Tag: DIY

Project: Wooden American Flag

Project: Wooden American Flag

4th of July will be here soon and we decided to make a wooden American flag to help celebrate the holidays.  The process is easy and didn’t require much. We used 1x2x6 poplar from Sutherlands.

The flag is 3 feet wide, so for 13 bars we need 7 pieces of 6′ poplar.  We picked up a few extra pieces to secure the flag together.  This Irwin clamp held everything nice and snug for the next step.

Ideally, we would have put glue between each poplar board to add strength but this is not a project that will be supporting weight.  We just plan to set it outside.  What we did do is glue 2 boards against the back side and then use 1 1/4″ brad nails to secure them into place.

Shop Class Dad gets to use the nail gun.

Just to be sure everything would stay together we put an extra piece of scrap wood in the middle.  It probably was not necessary but this way we get to play with more glue and use the nail gun again.

Now, we flip it over and it’s time to paint!  We found red and white latex paint, but went with blue spray paint due to that being the only blue paint available in-store.

The stars were the difficult part.  It would be great to use a stencil, but they are expensive and in the spirit of improvising we used a plastic star that our 2 year old has in his toy box.  Using that as an outline and filling it in was a little time consuming, but in the end it was worth it.

The wooden American flag, representing the original 13 colonies is all finished.  Now we can go buy a bunch of fireworks and we’re all set for the 4th of July!

Project: DIY charging station

Project: DIY charging station

If your house seems to have as many USB-powered devices as electrical outlets then you know it can get messy at times. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a central location for all of these devices that was free of clutter? Join us today as we build a charging station!

The first thing we need to do is get a USB charger. We picked out this one from RAVpower.

We went to the local home improvement store and decided to use poplar wood but there are of course other options.  You could use oak if you wanted or maybe even some repurposed pallet wood!  The dimensions will depend on the size of your charger.  For our project we went with 1 piece of 1/4″ x 6″ x 2′ and 2 pieces of 1/2″ x 2″ x 2′ poplar.

After cutting the 1/4″ x 6″ to fit our USB charger (we did 9.5″ for 6 ports) we needed to make the tops.

We cut 7 blocks for the top, aligned them and then glued them.  Shop Class Dad used the nail gun to drive the initial brad nails.  This way everyone gets to have fun.  

They are laid out like sideways dominoes!

After setting up the tops it is time to glue them into place and then… NAIL GUN TIME!!!

After everything is glued and nailed, this is what the charging station looks like so far:

Now it’s time to add some color!  We decided on Rustoleum Charcoal Chalked Ultra Matte Paint.

After painting and waiting to dry we are DONE.  For a project that took a 10 year old and 13 year old less than 2 hours to build, we are EXTREMELY happy with the results!  And Mrs. Shopclass will finally have a little less clutter to deal with!

Here is the final product.  A fully functioning, DIY, USB charging station. We have been extremely impressed so far.  The devices we’ve tested all charge rapidly, even when multiple units are plugged in.

This 6 port charging station has room for 2 more devices!

The boys are asking if anyone would pay for these.  We feel that if the process was streamlined and they put even more effort into the next ones then yes, some people would probably pay for these.

So if you are interested, you can buy one of these from us, which will definitely be cheaper than some of the $60 units out there that do the same thing but are made of plastic. Feel free to email joshua@shopclasskids.com if you are interested.


If you want to build one yourself, here is a list of everything we used:

  • (1) piece of 1/4″ x 6″ x 2′ poplar
  • (2) pieces of 1/2″ x 2″ x 2′ poplar
  • wood glue
  • brad nailer
  • 5/8″ brad nails
  • charcoal chalked paint
  • paintbrush
  • 6 port USB charger
  • 6 pack USB cables

Fix a loose power outlet

Fix a loose power outlet

If you have a power outlet that is a bit wobbly, we can help you fix it.  At most it should take you 2 minutes.  Join us as we tackle this easy fix.

Every once in awhile you may come across a power outlet (also called a duplex receptacle) that is loose.  When you plug something the cover plate will move back and forth a little bit.  If you’ve never taken a cover plate off before then your first instinct may be to tighten the screw in between to the two plugins.  DON’T DO THAT!  You could overtighten it and crack the plate!

Step 1 is to remove the screw.

There should be 1 screw at the top and 1 at the bottom.  DO NOT TOUCH THE SCREWS ON THE SIDE!  Eventually we’ll show you how to swap it out for a different outlet (maybe one that also has USB ports) but for now don’t worry about anything other than these screws.

Step 2 is to tighten the top screw and then the bottom screw.  That really is all there is to it.


Then reattach the wall plate and you are all done!  No more loose power outlet.  This is a very basic repair, but we all have to start somewhere. In the future we will get into more complex repairs.

SHOP HACK – DIY trash can

SHOP HACK – DIY trash can

The other day I was complaining that I need another trash can in the garage/workshop.  Ideally, it would be small and fit next to the workbench we built a few months back.  I was about to pick up this trash can from Amazon for $9.99 before I decided to look around the shop and see what was available.

That’s when I saw the empty box for the potty chair we have been using for our 2 year old:

The original contents of the box will be holding waste. Soon the box itself will also hold waste!

All I did was fold the top flaps down and put a trashbag in it!  It took less than 60 seconds and I saved myself 10 bucks!  I would assume this could be done with any cardboard box but of course you’d want something reasonably sturdy and a good size.

The finished product.

So what do you do if you don’t happen to have a potty chair box laying around?  You could always grab a 5 gallon bucket and put a trashbag in it for the same results!  Hopefully this helps someone.  If you have any other ideas, let us know!

from bucket to trashcan in no time!