Home Depot and Lowe's have a variety of free classes that offer practical help for DIY projects. Those in-store workshops range from how-to sessions about floor installations to closet organization. Of course, the chains benefit by improving your skills because trained do-it-yourselfers are more likely to buy ceramic tiles, wood and other home products.
Home Depot has a wide series of free weekly clinics. The schedule is posted at www.homedepotclinics.com and there is no need to register.
Each month features a different line-up of about a dozen courses. Recent classes includes ''Hanging and Repairing Drywall,'' floor installations, interior painting and bathroom design. Other courses provide information about energy-efficient lighting, air conditioning systems and appliances and are scheduled on weekends.
Workshops for Women and Children
Home Depot also offers free classes tailored for women and children. Workshops for children (ages 5 through 12) are usually offered the first Saturday of every month. The projects -- created from pre-fabricated kits -- are designed to be completed in the store with a child and a parent. Young workshop participants receive a Home Depot apron and an achievement pin.
There are also ''Do-it-Herself'' workshops for women. Home Depot's next ''Do-it-Herself'' workshop will be in May, with information available in April.
Classes At Lowe's
Lowe's also has a list of free classes: laminated floor installations, kitchen updates and faux painting techniques.
For children, Lowe's has a monthly 'Build and Grow Kids' Clinic.''
For more information, check out www.lowes.com and select the ''project center'' tab for a list of how-to clinics.
If you don't have time for classes, Lowe's has an online library, also at www.lowes.com, with thousands of projects with step-by-step guides for different levels of expertise.
On-Line Craft Guides
The on-line tutorials, posted on the ''Project Center'' of the company's website, range from kitchen organizational tips to ceramic tile installation.
Tips and articles on gardening, basic plumbing and cabinet installations are easy to download and print for future reference.