12 DIY Projects and Posts That You Gotta Check Out Again!

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I hate following with what everyone has been doing this week: posting their top 10 projects and posts of 2017.

Yeah, it’s fun to recap the popular posts that have done well in 2017, but the truth is that bloggers have a dirty little secret: most of our best posts aren’t even posts we wrote this year.

You read that right.

Ask any blogger and her top post is usually 2-3 years old.

Google doesn’t realize how awesome our content is until it’s been circulated around the blogosphere and around Pinterest for umpteen years, and then it becomes a “top post.”

So I’ll spare you the details of pulling out popular posts from the crypts of Thrift Diving.

Instead, I’m going to share with you good posts that I felt deserved just a wee bit more love this year!

(I still can’t decide it this post is clever or stupid! Sometimes it’s best to follow along with the masses, but every now and then, I like to go off the beaten path. HAHA).

Table of Contents

January: DIY Bathroom Vanity Built From Scratch
February: How to Dye Wood and Add Liming Wax
March: My Master Bathroom Reveal!
April: How to Make a Wooden Backpack
May: Everything You Wanted to Know About Dip and Strip
June: Mid-Century Modern Dresser (That I Messed Up!)
July: How to Repurpose ANYTHING!
August: Where to Buy Pretty Stencils
September: How to Make a DIY Garage Door Screen
October: DIY Can Food Organizer (With Hidden Storage!)
November: Reupholstered Bench Makeover
December: How to Reupholster a Wingback Chair
Videos Tutorials: Top 10 YouTube Videos of 2017


12 Projects and Posts That You Gotta Check Out Again in 2018!

So I broke this post down by months, choosing the projects each month that I felt were really good and why they deserve a second look.

January 2017: I Built a DIY Bathroom Vanity Built From Scratch

This DIY bathroom vanity from scratch project was pivotal, y’all. Not only did I never build something so large from scratch, but I was deathly afraid it would come crashing down the minute I installed the granite top.

Buying a bathroom vanity wasn’t good enough for me–I had to push myself further than I had ever gone before and see if I could build something that could withstand the test of time.

And sure enough, it’s been nearly a year, and it looks as good as the day I completely installed it!

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  Just when you think you could never pull off a project you’ve never done before, you’ll likely surprise the crap out of yourself and do a good job!

Click here to see the full tutorial on how I build my own DIY bathroom vanity!


Learn how to remove your old bathroom vanity and build a custom DIY bathroom vanity from scratch! - Thrift Diving


Learn how to create a custom DIY bathroom vanity from scratch - including complete step-by-step details! - Thrift Diving

February 2017: How to Dye Wood and Add Liming Wax

At this time, I was still working on my DIY bathroom vanity, but I had moved on to teach you how to achieve the look of cerused oak: that gorgeous white-grain look within the pores of oak.

It took me forever to figure out how to do this finish so that it would last in a moisture-rich area of my master bedroom, and–finally!–I figured it out and posted about it. Unfortunately, the post was only pinned just over 300 times. It’s such a gorgeous finish that I don’t understand why more people wouldn’t want to know how to do it! It makes oak simply beautiful!

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  Painted wood is losing its popularity. Instead, learn some cool techniques that make wood more interesting than just slathering on a boring MinWax wood stain.

Learn how to create this finish: get the tutorial (and video) here!


Learn how to highlight the grain of oak using wood dyes and liming wax. - Thrift Diving

Learn how to create this gorgeous oak finish for your DIY projects using wood dye and liming wax! - Thrift Diving

Applying this finishing technique to the vanity looked amazing and gave the DIY custom bathroom vanity dimension and style!

Liming wax on dyed wood looks amazing! It settles into the grain and highlights the wood grain and gives the wood dimension. Learn how to create it in this blog post! - Thrift Diving


March 2017: My Master Bathroom Reveal!

The earlier part of 2017 was definitely “bathroom” focused! Although it was such a small space, it consumed soooo many resources, especially time.

It’s hard to believe my bathroom used to look like this! That floor!!!

I am still so happy with the turnout of this room makeover.

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  If you’re planning on making over your master bathroom…need to remove or install a new toilet…or want to learn how to paint an old shower, then this bathroom makeover has it all.

See the transformation of my master bathroom makeover here, including how I painted the old shower.


Learn how this ugly master bathroom got a makeover: new flooring, built a DIY bathroom vanity from scratch, and refinished the shower with paint! - Thrift Diving


See how this master bathroom makeover was done with new flooring, a new DIY bathroom vanity built from scratch, a new DIY window privacy screen, new toilet, and painted shower! - Thrift Diving

APRIL: How to Make a Wooden Backpack

This was one of my favorite projects in 2017! Maybe the reason why it wasn’t more of a hit with people is that they either felt like “wood” and “backpack” didn’t go together…or because it seemed to be a complex project to the average DIYer…

…or maybe it was just a pointless craft that people didn’t care about. HA!

Regardless, I thought it was fun figuring out how to marry all the elements together into this fun DIY wooden bag!

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  You’ll think differently about what you can use wood to build and you’ll learn how to use a riveter (a cool hand tool that can make a lot of crafts!).

Get the tutorial: How to Make a Wood Backpack

Learn how to make a DIY wood backpack with a few simple tools and materials - Thrift Diving


MAY 2017: Everything You Wanted to Know About Dip and Strip

Last spring, I did I had never done before: I called up a professional furniture stripping company and asked if I could visit them for an interview to learn everything there was to learn (without giving away their trade secrets) about dip and strip professional chemical stripping.

Surprisingly, they said yes, and as a result, I wrote this extensive piece on dipping and stripping old wood, metal, and more.

It’s a great resource if you ever want to have wood or metal professionally stripped!

After reading this post, you’ll be more informed about what is dip and strip and if it’s the right option for your wood or metal!

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  Don’t spend a lot of time stripping furniture, doors, or metal in your driveway. Hire a professional to do it and learn everything you need to about the process and what to expect.

Check out the full interview and tips on professional furniture stripping.

Learn everything you need to know about professional furniture stripping called dip and strip - Thrift Diving


JUNE 2017: Mid-Century Modern Dresser That I Messed Up!

While it didn’t look horrible, it wasn’t my best work.

This project left me utterly frustrated because I had put soooo much time and focus on bringing this mid-century modern beauty back to life.

But due to some problems with the products I used (and user error, of course!!), I was left with a hazy finish and some discoloration on the top.

Overall, folks loved it, but I was left kicking myself because it didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped!

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  Mistakes happen. When you see my mistakes in this post, you’ll feel better about starting and finishing your own project, even if it’s not perfect, either.

Watch the mid-century modern dresser transformation here!


Learn how to strip and refinish a mid-century modern dresser! - Thrift Diving


This mid-century modern dresser got a makeover but not without a few hiccups along the way. See how to strip and refinish this mid-century modern dresser! - Thrift Diving

JULY 2017: How to Repurpose ANYTHING!

One of the biggest problems people have when it comes to getting started with DIY is that they don’t feel they’re creative.

But in this super valuable post, I developed 10 questions you can ask yourself about any piece of furniture or object that would result in tons of creative ideas bubbling over in your brain.

If you’ve always struggled to come up with creative ideas, you may find this article super useful. 😉

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  If you think you’re not creative, you’ll have a roadmap for asking the right questions next time you need ideas for your next DIY project.

Check out the 10 clever brainstorming questions!

If you think you're not creative, just ask yourself these 10 clever questions and you'll generate tons of creative ideas for your next repurpose project! - Thrift Diving


AUGUST 2017: Where To Buy Pretty Stencils

I’m the queen of stencils.

Well, maybe not the queen….perhaps just a princess. 😉

I think they’re awesome for taking a boring piece of furniture and making it really unique with just some paint and a stencil.

In this post, I put together my top 5 sources for buying awesome stencils.

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  Just painting a piece of furniture can be boring. Stencils give it a “wow” factor, though. The best ones are bought online. Make your furniture pieces shine with stencils.

Find out where you can buy my favorite pretty stencils in this post.



SEPTEMBER 2017: How to Make a DIY Garage Door Screen

This DIY project was my heart and soul back in October! You just don’t understand, yo….

I had been wanting to make a DIY garage door screen for so long, but it’s one of those projects that, unless you’ve got a good reason, you’re like, “Dude, there are more important projects to tend to.”

But working outside with bugs and wildlife wasn’t fun. I needed this garage door screen!

And when I was all done, I literally jumped for joy….over and over again. What an amazing project!

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  If you want to screen off an outdoor space, such as a garage, porch, etc., this tutorial can save you thousands and give you outdoor space without the hassle of flying bugs.

Get the full tutorial, including a video tutorial, for how to make a DIY garage door screen.

OCTOBER 2017: Can Food Organizer (With Hidden Storage!)

Okay, so technically you have to remove the can foods before lifting up the top to get to the hidden storage.

But still, I thought it was a pretty cool invention of mine. 🙂

And hubby actually uses it.

You don’t know the need for hidden storage until you’ve got three boys rummaging around in the cabinets for treats the minute their parents leave the kitchen.

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  It’s simply cool and creative. That’s all. 😉

Get the tutorial for making your own can food organizer here.

Learn how to make a can food organizer with hidden story underneath! - Thrift Diving

NOVEMBER 2017: Reupholstered Bench Makeover

Write this project off in the books as “The Project That Sat In the Basement For Four Years.” It took forever to finally reupholster this project, and when it was done, it looked amazing.

Many folks commented about how they liked the “BEFORE” and the “AFTER.” Personally, I thought the “before” fabric was outdated. I tend to lean towards a modern style, so the new fabric was just the look I was going for!

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  Reupholstery costs a lot of money when done by professionals. See how easy reupholsery projects can be done by yourself.

Catch the entire makeover of this reupholstered bench here!


Learn how to reupholster a bench with new fabric for a modern look! - Thrift Diving


An old bench gets a pretty makeover with white paint and modern fabric! - Thrift Diving

DECEMBER 2017: How to Reupholster a Wingback Chair

For me, I get introspective in December. While others are cranking out holiday posts, I’m usually reflecting on how the year has gone…thinking about the new year…and delving into how I can grow.

One of the things I have been wanting to do as the new year rolls in is to learn how to reupholster furniture from a professional. So I’ve been taking classes.

What better way to tackle the most difficult project than to tear down this $60 wingback chair from the thrift store!

I’ve been documenting the entire process over on my YouTube channel.

Stay tuned on that because it’s going to look phenomenal when I’m done!

Why This Project Deserves a Second Look:  You should challenge yourself to do a project you never thought was possible. For me, it’s this wingback chair. Watch how I conquer my complicated upholstery fears with these easy tutorials as I learn along the way.

Check out my entire progress on this reupholstered wingback chair!



Learn how to reupholster a wingback chair and watch the video tutorials! - Thrift Diving



Upholster a wingback chair with this in-depth DIY tutorial! - Thrift Diving

My Most Popular DIY Videos of 2017

In 2017, I uploaded over 80 YouTube videos to my channel! Here are the big winners that were created and uploaded in 2017!

10) DIY Painted Mirror and Stenciled Wooden Journal With Metallic Paint
9) Vintage Chromcraft Office Chair Makeover
8 ) Entryway Refresh Makeover
7 ) How to Make a Pretty DIY Window Privacy Screen
6) Eat-in Kitchen Table Makeover
5) Don’t Paint It! Gorgeous Solid Oak Drafting Table Makeover
4) See What a Blogger’s Home REALLY Looks Like!
3) DIY Tub and Shower Refinishing Makeover
2) 7 DIY Projects THEN and NOW: Did They Last??
1) Mid-century Modern Dresser Makeover

What’s Next for 2018??


That’s a great question! Lots of awesome things!

For the entire month of December, I have been thinking a lot about 2018 and the content I want to post, the projects I want to do, the things I want to master, including what I want you to learn from this blog.

My goal is to learn more about home improvement so that I can teach you in the simplest terms how to improve your house yourself without having to pay contractors to do it. But I realize that my experience is so limited because I don’t have a mentor to teach me some of the things I need to learn. So in 2018, I plan to enroll in some courses at a local community college, as well as become an apprentice to a contractor so that I can learn hands-on home improvement, and then be able to teach you what I’ve learned in a way that makes sense and it’s terrifying or confusing. I’m excited about the opportunity!

For 2018, I plan to spend a lot more time teaching you about power tools and how to use them and become comfortable with them so that you can do simple projects around your home and feel good about what you’ve been able to learn and create.

We’ll also be talking more about home maintenance. Yes, decorating is fun and doing furniture makeovers are great for making your home look good, and we’ll keep doing those. But we’ll be focusing on how to maintain your home, inside and out.

For next year, I’m also going to focus on solving your home decorating, maintenance, and home improvement problems by delivering solutions to real problems that we all have in our homes–whether it’s decorating, improving, or maintaining your home.

And lastly, I have decided that I’m going to be studying hard this year because I’ve decided that I’m going to buy a home to flip! I don’t know anything about the process, but that’s why I plan to spend a lot of time researching real estate investing so that I make good decisions about this! It’s scary, but exciting, too! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes and what I learn along the way!

So there you have it, my friend!

Tell me–what was your favorite Thrift Diving post or project this year? And what did you create or work on that was your favorite project in your home? 

Leave a comment below to share what it was! 🙂

Happy New Year!

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  1. I love all the projects, but the wood backpack is really cool.

  2. So many great projects on the blog this year! That vanity is my favorite!!!

  3. My goal for this year isn’t to recover two wing chairs I have. Had them custom made 27 years ago. Still love them but fabric is worn and it costs as much as a new chair to have them professionally reupholstered. I will of course be using your videos as my guide!

  4. Natasha Verbaan says:

    Wow great projects you’ve done in 2017!!!! They are so amazing!

  5. Linda Moore says:

    Great googly moogly, Serena! I’m so excited for your new adventures! 2018 is already shaping up to be a banner year for you and your career. Good luck and Godspeed!

    It’s going to be so awesome watching this all unfold. The sky is your limit, lady.

  6. I am inspired to paint my china hutch and the dressers in my bedroom.”. thanks for the wonderful ideas. Love the stencil idea.

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