With various levels of stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines in place across the U.S., now is a great time for kids, teens, and adults to try out homemade crafts. Crafting can be an enjoyable experience because it requires your full focus: You can push any stress or worries aside and apply your attention to what you're making. When you're done, you have a new piece of artwork to decorate your home or give as a gift.
Crafting is a great way for couples, siblings, and entire families to spend time together. There are also passionate online crafting communities where you can meet new friends as you craft. Online tutorials give aspiring crafters the ability to learn from crafting professionals, including some of the most notable names and brands in the crafting business.
The internet has made it easier than ever to hone your favorite craft or learn a new one. You can find full guides and step-by-step videos that make crafting a breeze. On some sites, you can even get complete instructions and order all the materials you need in one place.
Check out the best online resources for hands-on home crafts for kids, adults, and entire families below.
Online resources for kids to get hands-on
You don't need to buy a ton of new materials or scour stores for hard-to-find craft supplies. There are a lot of kids' crafts you can do at home using things you already have on hand. The following resources enable parents and kids to browse crafts based on interest (like science or math) or based on age and grade. Check out these online resources, most of which are free that help kids get crafty.
- DIY.org: Summer camp may be put on hold this year, but you can create your own crafty camp at home. Check out their Camp DIY, featuring 80 DIY projects taught for kids 17 years old and younger on video, with topics like Art Studio, Science Lab and Chef's Corner. The projects are meant to be done with items you already have at home, so minimal supplies need to be purchased. There's also a neat interactive component, where kid crafters can share their creations in a kids-only online community. Get a 14-day free trial, which you can cancel any time. After that, it costs $19 per month for one child.
- Little Bins for Little Hands: A science-focused craft site with projects like DIY kinetic sand, ombre slime and Alka-Seltzer rocket eruptions. Most activities are free to access, including free science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) challenges. Each activity comes with photos and complete instructions, along with scientific explanations for how the activities work.
- We Are Teachers: A website where all activities come from teachers based on what has worked for them in the classroom. You can segment free activities by grade and topic. Browse the arts category, and you'll find educational hands-on projects, like simple and easy nature crafts, DIY bookmarks, and collaborative art projects siblings can work on together.
- The Spruce Crafts: A website full of free DIY crafts and sensory activities, from create-your-own fidget toys, to pipe cleaner flowers. Find crafts based on the theme, gender, age, and materials you already have.
- Left Brain Craft Brain: A website featuring STEAM-based crafts inspired by science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. There are dozens of free, five-minute crafts in addition to more involved ones, as well as tons of kitchen recipes.
- Martha Stewart: The Martha Stewart site has hundreds of children's craft ideas. Each one is free, and many feature items you already have at home. For example, the Clothespin Paintbrushes craft has kids foraging for leaves and stems, attaching them to clothespins, and then using the unique textured paintbrushes for their own artwork.
Online resources for adults to get hands-on
Crafts are for all ages, and there are plenty of creative classes online for adults. Most of the online resources below feature video tutorials that walk participants through more complex crafts than the ones featured on kids' craft sites. You may be able to purchase a monthly or annual subscription for some class sites, while others offer a la carte classes and enable you to get the necessary supplies during the checkout process. See some noteworthy sites for crafty adults below.
- Skillshare: An online learning community featuring thousands of classes taught by video, including craft-focused ones. Teachers are typically professionals in their crafts, teaching courses on topics like mixed media illustration, painting nature subjects, and embroidery. You can get a free two-month trial, then memberships for unlimited classes are $99 billed annually, or $19 per month.
- Creativebug: A video-based collection of craft classes and workshops on topics like landscape embroidery, botanical watercolor illustration, and sewing. Classes come with detailed supplies lists and downloadable PDF patterns and templates. There are also communities where students can ask questions, comment about the class, and talk to other students. Membership costs $7.95 to $9.95 per month, with membership options that include discounts to JOANN craft stores. All plans include a free trial.
- CreativeLive: Thousands of online video classes, including craft and maker classes in topics like calligraphy, hand lettering, and scrapbooking. Memberships cost $149 a year or $39 a month. The site also has CreativeLive TV, a free, 24/7 variety show live-streaming crafting sessions, and creative programming.
- CraftJam: A New York-based craft studio hosting live craft classes on topics like macramé plant hangers and needle felting. It also hosts WebJams, where the studio will send participants all necessary supplies to participate in a live-streamed workshop from their homes. Classes cost around $20 each, and you can bundle a materials starter kit with each ticket. Materials prices vary depending on the craft.
- Makers Mess: The tagline of Makers Mess is, "Meet people (online). Make things (at home)." Browse online craft classes on subjects like watercolor painting and embroidery. Each class costs around $20, and participants have the option to purchase supplies at a discounted rate from the site.
Online resources for families to get hands-on
Get the whole family involved with crafts, cooking, and other hands-on activities you can do together. These websites have projects that are especially great for groups.
- Taste of Home: Find free, simple cooking and baking recipes that feature video tutorials and frequently asked questions and answers on recipes. Browse recipes based on categories like budget, cooking style, course, cuisines, kids-focused, and healthy eating. Look at the recipe, then divide and conquer tasks, like measuring, chopping, and mixing.
- Tie-Dye Your Summer: Being at home has a lot of people cleaning out their closets. Transform your old plain white fashions into something fresh and new with tie-dye kits. This craft is involved and can get messy, so it's a great one to do with the family altogether. Find how-to videos and get supplies all on the Tie Dye Your Summer site.
- Damask Love: Owner Amber Kemp-Gerstel hosts the Disney+ craft show "Disney Family Sundays." On her site, you can find craft projects to do as a family, like greeting card papercrafts. Order kits off the site or buy materials from the supply lists, and then read instructions online that walk you through the process.
- The Artful Parent: Hundreds of craft projects for kids of all ages, with step-by-step instructions and some featuring video tutorials. Many are great for parents to join in on when the supplies and process are a little more involved. Search for art activities in categories like printmaking, 3D art, and stained glass.
General materials and costs for crafting
You probably already have plenty of materials at home you can use to get started with crafting. If you're interested in learning a new craft, beginner's kits start at around $20 or less, so you can see if you like the process. Some crafts are simple and easy and will cost nothing at all to get started. Check out average prices and materials below.
- Kinetic sand: You can make kinetic sand with materials you likely already have at home: baking soda, baking powder, dishwashing liquid, a mixing bowl, and a spoon. This can be a cool free, or low-cost craft that provides endless entertainment once the kinetic sand is created.
- DIY slime: DIY slime is simple to make. One recipe calls for only four ingredients: an 8-ounce bottle of white school glue, a couple of tablespoons of contact saline solution, a tablespoon of baking soda, and food coloring, which is optional. If you need to purchase these materials, you can get them all for less than $10.
- Sewing, cross-stitching, and embroidery: Perhaps the easiest way to go with sewing, cross-stitching, and embroidery, especially for beginners, is to purchase an all-in-one kit. Kits will come with all the materials you need, plus detailed instructions. You can get kits for under $10 or purchase materials in bulk for multiple projects, which can help you save more overall.
- Ceramics: You can make ceramics clay at home using salt, water, and cornstarch. Or, you can purchase your own clay for less than $10 for four pounds of clay.
- Lettering/illustration/calligraphy: For lettering, illustration, and calligraphy projects, all you need is a pencil or pen and paper. You could order sets that come with pens, paper, and instructions for about $15 each.
- Knitting, macramé, and crochet: For knitting, macramé, and crochet projects, you'll need yarn and, for some types of projects, needles and hooks. You can purchase kits for around $15 each that come with materials and directions. You can get full spools of yarn for around $5 to $10 each, depending on size.
- Woodworking: Simple woodworking projects require some wood and some hand tools. You might already have these at home. You can also purchase a woodworking kit to assemble a wood-based craft starting at around $10.
Become a maker in no time
Anyone can craft. It doesn't matter how old you are or how fancy the materials you have on hand are. With some creative ideas, you can turn basic supplies into a work of art.
Making crafts is a relaxing activity for kids and adults. Crafts require the use of multiple senses, which can help kids practice their visual and kinesthetic learning skills. Doing crafts as a family can also help you bond.
Crafting is a great way to improve your mental health, too. Crafting is a way to achieve a state of mindfulness that can help with anxiety and depression. CNN reports crafting can also help ease chronic pain.
However involved you want to get with your crafting, online classes make learning a new skill accessible for anyone, at any age. Assemble your materials, find a guide or teacher you're interested in learning from and get crafty for some hands-on enjoyment.