Thursday, January 24, 2013

Restoring a Rusty Fire Pit

I realize I should probably be embarrassed by the condition of my backyard ‘property’ … but … sadly, I’m really not.

I’ve come to realize that it’s just sort of ‘life’. If you own a home, chances are you have rusty eye sores sitting in your backyard.

The more fortunate homeowners either replace their ‘backyard property’ on a somewhat regular basis, or they spend top dollar for things that don’t rust.

Since our budge doesn’t really allow for replacements or top dollar anything … we restore things when they start looking like dumpster diamonds.

Here is our fire pit:

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore fire pit 3

We like to roast marshmallows for s’mores … or roast weenies on a weekend when I’m feeling too lazy to make dinner. Over time … little by little … it rusted away until it became this:

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore fire pit 1

Yikes. It never really bothered me that the pit had gotten rusty … because we just fill it with charcoal and light the thing on fire anyway. But, since Superman was already restoring the grill/smoker, I figured I’d have him do this at the same time.

high heat rustoleum style with cents

So, he hit it with a little of our favorite thing (spray paint) in the Rust-Oleum High Heat Spray Paint form …

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore fire pit 2

… Boom. Good as new! (He didn’t spray paint the rack … *** never use spray paint on something that you might cook directly on)

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore fire pit 3

Totally worth every penny of the maybe 50 cents it cost to ‘restore’ this. Y’all go get some Rustoleum. You hear me?

high heat fire pit before after

Restoring an ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING BBQ Grill or Smoker

I know you love the title to this post. ;) I tried hard to come up with a better name. But any other title would not suffice.


Here we go, people.

It’s almost spring time … which means it’s almost summer time … which means it’s almost backyard barbeque time … which means … it’s almost time for you to hang your head in embarrassment because your bbq grill or smoker is “shot”, but raise you hand if you want to fork out ANOTHER $150, $250, $350+ to buy yet ANOTHER bbq grill.

I know, right?

I swear.

Owning a home means … owning a disgusting bbq grill. It’s our rite of passage. And when you own a bbq grill, it DOES become disgusting. And you DO have to replace it. Regularly.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Well. Not anymore, my friends. Not. Any. More.

I’m going to show you how to make ANY disgusting bbq grill or smoker look brand new, like this:

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 2

Would you believe we found that pristine BRAND NEW smoker on Craigslist for just $20?!

Me either.

We did, however, find this disgusting looking smoker on Craigslist for just $20:

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 1

Straight up.

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 9

I think poor Superman thought he was being punk’d when I sent him to pick it up after his shift one morning. Either that, or he thought I was in.sane.


You know what happens when you set a bonfire inside a bbq grill/smoker? No?

I’ll tell you: all of the paint (and disgusting greasy goo) melts off leaving clean steel behind. I tell no lies. Here, take a look:

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 8

Check. That. Out.

Bare buck naked steel.

**** DISCLAIMER: Remove anything from the grill/smoker that is rubber, plastic, electrical, etc. Otherwise, those components will also burn up in the high heat inferno. Superman removed the handles, thermometer, temperature control panel, and heat element from inside the smoker before lighting it on fire. PLEASE don’t just set fire to your smoker without removing those key pieces that make it work. K, thanks. :D

Setting a bonfire doesn’t make it shine like that … Superman is a serious over achiever, so he got out his random orbital [electric] sander and lightly sanded all the edges.

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 6

So … he sanded … lightly … and sanded some more … lightly. Then he sprayed them with the hose and dried them off.

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 7

And then he set all the pieces out on buckets and broomsticks so that he could get to work … wait for it …


… with Rust-Oleum High Heat Spray Paint.
 high heat rustoleum style with cents

This. stuff. is. awesome. It withstands heat up to 1,200 degrees. Fan.flipping.tastic.

And, it dries in 2 hours. That, my friends, is what you call: WINNING.

So, he SPRAY PAINTED all the pieces. Y’all try not to fall over dead from shock that we spray painted something, okay? Thanks.


Here it is now:

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 2

I'm not gonna lie, I thought it should have been free … but the previous owners were getting ready to have a baby and I wasn’t gonna cheat them out of $20 worth of diapers. Plus, the guy was articulate. And seemed to have achieved an education well beyond 8th grade, which was worth every penny of that $20. (Have you ever dealt through Craigslist? Nothing like Craigslist to make you realize just how, um, ‘educationally challenged’ the general public is.)

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 3

Do you SEE that thermometer?! Do you?! That is the same original thermometer, people. It used to look like this:

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 10

But with just a little bon fire … and a lot of TLC … it came back to us. :D

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 4

Superman even sanded the steel on the handles … and restained the wood dowels using some of the stain from when he refinished our kitchen table.

high heat rustoleum spray paint to restore bbq grill smoker 5


Isn’t is A-MAZ-ING what you can do with a little spray paint?

Amazing. Rustoleum should be paying me for this stuff. Don’t you think? ;)

high heat rustoleum before and after

PS – It only took 1 can of Rust-Oleum High Heat Spray Paint! (Well, not even a whole can. Maybe half.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Best. Rain Gutter. Bookshelves. Ever.



If you are one of the three people who read this regularly, then you already know about my rain gutter bookshelves.




Whhhhhhhhhhhy do I do this to myself? I must loooooooooooooooove nonsense.

I have an affinity for nonsense.


Because, I just had to go back and paint them white. I couldn’t handle the brown any longer. And I know some of y’all might be thinking that I just randomly painted some bookshelves brown to stick out like sore thumbs.



I painted the bookshelves brown … and then forced my poor Superman to paint my white preschool tables brown … and I bought BROWN framed chairs …. brown, brown, and brown.

I don’t know. I just don’t. So don’t ask.

Like, 2.3876 seconds after finishing the bookshelves AND tables I thought to myself, “I think I liked them better white”.

For real.


My poooooooor husband. Now he gets to repaint the tables white this week to match THIS:

raingutter bookshelf with crown molding2


Admit it. Those shelves just sang to you. I know they did.

I’m telling you: the only thing worse than painting those shelves after installing them … is REPAINTING them after botching the first paint color. Learn from my mistake: only WHITE rain gutter bookshelves from here on out.


For those of you who are new … here’s how we made them.

Giddy up.

Cause it was fun.

You will need:

* 4” crown moulding in whatever length your shelf will be (this will be the front/decorative portion of the shelf)

* 2” x .50” board in whatever length your shelf will be (this will be the actual shelf that the books sit on)

* 1.25” x .75” trim board, cut into 2” blocks (these are the brackets that will brace the rail across the wall – you will need 15 of them)

* 1.25” x .25” trim board in whatever length your shelf will be (this is the rail that will go above each shelf)

* 3” or 4” screws

* Nail gun


Okey dokey. Here we go.

First of all: do yourself an enormous favor and paint all of the wood to whatever color you want it to be when finished … that way you just have to do minor touch ups when you are finished. Trust me, you do not want to skip this step. We skipped it. Learn from us.

Second, you are going to construct each ‘shelf’ of the wall separately, and then install it onto the wall. There is the shelf and there is a rail. At least, that’s what I am going to call them.

To construct the shelf: Simply measure the 2” board to match the length of the 4” crown moulding; both of which need to be the entire length of the wall, whatever wall you are using. I think Home Depot sells crown moulding in lengths up to 16 feet. That could be fun to get home … but, they sell them. Our wall is just over 10’ long.

Once you’ve got the 2” board cut to the same length as your 4” crown moulding, brace the two together using a nail gun. You want the shelf to sit at the top of the crown moulding as shown in these pictures. Just use your nail gun to shoot some invisible (is that the word?) nails into the front of the mouding, securing it to the shelf portion. Man, I hope this makes sense.

Now that you essentially have the shelf portion put together, you just have to put it on your wall. This also requires your nail gun. Just shoot nails across the bottom of the crown moulding, which will be sitting against the wall. You also want to shoot a few diagonal nails into the back of the top shelf, against the back of the wall. Putty over any tiny nail holes … and then touch up paint when you are finished.

Now, for the top railing above each shelf: Cut each railing piece to the same length as your shelf piece.

Cut 15 – 2” blocks (5 for each railing, unless your shelf is 5 feet or less in length, then you only need 3 per shelf) using 1.25” x .75” trim board. So, your blocks will measure 2” x 1.25” x .75”.


Next, find the studs in your wall. Use a block as a brace bracket on each end, in the center, and then one in each stud on either side of the center. Hope that makes sense. Superman used a nail gut to place each bracket onto the rail before screwing the whole railing, including brackets, into the wall.


Use a 3” piece of scrap wood at each bracket setting to make sure the railing is installed straight and perfectly level. Also, use 3-4” screws to screw all the way through the rail and bracket and into the wall.


Once you have installed all the shelves and all the railings, just caulk or putty over each screw/nail hole and then touch up paint the area.


Then you don’t have to tape off every nook and cranny and then re-tape and repaint the wall when you finish painting the brown shelves. Painting these while they were on the wall was a nightmare. Trust me. So, you’re gonna learn from me and not do that, right? ;)

And, you’re gonna learn from me and not paint them anything but white the first time, RIGHT?! ;)

This is a surprisingly simple and super fast project (maybe 3 hours, start to finish) … Because there isn’t tons of cutting involved. I highly recommend using a spot where you can do wall to wall shelving, like I have done. Then, there aren’t any weird intricate angling cuts trying to finish off the sides of shelving.

raingutter bookshelf with crown molding2

I can cram about 200 picture books on these three shelves. Not even joking. Because, with the railing there to keep the books on the shelf, I can stack the books 3-4 books deep, one behind the other.

raingutter bookshelf with crown molding3

These shelves are worth every second of tender loving care you put into them.

raingutter bookshelf with crown molding4

One last close up of the brackets … you don’t even really notice them at all. These ARE essential. You do have to brace that big long railing several times in between the ends of the shelf. Otherwise, some punk kid is going to put too much weight against the railing and snap the wood. That would just break my heart for you.


For the newbies. Here’s a before and after:


raingutter bookshelf6


raingutter bookshelf with crown molding2

For real.

What was I thinking with the brown? Shaking my head in shame now.