Brenda (last name withheld) has little doubt that creativity is part of her genetic code.
“I think I must get my love of DIY from my dad. I grew up with him always building and fixing things. He built us this amazing treehouse when I was in elementary school, and I still remember climbing up and seeing the progress before the walls were even up. Even though he’s in his 70s, he’s still taking on major renovations because he enjoys it.”
What started as childhood curiosity of her dad’s inventive endeavors has evolved into Brenda’s two DIY-inspired passion projects: DIY Home Decor Blogs, a directory of home project websites where she also shares her own goings-on, and Piggy Giggles, a blog dedicated to children’s crafts and activities.
Brenda installing audio and ethernet wire into her home.
At HomeAdvisor, we connect homeowners with contractors who will help them create the homes of their dreams. But there are some smaller projects that don’t require us to call in a professional — and do-it-yourself experts can be excellent resources for guiding us in these crafty experiments.
These days, there are all kinds of great websites run by a variety of artisans that lend inspiration, step-by-step instructions, and encouragement for anyone dreaming of adding personalized style twists to their homes. We reached out to a few of these devoted DIYers and asked them what drives them to create their one-of-a-kind masterpieces and find the time to do it!
Here are their stories and their words of wisdom for anyone hoping to flex their creative muscles.
DIY endeavors allow you to get creative without breaking the bank
Homespun projects can be a great way for anyone to get their creative juices flowing, even if your budget is tight.
“I get great satisfaction seeing something I created,” Brenda admitted.
“When I was in college, I always convinced my roommates to take on different DIY projects. We were poor college students but wanted to decorate our apartment,” she said, noting that this era was before the DIY website and TV show explosion, so there were few places to turn for advice.
Still, she and her friends found imaginative ways to infuse their style into their place. “We went to the hardware store and found shiny white paneling used in bathrooms. We cut it down and created one-of-a-kind artwork to go on the walls. We even got some thin lattice strips that we cut with a kitchen knife and screwed in by hand to make frames,” she said.
But this innovation wasn’t a one-off feat. “Other times, it was a borrowed sewing machine, some colorful fabric, and self-taught sewing lessons on how to make slipcovers for our old couches.”
Creating your own masterpieces certainly has budgetary benefits, but there are plenty of other perks as well.
“Not only does it save a lot of money going the DIY route, but it also allows me to add my own personal flair,” said Adrianne Surian, creator of Happy Hour Projects. “Sometimes that means using the exact shade of blue I want, sometimes it means adding a custom design or quote, and sometimes it’s just seeing my own handiwork in my home that makes me happy.”
Adrianne Surian working on one of her DIY paper projects.
DIY projects reflect our personal style
Ginger Bowie of Ginger Snap Crafts expressed a sentiment shared by just about all of the DIY bloggers we interviewed:
“I love making our house a home!”
Indeed, doing home projects adds a personal touch to your home that you just can’t buy.
“When we first moved into our house, it was a dated, early-80s fixer-upper — it had green carpet and all!” said Theresa Huse, founder of Dear Creatives. Project by project, she and her husband have turned their abode into a true home for their family.
Theresa Huse painting a mural on a nursery wall, one of her home improvement projects.
“I love to make my house the perfect haven to come home to,” Gennifer Rose, who chronicles her DIY home projects on her lifestyle blog, told us. “I want it to be filled with all my favorite things and tailored to fit me. I like to curate every aspect of my life, from the clothes I wear to the food I eat to the home I live in.”
For Gennifer, handmade home projects are a surefire way to leave a personal impression on your space. “Sometimes the only way to get exactly what you want is to make it yourself!”
“I want our home to be a comfortable, functioning place for my family to enjoy life,” Ginger explained. And her task list to accomplish this mission covers ventures both great and small. “I love to tackle projects that are going to make our home function better — like adding on another living area, expanding our deck, or adding shelves to the pantry or closets — and doing things that make our home more beautiful, like landscaping, refinishing cabinets, or painting.”
Gennifer Rose picking fresh ingredients for a homecooked meal, one of her many DIY endeavors.
How do DIYers find the time?
Many of us want to get our hands dirty for the benefit of our home’s style, but simply don’t have a strategy for setting aside the time to do it. Although many DIY experts work on their blogs full-time, sometimes there still aren’t enough hours in the day to check off everything on their to-do lists.
But DIY is often about problem solving, and these innovators have learned a few ways to make time to get their fix (and not let any other unexpected hurdles stand in their way!).
Gennifer actively works to carve out time to dive into her projects. “Doing DIY projects is one of my all-time favorite things to do, and I always try to designate time to just relax and enjoy doing them,” she said. “Like most people, my schedule is always full. But as busy as I am, I always make a point to have one day out of the week that is just for fun and projects.”
DIY projects can be quick crafts
Although her blog is now her full-time career, Adrianne can relate to the challenges of setting aside uninterrupted time to devote to her crafts.
“Happy Hour Projects is the home of hour-or-less DIY projects,” she explained. “But with two young kids at home, even tackling a 60-minute project can end up taking all day — or more!”
When an undertaking seems like a bigger time investment than she can afford, she sometimes opts to call in the experts.
“I still remember a time when my daughter was young,” she recalled. “I picked out a beautiful ceiling fan for her room. I couldn’t work on putting it up while she napped as I normally did with my projects during those days, so I finally called an electrician after trying for four days to install it. Guess how long it took him without interruptions? About 30 minutes!”
When partners disagree
Theresa and her husband often make time to work on these projects together — but occasionally, this joint effort creates a few obstacles of its own!
The duo’s latest venture, their bathroom remodel, has led to some minor disagreements, such as what type of material to use on the walls. But the occasional headbutt has provided these two important insight into DIY projects, a lesson that Theresa offers to others as well.
“My best suggestion for moving forward on these roadblocks is fixing your budget first, then going to the store together and picking out a few options. It also helps to have an inspiration photo. Then you can pick from a few sample options and narrow it down to one.”
Ariane Fisher was a DIY bride who concocted handmade creations for just about every detail of her wedding — from the cake to the dress! — for many of the same reasons people channel their creative energy into their homes.
Ariane Fisher editing a wedding video using clips filmed by guests of the bride and groom.
“We had a set budget, so we decided to DIY a lot of the aspects of our wedding,” she said.
So how did she find the time? Simple!
“I was an engineer which was only 40 hours of my week — so I spent the other 40 I was awake working on my projects!” she laughed.
Her do-it-yourself adventures were well worth the effort. She now blogs about DIY projects on the WeddingMix blog — her company dedicated to taking some of the DIY burden off of budget-conscious brides by professionally editing the photos and videos captured by wedding guests.
Eat, sleep or DIY?
None of these bloggers feel forced to get down and dirty with their DIY projects — it genuinely has become a part of who they are.
“I usually skip activities like eating or sleeping because I really want to get a project done so I can see the finished project,” Brenda joked. “If you have the DIY bug, you’ll find the time.”
Just as many personality traits are passed on from parent to child, some of these bloggers are bestowing their passion upon future generations of DIY experts.
Ginger Bowie recruits her family for help with her DIY projects.
“I love to get my kiddos involved,” Ginger remarked. “They can help fill container gardens, move dirt, weed, paint and help hang sheetrock. I love involving the whole family!”
Ultimately, it’s not difficult for these bloggers to find the inspiration or make the time for these projects. After all, as Adrianne put it, “Usually you don’t find inspiration. It finds you!”
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