The Biggest Enemy of DIY

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I’ve talked to a lot of people about what prevents them from making things themselves, and there’s always one reason that pops up again and again. Today I wanted to chat about how to START a DIY project and some strategies on how to overcome your fear of failure so that you can enjoy creating things!

Today’s question for the podcast:

How do I find the courage to just START?

Jess T., Instagram

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There are a few things that turn people off of making things for their home (or for themselves, their kids etc.). Budget, time, knowledge and lack of tools are a few common reasons, but there’s one that seems to surface often when I’m talking to people about DIY: FEAR OF FAILURE.

So many of you are afraid to even start working on a project because you’re worried or even scared that it won’t turn out the way you had hoped, or that it will be a complete mess altogether.

I hear things like this over and over again: “I don’t even want to try because it won’t turn out.” “I’ll definitely mess it up, so it’s not worth it.” “I’m terrible at crafts/building/decorating (insert anything here), so I couldn’t do that.”

I think that the reason that so many of us don’t make things is because we’re afraid to even BEGIN.

How to Make DIY Slipcovers for Arm Chairs

Here’s the thing: I’ve made a ton of mistakes over the years in my crafting, my decorating, and my creations and business decisions over all. There have been too many “fails” to count! Failure is a completely normal part of life, and it’s a great way to learn so that you don’t make the same mistakes the next time you try something. I’m pretty sure every talented decorator, crafter and creator has made more than one terrible thing over their career! (Probably more like a hundred terrible things!)

Are you afraid to fail and does that prevent you from DIYing? 

Here are some strategies you can try to conquer that fear and get creating! Let’s learn how to simply START a DIY project.

1: Change Your Goal

If you’re hoping to build a gorgeous, detailed woodworking project the first time you try, why not alter your goal a little so that it’s more attainable and more of a learning experience? Instead of “I’m going to build a patio chair out of 2x4s today!”, why not say: “I’m going to take a class on how to use a miter saw this weekend so that I can build a patio chair soon!” Learning how to use tools safely and efficiently takes time, and it’s a great way to become a better DIYer.

2: Know that You’ll Encounter Obstacles

Any fantastic project not only takes time, but you’ll also encounter problems that you’ll have to solve. I’m constantly dealing with issues as I create, film and edit my DIY and decor projects, and I’ll often have to change what I was hoping to do last minute for a different plan. Perhaps the tool I have isn’t quite right for the job, or my end product doesn’t look the way I wanted it to and I have to add or delete elements until I’m happy. It’s totally normal to have things not go the way you had hoped and have to do something a little differently in the end!

3: Stop Comparing

With social media today, it’s so easy to compare our journey to another creative person’s journey on the internet. With one tap of our finger, we can see the exquisite things people are creating on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and everywhere! It’s easy to forget that every one else has started from Point A too. Try to remember that there are a lot of failures that these people haven’t necessarily shown online, and that they might be 10 years into their creative journey. Try not to compare the beginning of your journey with the middle of theirs.

DIY Jute Rug from Dollar Store Twine

3: Enjoy the Journey

Even if your project doesn’t turn out as planned, try to enjoy the calming and often therapeutic experience of simply CREATING. It’s not always about the end product -the journey of creating something from start to finish can be just as enjoyable! The rhythm of knitting a sweater, the feel of a paint brush in your hand, the joy of finding the perfect vintage accessory for your living room – all of these experiences are part of DIYing and you’ll learn a little as you do each step.

Christina Dennis The DIY Mommy
This IKEA hack entryway project was one where I encountered a few obstacles, but kept pushing through. It’s one of my favourite DIY projects to date!


What do YOU think? What’s YOUR biggest obstacle when making things for yourself or your home? Let’s chat about this in the comments below and continue to inspire and support each other!


  1. I 100% agree with you about fear of failure. I think it’s the biggest reason for why most people don’t progress and succeed in life. I try to think of the worse possible thing that could happen, then I’ve already faced the fear before even starting toward my goal.

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