Crafts for the not-so-crafty hobbyist

Metro Service

■ Metro Service / Contributed

Creativity lends a lot to everyday life. School parties are made that much better by intricate dessert designs. Handmade blankets tend to be more inspiring and cherished than mass-produced alternatives. Because of that, many people find hobbies that inspire their creativity to be incredibly rewarding.
While crafting is a hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill sets, some people are more craft-inclined than others. That doesn’t mean those with little arts and crafts experience cannot make items they can be proud of. The following are a handful of projects for inexperienced crafters who may feel as though they have two left thumbs.

Dress-up premade items
Sandra Lee made a career of teaching people how to blend some prepackaged food items with other ingredients to create semi-homemade menus. Anyone can use the same mentality to put together craft projects without having to start from scratch. Search the hobby stores or department stores for items that can be paired together. For example, why not glue a 4-by-6-inch picture frame to the top of candlestick holder for an ornate and interesting design element at home? Mason jars can be embellished with just about anything — from ribbon to fabric to glitter — giving them a decorative touch. Simply giving an item a new coat of paint or adding some decorative tacks or hooks can easily change its look and give it a crafty feel.

Grow comfortable with a computer printer
Homespun graphic arts can be mastered by just about anyone with access to some clip art, fonts and basic design software. You may also be able to find free apps or shareware online providing ready-made templates. Printout cute labels or tags that match party themes and put them on favor bags or prizes. Print cute slogans on cardstock and staple them to a small, filled plastic baggie to serve as classroom gifts or Valentines. Make a collage of different images and print them out to frame. Or snap a picture of a particular pattern or design element that fits with a room’s theme and then frame that image for matching artwork.

Make soaps or candles
Thanks to the bevy of kits available at craft stores, it’s easier than ever to make your own soaps or candles at home. All it usually takes is melting down the medium, adding the desired scents and colors and then allowing them to set in a mold or container. The result may seem like you worked for hours when really it was a relatively easy task. These handmade products can make great hostess gifts or nice touches when guests stay over at your home.

Personalize clothing
You do not have to be an artist to create t-shirts, aprons or other items that have that personalized touch. If you do not want to hassle with the mess of fabric paints or pens, use iron-on stencils or letters. Another idea is to create your own stencil (fire up that printer again), cut out your design or letters and then use a bleach pen sold in the laundry or cleaning aisle to color in the design. Let it sit and then launder for a faded and fun project.

Crafting doesn’t have to be difficult. Projects exist for people of varying skill levels.

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