Friday, July 1, 2011

To DIY or Not To DIY?!

Today Oksana, from the blog Order Matters, is sharing her realistic approach to creating a message board and a few key questions to ask yourself before jumping into your next DIY project...if you have any doubts about whether or not you are prepared to make it a success!
Order Matters
Have you seen the terrific piece on setting up a family command center in the first issue of House of Fifty? The command center in that article included a lovely bulletin board, which was created by the very handy Janell, the magazine's Founding Editor.

I have been needing this kind of bulletin board for a long time and the magazine article inspired me to create one. Unlike Janell, however, I would characterize myself as a "non-DIY inclined person". In fact, one of my posts, "To DIY or Not To DIY",  shared my not so positive adventures in doing-it-myself and some precautions for others. With self-awareness of my own limitations, I approached my most recent project as a "semi-DIY". Which means: I go as far as I can and then seek professional assistance! What I like about this approach is that I get the satisfaction of accomplishing something myself and then learning from the pros on how to do something right. Here is my semi-DIY bulletin board journey:

1. I bought the STAVE mirror (in birch) from IKEA and removed the mirror from the frame.

2. I lightly sanded, primed, and spray-painted the frame in glossy green. A few coats of paint were needed until I got to this:

3. Then I bought a yard of Dwell Studio Bella Porte Citrine fabric:

4. I took the fabric and my painted frame to the legendary Cook's Upholsterers in Vancouver.

They were kind enough not only to upholster the frame, but also to allow me to stick around to document the process in order for me to learn how to (maybe) do this on my own next time. Van, the quiet and efficient upholsterer, was the one who performed the magic on my simple green frame.

5. Van cut out a piece of plywood large enough to slide into the frame. He lightly glued a piece of  1/2 inch foam to the plywood.

6. The fabric was cut allowing for an extra two inches on each side, which would be folded over the foamed plywood. The fabric was pulled tightly over each edge and then stapled to the wood.

Van made adjustments as he went about the stapling to ensure that fabric was properly stretched over the foam surface. In some cases, he quickly removed the staples, pulled the fabric, and re-stapled.

7. A piece of unbleached white cotton was stapled to the back of the upholstered board.

8. The upholstered board was then inserted into the frame.

9. Van secured the upholstered wood within the frame by carefully hammering nails half way in the wood; two nails per side of the frame.

10. The finished product is beautiful! Thank you Van and Bob at Cook's Upholstery for putting up with me and, most importantly, showing such care and attention to detail in your work.

11. I love the finished product. It complements the rest of my kitchen decor and completes my family command center.

What I have learned from this process is that with the right tools and patience, it is not difficult to upholster a bulletin board. However, I am so glad that I did not attempt to do it myself without first watching a pro. I did not have the right tools and it would have cost me a lot of time and sanity to do this on my own (when it took Van just 25 minutes).

What is your process for determining whether you can tackle a DIY? Before I jump into a DIY project, I ask myself these three questions:

1. Do I have the expertise and patience to tackle this project?

2. How much time will this project take and can I commit that much time to completing it?

3. What equipment and tools are required for this project to be done well? Can I afford the investment in new equipment or tools that I might never utilize again.

Thanks Oksana! What great questions to ask. While I jump in with both feet before thinking, that is my approach and it tends to work...but I know for many people projects can become overwhelming, with results that leave one disappointed or with the project simply being abandoned! So, if you are unsure, consider these questions before tackling your next DIY project.


The English Organizer said...

Very interesting to see the process... and the finished board is lovely.

The Tall Chick {Mary} said...

That looks fabulous! :) Now, if I had a Van....