There’s never been a better time to try something old. As the popularity of DIY continues to grow, many people are rediscovering the appeal of classic handicrafts from the past. Maybe you made some of these as a kid, or maybe it was something your grandmother loved to do—there’s no denying the appeal of these old-fashioned crafts. But don’t get lost in nostalgia! Follow the lead of these contemporary artisans who are using the tools and techniques of the past to create innovative, stylish crafts for the 21st Century.
1. Wood Burning
The fancy name for wood burning is pyrography, or writing with fire. Which can sound pretty intimidating until you realize that a wood burning tool is nothing more than a nib pen that uses heat instead of ink. Wood burning has shed its rustic reputation and is used today to add elegant and even delicate designs to things like kitchen accessories, holiday ornaments, jewelry and home décor. Start with something simple, like these heart key chains, which will help you master your skills before moving on to bigger projects.
2. String Art
A staple of the 1970s crafts world, string art has had a modern makeover in recent years. With a few nails and some brightly colored thread, you can transform even the simplest graphic shape into a stunning work of art for your home, office or studio. We especially like these bold letters that describe our favorite thing to do. String art is a great activity for kids, too, and Sizzix Basic Shapes make perfect templates for beginner projects.
3. Clay Art
There’s something primal about working with clay. Clay objects have been part of our daily lives from the earliest times, but you don’t have to be a professional potter to make beautiful objects for your home. With easy-to-use polymer clays and a little ingenuity, you can make trinket dishes, wall vases or other home accessories in just a few hours, to add a modern but personal touch to your décor.
4. Shrink Plastic
There’s probably nothing more nerve-wracking than watching a piece of colored plastic begin to twist and curl in the heat of your oven. Is it going to roll up on itself and get stuck, or will it flatten out again, perfectly shrunk? Once you get used to working with shrink plastic, though, you’ll get pretty reliable results, and you can use it to make everything from jewelry, like these trendy earrings and pendants, to home décor, card embellishments and more.
5. Resin Casting
Just as multi-purpose as shrink plastic, but a little more complicated to use, craft resins combine an epoxy with a polyamine hardener that cures to a clear, dry plastic that you can use as a coating or to embed just about any object. This is a great way to show off your dried botanicals in a way that is both functional and beautiful!
6. Hand Lettering
If you haven’t practiced your handwriting since grammar school, there’s never been a better time to pick up a pen. Decorative lettering is a beautiful addition to almost any project, including handmade cards, wall art, art journals, scrapbooks and more. Even your to-do list will be more appealing with a touch of brush lettering. Start with a basic tutorial on hand lettering, then let your creativity loose on the whole alphabet!
7. Ribbon Embroidery
Pinterest is awash with amazing embroidery projects these days, but none are quite so eye-catching as the elegant florals stitched with colorful silk ribbons. The ribbon adds both dimension and texture for an almost lifelike finished product. Ribbon flowers are the perfect embellishment for pillows, fashion accessories, and even paper crafts. Here are five easy stitches to get you started!
8. Paper Flowers
Most of us have made flowers out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners at least once in our lives. But there’s so much more that paper can do with a little inspiration and practice. Intricate, lifelike blossoms are an enduring substitute for the real thing. Try these step-by-step directions for making paper bluebells, then search online for how to make your favorite flowers out of paper.
People have been weaving cloth for tens-of-thousands of years and using it for purely decorative purposes nearly as long. It can be incredibly satisfying to make your own fabric, even if it’s just a small swatch for a wall hanging. And while basic weaving technique is always the same, the end result is entirely a product of your creativity. Check out these weaving instructions to get started, or view a variety of weaving projects for inspiration.
10. Pressing Flowers
Who doesn’t love a craft that encourages you to get outdoors occasionally? Pressed, dried flowers are beautiful in their own right, but they also make great additions to a wide variety of crafts, like these pressed flower coasters. Best of all, there’s little investment to get started; serious hobbyists may want to invest in a flower press, but an oversized book serves just as well.
Have you ever tried these classic crafts? Let us know in the comments below, we can't wait to read all about it!
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