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Online solutions to DIY dilemmas

As connectivity to high speed internet improves, so does the opportunity for Australians to learn DIY tips and tricks.

It wasn’t really that long ago when, if something went wrong in your home or you needed a job done, your first stop would be the Yellow Pages. You’d thumb through the book, find a local expert, give them a call, pay your bill and get a result.

However, some secrets of many trades have been revealed by easily accessible internet.

It’s powering a new generation of do-it-yourself Australians looking for the reward that comes from accomplishing their own project, while maybe saving a buck or two as well.

Thankfully, if you want to do-it-yourself you’re not alone on the journey. The internet is with you, and as Australia’s nbn™ network continues its rollout, HD video and other online tools are becoming accessible to more Aussies, some of whom didn’t previously have access to fast broadband.

Whether you want to build a cubby house for your kids, clean calcium build-up off your pool filter or upgrade a hard drive, you’re empowered to do so by a thriving, online DIY community. Inspiration, step-by-step instructions and troubleshooting are available to everyone, and here are some great places to get started.

DIY and YouTube

Let’s start with the most obvious destination for those looking for DIY help. YouTube has countless tutorial videos that delve into almost any subject you can think of. From big woodwork projects to small household repairs, and from delicious recipes to car repair, you will probably find it on YouTube.

Videos are fantastic, as they give you a visual tutorial to follow in real-time, and you can run them easily on your phone or other portable device over your home wi-fi network.

The most popular DIY niches have dedicated channels hosted by YouTube celebrities, too, which you can subscribe to for regular updates.

For example, there are popular channels focused on home décor, another on car repair, or what about inventing technology gadgets or doing basic home repairs.

And there are plenty out there for aspiring home chefs. There are also channels that have no specific niche, but just inspire you across a range of DIY ideas. Channels such as I Like to Make Stuff or more mainstream destinations like Better Homes & Gardens offer a diverse range of DIY videos.

DIY forums

For more detailed answer on more specific DIY questions, the “old-fashioned” forum can still be a great place to seek advice.

The advantage of a forum over other avenues is that you can often engage in a one-on-one conversation with another individual who has previous experience in that kind of work.

Sometimes these places can be quite broad, like the DIY channel on Reddit, which has over 11 million members from across the world. But often you can post to a forum that is more focused in on the niche you are exploring.

For example, if you wanted to upgrade or build your own PC, a great Australian channel for tips on parts, prices and guides can be found at Whirlpool.

If you want to try and solve an issue with your PC or the software you are using, then Stack Overflow has an active community focused on such problem-solving.

DIY through social

The easiest place to get started on any DIY project is a search engine, but if going fishing for ideas out in the World Wide Web is too daunting, you can turn to social channels instead.

Asking a question on Facebook is often a great way to be pointed in the right direction by friends or family, but there are also groups that work as a filter for DIY content.

The TryDIY FaceBook Group is one such example. In other social channels like Instagram and Twitter, the details are in the hashtag.

Whether you are looking to #selfpublish or you want some inspiration for #crafttime, these filters allow you to find inspiration, people and resources that can help you with your DIY project.

DIY online lessons

The DIY revolution has progressed so far due to factors such as improved internet connectivity, it has come full circle. One-time DIY individuals have become teachers who run small businesses aimed at helping DIY newcomers go bigger and deeper on their projects.

A lot of these services have come into their own now that fast internet speeds allow for high-definition video streaming, and virtual classrooms where multiple users can interact with each other in real-time.

Plus, with big bandwidth, larger files can easily be found and downloaded to any device at any time. For example, many DIY website makers and users of software for design and photography need turn to the tutorials hosted by Lynda.

An alternate route is to go for a webinar; for example, an author might look to do a course on DIY Marketing or being a DIY entrepreneur. There are also a number of websites out there that will give you the plans for a DIY project you can download and print.

DIY on app stores

You won’t be surprised to learn that when it comes to DIY, “there is an app for that.” Some of the most useful apps you might come across are ones that can help with calculations, storing information or making design choices. They are often very niche to fulfil specific requirements, so you will need to search for your need.

Some commonly helpful apps include Behr ColorSmart, which gives you an idea of what a room will look like in a different coloured paint. The Woodshop Widget allows you to compare different types of wood, identifying thickness, lengths and use, while also helping to estimate cost.

The Construction Master Pro app provides a calculator happy to deal in fractions, convert units and can help you with more complex formulas like trigonometry.

Gardeners can look at Garden Designer, which allows you to build an entire plan for your garden, including plant locations, paths and other items, to set you on your way.

We no longer turn to the Yellow Pages first, because we can turn to the internet. There are still many problems we will come across that we cannot solve ourselves, and hobbies we can pursue that are accentuated by face-time with humans in the real world, but it doesn’t hurt to look online first.

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