Hits and misses of DIY projects, both big and small.

Add to My MSN


Something is very satisfying when a person can complete a project from reused items so that they don’t end up in a landfill while saving money in the process. Last year, we constructed a goat barn using mostly reused building materials and it cost us less than $1,000.

The barn is 16 feet square and of pole construction. The posts used were of Rocky Mountain juniper (locally known as cedar) that had been killed in a wildfire. Several years ago, we obtained a permit from the Forest Service and harvested the dead trees. This particular species is naturally resistant to rot and, for added protection, a layer or roofing tar was applied four feet up from the bottom.

All the holes were laid out and then dug by hand. One difficulty with using this type of post is the natural taper of the tree. The posts were plumbed only toward the outside of the building to ensure the walls were straight.

Next, the roof beams and rafters were installed. The beams are lodgepole pine that was harvested in western Wyoming. The trees were standing dead and had been killed by mountain pine beetle. A very inexpensive post and pole permit was obtained from the Forest Service to harvest the trees. Lodgepole pine is extremely strong and makes excellent roof support beams.

The roof purlins, wall girts and rough-cut siding were all purchased from a local sawmill. The lumber was cut from beetle-killed ponderosa pine. The barn was sided in the board-and-batten style. The battens were cut on a table saw from rough 2-by-8-inch boards to reduce the lumber needed and reduce project cost.

The base boards that make up the bottom perimeter are 2-by-6-inch and green-treated. The boards were acquired from a rancher friend and had been salvaged from snow fence in Wyoming. Areas of Wyoming have very severe winters and many miles of snow fence have been constructed to reduce snow drifting on state highways. The snow fence is occasionally repaired or rebuilt and sometimes the landowners are allowed to salvage the old fence materials.

The two windows were acquired from a friend who had gotten them from a neighbor after he had replaced all of the windows in his home. My friend was tired of moving them and organizing around them, so he was glad to have someone get them out of his shop.

The only materials that were purchased new consisted of the corrugated roofing steel, screws/fasteners and the electrical wiring and boxes. The barn was wired for lights and outlets. It was to be used for milking and kidding in addition to shelter and hay storage, so power was needed for water tank heaters and heat lamps.

A weatherproof outside outlet was also installed to provide power to the adjacent chicken coop (a DIY chicken coop, which happens to be a salvaged oil/water separator building from a local oil field).

Shortly after completing this barn, we purchased several thousand linear feet of roofing steel that had been salvaged from a warehouse, which had hail damage and was replaced with new. We found only a few hail dents in the entire lot of steel roofing. We sold a majority of the steel for over twice what we paid for it and now have large supply for future projects and it cost us virtually nothing. We regret not having this supply of steel when we built this barn.


A DIY tip: A person must preplan and be willing to purchase reused materials when they become available at a reduced price. Many times larger lots must be purchased to get the best deal but like in the steel purchase, we were able to resell much of the material for a profit while retaining what I needed.

The barn was built completely by us with no outside labor and the final cost was around $1,000.  The methods that we used to acquire the materials for this barn will not work for everyone but if the builder is imaginative and keeps a look out for affordable cheap building materials, it’s amazing what can be found. Classified ads, Craigslist and Restores are excellent places to find building materials for reuse.

Another DIY tip: Don’t be afraid to pursue materials that may not be for sale yet. It’s always shocking what people will sell if you just ask.

Our DIY experience shows that buildings constructed from reused materials can look as nice as buildings constructed with new materials for much cheaper and come with a great story.

Jason, Amanda and their two daughters live on 20 irrigated acres outside of Cody, Wyoming. Jason has more than15 years of professional natural resource, vegetation, rangeland management, invasive species management and rangeland restoration experience and Amanda has more than 9 years of experience in prevention and wellness program and nonprofit management. Together they own The Happy Cowgirl, where they blog and offer freelance writing services and small acreage consultation.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Best Blogging Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



Children's bedrooms are areas of the home where you can truly let your creativity take over. However, while you could transform this space into a dream come true for your kids, many kids' bedrooms unfortunately are rather dull and boring. This simple, affordable, do-it-yourself project can be just the flare of improvement your child’s room needs. This project can also be customized based on the style or theme in your child's room.

A Chalkboard Wall

Kids love chalkboards, and you can easily add a fun chalkboard wall to their room. Follow these easy steps to creating your own chalkboard wall in your child’s room.

Tools Needed

• 100-grit sandpaper
• Putty knife
• Paint roller with an extension handle
• Safety glasses
• Drop cloth
• Gloves
• Pole sander
• Ladder
• Paint tray


• Painters tape
• Respiratory protection
• Latex chalkboard paint (writable and erasable)
• 3-inch paintbrush


1. Move everything away from the wall that you don’t want paint on. Remove any nails from the wall and place the drop cloth on the ground in front of the wall you’re painting. Also remove the baseboard. Using the pole sander and sandpaper, sand the wall from the ceiling to the floor, wall to wall. If you’re painting around a window, be sure to tape around the edges using painter’s tape. When done, be sure to vacuum up any dust residue.

2. Pour the paint into container that you will use to cut in around the window trim, ceiling corners and edges of the wall. Apply two coats of the chalkboard paint to the edges of the walls, around the window and in the corners.

3. Once you have finished painting the corners and edges, pour the rest of the paint into the container. Using the paint roller, apply one coat of the chalkboard paint onto the wall. After two hours the paint should be dry enough to apply a second coat. Be sure to not over soak the roller with paint.

4. Once the second coat of paint has dried, pull off the painter’s tape and throw away. Be sure to clean the roller and container with warm soapy water. If needed, touch up any trim paint. Replace the baseboard, and any nails. Let the chalkboard paint sit over night before writing on it.

You can add an open picture frame or even tack molding around the painted area to give definition to the chalkboard feature. If you don’t want to paint an entire wall, you can also create a chalkboard by painting a piece of flat, sanded wood with chalkboard paint and tacking that board to a frame. Be sure to add a chalk tray or other storage compartment for the chalk nearby to keep mess to a minimum. As a side note, you can also add some sliding barn door hardware to help preserve your child’s imaginative creations while adding a rustic flare befitting a room with a chalk wall.

With these couple of DIY projects, you can transform any child’s room into a more fun and inviting space.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Best Blogging Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


A fun task after moving into new housing is the hunt for quirky recycled home décor to liven up the space. Looking for a way to brighten up my own apartment, I brainstormed how to repurpose a dusty, but useful lamp shade that I bought for a couple dollars at the Goodwill. I wanted to transform it to be a cheerful statement piece, so I tested out my own decoupage do-it-yourself project. I am happy to say it was a brilliant success! The best part? It only took an hour, start to finish.

Whether you're looking to brighten up your new space or give your home a mini makeover, this quick repurposing project will add some playful character to any room.

DIY lamp shade home decor 

The ability to transform a plain lampshade into a beautifully decorative, functional piece that brings joy to a room shows the value in secondhand materials. It’s an ecochic approach to room renovation that’s affordable, and more often than not, very easy to do! A little imagination, a creative spirit, and a few tools you can find around the house are all you need to give a used lamp shade a fresh lift.

3-Step Upcycled Lamp Shade


• plain lamp shade
• patterned paper
• Mod Podge
• sponge brush
• scissors


1. First, find patterned paper that will fit the decor of your room. This could be magazine clippings, stationary, or even gift wrapping paper. I chose this swirly stationary I had been storing by my desk for months.

2. I cut the paper in a funny design to add some geometric dimension.

 DIY repurposed lampshade home decor

3. Place the paper on the lamp and play around with shapes and spacing.

4. When you think you’ve found a good start, use Mod Podge and your sponge brush to adhere the paper to the lamp shade. 

 DIY repurposed lampshade home decor

5. Finish gluing the paper to the lamp shade, then use a final coat of Mod Podge to seal the design for a smooth finish. This type of adhesive is great for this DIY because it dries clear and allows light to shine through.

DIY lamp shade home decor

Place the shade on a simple stand and place a baby succulent or neon flower nearby for a finishing touch. Wha-laa! A stunning bedside table with light for those cozy late-night reads.

Until next time, you can find more eco-crafts and sustainable fashion tips on Sustainable Daisy.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Best Blogging Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


garden shed-front

I have a new homemade garden shed and I love it! I could have had one years ago if I wanted to buy a pre-fab one or put one up made of plywood. If that’s the way to go for you, know that I’m not criticizing that and you have my blessing. It just wasn’t what I wanted. My garden tools and supplies were stored in three places on our property—four if you count the mailbox holding the trowels. I dreamed of one day having everything at my fingertips in the garden in a shed special to me.

My favorite advice for your garden is—ya gotta have a plan! That goes for a garden shed, also. In the chapter Sheds, Fences, and Other Stuff in Grow a Sustainable Diet I wrote of my plan for a shed and everything that would be stored there. Uses included a place to hang strings and bags of produce from the rafters and a small loft. Our daughter was the illustrator for that book and the shed illustration is what she drew from my description. When my husband, the architect and builder for this project, sat down to draw up plans and asked what I wanted, I handed him the book.


We used wood (oak framing and pine siding) our daughter and son-in-law cut from their property and milled to our specifications with their sawmill. Between the weather and everyone’s schedules, there were many delays, but it was worth the wait. A visit to Home Depot would have been faster, but not nearly as interesting. We bought the metal roofing at Lowes. The panels are ordered to the exact length you need, so measure carefully.


garden shed-work station back corner

I wanted my garden fork, spade, hoe, and cultivator to hang up in the shed, rather than be jumbled in a corner, resting on the floor. Once hung up, I noticed them more, including their need to be cleaned of soil. That led me to keep a wire brush there to brush off the ends regularly.

I thought I wanted a counter spanning one side. During construction of the shed, I put scrap pieces of the siding in two corners for shelves and liked that better. I still needed a workspace for writing my garden notes and working with seeds, so, I built this workstation from scraps and an old door we had laying around. (Consider everything you have as resources and not junk.) It is just right for counter space and has storage for hanging small items on the back and for larger items on the shelf beneath. I painted the panels on the door with blackboard paint.

Special Features

bare bones garden shed

We used the old chicken house on our property as inspiration for the framing. There are no joists overhead, leaving the space open to the peak of the roof. I built a 2’ wide loft in the back to store containers and things. There were two sets of rafters in this 8’ x 8’ shed that I put nails in to hang strings of garlic and onions and anything else I need to hang. Besides having the rafters to provide a place for that, having the space open all the way to the peak makes the shed seem bigger. You will find more photos and details of my shed at Homeplace Earth. There are 4x4s every four feet with 2x4s horizontally between them at two levels. The board siding runs all the way from bottom to top.

The floor is a wonderful feature of this shed. We were on the receiving end of pavers headed to the landfill one year. They had all had a piece cut off of them. With a rented wet saw and much patience and sweat, we made them into a fantastic floor. The block foundation and paver floor make for a substantial shed that will be here for many years. We have already lived here for 31 years and don’t plan on going anywhere soon. If you are more transient than we are, you might want to build a shed that can be moved. I think there are plans that would allow you to build a garden shed in panels to be assembled multiple times in different places.

Make it Your Own

Assess your needs and wishes carefully. Before you know it, you will find the perfect shed, or plans for it. Make it a special place by adding your personal touches. We are each different and interesting people and our garden sheds should reflect that. Best wishes on choosing a garden shed or building one yourself!

Cindy Conner is the author of Seed Libraries and Grow a Sustainable Diet and has produced DVDs about garden planning and managing cover crops with hand tools. Learn more about what she is up to at Homeplace Earth.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Best Blogging Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


We just completed an amazing hot tub project that is already drastically improving the quality of our lives. It’s a wonderful combination of fire, earth, water, and metal.

There are few pleasures in life, I think, as luxurious as bathing in large quantities of hot water. Like naps, hot water makes me a better person. I relax, I breathe, I smile, I think good thoughts when I am in a hot tub. Christopher Alexander in his masterpiece, “A Pattern Language” under the “Bathing Room” pattern says there is evidence that cultures with widespread use of hot water soaks are more peaceful. I am happy to take that as fact! I absolutely love to immerse myself completely in a tub that’s large enough for my 6’ frame to fit and to float blissfully while I blow bubbles or just enjoy the quiet of submersion. It’s a shame, but for years I have avoided baths because the standard crummy bathroom tubs are small, uncomfortable, and shallow and lead to bent knees and exposed skin that becomes chilled to annoyance. In short they are abominations! With so many decades of this as the norm is it any wonder that the USA is such a war-mongering state? Thankfully, there is hope…


In June I traveled to Taos, New Mexico, with two friends to learn more natural building with Carole Crews. Carole is an amazing builder and person and our week with her was fantastic. In addition to learning about Aliz (clay paints), finish plasters, adobe, and casein washes, we got to soak in her great hot tub. I had been very skeptical of wood-fired hot tubs previously because I assumed they took a lot of wood to get up to heat and were generally burdensome in use. Was I ever wrong!

Carole’s tub was built by Dafyd Rawlings and other friends a couple years back and is both very efficient and easy to use (the first natural building workshop I ever took at Cob Betty’s in Ojai, CA was led by Dafyd. Both he and his wife, Yolanda, are wonderful people and great builders). The first time we fired it up we didn’t listen too well to Carole and used four logs instead of three. We wound up with water too hot to enjoy that night but covered it with two yoga mats and it was a delightful 100 degrees the next morning thanks to all the cob serving as thermal mass! After two more soaks that week I was a convert and determined to build our own once I returned to Reno.


Once home I went looking for used stock tanks. I searched and posted on Craigslist and spread word to friends but had no luck. So, last month I splurged and bought a new 6-foot x 2-foot x 2-foot stock tank from one of our local feed stores for $170. Buying new things, especially a luxury item, is a bit unusual for us as we pride ourselves on simplicity, the use of salvaged materials, wise water use, frugality, and an all-around low carbon footprint. So, here’s how I justified it: the used water goes to our plants, we normally take one to two-gallon showers with the use of a watering can with water heated over our multipurpose mini-masonry heater (or cold water in the summer), baths are restorative (as mentioned above), our family of four fits in all at once, this should last a long time, and I am hooking up a solar assist thermosiphon system to limit the wood-burning further.

I placed the stock tank atop old bricks stacked three high on a concrete slab in our backyard that is bordered by our cob/cardboard cabin, our “Bed Shed” cabin, and our greenhouse to further create a great outdoor space. We have grapes growing up an arbor and some measure of privacy given by the surrounding cabins. I also built a privacy wall with old pallet wood and an old window (see pic) and put it on castors so we have a wall we can move into place when the tub is in use and we’re frolicking about naked in our backyard.

The tank was level on the bricks because the slab was level. Each end of the tank was open – a tunnel was created with the bricks on each side. I then slathered a wet cob mix over the exterior of the bricks to cover the gaps between the bricks. If I did this again, I would slather the same cob on the interior as well to protect the bricks more and further fill in any gaps. Next, I gathered some large rocks and urbanite and placed them around the tank. This served as a foundation for the cob and raised it off the slab and away from rainwater – like a stemwall. From there I started piling on cob. I filled gaps between the big rocks and layered the cob up the tank with plenty of small rocks placed in the mix to take up space (my kids collected most of these). I went about half way up and took a break until the next day to let the cob set and harden a bit. Cob will “splooge” or sag if too much is piled too high at one time.

The next day I continued by rewetting yesterday’s cob to ensure better adherence with the new stuff and went just about all the way to the rim of the tank. The cob starts at probably six or eight inches wide at the bottom and tapers to maybe three inches wide at the top. The cob I used was old stuff salvaged from an old wall and reconstituted with water and then mixed with a hoe to make it usable again. Talk about sustainable building materials! I love this stuff. I knew I wanted some artistic flair so made the flames and wave reliefs at this stage. I added a lot more chopped straw to this sculptural mix of cob so there’d be less cracking and more stability – more straw allows the cob to extend out further, it acts like so many little bridges. As I built, I smoothed the cob and then, at the end, made some cross-hatched scratches because I only wanted to apply one layer of plaster and I wanted it to adhere well.

I also left an opening in the front for the future fire starting area and attached a stove pipe elbow at the back end using some cob, or course, for the exit.

Once the cob dried (a few days), I mixed a batch of lime plaster (three parts sand to one part soaked lime) and put that over the cob (always rewet surfaces with a spray bottle or sponge for adherence). Lime is water resistant so perfect in this hot tub application. On top of the lime plaster I then painted a lime wash with some yellow iron oxide pigment (concrete/stucco coloring available at hardware stores). This gave the tub a light yellow color all around which is nice – much warmer than the cold white lime color. As soon as I get some other pigment I will make the flames darker orange and paint the waves blue or green. It looks great already and I think it will be dy-no-mite with the two more vibrant colors.

Note the space I left around the tank outlet. I wanted to be sure I had easy access to the outlet hole and the 8” pipe I secured into it with a “Y” valve at the end.

The tub drains well with a hose I have attached to the y-valve but leaves an inch or so of water below the outlet hole. For the remainder I place the end of a thin plastic hose in the bottom and syphon the rest to our grapes. That still leaves a bit of water which mostly evaporates in a couple days. Before I refill it I sponge out the leftovers and give the bottom and the walls a once over.

The Solar Assist

I have not hooked this up to the tub yet but have a couple years of experience with a simple thermosiphon solar hot water setup and am confident it will work well. How much it will heat the water I am unsure but it will definitely give it a boost. To use the solar heater I will fill the tub and then open the valve on the “Y” to the bottom/intake of the solar water heater. Once the sun heats up the panel it will pull water into its thin tubes and start the cycle. The outlet is on the top at the other end and the heated water will be pushed into the tub. Hot water high, cold water low and the cycle continues, almost magically, heating water from the sun for hours and hours. This water gets steaming hot!

Our First Uses

The first night we fired up the tub I filled it with about 9 inches of water. We started the fire and added wood until it was about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This took a little over an hour. My sons used a compost thermometer to keep track of the rising temperature. Then, we added a lot more cold water from the hose until the temperature was down to about 101 degrees – not too hot for our young sons. This left it at about 18 inches high – a little lower than I had wanted but still great for the first use. All four of us climbed in and had a good soak while a cool light rain fell for an hour or more. Lovely!

The next time I started with more water in the tank (maybe 12-14 inches high) and got it again to about 120 degrees. We topped it off and were left with a hotter temperature of about 103 and very high. It’s a learning curve without much chance of going really wrong and by soak number 3 we had it pretty much figured out. For me, getting to know the idiosyncrasies of a new creation is part of the fun and leads to deeper connection and appreciation.

The lime plaster is holding up great even with spillage and the rain we had.

We look forward to a this winter of soaks and years to come of more peaceful living.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Best Blogging Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


Ring Holder Dish 

We all have a little clutter around us. Teacup saucers, mugs, plastics figurines, and paint from the backyard DIY you did four years ago. For many of us, living means accumulating, and sometimes there’s just a lot of stuff that’s useful, but not exactly useful to you.

Well, what if you could make these things useful again? Welcome to the world of repurposing —taking items and giving new life as gifts, home décor, and accessories that you and your friends will love.

Utilizing things and repurposing them to be useful allows us to not contribute to unnecessary consumerism. My life changed when I broke into a mindset that secondhand items have value. I believe that things do not lose value with age, regardless of the amount of uses or owners it has had previously.

It’s a silly mentality, really, to have a subconscious shrug to the detailed winter coat or timeless dishware that you can pick up for a few bucks at your local consignment shop. Items should be cherished and respected, for things with age and quality have a fun story to tell.

In terms of home décor, I like to utilize items that I find secondhand. I always see these beautiful teacups and saucers in the dishware section of my favorite thrift shops. I already have a stack of useful dishes in my kitchen, so I thought of an alternative way I could repurpose them into a gift for a friend.

I kept my eye out for the final piece I needed for my envisioned craft: small plastic dinosaurs (What? I know, just stay with me…). It was the last piece I needed to make a totally cute DIY that I excitedly visualized in my head. I scouted children’s sections during my occasional thrift hunt and as of last weekend, I found the perfect pre-loved dino piece to top off my anticipated creation: a repurposed ring holder dish!

Dish and Candle 

Make Your Own DIY Ring Holder    

Follow along the four easy steps to make your own eco-inspired ring holder.


You will need a small saucer (I picked up mine at Saver’s Thrift Store), a magazine to cut up, Mod Podge, a sponge brush, a paint brush, gold paint (I used gold oro), and a small plastic figurine.


Step 1: Thumb through a magazine and pick a page with a pattern of your liking. This cutout will be used as the base of the ring holder dish.

Cut Out 

Step 2: Use the Mod Podge as an adhesive to glue to pattern circle to the center of the dish. Add additional Mod Podge to the outside of the cutout to ensure a smooth, glossy finish.

Step 3: Paint your figurine. Metallic paints work great for this DIY.

Dinosaur Painting 

Step 4: Apply glue to the feet of the figure. You want to make sure that the figurine you chose has a flat bottom so it has a firm platform to secure onto the dish. Feel free to add any additional designs on the plate. I painted in segments of the circular gold design where the pattern had rubbed off with wear.

Interested in reading more about Karen’s views on ecobeauty, fashion, and repurposed DIY projects? Check out her website, Sustainable Daisy or find her on Twitter and Instagram.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



Mason Bees, also known as orchard bees are docile pollinators that are easy to keep and provide a myriad of benefits for the pollinator community. In nature, mason bees build solitary nests with mud in hollow reeds, woodpecker holes or other small openings. To keep mason bees all you really have to do is provide some prime real-estate by building a mason bee “hotel.” These hotels replicate the type of little spaces that mason bees love!

Elsie Gibson is an environmental landscape designer with Dreamscapes Consulting and chairs the Shawnee County Master Gardeners Green Team.

Hear Elsie Gibson speak about the importance of pollinators and what you can do to support them at the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka, Kansas, October 24 & 25, 2015. These instructions will also be provided, in supplement during her presentation at the Fair.

Tools Needed 

• saw
• wire cutters
• drill and screw driver

Parts List 

• 8-inch length of 4 inch drainage pipe
• 1-inch length of 4 inch PVC drainage pipe
• 5-inch by 6-inch piece of wood ( ¼,½ or ¾ inch )
• one piece of 10-inch-by-10-inch chicken wire
• a small tube of glue (liquid nail, Loctite etc.)
• 2 ½ long sheet metal screws

Construction Details 

1. Make 3 marks on the 4-inch pipe. A) One 2 inches in from the end on the bottom. B) The others 2 inches up on both sides on the end

2. Draw a line from the bottom mark up to the 2 side marks on the end.

3. Follow the lines and cut off the wedge shaped piece. This will leave a “porch roof” for the larva tubes.

4. To put the end on set the 4-inch pipe toward the bottom of the 5-inch part of the wood piece.

5. Hold it down and trace around it.

6. Put the pipe aside and put a good bead of glue on the mark you made.

7. Set the pipe into the glue and press it down. Let dry 24 hours.

8. Drill 2- 1/8-inch holes at the top of board for mounting.

9. Drill 2 more holes in the bottom of the PVC pipe in case water gets in.

10. Fill the pipe with your choice of larva tubes.

11. Form the chicken wire over the open end of the pipe to keep the wildlife away from the tubes.

12. Take the 1 inch long piece of PVC and make one cut so you can spread it apart.

13. Slide the ring over the wire and on to the 4-inch pipe to hold the wire in place.

14. Drill 2 holes in the ring and put the ½-inch screws into the pipe to hold it together.

15. To finish the project put a coat of paint on the wood.

Nesting Tubes

Tools Needed

• scissors
• 6-inch ruler
• 2 large brown paper sacks (or Reynolds cooking parchment paper)
• one #2 pencil & clear tape.


1. Place sacks inside each other.

2. Measure a 6-inch x 3-inch block and cut through the 4 layers of the sack.

3. Separate blocks.

4. Place one block on the table and roll with your finger on the #2 pencil.

5. Place tape in the middle on block and slide the pencil out.

6. Set a cardboard toilet paper roll upright on the table and place the tube in it.

7. Continue until all tubes are filled tightly.  Four full rolls will make a full hotel.

Photo by randimal/Fotolia

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.