The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Crafting

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Arts and crafts are cool again! And it's no wonder when you consider the benefits.

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In addition to giving you an outlet to express your personality, having a hobby like crafting can help relieve stress and sharpen the mind. Creating something from scratch gives you a strong sense of accomplishment. It's also a great way to spend time with family and friends.

Regardless of your skill level, there's a craft waiting for you. Here's a guide to getting started.

How to choose a craft to get started

With so many crafts to choose from, it's easy to get overwhelmed in knowing where to start. The key is to do something you love. This is ​your​ free time we're talking about. No one's handing you assignments or grading you. You're crafting for yourself, for the pure joy of making something out of nothing.

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One thing to remember is you don't have to do everything. There are some people who can do it all, but they are few and far between. Most people pick one or two crafts they enjoy and stick with them.

Also, think about how much you want to invest in materials. Fortunately, you can get started with many crafts without having to buy a lot of expensive equipment. You can work according to your own budget — and still create magic.

Here are some popular crafts that are perfect for beginners. Explore the ones that spark your interest, and be ready to get your creative groove on.

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Paper crafting

A lot of people dipping their toes in crafting start with paper crafting. That's because practically everybody has some extra paper lying around the house, be it blank paper, old magazines or even coffee filters. Some of the most popular crafts in this category include:

• ​Cardmaking​ – When the majority of the world is sending greetings and wishes via email or social media, an actual physical card means so much more. And when that card is handmade, the sentiment is even more heartfelt and appreciated. Make an entire stash at a time, and you'll always be ready for anyone's birthday or anniversary.

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• ​Scrapbooking​ – If you have a ton of pictures saved on your phone and want a creative way to showcase some of them, scrapbooking is for you. This craft involves applying photographs to larger pieces of paper (usually 12-inch square cardstock), and surrounding the photographs with embellishments. These scrapbook pages can be displayed on their own or assembled and bound in a book.

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• ​Decoupage​ – Dating back to 17th century France, decoupage is the art of applying paper to furniture and decorative objects with a combination of glue and sealer. This is a great way to give new life to things you would otherwise throw out like old bottles, wood boxes or side tables.

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• ​Origami​ – The art of paper folding is an activity that crafters of all ages can share in. It's amazing how simple folds can create vividly defined objects. And really, all you need is paper.

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Supplies every paper crafter needs:

Cardstock stacks​ – These are collections of 12-inch x 12-inch sheets of cardstock that come in different colors and patterns. When you buy the stack, you know that all the papers are color-coordinated. Also, it's much more affordable to buy a stack than individual sheets.

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Washi tape​ – Washi tape is a paper adhesive tape that comes in a multitude of styles. It's perfect for embellishing cards and scrapbook pages.

Paper punch​ – There are paper punches to create an assortment of shapes, but the one you'll use the most is a circle punch. It's easy to get carried away with paper punches, but start with the circle and expand your collection from there.

Cutting mat​ – A cutting mat is handy for cutting paper because measurements are printed onto it, and the mat is self-healing, meaning cuts on the mat close back up.

Paper trimmer​ – Forget those scary guillotine-style paper cutters. Get a paper cutter that gives you precise cuts that won't sacrifice your fingers.

Scoring board​ - Paper crafters have some nifty tools. A scoring board helps you make precise folds and creases on paper. It's perfect for making cards.

Creative Station sticker maker​ - What's the best way to adhere paper? Glue sticks are fine but not totally reliable. Spray adhesive gets everywhere. The paper crafter's secret weapon is this Creative Station, which applies an adhesive to the back of any piece of paper. It's life changing.

Fun beginner projects to try:

Make your own stylish envelope liners for your cards: https://www.ehow.com/how_12343255_diy-envelope-liners.html

Dog lovers will enjoy making this origami pug: https://www.ehow.com/how_10054470_make-origami-pug.html

If you're new to decoupage, decorating a box is a great way to start: https://www.ehow.com/how_1336_decoupage.html

One way to show off all your scrapbook pages is to bind them with this scrapbook cover. https://www.ehow.com/how_17023_make-scrapbook-cover.html

Painting

Even if you can't draw, you can still paint a work of art. There are various types of paint you can choose from — watercolors, acrylics, oil and even paint markers. And because the thought of painting on a canvas can be intimidating for a beginner, you can bring out your inner Picasso on paper or cardboard. And if you can't decide on what to paint, try an abstract.

Supplies every painter needs:

Paper pad​ – Create your masterpieces on this thick paper that has a canvas feel. It holds both oil and acrylic paint without bleeding through.

Paint set​ – There's a dizzying array of colors to choose from in art stores, so make it easy on yourself with this set of acrylic paints in 48 colors.

Paint brushes​ – Again, make your life easy by getting a set of brushes, and you'll be set for a while.

Fun beginner projects to try:

Paint pouring is all the rage for beginning and advanced painters alike. You can create amazing art pieces just by pouring paint and twirling the canvas. You can't get much easier than that.

Image Credit: eHow

Unsure about your drawing skills? Afraid of watercolor? When you follow the simple steps, you'll be amazed at what you can draw. Try your hand with this watercolor owl.

Image Credit: eHow

Or try this cat sitting on a tree.

Image Credit: Lucy Akins

You don't have to just paint on canvas. It's easy to paint on glassware to create some wonderful custom designs.

Candle making

Candles can be very expensive, and it's much more affordable to make your own. Plus, they make great gifts for everyone on your list.. Candle making is actually very easy. It entails melting wax, adding some color and scent, and then pouring the melted wax into a mold. That's pretty much it, and it's hard to mess up. Besides basic pillar candles, you can experiment with more creative shapes that take candle making to a whole new level.

Candle supplies every beginner needs:

Candle pouring pot – You'll need a pot to melt your wax in. Place your wax in the pot, and the pot in a pan of hot water to create a double boiler.

Wicks​ – Wicks that have tabs already attached to the ends make candle making a lot easier.

Wax​ – Sometimes, I'll just break apart old candles and use that wax to make new candles. If you don't have old candles, you can buy a brick of wax.

Fun beginner projects to try:

Create candles in the shape of eggs.

These candles look like a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream.

If a margarita's more your style, make these candles that look like everyone's favorite frosted cocktail.

Bath and body products

Who doesn't love a spa night? Bath time can be extra special when you make your own soaps. Similar to candle making, soap making involves melting a soap base, adding fragrance, and then pouring the melted soap into a mold to harden. You can also make bath bombs and body scrubs for extra pampering.

Supplies you'll need:

Melt and pour soap base​ – This goat's milk soap base melts easily and forms perfectly in molds.

Silicone molds​ – With silicone molds, the soaps pop out easily when they're done.

Soap colorant​ – When adding color to your soap, you want to make sure that your dye won't stain your skin or bathtub. These dyes are formulated especially for soaps.

Fun beginner projects to try:

Here's a good overall tutorial on making soap.

Body scrubs like this one invigorate your skin while relaxing you with soothing scents.

Your skin will drink up the nutrients in these bath salts mixed with dried florals.

The fizzy action of bath bombs can't be beat. Here is one for the fall, but you can change up the recipe with other scents.

Resin crafts

Resin is a hard, clear plastic that's becoming very popular in crafting. The basic technique is combining resin in its liquid form with a hardener and pouring the mixture in a mold. At one time, only professionals worked with resin, but resin manufacturers are now targeting the casual hobbyist, offering resin kits that make it easy for beginners. You'll be amazed at all the wonderful things you can make with resin.

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

Resin supplies every beginner needs:

Resin kit​ – Follow the directions in this kit on how to mix the resin with the hardener, and you'll have professional results.

Craft sticks​ – To mix the resin, you'll need a bunch of popsicle sticks.

Plastic cups​ – These plastic cups have measurements printed on them to make mixing the resin a lot easier.

Fun beginner projects to try:

These alphabet keychains made of resin and dried flowers make great gifts:

Protect your tabletop with these coasters with pressed flowers encased in resin.

The resin in this seashell tray looks like water.

Jewelry making

Jewelry making is the craft that launched a thousand Etsy shops. As a jewelry making, you become a true alchemist, turning beads, bangles and baubles into wearable art. The good news is you don't need to be an expert or even spend a lot of money to make jewelry. Start off with some simple pieces, wear them in public, and get ready for some compliments.

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

Jewelry supplies every beginner needs:

Leather cord​ – Cording is a great, low cost start for many jewelry projects.

Beads​ - You'll want an assortment of colorful beads you can mix and match in your jewelry.

Pliers​ – A good set of pliers will help you string beads and stones and create loops to finish your pieces.

Fun beginner projects to try:

Start by making some bracelets with a few slipknots on your leather cord.

These bangle bracelets decorated with sprinkles could be the sweetest thing ever.

Make bracelets from zippers.

Wreath making

A decorative wreath on the door is a great way to welcome visitors. And remember, wreaths aren't just for the winter holidays. You can create a wreath for every season of the year. One of the fun things about wreath making is being innovative with the materials you use. So use your imagination — if you can wire it to a wreath form, you're in business.

Wreath supplies beginners need:

Grapevine wreath​ – A grapevine wreath is the perfect foundation for many wreath projects.

Wire wreath form​ - A wire wreath is another way to go.

Paddle wire​ – Paddle wire helps you easily wrap elements around your wreath form.

Fun beginner projects to try:

An herb wreath looks beautiful and smells heavenly.

This chili pepper wreath is hot stuff.

Use an umbrella to make a wreath.

An innovative way to plant succulents is to arrange them on a wreath.

Garden décor

Whether you have an expansive oasis or a small balcony patio, spruce up your outdoor space with garden décor crafts. These craft projects can be functional or purely decorative. The main thing to keep in mind is to make sure they are weatherproof.

Image Credit: Jonathan Fong

Gardening supplies for beginners

Clay pots​ – Stock up on clay pots in a variety of sizes. They are perfect for a whole range of garden décor crafts.

Patio craft paint​ – When painting your garden projects, choose a paint that weathers the elements. This line of paints comes in a variety of colors and offers great coverage.

Fun beginner projects to try:

This lighthouse makes a great garden decoration as well as a centerpiece for an outdoor party.

Garden globes catch the light in the garden to delightful effect:

You won't want plain clay pots again after you marbleize them.

Make a hummingbird feeder to welcome these wondrous birds to your yard.

Floral arranging

If you've ever admired an arrangement delivered from a florist and wondered how you, too, could create something similar, you're in luck. Creating your own floral arrangement is actually fun and easy. And the art of floral arranging goes way beyond just putting flowers in a vase of water. You can assemble fantastical creations that will amaze your friends and family. With flowers as your artistic medium, you can't go wrong.

Floral supplies beginners need

Floral foam​ - Make this your mantra: "Floral foam is my friend." Floral foam holds your floral stems securely in a watered environment. You can also carve the foam to make fun floral creations. Just be sure to use the "wet"floral foam designated for fresh flowers. There is a separate type of floral foam for artificial flowers.

Floral shears​ – Don't use regular scissors to cut stems. A pair of floral shears will cut your flowers cleanly without crushing the stems. This way you'll also avoid gunking up your regular craft scissors.

Fun beginner projects to try:

Here are all the basics to creating a florist-level arrangement.

In this arrangement, spears of asparagus line a vase to create a cheery basket.

Make a cake with no calories or carbs! It's made of flowers, so you can't eat it.

Perfect for a baby shower or birthday, this floral teddy bear will definitely get oohs and ahhs.

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