June 07, 2012

Tips for Coming up with DIY Projects (On a Daily Basis!)

I had a reader email me a few days ago asking how I come up with DIY ideas, which I was surprised by since I haven't been blogging that long. I thought to myself  If I'm already getting this question, how will I keep coming up with ideas for years to come? And then I started to freak out a little bit. How will I? So I took a deep breath and really thought about my process of coming up with ideas, which apparently I had never thought about until now!

Look at inspiration boards...
Looking at other DIY blogs, Pinterest boards, websites can really help you get ideas. I'm not saying steal any ideas! But they're called inspiration for a reason. Several ideas I've come up with have come from other projects I've seen online and then just made them my own. For example:
I saw an idea on Pinterest quite awhile back where someone cut into a book and made a beautiful design for a centerpiece. Brilliant, right? I loved the idea, but I wanted to make it my own, so I started brain-storming on all the things I could possibly do with a book. I went through a few options, tried them out and this one seemed to work the best (and I thought it was the cutest!).

Explore your craft store...
You would be surprised how many ideas you can come up with just from wandering the aisles of a craft store. You might find uses for items that they weren't intended for, and often times, I find an idea will slap me in the face once the materials are in front of me. I actually wrote a post about this after walking through a craft store and coming across the doll house furniture section...
A tiny sewing machine? I can think of something to use that for! Not the most intense project of all time, but you get the idea.

Look at "useless" objects in new ways...
You'd be amazing at the things you can come up with when you really think outside of the box. I know, I know, cliche, but it's so very true. What can you do with some sticks? Paint them and make some wall art! How about some doilys? Make a lamp shade! Got yourself some un-used cotton and some blue paper? Make a rain cloud mobile! Sometimes I just take a random item in my house and look at it for awhile. What could it be? What can I turn this into? Found objects can be turned into so many things, like this...
I did a post recently on how to make a mug out of a peanut jar. Now, I don't want to tell you to be a pack-rat by any means, but sometimes the things you throw away are the things you realize you need for a project a few days later. I finished off this jar of peanuts and realized it was the perfect size for a cute drink mug.

Build up an inventory...
When I first started the blog, I was going to the craft store twice a week if not more. It was exhausting coming up with an idea and realizing I couldn't execute it until I went to buy more supplies. I think this is probably a process most DIY bloggers have to go through in the beginning. It's not likely for most people to have a fully stocked craft room when they first start out. But over time, you'll have left-over items from other projects. The great thing about this is (other than the money you save!) is that you can walk into your craft room/area, look at what you have available and come up with things you could make out of those items. 

Learn a new skill...
Maybe you've always wanted to learn how to sew, or you want to do restoration work, but don't have the tools. This can be difficult, since you may not own a sewing machine, or power tools, or be stocked up on stains and sand-paper, but maybe you have a friend with a sewing machine, or tools that you can borrow. Learning new things will help you tremendously when it comes to your DIY options. Ross bought me a power drill for Valentine's day this past year (romantic, eh?) and I've been able to do so many more building projects since then. Maybe read up on new photography techniques or hand-stitching! There are lots of options out there, so start trying some new things!

Make mistakes...
Don't get defeated when a DIY doesn't work out the way you'd hoped. It's happened to me several times and as much as it has the potential to really get you down, remember that you learn from them. So be patient with yourself and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty!

I hope some of these tips help. I'm not an expert by any means, but these are some things I've learned so far. xoxo - Jillian


  1. Great post! I love finding new uses for things I would've gotten rid of-- even if my husband calls me a hoarder for it! lol.

  2. This is really helpful actually, thanks :) Bookmarked so I can refer back to it frequently

  3. I had a similar freak-out recently as well about constantly coming up with new material as well. For me I had to take a breath and remember that its okay to have days where you don't feel inspired and know that that doesn't mean everyday will be that way. Great post!



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