DIY projects look fun and stylish, but many seem daunting because of 1) effort and expertise, and 2) cost. Some of us are less artistic, some of us don’t have tools to saw and drill into things, and some of us just plain can’t afford the materials to make these things. No fear, here are some affordable DIY projects that don’t require you to be a carpenter or a master artisté. Happy DIY-ing!
1. Gold Desk Organizer
It’s no surprise plenty of DIY blogs enjoy taking on some of Anthropologie’s products with cheap ways to make them yourself. This DIY desk organizer looks super modern without being expensive. You can easily find tins or small glasses around your house or at a thrift store for the compartments.
2. Easy T-Shirt Grocery Bags
Plastic bags are still the main option for produce even in the greenest cities. Make your own reusable produce bags out of old t-shirts with very minimal sewing. All you need are old t-shirts and a thread and needle, both of which can be bought cheaply if necessary.
3. Mini Gardens
Don’t have a green thumb? No worries. Succulents are tougher than the average plant and do well in pots. Your local home improvement or gardening store will have some succulents to choose from; if it doesn’t already say so on the plant tags, ask an employee which ones do best indoors. Bam, colorful and easy mini garden.
4. Pebble Bath/Mudroom Mat
Easy, affordable, and not as hard to collect materials for as you think. Those who don’t want to gather stones themselves — or who simply don’t live near a body of water — can purchase bags of river rocks at most dollar stores. A few other cheap items also typically available at dollar stores, and you’re all set to make your mat.
5. Mini Framed Dry-Erase Board
Make a small DIY dry-erase board with tape and a simple frame, an easy way to leave notes in the kitchen or by the door. And fellas, don’t let the cute mom-theme put you off here — there are plenty of manly or neutral tape patterns you can use for your manly-man abode.
6. Cereal Box Drawer Organizers
This may be another free project if you’ve got a) cereal boxes or boxes from other non-perishable foods, b) wrapping paper that isn’t covered in Santa, and c) double-sided tape. Any of these things can be bought cheaply regardless.
7. Stamped Cloth Napkins
Similar to the first DIY project on this list, this napkin idea looks like an artsy store-bought product but at a fraction of the cost. What I like best about this tutorial is that it gives you ideas for common household objects to make cool patterns with. Spice up any cloth napkins you already own or buy some cheap ones from the local dollar or thrift store.
8. Gold Sharpie Mugs
This DIY project is a great opportunity for super-creative people, but the less artistic folks can easily do simple, classy designs. The link above suggests oil-based sharpies for the best chance of staying-power, though I’ve personally had luck with a regular black sharpie by baking the mug a little longer and not owning a dishwasher. Either way, the possibilities are many.
9. Natural Room Scents
While a little more involved, but there are plenty of ways to get creative with the ingredients to use some things you already have in your kitchen. These room scents are just a fun way to make a room smell yummy for a gathering or just a day of relaxation, without the toxic chemicals found in most store-bought air-fresheners.
10. Wire and Stone Photo Display
The tutorial specifies a type of wire, but you can use any kind that suits your taste and budget. Take your favorite pictures, find some medium-sized rocks (probably for free, unless you live in a strangely rockless environment), and display them with an industrial-chic style.
11. Constellation Jar
Mason jar + aluminum sheet + small light = instant star-filled bedroom. You don’t even have to be that artsy to do this project, as it requires little more than cutting a disposable cake pan, puncturing holes, and putting one thing inside of another. And, of course, it requires only affordable and easy to obtain materials.
12. No-Sew Covered Pillow
While many of us would love to make stylish home decor on the cheap, the whole sewing thing that many of those projects require is a lost art for some. This no-sew pillowcase idea has to be one of the easiest DIY home decor projects I’ve seen. All you need is a cheap decent-sized chunk of fabric (you could even use old sheets, or old clothing items if they’re big enough) and you can follow these easy instructions for chic DIY pillows.
13. Colorful Paint-Bottomed Glasses
If you can find it and afford it, there are paints for glasses that won’t wash off when you do the dishes, but a cheaper option is to use acrylic paint and seal it. Buy some dollar store tumblers or other glassware and make them look ultra-modern with these cool paint design ideas.
14. Hat Organizer
Store hats or scarves cheaply and conveniently with this no-brainer idea. If you want, you could even spray-paint the hanger to make it look extra nice.
15. Photo Magnets
A unique way to save photographs, AND an awesome gift idea for someone you share memories with. Your fridge will never be boring again, and you have a quick and affordable gift/party favor idea for the future. It’s a win-win.
Featured photo credit: Untitled/Jamie Henderson via flic.kr