Summer DIY Projects

Round out your summer with these fun and simple DIY projects

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Well, the lazy days of mid-summer are drawing to a close . . . and making way for the productive days of late summer! There’s something about the beginning of September that just makes you want to get off the beach chair and get something accomplished. Perhaps this “back to work” attitude has been conditioned into us by the beginning of the school year, or maybe it’s that the weather is cooling and the drowsy effects of the sun are wearing off. Whatever the reason, in the coming weeks, you might just feel the itch work on a project besides your tan.

To inspire you in your newly productive mode, we’ve put together a collection of fun projects, the results of which you’ll be delighted to find waiting for you next spring. You’ve been a grasshopper all summer—now it’s time to be an ant. Trust us, it’s just as much fun.

DIY movie chairs

Want to host an outdoor movie night, but worried about the painful day-after butt cramp? Ditch the picnic blanket and make these comfortable movie chairs. They keep you low to the ground for the authentic outdoorsy feel, but they also protect you from the twin neck and lower back pains that come from sitting cross-legged on the ground for 90 minutes. This project is easy, and you’ll come out of it with a chair you can use for years to come. The only tough part is picking a movie.

DIY cooler table

Now for a project that will make you the envy of all your beer-drinking (and soda-drinking) friends. This cooler table will save you from the arduous task of running to the fridge to get a new drink every twenty minutes. The ice-filled trough in the middle of the table keeps drinks cold, and you still have plenty of table space left for meals and snacks. Building this project will make you feel like carpentry ace, and as a bonus, you can reward yourself at the end with a nice cold beer.

DIY pillow quilt

Sure, quilts are great, but haven’t you ever just wanted to lay on a giant pillow? In the quest for the puffiest quilt ever, people have overlooked the fact that the perfect fluffy ingredient at our disposal. If you want to make the ultimate picnic blanket/blanket fort base/slumber party accessory, you should definitely try this project, which creates a large quilt out of several pillows. It’ll give you a chance to do a little sewing, a little decorating, and, finally, a lot of relaxing.

DIY cinder block bench

This ingenious project lets you build a bench without hammering a single nail. This bench is pretty solid, so we recommend building it outdoors someplace where you know you’ll always need a seat (next to the campfire is a great option). Building this bench is also a great core workout, so you might come out with it a bench and better core strength. Remember: lift from your legs!

DIY party piñata

Now that the practical projects in place, how about building something that’s purely for fun? A piñata is a welcome addition to any party. It’s also a welcome addition to no party. Whether you’re celebrating or not, there’s no wrong time to spend an afternoon trying to beat some candy out of a moving target while blindfolded. Also, this is a great project for kids to help out with. As the old saying goes: if you don’t help build the piñata, you can’t share the candy. (Ok, we made that up.)

DIY bowling lane

Perhaps building your own bowling alley sounds impossible, but with this simplified project, you can actually make an awesome mini–bowling lane with some basic carpentry knowledge. And unlike a regular bowling alley, you won’t have to descend into a dark basement to play. You can keep this lane right in your backyard and enjoy it out in the sun! Playing with this project will be fun for kids—and building it will be fun for you. Win/win.