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While many people are thinking about returning to the gym, or working a different job to make more money, I have been thinking about having more fun when I’m not working, which means a new hobby.
But how can I think about ONE MORE hobby or art project when my whole career revolves about, well, a hobby? That’s the million dollar question, and honestly, I only have one wild guess: My job is my job. And I don’t know about you, but i really want to do something that doesn’t involve contracts, or money, or commissions, or cancellations at the end of it when I’m finished – If I finish, hello there shinning object syndrome!
So let’s skip the obvious and think about what we WANT to do this year. I’ll leave the positive mindset woo-woo for the life coach gurus, and let’s talk about doing some fun art projects. The list below has 20 items or tools, or ideas. I’m obsessed with all of them, and with the expcetion of a Cricut (I own a Silhouette), GlowForge, and a sewing machine, I use everything I listed below.
Got someone who loves making paper crafts (i mean, you of course)? I own a silhouette that cuts all kinds of intricate patterns, and OMG it’s so much fun. Lately, most people I know have been into Cricut so you might want to take a look at that. It comes with their own software that you can use to cut into paper, but depending on the machine (there are a handful of different models) you can cut into vinyl, leather, cork and more. Use it as a paper crafter/hobbyist or as a side hustle. You cannot go wrong with a Cricut. Now just imagine cutting your own intricate place cards for your next dinner party. Or make that funny t-shirt for all your loved ones to wear on the next family reunion!
It’s almost like a necessity. I grew up with a seamstress as a grandma, and I still remember ALL the Barbie clothes she made for me and my Barbie. Whether you’re taking classes online or in person, a sewing machine can be a great addition to your craft abilities, in addition to fixing minor damages to clothes you would otherwise just throw in the garbage. You never know, you might find out you’re actually a sewing master and start designing your own line! (money, money, money!!)
Hand Engraving machine: This is definitely my favorite purchase of the year (I have 3). I might be a little biased because I engrave as a profession, but you can really transform any gift by personalizing it. If your gift to someone is either metal or glass, then that’s even better. Give them something they will keep forever since their name is on it. Wine bottles or glass, champagne flutes. Got a wedding coming up? Engrave tumblers for the wedding party (bridesmaids), and flasks for the grooms. You can even start selling some of your items online or at a local handmade market.
GlowForge or Laser Engraving Machine
This is for the professional crafter taking things to a whole other level. You don’t have to have any intentions of going professional. If you have disposable income, you do you, but that’s a pretty big purchase. However, you will be able to make the most beautiful laser cutting projects. The downside is that you might end up throwing more parties just so you can use that machine. It’s important to point out that GlowForge is not the only laser cutter available for purchase. In fact, I found a couple of alternatives that were similar or less expensive with much better reviews online. Remember to do your homework to find out which one is the best one for you.
Paper Quilling Kit
The perfect kit to play with while you’re on the couch watching your favorite shows. This art is time consuming as a whole, but honestly, quilling all the strips has been very relaxing to me, because once you know what you’re doing (and it’s very easy to learn), you will roll those papers with your eyes closed. My trick is to plan on what design you want to do, then all roll the strips according to the shapes you need, and then start gluing to the design. Start easy, and choose a simple shape so you don’t lose motivation. Like any project, the first one might not look all that great, but you’ll get there soon! I fell in love with this once I saw a project with someone’s name on it. Adorned with a bunch of flowers. Some kits come with a pre-design sheet, but you can also easily download some online. Once the design is ready, you would frame it as a shadow box because of how the paper is glued. You can drool over all the designs on Pinterest for some inspiration.
Quilling kit with a design included HERE
Hot Foiling Pen Kit
Personalize journals, makeup bags and so much more with a little golden foil, and let me tell you. It looks beautiful. You don’t need any skills to do this, you can write in cursive, or even just draw simple little flowers. Practice your design on paper then you can use a marker (fine tip) to draw on the foil. Then just hot foil it on top of it. Surfaces with good texture (or “tooth”) works best so they can “grab” the foil.
There are SEA of options when it comes to watercolor. You can invest in the most expensive ones (the ones you can buy one or two little pots at a time), or you can get a more affordable palette if you’re just starting out. If you have read any of the previous blogs you know that some pretty established artists still use inexpensive products. Price doesn’t always mean great quality. Sometimes it’s just marketing.
Watercolor Set (tubes)
All the unlimited classes you can possibly watch. I started as a student there around 2016 I think, and just never canceled my subscription because there are so many new classes all the time, and unlimited learning. Everything from crafts, to graphic design, and so much more. One yearly (or monthly) fee and watch everything for as long as you have a subscription. Do the projects, review other people’s projects, and interact with the instructors. The best online learning platform I have come across. AND, if you decide to teach your own Skillshare classes, YOU CAN! This means, unlimited money PLUS a little side hustle that can pretty much considered passive income.
Tombow Brush Pens
For lettering aficionados, but don’t want to splurge on more expensive brush pens. They usually go for $3 a pop, but you can always find a pack of 12 for a really good price on Amazon. The colors are beautiful and the pens feel sooooo good to write with. Downside, they damage easily so just treat it with care.
Glass Calligraphy Pens
The most beautiful set of pens I have ever gotten and I’m going to be honest: they write beautifully in a monoline style and look great in pictures. They are actual glass, with very ornate designs, and you need to be careful, if they fall, they will break (along with your heart). They usually come in a set of two (different designs) and an assortment of ink colors! If you’re trying to find new ways to take notes or write your affirmation/positive thinking stuff on your journal, this has your name on it.
Even though it’s watercolor, this is a must item for any calligrapher. It writes in the most beautiful metallic tones, from Arabic Gold to all sorts of pinks, purples and blues. There are so many different colors, and look great on black cardstock paper. On any paper really, but they really stand out on dark paper. Since they come on a little palette pan, you can use it for calligrapher, brush lettering, or just watercolor painting. It’s a….3-fer? And they last forever. And they have a lot of colors, so hide your credit cards.
High Quality Watercolor Paper
I know, not really a project. But it is an essential to watercolor painting, and you need a good pad. The quality of your watercolor paper can make all the difference on how the ink behaves as you paint. You need decent brushes, you need decent ink. But you REALLY need good paper. If you’re just starting out, you can get by with any store brand but as you [practice you will se ethe difference. I have a couple of favorites and I wait until they’re on sale to stock up. The good news is they have different sizes so if you’re not sure you want to pay more for paper, buy a small notepad to try out.
Soft Pastels Set
The most satisfying art project. It’s like drawing with REALLY good chalk, that leaves so really fine powder behind that you can still use. I mean buttery chalk. At some point I even thought about making them at home (there’s a recipe for everything these days, even soft pastels), but decided I wanted to just draw and paint. Whether you want to buy a couple of individual rolls from Unison (they have the best blue shades), or a nice set from Koh-I-Noor, you can’t go wrong with this medium. Make sure to wear a regular face mask though, because the dust is insane. My carpet was blue and my husband was not happy. Below it’s my favorite brand of soft pastels.
Crochet Starter Kit
I learned crochet growing up. Some from my mom (she knitted too), and some from my aunt. If anyone in my family was learning a new craft, I was there right next to them to learn the same thing. Crochet was one of them, and I did many little mini rugs from my Barbie by the time I was 7. It’s much easier than you think, and the best part is that now you have little kits available to you. When I was growing up, I didn’t have a pattern, so I just crocheted away. Now you can buy starter kits that have a plan for you to finish a project. They usually involve some kind of cute animals or flowers. This is absolutely kid friendly if you have a little one who likes to be your craft companion.
Friendship Bracelet Kit
Another lazy art project. I think this is the best intro to entrepreneurship for kids ever invented since lemonade stands. The favorite craft if you ask my daughter and she has made dozens of bracelets for herself and her friends. You can get so many kits online that sometimes it is hard to decide. And a lot of them come with all the tools you need like scissors, strings (for days), and even a pair of tweezers to pick up the beads. And a bunch of charms. So go ahead and keep your mini you occupied for hours then start selling those beautiful bracelets to everyone in the neighborhood. Or Etsy!
Part art, part meditation, part relaxing. The laziest way to use your creativity. My daughter has been HOOKED on color by numbers. She loves to just start coloring with the color code and then find out what the design is. Not only you have something already pre-designed, you have someone telling you which colors to use and where. The highest level of lazy before you’re dead asleep. You can find intricate coloring books or easy ones for kids, but if you need a moment to decompress, a coloring book should be on your list. It’s definitely not just for kids anymore. Grab a Mandala book and you’ll see what I mean. Or unicorns, you can’t really go wrong with them either.
If you are ready to upgrade from the Tombow markers, then this is your lucky day. Delicious brush markers that are easy to mix, with gorgeous colors. They’re more expensive but if you’re looking to splurge, go ahead. I have a set and it’s amazing. So many colors. They also behave lit watercolor, so you can start writing on watercolor paper and mix the colors using a very small brush. (or a water brush like THIS ONE).
Gelly Roll Pens
I don’t like Jelly pens – said no one ever. It requires zero artistic ability. You literally just need to be into pops of color. Sometimes with glitter. Oh my, the glitter. Write poems, draw little flowers, add a little highlight, write a grocery list, or add it to your journal. And speaking of journals….
Journals can be used by anyone, regardless if you are into art or not. Note making, journaling, affirmations, positive quotes, there are so many reasons you should have and write in a journal. You can use your jelly pens. You can use your hot foiling pen to write your name on the cover. Go one extra step and buy some stickers. Come on, add some extra color to your life, I mean to your journal!
Whether you choose to delve into digital art (i’ll have more on that coming soon), embrace the beauty of nature, or challenge conventional art forms, these 20 project ideas (or tools) are sure to inspire and elevate your creative journey this year. So, pick up your tools, let your imagination run wild, and make this year a masterpiece of artistic expression.
Coming soon on the blog: Easy craft projects you can make a little side money the lazy way! Until then, stay safe and make art!