Try This: Projects for the Kitchen

A guide to simple, affordable do-it-yourself projects for the kitchen.

| September/October 2003


  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • The screen can be cut to fit with wire snips and stretched into place using a staple gun.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • A dish scrubber from yesterday's trash.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • The panels cut fairly easily with tin snips and are secured into the frame with 1/4-inch tack nails spaced every 6 inches.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • Here's a wall scone that gives maximum light for its watts.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • An old keyhole escutcheon adds artful interest to an inexpensive little wooden knob.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • An old Chinese coin with the square hole in the middle makes a graceful, perhaps even lucky, pull.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • And don’t overlook plain old house keys—they make a fun pull with lots of attitude. You’d be surprised at how many different styles of keys are made, so don’t hesitate to mix and match.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • Keys such as this were used to adjust every thing from skates to the gas flow of radiators. Making them into pulls requires a bit of work, but the result is well worth the effort. The square hole in their base will need to be “tapped” at your local machine shop. This simple process creates a threaded sleeve for the bolt to screw into. Although not an easy DIY project for the home craftsman, tapping is Machine Shop 101, so don’t be intimidated if you find a handsome handful of skate keys.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • Wooden spindles were ubiquitous in the textile industries of old. You can cut off either end for a pull. Some are lined with a metal sleeve, so use a hack saw, not a wood saw.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • Iron stars such as this were used to brace masonry in old brick buildings. Put a nut or a stack of washers between it and the cabinet so your fingers have room to grab.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • An inexpensive porcelain fixture, available at any hardware store, is the only element that requires hardwiring. This duct work collar was found in a bin at a used building supply yard, but similar collars can be found at hardware stores or heating supply companies. Once the round bulb is screwed into the socket, it holds the collar in place with no screws, welding, or adhesive needed.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • The fencing is stretched into place and secured with construction staples. Be sure to secure more than one piece of wire with each staple. Tap the staples flush with a hammer.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger
  • Those little plastic net bags are just too cute (and non-degradable) to throw away. They come in all sizes and varying degrees of softness. Experiment with different kinds and various folds to make a scrubber with the right amount of “tooth” for your dishes.
    Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

  • Photo By Susan Wasinger

Use less, get more...Changing the cabinets has a dramatic effect on the look of a kitchen. But new cabinets are expensive and often made of questionable materials—glues and preservatives and plastics that can impact the environment and your health. They’re resource-intensive, too—forests of hardwoods fall each year to keep up with the American appetite for the new and different.

Fitting new doors to existing cabinets is an old idea with new relevance. Frame-style doors use relatively little wood and give you the opportunity to recycle materials creatively to put your own stylish stamp on your kitchen. Here are four different materials that easily insert into new or existing door frames for a custom kitchen on your own terms.

Old wavy glass

Recycled glass, once used in a bank for privacy, gives new life to these simple wood-frame cabinet doors. Old glass comes in lots of styles—remember wire grid safety glass or that frosty, bumpy glass on the principal’s door at school? Check in the phone book under “Building Materials—Used” or try architectural salvage yards to begin your search for the perfect glass. Have the glass cut to size at a glass shop. The panels are best fitted in the frames using silicone caulk.



Wire screen

For a clean-lined kitchen, the combination of plain light wood and metal has a contemporary feel. Wire screen, often used in manufacturing, comes in a variety of materials, grid styles, and sizes. Most hardware stores carry a surprising array, or try a metal wire manufacturer (check the yellow pages under “wire cloth” or “wire products”).






mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: October 13-14 2018
Topeka, KS

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE