Anyone who creates something, whether that’s a painting or a dress, has heard this. Usually, it comes after the potential customer has spotted said item, looks it over, is at the point of buying it, sees the price and then says, “I could make this.” Over time, I found that people are often shocked at the price of an item and feel that they can create the same thing for less. So why is an item so expensive?
Price does seem daunting when buying handmade. Besides materials, the cost includes time and time is money! Let’s use cake as an example. We could all make our own cakes anytime we want them yet we will pay bakers hundreds of dollars for the perfect cake for a special occasion. We are paying for the guarantee that the cake is delicious and beautiful and that can only happen if the baker and decorator take their time to do it right.
But, you can do it yourself! If that’s your goal, there’s nothing wrong with that. The feeling you’ll get from a successful creation is irreplaceable and well worth it; however, go into the job expecting to take time, expect to make some mistakes, and expect to buy supplies and tools. Depending on what you’re planning to make, tools will be the most expensive purchase. Let’s say you want to make a simple rustic flag as your first project:
If you only want to buy one saw, try a circular saw. I suggest you keep the flag on the larger size. The smaller the pieces of wood you work with, the more disastrous (think of your fingers) the event can become. Whatever you do, do NOT modify the saw by removing the guard. That is a bad idea.
Or, you can use a jig saw. A jig saw is a handy, versatile tool. Before you leave the store with it, buy extra blades. Nothing is worse than breaking a blade in the middle of the project and there are no spares handy. You can use the jig saw to make shapes, or wavy patterns along the edge of your flag. Stick to softer woods because they are easier to cut through.
You don’t have to buy a vise but at least buy clamps. They are not a frivolous expense because it’s easier to replace a clamp than it is to reattach a finger.
Buy higher end wood glue. You don’t want to spend time on your flag just to have it break apart where you’ve glued it.
Buy a hammer and nails, or consider using screws instead. Screws will make your project more durable. If you do NOT want to buy a drill/driver and drill bits, stick to softer, thinner woods so that you can drive the screw by hand. You can use a nail to start the screw hole too. Just tap it in lightly, about half the depth of the nail so that you can pull it out with a claw hammer (nails can split the wood, causing cracks. This will frustrate you unless you specifically desire the old, cracked, rustic look).
Think about what you want your rustic flag to look like. Draw out the design and measurements. Make some notes or some directions that will help you keep track of your steps. Set aside 3 or 4 hours or the whole afternoon, and have fun!
As always, wear protective equipment for your eyes and ears. I was taught to never wear gloves with saws or drills (your skin will most likely give way but a tough leather glove will get caught up and drag your hand deeper into the blade. PLEASE be careful). If you wear an apron, make sure it is tied behind you and that the ties are not loose or long enough to swing into the equipment.