Tools for DIY Projects: The Basics

If you plan to tackle a DIY project or home improvement this month, chances are you will need some tools. Over the last few years it seems every time we have a project, there is some new tool we need to run out and buy before we can get started. But if there's one thing we never feel bad about spending money on, it's good tools...

Having the right tools for the job will give you better results and probably save you a headache. Of course that doesn't mean we have never used a leatherman as a hammer or a cardboard box as a straight edge but here is our list of the most useful tools to tackle projects from recovering lamp shades to hanging new drywall.

Hand Tools


  • Measuring Tape; we have 2 because we always misplace one when we need it

  • Hammer; we have a large and a small one for hanging pictures and delicate jobs

  • Screw drivers; Flat and Phillips, preferably ratcheting. We frequently use a snowboard tool because it rachets and is short enough to get into tight places

  • Adjustable wrench; this avoids the need for multiple sized wrenches

  • Hex wrenches; for anything IKEA, we like bike tools

  • Needle nose pliers with wire cutter

  • A level; about 18 inches. Never guess whether or not your pictures are straight.

  • Hack saw; Ours came from Ikea with a mitre box set and it is really useful

  • Pencil with eraser; Duh

  • Box cutter

  • Xacto knife and/or Olfa knife

  • Large cutting mat

  • Metal ruler with cork back (to avoid slipping while cutting)

  • Tin Snips

  • Clamps

  • T-Square

  • Chisel

Disposable but Useful Things To Keep Around


  • Blue painters tape

  • Spool of steel wire

  • Twine

  • Assorted screws

  • Finish nails

Power Tools

That's our list of most-used and useful tools. Are we missing anything or is there anything you just can't live without?

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