There have been previous attempts a DIY h-bridges in he forum, all of which ulimately did not work.
I disagree. I've made a functional (for my purpose) H-bridge for a circuit using four D882 transistors. Now I say it was functional because it did what I needed it to do, which was spin a motor in both directions. I used 4 digital pins on my Arduino to drive the bases of each pair of transistors, but it's possible to drive each pair with one digital pin.
OP, I can't tell what your problem is because you haven't provided a schematic, and text based schematics are poor substitutes for the real thing. It also looks to me like you're only trying to use two transistors; that is not going to work.
However, if you understand how to use a transistor as a switch, and how to use an Arduino to drive those switches, take a look at the following diagram and simply replace each switch with a transistor.
S2 and S3 are a pair, and S1 and S4 are a pair. Make your code foolproof; always make sure one pair is switched off before turning the other on.
Depending on your needs, this might work. Or you might be better off spending the $1.50 for a more elegant solution like the L298 IC.
Note that you still need protection diodes, regardless of whether you're using discrete components or an h-bridge IC. Don't find out the hard way.