Parents are problem solvers; we can do everything from curing boo-boos to selecting a picky eater’s dinner. When little things go wrong around the house, show your kids that with a little ingenuity, observation, and logic, they can learn how to fix the problem themselves. If you’re not the handy one in the house, here are a few of the best DIY projects for total beginners.
Fixing a Leaky Faucet
A wrench, a washer, and a little elbow grease are usually all it takes to fix a leaky faucet. The parts are easy to understand and take apart. Just make a note of which part goes where and what’s inside what, so you can retrace your steps correctly after you clean the aerator and replace the washer.
Reupholster a Chair
Dining chair cushions are the best upholstery projects for total beginners. The sitting surface comes off the frame easily, and the old fabric is usually attached with staples or tacks that you can easily remove with a flat-end screwdriver or a pair of needle-nose pliers. Add a new cushion, stretch the new fabric over it, and staple the fabric on. Then, put the seat back in the chair frame, and you’re done. Beware of common upholstery mistakes, like taking on a complicated project before you’ve got experience with a few easier ones.
As a good DIY project for total beginners, furniture assembly will provide necessary DIY experience in managing frustration. Stories abound about the frustration of a multiplicity of parts and pre-drilled holes that don’t match up. Don’t be discouraged. Unpack everything, go through the parts list, and make sure you’re not missing anything, and then—drum roll, please—read the directions. They may not make sense and often have confusing diagrams, but if you go slowly and apply logic to the challenge, you’ll end up with a reasonably sturdy table, chair, or entertainment center.
Recaulk the Tub
Eventually, the caulk around the tub will get moldy or cracked. Replacing it isn’t difficult; you just need the right tools to remove the old caulk and clean out the gap between tub and wall and a caulk gun with a tube of mold-resistant caulk and a tip cut to the right size to just fill the gap. Use painter’s tape to keep caulk off the tile. When in doubt, there’s always a YouTube video to walk you through the tools and steps of the project.
Starting slowly with DIY projects is a good way to get your hands dirty with minor home repair. You can build your toolbox as you take on more complex projects. It’s also important to know when to admit defeat and call in a pro. There’s no shame in knowing your limitations. Your own and your family’s safety may depend on it, especially with jobs involving ladders, electricity, or carpentry.