Bi-Monthly Almanac: Safe Toddler Swing, Swinging Pet Door, and Other Household Projects

A safe toddler swing and a swinging pet door are two of eight small household projects covered in this ongoing feature.

| September/October 1979


Make a swinging pet door by attaching coil springs to both sides of a small screen door. The springs will be strong enough to close the door, but your dog or cat will be strong enough to push it to get in or out.


You've always got some household projects to do, right? Well, we've got a few suggestions to help you get them done. Then have a little fun viewing the historically significant events covered in our September/October Almanac.

Safe Toddler Swing

An ideal "no-tipping" swing for toddlers can be made from one end of a wooden box or put together, from scratch, using four pieces of scrap wood. The trick, however, is to thread the rope through two holes in each side of this box-type construction so your small-fry will have a particularly safe seat while swinging.

Swinging Pet Door

Your dog or cat can come and go at will if you hinge the lower part of a screen door and install long coil springs on both sides. These should exert equal tension .. which will keep the pet door closed, yet allow the animal to push its way either in or out.

Washcloth Holder

Screw a number of spring-type clothespins to a wood panel and attach the assembly to the bathroom wall. This handy device can then hold washcloths so they'll dry quickly .. . and—if you paint names on the pins—each family member can quickly identify his or her own cloth.

Bottle Deodorizer

Here is a method to deodorize a foul-smelling bottle: fill the container with cold water, add a pinch of dry mustard, let the solution stand for about one hour, then rinse well.

Slip-Proof Sidewalk

Here's an autumn shop project that will eliminate the necessity of using salt or ashes on icy sidewalks this winter. Cut small slits in two lengths of discarded garden hose and drive nails through these into a series of evenly spaced boards. When the auxiliary walk isn't needed, it can be rolled up and stored away.

Temporary Wheelchair

You can make a temporary wheelchair from most any straight-backed chair. All you have to do is drill holes in the ends of the chair legs and insert casters (large-sized, rubber-tired ones are best, but other types will work, too). Of course, the occupant will need an assistant to push him or her along.

Salt Shaker Plug

If you've misplaced any corks from your salt or pepper shakers—or if the stoppers have a habit of coming loose—seal the holes with a small strip of tape.

Animal-Proof Garbage Can

Drive a steel rod approximately two feet into the ground and cap the post with a U-shaped pipe, the other end of which fits through a neatly drilled hole in the can's lid. Not even the biggest dog in the neighborhood (or the forest's wiliest raccoon) will be able to tip your trash over again.

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