2020 has been the year that turned DIY newbies into… well, a little less than professionals per se but certainly more than novices. Because of COVID-19 and the lockdown period, DIY-related purchases saw a meteoric rise as more and more people wanted to improve their homes.
If, however, you weren’t in on this DIY wave and you want to get started, we’ve got just the thing for you. With our DIY for beginners guide, you can take on some simple DIY projects with confidence.
DIY tips and tricks for beginners
We’ll start with some easily applied DIY tips and tricks to get you started. These will ensure that the job at hand not only gets completed, but that you’ll avoid doing yourself a DIY-related injury (something that’s also risen during lockdown).
- Add a little vanilla extract to your paint tin. If you’re even the least bit overwhelmed by paint fumes and the general smell, a drop of vanilla extract will tame the fumes.
- When you’re cutting fabrics or carpet, dip your scissors into boiling water. If you’re struggling to cut through tough materials, this trick will help.
- Update your radiators with ‘heatproof paint’ in aerosol form. Painting radiators is a notoriously tricky job to do by hand, so being able to spray the paint is a massive help.
- Turn off your electrics before starting most DIY jobs. Even if you’re not working with electrics, it’s safety first.
- Choose a power drill that has a plastic non-conducting body. And always unplug the drill before you fit any parts onto it, or when you remove any parts.
- Wear the right clothes. We’re not saying you have to go out and buy expensive overalls. Instead, avoid loose fitting clothing that could catch or snag on things.
- Place your ladder properly. Ensure that it is firmly grounded to the floor. The old DIY ‘4-to-1’ rule is helpful here: for every four feet in ladder height, the bottom of the ladder should be one foot away from any object or the wall it’s leaning against.
- Have a first aid kit to hand. We don’t really need to explain this one too much!
- Safety glasses and ear plugs should be part of your toolbox. Where DIY accidents are concerned, eye injuries and future hearing problems are the most common. Protect them with protective eyewear and ear plugs!
- Make sure your toolbox is clean and organised. This will prevent any mishaps like losing your tools, or even stepping on something that shouldn’t be there.
How to DIY
The above tips are pretty specific to the actual act of DIY and home improvement. They’re practical and directly relevant to the job at hand. Now, we’re going to look at some wider DIY tips like the planning and purchasing elements. They’re just as important.
Budgeting for DIY
When you’re purchasing tools and the materials you need, it’s easy to go overboard and spend too much. ‘All the gear, no idea’ is something that has always applied to DIY! It goes without saying that you need to shop only for what you need, and know exactly how much you can spend.
Take a detailed list of everything you need to buy, and don’t be tempted by the many discounts that DIY stores have to offer. The sales assistants are there to advise you, but they will also up-sell if the opportunity arises. Stick to your budget!
Know if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew
It’s vitally important that you know when it’s time to call in a professional. Where your plumbing is concerned, or other potentially dangerous areas like your heating, you should consider hiring someone. Fixing a broken door is one thing, but trying to fix your plumbing when you’re not sure (or even qualified) is a risky endeavour.
Trust us: there’s no shame in bringing someone in!
Repurpose and upcycle where possible
You would be surprised at what you can make with the materials you have around the house. You can be smart with upcycling and prevent unnecessary waste (you’ll also protect your pocket, too!). DIY can be expensive, so by repurposing materials you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour. Have fun with it!
Get the right tools
So far, we’ve advised that you should cut costs wherever possible. However, when it comes to your tools (especially power tools), you should do your research and invest wisely. Getting a cheap tool with bad reviews (yes: always look at the reviews!) is a bad idea that may cost you more in the long-run. Have a shop around and look for some of the more trusted household DIY brands because in most cases, you know that you can trust them.
The internet has all kinds of advice in this area, so do your research and try not to skimp too much.
Protect your tools with tool box foam
Should you spend your hard-earned money on tools, you’ll need a solution that protects them from the many harmful elements that over time can damage your tools (damp environments, for example).
We recommend Easy Peel, our brand new DIY custom foam service. All you need to do is tell us the sizes you need for your tool box foam (via our calculator page) and we’ll send them straight to you. From here, our foam tutorials page will see you the rest of the way.