Building your own stuff is great, but when you have no idea how to build the thing you envision how are you going to ever get it done?
Luckily for you, all the information you could ever need and want is readily and easily available to you right now. Much of it is free and the rest is very affordable.
Remember Norm Abram?
For years he was the host of one of the most popular DIY programs on TV – The New Yankee Workshop – where he built all kinds of projects in his workshop for his series. He would always say that a “measured drawing” was available so you would be able to buy a set of plans basically and make the same thing you watched him build.
If you backed up a bit further you would notice that Norm would often find a piece of furniture or whatever project he wanted to build that already existed and he would take his own measurements and notes and use that as his own plans essentially to build it, to begin with. Of course, he would often make his own modifications and build it his own way, and from that, he created his drawing to sell to his viewers that wanted them.
Today there are thousands of plans and drawings available from all kinds of designers on everything you can imagine and some things you haven’t even though of too. Whether you want to build a chicken coop, a raised bed for your garden, a shed for your yard, a small boat or a large yacht, a tiny house, or a full-sized home – plans and manuals are readily available for it all.
How about building your own airplane? Yes, people do that too – and there are numerous plans available and kits are available too.
Measure, Model and Build Yoru Own Design
I have used plans and I have also built many projects from going out and finding something to model, taking pictures of it, making sketches and notes, and then just building it.
When I built my first shed from the ground up that’s how I chose to do it. My wife wanted a candle shop so I built her one. Keep in mind that at that time I had never built anything bigger than a dog house or a bookcase before either.
I bought a couple of books on shed construction (which I still own to this day) and then I went to Lowes and looked at several sheds that I liked. I took pictures and I made notes about how they were constructed. The spacing between studs and rafters, the type of foundation and supports, and what siding was used. From all that I counted all the individual pieces and made my own materials list.
Then I used that to get an estimate on what the materials would cost me. Beyond that, there were many other things I needed as it was not going to be just a shed but a candle shop. So I needed it to be insulated, have lighting, have heat and air conditioning and have plenty of electrical outlets everywhere. I also needed numerous workbenches and shelving that could all handle significant weight (my wife and I made candles by the hundreds at a time for large orders back then) without bowing or failing.
So I sketched all that out and estimated all the materials I needed. Then I started ordering and getting the materials as I needed them. I built a building from the ground up working just weekends and a few evenings. It turned out better than I imagined and my wife loved it.
You can do the same.
Another project I wanted to build was a small boat. I wanted something that did not quite exist so I could not model just one of two other boats to get my plans from. But elements of it existed in several different designs. The canoe, the pirogue, the dory along with a few other ideas here and there. So I took the elements I liked from each one and blended them together to get the general idea of what I wanted to build.
Then I just started building it.
As I went along I would encounter something I liked or something I didn’t – so I made adjustments until I had it to my liking. before I knew it the little boat was completed and ready for testing. That was one of the most exciting projects I ever completed and the feeling of sitting in a boat out on the water you built with your own hands from a pile of plywood and material is something you really need to experience for yourself!
Whatever you want to build someone else has already built it and you can model it in most cases. Even in those other cases where you have some vision of a project that does not exactly exist – even then – there will be other things that are close enough that they will have some elements that can help you, just as those other boat designs helped me get my vision into reality. You can do the same thing is you like.
Here Are Some Sources of Plans and Information to Get You Started
Boats and Campers – Glen L Marine
Campers, Sheds, Boats, and a House – Butler Projects
Airplanes – Zenith Aircraft
Remember to go to Lowes and other shed builders and just take a look and take some pictures with your phone, make some notes and get some ideas. You can also search YouTube for all kinds of examples and all kinds of projects both large and small. Beyond that, there are all kinds of designers and builders who have already put together plans for everything imaginable. Most of them are cheap enough for you to buy without it making a dent in your budget – so buy a few sets of plans just to study them and get some ideas of your own.
Then go build something and send me some pictures to put on this site!