I recently had the opportunity to chat with Instructables author Muhaiminah Faiz, who in the last seven years has posted nearly 180 projects and has been a prize winner in dozens of the site's contests!
Her projects are mainly craft-related with a handful of cooking projects mixed in, and regularly feature beautifully documented steps and cover images that draw you in with vibrant colors and textures.
Her instructables showcase projects that are highly reproducible and generally accessible to most readers, and do not require an extensive build-space or workshop full of specialized tools.
We had a great face-to-face chat followed up with some written questions and answers, which follow in the coming steps. It was a pleasure for me to get to know her a little better, and now you can too!
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Step 1: Why Not Give It a Try?
How did you discover Instructables and what inspired you to post your first project?
I can recall that it was during the summer vacation in 2012. Being an indoor person, instead of making plans for outdoor activities I decided to learn and practice a few crafting skills. I randomly ‘Googled’ for papercraft ideas and somehow ended up finding Instructables.
While browsing through the site I noticed that anyone can post anything they make. I wasn’t really planning on posting anything, I was simply enjoying all the amazing DIY projects and recreating them one after another!
But after a few days, I thought, “Why not give it a try?” and I just did!
And my first few Ibles were pretty embarrassing! Luckily my 4th Ible got featured. It was on the homepage and I was receiving so much positive feedback from the community, which really inspired me to keep on posting and I haven’t stopped since then.
Step 2: I’ve Been Crafting As Long As I Can Remember
When did you first start making things? What kinds of things were you interested in making and doing when you were a child?
I’ve been crafting as long as I can remember. My grandmother, my mom and my maternal uncle have been my source of inspiration for arts and crafts. As a kid, I was interested in papercrafts. I used to make my own paper dolls, doll clothes and houses.
Apart from papercrafts, I learned embroidery and cross-stitching from my grandma and mom, and learned a teensy bit of drawing and painting from my uncle. I’ve spent countless hours of my childhood making things; I don’t think there has been a day when I didn’t enjoy crafting.
Step 3: Colours Can Represent Positivity
When I look at your extensive list of Instructables, I'm struck by all the vibrant colours! Can you tell a little about your choice to make such colourful projects?
Crafting has been my major source of positive energy, motivation and mental therapy to keep on going even during the most difficult times.
It helps me to stay calm and focus on the little good things in life. I feel very happy and upbeat when I’m crafting, especially when I’m working with lively colours.
I believe that colours can represent positivity, so I really love the idea of spreading that happiness and positivity through my creations by using vibrant colours as a symbol for optimism. I love all kinds of crafts, be it colourful or not, but colours create a happy atmosphere for me.
Step 4: I Get My Ideas From Everything!
How do you come up with ideas for things to make, and what's your actual creative/making process like?
I get my craft ideas from random things and thoughts. It’s during the most busy and chaotic days when I get my best ideas. Besides, I’m addicted to craft hoarding and I kind of have this ritual of going to craft stores once a week just to check if anything new popped in. So, sometimes I work on ideas depending on the available supplies or the supplies I bought randomly.
I love taking a short break from my busy day by taking a walk and spending some time in nature. That’s also when I get lots of ideas. I also have a yearly calendar where I list 12 types of crafts for 12 months, which is another source for my craft ideas.
And of course, Instructables contests trigger me to work on craft ideas many times. Like currently I'm trying to come up with a nice DIY planter idea for the planter contest. So I guess I get my ideas from everything!
About the making process, I sketch ideas, patterns and techniques on my notebook, and craft in my head a dozen times! And then give it a try.
Step 5: Handcrafted Wire Jewelleries Have Always Fascinated Me
First image from DIY Easy Wire Pendants. Second image: Muhaimina's wire wrapping kit won as a contest prize.
Of all the projects you have created, which is your favourite?
Well, that’s a pretty tough question. I actually have a bunch of favourites but I think my DIY Easy Wire Pendants Ible is on the top of the list.
Handcrafted wire jewelleries have always fascinated me and wire jewelry was the first skill I learned by exploring through many amazing wire jewelry Ibles. I didn’t have craft pliers nor wire so I used pliers and copper wire from my dad’s garage tool box.
Later on, I won a jewlery contest and luckily my prize was (2nd prize) a basic jewelry wrapping kit. It’s been 6 years and I’m still using those pliers.
I ended up having my own handmade jewelry business where I sell wire jewelleries mostly. And special thanks go to Instructables, from where I learned how to make wire jewelleries and also got the basic tools for making and practicing. (My recent favourite Ible is the DIY Tapestry Weaving on Twig Frame).
Step 6: I Really Wish I Could Paint
Image from DIY Recycled Pokemon Planters
Are there any skills that you don't currently have that you wish you did, or creative disciplines you wish to explore?
I really wish I could paint but I probably won’t achieve that skill so easily! I’ve tried learning drawing and painting but the outcome was never good enough. So, watching painting videos and tutorials on the internet is the only way to delight myself.
Step 7: Make Like No One’s Watching
If you could give advice to a first-time Instructables author, what would it be?
I’ve been a member of this maker community since 2012 and I have never come across another DIY website as friendly and welcoming as this one.
For first time Instructables authors, if you haven’t shared anything yet maybe because you’re a bit scared or confused, don’t worry at all!
Make like no one’s watching and trust me once you start sharing what you make, you’ll receive tremendous feedback from the Instructables community.
Explore, learn, make, share, participate in various activities and stay with the community.
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Thank you to Muhaiminah, for taking the time to share a little about herself with the Instructables community!
Be sure to check out all of her projects for some crafty guidance and colorful inspiration!