Okay, I admit it. I’m a little infatuated with branches lately. Maybe it is because winter is here and all those bare skeletons of trees have me fascinated. Or maybe it is because my neighbor has been taking down a lot of trees — which really baffles me, but I digress — and the perfect branch was beaconing me from the curb.
As I walked home with the branch held high like a trophy, my neighbors surely figured out what I would make! A branch jewelry holder to hold ALL my jewelry.
Sure I had a jewelry holder already, but it was sagging under the weight and was begging for some relief. One of the fish line strings snapped a few months ago and I started hanging necklaces on the back of the door hook. This makes for some eye opening sounds when the dog pushes his way into the room at 3am. Not good. It was high time I found a solution!
Unfortunately (or fortunately), I have a lot more jewelry and didn’t want to mount mine to the wall. So, I thought a sculptural twig jewelry holder that sits on my dressing table would be more fitting for my needs.
Finding the perfect branch turned out to be easier than finding the perfect base. I thought about making a cross to support the bottom. Then, I thought about drilling a hole into a plate. But, the solution was cemented once I saw this bamboo bowl at Target on clearance.
And that is the end of the story. My jewelry lived happily ever after on my dressing table. The End!
What?! You want the tutorial? Oh right, I forgot for a minute this was a tutorial blog. I started daydreaming while looking at all that shiny jewelry.
Freshly cut hardwood branch
Freshly cut log (preferably hard wood tree)
Plyers or pruners
Drill with several sized bits
2″ wood screw
Bowl for base
Cut, a 1.5″ disk from a newly cut log. (I used a miter saw, but you could use a handsaw just as easily.)
The disk will become a support for the branch to give it more stability when it is loaded with jewelry.
Cut the large branch down with a handsaw or limb pruner. (I chose a 22″ tall section with a thick base.)
Select a drill bit that is the same diameter as the base of the branch.
Clamp the log disk onto a scrap piece of wood and drill a hole the width of the branch about 2/3 of the way through the disk. The point of the spade bit will hopefully poke through the bottom, but not the rest of the bit.
Test fit the branch. Make sure it can be seated far enough into the wood disk for stability.
Turn the branch and disk over to view the bottom of the disk. If you used a spade drill bit, hopefully that point came through slightly so you can find the center of your disk. Insert a small drill bit (slightly smaller than the width of the 2″ screw) into the hole. Drill a small hole through the bottom of the log disk and into the branch about 1/2 – 3/4″ (keep the branch inserted into the disk until you finish drilling.)
Use the same small drill bit to drill through the center of the base of the bamboo bowl (turn it upside down on your work surface.) Next choose a drill bit large enough to create a countersink hole for your screw head. I put a piece of tape to mark how deep I needed the countersink hole to go. Not too deep, you don’t want to go through the bowl, just deep enough for the head of the screw to sit inside.
Squeeze a small dollop of Gorilla Glue into the large hole in the disk and then insert the base of the branch. Let the glue harden for an hour.
Once the branch is firmly glued into the disk, turn it over and put some Gorilla Glue around the base of the disk and the center.
Set the disk and the branch into the bottom of the bowl.
Thread the 2 inch wood screw through the bottom of the bowl, through the disk and into the branch via the predrilled hole you made earlier. Gently tighten the screw until it fits snugly inside the countersink hole and the branch is secure.
If Mother Nature has not provided enough smaller branches on your holder (or you have way too much jewelry I do), you’ll want to add more branches to the holder. Cut some small branches off the unused tree limbs. Use a saw, pruners, or wire pliers (use whatcha got!)
Then match up a drill bit with the width of the littler branch. Drill a hole into a sturdy section of your branch. Add a small amount of Gorilla Glue and then press the small branch into the hole. Instant graft! (I have to admit, I felt like I was tampering with God’s creations here. Forgive me if I’ve committed a sin.)
Continue to check on your grafted branch to make sure it stays seated into the hole until the glue hardens.
Support your grafted branch onto other branches or prop it up to help keep it in position as it dries.
Continue to graft branches on as needed. I added about four new branches to mine. Can you see the fake ones?
Once the glue has dried, clean off any wood shavings and dirt.
Store your bangles and bracelets in the bowl.
Earrings hang nicely on the small branches like little ornaments.
Then hang your necklaces on display! I’m really enjoying seeing these beauties in the morning.
Much better than the cramped and sagging heating grate:
One more after shot. A beautiful branch jewelry tree. Are your eyes starting to get dreamy too?
I love a challenge. If you hold an object up to me and ask me how it can be transformed, I can usually name a few different things. So, when the Elmer’s #Look4Less Challenge was introduced, I jumped at the opportunity!
However, I wasn’t crazy about the price. (Obviously that didn’t stop the item from selling out!) So, if you want one for yourself, I’ll save you $100 and show you how to make your own!
My version cost approximately $30 (cost estimate based on materials used. If I used a 1/2 can of spray paint I calculated half the cost.) Personally, I spent about $10 out of pocket on this project because I had a lot of the supplies already. Plus, Elmer’s was kind enough to sent me some of the materials to make the project (shown as links below.)
Be sure to read the end of this post to learn how you can win your own Elmer’s materials!
In addition to the new art supplies, I bought an old drawer to use for the structure of my organization unit. I paid — are you ready for this — two dollars at our local Habitat ReStore! Seriously, only $2 for the main component of my wall organizer unit.
Here is a list of the rest of the supplies I used:
Remove any hardware from the drawer. Use a handsaw to trim off the sides of the face of the drawer. You want the sides to be flush with the sides of the drawer. The top and bottom of the face can extend beyond the drawer.
Orient the drawer so the face is now the bottom of the wall organizational unit. The rear panel of the drawer is now the top of the unit.
Add decorative trim molding to the top as shown:
Cut decorative trim molding to the width of the top of the unit/drawer. (Check with your local Habitat Restore for inexpensive trim.)
Choose a finish nail that is long enough to go through the molding and into the drawer. Drill a few pilot holes into the molding (to avoid splitting the wood when you hammer a nail into it.)
Run a bead of construction glue on the top of the drawer. Lay the molding on top of the glue.
Use finish nails to hammer through the pilot holes and attach the molding to the drawer.
Wipe off the drawer/unit with a wet rag.
Faux painting the unit:
If you are dealing with a mixture of wood finishes (some paint, some stain), you will want to prime and paint your unit. I decided to give mine a faux rustic wood treatment (because I love that rustic wood look!) Here are the basic steps:
Use wood putty to fill any holes or cracks. After the putty has dried, sand it smooth. Wipe off any dust from the wood using a damp rag.
Prime the entire box (minus the back) with Rustoleum brown primer.
Mix 1 part glaze to 2 parts light tan paint.
Brush the mixture onto the unit using a tattered paint brush. Keep the strokes in long lines to mimic wood grain.
Let that layer dry. Mix 1 part glaze to 2 parts dark brown paint.
Brush it on the unit using the same technique as step 4.
Finish up by brushing a coat of Vaspar Mocha glaze over the entire unit.
Spray the black foam board with the chalk paint. Add 1-2 more light coats per the directions on the can.
Measure the interior width at the top and bottom of the organizational unit. Cut two 1″ x 1″ strips of wood (or square dowels) for the top and 2 strips for the bottom. Drill a hole in each end of the strips.
Measure out 1″ from the bulletin board, on the bottom of the unit. Mark this location. Repeat for the top . Run a bead of construction glue onto the bottom of the wood strip and then adhere it to the bottom of the unit at the 1″ measurement mark.
Hammer brad nails into the predrilled holes. Repeat for the top of the cubby. (Two 1″ square strips are shown, but only install the back ones at this time.)
If the chalkboard paint has dried, rub a piece of chalk all over the board to season it. Wipe it clean with a dry cloth.
Drill a hole into the chalkboard where you want the handle. Feed the handle through. Add washers to the backside of the chalkboard if you need to take up some of the slack on the screw.
Insert the chalkboard into the wall unit and rest it against the first strip. Add the second strip in front of the chalkboard and attach it the same way you did above.
Be sure that the wood strips are not too snug against the chalkboard. The board should have enough freedom to slide back and forth freely.
If you want to give your ruler some age, rub a walnut stain onto the wood. Let it dry. Glue the wooden ruler to the front of the wood strip on the bottom using construction glue.
Clamp the ruler in place and let it dry overnight.
Add your pushpins and a message to the chalkboard and enjoy your efforts! You just saved yourself $100!!! Woot!
I’m pretty pleased with my Pottery Barn copy cat. Not to be mean or anything, but I like mine better because of the ruler,
the decorative crown molding,
and most of all for the price!!!
Do you like my Pottery Barn knock off? Or does it still look like an old discarded drawer to you?
Disclaimer: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #collectivebias #CBias. I was paid a small fee and sent some Elmer’s products. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in this post are solely mine.
A cordless drill is an essential tool for any DIYer. If you don’t have one, stop reading this and go buy one! Seriously, a cordless drill is one of the most important tools for your toolbox.
How to Use a Cordless Drill
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I use a cordless drill for almost every project. You could say, my drill is my right-hand man. Over the years, I’ve used many different brands with a variety of features. Today we’ll discuss how to use a cordless drill and a list of features you should look for when buying a new drill. Consider this your comprehensive guide to cordless drills.
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
These Tools are Not a Drill:
Before we talk about how to use a cordless drill, I want to explain to you the difference between a cordless drill, a cordless screwdriver, and an impact driver. Although they may look alike, impact drivers and cordless screwdrivers are not drills.
Some may look like a drill, but a cordless screwdriver does not have the power or speed to drill holes, or drive screws into hard materials. It also has no torque or speed adjustments. In fact, a cordless screwdriver is strictly for loosening and tightening screws.
Although they also look like drills, impact drivers are solely meant to drive screws or bolts into tough material. But, can also be used with a quick change drill bit for small holes. An impact driver has rotational force onto the sides of the bit giving more force when driving screws or bolts. Unlike a drill, the impact driver does not have torque adjustments or a twisting chuck to change bits.
Impact drivers don’t have a chuck to hold the bit. They use a collet to hold bits. Impact drivers accept 1/4″ hex and quick change bits. The collet releases the bit when pulled away from the tool.
Now that you know the difference between a drill and a cordless screwdriver or impact driver, let’s talk about the features on a cordless drill.
About Cordless Drills:
When you first pick up a cordless drill, all the buttons and symbols on the drill may seem confusing. Have no fear, I’ll break it down and give you a little more information about torque, speed, and those symbols to simplify things.
What is Torque:
Torque is the amount of force your drill uses to turn an object (like a screw or drill bit.) All cordless drills have a clutch to change the torque setting. The clutch on your drill is the dial on the front of your drill just behind the chuck.
If you need more torque, use a higher number. But, if you are driving screws into softwoods, use a lower setting for more control and less likelihood of driving the screw too far into the wood.
Speeds on a Cordless Drill:
Some drills have an adjustable speed setting (or gear) switch on the top of the drill. Switching between one or two will give you access to more speed or less speed. Selecting the number two will produce higher speed and more power for drilling and driving bigger screws. This is a nice feature and helps when you need to switch from driving smaller screws into softwood vs. driving larger screws into hardwood or drilling.
There is a button on each side of the drill just above the trigger that is used to change the drill rotation direction. Clockwise to drill and drive screws. Counter-clockwise to remove screws and bolts.
Optional Features on a Cordless Drill:
Drills come with a variety of features. Depending on your needs, you may be fine with a standard drill that drives screws and drills holes. But, if you are working on more difficult tasks, you may want a drill with a hammer drill setting.
Drive Screws: The first function is self-explanatory. Use the drive screws function to screw in fasteners or remove them.
Drill Holes: The hole drilling function runs at the fastest speed and is used for drilling holes with a drilling bit.
Hammer Drill: A hammer drill is useful for drilling holes or driving bolts into tough material. A hammer drill has a hammer action from the rear that pulses force directly onto the bit (like a small jackhammer.) In contrast, an impact driver has a rotational pulse on the sides of the bit. (See above for more information about impact drivers)
Light Up Your Task:
Another nice feature to have on a drill is a light. Most mid-range to upper range drills have a light that is activated when pulling the trigger on the drill. Although not 100% necessary, anyone who has tried to see inside a cabinet while using a drill appreciates the light feature.
Having a belt clip on a drill is one of those features that a tradesperson finds exceptionally helpful when juggling tools on a ladder. Instead of setting the drill precariously on top of the ladder, it can clip onto your belt.
One of my favorite features on a drill is a magnetic bit holder. This is not standard on drills and frankly I have only seen a few drills with this feature, but I wish more were manufactured with it.
How to Replace Bits on a Drill
Cordless drills have a keyless chuck. To change the bits, simply turn the chuck counter-clockwise to loosen. Insert the new bit and turn clockwise to tighten onto the new bit (making sure the bit is centered in the claws of the chuck.)
A keyed chuck is found on most corded drills. The key (black tool shown below) fits inside the hole on the side of the chuck and turns the gears on the chuck to loosen or tighten it.
You may be curious about what the volts mean on the drill you’re considering. In short, the volts equal the power of the drill. The higher the voltage, the stronger the drill. In all honesty, I would recommend purchasing an 18-volt drill if you plan to use it for multiple DIY projects. In the beginning, you might try a 12-volt drill, but as your projects grow you’ll find the 12 volts don’t have the power needed to muscle through hardwoods and other tough materials. The DeWalt drill I use now is a 20 volt, but I needed the power to muscle through old-growth lumber in the renovation I was working on.
Batteries: Ni-Cad vs. Lithium-Ion
When I first wrote this article, lithium-ion battery drills were just coming onto the market. Lithium-ion is the latest battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries will last through many more recharges than a Ni-Cad battery. And, they don’t lose charging capacity over time. The lithium-ion batteries also maintain power as the battery runs low. As the battery loses charge, it will stop when the battery runs out.
Luckily over the years, lithium has become more the norm in the cordless department. If you are in the market for a new drill, be sure to make sure you are purchasing a lithium-ion battery-powered drill. Beware of used or inexpensive Ni-Cad battery drills. You will save money on one now but will need to replace the battery (or worse not be able to purchase new batteries) for it before long.
Speaking of battery life, I recommend choosing a cordless battery that has a charge indicator on it. There’s nothing worse than grabbing a battery you thought was fully charged only to realize it’s not.
Feel the Weight of the Drill:
Now that you are honing on in the features you want in a drill, let’s talk about weight and balance. I highly recommend trying a drill before you buy it. Go to the hardware store and ask to hold the drill with its battery inserted. Some drills (especially the higher voltage drills) will be significantly heavier than a smaller 12-volt battery drill and may cause wrist fatigue if you aren’t used to the heft. You also want to feel the balance of the drill in your hand. A nicely balanced drill can easily be held with one finger wrapped around the trigger and the tool resting balanced on your hand. A front or back heavy drill can put extra strain on your wrist.
How to Use a Cordless Drill:
Time to start using a cordless drill! This is a very user-friendly tool as long as you know a few simple safety tips.
Never wear loose clothing or gloves when using a drill. Keep long hair tied back. You don’t want anything to catch and wind up into the drill. Always keep hands away from the drill bit, screws, or fasteners. Never put your hand behind the piece you are drilling into. Always wear safety glasses when using a drill. (Ear protection is a good idea when using the hammer drill function.)
To Drive Screws:
Set the drill on a low torque setting. Hold the screw perpendicular into the wood (hold it up at the top against the smooth portion of the screw if there is one.) Slowly squeeze the trigger to rotate the screw clockwise far enough into the material for the screw to start to grab. Remove your hand, keep pressure against the drill as you depress the trigger again and drive the screw into the wood. Stop when the screw is flush with the material (or slightly below the material).
Troubleshooting Screw Driving Issues:
If the bit is spinning and not gripping the screw, try one of these solutions:
Apply more pressure against the back of the drill
See if your bit or the screw is stripped
Try lowering the torque
Check the bit size, if it’s too small or large it won’t grip the head properly.
DO NOT continue to let the drill bit spin on top of the screw. This will strip the head.
If your drill makes a loud sound and stops turning the screw, try changing to a higher torque or speed setting. This usually means, you need more torque for the task.
To Drill Holes:
Measure and select the appropriate drill bit for the hole size you need to drill (and for the material you are drilling into.) Insert the drill bit into the chuck and tighten, making sure the bit is centered in the chuck. Set the drill onto the drilling setting. When drilling into wood, gently depress the bit into the wood to create an indentation to keep the bit from sliding. If you are drilling a hole into metal or other slick surfaces, try using a piece of painter’s tape on top of the material to keep the bit from sliding.
When drilling holes into masonry, ceramic, porcelain, and other hard surfaces, be sure to cool the bit occasionally with water.
To drill large holes, use a hole saw or a Forstner bit. It helps to use a corded drill with more power for drilling large holes.
Trick for Drilling Holes to a Certain Depth:
Use a piece of painter’s tape wrapped around the drill bit to the depth you want to drill to. Stop when the painter’s tape is even with your surface.
Trick for Drilling into Lumber at an Angle:
When drilling into wood at an angle, start by drilling into the wood perpendicular to the surface about one-eighth to 0ne-quarter of an inch. Then change to the angled direction. This will keep your bit from sliding on the surface of the lumber.
Alternatively, you can use a jig for drilling at an angle (especially helpful for drilling pocket holes.)
Various Attachments for Drills:
Did you know you can also clean with your drill? Yup! Check out this attachment set for cleaning a variety of things around your house and your automobile!
Besides the cleaning and buffing, you can also use a drill to mix paint! A paint mixer attachment can be used to mix up an old can of paint or mix new colors.
Can you Mix Mortar or Concrete with a Cordless Drill?
You may be able to mix mortar or concrete with a powerful cordless mixing drill, but chances are your standard cordless drill won’t stand up to the challenge. It either won’t have the power to mix, or you’ll burn out the motor. It’s best to use a corded drill to mix heavy mixes.
Video Tutorial on How to Use a Cordless Drill:
I hope the video tutorial helped you learn how to use a cordless drill. It’s definitely one of the most used tools in my toolbox.
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/how-to-use-cordless-drills-feature-scaled.jpg12022560Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2011-11-11 07:00:282020-05-20 21:58:57Tool Tutorial Friday – How to Use a Cordless Drill
Hey y’all! I’ve been hopping all over town lately. Home Depot and Lowe’s have become my second home. So, if you see me in one of those stores will you send me home? I HAVE to finish my garage renovation sooner rather than later!
Today I have a tutorial for making a matchbox race track for those little car enthusiasts in your family! Now, don’t close this window because you think you couldn’t make it. I bet you can. There really aren’t any super complicated wood-working skills involved in this build. In fact, my 7 year old was responsible for the majority of the design.
I created this project and tutorial for my friend, Beckie at Infarrantly Creative. She is hosting a Pennywise Presents series full of inexpensive gifts you can make. Some fabulous bloggers have shared their amazing gift ideas!
Hey guys, today I’m dishing up a triple dose of posts for you. I’ve been busy, really busy, super busy! And you don’t know the half of it. As you are reading this, I’m on my way home from California. I flew out to surprise my little sister for her birthday. She and her husband are expecting their second child and I wanted to go all “Pretty Handy Girl” on their home ;-D.
First, you can read my tutorial for making this whimsical message center, from a curbside window, over at my friend Sandra’s blog,
Then you can come back here and read about this Artist’s Inspiration board also made from an old window.
Finally, if you like what you see you can head over to Parentables to see an entire post on curbside transformations! You won’t believe some of the before and afters!
Okay, ready? Well, let’s get this show on the road.
Old divided light windows
3M duct tape
Irwin mat knife (or x-acto knife)
Clear Caulk (window and door sealant)
fine grit sand paper
Two colors of paint (gold and medium gray)
Foam double stick tape
tin pots, buckets or recycled cans
drop cloth bulletin boards from THIS post
Prepping your window:
You will need to clean, prime and paint your window before beginning this tutorial.
Here is what I did during the prep phase: Cleaned the windows (I used a bleach solution because there was mold and mildew present.) I repaired the glazing that was cracked and missing. I used paintable caulk. No need to buy glazing.
Prime the entire window, glass and all! Once the primer has dried, use the sandpaper to gently rough up the primer (especially on the glass. But, be careful not to scratch through to the glass.)
For the beautiful crackle finish on my window, I started by painting the window a metallic gold color.
When the gold had thoroughly dried, I coated the entire window with the crackle medium. Once that had dried, I painted a medium gray on top. That’s when the magic happens. The paint separates and reveals a hint of gold. It is important not to go back over the gray paint after you paint it on or you will get a gloopy mess!
I finished off the painting prep steps by applying two coats of water-based polyurethane.
Measure all the individual window panes. Be sure to measure only the exposed glass.
Transfer your measurements to cut 2 squares of foam core. Make sure your blade is sharp! Dull blades will drag and tear the inner foam.
Next, transfer your measurements to cut two pieces of cork board. Cut the cork board with a ruler and mat knife.
Finally cut two pieces of mirrored glass to fit the remaining two panes (need help cutting glass? Have a professional do it, or watch Sandra’s tutorial HERE.)
You should now have 2 pieces of foam core, 2 pieces of cork board (wrapped in drop cloth as I showed you the other day), and two pieces of mirrored glass.
Dry fit all the cut squares to make sure they will fit in the window openings.
Take the foam core and tin pots outside. Spray them with primer.
When the primer has dried, spray the foam core and buckets with a few coats of chalkboard paint.
To view how to print onto painter’s drop cloth, refer to my tutorial here.
To attach the chalkboard foam core, mirrored glass, and drop cloth squares, you will need clear window and door caulk. Snip the top off at an angle. Insert a straightened coat hanger into the tip to puncture the inner lining of the caulk.
Put a fair amount of caulk onto each glass of the window. (Lazy supervisor in the background!)
Press the individual squares into it. Weight the drop cloth squares (with paint cans) while they dry.
To secure the chalkboard and mirror sections, run a bead of caulk along the edges of the boards.
Use a damp paper towel to smooth and clean up the caulk edging.
Once the caulk has dried, you can affix the tin buckets to the window. Drill holes through the bucket bracket or tin cans.
Attach a screw through the hole and screw it into the window pane.
To add a hanger to your memo center, flip the window over and measure down 3″ on both sides.
Use a drill to drive the screws into the D-ring style hangers.
I made this artist’s board to sell, but honestly I’m having a hard time parting with it. So, it may just find a home in my painting studio (aka Bonus Room). But, maybe you could convince me otherwise. How much would you pay for this one of a kind artist’s board? I keep thinking it is a real life version of Pinterest.
https://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/wpid-Photo-Jul-1-2011-1152-PM3.jpg546426Brittany Baileyhttps://prettyhandygirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PHG-logo-tagline-2020-1030x211-R.jpgBrittany Bailey2011-07-07 07:00:512021-08-23 18:49:59An Artist’s Inspiration Board from an Old Window