Wow, what a week! After being on vacation for a week, it feels really good to get back to work. Is it weird that I feel that way? I absolutely LOVED our vacation, wandering the Traverse Bay area in Northern Michigan, but sometimes it also feels really good to come home and get back into the regular routine. Of course it helps a lot that I love what I do. :-)
So anyway, lets’ get to it… I have probably mentioned before that our house was built in 1940. New homes are wonderful and gorgeous, but I have always felt that older homes have so much more character.
(This post may contain affiliate links.)
Character isn’t always a good thing. Sure, our home has some really fun details, and the quality of the workmanship is really quite impressive, but there are some details that leave a lot to be desired.
For example, this pit… I call this area the Pit of Doom. It turns out that to some people, this is what would be called a “walkout basement”. Not to me though. To me this is the worst idea ever! Every time it rains, this set of stairs becomes a full blown waterfall that drains into our basement. Not to mention, it’s kinda a major safety hazard. I am always terrified that the kids will forget it’s there and run right off the edge. Especially in the dark. This whole area needs a serious makeover but for now my main concern was finding an attractive and affordable way to reduce the risk of a broken neck.
I need to clarify here that this is not necessarily built to code and before simply following my instructions you should verify building codes in your area. Technically speaking, this is just a decorative fence.
Setting the posts:
I started by marking out approximately where I wanted my posts to go.
Then I got to work with the dreaded post hole digger.
When each hole was between 1 &1/2-2 feet deep,
I used the level to make sure everything was straight and then buried the 4x4 posts.
For the center post, I ran a line connecting the two ends,
and used it to make sure that my center post would line up with both ends.
Drilling holes for the rods:
I used 2”x6”s for the bottom rails and 2”x4”s for the top rails. After carefully measuring the diameter of the bottles, I decided that I wanted my rods to sit on 4” centers. I lined up the top and bottom rails for each section, and then marked out where the holes should be drilled. Marking them together helped ensure that the vertical rods would be straight.
My rods were made from simple ½” dowels that I stained and then sealed. I considered using rebar, but it seemed like an unnecessary expense. It was a bit more labor but I spent about 1/8th the price. I used a 5/8ths bit because I thought I needed to account for the imperfect shape of the rebar. It fit well with the dowels too though.
I am pretty proud of this little shortcut. I wanted to make sure the holes were drilled to a uniform depth. 2” deep on the 2”x4”s and 3” deep on the 2’x6”s. I wrapped this piece of one inch tape in the appropriate place so that I could see when I hit the desired depth.
When the drill tip was buried to the beginning of the tape, the hole was 2” deep and when it was buried to the end of the tape, the hole was 3” deep.
Drilling holes in the bottles:
I used a bucket of sand to hold the bottles in place upside down,
and kept a very large bucket of soapy water on hand to wash the bottles after drilling. It is important to wash them right away or the gritty mess that develops from drilling will get stuck inside the bottle.
Drilling into glass can be a bit tricky, but with a few important tips anyone can do it well.
* Use a gloved hand to hold the bottle steady.
* The drill tip needs to be diamond tip. (I used a 3/4" diamond hole saw tip)
* The drill tip must be kept wet.
* Have the drill spinning at full speed before applying it to the surface of the glass.
* Begin drilling at a 45 degree angle, then slowly straighten it to the desired angle.
* Do NOT apply pressure to speed up the process. Allow the weight of the drill to provide the only real pressure, and be prepared for it to take some time. Applying pressure will only make the bottle crack. You can expect each bottle to take 2-4 minutes.
Once a bottle is done, place it into the soapy water and rinse thoroughly. You may need to retrieve the drilled out piece of glass, then simply place the next bottle in the same hole in the sand.
Assembling the fence:
There is so much patience involved with the rest of this process, final assembly really seems like the easy part. I began by figuring out where the bottom rail needed to sit.
After leveling and marking, I simply ran two long screws through the back, at an angle, ending into the 4x4 post.
The dowels were cut to the right height and set in place.
Then we played around with the arrangement of the bottles,
And finally capped it off with the top rail. Working from one side to the other to ensure that each dowel lined up properly with it’s top hole.
I am so pleased with how this turned out!
The colors of the wine bottles fit perfectly with the overall natural and rustic feel of our backyard.
The fence provides a visual reminder that will help ensure the kids don’t fall into the pit of doom,
and it does so in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Now I just need to give the rest of that area a major makeover. I have some fun ideas brewing but I am starting to worry that I won’t have enough time for everything before the snow starts flying again. I know, I really shouldn’t talk about that yet. It’s only August!
For more DIY Yard Decor: