If you thought DIY was just about washi tape and spray paint, Becky Wright and Kelsey MacDermaid are here to prove otherwise. The Canadian duo, also known as The Sorry Girls (a nod to the stereotype that Canadians apologize too much), have close to a million subscribers on their YouTube channel and use everything from paintbrushes to wood drills to create some amazingly creative things — think stylish summer tops, a chill hammock, and even a mid-century modern nightstand. In their newest series The Drill Down by Makeful, they take DIY to the next level by using power tools to make ambitious (but totally doable) home decor projects. We chatted with Wright and MacDermaid about their inspiration and DIY dos.
Brit + Co: Where do you get inspiration for your projects?
Kelsey MacDermaid: There are so many different ways in which we get inspired. Our audience is always recommending different projects they’d like to see; we often have things we want for our own living spaces/to wear, and inspiration can hit when going for a walk or shopping.
B+C: When did you first start DIYing? What do you like best about DIY?
Becky Wright: I’d say I’ve always been a creative person; I’ve been making things for myself and others for my whole life. My favorite thing about DIYing is that you can customize things exactly to fit your style or to fit a specific space.
B+C: How do the two of you work together (e.g., do you have different strengths, do you work on everything together, etc.)?
KM: We are definitely a team, but there are some tasks that are better completed solo. I might do more scheduling/accounting.
BW: We also draw on our personal lives for video concepts. I may need something made for my house that we can create, or Kelsey may have seen something in a store that inspires us.
KM: But the overall creative, video concepts, and business direction are a team effort.
B+C: Do you have a favorite DIY project you’ve done?
BW: My favorite DIY project recently was our hanging nightstand. It was a pretty unique concept and is a showpiece in the room it now hangs in.
KM: I don’t know if this counts because it’s not one project, but we decorated our entire loft and did some DIYs along the way. It turned out amazing, and I’m very proud of our space.
B+C: What’s the hardest DIY project you’ve ever done?
KM: We made a DIY concrete clock (after many attempts). It wasn’t that hard but just frustrating, because it wasn’t quite working out with the method we were trying.
BW: We’ve had some mess-ups with paint jobs in the past. You can make the most beautiful DIY, but adding on that final coat of paint that dries wrong can ruin everything.
B+C: What is your dream DIY project or something you’ve always wanted to make?
KM: Some kind of living plant wall that reaches to the ceiling. But sometimes plants can be hard to keep alive, and it would have to be self-watering. Not an easy task.
BW: I’ve always wanted to make over the back of a van into the ultimate camping vehicle, but I’ve been too hesitant to make permanent changes to my vehicle. I should just do it, haha!
B+C: You use power tools in some of your projects… are you self-taught in using machinery, and how do make sure you’re using it properly/safely?
BW: We’re definitely all self-taught. I think it’s a good idea to treat power tools as stepping stools. We started with drills, then moved to hand saws, and then to table saws. Work your way into it.
KM: We’ll ask a friend who’s versed in using the tool or look it up on YouTube if we’re unsure about a new power tool. Having safety goggles and choosing the right footwear and goggles is a good place to start to be safe and feel confident when using power tools.
B+C: Do you have any advice for people who think they don’t have the skills to DIY?
KM: Start small with a project you’re really excited about that maybe has a simple tutorial to go along with it (or just make it up as you go!). Sometimes we forget that DIY stands for DO IT YOURSELF. There is no right and wrong. Have fun and be safe.
BW: I always tell people that I never went to school for DIY — I just had a passion for it and had the drive to keep going if things got messy. Just like anything, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
B+C: How often do you actually say “sorry?”
BW: All the time. I’ll bump into a chair and apologize to it.
KM: Probably a dozen times a day.
(Photos via Alex Evans)