When budgets are tight, handmade gifts can be just the thing to save you during the holiday season. They’re thoughtful, highly personal and cheap. Yes, you need to put in a little time investment. But as long as you don’t overreach (one of my go-to moves), you can make it work.
Since I’m such a big fan of anything DIY, I decided to start a little mini-series on simple ways to learn new crafts and make gifts for the holidays. Today I’m going to start with my favorite DIY go-to: Pinterest.
I’m not going to lie to you. A lot of times when I’m looking to learn a new crafting skill I specifically look for tutorials made for kids—especially if I’m trying to learn something quickly. It sounds a little silly, but I figure they’ll be the least complicated and will teach me the basics quickly before I’m ready to get crazy.
For my first project, I decided I wanted to learn how to weave. I’ve been seeing gorgeous woven wall hangings all over Instagram and it gave me the itch. I thought it could be a cute gift idea, so I took to Pinterest and found a few tutorials that seemed perfect (that’s another trick when learning a new skill: I always look at more than one tutorial in case one site states one part more simply or another has clearer photos of the process).
Expertise required: None.
Time commitment: Minimal. I made this little guy while catching up on episodes of Newsroom and Homeland (by the way, WTF?!)
Expense: Also minimal. In fact, mine cost nothing because I had all of the supplies on hand. If you’re not a craft supply hoarder like myself, take advantage of coupons at places like Michaels and watch for great sales.
Supplies: Yarn, scissors, an old box (if you don’t have a loom), pencil, ruler, tape, plastic needle
I was going to give you step-by-step directions of everything I did, but why rehash what I culled from other places? I used my ruler and a pencil to cut notches in my old graham cracker box to create a loom and then strung blue yarn up and down the box, before weaving my other colors over and under the blue yarn. If you’d like to see detailed instructions, check out the links listed above—they helped me immensely.
Now, I wasn’t going to show you my first weaving because I’m not exactly satisfied with how it turned out. I was going to weave another one tonight and then post those photos, but that seemed a little ridiculous when I pride myself on trying to keep it real. So I’ll show you my first weaving, if you promise not to judge. And then I’ll tell you how to avoid the mistakes I made.
Alright, so it looks a little grade school. The addition of fancy little pom poms or tassels would have fixed that a bit, but, to be honest, I didn’t want to put that effort in when I wasn’t thrilled with my results. It’s a little off center and there are places that are not as tightly woven as they should be and some that are too tight. But it was definitely a learning experience.
Keep your eyes on my Instagram page for weaving number two (because now I’m totally addicted to the therapeutic in and out that’s required).
- Don’t try to be fancy like I did. Skip the shapes until you have the weaving thing down. You can always add tassels or pom poms if you want to up the wow factor, but doing advanced patterns will only confuse you while you’re trying to get the hang of it.
- If you ignore my first piece of advice, at least make sure you keep careful track of the center of your piece. If you look at mine closely, you’ll see that my design is off a row. #noviceproblems
- Take it slow. There’s no one to race to the finish. It’s way easier to do things right the first time than it is to go back and undo your damage when you realize you made a mistake.