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Basic DIY techniques

Basic DIY techniques

If you’re going to start doing DIY jobs, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basic techniques. It’s important to know which tools to use with different kinds of materials – for example drilling in metal needs a different technique from drilling in stone or masonry. As well as that, it’s important to know what preparations you need to make for each kind of job.

Just click on one of our step-by-step instructions or DIY tips and you’ll be able to get started right away!

How to screw in wood and plastic

How to screw in wood and plastic

Screws are available in many different types, sizes and materials. The choice depends on the material in which you want to screw, as well as the type of job.

To the step-by-step instruction

How to use wall plugs (part 2)

How to use wall plugs (part 2)

To fix an object to a wall you need wall plugs so you can insert screws. The best type of wall plug to use depends on the material of which the wall is made.

To the step-by-step instruction

Drilling tools

Drilling tools

If you want to hang something up or fix things together, you’ll need to drill holes. In this article we’ll take a look at the different kinds of drills.

To the step-by-step instruction

How to apply silicone sealant

How to apply silicone sealant

Silicone sealant is used to finish joints, keep out moisture and fill seams and other gaps. It is elastic, so it can allow for a certain amount of movement.

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How to use wall plugs

How to use wall plugs

If you want to mount anything on a hard surface you need wall plugs. Wall plugs give a firm hold in solid materials or anchor themselves in hollow materials. 

To the step-by-step instruction

How to drill in stone or glass

How to drill in stone or glass

Different kinds of stone need different drill bits. There are hard types of stone, as well as soft types. You should always use a masonry or concrete drill bit.

To the step-by-step instruction

How to screw in metal

How to screw in metal

If you want to fix something to metal, you can use different kinds of bolts and screws, learn more about hex-head bolts, Allen-head bolts and metal screws.

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How to drill in metal

How to drill in metal

Visit DIY 4 Beginners to learn everything you want to know about drilling in metal: from metal drill bits to drilling speed.

To the step-by-step instruction

How to drill in wood and plastic

How to drill in wood and plastic

In most cases drilling in wood and plastic isn’t difficult, because these are usually soft materials. Learn everything about drilling in wood and plastic.

To the step-by-step instruction

How to use different materials

How to use different materials

You’ll find different materials when you’re building or working on DIY jobs. Materials have different characteristics and are used for multiple purposes.

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How to wallpaper

How to wallpaper

Wallpapering is a great way to quickly give your home a new look. Wallpaper is available in many different colors and patterns, and in different grades.

To the step-by-step instruction

How to use a mitre saw

How to use a mitre saw

If you want to make a neatly finished angled joint between two pieces of wood, you need to bevel the two ends to be joined. Everything about mitre sawing!

To the step-by-step instruction

TIP

Sawing a straight line with a jigsaw

Sawing a straight line with a jigsaw

Clamp a straight strip of wood to the piece of wood you want to saw using G-clamps or jointing clamps, and then guide the foot of the jigsaw along it. Then you'll get a perfectly straight cut!

Read more

TIP

Sanding with a drill

Sanding with a drill

You can sand round objects by hand, or... with your electric drill! Just use one of the many accessories which are available for this purpose.

Read more

TIP

Clean those dirty hands

Clean those dirty hands

Hands that are dirty, oily or greasy can easily be cleaned by rubbing them with used coffee grounds - these have an absorbent and abrasive effect.

Read more

TIP

Removing nails

Removing nails

You can avoid damaging your woodwork with pliers or hammer by protecting the surface with a block of wood.

Read more

TIP

Moving a large plate

Moving a large plate

Take a piece of thick string of sufficient length and tie loops into the ends. Place the loops around the bottom of the plate, and you will then be able to carry it easily and with good balance.

Read more

TIP

Hammering nails

Hammering nails

You can avoid hitting yourself on the fingers when you're hammering a nail by holding the nail with a paper clip.

Read more

TIP

Drilling in smooth metal

Drilling in smooth metal

To prevent your drill from sliding away on smooth metal, it's a good idea to first make a small dent with a centre punch or a nail at the place where you want to drill. Then the drill will stay where it's meant to be.

Read more

TIP

Drilling holes in glazed tiles

Drilling holes in glazed tiles

Avoid dangerous slipping of your drill when you're drilling holes in glazed tiles. First, stick two pieces of masking tape in a cross pattern at the location of the hole, and your drill won't slip away.

Read more

TIP

Ideal length for drilling a plug

Ideal length for drilling a plug

There's a simple way to avoid drilling too deep: mark off the length of your plug, plus half a centimetre, on the drill with a piece of coloured tape.

Read more

TIP

Magnetise a screwdriver

Magnetise a screwdriver

A magnetic screwdriver is handy for driving screws in hard-to-reach places. You can magnetise the tip of a screwdriver yourself by running one pole of a magnet over it a number of times in the same direction. You can also remove the magnetisation by running the same pole over it, this time in the opposite direction.

Read more

TIP

Anti-splitting trick

Anti-splitting trick

How can you prevent hard or thin wood from splitting when you hammer nails in? With an old carpenter's trick: first drive the head of the nail in at right-angles to the direction of the grain.

Read more

TIP

Remove paint  and grease from hands

Remove paint and grease from hands

Did you know that you can remove paint and grease from your hands with vegetable oil? It's not only better for your skin, but it's also much more environment-friendly.

Read more

TIP

Sawing an exact circle

Sawing an exact circle

To do this, use a circle guide. Fix it with a nail at the centre of the circle you want to drill. The nail will then serve as a pivot.

Read more

TIP

Non-stick sawing

Non-stick sawing

If your sawblade tends to stick, for example because of rust or corrosion of the steel, just rub a candle along the blade a few times. Thanks to the candle wax the saw will then cut smoothly through your workpiece.

Read more

TIP

Hammering small nails

Hammering small nails

When hammering nails that are too small to hold between your index finger and thumb, it's a good idea to first push each nail through a strip of paper. This allows you to hold the nail in place, and stops you from hitting your thumb!

Read more

TIP

Wood filler of the right colour

Wood filler of the right colour

When filling holes in plain wood, it's often difficult to get filler paste of the right colour. You can solve the problem by mixing some sawdust from the same wood with wood glue and using it to fill the hole. After drying it will have the same colour as the rest of the wood.

Read more

TIP

Countersinking screws

Countersinking screws

To make sure that a screw fits flush with the top of the material, use a drill with the same diameter as the head of the screw to countersink the place where you intend to insert the screw by a few millimetres.

Read more

TIP

Repairing a drilled hole that’s too big

Repairing a drilled hole that’s too big

If a drilled hole has become too big, for example in a piece of furniture, you can repair it as follows: drill the hole out to 6 or 8 mm. Then glue a wooden dowel or plug of the same size into the hole. Allow the glue to dry and make the top edge of the dowel flush with the surface using a chisel. Then you can tighten the screw again at the same place.

Read more

TIP

Avoiding splinters

Avoiding splinters

When you’re drilling a hole in wood, there will always be some splintering on the bottom surface. You can avoid this by placing a piece of waste wood against the bottom surface and securing it with clamps.

Read more

TIP

Drilling at an angle

Drilling at an angle

Do you need to drill a hole at a specific angle? Then you can make a wooden drilling accessory with an edge at the same angle. Hold the drill against the angled edge, and then you can be sure you’re drilling at the right angle.

Read more

TIP

Drilling safely in glass

Drilling safely in glass

To drill in glass you need a special glass drill with a hardened metal cutter. To reduce the chance of breaking the glass to a minimum, make a small ‘dam’ out of putty or sealant around the place where you intend to drill. Then pour some Vaseline or turpentine into the enclosed area. This will both cool and lubricate the drill. Place the glass sheet on a flat wooden surface and drill at a low speed. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes against glass splinters.

Read more

TIP

Drilling in metal with a center punch

Drilling in metal with a center punch

If you’re going to drill in metal you need to make sure the drill won’t slide away. You can do that by first marking the hole to be drilled with a center punch. This is a steel rod with a hard, sharp point. When you drill the hole, place the drill bit exactly at the punched location so it can’t slide away. Depending on the type of metal, you can use an HSS (High Speed Steel) or titanium drill bit.

Read more

TIP

Locking a nut

Locking a nut

If you want to be sure that a nut won’t be loosened by vibration, you can use a spring washer or a locknut. This is a nut with a plastic inner sleeve that securely grips the bolt or threaded rod when it is tightened.

Read more

TIP

Prevent an overheated drill

Prevent an overheated drill

If you put too much pressure on an electric drill while you’re drilling, or if your drill bit is blunt, the drill can overheat and may burn out. So when you’re drilling in masonry or concrete it’s a good idea to withdraw the drill regularly. This allows dust to escape and gives the drill a chance to cool down.

Read more

TIP

Prevent an overheated drill 2

Prevent an overheated drill 2

Does your drill bit regularly break when you’re drilling in natural stone, and you don’t have a water-cooled drill? Then don’t drill for longer than 10 or 20 seconds continuously, and cool the drill bit in a jar of water each time.

Read more

TIP

Removing a plug

Removing a plug

If you need to remove a plug, you can do it effortlessly with a corkscrew – preferably a wing corkscrew. This not only works with wooden plugs, but also with plastic or nylon plugs. For small plugs you can first drive a screw of a matching size partly into the plug, and then pull the screw together with the plug out with pliers.

Read more

Sawing a straight line with a jigsaw

Sawing a straight line with a jigsaw

Clamp a straight strip of wood to the piece of wood you want to saw using G-clamps or jointing clamps, and then guide the foot of the jigsaw along it. Then you'll get a perfectly straight cut!

Sanding with a drill

Sanding with a drill

You can sand round objects by hand, or... with your electric drill! Just use one of the many accessories which are available for this purpose.

Clean those dirty hands

Clean those dirty hands

Hands that are dirty, oily or greasy can easily be cleaned by rubbing them with used coffee grounds - these have an absorbent and abrasive effect.

Removing nails

Removing nails

You can avoid damaging your woodwork with pliers or hammer by protecting the surface with a block of wood.

Moving a large plate

Moving a large plate

Take a piece of thick string of sufficient length and tie loops into the ends. Place the loops around the bottom of the plate, and you will then be able to carry it easily and with good balance.

Hammering nails

Hammering nails

You can avoid hitting yourself on the fingers when you're hammering a nail by holding the nail with a paper clip.

Drilling in smooth metal

Drilling in smooth metal

To prevent your drill from sliding away on smooth metal, it's a good idea to first make a small dent with a centre punch or a nail at the place where you want to drill. Then the drill will stay where it's meant to be.

Drilling holes in glazed tiles

Drilling holes in glazed tiles

Avoid dangerous slipping of your drill when you're drilling holes in glazed tiles. First, stick two pieces of masking tape in a cross pattern at the location of the hole, and your drill won't slip away.

Ideal length for drilling a plug

Ideal length for drilling a plug

There's a simple way to avoid drilling too deep: mark off the length of your plug, plus half a centimetre, on the drill with a piece of coloured tape.

Magnetise a screwdriver

Magnetise a screwdriver

A magnetic screwdriver is handy for driving screws in hard-to-reach places. You can magnetise the tip of a screwdriver yourself by running one pole of a magnet over it a number of times in the same direction. You can also remove the magnetisation by running the same pole over it, this time in the opposite direction.

Anti-splitting trick

Anti-splitting trick

How can you prevent hard or thin wood from splitting when you hammer nails in? With an old carpenter's trick: first drive the head of the nail in at right-angles to the direction of the grain.

Remove paint  and grease from hands

Remove paint and grease from hands

Did you know that you can remove paint and grease from your hands with vegetable oil? It's not only better for your skin, but it's also much more environment-friendly.

Sawing an exact circle

Sawing an exact circle

To do this, use a circle guide. Fix it with a nail at the centre of the circle you want to drill. The nail will then serve as a pivot.

Non-stick sawing

Non-stick sawing

If your sawblade tends to stick, for example because of rust or corrosion of the steel, just rub a candle along the blade a few times. Thanks to the candle wax the saw will then cut smoothly through your workpiece.

Hammering small nails

Hammering small nails

When hammering nails that are too small to hold between your index finger and thumb, it's a good idea to first push each nail through a strip of paper. This allows you to hold the nail in place, and stops you from hitting your thumb!

Wood filler of the right colour

Wood filler of the right colour

When filling holes in plain wood, it's often difficult to get filler paste of the right colour. You can solve the problem by mixing some sawdust from the same wood with wood glue and using it to fill the hole. After drying it will have the same colour as the rest of the wood.

Countersinking screws

Countersinking screws

To make sure that a screw fits flush with the top of the material, use a drill with the same diameter as the head of the screw to countersink the place where you intend to insert the screw by a few millimetres.

Repairing a drilled hole that’s too big

Repairing a drilled hole that’s too big

If a drilled hole has become too big, for example in a piece of furniture, you can repair it as follows: drill the hole out to 6 or 8 mm. Then glue a wooden dowel or plug of the same size into the hole. Allow the glue to dry and make the top edge of the dowel flush with the surface using a chisel. Then you can tighten the screw again at the same place.

Avoiding splinters

Avoiding splinters

When you’re drilling a hole in wood, there will always be some splintering on the bottom surface. You can avoid this by placing a piece of waste wood against the bottom surface and securing it with clamps.

Drilling at an angle

Drilling at an angle

Do you need to drill a hole at a specific angle? Then you can make a wooden drilling accessory with an edge at the same angle. Hold the drill against the angled edge, and then you can be sure you’re drilling at the right angle.

Drilling safely in glass

Drilling safely in glass

To drill in glass you need a special glass drill with a hardened metal cutter. To reduce the chance of breaking the glass to a minimum, make a small ‘dam’ out of putty or sealant around the place where you intend to drill. Then pour some Vaseline or turpentine into the enclosed area. This will both cool and lubricate the drill. Place the glass sheet on a flat wooden surface and drill at a low speed. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes against glass splinters.

Drilling in metal with a center punch

Drilling in metal with a center punch

If you’re going to drill in metal you need to make sure the drill won’t slide away. You can do that by first marking the hole to be drilled with a center punch. This is a steel rod with a hard, sharp point. When you drill the hole, place the drill bit exactly at the punched location so it can’t slide away. Depending on the type of metal, you can use an HSS (High Speed Steel) or titanium drill bit.

Locking a nut

Locking a nut

If you want to be sure that a nut won’t be loosened by vibration, you can use a spring washer or a locknut. This is a nut with a plastic inner sleeve that securely grips the bolt or threaded rod when it is tightened.

Prevent an overheated drill

Prevent an overheated drill

If you put too much pressure on an electric drill while you’re drilling, or if your drill bit is blunt, the drill can overheat and may burn out. So when you’re drilling in masonry or concrete it’s a good idea to withdraw the drill regularly. This allows dust to escape and gives the drill a chance to cool down.

Prevent an overheated drill 2

Prevent an overheated drill 2

Does your drill bit regularly break when you’re drilling in natural stone, and you don’t have a water-cooled drill? Then don’t drill for longer than 10 or 20 seconds continuously, and cool the drill bit in a jar of water each time.

Removing a plug

Removing a plug

If you need to remove a plug, you can do it effortlessly with a corkscrew – preferably a wing corkscrew. This not only works with wooden plugs, but also with plastic or nylon plugs. For small plugs you can first drive a screw of a matching size partly into the plug, and then pull the screw together with the plug out with pliers.

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DIY with no problems isn’t always easy for everybody. Skil Power Tools develops quality tools at very affordable prices, with unique solutions that really do make DIY easier. That’s why Skil sponsors ‘DIY 4 Beginners’, the ideal site to help with all your jobs.