Just Do It Yourself
Spring is here, which means you can finally shake off your winter malaise and take on some new projects. So we decided to round up our favorite DIY sites from around the Web. If you’re looking to finally make those home improvements you’ve been putting off, or to learn some new exercises you can do at home, or just to take on a new hobby like screen printing, these sites can show you how. And the best DIY sites don’t just tell you how to do something, they also give you ideas for ways to enrich your life in general.
Photo Credit: colros
Let’s be honest, if you live within a reasonable driving distance of an Ikea, you probably shop there. They’ve got great deals and delicious meatballs, but everyone’s love for Ikea poses a pretty significant problem. If everyone owns the same Ikea furniture then 1) everyone knows you bought it at Ikea and 2) everyone’s living rooms will start to look identical. That’s why Ikeahacker is so useful.
The site encourages consumers to send in their clever alterations and ingenious uses for Ikea furniture. One reader turned an Ikea shelf into an incredible home for their hamster, another transformed an old hand-me-down desk into a sweet “vanity desk” by purchasing some Ikea mirrors and knobs. With each of these “hacks,” the users provide a set of clear instructions and pictures so you can try it out too.
Photo Credit: Ikeahacker.com
The philosophy of this DIY site is pretty alluring: any person with half a brain can learn to master a cool new task in about five minutes, assuming, of course, that it’s explained well. 5min is loaded with instructional videos on cooking (how to make a flourless chocolate cake), exercise (how to do a Tai Chi Push) and even pets (how to get your dog to sit and stay.)
Photo Credit: 5min.com
InstructablesInstructables is a fun general-interest DIY site, offering a mix of tech advice (tweeking a Polaroid camera to use non-Polaroid film) and baking tips (making your own pumpkin bread). But what I like best about this site is its penchant for the bizarre and the innovative. There are tips on how to make a box that “explodes” open, how to do origami with dollar bills and how to design a jacket that can heat you up and cool you down based on your body temperature.
Photo Credit: Instructables.com
Technabob is a great site for techies. While it isn’t exclusively DIY-centered, it does feature an entire section of cool hacks. While reading through it, I realized that I am very easily impressed by small things you can make yourself, like these snazzy light-up business cards and the Xbox 360 laptop. Actually, that second one really is pretty impressive.
Photo Credit: Technabob.com
We may be a little biased toward this site since they are a friend of MainStreet, but Wisebread is a wonderful source for tips on frugalizing your day-to-day life. They also collect a wide range of how-to tips from around the Web on their Twitter page for everything from selling your car on Craigslist to determining whether someone is concealing a handgun.
Photo Credit: Wisebread.com
Howcast has tons of fun and instructional videos for everything under the sun. You’ll find cost-cutting tips, crafts projects and, of course, building a “beer kegerator.” There are even videos about how to end a bad date and figuring out if a guy likes you. Although, I’m not sure how accurate this last one is – one of the telltale signs is how often the guy touches his earlobes. Really?
Photo Credit: Howcast.com
Unclutterer is about more than just organizing your desk (although it’s great for that too). The site is really a DIY guide for making your life run more smoothly. Learn how to baby-proof your house, conceal your hangover and find the time to do what matters most to you.
Photo Credit: Unclutterer.com
HowtoCleanAnythingThis site is exactly what it sounds like. Here you’ll find instructions on how to clean car upholstery, dirty walls and even your pets. With spring cleaning right around the corner, you’ll definitely want to log on soon.
Photo Credit: Howtocleananything.com
The famed TV home improvement guru Bob Vila has a useful site for renovating your home. Be warned that there are a lot of prompts on the page to pay for his advice, but there are still plenty of free instructional videos worth watching, like this one on waterproofing your basement.
Photo Credit: Bobvila.com
LifehackerNo DIY list would be complete without Lifehacker, which is definitely one of the hippest how-to sites out there. It’s a great destination for learning cool tricks and tips for every aspect of your life, including some good finance posts on useful tax prep tools and paying off your credit card debt.
Photo Credit: Lifehacker.com
Just click on it, and learn how to make your house better by wacking stuff with a hammer. Not literally. It’s really all about learning to be a handy-man… or handy woman. Pretty handy, right?
Photo Credit: Hammerzone.com
eHow is one of the better-known DIY sites on the Web, and for good reason. The site is a vast community of users offering tips on everything from driving a car with manual transmission (very useful) to staying healthy and stress-free. eHow has become even more of an authority since it recently absorbed another great DIY site, ExpertVillage.
Photo Credit: ehow.com
MakezineOnly visit this site if you are the kind of person who likes to tinker with the gadgets you have (or if you were that kid who always wanted your own personal science laboratory at home). Makezine shows you how to design stuff like “mad scientist” coffee machines. Of course, there are some simple tips that everyone should know, like using binder clips to organize all of the cables attached to your computer.
Photo Credit: Makezine.com
Be sure to bookmark this site. Every day, they post several fascinating tips to tweak your gadgets, like transforming a Roomba into an all-terrain vehicle. (Yes, they do more than one per day. The name undersells).
Photo Credit: Hackaday.com
LifeOptimizer is basically a DIY self-help guru. Rather than give you step-by-step tips on building furniture (you have other sites for that now), LifeOptimizer features advice on how to empower people and revitalize your life.
Photo Credit: Lifeoptimizer.org
The DIY Network (good name for a DIY site) is full of useful instructions on everything you need to know when fixing up and redesigning your home. Really, everything. They even have a feature on 10 things you must know about accent lightning. Now that’s thorough.
Photo Credit: Diynetwork.com
GreenUpgraderGreenUpgrader has a very clearly defined mission: help people “upgrade to a greener lifestyle.” And the secret is all about pinpointing new eco-friendly gadgets and learning to reuse the stuff we already have. Of course, sometimes the site goes a bit overboard, like the post about a woman who turned a busted bike tire into a headband.
Photo Credit: Greenupgrader.com
ReadyMade, which is also a magazine, is a great tool for making home improvements, patching up your wardrobe and learning how to do screen printing. But I think the most useful thing on the site right now is learning how to make your own hammock. What’s more important in life than that?
Photo Credit: Readymade.com
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