A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, and building a picnic table, a picture frame, or a whole dang house starts with picking up a hammer.
Actually, this is a lie. It starts with Google, and the search terms “How do I…”
At least, that’s how it works for me. I was talking to an acquaintance not to long ago about a simple bench I built, and he asked me, “How did you learn how to do that?” And then I blinked at him thirty times. I mean, how does anyone learn how to do anything? You give it a try, make some mistakes, figure out what works, and then apply what you learned to something bigger and more complicated. And you Google things. A lot.
Now, I don’t think that every man, woman, and child should have to pick up a drill and build their own bookshelves if they don’t want to. Most days I’d rather get a splinter under my fingernail than do the dishes so, hey, to each her own. The fight I fight through this website is for those people who want to do something but don’t know how, or maybe don’t even know they want to do something because they’re too overwhelmed by the Can’t. Sometimes, it’s other people in our lives who tell us we can’t do things, but more often than not that little voices comes from ourselves.
So let me just clear that up right this second. Yes. You. Can.
I’m not saying anything about quick, or easy, or that if you just try something once you’re going to do it right the first time. But I do think we’re all capable of doing really awesome things, if only we take that first step. And of course, if it comes to advice or encouragement, or you just need someone to give you a good boot in the ass, I’m here to help. Feel free to send me an email, or leave a comment, because there are a ton of people who visit the site and are always up for giving some good advice.
To get you started, here are my Top 3 Bits of “How Do I Do That” Advice:
1.) Google. I wasn’t kidding about that. You can also check out the Projects, Plans & How To page for a list of projects on this site, or check out the list of DIY Resources I’ve put together. There are always twenty different ways to accomplish the same task, so look at what people do the same, or what they do differently. Check out the tools they use, the materials, and how long it takes. If it seems overwhelming, see number 2.
2.) Start small. DIY is 40% sweat and 60% confidence. And some days it’s 4% alcohol by volume. (Um, hi Dad. Just kidding, everyone. Don’t drink and DIY.) If you want to build a deck, awesome. Maybe start with a simple bench, to get use to using measuring lumber or using a saw and drill. You’ll learn some things, get more comfortable with the tools, and then building a deck might not seem like such a big deal.
3.) Use the right tools. Don’t let the ones with power-cords scare you. You can build a wall with a hand saw and hammer, but it’s going to take a long time and be a lot harder. And for you ladies, the hardest thing is finding powerful tools (the pink ones usual aren’t) that fit our smaller hands. Check out My Toolbox for recommendations and information all the tools in my shop, and a list of those that are perfect for us little’uns.
And hey, when you kick that project’s ass, come back here and tell me about it. There’s nothing I love more than a DIY happy ending.