How to DIY Clean Your Dishwasher (Even Though Its Only Job Is to Clean Things #MindBlown)

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

Sometimes, my kids come up with logic that I have a hard time refuting, which simultaneously pisses me off and impresses me.

For example, the kid asks, “Why do you have to take away my favorite bath towel and put it in the washing machine? It’s only used for drying after we’re already clean, so isn’t it also clean?” After I sit there for a minute dumbfounded, I call them a smart ass under my breath and threaten to send them to bed early … which they know is an empty threat. Hell, it’s tough enough to get kids to go to bed on time, let alone early.

Or when the kids ask if apples would be a healthy, low-sugar snack before bed, and I say yes. Then they come back with a bowl of Apple Jacks and give their sister a slice of apple pie with ice cream. I just shake my head and wish I’d have thought it through.

So when my wife says it’s time to clean the dishwasher, which sounds like a simple DIY task, it tempts me to break out some kid logic. The dishwasher’s job is to clean dishes, keeping them sanitary enough to use for eating and drinking. (I mean, that’s way beyond the job of a bath towel.) So why would we ever need to know how to clean a dishwasher? I mean, I know why I need to (partially) clean the grill to make great BBQ, but the dishwasher? It should be cleaner inside thereafter it does its job, right?

Truth is, as crazy as it sounds, it does need cleaning. Using the best dishwasher cleaner means it will smell better and clean more efficiently. Additionally, the dishwasher contains a filter that catches certain solids, and you need to remove these to keep it running without backing up and flooding. If there is gunk or pet fur on the seal or on the edges of the door, the dishwasher might leak as it runs.

So, yes, we do need to know how to clean a dishwasher, no matter how silly that sounds. (Now if we could only come up with a cool hack like the dad who cleans baby bottles with a power drill, then we’d love cleaning the dishwasher.)

How to Clean a Dishwasher

The best plan to clean the dishwasher is to clean the individual parts separately.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

1-How to Clean the Removable Parts

Items like the dishwasher rack and silverware rack will come out of the dishwasher. You then can clean these in the sink, if desired.

Clean the dishwasher racks with vinegar. Fill half the sink with warm water, add a cup or two of white vinegar, and let them soak 15 to 30 minutes. Then wipe them clean and return them to the dishwasher.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

2-How to Clean the Interior

To clean the dishwasher interior with vinegar or another product, you can do it with the racks removed from the dishwasher or with the racks left inside, including:

  • By hand: When wondering how to clean a dishwasher by hand, you can use a regular household cleaner without bleach and scrub it with a sponge or rag. Remove all the racks to simplify the job. Wear rubber gloves.
  • With a product: A few different drop-in products will work as the best dishwasher cleaner. These will run during the regular dishwashing cycle or with the appliance empty. These cleaners remove odor, grime, and grease.
  • With vinegar: To clean a dishwasher with vinegar, add a cup of vinegar to a bowl and set it upright on the upper rack. Run the regular cycle and allow the dishwasher to air dry.
  • With baking soda: To clean a dishwasher with baking soda, sprinkle a cup in the bottom of the machine, and run a regular cycle. Allow the dishwasher to air dry.
  • With bleach: Do not use bleach on the interior of a dishwasher if it consists of stainless steel. Otherwise, for cleaning a dishwasher with bleach, place a cup of bleach in a safe bowl on the top rack and run the regular cycle. Let the appliance air dry.

One last piece of advice: Do not use more than one of these substances at the same time. You’ve seen the videos of people creating baking soda/vinegar volcanoes? You don’t want this to happen inside your dishwasher.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

3-How to Clean a Filter

Did you know your dishwasher has a filter? No? Uh-oh. (To be fair, some newer dishwashers don’t have filters that need manual cleaning, so you might be off the hook.)

If it’s a manual filter, it’ll be in the base of the dishwasher. When the filter is installed in the dishwasher, you’ll be able to see the top section of the filter (pictured on the left). Some dishwashers have an upper filter too, near the upper rack.

Turn the top of the filter a quarter or half a turn and lift it straight out. Once the round filter is out, you may see a C-shaped, flat filter that also will pop out (pictured on the right) that protects the drain area. Remove the flat filter and clean the interior of this drain area too.

Remove any food particles you see. If needed, you can soak the filters in warm water in the sink for 10-15 minutes.

4-How to Clean a Rubber Gasket

Check the rubber gasket and edges around the door of the dishwasher. Contaminants on the rubber will prevent a perfect seal and cause a leak. Use warm water and an old toothbrush to clean the gasket.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

5-How to Clean Spray Arms

Sometimes, the jets on the spray arms will become plugged over time. You can remove any blockages using toothpicks in the holes for the jets.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

6-How to Clean a Heating Element

The heating element is the curved piece of metal that surrounds the drain and filter.

This element may end up with scaling on it. You can use an old toothbrush and lemon juice or CLR to clean the element. There may be multiple layers of hard scale attached to the heating element, so this cleaning could take a while.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

7-How to Clean an Exterior

Use warm water and a little bit of dish soap on a sponge or dishcloth to clean spots off the outside of the dishwasher.

If you have a stainless steel dishwasher, you can choose to use a stainless steel cleaner instead. These come in sprays or wipes and are the only way to get fingerprints off of the stainless exterior.

8-How Often to Clean a Dishwasher

You don’t need to clean the dishwasher daily, but one to two times per month should be adequate. Those who run cycles in the dishwasher daily will want to clean it a little more frequently than suggested here. Those who only run a load a couple of times a week can probably clean the dishwasher a little less frequently.

  • Every 10-14 Days: Clean the interior of the unit a couple of times a month with a cleanser like Finish. At the same time, remove the filters and looking for bits of food, which can cause odors over time.
  • Every 45-60 Days: Clean the dishwasher with vinegar or bleach every couple of months. Check the spray arms and the gasket around the edge of the door at this time, too. If you want to clean the racks separately, every couple of months should be adequate.
  • As Needed: Clean the front of the dishwasher with the best dishwasher cleaner that matches the material used on the front door.

Best Products For How To Clean a Dishwasher

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Finish Cleaner

Finish In-Wash Best Dishwasher Cleaner

When you are wondering how to clean a dishwasher interior in the easiest method possible, Finish drop-ins greatly simplify the process. Just drop one in the bottom of the dishwasher occasionally when running a load of dishes, and it’ll clean all of the interior parts efficiently and easily. #LazyCleaningIsTheBestCleaning

Buy for $20 on Amazon

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner (Safe for Septic Systems)

Clean the interior of the dishwasher with this drop-in tablet that’s safe enough even to use with septic systems. Powers away lime and mineral build-up. It’s odor-free as well, so you’ll remove the funky smell from inside the dishwasher and not replace it with an even funkier smell. Isn’t it a great time to be alive? Recommended for use once a month, buy a few packs, and be pro-active on the cleaning front.

Buy for $6 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Mamison Gloves

Mamison Reusable Rubber Gloves

We agree that it seems a little silly to use manual dishwashing rubber gloves to clean the automatic dishwasher, which is an appliance that makes it so you don’t have to manually wash the dishes and wear rubber gloves. But you’re still going to want to wear them if working with cleansers inside the dishwasher.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher CLR

CLR Calcium Lime Rust Remover

CLR works well for removing limescale and rust from inside the dishwasher and from the heating element. It also works to clean rust stains and scale on items inside the bathroom and kitchen, including glass, porcelain, and chrome.

Use this regularly throughout your home and your wife will dub you the king of cleaning. (On second thought, maybe not a title you want to hold.)

Buy for $5 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Vinegar Concentrate

Calyptus 45% Concentrated Pure Vinegar

Remember how important Windex was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding? That’s vinegar to all of us, it is a cure-all, clean-all. Having this concentrated natural product on hand in gallon size will ensure you always have plenty available to do whatever job you have in mind— starting with cleaning the dishwasher with vinegar.

Just be sure to hide it from the kids. Who knows what destruction they could cause using this huge bottle of vinegar in a giant baking soda volcano?

Buy for $23 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Liquid Bleach

Pure Bright Liquid Bleach

You can use bleach in so many different ways around the house that it’s always good to have some on hand, including for cleaning a dishwasher with bleach … as long as it’s not a stainless steel interior dishwasher. Just keep it somewhere safe, it doesn’t mess around.

Buy for $25 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Stainless Steel Cleaner

Therapy Premium Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish

Stainless steel appliances look amazing … until the kids touch them with whatever disgusting goo they have on their hands 24/7. Unless you’ve banned your kids from the kitchen, we’re guessing you may go through this entire bottle of stainless steel cleaner in a few days, because their grubby little hands just can’t resist the shiny stainless steel surface.

Buy for $17 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Maytag Dishwasher

Maytag Front Control Built-in Fingerprint Resistant Dishwasher

We’ve assumed throughout this discussion of the best dishwasher cleaner techniques that you have an automatic dishwasher. If, instead, you are the dishwasher in your house — the manual dishwasher — maybe it’s time to purchase an automatic dishwasher.

This Maytag model runs quietly, has an effective drying system, and features a stainless steel front.

And once you have it installed, we’re sure you’ll love cleaning it instead of cleaning the dishes daily.

Buy for $673 on Home Depot

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Whirlpool

Whirlpool Heavy Duty Portable Dishwasher

If you don’t have room in the kitchen for a built-in dishwasher, this Whirlpool portable model is a nice choice. Roll it to the sink when it’s time to wash dishes, and roll it out of the way when the cycle is finished.

Just be ready for the top of it to collect all of the kids’ crap when they get home from school. Any open counter space or tabletop space is irresistible to any kid who’s carrying something, which really sucks. After all, when the kids cover every open space with backpacks, lunch boxes, and jackets, where the hell are you supposed to throw your keys and the mail?

Buy for $718 on Home Depot

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Dad Builds DIY Cardboard Tetris Game For His Daughter

Dad Builds DIY Cardboard Tetris Game For His Daughter
(YouTube/Scooby Dooby Tube)

What’s your favorite way to play video games? Are you a PC gamer, or do you use a console like Xbox? If you’re anything like this dad from China’s Henan province, your favorite way to play classic games uses a different kind of box – cardboard, specifically. A video posted on Twitter in early July shows a dad playing a very unconventional game of Tetris, one where zero screens are involved. The board and game pieces are made entirely of cardboard, and the whole thing is hand-made by this talented dad. In the video, we see this smiling dad drop a game piece into a slot behind the game board. The piece then appears in a small opening at the bottom of the board, at which point the surprisingly focused little girl retrieves it and fits it in among the pieces she’s already placed.

This real-life Tetris game is slightly different from the original version, you know, aside from the fact that it’s 3D and extremely energy efficient. The lines on the board don’t disappear once completed, but instead, the goal of the game is to fill up the entire board without any spaces. As if this amazingly simple yet fascinating Tetris game isn’t enough, this creative dad has also built tons of other games for his daughter to play. He built a maze game, a marble obstacle course, a toy bank, and countless others.

In a YouTube video from the South China Morning Post that showcases many of this innovative DIY dad’s inventions, he explains that he did it in part so that kids would be less reliant on technology. The games are inexpensive to make but extremely time-consuming. Some of the more complex pieces can take half a month to complete. He explains that his crafty games have helped his daughter with concentration, and she has even started coming up with her own ideas for games the adorable pair could create.

“My goal is to turn this into a career, to improve it,” the gaming dad said in his Youtube video. “More parents, those who love DIY, or those who don’t have time to be with their kids can be influenced by the toys in some ways, to spend more time with their children.”

See more of this crafty dad’s inventions in the video below, and think about what potential games you may have laying around the house, just waiting to be built.

How to DIY Remove Wallpaper … and Successfully Complete #76 on the Honey-Do List

DIY How To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

There’s something about wallpaper that brings out the remodeling instinct in a lot of wives. If you buy a house with wallpaper in it, it has to come down almost immediately. If you hung wallpaper a few years ago in your own house, chances are your wife will be tired of it by this point. So removing wallpaper DIY style goes near the top of the honey-do list.

Hanging wallpaper may very well be one of the worst jobs on the planet. Until you try to figure out the best way to remove wallpaper. Then there’s no question that it takes over as the worst job on the planet.

Staining concrete flooring is a messy job. Returning things to normal after the kids “wash” the car with motor oil is a disaster we hope you’ll never have to experience. But learning how to remove wallpaper is the equivalent of a 2-year-old’s birthday dinner combination of spaghetti and Blue’s Clues cake with bright blue frosting. (Yes, I have been stupid enough as a dad to allow that to happen.)

The good news is learning how to remove old wallpaper is not as dangerous as some other DIY dad projects, meaning you don’t run the risk of a hospital visit — probably. (Full disclosure: I have had to get multiple stitches while hanging wallpaper in the past. Don’t ask. But never while removing wallpaper, at least so far. Fingers crossed.)

Read through our steps to help you figure out the best way to remove wallpaper successfully. And if there is a God, hopefully, you won’t be hanging new wallpaper immediately afterward … that you’ll almost certainly be removing again in a few years. #CircleOfHell

DIY How To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

How to Remove Wallpaper

1-Don’t Just Say, I’ll Hang New Wallpaper Over the Old Wallpaper

Yes, it’s tempting to skip the removal process and just paste the new layer of wallpaper over the old layer, especially if you’re trying to figure out how to remove wallpaper from drywall without tearing the paper layer on the drywall.

However, the glue for the new wallpaper may not stick to the old wallpaper, especially if it’s vinyl, foil, or textured. If the old paper has any wrinkles or loose seams, the new paper soon will pull away from the wall.

Occasionally, you can hang new wallpaper over old paper successfully, but it ends up in disaster a few years down the road more often than not.

2-Figure Out What’s Behind the Old Wallpaper

The type of permanent wall behind the old wallpaper plays a role in the best way to remove wallpaper.

  • Drywall: Drywall is common in any home built or remodeled in the last few decades. It has a paper/cardboard layer over a substance that resembles chalk.
  • Plaster: Plaster is a liquid wall covering that hardens over a wood lathe. It is common in homes at least four decades old, but not in newer homes. Plaster usually is not as smooth as drywall, which can make wallpaper removal tricky.

If you have drywall, damaging the paper/cardboard layer during wallpaper removal can cause significant problems, so use care. If the paper/cardboard starts to peel with the wallpaper, try using a razor blade to slowly work the wallpaper away from the drywall paper layer as carefully as possible. Once finished, use a spackling compound to repair the tears in the drywall paper/cardboard.

With plaster, avoid using too much water and stripping liquid. This may soak into the plaster and could cause it to crumble after drying. Chances are you’ll need someone who specializes in plaster to come and fix the wall.

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

3-Prepare the Room

Because learning how to remove wallpaper is a messy job, you’ll want to cover furniture, carpeting, wood floors, and baseboards. Use plastic sheets, drop cloths, and painter’s tape to secure the protective layer. If you have an outlet along the wall where you’ll be working, cover the entire faceplate in painter’s tape to protect it from liquid.

You’ll be using water as the primary tool in the best way to remove wallpaper, and the parts you peel from the wall will want to stick to everything. Without a drop cloth or other protection for the items in the room, the mess you’ll make will leave you in big trouble. Trust us. We speak from a horrible, horrible experience.

4-Pray That You Have Strippable Wallpaper

We mentioned earlier that wallpaper was the worst thing on the planet. We’d like to amend that statement to admit there are exceptions. For example, if you’re fortunate enough to have used strippable wallpaper in the previous project, wallpaper’s reputation as a giant pain in the ass is exaggerated.

Strippable wallpaper also called temporary wallpaper or peel wallpaper, is a newer type of paper that pulls away from the wall easily versus other types of wallpaper. Using strippable wallpaper makes learning how to remove wallpaper from drywall an almost enjoyable process.

Just use a paint scraper or putty knife to catch the edge of a sheet of the strippable wallpaper. Once you found an edge that you can grab, start pulling. If the wallpaper pulls away in large chunks without leaving residue behind, you have strippable wallpaper. Thank whatever higher being you believe in — because you just saved yourself hours of work — and start removing it.

Occasionally, even strippable wallpaper will catch on the wall a little bit. Use a putty knife or a razor blade to gently loosen the parts that are sticking.

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

5-Move to Water and a Stripper, and Prepare for a Long Process

If the paper does not come off easily, you don’t have strippable paper. You can let out a heavy sigh because your short project just became an all-day job, complete with scraping. (Hurray for hand blisters.)

Start with hot water alone. If it doesn’t work, add a wallpaper stripper product to the water. If you choose a liquid stripper, mix it with hot water in the concentration specified on the product. There are also gel strippers, which are pricey, but which work nicely on drywall if the cardboard/paper layer is peeling along with the wallpaper.

Use a paintbrush or a spray bottle to apply the stripper/water mix to the wallpaper. Don’t apply it to an extremely large area at once, or it will dry before you can begin scraping. We’d recommend no more than about 4 square feet at a time.

Let the product sit for a few minutes before trying to scrape it off with the scraper.

Always start at the top of the wall and work your way downward. Additionally, wear gloves and goggles if using chemical strippers.

6-It Won’t Come Off

Some wallpapers do not soak up the wallpaper stripper and water mixture well. They may have a plastic film over the top (which is used in wallpaper that’s washable). They may be older types of wallpaper. They may have two layers, one of which is a vinyl outer layer that peels easily and an inner layer that refuses to pop loose.

If so, try applying a heavier coat of the liquid mixture or a gel stripper. Let it sit longer, maybe up to 10 minutes, and try scraping again.

If it still doesn’t work, lightly sand the wallpaper to create scuffs, which may allow the liquid mixture to penetrate the wallpaper easier. You also could use a wallpaper scorer tool to puncture the paper over a large area in a short amount of time.

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

7-It Still Won’t F***ing Come Off

If the wallpaper still is not pulling away from the wall properly, go ahead and let loose with a string of profanity. Be creative. Try putting together some new combinations. Use nouns as adjectives. Curse the inventor of wallpaper glue. (It’s Ferdinand Sichel, in case you’re curious. We’re sure you can come up with multiple rhyming profanities for Sichel.)

Hopefully, it’ll make you feel better.

It’s probably time to employ a wallpaper steamer. This method works on even the most stubborn wallpaper, but it’s a giant hassle, creating an unprecedented mess. You have to move slow, giving the steamer time to penetrate the paper. You may have to score the wallpaper to accommodate the steam. And using the steamer is hot and uncomfortable.

Other than that, it’s a joy.

Always wear goggles and non-slip gloves when using a wallpaper steamer. Hold the steamer pad against the section of wallpaper you want to remove for at least 30 seconds. Then scrape the loosened paper.

Using the steamer sucks, but it’s better than tearing down the entire wall and rebuilding it from scratch, so there’s that.

8-Clean Any Excess Adhesive

If any wallpaper glue remains on the wall, you can purchase TSP Heavy Duty Cleaner, mix it with water, and clean the glue using a sponge.

Should you have gouged the wall anywhere during removal, use spackle to fix the gouges and smooth the wall. Do a good job here. Yes, you will see it all afterward. New wallpaper or paint does NOT fix walls.

Now you’re ready to add new wallpaper … or, better yet, a coat of paint. (But we’ll suggest waiting for another day to start that project.)

Best Products for How to Remove Wallpaper

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Gorilla Non Slip Gloves

Gorilla Grip Slip Resistant Gloves

These gloves have a polymer palm that resists liquid absorption, meaning you can maintain a good grip on your tools while working around water and mess, which is a given when you’re trying to figure out how to remove old wallpaper. There are five pairs in this pack, which is handy because they’re useful for almost any kind of DIY dad job.

Buy for $18 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Water Spray Bottles

Pinnacle Mercantile Plastic Spray Bottles

Do you actually need four empty spray bottles? Do you have kids who find a way to create unspeakable messes involving unrecognizable goo in every room in the house … sometimes multiple times per day? Then, yes, you need four — one for the best way to remove wallpaper and three for other daily emergencies. They come in handy, even just for spraying plants, or each other.

Buy for $24 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper WP Chomp Scraping Tool

WP Chomp Wallpaper Scraping Tool

When scraping wallpaper, the quality of your tool plays a big role in whether you can finish the job after several hours without hand cramps and blisters, or whether you give up halfway through the job and put your house up for sale instead of trying to finish removing the wallpaper.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Red Devil Scraper

Red Devil 4045 Utility Patcher and Scraper

If you’re trying to figure out how to remove wallpaper from drywall, you’ll need a tool that simplifies patching the tears and gouges you put in the drywall. This multi-purpose tool works for spackling, and it works for scraping stubborn wallpaper.

Buy for $6 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Roman Removal Kit

Roman Professional Wallpaper Removal Kit

If you prefer a kit that has all of the basic tools you need to begin removing wallpaper, this one includes a scraper, a wallpaper scoring tool, and a liquid stripper. This is easier than buying them separately. Plus it’s just cool to own a kit of anything.

Buy for $20 on Home Depot

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper WP Chomp Wallpaper Stripper

WP Chomp Wallpaper Stripper

This gallon of wallpaper stripper is recommended to remove up to 400 square feet of wallpaper. (Let’s hope you don’t have that much wallpaper removal on your honey-do list.)

Buy for $20 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Zinsser Stripper Gel

Zinsser Wallpaper Stripper Gel

For looking at how to remove wallpaper from drywall, a gel-based stripper may give you better results than a liquid stripper, causing less potential damage to the cardboard/paper layer on the drywall. You will need a paintbrush or roller to apply it, rather than a spray bottle.

Buy for $29 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Wagner Power Steamer

Wagner Spraytech Wallpaper Steamer

If you have to make use of a steamer to remove the wallpaper for your project, you might as well go big. This steamer can carry 1 gallon of water, so it’s the equivalent of the biggest power tool on the block. At least you’ll feel manly while scraping soggy wallpaper off the wall. Yuck.

Buy for $211 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Wagner Power Steamer

Wagner 915e On-Demand Power Steamer

When portability is key, the 915e steamer is small enough to carry easily. It has the capacity for enough water to allow you to work for 45-ish minutes before it needs a refill. For most people that’s more than long enough. After all, if you can stand to work that long continuously doing a horrible job like scraping wallpaper, you deserve some sort of medal.

Buy for $129 on Home Depot

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper TSP Glue Removal

TSP Surface Cleaner and Wallpaper Glue Removal

If you have luck similar to mine, there will be quite a bit of wallpaper glue left on the wall after you remove the wallpaper. Use TSP mixed with water to finish the job– properly.

Buy for $16 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Red Devil Spackle

Red Devil Lightweight Spackling

Spackling can be almost as big of a mess as wallpaper removal, which is what makes this Red Devil spackle such a handy product. It is premixed and goes on pink, so you can clearly see where you’ve added it. As it dries, it’ll turn white.

Buy for $8 on Home Depot

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site. 

Here’s How to MacGyver a Father’s Day Themed Mini-Putt Course

Father's Day Classic Golf Course
(Life360/Titleist)

Historically, dads love to golf. It’s the perfect combination of a leisurely pace, freshly tended-to grass, and retrieving ice-cold beer from a cooler. It’s the perfect break from home life. “Golf” is, after all, an acronym for “Go Often, Limit Family” (citation needed).

Lots of dads tend to go golfing on Father’s Day, but chances are you’ll be spending this coming one indoors. Not to worry! The good folks at Life360 have teamed up with the good folks at Titleist to bring you a 5-hole course you can forge right in your living room.

Each hole can be easily constructed from common household items.

From your most trusty pair of New Balances…

(Life360)

…to a simple cup!

(Life360)
(Life360)

Be sure to incorporate some greenery!

(Life360)

And don’t forget: munchies are a crucial part of the game.

(Life360)

And it gets better! Life360 is asking dads to snap photos of themselves putting on their DIY courses and send them to [email protected] for a chance to win a $400 Scotty Cameron putter OR a dozen Pro VI golf balls!

Have fun and don’t forget to shout “play through” at your cat a couple of times.

Viral “Dadvice” YouTuber Teams up With Lowe’s to Help DIY Dads

Dad How do I and Lowe's
(YouTube/Dad, how do I?)

Rob Kenney didn’t have a dad around when he was growing up. Now that he is one, he decided to do something to help others growing up in a similar situation. Kenney started the popular “Dad, How do I?” YouTube channel that offers simple DIY advice for common household issues. It was a way to help young adults who couldn’t just call up their dad for help.

The internet, typically starved for good news, has quickly lauded Kenney for being the dad some need (if not the dad they deserve). And while he’s been awesome at giving “Dadvice” to people without a father figure, now he’s teaming up with Lowe’s to give back to dads, too.

Kenney and Lowe’s will be giving $5,000 gift cards to 10 deserving dads on Father’s Day. To get a dad qualified and in the running, you simply have to post on social media about a dad making a difference with the hashtag #DadBuiltThis and tagging @dadhowdoi.

For their part, a spokesman from Lowe’s told People.com the company has been inspired by the ‘incredible dads who have risen to the occasion over the past several weeks at home and surprised their loved ones with just how creative and resilient they can be when it comes to DIYing to help their families.’

Lowe’s will also be surprising hundreds of other dads with $100 gift cards.

DIY Bunk Beds Project – Conserve Space in the Kids’ Bedroom and Give Them More Room for Clutter

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed

As a dad, sometimes we just have the urge as DIY masters (or not) to build something on our own. Woodworking is in our DNA, after all. (Not necessarily professional level woodworking, but at least the basics.) Woodworking is better than time spent playing on your computer, after all.

For your next project, maybe you’re looking to create something truly useful. You tried the traditional spice rack, but since everyone in your house is always to too tired to cook after work, the spices just sit and collect dust. (The only time the spice rack gets used is when you season the steaks and show off your mad grilling skills.)

Then there was the treehouse that the kids were so excited about using … until they got bored with it. (At least the squirrels found a good home.)

But now you’re looking for a truly practical project; something that will receive daily use. Consider DIY bunk beds. Not only will kids love bunk beds when sharing a room, but it gives them far more free space on the floor of the bedroom to spread clothes and toys. There’s nothing a kid loves more than making a mess. And there’s nothing you love more than navigating the minefield of crap on the bedroom floor in the middle of the night when the kid is crying for a glass of water. (F***ing LEGOs on bare feet are the work of the devil.)

Building homemade bunk beds will give you some serious dad cred, allowing you to slack off a bit and not have to try so hard in a few other areas. For example, successfully complete DIY bunk beds, and you can dial down the intensity of the bedtime stories. (Trust us, no one wants to see your full musical production of Hop on Pop at bedtime or hear you rap The Gruffalo, unless you can at least match the skills of MC Grammar.)

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas

How to Build a DIY Bunk Bed

1-Do the Planning

Our instructions for DIY bunk beds will be pretty simple in nature. However, you can create all kinds of accents and far more detailed designs if desired. You can find many different instruction sets regarding bunk bed plans for sale online to spark your creativity.

Measure the height of the ceiling in the kids’ bedroom. You have to give the kid in the top bunk plenty of room to sit up when the alarm goes off without causing a concussion every morning. Don’t forget to add in the thickness of the mattress to your calculations. (And if the kids are still afraid of heights, maybe go down another foot.)

If you’d rather watch someone build homemade bunk beds versus simply reading about it, Jay’s Custom Creations has a very helpful DIY bunk beds video, as well as matching detailed plans for DIY bunk beds that you can buy.

2-Collect the Materials

For homemade bunk beds, you can save some money by using standard pinewood 2-by-2s, 2-by-4s and 2-by-6s. You will want a drill with a screwdriver bit, wood glue, sander, and a circular hand saw or a table saw.

And for the love of God, measure the doorway. If you want to build the DIY bunk beds outdoors, make sure they’ll fit through the front door and the bedroom doorway. Otherwise, if they’re going to be too large, build them inside the room. (Cut the pieces outside, though, unless you want sawdust to embed itself in the carpeting and still be there well after the kids grow up and go to college and you convert the space into the exercise room that you’ve always wanted but never plan to actually use.)

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas

3-Build the Box

For the box that will hold the mattress, you will want to use 2-by-6s or 2-by-4s, depending on the thickness of the mattress. (The mattress thickness should extend at least a few inches over the top of the box.)

Figure out what sizes of mattresses you want to use on the bunk beds and cut the boards to fit.

  • Twin: 39×75 inches
  • Twin XL: 39×80 inches
  • Full: 54×75 inches
  • Full XL: 54×80 inches

Build the interior of the box so that you have 1 to 2 inches of free space all around the mattress. This allows for space for blankets to hang over the edge of the mattress when the kids will make the bunk beds. (Stop snickering.)

Remember that each piece of lumber has 1.5 inches of width (not 2 inches). For a twin mattress, make the long sides 77 to 79 inches in length and the short sides 38 to 40 inches in width, so the short side attaches to the inside of the long sides.

Sand the pieces to remove rough spots, printing, marks, and sharp edges. Screw and glue or nail and glue them together. (Always use glue with the screws or brad nails. Kids are notoriously rough on bunk beds.)

4-Build the Base and Legs

For the base of the box, you can attach plywood to the bottom of each box, or you can use 2-by-2s, 2-by-4s, or 1-by-3s to create slats.

To make simple legs, you can attach 2-by-4s and 2-by-6s together in an L shape. These legs should extend roughly 12 to 18 inches over the top of where the upper box will sit.

Stand the legs in the room where you want them. Use 2-by-4s to connect them to each other (on the short side of the bed), creating ladder rungs on both sides.

Here’s where you need to do some math. If the bottom of the lower box will be 6 inches off the floor and the bottom of the upper box will be 54 inches off the floor, you’ll want the bottom of the rungs for the ladder at 22 and 38 inches. Add one more rung at the top of the legs for stability.

Then attach the boxes to the legs at the desired height. Use spare pieces of wood as braces on the inside of the legs cut to the proper length to help support the weight of the upper box as you’re attaching it. (If the upper box is 54 inches off the floor, use 54-inch braces inside the legs.) Follow the same procedure for the lower box. Having a second person for this part is helpful.

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas

5-Finishing Touches

Some people like to build guard rails on the upper bunk. This can be accomplished at the same height as the upper ladder rung for a consistent look. If the beds will be against the wall, just one side needs a rail.

Adding storage bins, drawers, or a rollaway bed underneath the lower bunk is another option. If you plan to do this, calculate the size of the storage you want before you start putting the beds together, and hang the lower box at the proper height to accommodate the storage, adjusting the height of the upper box and the ladder rungs accordingly.

We’d recommend painting the wood, although some people will choose to stain it if they’re using high-quality wood.

Kids will love picking fun colors for the DIY bunk beds, and they can even help with the painting outside. But if you’re going to let them help you paint the bunk beds when they’re already inside the room … don’t. Just don’t.

Best Products for Homemade Bunk Beds

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Home Depot Lumber

2×4 x 8 Foot Lumber

No woodworking project can be successful without the right lumber. You may want to go with more expensive wood when you’re planning for how to build a bunk bed, especially if you want to stain it. Then again, there’s a 50/50 chance the kids will destroy it at some point, so maybe cheaper is better.

Buy for $4 Per Piece on Home Depot

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Screws From Amazon

Flat Head Phillips Wood Screws

You can never have enough wood screws on hand for your woodworking projects.

But don’t settle for cheap screws for this project, or you’re going to strip the heads, leaving them stuck forever, not quite in as far as they should be, pissing you off to no end and leading to an impressive string of cuss words. (We understand that all dad projects should involve some form of swearing at some point during the process, but the project shouldn’t be 100% profanity, so buy decent screws.)

Buy for $14 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Gorilla Glue

Gorilla Wood Glue

If you’re assembling your DIY bunk beds inside the kids’ room, always remember what my dad taught me about wood glue when I was a kid: A little goes a long way. (Of course, he told me this after I used half a bottle on one joint, leading to a huge mess on the floor that I had to clean up, but I did remember the advice, even if it was a little late. Dad was a big believer in learning by doing … and he always said learning was much easier after screwing something the f*** up the first time.)

Buy for $6 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas DeWalt Cordless Drill

DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Drill Kit

If you don’t have a cordless drill, this homemade bunk beds project is the perfect excuse to buy one. (We would suggest that you ask for a high-quality drill for the best Father’s Day gift, but we all know how that usually goes. Sure, we appreciate receiving another #1 Dad coffee mug — it never hurts to advertise — but this drill would be better.)

With two rechargeable batteries included, you’ll always have a fresh battery available for your projects. The downside? No more excuses that you don’t have the right tools when you’re trying to spend Saturday afternoon napping instead of fixing things. Make sure you have both batteries fully charged at all times, just having them sitting on a shelf does nobody any good.

Buy for $99 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas DeWalt Nail Gun

DeWalt 20V MAX Brad Nailer

For this type of project, a brad nailer probably will be easier to handle than the drill and screws. However, if you expect the kids to use the bunk beds as some sort of launching point for practicing all-star wrestling moves, the screws should hold together better than these brad nails and glue, especially on the ladder rungs.

Hell, get both DeWalt power tools. They share the same battery system, and the kids are going to break many, many things over the next several years, so you can never have enough power tools on hand for repairs.

Buy for $233 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas DeWalt Table Saw

DeWalt Compact Jobsite Table Saw

We love this table saw, as it’s small enough to take with you wherever you need to work, but it’s also big and powerful enough to do almost any woodworking job you have in the plans.

It’s tough enough to stand up to regular use, should you decide to take on some tougher projects after finishing your current bunk bed plans. Take safety measures with this table saw, such as always using the safety guard. Power saws don’t give your fingers a second chance if you make a mistake.

Buy for $279 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas DeWalt Sander

DeWalt Orbit Sander

Sanding is key for how to build a bunk bed that’s safe to use. (Attaching all the pieces securely is key too, but you already knew that.)

Without sanding, you just know your accident-prone kid is going to find a way to end up with a splinter 24 seconds after climbing into the bed, which will lead to an hour of wailing about something so small you can’t even see it. And you’ll receive that look your wife saves for the times when she says things like, “Are you sure this wood is safe to use and it won’t give the kids splinters?” before you started the project. Sigh.

Buy for $59 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Home Depot Bunkbed Kit

South Shore Ulysses Navy Blue Twin Bunk Bed

Maybe you have studied our plans for DIY bunk beds, and you have decided it’s too big of a project for you. No worries.

With this homemade bunk beds kit, you’ll receive everything you need to create bunk beds that look great without having to do all of the math, sawing, and sanding.

You still will have to do the assembly yourself. And sometimes, these assemble-yourself furniture projects can be almost as confusing as building the entire project. So you’ll have almost the same fun/frustration with the kit as when building it from scratch. (Kit or no kit, swearing is never optional.)

Buy for $440 on Home Depot

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas Amazon Bunkbed Kit

Dorel Living Airlie Wood Bunk Beds

Here’s another kit for DIY bunk beds that’s a little cheaper if you need to save some cash. This one has a twin bed on top and a full bed on the bottom, which means the kids will be sure to fight over who gets the bigger bed. Fun times.

Buy for $350 on Amazon

DIY How To Build A Bunkbed Best Bunkbed Ideas The Gruffalo Bedtime Book

The Gruffalo

Once the bunk bed plans are finished, you need a good bedtime story. This one is a lot of fun. (No rapping, please … although the pattern of the writing makes it awfully damn tempting.)

Buy for $11 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site. There are safety regulations when it comes to bunk beds, please use caution and follow any government recommended height/safety rules.

(All finished bunk bed photos from Home Depot)

Some Dude DIY’d a Jack Daniels Waterfall

Jack Daniels Waterfall
(Facebook/Dave Tonks)

Ingenuity is bred largely from necessity. Thomas Edison needed a light. The Wright Brothers were really late for something. Alexander Graham Bell feared his tone was being misinterpreted over the telegraph.

And then, other times, genius just sort of happens for no discernible reason.

(Facebook / Dave Tonks)

“It was a nice day and I was pretty drunk and just knocked it all together.”

That’s Dave Tonks, the 53-year-old pest control technician who, with his partner Lisa, cobbled together this astounding Jack Daniels whiskey fountain. This staggering beauty is composed mostly of things they found lying around the garden, minus the liquor bottles, which Dave had been saving to repurpose as candles.

“It was my partner’s idea to make a water feature out of them,” Dave said in an interview with LAD Bible. “She did most of the design, to be fair.

(Facebook / Dave Tonks)

Now, before you get up under there like some eager baby bird or unruly teenager sampling Slurpee flavors, it should be noted the “whiskey” here is merely really weak coffee. “I would love to try it with real JD and Coke, but it would cost a fortune,” Dave sighed.

You can watch the spirit fountain in action, in all its smoke-machiney, LED-lit goodness, right here:

His Dad Left When He Was 12, Now He Shares ‘Dadvice’ on YouTube

Dad, How Do I? Dadvice
(YouTube/Dad, how do I?)

Dads are good at fixing things. (At least, many dads are. I am terrible at it and am failing my children.) Growing up with a dad who is handy and does do-it-yourself projects and enjoys trips to Home Depot can be a blessing, especially when that dad hands that knowledge down to his kids. My father is a lawyer, and growing up I learned a lot more about doing crossword puzzles than I did about checking my oil or building my own coffee table.

The good news is, we have the internet, and Google, and YouTube, and when I need to know how to fix something, I go online. And now, thanks to one compassionate guy who knows what it’s like to need some help, you can learn some basic skills from a dad.

His name is Rob Kenney, and his dad left when he was 12. He never got the DIY knowledge many fathers hand down to their kids, so he decided he wanted to help make sure other kids who don’t have that kind of father in their lives can get those skills from him.

He started a YouTube channel called “Dad, How Do I?” where he shares videos of his DIY tips that he calls “practical dadvice,” and includes things like how to fix a running toilet, unclog a drain, and even tying a tie.

He had about 40,000 followers, and then a dude named Chris Hart shared his channel on Facebook.

Clearly he wasn’t the only one who loves what Kenney is doing, as Hart’s post went viral, and Kenney’s YouTube subscribers blew up to over 951,000!

Kenney quickly shared a video thanking everyone for the incredible response he’s received for his YouTube channel. He explains that he chats with his daughter and son every day about more than how to fix things, but also “how to manage your life and adulting.”

He’s obviously a tad emotional at the response – and at the time of the video he only had 400,000 subscribers, so he’s probably, even more, overwhelmed now. Let’s keep that going by heading over and subscribing now. God knows I can use the help, and I’m an “adult” dad myself!

A Dad Built His Kids an Unbelievable 48-Foot Dinosaur Jungle Gym

(Imgur / thecauseman)

It’s quite remarkable how much creativity one can muster when presented an unexpected surplus of free time and boredom. We’ve got stunt actors orchestrating jaw-dropping action sequences without going near each other. We’ve got sports commentators giving play-by-plays of their girlfriends’ hangovers.

And over here we have Matthew Cosman, the man who built, nay, manifested his kids a 48-foot jungle gym that looks like a dinosaur. And this was no accident.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

“I really did this and shared it for fun,” Cosman, aka thecauseman, explained in a recent Imgur post that laid out his building process step by step.

“I fabricate for a living because it’s my passion—I make fun things for me because no one will pay me to build these crazy things. I do have a history in aerospace engineering, so that played a big role here.”

From the 24,000 pounds of concrete in its foundation to the 3D glow-in-the-dark rope clamps, this DIY project proved to be quite the undertaking. Building your garden variety jungle gym is tough as it is. We can’t imagine the “is also a brontosaur” caveat makes it any easier.

Here’s how Matthew did it:

Shaped the dinosaur with some structural steel, wood, foam, and chicken wire.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

“My bro, he was the largest chunk of help getting this done.”

(Imgur / thecauseman)

He then got to the structural reinforcement, sparing now expense on Kevlar. “Lots of carbon integrated into the fiberglass/epoxy construction.”

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Paint time!

(Imgur / thecauseman)

“I did have to hire a crane to get it into place from my shop.”

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Some obligatory handprints.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Metal tube time!

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Next, some precautionary rubber chips.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Sick.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

The slide. Holy hell that is big.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Beautiful finish.

“Getting close to done”

(Imgur / thecauseman)

The aforementioned 3D printed glow-in-the-dark rope clamps.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Bad ass.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Just a quick dad test…

(Imgur / thecauseman)

…and voila! Your dinosaur-shaped jungle gym is finished.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

The inaugural swing sesh.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

Dark mode.

(Imgur / thecauseman)

This is far and away one of the most impressive DIY projects we’ve ever seen. We commend Matthew for using his hard work and ingenuity to make his youngsters’ quarantine just a tad more fun and special.

“Thank you for checking out my weird stuff I do for my kids,” he concluded.

IKEA Put Together 6 Guides to Fort Building During Quarantine Life

(IKEA)

Building a fort out of your existing furniture is like a rite of passage for every child. Not only is it insanely fun for them, but it’s even more fun for you because it keeps them occupied for a nice long while. IKEA has decided to make fort-building official with ideas on how to build 6 types of forts during the quarantine using nothing but IKEA products. Equipped with their notoriously difficult-to-follow IKEA instructions, you can spend hours building the actual furniture (and claim that you “built that” as we all do), and the kids can take it from there. Once they’re done might we suggest pairing it with homemade IKEA meatballs?

Ikea Castle
(IKEA)

Krokig goes in there. See the arrow? It’s out there but it’s also in there.

Ikea House
(IKEA)

An obese bear by the name of Djungelskog resides in this house. Do not disturb Djungelskog.

Ikea campingtent
(IKEA)

You cannot see her, but Pressa the octopus is hiding in the tent. We don’t know what Pressa is when she is not hanging in a tent. Is she a decoration? What. Is. Pressa.

Ikea cave
(IKEA)

This cave requires 8 books. 2 of them are for keeping the cave in place. 1 is for reading. and the other 5? Well, we don’t speak of those books.

Ikea Fortress
(IKEA)

If you seek solitude, the fortress should do the trick. Make sure you stock up on one million clothespins for these forts.

Ikea Wigwam
(IKEA)

Is this…is this allowed?

IKEA “fans” have already hopped on the fort train (sorry) and are showing off their suspiciously sleek photos. These were 100% not pre-planned by the Russian agency (called Instinct) who created this campaign:

View this post on Instagram

IKEA выпустила инструкцию по тому, как построить Dömik, Vigvåm и Krepöst. Скорее хватайте подушки и пледы! ⠀ Российское отделение IKEA опубликовало в инстаграме инструкцию по созданию детских домиков. Каждый тип домика получил свое название в стиле товаров IKEA: Dömik, Vigvåm, Palåtka, Norå, Krepöst, Zåmok. Домики предлагают собрать из подручных средств: столов, табуреток, пледов, гирлянд и подушек. ⠀ Также компания планирует каждую неделю публиковать в инстаграме фотографии домиков, которые выкладывают с хэштегом #явдомикеИКЕА, можете присоединиться 😊⛺️ ⠀ #хоббивиль

A post shared by ХОББИВИЛЬ – детский клуб (@hobbyville) on

If you’ve got some dollars and time to spare (and who doesn’t???) then this could be your next quarantine project!

How to Build a DIY Fire Pit for Grilling, Socializing, Destroying Evidence, Etc.

When you seem to have a bit of free time on your hands — which, unfortunately, is more the norm these days — we’re guessing your significant other has a list of things for you to do. (You must spend your free time productively, after all.) Some people call it the honey-do list. We call it something else that starts with an F followed by numerous asterisks.

The worst part is, once you think you’ve finished the list, you are told you’re only through Volume 1. You’re never told just how many volumes there are, but, then again, you probably don’t want to know. It’s too depressing.

But with our years of wisdom in these matters, we have come up with an idea. When she starts to pull out the list, act as if you’ve suddenly had a brilliant idea. Tell her you noticed on one of her HGTV shows how great a house looks when it has a backyard DIY fire pit. (Don’t try to give too many specifics about the show, or you’ll be busted for sure.)

Then announce that you’ll be taking on some DIY projects by building a family fire pit in the yard— then head out the back door. The f***ing honey-do list goes back in its secret hiding place, and you’ll be working on a cool project. #win-win

If she starts to object, remind her how many fun times you can have with a fire pit, such as a backyard family camping trip … making s’mores with the kids … romantically cuddling on a cool autumn night while “enjoying” a wine tasting … destroying evidence before that IRS audit starts (did we say that?). So many possibilities.

When building a fire pit, it can be done within several hours, once you have the materials. But if you want to make sure it drags out for several days or weeks, we won’t judge.

How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit

1-Check Your Regulations

Before starting, it’s possible that your local regulations or homeowner’s association have some rules about constructing fire pits. You will want to check these rules before starting, or you may have to tear down the fire pit later.

For a those who prefer to watch someone build the fire pit, instead of just reading about it, Home Depot’s fire pit building video is a good place to start.

2-Find a Spot

The ideal DIY fire pit will measure three to four feet in diameter (from outer edge to outer edge). You don’t want it to be too close to any dead leaves, trees with low hanging branches, or other combustible materials. And, no matter how ugly your neighbor’s new wood fence is, don’t place your fire pit too close to it with the hope that a stray ember happens to land on it. We hope it goes without saying that it can’t be too close to your fence either— or to your house, shed, garage, or other structure.

Pick a relatively flat piece of ground. You don’t need to go so far as to test the spot with a level, but the flatter the area, the better.

Some people choose to build it over an existing brick patio, which greatly simplifies the construction process (and eliminates a couple of the following steps, of course).

3-Decide on Shape and Color

When building a fire pit, the two easiest shapes will be a circle or a square. Rectangular blocks work to make the square shape, while trapezoidal blocks work for a circular pit.

Then purchase the blocks you need for the pit. Don’t worry too much about exact measurements, as you can use spacer blocks to make up the difference if the measurement of the primary blocks come up a bit short. (You may have to cut some of the spacer blocks.)

This is also a good time to discuss color. There are a lot of choices. Find a picture of a fire pit that’s wife-approved and go with that color. There are grays, tans, reds and a whole bunch of other ones.

4-Prepare the Ground

The total diameter should be 45 inches. Use spray paint to mark it so there are no giant mistakes later.

Now you need an actual pit. Dig the pit shape about 6 inches deep. You should dig the hole several inches wider than you are planning for the measurement of the pit.

Pack the hole with gravel. Pick a fine type of gravel that will pack tightly into the hole. Use a hand tamper to pack it. Dampen the gravel a few times as you’re in the process of tamping it down to ensure you will compact it as tightly as possible.

(This is a step you should skip if putting the fire pit on an existing patio. We can’t emphasize this enough: Do not take a jackhammer to your patio.)

5-Lay Out the Blocks

Place the first layer of blocks on the ground. If you’re making a square pit, start at the corners with large blocks. As you move along the edges, you may need to add spacer blocks occasionally. (If you want to be fancy, add the spacers in a regular manner, so it looks symmetrical.)

For a circular DIY fire pit, the math gets a little tricky. (In other words, we don’t want to do it here and show off what we’ve forgotten from sixth grade.) As you lay out the trapezoidal blocks, you’ll need spacers (smaller blocks) to achieve the overall curve.

You will want to use a level here. Make sure the first layer is level. Add leveling sand underneath the blocks in the first layer as needed to straighten things out.

6-Create the Wall

Once the first layer is level, you can start adding the second layer. If you used spacer blocks, stagger their location in the second layer, so the spacers are not sitting on top of each other. Additionally, don’t allow the seams between layers of blocks to line up.

It’s recommended to use a construction adhesive to adhere the layers together. This is the safest idea, reducing the chance of the layers collapsing if your kid crashes his or her bike into the DIY fire pit. Before you stack the second layer, use a good bead of adhesive atop the first layer, and then add the next layer of stones. Just as importantly, make sure the layers are level.

If you’re building the fire pit over an existing patio, you should adhere the first layer to the patio.

Ultimately, you’ll end up with a wall that’s three to five layers high (or 16 to 32 inches).

For easier cleaning, you may want to place a fire pit bowl inside the walls that hold the fire (especially if you’re on top of a patio surface). But you also can start the fires directly on top of the gravel inside the walls if it’s directly on the dirt.

Best Products for a DIY Fire Pit

Trapezoidal Concrete Retaining Wall Block

These trapezoidal blocks work nicely when you want a circular fire pit. Each measures 4 inches high and 11.75 inches on the long side. And, yes, each one is heavier than sh*t.

Buy 10 for $14 on Home Depot

Rectangular Concrete Block

If you want an easier math problem in calculating the size when figuring out how to build a fire pit, stick with rectangular blocks and a square fire pit. Each of these rectangular blocks measures 3.5 inches in height and 10.5 inches in length.

Buy 10 for $39 on Home Depot

Loctite PL 500 Landscape Block Adhesive

This adhesive is perfect for building a fire pit, as it’s made for use on masonry, metal, wood, and other materials. It’s also messy, so keep the kids the hell away. (A kid loves nothing more than a fully loaded caulking gun.)

Buy for $6 on Amazon

Crushed Granite Rock Fines

Because crushed rock like this is expensive, you can use this material in the upper one-third of the DIY fire pit and pea gravel in the lower two-thirds to save a bit of money.

Buy for $30 on Home Depot

Pea Gravel

If you will be using a fire pit bowl in your construction, you could save some money by using this pea gravel in the entirety of the base of the fire pit.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

Sakrete Leveling Sand

Sure, you could borrow some sand from the kids’ sandbox to level out the first layer of your DIY fire pit. But, first, it’s not official leveling sand, so it won’t work as well. And, second, do you really want the petrified cat sh*t that always seems to be in the sandbox underneath your fire pit?

Buy for $5 on Home Depot

Razor-Back Steel Tamper

Repeat after us: The tamper is only made for use on compacted dirt or gravel. It is not made to squish the dog sh*t in the yard instead of picking it up with a scooper. Trust us: Squishing the sh*t into the ground does not make it disappear.

Buy for $30 on Amazon

Irwin 48-Inch Level

When you’re wondering why you need a level when building a fire pit, you can use it to keep the layers of the fire pit properly aligned. Plus, using a level — a big one — makes it look like you know what the hell you’re doing on any construction project.

Buy for $31 on Amazon

Sunnydaze Metal Fire Pit Insert

If you are going to want to use an insert in your DIY fire pit, you have to make sure the dimensions of the inner edge of the pit blocks match the size of the insert you want to use, so the lip of the insert rests on the blocks.

Buy for $135 on Amazon

X-Marks Steel Fire Pit Cooking Grill

To do some actual grilling after building a fire pit, rather than jamming your food on a stick, you’ll need a steel grate.

Buy for $93 on Amazon

RumbleStone Square Concrete Fire Pit Kit

Maybe you originally wanted to know how to build a fire pit from scratch. Now, though, you’re not so sure. Can you calculate exactly what you will even need to build one?

This kit looks great, measuring 38.5 inches on all four sides with 21 inches of height. You will pay a little extra for this unit versus a DIY fire pit where you assemble the parts yourself, but having all of the parts ready-made for you in a kit may be worth it.

Buy for $620 on Home Depot

RumbleStone Round Concrete Fire Pit Kit

For building a fire pit that’s round, having a kit may be the way to go. Calculating the exact amount of items you need on your own can be a challenge.

You will pay more for this kit than for the individual pieces. However, you may save almost as much on gas for the car from not having to make extra trips to the hardware store to pick up items you forgot.

This DIY fire pit measures 46 inches in diameter and 14 inches in height.

Buy for $549 on Home Depot

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

(All fire pit photos from Home Depot)

How to Stain Concrete Floors to Get an Awesome Finished Basement on the Cheap

AFTER: how to stain concrete floors - DIY home project for less

Finishing a basement is the ultimate (and often most expensive) dad home upgrade. It often involves 3 of my least favorite things: carpet, drop ceilings, and drywall. Literally truckloads of drywall. How can you call it a man cave if the “cave” walls are drywall?! It was time for a basement DIY. This one involving staining the concrete floors.

  1. Clean concrete with a degreaser. Mop with clean water. Dry.
  2. Apply Valspar tintable semi-transparent concrete stain (color: Onyx) using a sponge. 1-3 coats depending on how dark you want it.
  3. Apply Valspar Wet Look Sealer (high gloss finish).
  4. Enjoy!

Don’t you hate it when recipe posts don’t get right to the recipe? Me too. There, that’s the TL;DR concrete staining recipe. If you want the nitty-gritty, read on! (Seriously, read on, we know DIY dads need more detail than that!)

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

DIY Project— Stain Concrete Floors:

“That’s not really the kind of thing that I do,” was the response I got after asking 3 different professional painters if they could stain my concrete basement floors.

I normally hate paying people to do things at my house if I can avoid it. It’s not that I’m cheap; I just don’t like giving up control. I’m very dad-like in that way.

But when it came to staining my concrete basements floors? I had no idea how to do it. And I didn’t want to mess it up. So I consulted the experts. Maybe it was the people I asked, but the collective response was “Good luck buddy.”

This surprised me. Because every modern office building, or heck, even the floors of Lowes and Home Depot, are stained and textured concrete floors. It strikes me as a very practical, minimalist, and sleek-looking flooring solution.

But first, why stain your basement floors?

Over the years, I’ve had several small leaks in my unfinished basement. Small cracks around the window well, caulking issues around my front door, even a foundation issue that I paid decent money to fix. In all cases, if my basement had been traditionally “finished,” I’d have been screwed. Hidden moisture, mold, undetected foundation issues. No thank you. I’d rather have full visibility to these things.

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Also, I just like the look of concrete.

So I laid out my minimalist basement renovation plan. I’d leave the walls and floor bare concrete. I’d put up a single dividing drywall between the main space and the storage/furnace/water heater area. I’d put in basic recessed can lighting. And I’d paint the ceiling rafters black.

To make it pop, the floors needed some depth, texture, and finish. So it was STAINING TIME.

What the Experts Said:

The experts said it would be easiest to paint the floors. The risk would be chipping of paint over time. NIGHTMARE. They also suggested using an epoxy-based paint. It wouldn’t wear as much, but would be shiny and would turn the basement floor into a skating rink, especially with the slightest amount of moisture. When I asked about a stain, they seemed nervous. In hindsight, I think because it is a bit of an art, and it’s more of a skill-based practice. Not quite as easy as painting.

So with the experts decidedly NOT on my side, and my propensity to take on projects myself, my mission was clear. Stain my concrete basement floors or die tryin’.

Choosing Color and Technique:

  1. Trial run(s) to find your color. This is super important. Ideally, you have an inconspicuous place to test. Luckily I had a workshop with concrete floors that I could use for experiments. I bought some expensive Sherwin Williams stains. They did not have samples, and they only had a limited number of colors. My first passes looked very amateurish. I found that Lowe’s sold Valspar semi-transparent concrete stain. Not only was it significantly cheaper, but it was also tintable in many colors. I went with essentially black. I did a coat and was thrilled. I found the look I was after!
  2. Trial run(s) to perfect your technique. The thing about stain is that if you mess up, you can’t just go back over it as you can with paint. Each time you go back over it, it gets DARKER. So if you have a dark spot, and you want to “even it out,” you have to very carefully go over the spots AROUND it without going over the dark spot again. And dark spots are bound to happen, due to portions of the concrete absorbing the stain differently. So experiment with application techniques. My favorite was using a sponge. Get some stain on the sponge, and apply the stain by spreading it across the concrete. Then, to make it more consistent, use the sponge to dab over all of the spots where you applied. This avoids streaks and makes it look more natural. You could also use a cloth to apply, or a paint roller attached to a long stick. This helps preserve your creaky dadbod joints since sponging requires being on your hands and knees.

(Did not like these colors.)

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Valspar color options:

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Oh snap, I found the look I was after (Valspar ONYX)!

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Successful experiment (before and after):

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap
how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

It’s Go Time— Here are the Steps for How to Stain Concrete Floors:

  1. Prep the concrete. Get yourself a good degreaser. Apply with a mop. Do this at least 2 times. Then get a clean bucket of water and mop the floor 2-3 times to remove any excess degreaser. I actually used a wet shop vac to suck up excess moisture between mop rounds.
  2. Apply concrete stain. This is your trial work’s time to shine. Again, with stain, there are no do-overs. Each time you apply, it gets darker. So best to apply as light of coats as possible. I did my first coat with a paint roller. I rolled it on, and then literally smeared it around with the roller, making it an extremely thin coat. I did my 2nd coat with a sponge as described above. Then, I went back over with a sponge for a touch up third coat to even out any inconsistencies.
  3. Finish ‘er up. Stay with step 2 until you’re completely satisfied with the look. Like it? Love it? Ready to lock it in? Apply a concrete finish. I used Valspar Protective Sealer. Made it a little glossy, but not excessively so. This helps protect the floor and gives it a finish look. Will also make the concrete significantly less porous (less accepting of stain) so don’t do it until you’re happy.

Before:

Before: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

After 1st Coat:

After 1st Coat: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

After 2nd Coat:

After second coat: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Finished Product:

After Finished Result: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Once Complete:

After : how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

So the main thing is using the right semi-transparent concrete stain and experimenting to find the right application method that gets the look you want. I have a basement workshop so I was able to use that for practice to get the look right. Really important because you can’t go back once you start staining! It’ll just get darker.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have got some kids to crush in Mario Kart.

(If you’d rather watch someone else show you how to do the work, this Creto Seal video hits all of the basics.)

Best Products For How To DIY Stain Concrete

best products for staining concrete floors: H&C ConcreteReady Cleaner/Degreaser

H&C ConcreteReady Cleaner/Degreaser

Yes, we agree, cleaning is not fun under any circumstances. But don’t skip this important step for a staining concrete project, or your results will not be as good as they could be, and your wife will get to say, “I told you so.” Ugh.

Buy for $26 on Amazon

Best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Valspar Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain

Valspar Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain

Now for the fun part: Picking out the stain to use. This Valspar stain will work either indoors or outdoors, so after you finish staining the basement concrete, you can move on to outdoor projects, like your garage, patio, sidewalk, and driveway. (Hell, go nuts and stain the neighbor’s patio too. We’re guessing you’ll become so good at this, you won’t be able to stop.)

Buy for $29 on Ace Hardware

Best products for DYI staining concrete floors: Valspar Clear Acrylic Concrete Sealer

Valspar Clear Acrylic Concrete Sealer

Picking the right sealer gives your concrete staining project the perfect finishing touch, while also making it stronger and resistant to whatever your kids will spill on it. (Come to think of it, you may want two coats. The kids are experts at destroying things.)

Buy for $33 on Ace Hardware

best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Tidy Tools Industrial Grade Mop

Tidy Tools Industrial Grade Mop

Sure, you could use a cheap-ass mop to do this work. But it won’t give you the same results as an industrial grade mop.

And we all know that having a high quality mop on hand is something every dad should have. Not only is it tough enough to clean up after the kids and the dog, but it’ll last several years … which will provide plenty of time for the kids to become old enough that they can use the same mop to do the chores that you are sick of doing. (Almost brings a tear to your eye.)

Buy for $29 on Amazon

best products to DYI staining concrete floors: QEP X-Large Sponges

QEP X-Large Sponges

Sponges work well for doing the finishing touches on your concrete basement staining project, allowing for precise application of the stain.

Because this is a six-pack, you can throw away the staining sponge after you use it. Do not under any circumstances place that used sponge in the your wife’s favorite white porcelain sink, figuring you can use it for other things later … at least not unless you want to spend the night sleeping on your newly stained concrete floor rather than in your bed.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

bets products for DYI staining concrete floors: Bates Choice Paint Roller

Bates Choice Paint Roller

Paint rollers work well for applying the stain quickly and efficiently. This set ships with two rollers, so you’ll have a backup for applying a second color or if you royally screw up the first one.

We might also recommend adding a long wooden handle with a threaded metal tip that you can screw onto the paint roller. You won’t have to crawl on the floor or stoop over to apply the stain when you add the handle.

And honestly, after this job is finished, who couldn’t find a million uses for a long wooden handle? For example, no birthday party is complete without a wooden stick, a hanging pinata, dad’s private parts within striking distance, and someone who’s filming it all.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Vannect Power Paint Sprayer

Vannect Power Paint Sprayer

It’s hard to believe we’ve gone this far without listing a power tool in our products required for staining concrete in a basement. Our bad.

Some people prefer to apply the stain with a paint sprayer. These things can get pretty messy, especially with stain instead of the thicker consistency of paint, so you may want to put plastic on the walls and other areas that need protection. But if you hate the idea of applying the stain by hand — or if you just have to use a power tool on any DIY project you tackle — this sprayer will do the trick.

Buy for $55 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

How to Install Laminate Flooring…and Look Like a DIY Genius While You Do It

how to lay laminate flooring main image

When it’s time to install flooring at your home, we’re guessing your wife may have an idea or two (or 20). She will want something that looks great, has plenty of durability, is water-resistant, and is easy to clean.

As a dad who will be doing this as a DIY project, you also will want a type of flooring that fills all those needs … while being easy to install. When the floor looks great and is easy to install, you’re going to be one of those dads who looks like a genius with a minimal amount of work. (This is information you should keep to yourself; geniuses never show how the sauce is made, even if they mix metaphors occasionally.)

Laminate floats above the subfloor, as it does not need glue or mortar-like other types of flooring. Laminate is available in planks and tiles that snap together. It’s not as easy as helping your 2-year-old assemble a 12-piece jigsaw puzzle, but it’s close. A laminate floor typically looks like hardwood (or occasionally stone), so it will create a stylish finish.

As an added bonus, laminate is not expensive, at least compared to hardwood or slate flooring.

When you’re wondering how to install laminate flooring, it will depend on the style of laminate you select. Laminate floors typically are pretty easy to install, but some models are even easier than others. (Again, keep this information to yourself.)

Installing laminate floor isn’t as cool of a DIY project as making a smoke breathing Godzilla Christmas tree or making a virtual Splash Mountain ride, but we’re sure your kids will forgive you this time … especially after your wife tells them to because she really wants her damn new floors.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

1-Pick the Flooring You Want

Beyond picking the faux wood or faux stone style that you want in your laminate, you will need to select the format you want to use.

Snap-together planks are common. They have dimensions like real wood planks, so they’re easy to handle.

Even easier are laminate tiles. These are square-shaped, connecting through a hidden tab and loop system on the bottom. Because of the shape, they don’t look quite as realistic as planks, but they’re so f***ing easy to install, you may not care.

If you’d like to see how easy the laminate planks are to install, check out this how to install laminate flooring video from Home Depot. Or if you’re more interested in the square tile style, check out a how to install laminate floor video from Greatmats.

2-Measure the Area

Now for the sh*tty step. There will be math. Apologies.

Measure the space that you need to cover, length, and width. Multiply the two, and you’ll have the square footage. Any laminate plank or tile product you’re considering should tell you how many square feet it will cover per case.

Always purchase 10% to 15% more square footage than you have measured. We’re not saying you’re going to mis-cut a piece or six, but it never hurts to have a little extra on hand, just in case.

3-Prepare the Area

When wondering how to lay laminate flooring correctly, you should remove all the baseboards and quarter round molding (trim) in the room. Do this carefully, as you will likely reuse most of the pieces.

To work around door jambs and molding at the doorways, you may want to cut the door molding with a jamb saw at the same height as the laminate. Then the laminate can slide underneath, rather than trying to cut the laminate to fit around the door molding’s odd shape.

If there is carpet in the room, it will have to come up, along with any glue or tack boards or staples. (Just a heads up: This often is a giant pain in the ass. Why the person who installed your carpeting decided to use 17 gallons of glue to hold it down will always be a mystery, but you get to suffer because of it.)

Once you’re down to the cement or hardwood floor, look for holes or other damage. You may need a patching compound. The subfloor doesn’t have to be perfectly level, but you don’t want major flaws in it. Sweep the subfloor to remove as many stray particles as possible.

Then place the cases of laminate in the room for at least 24 hours. This allows them to adjust to the humidity and temperature of the room. (And if it’s that room in your house that your wife is always complaining is too cold, you may want to wait 48 hours.)

4-Install Underlayment

Some laminate has an underlayment attached to the backside, which serves as a vapor barrier. Tiles may have a plastic base that lifts the laminate off the subfloor, allowing airflow underneath in an environment with quite a bit of moisture.

Otherwise, you can purchase your own roll of underlayment to place down before installing the laminate floor on top.

Don’t glue down the underlayment. It can just lay on the subfloor or you can use a little bit of vinyl tape. (The next person who tears up this floor will give you silent thanks that you did not use glue.)

5-Cut the First and Last Rows

OK, more math. Sorry.

You don’t want a full-width plank or tile along the first wall, only to end up needing a plank an inch wide on the final wall. So figure out how many rows of planks you’ll need by dividing the total width of the room by the width of the planks or tiles. (Just a heads up, the manufacturers of these planks nearly always give them non-standard widths that are tough to calculate, like 7-2/3 inches or 8-1/16 inches. Sigh.)

Figure out how to split the difference between the first and last rows, so the planks look normal. For example, let’s say the room is 98 inches wide, and the planks are 8 inches wide. You can make 11 full-width rows in the middle of the room for 88 inches. That leaves 10 inches remaining for the first and last rows. Split the difference, and cut the planks for the first and last rows at 5 inches wide. (Dear laminate flooring manufacturers: See how much easier the math is without fractions?)

Use a circular hand saw or a table saw to cut the planks. You can cut some tiles with a sharp utility knife.

6-Install the Floor

Finally, it’s time to install the floor. Place the first row along the wall, popping the tiles or planks together as per the instructions for your particular model.

Leave a gap of 1/4 to 3/8 inches between the edge of the floor and the wall, so the laminate has space to expand with changes in heat and humidity. (You can purchase spacers to help with this process.) Now, if you live in an older home, chances are roughly 0% that the wall will be straight. So do your best to leave some sort of tiny gap between the floor and wall for expansion.

When you reach the end of the room, you’ll almost certainly have to cut one of the planks or tiles length-wise. Take the piece that you cut off from the first row and use it to start the second row. (Always start each row along the same wall.)

Continue working across the room, popping the tiles in place. Take care that the seams on the vertical ends of the planks (the short end) do not line up closely from row to row. The vertical seams should be staggered so they’re at least 6 inches apart. You may have to cut the first plank in the row a second time to stagger the seams.

Replace the baseboard and the quarter round molding you removed earlier. (If you broke it earlier, it was probably time to buy some new pieces anyway.)

Best Products for How to Lay Laminate Flooring

TrafficMASTER Laminate Flooring

This style of laminate plank costs about 89 cents per square foot of coverage, so it’s extremely affordable. It also has multiple faux wood stain colors available. (And hand-scraped means looks worn in, vintage, in a good way. We know you’re asking that right now, but trust us, she likes this.)

It’s easy to install and looks great, but it does not give you an attached underlayment.

Buy for $22 per case on Home Depot

Greatmats Max Tile Laminate Flooring

You’ll be able to pick from a few different stain colors with Max Tile, and it delivers a highly durable surface that will stand up to kids and pets.

These laminate tiles are ideal in a basement that often has moisture seepage, as the tiles raise slightly away from the floor, allowing air to flow underneath them. You won’t need an underlayment.

Buy for $187 per case on Amazon

Floorlot 3 mm Laminate Flooring Underlayment

This roll of laminate flooring underlayment gives you a good value, as it also serves as a vapor barrier. This roll is 200 sq ft, so you’ll likely need multiple rolls.

Fair warning: If you have little kids in the house, they may want you to stop after putting down the underlayment, saying they love the pretty blue floor.

Buy for $40 on Amazon

Rust-Oleum Concrete Repair Products

Don’t let a severe crack or hole in the floor ruin your laminate flooring installation. Patch any holes, give this about 8 hours to dry, and you’ll be ready to begin laying out the floor.

Hopefully, you won’t fix the subfloor so perfectly that you no longer want to install the laminate.

Buy for $23 on Amazon

DeWalt 10-Inch Table Saw

It may be overkill to purchase a table saw just to trim enough laminate for one room, but if you have a few other home improvement jobs that can make use of this table saw, it’ll give you a good level of performance. Plus, having a table saw in your collection of power tools is just damn cool.

Buy for $277 on Amazon

DeWalt 6.5-Inch Cordless Circular Saw

It’s not a table saw, but it still works well for cutting your laminate flooring planks. It’s smaller and easier to maneuver (and store) if this is the only DIY you’re going to get to this year. Wear safety goggles, as it will kick up a lot of dust and shards.

Buy for $68 on Amazon

WORX Pegasus Multi-Function Portable Work Table

Every dad can use a sturdy work table when laying laminate flooring or for other projects. This WORX table makes it easy to clamp the pieces securely as you’re cutting them. And it folds down to a small size for storage, which your wife will love … until the next honey-do list project is ready to start.

Buy for $132 on Amazon

Workpro Folding Utility Knife

With extremely thin laminate planks or tiles, you can use the utility knife and a straight edge to create a precise cut. And because it’s a folding knife, it’s a lot safer to have around the house. You just know the kids are going to try to grab it.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

Komelon 25-Foot Power Tape

To figure out how to install laminate flooring correctly, you will need to do math, and you will need to take measurements. Ugh. Maybe your 8-year-old could help you with some new math.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

Unilin Laminate Flooring Installation Kit

Sure, you could just eyeball the expansion gap you should have with your install laminate floor project. Or you could purchase this installation kit with its wall spacers and tapping tool and do it correctly. Your choice, but it does make the project a little bit easier.

Buy for $22 on Home Depot

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

(All finished flooring photos from Home Depot)