Something From Nothing
Sarah Rae Smith
Oct 23, 2008

The week is almost at an end, but before we finish up our 5 part series on how to make something from nothing, we have two more projects with pieces coming from Minneapolis and Detroit. Click through the jump to see how we put to use a waterbed from the 80's and a pool ladder without a pool for literally nothing at all. And just in case you missed them earlier don't forget to check out each of our Thrifty posts on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.

So far this week, we've used small tools from our garage or maybe small supplies we would have had on hand. Today we would like to go 100% free in order to be as thrifty as possible.

In Detroit we found a water bed and 12 truck loads of free fill dirt and in Minneapolis we came across an above ground pool ladder and two listings for scrap lumber. Check out below how to take them from trash to home decor!

From 80's Waterbed to Sq. Ft. Garden

Before We Start:This past year we have loved having our Sq Ft Garden in place. It made gardening simple, easy and took a little bit of the pressure off. If you need to read up on it you can do so here. It's a no dig garden that is super kid friendly and really low maintenance.

  • 1 - This project would start by stapling the two tarps down to the bottom of the bed and removing the bumper pads on either side. They wouldn't have to be removed, although the 80's did call... and they want them back!
  • 2 - Next up drainage holes need to be drilled in the bottom. Space them evenly so that each section of the bed would be allowed to drain equally. Remember, soggy plants are sad plants. Find some loose rock from your yard to cover them slightly.
  • 3 - Fill the dirt into the bed and you are ready to plant.

    Note:If you were willing, you could sand the varnish off the bed and seal it with linseed oil. 1 coat each day for a week should be enough to do the trick. If this route was taken, the tarps wouldn't need to be used!

    Pool Ladder and Scrap Lumber Bookcase

  • 1 - Pool ladders aren't uncommon on Craigslist (also check out auctions and second hand stores) as people either build in wooden steps or move in somewhere a pool already exists and the whole set up gets listed up. First check for any burs on the metal, steel wool will knock them right off. Don't forget to check the feet as they might need to be capped (you can buy rubber furniture caps at any hardware store for a under $1) so they don't scratch your floor.
  • 2 - Using a table saw, handsaw or circular saw, rip the found boards into lengths that will fit the shelves (aka rungs on the ladder). If you are only able to find skinny lengths of wood that's not a problem, just use a few of them in conjunction with each other. If you feel so inclined, glue them up and seal them all together for a polished effect.
  • 3 - The boards should stay put, however if you are worried about them catapulting your belongings to the other side of the room, simply use awl and a hammer or drill to make two small holes in the wood on either side of rung. Use a clear zip tie or length of wire to fasten the shelf to the ladder.

    Look for the last post of the series tomorrow and don't forget to check Craigslist in your area for all kinds of neat and exciting things that might have more possibilities than what they were originally intended for.

    Did You Miss A Day?

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday

    (Photos via Craiglist and

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