How to Expand Your DIY Horizons


Have you ever gotten trapped in an endless loop of do-it-yourself videos? Those step-by-step guides can be pretty enticing, especially once you’ve experienced some crafting success. But after you’ve turned out your tenth birdhouse, you might start wondering what other DIY projects you can pull off. It turns out you’re pretty darn handy, and it feels like it’s time to set your sights on bigger goals.

Expanding your DIY horizons doesn’t require camping out in a hardware store until inspiration strikes and you clear out your savings account. There are plenty of feasible projects that can scratch your more ambitious handcrafting or building itch. Here are some examples to consider.

1. Contribute to a Larger Project

Few things get you more into the DIY spirit than some good old-fashioned home improvement. From painting a bedroom to installing new bathroom tile, there are myriad projects amateurs can tackle with sufficient preparation and practice. Yet even people who have experience working with their hands can struggle with projects they’ve never attempted before.

If your home improvement project is a major one, there’s nothing wrong with asking professionals to do most of the heavy lifting for you. In fact, when it comes to tasks like complex wiring, that’s definitely the more prudent choice. What you can do is look for aspects of the project that you can complete yourself.

Let’s say you’re adding an extra room to your home. You can hire builders to erect the walls and add insulation, while you install the air conditioning unit yourself. You can find certain mini split installs that are straightforward and relatively easy to do on your own. You can save money and take pride in having made a significant contribution to the project as a whole.

2. Put Your Chef’s Hat On

A DIY project doesn’t have to stand for generations. Some projects are meant to be used, or consumed, immediately. This includes making a new meal for the first time. You might not have considered home cooking a DIY project, but it’s a positive alternative to eating out or resorting to frozen meals.

Only about one-third of the U.S. population prepares a meal at home every day. The convenience of fast food is a huge temptation, despite being obviously more expensive and unhealthy. If you’re looking to expand your DIY horizons, making strides in the kitchen is a fantastic place to start.

You don’t have to cook a unique meal every single day. Instead, get the most bang from your DIY buck by doing some meal planning. Prepare a single meal in bulk and pack away portions for future meals. Or roast a whole chicken and turn the leftovers into chicken tetrazzini or chicken salad to mix things up. As you get increasingly comfortable cooking, you can start tackling larger meals and more complicated recipes.

3. Cultivate Your Green Thumb

When people think of DIY projects, their minds often gravitate to things like woodworking and table crafts. While this isn’t inaccurate, it really limits the scope of what you can accomplish by yourself. You can feel just as accomplished by getting your hands dirty working in the yard.

Some examples of DIY landscaping include creating a small flower bed, pruning overgrown bushes, or even putting up a new fence. You can start with a small project, such as hanging up a bird feeder and work up to loftier goals. You don’t have to break ground on a two-acre vegetable garden to feel accomplished.

What if you don’t have any land to work with? If you live in a high-rise apartment, you can’t expect to grow a pumpkin patch in your living room. Instead, you can try container gardening on your balcony or grow a houseplant on your windowsill. Or seek out a community garden space somewhere in your city where you can pursue your gardening goals.

4. Share the Fruits of Your Labors

The dirty secret about DIY success is that you might soon find yourself unable to store or use everything you create. Sure, it’s cool to throw clay pots, but once you have 20, what are you going to do with them all? You don’t want the sheer accumulation of completed projects to turn you into a don’t-do-it-yourselfer.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to DIY excess that will give extra purpose to your new crafting hobby. Instead of keeping everything you create, donate it to a worthwhile cause. This way you can satisfy your creative impulses while letting someone else enjoy the results of your efforts.

Let’s say your latest DIY kick is crocheting. You probably don’t need 15 crocheted blankets, but there are plenty of people who would be grateful for one. You can donate your extras to a local children’s hospital or cancer center. Or you can give one to the neighbor family who just had a baby. The smile on the recipient’s face will put a matching one on yours after you perform such a service.

Feeling a stronger desire to create now? Whether your DIY projects are simple or challenging, what’s important is that you’re improving the way you use your time and talents. With some time and practice, you’ll soon become a DIY master.

Madison Hall
With a background in Engineering from Stanford University, Madison Hall brings a unique perspective to the DIY world. With 15 years of experience in both engineering and DIY projects, she started contributing to our website in 2022. Her approach combines technical knowledge with experience, making her articles informative and accessible. Before joining us, Madison worked in a leading engineering firm focusing on sustainable building practices. She enjoys woodworking and exploring the latest tech gadgets in her leisure time.

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