This week they're predicting record-breaking winter storms in my area which means, aside from braving my drive to and from work, I'll be stuck inside. So, instead of heading to the grocery store for bread and milk I'm headed to the hardware store to get some supplies to keep myself busy under the snowpack.
Anyone who has grown up near in the mountains knows what it means to see the ridgeline. Being tucked in nearby some exciting geological features has a comfort and appeal, and, of course, great views. It's safe, secure, constant. The mountains invite adventure, and simplicity. To honor my own local Cascade range, I built this simple key rack that takes a bit of that wild adventure and brings it home.
This holiday season, I wanted to give my friends and family a customized gift with some personality. So, using nothing but our own photos and a few crafty tools, I came up with this coaster project which is super fun, super inexpensive, plenty easy, and you can dial it in perfectly for each person on your list - just raid their Instagram or social media accounts!
Let's get to it!
We spend a lot of time picking out our craft beers lately. Those fancy brews deserve better than a cheap cardboard carrier, so why not make something a bit more classy? Here are four great projects you can whip up easily.
My grandfather was a toothpick guy. Like, he had a seven-or-eight-a-day habit. When he died and we helped my grandmother do a clean sweep of the house, my aunt found more than one hundred individual ones tucked away into couch cushions and drawers and pockets. Last year, when my grandmother passed away and we prepped the house for selling, we found at least a couple dozen more stashed away.
I find lighting to be one of the more difficult parts of creating a masculine or industrial interior, especially when it comes to DIY projects. While you can
You know those little pumpkins you practically trip over in the supermarket this time of year? It turns out: they're good for more than just Instagram props. With, like, no work, they make a really tasty pumpkin butter you’ll want to have in the fridge all year long. I’m talking about pumpkin butter with the magical spice flavor of pumpkin pie, but simple, less sweet and much more, well, pumpkin-y.
Last summer, in the midst of the August showers, a neighboring building lost a beautiful maple tree in a major thunderstorm. It was quickly disassembled by the electric company, presumably so it wouldn't fall onto the power lines. And there it sat. For weeks.
Then, a month or so later, I heard a loud grind out of my open windows (horray for open window weather!), and spied a big truck with a wood chipper in their yard.
"Surely," I thought, "they're just gonna grind up the small stuff and use the trunk for something." But, they just kept throwing in big, beautiful chunks of pure hardwood, turning it into mulch. I immediately rushed out and asked if I could have what hadn't been chopped.
The guy was very hesitant (apparently no one had ever proposed such a crazy thing), but allowed me to escape with an armful straight limbs and branches (sadly, no trunk segments) as long as I promised not to tell anyone. So, don't repeat that.
My branches have been seasoning and drying all fall and winter, and are now ready to be turned into all kinds of fun "bring the outdoors in" projects. First up, these playful tree branch magnets which cost a mere $1.00 and some glue to make, and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.
Owning a piece of mid-century design brings a solid, artfully masculine vibe to any space...but many of the classics are out of your price range when just starting to pull your home together. So, instead of shelling out the bucks for a statement piece by a major designer, invest a little time, and thoughtfulness, and make your own!
We've said it before: yes, every man needs an apron. They're indispensable in the workshop, the kitchen, the garage, around the grill, even when shining your shoes.
Leather is strong, durable, and extremely workable. But stitching leather involves some specific two-handed, two needle techniques, some specialized gear, and some definite knowhow. So, what to do when you want to make a custom piece, but aren't ready to invest the time and materials to learn to hand sew it?
You make no-sew project: just as strong, just as customizable.
Here's a project that deserves to be checked out both for its utility on your own projects, but also for its simple, inspired creativity. This is why the DIY, craft, and maker movement continue to grow; there are super smart, thoughtful folks figuring out how to help other keep making stuff.
A few weeks back we talked about some of the basic, essential tools for getting started in leatherworking. Once you're set up, its time to put them into practice. Here are a few projects to hone those skills, and end up with some great practical pieces you can use everyday
With the summer Olympics in full swing, it's time to start paying attention to one of the many sports that most of us barely remember until this time every four years: archery. (We love you too, steeplechase and race walking.) As an ancient sport dating back some 64,000 years, the bow and arrow's construction has understandably undergone some manufacturing changes. But not for John Neeman Tools...
There are sorts of reasons a guy would wanna take great photos at home: an artist or crafter, online shop owner, Instagram power user, or just an everyday documenter extraordinaire.
No matter your focus, these easy and affordable tips will help you dramatically improve your photography skills.
One of the most distinctive features on a piece of furniture are the drawer pulls. Try something different with a leather pull to really make an impression.
If you've ever thought about making a leather wallet, but haven't for whatever reason, then here is the place to start. With a couple tools and about $10 in leather you'll lay the groundwork for greater leather-working projects and emerge with a stylish and minimalist wallet to boot.
I don't think I've mentioned this on ManMade, but earlier this year, my wife and I bought our first (and hopefully last) home. It was a big deal, both emotionally and financially, and looking in one of the wildest and fastest changing real estate climates in the country, we got pretty lucky that our first offer was accepted. It's a solid home that we can afford, and it sits in a close-in neighborhood that's super liveable and great for walking, commuting by bike, and public transit. I totally love it.
And...of course, when you own your own home, you get to mess with it. No more landlords to tell you what to do, no more wasting time and money investing in customizing a place that you'll only be in for a little while. And of course, as a DIY blogger, I had my sights set on the two most important spaces in the house: the garage and the basement.
I've been on a "big art" kick lately. And when I say "big", I mean gigantic (check out The World's Largest Wood Type for further clarification). There's something about a traditional art or craft done at a mind-blowingly large scale that just tickles my magic beans. So I'm going to file this 15' x 10' solvent transfer sign + tutorial in my enormous folder for all things awesome.
The creative folks at The Mandate Press applied this Beatrice Warde quote to a big ol' sheet of canvas that is, hands down, the largest solvent transfer I have ever seen. If you're not familiar with solvent transfers, the process is actually quite simple: