Childproof your Fireplace Hearth

As a first time parent, I’m sure I am overly cautious about what my child can get hurt on around our house. As he started to learn to walk, I pictured him toddling about the house, falling in every direction, eventually losing his balance and falling into the hard edge of our brick fireplace hearth. Leading to an injury requiring medical attention. Because of this fear, I searched for a way to protect my child by childproofing the raised fireplace hearth.

I started my search by Googling hearth covers. The results came up with gates around the hearth or minimal adhesive corners. Neither option gave me the peace of mind I needed. After that, I turned to my old reliable friend Pinterest. Still, the options were not going to work for me. So I knew it was going to be up to me to come up with an idea on my own.

I wanted something that would cover the whole raised hearth and provide lots of padding, in case of a hard fall. High density foam was going to provide that. So, I started by measured the length, height and depth of my hearth. I visited my local fabric and craft store to see what they offered. I decided on 2″ high density foam because I knew it would guarantee my son would not hurt himself on the brick no matter how hard his fall. The 2″ high density foam is not cheap, but with the occasional 40-50% off coupon became much more in my price range.

Foam Size and Cutting

Figuring out how little of foam I could buy was a bit of working a puzzle. The length of the hearth is a little over 61″. Because the foam is 2 inches thick, I added 4″ to the total length, so that each side would have 2″ overhang for the side panels to be glued too. I wanted as clean of a front and top and I could get, so that meant these would be my first cuts. Knowing I would need two long pieces that were 66″ each, I then had to decide how to split to 24″ width of foam. Cutting it in haIf would have made the front just a little short, so decided to cut one piece to be 13″ and the other part would be 11″. I used the 13″ piece for the front.

Length of Hearth

In order to have clean corners, I worked from the other side of the foam and cut two identical pieces to be 11″ x 12″.

I used the remaining foam to create long, thin pieces of foam to add more the the wall and fireplace side. Using as much length as I could I cut two pieces that were 24″ long to be 3″ wide and made a third piece 18″ long. These were to be used on the fireplace side of the top panel. I also cut one pieces 2″ wide and then cut it in half to have two 12″ lengths. These were to be used on the sides.

Here is the total list of cut peices I used:

  • 1- 66″ x 11″
  • 1-66″ x 13″
  • 2-11″ x 12″
  • 2-3″ x 24″
  • 1-3″ x 18″
  • 2-2″ x 11″


Once everything was cut, it was time to glue. I purchased a clear professional strength foam adhesive that sprays on.

I started with glueing my two largest pieces. Because I used a spray adhesive, I wanted to try and protect areas that did not need glue. I line up the two sections how I wanted them to be glued together and taped off the areas I did not want glue on using old newspaper ads helped protect larger areas. Once the non-glue area was covered, I removed the section I used to measure and sprayed the glue on both edges to be glued together.

Next I glued the two side pieces. This meant more taping and paper, but once they were on it provided a lot more stability.

The final glueing I did was on the fireplace and wall side where I added the thinner pieces. These added a little more depth which made it look nicer.

Once all the glue was dry, I placed it over the hearth. A perfect fit!

The glue does discolor the foam a little, but you will never know once it is covered in fabric.


The final step was to cover it with fabric. I made sure to purchase an upholstery fabric. It is very durable and is thicker so you don’t see the foam behind it. It is more expensive, but you should only have to buy it once versus a poorer quality fabric that you may have to replace due to wear and tear.

I made the mistake of purchasing the fabric at the same time of buying the foam. Because I was trying to do quick math in my head, I purchased 2 1/2 yards. The final product is 66″ long and each side is 13″ tall. 66 plus 13, plus 13 equals 92. 92″ is 2″ short of 2 1/2 yards! Ugh! Don’t make the mistake that I did. Make sure you do your math correctly before you buy.

I had planed on gluing the fabric to the foam, but ended up just laying the fabric over it and tucking it over the edges. It looks pretty good and had held up well. This way if I ever want to clean the cover or change out the fabric I can do it easily.


I am so happy with the final product. It provides such good protection from the hard brick and is easy to move when we choose to have a fire in the fireplace. A bonus is that because I used such thick foam, the whole thing doubles as additional seating in our living room! People love to come in and sit down and join in on conversations.

Ewww, Cloth Diapers!

“Why do you hate the environment?” I remember the question like it was yesterday. Truth, it was 14 years ago. And for the record, I didn’t, and I still don’t. It was 2005, I was in college and one of my friends from my dorm decided to ask me that really pointed question . We were walking through campus late at night trying to find something to make the night memorable. That one question sure made it memorable to me.

At that time I was not the most environmentally conscious person, but I don’t think I hated the environment. I am pretty sure that friend would be shocked to learn that the person he thought hated the environment, now uses cloth diapers on their child. And loves it!

I’ll admit it, I used to be a skeptic. When I thought cloth diapers, I thought it was for people who had more money and who could afford a diaper service. I thought of cloth diapers as complicated, folding of flat cloth sheets and then securing somehow.

The thought of cloth diapers was introduced to me by a co-worker long before I even thought of having kids. It was a random conversation while she was expecting her first child. She mentioned that she was going to use cloth diapers because while they are an investment upfront, in the long run the are worth it.

When we learned that our family would be growing, I started into my research on the world of cloth diapers. Here is what I learned, and what I love.

Fighting for Cloth Diapers Everywhere!

Reason #1

Cost Savings

Diaper Raffle, diaper registries, diaper cakes. People find all kinds of way for people to give them diapers before, or shortly after, the baby is born. Probably because the cost of diapers seem like then biggest “extra” purchase once you start a family.

When I first was introduced to cloth diapers, the gal who mentioned them to me mentioned what a cost savings they are in the long run. It blew my preconceived idea about cloth diapers out of the water! I had to look into it. And she was totally right. Up front it is a chunk of money, but it is not astronomical in my opinion. Especially when you think about what you will spend on diapers in the first 6 months to year of your babies life.

I’ll admit that our son was too small for the cloth diapers we had when we first brought him home for the hospital. And he was too small for them for about 3 months. He was a little peanut. So until he fit into the cloth diapers, we used disposable diapers. I think we spent at least $150 on diapers in the first month (we used A-LOT of diapers). Our complete cloth diapers ‘stash’ costs about $450. That is huge! Especially when you think that the diapers are going to be used at least 2.5 years for one child, and will be used again on any future children. And some of our stash was a gift from our registry.

We are a family that loves to save money where we can, so spending a fraction on diapers was a huge selling point for us. But after my research, it was actually not the only reason we decided to cloth diaper.

Water In for Water Out

Reason #2

Better For The Environment

Like I said before, there are people in my past that would be shocked that I considered this, but I have grown as a person since then. The more I learned about the environmental impact of disposable diapers, the more I turned my nose up at them.

This is my strongest reason for using cloth diapers: a disposable diaper from my child would out live him, his children, and his grand-children in a landfill. Most resources estimate it takes a diaper 500 years to biodegrade. Five. Hundred. Years. Now times that by the thousands of diapers a child will use.

As a parent, I have started to think more and more about the planet my child lives on, and what it will look like after I am gone. To think that his disposable diapers will outlive him made me so sad. I want to try and make the planet better, not worse. I don’t think disposable diapers help me achieve that.

It also occurred to me that human waste, a.k.a bio-hazards, are being put into the landfill inside those disposable diapers. Yuck! In our house we say, poop goes in the toilet. What do you want your child to think about where poop goes?

As I mentioned before, we did use disposable diapers on our son in the first could couple of months of his life and there are time when we have to temporarily switch to using them. But, by using cloth diapers most of the time we are still greatly reducing the waste that goes into landfills.

Reason #3

They Are Better for Babies Skin

Plastic, synthetic absorbent gel beads, fragrance, lotion. These are all common ingredients found in most disposal diapers. These are not things I felt great about wrapping sensitive body parts in.

It always made me feel crummy when I had to use disposables and during a diaper change would find little gel beads that that had escaped their pocket and made their way on to my son’s skin. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, imagine the end result if you put one of the packets you find in a shoe box in the bathtub. But they are in mini form. Ick.

I do know that there are disposable diapers out there that do not use the gel bead, however they use natural resources like wood fiber from specific trees. Which in my opinion is not great either because they are using natural resources that are limited.

Sometimes babies have allergic reactions to disposable diapers due to the chemicals an/or fragrances used in them. I was lucky and my son did not have a reaction, but if he did, I don’t think I would have wanted to spend time figuring out what diapers would work for him. Switching to a chemical and fragrance free diaper, like cloth, would have been my immediate decision.

Reason #4

They Are So Stinking Cute!

Yes, yes, there are cute disposable diapers available. But I just could not get over how cute cloth diapers are! And the extra padding in the bum area just adds to the cubby baby cuteness.

I find it so fun to look through all the different styles and prints can be so fun. Trying to decide what little bit I want popping out the back of the pants is so fun in the mundane moments of changing a dirty diaper.

At the end of the day I do think that every parent needs to do whats right for them and their family.

Do you cloth diaper? Why or why not? I would love to hear! Comment below, follow and share on social media!

Modern Rustic Galvanized Pipe Shelves

When my husband and I lived in our apartment, our living space was so small, we did not have much room for decorating furniture such as shelving units. What room we did have, we used for a single bookshelf and a DVD rack. This means that all of my husbands knick-knacks and collectables were put in the second bedroom.

It was a great day when we finally purchased our first house and we had the opportunity to spread out all our stuff. I quickly realized I had little desire for my husband collectables to be displayed in the main living space of our house, but the shelves they had been on, I did want to use. This meant I needed to come up with another option. In the guest bedroom. Without taking up floor space. That could hold more than before.

Challenge accepted.

I came up with a modern, but rustic galvanized pipe shelving system. I searched the internet as I had seen them before, but none of them had directions or were something I thought would work for our space. So I had to create something on my own.

Assembling The Pipe Sections

Here are the supplies I used for a 4 foot wide by 2 feet high, three shelf system:

  • 10 – 1/2 inch, 12inch long galvanized nipples (why they have to be called nipples, I will never understand)
  • 4 – 1/2 inch, 90 degree elbows
  • 2 – 1/2 inch tee’s
  • 6 – 1/2 inch floor flanges
  • 3 – 1 inch x 10 inch common boards
  • 24 – 1 1/2 inch wood screws
  • Stud finder
  • Electric drill/driver
  • A long level (long enough to go between your pipe sections)
  • Pencil
  • Painters tape

Before I marked my walls, I assembled the pipe. I chose to use “black” pipe instead of the straight galvanized. I really liked the end look, but it was messier than using traditional galvanized would have been. If you are going to use the black pipe, wear gloves.

I started by screwing one of the nipples into all of the floor flanges . You should be able to do this by hand, without any tools. I also did not use any adhesives.

Next, I added an elbow to four of the nipple-flange sections, these will become your top and bottom shelves.

Once the elbows are on, add another 12 inch nipple.

Also, once I was done, I wished I had taken all the barcode stickers off before I put it together. These stickers were a pain to get off.

I added one tee to two of the flange-nipple-elbow sections. Next, I screwed in one of the flange-nipple sections, that did not have an elbow attached it it to the tee.

Finally I added the second flange-nipple-elbow section to this. When completed, you should have two pipe sections that look like this. With the barcode stickers removed of course.

I placed both sections on a table with the flanges touching the table top so I could make sure everything was level. If anything was wobbly, I tightened the other sections so the whole thing was level. At this time, I also tightened or slightly loosened the floor flanges so that two of the screw holes would be parallel to where the wall stud will be.

Wall Mounting

Hanging the pipe on the wall was definitely the more complicated part of the project. I started out thinking I could do it myself, but ended up having to have my Mom come over to give me a second pair of hands. I was trying to surprise my Husband, so I couldn’t ask for his help.

We had a desk we wanted to put in this room, but I wanted to put in the shelves first. I measured the height of the desk and marked that with painters tape so I could visualize where I wanted the shelves to start on my wall. I measured up from there and added a couple of small pieces of tape to help with the visualizations, spacing the small tape pieces 12 inches apart. My shelves end up being slightly closer together in height, but this was close enough for me.

Another item that can be tricky, is matching your pipe sections to where you can mount them to a wall stud. Because of the weight of the pipe and the potential load, I wanted to make sure I screwed the flanges into a stud.

The desk was 4 feet 6 inches wide, and I wanted my shelving to be centered above the desk. I lucked out and was able to find a stud 12 inches from the side wall and another stud 32 inches from there. (This is standard as studs are usually 16 inches apart from the center of the 2×4.) This would allow for the board to run 8 inches on the outside of the pipe. I marked the stud location with a pencil on the wall using a ruler (you could used the side of your level).

I used my tape markings and the long level to draw lines on the wall connecting the stud lines. It is very important that your lines are level.

Now that all the planning is done, it is time to hang the pipe. It was impossible for me to hang and take pictures at the same time, so bear with me as I explain how to do this.

I took one section and lined the one screw hole up with a line that is perpendicular to the stud, and the other two to be over the stud line. I started with the bottom. You can choose any of the three, but you need to start with the same intersection on the other side.

I had my Mom hold the pipe so I could screw it into the stud. Once one section is attached, I grabbed my level and held it up to the side of my pipe section and lined another flange up with my stud line. I used my level to double check that my pipe is level vertically. I continued this with the third flange. I had trouble screwing in both flange screws while keeping it level, so I just did one screw while I was getting everything lined up correctly. Once it was secured and level, I went back and added screws to all the holes on the flanges.

I repeated this with the second section of pipe, however, I added a level check between the two pipe sections. When the first section of flange was screwed to the stud, I placed my level on both sections horizontally just to double/triple check that it is level. This is why I used a level that was long enough to go between the two pipe sections.

Ta-da! Attached pipes! To complete the shelving, I just placed the 1×10 boards on top of the three pipe sections.

Once everything was said and done, I did end up making some modifications with my husbands input.

  • We stained the boards with a black stain.
  • I did end up lowering the whole system. The top shelf was just a little too high and close to the ceiling
  • My husband needed more shelf space. So we added another pipe section to the side wall and wrapped the shelves around the corner. Because we only added one pipe section to the side wall, we had to attach the boards. We did so using a small tie strap and 3/4 inch screws.

As you can see, it did not take much time to fill up the shelves.

I hope you found this helpful! Please comment below. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about a shelving unit you want to build in your home. I always appreciate a like or follow on social media. The links can be found on the right side of the page.