We’ve previously written about the benefits of knitting and created an introductory guide to help you get started.
Crochet is a craft that produces a similar effect to knitting, but many say that it’s easier to learn and commit to, largely because mistakes are easier to correct and you work with one needle (or hook), rather than two. You can also produce tighter stitches than knitting, which makes it easier to create 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 centuries. But crochet’s exact origins are unknown, and it’s been historically linked to various countries – 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 recommended for beginners. To find out more, why not check out our beginner’s guide?
The first thing to learn is how to create a chain stitch, and Hobbycraft’s handy video will show you how to do this. Once you’ve mastered the chain stitch, you can start learning other techniques in preparation for your first crochet project.
Hobbycraft has another useful video that’ll 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. For example, why not try this beginner’s amigurumi whale tutorial or this simple flower?
You can browse crochet courses on our website. These will teach you how to crochet at your own pace. A couple of examples are International Open Academy’s Crochet for Beginners and Udemy’s Crochet Basics.
Tie-dye is a versatile craft that you can use to update clothes in your wardrobe or add a unique touch to accessories (like scrunchies, tote bags, or socks). You can even use it to save a piece of clothing that has an awkward stain, and pillowcases can be used too.
While tie-dye was popular in the 60s and 70s, it’s recently made a comeback. More shops are stocking clothes with pastel-coloured tie-dye designs. However, if you want to save money and learn a new skill in the process, it’s worth having a go at doing it yourself at home instead.
Many people initially think of tie-dye as something too time-consuming or messy, but it’s actually pretty straightforward – and lots of fun!
Before you start, you’ll need to think about what sort of colours you’d like to go for. For a more classic or simple tie-dye effect, you can use just one or two colours. Or, to create a statement piece that really stands out, you could go for multiple colours. Hobbycraft sells packs of a single colour, two colours, or a set of five different colours.
When choosing an item to act as your canvas, it’s best to go for items that are made from natural materials like cotton or linen, as the dyes absorb into the fibres more easily.
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 what to do next, and how to achieve the pattern you want – whether that be swirls, circles, or a chequered effect.
If you’d like more inspiration, why not take a look at the video below?
The wonderful thing about origami is that it’s inexpensive, can be done anywhere, and develops several different skills, such as hand-eye coordination, sequencing, 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 wealthy 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 school. It’s 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; making paper towns or hanging displays of intricate paper patterns and shapes. The craft didn’t originally allow the paper to be cut or glued, but many modern tutorials do sometimes use these techniques, often to add stability to the final model.
The good news is that getting started with origami is pretty straightforward – all you’ll need is some origami paper. This can measure anywhere between three and 14 square inches, depending on how big you’d like your models to be.
You can cut paper into origami 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 Crafting With Children for more ideas on what you could use that you might already have at home.
To get started on your origami journey, why not take a look at our comprehensive beginner’s guide? It’ll explain everything you need to know; from what paper to buy and the basic folds, to tips on choosing your first project.
We also have some origami courses at varying prices available through our website – such as Udemy’s Easy Origami with Eleni: Master the Basics of Paper Folding – which will set you on the right track.
Another bonus of origami is that even when you master basic shapes, there’s always a more complex model that you could go on to learn. If you’d like to see some of the best origami creations out there, 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 (like painting, measuring, cutting, and glueing), you might like 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 can be a form of escapism. It’s really easy to get lost in the process while you create new worlds and bring characters to life. Painting something very tiny also requires a lot of patience and a steady hand, which is useful if you want to practise being more mindful.
If you’re interested in making a mini project, 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. Or, if you’re interested in learning how to build a model railway on a budget, it’s worth taking a look at Budget Model Railways’ channel. Alternatively, if you want to learn how to build a miniature castle, have a watch of this video.
While 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. 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 does Hobbycraft.
For more miniature inspiration, the video below will show you 26 miniatures you can make in five minutes.
If you like the idea of working with miniatures but don’t fancy building something from scratch, you could learn how to paint ready-made models instead. For example, Amazon sells miniature people which you can paint.
To see how miniature painting is done, check out this YouTube video, which will show you how to paint things like crockery for a doll’s house. It’s fascinating to watch, and you’ll learn how to create a rust effect and a wood finish.
In most cases, acrylic paint is best 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 small brushes for detail which, again, you can pick up from Amazon or Hobbycraft for a few pounds. 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, you could try your hand at finger knitting instead.
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, it can be better to use a wider yarn. And for smaller pieces like toys, thinner yarns tend to work better.
To master the basic technique of finger knitting, check out this beginner’s guide from Love Crafts.
When you’ve learnt the technique and feel ready to take on a project, why not have a watch of this YouTube video that’ll show you how to make a baby blanket? Or this one that’ll show you how to make a beanie hat?
Then, when working with really large yarn, the process of knitting without needles can become even simpler because you’re no longer required to loop the wool around individual fingers. This is often referred to as hand knitting rather than finger knitting. Check out 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 BeCozi’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 jewellery can be rewarding, because you can gift it to friends and family (or perhaps even start a side hustle) and/or develop a unique jewellery collection of pieces that you can’t buy anywhere else.
The biggest question to ask yourself before you start making jewellery is what kind of style you’d like to adopt. For example, classic and understated or statement pieces that use bright colours and unusual designs.
You can also decide whether you’d like to make jewellery for men, women, or children – and if you’ll be making bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings, or anklets. Sketching out some of your initial ideas can help you get a clearer idea of what your design will look like, and what tools and materials you’ll need to make them.
If you’d like to learn some common jewellery-making basics that are used across a range of different designs, it’s worth visiting Jeweller Maker. Here, you can learn the basics and be guided through how to do things like bend jump rings, thread beads onto headpins and eye pins, and make a wrapped loop.
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 and Jewellery Maker’s websites as they have a huge selection of jewellery-making supplies – everything from pliers and beads to charms and pendants.
In the meantime, if you need some extra inspiration, have a watch of the video below which shows how to make some beautiful jewellery pieces out of sea glass.
Pottery is a hugely satisfying and relaxing craft that can be used to produce some beautifully unique gifts.
Many say that working with clay is like going on a journey because you start with a murky lump, and can end up with a tangible object like a pot, plate, or bowl – which can take pride of place in your home, or be a gift to someone special.
One of the other reasons that pottery can be so appealing is because it engages the senses and encourages mindfulness. For example, when we smell the earthy scent of the clay or feel the smooth, soft clay running through our fingers, our mind is centred on the present moment.
Clay is also unpredictable and requires lots of concentration and focus as it’s difficult to know precisely how a project will turn out once you’ve started. The process requires you to get ‘in tune’ with the clay – so much so that it’s easy to become completely immersed in the process.
A downside to pottery is that pottery wheels usually aren’t 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 could be a great investment.
This helpful guide from Kara Leigh Ford Ceramics will help you choose the right pottery wheel. And if you’re looking to purchase one on a budget, there are plenty of second-hand pottery wheels avaliable on eBay.
If you want to give pottery a go without investing in a pottery wheel, there are lots of air dry pottery kits available to buy online. You’ll be able to unlock your creative side and mould, sculpt, and paint the clay into whatever you’d like without the need for any extra equipment.
To see just how satisfying pottery can be, why not take a look at the video below?
Calligraphy is something we see in everyday life on greeting cards and in adverts and, to many, it probably looks quite simple. But learning how to write calligraphy by hand is a real skill.
The techniques centre around letters and symbols, and have been practised 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 practise and patience to become skilled.
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 produce functional, yet decorative pieces for events – for example, signs and name cards at a wedding.
You don’t need any fancy equipment to start practising basic calligraphy strokes – you can do this with a regular pen. Once you get more confident, it can be worth investing in a specialist calligraphy pen.
Our detailed calligraphy guide for beginners will explain everything that you need to know about how to learn calligraphy at home – including what equipment to buy, how to develop your technique, and where to find inspiration and use your new skills. Or, have a watch of this YouTube video to see how to get started.
If you’re not sure whether calligraphy is for you, it might be helpful to check out some calligraphy Facebook groups. You could join the open group, Calligraphists, or request to join private groups like 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.
9. Homemade soap
Making homemade soap can be fun, rewarding, and a great form of self-expression because it allows you to get creative with your favourite fragrances, colours, and designs.
From herbal soaps made with lavender, rosemary, and chamomile to uniquely shaped bars – and even personalised soaps like these gorgeous gemstone soaps – there are endless ways to add your own personal touch to this craft.
Best of all, once you’ve finished creating, you’ll be left with a practical product that you can either enjoy yourself, give away as a wonderful handmade gift, or even sell.
If you’re thinking of having a go at soap making, it’s important to be aware that lye (sodium hydroxide) is used as an ingredient in some homemade soap recipes. Lye can be hazardous to work with at home, so it’s advised to steer clear of these recipes.
Instead, it’s best to choose recipes that favour approaches like the ‘melt and pour’ method as they’re fun, easy, and safe. If you’re a beginner, you might find this guide to making homemade soap a useful place to begin.
The basic equipment and ingredients needed for soap making are fairly easy to get hold of. Generally speaking, you’ll need a soap base (there are different varieties, for example, olive oil, goats milk, or aloe vera), a heatproof bowl, a silicone mould (or a baking pan lined with greaseproof paper), and some herbs or essential oils of your choice to fragrance your soap.
If you’re unsure which soap base to go for or which will accommodate your skin type best, you might find this review of the top six soap bases useful.
You can find plenty of heatproof bowls on Amazon, like this Pyrex measuring bowl, and there are endless silicone moulds available too. You can choose from basic shape moulds, or get creative with flower and angel designs; you could even choose to make a Star Wars-themed bar of soap if you so desired.
Lastly, you can pick what scents you’d like to go for; and this is where you can get even more creative. From honey soap to garden mint and chai latte soap, you’ll find some wonderful soap ideas and recipes on diys.com. If you’d like to add a pop of colour to your soap, you could also try products like these sea soap colours from Hobbycraft.
For some inspiration on what you could create, check out the DIY doughnut soap video below.
Upholstery is the art of providing furniture (such as seats or sofas) with springs, padding, webbing, fabric, and covers. Unfortunately, we’re largely a throw-away society, and many of us dispose of items the moment they stop working, or when a newer version appears on the market.
But learning to upholster is a fun and rewarding skill that can help you preserve your favourite pieces, and enjoy them for much longer. So, whether you’ve got a worn-out chair or your favourite sofa no longer fits your colour scheme, upholstery could be the answer.
While no existing skills are required to get going, it’s usually best to start with furniture that has straight lines. For example, footstools and dining room chairs because these are easier to finish off than pieces with curves.
Before you get going, you’ll need to get your hands on a few pieces of equipment, including a staple gun, rubber mallet, fabric, fabric scissors, and staple removers. You can find out more about the best places to get this equipment and how to get started in our beginner’s guide to upholstery.
And, if you’d like to brush up on your upholstery knowledge before taking on your first project, consider reading The Upholsterer’s Step-by-Step Handbook by Alex Law, or The Upholstery Bible by Cherry Dobson.
There’s also a range of free tutorials available to watch on YouTube which can help you to get to grips with the craft. For example, why not take a look at the video below on how to upholster your dining room chairs?
There are many different benefits to learning a craft. For example, it can help you relax and unwind, offer you a new business opportunity, or simply allow you to express yourself and have fun.
It can also encourage mindfulness, give you something positive to focus on, and offer a few minutes or hours of escapism. Plus, you’ll have something to keep and treasure at the end of it.
You can find more creative inspiration on the hobbies and activities and art and culture sections of our website. There’s everything from; 9 creative skills that you can learn from home and An introduction to card making to 13 winter arts and crafts ideas and How to create an inspiring vision board.
You’ll also find a range of arts and crafts events, including portrait drawing, over on Rest Less Events.
Are you currently learning a new craft? Or have any of the ideas above caught your attention? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!