While we’ve been spending more time at home, many of us have turned our hand to creative activities like painting and drawing, to develop some new skills and express ourselves.
From hand knitting to tie dye; hopefully these 7 creative crafts will leave you feeling inspired.
Crochet is a craft that produces a similar effect to knitting – but many say that it is much easier to learn and commit to, largely because mistakes are easier to correct, and you work with one needle, rather than two. It can also produce tighter stitches than knitting, which makes it easier to produce 3D objects, such as stuffed toys, as they retain their shape better.
The word “crochet” originates from the French word “croche” or “croc” which means “to hook”. It’s thought that this technique
was first developed sometime between the 15th and 17th century but it’s exact origins are unknown as it has been historically
linked to various different countries around the world – including China, England and France.
In a nutshell, crochet is a needlework technique that involves using a single crochet hook to interlock loops of yarn, thread, or a similar material – and getting started is quite simple. A 4mm hook and some light yarn, are generally best for beginners.
The first thing you’ll need to learn as a crochet beginner is how to create a chain stitch – Hobbycraft’s handy video will show you how to do this. Once you’ve mastered the chain stitch, you can start learning other techniques that will enable you to get stuck into your first crochet project. Hobbycraft have created another useful video that will show you how to learn basic crochet skills, including how to change yarn colours, create double and treble cross stitches, and crochet a granny square! When you’ve mastered some of these basic techniques, you’ll be able to start crocheting a few simple shapes and designs.
Tie-dye is a versatile craft that you can use to update clothes in your wardrobe (or even save a piece of clothing if you have an awkward stain!) – or to add a unique touch to accessories, like scrunchies, tote bags or old socks. You can also try it on pillow cases.
While tie-dye is something that was pretty popular in the 60s and 70s, it’s recently made a comeback in 2020. More and more shops are stocking clothes with pastel-coloured tie-dye designs with many even selling tie-dye face masks. However, if you want to save yourself some money, and learn a new skill in the process, then it’s worth having a go at home instead.
Many people initially think of tie-dye as something that would be awkward or messy to do, but it’s actually pretty straightforward and a lot of fun! Before you start, you’ll need to think about what sort of colours you want to go for. If you want to create a more classic or simple tie dye effect, then you can use just one or two colours. Or, if you want to create a statement piece, that really stands out, you could go for multi colours. Hobbycraft sells a single colour, three colours, or a set of five.
When choosing an item to act as your canvas, it’s best to go for clothes, accessories or pillow cases that are made from natural materials, like cotton or linen – as the dyes absorb into the fibres more easily, producing a better result. You’ll also need a wire rack, a washing up bowl or bucket, a pair of rubber gloves, and some elastic bands.
The wonderful thing about origami is that it’s inexpensive, can be done anywhere, and it allows you to use and develop a number of different skills, such as hand-eye coordination, sequencing, maths reasoning – and of course, patience. Plus, all you need to get started is some paper and your hands.
The word “origami” is Japanese and simply means oru (to fold) kami (paper). Paper first came into use in Japan in the sixth century – when monks and rich people began using it for religious or ceremonial purposes (paper was expensive at this time, so wasn’t widely available). Then in the 1600s, when paper became more affordable, it was used more widely as a medium for art.
Today origami remains extremely popular in Japan, and is taught to children in elementary school. It has also been adopted by adults and children across the world – some do it for fun, others for relaxation or to develop specific skills, and some also sell their creations.
Popular origami shapes include animals and flowers, but people are increasingly pushing the boundaries of what they can create out of paper – with some making paper towns, or hanging displays of intricate paper patterns and shapes. The craft didn’t originally allow cutting or glueing of paper, but many modern books and tutorials do sometimes use these techniques – often to add stability to the final design of a model.
If you’re feeling intrigued by the idea of origami, and would like to get started on your own journey, then the good news is that it’s pretty straightforward to do so.
To begin with, you’ll need some origami paper – this can measure anywhere between 3” and 14” square, so it’s up to you to choose a size, depending on how big you’d like your models to be. You can either turn some plain or coloured A4 paper (or whatever size you have), into origami paper by cutting it to size, or, you could consider buying some ready-made origami paper. Amazon has a huge selection.
You could also consider using old magazine pages, music sheets, wrapping paper or baking paper. Take a look at an article from The Spruce Crafts for more ideas on what you could use that you might already have at home.
Once you’ve got your paper, you’ll need to learn how to fold it to create your desired model. There are two ways you can do this. If you’d prefer to get to grips with some popular folds first, such as pleats, rabbit ears and petals, then take a look at the beginners guide from Origami.ie.
Or if you’d like to start making some simple models straight away, and learning the folds as you go, then try an article from The Spruce Crafts, which will show you how to make cranes, tulips, boats, and many other basic shapes.
Another bonus of origami is that even when you master basic shapes, there is always a more complex model that you could go on to learn. If you want to see (and hopefully get inspired!) by some of the best origami creations out there, then check out the YouTube video below, which features a dragon, a bicycle and a spider!
Take on a miniature project
If you’re looking for a craft that requires you to use a few different skills – painting, measuring, cutting, glueing – then you might want to consider taking on a miniature project. These projects can include painting ready-made miniatures (such as the contents of a dollhouse, or a model aircraft), or building and painting your own miniature models, (for example, a house, car or railway), from scratch.
Working with miniatures is a great way to practice escapism. It’s really easy to get lost in the process, while you’re creating a whole new world, and bringing characters to life. Painting something very tiny also requires you to have a lot of patience, and perfect your steady hand – which is great if you want to practice being more mindful.
If you’re interested in making a mini project, then it’s a good idea to first decide what sort of model you’d like to make. YouTube is a fantastic resource to find out how to make anything miniature including tiny fruit, miniature beauty products, and books!
If you’re interested in learning how to build a model railway, then it’s worth taking a look at Budget Model Railways channel, where you can learn how to get started with building your first model railway, on a budget.
Whilst all of the materials in these videos can be purchased from places like Amazon, Hobbycraft, or DIY stores like B&Q and Homebase – it’s also worth seeing what sort of model kits are out there too. Often these are just as fun to put together, but you’ll have everything you need in one box, and won’t have to spend as much time cutting things to size. Amazon has a huge range, as do Hobbycraft.
If you like the idea of working with miniatures, but don’t want to build something from scratch, then you could learn how to paint ready-made models instead.
In most cases, acrylic paint is the best paint to use for miniatures, as it can be brushed or sprayed on – or you might even be able to use paint markers. You’ll also need some detail brushes, which again you can pick up from Amazon or Hobbycraft for a few pounds, and the size of your brush will of course depend on the size of your miniature.
If needlework like knitting or crocheting doesn’t appeal to you, then you could try your hand at finger knitting. Many people enjoy the simplicity of finger knitting because all you need is some medium weight, or jumbo yarn, your hands, and a pair of scissors. This technique might be simple, but it gives some beautiful results, and allows you to make things like chunky-knit blankets, scarves, hats – and even toys.
If you’re looking to make larger items like blankets and throws, then it can be better to use a wider yarn, or for smaller pieces like toys, you might want to go for a thinner yarn. To master the basic technique of finger knitting, which involves looping the yarn, through your fingers.
If working with really large yarn, the process of knitting with no needles can become even simpler because you are no longer required to loop the wool around individual fingers. This is often referred to as ‘hand knitting’, rather than ‘finger knitting’. It’s worth checking
out some of the other videos on BCozi’s YouTube channel, which will show you how to make lots of other useful things, such as chunky-knit slippers, pillows, and cat beds.
Making your own jewellery can be incredibly rewarding, because not only can you gift it to friends and family members (or perhaps even start a side hustle), but you can also develop a unique jewellery collection, full of pieces that you simply can’t buy anywhere else.
The biggest question to ask yourself before you start making your own jewellery, is what kind of jewellery style you want to adopt. Do you prefer classic, understated pieces? Pieces that make a bold statement using bright colours and unusual designs? Or maybe you prefer something delicate, yet eye catching? You can also decide whether you want to make jewellery for men, women, or children, and whether you want to make bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings or anklets. When it comes to jewellery-making, the possibilities are endless.
Once you’ve decided what sort of jewellery you’d like to make, and who you’d like to make it for, it can help to spend some time sketching out some ideas, so that you have a clearer idea about what your design will look like. From here, you can then start thinking about what sort of materials you might need to make your design, and what techniques you might need to learn.
If you want to get to grips with a few jewellery-making basics, that will come in useful across a range of different designs, then
it’s worth visiting Beads Direct or Jeweller Maker, where you can learn free how to do things like bend jump rings, thread beads onto headpins and eyepins, and make a wrapped loop – here, you’ll also learn about the different terminology used in jewellery making.
When you have a better idea about what supplies you might need, it’s worth checking out Hobbycraft’s website, as they have a huge selection of jewellery-making supplies – everything from pliers to beads to charms and pendants. Beads Direct and Jewellery Maker also sell a great range of supplies too.
When we think of pottery, many of us will be transported back to that famous scene in the 1990 film, Ghost – with Patrick Swayzee and Demi Moore. But pottery is a hugely satisfying and relaxing craft, that will enable you to produce some beautifully unique gifts. Many say that working with clay is like going on a journey, because you start off with an a murky lump, and can end up with a tangible object like a pot, plate or bowl – which can take pride of place on your mantelpiece or chest or drawers, or be given as a gift to someone special.
One of the other reasons that pottery can be so appealing is because it really engages the senses and encourages mindfulness – for instance when we smell the earthy scent of the clay, or feel the smooth, soft clay running through our fingers. Clay is also unpredictable, and it’s difficult to know precisely how a project will turn out once you start – so, moulding it involves a lot of concentration and focus. The process requires you to get ‘in tune’ with the clay – so much so, that’s it’s easy to become completely immersed in the process.
A downside to pottery is that pottery wheels aren’t usually cheap so getting started at home can be quite pricey. However, if pottery is an activity that you want to get really involved in, and can see yourself enjoying long term, then buying a pottery wheel can be a great investment.
Once you’ve got your wheel and you’re ready to get started, YouTube has a wide selection of free pottery tutorials including wheel throwing for beginners and how to wedge your clay.
A final thought…
There are many different benefits to learning a craft – it can help you relax and unwind, offer you a new business opportunity, or just allow you to express yourself and have fun. It can also encourage mindfulness and give your mind something positive to focus on. After the events of 2020, many of us have also begun looking for ways to look after our mental health, and give ourselves a few minutes or hours of escapism and peace. Exploring your creative side is a productive, yet meditative way to do this – plus you’ll have something to keep and treasure, at the end of it.
(Article source: Rest Less)