My DIY Bullsh*t Test

DIY water slide decal transfers. Photo: Felix Wedgwood

DIY water slide decal transfers. Photo: Felix Wedgwood

I’ve been at the DIY game for decades. Literally. I started sewing my own clothes as a teen, always made my own Halloween costumes. I learned the basics of painting, power tools and even wallpapering from my Dad. My first published DIY projects date back to around the turn of the century - HA! Along the way I’ve learned a few things about what works, what doesn’t work and what’s a waste of time and money.

These days, before I tackle a project I check first if it passes my DIY Bullshit Test. I encourage you to do the same. Feel free to borrow mine, or devise your own. Here’s mine:


1. Would I rather poke my eyeballs out with a knitting needle? 

This test refers to the degree of tediousness (tediousity?) of the steps. Giant string art where you have to drive in hundreds of nails in a neat row and then weave reams and reams of string? Not bloody likely. Cutting a quadrillion flower petals or leaves before assembling into a wreath? Nope. Quillling? Not happening.

2. Does the project require eye of knewt and quartz beads available only through the Dark Web? 

If I can’t find what I need in my house, at a hardware store, art store, dollar store or craft store, I ain’t doing it.

3. Will it be beautiful and/or useful?

You know that quote from Williams Morris, the grandaddy of the craft movement? It goes like this:

Um, duh.

4. Is the cost/benefit ratio favourable?

Will the finished product’s value, beauty and utility (see No. 3) be equal to or greater than the amount of money spent on materials and the amount of time spent on the crafting? 

DIY roll-up throw bed. Photo: Angus Fergusson

DIY roll-up throw bed. Photo: Angus Fergusson

5. Do I need a fine arts degree from Cranbrook?

Things I can do: paint, sew, use most power tools, cut things, glue things, fold things, dye things. Things I cannot do: knit, crochet, make pottery, quill, carve, draw 

6. Will the result look like a Pinterest Fail meme? 

Sometimes it’s hard to know the answer to this until you take a stab at something, but sometimes it’s obv from the get-go that you should let go.