Read our guest post outlining four Daddy DIY projects for when you have a new baby.
A new child can inspire you to take up all kinds of creative projects. For the handyman, your first child provides numerous opportunities to flex your creative muscles - as well as your hammer arm - building new furniture for them.
And even if you are a beginner, a baby is often reason enough to take up DIY for the very first time. Whether this is from a sudden injection of parental instinct, or simply that putting up shelves is a fantastic excuse to get you out of changing nappies is unimportant. The following suggestions make for useful starting points for any new parent of various skill levels.
A snug and secure cot or cradle is one of the first things you will need for your baby. Constructing a cradle at home allows you to personalise this very special gift to your child, whilst ensuring that it fits the home.
Whether you are looking for a high-sided cot for a full night's rest, or a rocking cradle for your baby's first months, the approach will be the same. Using a large roll of paper, first measure and then draw out the dimensions of your cot in actual size. This is the very best way to guarantee that your pieces will fit and that the edges are flush.
Your baby will be spending a lot of time in their new cot so comfort and safety are the priority. Select a strong and non-toxic wood glue for the joints. Consider tacking the joints (a nail gun is ideal if you can get your hands on one), and sand every surface thoroughly. Paint and varnish the wood, and your baby's first crib is ready.
Not to be confused with a Stargate, which is a time-travelling portal and infinitely more difficult to construct at home, a stair gate is an absolutely essential piece of apparatus for any new parent.
We have all heard the statistics which tell us that most accidents occur in the home. But it is only when we have children of our own that we really begin to notice just how hazardous each sharp corner, loose piece of carpeting and unattended staircase can be.
For a young child, your flight of stairs is as dangerous as anything they might discover in the kitchen cupboards, so a secure guard rail is essential. The main benefit of a bespoke, self-constructed unit is that it will fit your own stairwell perfectly. An ill-fitting, standard-built stair gate bought from a shop could be as dangerous as no stair gate at all.
Take careful measurements and build yourself a frame from either wood or metal. Strength is the key here – a determined child can be remarkably adept at demolishing your handiwork. So if you are working with wood, using a mitre saw set to 90 degrees will keep every join as strong and secure as possible.
If you have the good fortune to own a decent amount of garden space in your property then you will want to share the outdoors area with your newborn at as early an age as possible. Gardens can be fraught with all kinds of hidden dangers which children have an uncanny habit of gravitating towards. A playhouse may be your answer: giving your child a focal point for their games, and giving you the peace of mind in knowing that they are playing in safety.
A sturdy and exciting playhouse is deceptively simple to construct. Starting with a timber floor frame with cross-beams, you then simply build upwards: first with vertical posts in each corner, then supporting cross-beams for the walls. You will probably need a second pair of hands to construct a slanted roof, but it will be more secure and resilient than a flat roof. Cover the roof and wall panels with wood sheeting and level the ground underneath with sand and paving slabs to complete the miniature home.
A couple of effective tips for a great end result: Lay a sheet of felt between the frame and floor boards for extra weather-proofing and to prevent squeaking, and secure every joint with both wood glue and nails for safety and peace of mind.
Of course, we are not all DIY veterans, and none of us is born with the know-how to confidently build furniture for our little bundle of joy at the drop of a hat. So if you are breaking out the toolbox for the first time in years, why not start off with that firm favourite of DIY novices, the spice rack? Despite what you may have leaned from watching Homer Simpson it is not difficult to build a spice rack successfully and - if you do make a mistake - starting again from scratch will not break the bank either.
Simply construct a wooden frame with sides, a back board and a shallow front board that allows you to fit your spice jars into the rack. Add hooks for a wall attachment that allow you to remove your rack if you should wish to, and take a step back to admire: your first project is complete. It may take a few years for your baby to truly enjoy your spicy home made curry recipes, but until then the experience of a successful DIY project is an invaluable one.
This is a guest post on behalf of HSS who provide various tools for hire such as floor sanders, carpet cleaners, power diggers and steam cleaners.