your log cabin design by determining the outer dimensions of the lodge. Make this assessment based on the existing lumber supply, specifically the length of the available logs you have at your disposal. Log cabin kits come with a log cabin blueprints, so you can use that, if you have the plans or a friend who used a kit.

Find Log Cabin Real Estate

When finding the plot of land on which to build your log cabin, find land that is level, but which drains well. This means finding a strip of land that is slightly elevated from the land surrounding it, but which is level in and of itself.

You can choose land with underbrush, rocks and trees on it, though you’ll need to remove these impediments, if you do. Visualize the land without the obstructions, if you have trouble finding flat land that fits the bill, but isn’t covered with trees.

Prepare the Logs

Preparing logs for construction means you have to remove the bark and branches from the logs, as well as the knots. Once you have this cut, cut and shape the end of the logs to your specifications. Don’t prepare more log material than you need, because that’s both a lot of extra work and a drain on resources.

Consult your plans to know how many logs you need to prepare.

Digging the Post Holes – Know the Frost Line

How to Build a Log Cabin from Scratch

How to Build a Log Cabin from Scratch

Learn the frost line for your region, so you can place postholes beneath the frost line. If you don’t, frost heaving can occur when the ground gets cold, moving the foundation of your log cabin and causing structural instability and damage. Most houses have the foundation and water lines underneath the frost line.

The frost line can change significantly from one region to the next. For instance, the frost line in the northern section of Minnesota is 5′, while it’s only 3.5′ in the southern sections.

Placing Log Posts – Log Cabin Foundation

Install your log posts in the holes, setting them in place with reinforced concrete. Next, add the main floor beams and joists in your log cabin. Once joists are in place, place playwood or wooden panels on top of them, to serve as the floor of your log cabin.

Prepare Logs for Wall Construction

You’ll build the walls of the log cabin next. When you get to this stage, cut notches in the logs, so the logs fit together and give the structure stability. These should fit together as snug as you can make them.

When building this section of your log home, leave spaces specifically for your doors and windows. Take this into account when preparing your logs beforehand.

Building a Second Story

To build a second story or supports for your roof, set loft supports at ceiling height. You’ll need to cut additional holes in the wall logs, if this is your intention.

Gables and Purlins

Build gables up to the height of the ridge pole, which is the highest portion of your cabin. Be careful when you building the center roof support structure, though, because this is the most dangerous section of the building project.

Purlins – Purlins are the structural support that cross the loft space of the log cabin.
Gables – The verticle part of the roof. Wall extensions that add support to the roof and building structure.

Roofing the Log Cabin

To build a roof on a log cabin, you need to frame out the roof. This process of determining gradient and pitch is not entirely different than what we told you about in “How to Build a Roof” (, though a log cabin roof is more rudimentary than modern house roofs.

Frame out your log cabin roof using prepared lumber – not the standard logs you’ve used to this point. Use plywood to build the underside of your roof, while adding tin sheets on the top. You can buy tin sheeting at both your standard lumber yards and military surplus stores.

Install Windows, Chimneys and Stairs

Once you have the major components of your log cabin built, install the windows. Then built chimneys, doors and chimneys to the cabin.

Now that you have a log cabin built, it’s time to decorate the cabin. Bring in the wife or girlfriend to add a woman’s touch, or fit out your hunting lodge or summer cabin with fur carpets, hunting trophies and rugged outdoors relics.

Building Log Cabins from Scratch

Learning how to build a log cabin from scratch is more complicated than building a lodge from a log cabin kit, but you can regale your friends with all kinds of stories about the building process. If all of this sounds like a little too “backwoods” for you, buy a log cabin building kit and have your building supplies tailor made for you.

How to Build a Gazebo from Scratch

Discovering how to build a gazebo from scratch lets you add a centerpiece to your yard or garden, or a pavilion for a coming wedding or wedding reception. A gazebo not only gives you a practical choice to keep the sun off you in summer or precipitation of you the rest of the year.

A gazebo is an enclosed or open air structure, often octogonal in shapes, you can use for parties, dinners, snuggling or reading. Open air gazebos give you a breezy place to sit and visit, while closed gazebos allow you to be outside without having flies and gnats swarm you.

Place Your Gazebo

First, decide where your gazebo is going to sit. I mentioned earlier that a gazebo is a kind of centerpiece, which is something to consider when placing your gazebo. Gazebos are both something to be viewed and something to provide a view, so consider a space in the center of your property with plenty of room.

If your gazebo is raised and offers a nice view, this is even better. Consider local zoning laws and code regulations before selecting a spot for your gazebo, while choosing a place that is practical and offers visual impact.

Choose Materials

Garden gazebos might be made of wood, wrought iron or vinyl these days, so go through the list of potential gazebo building materials before deciding which to use. Also, consider whether you want raw wood or treated wood, if you choose wooden materials. Also consider whether you want to paint or stain the gazebo.

Gazebo roofs and windows need to be considered when collecting materials. Most gazebos have good roofs, while screens or windows have become popular choices in recent times. This is especially the case in areas where mosquitoes and flies swarm.

Building a Gazebo Kit

Many people buy gazebo kits when building a gazebo. Gazebo kits can cost between a few thousand and tens of thousands of dollars, so learning how to build a gazebo from scratch makes a lot of sense to households on a real budget. Gazebo kits can cost as much as you want it to cost, so only buy these if you have the money to afford them.

Gazebo Plans

Go online to find gazebo plans, if you want to build from a gazebo template. Building your own gazebo is labor intensive, so consider this before proceeding.

Building Gazebo Posts

How to Build a Gazebo from Scratch

How to Build a Gazebo from Scratch

Place the gazebo posts in holes filled with premixed concrete. As always, understand the frost line in your area, so you know how deep to place your posts. Make certain your posts are level with each other, then brace the posts. When letting concrete to set, wait 24 hours before proceeding with construction.

Building the Gazebo Decks

Installing the gazebo deck requires you to connect planks with decking screws to the outer frame of the decks – that is, the board between posts. Use a level to make certain each plank is level.

Installing Joists

Your gazebo is likely to have a center deck post. Add joist hangers to the center deck posts, then add joists between the centerpost and the outside planks.

Make sure each joist is level with each other. Screw joists into the frame planks you set down earlier. Once you have the joists in place, add cross supports between them.

Gazebo Floors

Once you have the joists and their braces built, you can build the gazebo deck floor by nailing planks to the joists. Make sure the floor is level every step of the way.

How to Build a Gazebo Roof

Measure the distance from post to post across the diameter of the gazebo octagon. Your gazebo rafters should be half this length (or the length of the radius). Install cap plates to the top of all your posts, in preparation of adding rafters.

Add two opposite rafters with nails to the central hub of the gazebo. Once you do this, you have a truss.

Lift the Truss into Position

Use ropes to lift the truss to the top of the gazebo, positioning the truss in place by nailing it into the cap plates. You’re going to need assistants to help you with this step. Attach the other rafters with similar methods.

Once finished, add fascia board of one sort or another to the end of the rafters. This gives the roof a finished quality, while also protecting the roof and gazebo interior from whether damage.

Gazebo Roofing – Tongue and Groove Sheathing

Climb onto the top of the gazebo (testing first for sturdiness) and add tongue & groove sheeting on top of the rafters. This sheathing should be stapled onto the roofing felt. Using short roofing nails, add asphalt roofing shingles from bottom to top, one row at a time.

Gazebo Railing

Add rail sections to your ground posts with screws. Add a staircase of some sort. Once you have this finished, you have finished your gazebo.

Building a Gazebo from Scratch

Now you know how to build a gazebo from scratch. Gazebos take several stages of building, as you can see, but you don’t have to have professional carpentry skills to build your own gazebo.

How to Build Kitchen Cabinets from Scratch

Once you learn how to build kitchen cabinets from scratch, you can save thousands of dollars on home improvements and design work. Building cabinets isn’t nearly as hard to do as roofing and other home ownership projects, so you can do this yourself, with the proper planning.

Graph Out Your Kitchen Space

Use graph paper to make a rough sketch of your kitchen. Build the sketch at 1/6th scale, so that each inch on the blueprint equals 6 inches on your kitchen floor. This scale isn’t set in stone: 1/8th or 1/10th scale work just as well.

Choose Cabinet Materials

Once you have a rough sketch, create kitchen cabinets on paper, playing around with the type cabinets you want, then deciding on cabinets you can afford.

Choose Cabinet Finish

Next, select a finish to put on your cabinets. If you have to stretch a budget, choose the more expensive material for the upper cabinets, instead of floor cabinets, because the higher cabinets draw the eye more than the lower ones.

Select Your Kitchen Design

Select your kitchen layout depending on what kind of cooking you do. If you cook a lot and have a little space, add an island to your kitchen. This gives you a bigger work table to do you cooking on.

Islands also give you extra cabinet space, because you can add cabinets to one side of the island or another. Find a place for a pantry, if you need a lot of storage space. Hallways work, if you don’t have enough cabinet space in the kitchen.

Measure the Cabinet Interior

How to Build Kitchen Cabinets from Scratch

How to Build Kitchen Cabinets from Scratch

Determine the interior of your cabinet by measuring width and depth. If you are replacing old shelves, measure the width of the old shelves, so the thickness of the replacements match.

Cut shelves to the dimensions you measured. Use a table saw to do this, though you have the option of purchasing pre-cut shelves.

Place Brackets

Mark where you’re going to place brackets. Each shelf needs two brackets on each end, as well as 1 bracket along the back side of the shelf. Remember to use a level to make sure the brackets are level.

Drill holes for each bracket, then screw brackets into the holes. Once you do this, lay the shelf on the brackets and fix them into place. Add cabinet doors if you already had doors on the cabinet. If not, here’s how to build cabinet doors.

Cabinet Door Materials

If you want smooth doors with no designs, use 1/2 inch plywood for your doors. If you want carving or other designs on your cabinet doors, use 3/4 inch playwood for your project. Measure the length and width you need for kitchen cabinets, so you know exactly how much material you need.

Building Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Now that you have the materials, cut out your kitchen cabinet doors by transferring measurements to the plywood, then cutting out the form of each door.

Sand rough edges off the door. Add stain or paint, then let dry before attaching. In other words, do all the detail work on your cabinet doors at this point.

Attaching Cabinet Doors

Using 3/8th inch screws to attack hinges on either side of each door, mounted onto the cabinet. Hang the cabinet doors on the hinges at the appropriate position.

Think about where the best place for your door handle before attaching doors. For instance, lower cabinet doors need door handles high, while upper cabinet doors need handles low on the door face.

Building Kitchen Cabinets from Scratch

You can learn how to build cabinets from scratch by learning to build the cabinets in steps: planning the project, buying materials, building shelves and adding doors. None of these cabinet building steps is hard, though each involves precision work.

How to Build a Closet in a Bedroom

If you have the floorspace, you can learn how to build a closet in a bedroom, adding much needed space to put clothes and other household items. Extra closet space adds value to your home and makes bedrooms a great deal more livable. You could say a private bed room without a closet is no bedroom at all.

Building a Bedroom Closet

First of all, determine whether you have the extra room to built a closet. There may be a reason why no closets were placed in a room, so see whether you have the footprint to place extra shelf space in your home.

Most rooms should have a little negative space to add a closet, if you’re willing to sacrifice a few feet in your private room. If that’s the case, then measure out a space for a closet. Use masking tape or a chalk line to mark your measurements on the floor.

Remove Baseboards – Remove Moldings

Remove the trim in that part of the room, by getting rid of the baseboards and moldings in the part of the room you’ll be building your closet. Remember to remove ceiling moldings in that corner of the room, too.

Remove Carpet in the Closet Space

How to Build a Closet in a Bedroom

How to Build a Closet in a Bedroom

In the part of the room you intend on building your closet, remove the carpeting behind the line you drew on the floor. If you want the closet to be carpeted, you can add carpet after you’re finished. You want everything out of your way, so you can build from the wooden floor underneath.

Install a Base Plate & Top Plate

Drill holes, so you can add a base plate and top plate to your closet. For those with wooden floors, drill holes directly into the floor. For those with concrete, you might want to add a 2×4 to drill into, or use a masonry bit to drill holes into the concrete directly.

Build Wall Studs

Next, build wall studs for your closet. We’ve covered wall studs before when we discussed building a wall in your home. Measure the distance between the top and bottom plates, then cut your primary wall stud accordingly. You want this to be next to the wall.

Set the wall stud in place by using drywall screws. Add a second wall stud the same way, then measure a bracer to place between the two studs, in order to stabilize the two wall studs. When you finish, repeat the same process on the other side of the closet.

Add Wallboards

Add the wallboards by measure the wall sizes between the frames, then transferring this to your drywall piece. Cut with a sharp knife, then nail or screw the wallboard to your closet frame.

Add Door Jamb – Install Doorstop

Measure you door jamb and doorstop, along with the wall joints. Using perforated joint tape, cover nail marks in the construction of the wallboards.

Build the Closet Door

Buy sliding mirror doors and door hinges from the store, installing the door according to the instructions on the store bought package.

Paint the wall board after adding spackling compound to cover the nail or screw marks on the wallboard. Finally, install a shelf or shelves, according to your whims, as well as a closet bar.

Closet Building Projects

Knowing how to build a closet in a bedroom, you either can add closet space to a room with no closet, or add a second closet for those family members who need more storage space. The project doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, as long as you maintain your focus and avoid too many construction mistakes.

How to Build a Wind Turbine Generator

Learning how to build a wind turbine generator is only half of the project, when converting to wind power. You’ll also need to know how to mountain a wind turbine, so we’ll cover both projects in this article. Converting your home to wind generated electricity may not mean you go entirely off the energy coop, but it should lower your electricity bills and help the environment, as well.

Many people assume wind turbine generators are going to cost thousands of dollars to buy, but building your own turbine system lowers the cost into the hundreds of dollars. To start building your own wind turbine generator, all you need is a turbine blueprint, a manual, the necessary tools and components, and rudimentary building skills.

Homemade Wind Turbine

To start building a homemade wind turbine first put together the turbine assembly. Build the rotor assembly first. The rotor assembly includes the turbine blades. When the blades turn, they power the alternator in your generator, generating the electric power itself.

Convert a Recycled Motor

One option to building your alternator is to convert one from a washing machine. Alternately, you can assemble your own alternator from scratch. The materials you need for the alternator includes two magnet rotors and a stator disk.

The alternator creates alternating voltages in the electric flux as it sweeps across the magnet rotors. This is an important step in making the generated electricity usable for your home.

Building the Furling Tail

How to Build a Wind Turbine Generator

How to Build a Wind Turbine Generator

The “furling tail” is a the tail wing looking hinged tail on the bladed apparatus. The furling tail keeps the windmill pointing into the wind, so the generator produces the maximum energy. A secondary purpose of the furling tail is to make sure high winds don’t damage the machine, by angling the blade assembly away from the biggest winds.

Mount the Rectifiers and Heat Sink

Rectifiers convert the alternating current (AC) into the direct current (DC), which lets you charge a battery to power your household grid. When you mount the rectifiers on a particular piece of metal, this acts as the heat sink.

Balance the Turbine Blades

Mount the blades on your rotor by placing small weights on each blades, which helps the blades turn efficiently and smoothly when it sits in the wind. Once you finish this step, you has built your wind power turbine generator.

Mounting a Wind Turbine

Building the base of your wind turbine tower requires digging at least a 2′ hole and pouring concrete into the hole, along with steel piping. This is something you’ll need to study with the instruction manual I suggested earlier, because the last thing you need is to miscalculate the size hole and pipe diameter for the turbine size and tower height you are constructing.

Raise the Tower Pole

The wind turbine tower pole needs to be prepared next. Cut an exit hole for your turbine wiring, so it can run out of the wind turbine assembly to the ground. You need to mount the turbine on the tower pole, so the turbine catches the wind up high.

For the standard apparatus, you need at least four guy wires to support the tower pole. The higher your pole goes, the more guy wires (yes, not “guide wires”) you need for safety.

Mount the Generator

To finish the building of your own wind power turbine generator, mount your generator on the tower pole you raised. Connect rectifiers to the wires coming out of the wind turbine. Connect your power grid or batteries to the charge controller and ammeter.

Wind Turbine Generator Building Safety

When learning how to build a wind turbine generator, learn how to build a generator safely. Keep in mind that blades rotating fast enough to produce electricity is dangerous, if you aren’t careful. So whenever working with heavy equipment or working at a height, safety concerns come before everything else.

How to Build a Patio

Learn how to build a patio from wood decking, to extend your home and give you a place to entertain company and relax with family during the warm-weather and temperate months. Building a patio takes time and preparation, but there’s no one part of the project that a basic handyman can’t accomplish.

Planning to Build a Patio

Check with your local city zoning officials and housing authority to make sure you can build a patio on your property. Examine the back yard of your home and property, so you can map out where your wood patio is going to go. Make paper sketch of your patio deck, including the dimensions of your structure and where the stars go.

Building the Patio Foundation

Plan the foundation of your wooden patio by using 4×4 posts set on galvanized post anchors. Embed the anchors into concrete footings about 10 inches in diameter. To know exactly how deep to go, check the frost depth for your region and place the posts deeper than the frost depth, so the deck doesn’t shift in the cold weather months.

File the Paperwork

Once you have this plan ready, file your foundation plan, framing plan and building code permit with the proper authorities. Remember that you may need a zoning permit, as well.

Build the Patio Foundation

Using strings and batter boards, lay out a rectangular grid that should serve as the on-site blueprint for your construction. Remember to square off all the corners. If you aren’t familiar with how to do this, check out our page on “How to Build a Deck” under the paragraph “Lay Out the Vertical Surface”, for an easy description of how this is done.

Attach a Ledger Board

A ledger board is a framing attachment adjacent to your home that you can build off of. Begin construction by attaching a ledger board, so you’ll be able to build adjacent to the house. Make certain this is square with your plan. Mark joist locations every 16″ along this board.

Grade the Ground

How to Build a Patio

How to Build a Patio

Grade the ground underneath your patio, so water drains away from the house and out from under your patio. After the ground is graded, attach a black plastic sheeting on the ground across the scope of your patio, then keep it in place with stones or gravel. Gravel works best, since this shouldn’t block water from draining, but keep the sheeting in place.

Build the Patio Footings

Using a post hole digger, dig your patio footings to a depth below the frost line. Once this is done to specifications, pour concrete mix into the holes and set post anchors into the footing, making certain to do so before the concrete sets. The post anchors need to be galvanized, to maintain your post anchors.

Before these harden, make certain your anchors are in line and then plumb them, to make sure they are the proper depth.

Add the Joist Hanger and Joists

Add the joist hanger, a u-shaped piece of galvanized metal used to support the joists, to the ledger. Create the rectangle of the patio design by nailing a 2×8 to the outside of the 4×4 posts. Mark off where the joists should go along this board, every 16 inches.

Next, nail the joists between your ledger and joist hanger every 16 inches apart, so you have a series of boards running across the distance of your patio. You’ll lay your floor boards of your patio across these joists later.

Block off the joists anywhere you sense the patio might be unstable, then add the joists to your structure, running from the ledger to the outer edge of the patio.

Add Railing Verticals

Remember to add railing verticals before you add the decking. Install decking perpendicular to the joists, so the joists form a solid foundation. Using galvanized nails, nail the decking onto the joists. Leave about 1/8th of an inch between deck planks, for expansion due to heat.

If the deck elevation is uneven, use shims to adjust the elevation. You want the deck flush, so water drains properly. Don’t worry about your patio board overhanging, because you can saw them off later.

Install Trim Boards

Install trim boards around the edges of your patio, to give it a professional look. The upper piece of trim needs to be trimmed out, to account for the depth of the joist.

Also add treads and runners for the deck stairs. This is when you should add your stairs to the patio.

Stain to Maintain Your Patio

Once you’re finished building your patio, you want to add a stain or clear finish to the wood, to protect it from the elements. This also adds a finished appearance to the structure.

Building a Patio

As you see, learning how to build a patio is a matter of figuring out a lot of little skills, but there’s no one skill that’s unattainable for the moderately skillful person. What you need is planning, proper building materials and patience. Building a patio is something you don’t rush.

How to Install Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a great choice for covering your home. The main benefits of vinyl siding are its durability, the ease of maintenance, and how darn cheap it is compared to other siding alternatives. Another benefit is that learning how to install vinyl siding is an easy to understand process.

What is Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is made of PVC ( a chemical known in the industry as polyvinyl chloride) which is the same material used in commercial windows and even gutter materials. PVC is easy to maintain and cheap to produce, leading to its popularity. While wood siding is “naturally colored” and requires painting, vinyl siding comes pre-painted.

Installing Vinyl Siding

In order to get started installing vinyl siding first we need to inspect the product. When you pick up your vinyl siding, you’ll see that it comes in horizontal panels that have been made to look like wood siding. There will also be vertical panels. Included in the package should be trim pieces and a number of accessories meant to make installation easier.

Vinyl siding panels are twelve and a half feet long and include a flange across the top for nailing as well as a J-shaped flange on the bottom meant to interlock with other pieces of vinyl siding.

How to Install Vinyl Siding

How to Install Vinyl Siding

Use the inside and outside corner posts to cover the ends of the siding panels at the corners of your walls.

As for any special tools you’ll need to install vinyl siding, you may need a nail hole punch (for prepping the siding for nails), a snap-lock punch for prepping siding panels where they will be attached to the home’s trim and an unlocking tool for separating the different vinyl siding panels.

The only really hard part of installing vinyl siding is that the PVC building material is known for expanding and contracting, even more so than other building materials. As a result, follow these easy five steps for installing your vinyl siding.

  1. Any time you nail on a new panels or an accessory, you should nail it in the center of the slot. This will keep the piece of siding able to move in any directions.
  2. Do not nail any piece of siding very tightly at all. Drive your nails as straight as you can and leave 1/16″ space between the head of your nail and the vinyl siding panel. Proper nailing means you should still be able to “shift” the panels or vinyl siding accessories a bit back and forth once they’ve been loosely nailed.
  3. Avoid driving a nail through the vinyl siding itself. If you need to do this, consider surrounding the hole with under-sill trim or a special nail hole punch to create a slot without damaging the vinyl.
  4. Remember to leave 1/4″ clearance between your vinyl siding panels where they join into the J-channels or corner posts mentioned above. Also leave this clearance at the ends of corner posts when they join with the eaves. Hot tip (or rather, “cold tip”), increase this wiggle room to 3/8″ if you’re putting in your vinyl siding in cold weather.
  5. Please don’t tighten up your vinyl siding panels during installation. Once these panels are locked into place, they should be hanging a bit “loose”.

Learning how to install vinyl siding is an easy weekend job and you can save tons of money by not hiring an installation company.

How to Build a Retaining Wall

The standard shape for American backyards is a beautiful long and sloping expanse of green. It looks pretty and leads to an efficient and fun yard, but active yards required level ground to really be enjoyed. If you want to put in a pool, patio, shed, playground equipment or just about anything, you’ll need level ground.

A simple way to fix a sloping yard is to put in a retaining wall. In this guide we’ll explain  how to build a retaining wall step by step.

Building a Retaining Wall

Building a retaining wall can be accomplished by using just about any materials you have around — railway ties, natural stone, wood, concrete, etc.

Your average DIY backyard enthusiast will want to buy preformed “stones” (usually made of concrete) to build their retaining wall. These types of “stones” are built for easy installation, usually featuring a “lip” on the rear of the stones so that they lock together with other stones blocks placed on top of them. The main result of this? No need for mortar or cement to hold them together.

These interlocking cement stones build a solid and attractive wall that stands up to the pressure from sloping ground and gives the wall that beautiful “stepped back” look that everyone wants. Also, these “stones” are built tapered from front to back, so building a more visually interesting curved walls is easier than when working with straight materials like leftover ties or natural wood.

1. Lay your fist stone in a trench prepared for your retaining wall and make sure the trench is level by levelling out the stone, both side to side and front and back.

How to Build a Retaining Wall

How to Build a Retaining Wall

2. Cut one of your concrete blocks for use later as the first block for the “starter course”. Go ahead and interlock that stone with the stone at one end of the foundation course.

3. Go all the way to the other end of your wall and lay a foundation stone to start that end. Run a long string between these two stones and check their levelness using a string level. Constantly check levels while building your retaining wall.

4. Begin laying down your second layer of wall, “interlocking” your stones with the first later, continuing to use the string as your guide for level.

5. Start to fill in your foundation trench with dirt (maybe the dirt you pulled up earlier for the trench) and start to tamp it down to make sure the foundation of the wall will hold.

6. Keep laying rows of stones, interlocking them and using a half stone to begin each second layer.

7. Once you’ve built up to your planned height, be sure to lay down some fabric or landscaping material behind the retaining wall and up the hill a few feet.

If your yard slopes less than 3 feet, you can use a simple pre-cast retaining wall like the one mentioned above. However, even if your yard has deeper slopes (more than 4 feet), you will still benefit from building a retaining wall from mortar less stones. You may need a series of retaining walls — test it yourself to see how much you need to build.

How to Build a Tree House

Treehouses are the stuff of childhood legend — what kid didn’t want to know how to build a tree house while growing up?

Having recently bought a home in a wooded area, I began to hear plenty of whining about wanting a tree house, and quickly realized what a cool construction project that would be.

Building a Tree House

While some treehouses are scarily complex, involving years of planning, plumbing systems, electricity, and other gismos, building a tree house doesn’t have to fit the Swiss Family Robinson bill.

All you need for a treehouse is a desire to build one, a supportive tree, and a few basic construction materials.

When looking for a good tree for a tree house, consider the following elements: tree height, thickness of branches, and any tree damage that may exist.

Unfortunately there is no “standard plan” for a tree house — every tree is different and requires different steps and tools. The basic idea of a treehouse is a large platform floating on top of tree branch supports usually with some comforts of home added. Make sure your treehouse design is evenly distributed weight wise and supported solidly by its own weight. Expect your finished treehouse to weigh about 700 pounds, so test your branches for support.

Tree House Framing

How to Build a Tree House

How to Build a Tree House

Your frame is the most important part of your tree house. If you build the frame ahead of time on the ground, you’ll save yourself time. Building on the ground also allows you to use power tools in your workshop rather than in the middle of the air.

If the floor surface of your tree is wide enough, you can make just about any frame you want. Use brackets to attach the uprights of the frame to the floor. Brackets make for a strong joinder, but remember that the floor will wobble a bit until you put your walls on.

The walls add lots of bracing and support and will square up even the wobbliest of frames once the walls are fit together.

Tree House Roof

Your treehouse will only be as good as its roof. All woods will survive for longer periods of time if protected from the elements — so don’t think of your roof as a treehouse “lid” — it actually extends the life of the house.

A flat roof must have a felt liner securely fastened and even sealed with a blowtorch or hot flame source. Any hole can cause a leak and ruin the treehouse. Puddles in your treehouse are no fun and will lead to a quick ruin. Be sure to paint the roof felt with a thick sealing paint. This lets water run off the roof.

Final Details

Add carpet to build a fancier treehouse or use a simple coat of paint to give it that extra “homey” feel.

Some treehouse enthusiasts who plan on camping out in their tree homes think about adding a wood burning stove. Be careful here! If fitted carefully, a wood burning stove turns a treehouse into a cabin in the woods, but be sure your stove is bolted perfectly to the floor and that you have surrounded the base of the stove with fire resistant materials in case embers or sparks fall onto your wood floor. Now that you’ve figured out how to build a tree house its time to enjoy!

How to Build a Wall in Your House

It’s nice having a large open room in your house, but you can also turn that room into a pair of private rooms, if you know how to build a wall in your house. Large open dens are nice for entertaining, but sometimes impractical, especially for people who work at home and want to have a private work area or computer room.

Adding an extra wall lets you set aside some of that space and make it yours. You’ll still be able to entertain, but you’ll have space for other pursuits. In this economy, though, most people don’t have the excess cash to be hiring a contractor.

Choose a Location

Choose the location for your new wall by assessing where the wall studs and ceiling rafter studs are in the room, because you’re going to need to follow the line of these studs when building your wall. Also, keep in mind light fixtures and windows. If your can’t draw a straight line while following the studs, without splitting the window or light fixture, consider building an L-shaped wall in the room.

Also consider where you’re doing is going to go, if you want to add a doorway to your new room.

Strip Carpet

Strip the carpet where you are going to build the wall, all the way down to wood. If you have a floating wood floor, strip it off. A hard wood floor needs no preparation.

Constructing the Wall Frame

Once you are down to solid flooring, build the bottom of your wall frame along the line you’ve chosen. Do this by adding 2×4 beams as a base for your dividing wall. Screw the beams in to make them secure, with 2 long nails or screws every 12″ along the line of the wall.

Adding Vertical Support Beams

Once this is done, place slots along the base of your frame large enough to insert vertical support beams, which are also 2×4’s. Remember to screw these vertical beams into studs in the ceiling, in order to make your wall secure.

The slots for your support beams add extra support where the beams most need it. You build these slots by stacking three short pieces of 2×4, three on either side of the beam, just wide enough to slide and fasten a vertical beam into it. Screw in the stacked short pieces of 2×4.

Repeat this process along the length of the wall, hammering nails diagonally to secure the beams. Place these beams every 16″ along the length of the wall.

Ceiling 2×4’s – Mirror Your Wall Frame

How to Build a Wall in Your House

How to Build a Wall in Your House

After this, you’ll want to nail sections of 2×4 to your ceiling directly above the bottom wall frame. Whereever you have wall frame along the floor, mirror that will 2×4’s on the ceiling. Make similar slots directly above the floor slots. Use long screws, to make sure you hit the ceiling studs.

Make sure you don’t hit any wiring in the ceiling as you insert your screws. Once these are finished, secure your vertical beams into the slots on top and bottom.

Test for Stability

Once you reach this point, test your construct to see if it’s stable. If not, add more beams, or add extra nails, wood glue and screws, to secure what you have already built. Find the weak spots and address those concerns first.

Add Drywall Boards

Nail drywall to your vertical stud beams and the frames at the top and bottom of your construction. This is why you want studs at 16″ intervals, because your standard 48″ drywall sheets should fit conveniantly along your construction.

When you have the panels up, cover the seams between panels with either sheetrock tape or duct tape, to make sure there are gaping cracks in your wall for water or small animals to creep. Continue along the length of the wall on one side, cutting drywall panels to fit your wall, if needed.

Add Insulation

After you have one side of the drywall completed, add insulation to the interior of the wall structure. This helps with heating and cooling concerns, but also reduces noice from one room to the next.

Add Panels to the Other Side of the Wall

Once you’ve filled the wall with insulation, add drywall panels to the other wall, doing just as you did on the other side of the wall. Remember that plywood works instead of drywall panels for many rooms, but don’t choose plywood for water-intensive rooms like kitchens, utility rooms and bathrooms.

Painting Your New Walls

When painting your newly constructed walls, add a coat of primer, then paint with interior paint. If you prefer, add wallpaper. Add trim to the base of your wall in both rooms, while repairing any sections of the floor you had to tear out.

The painting, trimming and repairing part of wall construction lets you create the illusion that the wall was there all along, so don’t knock off work before you do a convincing job incorporating your new wall into the old house.

Building House Walls

Building house walls seems like a daunting task, but once you learn how to build a wall in your house by breaking it down into its component parts, there’s no step in the process that’s too difficult for someone with a few handyman skills.

How to Build a Deck

Completing a deck project requires a lot of steps, but none of those steps in how to build a deck are that insurmountable. Once you build your own addition to the house, you’ll want to show it off to the neighbors and family, because you should have a sense of accomplishment in finishing a wood deck.

Building Deck Steps – Design

The first building deck steps begin with deck design. Keep in mind a number of factors when designing your deck. Water drainage is key, because you want water to run off your wooden deck. If not, that becomes a huge problem, so you want your deck elevated somewhat, but install railing for a deck more than 36″ off the ground.

Beginning deck builders should use simple materials, such as composite decking material, dimensional lumber and good hardware. Consider pressure treated lumber as an option, but be prepared to deal with excessive sawdust.

Finally, determine the amount of climate and temperature factors you need to factor in. If you live up north, evaluate frost line and damage from soil expansion and contraction. If you live in a place like Texas, keep in mind similar problems brought on from extended periods of 100 degree heat.

Get a Building Permit

Many local building authorities require residents to submit a building plan for a project like a wooden deck. When submitting such a design for a building permit, include rough structure plans and the distance from the property lines. One advantage of this step is that you get profession feedback on your deck plan.

Setting the Ledger

Set the deck ledger against the house wall, attaching the ledger with lag screws. Make sure you this against a flat surface. Use shims to create a flat surface, instead of removing house siding (which causes leaks).

Install Flashing

Install flashing between your wood and the house. If you have stucco, skip this step.

Layout the Vertical Surface

Prepare the ground you’re building on for construction, by setting a string between all four corners of the proposed deck. Your deck surface needs to be square and level, then define where your vertical supports need to go. Make sure your layout is square using basic math.

That is, use the Pythagorean theorem, where A-squared x B-squared = C-squared. You may be running for the hills when I say that, but it’s nothing to get freaked out about. Here’s why.

Once you have your lines marking off your deck surface, measure 3 feet along one line and 4 feet along the other. Mark both points. Then measure directly between those points, so you have measure the lines of a triangle. If this comes out to 5 feet, your layout is squared. If not, keep working with it, until it is on every corner.

Concrete Footings – Check Deck Footings

How to Build a Deck

How to Build a Deck

Have the building authority inspect your property for foundation concerns. Remember to dig for footings below the frost line, to keep the deck from shifting during freeze cycles.

Cast concrete footings in the ground. After you do this, attach concrete piers on the top, which are there to hold the posts.

Let the footings set for a week before continuing with the project.

Test the Plumb (Depth)

Check for plumb by cutting a post longer than needed, the setting it in post anchor. Once inside, mark the plumb with a line level. Make sure this mark is the same height as the bottom of your proposed joists (support beams).

If your joist is going to sit on a beam set on your post, remember to subject the height of that beam, then mark and cut that beam.

Secure Posts

Once you have this measured, set the post in the mooring and secure it. Do the same for all your posts, but remember to mark and cut each of them separately, because they’re likely to have height variations.

Secure Beams

Either bolt or nail your beams into place. Attach who many ever joists or braces you need. Add rim joists, while making certain they are square. These are the boards you’ll be nailing your deck to, so squaring them is important.

Mark a Ledger

Your ledger is a length of board horizontally attached to the side of your house, which is meant to hold up that edge of your deck. Starting at one edge, mark the joist locations along your ledger. Use a scrap piece of lumber to take marks off your ledger, then transfer those marking to the beam of wood opposite your ledger. This should keep things squared.

Fasten the Joists in Place

One you add joist hangers, fasten the joists in place. Remember to keep the bowed side of the joists face up. Add blocking, if you don’t think the structure is stable enough.

At this point, set posts for any overheads, benches or railing that are in place. Install any railing that go through the deck. Install any plumbing or wiring that goes underneath the deck.

Add Finish to the Foundation

Once this is done, add any protective finishes you believe the underside of your deck will need. The bottom of a deck is going to be a moist, dark place, so adding a protective finish should help maintain the foundation of the deck.

Lay the Decking Boards

Cut your decking boards to the proper length. Starting with the ledger, lay them across the joists. Remember to keep the convex side of the board up, because this is more attractive.

If you’re going to err, let the boards run long. This can be adjusted later. One their are in place, nail or screw the boards to the outer beams and joists. Decide whether you want spacing between the boards, or you want them flush.

Prepare for Final Board

Set aside a slimmer or a wider board for your final board, to plan ahead. As you approach the end of the deck, try to gauge which boards are going to fit best on your deck.

Once finished with this part, cut the longer boards to make them uniform.

Railings and Stairs

Complete the deck with any outer railings or stairs. Add benches and other amenities, as needed. On the outer part of your deck, add protective finishes you deem necessary.

Deck Building Tips

Building a deck has several tricky steps and there’s a lot of terminology you won’t encounter in your normal day, but you can learn how to build a deck, if you don’t mind a little work, a little math and maintain your patience. Follow these deck building tips, don’t get frustrated by any obstacles or setbacks, and you’ll have a deck on your house in no time.

How to Build a Roof

Building a roof on a house can be a complicated, time-consuming and difficult process. Don’t get any illusions that roof building isn’t work. But if you’re wanting to build a pitch roof for your shed or other standing structure on your property, there’s no reason why you can’t learn how to build a roof and do it yourself.

Roofing Guide

In this roofing guide we’ll outline all the steps necessary for building a roof.

Choose the Type of Roof

Select which type of roof you want to add. The most common choices are slanted roofs, hip roofs and double pitch roofs.

Use Software to Design the Roof

You’re better off using software to design your roof, if nothing else to get a basic idea of how much material to buy and where to begin.

Here are several options to help you get started. Figuring the pitch without some kind of pitch calculator can be a nightmare for amateurs.

Measure the Dimensions to be Roofed

How to Build a Roof

How to Build a Roof

Before you can begin calculating your roof dimensions, you’ll need to measure the dimensions of the structure you want to roof. Once you have these numbers, plug them into the software to get your calculations.

Once you have your roof calculator work done, print it out to get an idea of the material you need, as well as a printout of the what the finished roof is supposed to look like.

Purchase Materials

Now that you have your calculations, decide how much material you need and purchase building materials. Once you have the materials on site, you’ll be ready to start the roof project.

Cut Main Frame Pieces

Start by cutting the main frame pieces of your roof. Assemble these pieces one-by-one. Try the first one for size, before you cut all your lumber. Make adjustments from this cut rafter piece.

Once you have your pieces cut, assemble the rafters.

Keep in mind you’ll need an assistant for the roofing part of this project. Getting help is a key factor.

Add Braces to the Rafters

When you have the rafters finished, add braces in key locations along the rafter framework. You want these bracers perpendicular to the rafters, so they fit in-between each of your rafters to add stability.

Cover the Rafters

Next, cover your rafters with plywood and tar paper. As you do this, mark parallel lines on your tar paper with chalk. Marking lines on the tar paper is essential for shingle placement later.

Shingle the Roof

Nail shingle onto the roof starting at the bottom of the roof, working up to the peak of the roof. Your shingles need to overhang your plywood by 3/4″ on the bottom and sides of your roof. Work one row at a time, from bottom to top of the roof, all the way across the face of your roof.

Building a Roof

Building a roof is a job, so be considerate to the helpers on your roofing project. Once you know how to calculate the pitch of your roof, you know how to build a roof. After that, it’s a matter of having the patience and energy to get on the roof and do the work needed.

Remember to be careful on the roof and on ladders, because you’re going to be significantly off the ground. Also be careful using any power tools you use while roofing.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

Laminate offers a low maintenance options that is a lot easier to install than hardwood flooring, so figuring out how to install laminate flooring lets you refurbish your home without an independent contractor. Installing a laminated floor isn’t so hard that you need professional help.

Buying Your Laminate Flooring

When purchasing your laminate flooring, measure your flooring to determine how much material you need. Measure the corners, closets and other cut-out spaces of the floor.

When making your purchase, overshoot when you buy material. Buy 10% to 20% more material that you think your need, according to your measurements. You’ll find some of the laminate are going to be discolored, while you’ll probably have some pieces that are damaged from mistakes you make. Whatever extra you have left over should be saved to replace damage spots of the floor.

Acclimate the Flooring to the House

Once you get your laminate home, open it and let it sit for 2-3 days, to let the floor panels acclimate to your home. If you don’t, your floors can buckle.

Before you start, remove all furniture from your room and remove any shoe molding from the floor.

Test the Laminate Flooring

Lay out your laminate flooring to see what it looks like on the floor, as well as testing which pieces look damaged. This lets you replace pieces.

Before you get ready, gather all your materials you’ll need to lay your flooring.

Lay Your Moisture Barrier

The first step is to place your moisture barrier over your floor. This sits on top of your sub-floor and is a foam material. Place this part tight on the floor, getting rid of the wrinkles.

Don’t let the foam overlap. Tape pieces together, if you need to.

Start on the Prominent Wall

Lay board starting on the most prominent wall in your room. Leave a little bit of space between the board and the wall, using wood spacers or plastic. Put the groove side of the panel facing the prominent wall.

Interlock the Laminate Panels

Attach the next board on the one you just places, according to the instructions on the laminate package. Tap with a rubber mallet to make sure the board snap together, if they don’t easily snap together. Continue doing so, until you reach the other wall.

Cutting the Wall Pieces

When you reach the other side of the room, you probably are going to need to cut the final piece along the opposite wall with a mitre saw or jigsaw. Start your next row of panels, when you’re finished.

Start the Next Row

Start your next row of laminate boarding adjacent to where you started the first row. Proceed across the room the way you did with the first row. Continue each row until you reach the far side of the room.

Add Shoe Molding

When you’re finished, add shoe molding to cover the gap between the wall and the boards. Use caulking compound to fill any other small cracks along the wall. Choose a caulking compound that is the closest color to the laminate panels you chose.

Installing Laminate Flooring

You’ll eventually finish the paneling job by putting laminate in the nooks, corners and closets off the room you’re flooring. Now you’ve learned how to install laminate flooring step by step in your home.

How to Build a Picnic Table and Benches

If you want to have a picnic table for cookouts and family get-together events, you don’t want to have to buy an expensive store-bought picnic table. Instead, learn how to build a picnic table and benches of your own, to save money you can use for one of those picnics.

To start with, your best option is to select 2×4 lumber to build your picnic table with benches. These are your main lumber options when building a picnic table and wooden benches.

Lumber Options

Picking Out Two-by-Fours

Pick out the fourteen straightest pieces of 10-foot pieces of 2×4 lumber you can find at the store. You’ll turn these 10 2×4’s into the various legs, supports and connectors. Before you cut this lumber into a pieces, you’ll want to mark them, so you know where to cut and what you’re cutting.

How to Build a Picnic Table and Benches

How to Build a Picnic Table and Benches

Also, buy enough 2 & 1/2″ weatherized wood screws to complete the project. Once you have your lumber, here are the cuts you need to make to assemble your table.

This should leave you with a number of scrap pieces of 2×4: three 15″ pieces, two 14″ pieces, two 17″ pieces, two 18″ pieces, one 26″ piece and one 90″ piece. From these, you’ll need to eight 15 & 1/2″ pieces and four 12″ pieces of lumber.

H – 8 Bench Legs – Cut five 15 & 1/2″ pieces of 2×4 for your bench legs from your two 17″ pieces, two 18″ pieces and one 26″ piece. Then cut your remaining three 15 and 1/2″ pieces from your remaining 90″ piece of 2×4.
I – 4 Bench Supports – Finally, cut your four 12″ bench supports from the three 15″ pieces you have left, as well as the remaining 45″ of lumber you have left. This should give you everything you need from your 14 pieces of 2×4 lumber.

You’ll want to mitre saw (parallel cuts) on both ends the 2 braces (D), so these braces fit right. You’ll also need to mitre saw (undercuts) on both ends the top supports (E) at 45-degree angles, so you can attach them in a support position.

  1. Assemble a bench leg (H piece) to a bench support (I piece) so they form a “U” shape. Do the same to the other 3 bench supports.
  2. Assemble a table leg (G piece) to a top support (E piece) so they form a “U” shape. Attach the G-piece at the shorter end of the mitre cut. Do the same with another table leg and top support.
  3. Assemble the top support bracket (E piece) to an (F piece) so the outer edge is 20″ from the end of the connector.
  4. Secure a bench support bracket at both ends of the E piece, but make certain the pieces are flush.
  5. You need have both ends, so you can stand the two ends up as they would normally stand. Set the about 3′ from one another. This is a step having an assistant probably helps.
  6. Secure a 33″ connector (C piece) between each of the bench support brackets (I), which accounts for two of these C pieces. Attach the third C piece between the two E pieces.
  7. Make sure the picnic table/benches you’re building is at this point square. One you do this, attach each of the braces (D or 34″ inch pieces) to the center of the C pieces. You should be fitting the other end of the angled cuts on this piece, which should fit squarely at this point.
  8. Now it’s time to assemble the 6 bench slats, with 3 on either side. Place 3 60″ slats on each side of your bench assembly. Space them evenly and parallel, then use screw to hold them firm.
  9. Finally, add you tabletop pieces. Lay out your 72″ slats equidistant from one another on the top of the table brackets. Make sure the ends line up and attach with screws.

Building a Picnic Table with Benches

That’s how to build a picnic table and benches. There are a lot of pieces and some squaring you need to be certain about. Otherwise, all you have to do is select good lumber, making firm cuts with the saw and screw the picnic apparatus together. No one should ever know you didn’t buy it in a store, unless you decide to brag about your handiwork.

How to Install a Garage Door

Understanding how to install a garage door is as much a matter of safety as anything else. Garage door installation isn’t hard, but because you are working with springs under tension, the job can be dangerous. That’s especially true if you’re replacing your old garage door with a newer model.

Because of these safety concerns, I’m going to assume you are reinstalling a garage door, instead of starting from scratch. If you are installing a garage door from scratch, skip the first two directions and move on to “Installing a Garage Door”.

Removing the Old Garage Door

If your old garage door has springs, raise the door and block the door. Once you have it in this position, unhook springs on both sides, one by one. Once you have the springs removed, lower the door, but do so carefully, because the weight can force it down in an out of control fashion.

Removing a Torsion Bar

How to Install a Garage Door

How to Install a Garage Door

If your garage door has a torsion bar instead of springs, put the garage door down. Hold the spring with both bars, while loosening the set screws. Start to reverse the spring tension slows with both bars.

Once this is done, take the top wheel holders off, then the top set of hinges. Next, remove the top panel of the torsion bar. Then you’ll be able to remove the second pair of hinges. Remove the next panel.

You’ll do this same thing one more time. Remove the next set of hinges. Remove that panel. Then you should be able to remove the lower wheel holders on the torsion bar. This should bring the entire door out.

Inspect the wheel rails to see if they are in working fashion. If so, you can use them for the next door. This makes your job a lot easier.

Installing a Garage Door

This is going to be the reverse of what you did before: put the first panel in the hole, with the wheels in the end hinges. The bottom wheel holders should slide into place, following the motion of the door panel.

Proceed in the same way with each panel, until you have all panels installed. Remember to put hinges on with each panel. Once you finish the last panel, but the top wheel holders onto the rig.

Hooking up the Springs

Bring the garage door up to its raised position. Block the hook-up cables to keep the door stabilized.

Next, run the spring cable around the pulley and then through the pulley on the spring, hooking into the track angle iron. Repeat on the other side with the other spring.

Installing a Torsion Bar

When installing a torsion bar, leave your door down for the installation procedure. Put a vise grip onto the shaft to hold the shaft in place. Check the end drums to make sure the door rolls correctly.

Next, wind the torsion bar with both winding bars. Wind until you have the bar at the proper tension, then set the tension screws. Remember to put the safety cable through the tension springs. Test the door to see if it works and troubleshoot anything that seems out of place, now that you know how to install a garage door.

Installing a Garage Door

If you’ve never installed a garage door yourself, be careful of springs under pressure. Consider having a more experienced family member or neighbor on hand to help you the first time you do this, so you know how to install a garage door safely. This isn’t a hard job, but you have to keep an eye on what you’re doing and maintain a healthy respect of the danger of springs.

How to Build a Putting Green in Your Backyard

Building a putting green is going to help you improve your short game in golf, but you might not know that practice putting greens also add value to your property. So learning how to build a putting green from this online tutorial is not only going to take strokes off your score, but let you cut costs in adding value to your home’s retail value.

You don’t have to be a master greenskeeper to know how to build a putting green in your backyard, either. Between putting green kits and options ranging from synthetic putting surfaces to a variety of special grass options, you can design your own golf hole made to order, without costing thousands of dollars. Once you have your own private recreational putt surface, you can practice with the putter every day after work and greatly improve the trickiest, touchiest part of any amateaur golfer’s game.

Select a Shape for Your Green

Look over your property and decide how much room you have to play with. This helps you determine how many putting greens are feasible, while giving you an idea for the shape of your green. You probably want putting surfaces that offer different challenges, or one single putting surface with a challenge or two.

That is, you want to be able to practice straight-in putting on a flat surface, but you probably want to practice putting up, down and across an incline, too. Luckily, one hole helps you do all of that. Selected the size of the green is important, because you can only practice putts the lengths of your green, so determine how long of a putt you want to practice.

Find a Level Location

The basic wish for most golfers is practicing their golf stroke or putting stroke under optimal conditions, with the idea that they can reproduce that swing under less than optimal conditions later. So if you are installing one hole, you probably want to install a flat surface on your green, so you can hone your ability to judge distances and perfect a smooth stroke.

If you are building one hole, find a level part of your back yard and make this your green. Even a slight grade is going to wreak havoc with golf shots, so find the most level portion of your yard to place this green. Once you do, clear the area around that spot to set aside that size landscape for your green.

Sketch an Outline

Using either landscape spray paint or masonry chalk, sketch an outline of your putting green as a point of reference. Take a long hard look at the outline and decide if this is where you want your putting surface.

Drainage is Important

Drainage is key in getting a pristine putting surface. This means your green needs to be raised slightly above the rest of your yard. You don’t want water pouring from some other portion of the yard onto your green, anytime it rains.

Add Sand to the Surface

How to Build a Putting Green in Your Backyard

How to Build a Putting Green in Your Backyard

To help with drainage, you need to add sand content to the soil, to soak up water. Some people who want to go all-out end up bringing in a sand base. Others use compacted crushed gravel with limestone or stone dust added on top, to help drainage issues.

This is an important step. If you want that sculpted, manicured look that golf course greens have, you want to study up and choose the right surface. This may cost some money, too.

Choose a Turf

To have a smooth carpeting, you need a grass with fine blades. Read about Tifgreen and Tifdwarf and see if either of these are feasible for your landscaping skills and budget. If not, Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescue are options.

If you want that professional look, you’ll want to go with sodding or plugs. If that’s too intensive for you and you could care less about professional quality putting surfaces, continue apace by landscaping the lawn you already have. If so, remember to pay attention to drainage issues and add something to help your soil soak up water.

Cut Grass Often – Water Grass Often

To have a perfect putting surface, you’ll need to cut your grass often and water consistently. Skimp on either of these and your putting green won’t look like the putting surface you want.

Artificial is a Good Alternative

If all of that sounds like an immense pain or a waste of money, consider using artificial turf for your backyard putting green. The turf is going to cost a little, but it’s a one-time expense and is a realistic alternative.

Building the green is much easier with artificial grass. Maintenance is a hundred times easier. Pay attention to the soil underneath artificial lawn, though, because this helps keep your green in the shape you want it.

Dig Holes for Your Backyard Green

Dig a 4-inch hole for your green. Glue a cup into your hole with fast-drying concrete. Some people buy a hole cutter (low cost $125) and move their hole around every once in a while, moving the cup along with it. Decide whether that price is worth it, but I couldn’t find a less expensive option on eBay in a quick search, though Amazon had a golf hole cutter for just over $120.

Building a Backyard Putting Green

Once you know how to build a putting green in your backyard, you can show your envious neighbors how to do the same. Or better yet, don’t tell anyone until next spring, when you can show off your new, improved short game to your buddies at your favorite golf course.

How to Build a Guitar

Before you learn how to build a guitar it is important that you are able to play one. Without any knowledge of how to play a guitar it will be very difficult for you to understand how to build a guitar and all the elements involved, let alone to tune the guitar once finished. You also need to know what size suits you best, what you feel most comfortable with and how long the neck needs to be in order to suit your playing hand. It is necessary to spend some time learning about how a guitar actually works before building one. This need not be an in-depth analyse of each element, just a basic understanding will be sufficient.

Making Guitars

We begin making guitars by first choosing your wood. Obviously this needs to be hard wearing but also fairly light. After all, don’t forget this guitar is going to spend a lot of time on you knee and you also need to be able to carry it.

Designing and Building a Guitar Body

How to Build a Guitar

How to Build a Guitar

You must first decide the design of your guitar, the shape of the body and length of the neck. Draw out two identical shapes for the body of your hand made guitar and cut out with a circular saw. Once they have been cut, lay one on top of the other to ensure they are identical. Now choose which piece is going to be the front of your guitar and cut out a whole in the middle, which will allow the noise to reverberate inside the guitar, producing the sound you desire.

It is now time to secure both pieces together. You need some flexi-wood that looks normal on one side but on the underside holds lots of groves allowing the wood to bend. Using flexi-wood removes any difficulty in attaching the two sides of the body. Attach the top of the flexi-wood to the front piece of the guitar and the parallel corner to the back piece of the guitar. Feed the flexi-wood all the way to the edge of the guitar, secure it with small nails, or opt for wood friendly glue.

Building the Guitar Neck

The neck should be on a thicker piece of wood than the body of your guitar. You can make it as long as you think you will feel comfortable with. Midway up the neck glue another piece of wood, preferably in a different colour to the rest of the guitar.

Attaching the Neck

The neck needs to be secured onto the body of the guitar. This can either be done with wood friendly glue or nails, the choice is yours. However, do make sure that you are 100% happy with the location of your neck before you fasten it into place.

Guitar Strings

It is advisable to take your new guitar into a music shop for attaching the strings and heads onto the neck as it is a very complicated and difficult process.

How to Build a Rabbit Hutch

Rabbits need somewhere to live that not only keeps them safe from the elements such as rain, snow or heat, but also from unwanted wildlife such as foxes. Learning how to build a rabbit hutch is surprisingly easy, simply follow the six steps below:

Deciding How Large Your Rabbit Hutch Needs to Be

First you will need to decide how big your rabbit hutch needs to be depending on how many rabbits you are intending on housing. The minimum size of the cage should be approximately four or five times the size of the rabbit.

Building Rabbit Hutches

Now that you’re ready to begin building rabbit hutches, you will need several 2×4 boards. Cut four boards to 48” long and eight to 24”. Make sure you nail the 24” to the last 2” of the 48” pieces. Make a rectangle using two of the 48” boards and two 24” boards.

Next, nail 24″ board to each corner of the frame. The boards should point upward toward the ceiling. Nail the boards so that the 4″ widths are facing you from each of the four corners. Now you will need to nail the remaining 24” and 48” onto the top of the up facing boards. You should end up with a rectangular cuboid.

Attaching Walls to the Rabbit Hutch

How to Build a Rabbit Hutch

How to Build a Rabbit Hutch

Cut two 2” square pieces of 3×4″ plywood and attach these to the square ends of the hutch with nails. Make sure that the nails are at regular intervals to ensure that the sides are secure.

Cut three rectangular pieces of plywood to 24″x48″ and nail them to the back, top and bottom of the hutch.

Building the Door

Cut two lengths of 1″x2″ board to 46″ each. Cut two lengths of the same board to 24″ each. Attach the 24″ lengths to the ends of the 46″ boards to form a rectangle of 46″x24″.

Cut a piece of plywood to 23″x 24″. Nail the plywood to the right half of the 1″x2″ rectangle. Cut a piece of chicken wire to 23″ x24″. Nail or staple the chicken wire to the right half of the rectangular door.

Attach the hinges to the 46″ long top of the door. Attach the other ends of the hinges to the 2″x4″x48″ board that faces the front and the door of the cage will swing upwards. Attach the hook and eye latching mechanism.

Adding the Legs

Turn the cage upside down. To the corners of the 2″x4″ frame, nail 48″ long 2″x4″s so that they reach upward toward the sky. Be sure that the legs are of equal length, so that the cage sits evenly on the ground.

Finishing Touches

Now that you know how to build a rabbit hutch, it’s time to consider some finishing touches. Staining or painting the outside of the hutch is recommended, not only so that it will look more attractive but also to protect the wood and ensure the hutch lasts much longer. It may also be advisable to make a partition with a hole big enough for the rabbit to fit through.

How to Build a Mousetrap Car

If you’ve reached this page it’s likely that you’ve been wondering how to build a mousetrap car. The steps are simple and only require a few supplies. Keep reading to learn more about how to build a mousetrap car.

Building a Mousetrap Car

The first step in building a mousetrap car is creating a chassis, which will be the supporting frame and act as a base for the mousetrap. It needs to be approximately one inch wider and longer than the mousetrap base. It will also hold the wheels that will be added to create the car design. The chassis will need pre-drilled holes where the currently inactive mousetrap is to be secured. Once these are done, pre-drill matching holes in the mouse trap base, align the two and secure the mousetrap onto the chassis.

Adding Your Wheels

You need to choose a lightweight material to build the wheels for your mousetrap car, these can range from old CD’s, light foam material or shop bought toy wheels. The axle you use needs to be selected with the size of your wheels in mind. Also ensure that you use a rubber material, e.g. rubber bands, as a thread.

To attach the wheels drill four holes, one in each corner of the chassis approximately one inch from the mousetrap base. In each of these corners attach an eyehook, which will act as the support for the axle.

The axle needs to be made out of a sturdy and straight pole; this can either be doweling, a plastic rod or a metal pole. After the axle has been secured on the eyehooks, it is time to fasten the wheels into place. Make sure that your wheels sit equally on each axle and secure with a stopper to prevent them from moving. The stopper can be made out of anything from blue tack to sticky tape.

Driver String

How to Build a Mousetrap Car

How to Build a Mousetrap Car

You will require approximately ten to eleven inches of string to control your mousetrap car. Attach one end of the string to the rear axle (the rear axle is the one closest to the coil on the mousetrap). Check the string is securely fastened and re-measure the string. Remove any string left over after nine inches. Now attach the other end of the string to the arm bar of the currently inactive mousetrap.

Watch Your Mousetrap Car Go

It is now time to wind the rest of the string around the rear axle, however try not to do it too tight as this will prevent the mousetrap car reaching maximum speed. After a while you will need to attach the arm bar of the mousetrap to ensure all of the string is used up with little slack.

Using an instrument other than your hand, e.g. a pencil or spoon, set your mousetrap car in motion. Simply use your chosen appliance to activate the trap and watch it go.

Customize Your Mousetrap Car

It is possible to attach a motorised engine to your car to provide indefinite action. To do this, buy from a shop a car or train that contains a motorised engine. Remove the engine and attach to your mousetrap car. Alternatively, you can paint your chassis and trap, add glue in the dark accessories or attach the trap underneath the chassis to provide a leaver action on impact.

How to Build a Pole Barn

Whether you live an agricultural lifestyle or your shed is simply too small, a pole barn is one of the easiest and most useful outdoor structures to build. In order to teach you how to build a pole barn and provide extra space for your garden we’ve provided the steps listed below.

Building a Pole Barn Step by Step

In order to start build a pole barn step by step, first you need to pick the right location. The perfect location for a pole barn needs to be on levelled and well drained ground. If the soil retains too much water for too long the surface will be unsafe. After finding the right location you need to decide whether you are going to use metal or wooden poles and how tall your pole barn is going to be. Another point of consideration is how long you want your pole barn. With these two elements considered, the amount of poles needed must be calculated. To ensure that the pole barn is stable, each pole must be a maximum of 9 inches apart. Once all these plans have been made it is time to begin building your barn.

Step One

How to Build a Pole Barn

How to Build a Pole Barn

Lay out your poles on the floor to ensure that your structure is sound. It is now time for the most time consuming element of this construction and that is to dig an 18 inch hole at the foot of each pole. Obviously the intended size of the pole barn will determine how many holes you will need to dig. After the holes have been dug, place one pole in each. To guarantee maximum stability fill the holes with a concrete mixture.

Step Two

Securely set stringers on the top of each pole in order to bear the weight of each truss. Your first truss will be the most difficult and may require a few people to help. Once this first truss is in place it will be far easier to install the others as they can then be braced against the existing ones.

Step Three

After the trussing is complete you are now ready to construct your roof. The most advisable material to use for your pole barn roof is metal sheeting. Secure each sheet using appropriate nails. Ensure that you slightly overlap each sheet to prevent any leakage during rain or snow. Apply a water-resistant hard wearing sealant on the overlapping sections to guarantee the installation is durable.

Step Four

The walls of your pole barn are the final element to install. Decide how far up the poles your walls are going to reach and buy the appropriate amount of material, whether metal or wood. Before securing the panels to the original poles it is best to install some other kind of support. This can be either an extra support pole also concreted into the ground, or a supporting panel nailed from pole to pole to attach the walls. Once you have carried out this task you are free to complete the pole barn by attaching the walls.

How to Build a Rocket from Scratch

Knowing how to build a rocket from scratch and launching it can be very exciting and yet surprisingly simple.

Building a Rocket

Below are some simple steps to get you started building a rocket.

Rocket Equipment

When building a rocket from scratch you will need some computer paper, a 35mm film canister, clear sellotape, scissors, paper towels, water and Alka-Seltzer tablets (an aspirin tablet containing bicarbonate and citric acid that react when dissolved in water to create carbon dioxide gas).

Making Your Rocket

How to Build a Rocket from Scratch

How to Build a Rocket from Scratch

In order to build your rocket, take a piece of paper, fold length-ways and cut in half. You will only need one half for the rocket. Now fold the paper in half width ways and then the lower half into half again. This should leave you with a half and two quarters folded into the paper. Now cut along all of the folds, reserving the larger piece for the body of the rocket, a quarter for the nose and the other quarter for the fins. Fold one of the quarters in half and then diagonally, this will leave four triangles to be cut out. Take the other quarter and draw a circle, marking the centre and two lines at right angles from one another. Cut the circle out and the quarter you have marked.

In order to build your rocket you will need to roll the large piece of paper around the film canister into a tube shape, making sure that you can easily get to the canisters lid. Shape the semi-circle into a cone shape and attach to the top of the rocket and the fins to the bottom.

Setting Your Rocket Off

After building your rocket and admiring your handy work for a moment or two, you can now set it off. Turn the rocket upside down, filling the film canister three quarters full with water. Next you will need to quickly drop an Alka-Seltzer tablet into the canister closing the lid tightly and stand the rocket upright before waiting for the spectacular launch.

Alternatives to Building a Rocket

Alternatively you could build a rocket from scratch using a two litre water bottle, a cork and a bicycle or basketball pump. First, clean the bottle and remove the label and any remaining glue. Fill the bottle one third full with water and push the cork into the neck of the bottle; this must be tight but not impossible to remove. Carefully push the pumps needle valve through the cork until you can see the tip through the inside of the bottle; this may be very difficult to do and may even require a drill. Cut a small hole in the bottom side of a plastic cup which will act as the rocket base. Push the air pipe through the hole in the cup and attach the needle valve to the cork, placing the bottle into the cup with the cork-end facing the floor. Next, pump air into the bottle but be aware that the rocket will launch at surprising speed and will shoot out a great deal of water so stand back.

How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

Many home owners are seeking to know how to build an outdoor fireplace. Not only does an outdoor fire place add value to the property but also creates a central point for parties and outdoor gatherings. However, building an outdoor fireplace can appear to be a huge project and therefore deter people from taking on the task.

Building Outdoor Fireplaces

By following these simple steps you will see how building outdoor fireplaces is not that difficult, turning your garden into the talking point of all the BBQ’s this summer.


It is sensible to check with your local Council that there are no restrictions in place before installing your outdoor fireplace, in terms of burning personal waste. After clarifying that there are no problems, carefully choose a location for your outdoor fireplace. Your chosen location needs to be a significant distance away from your home in case of any hazards, and from any other structures that could burn due to stray sparks which escaping from the fire.

You also need to ensure your outdoor seating is far away from your intended outdoor fire, so that your guests and family members are well out of harms way and there will be no risk of the outdoor furniture catching alight.


How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace

You must first prepare the area where you intend to build your outdoor fireplace. Clear all planting, garden decorations and fallen leaves, etc. Next create a secure and level platform out of concrete for the fireplace to sit on. In order to add to the outdoor fireplace’s aesthetic appeal, board the concrete platform with decorative tiles to your personal preference. However, do take in to consideration their durability with the outside elements. For example, once a mirrored tile has cracked it will not have the same pleasing effect.


It is far easier to install a prefabricated fireplace, and a lot safer than constructing it all from scratch. Prefabricated fireplaces come with full details as to how they should be installed. They are very similar to indoor fireplaces, the only difference being that they require a damper. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure a safe working fire.


It is a complete personal choice as to how high you build the chimney, however it is recommended that the opening for the fireplace is built slightly lower in order to improve draft. A chimney pot can be placed on top of the chimney tower to improve the appearance of your outdoor fireplace and add to the overall height.

Added detail

After the basic structure has been constructed and the prefabricated fireplace successfully installed, you are free to add bricks and blocks at your pleasure to create the effect you desire. When painting the fireplace you need to take extra care if not choosing coloured cement or concrete as an alternative. Coloured cement is far more hard wearing and weather resistant than paint, making it the most cost effective method.

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

With global warming our summers are becoming hotter and with air conditioning being such an expensive solution, many households are seeking help for how to install a ceiling fan in order keep their homes cool. Some people may think that you need to be an electrician to install something that looks so impressive, but this is not the case.

Ceiling Fan Installation

As long as you are careful and follow these five ceiling fan installation steps, you’ll have a cooler and more stylish home in no time.

Step one

The first step you need to take is to ensure that the power is switched off or else you will be on your way to A&E rather than installing the ceiling fan. Once this has been taken care of, completely remove the original model and disconnect the electrical wires. Ensure that you safely dispose of your previous fixture by taking it to the local skip.

Remove all the packaging from your new ceiling fan and ensure that you have all the correct parts that you need. Before installing, ensure that there is plenty of room of the blades to spin around. If the space is not clear this is an issue you will need to address.

Step two

It is now time to start installing your ceiling fan. Fasten the mounting bracket to the electrical box in the ceiling. You must ensure that all of your screws are extremely tight as the last thing you want is for the fan to come flying off the ceiling.

Step three

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

In order to make the wiring installation easier, use the ‘working hook’ (usually provided on the mounting bracket). This enables you to concentrate purely on the most technical part of this installation. Keep extra wiring out of your way by pushing it up into the electrical box. The easier the wiring process can be made the better.

If you are not sure about the wiring process, either ask a friend or read up about it online. There are simple rules to follow and so five minutes of research should solve this problem.

Step four

Now attach the fan motor onto the mounting bracket. Once this is done, place the decorative motor cover over the top to make certain a more aesthetically pleasing fan. With this done you can attach each fan blade onto the mounting bracket. As this can be quite a fiddly job, you will probably do best to ask a few people to help you out. It is now time to turn on the power and check that your handy work has been a success.

Step five

Turn on the power. Test the fan at every setting in order to fully ensure that it does not become unstable at any speed. You also need to check that the fan does not make any excessive noise. If you find that there is a problem it is best to work backwards and double check that you have done everything correctly.

How to Wire a House

Understanding how to wire a house can appear to be a very daunting and time consuming task, and calling out an electrician might seem the safest bet. However, this can work out to be very expensive and, in a time when saving money is the key priority, may seem a tad extravagant, especially when by following these four simple steps, you could do it yourself.

House Electrical Wiring

In order to being house electrical wiring, you need to have a central point in which all your wires run from. The ideal location will either be in your basement or in the cupboard under your stairs. It is most appropriate to place it next to your other electrical furnishings, for example the fuse box. However, do make sure that there is plenty of room in case you need to add any electrical panels.

Also ensure that you have the right safety wear, for example, safety goggles and protective gloves.

Step One

How to Wire a House

How to Wire a House

Install conduit, which is a piece of plastic piping through your home before any electrical wire. Not only will the conduit make your installation process easier but it will also protect the wires and keep them organised. As the central passage of wiring will be thicker due to the amount of wires, it is advisable to use large diameter tubing and then more narrow tubes for the veins that sprout off.

Step Two

You must also ensure that you install at least one plug socket and one phone jack (a socket for the telephone) into each room. By doing this you are ensuring that you will not need to return to the wiring process again and that you are fully prepared for any occupation the room may have. It is also very expensive to cut into dry wall once you have finished and so by over estimating how many plug sockets you will need you are saving yourself money.

Step Three

As you are already running conduit through the house it is advisable to run extra through the ceilings and walls in each room. This way you are fully prepared in case, at a later date, you need to install a multi-room audio system or extra internet cables.

House Wiring Tips

Here are some additional house wiring tips. In order to make the wiring process easier, try tying pieces of string at the end of the conduit tubes. This way you can effortlessly pull new wires through the existing conduit. Also colour coding your wires and tubing can add to the ease of wiring your house. If you keep a key of what all the colours correspond to you will always know exactly what has been installed. By keeping organised, even creating a detailed map of your house wiring, it will make repairs and added extras far easier at a later date. Although it may seem like a lot of extra work to begin with, it is all very time saving in the long run.

How to Build a Waterfall

If you are lucky enough to have a large enough garden or are the keeper of some striking grounds, learning how to build a waterfall can enhance the impressive nature of your estate. Not only can your waterfall be a talking feature but also attract wildlife. Therefore, not only will you be doing good for the environment but impress your friends and colleagues in the process. By following these few easy steps you’ll figure out how to build a waterfall of your own.


The first step to building a waterfall is to consider where exactly the waterfall is going to be and how tall it should be built. The waterfall will need both a top and base pool, so these are elements that will affect the placement of the waterfall also.

As the water will flow from the top pool, it will look more impressive if the water falls into a V-type shape that then expands from a central point. If it is not a level drop from the top pool to the base pool, there will need to be levels with a reserve of water at each level, in a type of zig-zag effect.

Building a Waterfall

How to Build a Waterfall

How to Build a Waterfall

Once you have considered all these factors, you need to dig into the bank to create a more realistic effect. It is advisable to dig approximately 10 inches into the bank. Once you are happy, begin placing rocks and boulders around the crevice so that the waterfall looks more natural.

Next Step

Ensure that you line the pools correctly before filling with water. Adding rocks, boulders and plants will create a natural and attractive effect.

Fill the top pool with water and secure a hose underneath some rocks so that it is hidden but still efficiently supplying water. There will need to be a strong pump in the base pool, attached to the other end of the hose in order to create the circulation needed. Due to the generic colour of hoses, it will be easy to conceal among rocks and foliage. You will need to set the pump so that there is a circulation of just over the total content of the pond every two hours. Any more than this will be damaging to the environment.

You may have to adjust the strength of the flow of the water to ensure that this is the case.

Your Waterfall

Once you have completed these steps your waterfall is pretty much complete. In order to attain perfect flow throughout your waterfall, you will have to observe a few full circulations to ensure there are no faults that could occur.

After you have witnessed that all is running smoothly, you can add a few finishing touches. These include extra foliage to make the waterfall look aged, or perhaps introduce some wildlife such as frogs, and fish. Feel free to personalise the waterfall in any way you feel appropriate. You may wish to add some different coloured stones or even a gnome or two.

How to Build a Porch

Building a porch around the circumference of your house can not only add value but also make it more aesthetically pleasing. However, like taking on any building project, figuring out how to build a porch can seem quite daunting, yet it is far simpler than you may think.

Steps for Building a Porch

By following the few simple steps for building a porch, you too can build something beautiful and enjoyable for your home.


As you are adding to a pre-existing construction it is best to check that you do not need any planning permission. After this has been sorted out, you need to examine just exactly where you want the porch to go and place down wooden stakes at each of the four corners and at the area where the stairs are intended to go.

Choosing the type of wood you are going to use is also very important. Not only does the wood need to look nice but another factor that needs to be considered is the durability of the wood.

Once you have decided where you are going to build your porch you need to dig a footing that will keep the porch attached to the ground.

Porch Footing

How to Build a Porch

How to Build a Porch

Your footing needs to be about one foot wide and deep. You then need to dig a few holes approximately four inches deep and place a foundation tube in each one for the footing. The tubes then need to be filled with cement mixed with sand and water; it needs to be firm not sloppy. The tubes need to reach about 3 inches below the surface. The next step in building your porch is to place the post anchors into the footing

Building Your Porch

After the foundations have been completed and dried, and the ledger board has been installed, it is now time to begin actually building the porch. Begin by laying out the decking boards and joists for your porch. Obviously if the porch it too big you will need to carry out the rest of the work in sections to make it more manageable.

At sixteen inches from the middle of your porch floor, install the boards and the joists with extreme care, this will enable you to do the decking bit by bit. Slide each floor board into place and secure with nails. When nailing the boards, keep their placement uniform to keep the smart appearance of your porch e.g. two nails in each corner of each board.

Added Extras

Adding railings around the far edge of your porch not only adds to the appearance of your porch but also increases safety element as it will prevent children slipping off.

You may also consider treating your wood. This may be in the form of staining the wood a different colour or simply by painting it with a protective layer. By treating the porch you will increase the durability of the wood, therefore making it last longer and also reduce the amount of amendments that will need to be done over the years.

How to Build a Ramp

If there’s not a skate park in your hometown, you may need to know how to build a ramp in order to learn cool tricks and practice your ramp skills.

Building Skateboard Ramps

Building skateboard ramps is not as difficult as it seems — like anything, when you break it up into steps it becomes easy and even fun.

Here are some basic steps for building a quarter pipe or quarter ramp. This is a smallish ramp that is easy to build and doesn’t take up too much space.

  1. Decide how big you want your ramp to be. This will determine how much wood you need. Be sure to buy pressure treated lumber and plywood — they will withstand the elements better.
  2. Figure out the size of your ramp’s base. Once you’ve got a good figure in mind, add a couple inches at the base to give you some depth for the surface at the top.
  3. Make a sketch on your plywood of the basic ramp of your skate ramp. You need to leave room for a plywood “top” to your ramp.
  4. How to Build a Ramp

    How to Build a Ramp

    Cut three panels out of your plywood. If you want to build a stronger ramp, add more plywood in the middle. One downside of this is that you’ll be doing more work — but if you need the extra support you can’t skip this step. Now is also the time to plan where to hang your 2x4s for ramp support. This distance should be no more than eleven inches between each 2×4.

  5. Cut notches into the plywood in order to install the 2x4s. You will need to place a flat face on your ramp in order to nail that final plywood “top” in place. Place the skinnier side of the 2x4s on the face of the ramp so that it is a smooth ride.
  6. Nail your 2x4s to the back and inside of the plywood. Add the 2x4s to the inside to give you a surface for nailing in plywood.
  7. You’re almost done. It is time to nail the 2x4s to the ramp’s end panels. Make sure these 2x4s line up with your middle notches. Pull out a level and ensure you’re building a level ramp. This is a good time to do this, in case you have to make changes.
  8. Test the sturdiness of your ramp. If you don’t feel it is sturdy enough, you can add more 2x4s or plywood for support.
  9. Nail your ramp’s face to the 2×4 underneath all the way across. Nailing in multiple locations helps keep your ramp even. Ensure that your nails are going all the way into the 2x4s, otherwise you’re wasting time.
  10. Slap on a strip of plywood to the top of your ramp and you’re finished. Be sure to test the ramp before you go pulling tricks on it — test for level and sturdiness.

Skating on a ramp is a different experience from skating on the street, and is the perfect way to enjoy a different skate experience than you’re used to. Building your own ramp will save you a ton of money.

How to Build a Bridge Over a Creek

Figuring out how to build a bridge over a creek or stream is much easier than you might expect; you could even use materials found around your chosen location.

Building a Creek Bridge

To start building a creek bridge,  just follow these four simple steps:

Making the Foundation

Find the narrowest part of your creek and measure the width. You will need two logs that will reach over the creek; they should be the same size and strong enough to hold a lot of weight. If the logs give any signs of weakness such as cracks or sounds of breakage, then they are not suitable. A simple rule is that logs should be one inch thicker in diameter for every foot in length in order to be strong enough.

Lay the logs across the creek approximately two feet apart, with a foot of log at either bank for added stability. If you are intending on building a bridge wider than two feet then add more logs accordingly. Approximately one extra log for every additional two foot in width should be sufficient.

Raising the Bridge

How to Build a Bridge Over a Creek

How to Build a Bridge Over a Creek

You now need to raise the bridge so that there is no obstruction to the water flow, increased stability and so that the bridge will not be washed away in heavy storms.

At either end of the bridge, set either a heavy rock or log underneath the logs. Making sure that the logs are completely flat, the logs should now have been raised to exactly the same level.

Attach the Cross-Sticks

Now you will need to find long thick sticks to lie across the log foundation. These should be placed perpendicular to the base logs and no more than an inch apart. They should be able to hold as much weight as required. If unsure of the stability of a stick, the same rule of one inch in diameter per foot in length will work. If the bridge has more than two logs in its foundation then you should align the sticks so that they alternate between each space between the logs.

Using rope or twine, you now need to tie all of the cross-sticks onto the foundation logs whilst ensuring that they do not move or twist under pressure.

Finishing Touches

When studying how to build a bridge over a creek, you may consider some finishing touches. This step is not completely necessary, however it will mean that the bridge is much more stable, easier to walk on and more enduring. You will need mud or clay which should be thick enough not to slip through your fingers when they are spread apart. Shovel the mud/clay onto the bridge patching any gaps with extra sticks. This needs to be approximately one and a half to two inches thick. Next you need to add a layer of dry dirt, about a two inch layer, over the bridge and compact down with your hands and bare feet, making sure you pack every part. The more dirt the longer it will last and the more stable it will be.

How to Weld

Learning how to weld takes a lot of time and practice. A typical course in welding takes place over a few months, so don’t expect to head out to your garage and learn how to weld in a matter of hours. Still — you don’t have to attend an expensive and lengthy professional course to pick up some basic welding skills.

Learning to Weld

Welding is a process of joining two metals together. While there are many different types of welding, we’re going to focus on something called Shielded Metal Arc Welding, or SMAW. Sometimes people call SMAW welding “stick welding”, and you’ll see why in a moment. Stick welding is the most common type of welding and learning to weld in this manner is a good skill to have if you’re interested in metalworking or construction.

Welding Tips

  1. Gather the right materials. You’ll need a welding shield, a welding machine, an electrode holder stocked with lead, a ground clamp with lead, electrodes, and the metal you’ll be welding. Other useful items — a chipping hammer (to get rid of excess metal or “slag”) and a wire brush to help you clean up your welds.
  2. Put on safety gear. Make sure you have a “shade 10 or higher” welding shield to protect your eyes, a welding jacket and pants, a set of work boots, proper gloves, and safety glasses. You’re working with hot metal here, so be safe.
  3. Be sure to ground your metal — it is possible to connect the ground on the piece you are welding, most shops have a large metal welding workbench for grounding.
  4. How to Weld

    How to Weld

    Always clean your metal before welding. Brush the surface to be welded with a wire brush.

  5. Now you’re ready to start welding. First, strike a welding arc. Do this by tapping the metal and quickly “striking” it like a match. What you’re doing is completing the circuit and then pulling away from it, which makes electricity jump from the electrode to the metal you’re working on.
  6. Ignore the bright end of the electrode and try to form a pool of molten metal. This is called a “weld pool”. To create a good pool, keep the electrode where it started for a second or two before you start moving. Otherwise you’ll make a dry weld, which is no weld at all.
  7. Move the weld pool across the mteal, holding your electrode at an angle just barely off 90 degrees. Moving too fast will ruin the weld — so try to use an inch of electrode for every inch of weld, easy enough to remember right? When you move your weld pool, you can opt to move in a straight line or move the electrode around in small circles. Experience will tell you which method works best.
  8. Keep moving the weld pool towards the end of the metal, making sure to keep a steady bead and speed while you weld.
  9. Once you’re satisfied with your bead, pull the electrode off your metal and let it cool for four or five seconds. Be aware that your metal is still super hot, even though it is no longer visibly or “red” hot.
  10. Use a wire brush to clean your weld.

How to Build a House

Wondering how to build a house? Most homes in America are built according to standard operating procedures, meaning that there is a step by step process for building a home.

Building a House Tips

Here are some tips for building a house to get you started, along with a short description.

  1. Grading and site preparation — The first step to building a house is making the ground level and clearing the site of rocks, trees, or bushes that might get in the way of construction.
  2. Foundation construction — Depending on the area of the country you build in, the home may be built on a concrete slab, a slab with a basement, or built up on posts.
  3. Framing — The framing crew of a house construction project builds basic wall structures on the slab then raises them into place. Framing also includes framing the home’s roof.
  4. Installation of windows and doors — This is the next step in “enclosing” the house. All the home’s windows and doors will be installed before moving on to finishing the roof.
  5. How to Build a House

    How to Build a House

    Roofing — Though the basic roof frame has been built, the actual roof goes on next. Usually made of asphalt shingles, roofing can usually be done in a day’s work depending on the size of the home.

  6. Siding — Builders put up scaffolds to put siding on the house, if siding is being used. This acts as insulation and adds an element of beauty to a home.
  7. Electrical — Once the basic structure is complete, it is time to hook up the home to electricity and install electrical outlets in the home.
  8. Plumbing — There is a uniform plumbing code for houses — used water and human waste is really toxic to the environment, so proper plumbing installation is key.
  9. Insulation — By installing insulation, you lower the heating and cooling costs of a home.
  10. Drywall — This is a half-inch layer of material that is sandwiched between two thick sheets of paper. It is a solid and heavy interior surface for a home.
  11. Underlayment — This material covers the sub flooring and provides additional insulation and works as a vapor barrier, keeping the interior of your home dry.
  12. Counters and cabinets — These are simple — just align them along the wall and screw them into the thick wall studs.
  13. Carpet and flooring — An installation company will usually come and handle all the carpet and flooring, working as subcontractors.
  14. Punch list — This is the final step of a home build in which a builder walks through and makes notes on any final changes or additions needed on a home.

It may seem impossible, but putting together a house is really just a process of doing one thing after another in the right order, and building to a specific code. Building a home is a complicated process that usually involves several sub contractors and multiple workers throughout the building process. When you break down the home building process into the above steps, it seems more manageable. Though there are more steps to building a house than listed above, these are the basic steps.

How to Build a Shed

Learning how to build a shed is an easy way to increase your storage capacity. Once you’ve gathered the proper materials, it is really just a matter of completing a dozen basic construction steps.

Building a Storage Shed

The following are the steps needed for building a storage shed.

The Floor

Cut the floor frame boards (made up of skids and joists) to the proper measurements. On level ground, make up the floor frame. Cover the floor with 20mm (3/4) inch plywood, nailing a maximum of 200 nails 8″ apart on all joists.

The Wall Frames

Cut the wall frame boards — be sure to cut the longest members first. Make the wall frames up on even ground.

Wall Frame Nogging

Fix four rows of noggings, evenly spaced between all the studs. Noggings give your exterior vertical boards a substantial surface to be nailed to.

Lift and Fix the Wall Frames in Place

Nail all of the wall frames together at all corners so that the outside edge of the corner studs are flush together. Make sure your bottom plate is straight and that the outside edge is flush with the edge of the floor and then nail in place.

The Roof Beam

How to Build a Shed

How to Build a Shed

Cut and fix the two beam supports on top of (and in the middle of) the front and rear wall frame top plates. The roof beam should then be cut to length and fixed in place on top of the two beam supports.

Roof Rafters

Cut the eight intermediate rafters and fix in place, four each side.


Measure and cut four rows of noggings that will fit between the rafters. Place the rows each side of the side wall’s top plates. This is so the boards on the external walls will have a straight edge at the top of the shed to fit into.

Roof Sheathing

Cover the roof with 1/2 inch plywood, nailing a maximum of 8″ apart on all rafters. Run the sheets from the roof beam to the ends of the rafters. The sheets will have to be cut to size.


Cut and fix the fascia board in between the rafter ends. The top edge of the fascia board should be flush with the top of the bottom board. Cover the roof with a self-supporting underlay before you add the roofing material.


Fix the roofing material to the shed with the appropriate roofing nails or screws. Overhang the roofing about 2 1/2″ past the facing board or 2″ past the back of the gutter, if any.

Ridge Capping

Standard ridge capping is 5″ each side of the apex, but this can vary and any size can be made to order if you need it.

Exterior Vertical Boards

Start fixing the boards to the wall frames, beginning from one corner. Cut the boards long enough so that they will touch the bottom of the rafter at the top and run at least 2″ below the floor. Nail the boards to the noggings with nails 3″ apart including the nail that will be going through the batten. Remember to leave a gap between each board.

Once you’ve got your basic storage shed built, you can add any paint or other design touches you want. Just like that, you’ve got more storage.

How to Tile a Shower Wall

Tiling your shower is not as difficult as it sounds. Once you learn how to tile a shower wall, you’ll be able to redesign your restroom in a weekend’s time. New tiles in your shower not only makes your bath look brighter and better, but you can also remove mold and mildew that’s accumulated over the years.

Tile Shower Installation Guide

This tile shower installation guide will show you how to go about tiling your shower wall in a few easy-to-follow steps. Remember to take your time, maintain your patience and prepare ahead of time for successes and challenges.

Remove the Old Shower Tiles

If you had shower tiles on the wall before, remove them before you put the others on the wall. I know this should go without saying, but you never know when someone gets confused.

Start from the Bottom

When tiling your shower wall, it might seem right to start from the top with a full tile. People start looking high and their eyes move downward, like reading a page, and a handyman might think you would start at the ceiling, to make it uniform. Instead, you start at the bottom.

Measure out the center line of the back wall. Then use a level to measure out where the bottom tile should go. Remember to keep the tile level.

Use a Trowel to Apply Mortar

Using a trowel, place ceramic tile mortal on the shower wall. Leave a small gap between the edge of the shower or tub material.

When applying mortar to a wide area, only apply to an area small enough that you can place tile on there in the next 10 minutes. If you go beyond that, the mortar starts to dry out and it’s counter-productive.

Don’t worry if the mortar squeezes out between the tiles. Wipe the excess grout off with your damp towel.

Tile from the Center – Up and Out

How to Tile a Shower Wall

How to Tile a Shower Wall

Apply the center tile, then move up and out from there. This means you want the center tile to be truly centered, then make the more problematic pieces on the edges of your tile. Make a bottom row, then tile your way up the wall.

Cutting the Edge Tiles

When you get to the edge of your tile work, or around faucets and other fixtures, you need to use a nipper or micro-cutter to cut the tiles to specifications. Mark where you need to cut with a pencil, then make your cuts accordingly.

Applying Grout

Once you have your tile on the wall, apply grout to seal the tile joints on the wall. Apply only a small amount of grout at a time and wipe clean before the grout has a chance to harden. Use a damp cloth to wipe the grout and make sure the joints look nice, clean and uniform.

Let the grout set for half-an-hour, then buff the shower wall tiles with a dry cloth. Buff thoroughly.

Apply Caulk

To avoid leaks and water damage, you want to caulk the fixtures, the corners of your tile and the base of the shower. Make sure the moisture is sealed in, because water damage is going to cause all kinds of long term problems.

Grout Sealer Comes Later

After two or three days to let the grout set, apply a grout sealer to your grout. Otherwise, your grout is going to become porous and the constant flow/presence of water is going to cause your grout to flake.

Tiling a Shower Wall

Now you know how to tile a shower wall. Tiling a shower is going to take a little time, but there’s nothing hard or complicated about it. Keep your patience, prepare for a weekend of work and tile your shower walls step by step.

How to Build a Bar in Your Home

Having a bar in your home gives you a place to entertain company, or a wet bar where you can enjoy private time. You don’t have to pay a carpenter a lot of money to install a private bar in the house. Learn how to build a bar in your home without any outside help, which is a great conversation piece when your drinking buddies come over to enjoy a few mixed drinks.

Building a Home Bar

Here’s a list of bar building tools you’ll need when building a home bar. This shouldn’t take too long, even with one man working alone.

Bar Placement Tips

I mention the empty space, because you’ll need a little negative space in your home to put your bar. Luckily, you can locate this anywhere in the home besides bedrooms and restrooms. Look throughout your house to find the right spot for your wet bar: living room, den, computer room, game room, basement, patio or garage.

If you’re building a bar for entertaining and parties, you’ll want to find a location to accommodate guests. Talk with your wife (if applicable) and decide on a spot that she won’t be ashamed to have guests. Mostly, you’ll need extra space.

You’ll have a lot more options if this is a private bar, because you won’t be entertaining company.

Measure Bar Space

Once you pick out a location, get out a tape measure and measure the space available. You’ll use this to decide which type of bar you want, as well as how many supplies you’re going to need.

Pick Out a Bar Type

There are three basic bar types to choose from: L-shaped bars, straight bars and free standing bars. Free standing means you’ll have your bar in the middle of the room, out and away from the walls.

Straight bars are just that – a straight tabletop about chest high that people can sit or stand at, but which offers space between the bar and wall to store drinks and mix drinks. An L-shaped bar is like a straight bar, but with a perpendicular hook that offers a little more barspace.

Buy Supplies

Go to Lowe’s, Home Depot or another supply store and collect the supplies you’ll need. You’ll probably have most of the tools, so this should mainly be a run for wood to build your home bar with. You might have the spare building materials around the place, but if not, you need to get enough wood to produce your design in the right size.

Purchase a Ready-Made Cabinet

One way to cut out a lot of time and frustration, if you aren’t much of a handyman, is to purchase a ready-made kitchen counter height cabinet at the hardware store. You can find cabinets with space underneath to hide hot/cold water connections and drain pipes. If the idea of building a cabinet yourself sounds like torture, but you don’t want to spend to bring out a carpenter, this is a nice middle option.

Purchase a Counter Top

How to Build a Bar in Your Home

How to Build a Bar in Your Home

Options include tile, wood, Fromica, granite slabs, concrete slabs and tiles. You want a counter top that can stand getting wet and not display drink rings. You want something sturdy enough for a bar crowd.

Paint or stain your cabinet, if it came unfinished. It’s probably better to do this early, but you can perform this part of the job after the bar is in place.

Add a Sink, Faucet and Plumbing Fixtures

A good idea for a wet bar is to have a sink, a faucet and some plumbing, so mixing drinks doesn’t become a mess. If you don’t have the room or the desire to get into your home plumbing, you can skip this option.

If you do add a faucet, you simply make your water connection from the nearest water line in the house. Consider bringing out a plumber for this option, or skipping it, if you don’t want to pay for a plumber.

Install Your Cabinet

Installing your cabinet is a matter of finding the high point of the floor (about 3″ up from the floor), then marking this high point with a pencil. Then you find a stud in the wall and screw your cabinet into this stud, which makes for a sturdy connection.

Put shims underneath your bar, to raise it to the high point of the floor, if needed. After you have your bar in the right spot, you can trim off your shims with a knife, so they aren’t showing, when the project is complete.

Install the Countertop

Once you’ve got your bar in place, install the countertop. Mark off holes for your sink and other countertop considerations. Be careful and precise with this step. Take your time.

Use a paper template, if you’re using a granite slab. Cut holes in the granite according to the template. If you are using tiles, start by cutting a backer board. You’ll then install tiles from this point.

Buy Bar Plans – Bar Blueprint Websites

You can find bar blueprint sites online that gives you plans for building a bar. Barplan ( and Bar Gear ( are just two options where you can buy home bar plans for as little as $19.95.

Buy Your Own Bar

If all of that seems too much for you, you can also buy ready-made bars at certain outlets. These are a lot cheaper than having someone make you a custom-made bar and they look perfectly nice. You can select the right size for you. A foyer table makes a nice mini-bar in a pinch, too.

Create a Theme for Your Bar

Consider creating a theme for your bar as decoration. If you’re going to have your bar handy for watching sports events, have a football, baseball, golf or NASCAR themed bar. If you and the guys love Jimmy Buffet and frozen margaritas, go with a tropical theme. If you love disco, then bring out the disco ball.

Stock the Bar

Of course, the most important part of a wet bar is the liquor stock. Stock your bar well, with a variety of different kinds of beer, wine and spirits. Your hard liquors should include several different options for mixing drinks, as well as various taste types among the liquors.

Remember to stock the bar with a few liqueurs, too, such as cordials, Kahlua, Irish Cream, Creme de menthe, Grand Marnier, Galliano, Amaretto or Irish Mist. That is, you should consider having at the very least a coffee liqueur, a cream liqueur, a creme liqueur, a fruit liqueur, a berry liqueur, an herbal liqueur, a nut-flavored liqueur and a whiskey liqueur. Also mix in a cordial or two, for good measure, and probably some Bloody Mary Mix.

This gives the people sitting at your bar plenty of options, so far as mixed drinks go. If you’re going to be hosting at a bar, you should learn how to mix a drink or two with every alcohol you have in your stock. A great host knows how to mix drinks.

How to Build a Fire Pit in Your Backyard

If you’re someone who is interested in how to build a fire pit in your backyard, you’ll soon realize that building a fire in your yard can be done safely. Building a fire pit won’t take more than an hour or so, and you’ll be able to have cookouts and campfire hangouts with your friends and family. Kids love weenie roasts and cooking marshmallows over an open fire, so build a fire pit that is going to be safe and cozy for those chilly spring and autumn evenings.

Location Is Everything

When building a fire pit in the back yard, location is important. You don’t want to build a fire anywhere near your home or garage. You don’t want to build a fire near trees, tall grass or brush. Therefore, deciding where not to build a fire pit lets you decide on appropriate locations, but process of elimination.

You want your fire pit somewhere accessible and somewhere aesthetically pleasing, since you’re likely to have family and neighbors come over occasionally for cookouts. You also want the fire close enough to the house that you can run a water hose all the way to the fire, though you can alleviate that problem with an extra hose. Make sure you have enough room to fit chairs around your fire pit at least 2 feet away in every direction.

Finally, keep in mind what wind access is like where you build the fire pit. Fires require a little bit of a breeze to pick up, but you don’t want it too breezy, either because wind makes it a little harder to get started, and much harder to control once a fire is started. Also, keep in mind which way the wind is going to blow smoke, especially in the windy months early and late in the year.

Choose a Size for Your fire pit

How to Build a Fire Pit in Your Backyard

How to Build a Fire Pit in Your Backyard

One way to help choose a spot in your yard for the fire pit is to know how big the pit is going to be. Two to three feet across is good for most cookouts, and gives you a cozy fire to collect around. A four-foot firepit is going to accommodate a large fire.

Is your fire pit mostly going to be yard decoration, or do you intend on have a place to grill food? Depending on these questions, decide the size of your fire pit. This helps you find a better placement for your flame, once you know the dimensions of your fire pit.

Dig the Fire Pit

Dig a hole in your yard where you want the fire pit to be. This hole should be about 1 foot to 3 feet deep, depending on the size of the fire pit.

Ring the Fire Pit with Rocks

Next, ring rocks around your fire pit, to create a barrier against flames spreading, and a barrier against people stepping into the fire. If you want extra safety, put a double ring of rocks around the fire pit. I recommend this for families with small children.

When I saw a rock ring, I mean taking good-sized rocks and building a ring around the pit comprised of those rocks. These rocks should be secure in place. Rock rings make your fire pit look better, while also keeping embers inside the fire pit.

Add a Grill

Span the diameter of your fire pit with a pair of buried bars along the upper hole and you can add a grill to your fire pit. This lets you grill food over a wood-fired cooker. Grilled foods are great for cookouts, so you can get there with a couples of rebars. “Rebar” means “reinforcing bar” – the kind of steel used to reinforce concrete and other such materials.

Add Sand for Better Drainage

Add sand to the bottom of your fire pit, to better aid with drainage after a rain. If you do this, you might want to dig your deep fire pit holes a little deeper, to account for the extra space the sand takes up.

Building a fire pit in Your Background

Most of the time you spend building a fire pit is going to involve shoveling out your pit, at least after you decide where to dig. Leave some time to add rebars and bring in your stonework. Learning how to build a fire pit in your backyard takes no time at all, so if you’re having a cookout tonight, you still have time to build you a fire pit for the evening’s get-together.

How to Install Hardwood Floor

Understanding how to install hardwood floor is not as difficult as it may sound — you can do it yourself with the right materials and enough time.

Installing Hardwood Floors

The following are steps for installing hardwood floors.

  1. Before you install your own wood flooring, stack the wood in the house for a few days to let the wood acclimate to the humidity level of your home.
  2. Another important planning step — put in the wood perpendicular to the floor joists. As a first step, mark the positions of the floor joists along a wall for reference and cover the sub floor with a layer of asphalt felt to keep out moisture moisture protection and prevent squeaky floors. You should also mark the center line of the room using a measuring tape and chalk line.
  3. Tack the asphalt felt down to the sub floor with a staple gun. Measure your room’s width at two points to establish an accurate center line, and make a chalk line parallel to your starting wall. Starting from the joist marks along the walls, snap chalk lines to mark the locations of the support boards. You’re basically building a grid.
  4. To determine the edge of the first row of wood flooring, make another chalk line about 1/2 inch from the starting wall parallel to your center line. This will leave a 1/2-inch gap between the flooring and the wall which will allow the wood to expand. Don’t worry — you’ll cover it with baseboard molding anyway.
  5. How to Install Hardwood Floor

    How to Install Hardwood Floor

  6. Pick your longest or widest boards for the first row. Start to drill pilot holes for 1 1/2 inch finishing nails near the wall where the nail heads will be covered by a baseboard. Now just do a quick nail job on the first row through the plywood sub flooring down to the floor joists. Use a nail set or other tool to set the nails below the floor’s surface, otherwise ouch.It is time to start blind nailing this row and the next two rows of wood by hand. Start by drilling pilot holes at a 45 degree angle through the tongues, centered on each joist at the ends and every 10 inches along the length of the boards. Fasten them with your 1 1/2-inch finishing nails.
  7. Once you’ve started installing the second row and every row after that, move a short scrap piece of flooring along the edge of your floor and give it a good solid hit with a mallet or hammer to tighten the new row against the previous row. Do this before you nail so the boards are even.
  8. Once you’ve reached the final row of wood flooring, use a block and a pry bar to wedge the last boards tightly into the proper position. You should drill holes and face nail all your boards where a base shoe or baseboard molding will cover, using the reference marks you made along the wall to find the joists. Don’t forget, again, to push the nail heads below the surface of the floor using a hammer and nail set.

Installing hardwood floors isn’t an impossible task if you have the proper tools and a little elbow grease.

How to Make a Headboard

A bed without a headboard looks plain and messy. Not to mention that using a bed without a headboard means losing your pillows behind the mattress and struggling all night to dig them out from behind the bed. Frustrating? Yeah. In order to help you avoid this frustration we’ve put together this guide for how to make headboard your self.

Making Headboards

Here’s some easy instructions for making headboards that are cool, modern and made of pine.

You will need:

1. First, decide how big of a headboard you need. This will be different from person to person and from design to design — the standard headboard is as wide as the bed, but if you build a headboard that’s a bit bigger or a bit smaller than the bed, it will look really cool. Take stock of your design and your room and determine what size you want.

2. Now it is time to cut — saw your desired amount of pine slats to the predetermined length, adding a fancy mitre cut to the end of each slat if you’re crafty or know someone who is. I recently built a headboard using this method, and needed slats for my headboard that were 1-1/2” thick. A money-saving idea — buy 1×4’s and cut them in half lengthwise. No one will notice the difference.

How to Make a Headboard

How to Make a Headboard

3. Don’t forget to cut two extra pine slats — these will be the vertical pieces that will be used to hold all of the horizontal slats of the headboard together. You don’t need to mitre cut these slats, though don’t be sloppy. They’ll still show.

4. Now it is time to make the slats fit together. You need to cut two inch return holes on each side of each headboard slat. Cut a 45-degree angle at one end of each piece so it will fit snugly against the end of a slat, like stacking Legos. The flat side of the return cut will go against the wall. Now is also the time to get out the wood glue and a nail gun to attach the returns to the slats. You’re almost ready to start building.

5. An important step that most people skip to the detriment of their headboard — you have to sand all the pieces until they’re smooth. Otherwise they won’t take the stain.

6. Go ahead and stain all the pieces and let them dry completely, once they’ve been properly sanded.

7. Begin assembling your headboard by lining up all of the pieces of the headboard with the return sides facing up and the “front” of the headboard facing down. Pull out blocks of wood that are the same size to use in between each slat to ensure they are spaced evenly apart, otherwise your headboard will look sloppy and homemade.

8. Lay your two vertical pieces across the slats to make sure they are evenly spaced. Time to start screwing! Screw the two vertical pieces to each slat, connecting the entire headboard. Make sure to use shorter screws, otherwise they’ll poke through to the front of the headboard. That’s extra ugly.

9. Time to put your fancy headboard in place — level it before securing it into the drywall with at least 3 ” drywall screws. You need to drive these screws right into the wall studs.

You now have a beautiful and relatively inexpensive modern headboard.

How to Install Gutters

Rain gutters protect your house from water damage. You can have gutters installed professionally for a huge chunk of money or learn how to install gutters your self by following the steps below.

Installing Gutters

The following are 10 simple steps for installing gutters.

1. Measure the Slope of Your Eaves

Using a level attached to a string, work out the slope of the eaves. Your rain gutters have to slope at least 1/4 inch for every ten feet to provide proper drainage, otherwise you’re wasting your time.

2. Measure and Mark

First make a level reference line, then make a second mark one fourth of an inch below that line to indicate the correct slope. If you are unlucky enough to have portions of the gutter with turns or elbows on each end, work out the length for the straight section by holding the elbows in place and making a mark at their ends. Remember to subtract a quarter inch to allow room for the seams that you’ll be installing later.

3. Cut Your Gutter to Size

It is time to mark the gutter sections using a combination square or some other marking assistant to carry the line all the way around. Pull out your heavy-duty tin snips in order to cut the piece to the proper length.

4. Mount Your Gutters

Start by snapping the brackets into place six inches from each end of the gutter and then only every 18 to 24 inches depending on how thorough you want to be. Mount the gutters by driving a screw through each bracket and into the facing board on the eaves of the roof.

5. Prepping for the Downspout

How to Install Gutters

How to Install Gutters

Holding your new gutter in place, make a mark at the location for the downspout hole. First cut a square hole in the bottom of the gutter with punch mark in each corner and use a jigsaw or sabre saw to finish the job. Be careful that you filed smooth edges when you’re done.

6. Install the Downspout Connector

Using silicone sealant, attach the lip of the downspout connector to the cutout you made earlier. Press this into place then secure it with short metal screws, the shorter the better. Now it is time to install an end cap into the last gutter and crimping its edges.

7. Attach Your Gutter to Your Eaves and Cut and Fit the Downspout

Drive screws through each gutter bracket and into the facing board of the eaves of the roof. You can now cut and fit the downspout pieces together, but make sure that the tapered end of the downspout is facing down.

8. Connecting Your Gutter Sections

Finally — you can connect the straight sections of the gutter one to another and the corner angles as well, using a two-inch strip of aluminum that construction workers call “seamers”. Seamers overlap the joints and fills in the gap left by earlier construction. Make the joints water tight by applying a bead of sealant on the inside.

10. Testing the Gutters

The final gutter installation step! After you let the sealant dry overnight put a garden hose in the end away from the downspout to check to make sure the water is flowing toward and into the downspout and that there is no leakage at the joints.

How to Build a Compost Bin

Everyone is crazy about composting these days — and why not? Compost is good for growing gardens, and composting is an eco friendly way of getting rid of waste. It is also easy to do, and requires little setup or construction to get started. In this guide we’ll show you how to build a compost bin.

Composting Process

Composting is a natural process (it takes place in nature all on its own) in which bacteria, fungi and other organisms decompose organic material like leaves, grass clippings, and food waste. The material that’s left over at the end of this process is called “compost”. Rather than waiting for the worms in your yard to compost your waste, you can build a compost bin and accelerate the process.

You don’t have to build a compost bin to take advantage of composting — any organic material (like leaves, grass clippings, and branches) can be used as a mulch Mulches that are placed on the soil surface control weeds, reduce moisture evaporation, cool off the ground temperature in summer and keep it warmer in winter, and reduce soil erosion. Mulching is a great alternative to composting and requires no bin.

Compost Bins

My favorite kind of compost bin is a wire-mesh unit. It is easy and cheap to build and lasts forever.

You can use something like galvanized chicken wire or hardware cloth to build your wire-mesh bin. If you have to use non-galvanized chicken wire you will be disappointed by how quickly your compost bin wears out. Depending if you want to be able to move your compost bin around, or if you’d prefer a stable solitary unit, you can add posts. I like to build wire-mesh compost bins without posts because they’re easier to build and you can easily pick up the bin to get to the “good” compost at the bottom of the pile.

Building a Compost Bin

In order to get started building a compost bin you will need the following materials.

How to Build a Compost Bin

How to Build a Compost Bin

Start by folding back 3 to 4 inches of chicken wire at each end of the cut piece to provide a powerful and clean wire edge that will not poke or snag. This edge will also be easier to latch. If you do this step at the beginning, you’ll save yourself a lot of cuts and stress later.

Now you simply stand the wire up in a circle and set it in place where you want to make your compost pile.

Next, cut the heavy wire into the lengths you need for mesh ties. Now attach the ends of the chicken wire with the wire ties, using pliers. Make sure these connections are strong.

Finally, you need to space your wood or metal posts (if using them) around the inside of the chicken-wire circle. To do this, hold the posts tightly against the wire and hammer them firmly into the ground. These posts will provide support, but keep you from having easy access to your finished compost.

That’s it. You’ve got your own compost bin. Prepare to enjoy the best compost and mulch in town.

How to Build a Windmill

Learning how to build a windmill is becoming increasingly popular; especially as Global warming becomes more and more of an issue. Originally used for pumping water and grinding grain, windmills are also an efficient means of creating re-usable wind energy. Building your own windmill is a means of conserving natural power sources such as oil or coal and also a means of creating your own renewable energy. Building your own windmill could result in not only reserving unsustainable energy put also potentially saving money on utility bills. If you would like to understand how to build a windmill simply follow the steps below:

Building Windmills

Windmills should not be used as a sole source of energy as they do not have a continuous output. You should consider, when building a windmill, that this is not a constant source of energy and should be used in conjunction with another energy source, such as gas or electric. Using the example of a five foot high windmill you could adapt the different sizes of each component accordingly.

Choosing a location is vital when building a windmill. You must find a location where the windmill will receive a regular wind input, also ensuring that there are no obstacles in the way, such as electrical cables or trees.

Build the Windmill Base

How to Build a Windmill

How to Build a Windmill

When building a windmill you should make sure that, compared to the rest of the structure, the base is strong and heavy. For example, a windmill that is five feet high, with a base of approximately 18 inches square and about 20 pounds in weight, would be ideal. In order the guarantee a heavy base you can use concrete or a sandbag. It would be sensible to employ these resources regardless just to be on the safe side.

Build the Windmill Tower

When building a windmill tower you need to use a strong piece of plastic PVC piping, guide wires or metal tubing. This should create a lattice effect. For a windmill of approximately five feet high you should use 2×4 piping.

Building the Windmill Blades

The next thing you need to make when building a windmill are the blades. These should be made out of either lightweight wood or plastic. The blades should be proportionate to the rest of the windmill. For a structure of approximately five feet high the blades should be one to three feet long. You may consider painting your windmill blades with UV resistant paint to protect them from the sun. It may also be advisable to paint you blades an eye catching colour.

Making the Windmill Work

When building a windmill you will need a nacelle; the gearbox that facilitates the blades movements. It will also act to transfer any energy created from the turning of the blades into usable energy. You will also need a shaft that will ensure that the blades are connected to the tower and allows them to rotate smoothly.

How to Read a Tape Measure

The task of reading a tape measure is not as easy as it may seem. There are loads of little lines, all standing for something and unless you have been told specifically what they all mean it can be quite perplexing. Also there are different styles of tape measures and different lengths, widths, weights and thicknesses.

A measuring tape does not only gauge one measurement but instead contains the markings for several, so in order to make this confusing task of ‘how to read a tape measure’ far easier, just follow these few simple steps.

1. Reading Inches

The inch lines are typically more prominent than the centimetres, and spaced further apart. They can also be marked in a different colour to differentiate them. Each inch will have a number by it in order to signal the full length of an inch. However, in between these will be smaller lines symbolising the smaller fractions of this inch; it will be easier to see the half and quarter inch divisions as these will be more prominent than the smallest measurements.

For example, to measure 3 and ¾ inches, you will need to mark up to the number 3 on the inches side and then you will need 3 of the quarter inch marks. It’s that simple!

2. Reading Centimeters

How to Read a Tape Measure

How to Read a Tape Measure

On the other side of the tape measure will be the markings for centimeters. Just like the inches, each full centimetre will be marked with a number and there will be smaller lines in between to signal each smaller fraction. There will be ten sections, each representing one millimeter.

For example, to measure 20.3 centimeters, you will need to measure up to the 20 mark on the centimetre side of the tape measure and then the first three little lines after.

3. Reading Feet

Although this is quite unusual, some tape measures also have the markings for feet. The marking for one foot will appear after 16 inches and just like the inches and centimetres, will be highly prominent on the strip in comparison to the smaller lines; however, the easiest thing to spot is the red square/rectangle that is typically used.

For example, to measure 1 and ¼ foot, you will need to find the first reading for one foot and then add on a further 4 inches (as one foot is equal to 16 inches, you need a quarter of this amount).

4. Measuring different surfaces

It can be much trickier to measure surfaces like material compared to wood as it will tend to move around. In these circumstances it would be advisable to employ a different style of tape measure. Rather than using a tape measure made of metallic ribbon, it would be more appropriate to use one made of cloth. In this case, you are able to pin the measuring tape to the material to avoid miss calculation! On the other hand, when measuring a hard surface like wood or metal, a metal ribbon tape measure is the most suitable.

How to Remove Wallpaper Easily

Learn how to remove wallpaper easily without using a scorer or other paper scraping tools. There are wallpaper removal tips that help you break down the plaster keeping paper on your walls, which make it a lot easier to strip your house walls and start over. Downey or a similar fabric softener is one such substance.

Wallpaper Removal Tips

The following are some wallpaper removal tips that are simple and easy to follow.

Wallpaper Removal Tools

Below is a short list of materials you’ll need to get rid of your wallpaper without trouble. You’ll notice there are no scorers listed.

Removing Wallpaper Easily

Start by filling one of your buckets with approximately 2 gallons of lukewarm water. Next, add somewhere between one-fourth and one-half of a cup of Downey to the water. Mix the two.

Apply the Downey to Your Walls

Dip a sponge in the Downey bucket, then use the sponge to moisten your walls with the Downey. Make sure every inch of your walls that you want to strip are covered.

You might want to apply a second time, if you don’t think the fabric softener and water covers the walls well enough. If this gives you trouble or you’re afraid it’s going to get too messy, consider using a sprayer. Use your old Windex bottle and rinse well before using.

In either case, apply fabric softener to your walls.

Let Soften Stand on Wallpaper 20 Minutes

How to Remove Wallpaper Easily

How to Remove Wallpaper Easily

Let the Downey and water mixture stand for roughly fifteen to twenty minutes. This should be all you need to soften up your wallpaper for easy stripping.

Strip the Wallpaper off Your Walls

Gently now, peel off the loosened wall paper away from your walls. There should be no trouble getting rid of the wallpaper, because the fabric softener should have seeped into the wallpaper and loosened its adhesive qualities. Continue until the entire wall is stripped.

Wash Your Stripped Walls

You likely are going to have Downey fabric softener on your walls, so take a clean bucket of warm water and apply it to the walls, in order to clean away the fabric softener. If you use the same sponge that you used to apply the fabric softener in the first place, wash and wring out the sponge well, to remove all fabric softener.

More Wallpaper Removal Tips

If you don’t have any Downey fabric softener handy, consider using car windshield washer fluid. Spray it onto your wallpaper in liberal amounts, then spray it a second time, to make sure you get full coverage of the wallpaper.

For those who like the storebought products specifically designed for a job, consider the DIF Concentrate Liquid Wallpaper Stripper by Zinsser. DIF wallpaper stripper is a patented enzyme formula that removes paste, when mixed with water. You can find DIF at any Home Depot, Lowes or other household and hardware stores.

A word of warning about DIF, though. If your ceilings are painted with flat paint, if you get the DIF on the paint, your paint job will be discolored.

Vinegar also works, though it won’t absorb through plastic wallpaper. You’ll need to peel off the top layer of plastic, then spray vinegar on the tough-to-peel plaster below.

In my experience, Downey works as good or better than any of the options above. These are other options to consider, if you don’t believe me, though.

Easily Removing Paper from Walls

Now you know how to remove wallpaper easily from your walls. If you use the right loosening agent, you should never have to use scraping tools and scorers to remove wallpaper.

How to Build a Chicken Coop Step by Step

Learning how to build a chicken coop step by step lets you provide low cost housing for your poultry that your chickens will be perfectly happy with. You don’t have to be a master carpenter to build your own chicken coop. All you have to do is provide your animals with their basic living needs to keep them healthy and protected from the elements.

Building Chicken Coops

Chickens are great to keep around the farm, because your household has a steady supply of eggs, chicken meat and garden fertilizer. Once you have your chicken coop around the place, your barnyard will be full of hens, chicks and a rooster or two. The following are steps you can take when building chicken coops.

Planning Your Chicken Coop

There are a few factors you need to consider, when building a chicken coop. First, you need to find a high spot to build on. This keeps water puddles from forming in the coop perimeter during the inevitable storm.

Second, make sure the high area is big enough for your chicken coop, by planning the size of your coop. Your hens and birds for meat need to have 1.5 to 3 square feet per bird inside their coop. Chickens need more space in the chicken pen – roughly 8-10 square ft per bird.

Plan Coop Features

You’ll need to plan on a door for your chicken coop, which allows you to get inside and collect eggs. You also need a big enough door to bring in cleaning supplies, because you’ll need to clean the coop occasionally, to keep it from being unlivable.

Along the same lines, consider adding a window on the south side of you chicken coop. This lets you ventilate the space for your chickens in summertime, when the heat in certain areas can hurt the health of all involved.

Every chicken needs 6″ to 12″ of perch space, while you want to nest box for every 3-5 hens living in the coop.

Building Materials

If you have a lot of scrap around the place, you might be able to scrounge enough excess scrap lumber to build the chicken coop without costly building supplies. Lumber or plywood should do the trick.

If you don’t have enough wood to build your coop, purchase plywood, chicken wire, waterers, straw and chicken feeders at the Home Depot, Lowes or other supply stores.

Chicken Coop – Step by Step Building Tips

How to Build a Chicken Coop Step by Step

How to Build a Chicken Coop Step by Step

Build the chicken coop facing south, so the wind doesn’t blow through the coop in winter, and you can open windows and/or doors to ventilate the coop in the summer.

Remember to place a latch on your coop door, so you can secure the coop at will. For instance, unlatched doors could slide open and predators could get inside the coop at night.

Roof of Chicken Coop

Build a sloped roof on your chicken coop. Sloped roofs cause water to run off, instead of stand, when it rains.

Add Boxes, Box Straw and Perches

Add next boxes first, remembering to add straw to the boxes. Next, add the perches, which should be about 3 to 5 feet off the ground.

Protect the Coop with a Fence

Fence the chicken pen entirely with a chicken wire. Remember to bury the fencing at least 1 foot deep, with then fencing angling out. When it’s angled out, predators won’t be able to dig underneath the fence. Believe me; local predators will take note of your chicken supply.

Protection from Predators

The chicken wire should stand 4′ high, to keep chickens in and most predators out. A high fence won’t keep hawks and owls from the chicken yard, so stretch netting to keep airborne predators away. If you decide that’s too much trouble, plant tall grasses or millet in the chicken yard, because this gives your chickens cover from aerial predators.

Remove low-hanging branches of trees, or other low-hanging areas of structures, from above the chicken pen area. While chickens can’t fly really well, they can make it to low-hangers and might roost in the yard, instead of the coop, when you aren’t watching at night. That’s certain to leave them vulnerable when the nocturnal predators show up on the prowl.

Chicken Feeders

Hang chicken feeders off the ground, so dirt doesn’t get into the chicken feed and water. A chicken feeder should be about the height of your chicken’s backs.

Add Chicken Litter or Straw

Any area with uncovered dirt or mud is going to be pooped on and scratched by the chickens. To keep the chicken pen from becoming a mess, add litter and/or straw to bare ground in the pen yard.

Building a Chicken Coop

You now know how to build a chicken coop step by step. Building chicken coops doesn’t take a lot of planning or building skills, but you want to do the job right, to give you chickens a chance to be protected, healthy, lively, well-maintained and productive.

How to Install a Door

When installing a door or completing any handy man work around the house, always remember your personal safety and obtain safety equipment such as safety goggles and protective gloves before carrying out any work.


Before you buy a door you need to ensure that you buy the right one. Therefore, using your measuring tape, obtain the measurements for the height and width of the door opening. If you cannot buy a door that is exactly the right size, buy one that is slightly bigger than the door way, this was you can shave down the sides of the door for a perfect fit.


You will need to leave a little gap at the top and bottom of your door between the door itself and the actual door frame. This is to ensure that the door does not stick when opening and closing and also allows for any carpet or flooring you may have. For the top of your door, it is advised that you leave only a 2mm gap, and for the bottom of the door it is suggested that a slightly bigger space of 4mm is allowed. Mark these measurements with a straight line in pencil across the whole width of your door.

Once you have done this, you can now adjust your door. Although it is possible to saw off the excess wood on either end of your door, it is preferable to use a plane as this will reduce the risk of taking off too much wood. Remember to check the door fits in the opening perfectly before attaching a hinge

Hinge Preparation

How to Install a Door

How to Install a Door

Check that the hinge is in the correct position for which way you want the door to open. Measure approximately 6 or 7 inches from the top of the door and mark with a pencil, then measure approximately 10 to 11 inches from the bottom of the door and mark. These are where your two hinges need to be placed in order to ensure a successfully installed door. You then need to transfer your hinge placements on to the door frame in order for the two separate parts of the hinge to match up.

Place the plates on the door in the correct place and draw around the outer edges with a pencil. These will be your markings for your hinge recesses, where they will need to sit once secured to the door. Using a chisel you need to remove shallow recess for your hinges.

Attaching the Hinge

Place the hinge plates on both door and frame and draw around the hole placements. Line up the plates once again with the holes and, using a power drill, secure the hinge plates with screws.

Installing the Door

Now that you have attached the hinges and the door is a perfect fit for the opening, all that is left to do is line up the hinges and place the pin through their middle.

How to Build a Dock in a Pond

There are many reasons to learn how to build a dock in a pond. If a pond contains fish, a dock makes for a perfect platform to relax in the sun and enjoy a few hours of fishing or reading. There are also elements that need to be considered such as location and land access. You need to ensure that rising and lowering water levels will not affect the dock. The thought of building your own dock can be quite daunting. However, by following these three simply steps you can create your very own dock;

Support Posts

Before securing support posts you need to ensure that the soil in the bottom of your pond is firm enough to guarantee they do not move. If your soil is not firm there are several things you can do; either place several large rocks in the area where your posts are going to be, or you can install concrete squares underneath your posts to guarantee a strong and flat surface for your dock.

Once you have done this you need to consider how high you want the dock to be off the surface of your pond, and take this into consideration when purchasing your posts as approximately 1 foot of the post will be in the soil. Another aspect to regard is how long you want your dock to go out from the edge of the pond, as you need two parallel posts for every 3 feet at least.

Once you have procured your posts you need to drive them into the soil to about 1 foot with a mallet. When finished you should have two parallel lines going out from the edge of the pond for your required distance.

Building the Dock

How to Build a Dock in a Pond

How to Build a Dock in a Pond

You now need to build the frame for the actual dock. Make your square frame with weather treated wood and secure the corners with galvanised nails. For extra support you are able to fasten steel L brackets to the corners. Once this is done, cut your decking boards to the width of the frame with a circular saw.

Place the frame over the support posts and attach with steel screws. When the frame is in place, take the pre-cut decking boards and attach, beginning at the edge closest to the bank and work outwards, using the galvanised nails and attaching at either end.

Due to rain, it is best to leave a slight gap, roughly ¼ inch, between each board, in order to allow water to trickle through.

At each corner secure a decking post to clearly signpost the corners and therefore the edges of your dock.


Typically people customise their dock to make it a feature of their pond. You can add things to your dock such as tires, decking posts or a hand rail to decorate your dock as and how you like. However, another option is to stain the wood either a natural tone or an eye catching colour.

How to Build a Go-Kart

Making a home-made go-kart can be a safe, family-fun activity if you use the right tools and invest a considerable amount of time including learning how to build a go-kart. Building a go-kart that can accommodate both children and adults takes a lot of money, hard work and dedication.

Tips for Building Your Own Go-Kart

Every go-kart begins with a frame measurement plan and creative insight. The standard DIY go-kart assemblage plan can be split up into four main parts: the front A-arms construction, main frame construction, the steering system and the drive axle assembly.

A resource such as GIY Go-Karts can be a good starting point for figuring out what you envision a go-kart should look like.

Many sites also offer go-kart kits and plans for purchase, but you have the power to alter and add to existing plans in order to customize your go-kart to meet your needs. Some critical choices you’ll have to make include how many seats you want your go-kart to hold, how powerful its engine will be and what type of brakes it will have.

Build Your Own Go-Kart – A-Step-by-Step-Guide suggests that your final go-kart include the following parts:

Make sure you have a go-kart plan that includes all of those components before you begin the process of learning how to build a go-kart.  Once you have acquired the necessary components you can follow the tips for building your own go-kart shown below.

Building the Front A-arms and Main Frame on a Go-Kart

For the main steel frame, take care to measure the support beams carefully and equally. Do not use welded materials for the main supports of the go-karts. Check your A-arm measurements with a template or guide so that they are precise and suitable for wielding.

For your main frame, take care to measure and lay the steel pipes on a flat concrete surface before welding. Also, place your bucket seating or bench seating inside the pipes to make sure you have measured your interior piping accurately.

How to Build a Go-Kart

How to Build a Go-Kart

As far as materials go, suggests using a combination of round and squared tubing because though it may compromise uniform physical aesthetics, it is much less painful to weld together. For example, if you were to weld two round pieces of tubing together, you would have to take a long time shading one of the round ends into a fish mouth in order to effectively weld it into the other tube.

But if you used a combination of round and squared tubing, welding the tubes together becomes much simpler and sturdier.

Use Steel Clips

When you are ready to weld your go-kart parts together, make sure you secure them to steel clips for support. Welding can be dangerous and can not only blind you, but also yield fatal fumes. Make sure you have a proper auto-darkening helmet and other protective attire when you begin wielding your A-arm joints together.

Go-Kart Engines and Brakes

A smaller kart will require a 3 Horsepower engine but most quality go-karting vehicles use at least a 5 Horsepower engine. A 5 Horsepower engine will run a go-kart as fast as 20 miles per hour. Adult go-kart enthusiasts tend to go for an 8 or 10 Horsepower engine so it is easier for their vehicle to climb hilly areas.

Many people use Briggs, Tecumseh and Honda brand engines for building their go-karts. When you purchase an engine for your go-kart, make sure to use a horizontal rather than vertical mount engine. Lawn mowers usually consist of vertical engines but customizing a vertical engine for use in a go-kart can be quite costly.

Go-Kart Brake Types

Four common types of brakes for go-karts include scrub brakes, band brakes, drum brakes and disc brakes. Scrub brakes tend to be the most affordable but they also tend to ruin your tires as they are connected to your rear tires. Scrub brakes can come as a metal footplate or a handbrake.

Band brakes are also very cheap in price but do not perform well in wet weather. A band brake mechanism is such that a small metal band tightens around a brake drum when the driver of the go-kart presses on the gas pedal. Drum brakes are just the opposite as band brakes swell inside a brake drum in order to stop the go-kart.

Disk brakes are a slightly more expensive option but definitely have high durability and consumer satisfaction.

Suspension and Steering

Usually, go-karts require a solid steering and suspension system in order to ensure the safety of your vehicle. Steering wheel assemblage requires a steering shaft, which involves the actual steering wheel and the pit arm. Spindles and tie rods are also essential materials that complete your vehicle’s steering connection and stability.

In terms of suspension systems, many people install shocks into their go-karts to make the ride smoother. Other people compensate for a lack of suspension by installing large tires on their go-karts.

Taking Time to Build Your Go-Kart

Taking the time to build a go-kart with careful technique is paramount to having a safer vehicle. Go-karts can be a fun sport for the family and it is important that you have the will, money, time and tools to build a go-kart that is both safe and fun. Make sure you do not skip on quality materials if you plan on building a quality go-kart.

Also, take a considerable amount of time to practice welding junk pieces together before you move on to the actual project. Now that you know how to build a go-kart, you can participate in a great bonding activity for you entire family.

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