Blogs featuring elegant + utilitarian crafts?
November 17, 2014 11:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm very new to crafting and DIY, and am getting overwhelmed by the amount of material online about such things. I could really use some help identifying blogs or other resources/keywords to help refine my searching; so far I'm finding lots of stuff but not much that fits my criteria.

I think I just don't have the vocabulary to search for what I want, plus I'm really new to crafting so I don't know what my options are yet. I like things like the Wintercroft Masks, air plant terrariums, and the Haptic Labs quilts. I'm most interested in making things that have a useful or utilitarian purpose; making the above examples got me a cool Halloween mask, a gift for a friend, and a pretty and warm blanket. Things like scrapbooks, decoupage, needlepoint, or jewelry-making don't really appeal to me (and house renovation is out since I rent). Is there a specific phrase or category that I should be using when searching for projects? Or examples of blogs that feature these types of things?

I also need, at least at this juncture, things/projects with really explicit instructions; I'm new to crafting/DIY and still a bit unsure of my creative prowess. I saw this question but it was still a bit too broad for me.
posted by stellaluna to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to poke around over on Instructables. In addition to a lot of techy stuff they also have some crafty stuff occasionally.

Same with the Make Blog. Mostly tech stuff but occasionally crafts like the sort of thing you're after.

Make Magazine might suit you, though it's gone way down hill and mostly geared to the 3D printer and Arduino croud. I still subscribe but find it mostly useless.
posted by bondcliff at 11:37 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I cruise through Buzzfeed DIY or Brit & Co for cool ideas. DIY Ready also seems to be intent on being the next big thing for DIY items.

Really, though, I still find a lot of stuff cruising through Pinterest for inspiration. Searching for DIY/Tutorial/instruction in there does help find pins with instructions. And then they'll take you back to some pretty good blogs. It depends though on if you're the kind of person who likes to figure out how making something generally works, and then you use that knowledge to do your own thing (like me)... or if you are the kind of person who wants to follow instructions verbatim to produce exactly the thing you saw posted.
posted by lizbunny at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

So the intersection of science, technology, design, and craft/DYI? Searching for "DYI" and "instructions" yields some interesting results.
posted by Kabanos at 11:53 AM on November 17, 2014

Sewing, knitting and crocheting all make clothes (and hats, scarves and bags.). I'd suggest starting with either knitting or crochet. It can take a few tries, so if the first tutorial doesn't work, try again. For me, crocheting is easier than knitting. I don't know how universal that is, though.
posted by soelo at 1:14 PM on November 17, 2014

Best answer: Once you have your key phrases figured out, hit up Pinterest. It is a fantastic resource for seeking out DIY projects. Here's what turned up when I searched Modern DIY. You could also search for terms like "industrial," "geometric," "functional," etc.

The Apartment Therapy Tutorials section also has some good ideas, many of which are useful and most of which are pretty.
posted by zoetrope at 1:23 PM on November 17, 2014

You might like the DIY projects on Design*Sponge.
posted by mochapickle at 1:33 PM on November 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I had a lot of luck with the craftster forums, and people put up very detailed walkthroughs for most projects (not sure how active it still is, but there's a ton of gold in the archives). Even if you don't find a ton of stuff you love there, browsing would give you a much better idea of the kinds of keywords you'd want to use to search.

Solely on signal to noise ratio, the best craft blog I ever found is not martha. Those projects all seemed to work out really well with no surprises. Again I'm not sure how active it is these days, but there are a lot of great projects there.

nthing that Instructables has a lot of good stuff too, with a good category structure so you can browse through categories of stuff instead of just looking for keywords.

If you're really not sure what you're looking for, you could do worse than to browse etsy, look for things you like that people are selling, and then search to see if you can find craft instructions for the specific stuff you like - a lot of etsy sellers are using instructions from craft sites too and they'll tend to already be using the most common keywords.
posted by dialetheia at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Poppytalk has a DIY section that might appeal...
posted by jrobin276 at 2:06 PM on November 17, 2014

In addition to the great suggestion above, I'll add this: are you familiar with Sweet Paul magazine? I don't read the print copy (yet!) but love their website, which has many craft ideas that are both simple and beautiful. (That's a central goal for their projects, which the founder Paul Lowe mentions himself in this fun radio interview with Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge.)
posted by smorgasbord at 3:28 PM on November 17, 2014

Best answer: Beside not martha mentioned by dialetheia I like Curbly a lot.
posted by francesca too at 3:38 PM on November 17, 2014

OH the other place I got fantastic craft ideas when I was way into it was from ReadyMade magazine. It looks like they've since gone out of business, and it looks like it might be tough to access their old stuff at because it's hidden behind a login that doesn't work anymore, but maybe somebody has it archived somewhere else, or maybe there are old copies on ebay or at your library. It had a really great ratio of decent projects to dumb projects, at least at the start of its run.
posted by dialetheia at 5:34 PM on November 17, 2014

Pinterest has everything imaginable. Just enter Wintercroft masks and then follow whatever comes up that interests you. Sometimes I'm up til the sun comes up because I can't shut off Pinterest and go to bed!
posted by aryma at 9:10 PM on November 17, 2014

I think I have some old digital copies of ReadyMade - I miss it! MeMail me if you're interested.
posted by jrobin276 at 9:16 PM on November 17, 2014

Response by poster: The Apartment Therapy tutorials are exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for (and I think we have back issues of ReadyMade at my local library, that's a great idea). Fantastic answers here, thank you all for your suggestions; the ones marked best answer are the ones that best fit my aesthetics but I'll be coming back to this thread as I get more experienced and adventurous!
posted by stellaluna at 1:09 PM on November 18, 2014

Not Martha is Mefi's own!
posted by IndigoRain at 12:06 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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