Archive for Monday, February 9, 2009


Feeling crafty? Inspiration abounds on these sites

February 9, 2009


When finances are running low, try crafting gifts from scratch. There’s a sense of accomplishment and a satisfying smirk that can’t be diminished by stinging paper cuts, Super-Glued fingers or the sweat invested in massive cleanups. Here are some Web sites that provide inspiration as well as easy-to-follow instructions for this holiday or any other gift-swapping event.


The crafts section of Kaboose (, a family-oriented site, includes crafts organized primarily by season and holiday. Projects are geared toward younger kids who would find making a simple love-bug pin or a pom pom polar bear worthwhile. To make sure neither parents nor children get in over their heads, each tutorial is labeled with a difficulty level and a recommended starting age.


Craftster ( bills itself as the hip, alternative crafting site. Here you can browse through member forums about anti-Valentine’s Day crafts and DIY home furnishings, such as a hanging light fixture made from empty yogurt containers. All projects are user-created, and threads can grow lengthy with members’ comments. This can make piecing together instructions somewhat tedious if the original poster didn’t include them. But you can always add a comment or question if you can’t find information.


Craft (, a sister publication of techno DIY magazine Make, takes on a range of projects. On the site, you can learn to sew baby booties decorated with fireflies that glow with LED lights or the basics of silk-screening. Written instructions and photos are provided with each craft. You can also download and print patterns if applicable, and some tutorials include video. Plus, a blog points readers to other online tutorials and crafting blogs.

Cut Out (plus) Keep

Eight years ago, Cut Out (plus) Keep ( was just a blog of personal crafts. It has evolved into a community-based multimedia site that includes a webzine, podcasts, message boards and more than 5,000 user-generated project tutorials. Each tutorial, labeled “How-To,” includes a supply list, an estimate of how much time the craft takes and its difficulty level. The poster may include photos and brief step-by-step instructions. Once you become a member, you can collect projects on your personal page, make friends, leave comments and share your own finished projects.


For the more techno-savvy among us, there’s Instructables ( Some projects are targeted to those with certain knowledge and skills, such as converting an old radio amplifier so it can be used by an iPod and building a honey extractor from an antique washing machine. Each tutorial includes detailed instructions, images and a comments field. If the high-level projects scare you, don’t worry. There are also easier ones, such as creating PVC flutes and duct-tape wallets.


Janet Lowther 6 years, 9 months ago

Notably missing was Make, 'though it is directed to a more techno-savvy crowd than the above.

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