Over to Cassie....
I want to first express my gratitude to Fiona for deciding to give me the opportunity to share some of my tips with her readers. fizzi~jayne’s blog has been one of my favourite resources to find crafting advice, and if you haven’t joined in on the #CraftBlogClub yet, I’d definitely recommend you do so! (Aw thanks Cassie, I promise I didn't ask her to write that!)
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next craft project, the internet is one of the best places to turn. It’s easier than ever before to find patterns, tutorials and DIY projects on the net, many of which are completely free. You can typically access just about any craft site on your smartphone or tablet too, making it simple to complete creative projects while travelling or visiting a friend.
However, it can be time consuming finding worthwhile craft ideas and patterns online. If you don’t already know of some reputable websites or are looking for a wider variety, you might benefit from some tips!
Here are five to help you out....
1. Attend a Class on Craftsy
Craftsy contains not only craft ideas but also patterns. On Craftsy, you can select from a variety of classes to attend right from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Though all of the classes are virtual and lessons are taught through video instruction (which can make learning a little tricky depending on the project), you have access to discussion boards if you’d like some extra help and can also message the instructor when needed.
Each class is fairly inexpensive (many under $50/£38 and some as little as $20/£15), and if you don’t have the cash to spend on classes, you can still benefit from a Craftsy account, as there are often free classes. Every class comes with a money-back guarantee, though, so it’s definitely worth checking out! Your access to each class you enrol in never expires so you’ll always be able to log in on the site (or app) to view the videos (which are in high definition, of course!).
There’s really nothing not to love about Craftsy. Just be sure to protect your devices before using it (especially when using the app on a smartphone, laptop or tablet) because as mentioned here by Secure Thoughts, it can be somewhat risky streaming videos online when you don’t have the proper security software.
I have signed up for a couple of their courses and I found them useful and inspiring. They often have sales and offers so worth signing up for an account at least.
2. Purchase Patterns on Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace dedicated to crafters and is a great site to find all sorts of patterns. Whether you’re looking for crochet, cross-stitch, or just sewing patterns, Etsy is sure to have something you’ll be interested in. Prices tend to vary, but you can find patterns for as low as $3/£2 (on Etsy UK they can be as cheap as 18p).
There are also patterns for paper crafts, and many come as digital downloads so you can store them on your computer. Etsy is especially nice since the majority of the patterns are made by the sellers so you may be able to find some unique patterns you wouldn’t find elsewhere. Overall, it’s a good choice if you have the money to spare, and there’s a large variety with more listings popping up regularly.
As well as Etsy there is Folksy and other handmade marketplaces that you can check out.
3. Sign Up for CraftFoxes
CraftFoxes is an online crafting community and social network that allows you to create a free account and browse through a wide variety of different crafting projects in categories such as knitting, scrapbooking, jewellery making and more. Their site really has a little bit of everything, even recipes and gardening projects.
You can personalise your profile and upload your own project guides for others to benefit from, sell your handmade goods, post photos of your completed projects, and also participate in the forums where you can ask questions and chat with other crafters. The best thing about CraftFoxes, though, is that all of the projects listed are 100% free, so you can reserve your spending money for another time (or perhaps you might want to use it on supplies).
4. Check Out Craft Supply Stores’ Websites
One of the best places on the net to find craft ideas and patterns is actually on craft supply stores’ websites. Many craft stores list a fair amount of how-to guides online to encourage shoppers to purchase their supplies from them for specific projects they’ve posted. Whether it’s a local craft store that you’ve visited or a store located in another area, you can find some great tips on their websites.
Some of my favourites are Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Store, but if you visit the websites of your local craft stores, you may find some great inspiration as well. One perk of doing that as well (besides the tips of course) is that you can typically shop for all of the required materials and locate some money-saving coupons all in one visit to the website.
For anyone based in the UK, Hobbycraft also share tutorials on their blog. The suppliers you already use are likely to share tutorials on their websites so it's worth having a look.
5. Browse Through MarthaStewart.com
There was a time when Martha Stewart was basically the queen of crafting, at least in the eyes of Americans. She had a wonderful TV show and could inspire even the least crafty of folks to show off their creative side. Though her TV show is off the air now, that’s no reason to push her from our minds, as her website serves as an amazing resource for crafters of all skill levels!
On MarthaStewart.com, craft ideas aren’t the only thing you’ll find either. Her website can also bring out the chef in you and inspire you to throw a festive celebration for the holidays. She has tips posted to help you stay organised too and upcycle your old belongings into beautiful pieces of artwork that will liven up your home.
You can also shop on the site too since Martha Stewart has her own brand of craft supplies and other items (mostly housewares, of course). Most of all, her site may be one of the best for DIY projects, and it surprisingly has a nice selection of craft ideas for kids. It’s a page you won’t want to miss.
No matter what type of craft you prefer or how much money you have to spend on your hobbies, using what the internet has to offer to your advantage is never a bad idea. There are countless craft projects listed on a ton of websites across the net, and they are most definitely not limited to only five sites. Even popular social media sites have a lot to offer the crafter (YouTube has a lot of DIY videos, for example).
So what are your favourite crafting websites and tips to finding patterns online? Please share them with us in the comments!
Cassie is both a crafter and entertainment blogger. When she isn’t busy writing for CultureCoverage.com, she’s often knitting in her living room or enjoying a class at her local craft supply store. You can follow Cassie on Twitter here.
Thank you Cassie, for sharing your tips with us. One other website which I would recommend for knitters and crocheters is Ravelry. It's a great resource for patterns and some are even free.
I hope you have found this useful, it certainly has reminded me about Craftsy and I will be checking out CraftFoxes. As Cassie said, please share any other resources you use in the comments.