Monday, March 12, 2018

# affiliate # craft month

How To: Build a Basic Do-It-Yourself Starter Kit for Ladies

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Check out my Affiliate Disclaimer for more info)

Alright ladies, this one's for you!

I remember getting really discouraged while in my sculpture class in college after using a bunch of heavy, old, and not really meant to be used by small people tools.  It was frustrating that it seemed every power tool in the world (and in the 70s, in the case of my school) was built only to be used by huge, burly guys, and therefore my tiny hands and injury-weakened arm had a lot of trouble with them.  Being someone who had always wanted to build things, it was really discouraging!

Luckily though, tools of today have kept up with the times.  They're smaller, more efficient, and much easier for everyone to use.  And with the surge of DIY projects roaming around Pinterest, I thought it might be helpful to help my fellow DIY ladies start their tool kits!


These were all the tools I used to get started, and most likely the ones you'll use the most on several DIYs.  All of the power tools are relatively inexpensive and very user friendly, making them the perfect starter tools.  Everything else is useful goodies that you may not think about until you need them!

Ready to get started?


1) Hammer


Simple, but a good starting point.  You probably already have this, but if you don't go get one now.  Or two!   


2) Stud Finder


If you ever need to hang up something heavier than a small picture, you'll probably need to hang it in a stud.  Drywall can't hold much, even with anchors, so all heavy stuff like shelves should be mounted securely in a wall stud so you don't damage your walls.  In order to do that, you need to be able to find one!

You don't need a super fancy stud finder starting out, so the simple one listed first is fine.  It's the same one I have and it works perfectly!  They also make fancier ones that detect all kinds of things hidden in the walls, so shop around for one that does all the things you need.



3) Drill Driver


If you're going to buy an expensive tool, make it this one.  I drill driver drills holes and screws in screws, and if you're going to have a few DIY projects you'll be using it a lot.  I use mine almost everyday!

Don't bother with a corded one.  They have a bit more power, but that cord is super limiting.  That mobility is worth the extra money to buy a strong battery operated one.  I have a 20 Volt Craftsman right now, which I couldn't find on amazon, but I've used all of the ones below and they're great.  Just remember, the higher the voltage the more power it has, so opt for a larger number.  Also, get a good set of drill bits and screw bits and you'll be ready for just about any project!  



4) Palm Sander


Do you have a piece of furniture to redo?  Need to get rid of old cabinet paint?  You need to sand it.  Sure, you could do that with sandpaper and a ton of elbow grease, but there's a much easier way.

Palm Sanders are small electric sanders that will change your DIY life if you've never used one!  I bought one years ago just for sanding down a table, and I've used it for a million other projects since.  Corded is fine, but I'll probably upgrade to a cordless one soon to have more mobility.

The important thing to remember when picked out a sander is how it feels in your hand.  You'll be holding it for awhile while working, so make sure it's comfy to hold!  I have a 9 year old version of the first one on this list, and it feels comfortable in my small girly hands, so I can recommend it if you have dainty hands like mine. :-) 


Sander Tips:

  • The type of sander you get will determine what type of sandpaper it uses.  There are tons of different sizes that fit different units, so make sure you get the right stuff!
  • Wear a dust mask, especially if you're sanding old paint! You don't want to breathe in that stuff!

5) Jigsaw


Don't let the idea of a saw freak you out.  They're necessary in many DIY projects!  Most projects requiring cutting will suggest a table saw, which is a big investment for a beginner, or a circular saw.

Circular saws are more useful for straight cuts and longer cuts, making it important if you're cutting a table top, large pieces of lumber, or things of that nature.  The only problem with circular saws, at least for me, is that they are heavy!  Like, really heavy!  I've always had a hard time using one.  Which is why for this guide in particular the saw I chose was a jigsaw.

A Jigsaw is smaller saw with a small blade that can make shaped cuts, making it a good starter saw for the basic do it yourself-er.  Cutting neat shapes out of wood isn't all it can do though.  I've used mine in the past for straight cuts too.  There's a notch that shows where you're cutting, so if you're good, you can use it to cut a straight enough line.  Or, if you're me and couldn't dream of following a line, you can use a board and clamps as a guide which is much easier!

The first Jigsaw pictured is a much newer version of what I have, but the price range is still the same, around $30.  That also makes it the cheapest power saw, which is even better!  Like all the other tools, I'll eventually upgrade to a battery operated one, but until then my little corded one has lasted 10 years and has no signs of stopping, so I think I'll just keep using it for awhile.   


Saw Tips:


  • If you have a project that requires long cuts of wood, have them cut it at the hardware store when you buy it.  This is how I get around having to make huge cuts at home.  If the cut needs to be precise, have them cut it a smidge larger than your measurement and then sand it down to the right size.  Hardware store saws can vary in the accurateness.
  • Safety Glasses should naturally be on the same shopping list as a saw if you're buying one.  Jigsaws don't throw too much sawdust around, but it's still not worth the risk!
  • Jigsaw blades are small and can break.  Don't panic!  It happens.  But have a few extra blades around just in case so a broken blade doesn't bring your project to a halt.
  • Make sure you have the right blade for the job!  Jigsaw blades come in all shapes and sizes for several different materials, so don't use your metal blade on wood. :-)

6) All the Screwdrivers


I don't know how many times I realized I didn't have the right size screwdriver bit for a project before I went out and bought a huge set.  It's so frustrating!  Get a set with several different sizes, with several flat head and phillips head versions, because you'll use them the most.  Trust me, when you want to change the hardware on something, or take something apart, you'll be happy you have these.



7) Levels


Another super important thing to have around the house.  I have three different size levels: a small one for hanging small items like picture frames, a medium one for larger things like shelves, and a big one for hanging shelf brackets in studs.  They're cheap and last virtually forever, so get a set and be prepared for anything.  There's nothing worse than a crooked...anything!   



8) Painting Supplies


For about ever other project, you'll probably be painting something at some point.  So you'll want to have a bunch of rollers, trays, and different size brushes laying around.  Different projects require different types of rollers and brushes, so it's always good to get an assortment of types as well. 

I use all three of these the most frequently, and therefore buy them in bulk:


Paint Supply Tips


  • Use aluminum foil on your paint trays.  That way, when you need to switch a color, you can just toss the foil and reuse the tray!  It makes it nice because you can invest in nicer, sturdier trays.
  • Always keep plenty of painter's tape around.  Besides being useful for painting, it's always handy for several other things, like placement of shelves on the wall.

9) Clamps


Useful for cutting, sanding, gluing, and just keeping things in one place that need to stay still, clamps are another necessity for the usual do it yourself project.  I started with two of the small ones on the left, and they are still the ones I use the most.  Longer ones, right angle ones, and other angled ones are needed for special projects, but I only buy new ones if I absolutely need them.  A few simple clamps are all you need to get started.    


10) Rulers, Measuring Tapes, and T-Squares


These all fall under the measurement category, so they don't get separate numbers.  A good measuring tape is essential for any home project.  You can't put a shelf up if you don't know how big of one to buy!  The same goes for rulers and t-squares, which are super handy for marking lines to cut.  Grab a few to get you started, and keep a few different length measuring tapes around so you don't have to spend half the day looking for one (like me).


Bonus!


This isn't something that's crazy necessary, but it is something I bought and have gotten a ton of use out of so I wanted to share! 

I bought one of these portable work benches about 10 years ago, and it's been so wonderful.  I used to prop wood up between totes, chairs, or whatever other sturdy thing I could find to cut it, and now I have a dedicated place to do so.  It's adjustable, clamps work on it easily, and it folds out of the way when you don't need it.  I was even able to store mine in the closet at my tiny old apartment!

So while not necessary, I can't recommend it enough if you're going to be doing lots of DIYs.  I have one that's slightly different from this one, but it's basically the same concept.  And this one is only $30, which is great!



Shew...did you get all that?


I hope you gals find this list helpful and get inspired to build yourself some projects!  It's fun, rewarding, and always awesome to tell someone you built something! 

Pin it for Later!


Did I miss anything on this list?  What are your go to tools for your DIY projects?


Want to see more posts from National Craft Month?  Check out the list here!

53 comments:

  1. This is so great! I've been wanting to get my own tools so my husband doesn't get on me about putting his back exactly in the same spot... he is SUPER precise about where in the drawers the go etc lol

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  2. A stud finder and level are my absolute must-have tools. I'm too much of a precision person to ever think about doing a DIY without them.

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  3. Good list of items for an at-home toolkit. Probably have half of these items at home.

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  4. We have all of these except the palm sander. I don't do many DIY projects involving wood, but my husband is trying to get into woodworking!

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  5. I laughed out loud at "all the screwdrivers" haha. Coming from a pretty handy family, I think you did a great job on this tools list!

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    1. Thanks so much! It really is good to have All the Screwdrivers :-D

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  6. I had this long comment and clicked something other than publish ... hmm. My father was a carpenter so I never needed anything tool wise. Now I have a tool bag that I am overflowing. I don't do much in the way of DIYing, although I need a level and a stud finder. Men tap the wall, I put hand about through it and still don't find studs.

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    1. Haha! Yeah I couldn't find a stud without one either. I'd just be knocking on the wall for hours and look insane lol

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  7. I have access to most of these tools as my husband buys everything. We are both into DIY projects that’s why. I can’t wait to look for more projects after our little one is born and settled.

    www.vancitynbeyond.com

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  8. These are some great suggestions! I have my own set of tools for DIY projects around the house.

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  9. I love these idea! I would love to DIY more around the home and don't even really know where to start!

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    1. Pinterest, girl! It's great for inspiration on getting started :-D

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  10. Really great post. I think the only thing that I would add is extra nuts, bolts and washers.

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  11. I know my hubby has most of them. I am afraid I am not really useful at fixing. I guess it's not too late.

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  12. I love thinking about empowered women. But what would be really awesome if if these women attending/hosted Maker Faires for the younger women coming up.
    If you can do this, you can empower the next generation!

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  13. What a great list! My husband has all of these in the garage, and we do a lot of projects together. Luckily, the tools he has are not super bulky or hard to handle.

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  14. I've never really considered building my own tool kit since my husband and father-in-law takes care of fixing stuff at home. I do know some basic carpentry skills, but never got to put them to full use after I got married. :D

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  15. oooo this is a great list! I'm not much of a DIY'er but if I was going to be this post would be a good place to start! These are those things that you don't know that you don't know about

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  16. Love this! Such a great and empowering topic, my boyfriend has a lot of these tools and we often complete DIY projects together :)

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    1. That's so awesome! My boyfriend isn't much of a builder but he does like to help out every now and then :-)

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  17. I have bought all the tools in our house. I really need to get a saw, sawhorses, and some clamps. Then the world will be my oyster.

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  18. You are so right. Tools needs to be sized differently for men and women, or larger vs. smaller hands.

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    1. Agreed! My boyfriend and I are both smaller people so he can comfortably use these tools too. The bigger ones are just too big!

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  19. Hey Candice, This is an empowering post if there ever is one. Thanks for this list so we ladies can do it ourselves. Liberation and empowerment through getting stuff done. 🎯 I like it ☺️👍🏼

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  20. What a lovely idea for a post. I am sure this will help a lot of people out with the basics they need to create a DIY kit!

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  21. Wow! So many fabulous tools! Right now I use my husbands but I like the idea of setting up my own tool bag.

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  22. Awww, I never thought of having these eversince. I always see my husband doing craft and I was so jealous. I want to do it also. This is what I've been wishing for.

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  23. Showing this one to the hubby! He makes a better handy man than me!! He will love making this though!

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  24. I can not wait to have a house and complete my kit. Right now it doesn't make sense to own a few of these things but one day!!

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  25. This is so great! Luckily my husband has most of these already and he enjoys doing DIY for our new (to us) house! I see a few things we might need to pick up though!

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  26. I think I would add some type of kit that has various types of nails and screws. Super handy to have around and you never know what size you'll need!

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    1. Super true! I never seem to have the right size screw when I need it.

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  27. Oh wow!! Thank you so much for sharing these, this is so handy for people like me who literally have NO knowledge of handy dandy tools :)

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  28. I was given a pink tool kit and power drill when I moved out in my 20's. I think it was meant as more of a joke at the time, but it ended up being so handy.

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  29. I must organise something like that for myself and my home ... but I'm not very good at this kind of practical skills and I always ask others to do such things for me. :)

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  30. This is so useful especially since I'm going to be moving into a new apartment very soon! Thanks for this list!

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  31. These are all great suggestions. My hubby is a carpenter, so we're pretty much stocked here. I love how small those palm sanders look, though. Look much easier to control.

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    1. They are! And they don't vibrate your arm off when you try to use them :-)

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  32. Love this guide! I'm into DIY and this is the perfect thing I need right now. Gonna go hardware store for this! Thanks!

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  33. this is perfect and very important for us ladies.We always need to be equipped with the right tools
    this tools are key for mini repairs around the house

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  34. This is a great idea. I love this. I totally want to add to my tool kit now!!!

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  35. this is such a great list! So many DIY projects I have found not to have the right tools for in the past

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  36. These are great! It's nice to see some tool suggestions you recommend, I really would have no idea what to get!

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  37. Good thing I live at home still and can steal Mom or Dad's tools. These are all really excellent suggestions!

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  38. I love power tools and building things. I think it's so fun!

    April

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  39. This is such a great list of practical things to have! I just grabbed my pliers and screwdriver for a project this morning. :)

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  40. Iv never been someone who knew much about tools hehe this could be my starter pack.

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  41. These are definitely all the essentials!! I think at any age and any gender if you are out on your own you def need a basic tool kit!!

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  42. This is such a great kit for those that love to do-it-yourself. I love all of the items you have mentioned here so that you have them on hand.

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