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21 Quick and Easy Home DIY Projects to Fill Free Mornings

Stuck inside with a free morning? That’s plenty of time to build one of these practical DIY projects.

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BETTER BAGEL SLICERFamily Handyman

Make This Better Bagel Slicer

This bagel slicer is as easy to build as it is to use. You need a few simple tools, two dowels and a scrap of hardwood. When your stomach growls, drop the bagel in the cage, squeeze the dowel tops so the side dowels bend and pinch the bagel, then slice away. It keeps your fingers out of harm’s way (and the crumbs and knife blade off your counter). Get the project directions here.

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portable bookshelfFamily Handyman

Create This DIY Portable Bookshelf


Here’s a cool knockdown shelf idea for a dorm room or den. You just slide the shelves between the dowels, and they pinch the shelves to stiffen the bookshelf. You can take this bookshelf anywhere! Get the project plans here.

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simple step stool projectFamily Handyman

Build a Simple Step Stool


Here’s a great gift idea that will draw raves. You can make the joints for this simple step stool in seconds with a plate jointer, but don’t tell your admirers. You’ll also need a power saw to crosscut the boards and a jigsaw to cut the half-circles in the risers. Get the complete project directions here.

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air compressor cartFamily Handyman

Mobilize Your Air Compressor Cart


This project will help you effortlessly transport your air compressor and its accessories where they’re needed. No need for extra trips to fetch hoses, tools and fasteners — they are all self-contained in this handy, easy-to-build cart. Learn how to build this air compressor cart here.

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Swedish boot scraperFamily Handyman

Create This Swedish Boot Scraper

Here’s a traditional Swedish farm accessory for soles caked with soggy springtime soil. The dimensions are not critical, but be sure the edges of the slats are sharp — that’s what makes the boot scraper work. Cut slats to length, then cut triangular openings on the side of a pair of 2x2s. A radial arm saw works well for this, but a table saw or band saw will also make the cut. Trim the 2x2s to length, pre-drill, and use galvanized screws to attach the slats from underneath. If you prefer a boot cleaner with brushes, check out this clever project.

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how to make wooden magazine storage containers

Make a Magazine Storage Container

Need a good way to archive magazines? Build these simple wood storage bins and keep all your favorites at your fingertips instead of lost in a towering pile. You can build four bins from one 2 x 4-ft. sheet of 1/4 in. plywood and two six-foot-long 1x4s. And cutting the wood is a cinch with a jigsaw or band saw.

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HWFALL1998_1003LEAD_106 Finished coat and mitten rackFamily Handyman

Make This Coat and Mitten Rack


The design of this Shaker style coat and mitten rack is a snap to build. Use butt joints connected by screws, smartly hidden by wooden screw-hole buttons and wood plugs. The coat and mitten rack mounts easily to the wall with screws driven through the hidden hanging strip on the back. The five large Shaker pegs are great for holding hats, umbrellas and coats, and the hinged-hatch door at the top keeps the clutter of gloves and scarves from view. You can build this project in a few hours, with an additional hour to apply a finish. To learn how to build this project and construction drawings click here.

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FH03NOV_03153_003 saw blade carry allFamily Handyman

Cut a Saw Blade Carryall


This carryall is perfect for storing and toting table and circular saw blades. Cut a 14 in. x 12 in. piece of 3/4 in. plywood and drill a hole for a 2 in. x 3/8 in. carriage bolt. Secure the blades on the bolt with a fender washer and wing nut, being careful to stagger the carbide teeth so they don’t rub together. Saw a slot in the upper end for a handle and for storing it on pegboard.

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JUN_2007_013_T_01-1 shoe storage booster stoolFamily Handyman

Build a Shoe Storage Booster Stool

Build this handy stool in one hour and park it in your closet. You can also use it as a step to reach the high shelf. All you need is a 4 x 4-ft. sheet of 3/4 in. plywood, wood glue and a handful of 8d finish nails. Cut the plywood pieces according to the illustration. Spread wood glue on the joints, then nail them together with 8d finish nails. First, nail through the sides into the back. Then nail through the top into the sides and back. Finally, mark the location of the two shelves and nail through the sides into the shelves. Don’t have floor space to spare? Build these super simple wall-mounted shoe organizers instead!

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APR_2004_003_T_01 tool tote

Keep Your Tools Organized With a Tool Tote


Keep all your hand tools within easy reach in a portable 16 in. pine carton. Build one from a 1×8 x 12 ft. pine board, 1/4 in. plywood and a 3/4 in. oak dowel, and you’ll never run back to the garage for a bit, blade, wrench or nail. Here’s how:

  • Cut and screw together the sides and ends with the ends protruding one inch beyond the sides. Drill holes in the top of the ends for a 3/4 in. dowel handle and tap it in the holes before assembling the ends and sides. Drill the 3/8 in. storage holes in the top edges of the sides before assembly.
  • Saw 1/4 in. x 1-1/2 in. pine strips for the side slats and screw them to the protruding ends.
  • Cut and screw on the 1/4 in. plywood floor.
  • Cut 3/8 in. pine partitions and screw them behind the side slats to create custom-width pockets for the tools.

That’s it. Load it up and tote your tools with just one hand!

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FH06DJA_474_10_015_r2 chopping board and serving trayFamily Handyman

Slice and Dice With This Chopping Board and Serving Tray

Serve in style on this easy, cutting-edge project. We’ll show you a simple way to dry-fit the parts, scribe the arc and then glue the whole works together. We used a four foot steel ruler to scribe the arcs, but a yardstick or any thin board would also work. Be sure to use water-resistant wood glue, and keep your tray out of the dishwasher or it might fall apart. One more thing: Keep the boards as even as possible during glue-up to minimize sanding later. Learn how to build this project here.

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turned-pen-holderFamily Handyman

Turn a Pen Holder

Make one of these and get ready to fill gift orders! On a lathe, turn a 3 in. square x 6 in. long hardwood blank into a cylinder that’s 4-1/2 in. long with a narrowed waist, curved top and flat bottom. Sand smooth.

Next, with a compass, draw a circle on the top and mark six hole locations on the circle. Why six? When you leave the compass at the same radius and “step” it around the circle, it marks off six equally spaced points. After marking, use a 3/8 in. brad point bit to drill the six holes at 10 degrees and two inches deep.

If your drill press has no angle adjustment, glue three shims together and clamp them to the table to make a 10 degree angled ramp. Finish the pen holder with danish oil and load with pens.

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Shop stool/stepladderFamily Handyman

Build a Shop Stool/Stepladder


What’s better than a simple stool project? A ridiculously simple one. Here are plans for a workshop stool you can make, inspired by that ‘simpler is better’ concept.

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petite shelf

Craft a Petite Shelf


If those books and binders are running out of room for your boss make a spot for them with petite shelves. Turn a single three-foot-long, 1×12 hardwood board into some small shelves to organize a desk top or counter. Cut off a 21-inch-long board for the shelves, rip it in the middle to make two shelves, and cut 45 degree bevels on the two long front edges with a router or table saw. Bevel the ends of the other board. Cut dadoes (grooves cut into the wood with a router or a table saw with a dado blade) cross-wise, making sure to cut a dado on scrap and test-fit the shelves first. Then cut it into four narrower boards, two at 1-3/8 in. wide and two at four inches. Finish, then assemble with brass screws and finish washers. For expert advice on how to finish wood, check out this collection of tips.

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sliding wooden bookend

Corral Clutter With Sliding Bookends

Books and binders tend to take up a lot of space in an office and aren’t always in an easy-to-reach spot. Solve that by creating a sliding bookend. To corral shelf-dwelling books or DVDs that like to wander, cut 3/4-inch-thick hardwood pieces into 6 in. x 6 in. squares. Use a band saw or jigsaw to cut a slot along one edge (with the grain) that’s a smidgen wider than the shelf thickness. Stop the notch 3/4 in. from the other edge. Finish the bookend and slide it on the shelf. Want to build the shelves, too? We’ve got complete plans for great-looking shelves here.

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Easy to make knife block

Assemble This Easy-to-Build Knife Block

Display your kitchen cutlery in style with this handsome knife block. It’s fast, easy and fun to build, and includes a six-inch-wide storage box for a knife sharpener.

To build one, you only need a 3/4 in. x 8 in. x 4 ft. hardwood board and a 6 in. x 6-1/2-in. piece of 1/4 in. hardwood plywood to match.

Begin by cutting off a 10 inch length of the board and setting it aside. Rip the remaining 38 in. board to 6 in. wide and cut five evenly spaced saw kerfs 5/8 in. deep along one face. Crosscut the slotted board into four 9 in. pieces and glue them into a block, being careful not to slop glue into the saw kerfs. (You can clean them out with a knife before the glue dries.) Saw a 15 degree angle on one end and screw the plywood piece under the angled end of the block.

Cut the 6-1/2 in. x 3 in. lid from the leftover board, and slice the remaining piece into 1/4 in. thick pieces for the sides and end of the box. Glue them around the plywood floor. Cut a rabbet on three sides of the lid so it fits snugly on the box and drill a 5/8 in. hole for a finger pull. Then just add a finish and you’re set for years of happy carving!

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simple wall stencilingFamily Handyman

Decorate with Simple Stenciling

With our basic stenciling techniques, you’ll be able to create everything from a simple stenciled border to more complex patterns that will add a dramatic flourish to any room in your house. Even if you don’t consider yourself artistic, we’ll show you how to use stencils to create unique works of art using only a paint brush and a tape measure.

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kitchen cabinetsFamily Handyman

Repair Kitchen Cabinets


Tune up your kitchen cabinets and make them look and work like new. Learn quick fixes for banging, misaligned doors, sticky drawers, broken drawer boxes and other common but annoying kitchen problems.

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hang a quiltFamily Handyman

Hang a Quilt


One good way to display a quilt is to hang it on a wall. But don’t just tack it up by the corners or it’ll stretch out of shape. Instead use this method for hanging quilts or other decorative textiles because it distributes the weight evenly for smooth hanging and minimal stress to the fabric. The hand stitching used in this method doesn’t damage the quilt because it only goes through the backing, and it’s easy to remove when you no longer wish to display the quilt. This article shows you hang artwork and wall-hangings straight and level.

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paint door with airless sprayerFamily Handyman

Paint with an Airless Sprayer


An airless sprayer simplifies painting in two ways. First, to speed up a job that requires several gallons of paint, you can apply it twice as fast than a roller or brush. And second, if you want a glass-smooth finish on woodwork or doors, the airless sprayer can lay the paint on flawlessly. We show you how the machine works, good painting techniques and how to avoid mistakes.

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smooth polyurethane finishFamily Handyman

Apply a Bump-Free Polyurethane Finish


Getting a smooth, blemish-free finish with oil-based polyurethane is within your grasp. Oil-based polyurethane varnish brings out the wood’s natural beauty or wood grain. Our four-step approach shows you how to apply the varnish successfully. A good-quality natural-bristle brush, a reasonably dust-free, well-ventilated space and some patience are all you need.