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3 Reasons (and Fixes!) for Your DIY Fails

published Feb 17, 2015
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(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

Failing is, of course, a relative term. Perhaps the better post title would have been “3 Reasons Why Your DIY Projects Never Seem to Turn Out Like You Want Them To.” Because that is something that even the most seasoned DIYer can relate to from time to time. But though “failure” can be a great teacher, if you find yourself more frustrated than inspired, you might need to reexamine how you tackle DIY projects to see if there’s anything you can tweak to improve the outcome of your efforts.

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1. You’re not doing enough prepping and planning

Get so excited when you spot a project on Pinterest that you just sort of dive right in, working with whatever materials you have on hand and not really even bothering to read the instructions through? Well, you could be sabotaging your projects. Though getting caught up in a DIY wave of excitement can be part of the fun, if you’d like to finish with results you actually want to show off, you might need more prepping and planning.

Next time you come across a project you want to do…
Set a date with yourself to do it in the near future. Cultivate your excitement in the moment by taking the time to gather all the materials you need or buy new things. Read through to the end all the instructions. When it comes to your DIY date, read through the instructions again. Watch any videos or read any additional tutorials that might be helpful. Clear your mind, clear your calendar and dig in, this time more prepared.

(Image credit: Lauren Turner)

2. You don’t give yourself enough time

Related to the problem above but really a special problem all on its own is the way many of us try to rush through something, either because we don’t have enough time, think we don’t have enough time or just don’t have the patience to take the time needed anymore.

So what to do?
If the DIY project doesn’t have an estimated time frame, look around online or ask friends who have tried similar DIY projects so you can begin to get an estimated time frame for the project. Then overestimate how long it’ll take, blocking off the time in your calendar for it. Then, move slowly through each step. If you find yourself feeling impatient or like you want to rush through a step, step away, take a break, and come back refreshed and ready to take it slow. Though you may be itching to get to that final finished product, don’t listen to the little voice in your head that screams faster. Stick instead to a slow pace that will allow you to carefully move through each step and end up with a project you actually like the look of when you’re done.

(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

3. You’re not shooting for projects in the “a little outside of your comfort zone but still within your abilities” zone

This is a tricky one. See, if you’re finding yourself really disappointed with your projects, one of two things could be happening. One, you could be trying projects that are way too easy for your skills — you might end up unimpressed with the results or disatisfied with the level of detail. Or, you could be trying projects that are way, way out of your skill zone. The perfect balance is a project that challenges your current skills a bit so you learn something and stretch, but is still within the realm of doable.

What to look for:
When considering a project, look at all the elements involved, including the materials, tools and methods required. Do you have any experience with at least one thing? Some level of comfort with a tool? Some experience working with a certain type of material? If the answer is no, do you have a ton of time and resources you can lean on to guide you through it, instead?