By Daniel Hurst Photography

By Daniel Hurst Photography

It’s that time of year… Back to school! We found a bunch of textbook perfect projects that will help you prepare for the upcoming school year.

Get organized!

Parents know that back to school means homework, school activities, sports, and more. Prepare yourself with projects that help you organize homework due dates, sports schedules, and weekend activities.

Organization frames are simple tools to help you and your kids keep track of deadlines and dates. Lowe’s demonstrates how to create a multipurpose frame system in four simple steps.

Create a study space for your A+ students where they can stay organized and focused and take the occasional study break. The study space features a book nook, art corner, and extra credit/homework dry-erase wall.

Kick off the school year in style!

Back to school shopping can get expensive. Why not create your own fashionable, inexpensive school accessories?

Book bag: Learn how to make a chic oversized book bag that’s big enough for books and supplies. Maryssa “Missa” Stumpf of Missa by Design provides a how-to video with simple steps to create this super cute accessory.

Backpack: Make a backpack out of a mens jacket. Threadbanger gives step-by-step instructions on how to create a hip backpack that’s perfect for the new school year.

DIY Sustainable LunchReusable lunch bags: Stop wasting plastic bags and create a cute reusable lunch bag using old clothes. Amy from Progressive Pioneer uses old jeans to create her reusable lunch bag. They’re cheap, durable, and great for the environment.

Teachers pet?

Start the school year right by impressing your teacher with some unique, homemade crafts such as:

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iStock_000003145965XSmallMoving into a new (or new-to-you) house can be exciting. But it can also mean needing some basic DIY skills that you may not have ever learned.

We asked some experienced new homeowners and renters about what DIY and home maintenance tips they think are most important. What do new homeowners or young people living their first house need to know? We asked Twitter and got these responses:

  • Basic plumbing: know how to unstop a toilet, unclog a drain, fix a basic leak.
  • How to (and when to) change the air filter in a house with central air and heat.
  • Hone your stud-finding abilities and be able to find a stud in the wall to hang hooks, pictures and shelves.
  • A clean caulk can keep out significant water damage. Knowing how to seal joints in the kitchen and bath is a top skill.
  • Grow some basic landscaping skills: know what the tools are for, figure out what plants to plant and gauge how much to water to use.
  • Build your toolkit and put together a great go-to box of tools with all the basics. But what should go it?
  • Know when to bring in a professional: some DIY is not amateur-friendly, know when to fold ’em

Having some basic home maintenance and DIY skills can save you a lot of money. In fact, the most common statistic we found is that, for every $1 that is spent on maintenance, up to $100 of repairs are avoided.

We’ll cover some of these skills in more detail in the next few posts, but in the meantime, here are some terrific resources so you can get started building your DIY skills.

If you have a skill that you’d add to the list, please feel free! We’ll see if we can address it in a future post.

ShoGooSkateJust in case there are some avid skaters (or parents of skaters) amongst our regular DIY and craft audience, we thought we would share the latest news about Shoe GOO.

Eclectic Products, Inc., EXIT real word, and Cactus Skateboards recently launched the first ever Shoe GOO video contest!

Shoe GOO Skate is looking for talented skaters to show off their skills and show us the GOO. Contestants will be judged on skateboarding skills and the ability to creatively incorporate Shoe GOO with their videos. Winners will have the opportunity to win a variety of prizes including up to $500, flip cams and skate swag.

To learn more about the contest visit ShoeGOOSkate.com.

Decoupage shoes by Stacie We are constantly amazed by the innovative and stylish crafts that people produce using Eclectic Products. Stacie Grissom recently shared her secret to making a cute pair of shoes using some basic art supplies, household items, and ShoeGOO.

Below are instructions… now hop to it and get crafty!

You Will Need:

  • Old pair of shoes, any kind will work.
  • Shoe GOO
  • Anything you want to cover your shoes: pictures, magazine clippings, candy wrappers, comic book pages, poetry book pages, fabric scraps, etc.
  • Rhinestones, beads (optional)
  • Tweezers (for rhinestones or beads)
  • Fast drying glue such as Amazing QuickHOLD

Step One

Step One

Step One:
Organize the items you want to place on your shoes and construct a design. Place the clippings on the shoes, starting with the larger items first. Place a drop of fast-drying glue such as Amazing QuickHOLD on the corner of the clipping to hold it in place and then cover the paper with Shoe GOO. Don’t be stingy with the Shoe GOO.

After the larger clippings are in place, start filling the spaces with smaller scraps until the shoe is entirely covered.

Step Two

Step Two

Step Two:
Once all of the clippings are in place and the shoe is covered, start putting drops of Shoe GOO on the shoe by rubbing it over the shoe. Only rub the the Shoe GOO over the shoe once to get a clear effect. Rubbing over the shoe more than once will cause the shoe to become opaque. Apply Shoe GOO lightly on the most visible parts of the shoe.

Tip: Place a generous amount of Shoe GOO near the sole of the shoe and where the shoe bends. Without a helping of Shoe GOO, the clippings may crack off.

Step Three

Step Three

Step Three:
Place a dollop of Shoe GOO where you would like to add embellishments. Apply rhinestones or beads to the Shoe GOO with tweezers.

Step Four:
Allow the Shoe GOO to dry completely.

Step Five:
Add another layer of Shoe GOO on places that look thin and, again, around the soles and where the shoes bend. Wait for the Shoe GOO to dry.

After this, you are done! You will have a funky pair of recycled shoes that will catch the eyes of people everywhere.

To view more photos of Stacie’s ShoeGOO photos, visit her Flickr page or visit her blog Stars for Streetlights.

BBQ Season by Dominic via Flickr

BBQ Season by Dominic via Flickr

In the category of “random holidays,” we learn that July is not just National Hot Dog Month, but it’s also the National Month for baked beans, blueberries and ice cream. Sounds like a BBQ to us!

As we are wont to do, we scoured the Internet to find the best of the best tips for prepping for and hosting a delightful backyard soiree.

Prepping

Check the backyard for any safety issues such as filling holes that may cause people to fall when walking, or fixing a loose board on a deck or stones in a patio. Clean up a cluttered yard by putting away all unnecessary items such as toys and outdoor maintenance equipment.

You may have noticed that wobbly leg on the deck chair at the Memorial Day get together. It’s time to repair it! Make quick and easy repairs using Amazing GOOP Lawn & Garden or EcoGlue Extreme.

Keep your party bug free by setting up insect repellent devices around the yard. Make sure your repellent is EPA-registered or recognized as safe for kids, pets, and the environment. Repellent devices include Allethrin Lamps, Geraniol Candles and Diffusers, and Metofluthrin Diffusers.

Next, clean the stuff.

Good Housekeeping recommends the following top patio-furniture cleaners:

Decorating

Liven up the party with decorations:

  • Pick a theme and place decorations around the patio, yard, and house.
  • Spruce up picnic tables with fresh-picked flowers.
  • Cover tables with vibrant plastic or cloth tablecloths.
  • Place votive candles on tables to add ambiance and additional lighting to the party.

Party Time!

Whether your cooking simple hot dogs and hamburgers or lamb shish kabobs, prepare everything ahead of time to avoid a hassle during the party. Food and Wine Magazine recommends four simple steps to a great barbecue: slather, rub, mop, and barbecue sauce. Tasty food is a key component to a successful barbecue.

Prepare a buffet table and set out a cooler with cold beverages just before your guests arrive. Arrange the buffet table in a logical order so guests can easily maneuver through the delicious grub you prepared. Place condiments and extras in a central location for easy mid-meal maneuvering. Replace perishable items with fresh food to avoid potential spoiling.

Prepare games such as badminton, horseshoes, and volleyball. Make sure you have the appropriate game equipment for your guests and encourage some friendly competition by offering fun prizes.

Keep the party groovin’ with a killer music selection or playlist. Who knows, maybe the music will provoke an impromptu dance party.

And voila… you now have a successful barbecue!

DIY PaintingIt’s summer and that means it’s time to start some home improvement projects. Lucky for you, there are abundant resources available for doable DIY projects. Avoid a DIY disaster with tips we found that help you choose your projects wisely and plan carefully.

Step one: Do your research!

Interior designers suggest searching the Internet for step-by-step videos for a particular project. A video will help you visualize the project and decide if the project is doable. Research also will give you a realistic idea of how long a project will take.

Research the necessary tools for the job. Many tools may only be needed once for a specific cost. Research tool rental costs to reduce DIY expenses.

Step two: Time to get started!

Outdoor projects

There are many doable outdoor DIY projects for the inexperienced. Staining a deck or laying a stone walkway are both simple outdoor projects that experts suggest for home-improvement novices. The DIY Network suggests building an outdoor patio as a simple addition to a yard.

Spruce up dreary gray concrete surfaces with acid stains, acrylic stains, epoxy paints, and scoring techniques. Water based concrete stains are a popular eco-friendly solution for coloring concrete surfaces. These stains act like a dye and come in a wide array of colors. For example, SoyCrete is green building compliant, non-hazardous, and acid free concrete stain.

Painting

Painting is a simple, affordable way to improve your home. To make a paint-job look professional and clean, sand surfaces before painting. This doable DIY task gets tricky when attempting to paint the ceiling. Some designers suggest a laminate plank system for ceilings. The laminate planks can be affixed to any ceiling with hooks and screws, which gives your home a sleek, professional look.

Lighting

Upgrade your lighting fixtures by adding decorative trim to lamp shades. Plain drum shades and pendant light kits are available at home good stores. Avoid a DIY disaster by leaving technical electricity work to the experts!

Wallpaper and Upholstery

Experts advise starting small when it comes to wall covering. If you’re nervous about applying wallpaper, save money and time by prepping the walls. To prep the walls, start by sanding, remove the dust with a damp cloth, and then prime with wallpaper primer. If you work up the courage to apply the wallpaper, start small and take your time.

To read more about doable DIY projects see the full article: Want to fix up the house? Pick doable DIY tasks.

DIY InstructionsWe know you enjoy DIY – building, crafting, repairing – and sometimes finding interesting, useful and inspirational things online can be very time consuming.

Since we’ve been reading and sharing a variety of projects, innovative ideas and just cool stuff on Twitter, we thought compiling them for you here would be fun, too.  You can join us anytime on Twitter, by the way. @amazinggoop for DIY and craft tweets and @EPI_Industrial for builders and contractors.

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DIY Gardening: Build a Rain Barrel

It’s gardening season and your plants are thirsty. Make your own rain barrel with used plastic containers. Rain barrels are an efficient, cost effective way homeowners can collect and recycle a valuable resource.

33 Clever, Time-Saving, Money-Saving Reader Tips

Readers contributed bunches of tips that speed repairs and save money. You can find the best of the tips from This Old House. Our favorites were tip number 16, place a bag in a paint tray to decrease the mess, and number 30, unclog hairy drains with Nair hair remover. We’d also add #34: Use a good adhesive.

How to Build a Patio Planter

From our buddy, Danny Lipford, learn how to build a wood patio planter with simple instructions. Summer heat doesn’t mean boring entryways. Add simple late summer or fall plants for a lovely addition to your patio. You can make it even simpler, by using EcoGlue Green Solutions Premium Wood Adhesive.

50 Nifty Tricks for Big DIY Savings

Shrink household expenses with 50 simple ideas. Some of the tricks may help you save $500. Some of the tips include shortening your dryer-vent hose and making your own cleaning solutions. And… Of course, add a tube of GOOP to your toolbox for on-the-spot repairs to save some coin, too.

How to Make an Herb Garden from Recycled Plastic Bottles

Reuse plastic bottles and create a fresh herb garden. This clever project would be great to do with your kids and watch your garden grow. Of course, we recommend EcoGlue for the glue used in this project. The steps are easy and you can have fresh basil before you know it.

19 fresh ideas for outdoor rooms

It doesn’t take much to improve a porch, patio or garden. Here are some easy and inexpensive updates for outdoor spaces. One of our favorites is fresh idea number 8: Create a new outdoor room with a simple change in flooring.

How to Decorate a Table with Bamboo Veneer Flowers

Spruce up a coffee table with an organic, floral twist. This article will show you how to make your own pattern from photos of flowers and apply them with bamboo veneer.

Mosaic Birdhouses

Learn how to make stunning mosaic birdhouses that will brighten your yard and make a stylish home for the birds in your yard. This article provide seven easy construction steps and materials. We’ve provided several mosaic projects on An Eclectic Blog and know that EcoGlue or Amazing GOOP both work well.

In a “vintage” 1994 television ad from Eclectic Products, a Godzilla-like mega monster attacks a Japanese city. What better to put it back together than Amazing GOOP?

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Joanna Gallo is another winner of our giveaway at Cut Out + Keep. We wanted to highlight one of her crafts here on An Eclectic Blog. Please visit her blog, go ahead and snicker, which includes information about crafts, local travels, recipes, entertainment, and more.

Baby Name Art Canvas

Baby Name Art Canvas

You will need:

-12 x 16 inch pre-stretched art canvas
-12 x 12 inch scrapbook paper
-Vintage wrapping paper or other paper with scenes
-Acrylic paint
-Wood letters
-Sand paper
-Mod Podge
-Tube of E-6000
-Bottle of Amazing EcoGlue
-Ribbon
-Ric rac

Step 1 – Begin by prepping the wood letters. Some wood letters may require a quick sanding. Once the letters are smooth, apply a coat of white acrylic paint as the base. Set the letters aside on a sheet of wax paper or a baking rack to dry.

Step 2 – While the letters dry, start working on the canvas. Gather two pieces of scrapbook paper to cover the front of the canvas. Trim one piece of paper to fit the canvas, leaving a 1/2 inch border of white around the edge. If the paper has a pattern, line up the second piece of paper with the edge of the cut side to be sure the pattern matches. Trim the second piece of paper to fit the remaining exposed canvas.

Step 3 – Make a tiny mark at each corner of the paper with a pencil. Apply Amazing EcoGlue to one piece of paper. Line up the paper with the pencil marks and rub over the entire surface. Repeat this step with the other piece, making sure to line up the pattern.

Cut out scenes from the wrapping paper.

Cut out scenes from the wrapping paper.

Step 4 – Cut out the scenes from the wrapping paper. Decide on the placement and mark the corners with a pencil. Place a light amount of Amazing EcoGlue on the back of each scene and line them up with the pencil marks. Rub over the entire surface, making sure edges are sealed.
*If you can’t find vintage wrapping paper, click here to borrow some from Joanna.

Step 5 – By now the base coat on the wood letters should be dry. Apply a coat of color to the wooden letters with acrylic paint. Set them aside to dry.

Step 6 – Once the letters are dry, embellish them with various details such as sponge painting, borders, and more. Once the embellishments dry, seal the letters with glossy Mod Podge or any other sealant.

Add embellishments to the wood letters.

Add embellishments to the wood letters.

Step 7 – Meanwhile, start embellishing the canvas. For example, trim each scene with a bit of ribbon and ric rac using E-6000.
*Quick tip: To keep the edges of ribbon or ric rac from fraying, dip them in clear nail polish.

Step 8 – Once everything is dry, attach the letters to the canvas with E-6000.

Any new mother will appreciate such a thoughtful gift.

Gretchen Demitroff won our giveaway at Cut Out + Keep. We wanted to highlight one of her crafts here on An Eclectic Blog. Please visit her blog, Angry Pincushion, for more info and detailed descriptions of the medium and large size “mushrooms.”

Mosaic Mushroom Garden

Mosaic Mushroom Garden

You Will Need:

-Two Terra Cotta Pots, One 1 1/2 inch pot (pretty tiny) and one 3 inch pot
-One 4 inch Terra Cotta saucer
-Flat glass marbles
-Polished pebbles or stones
-Two colors of Acrylic paint in shades of tan or creme
-Paint brush and sponge
-Tube of Amazing EcoGlue or Amazing GOOP Lawn & Garden
-Clear Acrylic Gloss (or Matte), Water Resistant Spray Coat

Step 1- To make the base, or the stem of the mushroom take the smaller of the two terra cotta pots (make sure it’s clean first!) and using EcoGlue or Amazing GOOP, glue it onto the larger pot (just like you were stacking them together ). Let dry for 24 hours.

Step 2- After the pots dry for 24hrs, paint the mushroom “stem” with acrylic paint. I used a tan base coat, let that dry then applied a lighter creme or tan color. Using a dry sponge I dragged the lighter shade down the sides for a layered effect, it makes it look more like a real mushroom stem. Let paint dry.

Step 3- After paint is fully dry, affix the terra cotta saucer, for the mushroom cap, to the base pots with a liberal amount of adhesive, let dry for 24hrs again.

Step 4- Now using EcoGlue or Amazing GOOP, begin applying the flat marbles and pebbles on to the top of the saucer or “mushroom cap”, and down the sides of the saucer, in whatever pattern or colors you wish. You can substitute more flat marbles for the pebbles if you wish. When you begin affixing the marbles and pebbles to the sides of the saucer, they might slide a little, so sometimes you have to hold each marble or pebble in place for a few seconds until it sticks by itself. Let dry for 24 hrs again.

Step 5- Using grout on the mushroom’s cap is optional, I chose not to, but if you like that look go for it! If you plan on putting your mushroom outside make sure to spray it using a water resistant clear gloss, or matte spray coat.

Congratulations! You are now the proud parent of a beautiful baby garden mushroom 🙂

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