Steel Wool – Who Cares?

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Okay, so who cares about steel wool?  It’s weird looking and comes in a huge bag, that I will probably never use.  Every time I do a home project that involves staining or stripping I  have to buy steel wool.  My mom used to keep a a bag of steel wool under the kitchen sink; she liked to use it to scrub pans (this was before the days of Teflon and non-stick pans).  The pad would get rusty and disgusting with little bits of dried food.  The used steel wool was kept next to a can of congealed grease.  Why? I don’t know, but we didn’t need child safety locks on that cabinet – no one wanted to go near the steel wool or grease can.  Yuck.

So steel wool, what’s it good for?  Surprisingly you can do quite a few things with it, and it’s inexpensive.

  • Use super fine #0000 steel wool to clean fireplace and oven doors. The glass will go from black to clear without scratching.
  •  Expanding foam fills in big gaps and when combined with steel wool becomes a barrier to rodents.
  •  Temporarily stuff steel wool in the drain while you bathe your pet to catch shed hair and prevent a clogged pipe (this one I am going to try.)
  •  Remove black heel marks on vinyl flooring.  Use steel wool and a little water, scrub gently.
  • Use super fine #0000 steel wool to create a matte finish on gloss paint.
  • Use instead of sandpaper on awkward shapes.
  • Sharpen scissors or clean up garden utensils

 You can always use it to create artwork,

 

Steel Wool on the Beach

 

 

Steel Wool Bust

 

Steel Wool Over Water

Or clothes…

Steel Wool Robe

 

Done anything interesting with steel wool?  I’d love to hear about it.

It’s Not Your Daddy’s Hardware Store

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 Its Not Your Daddy’s Hardware Store is a new feature on the blog.  I will highlight several items a month that are unexpected finds:  different uses for everyday items that can be found at your local hardware store or unusual items.

The items I want to share are creative and clever works of art created out of normal, everyday hardware store items.  All are either made out of up-cycling, salvaging or reusing everyday items.

I saw this nut bowl created by Tammy Roy of 180° Design on Apartment Therapy, and just fell in love with it.  

Nut Bowl

Tammy  is obsessed with creating items out of reused scrap metal and discarded objects.  She boasts about her love of dumpster diving and learning how to weld.  Both her website and blog are filled with her awe inspiring creations.  Visit her site: 180° Design.

Ever thought you could make a clock out of wrenches?  MetalMedia from Chicago did. 

Wrench Clock

MetalMedia creates their clocks using found objects from automotive parts to antique roller skates.  Visit their shop on Etsy for more information.

Washer Necklace

Jewelry anyone?  Tanith created this modern, found object necklace from silver toned washers, and a salvaged chain.  I love the hardware earrings too.  Tanith considers herself an urban archaeologist, uncovering the treasures in other people’s refuse.  She can take something that looks like trash and turn it into a piece of jewelry.

Hardware Earrings

 Tanith also has a shop on Etsy filled with wonderful items she’s created.

Baseball Players

Scott from Bucket O Bolts crafts metal sculptures from found objects and car parts.  Look at the detail in the Baseball  Players and the Grasshopper.   Scott’s items are also available on Etsy.

Grasshopper

I realized you can’t buy any of these items at the hardware store, but next time you’re browsing the aisle think about the alternate uses for those tools, washers, nuts, bolts etc.  Have you created something using hardware store materials?  I would love to see it.

 Visit our web-site or the Store Location page to find a friendly staffed locally owned ACE hardware store near you.