While others may use the longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures of summer to kick back and relax, you are a doer, as are most preppers and homesteaders. So what’s on your “to-do” list?
It’s time to tackle that list one project at a time. Here are some suggestions for DIY projects that will improve your emergency preparedness and save you time and money in the long run.
1. Build Food Storage Shelves
Are you running out of room in your pantry or stockpile area? Shelf space in a spare closet and under the bed can only go so far. Maybe it’s time to build your own shelving. A creative prepper shares his secrets for canned food storage and rotation in this video:
And he says he completed the entire project in one day at the cost of $250!
Here’s another video on building heavy-duty food storage shelves:
2. Install A Rainwater Collection System
Harvesting rainwater is one of the best recycling methods you can follow. You can use barrels or buckets, or you can step it up a notch or two with one of these impressive projects.
3. Build A Chicken Coop
Are you new to chicken raising, or do you want to provide your birds with some new digs? Some coops cost a lot of scratch, but here is a home-built chicken coop you can create in one hour for less than $50. Here are a few other ideas.
4. Reinforce Doors And Windows
You can increase your security and your peace of mind by reinforcing your doors and windows. It’s easier than you might think. This video will show you what you need to strengthen your deadbolts and locksets.
5. Install A Backup Power Source
You can keep your household running during a power outage by installing a generator. Whether powered by a conventional internal combustion engine or renewable energy, a backup generator can eliminate the hardships associated with a short- or long-term power outage.
Here is a video to help get you started:
6. Prepare An Emergency Medical Kit
Certain items need to be in every first-aid kit. However, your family has specific needs that a generic kit may not meet. Take the time to list and include remedies for your family’s age range and health condition.
Be sure to include standard over-the-counter medications and bandages as well as any herbal remedies you use. Pour favorite essential oils into travel-size bottles. Then pack everything in a sturdy bag or backpack that you can take with you if the need arises.
Here is a guide to building a first aid kit from scratch.
7. Build A Wood Rocket Heater
Rocket heaters or rocket stoves are useful for emergency cooking and water boiling and for producing heat in an emergency situation. This video demonstrates a simple stove that is useful for camping or for emergencies. It uses only a single log:
This video demonstrates a small rocket stove that costs about $10 to build:
8. Construct A Cold Frame
Now is the time to plan ahead in order to protect your garden from frosty weather. You can extend your gardening season – and your harvest – by building a cold frame. Pallets work well for this weekend project.
Here is a guide to cold frame gardening.
And here is how to make a cold frame step by step:
9. Make A Survival Slingshot
This small but effective weapon can be used for self-defense or for hunting small game in a survival situation. The author of this article says his DIY slingshot can even take down big game if used correctly.
Here is a guide to slingshots for survival.
10. Harness Solar Energy
The sun’s energy is there for the taking, but most people shy away from harnessing solar power because of the cost of commercial panels. However, it is easier than you might expect to build your own solar panels. Here are a few resources for learning how.
Here is the ultimate guide to off grid solar power:
11. Build A Greenhouse
Growing your own food is a huge part of the self-sufficient lifestyle. You can extend your growing season substantially with a greenhouse. Here is how to build a DIY greenhouse as your weekend project.
If you’re not very good with tools, here is one you can build without them:
12. Make A Water Pump
Water is the key to survival. We can last for weeks without food but only days without water. Here are a few ideas for pumping water in an emergency situation.
This one uses wind and bicycle parts.
And here are a few other ideas using parts you may already have on hand:
- 6 Ways You Can Build A Water Pump
- DIY Water Pump – 8 Innovative Ideas
- How To Make Your Own DIY Hand Pump
13. Prepare An Emergency Car Bag
Each winter, we read about people stranded in their cars. We learn how they survive by eating snacks they have in their trunk and drinking melted snow.
Whether there has been an accident or a road closure, surviving harsh weather in your car should not be left up to chance. Take the time now to prepare an emergency bag for all your vehicles. According to the National Safety Council, minimum supplies should include:
- Blankets, socks, mittens, and hats
- Snow brush and ice scraper
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Jumper cables
- First-aid kit
- Road flares
- Bottled water
- Multi-tool (such as a Swiss Army knife)
- Windshield cleaner
- Non-perishable food
And here are resources for more information:
- Winter Car Emergency Kit
- How To Build An EMP Emergency Car Bag
- How To Build The Ultimate Winter Car Survival Kit From Scratch
14. Make Firebricks
Did you know you can turn your discarded newspapers, magazines, and cardboard into burnable bricks for your fireplace, wood stove, or fire pit? Here’s more on this clever form of recycling:
15. Build A Compost Bin
You can turn your food scraps and yard waste into rich garden nutrients by composting. Here is how to build an inexpensive DIY compost bin:
And here are a bunch of ingenious DIY compost bin ideas.
16. Build Your Own Smokehouse
If you are raising your own livestock for meat or bartering for fresh meat, you may be looking for ways to make the most of your investment. One way is to smoke your meat.
Here are a couple of ways to build your own smokehouse using pallets and other inexpensive supplies.
17. Make Your Own Survival Bars
Not all weekend projects need to be done outside. Here’s one to do inside. Survival bars are intended to provide a dense amount of calories and nutrients in an emergency. They have a long shelf life, or you can pack them in your bug-out bag.
Here is a step by step guide to making survival bars.
For even more calories, here is how to make 2400 calorie emergency ration bars.
18. Dig A Dakota Fire Hole
You may not want the attention that a fire brings in a survival situation. A Dakota fire hole is a fire-building method that creates very little smoke and emits low light and therefore can go undetected unless you get fairly close.
The premise is that the fire pushes hot air through the top of the pit, creating suction and drawing more oxygen into the hole. This process increases the heat, so less firewood is needed than with a regular fire ring.
Here is how to build a Dakota Fire Hole. Try it out for a weekend camping trip.
19. Make A Rescue Belt
Paracord can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation. This project involves creating a rescue belt with paracord.
Here’s how to make something called the Slatt’s Rescue Belt:
20. Build A Rabbit Hutch
You can create a home and exercise space for your bunnies with wood pallets and other supplies you may have on hand (or can obtain inexpensively).
Here is a short list of resources on how to build a rabbit hutch:
21. Create A Bottle Wall
Walls made out of parts of glass bottles can be a beautiful and artistic addition to your home. The fun part is collecting the bottles for this project. Choose bottles in various colors and sizes to create a unique pattern. Wash and dry the bottles and remove all labels ahead of time.
Here is how to create a glass bottle wall:
22. Build A Beehive
The importance of honeybees to our food cycle cannot be understated, and raising bees for their honey could be a great project, especially for homesteaders. Here is how to create a 55-gallon top bar barrel beehive.
Here is how to build a Langstroth beehive:
23. Construct A Storage Shed
Most of us could use some extra storage for our garden or animal supplies. Sheds can be as simple or as complicated as you have the time and money to spend on them. Here are some simple DIY projects.
Here is how to build your own shed:
And here is how to build a shed with pallets:
Now that you’ve looked at our project ideas, maybe you have some more of your own. And remember, you don’t have to go it alone. You can get the whole family involved in these jobs. You will be spending time with your children as well as teaching them valuable skills.
Here’s another tip – ask to help a neighbor with their summer project. You will gain some hands-on experience, and the chances are good that they will return the favor when you are ready to build your own.
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