Home Crafting Home Decor Crafting: Is it Worth It?

Home Decor Crafting: Is it Worth It?

25 min read

When it comes to home decor, sometimes it seems like your only option is to sort through endless pages of images, searching for something that might work. But there’s another option, too.

You could make small items yourself.

Just to be completely clear, I’m not talking about taking up woodworking or installing new light fixtures. I’m discussing small, household items such as plaques, hooks, personalized cups and storage containers, and similarly small and low-stakes projects.

Who’s Afraid of a Little DIY?

It’s easy to get pulled in. You click a link on Pinterest for a simple house project and before you know it, your feed is flooded with ideas, some good, some bad, some horrible, on how you can personalize your home all with a few basic tools and entirely too much time on your hands.

The big question: is it actually worth it? is, of course, going to be up to you. But if you are considering the plunge into home decor crafts, it might be time to take some facts into consideration.

Do You Have the Tools?

Although many crafts brag you can accomplish them for minimal costs and some simple items from around your home, some require use of digital cutting machines or specialized tools. If your home could double as a craft store, you’d be fine to sail ahead. But most of us who aren’t that crafty are lacking the essentials needed to tackle projects.

Digital cutting machines can be incredible. Once you’ve made the initial investment in the machine, keeping it up and running is rather cost effective. It also gives you an endless variety of options, including those designs you can make yourself. For example, with the Silhouette line of cutting machines.

Consider how much you’re willing to pay upfront to get started.

Will the Items Stand Up to Normal Household Usage?

I used to do papercrafting and I absolutely adored it. But one thing I always knew is that my cards, scrapbook pages, and other endeavors would never be something that could get everyday enjoyment. Similarly, if your preferred construction method is popsicle sticks, this might not be the best idea for long-lasting home decor.

You have to keep in mind that home decor will be moved, adjusted, dropped, and will most likely be inspected by kids and pets for its toy appeal. Is it worth it to you if the crafts you’re capable of obtaining materials for and completing are not going to last very long in a house with pets, kids, and other occupants who don’t watch where they’re going?

Do You Have the Time to Craft?

This is a big one. You can be excited, prepped, ready, and have no concerns over the price of crafting supplies. But if you don’t have the time to plant your butt in your chair and crank out some DIY magic, it’s all for naught.

Of course, this isn’t to say that all crafts take a million years. You could purposely select projects which are more on the conservative side, time wise. Also, once you become more comfortable with crafting, and more experienced, you could become faster and able to produce more efficient products.

However, if time to yourself counts as sitting in the waiting room at the DMV, you might want to rethink adding handcrafted items to your home.

Do You Love to Craft?

Let me address this elephant: not everyone was born to craft.

If you see nothing but fulfilled people on YouTube videos tye dying their hearts out and want to capture some of their magic, that is perfectly understandable. But if crafts, DIY, and making decor by hand doesn’t make you happy, it’s probably best not to take on large or prolonged projects.

Not everyone finds joy in tye dye and that’s okay. There are plenty of other ways to personalize your house that won’t make you hate your house as a result.

Are You Willing to Ride Out a Learning Curve?

Say you want to create a beautiful set of kitchen linens for your dream kitchen. You find fabric you love and can’t wait to set out making your tea towels. The only problem? You’ve never used a sewing machine in your life.

Whether you arrive at a local sewing class, machine in hand, or find yourself on YouTube scribbling down furious notes, you can learn how to sew. However, your first project is not going to be perfect.

When it comes to crafting, and learning new skills in general, are you going to be willing to do things once, twice, three, four times, until you’re happy with it? Even if you have experience sewing, but decide to take on a more complex project, you might have to get your seam ripper ready until you’re confident with the design.

On the bright side, learning new skills is always desirable. Not only is it good for your brain to teach it a new trick, having the ability to use a sewing machine could help you in other ways later down the road. Not to mention, if you get to decorating the guest bedroom and decide you want the pillow shams to match the statement rug, you already have the experience in making tea towels. Now you can translate your knowledge into another sewing project.

Are You Good at Knowing Your Limits?

There are going to be limits on what you can do for your home due to time, money, interest, and skill. Deciding you want to decorate the entire house with handmade items with only the furniture being purchased as completed pieces, you probably shouldn’t set a goal to complete the entire project in four months. Even the most reasonable deadlines can run into problems and the most skilled crafters can suffer from burnout, disinterest, and brain fog.

Think about the types of DIY you would like to do and those you could see yourself trying out. If you know you would be bored out of your mind sanding furniture all day, maybe leave upholstery off the list. Also, try to gauge how long each item will take and add padding to the project, just in case. No one wants to find themselves up at 2am, their hands covered in glue, desperately trying to finish a project because they have a gathering the next day and want everything to be perfect.

Personally, I usually get myself ridiculous goals, get frustrated and want to quit but refuse because it’s personal now, then finish on time. This is by no means a good thing. I often lose sleep, work when I’m exhausted, and end up telling myself I will never do this again (which I never listen to).

Do You Have the Funds?

This is an important question for anyone to ask themselves before taking on a major decorating project. Although handcrafting your own decor is touted as being far cheaper than purchasing something from a store, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Your total cost for your DIY projects should all of the include the following:

  • Tools used
  • Time spent
  • Materials purchased

Say you want to create a framed sign for the guest bathroom that says, “Be Our Guest.” Simple, right?

One might figure, I need to cut out letters on my digital cutting machine, glue the letters to a piece of cardstock, and fit the cardstock inside the frame.

But if you don’t have a digital cutting machine, you will have to purchase one. Although you can use it on other projects, this makes your initial investment pretty high. Also, you have to learn how to use the cutting machine.

When it comes to putting the project together, any variety of things can go wrong and cause you to start over:

  • Using a glue on the lettering that spreads out and shows up on the cardstock background
  • The arranged lettering is noticeably crooked on the cardstock
  • Tear the lettering while removing it from the cutting machine mat
  • Finally get the lettering correct only to find out your frame isn’t the right size

Starting over costs more materials and more time. While my mom might disagree with me, time is something that is important and most people can’t afford to spend 5 hours making one frame for the guest bedroom. And trust me, I’ve spent far more time making silly mistakes on far easier projects.

Do You Have Solid Instructions and Resources?

If your #DIYInspo is 5 Minute Crafts, you might have a bad time with this whole handcrafting thing. There are entirely too many “tips” and “ideas” from sources like that that just don’t work at best and could be potentially dangerous at worst. Also, quick videos of complicated DIYs can trick you into thinking a beautiful piece for your loft is just a few minutes away. The reality of crafting only sets in later.

While a lot of people want to go it alone while learning new skills, it’s usually better and will help them learn faster, to find a community of crafters, whether online or in person. Skills such as learning how to sew can be particularly vexing and no one wants to spend all their crafting time on Google trying to figure out why their machine isn’t behaving or why their pattern isn’t coming out correctly.

Throwing yourself on the mercy of Pinterest when it comes to creating real life items is sometimes not the best idea. This isn’t to say that Pinterest is full of crap or no one should DIY. Simply, examine the project and the website it’s posted on carefully before deciding to make it a reality.

You’re more likely to create a solid DIY with a website that has clear instructions and pictures or video to accompany it, as well as notes and alternative methods they also tried. If you find yourself on a website with a beautiful photo, but the instructions are difficult to understand and there’s no photos of the process, just one single finished image, chances are that photo was taken from someone else’s DIY and the instructions aren’t going to create much of anything.

Why Do You Want to DIY?

This is always a good question to ask yourself before undertaking a project. I find most DIYs fall into these categories:

I Want Something that Isn’t Available to Purchase

For example, you find a wooden crate you love online but it’s expensive only comes painted pink and you want a dark wood for your study. You could create a similar item out of an old pallet and some stain.

Also, lots of people like to make their own customization, such as putting family member names on cups or mugs. If you want an inside joke on a mug, doing it yourself can be cheaper than ordering one on Etsy.

I Want to Work With My Hands

There can be something deeply satisfying about creating a piece of decor for your home. When a friend comes to visit and compliments one of your pieces, there’s nothing more satisfying than saying, “Thank you, I made it myself!”

Whether you’re an expert crafter or someone just trying out a new hobby, it can be richly rewarding on many levels. Not only is crafting a way to secure a custom item for your home, it’s a great way to relax, unwind, and learn more about the skill you’re working on.

I Want to Save Money

You can save money with DIY. You just have to be careful how you do it and it always depends on the item you’re working with. A home decor item from a furniture store that has a gigantic markup is going to be cheaper to recreate. In this case, what most of the cost is going to is the markup, not the materials or craftsmanship.

Being a savvy crafter could result in a great deal of savings. But being a savvy crafter requires research, time, and a little bit of luck. Not things that all align for people sometimes.

I Want to Try Something Different

This is a great reason to try out some DIY, provided it’s in your price range and you have enough time. Too often we obsess about the final product. We ask ourselves, will this look something I bought from a home decor store? Will this evolve into something I could sell? We forget about the pure enjoyment of sitting down at a table with some tools and materials and making something that wasn’t there before.

DIY doesn’t have to be “good” to be worth it. It can be more of a journey and you have to be ready for the twists and turns in the road.

I Think I Want to DIY Some Items

The new house is far, far away, but I already have some ideas for color palettes, furniture, and decor. I will be choosey with my DIYs as I don’t have unlimited amounts of time or patience. But there are some instances where it would make sense to obtain the basic tools and create something. Mostly, I would like to try new crafts and develop different skills.

In kindergarten, I was the kid who loved for art projects. Even when the other kids were bored, I just wanted everyone to love me alone so I could work with my chalk or crayons or tissue paper or what have you. I am still that kid.

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