4 Rules for a Successful DIY Project

Blogger and DIY enthusiast Ashley Ann Campbell of Under the Sycamore shares her top tips.


under the sycamore DIY

Blogger Ashley Ann Campbell relishes opportunities to make things with her hands. “There is not a room in our house that doesn’t have at least a handful of DIY projects,” she says. “There is more DIY than purchased.”

Indeed, the projects in the do-it-yourself section of her blog, Under the Sycamore, span all skill levels, sizes and areas of the house–she’s tackled everything from rehabbed coffee tables, to a gorgeous wall treatment made of chicken wire, to a “fake” kitchen and a fabric iPhone case. “Even our chicken coop in the backyard was a DIY project I did with my dad,” she says.

Inspired to do some DIY of your own? We asked the mom of five, who says she’s motivated by “a love of creating and saving money,” to share with us her top tips for successfully doing-it-yourself. Here are her rules. (And don’t miss her curated event for Joss & Main, which starts February 25, 2014 at 9:00 p.m.)

1_circlePick your project based on what makes you smile.
“When choosing your DIY project, make sure it is one that appeals to you,” Campbell says. ” There are so many trends and incredible DIY ideas readily available to inspire you. Make sure you select a project based on what you like not necessary what is popular.” Abiding by this rule will help ensure your new hobby adds something to the decor of your home, not just extra clutter.

ashley-Campbell-5-rules-for2_circleAccept imperfection.
Not everything is going to turn out the way you’d envisioned it, and that’s OK. “This is a hard one for me, but it is also very freeing creatively,” Campbell says. “Sometimes working with your hands means the outcome will bare a little imperfection. Part of the joy of DIY is in the process of creating with your own hands; don’t let minor imperfections steal your joy in the process.”

3_circleThink like MacGyver.
Sometimes, you’ll find that a DIY project calls for a little extra innovation. “Things like budget, tools and materials differ from person to person,” Campbell points out. “Often, it is those limitations that push ingenuity in DIY projects.” So remember: Don’t limit yourself to tackling projects a certain way.

4_circleKnow your limitations.
Campbell’s advice for DIY newbies? “Tackle small projects first and build your confidence.”  Not to mention your skill set. “Large scale projects can quickly become overwhelming and frustrating if you have not built up the necessary skills,” she says. “However, chances are once you pick up a power tool, you may not want to put it down again!” sign_off