DIY or BUY: Questions to ask yourself before you embark on a DIY endeavor

After a recent chair renovation conundrum I decided it was finally time to speak some truth about the DIY/Crafting industry: IT'S EXPENSIVE. 

DIY Projects

After doing my taxes this year my jaw dropped at my expenses. Lumber, paint, hardware, paper, fabric, props, beads, tape--you name it. Have you ever bought an industrial roll of velcro? Get ready to shell out $20 to stick that one thing to another thing.  So before you embark upon your next DIY endeavor read some of my tips below and ask yourself these questions:

DIY Projects
Looking to buy a new coffee table? Chances are your $40 prefab table isn't the most sustainably made option, but can you afford the cost of materials it would take to assemble your own? If you're dead set on making it yourself, most large hardware stores will cut wood for free and have tool rentals. I purchased a set of six awful burgundy stained Drs. office chairs with plans of re-uphosltoring them and sanding them down to the natural wood. HUGE MISTAKE. I've now tallied up a total of $35 worth of sandpaper and I've fully sanded 97% of one chair. I haven't given up because my vision for them is so grand--but I learned a lesson. I researched more and decided the smarter way to strip them down to the wood is with a chemical stripping agent. DUH.
DIY Projects
 I pretty much have a coronary every time I hit the check out line at Lowes. Wood ain't cheap--and once you add in finishes ($20) paintbrushes ($15) and hardware -- you could be looking at a +$100 project. I see a lot of pins on Pinterest like: "24 things you can make from $10 bucks worth of 2x4's" but they usually don't include the costs of all the tools, jigs, clamps, finishes and magic fairy dust. There are certainly ways to cut costs, and you might consider the tools a long-term investment, but don't fool yourself and do the math by researching all the components on line before going through all the trouble. 
 I think Ikea hacks are the smartest DIY projects the average person should tackle. You're working with a stable structure and "embellishing" with contact paper or spray paint. There's no structural integrity at risk and materials required to spruce up their most basic pieces won't run you more than $20-$30. Here's aN Ikea dresser hack I did for about $30 in supplies and $150 for the plain dresser.

DIY Projects
In the past I've managed to cheat a little on projects and avoid shelling out additional hundreds of dollars on certain tools--but the workmanship was shoddy. Making something poorly means you run the risk of it breaking and you're out the cost you used to make it, as well as replacing it. I think this rule should also be applied to upholstery. I KNOW I don't have the proper materials to reupholster something--SO I DON'T. I've seen a lot of tragic DIY upholstery jobs over the years and I think it's worth the cost of having it professionally done. I have A LOT of tools, and this is by FAR my favorite multi-tool. For any small-time woodworker like myself I'd highly recommend a lightweight saw/drill//sander/router like the BLACK+DECKER Matrix Drill

Cool right? It's easy to switch between attachments, so you really just need the one tool. SPACE SAVER. 

DIY Projects
Back to the Drs. office chairs. I've spent a total 5 hours now on 1.5 chairs (for some reason working on two at once makes me feel better). As a freelancer working from home my time=money so when working on a personal project I have to decide: is this worth 5 hours of paid work time? Probably not. Taking your time to be detail oriented on a project is advisable, being inefficient with your time is not. Research the best way to complete a project before diving in feet first. Find a cute chair or bench on the sidewalk? Paint it with chalk paint and invest in fresh knobs. Find a rusty bathtub in an empty lot? Leave it--don't try to make it into a couch like Audrey's in Breakfast at Tiffany's. 

If you're willing to invest in the proper tools and materials to do a project right GREAT. Rehabbing furniture and making jewelry is an amazing pastime that I think is worth the expense. If you're trying to cut down on costs in your home it might not always be the answer--run the numbers first.

Have a DIY disaster or experience you'd like to share? Comment below and let me know what you've learned the hard way! 

xoxo Lindsey Crafter 

This post may include affiliate links for your convenience and to keep Lindsey Crafter craftin' 

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