Beginners Crafts Guide

Beginners Crafts Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction

4 children crafting

Arts and crafts is a massive hobby that encompasses so many creative possibilities but this can be intimidating when you’re a beginner. With so many options to start with, where do you begin? You’re going to learn that and more in today’s guide.

Below you’ll find your primer to the world of DIY arts and crafts. It’s been written with the express purpose of providing valuable guidance on crafts while enabling your creativity to shine through. To do this, you’ll find our guide separated into different sections. Check out the contents of this guide:

  • Why Start Crafting? – On the fence? Here’s why crafting can be fulfilling. 
  • Benefits of Crafting – A detailed breakdown of the positive effects of crafting.
  • Crafts to Try – 10 craft styles every beginner should try to find their creative style.
  • Easy Beginner Crafts – 5 specific tutorials for inexpensive DIY crafts projects.

Throughout these four sections, you’ll learn everything a beginner needs to learn about crafts. We’ve included even more information through the use of links. Where we’ve referenced a technique or information that isn’t contained in the guide, we have linked to resources where you can find more. This means you can read deeper into any method that interests you while allowing us to cover more info in a shorter and easier format.

Now that you know what to expect, let’s start with why everybody should try some form of crafting.

Why Start Crafting?

Why Start Crafting

Given how expansive crafting is, there’s a type of crafting for everybody. No matter your age or gender, you should be able to find a crafts hobby that you can take up. By doing this, you can transform your free time into productivity and make aesthetically pleasing items for your home.

If you find yourself bored often, taking up a crafts hobby can be just the ticket. It’s generally accepted that younger people tend to experience boredom more often, and more consistently as the years roll on.

There was also a dramatic change in the world throughout 2020 and into 2021, which saw millions of people sit idle in their homes with nothing to do. With a crafts hobby, you can keep your attention away from stressful events and create stuff instead. People need hobbies and, if crafts have always interested you, there’s no better time to start learning.

Benefits of Crafting

woman making a dress on the left and man making pots on the right

Taking up a craft comes with a whole raft of benefits that help you and those around you. Crafting doesn’t just have to positively use your time and beautify your home; it can also bring you practical benefits and save you money. Check out 8 of the most significant crafting benefits below.

Can Create Homemade Gifts for Family and Friends

When the holiday season comes, it’s not unusual to find a hefty slice of your paycheck going towards your family and friends. Whether it’s a birthday or the season of giving, we don’t mind spending some of our hard-earned cash on the ones we love. That said, you can save yourself some money and provide a personalized gift to your friends through crafting.

You can even get your friends or family in on the action too, by suggesting that everybody give each other personally made objects for this year. If it’s a success, you can carry this forward and save everybody money while fortifying your relationships.

This all depends on who you’re giving gifts to, of course. Maybe your friend has expensive tastes, in which case a homemade craft might not be the best option. If they’re a more sentimental type, however, then you can guarantee they’ll find a homemade gift much more meaningful than a store-bought item.

Most people would emotionally value a knitted sweater from grandma over a branded retail item, and the same logic applies to crafting as a whole.

Improve Confidence and Self-Esteem

We measure ourselves by our accomplishments, so creating something is a great way to improve our confidence. Nothing feels more rewarding than when you complete a project, no matter what that is, and with crafting you’ll find yourself with a lot more projects on your hand. Those positive vibes are only multiplied if you’re surrounded by people you care about who support and praise your new hobby.

If you’re bored or in a rut, you can get negative thoughts. By having a hobby to fall back on, you can reduce idleness by continuing your latest project whenever you find yourself struggling with nothing to do. Crafting is a great motivator, as are all hobbies, but with crafting you can use inexpensive items in the home to make something that makes you feel good.

Learn a New Skill

When you learn a hobby, you’re often learning skills that can benefit you in the real world. The art of crafting is a skill in and of itself, as you’ll learn to work with your hands and find material ingredients with a discerning eye. Learning new skills also keeps the mind active, which has proven to help memory and improve other cognitive and motor skills.

If the skill is translatable to a job role, or even your current career, then you can maximize the skill benefit you get from learning crafts. A great way to find a fruitful crafts hobby for you is to look at your career right now and find a related or adjacent craft that you can pick up and learn.

While school may end, education does not. It’s never too late to pick up a new skill and your brain should be well-equipped to learn them far into old age. Sticking to a limited and repetitive skillset gets boring fast, so switch things up by taking up a new hobby. With crafts, there are hundreds of styles and traditions you can pick up, so you’ll never get bored.

If you’re bored or in a rut, you can get negative thoughts. By having a hobby to fall back on, you can reduce idleness by continuing your latest project whenever you find yourself struggling with nothing to do. Crafting is a great motivator, as are all hobbies, but with crafting you can use inexpensive items in the home to make something that makes you feel good.

Help Find ‘Me Time’

Hobbies are great as both individual and communal activities, crafts included. If you have trouble finding time for yourself, there’s no better excuse to enjoy some ‘me time’ by picking up a hobby. It keeps your hands busy while allowing you to think about your day and decompress, much like meditation. Your crafts hobby can be a therapeutic retreat from a busy schedule for those who struggle with finding alone time.

Another big benefit is that you’ll have another activity for when you retire. Along with adolescents, retirees are also prone to boredom and idleness. We call them bored boomers. You can only watch so much TV and your children, and their children, are going to grow up someday. By taking up a hobby, you can have something that you enjoy doing in your golden years.

Improve Hand-Eye Coordination

As we mentioned, building out a skill set involves a lot of hand movements and thinking. Specifically, you do a lot of problem-solving thinking when creating things with your hands, which pretty much all crafts hobbies demand. When you’re concentrating, you’re improving your hand-eye coordination.

Repetitive hand movements are ideal for improving your motor skills and how effectively you can control your hands. After so many hours practicing your newfound craft skill, it becomes muscle memory and you’ll be able to perform once complex movements with ease. This increase in coordination can also help you in other parts of life, from ordinary household chores to career paths that involve a lot of handiwork.

This is especially the case with children, so your children could also gain these same benefits as long as the crafts are safe and pose no threat to the child.

Reduce Stress and Improve Mood

Along with increasing your confidence and improving your hand-eye coordination, picking up crafts as a hobby can be a great way to reduce stress. By doing this, your mood will improve over time and you can use your hobby to relax. Keep that cortisol away by learning a new craft skill that you enjoy doing and finding the time to do it often.

While you work with your hands, most crafts work is ponderous and slow-paced, which is great stress relief. It helps you keep your blood pressure down and stave away all of the problems that can come with that. If it helps you purge negative thoughts, it also acts as a healthy way to work through issues.

Meet New People

Many hobbies can be done with friends, as we mentioned. However, you can also make friends through your hobbies. When entering a new craft, you can find yourself going to public events based on those activities and meeting like-minded people. Here you can form new friendships that are sure to add a lot of value to your life going forward.

From here, you can develop your friendships with these new people. Whether it’s by practicing your shared hobby together or teaching each other different, new skills, all these benefits have come from your initial decision to get into arts and crafts. A friend made through crafting is also less likely to expect commercial, expensive gifts too, so gifting a craft item you made will make more sense.

Allow You to Express Yourself

While they have so many practical and healthy benefits, crafts are also an art form that requires creativity and self-expression. Some people are naturally more creative than others. If you’re already creative, crafts will provide you with the challenges you need to flex your creativity muscles. 

If you aren’t in touch with your creative side, crafts can then help you express yourself more, for your gain, and to those around you. Many crafts allow for creative freedoms, like adding your own personal touches or modifications, which cater well to the sensibilities of creatives and tinkerers alike.

Once you’re confident enough, you can then show off your art to friends and family. If you’re serious about it, you can post images online and build a social media following for your crafts, and receive kudos from hundreds of other people.

If that goes well, you can even branch it into a career. For many, this would be a side gig that can become profitable but there is the possibility of making a career out of creating art. You can create and sell your crafts online and, if you document your construction process through images or video, you can monetize them through a blog online.

Crafts to Try

man crafting

Now that we’ve discussed why letting crafts into your life can be a great experience, you need to decide on which craft you’re going to learn. We’ve included ten popular examples below, for each craft, summarized in three paragraphs:

  1. What the craft is.
  2. Why you should try it.
  3. How to get started.

Maybe you came to us with a style in mind, in which case you can seek out sources online if we haven’t covered it below. Beginners should find something that grabs their interest out of the section below, however.

Pottery

Everybody knows pottery, mainly through the ceramic molding and shaping process that’s featured in movies and been at the heart of comedic skits. As a craft, pottery is a very diverse practice since the exact methods differ depending on the style, which then depends on geographic and cultural differences that have been used to make pottery for thousands of years. It’s a prestigious craft that awards you with attractive chinaware when you’re done.

You don’t just get a practical, usable piece of art when you’re done, but the act of making it is also relaxing. You shape the pottery by spinning wet, malleable ceramic and then manipulating it, often with your hands and fingertips. This stimulates the fingers, acting as a massage on one of the most sensitive parts of your body.

Pottery equipment can get pricey so, for many people, their first exposure is through classes. As a beginner, these are the best ways for you to learn and you meet other pottery makers. For an inexpensive option, use air-drying clay and make quick projects at home. They won’t be as robust as machine-made, heat-blasted pottery but it’s something.

Beadwork

Beadwork is where small beads are attached to make a larger object, usually by threading a sewing needle or a wire through them. Though rudimentary compared to what can be done with beadwork, a bead necklace held together with a string is a common example most of you will know. Like pottery, beads have a rich cultural history and have been used from ancient Egyptian faience necklaces to Ethiopian basket weaving. There’s even such a thing as 3D beadwork, where you create objects and characters by stitching beads together.

As for what you get out of it – can you thread a needle? That’s the cornerstone of beadwork and, by doing so, you develop a steadier hand and improved motor function. That said, avoid beadwork if you hate picking knots out of chain or earphone wires because that happens a lot with the thread, too.

Getting started is as easy as owning needles, a thread, and some beads. Your ability to craft different objects will differ, of course, but you can find tutorials for ambitious projects online. For now, try to make a keychain or a necklace. If you’re feeling confident, try putting a pendant onto the middle of that necklace too.

Woodworking

Here’s a crafting skill that’s popular with men, though that doesn’t mean women can’t participate. Woodworking is exactly what it sounds like, where wood is cut, shaped, and carved into a variety of results. Whether that’s a decorative sculpture or a cliché birdhouse, woodworking is brilliant for creating practical furniture or aesthetically pleasing objects, or both at once.

As a craft, woodworking was crucial to the survival of old human civilizations. It’s not just a craft, shaping the natural world into useful products is a skill that can be monetized. You can also save money by making your own wood items. If you work with wood for your day job, then you should try woodworking because you’re probably already good at it! They nurture the same skills, though with finer attention to detail, but carpenters and similar job roles have a head start here.

Like pottery, woodworking can require specialized equipment. As a beginner, you should start simple. Starting with specialized, motorized woodcutting gear is just dangerous, so build your skillset before expanding your arsenal. Planters and birdhouses are the classic starter projects.

Jewelry Making

Jewelry making is a popular craft that uses household items to create aesthetically pleasing rings, necklaces, and piercings, all with a fraction of the cost of getting commercial jewelry. DIY jewelry making is so common that it’s often what comes to mind when people think of arts and crafts.

Getting into this craft can be as simple as visiting your local craft store. There you’ll find a lot of supplies and there should be enthusiasts who can give you pointers on getting started. You can also find tutorials on the Internet.

You’ll need pliers and some other equipment, depending on what exactly you’re making. Multiple pliers would be preferable, as would a crimping tool. As a highly popular craft, craft stores should stock all sorts of materials and tools that will help you get started.

Miniatures

Miniatures are small characters that you own. While they vary greatly, they can be relatively simple or as complex as full-sized models. Many people paint miniatures as a hobby and collect massive collections over time. For some, this is an investment while for others, it’s a labor of love.

As small statuettes, miniatures have both decorative and practical uses. You can create a dollhouse if that’s what you like or use the miniatures to play games with. If you play certain wargames or tabletop games, like Warhammer 40K as a popular example, then you know what miniatures are and how painting them can be a soothing and hand-steadying experience.

Miniatures are often about creating a small world. Whether that’s a dollhouse or a grimdark hellscape, you need to choose which one interests you and start. Collecting will take time, especially if miniatures are expensive. 3D printing is slowly turning the tables there but printers are still initially expensive.

Candle and Soap Making

If you’re a big fan of aromatherapy, you may want to consider making your own candles and soaps. Candles can be decorative but pretty much everything you make here can be used.

You should try this craft because it’s distinct from the other crafts here and results in products that can be used or sold. You can experiment with different combinations for scents and you won’t want gift ideas when the holiday season comes.

Start with simple recipes. You are working with chemicals, after all. You can find easy beginner tutorials online, and many recipes need items readily available at home.

Paper Crafting

Paper crafting is where you manipulate paper, which is inexpensive, into whatever you want. Paper’s a versatile medium that can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. For example, creating your own birthday cards could be considered papercraft, but so can origami.

Paper is cheap and plentiful, even if you get colored or patterned paper that you can find at crafts stores. It’s a beginner-friendly craft with no risk of injury, no specialized equipment, and no high costs to set up projects.

Pick a project and make sure you have paper, scissors, and glue. You can buy wholesale arts and crafts kits that will provide everything you need.

Knitting

We’ve all heard of knitting, so we’ll keep this part short. Knitting has been the sport of grandmas for generations but that doesn’t mean younger people can get involved. After 2020, many people have picked up knitting.

Through knitting, you can create small decorations or functional sweaters, hats, mittens, scarves, socks, and other woolen winter wear. 

You may be able to find a knitting group to join and get started there. Beginners often get free lessons and the group might be so charitable as to give you equipment for free. You’ll need knitting needles and yarn to get started properly.

Paper is cheap and plentiful, even if you get colored or patterned paper that you can find at crafts stores. It’s a beginner-friendly craft with no risk of injury, no specialized equipment, and no high costs to set up projects.

Pick a project and make sure you have paper, scissors, and glue. You can buy wholesale arts and crafts kits that will provide everything you need.

Crochet

Crocheting is knitting’s less popular cousin. Both require focus and result in the same benefits, and you make a lot of the same apparel from it too! It’s a great way to relax your mind. For crocheting, you’ll need a crochet hook, yarn, and the knowledge of slip knots and chains.

Embroidery

Embroidery is a form of needlework where you weave decorations into a pre-existing material using a needle and yarn. It has been practiced since ancient times yet has consistently made a comeback.

Like with many crafts, embroidery has a practical purpose since you can repair clothing with it. It also improves your general needlework skills and your motor capabilities and can be paired with beads for beadwork or other mediums like sequins.

You can buy fabrics with embroidery patterns stitched into them. Think of it as a paint by numbers except instead, you follow the lines to create a pattern or message. This is a great way for beginners to hone their skills. As always, online tutorials can help too.

Easy Beginners Crafts

woman with yarns with two cats

We have more suggestions for crafts that you, as a beginner, should explore. Five, to be exact, so check them out here. We’ve not only included a primer on what they are, but we’ve also got a step-by-step rundown of how you make these crafts.

Painted Rocks

Painted rocks are simple if the name hasn’t tipped you off already. There’s still enough versatility for creative freedom in rock painting and there are thousands of different rock types that you can get your hands on. They also have an interesting tradition surrounding them, where you paint rocks and leave them for strangers to find. Failing that, they’re great for decoration.

You must have:

  • Paintbrushes.
  • Paint pens.
  • Basin or bowl.
  • Stylus (optional).
  • Stencils (optional).
  • Rocks (preferably smooth or flat).

Then follow these steps:

  1. Find candidate rocks for decoration.
  2. Wash them and wait till dry.
  3. Seal rocks with a spray sealer or white paint.
  4. Design your rock how you want, with varied colors and patterns.
  5. Add small details with brushes, stencils, or stylus if you wish.
  6. Use paint pens to do the same, if you wish.
  7. Preserve your rock with another layer of outdoor protection sealer.

Wine Cork Board

A corkboard, or bulletin board, can be the hub of a busy home. If you go through a lot of wine, or you know a gal who does, you can use these corks to make a bulletin board for cheap. See how below:

You must have:

  • A lot of wine corks.
  • A sharp knife (and maybe a hook).
  • A frame or papier mache box.
  • Rope for its handle.
  • Pins to use on the board.
  • Glue gun or glue sticks.
  • Black craft paint and color spray paint.
  • A spray shelter.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Find a box lid or a similar object for your frame.
  2. Paint the frame on its inside and out. Use black paint on the inside and colored on the outside.
  3. You may need a spray shelter to paint the outside.
  4. Glue to wine corks to the frame.
  5. Use a rope to make a handle, cut it with a sharp knife and glue it to the frame.
  6. Mount a hook wherever you want the corkboard to hang.
  7. Use pins and notes on the bulletin board.

 

DIY Coasters

Brighten any drinking space with DIY coasters. Like painted rocks, these are pretty easy, so follow along below and you’ll have decorative coasters in no time! Depending on the coasters you have, you may want to add a fabric to the surface to make them thicker or sand off any plastic coating on the coasters’ surfaces.

You must have:

  • Coasters, of course.
  • A knife or scissors.
  • A paintbrush.
  • Outdoor water base sealer.
  • Clear sealer.
  • Scrapbook paper.
  • Sandpaper.
  • A pencil.
  • Alcohol ink and paper towel (optional).

Then follow these steps:

  1. Perform any sanding prep work.
  2. Trace the coasters with pencils onto paper.
  3. Place outdoor sealer on the coaster and bind the paper to the coaster with it. Leave for 20 minutes.
  4. Optional – Use alcohol ink to add blots or darken the coaster.
  5. Optional – Round edges with scissors.
  6. Add more sealer on the paper.
  7. Add clear sealer over the finished product and leave for 24 hours.

DIY Marbled Mugs

You can add attractive marbling patterns to your mugs at home with relatively little effort or cost. This is great for beginners to try, so take stock of the ingredients below and try it out for yourself. Note that these mugs won’t be dishwasher or microwave safe, only hand washed.

You must have:

  • Mugs, obviously.
  • Nail polish (not quick-drying!)
  • Toothpicks.
  • A disposable basin.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Fill the basin halfway with hot water.
  2. Pour a drop or two of nail polish into the water. Keep the bottle close to the surface so it lingers on the water instead of sinking.
  3. Swirl the polish around the water with a toothpick.
  4. Dip the mug into the water quickly.
  5. Place the mug somewhere to dry.
  6. Optional – Use nail polish remover to remove excess polish.

 

Paint by Numbers

Paint by numbers is a craft where you’re given an instructional coloring pattern. You paint different sections different colors depending on which number code is within them. It’s a form of therapeutic coloring and, whether basic animals or complex mandalas, can help relax your mind with little effort to set up.

You must have:

  • Graphite pencils or acrylic paint.
  • Carbon paper.
  • Tracing paper.
  • A photograph of your choice (optional).
  • A frame, for your coloring (optional).

Then follow these steps:

  1. Get a photograph of a scene, object, or something personal to you.
  2. Lay tracing paper over it and use a pencil to trace the lines out.
  3. Then trace again, this time with the carbon paper beneath the tracing paper.
  4. Create a color scheme where each color has a number.
  5. Number each space with the colors that you want.
  6. Pick up your brush or coloring pencils and get started!
  7. Optional – Frame the piece once it’s done.

 

Summary

people in a line with a craft option

There you have it, you should now have some idea of where to start in the world of arts and crafts. There must be something you read above that interests you, so look more into those crafts and you may find a rewarding hobby that helps you and those close to you.

Don’t be afraid to explore more of the arts and crafts world to find the techniques that work best for you. There are a lot of methods that haven’t been covered in our guide and, where we have covered them, we’ve told you everything you need to know as a beginner.

If you want to become a renaissance craft artist, you can try all of the above crafts and see which ones you like best. Keep the guide around and consult it whenever you get stuck. You can use it as a checklist and have no shortage of Christmas gifts to give when you’re done!

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