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See also: DIY Network, a cable TV network.

Do it yourself or DIY is home improvement done by the householder without the aid of paid professionals. The term was in fact not coined in the 1960s by British TV presenter and craftsman Barry Bucknell although he is often credited with its invention.

DIY in North America

In the 1970s, DIY spread through the North American population of college- and recent-college-graduate age groups. In part, this involved simply the renovation of older homes. But it also related to some extent to various projects expressing the social and environmental vision of the '60s and early '70s.

A young American visionary named Stewart Brand, working with friends and family, and, initially using the most basic of typesetting and page-layout tools, created issue number one of The Whole Earth Catalog in late 1968. It was subtitled : Access to Tools.

The first Catalog and its successors used a broad definition of the term "tools." There were informational tools, such as books (often technical in nature), professional journals, courses, classes, and the like. And there were specialized, designed items, such as carpenter's and mason's tools, garden tools, welding equipment, chainsaws, fiberglass materials, etc. - even early personal computers.

The Catalog's publication both emerged from and spurred the great wave of experimentalism, convention-breaking, and do-it-yourself attitude of the late 1960s. Often copied, the Catalog appealed to a wide cross-section of people in North America and had a broad influence.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the publication of how-to books and widely distributed magazines for the handy amateur increased. When home video (VCRs) came along, the potentials in demonstrating processes audio-visually were immediately grasped by DIY instructors. As with television programs, presentation could be dynamic and was not limited in the ways that still photos and written text might be.

The DIY industry has grown markedly since the 1980s as DIY has become a popular weekend pastime for people wanting to improve their living conditions (and the value of their house) without the expense of paying someone to do it. There are many DIY shops to supply materials and tools.

Common DIY tasks range from:

  • putting up shelves.
  • fitting wardrobes

to more advanced tasks such as:

Most DIY tasks are within the range of most people who can read and follow instructions, although DIY has been responsible for an increase in injuries at home.

See also



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