It’s easy to get lost in a sea of beautiful images, bloggers, and DIY gurus showcasing awe-inspiring before and afters. When I see their work, I often think how I admire it, but could never do it myself. The truth is, we all have to start somewhere—and those experts did too.
The end results you’re seeing in those perfectly-styled shots likely came about after hours of research, more than a few trips to the hardware store, and years of experience gained through trial and error. They’re just so far along in their journey that you missed their humble beginnings, and blogger Cass Smith of Cass Makes Home reminded me of this when I discovered her on Instagram early last year.
About Cass Makes Home
I always admired Smith for her upbeat, can-do attitude, but also found her to be relatable as she began to amass a following for her modern-traditional style. She talks openly about her fear of failure and frustrations when projects go awry—and shares why she doesn't let any of that hold her back.
“It is such a natural thing to turn in the opposite direction when you are scared or when you mess up," Smith says. "But, every time you keep pushing forward, even when you are scared or when you fail, it gets easier. Bravery is like a muscle that needs to be strengthened. Once you decide to not let fear stop you and embrace that mistakes are a part of the process, you learn that there are so many amazing things that you can accomplish.”
How to Create the Frame TV DIY
The project that really solidified this mindset for Smith—while inspiring me and many others—is her DIY frame TV. Like many of us, Smith had lusted after The Frame TV by Samsung, which is cleverly disguised as a work of art, but it wasn’t in her budget. With no prior woodworking skills, she decided to overcome her fear of “scary new power tools” and build a custom frame with an antique feel to fit her existing TV.
“It was the first time that I had ever used a saw, and I was pretty terrified,” Smith remembers. “But, I came to find out that using the saw was not as scary as I thought it would be. Now, I use that same saw for most of my projects.”
Smith firmly believes this project is one that anyone can do, even those without a saw at home. The tutorial on her blog details all of the necessary equipment, and the miter box—a very beginner-friendly tool used to cut angles in wood—she recommends is just $15.
Bonus: the miter box is small enough that it can be stored under the bed or in a closet when you're done.
In total, the supplies cost her less than $50, making this an affordable, low-stakes project with a huge payoff.
Given its approachability and impact, it’s no surprise the design has led to a number of recreations. Here are a few standouts:
This DIY was one of Smiths’ personal favorites. Jessica Small of @fromgrittopearl used foam balls and the magic that is Rub 'n Buff to create this Anthropologie look-alike.
Smith also loves this design, created by Jennifer Laura, for its detailed trim. It proves the TV doesn’t have to be wall-mounted to pull off a frame.
If you don't feel like building a lip for the frame, here's a tip: Laura used Command strips to secure hers.
This dining nook TV blends in perfectly, thanks to a sleek makeover by @railviewhome.
Similar to Smth’s original design, @homewithknives contrasts black and gold for an eye-popping look that still allows the virtual art to shine.
A Custom Look for Half the Price
What I love most about Smith’s design—and those who recreated it—is that they’re all different and built to fit their own spaces and styles, which have much more personality than the magnetic $200 frames for The Frame TV. Not only do you save hundreds, but you also create a custom look that serves as a reminder of what you can do when you push beyond your self-imposed limits.
Since completing her DIY frame TV, Smith has gone on to refinish her hardwood floors, reupholster a chair, paint her exterior and build not one, but two dressers from scratch. It hasn’t all gone according to plan, but that's just made her even more determined.
“I forced myself to embrace the fear and view it from a perspective of gratitude," Smith says. "I knew that if I was scared, I was just around the corner from accomplishing a new project and skill. I think the 'Year of No Fear' mantra is something that I will lean on for years to come."