During a shopping trip to the hardware store I was able to answer some questions for another customer on how to finish a piece of furniture he had made. I gave him and his wife my thoughts and we talked for a little bit and I ended up showing them some photos of the projects I had made from my phone and they seemed quite impressed.
The husband then asked me how I got into woodworking so I talked to them for a little while. That inspired me to do a little blog post on how I got into making my own projects on here. Maybe I can inspire someone else to get into building small projects as well.
I have always enjoyed crafts. From making scrapbooks to other random little gifts and things to hand on the wall, I like to make things and display my handiwork. Well, after college I decided that my old furniture just didn’t really fit my lifestyle anymore. I was working full time and wanted to coordinate the things in my house rather than just have everything mis-matched and all oddly coordinated.
When I went out to buy new furniture and decorations I started to realize just how expensive things were. And especially how expensive the things I liked were. I found that I loved Crate & Barrel, but I certainly couldn’t afford their prices on my income. That presented a problem for me.
I went to Ikea, and although they have some nice things, it really wasn’t my style. Nor did I really like the quality of the construction. Ikea products are great for students but I really didn’t want them for myself. And they didn’t seem to last very well either. Most of their products are made from particleboard and tend to fall apart easily or get damaged easily.
Since the things I could afford I didn’t like; and the things I liked I couldn’t afford, I decided that the best option that I had was to start making some of my own decorations.
I started with very small things and very easy woodworking projects. I made some candle holders and really basic shelves to put on the walls but that was about it to start. The quality of the things that I made wasn’t all that great either because I didn’t have the tools. I ended up buying a nice drill and a handsaw from www.homedepot.com and those were really the only tools that I used for quite a while.
Using the internet was a great opportunity to look around and see some of the designs that other people were making. It was a wealth of knowledge for me to learn and see the plans that other people made and decide on which ones looked like something I could build for myself.
Gradually I started building more and more things. I was able to upgrade my shelves and make something that looked nicer and really looked like the quality of something I would buy from the store.
I also learned the huge benefit of finishing projects. Not as in completing them, but as in applying a finish coating to the project to enhance the look of it. Using various stains and paints I was able to really start to replicate the items that I loved so much in stores like Crate & Barrel. Now I was finally onto something and I was spending hundreds less than I would if I had purchased the items as opposed to building them myself.
So that brings us to today. Now when I see something I like in the store, I don’t think about how much it costs. Instead I think in my head if it is something I could build and try to work it out for how I would go about building it myself. Sometimes I’ll go online and find projects to make but I’m trying more to make my own projects and continue to make my house into a home.