People of all ages are interested in DIY projects as they’re an inexpensive way to upgrade the home. However, hands-on tasks are also effective mood boosters that foster creativity and encourage critical thinking. Another benefit of DIY-ing is that it’s easy to turn a task into a group activity your friends and family can enjoy.
This article will cover three modern DIY projects suitable for all skill levels. So whether you’ve got years of experience or are just beginning your DIY journey, we’re sure these ideas will inspire you.
Modern DIY Projects
1. Reuse Old Candles
A brightly colored scented candle slowly burning in the room creates a cozy atmosphere that adds a dash of character to the space. But once the wax melts and the candle refuses to burn, you might think the leftover wax has no purpose. With some enthusiasm and a DIY approach, however, you can transform your old candles into unique-looking decorations that ooze creativity.
You’ll need the following supplies:
- A used candle
- Two glass containers
- Candle wicks
- A candle warmer
Here’s how to create a new candle:
- Plug in and turn on the candle warmer.
- If the candle you want to repurpose isn’t in a jar, place it in one.
- Carefully put the jar over the hot plate. Although candle warmers are relatively easy to use, working with the hot plate can be risky, so stay alert when using the appliance.
- Wait until the wax melts completely. Depending on the size of the candle, the process may take up to 10 minutes.
- Take a new wick and coat it in the melted wax. Leave the wick on a napkin for a few minutes until completely dry. Then, recoat it in the wax, making sure it’s covered in a thick layer, and leave it to dry again. Set the wax-coated wick in a glass container. You can use jars, mason jars, cups, etc. Any container lying around the home will do so long as it’s not made from flammable materials. You can now pour the melted wax into the container with the new wick. The wax should sit just below the rim. You can also wear gloves or oven mitts to protect your hands from the heat.
- Remove the wick and knot one end around a cotton pad. Return it to the wax again so that the cotton pad sits horizontally on the glass container. This will keep the wick in an upright position.
- Depending on where you live, it might take the candle up to a day to harden. If the weather is hot and sunny, place the container outside to quicken the process.
- When the candle hardens, cut the top of the wick. Short wicks usually sink into the melting wax and refuse to burn, so don’t trim it too close to the candle.
If you don’t have a candle melter, that shouldn’t stop you from repurposing leftover wax. Using a double boiler or larger saucepan will be just as effective.
This method is an excellent way to bring liveliness into your home, and it’s also perfect for gift-giving. Throw a few dried flower petals into the melted wax, and you’ll get an explosion of soft colors that complement the candle’s scent. Another option is to add drops of essential oil to bolster the scent and help it last longer.
We’ve outlined the basics of repurposing wax, but you can adjust the steps so that the final product matches your personal preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Your creativity might just surprise you.
2. DIY Oil Lamp
DIY projects are an ideal opportunity to bring some excitement into your home and keep boredom at bay. Oil lamps are relatively simple to make and don’t require advanced skills or special tools. In addition, the aesthetic appeal will create a positive ambiance when you host a get-together or unwind with a good book and a cup of coffee.
Before you start the project, make sure you’ve got these supplies:
- A mason jar with a lid
- A lamp wick or cotton string
- Olive oil
- Screwdriver and hammer
- Two wood panels
- Metal nut
Most of these are everyday household items, so gathering the supplies shouldn’t take much time.
When you’re all set, you can begin making the lamp:
- Place the wood panels on a flat surface, ensuring a one-inch gap between them. Next, put the jar lip upside down over the boards, with the gap under the center of the lid.
- Hold the screwdriver over the center of the lid and hit it with the hammer to poke a hole. If you think the hole’s too narrow, widen it with pliers.
- Pull the wick through the hole and slide a metal nut over it. This is optional, but the nut obscures the hole, giving the lamp a more stylish look. The top of the wick should protrude from the nut.
- Pour the olive oil into the mason jar. Don’t go overboard; filling two-thirds of the jar is enough. Olive oil is the safest option since it’s free of harmful substances. However, if you’re used to handling different oils, you might prefer lamp or citronella oil.
- Cover the jar with the lid and leave it for 10-20 minutes so that the wick absorbs enough oil.
You can leave the lamp as-is and admire the soft glow when you light the wick. But if you feel it needs an extra kick to match your personality, you can easily customize it until you achieve the desired results.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Fill the Lamp With Decorations
Customize the jar by adding small items like pebbles, seashells, or colored glass. You can throw in anything from pine cones to cedar sticks as long as you don’t overdo it. Too many items might detract from the lamp’s clean look.
Throw in a Few Slices of Citrus Fruit
Oranges and lemons have a signature scent and color that can elevate your DIY lamp’s aesthetic. Press thin slices of your favorite citrus fruit against the sides of the jar for a pop of color.
Sprinkle in Food Coloring
Another way of making the lamp more colorful is sprinkling in food coloring. Since the oil won’t dissolve the coloring, fill the jar with a mixture of water and oil first.
Remember that you’ll need to trim the wick regularly to keep the lamp burning. Simply pull on the wick until the uncharred part peeks through and cut the charred portion.
3. Decoupage and Upgrade Wooden Items
Although decoupage takes some practice to master, it’s a popular technique to upcycle household items and give them a modern appearance. The technique involves decorating items using paper cutouts and paints, and it also works well as a group activity. Decoupaging fabric can be challenging for beginners, but decorating wood is fun and beginner-friendly.
Decoupage is the way to go if you’ve been thinking about sprucing up a plain wooden jewelry box. You will get a storage box that looks brand-new, but you’ll also hone your DIY skills.
To decoupage wood, you need:
- Acrylics paints
- Tissue paper, napkins, magazines, or wrapping paper
- Mod Podge
Here’s how to upgrade your wooden box with the decoupage technique:
- If your cover is attached by metal hinges, it’s best to remove them with a screwdriver. Although working around the metal bits is possible, the paper cutouts could have more wrinkles.
- Cover the exterior of the box with primer using a flat brush. Once it dries, coat the box in a layer of white acrylic paint. This helps the paper cutouts stick to the wood more easily.
- Select the images you’ll use to customize the box. If you don’t find what you’re looking for in magazines and newspapers, hop onto the internet and print out copyright-free designs. Wrapping paper and napkins are additional options if you prefer interesting patterns.
- Cut the images into smaller pieces and place the cutouts over the box to find the perfect layout.
- Slowly cover one section of the box in thin layers of decoupage glue. Mod Podge is a well-known brand used by many DIY enthusiasts.
- Place a paper cutout over the glue-covered section.
- Continue gradually applying glue to small sections and covering them with the cutouts until you’ve decorated the whole box.
- Apply another layer of glue to the box for a glossy finish. If you notice any air bubbles, use your fingers to smooth out the surface.
- Wait a few hours for the glue to dry and reattach the metal hinges to the box.
Wooden boxes typically have smooth edges, but you might need sandpaper if you want to experiment and decorate trays and panels. Sticking paper over rough and uneven surfaces could damage the paper and create tears. However, don’t panic if the finished product has a tear or two. These slight imperfections add to the charm of decoupaged items.
Applying too much glue over the paper cutouts isn’t an issue either, as the glue loses its white undertone once dry and becomes transparent.
When you feel more confident in your skills, you can move on to modifying plastic and fabrics. Eventually, you might think you need bigger challenges and can move on to large-scale projects like decorating furniture, kitchen utensils, and clothes.
DIY and Experiment
Although these three modern DIY projects are relatively simple to complete, you can challenge your skills by customizing the projects. The DIY approach is about finding creative solutions and having fun. If you get stuck on one of the steps, consider turning it into a hands-on group activity. Few things are more satisfying than working together with friends and family and successfully finishing a DIY project.