5 Ways a Tablet or iPad Can Help Your DIY Project

The Workbench Life: Baby Blogs

By Nate Edwards for The Workbench Life

Everyone is familiar with the ability iPads and other tablets have to amuse us. I don’t blame you if you believe that a device with Facebook, YouTube and Angry Birds is nothing more than a productivity killer. But tablets can also be tremendous work tools, and their portability and versatility make them especially well-suited to DIY work. Here are just a few ways I’ve put my tablet to work.

1. Tutorial Articles and Videos

The Web is full of helpful home improvement tips and how-tos (the website you’re visiting right now is a good place to start). But all those articles and videos can be much more useful if you’re not tethered to a desktop computer. Being able to follow specific instructions with the tutorials in my hand has been a huge help.

2. Color Work

My friends all tell me I’m colorblind, and while my eye doctor disagrees with them, I still can’t pick a paint color to save my life. Thankfully, there are two magic little iPad apps to help me: ColorChange is a $0.99 app built for interior designers which lets you see what a wall or other surface would look like in a different color, and there’s a free app called Color Capture that lets you take a photo then see which Benjamin Moore paint swatch matches any color within the photo.

3. Notes, Ideas and Budgets

I used to always keep a notepad with me while I worked just to organize my thoughts, but notepads don’t usually have calculators built into them. You can even get specialized apps for home renovation project budgeting, which can estimate the cost of materials at given lengths and sizes.

4. All-in-One Measurement

Your tablet’s not going to beat the real thing when it comes to plumb bobs, bubble levels, protractors and yardsticks, but it can come close at a fraction of the cost. I use a $2 app called iHandy Carpenter, which includes all of the abilities of the above-mentioned tools.

5. Automatic Floor Plans

If you were getting bored with the simple stuff
like notepads and plumb bobs, give this one a try: MagicPlan is a
free app which lets you create a floor plan of your house by taking pictures.
It takes patience to figure out, but the results can be magical.

Nate Edwards is a New York-based freelance writer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of
South Carolina, where he worked in the family furniture store making beds,
dressers and anything made of wood. He’s as comfortable swinging a hammer for
community volunteer projects as he is writing about home renovation.