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15 Low-Cost Craft Hobby Ideas for Beginners

Ania loves crafting—she made her first jumper at age ten and also enjoys needlework and sewing.

Here are some excellent crafting hobbies to explore if you don't want to spend too much!

Here are some excellent crafting hobbies to explore if you don't want to spend too much!

Looking for Crafting Hobbies?

From knitting and crocheting, through paper and clay craft, to soap and candle making, ideas for craft hobbies projects are endless.

If you are good at drawing or painting, choose something that involves decorating, like making cards or charcoal drawings. If you find that working in three dimensions and modelling things in your hands is what makes you tick, then go for clay, candle, or soap projects.

Finally, if you are patient and find repetition soothing and relaxing, there is nothing better than crochet or needlework. Some projects may take hours, others weeks, but all of them can be done for pennies if you engage your creativity.

15 Crafting Hobbies That Won't Break the Bank

  1. Crochet and Knitting
  2. Needlework
  3. Sewing
  4. Tatting
  5. Macramé
  6. Weaving Pictures
  7. Painting by Numbers
  8. Quilling
  9. Decoupage
  10. Colour Printouts
  11. Calendar Making
  12. Making Cards
  13. Papier-Mâché
  14. Soap Making
  15. Candle Making

1. Crochet and Knitting

I knitted my first jumper when I was ten. In fact, I made two of them as Christmas gifts for my parents. I have never been more proud of myself.

I do not actually remember when I learned to knit and crochet, but I know all my knowledge comes from my grandma. She used to knit or crochet all the time, so I had plenty of occasions to watch her working. And she was the one who gave me the old spare yarn for those jumpers. I spent a lot of time making them but did not spend any money at all.

Nowadays the internet provides so many tutorials and videos for beginners that each of us can find a perfect teacher. There are also hundreds of free patterns for everything, from a simple doily, through ponchos and jumpers, to complex clothes or jewellery designs. If you want to make a big piece, the yarn might become expensive purely because of the amount involved, but for small projects the materials will not cost much.

There are places when you can buy yarn in bulk quantities very cheaply, and obviously eBay offers a lot for almost nothing. Apart from the yarn, you will only need needles or crochet hooks, and a lot of time. This craft is for patient people, but it's very rewarding and soothes the nerves.

Cross-stitched sunflowers, work in progress

Cross-stitched sunflowers, work in progress

2. Needlework

If you like detailed work and have plenty of time and patience, then embroidery projects are the way to go for you. The easiest and probably the cheapest way to start is by buying a cross-stitch or embroidery set. Choose something small for your first piece, to make sure you will finish it in a reasonable amount of time. I must confess that I have projects I started years ago and I do not know when I will finish them. So choose wisely.

Once you get more confident using a needle and working with patterns, you may create your own designs. Patterns are easy to find online or in printed magazines. Buying canvas and a big selection of coloured threads will be much more expensive.

For doing it on a budget, try black-and-white patterns, like stitching your favourite pet. If you are looking for something more challenging, I would suggest looking at Richelieu patterns. They are usually done on a piece of white cotton fabric using white threads.

3. Sewing

Once you become tired with embroidery projects, or simply need a short break, you can put your new skills into sewing. There are endless things you may want to sew, so I give one example here that takes into account a limited budget.

When I was at school, I made a handbag out of scraps of old denim trousers. I cut out square pieces and arranged them in a checker pattern, then sewed all together. I added an inner lining of a different fabric and a few denim pockets. I finished it all off with a double-stitched denim belt. I used that bag for years to come and was very fond of it. It was a simple design, and I am sure you can create something similar yourself or find ideas online.

Look into your closet for old clothes; you may find great fabrics to reuse. Other places to check are car-boot sales and shops that sell clothes by weight. If you prefer brand-new fabric, go online or to fabric shops. Most shops sell their leftovers or remnants for a very low price.

4. Tatting

If you like crocheting but are looking for some variety, tatting is a way to achieve it. Instead of a hook, you use either a shuttle or a special long tatting needle. The latter was invented to speed up the process, as tatting is very time-consuming. Still the results are so magnificent that it is worth the effort.

Tatting is a way to make a kind of lace. You construct a series of knots and loops over a core thread, creating rings and chains, which you combine to make beautiful designs. This technique can be used for making doilies, bookmarks, jewellery or any other decorations.

You can usually use the same threads for this technique as for crocheting. AIDA brand, however, is one of the best thanks to the very silky, smooth texture of the thread.

5. Macramé

If you like working with knots and loops but do not like the tiny scale of tatting lace, take a look at macramé projects. You only need a pair of hands and several yards of ordinary cotton cord to get yourself started. As for any patterned work, there are hundreds of free designs online. Once you become ready to use more colours, look on eBay for proper macramé cords.

If you prefer micro-macramé designs, you will probably need finer threads. One of the most popular macramé projects these days is friendship bracelets—you can braid them yourself very quickly.

6. Weaving Pictures

Weaving is an old technique. You usually need a loom to do it, but there are other ways to use weaving technique to achieve amazing results. You can practise weaving with paper strips; it will allow you to create interesting designs that you may want to incorporate in your paper craftwork like cards making.

Once you become familiar with the technique, I would like to challenge you to make pictures, but instead of using traditional threads, go for something more creative. Gather together ribbons and old clothes cut into strips of different thickness. Then prepare a wooden frame of a size big enough for your design and put nails evenly around it. Prepare the vertical line base, using strong cord or anything you find suitable.

Then start weaving your ribbons, clothes strips, cords, etc. creating any design you like. I have seen beautiful pictures of trees and fields created with this technique. You may like to dye your fabric strips to the create colours you need for your project. Do it and have fun.

Sleeping dog—acrylic paint-by-numbers set

Sleeping dog—acrylic paint-by-numbers set

7. Painting by Numbers

If you have always wanted to paint, but like me, you thought you lacked for that, then have a look at painting by numbers sets. You might think those are for children, but trust me, some are very demanding and working on them is rewarding. After all, you end up with a great picture you can happily hang on your wall.

There are many sets available, so it is easy to find a bargain or something on a sale. Have a look around and try different mediums. Some sets include acrylic or watercolour paints; others offer pastels for drawing. Sets often include information about the difficulty level; you may want to start easy at first.

Be careful, though, as painting by numbers is addictive. I started the dog painting above one afternoon and was not able to put it down until it was finished, at 6 AM the next morning!

Art and Craft Suppliers

8. Quilling

Quilling is a three-dimensional technique for creating pictures from thin strips of colourful paper rolled tightly into different shapes. It can be used not only to create pictures to hang, but to decorate holiday cards, calendar pages, and invitations. It can even be used to make jewellery, though that requires making the paper waterproof.

It is a good idea to start with a beginner set to acquire the basic tools, but after that, you may either buy quilling strips or make them yourself. As for any other craft, the Internet is the best source for ideas and free patterns.

9. Decoupage

If you have ever wondered what to do with those colourful paper tissues lying in packages for months in your cupboard, the decoupage technique could answer your question. You can cut out parts of those tissues and cover jewellery or trinket boxes, creating unique compositions.

All you need, besides the tissues or paper cut out from magazines, is a frame or a box to cover, some appropriate glue, and some varnish or other sealant. You may also apply paint on top if you feel it would add to the overall appearance.

10. Colour Printouts

If you liked the idea of painting by numbers, you might want to add some variety to it. Go and print some images or designs and then colour them. Use acrylic or watercolour paints, depending on the effect you plan to achieve, or for black and white designs you could even use charcoal.

A set of miniatures of your favourite pets, landscapes or mountain cottages, made in charcoal, could be a great project on a budget. You could also transfer your printouts onto a piece of wood and burn it later, but that would become much more expensive unless you already have a pyrography set.

11. Calendar Making

This is really a variation on printouts ideas. You may go techie here and create everything on your computer, collecting pictures of your family or places you like and incorporating them in a calendar design. You could also print just the blank calendar layout, and add hand-painted pictures. Or add collages made of fabric scraps, magazine cut-outs or even dried fruits or flowers.

12. Making Cards

Almost all the techniques above, like collage work, paper weaving or quilling, can be used in making cards. There are endless reasons for giving someone a card: season's greetings, thank-you and congratulations notes, valentines, and celebration cards or just feel-good cards. It is one of the most popular crafts, yet also one of the most useful.

Look at the calendar: there are so many days in a year we celebrate that you may run out of time if you try to make something for each occasion. There are many specially designed supplies for this craft like, stickers and card-making sets, but honestly, you will get more distinctive results if you use your creativity instead of your wallet.

13. Papier-Mâché

If you are fed up with flat, two-dimensional projects, then have a look at sculpturing with papier-mâché. Old newspapers and leaflets thrown into your letterbox can all be used as a base for your papier-mâché pulp. Apart from that, you will only need glue, some paint and a lot of free time and creativity.

Check the Internet for free tutorials on how to make the pulp and for ideas on how to sculpt different projects. And if you believe that this technique is for kids' school projects, then have a look at this papier-mâché gallery. I am sure you will agree that this is art.

  • 1600 Pandas in Papier Mache
    A giant effort to save a giant. The Panda is the rarest bear on the planet and among the world's most threatened species.

14. Soap Making

If you like unique handmade soap, you make it yourself. You can start simply by melting some old soaps into a new shape (you will need a mould). You can add oils or other ingredients of your choice. If you plan to do it often, a good online tutorial will help you to choose the soap-making process that suits you the best. There are many recipes out there, from simple soap blocks to body butters, scrubs and moisturisers, many of them using natural ingredients from your kitchen.

15. Candle Making

Like soaps, candles also can be made at home. Start collecting dried flowers, cinnamon sticks, slices of dried oranges, kiwis and other fruits so you will have plenty to choose from for your candle decorations. You can melt leftovers from old candles into a base for new projects, or find an inexpensive online supplier of candle wax.

And always remember to keep some candles for yourself. There is nothing better than a scented bath in romantic candle light.


Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on November 12, 2018:

Thank you Lisa, you just made my day :)

Lisa S. on November 12, 2018:

Love your site, Ania! Informed and inspiring! I will be making use of your great encouragement to start today (not "someday") on soapmaking. Please keep going with your excellent site! Appreciate you & your wonderful site. God's Blessings to All!

Dolphins on January 02, 2018:

I'm looking for a new hobby for the new year that I've never done before. I already do a few of these but since I retired I'm looking for a few more. I have a few ideas already but I'm hoping to get sound better ones.

Amanda on December 30, 2017:

I am looking for a few new crafts ideas I hope you can give me some ideas

Susan allen-severson on December 09, 2017:

It gave me some good ideas

Stephanie Gourlay on March 22, 2017:

Thank you so much for explaining. I am looking for a craft or hobby.

GreenMind Guides from USA on January 18, 2017:

This is a great hub -- I really like the way you write. Thanks for sharing your creative side here on hubpages.

christine kilvington on January 01, 2017:

Would love to learn how to do macrame but have no idea where to start. Can anyone help?

Ashley Picanco from Canada on April 28, 2014:

Great list, I love crafting! I'd like to add using polymer clay and resin for jewelry making too! I know beading is pretty popular now, but using clay and resin allows for a really personal jewelry piece, because you can encase virtually anything in resin, so an old photograph or dictionary cutout of a word that means a lot to you, etc can all be incorporated into one pendant.

I make resin mixed media jewelry, and always have people asking me where I got them. It's fun saying I made them myself!

Thanks for the great list!


Angel Kuro on December 09, 2013:

some great ideas for low cost craft projects ! :)

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on May 01, 2012:

Thank you Lisa for your comment - I'm so happy you feel inspired now and that I gave you the idea of the YouTube as a learning source. I actually never done a proper papier mache myself apart from some playing around when I was a kid so I'd love to try it out. Good luck with your sewing!

"Jumper" it is then PWalker281 :) As I plan to stay on British Isles for years to come, I guess I should use a local language :D It keeps amazing me how many differences there are, between British and American English. Thank you for your comment and have a lovely day :)

Lisas-thoughts101 from Northeast Texas on May 01, 2012:

Ania, I've done soap making with my son and some wonderfully fun papier mache' for a recital set. I have always wanted to do decoupage. I think you have inspired me. Also, I've looked for sewing lessons forever. I hadn't thought of YouTube. Thanks!! Voted up and useful. Really nice hub.

Take care,


PWalker281 on May 01, 2012:

No, no, no, keep saying "jumper," Ania! I didn't mean my comment as a criticism. I've seen jumper used, too, but typically by folk from the British Isles, so I just assumed you were, too. It wasn't until after I submitted the comment that I saw you are from the U.S. Seeing it in this hub encouraged me to look it up, so it enabled me to learn something new!

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on May 01, 2012:

Thank you Danette for reading and commenting. I did a lot of needle craft when I was a kid and I must say I don't have a clue how I had managed to find so much time for it! Nowadays I usually do cross stitching or similar during family holidays - hours of chatting with free hands looking for some activity :)

Danette Watt from Illinois on May 01, 2012:

Congrats on Hub of the Day! I used to do a lot of cross stitch and really enjoyed it. Then I put it aside when I went back to school and have never picked it up again. Partly because I'm older now and my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be. Voted up and useful for the great ideas here.

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on May 01, 2012:

Thank you PWalker281 for such a warm and interesting comment. I must say I have seen the word 'jumper' in books I was reading (I'm not English), therefore I use it but I will use 'sweater' from now on - it sounds much more familiar to me :)

I love painting by numbers even though I might be too old for this but it's nothing comparing with my cousin - she has a whole wall covered with painted-by-numbers pictures!

I used to tat with a needle as it was much faster for me than with a shuttle (haven't had enough experience I guess) but after writing this article I gave the shuttle another try to now I'm on it - it gives much better results than the needle.

PWalker281 on April 30, 2012:

Congrats on your hub of the day award!

I was just about to read some of your short stories after WingedCentaur recommended them when I found this hub. I've done most of the crafts you mention at one time or another throughout my life. I used to absolutely LOVE doing paint-by-number sets as a child. Your Sleeping Dog is beautiful! And reading about macrame brought back memories of the many macrame projects I did in the 70s. I have a friend who tats with a shuttle; the needle tatting video was therefore fascinating to watch. I hadn't realized you can tat with a needle.

I had to look up "jumper" to understand what you were referring to. We call them "sweaters" here ;-). Great hub, voted up, useful and interesting.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 30, 2012:

Quilling is something I would like to try. Thanks for these ideas. Great Hub, Congrats!Very deserving!

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on April 30, 2012:

Thank you all for congratulations and such warm comments. Geeting the award is brilliant on its own but your comments made it millions times better :)

Mary615 - I don't know if people do tatting these days but I certainly do :) I have even seen a beautiful tatted necklace in the high street gallery, it was the pricy one ;)

Susiempn - I'm sure you can do it, once you get your head around how to flip the knot, everything else will be easy :) It's a great activity for commuting - I do it on the train to work as the shuttle takes less space than a crochetting hook or needles :)

Talking about needles, it's amazing that you actually learned knitting from your father Moonmaiden, pretty awesome I would say :)

And I don't know Stephanie how people roll up jelly rolls but you migt be quite right that it's similar.

Once again thank you all for reading and have fun crafting!

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on April 30, 2012:

Congratulations on this fine hub and being chosen "Hub of the Day"... Voted you up, and shared!

Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on April 30, 2012:

Great Hub! And congratulations on your HOTD nomination! I am a crafts person, and have done most of these, they are great fun and very rewarding. A very good presentation.

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on April 30, 2012:

I have never heard of tatting before, but it seems right up my alley. I will have to look into it more and get some supplies. I also never heard of quilling, but it sounds interesting, almost the way people roll up jelly rolls for quilting. Decoupage is also a new term for me, but it is somethings that I have seen before but never knew the name for.

Congratulations on getting the Hub of the Day.

DS Duby from United States, Illinois on April 30, 2012:

Great ideas and tips and very well written, we love taking on new crafts at our house, so a lot of these ideas will be used,Thanks.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 30, 2012:

Congrats of HOTD! I'm a crafter and love it (when I have the time). I haven't thought of tatting in years. Do people still do that? My Mom taught me how to tat and crochet. Great Hub. I'll vote it UP, etc.etc.

Milli from USA on April 30, 2012:

Great tips. Congrats on HOTD!

Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on April 30, 2012:

Very useful ideas. Thanks for sharing it. Voted up! Congratulations on Hub of the day award.

Prasanna Marlin from Sri lanka on April 30, 2012:

Great tips! Congratulations on Hub of the Day

P. Thorpe Christiansen from Pacific Northwest, USA on April 30, 2012:

Great article - well done. Makes me want to get into my craft room and make something.

Fayme Zelena Harper from Lucerne Valley, CA on April 30, 2012:

From my mother I learned crochet, tatting, sewing, and cooking.

But it was my father that taught me to knit.

Aerika Singh on April 30, 2012:

I love craft. This hub is really useful. Thanks for sharing.

Congratulations on getting hub of the day.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on April 30, 2012:

Very creative hub. I really enjoy reading this hub and I can't wait to share this information with my sister. Rated up and useful!


susiempn from Michigan on April 30, 2012:

I loved your hub. I have always want to learn how to tat. Your video made me believe that I could actually do, which is a tribute to your hub and your skill. Congratulations on getting Hub of the Day.

thoughtfulgirl2 on April 30, 2012:

I enjoyed your hub because I am a big believer in "crafting" to lift your mood, calm your mind, relax your spirit and focus! I believe that these attributes that come from crafting different items gives a sense of accomplishment. This is especially important if you are out of work or are an empty nester and feel the need to accomplish something. Great hub, voted up:)

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 30, 2012:

Awesome job with the topic! I love craft projects that don't break the bank. Congrats on getting Hub of the Day!

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on April 30, 2012:

Thank you leahlefler for your comment. I also think that if you can do something beautiful, this is the best thing for the gift. It's unique and usually custom made for the person you give it to. You simply can't buy it so it makes it special :)

Leah Lefler from Western New York on April 30, 2012:

These are all fantastic ideas for homemade gifts! I know how to do cross-stitch, so perhaps I can make some tea towels for people next Christmas. I had a friend who made the cutest soaps - everyone loved to get them!

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on April 30, 2012:

Thank you vlpkk, wordsmith2418 and vespawoolf for reading and commenting. If you like it, go ahead and craft something - I'd love to read about your results :)

And wordsminth2418 - I've read in your excellent hubs, that you are a fan of crochetting so maybe tatting for a change for you? :)

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on April 30, 2012:

This is a great overview of crafts. Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

Veronica Lewis from Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania on April 30, 2012:

Lots of great ideas! Very well organized! I have done many of the crafts here as hobbies. Excellent introduction to the world of crafting!

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on April 30, 2012:

Thank you Millionaire Tips, the email about HOTD was a fantastic start to the day for me :)

Thank you Silven for your comment and I agree - some hobbies might eat all your money when you are not careful. I know something about it as my spare room is full of different supplies and tools that I thought were a must at the time of buying :)

I try to be smarter these days so I start cheap and then only buy things when after a while I really feel they are necessary for what I do.

Shasta Matova from USA on April 30, 2012:

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! This is a great list - with so many great ideas.

Silwen from Europe on April 30, 2012:

Great ideas. Thank you. I am fan of various crafts. All those hobbies can be very challenging. They may require many investments, but also you can make wonderful thing using only one skein of yarn and a crochet hook.

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on April 30, 2012:

I've just found out about HOTD award, I'm so happy :) Thank you guys for stopping and reading.

I wrote mostly from my own experience as I do a lot of craft myself. It's a brilliant way to chill out after a brainy day at work :)

kelleyward on April 30, 2012:

I enjoyed how you listed just about everything! This is a great hub for getting some great ideas about homemade craft ideas. Thanks for sharing! Congrats on HOTD! Take Care, Kelley

taw2012 from India on April 30, 2012:

Greta hub.I am familiar with some activities as they are my sister's hobbies and she always does it at home. Well written hub. Congrats on HOTD.

sparklingcrystal from Manila on April 30, 2012:

Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

gemsn from Gurgaon on April 30, 2012:

Hiii... Useful Information!!!!!!!!!!

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on April 20, 2012:

Thank you TToombs08 for you comment. I must say that my biggest problem is the variety of crafts available - I want to know and try them all but I simply run out of time :) Still I keep buying tools and supplies in a hope that one day I will have a time to give it a go so I worry that one day soon I run out of space as well as time! :)

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on April 20, 2012:

I love the list of crafts. Some of them I'm already addicted to, others I've been wanting to explore and you even have a few in there that I've never heard of. Great hub! Voted up and then some! :)

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on March 05, 2012:

Thank you very much Phyllis for your kind words and reading my hub.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on March 05, 2012:

Hi Ania. You have some great ideas for low cost craft projects. I am a craft project person also and love it. Great tips and a well written hub.

UP Useful Interesting

Ania Lichszteld (author) from United Kingdom on March 05, 2012:

Thank you J.S for a nice comment. When I was writing I have realised that I could keep going as in fact there are so many more crafts one can do on a budget but I though my readers would fall asleep so I have stopped on 15 :)

JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on March 04, 2012:

Wow, this is quite the comprehensive answer! I love the way you broke up the Hub into individual sections. Great info and ideas. Voted up and SHARING! Nice job!