Friday, October 30, 2015

Take Out the Trash: DIY Toddler Sized Wheeled Trash Can and Garbage Man Costume

I'm continuing with the short break from the owl bathroom renovation to bring you guys a cute DIY Halloween post. It's a little outside of my realm of decorating and renovating but it's a tutorial I felt I needed to do for all those parents and grandparents of toddlers who love garbage trucks.

Ha, yes, I will admit my son loves all things garbage truck related. As soon as the loud, clunky garbage truck can be heard on the street, Jackson is off to peer through the window or to go outside (weather and attire permitting) to see. Our daily activities are jam packed with his numerous garbage truck toys and watching garbage trucks on you tube. 

Since Jackson is three he is old enough to pick out his own Halloween costume. It was no surprise to me when he immediately said he wanted to be a garbage man. Normally I'd do a short online search for a costume, find the cheapest and cutest one, spend $15 or so, and be done. Quick and simple.

Not this time. My search revealed nothing, not one costume for sale anywhere. Apparently garbage men don't rate in a world where superheroes, firefighters and police men are saving the day. What I did find though were pictures of toddlers in homemade garbage men (and garbage truck) costumes.

Ok, so I guess I had to make Jackson's garbage man costume. It looked pretty easy. Most of the pictures of toddler garbage men were wearing jeans and a t-shirt, donning safety vests and toting pint sized garbage cans on wheels. No problem, I thought, I'd just buy a safety vest and a little garbage can on wheels. The safety vest was easily found and cheap, I found one on eBay for $5 shipped. I checked that off the list.

The garbage can was another story. Who would've thought that kid sized trash cans on wheels don't exist (except in China, for a ludacris amount of money). There has got to be an easy way to make one, I thought. A bunch of kiddos out there had wheeled trash cans with their costumes so maybe there was a tutorial or something on how to do it. No, not a single one. So I came up with my own plan, that I asked Cory to help execute.

This was my plan: I figured we could buy a small trash can with a flip lid, drill holes on both bottom sides, slide a metal rod through and attach plastic grill wheels to the rod. Cory had his doubts, especially when we were in Menards and I was looking for the supplies we needed, but I figured it would work out perfect!

I picked up a 7.5 gallon flip lid trash can at Walmart for $9. Jackson really likes Waste Management so I spray painted the can green and bought some inexpensive stickers off eBay to decorate it. I knew this garbage can would turn into a toy he would play with for years, and he could help take out the trash with it ;), so I wanted it to be unique and personal.

I had thought we could just pull the wheels off of a gas grill that a tenant left at one of the apartments but after Cory tried every way possible (even kicking the poor forgotten grill) he decided those wheels were there to stay. So I purchased inexpensive grill replacement wheels for $3.99 each (which I later spray painted black for a more authentic look). I then bought a threaded metal rod for 79 cents. Using Cory's expertise we also bought 8 washers and 4 nuts to make the wheels spin and to keep them in place. Here's the broken down supply list:

Toddler Sized Garbage Can on Wheels Supplies

  • small (child size) trash can, I used a 7.5 gallon touch flip lid
  • 2 grill replacement wheels
  • threaded metal rod
  • 8 washers (2 slightly smaller than the other 6)
  • 2 regular nuts
  • 2 neoprene nuts

Cory put together the trash can while I was at work so I have no pictures of the process. However I can explain it and show you after pics :).

Cory wanted the rod, once installed, to be as close to the outside of the can as possible so that Jackson could tote around real garbage later without it getting stuck in the rod. This is totally a personal preference and you can put the wheels anywhere you want to make your can look more authentic. 

He measured in and up on both sides and drilled holes slightly larger than the size of the rod so it could slip through. Then he measured the width of the can, the wheels and all of the nuts and washers to come up with length he needed to cut the rod. He used a pneumatic cutting tool to cut the rod (you can also use a hack saw or an angle grinder to do this).

Then he slipped the rod into the can and started the wheel assembly. First he slipped two washers, one larger and then one slightly smaller onto the rod against the can, then he screwed on one regular nut followed by one washer, then the wheel was slipped on followed by one more washer and finished with screwing the neoprene nut on. 

Cory said doubling up on the washers may have been overkill but since Jackson is a destructive 3 year old he wanted to give it as much room to move as possible.

To complete his garbage man costume I purchased a few garbage related patches and sewed them onto the shirt sleeves. I also found a Jackson patch that I sewed onto the safety vest. We got lucky and borrowed a garbage man hat from my Dad (I did see tons of Waste Management hats on eBay if you're not that lucky) who lives out in Arizona, and coincidentally is a garbage man. I know what you're thinking ;) but really we never encouraged Jackson's love for garbage trucks even though my Dad happens to be a garbage man. Jackson's fondness of garbage trucks came as an unexpected, pleasant surprise and only made us wish more that my parents still lived in town so Jackson could see his garbage man Grandpa at work.

Here's some pictures of the finished costume. I had to bribe Jackson with candy so he would let me take them ;).

On a side note (and an even crazier coincidence) our garbage man happened to work with my Dad before my parents moved 5 years ago. He loves seeing Jackson and tells us hilarious stories about working alongside my Dad. He's also informed us that there are tons of kids out there that love garbage trucks and come running outside to see him and his truck. He lets Jackson throw garbage into the back of the truck and he smashes the garbage so Jackson can see the truck at work.

After the Halloween parade at Jackson's school we just happened to be taking the above pictures of Jackson in his costume when the garbage man stopped by. Of course we raced outside to see him and show him Jackson's costume :).

How awesome is our garbage man? We couldn't have asked for a better garbage man to have with Jackson loving garbage trucks so much!

Jackson literally jumped for joy when he saw that his little garbage can fit on the truck!

Seriously, how many garbage men would let a kid smash the garbage? I'm pretty sure our garbage man made Jackson's day :)!

I know this hasn't been a typical post from me but I just had to do this DIY Halloween toddler garbage man tutorial because, well, there aren't any out there in Internet land. Or at least there aren't any tutorials on how to make a toddler sized trash can on wheels. Hopefully I can help out at least one parent or grandparent of a garbage truck obsessed kid to make their child's day with their very own garbage can. I can certainly attest that Jackson loves his trash can :).

Hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween! More on the bathroom reno is up next. I cannot wait to show you all :)!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

How to Easily Preserve Fall Leaves with Wax Paper

I know I promised a Halloween post next, but I just had to get this super easy tutorial out there before all the beautiful fall leaves have fallen and dried up! Also the boys are taking a nap so it's the perfect opportunity to throw together a quick post. Then it's back to the owl bathroom for some thrifty renovations I can't wait to show you all!

A few days ago we went to the park to take our annual family fall pictures. It was a gorgeous 72 degrees out, one to add to the many this year with our unseasonably warm fall here in Illinois.

Here's some of the pictures from our photo shoot:

As you can see Jackson clearly would not cooperate. Out of almost 200 pictures taken, there was not a single one with him looking at the camera. *Sigh* toddlers are so unpredictable. I really did think this was going to be an easy 5 minute ordeal with him being older and so bribable ;). Oh how wrong I was!

After our trying photo shoot some promised playing at the park ensued and then some leaf and (of course) rock collecting. We got lucky since the leaves are just beginning to change we had a great variety to choose from! Normally by now all the leaves have changed and are dry, brown and brittle on the ground.

When I had picked Jackson up from work about a week before my mother in law showed me what they had done that day: collected and waxed leaves! They were preserved and flat, perfect for decorating. Jackson had even picked out a cute tiny baby leaf! She told me exactly how she did it and that they should last forever! I'm all about super easy crafts that involve Jackson so I set out to do some myself :).

Wax Paper Leaf Supplies

  • Leaves
  • Wax Paper
  • Paper towels or thin towels
  • Iron
  • Surface to iron on
I spread out my leaves when we got home from the park and by the time I got around to working on them it was bed time. I was hoping they would still be ok the next day. Some of them were very brittle already but we had collected a ton so I wasn't too upset. So letting the leaves sit and dry out is probably not the best idea.

I spread out the leaves on my ironing board and set my iron on medium.

I laid out a piece of paper towel and then a sheet of wax paper. I then placed a large leaf or multiple small leaves on top of the first sheet of wax paper.

Then I carefully pressed another sheet of wax paper.

Finally I gently placed another sheet of paper towel on top.

Then it was ironing time. I ironed each side for about 3-5 minutes. It seems like a lot and I was overwhelmed at first but I put several leaves on each sheet so I was done in no time. I suggest watching something interesting on TV to pass the time. I watched the Cubs lose the World Series. Such a sad, sad game for us Illinois folks who have been waiting 107, make that 108 years for the Cubs to win the World Series again :(.

After all that ironing I simply pulled the wax paper off to reveal a flat, waxy leaf. Some on the bare spots on the wax paper may stick together but it easily pulls apart.

I'm so excited to disperse these leaves throughout the house!

A couple of the leaves curled up a little but I think that only adds to the look of real leaves decorating the house!

Now get out there and gather some leaves before it's too late!


P.S.  We did manage to get one good picture :).

Monday, October 19, 2015

Builders Grade Teal Bathroom Vanity and Faucet Upgrade for only $60

I've decided it's time. Time for me to actually stick to one room long enough to finish it. It's so long overdue. I've started to really notice how bad my DIY ADD has gotten. It's almost comical how I've become a crafting/painting/up-cycling hurricane leaving half finished rooms and projects in my wake throughout my entire house.

It's not really my fault! At least I tell myself that ;). I just have so many ideas swirling through my head and I want to start them all NOW, before I forget all about that project that my home wouldn't be complete without! If you're anything like me you know exactly what I'm talking about...I know I can't be the only one with DIY ADD!!

So to make it easy on myself I've decided to start small, by finishing my son's bathroom. This bathroom, which is also used as the guest bath, is thankfully already off to a good start. About half done I'd say. In fact I did my first "real" blog post, Owl-trageously Cute Kids Bathroom, on my progress thus far.

I eagerly jumped right in with the biggest eyesore, the construction grade vanity. It's orangey, cheap (is it even real wood?) boringness that is so common in new build houses across the country is enough to make you want to scream and rip it out in a mad frenzy and start fresh. Sadly we don't have the cash to just go out and buy a new, fancy, I have to have it in my bathroom right now, vanity. Plus there was nothing wrong with the vanity (besides being hideous) so I had to figure out a way to update and upgrade this monster on a tight budget and in true DIY fashion.

So I did the next best thing to breathe new life into this vanity, I painted it. Teal.

I'm sure you're thinking: teal, for a vanity?! Yep, I went for it. I knew it would be a color that when people saw it they would either love or hate. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not scared of bold color choices. It is only paint after all. It can always be repainted.

 I chose a dark teal to compliment the darker teal tones in the owl decor. I color matched the rug and bought a pint of paint to make some home made chalk paint. Then while I was strolling through Walmart's craft aisle soon after that I saw an entire line of Waverly chalk paint. They were all gorgeous colors that I could see working on lots of different kinds of furniture. They were only $5 a piece and they had a teal color (agave) that looked like an exact match to the teal I was going to use.
I bought it (along with several other colors...don't judge me) figuring if it wasn't the right teal I'd use it on something else and at only $5 I could justify finding out what "real" chalk paint was all about. Low and behold it was the same tone just a bit darker than the color I picked out! I stashed my teal pint to use on something else. I couldn't believe my luck ;).

I took the doors and drawer fronts off the vanity and wiped them clean. That's all the prep work I did. I painted 2 coats of paint on everything. I will say the store bought chalk paint is far superior to my home made paint. It goes on super smooth and a little seems to go a long way. I didn't even use the whole 8 oz container on the vanity. I will definitely continue to use Waverly chalk paint unless I want a custom color.

Not to be redundant with the glazing furniture but I wanted that look for this cabinet. I really like the darker, distinct look glaze gives wood furniture, highlighting lines and curves giving depth where there might not have been if it was a flat color. I used the glaze from my Rustoleum cabinet restorations kit and damp cheesecloth to get my desired look. Here's some pictures of the glazing process.

You can really see the difference the glaze makes in these two pictures.

I then clear coated with the top coat I had leftover from my Rustoleum cabinet transformation kit. It has worn extremely well on my kitchen cabinets so I knew it would be perfect for the vanity.

I also needed a new faucet. I had already bought oil rubbed towel rods and a toilet paper holder (to replace the truly horrible wood one that was stuck on the side of the vanity). I mean really, who would want this in their house?!

So of course I needed an oil rubbed one to replace the chrome builders grade faucet. I looked to my best shopping buddy, eBay and found a steal of a deal for a brand new oil rubbed faucet at $30.22. Cory replaced it with a helping hand from Jackson and his play tools. I managed to get a few cell phone shots. Jackson really got in there to help, practically sitting on Cory's chest. Did I mention Cory's a tad claustrophobic?

Ah, so much better :).

I also decided to put oil rubbed pulls and knobs on the cabinet to give it a more finished, expensive look. I really like the oil rubbed pulls and knobs on my kitchen cabinets so I decided to just use the same ones. I bought three pulls and two knobs off of eBay also for a total of $13.15.

I wanted to add a little something to give the boxy vanity some interest and maybe a some elegance so I bought some bun feet for $6 a piece at Lowes.

They were a half inch too tall to fit under the vanity so Cory trimmed them for me with some gentle nudging since he was hesitant to cut them without rigging something up because they weren't flat. I figured he was over complicating what I thought would be a simple cut (this opinion could totally be my ignorance on all things woodworking) but it worked perfectly when I gave him the go ahead that it was OK if they got messed up, they were only $6, and totally replaceable.

To recap I painted and glazed the vanity, Cory, with Jackson's help ;), replaced the chrome faucet with a new oil rubbed faucet, I screwed knobs and pulls into the doors and drawers, and I added bun feet by simply using the palm of my hand to hit/wedge them under the lip of the base to fit snugly and securely in place. Here's a breakdown in the cost for this project:

  • oil rubbed faucet- $30.22
  • Agave chalk paint- $5.00
  • 3 pulls and 2 knobs- $13.15
  • 2 bun feet- $12
          Total= $60.37

So for just over $60 I transformed my ugly, boring builders grade vanity into something that I really love! Here's a bunch of pictures of the finished vanity for you to ogle over.


These pictures don't really do this vanity justice. I just replaced two burnt out bulbs in the vanity light and apparently they are a little too bright and harsh :( and I didn't notice until I went to edit these pics. Jackson was also taking a bath, so if the pics appear a little foggy, that's why ;).

Here's another comparison:

You could say I saved the vanity from going to a landfill, but who am I kidding, we don't throw anything away that can still be used somewhere, somehow.

Until the next post which will be just in time for Halloween with a project I've been dying to show you all ;)!


*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the products mentioned. All opinions are my own from my own experiences.

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