DIY Design Plan Resources for the Not-So-Experienced Carpenter

Oh, Ikea.
Before moving to Better Farm, I'd barely dabbled in the world of carpentry. I kind of knew how to spackle, I'd hammered a few nails, and I'd built plenty of tree forts. But I lacked any sense of finesse or common sense when it came to figuring out how to build something properly on my own.

The last few years have provided me with quite the education: constructing a greenhouse out of donated windows, laying the foundation for a human-scale birdhouse, and making small renovations throughout the main house. Here's a quick guide to some of the top resources the people at Better Farm refer to again and again for inspiration and guidance:
  • Ana White—Absolutely LOVE Ana White's "Free and Easy Furniture Plans to Save You Money" link—they really are easy, and they really do save you money:
  • Mother Earth News—The long-running homesteading magazine is chock-full of DIY design plans. At their website you can find dozens of fun projects ranging in skill level. 
  • DIY Network—As far as a one-stop site goes, the DIY Network covers everything from plumbing to plumming.
  • Bob Vila—Need we say more?
  • Hammer Zone—Basic, no-nonsense instructions for insulation, installing progammable thermostats, and anything else you can think of.
  • Instructables—At Instructables you can learn to make everything from a wood pallet desk to a jet pack shark sculpture:

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.