Our old, cheap broom was broken during the move. After a ton of research, I decided I wanted an upscale model. But since I didn’t want to pay the upscale prices (some were as much as $150!), I figured out a way to reuse my broken broom bristles to DIY a cleaning utensil I’m proud to display.
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Even when you hire movers, there are always casualties during each relocation. During our last move, the broom was broken. No big deal, right? Brooms are pretty cheap.
Except I’ve vowed to not spend any money on items we don’t absolutely need right now. Also, I’m committed to ending the cheap product cycle. You know the one. That thing where you buy something because it’s functional but it’ll break in a year and you’ll have to replace it but that’s okay because it’s cheap. And then you repeat.
THE CASE FOR BEAUTIFUL CLEANING SUPPLIES
This time around, I really want every new item we bring into our home to be substantial, artistic, and long-lasting. I want to do my research before I buy anything to make sure it will stand the test of time, even aesthetically.
Cleaning supplies are rarely attractive enough to be put on display but since we have extremely limited space in this home, we need to be able to utilize every single inch for storage. That means a lot of our “unsightly” objects will often be in plain sight. The solution?
Cleaning supplies that are both beautiful to display and fully functional, obviously.
Redecker Broom | Helen Milan
I fell in love with the idea of displayable cleaning supplies when I purchased a set of glass bottles for holding my hand soap and liquid detergent waaaaay back in 2005. Back then, this was as upscale as I could possibly afford. Hell, even the $20 I spent on glass bottles felt a little frivolous at the time, considering that my entire wardrobe consisted of hand-me-downs. But it made me smile to see them sitting on the counter beside my sink.
Having this simple and inexpensive utilitarian product that replaced my crappy, store-brand soap bottles made my home feel so much more gathered. I felt so mature. It was like I became an instant adult just because I’d transferred soap into another container. I was hooked.
After a decade of glass bottle soap dispensers gracing all my sinks, I took the idea of upscale cleaning containers and supplies one step further when I started storing my laundry soap, vinegar, and baking soda in glass receptacles in my laundry room.
Finally, last year I decided to go all-in on investing in beautiful and functional cleaning supplies and I’ve been slowly replacing all our existing household accessories ever since.
These are the current products we already own that I’ve come to love and am not embarrassed to have out when guests arrive:
You can even see how I proudly display my dish cleaning supplies and incorporated glass jar storage into my home decor in my last house’s kitchen makeover reveal. In fact, from this angle you can see how much I truly believe in decorating with utilitarian objects. There isn’t anything in this shot that doesn’t serve a true purpose in the room.
I believe so wholeheartedly in the idea of decorating with useful objects that when Wayfair reached out last year and asked me to write a piece about decorating bathrooms, I actually recommended exactly this approach in the article. You can see that here: Bathroom Vanity Styling
“Since bathrooms are the most utilitarian spaces in our homes, I embrace the functionality of the space. Instead of adding decor objects, I turn our everyday necessities into objects of beauty. Finding beautiful vessels to house neutral paper products serves double duty; our necessary items are never out of arm’s reach, never have to be put away, and add to the overall charm of the room.” THE CASE FOR A DIY BROOM PROJECT
I’m obviously already sold on a fancy, durable, forever, wooden broom. So why in the world did I feel the need to DIY one instead of buying one? Well, you guys, these brooms aren’t cheap. Nice, durable, and craftsman styled brooms can be very expensive. The ones I loved ranged in price from $50 to $150.
AND WE JUST MOVED. Like, less than a month ago, we wrote a check for the most amount of money we’ve ever spent on anything ever and then wrote more checks to cover the expenses of the move. On top of that, every new home comes with a list of items that need immediate attention. Those items all cost money.
Couple that with the end of the Summer (my design business’s busy season), and you can tell why we’re not spending money on anything frivolous right now. And a $150 cleaning tool might be the most frivolous way I can imagine spending money at the moment.
(you can read more about why we moved here + where we moved here)
Glancing around my garage (Surely we have another broom around here, somewhere?!), it suddenly occurred to me: I don’t have another broom but I do have a functional set of broom bristles and a ton of scrap wood. Just like that, my idea to build my own custom upscale wooden broom that I won’t be ashamed to put on display was born.
A TUTORIAL FOR MAKING YOUR OWN MODERN + ATTRACTIVE WOODEN BROOM
supplies: (the ones I’ve used are linked below)
gloss spray / paint / stain (for finishing)
broken broom bristles (or you can buy a cheap one at the dollar store)
screw hooks (for hanging)
3/8” machine screw
compound miter saw (or a circular saw, if that’s what you have)
1 3/8” woodboring drill bit
3/8” drill bit
estimated total cost of project: $15 - $20
my total cost: $0 (due to all supplies were already on-hand)
STEP ONE: Using your existing broom as a guide, determine the approximate width of your new broom head. Mark your cut lines on your scrap 2x4.
STEP TWO: Cut your scrap 2x4 to the appropriate length, as determined by your existing broom head.
STEP THREE: Sand sharp edges of your 2x4 block. This will be your broom head. If you desire a more modern look, don’t round out the edges too much. More rustic vibes are created with rounder edges.
STEP FOUR: Clamp 2x4 broom head to secure. Then measure and mark direct center of the wood block. Using the 1 3/8” wood boring drill bit, create a pilot hole in the wood and allow the bit to bore slightly into the block so that your broom stick will fit inside. DO NOT DRILL THROUGH THE ENTIRE BLOCK.
STEP FIVE: Create a 3/8” pilot hole for your machine screw by drilling in the center of the 1 3/8” pilot you just made. Drill through the entire block, as this is where your machine screw will attach the broom handle to the broom head. Then drill a 3/8” hole into the center of one side of your dowel.
STEP SIX: Create a grid pattern on the bottom of the wood block (this will be where the bristles attach, so use the side you deem least attractive, as no one will see it). Then use the grid layout to guide your bristle pilot holes.
STEP SEVEN: Using the 3/8” drill bit, create approximately 3/8” deep holes along your grid pattern. This is where your bristles will attach to the underside of your broom. Alternate the spacing for a fuller bristle look. Sand the surface with a light grit sandpaper and remove all wood shavings and sawdust from the holes.
STEP EIGHT: Apply your preferred finish. I used a gloss lacquer spray to allow the wood grain to show through. I also painted a stripe on the tip of my broom handle that matched my black screw hooks.
STEP NINE: Remove the bristles from your old broom. They should pull out with pliers but you can also use scissors to snip them and then bunch them back together by burning the ends and pressing the melted plastic lightly.
Begin adding the bristles to your block by adding drops of wood glue inside each 3/8” hole and inserting the bristles inside. Careful to keep the bristles a consistent length. I opted to add a few bristles on the outside perimeter first to determine the look I liked. Then I screwed my broom head and broom stick together before adding additional bristles.
STEP TEN: Insert a machine screw through the bottom of the wood block and directly through. Then screw and tighten to the dowel (where your previous 3/8” pilot hole was drilled).
STEP TEN: (optional) If desired, insert your screw hook into the top of the broom handle for hanging.
No I have a completed wood broom that matches the modern arts and crafts aesthetic that I hope to achieve as we renovate our new home. It’s not perfect (it might be a little more angled than I’d hoped) but I think it looks pretty darn good and it’s actually a really good broom in terms of function!
This tutorial was completed as part of our At Home DIY Blogger’s Challenge series. Each month, we choose a new topic to tackle and come together as a group to motivate and inspire you to get your DIY hats on and get to work!
See more What Can I Build With A 2x4 Projects
This month’s topic is 2x4 Projects and my fellow bloggers are bringing their A games! Click the image above to check out all of the genius money-saving DIYs they’re sharing with us this month!
HAPPY HOME, HAPPY DECORATING! xoxo
Teri YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS + I’VE GOT ANSWERS.
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