Category Archives: Tutorials

Your DIY guide for your home, wedding, party, or gifts.

How to Edge Perfect Curves in a Flower Bed

Edging Garden Curves - by Grace + Gumption

A neatly edged garden bed can make a lawn look crisp and pristine. Edging a garden is relatively painless but creating perfect corners and curves can become troublesome. Below I’ve provided a few simple steps to achieve perfect curves in your garden beds.

Supplies you’ll need include:
– 2 steel garden stakes (similar here)
– twine or string
– scissors
half moon edger

1.) Install your first stake at the base of the flower bed.

To create a quarter circle curve, identify the base point of your garden bed and hammer in your your first stake at this location. Then using your twine or string, tie one end to the top of your stake.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

2.) Tie the other end of your string to your second stake.

Insert your second stake where you would like to begin your curve as shown below.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

Then using the same string that is already attached to stake #1, tie the other end of your string to stake #2 and cut off any extra using scissors.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

3.) Trace your curve.

Using stake #2, begin dragging it through the grass in a circular motion, leaving  an indentation that you will use as a template to make a clean and crisp edge.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

Continue dragging the stake until you reach your desired destination.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

4.) Begin digging your edge.

Now that you have marked a nice curved line, begin digging your edge with a half moon edger. Just follow along your template until you’ve reached the end of your curve.

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

That’s it!

Finish edging the rest of your flower bed and admire your clean lines of your new edges!

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

Before:

How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

After: How-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + GumptionHow-to Edge Garden Beds and Boarders - by Grace + Gumption

Happy home updating!

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How-to Make a Plank Wall in 10 Easy Steps

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption (www.gracegumption.com)

I’ve been wanting to give my living room a makeover but I initially decided to put it aside until I got our dining room finished. Well, that plan completely changed after just one episode of my favorite show, Fixer Upper on HGTV. If you’re not familiar with the show, let me give you a quick breakdown. The show stars power couple Chip and Joanna, who’s talents combined create nothing short of beauty. With Joanna as the designer and Chip as the head of construction and Real Estate, they are able to flip the not so desired houses into beautiful homes.

The episode that changed everything wasn’t because of the work they did for another family but for their own home. Joanna and Chip planted their roots in an old farmhouse that was in desperate need of the couples special touch. To keep the genuine feel of the farmhouse, Joanna upcycled the weathered lumber from the old house to create plank walls in her home. Let me tell you, it is beautiful!! See for yourself here or below. Once I saw it, I wasn’t able to stop thinking about it and had to make at least one plank wall for our home.

Fixer Upper Inspiration at Grace + Gumption

Without an old farmhouse to pull scrap wood from, I knew this may become an expensive task to take on. But after doing a little bit of research, I found a great fellow blogger over at Sweet Pickens Furniture who wrote up a tutorial on how she achieved her plank walls using sheets of plywood. At just $11.50 a pop, these sheets of plywood were going to make my plank wall cheap and easy. Although Sweet Pickens Furniture inspired my tutorial, I did change a few things that I would like to show you below.  

Supplies

  1. 4′ x 8′ Plywood, $14 a piece
  2. Two 8′ quarter round moulding, $5 a piece
  3. 5/8-in steel brad nails, $4 for a pack of a 1000
  4. Patching plaster, $5
  5. Putty knife, $1
  6. Paint, $25
  7. Paint supplies – rollers, trays, brushes, (things I had on hand)
  8. 320-grit sandpaper, (already had on hand – similar here)
  9. A couple of nickels (you’ll see why later)

Grand Total ~$100

Tools

  1. Nail gun (I used Bostitch 5/8-in Electric Staple Gun)
  2. Jig saw or hand saw (I used an old one was a hand-me-down from my dad)
  3. Hammer and nail finisher
  4. Stud finder

Project Time: 3-4 Days

STEP 1: Measure your wall(s) and draw up a plan.

My wall measured out to be approximately 13′ 3″ wide and 8′ tall. Instead of investing in high dollar wall panels, I went with a cheaper route without sacrificing style. To get the 2’x7′ wall plank look (like from Fixer Upper), I decided to use thin sheets of plywood that could be cut into six inch strips to give the appearance of real 2’x7’s. The plywood at Lowe’s that I planned to use came in 4’x8′ sheets. Drawing the wall plans helped me determine that I could get the project done with just four simple sheets of plywood without too much waste.

Plank Wall Plans by Grace + Gumption

 STEP 2: Purchase your materials and cut your boards.

Instead of cutting the boards myself I decided to take advantage of Lowe’s cutting service thinking it would only save me time (but unfortunately that didn’t up being the case which I’ll explain in further detail in a follow-up post.) During my trip to Lowe’s, I purchased four sheets of plywood and two 8 ft. quarter round moulding that would trim the wall where it meets the adjacent walls. I gave the Lowe’s worker the instructions to cut the wood and if done right, I should be left with four sheets worth of 6″ boards.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

plank wall tutorial

 STEP 3: Lightly sand the cut edge of the wood planks.

Using 320 grit sandpaper, I went over the edges of the wood to remove any roughness or jagged edges. [Sanding prior to installing also helps avoid unwanted splinters during the installation process.]

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

STEP 4: Find and mark wall studs.

Once your boards are ready to go, it’s time to prep your wall for installation. Remove any existing nails or screws from the wall. Then using a pencil and stud finder, mark the location of the studs.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

 STEP 5: Install your first plank, beginning at the ceiling.

Once you have marked the studs across the entire wall you will be covering, you are now ready to begin installation of your planks. I would recommend beginning at the ceiling, so that you start with a nice crisp line. When placing the plank at the ceiling, use a level – although you would assume your ceiling is already level, that is not always the case.

Once you have the plank where you want it and it’s level, you are now free to nail it to the wall. Using the the stud marks you made previously as your guide, insert two nails per stud. I used an electric nail gun that I got from Lowe’s. If you don’t have one, I would recommend this one because it’s completely electric (meaning you don’t need an air compressor to use it and it was very inexpensive…just $30).

Each row for my wall, required two boards per row. So once you have first board up, ensure to continue using the level for any adjacent boards on the same row until the entire row is completed (like the picture below). Please disregard the paint trials that you see in the picture. I ended up painting over this again later to make sure that the pops of color wouldn’t show between my boards.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

 STEP 6: Continue adding rows, using nickels as spacers between planks.

Once your top row is finished and level, continue adding planks under the existing row. the depth of a nickel is the perfect amount of space to leave in between each plank. So, go couch diving until you find three or four nickels that you can use to space out each plank like so.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

Once you have a couple of rows done, it should start looking more like this. Tip: Try to space out or alternate your seams. Variation makes them less obvious.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

 STEP 7: Make special cuts in boards for outlets and light switches.

As you work your way down the wall, you’re more than likely going to come across at least one outlet or light switch.  Instead of cutting the plank all the way around the outlet plate (which would look tacky), you can adjust your outlet to be mounted directly on top of the plank.

To do this, take a screwdriver and loosen the outlet screws just until you have enough space for your finger to fit in between the wall and outlet.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

Once that is done, place your board on the wall in the place you will be installing in. Then use a pencil to mark the section that needs to be cut out from the board. Tip: Aim for the top of the cut to fall just above the screw as you can see in the picture above and below. The side can be cut at the same width of  the junction box.

Next, use a jig saw or hand saw to make cuts along the cut lines you just created. Once you’ve made your cuts, place your board back up on the wall as you regularly would but this time, make sure that your outlet prongs are on the outside of the wood (as you can see in the picture below). Nail the board to the wall and retighten the outlet screw on the outside of the plank to hold it in place. Continue this process until you have worked around the outlet and proceed with installing the planks as you would normally.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

STEP 8: Patch and hide nail holes and wood creases.

Once you’ve covered the entire wall with the wood planks, take a nail finisher to any nails that may be sticking out from the surface of the wood. Tip: It’s better to have your nails below the surface than above because these little holes are easily covered and sticking out nails are not.

Once you’ve checked to make sure all nails are sunken past the brim, use patching plaster and a putty knife to hide nail holes and fill in the creases from where your wood pieces meet.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

Let the plaster dry for the duration that the instructions say – mine had a drying period of about 30 minutes. Then, take a piece of 320-grit sandpaper and go over the plastered seams and holes until it is all completely smooth to the touch. Tip: To completely hide seams, it may take a couple of layers of the putty – just make sure to sand after each application.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

STEP 9: Paint the wall.

I used dutch boy paint (my favorite) from Menards. The color I chose was Alabaster by Sherwin Williams. Below is an example of just one coat of dutch boy paint – no primer needed (isn’t this paint awesome?) I was done after just two coats. Tip: To keep high contrast between rows, don’t paint between the planks.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

STEP 10: Add the quarter round moulding to each corner of the wall.

This step really gives the wall the final touch because it hides any width measurement mistakes that may have been made in step 1 of this tutorial (woohoo). Before installing the moulding to each corner, paint the pre-primed pieces using the same paint you used on your boards. This proved to be an easy way to keep from getting paint on the adjacent walls.

Once the paint is dried and ready to go, take one of the two quarter round moulding and place it into the corner of the wall. Most likely you’ll have to cut the moulding to get it fit just perfectly above of the baseboard. So take a pencil and mark where you need to make the cut – I did an easy 90 degree angle cut.  I used my clamping box guide and saw from Lowe’s to do the job. Once cut, place the moulding back into the desired position and use your nail gun to affix it to the wall. Repeat the same process with the other corner of the wall.

Finish any nails that may be sticking out and hide the nail holes with the putty you used on the wall earlier. Once dry, take a small brush to paint over these areas. The corner of your walls should now look a little like so.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

Now, just reattach any switch plates and your wall is ready to go! Tip: Instead of replacing mismatched switch plates, paint them instead so that they match and blend into the wall perfectly. 

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption

All that’s left is to decorate your new wall! I didn’t waste any time. See below for the finished masterpiece.

Plank Wall Tutorial by Grace + Gumption (www.gracegumption.com)

I loved making this wall and I love even more how it turned out! It really adds so much to the room but in such a subtle way. Good luck with your own wall in your home – I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

God bless,
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How To Replace a Light Fixture

How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

Light fixtures to a room, are like accessories to an outfit – they give a room (or outfit) that little something extra. Easily add personality to your space, by replacing your light fixture. And YES…you can do it yourself!

Before getting started, remember to cut the power to your light at the circuit breaker before attempting to remove or replace a light fixture of any kind. Just turning off the light switch does not guarantee there is no power being circulated to the wires in the electrical box.

Step 1: Install mounting strap to electrical box.

After shutting off the power to the light and removing the existing fixture, you are now ready to begin installing your new light fixture. First, attach the flat metal bar called a mounting strap to the electric box using two screws and a handheld screw driver.  In most cases, the mounting strap and screws come with light fixture but if not, be sure to purchase these things ahead of time.

How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

Step 2: Connect wires using wire nuts.

While connecting wires, use the color pairings below as your guide:

  • Black or red = current (hot)
  • White = neutral
  • Green or copper = ground

Electrical Guide by Grace + Gumption

Pair up each colored wire from the light with the colored wire from the wall.

fixture wires

Place a wire nut (that you recycled from the old fixture) over the two wires and twist until the two wires are tightly clamped together. Continue until every wire is clamped to its color-coated partner.

How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

Step 3: Ground the fixture and place wires inside box.

The green or bare wires are used to ground your fixture. The reason you want to ground your fixture is to prevent someone from getting shocked if the fixture were to malfunction. It works by tripping the breaker to the fixture in the instance of a malfunction, preventing the flow of electrical current to the light switch.

To ground the fixture, you need to wrap the ground wire from the wall side around the green screw connected to the mounting strap. Tighten the green screw around the wire using a flathead screw driver. Once it’s wrapped and tightened, connect the wall and fixture neutral wires together as you did with the others, using the last wire nut. To finish, gently push the wires inside of the electrical (junction) box. Now you are ready to attach the light fixture.

how to ground a light fixture

Step 4: Attach light fixture to mounting strap and test.

Place fixture on the wall by carefully by passing the threaded pipe through the hole in the canopy. Screw the cap over the threaded pipe to tighten the fixture to the wall. [Note: Not all lights will attach to the mounting strap in the same manner, so make sure to read the directions if yours is different.] Before calling the project complete, pop a bulb into the fixture, turn the power back on and test out the new fixture.

How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.comHow To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

 Step 5: Attach remaining parts and enjoy!

If the fixture doesn’t light turn the power back off, remove the fixture and start over. However if all wires were installed properly, the light should pass your test without a fuss. Add remaining parts to the fixture such as globes, glass, etc and enjoy your new light!How To Replace a Light Fixture by Grace + Gumption at gracegumption.com

Happy upgrading!

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DIY Herringbone [Peel-n-Stick] Tile Floor

DIYherringbonepeelnsticktilefloor

When we first moved into our home this past April, it was evident that the entire house needed new flooring. Of course, this is no cheap task. So we started just one room at a time. One of them being, the entrance from our garage which includes our small laundry room and half bath. The existing floor was an evident vinyl tile that was printed to look like a wood trim with a green tile inside. If it sounds ugly, just think what it looked like in person! I knew it had to go but I didn’t have a large budget for this project.

DIY Herringbone Peel-n-Stick Tile Floor Before and After by Grace + Gumption

So I looked into some affordable options but just couldn’t get excited with what was available. I have seen amazing herringbone floors made but they were always made with real tile which made me wonder if I couldn’t pull off that look in my own way. After further research, I discovered that there is now grout-able peel-n-stick tile at just $1.08 per tile!! Not only is the peel-n-stick tiles much cheaper, it is also easier to cut than porcelain tile (no saws needed) and installation is also much easier (simply remove the paper backing to reveal the sticky adhesive). Best part is, I was able to complete this project for just $102!! Read below for a step by step tutorial on how-to achieve your own peel-n-stick herringbone floors.

Shopping List
12×12 Peel-and-Stick Vinyl Tile by Armstrong (I got it in crescendo french gray), $77.76 (72 tiles at $1.08 or approx. 2 boxes)
Vinyl Tile Grout by Blue Hawk (I got it in saddle gray), $18.82 (Two cartons at $9.41 a piece)
Tile T-Spacers, $4.96 (Pack of 100)

Total Cost: $102

Tools you’ll need
– Box cutter
– Metal L-square ruler
– Rubber grout trowel
– Small bucket
– Rag

STEP ONE: Determine the amount of tile/grout you need to purchase.

I needed enough tile to fill two rooms measuring 65″ x 59″ and 84″ x 72″. To calculate how much tile I needed, I used a simple tile calculator such as this one to find the square footage of my space. The calculator estimated that I needed 69.08 square feet for this project. Since the tiles I was purchasing were 12″x12″, that means I needed about 70 tiles.  (32 tiles come in a box so I purchased two.)

When determining how much grout you need, I can advice just from my experience that we used one tub for 70 square feet of floor. I purchased two and although I only used one, I went ahead and kept the other in case I needed it for touch ups later on.

STEP TWO: Cut the tiles into thirds.

For a 12×12 tile, use your L-square ruler to measure and mark each of your tiles like shown below.

tilecutmarks2

Then take your box cutter and slice your tile along your measured mark – use your ruler as a guide to create straight lines. (Note: if you don’t cut all the way through, do not fret. Simply fold the tile along the mark and it will snap apart easily along the cut.)

DIY Herringbone Tile Floor Step 1

Keep in mind, that I made the decision to install my floor over the existing laminate tile. Removing existing peel stick can be very difficult and time consuming so if you don’t have to, I recommend skipping that step (I’ve provided tips at the end of this post on identifying whether you need to remove your old floor before installing or not).

STEP THREE: Lay out your tiles in the herringbone pattern.

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the surface you will be installing your new floor on and have removed doors, toilets, furniture, etc that may be in the way, it’s time to begin laying out your tiles. Use your L-square ruler and T tile spacers to begin creating the pattern. Lay out two complete rows that span the entire floor before sticking the floors down permanently. These two rows set the tone for all others, so It’s very important to have the tiles square to one. Your tiles should appear in a V pattern, similar to the image below.

Herringbone Pattern Template via Grace + Gumption

STEP FOUR: Remove plastic backing and install first two rows.

Once you are comfortable with the pattern and the tiles are all square to one another and in a straight line, you are free to begin sticking them down. To do so, carefully remove the plastic backing and placing tile back in its original place. Apply pressure to each tile to ensure the proper adhesion. Continue doing this until you have completed your first two rows. (See image below)Ready to Install Peel-n-stick tile floor

 STEP FIVE: Continue adding rows to both sides of the initial two.

Using the existing two rows as your guide, lay out another complete row using your L-square ruler again. See diagram below for a visual.

herringbonepatternstep3

Once you have the tiles in the place you want them, repeat step four. Continue this process until you have covered the entire floor. Keep in mind that as you approach walls, door frames, or other obstacles that you will need to cut around them using your box cutter. This is probably the most annoying part of the entire project but it’s well worth it in the end.

Herringbone Vinyl Tile Pattern via Grace + Gumption

Once you have covered the entire surface area that you wish to cover, it’s safe to remove all spacers. To really make sure that your tiles have been adhered well, I would suggest taking a rolling pin and rolling over the floor a few times. Then prepare your area to grout. Use a vacuum to sweep up any debris that may have found its way into the cracks of your tile. You’re floor should now be looking similar to this…

Herringbone Vinyl Tile Pattern via Grace + Gumption

and this…

Herringbone Vinyl Tile Pattern via Grace + Gumption

STEP SIX: Grout your tile.

Using your grout trowel, spread your vinyl tile grout in between your tiles. Use your rag and bucket full of water to wipe off the excess. Do a small area at a time so your grout doesn’t dry before wiping it off. The longer you wait, the harder it is to remove the excess from the tile…I learned this the hard way. Unlike regular tiles, the depth of the vinyl tiles is very minuscule in comparison so a little grout goes along way!

Grouting Vinyl Tile by Grace + Gumption

Once you’ve finished grouting, give the floors a good couple of days to dry completely before allowing heavy traffic through the area. Now all you have left is to do is marvel at your hard work and catch up on some well earned sleep.

DIYherringbonepeelnsticktilefloor2

Words of Wisdom

  • Timing – Give yourself plenty of time for this project. It’s fair to say that this project is a couple day project depending on the size of your space. Between my dad and I, we were able to to get it done in a full day by staying up all night to finish.
  • Cutting the tiles – Make sure to cut your tiles on a surface you are not upset to scratch, cut, or ruin. I cut them right on top of the old floor, simply because I knew I would be installing over it.
  • Old floor removal – You should remove the existing floor if your old floor matches any of the following criteria:
    • Your floor is chipped or coming up on its own
    • Your floor surface is not level or has a slick coating that can cause problems with adhesion
    • Your floor has old, existing grout already
  • Clean before installing – It’s very important to clean and/or degrease existing floors properly before installation to ensure proper adhesion of the new tiles.
  • Cleaning post grout – After grouting, make sure to give your floors a good week or two to dry completely before mopping or cleaning.

If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly – you can find my contact info here.

xoxo,
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How-to Pick the Perfect Paint Color

How-to-pick-the-best-paint-color-byGraceGumption

Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or are looking to update your current one, a fresh coat of paint is often the cheapest and most effective way to improve your space. However, picking a paint color can quickly become an overwhelming and frustrating task. Not only is there more than 50 shades of gray (blue, purple, red, and yellow) to choose from, you still have to be able to determine which shade will look best in your space.

When picking out a paint color, it’s good to keep in mind that it’s shade or tone can look completely different in your home than it does under the florescent lighting of the store. So unless the color is white, purchasing a gallon of paint before testing the color in your home could result in a very unhappy homeowner. In order to pick the perfect paint color for your space the first time, I recommend trying one or all three of the following techniques:

          • Paint swatches are your friend. Bring home several different color swatches (even more than what you think you like) and view them in the room you want to paint. This will allow you to see which shades and tones look best in the lighting of your room. You’ll be instantly surprised at how the color the changes when put in different spaces.

Paint_Swatch

          • Visualize it virtually. For those who have a harder time envisioning a color in a room with just a small paint swatch, I would recommend using an online virtual tool to aid your selection of a paint color. Thanks to todays technology, visualizing a color on your walls is a easy as uploading a photo. One of my favorites is Sherwin-Williams’ Color Visualizer tool, plus they have every color you can imagine under the sun. (Oh, and just as a secret between you and me – most Menards can mix Sherwin-Williams’ colors straight from their system. Just select a color and a Menards paint (I recommend Dutch Boy) and they do the rest. Best bang for your buck.)

Sherwin-Williams Visualizer

              • Try before you buy. The safest way to ensure you achieve color perfection is to purchase a few (or five) samples of the colors you are really considering and testing them out in sections on your wall. Many stores such as Menards offer their paint in sample sizes for a around $3 a piece. Trust me, the couple buck investment will is a lot cheaper than buying the full gallon only to realize that the color just isn’t working out.

DSC_0068

I hope these tips help you find the perfect paint color for you and your room. Comment below if you have any questions.

Krista Elaine