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DIY or a Pro? 4 Questions You Should Know

You are an enthusiastic weekend warrior. From landscaping to painting, laying updated flooring to installing a new toilet, you have some pretty impressive home improvement skills. But, on occasion, even you have to admit there are some times where you have bitten off a bit more than you can chew. So, how do you know when to take on a home project and when to leave it to the professionals? Even if you have the know-how, what you save in expenses might just cost you in time. Here are four questions you can ask to help you decide: do it yourself or a hire a professional?

DIY or a Pro? How much can you afford to spend? DIYGuys.net

How much can I afford to spend?

This question is hard to answer without knowing your specific project. However, a little research is all it takes to get an estimate rolling around in your head. For instance, hiring a professional to build a new deck in your backyard can run anywhere from $2,500 to as much as $24,000, depending on size and materials. If you have some interior upgrades in mind, a professional can handle these sorts of projects from anywhere between $750 to $2500. And if you need a professional to tackle a major air conditioning repair, you could spend between $600 and $1900, depending on the age of the unit and the kind of repairs needed. Weigh these costs against your estimates for completing the project on your own to decide if DIY is the smarter choice.

Photo by Pexels. DIYGuys.net

If cost is the main factor in whether to hire a professional, don’t forget the costs that you might be facing outside of the project. For example, you may need to rent a storage unit to protect some of your furniture and belongings during major construction. Over the last 180 days, the
average cost to rent a self-storage unit in Sterling Heights, Michigan is $109.00. Or, in the case of kitchen home improvement projects, you may have to order take out instead of cooking for a few nights. And if a plumbing, electrical, or construction DIY projects hits a few snags, you may need to factor in a hotel stay for a night or two, as well.

DIY or a Pro? Is this a skill I can learn? DIYGuys.net

Do I know how to do this? If not, is it easy to learn?

Just because you have never tiled a bathroom floor doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. There are plenty of free tutorials on YouTube and step-by-step instructions all over the internet. However, will the costs you save doing this project yourself outweigh the time it takes to learn the new skill, the cost of purchasing materials and equipment, and the risk that something might go wrong? To help you make this decision, get a few quotes from professionals who can handle the job. Ask your friends or your neighbors for recommendations and make a few calls.

DIY or a Pro? What if I make mistakes or get frustrated? DIYGuys.net

What happens if I get frustrated or make a mistake?

Whether you are capable of doing this project isn’t the question. We know that — for you — when there’s a will there’s a way. But on the off chance that something does go wrong, what will happen? For example, if you’re installing new countertops in the kitchen, how will the rest of your family feel if the project takes longer than expected? When they can’t cook or prepare food for several days or even weeks, will that cast a shadow over the household? Next you’ll want to consider your mental state. If you’re the sort of DIY devotee who enjoys a project from start to finish, you might feel frustrated, stressed or even guilty if something goes wrong. Hiring a professional means you can let go of all those concerns.

Is this a common repair or a complex remodel?

A minor repair — replacing a leaking faucet or a squeaky floorboard — can take you at most an afternoon. A complicated project, like replacing the pipe in your bathroom or widening your doorways, requires planning and process where you might need new tools, extra hands or even a few permits. When the projects become complicated like this — building a detached garage or transforming an unfinished basement into a game room — a professional can come in handy. They know what’s waiting around the corner. They have the tools needed, the licenses and permits required, and the experience to understand how to make your vision a reality.

Photo by Pexels. DIYGuys.net

Maybe the project required a little more knowledge and skill than you originally thought. Maybe you didn’t have the right tools or enough time. It happens to enthusiastic homeowners all the time. Arming yourself with the pros and cons of hiring a professional can help you make the right decision about how to tackle your next big home improvement project.

Written By: Ray Flynn DIYGuys.net

Are you a DIY enthusiast with skills and advice you want to share with others? Write your own tutorial and have it featured on Functional Rustic by emailing Sarah at contact@functionalrustic.com. Not ready to teach others? Learn new skills, meet other DIY enthusiasts and sell your handmade creations by joining DIY Projects of Facebook.

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10 Easy, Last Minute DIY Stocking Stuffer Tutorials from Functional Rustic

Need some quick, easy, last minute DIY gift ideas for the holiday season? Functional Rustic is here to help! Check out these 10 tutorials that are sure to make your handmade gifts the talk of the gift giving season.

  1. Christmas Tree Crayons

Repurpose those old broken crayons to create the perfect holiday gift for the kids this year. The tutorial uses Christmas tree designs, but you can use any shape you want!

2. 5 Minute Sugar Scrub

The simple sugar scrub is the perfect gift for any occasion. Easy, colorful and it smells good – what more could you ask for?

Photo From: https://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com/sugar-scrub-recipes/

3. Sensory Bottle

A fun, easy craft made with items you probably already have at home. Great gift for someone of any age!

Photo from: https://functionalrustic.com/2018/08/10/sensorybottle/

4. Easy Sun Catchers

Easy, colorful and lots of options for personalization. These sun catchers are sure to catch the attention of your friends and family.

Photo From: https://www.100directions.com/easy-sun-catchers-coloring-pages/

5. T-Shirt Rope Toy

Your furbabies deserve handmade gifts too. This quick, easy craft is perfect for the animal lover in you life. 

6. Stress Balls

The perfect gift for anyone on your holiday gift list this year. Easy, fun and relieves stress – the perfect craft.

7. Canning Lid Bird Feeder

Easy craft that is perfect for the bird lover in your life. 

8. Stress Relief Dough

Relieve stress and moisturize your hands with this easy craft. Perfect gift for anyone on your gift list.

Photo From: https://functionalrustic.com/2018/08/31/stressreliefdough/

9. Galaxy Rock Magnets

This craft is out of this world. East to create, looks great and perfect for anyone on your gift list.

Photo From: https://www.adventure-in-a-box.com/space-rocks-fridge-magnets/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes

10. Pop Can Wall Flower

Repurpose that soda pop can into a flower that will bloom all year. 

Photo From: https://functionalrustic.com/2018/10/19/popcanwallflower/

After you finish your creation take a picture and share it with other DIY enthusiasts at DIY Projects of Facebook.

Want to give a handmade gift but don’t want to/don’t have time to make it yourself? Functional Rustic is here to help. Support a small local business AND save money by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store. Below are some of the handcrafted items available. 

Handmade Rustic Décor by Functional Rustic. FREE Shipping. Click Photo to start saving.

Handmade Rustic Décor by Functional Rustic. FREE Shipping. Click Photo to start saving.

Handmade Rustic Décor by Functional Rustic. FREE Shipping. Click Photo to start saving.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Be sure to follow the Functional Rustic Blog for daily inspirational quotations, latest  handmade projects, easy DIY tutorials and stories from the barn.

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Winter Duck Enclosure – Functional Rustic Approach

The Muscovy Ducks of Functional Rustic have a new enclosure for the winter. Everyone is very excited.

3 Muscovy Drakes

Last year I only had a handful of ducks so one barn stall was sufficient to house them. This year though, I have 12 large ducks to care for. I could eat some of them and keep the smaller stall, but I’ve had a lot of animal deaths this year and am not keen on adding to the list.



(Did you know that Muscovy Ducks taste more like beef than typical a water fowl? Muscovy ducks spend most of their time on land eating grass – same as cows. Although Muscovy do have water proofing oils, because they do not spend as much time in the water as other water birds they produce less oil and therefor taste differently.)

duck table.jpg

My chief complaint with the duck set up in the barn last year was the lack of proper lighting. There is a small window in the stall and a light bulb but, with the barn closed up it is very dark in the barn during the winter months. In order to keep the barn some what insulted in the cold Michigan winters I covered all of the openings with roofing paper last year. (I only used the roofing paper because I found a roll of it in the barn when we moved in. It was free and available so I made it work.) The roofing paper is black though, and blocked all of the sun light into the barn.



This year I wanted to make sure that if the ducks could not or did not want to go out in the snow they would still have lots of natural light. Added bonus, natural light in the stall means duck pictures and videos turn out better! To achieve this increased light while still keeping the barn insulated I chose to wrap the entire back of the barn with 6 mil plastic sheeting.

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The back of the Functional Rustic barn is a covered area with the south and east walls open to the outdoors. I hung the 6 mil plastic across all of the openings and secured it to the walls/ground with a carpentry stapler. I chose 6 mil plastic sheets because I wanted a plastic that was durable enough to endure Michigan weather but not too heavy to hang with staples. The 6 mil plastic sheeting works perfectly. Plus, it’s clear so the sunlight pours into the enclosure.




It is my hope that the clear plastic will provide some solar heating. The idea is that the warm sun rays will come into the barn and the plastic will keep the heat inside. I don’t expect it to be warm in the winter – but if I can keep the stall above freezing I would be thrilled.

Duck Enclosure Flooring

One of the new stalls off the back has rubber mat flooring that I added straw to while the other stall off the back of the barn has only a dirt floor. Last year I used the dirt floor of the duck stall to make compost. It worked splendidly. The poop was controlled, no bad smells and the floor actually gave off some heat.

The original duck floor consisted of dirt, straw, leaves and landscaping scraps. I added new layers as needed and mixed everything together to turn it into a compost floor. The ducks helped keep it mixed up by digging around in the floor for bugs. My pile of composting material on the floor started at about six inches deep. Over the past year of adding layers and housing ducks, the floor is a beautiful, rich compost nearly one foot deep. I plan to use my duck compost in the spring to plant the Functional Rustic orchard.



The plan with this year’s new dirt stall was to repeat what I did last year in the original duck stall. That was the plan. Ha. Michigan weather decided I needed a different approach this year. Functional Rustic is lucky to have acres of fallen leaves to collect and add to the compost pile. The kicker though, is the leaves need to be dry for me to use them.

Fall Trees.JPG

Well, Michigan has seen a fair amount of rain and now snow. I never collected the dry leaves. That’s a big problem for my compost floor. The snowfall over the weekend melted yesterday so the plan today was to rake up the leaves and store them in a dry place until they could be used.



Two inches of snow last night. Ugh. It looks beautiful and the ducks are adorable running through it – but the snow officially ends the search for leaves. So, today I started digging up the original compost floor. You see, the ducks have three stalls they can explore now. The rubber mat area, the new dirt area and the original duck stall. Since adding the plastic though, I have yet to see the ducks spend time in the original stall beyond using it to get outdoors.

sunrise fence 2.jpg

Well, if they wont be spending much time in the old stall – I don’t need that floor to be heated by compost. So, today I started digging up the original stall and moving the compost to the new plastic enclosed dirt area off the back of the barn. It is not as visually pleasing as fresh straw, but the coverage it provides is impressive. Plus, the floor I dug up is full of bugs that the ducks are having a grand old time hunting down. I continue to add layers of straw each day to promote more composting, keep the ducks feet dry and warm and to control the poop smells.



Duck Enclosure Walls

Initially hanging the plastic only took 30 minutes. However, the next few weeks involved lots of small fixes to make it just right. First of all, Muscovy Ducks have claws. When the plastic was first installed the ducks did not know what to make of it and tried flying through it. Ha. Amusing as it was to watch – they understandably freaked out when they hit the plastic and scratched at it with their claws. Needless to say, there are more than a few gashes repaired with duct tape.

The ducks aren’t the only ones flying into the plastic. There are a couple families of barn swallows living in there too. Despite the plastic being up for a few weeks now, the little sparrows continue to fly full speed into the plastic. It was funny at first but now I just feel bad for them. Someone is going to get hurt. I will say though, it is adorable to see 6 huge ducks on a wall with a family of tiny barn swallows perched beside them.

Fixing cuts in the plastic from sharp duck claws was the least of my problems. Wind was the bigger issue. The day we hung the plastic there was only a slight wind so everything seemed secure. Less than 24 hours later the wind was up to 40 mph gusts. Whole walls of plastic were falling off. Ugh.

When we (my husband and I) originally hung the plastic we placed the staples about 12 to 18 inches apart. Although the plastic was flat against the wall when it was stapled, the large gaps between the staples allowed wind to come in and blow the plastic around.

The bottom of the plastic sheeting was held down by stones and pavers. One big wind and the plastic slid out from underneath the stones as if they were pebbles. I found heavier items to hold down the bottom of the plastic, but since I still had the gaps in my stapling, wind was still coming in and causing the wind to whip around inside the stall – again causing the bottom to slide out and blow around.

KIMG3070.jpg

On another particularly windy day, I went out to the barn and examined where the wind was coming in. That is when I learned that my staples were to far apart. I immediately got the stapler and started stapling everything I could reach. That plastic was secure!! Having secured the plastic to the top and sides of the openings I thought I was all set.

Nope.


The plastic may be securely attached at the top, but the bottom is still loose. The stones and pavers are ok if the wind stays below 30 mph, but it’s Michigan, so that’s not going to happen. Again, I spent an hour just sitting in the duck stall trying to learn how the wind was moving around within the barn.

KIMG3069.jpg

As it happens, the wind is not actually getting into the barn. Apparently the plastic, although securely attached, is loose instead of taut so even if the staples hold strong, the plastic flaps back and forth. The flapping is what causes the stones to slide off the sheeting.

No amount of staples and stones was going to do the trick. The openings I am covering are over 12 ft x 12 ft. I need some sort of support in the middle to provide stability to the plastic. As it happens, I have a bunch of wire around the barn. The fencing around their enclosure came bound together with long pieces metal wire. I stretched that wire across the opening and duct taped it to the plastic on both sides.



Shockingly, it worked. Now that the plastic had the stiff wire in the middle I was able to get it to lay flush against the flat surfaces so it can be attached. Now the sheeting was able to pulled taut. Before stabilizing the plastic, even a small breeze caused the plastic move in or out. Stapling the plastic while it is blowing makes the final product flappy.

KIMG3068.jpg

No longer trusting the stones and pavers, I replace them with a wooden pallets. The pallets are heavier than the stones AND I can staple the plastic directly to it. Now the plastic is weighed down by the pallet while also being attached to it. Now when the wind blows the plastic barely moves at all.

It has been about week since I made the last repairs and I am proud to report that despite, strong winds, heavy rains and two snow falls – the enclosure is still in great shape. Also, the inside of the barn has remained consistently warmer than the outside. I am quite proud of what I accomplished.

KIMG1443.jpg

Winter Duck Feeding Routine

Another new change is how I feed the feather babies. Normally I pour their feed into a feeder and let them gorge. Since I secured the plastic walls though, the ducks don’t seem to want to leave. Staying in the barn all day means they are not exercising as much. To help keep them active I now distribute the food everywhere and make them hunt for it.

Spreading the food out forces the ducks to move around, keeps them from standing and pooping all day in the same spot and helps the compost floor to be turned regularly. Another benefit of spreading the food out is that everyone gets to eat at the same time. There is most definitely a pecking order in my barn. With one feeder, breakfast becomes a time for ducks to get bullied. I don’t like seeing the bigger ducks be mean to Larry and the smaller lady ducks. I know that this behavior is natural and healthy for ducks, but if I can prevent it from happening I will.

larry.jpg

I am pleased to report that since implementing this new approach Larry is looking much better as well. He was looking rough before – dirty, missing feathers and a generally an unkempt appearance. He’s a white duck that was coated brown with dirt. Poor guy looked miserable. Now, Larry is looking happy, bright and clean. He still gets picked on and chased around, but at least he has mouthfuls of food available wherever they chase him. (Interesting side note, Larry’s only son, Prodigy, is the duck that harasses him the most.)



In any case, the new enclosure has made for some happy feather babies and one very happy feather baby mama. Check out the videos below to see how the build enclosure progressed and how much the ducks love playing in it.

Written by: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic offers more than just stories about the Muscovy Ducks? Support local business and save money with handmade décor from the Functional Rustic Store. Below are some examples of what you can expect to find.

 

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Red

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

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2 Item Fire Starter DIY Tutorial by Functional Rustic

It’s cold outside. Winter is rolling in and bringing snow falls and bitter cold temperatures. Although it may be cold outside – the fire in the Functional Rustic wood stove is burning red hot.

sunrise barn.jpg

This will mark our second winter heating the house with our wood stove. My husband, Dave, spent the summer finding dead trees and cutting them into fire wood to heat our home. Check out the chain saw video tutorial with Dave HERE. Dave’s hard work has furnished us with approximately 10 chords of hard wood for burning.

chopped wood.jpg

Having a large supply of wood to burn is a great start – but there is more to an effective fire than just fuel. Being able to start the fire is the important part. Last year I used news paper – a lot of news paper – to start the fire each day. It worked – technically. However, I found that the massive amounts of newspaper created vast amounts of ash that ultimately extinguish the flames.

Also, we make our fire first thing in the morning – around 5 am. At that hour, the house is dark and cold. The last thing I want to do when I wake up is waste time fighting with a fire. For that reason, I created fire starters to help me start the day off quickly. I just toss them in, add some wood and light a match.

KIMG3317

My fire starters light quickly but burn for awhile – a great combination for getting the fire started. Keep reading to learn how to make FREE fire starters with items you already have around your home.

Fire Starters DIY Tutorial

Fire Starters by Functional Rustic

Supplies: Dryer Lint & Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

Step One:

Gather lint from the lint trap in your dryer.

Step Two:

Gather empty toilet paper rolls.

KIMG3311

Step Three:

Stuff lint into the empty toilet paper tubes. (I was able to create three fire starts with one lint trap.)

Step Four:

Fold the ends of the tubes so that the lint stays inside.

KIMG3314

Step Five: (Optional)

Write fun messages on the tube or add any colors you want. If I was giving them as a gift I would write messages on them but, for my daily needs I keep them blank.

Step Six:

Share your creation with Functional Rustic on social media using #functionalrustic.

Congratulations! You made your very own fire starter.

Written by : Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just DIY Tutorials? Support a small, local business by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store. Below is a sample of what you can expect to find. Special orders welcome and shipping is FREE!

 

Wooden Thank You Card AQUA BLUE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

 

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

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How To Dye Egg Whites Tutorial from Functional Rustic

In honor of the recent midterm election, Veterans Day weekend and the 2nd Annual Veterans Day Craft & Vendor Show that Functional Rustic has the honor of participating in tomorrow – Functional Rustic’s DIY Tutorial for this week is How to Dye Egg Whites. Specifically – how to dye them patriotic colors!

Instead of breaking the bank trying to decorate for your holiday gathering – turn the yummy food you are serving into the decorations!

How to dye egg whites tutorial

How to Dye egg whites Tutorial from Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com



How to Dye Egg Whites and Make Festive Deviled Eggs – DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Step One:
Fill a pot about half way with water and bring it to a rolling boil (very bubbly). The water should be able to completely cover all the eggs you are going to boil.

NOTE: When you add the eggs later the water level will increase so make sure you leave room in the pot for the water level to boil and rise later.

Boil water
Add water to a pot and bring it to a rolling boil. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Two:
Once the water is boiling add your eggs and boil for 15 minutes (Chicken Egg) 30 minutes (Turkey and Muscovy Duck Egg).

Boil eggs
Once the water is boiling add your eggs. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The Muscovy Duck and Bronze Turkey Eggs are much larger and take longer to cook.

Below is an example of a rolling boil – very bubbly.

Boil Eggs 1
Below is an example of a rolling boil – very bubbly. www.FunctionalRustic.com



Step Three:
Once the eggs are boiled remove them from the water and put them in an ice bath. (An Ice Bath is just a bowl with ice and water in it. The idea is to cool the eggs immediately so they stop cooking. Running them under cold water works too.)

Ice bath
After the eggs cook, add them to an ice bath to cool. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The white-ish egg is from the Muscovy, brown egg is chicken and the speckled egg is from the turkey.


Valencia Merble the Dog is all too happy to help with this tutorial. She loves snacking on the ice cubes!

Step Four:
Once the eggs have chilled you need to remove the shell. I start by tapping the ends on the cutting board so they crack.

Hard Boiled Egg
Crack the bottom of the egg to help remove the shell. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Then, I roll the egg on its side on the counter/cutting board until the sides crack too.

Roll the egg
Roll the egg on the counter to further crack the shell to remove. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The shell easily peels off the chicken egg now. Duck and Turkey eggs – well, I have yet to find a way to get the shell off without removing a lot of the egg white. I use the same approach but it does not turn out as pretty.

Peel the egg
The shell is easily removed from the egg now. www.FunctitonalRustic.com



Step Five:
Cut the egg lengthwise and remove the yolk (yellow stuff inside).

Cut the egg
Cut the egg lengthwise. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Set the yolks aside to make the filling later. Don’t be concerned if the yolk looks a little grey. It happens sometimes.

Remove yolk
Remove the yolk and set aside. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Six:
Fill a glass with about 1 cup of water and add 3 to 6 drops of food coloring to the water. I chose red and blue to honor the holiday weekend.

Put the egg whites into the colored water to soak for about 30 minutes.

Soak in food colorinng
Soak egg whites in colored water for 30 minutes. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Seven:
Mix the yellow egg yolks with miracle whip and yellow mustard. I don’t measure so I honestly cannot tell you how much I used of each. I just mix until it tastes the way I want.
This tutorial is more about teaching you how to make your eggs look festive and less about teaching your proper flavors.  You find different recipes Here . You find the flavors you like and Functional Rustic will teach you how to make it look festive!

Step Eight:
Once 30 minutes have passed on the egg whites soaking in the colored water – remove an egg to see if you like how the color looks. If you want it darker than soak it longer.
Remove the eggs from the colored water and pat the eggs dry with a paper towel.



Step Nine:
Add the yolk filling to the newly dyed egg whites. Fancy people, as I like to call them, put their filling into a plastic bag, cut the corner off, and then pipe the filling into the egg. I am not a fancy person, ha, so I use a spoon.

After my yolk filling is spooned into the egg white (now red and blue) I sprinkle Paprika on top for a little flavor and a bit more color. Smoked Paprika is also delicious (again, find the flavor that best suits you.)

Patriotic egg whites 1
Turn boring eggs into Patriotic Centerpieces. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Ten:
Take pictures of your creation and share it with Functional Rustic on Social Media. And of course – eat that festive décor knowing it was your DIY creation!


Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than weekly tutorials? Check out the selection of handmade rustic home decor in the Functional Rustic Store.

Wooden Thank You Card RED

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

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How to Countersink a Screw – DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic

I appreciate the rough-around-the-edges style of rustic furniture and décor. Untreated wood. Exposed screws. Dents. Scuff marks. I love when a piece looks like it has a story to tell.

All of my creations for Functional Rustic have a story. They are rough around the edges because they have had a rough life to this point. Instead of hiding what the wood has been through I try to highlight how the scars make it beautifully unique.

The “rough” look sounds good and is an easier look to accomplish for a beginner but it comes with some obstacles. I knew nothing about wood working when I started this repurposing business and even today I feel like I still know very little. However, I am learning new approaches and techniques every day.



One of the techniques I recently learned was how to countersink a screw. If you are anything like I was a month ago than you have no idea what that means. Fear not – Functional Rustic is here to teach you.

My house is filled with tables, shelves and décor I built out of repurposed pallets. I don’t have a brick and mortar store so my “warehouse” is also my actual house. My sister and her boyfriend came into town for the holidays and had a chance to see my creations.

I asked Jon, the boyfriend from across the pond (Since originally writing this piece the boyfriend has become a husband. They had a sky dive wedding!), what he thought of my creations. As he slid his hand across the top of my pallet coffee table he remarks, “If you countersink the screws it wont catch on people’s clothing.”

“Screw you Jon”, was my first thought. I’m proud of this table. I worked very hard on it. I put a lot of time, energy and creativity into building it. I love how the screws look. The screws are from the original pallet and deserve to be highlighted. Screw you Jon for not appreciating my work.

Of course what I said was, “Thanks Jon, that’s a good idea.” So, I hated him for a couple minutes and then thought about what he was saying. I may like how the screws look but I really don’t like catching clothing on a screw head.



I chose to stop hating him for his really good idea and instead confessed that I had no idea what countersinking actually is (that was embarrassing as the only employee in a wood working business) and asked if he could teach me.

DIY Tutorial – How to Countersink a Screw

Step One:
Drill the pilot hole for your screw as you normally would. (Pilot hole is a hole that is slightly smaller than the size of the screw. It allows the screw to enter the wood and also stay in place.)

Step Two:
After you drill your pilot hole find a drill bit that is the same size as the head of the screw. (The head of the screw is the top where the screw driver would go.)

Countersink Screw 7
Find a drill bit that is larger than the head of the screw. Here is the original drill bit and the larger drill bit. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Three:
Center the larger drill bit on the originally pilot hole. Drill down a couple millimeters (Jon is from England so I will use the metric system in my description, ha.) Basically, give the button on the drill a small push. You only want to make a shallow hole.

Step Four:
Drill your screw into the hole as you normally would. Because of the wider hole at the top of the pilot hole, the head of the screw will be flush with or just below the surface of the wood.

Drill your screw into the hole. Notice how the screw head is now flush with the surface of the wood.

Congratulations! Your countersunk your screw!!

Step Five:
Take pictures of your countersinking skills and share them with Functional Rustic on DIY Project of Facebook.

I use the countersinking technique when I create these:

Countersinking the screws prevents gaps from forming between the boards when I create the 3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holders.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Save on handmade home décor by shopping the online Functional Rustic Store.
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Wooden Thank You Card ORANGE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00



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25 DIY Halloween Costumes Presented by Functional Rustic

This week’s DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic is not actually from Functional Rustic. I recently found a website created by a remarkable woman, Lasamoa. Just as I am repurposing myself to build the life I always wanted, she too is creating the life she wants for herself.

I had high hopes of publishing a tutorial about how to repurpose a shutter into a Functionally Rustic Chalk Board today. Well….as is often the case with repurposing projects, things did not go as planned. Ha. You can read about my struggles Here.

Writing tutorials each week is something I do to encourage myself to learn new things each week. Sharing them with you enables you to learn the new skill or craft too. I am learning a lot – but not in a way conducive to writing a tutorial for others to follow.

The duck enclosure requires my immediate attention today. As a result I am not in a position to learn a new skill AND write a tutorial for you today. (One of the things I learned this week is the importance of a back up plan if my DIY project does not actually get done.) Lucky for all of us, I found Lasamoa and her website: lifeoneastpowersdrive.com.

Check out the DIY Halloween costumes she collected:

25 Ridiculously Easy and Fun DIY Halloween Costumes for Everyone

lifeoneastpowersdrive halloween tutorial
25 Ridiculously Easy, Fun & For Everyone DIY Halloween Costumes from www.LifeOnEastPowersDrive.com

 

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic also creates Handmade Rustic Décor? FREE SHIPPING when you shop in the Functional Rustic Store.

 

Wooden Thank You Card SILVER

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

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Learning How NOT to Repurpose a Shutter – Functional Rustic Approach

I am well on my way to learning 10,000 ways not to turn a shutter into a chalk board!

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My inclination is to dwell on this or give up. I salvaged a bunch of plastic shutters and have high hopes of what I can repurpose them into. Making them into rustic chalk boards is on the top of my list.

Plastic Shutter
Plastic Shutter

I had some success when I first started the project. From afar the piece looked great. The blue of the shutter was quaint, the white popped and drew in your attention and the black board was distinctive and functional. But, looking good from afar is not the same as looking good.

Shutter Chalk Board Organizer
Salvaged Shutter Chalkboard Organizer.

The picture above is after two coats of white deck stain and two or three coats of chalkboard paint. All of the painting was done free hand so the lines were not at all straight. That is the “from afar” part that looks good. From across the room it is stunning but, when you get close, my skills as a novice are evident.

I am well aware that I am not a professional painter. I’m proud of what I created though. However, I made ‘mistakes’ and I am learning from them. My free hand painting attempt did not provide the clean lines I wanted so I found another approach. I put painters tape along the edges so that when I put the final coat of paint on the edges would be straight.

Paint Peeling

Well that didn’t work as I expected. The paint is peeling off in strips! What looked ok before, now looks like trash. Ugh.

No worries. I will try again.

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The chalk board paint is very thick – as is the deck stain. I theorize that the thickness of the paints plus the tape played some sort of factor in my peeling situation. To remedy that I will use spray paint instead of  a colored stain. The edges are taped in a straight line so there should not be any problems.

Well….It doesn’t look great, but I can totally visualize what it could look like with the chalkboard paint added on. I actually sprayed the silver paint last week but couldn’t decide if I wanted to paint the frame of the board or just keep it the natural blue color. Obviously I opted to paint it white for this project. Part of the reason I am choosing to paint it is to see if I will have the same peeling problems when they are painted next to each other like this.

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The dark one is actually red with blue painters tape on it – but the picture does not show it very well. You can see that I used tape to mark straight lines where I want to pain the chalk board. I am hopeful this approach will give me the clean lines I am looking for.

 

Moment of truth time. The shutters each have two coats of chalk board paint on them and have been dry for over 24 hours. I make sure to remove the tape slowly to prevent any of the paint from peeling off.

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Look! I found more ways that don’t work. Once again the paint is peeling off. At least this time most of the chalk board paint actually stayed on. Ugh. I don’t like it. BUT….I did learn that the color scheme looks good. Silver with white with black works nice. Also, I am able to compare how different the white is between the spray paint and the stain. They present completely differently. The spray paint is shiny and bright while the stain and matte and more of a cream color. #themoreyouknow

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Even the red shutter had some issues. Again, from afar, it looks pretty good. The videos below better demonstrate the issues with the chalk board paint peeling. The paint is very thick and because the plastic is not absorbent, the paint just sits on top and can be easily ripped off when the tape is removed.

 

What has me more frustrated than the chalk board paint peeling is that the spray paint peeled too. I thought for sure that because it was such a thin layer of paint that I would be fine. Nope. Also, I learned that the mist from the spray paint gets everywhere. That is to say, my stream of paint may be on one end of the shutter, but when the wind picks up small amounts of paint are spread everywhere. The best example is the center of the silver shutter. While the tape was still on the shutter the center of the shutter appeared silver. Not until the tape was removed did it become evident that my light mist of white paint actually significantly colored the center of the shutter.

Oooops.

 

So, I’m not sure how to proceed from here. An argument could be made that someone else may appreciate the ‘mistakes’ as creative quirks to the piece. The parts that I see as an ‘ooops’ may be the one-of-a-kind touch someone else is looking for.

What do you think? Should I try to sell it as is or scrap it completely?

What suggestions do you have to help me moving forward?

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Never give up.jpg

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than a blog – Check what others already know by shopping for Handmade Rustic Décor in the Functional Rustic Store.

 

Wooden Thank You Card ORANGE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

 

Mini Chalk Board – Blue by Functional Rustic

The Mini Chalk Board by Functional Rustic is the fun and quirky handmade conversation piece you never knew you needed. The mini chalk board is made form repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint/chalkboard paint. Measurements: 19 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in.

$15.00

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Pop Can Wall Flower Tutorial from Functional Rustic

It’s fall in Michigan. The trees are changing color, the days are getting shorter and the temperature is getting colder with each gust of wind. The changing of the season is beautiful but it also marks the end of the blooming season for most flowers.

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The changing colors of the leaves on the tress around Functional Rustic.

The bright pops of color that flowers provide during the spring and summer months provide such a boost to my mood each day. I won’t let the changing season get in the way of having flowers to admire though! Functional Rustic is about building what I want with what is in front of me. I want to see flowers – so that is what I’m going to do!

Using items I already have laying around I created a quick, easy and FREE way to make my own flowers that bloom year round and can’t be killed!

Pop Can Wall Flower – DIY TUTORIAL

Pop Can Wall Flower DIY Tutorial

Supplies: Pop Can, Scissors, Paint (marker works too), String

Step One:
Rinse out an empty pop can.

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Step One: Rinse out an empty pop can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Two:
Using a knife or scissors puncture the can along the ridge on the top of the can. Cut along that ridge until the top of the can is removed.

 

Step Three:
Cut down the length of the can until you reach the ridge at the bottom of the can.

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Step Three: Cut down the length of the can until you reach the ridge at the bottom of the can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

Step Four:
Just as you did for the top of the can, cut along the ridge of the bottom of the can until it is removed.

 

 

 

Step Five:
Using the scissors, make small cuts into the bottom part of the can that you just removed. Cut all the way down to the next ridge in the bottom of the can. See below.

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Step Five: Make small cuts into the bottom part of the can that you just removed. Cut all the way down to the next ridge in the bottom of the can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tip: Wear gloves when you do this project or be very careful the edges are sharp.

 

 

Step Six:
Flatten down the pieces you just cut. Sort of like turning the can inside out. I flatten them down because I am going to paint them next and it is easier if they are flat.

Trim the jagged edges so that the ends of the pieces are similarly straight. I actually liked how it looked when it had the jagged edges, but I struggled when trying to paint them so I recommend trimming.

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Step Six: Flatten and Trim the Edges. Step Seven: Paint. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

 

 

Step Seven:
Paint your flower. I use oil based paint markers for my flower. Permanent marker, spray paint, and nail polish are other ways to color your flower.

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Step Seven: Paint your flower. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

Step Eight:
Puncture a hole in one of the “petals” so you can hang the flower.

The scissors or knife you used to cut the can work but I used a  hammer and nail because I wanted a round hole instead of a slit. And using a hammer is fun. 🙂

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Step Eight: Puncture a hole in one of the “petals” so you can hang the flower. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Nine:
Thread a string through the hole and tie a knot so you can hang it.

You can use anything for your string. I use thread, twine and wire right now but I plan to test out fishing line and floss next. Get creative with it.

 

Instead of hanging your flower you could also glue a stick to it and put it in a flower pot. Again, get creative with it.

Step Ten:
Take pictures of your creation and share it on DIY Projects of Facebook.

 

Written By: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card RED

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

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T-Shirt Rope Toy DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Don’t throw away those old t-shirts until you read this!

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T-Shirt Rope Toy Tutorial from Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Chewing on things appears to be our rescue dog’s favorite thing to do. And oh boy can she chew. She was given at least six dog toys at her first Christmas and by Valentines Day they were all destroyed. Maintaining her chewing habit was going to cost us a fortune! Unable to find a rope toy that could stand up to her mighty mouth I decided to make my own.

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Use T-Shirts to make toys for your dog or cat. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Using only t-shirts and scissors I created handmade toys for my animals.

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Rope Toy made from T-Shirts. www.FunctionalRustic.com

I grabbed a pair of scissors and a t-shirt from the good will donation pile and was on my way. My first attempt took longer than I care to admit but by the second I was a pro. Everyone got handmade dog toys that year!
You can create your own handmade gift for the animal in your life. Making a durable rope toy is not only easy but practically FREE! Keep reading and/or watch the video at the bottom to learn how I did it.
T-Shirt Rope Toy Tutorial from Functional Rustic
Materials
Old T-Shirt
Scissors
Approx. 15 minutes to complete
Directions
Step One:
Laying T-Shirt on a flat surface, use the scissors to cut from the bottom corner of the shirt up the seam to the sleeves. Do this on both sides of the shirt.

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Cut from the bottom corner of the shirt up to the sleeve. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Two:
Cut along the seams of each sleeve to remove the sleeves from the shirt.

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Cut along the seams of each sleeve. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Three:
Cut along the seam on the shoulder. At this point you should have two sleeves, a front and a back.

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Remove sleeves but cutting along the seams. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Four:
Set the sleeves aside. Cut the front and the back of the shirt into strips. Start at the shoulder and cut down to the bottom of the shirt. The strips should be at least an inch wide but could be as large as one third of the front or back of a shirt. I wanted to make several toys so I made my strips smaller.

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Cut the T-Shirt into strips. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Five:
Choose three of the fabric strips you just cut and tie the ends together.

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Select the 3 pieces of fabric you want to use. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tie the ends of two strips together with a double knot and then tie the third strip to the knot. At this point there should be a lot of fabric hanging down one side and only three small pieces at the top. Continue to tie the small pieces to one another so you have a couple double knots on the top.

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Tie two pieces of fabric together at the ends. www.FunctionalRustic.com

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Tie the third piece of fabric to the first two. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tie everything as TIGHT as you can. With each knot, tug on all the fabric strips. Tug the way your dog would to ensure it is secure. If your short ends are too short to make many double knots it’s no problem, your original knots connecting the three strips together should be strong enough.

Tip: To ensure a tight start to the braid, wrap one of the strips around your toe (or another small secure item) before you start the braid. Watch the video for more information.

Step Six:
Braid the strips of fabric together. Braid them TIGHT! The braid should be so tight that it becomes stiff. In addition to the tight braid you will also need to add a few more knots. Every two or three inches you will want to tie some more knots. (Ex. tie strip A to strip B then tie strip C to strip A then tie strip C to strip B. How you tie the strips together is less important as the knot securing the braid above it.)

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Braid the strips together. www.FunctionalRustic.com

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Tie knots every few inches. www.FunctionalRustic.com

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Leave the ends long to make tassels. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Seven:
You should still have quite a bit of fabric hanging down.

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Continue to braid and tie knots every few inches. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Continue to tightly braid the strips and add knots as needed for stability. Once you get toward the end of the fabric you will want to save some fabric so you can tie several more knots.

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Adding knots in the braid helps to keep it secure. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The knots at the end keep the braid in place and provide a hand/mouth hold.

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Rope toy made from repurposed t-shirts. www.FunctionalRustic.com

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Valencia Merble the Dog loves her rope toy. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Eight: (optional)
Add a handle for your dog rope to make it even more unique. Remember that small gap that was created when you wrapped the fabric piece around something small but secure? Well, using the discarded shirt sleeves and that hole you can add handle.

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Adding a handle keeps your hand safe from teeth and drool. www.FunctionalRustic.com

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Adding a handle keeps you from having to bend over to play with your furry friend. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Take the seam of one of the sleeves and push it through the little hole. This will be tough because the hole should not be very big. Once the seam is all the way through you should have one part of the sleeve hole on each side of the toy. Grab one of the sleeve ends and pull it through the hole on the other side. Once you pull it tight it should form a secure handle that looks like the sleeve.

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Thread one of the sleeves through the “toe hole”. www.FunctionalRustic.com

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Use the t-shirt sleeve as a handle. www.FunctionalRustic.com

If you are willing to sacrifice a few t-shirts you can make some very colorful chew toys for your furry friend. Although these toys are durable they are also very light. Makes for a great cat toy too!

Watch the T-Shirt Rope Toy Video Tutorial from Functional Rustic


Written by: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Originally Published at www.FunctionalRustic.com

Written by Sarah Palmer, Owner – Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just Tutorials? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

“Happy Holidays” Wooden Ornament

“Happy Holidays” Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00