20 weekend projects for under $20 

How to make the most of limited time and resources

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Build a tipi for vining plants

You’ll need three poles (or long sticks), steel wire and grapevines. Prop up the three poles. Use wire to tie them together at the top, making sure that the three legs are splayed at the bottom. Weave wire and vine at intervals from the tipi’s top to its bottom. You’ll be left with a natural-looking trellis that’s ready for this spring’s sweet peas.

Make a coat rack from barn wood

Select a piece of barn wood and a handful of doorknobs, maybe four. (Both are available at Home ReSource). Stain or paint the wood. Place a doorknob spindle on what will be the front of the coat rack and using a drill, insert a screw through the rear, pushing the screw all the way through the wood and into the doorknob spindle. Apply wood glue where the spindle and plank connect. Apply the doorknob. Repeat.

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news
  • Cathrine L. Walters

Transform a chandelier into a backyard fountain

We got this idea from HomeReSource’s Abe Coley, who steered us to the store’s chandelier selection while explaining that it wouldn’t take much work to gut the fixture’s wiring, use silicone adhesive sealant to seal gaps and bring water to it with a slender tube. Home ReSource sells chandeliers for between $5 and $10. “That’s a crazy project,” Coley says.

Replace bland electrical plates

Why keep those boring beige electrical plates when you can replace them with Michelangelo’s “David” or Botticelli’s “Spring?” At Artplates.com, those plates and others like them sell for $9.95. Local stores like the Artists’ Shop offer handcrafted ones, too.

Install dimmer switches

Dimmer switches allow you to adjust brightness to suit your mood. Home Depot sells them for under $10.

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news
  • Cathrine L. Walters

Switch out kitchen cabinet hardware

There are a ton of different types of hardware out there, everything from pink “bubble glass” cabinet knobs, which evoke a contemporary feel, to classic brass pulls. This is a good project for DIYers looking for an easy and inexpensive undertaking.

Make a bulletin board out of corks

This project may motivate you to drink more wine. To get started, you’ll need roughly two dozen corks. Once that task is accomplished, purchase a picture frame and use wood glue to affix the corks to the frame’s backing board. The undertaking should cost less than $20, not including the wine.

Build a stone walkway

The path between your home’s front door and its parking area is perennially muddy, making it all too easy to track funk into the house. To help remedy the problem, build a stone walkway. At Home Depot, $20 will buy you enough red 12-by-12 walkway stones to cover just more than 12 feet. Home ReSource also sells the stones, when available, for between 50 cents and $2.

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