Condo Blues: 16 Easy DIY Projects for Beginners

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

16 Easy DIY Projects for Beginners

I think the best gift you can give someone lacking self confidence is a hammer.

No. Not to make themselves feel better by hitting other people with it, but to use it to build or fix something.
Completing a project is a shot in the arm to the self esteem.

 It might have taken me all afternoon, but I held my head a little higher for the rest of the day after completing my first DIY project. Who knew changing a deadbolt door lock can change your world? (Beyond the added security that no one can come in your house uninvited and take your stuff.)

The first project led to more little projects. Eventually I dove into big projects (which are really just a series of small projects in the same part of the house) like my Modern Bathroom Remodel with a 1950’s Soul and  Recycled Front Porch and Garden Renovation.

If there is one thing I can encourage you to do, it is try building, fixing, remaking, painting, planting or doing something out of your DIY comfort zone. Look who’s featured on the Craftsman Facebook page doing just that – ME!

Chicks CAN fix!

Craftsman asked if they could use my photo as part of their Mother’s Day campaign celebrating women DIYers. I did it to encourage everyone to pick up a tool and just try.

Originally they asked if they could use this photo of me with my belt sander. We switched to the hole saw photo because everyone knows belt sanders are for eveningwear and hole saws are for daywear, obviously.

Update May 7, 2014 9:33AM: I checked my email today and look what I found in the May Craftsman Club Newsletter! Photos that make me look like I know what I'm doing when it comes to using tools.

I should mention for the FTC, that Craftsman didn't pay me or give me doodads to appear in this newsletter or on their Facebook page. 

If you are tentative about picking up that hammer or screwdriver, don’t worry. You don’t have to be crazy enough to rent a jackhammer like I did in my  How to use a Jackhammer post.

Husband and I were strutting for weeks after breaking up the concrete in our flowerbeds with a jackhammer.

It looks all big and bad and rough and tough but honestly? Using a jackhammer to break concrete is just keeping your feet out of the way of the bit while it does all the work. The on switch is in the handle. If the jackhammer jerks out of your hands, the tool stops. I wouldn't recommend letting it fall on your foot though. That sucker was heavy!

But let’s work up to that kind of thing with a few simple fix it and make it projects first.

16 Easy DIY Projects for Newbies

1. Four Ways to Repair a Beeping Smoke Detector – Pin this post because if your smoke alarm breaks it is going to be in the middle of the night – always.

2. How to Keep a Shower Curtain Rod from Falling – The same thing goes with the shower curtain rod falling down. Always. When. We. Are. Sleeping. Always!

3. How I Slashed my Electric Bills By 32% – This was a year long project of cheap and easy DIYs and new habits to use what we already have smarter.

4. Garage Workshop Transformation: Insulate the Garage Door – With the money we saved from the Utility Reduction Challenge I insulated the garage door.

5. Garage Workshop Transformation: Insulate the Garage Walls – The following year I insulated the garage walls. It makes a difference in the summer and winter. Especially winter because it extends the number of months I can work in the unheated garage without freezing to death.

If you can use a stapler, you can do this project!

6. How to Install a Toilet – This was my first time installing a toilet and I found out this project looks a lot more difficult than it is. Simple! Simple! Simple!

7. Trash to Treasure Filing Cabinet – I rebuilt a broken drawer and repainted a beat up thrift store filing cabinet. 

I experimented with taping off and paint different parts of my painted filing cabinet to make it look fancy. (I hope.)

8. Chalkboard Paint Kitchen Backsplash – Husband and I couldn’t decide on what we wanted for a backsplash. We like our temporary solution so much we made it permanent. This project was featured in This Old House Magazine.

Getting my Michelangelo on. One of the few times it pays to be short.

9. 11 Painting Tips and Tricks – Painting a room is an easy but time consuming project - depending up the size of the room you want to paint. These tips should make the job even easier.

10. Wraparound Reclaimed Fence Shelves – I mitered these shelves because I have a miter saw and want to practice making mitered cuts. If you don’t want to do that, you can build a similar wraparound shelf with butt joints – two boards that but up against each other.

This is a small space craft storage dream come true. My only regret is that I didn’t come up with the idea sooner.

11. How to Make and Hang Wood Fruit Crate Shelves I love repurposing. Especially when I get extra storage to boot!

12. DIY Dog Tail Hook Wall Organizer – If you don’t want to go to the trouble of building shelves to organize your life try making a coat rack instead.

I organize my life with tiny little dog hinnies.

13. Wine Cork Coat Hooks – Or if you need a reason to drink more wine, make a coat rack from wine corks instead.

Cider corks work too!

14.I Built a Birdhouse. It's Kinda Insane. You can’t buy a bird house with this much personality in a store you have to built it yourself.

15. How to Make a Tabletop Corn Hole Game – This set is easier to take to the park than a regulation corn hole set (get the tutorial for the full size corn hole set here.)

16. Make a Compost Bin Out of a Plastic Storage Tub – All you need is an electric drill and the time
 to drill a bazillion holes!

It doesn’t matter if you are male or female.

It doesn’t matter if you are a certified Master Craftsperson - I’m not.

If you make a mistake (or in my case, 50) during a DIY project or the project doesn’t come out how you imagined the first time, don’t give up!

Try, try again!

No one does everything perfectly the first time out. DIY is NOT always as simple as they make it look like on TV. It takes practice!

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