|Most DIY projects start off great. Some go downhill |
from there. Case in point: these chair slings
I tried to sew myself. Mistake.
But, DIY can also be a slippery slope. If you aren’t prepared with the right tools you can create more problems than you solve. You don’t want to hire someone for a do-over. If you don’t have the experience or know how, you could wind up way over budget. And still have results that look sloppy, cheap, or hack --- not what you want when you’re selling your home.
My safety advice is to wear the right clothing. Wear closed toe shoes when you're moving heavy objects. Wear a respirator when you spray paint. Wear goggles when you use a table saw. Wear latex gloves when you mix chemicals. And never underestimate the curiosity of small children.
Don't work on projects when you're tired, stressed, rushed or inebriated. Pay attention. Stop if you lose patience or reach a stalemate. DIY should be fun.
|I used the old chair slings as a pattern. So far, so good. |
But I soon realized that I needed a heavy duty machine
to sew through four layers of canvas.
Sailmaker to the rescue. Lesson: know when to not DIY.
Whether you are upcycling hand-me-downs, garage sale bargains, or knockoffs from the dollar store, starting with economical purchases lets you take creative risks fearlessly. Ruining a family heirloom or wasting expensive supplies is discouraging.
Success breeds more success, so make yourself a winner by starting with goof-proof materials.
Visit places like dollar stores, second hand stores, office supply stores, wholesale distributors, pawn shops, salvage yards, closeout bargain stores, and consignment shops. Search Craigslist, Freecycle, and eBay. Check sales at government offices, colleges, camps and other institutions because they sell furniture and equipment when they remodel.
Just today I was visiting my friend Wendy, and she showed me some lumber she said she got free from Lowes. I said, "Lowes gives away lumber?" She told me she goes to where they cut lumber and if there are scraps she asks for them, sometimes big scraps. She told me the secret is to always ask for "Big Mike." She's made a friend.
Dumpster diving and curbside shopping are other common ways to acquire the makings of your home improvement projects, as long as you don’t turn your garage into a junkyard. My motto is, “Don’t pay for new when second hand will do.”
|The word on Harbor Freight tools is that|
they are pretty much junk. If you need tools
that aren't electric and that you'll use
just once, they are probably okay.
Otherwise, buy good tools that last.
Some supplies are sold only in bulk quantities. Consider borrowing or renting what you don’t have to own, such as an extension ladder, tile cutter, power washer, or miter saw. Renting a piece of equipment comes with the additional benefit of training. Tool rental places will give you a demonstration, something you don’t get from an instruction manual.
If your project requires a step that’s outside your skill set, go to the “Gigs” section of Craigslist, and you will find local people available for work. Sometimes you can trade skills or products. A friend of mine babysits her neighbor’s toddler while the neighbor gives her an equal amount of yardwork time.