DIYers find an off-grid living more than just fulfilling. They can use their skills to handle many things around their new home without the worry of hiring an expert. Does it mean living off the grid is not for you? You can also start perfecting your DIY skills.
In this article, we give you all possible DIY ideas for off-grid living. We will also walk you through how you can handle some of them, including safety precautions you have to take.
Your DIY project success depends on your confidence and preparation to handle it. You need the right tools and equipment and then follow the steps outlined for the project. Even if it does not come out as expected the first time, you shall have learned something new.
- Why DIY? How Does It Help for Living Off-Grid?
- DIY Ideas For Off-Grid Living
- Personal Thinking
Why DIY? How Does It Help for Living Off-Grid?
An off-grid lifestyle is more fulfilling if you can be part of it. You should embrace the idea and do it with passion. Many off-gridders who thrive have developed personal skills that help them handle things that they would have not.
In our previous post about the checklist for off-grid living, we stated that you have to learn some survival skills. This is the time to put yourself to the test and perfect the skills you learned.
DIY projects help you in different ways, and here are some of the reasons you should be very vigilant with these do-it-yourself projects:
- DIY projects make you self-reliant. You do not need professionals to do basic tasks at home for you.
- Put your skills to the test. By doing as many DIY projects as possible, you perfect your art.
- Off-grid living is about self-reliance and self-survival, and DIY projects help you thrive. Without depending on anyone for expertise, you can be happy with yourself.
- Save money by trying to handle tasks at home by yourself. Hiring a professional or technician is likely to cost you money because of the hefty fees charged.
- Off-grid DIY projects help you become an all-around person. You can take care of your family and provide for members without asking for help.
- An off-grid lifestyle can turn into a lonely and boring life. Inject some fun and make it more effective by completing as many DIY projects as possible.
DIY Ideas For Off-Grid Living
In many cases, off-grid living will take you to a remote area where you cut links with some people and machines that might help you do some work. You find yourself in a lonely place with your family, but life has to continue as usual.
We are not saying that you cannot ask for help or buy machines, but it is more fulfilling if you do it yourself. Additionally, you save time and money that you would otherwise pay for the services. The savings can be diverted to other basic needs.
There are over 100 DIY ideas for off-grid living, but we will only explore the ones you need to do. Make your off-grid living worthwhile by doing the following DIY projects:
The shelter is a basic need. You need it to protect you from the sun’s heat, bad weather, and dangers or threats from wild animals. Even if you are sure of your safety, you need somewhere to rest your head after a long tiresome day.
There are many shelter types you can build for off-grid living. The design you choose depends on your personal preference, but it should protect you and survive the extreme winter weather conditions. The bigger and more durable it is, the better.
The shelters you can build for off-grid living range from pole barns to cabins and anything in between. The size and choice depend on your budget. If you have budget constraints, you can choose an earthbag dome.
Here, we are going to learn how to build a cabin as an off-grid shelter.
- An off-grid land – You need to choose the location appropriately.
- Water, timber, and rock – You need these for the reasons that we already know. They are the building materials, source of heat, and water for drinking.
- Tools – The list has a hammer, ax, knives, pliers, wrench, nails, wood saws, measuring tape, digging tools, spirit level, etc.
- Essential equipment – These are important but not a must. Sawmills are very important to make your work easier when preparing materials for building a cabin and come with long-term benefits.
Make sure you have everything you will need before starting the work. Proceed as follows:
- Come up with a house design. You can draw on paper and specify the size.
- Prepare the site and measure the ground.
- Dig the foundation for your cabin so that it can withstand the storm
- Using your masonry skills, erect the structure as per the design.
You might not get it right for the first time. But with practice, your future cabins will be more attractive and resistant to wind and storm. Using timber without replanting new trees may be unsustainable. So, ensure you plant more trees to replace the ones you fell down.
DIY Water System
The human body is about 60% water. Your lungs are about 83% water, and your brain and heart are about 73% water. This tells you how important water is to life. Before you even think about food, water should come first. Our bodies need water to digest and absorb that food.
For your off-grid home, you should first think of how you will get water. Fortunately, there are many cost-effective ways of getting water. You do not need thousands of dollars to do these DIY off-grid water projects.
The following are some of the off-grid water sources:
This is the most cost-effective because you only get your gears ready and start the work. No expertise is needed to dig a well on your off-grid home. You only need the right tools and equipment to have the job done.
Some people might think digging a well is an unrealistic task to handle by hand. That is not the case. Refer to The Spruce for all the required tools and steps needed to take on the project.
This is the best option if you plan to do irrigation or any other thing that requires plenty of water. However, it is expensive to hire the machines. Contact any drilling company near you for the approximate cost of drilling a well.
Rain brings free water but harvesting and storing it can be a challenge. You can have water storage containers or underground tanks. Buy synthetic tanks or dig a hole and cement it to avoid leakages. You also need a roof and gutter to harvest clean rainwater.
Water hauling simply means you will be buying water or transporting it yourself using specialized trucks. Your water source can be natural streams, ponds, lakes, or even off-site drilled wells. This approach will require an overhead water tank for storing it.
You can also do plumbing for your off-grid home and enjoy tapped water, showers, and any other thing. If you have a drilled well, boreholes, or any other water source, then solar-powered water pumps can be ideal. You can also use windmills to pump water to an overhead tank.
DIY Food Source
Food is second to water. Our body derives energy from food to move around and do tasks. The same food is needed by our body to develop defense mechanisms against diseases and also to repair damaged tissues. Without it, we cannot live.
Mother nature is kind to us to make it possible to find the food we need. You can still maintain a balanced diet even when you go off-grid. You only need where to source your food and when to do it. You can make food in the following ways:
It’s a bonus for you if your off-grid home is located near an ocean, lake, or river. If you do not have access to any of these and you still need fish in your diet, then you can dig a pond. A pond makes fishing even interesting, but you need proper licensing.
Chickens provide both meat and eggs, all of which are rich in protein. Learn appropriate poultry-keeping techniques and how to care for them to get the best meat and eggs.
Bees make honey, which is a health-friendly food. This product forms part of our meals, and it would be great if you keep bees to produce it for you. Instead of processed sugar, you can depend on honey for the same purpose.
Raise cows and goats
Cows and goats produce milk you need for your morning tea. There are also other milk products you can make at home. If you are good at meat processing, then a goat or a cow can be a meal for your family for months.
Grow vegetables and potatoes
There are many vegetables you can grow at your off-grid home. You only think of what can perform better in your location. Internet research can help you, and you can even erect a greenhouse if need be. All you need is food to sustain you and your family.
DIY Preserving Food Without a Refrigerator
Preserving food is mandatory because you can rarely get some in winter. Even wild animals prepare for harsh times during winter. Some even hibernate to reduce the energy they use when they cannot find food.
Food preservation is crucial to keep what you have already worked for. Using a refrigerator in your off-grid home is possible, but that requires a stable source of electricity. You still need to preserve food with or without it.
The method or technique you will use to preserve food depends on what you need to store for a long time. Here are some of the ways:
Eggs have a protective coat that prevents them from spoiling if stored under low-temperature conditions. If this layer is washed, then you need to use a refrigerator. So, you should never wash your eggs if you plan to preserve them for long using other methods.
Properly stored eggs can last for several weeks. Use appropriate egg preservation methods to count on your eggs many weeks later.
Sources of meat for off-grid living include hunting and slaughtering a goat, sheep, cow, or other livestock. Usually, the slaughtered animal provides more meat than what a family needs at that time. Hence, the need to preserve it.
You can preserve meat through canning, curing, dehydration, smoking, etc. Find more information on long-term meat storage to perfect your skills.
When preserving vegetables and fruits, you need to maintain their nutrition content. That will depend on the method used. Fortunately, some methods have been used for many years; you can also adapt to ensure a steady supply of veggies.
Use the Canopy Health method to preserve your vegetables for future use.
DIY Energy System
Apart from the energy your body needs to do work, you also require electrical power to run electrical appliances and equipment. You have the option of living off the grid without electricity. But if you still need to stay connected with the world, electricity becomes basic.
The following are some of the ways you can produce electricity you need for complete off-grid living:
This requires energy from the sun. To do this, you need solar panels, a battery bank, a power inverter, a solar charge controller, and other components of the system. The size of your off-grid solar power system depends on your energy requirements.
You can install a solar system to power your off-grid shelter, pump water, or provide security lighting. Whatever the use, you need a system that can live up to the expectations. The following are the steps to follow to install a solar power system:
- Calculate your load
- Select solar panels
- Select battery
- Select charge controller
- Design solar and battery connection diagram
- Select the appropriate solar cable
- Mount solar panel (roof or ground)
- Make inverter and battery stands
- Design the entire system wiring
- Complete the installation
Find more information on solar power system design and installation steps to ensure you get everything right. It will save you time and money.
Wind turbines or windmills depend on the speed of the wind to generate electricity. A small wind turbine for an off-grid power system also produces DC power. This means you will require all other components listed under the solar power system apart from solar panels.
Learn how to install a wind turbine power system and know whether it is a viable project in your area. You will find all the information you need from the link provided.
Both solar power and wind turbine power systems are only viable in some areas. For a solar power system, you need to have at least 5 hours of light per day. And for the wind turbine power system, you need an average annual wind speed of 10 miles per hour.
Furniture and Home Décor
There are many things you can do regarding your off-grid home furniture. That is why you are encouraged to learn basic carpentry skills before going off-grid. The list of DIY ideas for off-grid leaving is endless when you consider furniture and decorations.
Make a desk
A desk is simple to make. Start with it to test and perfect your carpentry skills. You do not need more tools and equipment apart from the basics that each home should have. Just assemble all the materials and get to work.
Stoves can keep you warm during winter. There are different stove DIY ideas you can explore. Pick your best or one that looks easy to make and put yourself to the task.
Fireplaces are not anything new. You can make either an indoor or outdoor fireplace to warm yourself in the evening. Again, you have unlimited options. By doing internet research, you can access countless designs you can do yourself.
Paint a front door
Colors are commonly used for decorations. You can choose your favorite paint color, and using a paintbrush, change the appearance of your front door.
Paint a Door Inside of Your Home
You can actually paint any door in your home any color of your choice. Just figure the quantity of paint you need to complete the job. You do not require expertise in this simple task.
Reupholster a Chair
Your old chair can become new again if you recover it. Do not think your chair has reached its end of life simply because the covers and cushions are worn out. Reupholstering is a great way to bring it back to life.
Create a Faux Brick Wall
As part of your exterior home décor project, you can start by making faux brick walls. This simple DIY project will give your house a facelift that will make you fall in love with it again. Bricks are timeless materials that look good on every wall.
Read more: How to make brick?
Make Your Drying Rack
Clothes drying racks make it easier to hang wet clothes after laundry. Portable drying racks are the best option if you have to move them around to follow the sun. The design varies, and you can come up with one of your own.
Make Rock Knife
You can go back to the old stone age periods and craft a rock knife for butchering animals you have hunted. You can also use the same for self-protection against dangers from wild animals and intruders. Everything is straightforward; just have fun working.
The hunting supplies
Hunting is one of the activities that off-gridders do to get their meals. You might need a bow and arrow, knives, clubs, among others. Whatever it is that you need to succeed in hunting, you can make it.
Make Watering Cans
Do you have a flower garden or a lawn decorated with flowers, and how will you water them? Watering cans are the best way to supply water to the base of the flowers, trees, and agricultural crops. You can convert old cans into functional watering cans for this purpose.
DIY Composting Toilet
Managing human waste is one of the ways to live a healthy off-grid life. A compost toilet is ideal in this case and making it is easy. You only need the materials and then put your skills to the test.
A composting toilet uses aerobic bacteria to decompose human waste under controlled conditions enriched with oxygen. It is made up of the following parts:
- Agitator bar
- Compost chamber
- Fan and vent hose
- Flush door
- Flush handle
- Liquid bottle with handle
- Liquid drain
- Mounting screw
- Spider handle
To make a functional composting toilet, you need the following materials:
- 2 5-gallon identical buckets (buckets of the same height can also do)
- 4 2×4 planks of wood whose lengths equal bucket heights
- Large plywood
- Toilet seat
- 8 screws or nails
After gathering all the needed items, follow the steps outlined below. You can get detailed instructions at sunrisespecialty.com.
- Make a hole for the toilet seat
- Create wood stands for the plywood
- Join plywood and stands
- Install toilet seat
- Add absorbent materials such as dried leaves, sawdust, or wood ash into the bucket.
The toilet is ready!
Living off-grid does not mean you will neglect how you look. You should keep yourself groomed and well-kempt at all times. You also need to take care of your health, even when it means preparing your own medicine.
There are different ways you can care for your well-being, and you need to take it seriously. How you look is not only important to you but also those around you. Taking care of yourself is your responsibility.
You can buy clippers that can use solar power or wind power. The electricity generated from these renewable sources is all you need to keep yourself groomed. You can be neat by having short hair.
There are skincare recipes you can try out at home to keep your skin healthy and glowing. Homemade beauty remedies will help you maintain your beautiful look.
Skincare woes should not lower your self-esteem and make you regret your new off-grid life. DIY products can also enhance the look and feel of your skin. You can think of any of the following fixes:
- Anti-aging cocoa face masks
- Nourishing milk hand soak
- Clarifying oat face masks
- Brightening blueberry face masks
- Coconut oil cuticle hydrator
- Acne-fighting tea leaves face toner, etc.
For more details on how to prepare these skincare products and other fixes, visit goodhousekeeping.com.
You do not have to depend on the ready-made clothes from a boutique if you switch to off-grid living. Ways of making clothes exist that you can explore. You can sew clothes if you have a sewing machine, or you can think of knitting.
Learn necessary skills for sewing and read more about beginner’s guide to making clothes. You can also knit dishcloths and others if you love art.
Off-the-grid living will take you far away from a medical facility. That is why you are advised to learn first aid skills to handle situations requiring urgent medical attention. Did you know you can make medicine with ingredients from your garden?
Healthline is a resourceful repository of natural medicine-making recipes that you can check out. Arm yourself with some tips for preparing herbal medicine. It can make the difference between death and life.
A marinade is an essential spice for adding flavor to chicken, beef, port, or vegetables. Making it at home is very simple. You need the following ingredients:
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Mix all the ingredients together and whisk. Your marinade is ready for use.
There are other spice recipes you can try at home. Check them out below:
If you love baking, then yeast becomes an essential part of your recipes. The good thing is that you can now make your yeast at home and enjoy an off-grid lifestyle. You can extract yeast from fruit, grain, and potatoes. The ingredients and method depend on the primary source.
Make Essential Oils
Essential oils are used for different purposes. You will not easily access them when you choose to live off the grid, and that inspires you to make your own. They can be extracted from plants, and the methods used depend on the specific oil source.
Make Apple Cider
At Allrecipes, you will find the information needed to make apple cider juice. Make your diet complete with a glass of homemade juice.
Have you missed taking whiskey since you adopted an off-grid lifestyle? You can now make it in 8 simple steps and quench your thirst.
DIY Natural Cleaning Solutions
Cleaning is part of off-grid home hygiene that should be taken seriously. However, it is not possible without cleaning solutions. You no longer have to go to the market for these cleaning agents as you can make them at home.
You can make your own candle in three steps from The Spruce. Visit the site for a list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions to follow. You no longer have to pay for candlelight.
Bar soap has many uses at home. We use them for laundry and washing soiled or greased hands. But do you need to buy them each time the stock is depleted? Visit goodhousekeeping.com for the recipe you need to make a bar of soap.
Sometimes we prefer liquid detergents to solid soaps. You can also make it at home instead of buying from a supermarket now that you will be located far away from shop outlets. Making a laundry detergent is equally easy.
Remember to keep every soap-making ingredient out of reach of children. They can accidentally eat them, and that should be avoided.
Caring For Pets
Pets are great companions if well taken care of. Some of them, such as dogs, can provide the security you need when living in that forested area. They help keep some wild animals and intruders at bay. Without a doubt, you will reciprocate that by caring for them.
Pet toenail trimming
Like human beings, pet toenails grow. You need to trim them, and you do not need a helping hand in doing so. Long toes can pose health threats and double the risk of breaking. You want to save your pet from this painful ordeal. Find information on how to do it on the AKC website.
Pet hair trimming
Like you cut your hair, you also need to clip fur on the pet’s body. Long hair is likely to harbor parasites that will cause discomfort to your dogs, cats, etc. Trimming helps expose them to parasiticides, giving your pet a healthy life.
By using scissors and combs, you can trim long hairs to the preferred side. However, you have to be very careful when doing it.
Protect Your Pets From Predators
You do not protect your pets only from predators but also from extreme weather. You need to keep them warm in winter and other adverse weather conditions. Building a house for a pet is the best way to show concern. Choose a pet house design idea and get to work.
Many people have made mistakes and have regretted going off the grid. That is mainly caused by the lack of information needed to face every situation you encounter. You can ensure you do not become a victim by knowing as much as you can.
The more knowledgeable and skilled you are, the less likely you will make mistakes that most off-gridders make.
You need to know safety precautions before taking any DIY ideas for off-grid living. Safety should be your priority at all levels until you are done with the work. Take the following measures to enhance your safety:
- Wear a dust mask and eye protection gear when working
- Always wash hands after work
- Dispose of any waste as appropriate and according to the state laws and regulations
- Do not attempt anything if you believe it is risky
- Have a fully stocked first aid kit
- Keep children away from the site when working.
Life is complete when you can have everything you need without struggling. DIY ideas for off-grid living test your skills and capability. And even if you do not make it the first time, it will be better the second time. Keep improving on your skills.
We hope you found the information in this article useful in making your off-grid life more fulfilling. We are thankful for your time, and please share the knowledge with others. It is our pleasure that you chose off-grid living to conserve the environment and live a peaceful life.