Overcoming your DIY Fears

DIYing can be intimidating.  Bloggers, like myself, make everything look so easy. Then you purchase all the supplies and you sit down to do it and panic sets in.  What if I do it wrong?  What if it doesn’t turn out?  What if it costs more than I anticipated?  What if it takes longer than I want it to?  Some of you have become paralyzed by the Silhouette machine that the bloggers engaging project talked you into buying…a year ago.  Others have gotten tools for Christmas and yet they sit in boxes in the garage.  Some of you, like me, have had a serger machine sitting in a box WAY too long. I understand, even someone who does DIY projects for a living is intimidated.

5 tips to help overcome your fear of DIY



I was scared as all get out using the Kreg Jig for the first time and actually building something.  I was also scared of threading a serger, because I heard how awful it was, so the new serger I purchased sat in a box for three months.  I also was frightened of building doors for my studio in my old house so I hired someone to do it.  Well guess what?  This week I overcame my fear and I built a door – all by myself.  So what changed?  Well here are a few tips of how I overcome the fear of DIY.

1.  Change your mentality.  This was a huge shift for me.  Whenever I was scared of a project my husband would always say “Babe just hire someone to do it.” I didn’t want to hire someone to do it. The point was I wanted to do it.  I wouldn’t be talking to him about it if I wanted to hire it out.  But that simple sentence he said over and over to me as I was talking about the projects I wanted to do changed my mind.  Now knowing that I can “hire it out if I get stuck” allows me to try and take risks.  When I was building my mudroom lockers I had no idea what I was doing.  But each step of the way I said “If you get stuck you can always hire someone.”  The fear of failing was removed and I kept moving forward.  And guess what? I never called anyone for help.  I did it by myself and I couldn’t be more proud of my mudroom. {Sqqquealll!  It’s awesome, right!!} But having a plan B our “an out” helps me take risks.

how to build mudroom lockers

2.  Budget It.  I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan.  If you are too you have heard of an emergency fund.  Well I have a DIY emergency fund too.  This means that I have a chunk of change set aside that can only be used to hire someone out if I get stuck on a project.  Now I can afford to complete the project, even if that means spending money for someone else to do it.  Again having this safety net in place that ONLY can be used for DIY projects frees me to keep moving forward.  I have used that fund too!  I was scared of securing Isaac’s hanging beds so, my friend Rex, helped me.  It was well worth using some of my DIY emergency fund simply to get the project done.  And guess what?  Isaac talked me into making those beds again in his new room.  So, I might need to call someone like Rex again.  But I am hoping to tackle my fear on that one!

hanging beds from the ceiling

3.  Set a Goal. I know that sounds silly, we are just talking about DIY after all.  But seriously, it works.  It could be as simple as…

    • I am going to download the Silhouette software to my computer by the end of the week.”
    • I am going to take the sewing machine out of the box and read 10 pages of the manual.
    • I am going to charge the battery for the cordless drill my husband bought me for Christmas.

You know the simple goal you need to make but having a goal helps.

4.  Phone a Friend.  Use your contacts or email a blogger (most of us like to help!) and ask questions.  Sometimes you just need to talk through a project with someone to gain the confidence to get it done.  When I was working on my fireplace makeover I called Sandra from Sawdust Girl to help me think through how to build out the fireplace a little.  After I got off the phone I felt confident to tackle it.

building a fireplace surround

When I was in Dallas for an event with Thompson’s Water Seal I needed help thinking through how to build the lantern wall.  So I asked Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl to talk with me about it.  She offered another perspective and a few tips that helped me carry out my vision.

Deck #1 Staged Deck

And just a few weeks ago I texted my friend Rex I talked about above and admitted my fright of building a door for my inset jewelry cabinet.  The funny part is he gave me numerous ways of jazzing up a plain door and I went in a completely different direction and went for the shaker style door with tenons and grooves.  HA!  Sometimes I just need to get it out there that I am scared and that helps me overcome it.

scared text

5.  Reward Yourself.  We do this all the time with weight loss, promotions, accomplishments, etc.  So do something for yourself that will be motivating to start that DIY project.

  • When I finish building those shelves for my closet I will buy myself some new wicker baskets to go inside
  • When I finish painting the family room I will get myself a pedicure, or treat myself to a new piece of art.
  • When I finally get the courage to do my gallery wall I will treat myself to 5 new cans of spray paint

HA!  I don’t know what your motivation is but those would be mine.  I hope those tips help.  Do you have any other tips that helps you overcome the DIY freak outs?  I would love for you to share in the comments below.

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