For those of you who haven’t dared venture into the realm of DIY, be assured that anyone can do it.
You may be tempted to ask, “Why would anyone build something they can buy?” And the answer is quite simple: it’s hugely rewarding making things for yourself; you get to determine the quality of the finished product, and it is often far more affordable to DIY than to buy.
A case in point is built-in cupboards. Almost all built-in cupboards these days are made of melamine-faced chipboard. Although chipboard is very affordable and convenient, it’s also highly susceptible to long-term sagging and water damage. Any liquid spills not immediately cleaned up can lead to irreparable swelling, which looks terrible and almost always needs replacement.
A DIY fundi would likely use ply-wood for built-in cupboards because it’s both easy to work with and durable. Yes, doing it yourself with ply-wood will take time, effort and require painting, but the finished product will be of a superior quality to anything bought from a store or installed by a carpenter … and it will probably cost less too.
Where does one start?
It’s important for aspiring DIY people to manage their ambitions and expectations. Sound advice is to start small and work your way up to larger projects. This will mean you’re more likely to see a project through to completion while gaining confidence and experience.
Mark these words … there’s no worse DIY motivation killer than abandoning an overambitious project half-way through. Not to mention that it’s a waste of energy, time, materials and money.
Who can teach me?
It may sound crazy, but the world’s best DIY encyclopaedia is right at your fingertips … all you need to do is Youtube DIY sensations such as Household Hacker, I Like to Make Stuff or Home & Garden for Mere Mortals. Whatever DIY project you have in mind, be it woodwork, tiling, painting, brick-laying, or even the most obscure household maintenance job, Youtube will have a multitude of videos showing you how to do it. Just be sure to use relevant keywords or even a short phrase when searching for DIY videos.
It’s advisable to watch a few videos before embarking on a project, just to make sure that you have a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into and which approach suits your skill level the best.
What tools will I need?
Tools are expensive, so it’s best to acquire them only when you’re certain you’re going to use them. For instance, if you plan to make some built-in cupboards you’d need a basic woodworking tool kit including: screwdrivers, a drill and a jigsaw. It is incredible what you can make with these tools alone.
Wherever possible, get the store that’s supplying your materials – plywood, beams, roof panels etc. – to cut them to size for you. They have industrial equipment that can do this far more accurately than you could at home, and it will save you a lot of time.
Health and safety first!
Just because it’s a DIY project, doesn’t mean it’s danger-free. Quite the contrary, when using power tools you should wear hand, eye and ear protection; if there’s dust, wear a dust mask; and rather use a safety harness when it comes to heights. Always assess the risks and take the necessary safety precautions … the last thing you want to do is injure yourself, someone who’s assisting you, or a bystander.
When it comes to DIY, it’s important to know your limits especially regarding safety. Some jobs are best left to the experts who have years of experience and all the necessary equipment to get the job done as quickly and safely as possible.
Few things in this world are as rewarding as looking at something you’ve made with your own hands. DIY is a recreational activity that every one of us should find time for during our busy lives. No excuses … give it a try and you might just be surprised by how much you enjoy it.
Date Published: 05 April 2018