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10 Basic Crafting Skills for Beginner Makers


If you’re a reader of DIY and craft blogs, there’s a good chance you’ve made some things.

But there’s also a good chance you haven’t. Like my friend Caitlyn, who follows my blog, but who (wrongly) thinks she’s not creative and has told me repeatedly, “I could never do that!”

Here’s the thing for you doubters of your own abilities—I never made a damned thing until I suddenly got the DIY itch a couple years ago. (We won’t count the obligatory, painful high school attempts at “art”).

So if you’ve never crafted and want to learn how, you got this.

And if you really really don’t know where to start, these 10 Basic Crafting Skills are where.

10 Basic Crafting Skills @idlehandsawake

Get ready for a whole new world of DIY.

Infomercial over, time for the skills!

10 Basic Crafting Skills for Beginner Makers

1.  Cut a straight line.

I know, a bold start. Me and straight lines…let’s just say I wasn’t meant to be a surgeon. Stephanie at Make and Tell breaks this down super simple, fancy paper cutter not required.


image by Make and Tell

Learn it, use it:

+ contact paper key rings by Fall For DIY

+ magazine paper bows by Whole Living

+ bound paper notebooks by Damask Love

2.  Make a tassel.

You can never—EVER—have too many tassels. Except for maybe crazy blue dress tassels. But you can definitely never have too many chic, modern tassels like Amy’s on Homey Oh My!.

Homey Oh My! Tassel Wall Hanging image by Homey Oh My!

Learn it, use it:

+ giant tassel fringe rug by Earnest Home Co.

+ suede tassel bracelet by Made in a Day

+ t-shirt tassels by My Poppet Makes

3.  Apply contact paper (without all the bubbles).

Contact paper is the new black. Or marble, or wood grain, or granite, or all sorts of other pattern options. And there is no one better to show you how to put it on the right way than Fran of Fall For DIY. But be warned, you will want to CONTACT PAPER ALL THE THINGS.

10 Basic Crafting Skills @idlehandsawake

image by Fall For DIY

Learn it, use it:

+ faux marble plant pot by A Bubbly Life

+ colorful medicine cabinet makeover by Design Improvised

+ triangle accent wall by Upcycled Treasures

4.  Make a pom-pom.

There are many many ways to make a this most basic of basic crafts, including using a store-bought pom-pom maker. But my favorite has got to be this bulk method over on Flax & Twine. Crafts are fun but saving time at crafts is funner.

10 Basic Crafting Skills @idlehandsawake

image by Flax and Twine

Learn it, use it:

+ pom-pom wall hanging by We are Scout

+ pom-pom wreath by Mom Advice

+ pom-pom picnic blanket by This Little Street

5. Paint a straight line.

Mandi of Vintage Revivals has this skill down. Don’t be intimidated by this advanced geometric shape; the takeaway here is how to use paint and painter’s tape effectively. And yes, it’s applicable to non-wall painting too. Click through to become a Master Line Painter. That’s not a real thing but let’s pretend.

10 Basic Crafting Skills @idlehandsawake

image by Vintage Revivals

Learn it, use it:

+ colorful side table by Hello Lidy

+ geometric pinboard by A Bubbly Life

+ two-toned cabinet by Brepurposed

6.  Make and ink a stamp.

Custom patterns don’t have to be super complicated to be super fancy. Case in point, Molly over on Almost Makes Perfect makes gorgeous patterns out of simple shapes that even newbies can do. Stamp away.

10 Basic Crafting Skills @idlehandsawake
image by Almost Makes Perfect

Learn it, use it:

+ macaron stamp by Sarah Hearts

+ nature prints by The Jungalow

+ eye print cushion cover by Make and Tell

7.  Use oven-bake clay.

Do you remember being thrilled by and proud of innumerable, totally unrecognizable Play Doh figurines as a child? Is that just me? Well, oven-bake clay is like the (slightly) more-adult version. And if you are like, Marlene, I can’t sculpt, if I could I wouldn’t be reading a post on basic crafting skills…cookie-cutters, my friends. Cookie-cutters.

10 Basic Crafting Skills @idlehandsawake

image by me (what? I can’t self-promote a little bit?)

Learn it, use it:

+ marbled clay coasters by Something Peach

+ house keys shadow box keepsake by Shrimp Salad Circus

+ clay gift tags by The Paper Mama

8.  Marble all the things.

Confession: I’ve never marbled anything. What can I say, I suffer from that very human affliction of being better at giving advice than following it. Don’t be like me, learn to marble things. Like pretty pretty mugs by The Merrythought for Poppytalk.

10 Basic Crafting Skills @idlehandsawake

image by The Merrythought for Poppytalk

Learn it, use it:

+ marbled vase by Hello Lidy

+ marbled notebooks by Tell Love and Party

+ marbled fabric by The Homesteady

9.  Mod Podge all the things.

Have you ever wondered what the heck “decoupage” is? It basically means paper (or whatever) plus Mod Podge equals so many possibilities. Yes, that ubiquitous glue/sealer/finisher from the ‘60s is still around and going strong. Of course, you don’t need to stick with the brand name. But do give it or an equivalent a try, because covering things in other things is fun. Rachel of The Crafted Life will show you how.

10 Basic Crafting Skills @idlehandsawake

image by The Crafted Life

Learn it, use it:

+ decoupage flower pumpkins by Alice and Lois

+ mod podge chair by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body

+ glitter phone case by Design*Sponge

10.  Apply gold leaf.

When given the choice between gold and not-gold, always choose gold. Which is where delicate, magical, oh-so-gold gold leaf comes in. It’s like turning straw into gold without having to sit at a spinning wheel. It also comes in copper and silver, because METALLICS. Start with Cyd at The Sweetest Occasion’s picture frame tutorial, then don’t stop till you’ve gold leafed all the things.


image by The Sweetest Occasion

Yes, ok, I want to “all the things” ALL THE THINGS. It’s not a problem if I’ve admitted it.

Learn it, use it:

+ gold leaf brush stroke clutch by Delineate Your Dwelling

+ suede and gold colorblock mousepad by Lovely Indeed

+ gold leaf bowls by This Heart of Mine


Are you ready to go forth and craft with your 10 basic crafting skills? Where are you on your journey to be a maker of things?

Author: Marlene @ Idle Hands Awake

Maker, baker, cat momma, total nerd, perpetually covered in glitter/sawdust/paint. Blogging DIY and design for modern creatives.

31 comments on “10 Basic Crafting Skills for Beginner Makers”

  1. Marlene, thank you so much for including me in this awesome post! Such a genius idea – gathering all these skills in a post like that 🙂 Well done my friend!


  2. I LOVE this! I really like making crafts, but sometimes they don’t go as planned so this refresher post is exactly what I need. Especially applying the gold leaf. I’ve been wanting to try that for a while. Thanks so much for sharing!

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