Today on Twitter a self-proclaimed “Newbie Crafter” CraftyKritter asked if I had any tips for newbie crafters. Without getting into specific KINDS of crafting- knitting, paper crafting, etc- there are some bits of advice I’d give to anyone. So I’ll share them with you!
- Invest in good-quality tools. If you are serious about crafting, you need GOOD tools. And that can be an investment. But buy yourself good scissors, the “right” pair of jewelry pliers, a reliable sewing machine, etc. Having good-quality tools can actually save you money in the long run (you won’t be replacing crappy ones) as well as preserving your hands and sanity. I used to have a sewing machine that I think ran on swear words. I enjoyed sewing so much more with a good machine! Do yourself a favor and get the best you can afford. Or start an Amazon wish-list and ask your family and friends to get you your tools as gifts.
- Set up a healthy, positive space for your crafting. It doesn’t matter if you craft in your living room, kitchen, or 500 square foot studio. Make a good space that makes you want to craft. Sit in a comfortable chair. Use good lamp and/or set up your crafting space near a window. (Eyestrain is the cause of many a headache as well as poorly matched colors.) Make sure you have good ventilation if you are painting or using resins. Your space should be set up so that you have good ergonomics and keep your body healthy and happy as you craft. I like to add a layer of “positivity,” too. Make it special with a favorite pillow, your favorite tunes, whatever. Make it special.
- Make time for your crafting. Give yourself both time and permission to craft. I know, you’ve got deadlines and laundry to do and a million other commitments, but really- make time for YOU. The only way to improve your crafty skills is to practice, and we all know that crafting is cheaper than therapy!
- Work in a Series. I wrote a whole post on this, and I borrowed the idea from artists. But it holds up: keep practicing your skill with slight variations to see what suits you best. And again, the more time you spend crafting (and the less you spend agonizing on decisions) the happier you’ll be. So commit to making more than “one” of a thing. You’ll thank me some day.
- Embrace your mistakes. Yes, you will smudge something while stamping. Your seams may be crooked. You will, on occasion, drop a stitch that is difficult to go back and rip out. Sometimes these mistakes are just “design opportunities” and challenge us to be creative, crafty problem-solvers. While I don’t endorse “sloppy”, I think sometimes we need to be kind to ourselves and realize that the path of creative living is a winding one, filled with bumps and twists and turns. Commit to the path and work on being kind to yourself, even if you make a mistake or are disappointed with your final project. After all, it’s who we become as we are creating that is more important than what we are creating.
- Find your tribe. The best way to really learn any new craft and to get the most from the experience is to share it with others. Locate a guild, shop, or online community in your designated crafty area and find folks who are willing to mentor and teach you. For beginners, having a seasoned crafter to guide you is priceless- and later on, you’ll want folks you trust for artistic critiques to help you grow.
So those are the main things. If you’d like to read more about tools, supplies, or crafty concepts, you might like the following posts: