One of the biggest reasons I DIY is because I can rarely buy the things I dream up in my head. I had a very active imagination as a child. As an adult my imagination has manifested into dreaming up new things for my home. I am not always satisfied with off the shelf home products. I want something unique.
I often come up with my own original DIY ideas. My DIY thought process starts with two things; a need and a vision. The need is what the item has to do. The vision is what I want the item to look like. The DIY Rustic Glam Tiered Tray I shared this morning is a great example to allow me to explain the need and the vision.
I came up with the rustic glam tiered tray because I needed a tray to keep all of our most used, never put away bathroom items close at hand. The small flat trays I had tried before were not doing the job. To get more surface area in the same amount of space, I needed a tiered tray. The trays I had tried before also lacked any kind of personality. I wanted something interesting. Something unique. The vision for the tray was an organic shape. I liked the idea of a wood tone against the cool white bathroom counter. Organic wood can go country real fast, so my vision was to glam it up in someway.
Already you can probably tell, the perfect tiered tray I was dreaming of in my head was not readily available at any home stores. My idea was so unique and original, I knew I would have to make it myself. The result of my DIY effort was a beautiful two tiered rustic, yet glamorous tiered tray. I guarantee no one else has one of these in their bathroom.
What if you want to have unique home decor, but you don’t daydream all daylong about ways to make original home decor?
Simple…there are plenty of other people doing the daydreaming for you. In this age of blogs and Pinterest, there is no shortage of inspiration. For many of my projects, I write tutorials or give complete details on how to make it. I love hearing from readers who have made their own version. Most bloggers do…that is why we share.
If I just follow another bloggers project, is it really unique?
Well, this question has a two-part answer.
First, anything YOU make is unique. It does not matter if you followed a tutorial or pattern, because YOU made it yourself. It may look the same as someone else’s, but the memories you have of making it, or the blood, sweat, and tears, are what will make the piece unique for you.
Second, you can always follow a pattern or tutorial and tweak a few things to make the project unique for you. I have done this several times. For example, inspired by another blogger’s version, I made an Infographic Christmas letter. By including my own personal details and creating my own design, I made something unique. But the idea was from someone else. Another example, is the family silhouette art in my dining room. This was inspired, oh, by everyone in blogland. There are so many versions of this, I didn’t actually follow a tutorial, but made up my own way of doing it. To make it even more unique, I added decorative canvas edges.
What if I want to dream up my own unique DIY projects? How do I get started?
I will tell you what works for me. The active imagination is not the only ingredient. The formula required to dream up your own DIY projects is:
imagination + inspiration + know how = unique DIY ideas
Let’s look at each part of that equation a little closer.
First, imagination. I attribute a lot of my DIY success to an active imagination. You have to look beyond what something is and see what it could be. You have to think outside the box. I think imagination is something you have to nurture and cultivate. Take a walk outside, play with your kids, and doodle. These types of activities will help you free your mind and get back in touch with your imagination. Let your mind wander! Once your mind is open, take it a step further and go to a home center (Home Depot or Lowes). Challenge yourself to make a piece of home decor from only items found at the home center. Wander every aisle, look at all the parts, imagine what else they could be. Grab some that speak to you and make something!
Second, inspiration. I spend far more time getting inspired, than I do creating. Inspiration is like food for your imagination. Look at what other people are making. What do you like about it? What would you do differently? Does it inspire you? To get inspired curl up with a few good home magazines, browse pinterest, or read your favorite DIY blogs. Keep notes, pin, or bookmark the things that inspire you. I have done this since I was a child. You will notice trends that emerge…favorite colors, styles, similar ideas. These are the things that inspire you. You need inspiration to motivate you to act!
Third, know how. Some DIY projects take very little know how, while others take a lot. Later this month, we will assess your skills and know-how to determine what types of DIY projects are best for your current skills. Today, I want to talk about the way know how contributes to unique DIY ideas. When I read about other people’s DIY projects, I am on a thirst for knowledge. I want to know how they did it, what supplies they used, what techniques they used, mistakes they made, and how they corrected them. I will often read about a DIY project I have no interest in making just to learn more about the process, supply, or tool used in the project. This knowledge may come in handy for a future project I dream up. The modern helvetica stockings I created last year were possible because many years ago I read about reverse appliqué in a book. Years later I thought of a way to use that idea in a new way. Continually seek to learn!
Check out the rest of the posts in the DIY or Buy series here.
[email protected] says
Beautifully written. I like coming up with unique ways to re-create something I’ve seen. However, I find that sometimes my execution is not as good as I had hoped. I like that you defined a DIYer as someone who doesn’t expect perfection from the final product. I think I need to embrace that concept.
Thanks Lisa. The perfection thing is an area where I still struggle too. One thing that helps me, is too point out all the imperfections in a mass-produced product…imperfect welding, a weird seam, etc. It is strange to me we will except slight imperfections in a manufactured product, yet expect our handmade products to be perfect. I think you can strive for perfection, but never actually get there.
Agree! I tend to overplan, overthink and overstress the outcome.
My new mantra: “Embrace my Willy Nilly”.
(Except my youngest is using it against me when passing off how he makes his bed … sigh!)
Love it Diane. You should have that printed on a t-shirt.
I really love this series already! I’m really afraid of DIY sometimes, so I feel like your blog (which is so well written, btw), may help me overcome those. Thank you, and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks!!
Thanks Thalita! I hope the series will help you find the right kind of DIY projects for you.
Kerry @ Made For Real says
I am loving becoming more and more of a DIYer. Your site is beautiful! Very fun topic. :)