The first step in starting out making DIY guitar effect pedals is deciding which effect pedal circuit to begin with (particularly if you are a relative "noob" to electronics)". The no-brainer answer to this question is the "Bazz Fuss" (1).
This is perhaps the simplest guitar effect circuit, requiring only five components (not counting battery power supply, guitar/amp connections etc) which are super-cheap and readily available. What's even better, you are almost guaranteed to get a "pleasing" sound (well, that's if you are into distorted, loud rock'n roll - and if you aren't you should be!), and there are heaps of modifications that can be done (which is also great for learning).
The original "Bass Fuss" site (1) is really "spartan" (gives schematic diagram and that's it!), but there are myriad sites that use this circuit as the basis of extremely detailed excellent tutorials for the nascent DIY pedal builder with these two site recommended in particular (2),(3).
If you are an absolute beginner, Joe from Tonefiend (2) has step-by-step instructions.
My experimenting with the Bazz Fuzz is detailed in the various following Sections, and uses my "home-brewed" version of the "Beavis Board" (4), which is a guitar effect pedal development and prototyping board. This approach makes testing/modding guitar effect pedal circuits much quicker while being less error prone and easier to debug.
The Photographs and Video Sections demonstrate my take on the Bazz Fuzz and the various circuit modifications/substitutions I demoed on the guitar effect pedal prototyping board, and various stages of the construction. Schematics and circuit details are also provided in the relevant sections.