30 Jun

Color Inside the Lines

Build a DIY Paint Booth

There comes a time in every adult’s life when they can no longer shush the aches and pains telling them they are getting old. For the avid DIYer, those grumblings from overworked and under-iced muscles are heard over even the loudest of power tools.

A few weeks ago, the ligaments in my right shoulder and forearm were screaming at me to stop painting. When I could ignore them no longer, I put down my brush, picked up a pencil and sketched up a simple solution to help me work smarter and whine less.

Once it was all worked out in my head, I enlisted the guys’ help to clear out a 9′ x 9′ area in the garage to work in.

DIY Paint Booth

I got a little candid for the camera. Passersby thought I was having a sale but I was vacuuming and acting a fool. See what happens when there’s room to move around in?

It took a while to get to it but behold, a blank wall.

DIY Paint Booth

Using basic materials and tools, I created a dedicated ‘pop-up’ workspace to spray my project pieces and cut down on the wear and tear of my right arm. The design allows the booth to fold flat against the garage wall when not in use. So, someday I might actually park inside the garage. (hey, a girl can wish)

Paint Booth Walls

After dry-fitting the boards together I secured them with long wood screws. Each section measured roughly 2′ 1/2″ wide leaving plenty of space in the center of the back wall for a filter pocket.

Paint Booth Filter Pocket

Cutting down some scrap wood, I framed out a pocket to hold an air filter. The bottom is entirely enclosed while the top and sides allow for any size filter to drop in and swap out easily.

Paint Booth Wheels

Because of the size of my walls, I wanted to be sure they were easily moved in to place. I installed a set of medium weight casters to each wall and positioned stops for added support.

Paint Booth Support

Countersinking a screw into the wood with a spade drill bit keeps it’s head from scraping the adjacent concrete floor. It’s also a handy way not to need longer screws.

Paint Booth Support

After marking my 2×4 support level, I secured it to a stud in the wall.

Folding Paint Booth Wall

And used standard door hinges to attach the back wall to the support. With the hinge positioned correctly, the wall closes flat against the garage side wall.

Paint Booth Fold Out Wall

I wheeled the side wall over and secured it to the back wall with safety-latch eye hooks.

Paint Booth Plastic Sheeting

Inside, I measured and cut the plastic sheeting to fit over the wall frames and stapled them in place.

Paint Booth Plastic

I added a horizontal support brace that worked double duty to position the wall into place. Even on wheels, it’s difficult for a 5’nothing chick to move an 8′ wall around the garage (but not impossible).

Paint Booth Wall

To secure the end of the side wall, I stuck an eye hook in a ceiling stud and used a piece of chain someone had pitched on trash day a while back. Seriously, I find uses for everything (much to Dave’s chagrin).

Paint Booth Air Filter

The white tarp (left) drapes over the top as a temporary ceiling to contain airborne over-spray. The clear plastic sheeting allows light to permeate the space while keeping dust out and off of wet pieces. It will probably help keep paint off of Dave’s car at some point too.

Paint Booth Air Filter

And while that is a good thing, behind the back wall is where the magic really happens.

Paint Booth Ventilation

A box fan atop a curb-surfed kid’s table pulls the air out of the spray booth, cycling it towards the open service door off to the right of the garage. The filter keeps the paint particles from getting into the fan’s housing elements.

Paint Booth Folded Up

And it all folds flat when the project is complete. Or in my case, for the purposes of this single blog post.

Paint Booth Finished

Since we all know my projects will never be complete.

Want to try this in your own workshop? For a material list and easy-to-follow tutorial click here – DIY Fold-Up Spray Paint Booth and be sure to link back when yours is complete! (pin the image below for quick reference back to this post)

Build a DIY Paint Booth

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13 Jan

DIY Dumpster Dive

Cabinet Organized

I <3 trash. But, I try hard not to be the one putting things on the curb for others to pilfer. I’ve been known to hang on to soup cans, spaghetti jars, cardboard (sorry Mom – I know you’re shuddering as Dad reads this to you!), plastic & paper bags, fabric & wallpaper scraps – you name it, I save it. You just never know when you’ll need it. But – not in a hoarder kinda way. I have no sentimental connection to anything. I just *like* to keep as much money in my pocket as possible by keeping very little from hitting the curbside.

So, when I was hating on the trash can frame I built for my Hide & Seek Garbage project it was easy to grab some cardboard and wallpaper and pretty her right up. I didn’t have to look far for a pull knob since I have about 40 of them to choose from.

Wasted Cabinet Space

And it’s no surprise I had just the perfect thing for maximizing the 6″ dead space next to the trash can. {Remembering where I put that perfect thing was, however, a bit more challenging.}

Now, I can’t take credit for this one. Somewhere in cyberspace someone came up with this handy solution and I’m sure it’s been copied eleventeen thousand times over already. But – that’s how I knew it was foolproof and precisely why I didn’t pitch this small aluminum tube thingy (I think this might have come from one of those over the door shoe racks but don’t hold me to it) since it would definitely come in handy someday.

And people someday was today. I grabbed two cafe hooks. Eyeballed ‘level’ and screwed them right into the side of the cabinet.

Aluminum Bar & Hooks

Note: Before you embark on this complex task, be sure to hold the hook’s shaft perpendicular to your cabinet, closing one eye and sticking out your tongue to achieve a precise measurement – ensuring the screw won’t come through on the other side. This is a VERY important step so do not neglect it or you’ll be sorry!

I closed my right eye and totally overlooked the  shelf rough-in from earlier. {Win. Win.} Then I butt-scooted over to the cabinet under the sink and blindly pulled out a few bottles, reverse scooted back to hang them up and call this project…

Cabinet Organized COMPLETE!

Ok, truth time. I was slightly annoyed with the two-toned metal and momentarily debated spray painting something but opted to throw caution to the wind and wing it. (If, as a result of my blatant flippancy, the world comes to a screeching halt please know I am sorry!)

Now, I know there weren’t very many pretty pictures and this wasn’t an earth shattering DIY tutorial.

The real lesson here folks is to practice what I preach. Make sure that your dives start with your own dumpster. Make treasures from your own trash!

Now it’s your turn. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever forbidden someone in your house to pitch? Did you use it for something? If so – what??? I seriously wanna know (that I’m not alone).

10 Jan

It’s (hide and seek) Trash Day!

Black & Decker jigsaw

We have been up to our ears in germs around these parts of late. What with the hubs’ swine flu and Mr. Lou’s allergies to life my kitchen counter looks like an Osco pharmacy. (We don’t even have Osco’s in these parts, I’m paying homage to my Chicagoland roots – holla!) I’m certain we’ve gone through 1,000 tissues and paper towels in the last week alone. So of course the first task to knock off this year’s Domestic Bucket List had to be the under cabinet trash can.


I spent a long time looking for a chocolate brown trashcan when we moved into this house and this was the only one I liked.

The problem is the domed top invites overfilling. I’m sure you can see the proof encrusted on the top (and trickled down the front). And the darn top never stays on. I was tired of having spaghetti sauce (and who knows what else) on my fingers every time I pitched something and the lid fell off to the floor. Yep, it had to go.

I had priced out the under-the-counter trash contraptions locally and online and holy cow are they expensive! I perused some DIY and old school carpentry sites (shout out to Bob Villa) trying to figure out how to fabricate a slide-out option myself. I got lucky over the summer when I popped in on my old next door neighbor’s garage sale. Ok, so it was more of a slam-on-the-brakes-while-engaging-in-drive-by-rummaging (don’t those people irritate you? Just park already!) operation that led me to this score:

Can you see the price? Ten. Dollars. For real.

So I ponied up the cash and grinning ear to ear took my newest prized possession home where it sat until today to be installed.

$10 trash can

Yes, I endured another 6 months of saucy, germy fingers out of sheer laziness.

Part of the reason I waited so long was because the cabinet I wanted to use (between the fridge and the dishwasher – directly below my fancy espresso machine) had a shelf that needed to be removed.

cleared cabinet

I wasn’t sure how to do it at first because it seemed built-in to the cabinet. I chatted up the guys in the kitchen department at Menard’s and they had a display for the crazy expensive gadgets in a cabinet identical to mine. So, I squatted down and stuck my head in there and found they had just notched out the shelf to fit the trash can. Rocket science apparently.

So, I had to get a new jigsaw.

Black & Decker jigsaw

I didn’t like the notched out look and just removed the entire shelf. I made 3 straight cuts with the jig and then smacked the shelf with my hammer. It only took a few swings for the shelf to come right out.

smack hammer

Turns out, it wasn’t really built-in. See the grooves that it was laying in?

open cabinet

I pitched the broken pieces into the old trash can (ironic I know) and then installed the base of the metal sliding unit. That went in with 4 wood screws. Because the cabinets are fabricated of MDF (medium density fiberboard) I did pre-drill my holes to prevent splitting and chipping. Sometimes just going straight into faux wood with a screw mucks the whole thing up. Pre-drill to be safe.

slider install

At this point, I could have attached the top, loaded a bag into the can and plopped it right in but part of the goal was to avoid dirty fingers. Since the type of slide I had was too narrow to justify re-engineering (like this) I knew I was going to have to manually open the cabinet door, reach in and pull the can out. But I had no intention of grabbing the garbage can itself so I had to get creative. And I had an idea…

Last week I found this awesome Ikea plant shelf crying all alone sitting on top of a trash pile outside a local gym. I figured it would come in handy for something and brought it home. One of the rungs was broken (probably the reason it was discarded) and was almost exactly the size I needed.

trashed plant stand

With some scrap wood, I boxed out a frame and installed it to the front of the metal slider. Then I drilled a hole for a handle (a random drawer pull I had on hand) and it was done.

pull out frame

Only, I hated it.

That gaping hole showing the white plastic can was hideous. I put on my thinking cap and came up with a very scientific solution.

Cardboard. But not just any cardboard. Wallpaper covered cardboard.

under cabinet trash can

Genius right? I know.

The best part is that *if* anyone happens to slime it up, it’s completely washable. 100% germ-free for. the. win.

I knew once I snapped and posted my dirty secrets there would be no turning back. Lots of other bloggers said I was ‘brave’ (read: crazy) for sharing but I am no different from the rest of you. And what do I care? I’ve got nothing to hide – except my trash can. 🙂

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. See that space to the left of the trash? (scroll back up, I’ll wait…) I’ve got big plans for that little spot. (Check out the updated reveal here!)

What kind of trash can do you use? Do you love it? Would you prefer your trash out of sight & under the cabinet? Am I going to wind up hating this pull out version too?