DIY Leather Wallet / Clutch

DIY Leather Clutch

Happy Fourth of July! We had quite a rainy Fourth of July weekend so we had to spent much of it inside – boo. The rain gave me a good opportunity to post this DIY Leather Clutch that I’ve been wanting to post for awhile.

This DIY Leather Clutch (or wallet – multipurpose!) makes for a perfect gift. It’s super simple and you can make multiples for less than $10!

I found a bag of assorted leather remnants from Hobby Lobby on sale for about $6. If you choose your bag right, there are several large scraps of leather from which you can make these great wallets. If you don’t have a Hobby Lobby near you, or just don’t have time to go, you can an check out these options on Amazon.  Read More

DIY Holiday Gifts – Wooden Serving Tray


These past couple months have been particularly trying. A trip to India, a demanding work schedule, three sick kids, Thanksgiving, followed by own sickness, really did me in. Christmas is quickly approaching and I’ve only just started to pull together ideas for Christmas gifts. When did December roll in and how is Christmas only two weeks away!?

I did manage to carve out a bit of time this week to crank out a Christmas gift, perfect for any adult, really, due to its versatility. Trays like this one, though obviously functional as a serving tray for guests, are also great to pull together odds and ends (books, flowers, candles, etc.) to display on a coffee or end table. My serving tray was simple to make and cost very little for the materials. Wooden serving trays can cost $50+ so this was a steal at less than $15 in (extra savings for wood stain on hand!).

1, 1″ x 4″ x 8′ pine board, cut to four 24″ long pieces
1, 1″ x 2″ x 8″ pine board, cut to two 13.5″ long pieces (or the total width of your above four boards)
Wood glue
1/2″wood screws
Wood stain
Polyurethane finish
2 drawer handles w/screws

First, cut your boards (or have your local hardware store cut for you!) so you have four, 1″ x 4″ x 25″ pieces and two, 1″ x 2″ x 13.5″ (or the total width of your four boards) pieces. *Note that lumber measurements are often generic therefore a 4″ wide board at your hardware store may actually measure 3.5″*

 Sand your boards on all sides and edges by hand or with an electric sander (my favorite tool!),
Use wood glue on the two narrow boards to pre-attach the pieces of the tray.
Use clamps to grip and dry accordingly.
Once the wood glue has dried, drill a 1/2″ wood screw into each of the four corners on the bottom of the tray. *Do not drill into the two middle boards as you will ultimately attach with the handle screw*
Use a clean, dry cloth to stain the tray with two coats. Allow to dry thoroughly. Once dry, apply a coat of polyurethane to finish.
Once the stain and finish are thoroughly dried, measure and mark the distance of the handle, centering on either side of the tray. Be sure to mark the center of the handle holes, where the screws will be drilled into.
Using a drill bit measuring the width of the handle screws, drill a hole through the entire depth of the tray, one for each handle screw (two at each side).
Drill the screws through the bottom of the tray 2/3 of the way in.

 Fix the handle onto the screws before completing screwing through so the handles are ultimately screwed flush to the top of tray.
 Your tray is complete! Such an easy, yet great gift!
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Looking for another great gift idea? The above pictured DIY Gentleman’s Drink Coasters make a perfect gift as well!
Happy gifting!


Chalkboard Beer Caddy

DiY Chalkboard Beer Caddy
Continuing our (admittedly sporadic) 12 Weeks of Christmas series, this week we’re making a few of these Chalkboard Beer Caddies for the beer lovers among our family and friends! Quick to whip up and personalizable (word??) to any person or holiday, we’re pretty pumped about this gift idea and will be making some extra to have on hand for last minute gifting needs!
The plan is actually eerily similar to the Distressed Toolbox Planter we made earlier this year, just in miniature.
1 3/4 dowel rod (approximately 1 ft long)
1 3 ft long 1×8 (note: a 1×6 would actually work here, if it was a true to size 1×6 … 1x6s are actually really 1×5.5 and 1x8s are more like 1×7.25s. So a 1×6 that you buy at the hardware store would be too small for this project. A hardware store 1×8 works, but it is a bit roomy for the standard beer bottle. You can trim it down to 6/6 1/2 inches wide if you like, but it works just fine without that step, IMHO)
2 small pieces of plywood or craft wood, each 4″x10″
1 4″x8″ piece of thin plywood (for the divider)
wood stain
chalkboard paint
First, cut your 1×8 into the following lengths.
2 12″ pieces
1 8″ piece
Next angle cut the ends of your caddy (the 12″ pieces). The easiest way to achieve this is to measure down on each board about 6 inches. Then, measure over 2 1/2 inches from the top corners. Draw lines connecting the two marks. Cut with either a miter, jig or circular saw (I used a miter).



Next, you’ll want to cut a divot for the divider on the base piece (the 8″ piece). I did this by drawing a line through the middle of the board and then running it through the table saw twice to get the desired divot width.


Fit a small piece of plywood into the slot.
Next, assemble the sides to the base piece. Before attaching, you’ll want to drill 3/4″ holes into the top of each side (easiest to line your pieces up and drill through both of them at the same time to ensure the they align).


I used wood glue, and then followed up with nails once the glue had set.

Meanwhile, paint your 10″ plywood or craft wood with chalkboard paint. Use two coats.


Chalk up the boards so that future chalk use won’t permanently mark it up.
Next, stain the caddy. Stain the dowel rod as well. (I used walnut … a Beckham + Bell favorite. Check out our post on distressing wood and selecting stain colors).
Finally, assemble the chalkboard pieces to the unit. I used a nail gun for this part, but you could certainly use a good old fashioned hammer as well!
Stock that baby with beer and gift away! (This would also be really cute with milk bottles filled with flowers … a little more feminine, for sure!)
DiY Chalkboard Beer Caddy


DIY Closet / Armoire for American Girl Dolls

 DIY Doll Clothes Closet / Armoire

If you would have told me five or ten years ago that I would one day dedicate my free time to building a doll clothes armoire for my kid, I would have laughed at you. Or mocked you. Probably both.

But here I am, with not one, but two kids, building furniture for my first-born’s American Girl doll (“Sage”) in my [limited] spare time.

This DIY armoire actually kicks off a new series that Steph and I will do for the next 12 or so weeks – DIY Christmas/Holiday Gifts. We’ll be showing you some of our handmade gift ideas that we’ll be making for our nearest and dearest.

There’s no shortage of good reasons to make your own Christmas gifts. If money’s short, it’s a way to save during an otherwise very expensive time of year. If money’s no object, the fact that you took the time to make something shows your giftee that you really love them. Either way, it’s a win!

My daughter had been asking for a closet for Saige for some time. It sounded like an easy enough project to take on. Step one was making sure that I could buy doll clothes sized hangers for Sage’s wardrobe. Duh. Of course you can. Anything you can think of that might be needed/wanted for an American Girl doll already exists (including armoires, if you want to skip this whole tutorial and just order one!!).  I bought my hangers on Amazon – 12 for $6, not bad.

Once I had the hangers, I measured them to see how deep the armoire would need to be to accommodate the hangers. They were right around 7 inches so I went with a 1×8 board for the armoire frame.


1 6-ft 1×8 board
1 9 ft .75″ craft board or trim (optional – can purchase in pieces, see cuts below)
1 4 ft .5″ craft board or trim (optional, see below)
1 2ft x 2ft 1/4 inch mdf plywood (for doors)
1 2ft x 2ft 1/4 inch plywood (for back)
4 small hinges (with screws)
2 small cabinet knobs
12″ piece of dowel rod (I used 3/4″)
wood glue
paint of your choice


Mark two 18″ cut points on your 6 foot board. Also mark two 15″ cut points. I used a compound miter saw to make these cuts – they could also be done with a table saw, jig saw, or regular miter saw (carefully).

Drill a hold into the top of each 18″ piece of 1×8. measure down about 2.5 inches from the top of the board, and center the drill bit. These will be the holes you’ll use to insert the dowel rod, so make sure your drill bit matches your dowel size.

Next, attach your 1×8 pieces to make a frame for the armoire. As you can see, for my design, I had some overhang with my top and bottom pieces. I measured about half an inch in and then positioned the side pieces accordingly. I used wood glue and angle clamps (love these angle clamps … one of my favorite tool purchases!).


Please excuse the disaster that is my workshop.

While the glue sets, cut the back and the doors for your armoire. The back should measure roughly 14.5″ x 18.5″. The doors each measure 7″ x 18.5″.

Optional step. I wanted to trim out my doors, to dress up the armoire a little bit. This is where the craft wood came in. I trimmed out each door with the .75″ strips of craft wood (4- 18.5″ pieces, 4 – 7″ pieces).  Miter the edges and glue the trim on. Then I made the cross in each door using the 1/2″ craft wood.

Once the glue is set on the armoire frame, insert your dowel rod through the pre drilled holes. Then glue on the back of the unit.

Paint doors desired color while glue sets. (I painted the inner part of the door a silver color to mimic mirror, and then the door frame purple – my daughter’s favorite color du jour).

Once that glue has dried, mark the location of your screws needed to secure hinges. Drill holes, and attach doors with hinges. (Note: this step is a bit tricky and may take some tweaking. Door 1 went on smoothly for me, but my measurement was off for door 2 and I had to re-drill my hinge holes).

Paint the rest of the unit (inside and outside) your color of choice.

Attach knobs to each door.

Do any necessary paint touch-ups, stock it with hangers and wrap it up for that special little girl on your list!