Janet Laughead BHHS Commonwealth Wellesley MA


Reclaimed wood is increasingly popular in home decorating across many design styles. There are plenty of ways to get wood in order to upcycle into decorative pieces, but even the simple DIY tasks can require some light woodworking knowledge. Luckily, we’ve put together a couple of beginner-friendly DIY wood projects to create unique and useful decor for your home.

Rustic Wooden Candle Holder

What You’ll Need

For this craft you’ll need some basic tools: sandpaper or a sander, pencil, measuring tape, a cordless drill and a Forstner bit in the correct size for your choice of votive candles. Most tea lights are 1.25″ or 1.5″ but measure yours just in case. You’ll also need the piece of wood you’d like to use, preferably already cut to the desired size.

How to Craft

Use your pencil and measuring tape to mark how far apart you want the votives to be. For safety, keep at least one candle-size of space between each of them. Then, using the drill and Forstner bit, drill shallow holes into the wood at each mark. Measure the depth of each hole to make sure the candles will sit evenly. Once you’re done, sand the edges carefully to prevent splinters and you’re ready to add the votives.

Now you have a beautiful and rustic candle holder you can display in a variety of ways. What’s better is you have the basic skills and experience to make more for yourself or as gifts, all for a fraction of the price you’d spend buying one.

Easy Key Holder Plank

What You’ll Need

To create your key holder, you’ll need the wood of your choice and any paint or stain you want to add. You’ll also need simple hooks which you can buy at any hardware store or find vintage for a charming mismatched aesthetic. Depending on the type of hooks you have, you’ll need either a hammer or drill to attach them. Otherwise, the only other tools you need are sandpaper and measuring tape.

How to Craft

Choose how you would like to arrange the key hooks and measure accordingly. Sand the edges of the wood carefully until they are safe and smooth, then apply whatever paint or wood stain you chose. You can also keep the wood completely bare and achieve an easy-going rustic presentation. When the wood is dry, use your drill or hammer to attach the hooks at the desired intervals. You can use several methods to attach the key holder to the wall, including traditional picture frame brackets or heavy duty command strips. Make sure whatever you choose will support the weight of the wood—and the keys.

These are just two woodworking projects that any DIY beginner can accomplish with ease. Both are simple and leave lots of room for creativity as well as provide a useful function in the home.


Photo by Dominika Roseclay via Pexels

Giving your space a much-needed makeover doesn't have to take a lot of time or money. Whether you want to recreate the space for a party, prepare for a sale, or simply make an old room look new, here's a solution for you. Use these tips to completely transform your room in just a day.

Update the Paint

Real estate agents often say that nothing makes potential buyers drunk quicker than a fresh coat of paint. It's intoxicating the way new paint provides an instant makeover to any space. Not only does it scream newness, it also keeps your walls protected from moisture and can improve the air quality of your home. So, if you want to redo a room or an entire house, grab the paint brush and get busy.

Focus on Decorative Storage Spaces

There's no rule that storage shelves must be used for storage. Instead, use them as a decorative centerpiece by establishing a theme or motif and carrying that through with well-chosen colors, textures, and accent pieces. Have a lot of clutter that needs a home? Consider decorative woven baskets to keep magazines, accessories, toys, and more tucked away while looking naturally beautiful.

Purchase Rugs

In the time it takes to place a rug, you can have a completely new atmosphere in any indoor or outdoor space. Rugs allow you to bring texture, color, or patterns into a room without overwhelming it. They can also serve as a focal point when placed correctly, or as a backdrop when something more subtle is preferred.

Switch Out the Pillows

Similar to rugs, pillows can really make a room pop at a fairly inexpensive price point. Mix textures and patterns to create a depth and layering effect on beds, benches, and couches. To create a palette that stuns, consider adding splashes of texture with feathered pillows, tassels, or ribbing. You also may want to choose bold colors combined with neutrals to add dimension to an otherwise flat area.

Power Wash Outdoors

A complete update of a deck or driveway can be accomplished easily with a thorough power wash. Doing so can make a home feel brand new. If time allows, consider restaining any wood panels and adding furniture to a deck, or replacing worn down rockery along a driveway.

Replace the Lighting

How you physically feel in a space often comes down to the lighting. Update your space with a dramatic lighting fixture or simplify and unify a room by choosing a neutral fixture. Effective design is about pairing lighting levels with the tasks being completed in that space. Think of a brightly lit kitchen island instead of a lamp in your reading space.

If you'd like more home decorating tips or want help with an upcoming move, feel free to reach out!



 Photo by Sabine van Erp via Pixabay 

There's a certain nostalgia associated with genuine vintage tins -- not the replicas you find at today's one-dollar stores. Genuine vintage tins had real purpose, usually multiple ones, in fact. They did double duty as tubs to wash both children and laundry. Or, sometimes, they held both lunch food and school supplies.

Today, many of these vintage containers are worth far more than they were when originally produced, especially if you can find them in mint condition. These are the vintage containers meant to be safely preserved and stored away behind glass for future generations to enjoy. The others, however -- the ones that have gone rusty and bent, and the ones that have holes in the bottom or pieces rusted through -- these ones make perfect planters to lend your front porch and windowsills a twinge of nostalgia from days gone by. We've listed our best ideas for upcycling vintage tins like these into precious planters for your home. 

Vintage Tin Cans

Back in the day, tin cans held medicine, spices, tobacco and oysters. In fact, there were few products that wouldn't fit inside a tin can. These types of vintage tins all had something in common: They were small. If you're planning to upcycle a vintage tin can into a planter, think succulents. Anything bigger will eventually need to be transplanted to prevent it from becoming root-bound. Burro's tail or hen-and-chicks work well in small containers. Simply drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, use cactus soil for planting and be sure not to over water. 

Vintage Biscuit Tins

Biscuit tins were bigger than traditional tin cans, and they came in every shape and size. A word of caution, however. If you come into ownership of a genuine biscuit tin, even one that's in questionable condition, have it appraised before turning it into a home for your spider plant. These tins are highly collectible and sought-after pieces of history.

Traditional biscuit tins are long and flat, meaning you'll want a plant that can thrive with somewhat shallow roots. Herbs such as basil and rosemary fit the bill. So do bonsai trees and pothos. Again, drill holes for drainage before planting. 

Vintage Candy Tins

Traditionally, candy tins were bigger than both tin cans and biscuit tins, comparable in size to some of today's shoe boxes. Old candy tins held toffee and hard candies, among other confections, and they're the perfect size to upcycle into planters for Chinese evergreen or grape ivy.

Estate sales are tops for finding old, interesting tins that aren't in mint condition. These are the ones you want if you're going to turn them into fun and eclectic planters for your home. Keep them away from the elements, or spray them with several coats of sealer before placing your vintage tin planters outside. 


Making your own candles is a fulfilling endeavor to take. You’ll learn about the art of candle-making, get the chance to make something for your home yourself, and reap the rewards once you get to burn it and diffuse whatever (if any) fragrances you choose to use.

Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t all that hard to make a candle. However, to make one that will burn well and smell nice can be tricky.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to make your own candle for your home.

Chandlery

In the times when households weren’t yet powered by electricity, candle-making or “chandlery” wasn’t just a fun skill to have--it was downright useful.

Since the earliest times in recorded history humans have been making candles. First from tallow, or beef fat, and then of beeswax and other animal-produced substances.

Today, however, the most common candle wax base is paraffin, due to it being the cheapest base. As a petroleum byproduct, many people are concerned with potential health risks of paraffin and have elected to use alternatives. The two most common are beeswax and soybean oil.

The wax base you choose is up to you, but you’ll likely find that soy is a good middle ground between quality and price.

Gather your supplies

Once you’ve decided on a wax, you’ll need to think about a few other ingredients--namely your wick, container, and any oils you’d like to add for fragrance. You’ll also need a way to melt the wax, such as a double boiler.

When it comes to wicks, it’s easiest to buy them pre-assembled. However, you can buy a roll of braided rope and tabs to make and cut them yourself. When cutting your wick, leave an inch or two extra so that you can cut the wick to the proper size later on.

In terms of a container you have several options, some of which might be laying around in your house at this very moment. You could reuse an old candle container, use mason jars or coffee cups, and most other heat- and flame-resistant containers. If you plan on making several, buying a pack of candle tins of mason jars online is an economical way to go.

Finally, you’ll need to choose some fragrances if you want your candle to smell like anything. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from. However, they don’t all go nicely together. It’s best to do a bit of research and find out which oils make good pairs. Some examples: Cedarwood and bergamot, lavender and rosemary, orange and lemongrass.

Making your candle

Put water in the bottom of your double boiler and add roughly ½ lb wax to the top pan. Heat slowly until the wax melts, stirring and chopping up the larger chunks throughout the process.

Once the wax is melted, take your wick and dip the tab into the wax, then carefully press the tab into the bottom of your container. Use a pen or other tool to do this to avoid burning yourself on the wax.

Next, add your essential oils to the double boiler. A pound of wax typically requires only an ounce of oil. Then, stir it for a minute or so to distribute the oil throughout the wax.

Then, pour the wax into your container with one hand. With your other hand, keep the wick held in the center of the container.

Finally, you’ll need to keep the wick in the center of the candle until the wax dries. You can do this by tying or taping the wick to a pen or pencil and resting the pencil on top of the container so that the wick stays in the center.




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