DIY Projects


Recycled Can Luminaries-Halloween
This craft is a great way to re-use your food cans. You can light up your walkway or countertop and let your guests know you are in the holiday spirit.

Recycled Can Luminaries-frozen
Once your can is clean and label-free, fill with water. Freeze. Make sure to leave about an inch at the top for ice expansion. You don’t want an unexpected mess in your freezer! The reason I recommend this step is to make drilling through the can much easier. The ice will act as a barrier and make the drilling safer.

Recycled Can Luminaries-drilling can
Print or draw out a simple outline of a design. I used a trendy skull, bat and jack-o-lantern. Tape the design onto your now frozen can. Now you know I love power tools, so here’s where a drill comes in handy! However, if you don’t have one, a hammer and nail will work just fine. Start drilling “dots” around your pattern. Whether you’re using a drill or hammer and nail, be careful. Again, this is where the ice will keep the can from collapsing. Pull the paper pattern off and check the design. Recycled and really cool!

Recycled Can Luminaries-glowing
These luminaries add such a festive welcome. You can paint some of them black like I did here. Add a candle or battery light in the bottom. These recycled can luminaries will work for the winter holidays, too!


Do it yourself concrete staining is both popular and inexpensive.  With the warmer weather, now is the time to revitalize your existing surface. Staining concrete combines the best of both worlds: beauty and functionality.  There are two types of concrete stains to choose from, acid stains and acrylic stains. For this particular example, I will demonstrate how to apply an acrylic stain to an old pool deck.  Before you get started with your particular project, here are the materials you will need:
Stiff brush
Concrete stain (I used Behr semi-transparent in “Grotto” STC-11)
Muriatic acid
Plastic watering can
Rubber gloves
Safety goggles
TSP cleaner
Paint roller and brush
Pressure washer, if you have one
Acrylic sealer

Can you say “lackluster?”  An acrylic concrete stain will work great on this old concrete pool deck because age increases the porosoity in concrete.  For newer concrete, I’ve found that  acid concrete stain works the best because of the availability of free lime.  Now let me show you how you can do it yourself!
Use muriatic solution to clean and etch your concrete.  Remember to wear protective clothing like rubber boots and gloves.  Pour equal parts of muriatic acid with water into a plastic watering can.

This picture shows the concrete being sprinkled with the solution.  The purpose of this step is to neutralize the concrete’s alkalinity, so let it etch for about 30 minutes before rinsing with water.  If this solution comes in contact with your skin, immediately rinse it off.
*By the way, if your concrete has stubborn oil or stains, a pressure washer and a degreaser may also be needed.

Next apply your TSP cleaning solution (mixed according to the directions on the box) to the wet concrete.  This will remove any residue left over from the acid wash.  Use a stiff-bristle brush to scrub out all of the crevices.  This doubles as a good upper-body exercise!   ;-)

Rinse your surface thoroughly with fresh water.  If you have access a pressure washer, even better!  Once the surface is dry, the roughness should resemble that of sandpaper.   Properly cleaning and rinsing your surface will allow you to admire your concrete for years to come.

Let the concrete dry for at least 48 hours and then sweep off any dust or leaves.  Start by applying your concrete stain with a roller or brush in any style or pattern you desire. If a second coat is needed, wait 24 hours between coats.

You have the opportunity here to be really creative by using blending or marbling effects with your color.  You can even use an accent stain for a washed and natural stone look.  In this photo, I am using an old, flexible cutting board to keep the edging neat.  This dull concrete is starting to look much more appealing!  
As you can see, there’s an instant difference in the appeal of this pool decking!  Once you’ve finished applying your acrylic concrete stain (1 or 2 coats, whichever look you like,) paint a coat of clear acrylic sealer to the dry surface.  This will add durability and UV protection while enhancing the overall appearance.  I think you’ll agree:  this do-it-yourself project gives you some great results.  And the best part is YOU can do the job for a bunch less than you’d pay someone else.  Sweet!