EquipSupply Blog

  • Arts & Crafts: Turn “Junk” into Functional Items for your Home

    Parting with items that have been lying around the house for ages may be more difficult that we imagine. If tossing items in the trash for good seems like a waste of potentially good items, consider recycling them for a functional purpose in your home. Many of the ideas below may also add some edge and art appeal to your space.

    Mason Jar into Soap Dispenser: Mason jars are one of the most versatile items and may be used for projects ranging from candleholders to plant holders. For this project, you can repurpose an old Mason jar into a soap or lotion dispenser for your bathroom or vanity. Start by measuring and marking the center of the jar’s lid. Using a ½” high-speed drill bit, make a hole to fit the width of a soap dispenser pump. (You can use pumps from your old lotion bottles.) Fill the Mason jar with liquid soap (or lotion), screw the lid back on, and insert the pump. You may need to cut some of the pump length to fit inside the jar. Glass Jars

    Rake Head into Stemware Holder: If you have an empty wall space, suspend an old rake head to hang stemware. First, remove the handle by cutting it off carefully and sanding the cut end. If you do not have the tools to cut it off yourself, check with a hardware store in your neighborhood. Use a 3/16” metal drill bit to drill two holes per rake head directly into the center of the handle’s back side, about one inch apart from each other. Use either 3” toggle bolts or 3” anchor screws to screw the rake heads into the wall. Hang it upside down and make sure it is level. You can now add your stemware to this cool piece. (This project may also be done in the bedroom for a functional tie-and-belt rack, or to hang jewelry items.)

    Crates into Shelving: Old fruit crates are perfect to use as shelves to display Mason jars full of jams, books, potted plants, dishes, etc. The uses are limitless! Arrange your old crates on the floor into a pattern/layout you like. Proceed to mount the crates on an empty wall, starting with the top row, using a level, anchors, and screws. For each crate, drill holes through each the four corners and insert anchors into the holes. Holding the box in place so that the holes align, drill screws through the holes to attach the crate to the wall. Proceed to use these functional new shelves as you wish.

    Here are more ideas that will inspire you.

  • Weekend Warrior: DIY Frosted Glass Windows for More Privacy This Fall

    Large windows are great for letting natural light into a home, while also making a space appear bigger. But they can present a dilemma when it comes to maintaining a level of privacy. Those who want as much natural light as possible but still have all the privacy they need may consider frosting their windows. There are multiple ways to frost glass windows, all of which can be done in the course of a weekend. Choose one of the following methods that is most relevant to your space:

    Frosting with Static Cling Film

    To get started, measure the glass surface to be frosted. Be sure to wash your hands using soap and water to avoid transferring dirt or oil to the cling film. Roll out the cling film with the backing faced upwards on a clean surface. Outline the desired shape/size on the backing and cut it out with scissors or a utility knife. Spray the window surface with a water/dish detergent mixture to ensure it is completely clean. To install – peel the backing from the cling film and position on the glass. Use your hands to push out air bubbles, starting in the center of the window and working out the edges. Spray the front of the cling film with the soapy water and use a plastic card to press out any small bubbles. (Wetting the surface with soapy water and peeling it off can easily remove the film. Return to the original backing paper and store for later re-use, if desired.)

    Frosting Windows with Acrylic GlazeStained Glass Window

    Buy a clear/un-tinted acrylic glaze. Use a foam brush to outline the window plane with a coat of glaze. Try to keep the lines straight as this glaze shows brush strokes when it dries. Allow the coat to dry before applying a second coat – and your frosted glass windows are done! To remove the glaze, use a wet sponge and old credit card or plastic squeegee to scrape it off.

    Frosting with Spray Paint

    There is a special type of spray paint that allows you to frost glass. Clean the glass thoroughly and tape off the window or doorframe. Apply a thin coat of the spray paint and let it dry. Continue to apply additional coats until you are satisfied with the opacity. To remove this finish, simply use a glass scraper and water/soap mixture to remove stubborn paint.

    Frosting by Etching

    This method requires more equipment than the previous options. You will need to rent/borrow/buy a sandblaster. Protect the work area with a heavy canvas drop cloth, wear eye protection, work gloves, and a face mask. First, remove the window glass from the frame, wash it, and allow it to dry properly. Place the window glass in the center of the drop cloth and follow the manufacturer’s directions to etch the entire surface of the glass. Clean the window glass of excess grit, and replace the glass in the window frame.

    *Note: Etching cream is not recommended for large surface areas because of its potentially toxic fumes. This method is permanent and cannot be undone.

  • Safety and Sanitation: The Benefits of Composting at Home

    Composting at home is a natural way of recycling garden and kitchen waste for use in a garden – providing an eco-friendly alternative to peat. And best of all, composting is not just for avid gardeners or individuals with a spacious garden – anyone can do it. Among the benefits of composting at home:

    • Compost enriches the soil. It has the ability to help regenerate poor soils. It has also been shown to reduce diseases in plants, reduce or even eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, and promote a larger amount of agricultural crops. It also increases the nutritional value of homegrown foods.
    • Composting organic materials that do not have to end up in landfills avoids the production of methane and leachate in the long run.
    • Using compost in the garden ultimately reduces the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides – therefore providing economical benefits for those who compost.
    • Composting is environmentally friendly since preparing your own fertilizer reduces the human footprint on the planet.Wheelbarrow Filled with Compost Soil

    Anyone can compost regardless of how much space they have available – a 50-acre lot, or a 500 square foot apartment. At the most basic level, collect kitchen and yard scraps in a store-brought compost bin in your backyard, or in a plastic bin under the kitchen sink. Here are a the basics steps for composting:

    1. Choose the container: Options range from sealed bins to ones that have a door for adding organic matter. There are even barrels on a stand that allow for tumbling. Those who want a conventional compost can build a 4-sided container from scrap timber. Position the heap away from the house if it is not a sealed container.
    2. Start piling organic matter such as vegetables, fruits, paper, newspapers, small sticks, grass clippings, straw, etc.
    3. Maintain a 30-to-1 carbon to nitrogen ratio. Good sources of carbon included finely shredded cardboard, fruit, leaves, peanut shells, sawdust, ashes, etc. Nitrogen sources include vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, clover, manure, seaweed, and hay.
    4. Turn and tumble the compost regularly with a garden fork. Doing so will allow for the soil to aerate and speed up bacterial activity. The compost is ready to use when it looks like rich, healthy soil.
  • Weekend Warrior: Create an Indoor Herb Garden this Weekend

    The changing of seasons means the bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs from your garden will dwindle away upon the arrival of colder temperatures. This doesn’t mean you can’t create an indoor herb garden and enjoy the taste of homegrown herbs throughout the year. Creating an indHerbs Planted in Small Potsoor garden does not require a lot of space, nor a green thumb – and it can be done over the course of a weekend.

    An indoor herb garden will need a sunny window that receives at least five hours of sunlight per day. A home temperature between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Other materials required for this weekend project include: pots with drainage holes, a saucer or water catcher to hold excess water, gravel, fresh soil, herb seed packets or starter plants, and plant markers. Note that whatever container you decide on should be deep enough to promote proper root development, about 6-12 inches deep.

    Once all materials are purchased, start by filling the bottom of each pot with about ¾-inch of gravel. Pour a 2-3 inch layer of potting soil on top and place your plant/seeds gently into the container. Finish filling it with potting mix, pressing it down firmly around the plant/seeds.

    While it may be tempting to water your herbs frequently, resist watering them too often, as excess water is harmful to the roots and may cause rotting. Fertilize the plants once a month with a product labeled safe to use on edibles.

    Herbs that are great for indoor growth include:

    • Basil – simple to grow from seed but needs bright light and warm temperatures
    • Chives – A member of the onion family and best used fresh. Thrives in bright light and cool temperatures
    • Thyme – Cover the seed only lightly with soil or not at all if you are starting from scratch. Keep the plants moist until they start flourishing.

    Fun ways to display or pot your herbs:

    • Create a hanging garden by using hooks and a tension rod. Paint all the elements in one color, fix the pots to the hooks, and put the rod in the window.
    • Drill holes in an old teacup set with a jewelers drill and use them as planters. The water will be able to drain in the saucers. Thyme prefers dry soil so try putting it in a shallow container like this.
  • Safety and Sanitation: Red Flags to be Aware of When Buying a Home

    The process of house hunting for the first time is exciting – the possibility of finding a dream house with all the bells and whistles your family desires, or as an investment into your future. To ensure that a dream property does not quickly spiral into a nightmare, prospective buyers must be aware of potential red flags when house hunting. These issues may not only impact the safety and sanitation of a home, but ultimately the bottom line. Below are some red flags to keep in mind during the process.

    If there have been additions to the house that just don’t look right, there’s a possibility the property may not be up to code. Right away, that signals an investment to bring the entire property up to code. Buyers should ask the seller if work was done with or without a permit.For Sale Sign in Front of House

    Decks on a house may pose a safety concern if they look unstable, were completed years ago, or were built without a permit. A freestanding deck will be a challenge to fix, so the buyer would likely have to completely rip it down and rebuild it.

    Obvious structural problems are a huge red flag. This includes doors and windows that do not function properly, cracks on the outside of the house, and a foundation that feels unstable or is leaning in an unnatural way. Foundation issues are one of the most expensive fixes to a property.

    Water damage is another issue most new buyers don’t want to deal with. When walking through the house, confirm with the agent that water is draining away from the house and not in the basement. Moisture or visible water stains in the basement may mean drainage issues. Water damage can lead to foundation problems. Clarify whether the house has ever been flooded if it is located in a flood zone.

    Exposed electrical wires or oddities with lighting may point to faulty electrical work or old wiring. Knob and tube wiring in older homes may be very expensive to replace.

    Asbestos and mold is another issue that can be a hazardous. A thorough home inspection should be completed before the purchase of a property. An inspection will reveal if any of the above issues are a major safety, health, or financial concern for the buyer.

  • Arts & Crafts: Fun Back-to-School Projects for Kids and Parents!

    Back-to-school season means a range of emotions for kids and parents. While kids may feel bummed that their summer fun is ending, parents are likely relieved to get their young ones back into the classroom. One thing that both parties can agree on however, is the fun in completing arts and crafts projects together. These projects may even get the kids more excited about starting school! Here are some fun back-to-school projects for kids and parents to work on:

    Felt Bookmarks – Bookmarks will be useful for students during the school year, for parents who love to read, and even as a gift for teachers and fellow students. Materials needed include colorful paper clips, wool felt, embroidery floss, a needle, and a pair of scissors. Kids (and parents) can get very creative with this project by creating different shapes/objects, colors, and sizes for their bookmarks.Back to School Supplies

    Pencil Holders – Colorful school crafts can simulate students and make them feel more excited about completing their work. Allowing kids to create a bright and bold object is great for expanding their creativity and imagination. Creating colorful pencil holders requires some glue dots, a recycled can, and colorful paper. This craft is great for their desk at home, or as a back-to-school present for friends and teachers.

    Dry Erase Clipboard Checklist – Creating a clipboard checklist not only sets expectations for after-school activities during the weekday, but also gives youngsters something to look forward to after completing their homework. While “homework,” “dinner,” and “reading,” can be standard checklist items, allow them to include “20 minutes of fun” so they can use that time to do (almost) anything that makes them happy. To create these clipboards, you’ll need regular acrylic paint, clipboards, white gloss vinyl, and embellishments such as ribbon, buttons, fabric, etc. If the kids enjoy this project, why not allow them to create multiple boards in various colors to give as gifts for their friends?

    Back-to-School Coffee Invitation – This craft is just for adults, and can be a fun way for parents to reconnect with each other and compare summer horror stories once kids head off on their first day of school. Write the details of the event and attach it to a stir stick. Insert the stir stick in a “to-go” cup and personally deliver to friends and neighbors.

  • Weekend Warrior: Get the Fireplace Ready for Cooler Temperatures

    As the summer winds down and cooler temperatures take over, individuals with a fireplace may want to take advantage of the feature in the coming cooler months. Mark your calendars for the start of fall, which is a great time to check that the fireplace is working properly for the cold months ahead. When taking an initial look at the fireplace, call a chimney professional should you encounter any issues that seem out of the norm. Below are features to examine when getting the fireplace ready for cooler temperatures, which any weekend warrior can handle two days:

    Visually assess the exterior – Inspect the chimney from outside and observe if it is leaning, whether any bricks or joints are chipped, and if there are holes or cracks. If the chimney is factory-built metal, look out for stains, corrosion, or loose sections. If the chimney is exposed to the attic, check there as well for any signs that repairs may be needed.Family Sitting in Front of the Fireplace

    Quality of the chimney cap – A high-quality chimney cap can reduce the damage caused by animals and water. It is not uncommon for rain and snow to enter and uncapped chimney, freeze, then thaw, and ultimately cause expansion damage. Small animals can nest in chimneys, creating blockage and potentially allowing fleas, ticks, and other disease-causing pests into the house. A good cap will keep animals at bay while shielding your roof from embers and sparks.

    Flue – The clean-out door from the base of the flue is usually located in the basement or outside the house. Use a small mirror and flashlight and look for soot buildup, cracks, holes, or separations.

    Leaks & stains – Examine the area around the chimney for stains or dampness to the flooring or carpet. Call a professional if there are indications of water around the chimney.

    Interior – Check the brickwork for signs of wear and tear. The damper should open and close easily. Finally, look into the smoke chamber above the damper for the buildup of soot.

    Maintaining the fireplace and taking care of problems will ensure you enjoy a warm and cozy atmosphere when temperatures drop.

  • Handyman Help: Considerations when Choosing Energy-Efficient Windows

    Energy-conscious homeowners looking to upgrade their space and lower costs in the long run are choosing to install energy-efficient windows. While these windows minimize the costs of heating and cooling homes, they can be a big upfront investment. Handymen who are considering energy-efficient windows for clients or their own homes can look at the following four factors when choosing an option that will be most effective for the bottom line, based on the budget: frame, glass, design, and installation.

    Frames

    Vinyl – Though less expensive, properly installed vinyl windows are a practical choice. However, this option typically has limited color choices and many people do not like the look of it.

    Wood – Offers the best value but requires more upkeep than other frames. High-quality cuts and species of wood can last for years without problems. However, this many not be the best option for extremely humid or rainy climates due to the potential for rot.

    Aluminum – A practical option in rainy and humid climates, though not a top-performing frame in terms of heat transfer and loss.Energy Efficient Windows

    Wood-clad – Offers a low-maintenance exterior but a temperature-transfer-resistant wood interior. Installation involves an additional level of detail to combat water intrusion.

    Glass*

    U-value – measures a window unit’s resistance to heat loss

    SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) – measures how much heat enters a home through the glass.

    *For both factors above, the lower the number, the better the performance of the energy efficiency

    Design

    Double-hung windows – The bottom slides up to open the unit. Can be a good choice, but homeowners in extreme climates may consider another option due to intrusion between the sliders.

    Casement windows – Have a crank that swings the window outward to open, and seals themselves tighter in high wind conditions.

    Picture windows – Usually don’t open but come in many different shapes and sizes.

    Installation

    Ensure the installation is done thoroughly. The most efficient window will not be effective if it is not installed properly. Do not rely on expanding foams or sealants to get the window to fit well as these materials are not waterproof and can still cause problems later on.

  • Arts & Crafts: Creative Ways to Display Jewelry & Accessories

    Shopping for jewelry and accessories is fun, and the more you pile them up in a single jewelry box or drawer, the more you think you don’t have enough! Displaying jewelry in an artistic way can add an appealing touch to your room, while allowing you to actually see all the beautiful pieces you already have. Here are some creative ways to display jewelry and accessories in the bedroom or closet:

    Simple bulletin board display – All you need is an old bulletin board, a yard of linen, spray adhesive, a staple gun, and individual nail heads. This is an easy, yet bold solution for displaying earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, belts, etc. in one space. Once all the jewelry has been placed on the board, you’ll have a colorful focal point!Necklaces Hanging on a Display

    Vase display – For women who don’t have many pieces, try draping accessories over a few colorful vases, which can be purchased at a thrift shop. Bracelets can be stacked in matching bowls, while a ceramic egg plate can hold earrings and rings. The combined look of the vases, bowls, and egg carton will look like an art display once you’re done.

    For the Grater Good – If earrings are your weakness, grab your old metal cheese grater from the kitchen and spray paint it to add a pop of color. Now you’ve got a retro piece to hang all your earrings.

    Rustic Driftwood Hanger – Driftwood projects add a rustic charm to any space, and depending on the season and your location, you may be able to pick it up for free. For the jewelry hanger, you’ll need the driftwood (or a branch), masking tape, paints and brushes, screw-in hooks, a hammer, pliers, and picture hangers. The bigger the piece of driftwood, the more dramatic the final look, and the more jewelry you will be able to hang.

    Tiered Tray – Using pretty old saucers (either from your garage or a thrift shop), shot glasses, and heavy-duty glue, create a tiered tray. Place your accessories on the saucer levels. Because of the fragile nature of this piece, you may opt to use this piece for your best accessories. Or, if space permits, create multiple trays of different styles and colors.

  • Safety and Sanitation: Keep the Kitchen Safe for Kids

    The kitchen is often considered the heart of a home. It provides a place for all members to interact together - whether preparing dishes, sharing meals, or just chatting around the table. While it may be one of the most family-fun rooms in the house, your kitchen also presents many hazards for young children. Here are safety and sanitary tips for the kitchen to be aware of:

    • Install protective guards or cushioning on sharp edges and corners where children could injure their eyes or bump their heads.
    • Keep the floors skid-proof with non-skid rugs.
    • Install safety latches on cupboards and cabinets that contain items that pose a risk to children.
    • Keep ovens, stoves, and burners clean and ensure they work normally on a regular basis.
    • Use back burners when cooking, if possible. Common kitchen accidents include children reaching up to grab a pot handle and spilling boiling liquids on their skin. If using the front burners, turn all pot handles toward the back.Mother and Baby Eating Vegetables in the Kitchen
    • Use stove guards to prevent children from touching hot surfaces.
    • Parents with young children may want to remove refrigerator magnets, as they can be a choking hazard.
    • Do not leave sharp objects inside the dishwasher.
    • Unplug small appliances such as toasters, blenders, coffee makers, etc. when not in use and store them out of the reach of children.
    • Do not keep a cloth on the kitchen table, as toddlers are likely to pull it down and off the table – as well as everything on top of the table.
    • Teach youngsters to wash their hands thoroughly. Keep a stepstool and soap available at the sink.
    • Wash kitchen towels regularly since they are used to wipe spills, dry dishes, dry hands, etc. You may also consider using a designated towel for drying hands.
    • Sponges should also be disposed of or cleaned regularly. Their warm and moist surface makes them perfect for the growth of bacteria. To clean, run through the dishwasher or place in the microwave for 30 seconds.

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