The Pinned Trials

July 11, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  9 responses

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?


And with inspiration abundant online, between amazing blogs, search engines, and aggregators like Pinterest, project tutorials of all kinds are right at your fingertips. Hallelujah! I finished up a few DIY projects that I had bookmarked-slash-pinned, and thought you might enjoy hearing about what I liked and what I did differently depending on what I had on hand, hence, “The Pinned Trials”. Maybe it’ll become a regular series. If there’s anything you want me to try, point me at it please!

Numero Uno: Driftwood Magnets

Thanks to ManMade for showing some photos of beautiful, natural magnets made of tree branches; while I didn’t have any fresh (or dried) tree lumber, I have an abundance of driftwood thanks to good ol’ Lake Ontario. Taking one of the straighter, longer branches, I used the miter saw to make straight cuts, exposing the natural wood rings in each piece. Pretty, right? I got carried away, chopping about 50 pieces. I only needed a few, but I wasn’t going to let the rest of the driftwood go to waste.

Lots of driftwood pieces, chopped from a single straight branch found on Lake Ontario.

The diameter of my magnets were larger than the version used in the ManMade tutorial – 3/4″ to be exact, but they were strong little buggers that I wanted to make good use of. Larger magnets yielded larger bit yielded the need to have thicker pieces of cut driftwood so that the drilling tip didn’t go through the opposite side. Luckily I had many pieces to pick from, since I had figured these logistics out after I had gone chop-happy with the miter saw. I found 4 pieces from the original 50 that would be thick enough to use.

3/4" bit with an adequately thick piece of driftwood.

Drilling into the center of each piece of driftwood carefully (so as not to drill my own hands, I should have been wearing gloves anyways), I created an inset area for the magnet to sit.

Drilled inset area in each piece of driftwood.

It’s important to note that the magnet does not sit flush; it’s about 1 tiny millimeter from being flush to ensure that the magnet would have maximum contact with the fridge, magnet board, where ever it would live. I glued the magnet into the wood with E6000 (one of Pete’s favorites, and one of our more common go-to’s for everyday projects).

Close-up of magnet glued - note that it's not totally flush with the wood.

The finished pieces were clamped overnight, and proved to be excellent kitchen accessories when I popped them up to get busy with some coupons and photos on the magnet board (which is just a nice little thing I bought at IKEA awhile back).

Finished driftwood magnets doin' their thing.

Nice, right? Next!

Numero Dos: Outdoor Not-So-Christmas Lighting

When I pinned this garden lighting inspiration, I commented that I was going to do this immediately:

DIY Chandelier via

I already had two baskets (the ones I painted that ended up looking like CB2 products) and draping a line of christmas lights into one of them couldn’t have been easier, of course, I didn’t have a whole bunch of clear glass ornaments on hand, but I added two clear canning jars and covered them with another strand of lights in the basket to mimic that effect, although I did that on the fly once I realized that the single strand (shown below) wasn’t going to cut it. The basket I had was even already hung with a chain just like the inspiration.

Hanging light in the daylight.

With an extension cord extended into the dining room, it lights up nicely. Only after the fact did I realize that the inspiration lights were on a white strand, but no big deal.

Hanging light at dusk. It even looked really pretty lit from inside the house; casts a nice glow on the deck and the backyard.

Looking out the dining room sliding glass door.

Numero Tres: Paint Brush Cleaning

I know I’m not the only sloppy paint brush cleaner out there. And I’m cheap, so you’d think I’d try and make mine (and Pete’s) brushes last longer, but I’m tired and impatient and overall lousy when it comes to thoroughly cleaning the paint out of the brushes. Truthfully, I use both the brushes and the rollers for many more applications than they’re intended to endure. The new roller I “splurged on” when I painted the side of the garage was the first I had bought since 2009, whhhat?

When I saw the brush cleaning tutorial on This Old House by way of Pinterest, I knew it was worth a shot. I gathered the worst-of-the-worst, shown below. The one furthest to the left was actually considered a lost cause before this experiment (very stiff and rough).

Bad brushes. The one on the left was especially stiff.

Step 1: Make white vinegar hot. I put 4 cups on the stovetop for a few minutes, removing before it reached a boil.

Step 2: Pour it over the filthy brushes in a bowl/glass that can tolerate the heat.

Step 3: Go do something else for 30 minutes.

Soaking brushes in hot vinegar. Step 4: Dispose the vinegar, rinse out brushes with soapy water.

Let them sit happily on the back deck to dry in the sun. Try to think about anything besides going to find salt and vinegar chips because now you have a craving. And be impressed, because even the stiff brush that was on the far left in the first picture was cured and will be usable once again in a pinch.

A perfectly soft brush post-soak/wash/dry.


  • Pete
    7 years ago - Reply

    I’m the opposite. I spend WAY to much time cleaning brushes after painting. It’s the way to make them last.

  • kit @ DIYdiva
    7 years ago - Reply

    I love the magnets! I’m planning to start cutting into the crazy amount of wood I have in my back yard and this is a perfect little project.

    Also, I never clean my brushes like I should either. My not-so-secret shame.

    • Emily
      7 years ago -

      Thanks Kit! If I had an abundance of wood + had a hanging location in mind, I’d also consider DIY’ing some of these things from BHLDN.

  • Ashley @
    7 years ago - Reply

    LOVE the vinegar tip for the brushes!!! Also, the driftwood magnets are too cute!!!

    • Emily
      7 years ago -

      Thanks Ashley! :)

  • rach-dawgg
    6 years ago - Reply

    i’m going to pass on the paint brush cleaning tip bc blake accidentally left our landlord’s paint brush in some paint when we moved in (hey, in his defense- we were stayin up real late doing work on this place so that it would be all done before christmas!)
    and i love how the light turned out!! i definitely would love to do something like that on our back deck!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Rach! The paint brush cleaning tip is a must.

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie
    6 years ago - Reply

    I love that Christmas light idea!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Emily!

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