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How often have you admired an item in a store but been disappointed when it didn’t come in the right size or color (or simply been astonished at the price)? At nine years old, I wandered into an accessory shop at the mall and fell in love with a pair of gorgeous sequin earrings. I couldn’t afford them—so I decided to make my own. And from the first time I sat down with my craft supplies and started to create, I was hooked!
Two decades later, I’m still making my own jewelry and accessories—and I hardly ever shop in stores. When I discovered the Do-It-Yourself movement, and saw that DIY stylists like Grace Atwood of Stripes and Sequins and Kristen Turner of Glitter ‘N Glue were being featured all over the web, collaborating with companies like Target, and even appearing on the Today Show, I was inspired to help spread the word about how fun, easy, and inspiring DIY can be. Here’s your guide to get started making your very own fabulous and fashionable creations.
For Atwood and Turner, there are plenty of reasons to make it yourself, but one of the biggest is getting to wear something beautiful that’s uniquely yours (never show up to work or a party wearing the same piece as someone else again!). If you DIY, your options aren’t limited to what’s in stores—you can have things just the way you like them.
Another reason to DIY is the cost difference. Wouldn’t you love to make a $600 Dannijo necklace for just $100? Not only can you keep up with the latest fashion trends, but you won’t have to exhaust your hard-earned paycheck to do so. Sure, you’ll have to make an initial investment in tools and materials, but the long-term cost savings is worth it.
If you’re new to crafting, DIY might sound a little intimidating, but don’t be scared—my favorite DIY stylists recommend starting small and working your way up. Change the buttons on a sweater, suggests Turner, or change the color of something you already own with a can of spray paint, as she did with a neon satchel inspired by Kate Spade.
DIY blogs serve as sources of information and inspiration and are wonderful places to learn new techniques. Besides Stripes and Sequins and Glitter ‘N Glue, I love Thanks, I Made It, A Pair and a Spare and PS—I Made This. Erica Domesek of PS fame has even written a book with the same title, packed with beginner-friendly projects.
To pick up materials and tools, check out hobby stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn Fabrics. M&J Trimming has a great selection of trims, buttons, and sequins, and you can’t beat Cartwright’s Sequins for a wide and inexpensive selection of sparklies.
Other, often overlooked, sources of materials are secondhand stores like Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, and the Salvation Army. Also look for creative reuse centers in your area to find a variety of conventional craft supplies, as well as things you’d never think of turning into accessories, like bottle caps and recycled electrical wiring—which makes great craft wire.
Getting DIY Ideas
Besides blogs and websites, Atwood recommends sites like Pinterest and shopping sites like Net-a-Porter, FarFetch, and ShopBop. Turner has an extensive magazine collection, and clips the things she loves to pin to an inspiration board.
You can also find ideas in the closet (and it doesn’t have to be yours!). Turner says she’s continually inspired by the vintage items she finds buried in her mom’s drawers. In short, the possibilities for DIY are endless—just keep your eyes open!
You’re probably wondering how to you make time for crafting when you already balance a full time job, errands, going to the gym, and social commitments.
But where there’s a will, there’s a DIY! Sneak in some creative time while you watch your favorite shows in the evening. Set the timer on your stove for half an hour at a time on weekends and DIY in between meals and errands. You can set up a crafting station in a corner of your living room with your supplies ready to go, so you spend less time preparing and more time creating.
And bring crafting into your social life, too, by inviting your friends over for a crafternoon. Ask guests to donate unwanted shoes, accessories, and clothing to customize (one woman’s trash is another’s treasure!). Then relax, share tips and tricks, and watch the DIY party become a regular event on the calendar.
Soon, you’ll be a DIY diva with a closet full of gorgeous clothing and accessories, and with cash to spare. Most of all, though, you’ll have a great time, because that’s what the DIY movement is all about.