Last week you saw how we shaved longer for cheaper, roasted a mighty moist turkey, and peeled rebate labels with ease in the first edition of Lifehacker Labs. We're back this week with monitor stands, wine storage, and more.
Lifehacker Labs is a chance for us to show you how we've used tips and tricks from Lifehacker, revisited old ones, and even improved upon them in the process. This week we're back with four more ways we've culled tips from the Lifehacker archive and put them to work in our own homes and offices.
Earlier this year we shared a great way to turn cheap hardware store parts into a DIY monitor stand by raising up a shelf with door stoppers. Later that year we got a chance to peek into Adam Pash's workspace and saw that he'd tried out the DIY monitor shelf too—blending it nicely by using a matching piece of wood for his IKEA Jerker desk. When I purchased some new monitors on Black Friday this year I needed something to give them a little boost to a more comfortable level. A quick trip to the hardware store for a four-foot shelf, five door stoppers (I opted to put one in the middle towards the back to keep the shelf from sagging over time under the weight of three monitors and peripherals), and a coat of paint later and I was in business. You can skip the painting step and just buy a pre-made white, black, or wood-grain shelf but I wanted to match the paint and gloss to the paint I used on my DIY desk.
Last month we stumbled across a novel holiday decoration, lighted Christmas balls. Essentially the entire thing is just a ball of chicken wire wrapped in two strands of Christmas lights. Suspended from a tree they make a colorful and festive decoration. I was in the process of getting ready to hang my own Christmas lights and the story behind the Christmas balls and the good work and charity they had brought to a neighborhood in Greensboro, NC compelled me to make a few of my own—check out the original article to see a video telling the story behind the balls. They're simple to make—especially if you're not trying to make a perfect sphere!—and they look really awesome once they are up in the tree. The recent snow storms in the midwest have dusted mine with ice and snow and they look even better than they do in the header image above. So far they've been well received by my neighbors and I'll likely make some more next year and give them away.
Many times when your glasses appear scratched, the lens itself isn't scratched but the coatings on the lens is. If you have plastic lenses in your glasses—and most people do—you can fix the scratched coating with Armor Etch. Armor Etch is a glass-etching acid cream available in craft stores. I applied it to an expensive pair of glasses that had polycarbonate lenses where the anti-reflective coating was scuffed enough to make wearing them unpleasant. After a few minutes of being smeared with the acid etching cream I rinsed them with hot water, then hot soapy water to be extra sure the cream had been rinsed off, and they were as good as new. They no longer have anti-reflective coating but they are otherwise perfectly serviceable and as crystal clear as the day I got them. Make extra, extra, certain your glasses have polycarbonate lenses and not glass before you try this or else you'll have a pair of useless glasses with heavily frosted lenses on your hands.
During Food Week we shared an ambitious closet-to-wine-cellar conversion with you. The guy that built it spent about $500 which, to him, was a bargain compared to the $$$$ pricetag of having a professional crew do the conversion. I like wine but not enough to spend $500 storing it so I searched out a way to adapt the idea of his wine-cellar-closet to fit my home and budget. Down in my basement the original owners built a large bank of cabinets and affixed them directly to the foundation instead of to the studs and drywall. After reading this comment on the orignal post I had an "ah-hah!" moment.
A few years ago we were finishing our basement. Because of pipes, wires, etc, we had a corner about 6 foot wide and about 2 deep that couldn't be used. I dry walled the area into a closet like area, put on some cheap glass front french doors. I stained some fir wine racks and fastened to the back wall.
The cool part was that the walls were insulated, but the rear wall, against the concrete wall was left uninsulated. This kept the wine closet about 20 degrees below room temperature year round. No electricity, no fans, just natural temperature control.
I took several lengths of pipe and put them in the cabinet, placed the bottles of wine in them, and then put a few cheap cooking thermeters around the large cabinet to see what the temperature would look like over several weeks of storage. The temperature, thanks to sharing an outside wall that was 6 feet below ground level, stayed at a consistent 54-56 degrees Fahrenheit—a much more stable and ideal temperature than my modest wine collection deserves.
That's it for this week's Lifehacker Lab, but don't let us have all the fun. We have a Lifehacker Tips Tester pool on Flickr for you to show off your your favorite Lifehacker tips, tricks, and hacks in action. If you've used a tip from Lifehacker, we'd love to see photos of your results in the tester pool!