How is it now? DIY Fabric-Covered Storage Boxes

Do you ever see a DIY project that looks good in photos, but makes you wonder how it really is, if it really holds up over time?  I’ve done my fair share of DIYs that turn out both good and bad, and I thought it would be awesome to check in from time to time with updates on how some of the more popular projects turned out.

DIY Fabric Covered Storage Boxes

I created these orange fabric-covered storage boxes for my bedroom makeover about 4 years ago.  I used cardboard boxes that two wall sconces were packaged in, because the fancy fabric storage bins at stores were pricey – and because I wanted to choose just the right fabric.

The project turned out to be super popular, especially on Pinterest.  Well, I’m happy to report that this project was very successful! The bins have held up really well through several years of use, and the fabric is still adhered to the boxes perfectly.

The verdict?  The DIY fabric storage box is definitely a worthwhile and sturdy project.  So what are you waiting for? Go get crafting!


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DIY Try: Overdye a Thrift Store Wool Rug

I recently tried a project I saw on Pinterest – dyeing a thrifted wool rug to make it less ugly and more awesome, in an attempt to have a budget-friendly large rug for our basement TV room.   I had mixed results, which I imagine is often the case when a budget-friendly solution seems too good to be true.

If you want to see my pros & cons list, skip to the end of the post. DIY Overdye Wool RugIt all started when I scoured Pinterest for budget-friendly DIY rug ideas.  One idea I stumbled onto was the overdyed rug, where you take an ugly old natural fiber rug and dye it a rich jewel tone to mask the outdated pattern and make it more modern.

In a great twist of fate, I found a large (10 x 12) wool rug at the thrift store for only $15.  It was filthy, but after four rounds of steam cleaning at home, the water finally ran clear and the rug was ready to dye.

I tackled the dyeing process when Melissa, my college roommate, spent the weekend with me.  She’s the perfect person to rope into any DIY adventure.

The rugs I read about were small, so people were able to soak them in tubs of dye.  My rug was way too big for any of that, so I laid the rug on a large tarp in my back yard.  I mixed 8 boxes of teal RIT dye with hot water in a plastic laundry hamper, and then Melissa and I proceeded to pour the dye over the rug with watering cans.


The dye pooled in different areas and wanted to run downhill to one end of the rug, even though the yard appeared flat.

The wool rug was so thick and densely woven that the dye wasn’t soaking all the way through, so eventually we started stomping the dye into it with our feet, like we were doing grape stomping.  (Our toenails are still blue. . . )

We let the dye sit on the rug for an hour, and then rinsed it off with the hose as well as we could.  Finally, we left it in the sun to dry before bringing it inside.  2-DSC_0007

Fortunately Ryan and I have a dehumidifier in the basement, because I think the rug needed several days to dry completely.

This past weekend Ryan and I rolled the rug into place, and even though the 80′s pattern was still evident, it looked much better than its original beige and pastel colors.
1-DSC_0023The teal color was only 50% as dark as I wanted it to be, but I didn’t feel like repeating the process.  The large rug is really cumbersome to deal with, even more so when it’s soaking wet.

There are natural variations in the dye so that some areas are darker than others, and I don’t mind that so much. This one corner, which was on the downhill end, has the richer, darker teal that is closer to what I’d hoped for:5-DSC_0033This corner is lighter and more dingy looking:

And this corner is the worst:3-DSC_0030

6-DSC_0034So, what’s the verdict?

I could work with the variations.  The worst corner could go under the sofa area, where it would be less obvious. And the basement looks much better with a big, colorful rug anchoring the seating area.

However, we’ve decided this isn’t a good rug for our basement.  Here’s why:

  • When we pulled up an area of the rug to move it, we found teal dust underneath it.  This makes me think I didn’t rinse it out all the way.
  • Our basement floods after days of heavy rain, and I worry that if the rug gets wet it may stain the tiles or grout teal.
  • The whole reason we wanted a cheap rug was because my one cat occasionally pees on the basement rug, and again – if the dye comes out, that could be a big mess.


  • This is a cheap & easy way to update an ugly rug.


  • The larger the rug, the harder to dye it.
  • It’s hard to rinse the rug thoroughly, so there’s a risk that moisture on the rug could cause stains.
  • Large rugs don’t fit in the dryer, so you can’t really heat set the dye.

Overall, if you want to create an inexpensive, colorful rug, I think you’re better off painting a rug or trying one of the other DIY rug ideas.  I don’t think dyeing a large rug like this is worth the risk of staining.

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How To Make A Rustic Vertical Wine Rack

Today I’m excited to share a fun guest post tutorial by Matthew Lyons from the blog  Thanks, Matthew, for sharing this great project!

Rustic Wine RackSay what you want about IKEA but the Swedes know how to make some killer wine racks. The VURM (where do they come up with these names?) that my wife and I purchased in 2009 has stuck with us through a cross country move, multiple redecorations and the birth of our son, proudly displaying the moderately priced bottles of wine that we never drink. Never once has it ripped a hole in our drywall or allowed a bottle of Two Buck Chuck to slip through its sheet metal grasp. That’s pretty remarkable for something that cost ten bucks.

But alas, nothing good lasts forever. Last year we started redecorating our home with an industrial rustic aesthetic and it quickly became clear to the whole family that there was just no place for the VURM’s sleek wormy curves in our lives anymore. It was time for it to go to the garage sale with the rest of our trendy and affordable particle board furniture. And that’s how this nifty rustic wine rack was born.

I figured if I couldn’t save my beloved VURM then I could at least honor its memory by replacing it with something cool and homemade. After looking at a few different projects, I came up with a vertical hanging design that bolts into the wall using industrial floor flanges. It was an ambitious project, especially considering that I’d never tried boring something with a hand drill before. But despite a couple of mistakes on my end, the finished product came out looking super cool. It goes perfectly with our rustic décor and it gives me something to brag about at cocktail parties. That said, here’s how you can build your own.

What You’ll Need

  • A 1″ x 6″ x 28″ Plank of Wood
  • 4x Industrial Pipe Floor Flanges
  • 2x 3″ Pipe Segments
  • 2x Pipe Close Connectors
  • 2x 90° Pipe Elbows
  • 8x #8 1/2″ Screws and Washers
  • 160-Grit Sandpaper
  • 220-Grit Sandpaper
  • Minwax Dark Walnut Wood Stain
  • A Power Drill with a 1.25″ Boring Drill Bit1_WineRackMaterials

I wanted my wine rack to have a weathered industrial look so I went with 3/4” black metal pipes from Home Depot. They were cheaper there than the other hardware stores in the area. Of course, you can use whatever kind of pipes you want. I recommend sticking to 3/4″ thickness, though, because they’re better at distributing the weight of the wine bottles than half-inch pipes.


2_WineRackPreviewProTip: You should do your sanding and staining after you drill your holes. My wood was already stained before I started and it created all sorts of problems for me.

You should start this project by plotting out where you’re going to drill your holes. If you’re working with a 28” piece of wood, you can use this layout as a reference. Just pencil in the holes at the appropriate locations and you should be good to go.

3_DrillHoleLayoutWhen all your stuff is de-ickified, you should start your build by cutting off a section of wood. The section should be long enough that you’ve got a 1″ margin from the top and bottom of your floor flange. Don’t worry too much about making the cut neat or super straight. We’re going for a rustic look here, remember.

Now, grab your drill. Stick in your fancy-pants boring bit and adjust your settings so that you’re moving on low speed and medium-high torque. If you’re using a cordless drill, make sure your battery is fully charged. Otherwise you will most definitely run out of juice before you’re halfway finished. The boring bit, as it turns out, devours batteries.

Your drill is going to deliver a terrifying amount of torque as it bores through the wood, so it is highly advisable to secure your plank beforehand. I didn’t have a work bench or table saws handy so I just clamped mine to two bar stools. It ended up working pretty well.

Push the drill through each hole slowly. The differential should stop the drill from moving downward just before it breaks through the bottom of the wood. If you’re smart, at this point you should stop drilling and flip the wood over to finish the hole off with a coping saw or something like that.

I was not smart. I made the mistake of drilling straight through my plank. As a result, it shredded the finish around the holes, sometimes even tearing away huge chunks. This kind of sucked. I wanted to start over from scratch but since I didn’t have any other wood around I figured I would just try to sand it away and make do.

Surprisingly, once the shredded edges were sanded down they didn’t look all that bad. They made the board seem weathered and worn, which thankfully works with the aesthetic I was shooting for here.

4_WineRackRoughHolesAssuming that you’re smarter than I am, you should finish drilling without any serious incident. At this point you should sand your wood down with 220-Grit sandpaper and then stain it. Make sure to smooth out the interior walls of your new bottleneck holes or else they won’t hold the stain. After the stain is dry you may want to finish the wood off with a polyurethane coating, but this isn’t necessary.

Since I had some of the same stain leftover, I just stained over the edges after I touched them up. It ended up looking pretty decent.

5_WineRackHolesFinishedWhen your wood is totally dry, it’s time to put this thing together. Center two floor flanges on opposing faces of the wood. There should be a 1” margin around each edge of the flange. Secure the flanges by driving in screws with attached washers.

6_WineRackArm1Attach close connectors to each flange.

7_WineRackArm2Then attach your pipe elbows.

8_WineRackArm3Then attach your 3” segments.

9_WineRackArm4Finally, screw on your final two flanges.

10_WineRackArm5And that’s it! You have now turned a useless and unloved piece of lumber into a functional and spiffy new rustic wine rack. If you can overlook the terrifying drilling, this is a super fun and simple project that would look great in any apartment or rented home. And even if you can’t overlook the terrifying drilling, it isn’t so terrifying that it should dissuade you from building a wine rack for your place. I mean seriously, this thing is so much cooler than the VURM that I hardly even miss it.

WineRackComplete1I’d like to thank Jane for being super-awesome and letting me share this project with you guys. If you want to see more cool stuff you can do for your apartment or house then check out some of her own projects that she’s posted here on The Borrowed Abode. And if you aren’t totally annoyed by me yet, swing by HomeDaddys and take a gander at some of the other stuff that I’ve built.

Good Luck!

Matthew Lyons is a self-proclaimed handyman and blogger for An Oregon native, he now lives in Eastern Texas with his wife and son. He will never fully recover from the trauma of improperly using a boring drill bit.

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