Time to Take Up DIY!

DIY for Easter!

Lent is here and that means the start of the countdown to the busiest DIY weekend of the year. Yep Easter weekend has for years been the time for many a DIY project and also great sales in DIY stores to encourage budding DIY’ers. Many people would love to tackle a DIY project over the Easter break or perhaps need to but may not have the skills or confidence.

Instead of setting yourselves difficult Lenten challenges like giving up chocolate (you fools) or alcohol, why not replace those sacrifices with learning a new skill? DIY projects don’t have to be intimidating especially if you have the right tools and the knowledge to use them. And remember learning a skill like DIY is a skill for life so its worth investing the time and money.

There are plenty of places to learn and plenty of skills to choose from, perhaps you and your DIY project buddy can split skills between you; one could tackle plumbing while the other takes on decorating for example (by the way it’s always a good idea to have a project buddy for safety and sanity reasons).

You can also look at videos online, although these can sometimes be a bit short and lack the necessary detail. By far the best place to learn is to take a short DIY course, that way you can get your hands on actual tools and learn in a practical environment (rather then using your own home) and ask specific questions if you don’t understand something. You can then use books & online videos to boost your knowledge and help you along the way when it comes to tackling your projects back at home. Remember a skill is for life not just for Easter.

Skills you should learn that will open up a whole new world of projects for you.

1) Using a drill - one of DIY’s biggest hidden secrets; using a drill is easy once you know how and if you have the right knowledge behind you it’s not at all scary, in fact it can be quite empowering. You can buy a decent drill for around £30-40, I suggest buying a combi drill as this will allow you to drill into soft walls like plasterboard and harder masonry walls like brick. Key things to learn before you start drilling holes in your living room include knowing what your walls made of, what drill bits and wall fixings to use for what surface (this is a big mystery to novice DIY’ers but once you understand the lingo and the various options your eyes will be open to endless wall hanging projects from shelves to hanging baskets). You need to learn how to avoid drilling into electrical cables and pipework for plumbing, and how to safely hang heavy objects onto walls. Most books, videos or courses will explain these in great detail but it’s worth checking the course contents before you sign up.

2) Basic plumbing - from fixing a tap washer to resealing your bath there are many basic plumbing jobs that can be tackled by the most novice DIY’er with just a little bit of knowledge thereby saving you a lot of money. Key things to learn are how to isolate the mains water supply, how pipework runs through your home and what to do in an emergency. Once you know these things useful tasks to learn would be changing a tap or just the tap washer, unblocking a sink and how to bleed your radiators.

3) Decorating - everyone thinks that decorating is easy and just slapping paint on the walls. But a good finish when it comes to decorating can really be seen and can also maintain your sanity, there is nothing worse than not being able to concentrate on Eastenders because you can’t take your eyes off the wonky edging next to the TV. Things to learn to ensure a great finish quality on a decorating job include: how to fill and sand properly using different fillers and different sandpapers, how to edge so you get a clean straight line between a ceiling, skirting boards and along a wall edge if you are using different colours. And if you are feeling really adventurous find a course that teaches you how to hang wallpaper and the world will truly be your ‘feature wall’ oyster.

4) Cutting and measuring properly - another essential DIY skill is how to cut something properly, from cutting a small piece of plastic curtain rail to making bespoke shelving; if you learn how to cut different substances then you can fix, improve and even extend your own home (although this may be slightly ambitious for the Easter weekend!) And a key element to learning how to cut is how to measure things properly. A tape measure can be a little confusing and even redundant when you are trying to measure and fit a straight piece of wood to fit against a wonky bit of wall.

Learning any of these skills won’t take long and really won’t cost the earth. DIY books are a great place to start. Choose one with lots of pictures that has projects relevant to your needs and skill level.

Jo Behari