Blogger Brittany Bailey of Pretty Handy Girl is not your typical home DIYer—she’s a licensed contractor, an artist, and a designer. Skilled at all things “handy” and a mother of two, she’s defying stereotypes at every turn.
Here, Bailey talks tips, tools, encouraging young DIYers, and overcoming those obstacles that inevitably arise right smack dab in the middle of your project.
Daily Parent: We love to encourage kids to ignore stereotypes, so we love that you live for that stuff, too. As a mom of two boys, what words of wisdom might you offer parents for getting their kiddos involved in stereotype-busting projects and extracurriculars?
Brittany Bailey: I try to never label things as girl or boy, masculine or feminine. My boys are involved in all projects from sewing and cooking to building and cleaning. From ages 2 to 8, my son’s favorite color was pink. I never discouraged him. Instead I agreed, it is a bright cheery color. When he asked me to paint his room with pink and black stripes, I just redirected his request because I didn’t want to paint over his beautiful mural. This is also
a great project for any child to learn how to sew: http://www.prettyhandygirl.
DP: What are some user-friendly tools and mediums you can recommend for beginners? How ’bout starter projects you might recommend for young DIYers in the making?
BB: For easy projects, I highly recommend the Lowe’s Build and Grow kits. They come pre-cut with all the fasteners provided. They only thing you need to buy are a small hammer and eye protection. But, you can get free googles by signing up to take part in a Build and Grow workshop. At home, I like to keep scraps of wood for my kids to use however they like. They have their own hammers and free access to nails in my workshop. For non-tool building, let kids use things from the recycling to build anything they like. I fondly remember a five-story stuffed animal hotel my son built with cardboard boxes and paper towel tubes. It’s a great way to learn about tape vs. glue and load bearing structures.
DP: In your experience, what are some of the most common roadblocks that might arise for home DIYers — and how can we avoid them?
BB: There are two roadblocks most Home DIYers run into. The first is not having the correct (or strong enough) tool. You can always rent tools from Home Depot or ask a friend or neighbor. The second roadblock is yourself. You need to believe in yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes when DIYing. Don’t set up roadblocks by
saying you can’t do something.
DP: What are your essential DOs and DON’Ts for home DIYers on a budget?
BB: Definitely DO it yourself if you have the time and correct tools. DON’T be afraid to ask for help or hire a pro. But, if you do hire a pro… Do ask how you can reduce any cost (i.e. prep or demo work before they arrive.) Do stick around to watch how they complete the project, and do ask questions. You may realize the project wasn’t too hard and you can do it yourself next time.
DP: Do you have any go-to household hacks that you’re especially proud of?
BB: I have a series called 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes. [Check out all of the useful tips here. All of us at Daily Parent agree, these hacks are worthy of praise!]
DP: Finally, what are your personal favorite sources for inspiration—do you have any particular favorite blogs, websites, or books that you’d like to recommend?
BB: I read a lot of blogs, watch YouTube and Google. I’m not sure I can narrow it down, but I will say that right now I’m enjoying April Wilkerson’s YouTube channel.