Pretty Handy Girl's Best of 2017

Pretty Handy Girl's Best of 2017

Best of 2017

2017 was another busy year that flew by. For those of you that may have missed some of the best tutorials and DIY posts of 2017, I’ve collected them all together for you in one place. Without further delay, here is the Best of 2017!

Hidden Wine Storage at Back of Countertop | Pretty Handy Girl

It only took me four years, but I finally finished my built-in pantry with a coffee bar, hidden wine storage, and soft closing pull out shelves. Here are all the pictures and details for my finished kitchen pantry.

Children's Closet Library with Secret Pass Through | Pretty Handy Girl

My growing boys have found a real love in reading. This closet that used to be a jumbled toy storage, is now a comfy and cozy library reading nook. You’ll want to check out the secret passage inside this Children’s Library Closet.

DIY Folding Guitar Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

My husband has been playing guitar for the past few years. In an effort to keep his guitar close at hand (and store away the guitar case), I built him this DIY Folding Guitar Stand. You’ll never believe what trash item I used to build it.

The Perfect Rustic Paint Technique {with Video Tutorial}

One of my most popular posts this year was actually a video tutorial sharing the Perfect Rustic Paint Technique I use on most of my wood projects. You too can learn how to make anything look old and aged by following this tutorial.

How to Sew Reversible Recipe Card Placemats | Pretty Handy Girl

For Mother’s Day I made these reversible recipe placemats for my mother-in-law. I scanned recipe cards her recently departed mother created for our wedding present. The placemats turned out to be a great way to commemorate a wonderful woman.

One of my favorite projects this year was building this Striped Porch Swing using Scrap Wood. It was a good way to use up scraps from the shop and build a fun swing for next to nothing.


Speaking of building something with scraps, this tutorial is another build using leftover wood in the shop. The best part of this project is it’s a wonderful way to give back to a school! Learn how to Build this Lost & Found Center in a few hours.

How to Paint an Abstract Water Lilies Painting | Pretty Handy Girl

For the aspiring artists, this tutorial for Painting Abstract Water Lilies was very popular. Plus, I showed how to cover up those ugly eyesores in your home.

The Real Truth about using Pallet Wood

Pallet projects reached a height in popularity this year. I finally decided to come clean on the Real Facts about Using Pallet Wood so you can decide for yourself whether that free wood is really worth it.

Saving Etta - Follow the Adventure to Flip a Historic House

I saved the best for last. This year I purchased a house built in 1900 and I’m trying to save her. The Saving Etta Chapters are my way of chronicling the process. The Saving Etta chapters have been extremely popular and well received by my readers. Thank you for allowing me to deviate from tutorials and journal about my adventures saving this historic property. Read all twelve short chapters here.

Want to see more of my Best of the Year posts? Here are the Best of: 2010 | 2011 | 2014 | 2015

2016 was a full year for me. As a personal recap, I accomplished a lot. In January I passed the North Carolina Residential General Contractor exam to become a licensed general contractor. I’m still in disbelief that this actually happened.

Shortly after passing the exam, a friend hired me to get her home ready to sell. I spent two months acting as a general contractor hiring subs to help fix and spruce up the house. I gave one of her bathrooms the equivalent of a remodel on a shoe string by replacing the light fixture, framing out an old mirror and painting the vanity. Here’s proof that you don’t need to gut a dated bathroom:

STOP! You Don't Have to Gut Your Dated Bathroom | Pretty Handy Girl

The master bathroom already had a head start with new tile and vanity. But, I finished the transformation by installing new oval frameless mirrors.

How to Hang a Frameless Oval Mirror on the Wall | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m thrilled to report that her home sold in four days for a lot more than their asking price. Woot! This experience helped me realize that although I like fixing up houses and making them beautiful again, I prefer to be the primary decision maker. I’m back to focusing on looking for a house to flip (this was the main reason I pursued my license.)

We finished a boat load of projects around the exterior of our home after a major backyard landscaping project.

Outdoor Garden Patio Party Decorating Ideas | Pretty Handy Girl

I built a Pergola Trellis Screen to hide our trash cans. Lucky for you, I drew up detailed plans so you could build your own.

Build a Pergola with Trellis to Screen Your Trash Cans | Pretty Handy Girl

And should you need somewhere to store firewood, I built and created a tutorial for this wood storage shed.

Build a Wood Storage Shed | Pretty Handy Girl

I also found a use for some old lattice panels by creating a living lattice privacy screen. This was such an easy project, I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

Create a Living Wall Lattice Privacy Screen | Pretty Handy Girl

The landscape designer wanted to remove our swing set since the boys had outgrown it, but I couldn’t part with it. You could say the swing set matured with this idea for creating a swing set for grown ups.

Grown Up Swing Set | Pretty Handy Girl

One of the projects I was most excited about was building two rot resistant raised planter beds.

How to Build a Rot-Resistant Raised Planter Bed | Pretty Handy Girl

For years I’ve craved a garden to grow our own vegetables. 2016 was the year it finally happened. We enjoyed baskets full of cucumbers, basil, tomatoes and salad greens. Hopefully we’ll have more vegetables next year.

Behind the scenes I built a shed in the heat of the summer. I’ll be sharing the process in 2017. In the meantime, you can see a peek at the shed in this tutorial for how to build lattice window boxes.

How to Build Window Boxes | Pretty Handy Girl

As a mother of two boys, we struggled with the boys doing too much screen time which prompted me to build this industrial style charging station and lock box.

Industrial Charging Station and Lock Box | Pretty Handy Girl

This year our hearts were broken twice. First we had to say goodbye to Buddy aka Handy Dog after he developed a tumor on his heart. Within a few months, we opened our hearts and home to Lena the Lucky Dog but sadly we had to give her back to the rescue when she couldn’t be trained (or medicated) to stop guarding me from everyone in the family. (Good news, she was adopted the next day by a couple without children. They were a much better fit for her personality.) While she was with us, I made an industrial dog bowl feeder that was a better fit for Lena.

How to Build: Industrial Dog Bowl Feeder Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

I never officially shared it on the blog, but in October we adopted Bandit the Rescue Dog. He’s a one year old ball of energy. I never thought we’d have such a young dog, but his antics are filling our home with lots of smiles and laughter. He is truly one happy go lucky pup.

One of the before and after transformations I’m most proud of is the drab to fab screen porch makeover I gave to my stepmom. She loves it and is spending a lot more time writing out there.

Installing the Most Beautiful Ceiling Fan | Haiku Copper Luxe Ceiling Fan | Pretty Handy Girl

2016 could be called the year of copper on the blog. I had so much fun working with copper pipes. From creating a half round copper pipe side table. . .

Half Round Copper & Wood Side Table | Pretty Handy Girl

to a copper pipe centerpiece:

DIY Copper Pipe Centerpiece | Pretty Handy Girl

I even discovered a way to turn copper pipe into jewelry!

DIY Copper Ring Jewelry | Pretty Handy Girl

To finish out my 2016 recap, I enjoyed indulging my creative artist side by painting with alcohol inks.

Painting with Alcohol Inks | Pretty Handy Girl

These were so fun to play with and anyone can create stunning art with alcohol inks! Just follow my video tutorial for tips and tricks using alcohol inks.

Finally, if you ever wanted to find the perfect vintage sign, now’s your chance to stop looking and learn how to make a vintage rustic sleigh ride sign (or any other sign you desire.)

How to Make a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign | Pretty Handy Girl How cool! You can use this technique to make or transfer any sign graphic.

I hope you enjoyed some of my tutorials this year. Did I miss any of your favorites?

I have a lot in store for you in 2017, so stick around!

Best of 2015 | Pretty Handy Girl

What a year 2015 was. I’m most amazed by all that was accomplished in between a major sinus surgery and studying for my general contractor exam. I began taking review classes for the exam in February and here I am on the day of the exam. If you’re the praying type, I’ll take any prayers you have. If you’re the good luck type, I’ll take those wishes too! I’m a bit stressed to say the least. I took a practice exam earlier this week and failed. But, I’ve spent some time focusing on the sections that I didn’t do so well on. By 2:30pm EST today I’ll know whether or not I’ve passed the NC Residential General Contractor Exam. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram so you can get the news first. (Update: Time to update my resume, I passed!)

While you’re waiting, we’re going to take a quick drive down Pretty Handy Memory Lane to see the top posts of 2015.

Family Organization Center DoorFamily Organization Center Door

Rustic Pallet Serving TrayRustic Pallet Serving Tray Read more


Last year you may remember that 2013 was year of the kitchen (or the year that almost killed me.) With less pressing projects this year, we were able to dish up a wide variety of DIY tutorials for you. Just in case you were preoccupied, here is a list of the Best Pretty Handy Girl tutorials of 2014:

Best Painting Techniques of 2014


Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl
Faux Wood Grain Tutorial

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl
How to Achieve Chippy Paint Look

Gray Restoration Hardware Stain Recipe | Pretty Handy Girl
DIY Weathered Gray Stain Recipe

Best Update on a Budget Projects


How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl
How to Add Panels to a Flat Door

Spigot Faucet Drawer Knobs Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl
Spigot Faucet Drawer Pulls

Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl
How to Paint and Update a Knotty Pine Dresser

Updating the Boys’ Bathroom on a Budget

Best Before & Afters of 2014


Rustic IKEA Hack Cabinet Transformation | Pretty Handy Girl
Rustic IKEA Cabinet Hack

Topsail Beach Condo Before & After

Best Upcycled Dumpster Dive Project of 2014


Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl
Upcycled Plant Cart


Best Building Tutorials of 2014


Red, White & Blue Boy’s Room Reveal

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl
How to Build a Folding Laptop Writing Desk

Modified King Size Farmhouse Bed with Storage Drawers | Pretty Handy Girl
Farmhouse Bed Build and Nightstand Update

Build Your Own Giant Chalkboard | Pretty Handy Girl
Build a Giant Vintage Chalkboard

How to Build Custom Rustic Box Crates | Pretty Handy GirlHow to Build Custom Rustic Crates

Best DIY Lighting Projects of 2014


DIY Button Pendant Light | Pretty Handy Girl
DIY Button Pendant Light

DIY Industrial Light and USB Charging Station

Best Frugal Gift Ideas of 2014


DIY Lemonade Lip Balm | Pretty Handy Girl
DIY Lemonade Lip Balm

how to make hot cocoa in jar
Hot Cocoa in a Jar

Anthropologie Napkin Gift Bags
Sew Easy Cloth Napkin Gift Bags

Wood Block Floating Picture Frames | Pretty Handy GirlWood Block Floating Picture Frames

Best Pillow Projects of 2014


DIY Octopus PillowDIY Octopus Pillow

pom pom pillow 5
DIY Pompom Placemat Pillows

Birch Tree Pillow
DIY Birch Tree Pillows

Best Series of 2014


31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl
31 Days of Handy Home Fixes
(31 days of tips, tricks and home fixes to save you money, time and protect your home)

Well, that wraps up 2014! I have a lot more tutorials and handy fixes for your home in 2015. I hope you’ll stick around.


I’m still on a high after the fabulous DIY Talent Parade. Seriously, I think the Rose Parade needs to watch out because y’all have some fabulous talent! There were so many amazing projects, it was hard to pick just a few of my favorites.

To start off the highlights, I present to you this colorful living room makeover by Yanet from 3 Sun Kissed Boys. I love how she nailed the color palette when she decided the word for the room should be cheery:

Plum Doodles wowed us with this standard vanity makeover by painting the toe kick black and adding legs and a skirt. Check out here step by step tutorial: Read more