By Barbara Kavovit
In the first two posts of this series, you learned easy bathroom fixes and quick installation tips; here, you’ll learn how to adjust hinges, hang pictures & curtain rods, and fix a squeaky bed. Keep this post handy -- and you too can become your own handyman.
1. Adjust cabinet door hinges
A lot of cabinets these days use "European" style hinges, which can become loose, causing the door lean to one side and preventing it from closing all the way. It’s easy to adjust these hinges so they are in alignment. Whether the hinges have one screw connecting the two halves or two, you need a Philips screwdriver. Loosen or tighten the screw or screws counter-clockwise to move the door to the left, and clockwise to move it to the right (righty tighty, lefty loosey).
2. Hang a picture
- Step 1: The perfect spot: Decide where you want to hang your artwork. Consider placement with regard to windows, furniture and environment. Valuable artwork should not be hung in kitchens or bathrooms, over fireplaces or in direct sunlight. If you are hanging the artwork above a piece of furniture, center the bottom of the frame 5 to 8 inches above the furniture. If you are not hanging it over a piece of furniture, position the center of the art at eye level (roughly 5 feet above the floor). Once you've measured, mark the spot where the hook will go with a pencil.
- Step 2: Protect your walls: Place a small piece of adhesive tape on the wall below the pencil mark. This will keep your wall from cracking when you hammer in the nail. Make sure there is enough "give" in the wire on the back of your artwork to allow it to hang in the proper place. Place the nail through the picture hanger (it will go in at a 45 degree angle) and gently tap it with the hammer.
- Step 3: Picture perfect: Hang the wire on the hook and use a level to make sure the artwork is straight. Even if it looks straight to the naked eye, your perception may be thrown off by a slightly settled foundation or the optical illusion of a crooked piece of molding. Now step back and admire your masterpiece. You did it yourself!
3. Hang a curtain rod
- Step 1: Plan your enhancements: Decide where you want to hang your curtain rod by holding the rod up to the wall or window casing. Use your level to make sure the position is straight. Placing the brackets from 3 to 6 inches away from the edge of the window frame will give the illusion of wider windows. Placing the brackets close to the ceiling will make the ceilings appear taller.
- Step 2: Choose your spot: If you are placing the brackets on the wooden moldings you can proceed to step two. If you are placing the brackets on the wall, use a stud finder to locate wall studs. You'll need to use hollow-wall anchors if you're going to attach the brackets directly to the walls. Once you've decided on the placement of the brackets, use the pencil to lightly mark the top of the bracket and the nail holes on the chosen site.
- Step 3: Secure the brackets: Use an electric drill to make shallow holes (called pilot holes) to help you start the screws and secure your hardware to the walls.
- Step 4: Curtains going up: Slide your curtains on the rod, then hang the rod on the brackets. Take a bow! You just did it yourself!
4. Fix a squeaky bed frame
- Step 1: Metal bed frames: Remove the mattress and box spring. Loosen all nuts and bolts using your wrench and screwdriver. Remove each nut and bolt (one at a time) and wrap the bolt with sealant tape. Install an additional plastic washer between the frame and the existing lock washer and retighten the bolts.
- Step 2: Wooden bed frames: Remove the mattress and box spring. Find each screw connection and remove each screw (one at a time). Rub the screw along a bar of soap until all grooves are filled. Reinstall screw and tighten. If the screw spins in its hole because the wood is stripped, wrap the screw with sealant tape before replacing it.
- Step 3: Pleasant dreams: Go ahead and get that beauty sleep. Your bed is now a peaceful place. And you did it yourself!
After 10 years in the construction business, Barbara Kavovit launched Barbara K!, a line of home improvement tools for women and an extensive line of high-quality do-it-yourself kits. Her newest venture is Barbara's Way. She is also the author of Invest In Your Nest: Add Style, Comfort, and Value To Your Home, and Room for Improvement: Change Your Home! Enhance Your Life! With Tools, Tips and Inspiration from Barbara K!