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How To Start DIY Repurposing The Complete Beginners Guide

How To Start DIY Repurposing: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Are you excited to start DIY repurposing but don’t know where to start? Here’s the complete beginners guide to get started on your first project.

DIY repurposing is an excellent way to turn something old into something new without spending a fortune.

You can use this guide to transform your stuff, whether you have thrifted clothes, old furniture, or a few odd knick-knacks.

We've all seen clever creations turning junk into art on Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram. You may see a few projects and think, "I could do that better," or, "That's beautiful!" Either way, getting started with DIY repurposing and learning the trade tricks is the hardest part. Thankfully, we have the complete beginner's guide to getting you started.

What is DIY repurposing?

You'll often hear upcycling, repurposing, recycling, and other terms used interchangeably. Understanding the differences between these terms can give you a better idea of what you're trying to accomplish and the scope of your project.

Upcycling is the process of repairing something for its original intended purpose. For example, you may upcycle an old table by sanding it and giving it a fresh coat of paint. It's still a table at the end of the day, but you created a fresh and rejuvenated look.

On the other hand, repurposing is breaking something down for an entirely new purpose. For example, you may repurpose hardware like screws or nails into earrings. Or you might repurpose the wood from an old table into a headboard for your master bedroom.


Basic repurposing tips

There are some essential DIY tips you can keep in mind to help you develop your eye for design and hone your process. These tips can be helpful for nearly any project, regardless if you're repurposing or upcycling.

  • Start with a functional purpose in your home or life. Maybe you have too many books or knick-knacks that need a designated spot. Or maybe you need a place to store your keys and coat when you enter your house.
  • Look at the blank spaces in your home. You might have an odd-shaped area or hallway that would benefit from the added decor. Alternatively, these spaces could be in practical locations like your kitchen backsplash or laundry room.
  • Visualize the ideal size and shape of an item that works in that space. Get creative and imagine what would look best. You can also break out the measuring tape to get a range of possible sizes that would work.
  • When you find something that might work, consider different colors and textures. You can easily adjust the paint job during the repurposing process.

Consider old and worn-out furniture and other items around your house. Reimagine them in different locations or configurations to gain inspiration.

Get inspiration ahead of time

You may benefit from some inspiration before taking apart old dressers and going wild with different paints. After you've found an area or item you want to work on, look up inspiration on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, or other blogs. You can develop a mood or inspiration board to keep track of all your ideas. Taking time to look up what's worked for others can help you identify the styles and techniques you want to employ in the project, and avoid any setbacks!


Starting your first project

So, you're ready to start your first project, but where do you begin? There are infinite ways to learn DIY and repurposing skills, but there are two primary categories: following along with a project or starting from scratch. Neither option is better than another, but each has advantages and disadvantages.

Following along with a project on Pinterest, YouTube, or social media can help you learn the basics. Using a project as an example provides concrete steps to follow and gives you an idea of what the repurposing process is all about. Consider this method if something caught your eye online.

Alternatively, you can jump headfirst into a project from scratch. This method is better if you prefer non-linear learning styles and have something specific in mind. However, you may need certain tools, thrift goods, and to learn other techniques, depending on the scope of the project.

Use this tip for your first project

It's essential to keep an open mind, regardless if you have a unique idea in mind or you're following along with a Facebook how-to. Don't stress over the outcome or finished result. Instead, focus on the process, making mistakes, and learning the basics. You may want to consider "throw-away" projects or ideas you aren't heavily invested in to give you the space to learn.

Purchase tools as you go

Tools are one of the primary deterrents people run into when learning DIY repurposing. You may have several projects in mind or inspirations to follow without any tools. This is completely okay! Many DIY projects can be completed with little to no tools, and you can purchase what you need as you go.

Furthermore, you can improve your thrifting skills by finding cheap tools and hardware secondhand. Alternatively, you can buy a basic tool kit to get you started on the basics. Over time, you'll develop a collection of valuable tools and techniques that allow you to accomplish more projects.


Keep practicing

Like any other skill, continuous learning and consistency are what drives improvement. As the saying goes, "Practice makes perfect." Whether your first project was a gaudy mess or a bohemian masterpiece, it's important not to feel discouraged. You'll learn more skills, develop your process, and gain more tools as you finish more projects. Over time, you'll become a thrifting and repurposing aficionado.

DIY repurposing is a fun way to transform old items into something entirely new. You can learn the basics by following a project online or starting completely from scratch. The main point is to keep practicing and finishing more projects. The more projects you finish, the more skills, techniques, and tools you'll gain.

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