Some of you avid listeners may know that I myself am a DIYer and craftaholic. My dad dragged me against my will to OSH and Home Depot on the weekends when I was a kid when I would rather stay home and read. He then made it up to me by teaching me how to use power tools, to build things, and to look at the artistic potential of a piece of junk. It unlocked a personal creativity that I’m proud to say that I share with my dad, and his dad, and his dad.
Now of course, DIY or Do-It-Yourself is the concept that with enough research, chutzpah, and elbow grease, you can do a project on your own without the direct assistance of a professional. The DIY ethic has reached a new height in recent years thanks to two major factors that seem to really impact damn near everything in today’s culture: social media and the recession. Along with those two major players, the nerd community has become a phenomenon in the DIY world, and has turned it into a dreamscape for many a fledgling geek.
15 years ago, most DIY inspiration was relegated to Martha Stewart’s and HGTV. It was boring Saturday morning programming that your parents tried to watch instead of cartoons. Now, idea and project sharing has taken a whole new turn, as anyone with a Pinterest account can tell you. Websites like Instructables, DIY Network, and Life Hacker have changed the way people approach projects because the accessibility to plans is laid out, and most of the time it doesn’t require you to be an engineering genius.
The recession, of course, plays into this as well. Many of us struggle to live within our means, and subsequently, cutting costs makes a huge difference. Why hire a plumber to come fix your sink when a Google search and a pipe wrench are so much cheaper? Why spend a few hundred bucks on an Ikea bed when you can make a cooler and more practical one yourself? Why buy a replica or toy proton pack when you can make one that lights up for about $80? Just because you don’t have it in your budget to buy a new car or move out of your grandmother’s basement doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little joy in life.
The cool part is that enthusiastic nerds have been rocking the DIY ethic for ages. The most dedicated cosplayers have been making character based costumes at fan conventions since the 70s. Avid tabletop gamers (I’m looking at you, Warhammer fans) make their own terrains and structures. And even though it seems rather simple in this day and age, don’t forget that fact that geeks build their own PCs, modify electronics, hack programs, and abuse consumer products for the better.
What I mean to say is that Nerds and DIY go together like Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets. Just search “Doctor Who” on Etsy.com and check out the results. Or search for virtually anything steampunk related. If you’re really interested in having some fun with easy beginner level nerd projects, then check out the Star Wars craft page or buy the Star Wars craft book. Here are two of my glorious pieces of nerdery from this wonderful idea resource:
Behold a Jabba the Hutt body pillow and Admiral Sackbar!
Really though, fellow nerds, if you ever find yourself so inclined and you aren’t doing so already, I really suggest that you explore the opportunities available to you. In fact, here’s my next ambitious project. I hope you can feel encouraged to get online and find some inspiration yourself. And if you build anything awesome or craft anything particularly spectacular, share it with me! I love seeing what sort of spectacular works of greatness my friends can make.
Happy DIYing, readers!