Basics of DIYing – What to choose and what to use.

I finally completed my one year anniversary on WordPress this January πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

During this wonderful year of DIYing and sharing on my blog, I came across questions from bloggers on what basic tools / media/ paints etc to pick when creating projects and I wanted to use this post to give a generic outline on a few of the different materials, paints, sealants and other supplies available at craft stores.

Materials: Any and every material is open to use when DIYing –

  • Paper – The easiest to use, of course, but not the most stable.
  • Cardstock/Cardboard –Β  A little stiffer than paper but is thicker and stays stable longer.
  • Wood – You can do wonderful, long-lasting projects using wood but it requires a few more tools than plain glue.
  • Cloth / Fabric – Easy to work with. For basic projects, all you need are scissors and a fabric glue to create lovely decor items.
  • Air dry clay – This a lot of fun to work with and no major tools needed. You can make wonderful crafts just using your fingers and some paint.
  • Mixed media – This gives you a lot of texture and dimension. You can combine paper, wood, cloth, tile, burlap, paint etc.

There are definitely a lot more options to work with that have not been listed here. A lot of upcycled projects are getting popular; using shipping cartons, toilet rolls, cereal boxes, plastic or old metal cutlery, egg cartons, cans etc.

Types of paint: How do you decide what type of paint to use? There are so many options out there. This usually depends on the skill of the DIYer.

  • Acrylics – These are my favorite to use. This is perfect for beginners because you can wipe them or paint over to cover mistakes, they are easier to clean since most are water-based and rarely leave stains anywhere.
  • Watercolors – Easiest to use and do not stain surfaces. A little goes a long way so they stay for a while. It is not easy to cover up mistakes which makes this a hard choice for beginners.
  • Oils – These paints are more permanent than the others. You can create fine details and a lot of depth in your work but these can get quite messy and are difficult to clean out.

Sealants: A sealant is a thin covering over your project to help it last longer, prevent quick dust build up and protect it from other elements.

  • Clear glue – Perfect for sticking and a thin layer of it on top with a brush will keep your project clean for a while.
  • Mod podge – Perfect for decoupage and pretty much any DIY project. There are matte and gloss (depends if you want a clear or shiny coating). You gently add it on using a foam or sponge brush.
  • Spray sealant – Easy to use over glue and dries faster. It does have a strong smell and can get a little messy. The Krylon clear sealant is my favorite as it dries fast but you have to be careful with handling.

Some essential supplies any beginner or pro DIYer needs :

  1. Scissors – For basic cutting of pretty much any material.
  2. X-acto Knife – For fine and detailed cutting.
  3. Hot Glue Gun – Used on a variety of materials, to bond them together.
  4. Spray Paint – Perfect for painting larger projects quickly. Make sure to have some in common colors.
  5. Regular acrylic paint with brushes – For smaller projects. Buying a paint set would be the easiest option.
  6. Washi Tape – These are colorful, designed, thin rolls of tape for decorating the most boring surface with the least amount of work to create adorable wall decor or even brighten up something old. Way easier than using paints and waiting for them to dry.
  7. Cardstock in different colors – Cheap to buy and can be used to make wonderful, long lasting cards, photo collages, posters etc.
  8. Elmer’s glue – For gluing paper and other light materials to make cards, place holders etc.

A few easy DIY beginner projects that are also functional (with how-to links)

  1. Air-dry clay bowls – Create cute display bowls for your keys, coins, jewelry etc (How-To Video)
  2. Washi Tape DIYs – Decorate old phone cases, make bookmarks etc with washi tape (How-To Video).
  3. Cardstock Exploding Box – Perfect for any occasion and makes for a memorable gift. I made a minion birthday box for a friend and it was a huge hit (Minion Birthday Box)
  4. Mint Box Earphone Holder – A cute upcycled idea using old mint boxes to prevent tangled earphones (Mint box earphone holder)
  5. Faux Fur Monster Box –Β  Not a beginner project but definitely easy to do with the right materials and perfect for Valentine’s day which is coming up (Li’l monster munchkins)

I hope this post helps to address any questions regarding what to choose and use for your projects. Feel free to ask questions or get ideas in the comments below πŸ™‚

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