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How the internet can help you with DIY

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Charlie Swinbourne Charlie Swinbourne | 11:11 UK time, Thursday, 21 July 2011

Growing up as a young boy, I watched my Dad put up new shelves in our home, pave the patio in the garden and maintain of a massive range of tools in his shed. I looked up to him, and assumed (of course!) that one day, I'd magically aquire his DIY skills. Just because I was male too. Big mistake. Luckily, the internet has a range of resources I've been able to call on to help me put up some shelves of my own.

Now, the first and most important thing you need to think about when starting out in DIY is safety. DIY Extra has a great safety section with subsections dealing with areas like electrical safety, safety while using a ladder, and some more general tips for any situation. There's also this useful page from Health Challenge Wales.

Getting started on the nitty gritty of DIY, the Which? website has some really useful tips which focus on home repairs, including a list of the Eight essential home repairs which even rates certain repairs by how easy they are. Bleeding a radiator rates 1 on the Easy DIY scale, while repointing a patio is a 3, much harder!

DIY Doctor is a really comprehensive site site which features a blog, a forum, tutorials, a DIY Dictionary, and best of all, DIY videos, broken up by subject area. I went into the Gardening section and watched a video about how to put up a shed. I'm now dreaming of constructing the writer's den I've always dreamed of!

A carpenter using an electric screwdriver - one day this could be you!

A site with a personal touch is Dave's DIY Tips. The site is designed in a clear, attractive way and each section has diagrams showing how to get those vital jobs done. Fitting a kitchen is broken down into six sections - but if that seems ambitious, you might want to focus on simpler tasks first, like repairing wall plaster.

The most attractively designed DIY site I found belongs to Reader's Digest. Their page on constructing a patio is easy to follow with plenty of photographs that help it all make sense.

Handyman Know How is firmly pitched at DIY beginners and is run by Steve Venus, who's been a handyman for years. His site had the clearest explanation of how to put up shelves I found, and is even broken up by type of shelving. If you also look at the article on drilling you'll be able to put the two together, and get those bookshelves put up once and for all!

If none of those sites throw up the DIY advice you're looking for, you could always try searching for the DIY activity you want to do through search engines or on video sharing websites. Try searching for 'putting up shelves' in Google or in YouTube, and you'll soon see a range of useful pages or videos, depending on what you'd prefer.

Hopefully these links will help you create the DIY projects of your dreams. Remember to keep safe, and if you're finding a task tricky, or if there's any risk or danger at all, contact a professional for their experienced advice, but if you can, have a go and see how you get on.

Good luck!


Watch BBC DIY and gardening programmes online with the iPlayer.


Charlie is a journalist and scriptwriter specialising in articles and films featuring deaf culture and sign language. He has written for The Guardian online and has contributed to programmes for Radio 4, while his films have won international awards. He also works in the arts, helping to make theatre accessible for deaf people.



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