Helpful Apps for Your DIY Projects
Put your smartphone to work around the house!
Between Youtube and Wikipedia, DIY is undergoing a revolution, as skilled craftspeople are able to transmit their knowledge to millions of people at almost no cost. The next wave of this revolution is in DIY smartphone apps, which can give you access to unprecedented resources and know-how, from wherever you are. Here are a few of our top picks for this year, for Android and iOS, that can change the way you do home improvement, DIY holiday decorations, and homemade crafts.
1. Fabric U (Android, iOS) If youíre working with unfamiliar fabric for clothing or interior decorating, there are many ways to get it wrongóso Fabric U is an excellent database to check with before you head to the fabric store. It includes care and usage information for over 120 different fabrics, so you get the right material for your project. It also includes fun ideas for each fabric, if youíre looking for a new DIY project. (Cost: $1.99)
2. Gardener (Android) This is a great all-purpose app for your home garden. You can use it to plot out your garden before you plant, ensuring that your gardenís climate and soil conditions are right for the plants you want to grow, as well as ensuring that the final product will have the look youíre hoping for. Once your garden begins to grow, Gardener allows you to track your watering, pruning, and fertilizing with regular notifications, so you donít miss the little things your garden needs to look nice. The app keeps an eye on the 5-day forecast and allows you to track things like the date your flowers bloom and how fast they grow, so you can learn valuable lessons from season to season. (Cost: free)
3. Handyman DIY (iOS) This is easily the best all-around DIY app for your smartphone. Handy Man helps you figure out exactly what youíll need to tackle your DIY project, and all the steps along the way to get it done. You input the type of job youíre doing, and if itís a common job, the app will tell you how much of each item youíll need for the size of the project. For most jobs, it even includes video tutorials. (Cost: $1.99)
4. DIY Calculator (iOS) Regardless of the project, counting the cost should be a major part of your planning; as unattractive as your patio might be, a half-done patio that you canít afford to finish is worse. With this app, you can input the dimensions of the floor, wall, or surface youíre working on, and DIY Calculator will tell you how much tile, paint, hardwood, wallpaper etc. youíll need to get the job done. (Cost: $0.99)
5. iHandy Carpenter (Android, iOS) iHandy Carpenter simulates digital carpentry tools for any woodworking project around the house. The app can simulate a surface level, bubble level bar, plumb bob, steel ruler, or steel protractoróand lest you think youíre limited by your phoneís display, the app can use your phoneís accelerometer to stretch the ruler across any distance you need to measure. The interface is beautiful, accurate, and simple. Some bugs have been reported for Android phones (it was originally designed for iPhone), but our teamís T-Mobile Android Samsung phones ran the app just fine. Check the comments for info about how your phone might run the app before you buy.(Cost: $1.99)
6. Home 3D (Android, iOS) Having a 3D model of your home to experiment on is a much easier and cheaper way to get creative with your home than just winging it and hoping your ideas look the way you want. Home 3D lets you construct a full 3-dimensional, lifelike model of your home, including furniture, fireplaces, lamps, and appliances, allowing you to test the look of new windows, paint, or flooring. Itís a great way to take the guesswork out of doing it yourself. (Cost: $6.99)
Julia Peterson is a writer for AndGeeks.com, a popular website that provides up-to-date news, detailed commentary, and unbiased reviews on cell phones and related topics. Julia resides in Galveston, Texas in a cozy little house in the country with her husband, young son, and their Labrador retriever, Darby.