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The Best DIY Tools for Beginners

Tips for how to start using tools and a round-up of the best power tools, manual tools, and paint tools for beginner DIYers.

7 years ago, I’d never touched a saw in my life. And to be honest, I’d barely even heard of a nail gun (except for that one time when I watched an episode of Home Improvement when I was 7 years-old and Tim the Tool Man Taylor turned his Bedford model into a projectile weapon on Tool Time… ahh the 90s).

Feeling intimidated by all things tools was an understatement.

I’m still not a total pro, and Robert is still mostly the more advanced DIYer in our dynamic duo. But…

I’ve come far enough to be able to handle lots of home improvement jobs of my own and conquer my fear. So while Robert and I have been working on the built-in cabinets at the Carney project this week, I realized it was the perfect time for this post.

If you’ve ever wanted to start handling tools but feel completely overwhelmed, here are some of my best tips and tools to start with.

How to Learn to Use Tools as a Beginner:

1. YouTube. 

I’ve learned A TON about how to operate tools just by looking up video demonstrations on YouTube. Search simple phrases like “How to Use a Porter Cable Nail Gun” to get the exact information you need.

2. Ask a more experienced friend or family member to mentor you.

We’re very fortunate that Robert’s dad has decades of construction experience, so he has taught us many tricks along the way.

3. Make safety a priority.

Always wear protective gear, keep hands clear of nailers/blades, and get to know your tools’ safety features before using via manufacturer manuals.

4. Start small.

Choose a beginner-level, low-intensity DIY project you feel you can attempt and dive in.

These are some of my favorite beginner-level DIYs to practice with:

These are my favorite tools that are perfect for a beginner DIYer.

The Best Tools for a Beginner DIYer

Power Tools

1. Mouse Sander

If you plan on refinishing furniture especially, a sander always comes in handy.

2. Drill

I use this a drill on 99% of our projects.

3. Drill Bit Set

This set is the most versatile for all kinds of jobs.

 

4. Jigsaw

This is the least intimidating of saws to me and the perfect first step into cutting. They’re great for smaller wood working jobs or when you need to make a curved cut.

5. Circular Saw

This saw is by far the most versatile for lots of different straight cuts, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Use a saw horse and clamps to keep a piece of wood secure as you cut.

6. Nail Gun

If you ever plan on installing shiplap, board and batten, or molding, a cordless brad nailer is your best friend!

7. Oscillating Multi-Tool

I love this little guy for lots of odd jobs: trimming door casings, taking out moldings, removing old caulk, paint, and grout. It’s definitely called “multi” for a reason.

Manual Tools

1. Utility Knife

2. Screwdriver Set

3. Hammer

4. Tape Measure

5. Speed Square

6. Level

7. Clamps

8. Hand Saw

9. Multi-tool

10. Kreg Jig

11. Adjustable Wrench

12. Saw Horses

Paint Tools

1. 2″ Angled Sash Brush

2. Handy Pail and Liners

3. Frog Tape

4. Spackle

5. Wood Filler

6. Putty Knife

7. All-Purpose Caulk

8. Roller Frame and Covers

9. Canvas Drop Cloth

10. Paint Tray and Liners

11. Masking Liquid

 

Inspiration

If you need a little inspiration to give you extra courage for conquering tools, I love following these Instagrammers for tool knowledge and DIY encouragement:

@jenwoodhouse

@philip_or_flop

@angelarosehome

@frills_and_drills

@farfromcypress

@vintagerevivals

@makingprettyspaces

Got any others to add to the list? I cannot WAIT to finish these built-ins this week because they’re going to be SO GOOD! More on that soon.

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4 Comments

  1. I am so greatful l for this list. First, you explains which tools to use for certain jobs, and why? Especially knowing that there are smaller tools one can use, that will do the same job as larger tools. I am very intimidated by large tools. I often tell myself, how great it would be to learn how to use these tools to build certain things that I wait, and wait, and wait for my husband to do. He’s procrastinator procrastinator and I am I want it done yesterday type person. You guessed it, this creates problems for me.
    Thanks!

  2. I will add these to my Pinterest page as I am not a confident tool user for sure. I have to ask Lauren, that first clip with you using a saw, that is so funny seeing a shirtless strange man in the background. You gave me some helpful tips thank you!

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