We’ve all had that moment. The moment where we had to call a trade smith to fix something we didn’t know how to do. It took the expert 10 minutes and we got slapped with a big charge for their services. Or that moment when we realized we’ve spent way too much on a trendy piece of home decor. It was probably a one-of-a-kind thrift store find upcycled with a few small tools and a perfectly selected coat of paint by a cool artist. Obviously, these services are valuable, and we don’t want to take away from that. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just do it yourself once in a while, though?
According to Wikipedia, “Do it yourself”—DIY—is the method of building, modifying or repairing things without the direct aid of experts or professionals. While that may be true as a flat baseline definition, DIY has become a self-made sub-culture that transcends gender, politics, generations and economics. It can expand us as artists and it can help us save money on costly home repairs.
The phrase picked up popularity in the 1950s as people started taking on home-improvement projects to reduce expenses or as a creative outlet. Magazine publications like Popular Mechanics and Better Homes & Gardens benefited from the do-it-yourself boost. Later, as printed materials gave way to digital options, DIY became even more easily accessible to anyone with access to the internet.
Whether you’re interested in learning a new skill or want to bring your own artistic vision to life, you can likely find a how-to video for it online. Or, if you have a useful or crafty skill, you can make your own how-to video to share with the world. It’s a fun way to engage with your audience or collaborate with other creators. It’s also a good starting point if you’re just beginning a channel of your own.
Dedicated DIY channels are all the rage
You probably know that there are entire channels dedicated to creating DIY videos. Some have massive budgets and develop into a whole empire of coveted celebrity hosts. Others are joyful indie creators who have a passion for their craft or trade and turned it into a side-gig when their videos became monetized.
Glen Scott is the latter. He started his channel, DIY Creators (2.66M subscribers), after being inspired by the beautiful architecture, design and furniture found in large upscale estate homes. He’s had no formal training in woodwork. However, he spent a few years of trial-and-error teaching himself before posting his first DIY video in 2015.
On the other end of the creative spectrum, you’ll find fun channels like Thread Banger (4M subscribers). This channel, hosted similarly to a lifestyle vlog, features Corrine Leigh and Rob Czar—who each have a personal channel with about a million subscribers each. They make ridiculous do-it-yourself videos like “DIY Haunted Houseplants” and “Quarantine Jell-O.” They create some potentially useful videos, too, like how to build a porch swing out of wood pallets.
Incorporating DIY videos into your existing channel
If you’re already creating a channel for literally anything at all, adding in some DIY segments or episodes is a great idea. You can stay in line with your usual content but take it a step further. For example, if you have a beauty channel, you might do a DIY episode on building a great lighted mirror. Then, repaint an old vanity table to give it a modern makeover in another episode. Here are a few more inspirations:
- A channel about parenting can mix in some episodes on organization overhauls on a kid’s play space.
- Cooking channels could make videos about growing and drying your own herbs.
- Musicians might show their fans how to make a recording booth.
- A warm family lifestyle vlog can go big with building a treehouse.
- Environmental channels should consider DIY upcycled crafts or restorations.
- Channels about racing or motocross can include videos on engine repair.
There’s something magical about good DIY videos
As you search for creators who are using DIY videos in successful ways, you’ll likely find that they have highly engaged audiences. You’ll also find lots of videos on how to create good how-to videos. In this genre, details matter a lot. You must be able to articulate your instructions and message clearly and you’ll need to have dynamic filming. Techniques such as shooting from directly above your workspace to give a better view are really important. Luckily, DIY experts love to share what they know.
The fact is, we all have something to teach and something to learn. When you create DIY videos, you get to share your knowledge and skills with others. While that feels good, it also builds value for your viewers and creates loyalty. It gives them another reason to come back for more. Hopefully, they’ll even recommend your channel to their friends or invest in your brand’s merch. Encourage your fans to try their own similar projects to create a sense of family and community.