26. Construct a skateboard mini-ramp.
The video title — Building a Mini Ramp in 5 minutes — is a little misleading, since this is cut and sped up. It looks cool, though, and full plans are available for free at their website (linked to from the YouTube page).
27. Customize your WordPress blog with no worries.
By using a “child theme,” you can begin playing with your blog’s typography, colors, and layout without worrying about messing anything up.
28. Build a solar oven for the backyard.
I watched several really ridiculous solar oven primers before finding this one — seems legit. Unfortunately, it looks like the dude never got around to filming / posting part 2. This should get you started, though.
29. DIY a luxury camper van.
Matador managing editor Carlo Alcos created an entire blog around his camper van project, which traces his process from vehicle acquisition to the final touches, including a mini-kitchen, sofabed, and “penthouse suite.”
You can find all of the posts at his current blog, Vagabonderz.
30. Brew beer.
A from-scratch brewing guide, delivered with old-timey charm in under five minutes.
By using extracts in place of raw grain, you can simplify the procedure — this is how the serious folks do it.
31. Reuse your old wine bottles.
Candle holders, wind chimes, lamps…check out more ideas in 10 ways to reuse wine bottles.
32. Make the best paper airplane in the world.
No bullshit here. Just do what this guy does and you’ll end up with an airplane that lives up to the title. Matador tested and approved.
33. Get creative with food.
Read 10 DIY foods you never thought of making yourself for instructions on making your own yoghurt, Nutella, baby food, even knock-off organic Twinkies.
34. Collect rainwater for irrigation.
With the hardcore drought we had last year here in Texas, everyone is talking about water conservation, and I’m starting to see more rainwater barrel systems in people’s yards.
You can spend a lot on barrels designed specifically for this purpose, but this is one project that’s easy to do on your own. The video above shows one of many DIY variations.
35. Make your travels pay by writing a book.
During 2009-10, former Matador editor Tom Gates traveled around the world. He wrote up his stories, published the book himself, and now he has a bestseller. Here’s his take:
My friends make DIY records and start DIY record companies. I grew up around this culture and have run so many of my artists’ record labels. I have no fear about winging it, despite only a shot glass full of knowledge on the book business. If I can sell 100,000 records with only the outreach I know, why can’t I sell a thousand books?
36. Screenprint your own shirts.
Custom t-shirts rock. No matter how witty those designs you see at Target are, homemade always wins.
37. Waterproof your backpack the easy way.
I like this guy’s attitude: Sure, you could buy a fitted pack cover that sucks, but all you really need to do is stuff a contractor-grade trash bag in there. Makes sense to me.
38. Make a corkboard world map.
You need a steady craft-knife hand for this project, but if you can pull it off, you’ll have a pretty cool map to hang on your wall.
39. Boost your shitty old router.
If you’re working with an old-school router that can’t get the job done, here’s a homemade alternative to a store-bought booster antenna.
40. Fix a flat bike tire.
Simple task, but an essential one if you’re biking long distances. This vid is easy to follow and shows you exactly what you need to know.
41. Design your own international studies curriculum.
When my wife and I spent five weeks in Mexico City a couple years back, she designed a “class” on Mexican muralists for herself. She printed off textbook chapters before we left, and while there we went to relevant museums to see the work firsthand.
For more ideas, check out DIY study abroad: 10 ways to educate yourself while traveling.
42. Annihilate fruit flies.
My personal technique involves a glass of apple cider vinegar covered with plastic wrap with tiny holes poked in it. This one looks even easier.
43. Go nuts with the Halloween costumes.
Bookmark this one for next October: 13 super creative costume ideas for Halloween.
44. Clean your drain the green way.
Drano is some toxic stuff. Use it as a last resort, and first read DIY plumbing: Green ways to clean a drain.
45. Duct tape some flip flops in a pinch.
I go through flip flops super fast, and I’m often on the road in very inconvenient circumstances when they fail (like, halfway through a Mendoza bicycle wine tour). I should pack these materials wherever I go.
46. Change your own oil.
One of those commonplace tasks that most of us never think of doing ourselves. The hardest part is disposing of the used oil.
47. Keep chickens.
Another trend I’ve seen spreading recently, even here in parts of Austin where I’m pretty sure it’s not legal.
If you’re into organic eggs and meat and don’t mind the smell of chicken shit, check Chicken coops in your backyard for resources.
48. Make your own cheese.
A sweet little project to take on in the kitchen tonight. Find out why cheesecloth is sexy.
49. Reuse plastic bottles.
There are some pretty out-there ideas in Innovative ways to use empty plastic bottles, from crafting a flower vase to constructing the hull of a seaworthy sailboat.
50. Mix up some green laundry detergent.
A way to make your laundry a bit greener, and probably save some money in the process.
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Hal Amen is a managing editor at Matador. His personal travel blog is WayWorded.
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