Side Project Roundup – June 2019

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Welcome to a new series on my blog, the “Side Project Roundup”. The Side Project Roundup features some little details about various Home Automation, Home Labbing or Home Improvement projects that I’ve done throughout the month, but didn’t get into a full-blown article. I hope it sparks some interest for you to tackle some of your own projects!

Stuffed Animal Holder

My son has gotten a lot of stuffed animals as gifts in his short 5 months of life so far (and a ton while my wife was still pregnant). We were searching for a good way to store them all in his room and came across a few plans for “Stuffed Animal Zoos”.

Essentially it’s just some 1″x3″ and 1″x4″ boards put together to make a bin. Eye bolts are screwed into the wood that elastic runs through to create a sort of “cage” or “zoo” for all the stuffed animals to live. I spray painted the wood for the finish. My wife ordered a vinyl sticker that says “Animal Sanctuary” for the side.

Animal Sanctuary

New Bike Rack

I’ve been wanting to bike more and more. Mostly for the exercise and to save a little bit of money on gas and car wear and tear on short trips. Our neighborhood grocery store is about a 2.5-mile ride away and I wanted a better way to carry small amounts of groceries back from the store. I don’t plan on doing any serious bike touring or anything like that. Just wanted something better than a backpack to carry stuff with me.

I ended up getting this bike rack and attachable bags for storage.

New Bike Rack

The installation process was a bit more involved than I first thought. I should have looked closer, but I have an older bike and I didn’t realize it didn’t have eyelets to secure the rack. I ended up getting some p-clamps from Home Depot to attach to the back part of the frame. Overall it feels pretty secure and I haven’t had any problems yet.

I’m thinking about integrating some biking stats and/or automations with Home Assistant. Not sure what that really looks like, but if you’re doing anything with bikes and Home Assistant let me know in the comments!

Fixed Up Easel

My wife is an avid garage sale and estate sale bargain hunter. She found this broken easel at a garage sale this past weekend. I installed some new wood screws in one of the legs. I also used some wood glue to secure the dowels on the back. After that, it was working good as new.

Easel Back

Easel Front

We plan on using this for game nights and for our son when gets older and starts to paint and draw.

Repurpose Shelves in Garage

A neighbor of ours was getting rid of some shelves. We decided to grab them up and repurpose them in our garage. They aren’t the nicest thing, but look great for a garage.


To mount them to a wall I decided on a French Cleat system. I already use French Cleats for several different things in our garage and I like the flexibility it gives you to move things around. I already had some 45-degree plywood cut from my last French Cleat project. So I attached a piece to the back of the cabinet and another to the wall.

Wall Attached

The 45-degree wood mates perfectly and I’ve already filled up the cabinets with screws and nails and other fasteners.

Mounted on Wall

Previous Side Project Roundup

Hope you are enjoying the new series. What DIY projects did you get done around your house this past month? In addition to these, my biggest project was the DIY Smart Home Cabinet Lighting which was spread over a few weekends.

To view past side project roundup posts, click here.