Over the last year, 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. Earlier this year, we wrote an article on 9 creative skills that you can learn from home, which Rest Less members particularly enjoyed – so, we’ve decided to bring you a selection of interesting new craft ideas that you can learn at home.
From hand knitting to tie dye; hopefully these 8 creative crafts will leave you feeling inspired.
We’ve previously written about the benefits of knitting and created an introductory guide to show you how to get started. 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, but to find out more about what you need to get started, check out this guide from gathered.how.
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 – why not try this Beginners Amigurumi Whale Tutorial, or this simple flower?
We also have a range of courses available through our site at variable prices that will explain how you can learn crochet at home, in your own time and at your own pace. A couple of examples are; International Open Academy’s Crochet for Beginners, and Udemy’s Crochet Basics – Learn to Crochet Within A Week!
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. This helpful guide from Stylist will show you want to do next, and how to achieve that pattern that you want – whether that be swirls, circles or a checked effect. Or if you’re in need of some more inspiration, have a watch of the video below.
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, which you can find here. You could also consider using old magazine pages, music sheets, wrapping paper or baking paper. Take a look at this 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 this 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 this article from The Spruce Crafts, which will show you how to make cranes, tulips, boats, and many other basic shapes.
We also have a number of origami courses at varying prices available through our website – such as Udemy’s Origami – Easy But Cool Animals for Beginners and Easy Origami with Eleni: Master the Basics of Paper Folding – which will also help you to get started.
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!
4. 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!
To see how to make a beautiful miniature house out of cardboard, check out this video here. Or, 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. Alternatively, if you want to learn how to build a miniature castle, have a watch of this video, here.
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’re in need of some more miniature inspiration, then check out the video below that will show you how to make 26 miniatures in five minutes.
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. To see how miniature painting is done, check out this YouTube video which will show you how to paint things like cutlery and crockery for a dolls house. It’s fascinating to watch, and you’ll get to learn how to create a rust effect or a wood finish. If you like any of the tiny items in the video, you can find them over on Julie’s Etsy shop – BitsAndPiecesByJulie. Amazon also sells miniature people, which you can paint yourself.
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. For tips on using acrylic paints on miniatures, check out this article from The Spruce Crafts.
5. Finger knitting
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, check out this beginner’s guide from Crafty Sewing Sew, or this one from Love Crafts. When you’ve learnt the basic technique and feel ready to take on a project, check out this video that will show you how to make a baby blanket, or this one that will show you how to to make a beanie hat.
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’. Have a watch of the video below, to find out how to make a soft, cosy blanket, using a hand knitting technique. It’s also 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.
6. Jewellery making
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. It’s also worth having a look at this article from The Spruce Crafts, which will talk you through a few tools that you might use as a beginner.
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.
In the meantime, if you’re in need of some extra inspiration, then have a watch of the video below – where you can see how to make some beautiful jewellery pieces out of sea glass. You might also want to take a look at these 50 DIY jewellery making ideas from Crafts Unleashed.
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. This helpful guide from Cromartie Hobbycraft will help you choose the right pottery wheel – and if you’re looking to purchase one on a budget, then you could consider picking up a second hand one on eBay. Alternatively, you could consider purchasing a built-to-order pottery wheel; which you can browse on Pottery Craft’s website here.
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. Or if you’d prefer to take a structured course, you can view pottery courses (at a range of difference prices) through our site here.
If you want to see just how satisfying pottery can be, take a look at the video below!
Calligraphy is something that we often see in everyday life on greetings cards and in adverts, and to many it probably looks quite simple – but learning how to write calligraphy by hand is a real skill.
Calligraphy techniques centre around letters and symbols, and have been practiced in Europe since 600 BC. In its most basic form, calligraphy involves using thick and thin lines in elegant curves and swirls, to produce artistic lettering. The concept itself isn’t complicated, but as with many creative crafts, it takes a lot of practice and patience. However, once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll be able to write beautifully handwritten letters and cards to friends and family, create wall hangings for your home, or use to create functional, yet decorative pieces for events – for example, to write signs and name cards for tables at a wedding reception.
You don’t need any fancy equipment to start practicing basic calligraphy strokes – you can do this with a regular pen. Then once you get more confident, you can upgrade to a specialist calligraphy pen. Have a watch of this YouTube video to see how you can get started.
Earlier this year, we also wrote a detailed guide, which will explain everything that you need to know about how to learn calligraphy at home – from what equipment to buy, to how to develop your technique, through to how to find inspiration and use your new skills. You can find this here.
If you’re not sure whether calligraphy is for you, then it might be helpful to check out some calligraphy Facebook groups. You could join the open group Calligraphists, or request to join the private groups UK Calligraphy & Lettering or Calligraphy Beginners. Here you can see other people’s calligraphy, share your own, swap tips and advice, and hopefully find some inspiration.
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.
If you didn’t find what you were looking for in this article, then you might find inspiration in some of our other creative articles, such as 9 creative skills that you can learn from home, Learn how to paint or Learn how to draw.
We’d love to hear whether you’re learning any of the crafts above, or whether you’re learning another creative skill! If you have any photos of your artwork, we’d love to see these too. Join the conversation on the community forum, or leave a comment below.