14 Crafts You'll Actually Use

plants in pots in macrame household
  • 1-500 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-500

Whether your craft is woodworking, sewing, or gluing together popsicle sticks, the task in itself is rewarding. Oftentimes, however, the finished product is quickly discarded (or stored for years and then tossed). Focus your energies so you can enjoy crafting and end up with crafts you’ll actually use.

It brings joy to look at something you use frequently and know that you made it with your own two hands. For the same reason, crafted items like candles, decorated pots, coasters, birdhouses, and wooden organizers can also make saleable items.

1. Wreaths

This is a hugely general category that leaves room for endless creativity. Wreaths can take different shapes and be made with any number of materials. At the base of most wreaths is a compact straw foundation or a metal frame. Some frames are also made from foam or grapevine.

The type of form you choose depends on the type of material you’ll be attaching. If you’re wrapping the form or attaching materials with florist wire, then metal or grapevine forms work well. For wreaths that require you to insert materials into the form, foam, and straw perform well.

Choose your preferred materials and let your imagination go wild! You can personalize wreaths if you’re giving them as gifts or change your own front door embellishment as the seasons roll through. For a fall wreath, attach leaves, small pumpkins, and gourds.

Spring is more about flowers, such as dried hydrangea, roses, sunflowers, and striking strawflowers. Your winter wreath might lean into snow themes or celebrate with holly and cranberries. A summer wreath can take advantage of fruits and nuts.

Also consider herb sprigs for your primary material. For example, eucalyptus has a hearty stem that can be formed into a circle with or without a frame. Add other large leaf and hearty varieties of herbs such as rosemary, lavender, sage, and mint.

If you’re uncertain about allergies and sensitivity to scents, skip fragrant options like eucalyptus and lavender and go with the ever-popular pine boughs instead.

Another fun wreath option is made with fabric. Start with a straw form. Cut a pile of three to four-inch fabric squares using a pair of pinking shears. Then use a pencil to press each square into the wreath, leaving the jagged edges poking out. Fill in the wreath tightly with additional fabric.

Choose fabric to match design or color themes like pastels for a baby’s room, plant prints for the sunroom, or rusty orange for fall decor.

spiral tie dye design

2. Tie-Dye

Tie-dye is a fun craft that never seems to get old. It’s a simple and rewarding process that will leave you with usable items to bring you joy. Most people think of tie-dye shirts, but you can use the same technique on any type of fabric.

Try it out on handkerchiefs, kitchen towels, tablecloths, tapestries, and fabric for window or cabinet coverings.

3. Coasters

Everyone has coasters around the house, even if they’re shoved deep into a drawer somewhere. Encourage use by making them a central component of your interior design theme.

The beautiful thing about this project is there are endless material and design options that truly make each piece unique and allow copious creativity.

Make coasters out of cork, wood rounds, or coiled hemp. But don’t limit yourself to those options. Get crafty with what you have around the house. Woven copper strips, fabric scraps, and decorated ceramic tiles will all do the job. You can also use wine corks, clay, stone, or leather.

Start with one material, like cork, and embellish it through decoupage. Paint stone or ceramic tiles. Jazz up boring materials with wallpaper and stickers. If needlework is your thing, crochet or knit coasters instead.

etched glasses

4. Etched Wine/Whiskey Glasses

Create a memorable keepsake in a few easy steps by etching drinkware or vases. Similarly, you can create etched ornaments, window decor, or mirrors.

The key is in a medium such as Armour Etch, which you can find at any craft store or online. Start with a small container as a little goes a long way. Next, you will need some form of stencil that makes a seamless connection with the glass to keep the etching cream from seeping underneath.

This can be created with a Silhouette or CriCut machine, or you can create your own design using shelf liner and an Exacto knife. Similarly, stickers will do the job.

Adhere your sticker where you want it on the glass, pressing firmly with a focus on the inside edges.

Practice safety by wearing a mask and using gloves. The etching cream can be an irritant to the lungs and the skin. Then, using a brush, apply a generous amount of etching cream to the stencil.

Dab it on, allowing it to form a blob. More is better for this job. Just make sure it doesn’t run off the sides of your stencil or you will unintentionally etch other parts of the glass.

The etching cream states it only needs to sit for a few minutes, but we’ve found better results by allowing it to sit on the glass for around 15 minutes. When the time is up, simply rinse off the etching cream, dab the glass dry, and remove the stencil. Hand wash your project for the best results.

5. Canned Goods

It’s easy to see why this is a craft you’d actually use. Yum! Canned goods take many forms. You can make jams and jellies, make a hot water bath for peaches and pears, or mix it up with canned salsa.

Besides the fruit and vegetable options, you can also create jarred desserts like apple spice cake, banana bread, coffee cake, pound cake, or pie filling.

Halloween designs on mason jars

6. Mason Jar Decor

Once you’ve consumed the goods inside the Mason jars, reuse them to decorate the patio pergola, gazebo, or dining table.

Give them a whole new look with acrylic paint. To make painted jars, partially fill small disposable cups with a pouring medium like the brand DecoArt. Then add a roughly equal amount of your chosen paint color to each cup. Play with this half-and-half mixture if it’s too thick or too thin.

Then use a disposable tongue depressor or popsicle stick to drizzle paints across the outside surface of the jars. Once the surface is covered with your artistic swirls of color, turn the jar upside down to dry. You can place them over a disposable cup or other surface to keep them from sticking to cardboard or paper while it dries.

Allow them to dry at least overnight, then fill them with water and fresh flowers from the yard for a centerpiece.

Another useful craft that begins and ends with canning jars includes the art of illumination. The idea is to make a luminary you can set on the table or hang from the edges of umbrellas, pergola, or the roofline. How you go about it is up to your imagination.

Try the reverse of the etching technique above. For example, use star or heart stickers around your jar and etch the entire surface. Then remove the stickers to reveal the design.

Stuff battery-powered LED lights in the jar, or rely on tea candles for a soft flickering glow.

Using the same lighting technique, allow more light to come through clear or lightly decorated glass. Another option is to wrap the glass in rope, creating a macrame look and a functional way to hang jars.

macrame plant holders

7. Macrame Plant Holders

Speaking of macrame, it’s a wonderful craft with practical results. For the older crowd that remembers the heyday of macrame everything several decades ago, know that the practice has come back into vogue in a big way.

Macrame is about technique. Once you master the basic art of knot tying, you can make countless styles of plant hangers. Large, small, long, short, colored, natural-looking, or embellished with beads, the choice is yours.

8. Decorated Planters

To go along with your macrame hangers, or as a stand alone project, there are infinite ways to dress up planters to match an interior or exterior design theme.

Imagine boho pots wrapped in fabric ribbon or cloth, painted pots that speak of sunflowers and peonies, and decoupaged planters decorated with tissue paper, newsprint, or brown paper bags.

9. Washcloths

Crocheting and knitting are crafting activities that net usable products. Perhaps one of the easiest is washcloths. Learn a few basic stitches using either technique, link the rows together, tie it off, and boom--washcloth.

You can obviously vary the look and function by choosing colors, formatting a size, and even using different materials. Soon you’ll find your kitchen drawers full of washcloths and friends asking for a new pile for their homes.

10. Candles

Candles are surprisingly easy to make. For your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with light for ambiance and the perfect scent combination to meet your preferences.

Candle making is a craft and an art. There are myriad ways to tackle it. Poured candles start with a quality wax. From there, you can add your own scents using essential oils. Like kitchen recipes, play with combining different scents to find the ones you like the best.

You can also dress up candles with infusions of leaves, sprigs of lavender, cinnamon sticks, or dried fruits. Pour your candles into fancy jars or use household items like half-gallon milk jugs or aluminum cans to create different textures and shapes.

11. Baskets

Basket weaving has been around since man discovered it as a way to carry goods from one location to another, and the craft is still popular today for the same reason.

Baskets are durable and much more attractive than plastic totes. Making them yourself gives you the freedom to design a bespoke item for yourself or someone else.

To craft them, wind rope, cotton cord, or rolled fabric around a pre-shaped item like a bucket or small garbage can, using a hot glue gun to adhere each row to the previous one.

This is just one idea for basket making. There are techniques that involve sewing, or there are more traditional methods of weaving together banana leaves, grass reeds, or vines.

12. Remote Holder

Woodworking is an endlessly useful craft. One way to ensure the end product becomes part of daily activities is to make tools that serve a function.

With ubiquitous remotes for AC units, stereos, receivers, TVs, and the Roomba cluttering the coffee table, build a wooden remote holder to keep them all in one place.

To build, cut two matching not-quite-perfect triangular sides that angle from six to ten inches at the top down to three inches at the bottom. Create matching-height pieces to connect the two sides at the back and the front.

It will be taller in the back and shorter in the front and should be about four inches wide. Be sure to sand wood pieces to a smooth finish.

Explore different joint options such as dado, tongue and groove, or finger for the best strength and look. Create sections for each remote by making several evenly-spaced vertical grooves and then slide a thin divider into each one. Add paint or stain, or leave it in natural form.

You can use the same techniques to customize holders for craft supplies, tools, or office supplies too.

bird on bird food tray

13. Bird Feeder/Houses

Another woodworking project that keeps giving back takes shape as a bird feeder or birdhouse. Draw in our friends from nature bird feeders made from pallet wood or scraps from other projects.

All you really need is a flat tray to hold the food, and edges to keep seeds from falling off the sides. From there you can dress it up however you like. Create a stand for it or add hardware and a chain for hanging.

For birdhouses, pick a basic design and practice. Then unleash your creativity to make it uniquely your own, and that of your feathered friends.

14. Other Useful Craft Items

The list of crafts you’ll actually use can go on and on. Basically, try to identify items that fill a need or that add appeal. Then figure out how to make them and cultivate your craft.

You could build decorative lanterns, construct collapsible camp tables, create personalized mugs, embellish aprons with paint, restyle furniture, or create wall art in the form of signs or hanging shelves.

While it’s nice to plan for crafts you’ll actually use, remember the reward is in the process, so find something you enjoy and the rest will follow.

Get some more ideas in our related articles Flower Crafting Ideas and How to Set Up a Crafting Corner in Your Home.