As DIY-ers, we all have had to learn some pretty tough lessons. Often the hard way…in the middle of a project we thought would be so easy.
Thanks to the existence of Pinterest, DIY is really popular right now and has been for a few years. For three reasons:
1. It’s fun.
2. It’s often cheaper than buying.
3. Custom pieces. That is all.
It’s not all fun and games, though. I’ve had to learn some pretty hard lessons and give up on a few short-lived dreams. It’s depressing.
So here are five lessons I have had to learn while becoming a DIY-er.
1. Know when to buy and when to DIY.
There are some pieces of furniture I see on Pinterest that someone else made…and I would love to make something similar. But the hard truth is that, often, someone far more skilled than I am made that item and it would save me a lot of heartache (not to mention the money spent on materials that will likely just get thrown out) to just buy it.
I’ve had many projects come to a stop because I thought DIY would be fun, but making it turned out to be double the price of buying. Or I had no idea what I was doing and wound up royally screwing up.
When I first started out, my motto was, “DIY is always better.” Now it’s, “If you can buy it for a similar (or better) price, just buy it.”
2. There’s a reason some items are so expensive.
Last year, I took up knitting. My one and only reason was because I saw a knitted bed set that I
was am in love with. In the meantime, I have fallen in love with knitting…and I also realize how expensive it can get. As far as hobbies are concerned, it’s a pretty cheap one. From going to not having any hobby at all to having a cheap-ish hobby…it’s pretty expensive. (The first rule of knitting: you don’t talk about your yarn stash.)
What I very quickly discovered about knitting is that, yes, buying a skein is cheaper than buying a blanket. The problem is that I’m going to need a quite a few skeins in order to make that blanket. Which means knitting it myself will cost about the same as buying it, plus all the time I spent on it. Though, for me, it would still be worth it because I think knitting is fun. But if you’re only goal is to save money, then DIY is not always your answer.
Then you have to consider that they want to make a profit off of that blanket that will equal at least what they would make at a minimum wage job. There is a reason things are so expensive.
In fact, I have found myself on more than once occasion marveling at how inexpensive something was. “You’re ONLY charging $50 for that sign? But that probably took you so much time to make!”
3. Some people are far more skilled than I will ever become.
Sometimes the item that gets pinned is made by someone with skills that it took them years to master. This isn’t always the case, but I’ve come across instances where it has been. I see a scrapbook paper project or a table that has a design painted on it. People who built their own beautiful kitchen tables. It looks simple.
And then I buy the materials, get to work, and it goes unfinished. No matter how simple it seems, these things are harder than they look and require skills that I simple do not have. Like painting a straight line.
If it turns out something is beyond your skill level, that doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you should either get help or practice until you feel confident in finishing the project.
4. Never take the easy way out.
On more than one occasion, I have kicked myself for using spray paint. I don’t know why I bother anymore. It never looks right when I do it. I hate the fumes. Brush painting would, honestly, be easier. And then I don’t have to drag wet furniture all over the place (because I don’t have a private yard or garage and I don’t want someone taking a chair that I’m just trying to redo).
Of course, I did it because spray paint is supposed to be easier.
No. I always wind up with more work when I use spray paint and then I think, “If I had just brush painted, it would be done by now.”
I realize many of you are really good at spray painting things, so just substitute this with whatever “easy way” gives you the most trouble. 😛 Like poly-acrylic. Brush brush brush. Spraying it on only leaves marks, for some reason.
5. At least one room of your house is always going to be cluttered.
Before DIY my house was so clean (or at least easy to clean, whether or not I actually did it). After DIY, there are rooms I won’t go into for weeks because I”m in the middle of a project and I don’t want to look at the mess.
Like my “work room.” I still haven’t gotten around to organizing it. My guest room closet is also cluttered (all of that is going to be moved to my work room, though…when I get around to organizing it).
Because I have old quarts of paint, little bottles of acrylic paint, scrapbook paper, brushes, unfinished projects, treasures I’ve found sitting in the trash that I’m sure will be so cute with the right spray paint. I have fabric, yarn, cutting utensils, markers, stencils, two power drills, an overflowing tool kit, a glass cutter, 10 different types of glue and a hot glue gun, a random orbit sander…and so much more.
Not to mention any project that is drying. That will sit in the middle of the room until it’s ready.
And until I find myself willing to drop the money I’ll need to get all of this organized, I just have to continue avoiding my work room when it’s not in use.
But it’s not the only room. I’m balancing three different knitting projects right now, all of which are sitting on my living room floor.
DIY brings messes with it. Which is just something we have to live with.
What was the hardest lesson you had to learn as a DIYer? Are you experiences anything like mine? Let me know in the comments!