Guest Post by Jake Watkins
There’s something very satisfying about putting something together for your home using simple DIY materials. With it comes a burst of creative pride; knowing you’re responsible for the existence of something new, something better than before.
If you’re in the mood to flex those DIY muscles, here is a selection of my top 10 DIY materials for your home to inspire your creative spirit.
Wood is great. Not only does it look fantastic (even without an added finish), but it’s incredibly versatile too. Left over wood can be used to make smaller items like this tray from DukesandDuchesses.com. (Click image for the lesson.) Wood wears well; quality wood will always be expensive. With age, character develops and the wood gets a wonderful patina that synthetic products can’t duplicate.
Whether you’re planning to make a stack of shelves, a bench, a coat hanger, a table or anything else, wood has got you covered.
Reclaimed bookshelves are a great if you can get your hands on a good supply. Smaller projects like this dog feeder plus storage are ideal for smaller projects.
There are so many different types of wood. Oak is particularly useful for sturdier constructions but you can find a project for almost anything for wood. It’s an amazing resource. But even cheaper woods; from pallets to pine, there is a project out there for your home. Look at this amazing table below built for only $35. (Click on image for more).
Gravel by itself isn’t particularly sexy. But you would be amazed what you can do with it! It takes a little imagination, a few hours of hunting for your favorite designs but you could find yourself with a whole new look.
Put the right elements together for a classic elegant look, as well as increasing your curb appeal.
Whether its your front door makeover, gravel drive or a new garden nook, like those above or creating a fire pit or a vegetable patch like below; gravel is very useful and few skills are required.
If you’re doing anything in your garden, think about how you might use gravel; particularly to create a secure path or area in muddy areas. To avoid your pea gravel from being washed away or moving, use an underlay system like below to contain it.
It looks pretty good on its own, or as part of an overall design. Look at the difference in this vegetable garden below. Here’s the before; it looks like a wonderful feast, but its work.
And here is the relaxing after done by Brooke Giannetti! No more chicken wire; add some chairs, and a whole lot of gravel. Bring out the wine glasses and cheese. You can just imagine hours of conversation between sisters, friends and the secrets they are sharing.
Another very versatile material is plaster. Here’s a great way to create weathered wood using vintage plaster products.
Plaster can come in especially handy for repairs (particularly if you accidentally make holes in the wall).
There are different types of plasters like the growing trend for Moroccan Tadelakt; a waterproof lime plaster used to make baths, sinks, interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roofs, and even floors. It’s used instead of tiles, polished, and treated with soap to make it waterproof and water-repellant.
If you’ve got a particular mold you want to make, you might also want to stock up on some plaster to create your own ceiling features.
When you’re building something that’s going to have to take some weight, you really need to use metalwork. You’ll be able to find pieces in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find something that fits exactly with what you’re building. You will need some tools for metalwork, and you should know that before attempting any serious metalwork. Just like tools for your car, or when you bake, you need the right tools for metalwork projects.
While this may only have one real application, laminate flooring is definitely worth looking into if you want to redecorate your home. Not only is it very fashionable, but it also isn’t too hard to install. If you’re starting to grow tired of that old carpet or that rickety wooden floor, you know what to do. But what about some other uses? Here are just a few that you can use for laminate flooring to test your skills. The first is as a backsplash.
The next is as a desk top in this craft room/office makeover. But from bedheads to trays, there are lots of things you can do with your left over or reclaimed laminate flooring scraps.
It’s difficult to make things entirely out of metal, but if you still want that nice, sleek metallic finish, you should invest in some aluminium.
Some thin strips would go well on wood or plastic and make it look very nice. It’s cheap and easy to use.
If you’re working on anything electrical, this one is kind of given. It’s a cheap resource and easy to get hold of. Not only is it worth getting some for any projects that you’re working on, but it’s just a good idea to have some to hand, as it might prove useful in an emergency. When it comes to DIY decorating, even the tape comes in handy!
Acrylic sheeting gives you a strong, solid result, but because it is see-through, it is perfect for smaller spaces that need light, more translucent objects. Here are two short videos on how to glue acrylic sheeting and make either a box or a small side or coffee table.
Maybe you can use one or both ideas for your next project. Another idea is to turn the acrylic frame, with the added decorative corners, upside down, and create a tray that you can style and move around as you need it.
Acrylic sheeting is also an ideal way to keep surfaces protected while still seeing the beauty of what lies underneath. Keep it simple for a dramatic effect.
If you ever need something to replace glass or to use as a sturdy protective sheet, then this is the stuff to use. Tough perspex sheet is much more affordable than glass and can be used for quite a few different DIY jobs.
It’s what allows you to customize your work and make your projects into the colors you like most.
Not only are they the very obvious components of buildings (in case you wanted to build a shed or a garage or something) but they have quite a few interior uses too.
Bricks can be used to make things like coffee tables, great if you love that industrial urban look.
At least one of these products is sure to be used in every household DIY project. They cover quite a range of different tasks, so if you’ve got something on the horizon, you know what you’re going to need. If you’re in the mood to work on a new project, consider these materials and how they might be useful for you. Also check out this earlier blog post if you’re looking for more inspiration. What are you planning on making?
Jake Watkins is a freelance writer from the UK and was previously a blogger for a content marketing agency. He prides himself on providing practical advice and enjoys sharing the information he’s picked up on over the years. In his spare time, Jake enjoys learning more about DIY and hiking in the hills. You can follow him on Twitter or contact him via his website.