#MyOSHProject: Air Plant Displays Two Ways

Air plants are the kind of greenery that even a neglectful gardener can love. These bromeliads get all the water and nutrients they need through specialized leaves. And since they come in an array of interesting shapes and colors, they add easy-care (and living!) architectural elements for a variety of projects. We’ll help you get started with a few ideas. When you’re ready to get started, find everything you need at your neighborhood Orchard Supply Hardware store.

How to make a Tillandsia Stand

Air Plant in a Tillandsia Stand
Air Plant Tillandsia Stand

Materials

Step 1
Take a 2-in x 2-n piece of bass hobby wood and cut into 2-in squares. Hint: You can get this done at the Workbench

Step 2
Cut copper wire to desired length.

Step 3
Drill a hole slightly larger than the size of the copper wire three-quarters of the way through each wood block.

Step 4
Fill each hole with the E600 glue and push in the copper wire. Remember to wipe off excess glue.

Step 5
Use the pliers to coil the copper wire at the top.

Step 6
Place an air plant inside the coil and you now have an artful addition to a table or shelf.

Tips:

Get all your cutting done at our Workbench! We custom cut wood, wire, glass, rope, chain, fabric and much more!

Get creative and add a splash of paint. You have almost endless color choices with Benjamin Moore.

How to make a wall hanging air plant

Wall hanging air plant display
Wall hanging air plant display

Materials

Step 1
Take a piece of 2 x 4 wood or similar and have it cut to the size you desire.

Step 2
After paint dries, drill a hole diagonally through each top corner so that the exit point is on either side of the wood.

Step 3
Cut a 20-in piece of twine and loop through holes, making a knot on both ends.

Step 4
Use the E600 glue to attach the handle pull in the desired spot.

Step 5
Place an air plant inside the handle. Your living artwork is ready to hang!

Keeping your air plant happy

Easy care does not meant that you can ignore air plants. Just remember to give them:

  • Constant air circulation.
  • Some moisture. The best way to water an air plant is to submerge it in a dish of water for 12 hours. Air plants only take up as much water as they need, so you won’t overwater by doing this. Do this every 2 weeks.
  • Protection from full sun.
  • Protection from temperatures colder than 45 degrees

Get an Amazing Lawn This Summer…It All Starts Right Now

Ah, summer. Long days, cold drinks, and the perfect lawn under your bare feet. All that starts right now, with spring lawn care. Here’s our super-secret how-to for the perfect lawn.

If your lawn is looking a little patchy, it might be time to overseed it. No, that doesn’t mean putting way too much seed on your lawn. It means we’re going to put new seed over the grass that’s already there, to fill in the blank spots.

Before we get started, let’s go over some basics:

  • Read all the directions before starting a project, or using a new product. You want to have a good idea of what you’re doing before you start.
  • Be sure you’re wearing the right clothes including proper safety gear like safety glasses and earplugs if you plan to use trimmers, edgers, or any other outdoor power equipment. Remember your gloves.
  • Make sure your yard is clean. Clear out any leaves, twigs, branches, and thatch. You can use a leaf blower for the larger debris, but you should finish with a rake to loosen up and level out the top layer of soil.
  • Use the right seed types for your region. Don’t know what kind of seed you should use? Your neighborhood store {link to store finder} will have the right types for your area.

Once you’ve got everything, it’s time to get started. First, mow your lawn on a short setting (under 3-in), and bag the grass cuttings. We’re going to use them a little later.

Next, a step most people skip: Aeration. Aeration is even important in years you’re not overseeding. It helps oxygen get to the root of all those plants.

Mowing and aerating.
Mowing and aerating.

Remember, your lawn isn’t one big plant, it’s a bajillion tiny ones. Each and every one of them needs oxygen. You can aerate your lawn by yourself with a hand aerator or you can rent an aeration machine.

Now here’s the first secret trick. When you’ve finished your aeration, mulch your old grass trimmings back onto the lawn.

Earlier, when we mowed the lawn short, we made it easier for the seed to get through the grass and to the ground. Now we’re using the grass cuttings as a base mulch layer for the new seeds. It’ll hold moisture around them and help them grow. And since we just aerated, there are convenient holes all over your lawn, just waiting to be filled.

Rotary and hand held seed spreaders.

Now it’s time to seed. You can use a hand broadcast spreader , to spread grass seeds in a smaller yard, or a rotary spreader {link to gallery}, for a larger one. Be sure to adjust your spreader to the setting suggested in your seed’s instructions. Overcrowding your seeds makes them compete for food, water, and oxygen, and can lead to patchy growth. That’s pretty much the opposite of what we’re trying for.

Once you’ve seeded, water and wait for it to absorb. Now water again. In the ten days or so after re-seeding, you’ll want to water 2-3 times a day, for 5 minutes or so each time. Proper hydration, at the right time, is the key to a healthy lawn.

Sprinkler Timer – See More

During spring and summer, grass needs about 1-in of water per week for ideal growth. Depending on where you live, a lot of that could be taken care of by rain. Take that into consideration when you set your sprinkler output, because too much water could drown your seeds, or wash them away.

Water daily, in the early morning. Between 4 and 10 a.m. if at all possible. There are a ton of solutions for automatic watering, so don’t worry about somehow fitting it into your morning before you finish your coffee. Some timers even have weather delay functions, so you can pause your watering schedule for a few days when you’re expecting rain.

How to test your sprinkler output

Scatter some pie tins around your lawn, and turn your sprinklers on for a cycle. Ignore any funny looks from the neighbors. When you’re done watering, measure how much fluid is in each tin to know how many inches your lawn gets per watering, and if it’s watering evenly.

Now, let’s talk about crabgrass and dandelions. They are the enemy.

Crabgrass should be controlled with a pre-emergent herbicide to stop them before they even get going.

There’s really no bad time in the spring to use a pre-emergent, except when you’ve just seeded your lawn. Most pre-emergents kill grass just as easily as they kill weeds, so wait until you’ve mowed any new grass four times before applying it. If you’re not re-seeding this year, use a fertilizer with a crabgrass preventer and you’ll feed your lawn at the same time as destroying those nasty weeds.

Dandelions—and most other broadleaf weeds—have to be handled with a post-emergent herbicide after they start to grow. But there’s good news about that.

Unlike pre-emergent herbicides, there are special products that target the dandelion, and let the grass get off scot-free. They can be applied without harming your lawn at all, and they kill the taproot. If you don’t kill the root, you have to dig the whole thing if you want to to make sure it won’t come back.

And of course, once your grass starts growing, you have to cut it. But don’t pull the choke yet. Step one for the perfect trim is servicing your lawn mower.

Change the oil, buy new gasoline, lube the moving parts, and clean up any old messes. You should also have the lawn mower blades sharpened (which we can do at The Workbench) and the engine checked (we can do that, too! Ask at customer service).

In terms of grass length, try to keep your lawn right around 3-in tall. The longer it gets, the easier it is for pests to hide in there. If it’s too short, it won’t be able to absorb all the nutrients it needs.

And never cut your grass when it’s wet. It’s bad for your lawn and bad for your mower, too.

That’s it for spring. Easy, right? And it’ll pay off later this summer, in the form of bare feet and happy toes.

How to Plant a Veggie Garden from Seed

Renee's Garden Seeds, All Seed Starting Supplies

Growing vegetables and herbs from seed is easy, inexpensive, and fascinating because you get to witness the growth cycle of a plant from beginning to harvest. You can do it yourself or get family or friends involved in the plotting. All you need is a space that gets at least six hours of sun, has nearby access to a hose, and (wait for it … ) seeds!

Checklist:

Wheelbarrow, rake, hoe

Digging fork or long-handled trowel

✓ Bags of garden soil and/or compost

✓ Pencil or small stick

Seeds

✓ Gardening gloves and hat

✓ Drinking water, sunblock, family and friends

Prep.

In spring (as in, now), you can sow most seeds directly in the garden. But before you start doing what I like to call the “Sprinkle & Shake,” you need to prep the planting area. If you’re planting in the ground, remove weeds and apply a six-inch layer of compost. Compost boosts soil nutrition and helps retain soil moisture. In other words, your plants will love you for it. With a digging fork or long trowel, work the compost into the existing soil, breaking up any big clumps. You want the soil to be nice and finely textured. Rake the garden bed smooth and and lightly water it if the soil is dry. Aim for moist not soggy. With the heavy work now out of the way, you’re ready to plant.

Select.

If you haven’t selected your seeds by now, you can do this at the nursery while the compost and moisture settle into the garden bed. Buy seeds for what you want to eat, of course, but also consider how much space the plants will ultimately need, which ones perform best in your area (check with your local Orchard Nursery), and what vegetables grow well together. A reliable rule of thumb: veggies and herbs that taste great together can usually be grown together successfully. Leafy greens are typically easy to grow from seed and can thrive in each other’s company. Try a mix of kale, Swiss chard and lettuces. Other great easy-grow combos include cherry tomatoes, peppers and herbs like basil or thyme; and carrots, beans and radishes. Look for disease-resistant varieties, too, of which there seems to be increasingly more and more.

Sow.

Follow directions on seed packets for spacing requirements and how deep to plant. Make furrows with a hoe if you’ve got room to do long, traditional rows. For smaller plots, you can simply press a pencil or stick into the soil to create furrows, gently sprinkle the seeds, then pinch the soil over the seeds, pat lightly and water. You can snip off a corner of the packet and carefully tap the seeds into the furrows or distribute the seed by shaking it gently from your hand. Either way is easy-peasy. Scatter pinches of seed as evenly as possible but don’t worry if it’s not lined up. Be extra careful with very small seeds on a windy day. Larger seeds, such as for pole or bush beans, can simply be pushed one-by-one into the soil with a finger.

Water the furrows with the mist setting on your garden hose. Keep top of soil moist but not soggy until the seeds sprout. When seedlings emerge and have put on 2-3 “true” leaves, thin out the plants. This prevents overcrowding, benefits development, and is just easier to do while the plants are still young. If you thin the plants carefully, you can use the seedlings you pinch out elsewhere in the garden. Feel free to even start another row with them. The more veggies, the merrier.

Get all of your seedling, soil and planting needs taken care of when you visit your local Orchard Supply Hardware.

#MyOSHProject: Upcycled House Numbers Sign

It’s a Saturday. And as is often the case, you’re wondering what you can do to make your home a little more uniquely you. Something that will let you express yourself artistically in a single afternoon. Well, we’ve got just the project for you an upcycled house numbers sign. All it takes is some wood and screws to make a set of house/apartment numbers (or anything you like) for your home.

While you can absolutely head to your nearest hardware store and pick up everything you need for this project, this is also a great way to make use of material from past projects. Using scrap wood you may have around the home or anything you might be able to pick up in your neighborhood or at a local construction site or store (sometimes small businesses will be all too happy to get rid of pallets, for example) is a great way to make this project your own. Using different kinds of screws and nails you may have around the house can help achieve the same goal, giving your sign a unique and eclectic look. Of course, if you want to achieve a more uniform and cleaner appearance, using new material is the perfect way to do that. Either way, the steps are the same, so let’s get started.

What you’ll need for the Upcycled House Numbers Sign:

Step 1

Prepare the wood. Cut it to the desired size, if necessary. If you picked up some stain or paint, now’s the time to apply it. There are many different kinds of stain, and each will work differently on different sorts of woods. Pine stains very differently from cherry, for example. If you have extra scrap wood of the same kind you’ll be using for the project, it’s a good idea to test it out on that first. If your chosen stain is a little too light or you just want to play around with different effects, you can apply multiple coats to give your wood a darker finish.

Step 2

Once the stain is dry, take your stencils and arrange them however you’d like your finished sign to look, then trace them with pencil so you can use the outlines as a guide. With the shapes outlined, take a ruler and make regular grid-like marks for where your screws will go. This will ensure a neat and attractive final product.

Step 3

If you’re using a small piece of wood or you’re planning to have your numbers close to the edges of the wood, it’s a good idea to pre-drill the holes for the screws you’ll be using. Using thin or dry wood, or drilling screws too close to the edges can cause the wood to split. If this happens, you can use wood glue along the split and hold it together with clamps to repair it. You can prevent the wood from splitting by drilling through the board with a bit that’s a little smaller than the screws you’ll be using. Providing a pre-drilled path for the screws makes it easier for them to enter the board, and by using a drill bit with a smaller diameter, you’ll ensure that there’s still plenty of wood for the threads of the screws to bite into. TIP: Use a Drive Guide to help steady the screwdriver!

Step 4

Begin screwing in your screws. If they require a special bit, make sure to use that to prevent any issues. By following the guide lines you drew back in step 2 and sinking them all to the same depth, you’ll ensure a uniform look.


With a little bit of careful planning and a leisurely weekend afternoon, you can create an unique set of address numbers for your home. Of course, you can make any kind of sign you like, or even use different colored screws and stain to recreate some of your favorite pieces of art.

Whatever you decide to do, we hope you feel inspired, and of course, share the results of your creativity on social media using #MyOSHProject so we can applaud you!

Dremel Hatch: A Wood Project Kit that comes with everything you need

Ever buy a project kit that told you it had “everything you need” or to “just add imagination?” Ever become get really, really upset when you opened that kit and it did not, in fact, come with everything you need? Yeah. Us too.

So when Dremel® said they had a wood crafting project kit that included everything you need, our interests were piqued. Incoming the Dremel Hatch Project!

We told them we were curious, and they sent us one to check out—a pallet wood wall art project called Skyline. We immediately went to work inspecting every single tiny little thing about it.

Our conclusion? It’s the best thing that’s happened to craft night since the embroidery hoop.

Overstatements aside, it lives up to everything we were told, and you’ll know it as soon as you pick one up.

The first thing you’re going to notice is the box. It’s not just another cardboard box, it’s actually part of the project. It’s the workspace. Really!

The inside of the package is gridded like graph paper, so you can line things up and measure them without using a ruler. One half of the box folds flat and the other turns into a stand you can use to hold your directions and there’s even a cut-out holder for your phone.

The phone holder is one of our favorite parts. It’s a huge plus for those who like to share our projects online. It will hold your cell phone right over the top of your project, so you can stream your progress, record for editing later, or take time-lapse shots. All without taking your hands off of your project.

What’s inside?

  • A wood pallet
  • wood practice pieces
  • paint
  • paint brushes
  • markers
  • a pencil
  • chalk
  • an eraser
  • a picture hanging kit
  • sandpaper
  • transfer paper
  • templates of the city skylines of Chicago and New York City
  • plus, you get an online code to get templates for 80 more major cities.

The only thing you need to supply is a stable surface to hold your box. So you can do this practically anywhere you want. If you got one kit for each of your guests, you could host a crafting party at the park or the beach just as easily as hosting one at your house.

The last thing you get with the kit (one thing that isn’t on that materials list) is inspiration.

Dremel® knows you want to really personalize this. So they’ve included suggestions on how to make it your own using other crafting and woodworking techniques like burning, sanding, and routing.

Something else you don’t see on that materials list? A Dremel® tool. And that’s because you don’t need one. Sure, you can use one if you’d like, but you don’t have to have one to get this project done.

And this is just the first kit they’ve released. The next box is projected to be out around the holiday season of 2017. That gives us plenty of time to practice taking our skyline projects to the next level.

We think we’re going to try the string-art version of Los Angeles next. Buy your very own Dremel Hatch Project Kit Online now or available in stores on March 10, 2017.