Blog Archives

The Enough Already Mutes Your TV When Overexposed Celebrities Come On [Video]

Sick of hearing about Charlie Sheen’s tiger blood or the political gaffe du jour? This simple DIY project will mute your TV whenever it starts talking about a celebrity or subject you’ve heard enough of. More »







The Enough Already Mutes Your TV When Overexposed Celebrities Come On [Video]

Sick of hearing about Charlie Sheen’s tiger blood or the political gaffe du jour? This simple DIY project will mute your TV whenever it starts talking about a celebrity or subject you’ve heard enough of. More »







Build a Vortex Cannon [Science]

If you’ve been sitting around all week wondering how you could combine smoke, speakers, and a love of novel physics experiments into an excuse to tinker in your workshop this weekend, building a smoke-shooting vortex cannon should cover everything nicely. More »






Learn How to Fold Thousands of Origami Figures at Origami Club [Paper Craft]

If you’ve wanted to learn origami but never got around to checking out any library books on the topic, the massive collection of origami tutorials at Origami Club can help get you started. More »






Use Boiling Water to Make a Perfect Wine Bottle Cut [Recycling]

If you were impressed with the swanky recycled wine bottle cups we shared with you, but had trouble cutting the bottles cleanly, you’ll definitely want to check out this guide to getting perfect cuts. More »






Build a Wall-Mounted Kitchen Computer [DIY]

If you’ve been dreaming of having a computer in your kitchen but don’t like the idea of hanging it from a cabinet or having it clutter up the counter, this guide can help you build a sleek in-wall computer.

Putting a computer in your kitchen and having it look natural and part of the design is a big challenge. Ryan’s wife had been bugging him to put a computer in the kitchen so she could use it to access the internet, manage recipes, generate shopping lists and so on. She also had a pretty tall order when it came to the machine, she wanted it to be discrete, have a touch screen, be internet-enabled, with wires hidden and equipped with a barcode scanner for her to scan products and manage a kitchen database. Not dissuaded by such an ambitious list, Ryan set to work and built an in-wall computer that looks like it was designed and installed by a professional.

The build sports a touch screen, runs Windows XP with an interface cloned from the iPhone for easy finger-based navigation and use, and can do everything from displaying the weather to organizing the pantry. You can check out his build guide for detailed information including how he created the iPhone interface from scratch using the active desktop feature in Windows and coding a custom web page using icons he made and linking them to online services and software on the computer.






Use Hidden Rope Lights for Subdued Accent Lighting [Lighting]

If you’re looking for a way to add soft ambient lighting to an area of your home or office, rope lights are a great way to provide accent lighting without the harshness of focused spotlights or lamps.

We’ve showed you how to set up home and office lighting with rope lights before, but it’s a technique that’s cheap and flexible enough to be worth revisiting.

In the above photo Melinda, an Apartment Therapy reader, put rope lights behind her headboard to cast a warm glow up the wall and provide subdued bedroom lighting. While rope lights have a pleasant warm color to them to begin with, the deep red color of the walls certainly doesn’t hurt.

Rope lights can also be placed above cabinets for soft down-lighting or beneath furniture for a diffused floor-level light. If you’re looking for interesting new lighting ideas, take a stroll through our Featured Workspaces to find quite a variety of novel ways for using subtle—and not so subtle!—lighting.

Have your own favorite way for varying and enhancing the lighting in your home or office? Let’s hear about it in the comments.






Most Popular Repurposing Tricks of 2009 [Best Of 2009]

We're huge fans of repurposing here at Lifehacker—squeezing extra and usually clever uses out of every day objects. Here's a look back at out some of the most popular repurposing posts from 2009.

Rain Gutters as Cable Management Tools


We’re all about creative cable management here at Lifehacker, so we were instantly drawn to reader Seandavid010‘s rain-gutter cable management setup. Granted, you can find other cord-wrangling solutions, like the one Adam used when he made his cordless workspace, but the rain gutter approach yields impressive results. Sean was nice enough to send in his entire step-by-step, check out the full post to see it.

$5 IKEA Coat Hanger Offers Solid Cable Management


Weblog BitsOfMyMind shares a very simple idea that turns an inexpensive coat-hanger rack into a simple and streamlined cord management solution.

Back when Adam detailed how to go cordless in your workspace, he championed a $10 cable management add-on from IKEA. Many readers wrote in and said they couldn’t find the IKEA wire-manager he used, so this clever hack is a welcome addition to our cable-wrangling bag of tricks.

Open a Bottle of Wine with Your Shoe


Got a bottle of wine on hand but no corkscrew to get it open? You can argue all you want about whether or not the guy in this video really needs more wine, but you can’t argue with the results.

Make Cookies in 90 Seconds with Your Waffle Iron


Baking cookies in your oven is fine and all, but if you want to turn out some tasty cookies in a very short time, consider turning to your trusty waffle iron. Turns out you’re only 90 seconds away from crispy, chewy, cookie-goodness.

Create a Cat Haven from Ikea Shelves


The climbing trees at pet stores are ridiculously expensive and take up tons of floor space. Help your kitty jump to a royal view, Super-Mario-style, without cluttering your floor or wasting money.

Remove Splinters Using a Banana Peel


Bananas are a good source of potassium, but turns out the peels can do more than just store the fruit. Apartment Therapy outlines seven ways to put used peels to work, including removal of those inconvenient splinters. Photo by keepon.

Get More From Cheap Vodka Than a Hangover


Sooth headaches? Clean razors? Kill bees? Vodka is handy for all sorts of uses besides the traditional one. The clear and high-proof alcohol can be used for all manner of tricks. Photo by Carsten Lorentzen.

Coke Can Clean Your Toilet in a Pinch


When your toilet’s got rings and lime scale stains and you’ve got no cleaning gear on hand, grab a can of Coke out of the fridge.

Turn IKEA Cabinets Into a Cordless Desktop Stand


The new iMacs, and similar all-in-one LCD desktop systems, make for a mostly cordless computing experience. Using two pieces of IKEA furniture meant for laptops and modems, you can hide the remaining wires and up the elegance.

Disposable Mugger’s Wallet Gets You Off Scott Free or Gets You Beat Up


A mugger’s wallet is a disposable second wallet that you’re more than happy to give away to a mugger. It contains a few bucks, a non-essential ID, but not much else that would endanger your identity.

DIY Car Dash Camera Mount


Ever wished you had some high-speed chase footage after you finished tearing down the freeway after crooks? Of course you have! You need a quick, cheap DIY camera mount.

Remove Stubborn Batteries and Other Cool Magnet Tricks


As if the sheer magnetism aspect of magnets wasn’t magical enough, weblog Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories points out 17 very cool tricks that put your magnets to great use. For starters, a strong magnet can be the perfect tool to remove batteries from the grips of a stubborn spring.

Use Vicks VapoRub To Cure Toenail Fungus


We’ve heard that Vicks VapoRub can cure toenail fungus before (it’s also helpful when you’ve got a cold!), but the New York Times recently put it to the test. The results: The thyme in VapoRub can in fact do the job.

Repair a Broken Ethernet Plug with Zip Ties


We’ve all been there at some point: You’ve got a perfectly functional Ethernet cord that somewhere along the line had its tab broken off. Don’t buy a new one or re-terminate the cord. Fix it with zip ties.

Open Beer Bottles with Bic Lighters


If you lack for a piece of paper, a ring, or just don’t want to risk bursting another bottle, Wired explains the time-honored tradition of popping the top with a Bic-type lighter.

Outlet-Hanging Charge Station For Your Small Gadgets


If a full-sized charging station is overkill for your single cellphone or iPod, try this smaller gadget cradle that mounts neatly on a wall outlet. Craft blog Zakka Life put together a simple tutorial for making a cradle that's perfect for single, regularly-charged items—the kinds of things you dump out of your pockets upon returning home.


Best Repurposing Trick of 2009?(answers)

Have a favorite post from 2009 that highlights a clever use or novel way to repurpose an everyday object? Let’s hear about it in the comments.






Most Popular DIY Projects of 2009 [Best Of 2009]

We love DIY projects here at Lifehacker. Whether we’re building computers, backyard projects, or turning office supplies into artillery, we’re always tinkering. Today we’re taking a peek at the most popular DIY projects of 2009.

Create Your Own Sun Jar: Lifehacker Edition


Inspired by a tutorial we posted last year, we decided to make our own DIY sun jars. The trendy summer time lighting accessory retails for $30+ but we were able to make ours for around $10 each. The sun jars proved to be our most popular non-computer DIY of the entire year and readers shared their own creations with us.

The First-Timer’s Guide to Building a Computer from Scratch


Building your own computer is a great way to get exactly what you want, the way you want it, without being constrained by the limits and high-prices of mass produced computers. We showed you how to build a computer from start to finish and have fun doing it.

Turn a Sharpie into a Liquid Fueled Rocket


What’s standing between you and some office mayhem? Certainly not a lack of Sharpie markers and keyboard dusting spray. Combine the two with this fun DIY project and you’ve got one of the most awesome pieces of office-machinery we’ve ever featured.

Properly Erase Your Physical Media


You need to be properly erasing your physical media: all the time, every time. Our guide will show you how to get the job done and done right whether you use software to scrub your disks or you send them to the great data mine in the sky with a 21-gun salute.

Turn an Old Laptop into a Wall-Mounted Computer

Why settle for a digital picture frame when, in the same wall space, you could mount an entirely functional computer/slideshow player/TV tuner? One Lifehacker reader turned an old laptop into a super-charged digital frame.

$8 DIY Aluminum Laptop Stand

We’ve always been keen on DIY laptop stands, but reader Aaron Kravitz—inspired by an attractive $50 stand—went above and beyond, creating one of the most attractive DIY laptop stands we've featured to date.

Build an IKEA NAS On the Cheap


If the Hive Five on best home server software got you excited about setting up a home server but you’re not keen on another unsightly PC in your home, check out this DIY IKEA NAS.

Build a DIY Portable Air Conditioner


We’ve shown you how to make an air conditioner (even for as low as $30), but what if you wanted something you can put in your car and take with you? While it’s no substitute for a fully-charged and factory-fresh AC system, it’ll keep you cool.

Turn a Bookshelf into a Secret Passage


Who hasn’t dreamed of having a mystery-story-style secret passageway? While a trick bookshelf is pretty awesome in itself, this secret passage hides a home office with clever style. One industrious Lifehacker reader and his girlfriend had grown tired of seeing their office from their living space, so they hid it behind a wall of books.

Wire Your House with Ethernet Cable

You’ve ripped a movie on your laptop, and now want it on that fancy new home theater PC next to your TV. If you’ve got the time, wiring your house with Cat-5e cable could make transfer times a distant memory.

Rain Gutters as Cable Management Tools


We’re all about creative cable management here at Lifehacker, so we were instantly drawn to reader Seandavid010‘s rain-gutter cable management setup. He was awesome enough to send detailed photos and step by step instructions to help other readers recreate his setup.

Build Your Own DTV Antenna

The lights went out on analog television this year and we were there with a guide to help you build a great DIY antenna for boosting your reception and getting that crisp digital picture you crave.

DIY Laptop Rack Hack Turns Your Monitor into an iMac


Lifehacker reader Matt Lumpkin saw our monitor stand from door stoppers post and thought we might like his laptop rack hack as another space-saving desktop solution for laptop-lovers. He was right.

Build Your Own Pizza Oven


Suppose you were inspired by the cheap DIY home pizza oven—but weren't so sure your home insurance would cover oven modifications. It's time to build a safer, more eye-pleasing oven, and we've got a thorough guide.

Crack a Master Combination Padlock Redux


Two years ago we highlighted how to crack a Master combination padlock for those of you who may have lost the combination to your bulletproof lock; now designer Mark Campos has turned the tried-and-true instructions into an easier-to-follow visual guide.

DIY Invisible Floating Bookshelves


We’ve covered the invisible floating bookshelf once or twice before, but if you liked the idea but weren’t keen on ruining a book in the process, weblog May December Home’s got you covered.

DIY Inverted Bookshelf


Instead of storing your books upright on top of the shelf, the inverted bookshelf holds all of your books in place using elastic webbing so you can hang them below the shelf—all the while allowing you to still take them out and put them back on as needed.

Build an Under-the-Cabinet Kitchen PC from an Old Laptop


Inspired by our guide to giving an old laptop new life with cheap or free projects, Lifehacker reader Brian turned his aging Dell laptop into an incredible under-the-cabinet kitchen PC.

Turn Storage Containers into Self Watering Tomato Planters


If you’d like to have delicious home-grown tomatoes but lack a garden to grow them in, you’ll definitely want to check out this ingenious and inexpensive self-watering system.

Deter Thieves by Uglifying Your Camera


A few years ago, blogger Jimmie Rodgers’s camera was stolen while volunteering in an impoverished Brazilian community, so he did what any sane person would do: He bought a new camera and made it ugly. With his uglified camera, Rodgers was able to snap pictures freely during the rest of his trip without worrying too much that his ostensibly crappy camera would end up stolen.

DIY TV or Monitor Stand from Door Stoppers


Nothing adds space to a desk or home theater setup like a simple monitor or TV stand, and weblog IKEA Hacker details how to build your own stand on-the-cheap with a few inexpensive items from IKEA.

Repurpose Your Analog Television


You don’t need to run out and buy a new TV because of the DTV switchover. If you did anyways, Make Magazine has put together quite a guide to giving old TVs new life.

Use Ping-Pong Balls to Create Diffused Party Lights


If you need some cheap and novel ambient lighting for your next party, you’re only a box of ping-pong balls and a string of lights away from solving your lighting worries.

Build a Custom-Made BoxeeBox


DeviceGuru blogger Rick Lehrbaum, inspired by the cheaper set-top boxes, made his own higher-powered “BoxeeBox” for the free, open-source media center. He posted all the parts, the how-to details, and lots of pictures.

Build a Sturdy Cardboard Laptop Stand


You already shelled out your hard earned cash for a swanky laptop, why drop more cash on an overpriced laptop stand? Cardboard alone can do the trick, as detailed in this step-by-step tutorial.

Install Snow Leopard on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required


Earlier this year we put together a wildly popular guide to building a Hackintosh with Snow Leopard, start to finish, and then followed it up with an even easier guide to install Snow Leopard on your Hackintosh PC, no hacking required. Computers + DIY is all sorts of geeky fun waiting to happen.


Which Is Your Favorite Lifehacker DIY Project of 2009?(polls)

Have a favorite DIY from 2009 that wasn’t highlighted here? Sound off in the comments with a link to your favorite project. Want to see more popular DIY guides courtesy of the ghost of Lifehacker past? Check out our huge DIY guide roundup from 2008.






Make a Simple, Ultra-Portable iPhone Stand from Acrylic [IPhone]

It isn’t hard to make a cheap iPhone or iPod stand, but if you’re looking for a cheap stand that won’t scratch your iPhone, will hold it solidly, and is extremely skinny and portable, this one is tough to beat.

The stand in question is simply a piece of acrylic that has been cut like an easel back with a small slot to place the charging cable. As you can see from the photo, the stand is great for turning your iPhone into an alarm clock or propping it up for a movie in bed. The cut can also be modified to fit just about any flat-screened phone with a screen worth peering at.

Check out the tutorial at the link below for more pictures of the build process. You can also see a version created by Lifehacker reader cyberfux, here.






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