To DIY or not to DIY: Finding your niche in the creative scale

September 26 | Guest post by Moonrose
I made that!
This is former Offbeat Bride Kara's 'I made this!' face.

For many of you, you might look on Offbeat Bride and find a LOT of different choices in the DIY department. How to make a certain bouquet out of brooches or ornaments, maybe you want to DIY your Save the Dates somehow or even all of your invitations. For some of you, that might seem too much. For the rest of you, it's right up your alley. And then there's a small portion of us who are a little scrapbook/sewing savvy, but aren't too sure of ourselves with these bigger projects.

If you're not sure what your niche is creatively, think about the basics:

  • Do you like scrapbooking? If so, how much? What kinds of scrapbooking do you do?
  • Do you like to sew? If so, how much? What kinds of sewing do you do?
  • Do you like to craft? If so, how much? What kinds of craftwork do you do?

Now to end all of these questions, this is the most important one: Do you often start and COMPLETE your project, whatever it may be? If you're thinking of doing ANYTHING DIY, think about it hard.

Once you've made your decision that you want it done, here are a few tips you may want to consider:

1. Get planning. Before you step into any project, you need to sort out what materials you need and how you're going to create even one item step by step. How are you going to make this effect on your card with little to no mess? How will the message be printed? Are you going to use an adhesive that isn't glue?

2. Once you have a plan, write it down. This will help in your step-by-step process so when you are ready to start, you can look back on your notes for reference. Dimensions for this piece are so many inches by so many inches. Put some strips of double-sided tape on the back of this piece to stick on this piece along this area. Hint: if you can, draw pictures. This will help you visualize even more what you want to make!

3. Get help. Although what you might be doing seems simple, its good to have help and plan specific days with your friends and/or family to create your vision. Before you begin the work, have a step by step visual tutorial so that everyone can see exactly what they are supposed to do. You can even make it an assembly line by asking people if they could work on one to two steps of your project at a time. Be sure to have some music playing or something to snack on — it'll make it a bit more like a party atmosphere this way!

Or, like Ariel said in the Offbeat Bride book, if you can relinquish the control of a specific project to someone else, not only does it take a LOT off your mind, but you will most likely be happy with the end result.

4. Don't sell yourself short in the creative scale. If you know something simple but effective, do it. I was happy when everyone commented how beautiful my save-the-date magnets were, even though they were REALLY easy to do! I had quite a few ready to hand out after a few days and I had made them by myself! The funny thing is I hate scrapbooking, but I guess this project was so much more meaningful and didn't feel forced, so I was happy to do it.

If for any reason you still don't feel that creative… stop there. Don't worry. If you don't feel up to trying something by yourself (or with some help, of course), don't do it. It's okay. You know that it's not the worst thing in the world to keep things simple.

  1. good tips. I rarely finish a project, but by getting help from my wonderful husband, I managed to do our announcements and a boatload of paper flowers that served as aisle markers and centerpieces and my bouquet. The assistance and wisdom of my husband is not to be discounted here because he really helped, especially with the flowers. I wanted to put seashells in the center of each blossom, but I wanted to have not entirely bivalves, and I wanted to do it out of shells I collected on the beach, but there just weren't enough beachcombing hours in the day, so he convinced me to buy seashells, which I was sure was cheating. It wasn't and they were perfect and I don't regret a single second I didn't spend beachcombing and did spend with our friends and family.

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  2. Thanks for this post, Moonrose–it's right up my alley. Too often, DIY is thought of as this all-purpose money-saver–if you want it but can't afford it, make it yourself! Which is, depending on your skills, often possible. But the "time is money" adage is very true in terms of wedding stuff: if it would cost a lot of money to buy, it will probably (not always) take a lot of time to make. I am not super crafty and am extremely busy–I made the centrepieces and cake-topper for my wedding and then had to stop–adding any other projects would've made me crazy, and exhausted. A bride's gotta know her limits.

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  3. I made that face too!

    And a good list. It took half a day to make a fascination, I spent half the time lining things up & making sure it was going correctly. I completed most of the projects, (only one side of the YAY flag had writing,) or was realistic about what I should start on two weeks out, (no fabric tape isn't that easy to work with so don't start those paper flowers now.) lollz. But at the wedding, when people used the flags the whole time or asked if I was on pinterest, "you should put this all on pinterest," or found their way because there was a sign at a tricky turn, it made it all worth it. The projects that didn't get done didn't matter & we enjoyed what did.

    I did almost forget the signs we put together the night before! I was so glad I left a Post-it list on the front door.

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  4. This this this!
    We did a lot of DIY, but I call it accidental DIY, because we only did DIY when it was actually in our interests to do it ourselves… and we stuck to simple stuff!!!

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  5. I just finished all my DIY wedding projects and am getting married in 9 days. My tips would be:
    1) have a long engagement if you're doing a lot of projects.
    2) spread out the projects over time, and don't start a new one until you've finished the last one
    3) at some point, ban yourself from Pinterest and decide enough is enough.

    I'm fairly crafty, but some of my wedding projects started fun and ended with exhaustion. Don't get crafty burnout.

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    • "3) at some point, ban yourself from Pinterest and decide enough is enough."

      Dear God. I think I'll need someone else to ban me. I'll have to get my MOH or someone to change my password and not give it back until the wedding is over hahaha. We have soooo many ideas for DIY stuff, but we are going to have to simplify it and narrow it down. Luckily we won't need a lot of decoration at our venue as it is naturally beautiful :). As it is we are already DIYing all the stationery, the bouquets and boutonnieres, amongst other things like some bunting and games. Good thing I'm crazy about DIY and we have started preparing now (the wedding is a few years away. We are collecting supplies and are going to make things that can be stored).

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  6. My first thought was, 'Is that a KITTEN in her bouquet??? I want a KITTEN BOUQUET!'

    And then I was like, "Oh. Well. I guess feathers are still pretty cool."

    Fun post, thanks!

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