How to do DIY yourself! (yes, it's supposed to be read that way)

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If you’re anything like me, you’re a stubborn, home-decorating DIYer with a flair for the fun instead of the fancy. Aka, you persist on focusing on projects that are bordering on or hover just above your general level of knowledge, skill and for the most part, laziness, and just DO IT ANYWAY.

Maybe I should call it ”DIAer”…

Because even if the simple spice rack is built from like eight bits of wood that have just been sawed off right in the middle, they’re still not equally long, straight, nor even. The thing didn’t even fit right but I... made it fit. Hehehe. *whirrs electrical screwdriver and winks* One shelf leans outwards (I have no idea why) so it’s just a matter of time before the salt and pepper grinder starts sliding closer to its sudden doom. But, if that happens, I’ll just nail a little wood strip there and TADA, problem solved and the spice rack is back to fucking PERFECT again.

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Don’t let anyone fool you. The kitchen table is a perfectly suitable spice rack until YOU say otherwise!

So hey! Here’s my guide how YOU can be as awesome as me in doing home projects and get pleased enough by the result that you’re inclined to make tutorials on the internet!  

1. Wander about your own home, stare at sections of it and feel slight feelings of discontentment. Or get angry with messes and stuff that has no homes, that’s the most efficient one.

2. Research what you want instead. Dream big, gurl! Do you want to paint your entire bedroom a forest green and place build storage perfectly adapted to your needs and add copper piping just because it’s pretty? Save that shit in your inspiration folder. The things you do later on may look nothing like it, but NO ONE CAN STEAL YOUR DREAMS! 

3. Make an actual plan of what needs to be done. Measurements of the place of project, its needs, your needs, prep work, materials, how you like it to be, where you can shortcut the shit out of it (this is important for us lazy people). 

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The importance of having a proper place to DIY is just propaganda from the workbench lobby, I swear.

4.  Invest in or gather all that paraphernalia that you need for your project to go through. I would say that good quality tools are a great way to start, but that makes me sound like some kind of professional person and we don’t want that!

5. This is the most important step; Lower your standards. I know, I know, but the rule of not lowering your standards cannot apply to DIY’s because even the most skilled ones that make magical things the general public drops their coffee cups in awe over, are displeased afterwards. Yes, we’re JUST LIKE the awesome ones! We can do it (on our level)!

6. Do it. Make it. Swear over it. Shove that shit together even though it’s not really fitting together anymore and you don’t understand why. If needed, use screws and glue and tape and industrial straps. If being reaaally careful and finicky isn’t really your thing, just wing it when it feels good! It’s all fine! 

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Some say that need is the mother of invention, but
one should not underestimate the importance of laziness.

7. Fasten your stuff properly; you don’t want your projects to meet their doom in loose screws getting detached from the wall. If anything, they’re gonna end their lives by you getting fed up with them. Install that marvel and finish it off, don’t leave half assed projects lying around. What? What’s in the corner? Oh it’s just the drawers I’m supposed to assemble… later. All those framed pictures on the floor? They’re going up… soon. Hm, what? Oh, that’s just boxes of stuff we’re donating.. shortly.

8. Enjoy your work of DIA-art and use the hell out of it! It’s AWESOME! YOU MADE IT! Yeah, so I COULD BUY a spice rack but why would I want to when I could make it myself and get it… well not exactly as I wanted it, but pretty dang close because everything I make myself automatically gets added awesomeness and forgiveness, and also I lowered my standard! 

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9. Post that piece of wonder on the internet. The internet needs more pleasantly passable DIY’s, more tolerable storage solutions, more decent interior home projects of the ”not bad” persuasion.

10. And don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!

(11.) And keep the fuck away from plumbing and electricity; we're not made for that.

The ALL THE THINGS storage!

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So, I live in a small apartment. And I mean small. It's a dainty 28 square meters or 300 square feet. And even though the smallness has its challenges, I really love my little pad with its bed alcove and glazed balcony. I love having everything close by and all the things I feel makes a home, visible. 

Also, having everything in view all the time makes the goldfish-span-of-attention-me actually remember that I have the things and makes me use them more often. Naturally, open storage is my thing. Also naturally, having such a small space to work with, I have to be quite efficient. I wanted to replace my bulky computer table and get rid of a small table on which I had the sewing machine. I gave away the shelf where I had my books so… that was clever…

Even though I had a computer space, I still had nowhere to put my printer or the little speaker for my computer, or my headphones for the nights when I want to listen to really loud music after 10 PM. I had no craft space and nowhere to let the future projects make their presence known and I had nowhere to put the coffee maker. I wanted lighting around my workspace. I wanted a space for charging my electronics without them being in the way on tables or worktops.

And yeah, I had random stuff that had no place and when you’re living small with lots of stuff, shit needs a home. Needless to say, I needed to update my apartment. And boy did I!

May the chaos commence!

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I ordered home delivery, and Ikea's Ivar was delivered! I chose the tallest gables, 220cm's/86 inches just to cram as much efficiency in it as possible. 

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Now, I couldn't have it in its natural scandinavian blonde wood finish, so I stained it a coffee-ish colour instead. It sucked and it smelled, but the result is great!

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The "chaos behind the scenes"-photo is on me! 

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Then I just tried everything out and moved things around until I was quite pleased, and then clicked stuff into place. 

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And, tada! It's messy, I have work spaces, it's lighted, it's a pretty aged brown colour, it swallows masses of things, it has electrical sockets and leaves no cords on the floor to collect dust that make me angry while vaccuuming - essentially everything I need in storage! It serves as handbag hanger that doesn't fit my miniscule hallway and a space for kitchen towels too. 

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Retractable surfaces so I don't need to waste that space when not sitting by the computer/crafting. It's not the prettiest but who cares!

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Charge all the things. 

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Yesssss, precious.

Changes to the Elletist household

Yes. The excitement is total. Within a short period of time, chaos will ensue in this little apartment. Because if I’m lucky, I will get a shelf system from Ikea delivered to my home this Friday! It’s the classic Ivar that’s gonna make an entrance in my life since the 80’s, and I’m ex. Cite. Ted.

Because it’s not only three shelves, no! It’s a creativityinspirational, administrative, personalizational (yes, making up words so excited!) all around solution for my home life. It’s gonna be tinted in a antique brown shade and get adapted to my needs, and only mine! Computer and books are moving in, a work surface where I don’t need to clear things away in the middle of the process because I need the surface for something else will be installed, and will encourage me to get a little planlessly creative. Maybe even some space for dinner parties will fit?? And of course, it’s has to meet the needs for this advanced household of 28 square meters. Ahem.

Life changing of course. Or am I putting too much into this?

We’ll see.

I have done an idea draft anyways.

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Once, I made a soft, studded pinboard

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Yeah I mean, I just wanted to. Don’t ask me why.

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Cork and stuffing.

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Random paraphernalia needed to get it all together. Sharp things, stabby things, soft things.

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A piece of foam was cut into the same size as the board.

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And then I gridded where I wanted the studs. Then I drilled holes for the studs.

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Then I just put the fabric over the foam, sort of how I wanted it.

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I didn’t actually know a professional way of doing this so I merely put nails through the holes of the board and through the foam to see where the studs were going,

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Then it was time for the studs, I had to cut a little to get them through the fabric.

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I made a row at a time because the fabric wants to move when pressed down into the holes.

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Finally!

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In the corners, there the screws for the wall mounting where supposed to sit, I placed little metal washers so the screws wouldn’t ruin or go through the board with time.

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Then I fastened the fabric on the back, constantly flipping it over to see that it’s was working the way I wanted.

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TADA! I was never really keen on the fabric and some time on the future I’m making a faux leather one.

The vinyl sideboard!

It was a Saturday night. I sat on my couch and stared at my little dwelling and realized, shit, it’s time to reorganize my space. So I reorganized my room, and realized that my 2x4 Expedit shelf didn’t fit anymore. And because I’m a reasonable person, I gave the shelf away instead of just adapting my interior design to make it fit again. Ahem. So, when Sunday afternoon rolled by, I stood there, without storage for a cubic meter of books, papers and stuff.

So what does one do when suddenly giving away furniture I need to replace with a short notice? The buy-and-sell site Blocket of course! After some scrambling around ads that were way too expensive or too far away, I found one a fancy 70’s or 80’s version of a vinyl player sideboard, in that perfect glossy-ish 40 year old finish. It was a mere 30 minutes away. J and I was going on a roadtrip for the day and it was even on the way home! Done!

We strode into the countryside, to new parts of the land that none of us had visited before, and finally reached a coast side collection of cabins and year round houses. A nice man came out on the porch and we stared at the sideboard for 10 seconds before deciding that yes, let’s do this. 20 euros was swished and the sideboard was tucked into the car and within mere minutes of arriving, we were on our way home again.

When we carried the beast up the stairs and into my little apartment, it looked waaayyy too big, but then I dragged it into place and it fit perfectly!

Decorated and done!

Behind the door are the ugly things

My dream sideboard (1940's version with seductive sweeping corners and a more delicate form language) didn't have a drawer and no vinyl-holders which I today find great use in, holding floppy notebooks upright so I don't get them all bent and annoying when it's time to use them. And that edge on the top surface is great for things NOT slipping off and falling to the floor. 

I love it.

Finally I got it done!: Colouring a little shelf

Yeah, so, that thing about plans and DIY sometimes have a tendency to... drag out. I bought this fancy shelf at Panduro and thought I'd dye it. Two years ago. I still used it and looked at it sometimes and thought to myself, I should dye that. 

Then I sort of figured I could use it as a makeup shelf and therefore happened to stare at it much more often than I had before, and it just clicked last Sunday when I rummaged through my makeup and.. Yeah, I just did it. I took Panduro's Hobby Paint in the shade "Coffee", a favorite kind of antique brown shade, diluted it in water and then just painted over the entire shelf with a brush. I sample checked the colour on the back of the shelf first.

I like wood, but not the light kind of "scandinavian blonde" shade that is so popular now.

Pretty simple, although a little messy because the dye is so runny when diluted.

Tada!

I sorted out things I didn't want in the shelf and put in new ones, and the whole process only took like 20 minutes. Gosh. “Just do it” has never been more fitting. Just do it! Don’t wait silly years and years!