Tag Archives: upcycled

August/September Wrap Up

Since Backyard Carnival in late July I haven’t had any big projects on the go in the backyard. Instead I’ve been focusing on putting some small finishes to other projects and having a good old tidy up.

The Shed
Tidy shedIn August I finally got around to tidying the shed! If you saw this old pic-post you’ll know the shed was in a very bad state. Over a couple of days I emptied and reorganised, even Blue Petering some empty bottles into tool storage. I have to say this was one of the most cathartic jobs I’d done in a while – and one I’d been putting off for almost a year! Going in the shed is now much more enjoyable and has a sense of satisfaction. I wonder if I can keep it tidy this time…

Painting
In late Autust I gave the fence panels a makeover with some Ronseal fence treatment. Then in early September I painted Wood Store #2 (gallery), then the bike shed (gallery) and Wood Store #1 (gallery).

Like tidying the shed these minor jobs brought big aesthetic changes and breathed some much needed fresh air into the garden.

Duck Coop
After procrastinating for quite some time on the subject of the duck coop surround I eventually opted to lay some decorative bark. I had initially wanted to pave around the coop but this would have been more costly and time consuming than I could manage, so I bought the bark and the results were surprisingly pleasing. I’m not sure paving would have looked half as nice now the bark is down!

I also finished painting the duck house and coop (a job I started months ago!) and again the results are both pleasing and satisfying. (Gallery)Duck coop

Lighting
One of my main reasons for trying to tie up these loose ends and make the garden that bit more respectable is Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night). Here we host a big party for Bonfire Night (or Bommy Neet as we say in this part of the world) and each year as summer begins to wane my focus shifts on hosting this party.

IMG_3823With that in mind I finally installed some better garden lighting. I replaced my single, harsh floodlight with several soft bulkheads that make for a much nicer ambience. The picture here is of the garden entrance where previously visitors would have been dazzled with a 500w floodlight pointing directly at them!

Backyard Carnival Birthday Party

Yesterday my eldest son turned 7 and we had an amazing carnival themed party. This was an idea I had back in February and after months of conceptualising, planning and DIY it was great to see it come to fruition – and even better to see how much fun my son and his friends had (not to mention the grownups).

Early in the morning I was out back setting up the stalls and giving the garden a fairground atmosphere with some bunting. We had 4 game stalls – Angry birds Tin Can Alley, Space Invaders Roll-a-Ball, Ball & Bucket a Shooting Gallery – a stand alone Hook a Duck game, and a snack stall.

When the kids arrived they dove straight in.

Archery was very popular, and I managed to send the kids home with all the eyes they came with!

Face painting went down a treat!

And candy floss making sessions drew a big crowd.

Kids young and old enjoyed the photo booth 😀

But by far the most popular part of Backyard Carnival was Splash Dunk and the Wet Sponge Stocks. The kids loved soaking the grownups and each other in equal measure!

The evolution of pallet carnival stalls: marks I—III

Lately I’ve been working on a new pallet carnival stall design for my son’s carnival themed birthday party. So far I’ve completed three with another two to go.

Carnival stall mk1The original stall I made back in April was more of a fascia than an actual stall. I used a full pallet and fastened two posts to the side which supported a small marquee made from small pallet pieces. The two problems I encountered with this design were stability (the stall had a tendency to topple over, even when I attached feet to it that could be pegged in the ground) and painting (the gaps in the pallet boards were very awkward to paint).

Carnival stall mk2The next stall I made was for a local youth centre who wanted a carnival style snack stall for their birthday celebration party in June. This time I completely dismantled the pallet and built it up again from scratch, making sure the boards were flush together to facilitate painting. I also included small sides to give it a more authentic stall look and added stability.

imageFor my third effort I had bought a £3 striped table cloth to try as an alternative to painting the stall (undercoat and gloss are both time consuming and costly). With this method I didn’t need to worry about gaps in the pallets as the table cloth would cover them. I spent a couple of weeks bringing home the pallets I needed, some of which were used in full, others dismantled for the sides and marquee.

First I attached a couple of feet to a full pallet. Then I made the stall sides from pallet boards and blocks. Next, the marquee went up, using long pallet boards for the posts and shorter ones for the marquee frame. Then I painted the posts and finished off by stapling the table cloth (in two parts) to the fascia of the stall and marquee.

I’m really pleased with the end result – it looks much more like a bona fide carnival stall, and it’s much sturdier than the previous designs, plus it’s already proving popular with the kids! 🙂

Duck Coop Almost Complete

Since my last update I’ve completed several jobs that were on my to do list:

  • Completed the roof (now changed to a flat roof)
  • Sunk the pool
  • Attached side rails
  • Laid turf
  • Made and hung the coop door

image

Remaining:

  • Finish painting the duck house
  • Secure the perimeter, especially the doorway
  • Finish off the surrounding area

All going well my next post on the duck coop will mark its completion (fingers crossed). For now though the remaining jobs will be put on the backburner while I focus on the Backyard Carnival project for my eldest son’s birthday in just a few weeks. I’m excited but also feeling the pressure, not least from my son and his daily reminders! 😀

Recycled Pallet Wood Lawn Edging

A couple of months ago I had the idea of using pallet wood as a cheap lawn edging solution. Lawn edging is something I’d wanted for a while but with around 80m to cover the cost was always prohibitive.

When I first thought of using pallets I tested out some self made stakes along a metre stretch and really liked the results. So, for the last two days I’ve been making hundreds of pallet wood stakes and making my way around the lawn. I think the result is great!

The wood is untreated so it won’t last forever but since pallet wood is free and these stakes are so easy to install I didn’t consider the benefit to be worth the cost and effort of treating it.

DIY Roll-a-Ball Carnival Game Made From Scrapwood

The latest addition to the Backyard Carnival project is this Space Invaders themed Roll-a-Ball game. This was a very quick and easy project to complete. The most time consuming aspect of the job was waiting for the paint to dry!

The last time our family went to a theme park my son spent hours at one of these stalls so I knew it had to be a fixture at Backyard Carnival. After acquiring an old furniture board that would serve as a base I got a few other pieces of scrap wood together and got to it.

Putting it together was just a simple matter of cutting a few pieces of pallet wood to size and fixing them to the base once everything had been painted. It’s worth mentioning that the base is slightly warped due to being left in the rain for some time, but this simply adds an element of classic carny rigging! 😀

Another step closer to bringing the carnival to the backyard! That’s three games completed now.

DIY Crazy Golf with Reclaimed Materials

A few weeks ago I saw a post on Pinterest that planted the seed of an idea to create some crazy golf holes in the backyard.  Since then I’ve been mulling it over, letting the idea grow and keeping my eyes peeled for scrap or bargains that could contribute to the project.

Before too long I had some multi-coloured golf balls and a couple of putters my dad spotted at a second-hand shop. Then I found some rolls of green matting on offer at Lidl for a very reasonable £3 per metre. I even found myself in possession of a miniature windmill!

The project was definitely starting to come alive, but I still had no materials for the construction of the course itself. The trouble was I needed some very strong and sturdy sheet wood that would provide a smooth, flat playing surface and be able to take foot traffic. Thick chipboard or hardboard would be ideal, but that stuff is expensive!

imageThen I hit the jackpot, and it had been under my nose all along. At the industrial estate I visit when looking for scrap wood I saw a huge pile of sheet wood and pre-made wooden frames. I must have driven past it a dozen times, at least, but I’d always been so focused on sourcing pallets and cable reels that I never thought about it’s potential utility. When I saw it a few days ago I got that lightbulb moment and realised how great it would be for crazy golf.

As soon as I got home that day I set about turning the raw materials into a crazy golf hole. I kept the design simple for my first attempt (oh yes, there will be more): a bog-standard rectangle with the windmill to navigate around.

Scrap wood was used to raise the frames off the ground, then the sheet wood laid on top of this and fastened down with screws. I cut out a hole for the hole cup (half of an empty shampoo bottle) and then attached the “grass” with staples.

Crazy gold hole cupAttaching the hole cup to the underside of the base turned into a bit of a bodge job! It’s functional but I could do with coming up with a better solution for my next attempt. I drilled a few holes into the bottom of the bottle to prevent it filling with rain water. As an aside, my youngest daughter wasn’t too impressed with my bottle washing prowess when she stuck her hand in to retrieve her ball and it came out covered in shampoo! 😀

For the edges I painted some pallet boards in white (or rather, Cuprinol’s Pale Jasmine) and screwed them onto the sides. For the finishing touch I fashioned a flag out of an empty lawn feed container and attached it to a bamboo cane. The end result looks great and has proven very popular with the family! We’re all very excited about making some more!

Crazy Golf Hole #1

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Upcycled Pallet Carnival Stall

You may remember how I’ve been rather enthused about making a carnival themed party for my son’s birthday, and how I got all crafty and recycled some empty tin cans into an Angry Birds carnival game. Well, I recently finished one of the stalls which that game, along with a few others (fingers crossed), will occupy.

Carnival stall pre-build

I started off with a small pallet (60cm wide by 70cm tall) that I had reclaimed and put aside for this project. It’s the perfect hight for a stall facia and the boards are nice and close. I ran 6ft beading up the sides to support the marquee that would be positioned above the stall front. The marquee itself I made from scratch, attaching pallet boards to smaller pieces of beading.

Carnival stall post-build

Once it was put together I had to wait for a dry spell to paint it (one day for undercoat and one day for gloss).

My son is really excited, and well, I am too! Hopefully I can knock a few more of these together before his birthday in late July, and of course make a few more games to go with them.

Lessons learned: it would probably be easier to build from scratch, simply because trying to paint alternating colours onto a pallet with close boards is quite fiddly and time consuming, and getting your brush between the pallet boards is next to impossible. Next time I will try painting loose boards and then put them all together when they are dry.

Completed carnival stall

Pic-post: Cable Reel Planter

A new addition to the container garden. This is such a simple and attractive planter.

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