5 Simple Mistakes to Avoid Getting into the Do-It-Yourself Profession

DIY can be scary for many people. But it's much easier to navigate when you're armed with knowledge and the right attitude. I don't consider myself a professional, but more of a DIY enthusiast who learns as I go. I make mistakes and I'm learning how to fix them. This is the situation. Today I want to share with you 5 mistakes you can avoid when going into DIY.

Some I didn't know about, some I'd heard of before but didn't pay much attention to, and a few were direct recommendations that I ignored.

Filling a fully stocked workshop with expensive tools

Sometimes it feels like you need to have a fully equipped workshop to start DIY projects. But let me tell you, you don't! So my number one tip is don't spend tons of money on expensive tools in the beginning. Start small. The important thing here is to start!

You probably know these types of people who have to buy all the fancy workout clothes and expensive equipment before they can start working out. In most cases, he ends up living his life on his own, with no one touching him. Don't be like these people!

I'm not going to preach that means don't matter, because that's not true; There are some good tools and some not so good ones. But for beginners, this doesn't matter. I started with Ryobi tools and I still love them today.

Choose a project you want to work on, whether it's home renovation or furniture making, check the list of tools you need for that project and purchase them. Many websites offer PDF plans that include the minimum list of tools you need to do something.

The first real project I made was a Montessori floor house bed. And all I have to do it is a drill, miter saw, a Craig jigand one orbital sander. I eventually grew my tool collection, but I started small.

I only used a miter saw, Kreg attachment, and sander to build this Montessori floor house bed

So don't go crazy and only buy the basic tools you need.

You may also think you need a huge workshop with a perfect workflow, but don't even bother in the beginning! Use your garage and expand as you go.

Speaking of tools you don't need, don't buy tools you'll only use once.

Sometimes your project needs a particular tool, but if you know for sure you won't use it again, don't waste money on it! I have a bunch of small tools that I only use once and now they're collecting dust in my garage. I'm looking to you, dowel jig!

belittle the right the time required to finish a project.

I always fall into the trap of underestimating the time it will take me to complete the project. Always! I'm not sure why it's so hard to learn that there is never hour X as you initially thought.

When I started distressing a second-hand mirror, I was so sure it would only take a few hours. I applied gold leaf for about 3 hours without mentioning the rest of the project.

Relating to:

Watch me antique a used mirror

Making this mirror took much longer than I thought it would

So my humble advice would be to budget for more time than you think you'll need. It would be good for you if you finish early, but this will save you from the trouble of not being able to finish on time.

It's also important to prepare everything you need before you start. You don't want to make an emergency run to Home Depot in the middle of the process.

But I'll let you in on a little secret… This will happen to you more times than you think!

The best way is to write down all the materials and tools you need, create an outline of what you plan to do, and be generous with your time.

When I started making a LEGO table for my nephews, I thought I would be done in a few hours. Soooo ambitious! Haha, I spent 2 days on this and a few extra trips to Home Depot because I messed up cutting a board, used the wrong stain that didn't work, and forgot to buy wood filler. Ugh, this gave me my money's worth.

Relating to:

LEGO/activity table (IKEA hack)

This brings me to my next point, but be careful with the time you schedule for a project.

There will always be mistakes! Learn how to handle mistakes gracefully.

Even if you're a professional DIYer, mistakes happen. So fear not, if it can happen to the best in the business, it can definitely happen to you!

Learn how to deal with them gracefully. Don't panic, don't swear, don't smash anything. (ok, you can do all of the above if you want).

Take a moment to regroup and think about how you can fix this. If everything goes wrong, I find it best to step back and assess the situation, perhaps even leave a project for a day or two and come back with a solution.

If you stay calm, the solution will come. If not, you can always Google it. Or search on YouTube, you can find anything there! Hah!

When you make DIY mistakes, they're not actually mistakes. You can fix anything, if not you can buy new materials and start over!

DIY is a great learning ground for problem solving.

PIN FOR LATER USE

Not all projects will be great and that's okay

I love most of my furniture builds and home renovations, but there are a few that I consider to be major fails. And you know what? I'm fine with it.

You can't expect every project you create to be a masterpiece, but as I said before, practice makes perfect. Learn as you go and get better next time.

So I learned to love even the projects that turned out to be pretty shitty. It was a learning curve and now I know what not to do.

When I was just starting out, I watched YouTube videos of people making furniture and saw that they used wood glue. I started setting up my vegetable stand and used brad nailer first time. I thought I was too cool for glue haha, so I cut the boards and Brad nailed them together.

Yes. I learned very quickly that no one is too cool for glue. This is not my favorite project but it taught me a great lesson!!!

Relating to:

DIY fruit/vegetable rack

Many videos we watch on YouTube show professionals doing things perfectly, and most of them do not show their mistakes. I'm glad to see a shift in the DIY community that has an honest approach and points out what's going wrong and how to fix it. I try to convey this message as much as I can on my channel.

It is always better to try a result and be disappointed than to not try at all.

Don't do that Be afraid of electrical appliances but use them with respect

Read the instructions before you start. I'm guilty of this, but I've learned the hard way that electric hassles are not a toaster and require a special approach.

Power tools can be scary, but if you follow safety rules, everything will be fine. Just follow the instructions!

I have mine first table saw I was pretty scared to try it in the summer of 2020. I built a workbench with a special place for a table saw. Something unexpected happened during construction. I guess I was sloppy or not experienced enough, but I accidentally hit a nail on my finger while using a nailer.

Relating to:

you can watch the video when it happens…Not for quivering eyes

The tool bench is built, I'll never forget

This accident shook me up for a while and I wasn't able to return to the garage for several weeks, let alone try out my new table saw. I was very scared. But I pulled myself together, read the instructions, prepared my equipment, and began using the table saw as carefully as I could.

And let me tell you, it was a lot less scary than I thought it would be! I'm so glad I overcame my fear and now the table saw is one of my favorite power tools.

We're talking about security…

I see a lot of videos on YouTube where producers drink alcohol while using power tools.

While it may work for some people, for me it's a hard no. Especially if you are just starting out, you need to be 100% focused and keep your fingers away from the nailer!

Use power tools respectfully and know your limits! If the table saw intimidates you, take your time, get used to the smaller tools, and once you've mastered them, move on to the more advanced tools on this tool ladder.

Bonus: Don't compare yourself!

And a bonus point, something that took me a while to realize.

A comparison game will set you up for failure!

Let's be honest, I'm not a very skilled woodworker or DIYer, and you know what, that's okay. There are so many people who are more skilled than I will ever be; true professionals and craftsmen who excel at their craft!

I would compare myself and beat myself up for not being on the same level. I learned to admire them but kept doing what I was doing. My journey is different and so is yours!

These are the 5 Simple Mistakes I've learned that you can avoid when going DIY!

The secret here is to start! Take it one step at a time and figure out what you're doing as you go!

Good luck!

xoxo,

April

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