As the rain lashes the windows and they rattle in the wind, few things are more comforting than making a cup of tea and crafting. It helps me feel productive, even if I do have Netflix or a podcast in the background.
Crafting can be expensive, particularly when you’re starting out and figuring out the kind of crafting you enjoy. However, it doesn’t need to be, if you choose your craft carefully and make the most of your recycling box. Here are some of my favourite budget crafts, many of which can be done in bed should your health render you bed-bound.
Turn old boxes into pieces of art using old magazines and books with pages missing. All you need is scissors, cheap white glue and varnish to finish. It costs little other than time and bit for glue (under £6 for all you need for many boxes.)
It’s a great way to make christmas gifts and is ideal if you want to do something artistic but are rubbish at drawing and painting. You can decoupage frames, mirrors, suitcases and even furniture. Add biodegradable glitter for extra shimmer…
Comforting and meditative, I can lose hours to origami. I only know a few basics but it’s enough to make seed packets, ‘wishmakers’ and a few other decorative items.
I prefer to learn face to face as origami diagrams hurt my head (I’ll post a pictorial guide to making the seed packets pictured separately). Use your origami as gift tags on Christmas presents, or string origami birds and flowers together to create bunting or Christmas tree decorations. Old magazine pages can become something new and lovely.
Make warm and cosy things for yourself and friends. I stick to ‘stuff you can make from squares and rectangles in plain knit’ but that covers a surprisingly wide scope: scarves, hats, fingerless gloves, bags, blankets and even toys can be made from simple knit rectangles.
The yarn you use can make a huge difference. Sashay lace yarn allows you to knit ruffle scarves in under an hour. Rainbow patterned wool can add stripes and patterns without you needing to do a thing beyond basic knitting. Chunky yarn knits up quicker. I check Freecycle and Wastenot groups, and look in charity shops for bargain wool.
Why throw something away when it can become something new? Holey jumpers can be turned into cosy cushion covers. The arms can be turned into draught excluders, tightly filled with shredded paper or old pillow stuffing. Plastic ready meal packaging can become a miniature garden planted with cress and herbs. Jars can be filled with dried foraged herbs or home made sweets or toiletries. Crafting with your recycling box contents saves a fortune.
Glue Gun Fun
The day I discovered a glue gun was the day my crafting scope opened up. From making jewellery to making dolls, card crafts to fascinator-making, a glue gun makes so many things more feasible – and fast. I use a warm rather than hot glue gun to avoid burns when I’m clumsy.
Other arts and crafts that needn’t break the bank include zentangles (a doodling method that makes anyone’s art look good, regardless of artistic prowess), jewellery making (recycle broken jewellery and restring old beads to keep costs low), calligraphy (though you’ll need pens – eBay makes them more affordable), book-art (use second hand tatty books to create ornaments from hedgehogs to Christmas trees) and colouring in.
Spending time indulging your creative side is a wonderful way to make the most of grey days.