$6 Upcycled Dog Bed

We needed a new dog bed. OK actually, the dog needed a new bed. Here is the sad “before” state.


Dog beds cost like $25-40. That’s just silly. It’s some fabric and stuffing. So, we got some supplies. A throw blanket from Wal Mart ($2.87). Iron-on seam tape ($3.97). And the best part – we had a couple of old study-buddy pillows that were ready for donation to the thrift store, where they would no-doubt sit endlessly waiting for one of the tens of people in the world who buy used pillows to stumble on them. Since everyone has some old pillows of some type lying around for stuffing, total cost for the dog bed: $6.00.


We were a little worried about the seam tape, whether it would be permanent, and whether it would adhere well to the blanket material. This ultrabond stuff worked well.


Fold the blanket in half. The seam tape is double-sided, so you put it between the blanket seam and iron it down on one side. You can press the iron for just a few seconds at this point.


Then fold the blanket over, pull back the other side of the tape, and iron it down. At this point, you need to press down hard with the iron for about 10-15 seconds to get adequate heat to transfer through the material.


Once you’ve done 3 sides, you’re ready to stuff away!


Then you iron closed the final seam. Of course you could have turned it inside out before stuffing it, and then closed it up, but we liked the visible seam edges better. And our approach seemed like it put less stress on the seamed edges than if it were inside out.

And now for the after-shot!  Happy dog.


Another Furniture Hack – Easel Lamp

Dude, what’s up with the lamp fetish? Two weeks in a row? I know, right!

Here’s the deal. I will be moving into a new apartment after the first of the year. I want to fix it up and make it stylish and comfortable, but the industrial, architectural stuff I like is just too expensive. No self-respecting maker would pay $2,200 for one of these. So, I decided to try and make my own this weekend.

I started at Hobby Lobby. They have these awesome wooden easels for $50. I happened to have a coupon for 40% off on a single item, so I got one for $30. Schweet.

Next, I found an old ugly lamp in the basement and salvaged the hardware.


I picked up a 15-foot lamp cord at Home Depot for $3.50. The longer cord is important because of the height of the lamp. And I grabbed a can of wood stain (the easels come unfinished) for $8. So, total cost for the lamp: $40.

The easels have a nice flat surface at the top. This was perfect for drilling a 1/2″ hole for the socket post.

Wire up the socket.


Install the halo.

I wanted a more distressed look, so before I stained it, I drug a planer across the legs of the easel at random places.  This creates nice gouges.

Then I wrapped some bolts, nuts and screws in a rag and beat the crap out of it. This creates dents and dimples that look like genuine wear, and they cause the stain to be absorbed in an uneven way. I also took an awl and scratched the wood in random places, and I created some deeper holes and dents.

Finally, I disassembled the easel parts and made a big mess with my stain.

Here’s the finished product.  I’m darn happy with it, especially for $40!

Pipe Lamps


Ethan and I decided to make some steampunk’ish desk lamps out of black pipe this weekend. There are lots of various designs and tutorials out on the web, but we just got ourselves a bunch of parts and assembled things until we found a structure we liked.


The main parts you need to create one of these are pipe lengths (we used 10″ and 3″ sections), elbows (we used 45 and 90 degree ones), flanges (the round, flat base things), lamp sockets, 1/2″ to 3/4″ reducers (for the little feet as an alternative to the flanges), Tee shapes, and some old electrical cord/plugs. Ours was made of 1/2″ parts, but you could move up to 3/4″ for a larger lamp. Depending on your design, you might also find a use for the end caps.

We added the brass water water spout to break thing up, but ended up not liking it. I think we’re going to replace the water spout with something less modern-looking.


Oh, and you need light bulbs of course.  Check out these two versions. They are vintage, filament-type bulbs that GE sells and that you can find at most home supply stores. They really help to give your lamps that vintage, industrial and/or steampunk look. Beware, these bulbs put off a lot of heat and get very hot, so you’ll want to be careful about the type of fixture you put them in (see below).


For the bulb covers, we used a couple of those hanging portable lights that are common in auto shops, garages, etc. The ones we used came in bright yellow, but a little black spray paint did the trick. You could re-use the whole thing by re-purposing the bulb socket and cord for your lamp, but we didn’t think about that till it was too late.  So, we ended up with a couple of cord and sockets for another project.


Ethan took advantage of this phase to do some “graffiti” in the 7hills kitchen. :-)