Crafting for Newcomers

January is a time for new beginnings. A common New Year’s resolution is to learn something new in the coming year. For some, they may want to learn a new instrument or a new language. For others, they may want to become “crafty” but don’t know where to start.

Do your friends (or in my case my mom and sisters) all seem to have a knack for creating beautiful or artistic things, while your attempts come out looking….unique? If so you are not alone. To those of us who are not naturally “crafty” but want to be, there is hope. These simple steps can help.

Unless you already have an idea of what you want to create, you may be thinking, “But wait. Which craft should I start with?” There are simply too many possibilities to list here, but a quick Google search of “crafts for beginners” will list everything from dream catchers to re-purposed containers. Scroll through until something strikes your interest and start with that. (You’ll know you’ve found it when you hear yourself go, “oooohhh” and start thinking of the possibilities.)

Start Small

It can be tempting when starting off to take one look at Etsy or Pinterest, think, “how hard could it possibly be to make a (fill in the blank)?”, and jump right into the deep end. You’ll want to run to your nearest Michael’s and spend a small fortune stocking up your new craft room. But chances are you’ll find your finished product looks nothing like you thought it would.

This is when most people call it quits. Lucky for you, the problem probably isn’t an inherent lack of the crafty gene. Though it can be tempting to blame genetics, the truth is you just didn’t give yourself a fighting chance because you took on more than you could chew. The “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” concept applies here, but in this case your grand plans are bigger than your ability to carry them out (at least for now).

Start with something simple. Believe me - though this way may seem longer, you will get to that grand craft plan eventually if you take your time to learn things step by step, getting a little more challenging each time. You are far less likely to quit with this approach since your successes will start to outweigh your failures. And as they say, nothing succeeds like success!

Speaking of Which...Equip Yourself for Success

Though running through your savings in the local craft shop can be tempting, it really isn’t necessary (or healthy) for the beginning crafter. After all, you don’t even know yet which crafts you will enjoy and which you’ll want to avoid at all costs (cough...crochet…cough). There is no point in stocking up on everything you might eventually need. Just get the supplies for the small project you are going to start with.

Though buying everything in sight is not recommended, investing in high-quality supplies is a key to crafting success. If you are learning quilling, for example (you know - those really great cards made from all sorts of curled paper that you spend a fortune on), it is worth it to get high-quality paper and a great pair of scissors. After all, you get what you pay for. Starting with quality supplies will make it more likely that you will end with a quality product.

Last But Not Least

Set realistic goals and treat it as a game. Nothing is fun when taken too seriously, and crafting is no exception. So take those baby steps, invest in quality supplies, and most importantly enjoy yourself. You’ll be an experienced crafter in no time!