A Simple DIY Guide
The dawn of our business began with a few DIY projects, specifically back in 2011 when mason jars were all the rage. If you've been with us since the beginning of our journey you know quite well how we started. Sam has always been resourceful and handy, and I have always been an idea person, and with this combination we're always working on home projects. Without our DIY fever we would unlikely be where we are now, running a handmade business from home. Perhaps a DIY project will lead you to your next business, you never know!
You may be a DIY person due to budget, or you may be the type that loves to make things using the resources you have. Or, you may need to unlock your DIY potential and see which types of projects are best suited to your strengths. Sometimes a do-it-yourself project is worth the money you can save, and other times (most times) it's worth paying someone else. Typically DIY projects require more effort than expected, but they're worth the challenge, and the fun. There are a few tools worth having at hand when a project presents itself.
Tools For Starters
I am not a tool user at all, but thankfully Sam is, and we have an entire wood shop full of power tools and hand tools. It wasn't always this way, as our business grew, we invested in better tools that were needed to make production more efficient. Initially we would purchase many of our power tools on Craigslist or even at Harbor Freight. Craigslist is also a great place to sell the tools that you no longer use, or if you're looking to make an upgrade.
For DIY projects it's convenient to have a few quality tools that are easy to use:
Having one proper set of screwdrivers (ratchets and bits) will be important. Many DIY projects require simple hardware installation. For example, if you're looking to make your own towel rack or cosmetic organizer you will need a way to install the hardware. It's also imperative to have a screw gun, these come in handy for almost all DIY projects, including simply hanging pictures (unless you use nails and a hammer). Hardware stores are always have specials on various sets, check the ads during holidays for great discounts.
You will also need some type or several types of of adhesives: there is the famous blu tack or glue dots and dispensers that make sticking pieces together much easier than a bottle of glue. It all depends on the type of project. If you're working with wood, then you'll likely need wood glue, for more crafty projects you could use a glue gun with glue sticks. If you live somewhere that doesn't allow holes in the walls you can use double-sided tape or 3M products to hang your artwork. Another great "adhesive" is velcro. If you're not much into sewing, you can use adhesive velcro to make your own pillow covers.
3. Cutting Tools
An X-Acto knife set is also quite handy to have, instead of dreaded scissors that are hardly fit for the jobs we place them in. With the proper cutting tools you will be able to make the most accurate cuts for fine detailed projects. Larger X-acto knives are great for larger projects that require cutting thick cardboard or foam materials. Having a fabric cutter is also great, if your looking to upholster something. Always be sure to choose the best knife the job, otherwise it's easy to make a mistake and injure yourself.
4. Staples & Nails
In addition to glue, having a staple gun is wonderful, or even a pneumatic nailer (which also requires an air compressor). Large DIY projects that mainly involve wood, whether you are adding new trim to a room, or designing a fancy plant shelf, will require a nailer. A staple gun will be useful when using material like hardboard or leather. Small compressors can be purchased at stores like Harbor Freight or even Home Depot or Lowes. There may be a learning curve when it comes to these tools; always choose to ask for help before making a painful mistake. Keep in mind that you'll have to keep your staples and nails in stock as well!
Good pliers are always necessary when you have a project that requires bending, shaping, or cutting wire. There are many types of pliers, so having an assorted set would be useful. Pliers come in handy all the time, sometimes you will need them to remove hardware from an old piece of furniture that you're trying to refinish.
A hammer may be an obvious tool to have, but it's surprising how many times neighbors have come over to borrow one. We keep a small hammer for driving nails into the wall when hanging artwork. If you've been part of the DIY pallet movement, then you know that having a heavy duty hammer is crucial, and possibly a crow bar. Pallets are challenging to take apart, but the wood can be worth the effort. We've found maple, oak, and even walnut on some pallets.
A few more items that you may need:
Sander and Sandpaper and various finishes for projects that involve wood and refinishing or painting.
Level, to make sure your installation isn't crooked
Stud Finder to find studs behind your drywall
Clear Coat Sealant for sealing paint/finishing projects
Tool box for storing all of your new tools and tool kits
As with many things in life, practice makes perfect. Start with a small DIY project that requires the tools you're most familiar with. You'd be amazed at how quickly you're inspired to try something else. The more confident you become at using more advanced tools, the more projects you can take on. Think, when Christmas comes around you'll have several ideas for meaningful, personal, handmade gifts. Don't forget that Pinterest is an invaluable resource with endless creative projects! Cheers to your first project!
*This is a collaborative post.