As a lifestyle writer, I write about other people’s amazing craft projects all the time, but I'm not much of a DIY'er myself. It hasn’t gone so well on the rare occasions I’ve tried — like that time I tried to save money by removing my own gel nails with 100 percent acetone ... and promptly ruined the surface of our dining room table.
But as soon as fall hit, the crafty spirit started swirling all around me — never mind the fact that it’s still 100 degrees where I live in Los Angeles — and I got in the mood for my first real DIY.
As a travel lover, I came up with the idea to dress my 15-month-old twins in pilot costumes. And, inspired by this blogger’s easy-to-recreate post, I would be their flight attendant. (The babes did have a travel-themed first birthday party, after all, so why not keep this motif going!)
I figured I could use cheap, navy blue onesies as the base for their “uniforms,” and it wouldn’t take much to make them official- and important-looking: just add some gold finishing touches.
I was nervous to say the least. But sure enough, with some buttons, a spool of ribbon, and a hot glue gun, I easily crafted costumes that make me so proud. I can’t wait to show them off! And with what I learned this time around, I might even become a DIY convert!
Here are a few takeaways from my first successful DIY project.
1. It’s really not that hard!
Most of what has stood in my way of DIY-ing has been assumptions about my limited abilities. The trick is knowing that I was plenty competent to tackle a simple project — as long as I have clear parameters that I thought out and planned in advance (unlike the gel nail episode). Perhaps if I’d attempted to hang my own drywall, it wouldn’t have gone so well — but a basic, well-considered Halloween project? Not a problem!
2. Wait until the kids are asleep.
This rule would be different for older kids who are mature enough to get involved, of course. But my babies are in the phase where they stumble around like tiny drunk adults getting into everything. So using hot glue in their presence would have probably led to an emergency room visit. I’m glad I waited until they were asleep to try this. The whole project probably took less than 15 minutes, but that was long enough to get a serious blister. (Better me than the babies!)
3. Buy supplies way ahead of time.
If you’re a busy mom like me, you probably do a lot of online shopping — who has the time to run around making a zillion stops? I bought my supplies on Amazon and eBay, where independent sellers sometimes take their sweet time to ship. It would have been a shame to have had a key item arrive too late to be part of the project.
4. Know your limits.
With a couple of onesies on sale at Old Navy ($4 each), the fancy gold ribbon ($8 for the roll), and the set of gold buttons ($8 including shipping), my costumes were mostly complete. But I figured it would be cheaper and easier to buy the hats than to make them. I scored these for about $10 a pop from Amazon, and then I added a small DIY hack: In an effort to keep the hats (made for bigger kids) on my babies, I added elastic bands cut from some leftover party hats from the twins’ birthday bash. It didn’t really work — because every parent knows there’s no determination like that of a kid who wants to take his darn hat off — but I’m giving myself an 'A' for effort.
5. Make it personal.
I loved the idea of my twins as each other’s co-pilots; it felt like the right intention to set for siblings starting out side-by-side in life. But my husband pointed out that on a single plane, there is a co-pilot who supports the pilot; it’s not an equal pair. What’s a mom to do?
Well, I made an executive decision: My daughter would be the pilot and wear a pin that identifies her that way; my son will wear the “co-pilot” pin. In life, my son will see endless examples of men as leaders. But my daughter is not likely to encounter the same messages as frequently. So I’m happy to be the first to send the message for her that she can be the boss, too.
Just like mommy, she can DIY anything she puts her mind to!