Crafting for a beginner – which craft?



With the current state of self isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic I think this is a good time to share basic thoughts and ideas about crafting for absolute beginners. I have been crafting for 60 years – yes you read that right and teaching for over twenty. Most of the crafts I teach were self taught using books or online. The old adage practice, practice practice has worked well for me! I went from being a stressed administrator to a happy crafter teaching many many people on land and at sea. Maybe you could use all this spare time to learn and quote “if do what you love and you’ll never work again” Marc Anthony

Silk ribbon embroidery

I remember when I started to learn decorative painting I was totally out of my depth. I would go into an art shop, see literally hundreds of styles and sizes of brushes, and, as often as not walk out without buying anything. Therefore, it is a good idea to read up on what you want to learn before parting with your hard earned cash. Only buy the necessary tools and materials and you can add to them as you progress.

A nice wee beginner’s project

The choice of crafts is endless so firstly decide whether you want to try yarn crafts (knitting, crochet, macrame or tatting), jewellery making or painting (watercolours, oils, decorative painting, fabric painting or up-cycling furniture).

I have compiled this list of basic things you need to try some of these crafts. Some you may already have, if not they can all be sourced on eBay Amazon Facebook Marketplace as well as thousands of online shops all over the world (a little piece of advice here – if you buy from overseas check that you won’t have to pay taxes and/or import fees).










Tatting shuttle or

Tatting needle

Thread (I use Lizbeth 20)


Pliers – round nose, flat nose, cutters

Wire or beading thread


Open rings

Earring wires



Acrylic paints (I use DecoArt 2oz bottles)

Synthetic brushes – flat, round and angle (I use a Royal Langnickel)


Water bowl

Kitchen towel


Fabric – I like linen but any close weave would do

Sharp needles

Embroidery floss

Hoop (optional)


The other alternative is to buy a kit which will have everything in it including a pattern and instructions; sometimes it will say in the packaging that you will have to use your own items ie scissors

So…….now you have the materials and are hopefully sitting in a quiet corner ready to begin. A top tip (I think lol) is don’t spend too long at the beginning. If you feel you are too tired or are getting frustrated put it aside for another day. This way you can start afresh and, hopefully, not throw it in a cupboard where it may never see the light of day again……..oh yes, we have all been there before. Sleep on it, think about your progress and look forward to picking it up again. As you progress your confidence will soar and you are now a crafter

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – I find most crafters and teachers enjoy sharing advice. you could even send photos of your progress for a critique. Personally I am always happy to do this and, if I can’t help, I may know someone who can. My email address is

I will shortly be posting tutorials for a variety of crafts on here as well as my YouTube channel Gill Colthart

Just remember you don’t know if you like something until you try it and, once you find a craft that you like, it will help your stress levels, confidence and social life (at least it will once we can al go out again and join craft groups). Hopefully that will be sooner than later…..

Stay safe, Gill

I have been privileged to be an ambassador for DecoArt for 18 years

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