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Craft Fads Through the Decades

Jul 28, 2012

by Chappell Ellison handmade and vintage goods

Almost everyone has had a brush with a craft fad. From sock monkeys to putting a bird on it, craft crazes have a way of defining an era and its interests. In the United States, the modern craft boom kicked off in the prosperous post-war 1950s, when many Americans had an increase in leisure time and income. In the decades since, a wide array of crafts have had their moment in the sun. Some are still with us, while others have faded away. Here’s a look at a few that made a mark on their era.


1950s: Paint by Number

Paint by number kits have been around since the 1920s, but they experienced a boom in the post-war era, generating $80 million in retail sales in 1953 alone. The hobby affected how millions consumed and viewed art, causing critics to reel and hobbyists to shrug their shoulders in defiance. “[It] put paint brushes into the hands of millions who later become the patrons of museums and other centers of cultural activity in the decades after the Second World War,” wrote Spencer R. Crew, director of the National Museum of American History. “What is striking about paint by number’s popularity is the speed with which it became a vessel for anxieties about mass culture’s intrusion into the well-cultured world of taste and social class,” wrote William L. Bird in his book, Paint by Number: The How-to Craze that Swept the Nation. “When paint by number arrived as a popular pastime in the early fifties, it opened a cultural fissure that has never closed,” explains Crew.

1960s: Tie-Dye

The tie-dye craze of the 1960s begins with a legend: in 1965, when Don Price was charged with saving the then-failing Rit Dye company, he roamed Greenwich Village in New York City, looking for inspiration in the hippie subculture that crowded into the neighborhood’s cramped apartments. With dye in tow, he hoped to drum up interest with the psychedelic-color-loving, crafty crowd. When he discovered the married team of Will and Eileen Richardson, two out-of-work window dressers, he handed them a few bolts of fabric and a load of Rit dye. The couple produced tie-dyed fabric so beautiful, Halston caught wind and placed a $5,000 order. Celebrities like Janis Joplin were outfitted in the colorful cloth, and the Woodstock crowd wasn’t far behind. By 1970, tie-dyed fabrics colored the store windows along Madison Avenue.

1970s: Macramé

Wave Song

A pensive look at a macrame plant holder.

Thought to originate from carpet weavers in ancient Afghanistan, the art of macramé spread across the world by sailors, who made and sold knotted pieces of art for extra money. The Victorians went crazy for it. “This kind of fancy work is not exactly a novelty, except in the sense that when anything becomes so old as to be forgotten, its revival has all the effect of a first appearance,” explained Sylvia (pseudonym) in Sylvia’s Book of Macrame Lace. The hobby came back in a big way during the 1970s, when a house wasn’t a home without a macramé owl hanging against a wood panel wall in the living room.

1970s: Velvet Paintings

While Marco Polo was the first to document the sighting of velvet painting in Kashmir, the 1970s trend was triggered by a man named Edgar Leeteg. In the 1930s, Leetag lived in Tahiti and was known as the “American Gauguin” for his paintings of tropical flowers, waterfalls and children. One fateful day, he went out to buy a canvas at a general store, but all the clerk had to offer was a bolt of black velvet. Leeteg began painting on velvet, selling dozens of works to sailors and eventually moving to Hawaii to open his own gallery.

By the 1960s, velvet paintings by Leetag and others had trickled into mainland America. “Those who lived through that time will remember the common sight throughout suburbia of a traveling salesman laying out a new vanload of velvet on a street corner,” wrote Eric A. Eliason and Scott Squire in Black Velvet Art. During the 1980s, municipalities toughened their vending ordinances to discourage velvet painting sellers and the trend faded. “America turned away from black velvet just as it abandoned bell-bottoms, polyester leisure suits, pet rocks, and lava lamps.”

1980s: Bedazzling

Minimalism was not part of the game in 1980s fashion. Once-plain sweatshirts hung heavy on the frames of trendy women, weighed down by hand-applied emerald green jewels and silver studs. Belts, cowboy boots and even exercise apparel feel victim to the onslaught of plastic rhinestones. The fad reached its peak with the Bedazzler, the jewel-applique machine that works “just like a stapler!”

1990s: Perler Beads

Tiny and spherical, Perler beads were supposedly invented by Gunnar Knutsson in Stockholm, Sweden during the 1960s. Knutsson created Perlers specifically to exercise the dexterity required to grasp the beads, making them a perfect therapy tool for the elderly. By the 1990s, Perler beads were a favorite craft supply. Children arranged the beads on a peg board, then begged adults to assist them by covering the beads in wax paper and pressing down with a hot iron. The heat fuses the beads, holding the child’s pattern in place. Today, perler beads are often a favorite among video game fans, who value the beads’ pixelated look.

1990s (and Today): Friendship Bracelets

It is the ultimate craft for a rainy day. The woven patterns of friendship bracelets are numerous, with names passed around colloquially by in-the-know crafters. Broken stairway, chevron, fish, candy stripe are just a few of the patterns that saw children sneaking into their mother’s sewing box for scraps of embroidery floss. The woven bracelets first gained attention in the 1970s, but rose to popularity in the 1990s, reaching a peak when President Bill Clinton wore one during his first televised interview after presidency. They have experience a resurgence in the past few years, thanks to a plethora of blog tutorials.

What are some of your favorite craft fads?

Vintage Paint by Number
Vintage Paint by Number
Mixed Media  Macrame Pattern Book HH-30
Mixed Media Macrame Pattern Book HH-30
Vintage 80s Southwest Jeweled Western Jacket Coat - by Trump
Vintage 80s Southwest Jeweled Western Jacket Coat - by Trump
Nature's Delights Volume I Macrame Pattern Book
Nature's Delights Volume I Macrame Pattern Book
Hakan Friendship Bracelet
Hakan Friendship Bracelet
Vintage owl fiber art macramé quirky Mid-Century Modern interior 70s 60s wall hanging decor decoration
Vintage owl fiber art macramé quirky Mid-Century Modern interior 70s 60s wall hanging decor decoration

4 Featured Comments

  • missantique

    Rita from MissAntique said 8 years ago Featured

    This is such a great article, I love to see different styles put together through history. And each craft trend tells us so many things about a decade and its spirit, just seeing the difference between the 60s tie-dye natural look and the plastic rhinestones applications from the 80s! Loved the article!

  • dizhasneatstuff

    deb fearon from dizhasneatstuff said 8 years ago Featured

    I think crafting is true folk art, it brought families together while they created one of a kind objects. Sometimes they were wonderful, sometimes, not so much, but your Mom kept it anyway. I was active in 4-H as a child and we had a crafting club, The Busy Bees. If you had told me I was learning about social interactions with my peers, exercising my imagination and improving my hand/eye dexterity, I may have been disappointed. I loved all those corny things we made and won lots of blue ribbons for them.

  • BeadLyss

    Alyssa from BeadLyss said 8 years ago Featured

    I love taking my kids to the arts and crafts store and introducing them to paint by number, friendship bracelets and all the other craft fads out there. To them, its a brand new concept and it makes me feel like I'm giving them a small piece of my own childhood memories.

  • lovelyfeverboutique

    Jessica from LovelyFever said 8 years ago Featured

    What a fascinating and well-researched article. The story of how tie dye came to be was quite surprising. I had no idea that the driving force behind it was a company trying to revitalize their product. And the macrame-- growing up, we had one of those macrame owls (they were a duo sitting on a branch) and a macrame plant holder as they were made by my Mom. In fact, they are still there :) I used to make and wear friendship bracelets when I was a kid, so its fun to see those included here too. This article made me want to learn more about other crafts of the decades.


  • frankusch

    FRAN KUSCH said 8 years ago

    Yikes!!! Remember shrinky dinks, crocheted toilet paper holders, and woven potholders???? I'm having a bad flash back!!!!!

  • glassandlight

    Cecilia Cohen from glassandlight said 8 years ago

    and what about jewelry made from gum wrappers, bottle caps, and safety pins... takes me right back to girl scouts. And we also had these goo-y things that we cooked to make monsters and brightly colored insects. I'd actually love to have those baking plates today!

  • drihanaburger

    Drihana from DRIHANA said 8 years ago

    What about rope art and Bauernmallerei (floral folk art painting)? Both crafts which were popular in the 70's and are apparently having a comeback now?

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 8 years ago

    I think I've tried all of those except painting on velvet... not to mention scratchboards, crochet granny squares, pressing flowers & leaves, pokerwork, papermosaic, papiermache, doughcraft... the list just goes on & on! Happy days!

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye from VintageEye said 8 years ago

    Decoupage put lots of folks into a crafting fever back in the 70's but potholders woven with long, stretchy rings of fabric on a square loom was my specialty!

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 8 years ago

    My daughter loves the paint by number! I can remember having tons of jewelry boxes of the string floss to make friendship bracelets. It was "the thing to do". We had so much fun making them!

  • LaughLand

    Anne Fraser from LaughLand said 8 years ago

    In the 1970s I fondly recall my mother cutting lengths of plastic tubing into the size of beads and threading/weaving these onto strands of thin plastic. Mostly this resulted in a coaster or placemat. Simple teapots were a popular pattern, but Mum also made a semi-artistic large placemat that featured roses with subtle shading on the petals. I don't know what this craft was actually called, but for a while there craft shops were full of the rolls of plastic tubing. One drawback was that the placemats were hard to clean and the gaps between the beads became traps for dirt after a while. Pictures made from coloured thread stretched between small nails on a board were also popular at about the same time. Possibly related to macrame and velvet painting, as the colours were quite lurid. I don't know what this craft was called either but I made a large picture of a sailing boat at school. It used shiny thread and a black background. This was 1974 in Brisbane, Australia. The picture disappeared shortly after. But I still love colour to this day.

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose said 8 years ago

    So nice! I love see art through time!

  • ArtsyFlair

    Michaela Bowles from ArtsyFlair said 8 years ago

    LOVE! It's so interesting to look back on those things! 1950s: Paint by Number and 1990s: Perler Beads is something I did when younger. I remember making and collecting perler beads. Also, fuzzy posters, I would on those for hours and hours.

  • lcarlsonjewelry

    Liesl Carlson from lcarlsonjewelry said 8 years ago

    Amazing how creativty grows and changes.

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 said 8 years ago

    Loved this article, I have always been a crafter, when I was little my friend and I would make elaborate doll houses out of cardboard boxes and various scraps of this and that.

  • suegrayjewelry

    suegray from suegrayjewelry said 8 years ago

    I thoroughly enjoyed this walk down memory lane!!!

  • Parachute425

    Terry from Parachute425 said 8 years ago

    OMG I've lived through all of those. I'm so old.

  • secondarycreations

    Trudy Shaw from secondarycreations said 8 years ago

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 says: Loved this article, I have always been a crafter, when I was little my friend and I would make elaborate doll houses out of cardboard boxes and various scraps of this and that. ____________________ We did that, too. Wallpaper samples for the walls and paintings cut out of catalogs. A group of us had one girl's basement turned into an entire neighborhood during the early 1960's (who needs Barbie's Dreamhouse when making your own is so much fun?). In the late 1960's, I earned an interior decorating Girl Scout badge and we did kind of the same thing, but much more sophisticated; I remember making an avocado and yellow kitchen, creating my own 3D appliances and furniture - it had a breakfast bar! - out of paper. ----------------------- During the late 1970's I picked up latchhook rug kits as a basically mindless, repetitive de-stressing tool. I guess you could call them rug hooking's equivalent of paint-by-number. I've looked for them in craft stores in recent years and they seem to have disappeared.

  • knitfitt

    Cate Fitt said 8 years ago

    As usual with Chappell's writing, interesting research and history. The paint by numbers and tie dye in particular evoke vivid memories.

  • missantique

    Rita from MissAntique said 8 years ago Featured

    This is such a great article, I love to see different styles put together through history. And each craft trend tells us so many things about a decade and its spirit, just seeing the difference between the 60s tie-dye natural look and the plastic rhinestones applications from the 80s! Loved the article!

  • JulieMeyer

    Julie Meyer from JulieMeyer said 8 years ago

    don't forget Counted Cross-Stitch. I love Paint-By-Numbers paintings - I'd love to have a wall filled with those paintings.

  • DecadesOfVintage

    DecadesOfVintage from DecadesOfVintage said 8 years ago

    Anyone remember peach pot rings?

  • DecadesOfVintage

    DecadesOfVintage from DecadesOfVintage said 8 years ago

    Should have been peach pit rings.....

  • nunoco

    Candy and Lora Jones from nunoco said 8 years ago

    I miss friendship braclets!

  • 2Good2BeThrough

    Debra Webb from 2Good2BeThrough said 8 years ago

    Lets not forget button bracelets! Popularized in the 60s, popular again today.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 8 years ago

    Cool! I missed some of these thank goodness.

  • CatBishop22

    CatBishop22 from FlourishPhotography said 8 years ago

    Bedazzlers... oh god.

  • rosebudshome

    rosebudshome from rosebudshome said 8 years ago

    OMG I have a clown made out of seashells from the 80's.

  • ADifferentPlace

    Rebecca Robins from ADifferentPlace said 8 years ago

    My Mom brought home armloads of seed pods and dried flowers from the Greenbelt near our house. She made huge displays of dried flowers, but she stopped working with "Nature" when they all opened up and spewed black seeds all over her dining room table!

  • chARiTyelise

    Charity Hofert from chARiTyelise said 8 years ago

    super fun article! i remember in the mid 80's we used to make friendship pins with safety pins and seed beads and wear them on our shoelaces. Those were fun-- and silly!

  • ddurik

    Deborah D from DeborahDurikDesigns said 8 years ago

    What a fun trip down memory lane! My mom used to make 3d paper tole flowers and one of my cousins used to make glassine flowers with formed wire that she dipped into a can of some kind of transparent liquid plastic. Very pretty!

  • rickrackshack

    Vanessa Ryerse from TheMosaicButterfly said 8 years ago

    Oh man...growing up in a crafty house and a Christian one to boot, meant we did every craft you can imagine at home AND church.... Grape vine wreaths, paper ribbon baskets, painted wooden ducks, plaster plaques... it was almost as if our religion couldn't be separated from scissors and the amazing hot glue gun.

  • collectiblesatoz

    collectiblesatoz from collectiblesatoz said 8 years ago

    Great article filled with lots of memories. Still have a lot of these things you mentioned and I am cleaning out as we speak. Need to get back to my shop and get them all listed. Thanks for all the memories but it is now time to share a few of them with others.

  • ladykim5000

    ladykim5000 said 8 years ago

    We had the craze of oven shrinking (empty) chip packets and similar to make jewellery. Well it was the early 80's!

  • fotostrudel

    fotostrudel from fotostrudel said 8 years ago

    I am alternating between cringing and being amused. How is this possible?

  • minipotterybyanita from potterybyAnita said 8 years ago

    Gosh, what a walk down "Memory Lane!" ♥ I still have a Paint-by-Number of a woodland stream I did way back when. ♥ And the "My Little Pony" really took me back to my daughter's love at the time. ♥ (And now she's set to have her first child!) ♥ Good times! Thanks so much for the memories!♥♥♥

  • aostudio9

    Adrienne from DabAndDabble said 8 years ago

    Made watchbands with seed bead safety pins! Mickey Mouse watch of course!

  • thriftscore

    thriftscore from ThriftScore said 8 years ago

    Latchook! String art! Wood burning! Puffy paint!

  • PoleStar

    Jennifer Juniper from PoleStar said 8 years ago

    Macrame still brings be straight back to the wood paneling and hanging plants of my youth. I missed out on the whole perler bead thing, I had no idea. I guess it is because I was in HS and college in the 90's.

  • RawBoneStudio

    Robin Romain from RawBoneStudio said 8 years ago

    I lived through, practiced and LOVE all craft trends too! Presenting the history with the trend in a timeline is delightfully wonderful! Love all your articles Chappell!

  • LennyMud

    Lenny Mud from LennyMud said 8 years ago

    Great article! I also remember some unfortunate things I made with sand art.

  • bhangtiez

    Jana from bhangtiez said 8 years ago

    lol........great collection! My favorite is macrame, although I did love making friendship bracelets when I was a kid.

  • SeaFindDesigns

    Tracy Prince from SeaFindDesigns said 8 years ago

    Hey now.... don't forget latch hook.... Me and Em are actually in the middle of one right now!

  • RoughMagicCreations

    Mollie Ann Meserve from RoughMagicCreations said 8 years ago

    What a fabulous trip down "Memory Lane"! Remembering pop beads and all the colorful and ... um, eclectic statements we made with those!

  • blainedesign

    Karen Brown from blainedesign said 8 years ago

    Macaroni art, of course. And there was a strange fad that overtook our neighborhood: bake marbles in the oven for about 10 minutes, then dump them into a bowl of ice water. They "crazed" and became "jewels" for other projects.

  • ProfessorTiny

    Susan Sanford from ProfessorTiny said 8 years ago

    Fun pop culture through the century tour.

  • Riggio

    Kandee Riggio said 8 years ago

    Hook rugs!My mom made one for each of us.I've still got the one my mom made me in the 70's.And it still looks great

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 8 years ago

    I've enjoyed many an hour making some of these! I remember my mom and cousins making some of the others so they feel like a central part of my upbringing. I wouldn't be the same without them. I love the resurgence of some of the really neat home and camp activities. I can't wait to teach my daughter too.

  • tereskaanna

    tereskaanna said 8 years ago

    i LOVE that you linked to "put a bird on it." one of my favorite clips and glad that some others may now be able to see some of the portlandia genius. thanks for this great post. made me think of doing these different crafts at different locations and times in my life. awesome.

  • AudreyGardenLady

    Audrey from AudreyGardenLady said 8 years ago

    I've done pretty much all of these over the years/decades. I even had a Bedazzler.. Memory lane for sure!

  • DewyMorningVintage

    DewyMorningVintage from DewyMorningVintage said 8 years ago

    Anyone remember hand hooked rugs? We had two huge hooked rugs on our wall that my mom made. I made a small one of an owl. Hmmm...I wonder where it is? I loved this article, thanks for the memories!

  • AcrylicPixie

    AcrylicPixie from StitchingPixie said 8 years ago

    I can't help but remeber a Della Robbia wreath we helped our mom make in the Seventies. It was based on a styrofoam ring wrapped with green felt, then embellished with felt cutouts ( white doves, fuchsia cherries with black stems, yellow and green pears etc.). My parents don't have it anymore, which is a shame because I think it would still look nice.

  • NorthWoodworks

    Jane Anne from NorthWoodworks said 8 years ago

    I remember my mother crocheting door mats with strips of plastic bags. Great for re-using, I guess, but I was never convinced they worked very well. Wonderful trip down memory lane.

  • VintageScraps

    Meg from VintageScraps said 8 years ago

    Ah yes, what would the world be today without black velvet Elvis?

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 8 years ago

    Aww! I love this article!

  • SBuss

    Sherri from BurninLoveJewelry said 8 years ago

    All the things from the 90's with dried flowers. Whats more sad is some people have still kept them! Time to toss out those old dried flowers! Lol! Really I can see the point of each of those crafts in their day. Except paint by numbers! What a was to stifle creativity. Paint all the ones blue. And don't go out of the lines or it's ruined! Do they even sell them any more?.

  • happybdaytome

    happybdaytome from happybdaytome said 8 years ago

    Super article , Kids today need to take up some of these activities

  • BiomedDesign

    BioMed DB Design LLC from BiomedDesign said 8 years ago

    Really good to learn the history of crafting. Beautiful work.

  • JenniLeighCreations

    JenniLeighCreations from JenniLeighCreations said 8 years ago

    How about God's Eye's, yarn art, or nails on a board with painted heads to look like flowers, etc. Safety pin dolls and baskets were popular with my Grandma.

  • TheWindowArtisan

    Susan Spurr from InSpurations said 8 years ago

    E L V I S has left the velvet! My brother in law actually made a costume consisting of his drawing of Elvis (with the face cut out so he could insert his face into the framed picture. This was just a few years ago. So these arts are payed homage to still, somewhere! LOL I loved my paint by numbers. Having the picture magically appear.!!!!

  • sweetandrea126

    Andrea Johnson said 8 years ago

    My sister and I made pot holders out of those loops of had like a weaver thing and a metal hook...whats it called..? We still have some of the pot holders and use them all the time hahah! And the safety pins with beads on them.. and right now I think duck tape is a pretty big make dresses and roses and wallets.

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld said 8 years ago

    Sure it's easy to laugh off all these crafts as kitsch, but they also remind me to look at populist arts and crafts from different eras through a child's eye. If we admit it, there is something satisfying about doing a paint-by-number painting and velvet paintings can be beautiful. We should try to put aside our art degree-trained eyes for a minute and let our happy childhood memories wash over us as we look at these things.

  • VeryCarey

    Carey from VeryCarey said 8 years ago

    Very enjoyable journey back in time. I miss macrame and tie dye so much! Maybe I'll have to find some to adorn my place - again.

  • EmmieE

    Emmie from EmmieE said 8 years ago

    I'm not afraid to admit I remember all of them!

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 8 years ago

    @ Emmie--me, too!!

  • dizhasneatstuff

    deb fearon from dizhasneatstuff said 8 years ago Featured

    I think crafting is true folk art, it brought families together while they created one of a kind objects. Sometimes they were wonderful, sometimes, not so much, but your Mom kept it anyway. I was active in 4-H as a child and we had a crafting club, The Busy Bees. If you had told me I was learning about social interactions with my peers, exercising my imagination and improving my hand/eye dexterity, I may have been disappointed. I loved all those corny things we made and won lots of blue ribbons for them.

  • ErikaPriceDesigns

    Erika Price from KissableLips said 8 years ago

    A great trawl through our crafty phases! Macrame was before my time, but I remember being given those velvet paintings when I was a kid!

  • Musclesandcrafts

    Melanie from merVazi said 8 years ago

    The funny thing is, you can see elements of each of these trends in today's crafts.

  • EmpressRouge

    Sharon Coates from EmpressRouge said 8 years ago

    Loved this article! Gave me some crafty flashbacks!! I remember making 'God's eyes' as a child during the 70's with twigs and multicoloured yarn. Also safety pin jewellery and 'Friendship' pins -- we wore these on our running shoes across the laces. The more you got and swapped proved how popular you were! What about 'Bunka' also known as threadpainting? This was done with a special needle that punched the canvas.

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice said 8 years ago

    He he! Any Brits out there remember Blue Peter and making things out of loo roll tubes & sticky back plastic?!

  • yomarismillan

    Golden Hearts MILLAN from AgapeArts said 8 years ago

    great article! it was a good read! I fall in the 1990's category!!! but I do remember paint by number...but for me it was more "color by numbers"

  • bellhorse

    Lisa Abel from bellhorse said 8 years ago

    My mom had a craft shop in the 70s so I made a lot of macramé, foil art (string designs covers in foil and "antiqued"), shadow boxes, decoupage (especially on plaster domes my dad poured into molds for Mom to sell), beaded necklaces and rings crocheted onto stretchy thread, dolls made with died apple faces, polymer clay miniatures, shrink art, beading with pins and sequins on styrofoam to make ornaments, bump chenille creatures, and more. I still do collage with good ole Mod Podge (the package design is the same as it was then!) and origami, which we did as kids, along with paint by numbers and free style painting and drawing as well. We did crafts instead of computer games and played outside, where we gatherd stuff to use in our crafts. These days, in addition to doing collage, I do button jewelry and have started felting. I also still do origami and sell it in my etsy shop, Posing Paper. Thanks for the fun trip don Memory Lane!

  • StippofallTrades

    Lydia Beth ( call me Beth) Ouimet-Stipp from StippofallTrades said 8 years ago

    How about those creepy fabric yo-yo clowns and those dolls that sat on the bed with wide round skirts!

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy from worksofwhimsy said 8 years ago

    I never thought of velvet painting as a DIY craft. My family went through a candle-making phase in the 70s, and rug hooking too.

  • dschlichte01

    Deborah Taylor Schlichte from TaylorTrinkets said 8 years ago

    great article, I took a walk down memory lane. I remember I went through a phase of making dogs out of coat hangers and yarn.. My family got so tired of receiving my crafts as presents.

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami said 8 years ago

    Great article! Enjoyed it! Thank you.

  • doribischmann

    Dori Bischmann from EuthymicThreads said 8 years ago

    I have done all of these crafts listed and many more. What about string art, crochet purses with flowers on them, gum wrapper chains, candle making, rug hooking, rag braiding...... At least, I've gained many skills that can be applied to my current love: fiber art.

  • PatternsAndPlans

    PatternsAndPlans from PatternsAndPlans said 8 years ago

    Fascinating! Folk art is another interesting area to be resurrected and the Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse designs. Traditional hex signs so lovely in their exquisite geometry.

  • doribischmann

    Dori Bischmann from EuthymicThreads said 8 years ago

    Another is beaded/sequined ornaments on styrofoam balls.

  • WabiSabiBole

    WabiSabiBole from WabiSabiBole said 8 years ago

    I did candle making too, set the basement on fire once using a candle to melt the tip of a crayon to "draw" on another candle for decoration! There was also lots of embroidery, cross stitch and decoupage. Crochet too, and calligraphy. All this influenced me to do art in college, and eventually to pursue clay. There is always some kind of craft or art going on with me, most recently it's been canning. Loved this article!

  • LearnShag

    Suzanne from LearnShag said 8 years ago

    What about tissue roses! My grandmother loved them for mother's day!!! And yarn braided octopus pets!!!!!

  • LittleRobinRed

    LittleRobinRed from HedgerowHome said 8 years ago

    Fab read. Love a bit of design history and the history of crafts is equally fascinating. Did anyone mention those pin and string pictures from the 70s? They seem to be making a bit of a comeback at the mo, albeit with a modern twist. I'm rather partial to a bit of kitsch myself but I'm afraid I'll never warm to those ugly shell critters. Yikes! Happy crafting peeps : )

  • hemlockhollow

    Gloria from hemlockhollow said 8 years ago

    I did seed mosiacs, using seeds and different kinds of beans! Did a big one of Snoopy! And string and nail art. Friendship bracelets actually came first from Guatemala.

  • montanagirl

    Carmen from MontanaGirl said 8 years ago

    My intro to crafting in the 60's was when the lady across the street had me help make a "tree" out of a painted tumble weed and the plastic tabs from loaves of bread. It was every bit as tacky as you might imagine but she taught me to look at things in a new way. Upcycling Montana style.

  • JulissiaandCo

    Judy and Melissa from JulissiaAndCo said 8 years ago

    I remember my grandmother helping me in the 70s make pet rocks out of rocks my grandfather polished in his rock tumbler.... and gee, thanks, Cecilia from glassandlight, now I am _stuck _trying to remember what those gooey insects were called as I had one of those things as a kid. (I think I still have one of the molds, too! Boy I am getting old or is it because it was 30+ years ago?!)

  • JulissiaandCo

    Judy and Melissa from JulissiaAndCo said 8 years ago

    ps- love the article- and paint by numbers from the 50s and 60s are now collectible!

  • kadydesigns

    Denise Vining from kadydesigns said 8 years ago

    What a neat article!!! My favorite was the paint by number. I've always been into crafting and remember a lot of these things.I've tried soap making, scrap booking, cross stitch, knitting just to name a few. I will probably always be doing some kind of crafting. I think my mom even had one of the macrame owls!

  • VogueVixens

    VogueVixens from VogueVixens said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the memories. My grandmother was very much into "junk" crafts and would make napkin holder dolls out of javex bottles, and those crocheted toilet paper cover dolls. She would keep colourful styrofoam egg cartons for the grandchildren to hole punch "beads" and string them to make necklaces. I still have the storage containter she made out of cutting ice cream pails, decorating it with yarn and plastic flowers. We would also make figures out of sea shells or nuts, and make crayon candles.

  • VogueVixens

    VogueVixens from VogueVixens said 8 years ago

    JulissiaandCo, you are thinking of Creepy Crawlers. That reminds me of the the Halloween figure casting kits we had in the 70s...a weird green goo that hardened slightly but wasn't very durable. Remember DAS clay?

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage said 8 years ago

    What a great article!

  • highnoon66

    Jackie Nooner said 8 years ago

    This was a sweet article. Like a lot of you, I was very much into the paint by numbers kits. But what I really miss are the leather bracelets we would pound letters and numbers onto to spell our names or zodiac signs. (Yeah!) We always had them at school and sold them at craft fairs. I'm on a mission: my next flea market visit, I'm going to find the most amazing macrame item.

  • CreationsbyDJ

    Jeanette Stangland from CreationsbyDJ said 8 years ago

    Fun to go down memory lane. I still do some of it, there are a lot of memories some of these things have for those of us who have lived it and that makes our crafting more special.

  • RetrofitBecky

    Becky from RetrofitStyle said 8 years ago

    Wonderful read! As a professional artist, my guilty pleasure is collecting vintage paint by number paintings! I love them!

  • pixestreasurechest

    Michele Delp from pixestreasurechest said 8 years ago

    I hate to say...I remember all these crafts! As a child, I did a lot of paint by numbers! Many of these are still popular today, what comes around goes around!

  • finethreadz

    SharonH from FineThreadz said 8 years ago

    Goodness! The only craft I didn't do was the perler beads and the friendship bracelets. Am I showing my age or what!?! I loved paint by number sets and would do one today if I had time. And I'm currently doing tie dye today. Guess I was too busy doing macrame in the 70's.

  • TheAntiquaire

    the antiquaire from TheAntiquaire said 8 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading your chronicle of crafts from the not-too-distant past!

  • TheAntiquaire

    the antiquaire from TheAntiquaire said 8 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading your chronology of crafts from the not-too-distant past!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from KarmaCodeOne said 8 years ago

    I remember all of these fun crafts too. Living by the beach we did a lot of sand candles by dripping melting crayons into holes we dug. Also balling up little pieces of colored tissue and gluing them to form a colorful united states map comes to mind. The bicentennial was an especially crafty year for this twisting tissue squares around the bottom of a pencil dipping them into glue and fluffing!! Doodle art fans unite!!

  • GoldenSpiralDesigns

    Lola Ocian from GoldenSpiralDesigns said 8 years ago

    You covered all mine! The only one I haven't done is Macrame. Shrinky dinks are a huge favorite of mine. My mom makes the woven potholders. They're so useful! Remember the blue paper that you would put objects or shapes on and then expose it to the sun and develop it in tap water? Those were neat. Oh man, I really want to do tie die now! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • glusk

    Tara Galuska from GluskDesigns said 8 years ago

    Oh how I would just love to own a Bedazzler!

  • pinksnakejewelry

    kim rhodes-thomas from pinksnakejewelry said 8 years ago

    Great post!!! Fantastic journey into the past!!!!!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 8 years ago

    Great article! What fun!

  • GnomeLady

    Marissa Lauer said 8 years ago

    What about bead creatures from the 90's? I totally remember making lizards out of plastic beads and wire. I really want to try black velvet painting though just to see how it absorbs paint compared to canvas.

  • GnomeLady

    Marissa Lauer said 8 years ago

    What about beaded creatures from the 90's? I totally remember making lizards out of plastic beads and wire. I really want to try black velvet painting though. It would be interesting to see how it absorbs paint compared to canvas.

  • gemstonegypsy

    AnnMarie Ferguson from GypsyNoirRomantique said 8 years ago

    When I was in Kindergarten back in 1982/1983, all the "popular" little girls had "friendship pins" which they frequently would display across the straps of their sandals and Mary Janes. These were safety pins with beads slid onto the pin. My mother was sweet enough to take me to Woolworths (we didn't have Michael's and joAnn's back then,) and bought a huge package of safety pins, and pretty beads, and we sat making them together. Everyone wanted friendship pins from me, but sadly, no one seemed to want to "pin me" back :(

  • KnottyanNice

    Kelsie from KnottyandNiceHemp said 8 years ago

    Ahh...nostalgia. And I must say, GO MACRAME :D

  • styleforlife

    Emily from styleforlife said 8 years ago

    Love this......XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO EL Vintage

  • ThreadCouture

    ThreadCouture from ThreadCouture said 8 years ago

    Great article! Made interesting read for artisans like us.

  • LittleAppleNY

    Dione from LittleAppleNY said 8 years ago

    I love this post! I've introduced my kids to many of these crafts, and I speak from experience when I warn you that perler beads are quite difficult to extract from a three-year-old's nose.

  • AlissaDarville

    Alissa Darville from PeachGraphics said 8 years ago

    Informative and helpful for vintage shoppers like me. I do still remember the first macrame plant holder I saw at a friend's house back in the day-I think I still have a tick from seeing it.

  • scoutandrescue

    Dahlila S. from scoutandrescue said 8 years ago

    I lived through the heart of macrame! EVERYONE had macrame hanging planters w/ferns. It was like the early 70's requirement--shag carpet, tupperware, avocado kitchenware. You forgot hook rugs & needlepoint scenery art! :-) dahlila xo

  • scoutandrescue

    Dahlila S. from scoutandrescue said 8 years ago

    And sand candles! Another lost art.

  • Retrospectshop

    Retrospect from Retrospectshop said 8 years ago

    Another popular craft in the late 1990s was gimp. Every girl I knew had a gimp project "in progress" (they usually never finished). Everyone who was anyone had at least 1 gimp frog, lizard, etc. hanging from a key chain on her backpack. Never really knew what to do with that 2-tone square gimp rope we all made, though (too thick for a bookmark, too stiff for a bracelet, and it looked rather stupid as a key chain).

  • LeasaMarie

    Leasa from LeasaDesigns said 8 years ago

    Ahhh- such fond memories from this article - and everyone who posted a comment! Amazingly~ I think I have managed to make almost everyone of those crafts at one point of my life - and still am using my sead beads from the 70's, my kids Shrinky Dinks and candle wax left over from sand candle making is in the basement! I just wish I would have kept my paint-by-numbers, painted lake rocks and hooked rugs! Classic memories!!

  • JantasticCreations

    Jan and Jan from JantasticCreations said 8 years ago

    Love the trip down memory lane. I forgot just how many of these crafts I've done. I've never heard of gimp though. Must have been 'after' my time! There was a comment by someone stating her mother took strips of plastic bag and made them into throw rugs. There is a product called "Plarn' that is the same thing. Artisans are making their plarn into all sorts of useful products! I love seeing artists thinking out of the box!

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom said 8 years ago

    Why are Shrinky Dinks a bad crafts flashback? You can do awesome stuff with shrink film. I'm still seeing it incorporated into jewelry. I remember the safety-pin "friendship pins" too, and had one. Wow, they'd probably ban them from schoolyards now. And when I was little we had a couple of decorative rocks with wires attached to them and tiny birds attached to the tops of the wires to look like they were flying. I guess it was supposed to be a beach-fragment type scene.

  • TheStrayKitty

    Miss Kitty from TheStrayKitty said 8 years ago

    ahhh my precious, i <3ed perler beads:) cool post!

  • Angeline222

    Angelina from Angeline222 said 8 years ago

    Paint By Numbers---oh how I loved those things!....In fact, I still think that they are so much fun to paint even today!...Also, my Mom was an avid MACRAME` maker & I still have a few of her special pieces (quite lovely too).....TXs for this BLAST FROM THE PAST article....I so enjoyed it...Xo..."L"

  • angelpaws014

    Ana from angelpaws014 said 8 years ago

    Did anyone mention Fashion plates? NOt quite an art but...It fostered creativity...making alot of little girls feel like they were designing the hottest clothing for the next generation! Ah well, excellent post..thanks!

  • FilthyFae

    Manda Rave from UnlacedShopOfHeart said 8 years ago

    I loved reading through this. I don't think macrame, tie dye or friendship bracelets will ever die out, haha.

  • citizenobjects

    Shae from CitiZenoBjeCts said 8 years ago

    Yes, they still make paint-by-numbers, and yes I still do them :) What about quilling? My aunt was way into that in the 70s, another renaissance from Victorian period, which was a renaissance from making illuminated manuscripts in the 13th century. Funny how these things keep becoming popular over and over again...

  • birose

    Rose from BigIslandRoseDesigns said 8 years ago

    Great read! I've experienced all of the above plus soda cans used to come hooked to plastic that we cut apart and then crocheted over to make all kinds of things. Back in the 50's there were round circles of paper kinda like tissue paper but different that were smocked together to create skirts for bed dolls. Love that tie dye dress in the article!

  • AlwaysAMemory

    Kitty Phillips from AlwaysAMemory said 8 years ago

    I remember my Grandma's (beaded with wire branches) "Ming Trees" firmly set in a foundation of plaster of paris and usually the base was a recycled Avon glass jar. Oh, the memories! Thanks for the stroll down Memory Lane!

  • NannyMadeandfound

    Melinda from sixtybeansVntg said 8 years ago

    I did dough art in the 80's. Sold lots of Christmas ornatments at craft shows, and gave them to my kids teachers at Christmas. I run into them off and on and they tell me the still put them out as favorites! I did macramae and tole painting,.... oh the memories

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 8 years ago

    Oh dear, I love these things. The paint by numbers, and velvet paintings are both great. So cool. And tie dye, is perfect to. I love it, and they are still in style as well.

  • Attractive1

    Elena Fom from Attractive1 said 8 years ago

    Great item! Thank You!

  • demonkitty101

    Sally Kelland from demonkitty101 said 8 years ago

    Hey,don't laugh,we all did it!! Those black velvet pictures of Far Eastern women are worth 10's of thousands now(saw one on Antiques roadshow,was gobsmacked!!).I am 50 so have lived through all of these (and done them all,having been crafty since the day I was born!!).I still like making things from bake at home modelling clay (fimo type stuff)-I have made some amazing chilli "Ristras" that never disintegrate.My 13yo daughter is mad for friendship bracelets

  • onegiftoneworld

    Stephanie Birch from onegiftoneworld said 8 years ago

    The macrame plant holder now thats brings back memories, of endless summer days and macrame moods.

  • FrediKnits

    FrediKnits from FrediKnits said 8 years ago

    Who remembers pebble art from the late 50's early 60's?

  • PartyPrintz

    Ms. S from PartyPrintz said 8 years ago

    Anyone remember Friendly Plastic? Back in the 90's I made earrings & pins out of this material. I used the hot water method where you’d heat the water in an electric skillet then you’d dunk the plastic in the water. This would make the plastic pliable & then you’d twist & shape it. The pins were porcelain faces decorated with the Friendly Plastic that had a very Mardi-Gras feel to them. These were truly one-of-a-kind since you’d NEVER be able to shape the plastic the same way twice! Friendly Plastic got me started in creating for $$. For the first time ever people were paying me for the stuff I was making :-)

  • CandyAppleCrafts

    CandyAppleCrafts from CandyAppleCrafts said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful article! Even though many of these are supposed to be kitschy now, I've found some magnificent examples of each of the crafts mentioned. Sometimes you find a hobbyist who perhaps never believed in his or her true talent. Oh, and you forgot a big one--string art! My Dad was apparently the pro in his family. He made several string art clipper ships and such to give as gifts during the 80s. I think I found his patterns in a shoe box a little while ago, nestled in with his experiments with now and later wrapper weaving and bottle cap macrame. :)

  • GlassByKat

    Kat Welch from GlassByKat said 8 years ago

    My mother still uses the Latch Hook Christmas tree skirt I made so many years ago, and I remember a macrame owl hanging in the den that my sister had made. Such fun times!

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio said 8 years ago

    it's so BAD its GOOD... pulling out my Gods eyes and string art now!

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio said 8 years ago

    Going back over the posts here. So many great memories. We had a neighbor that was the resident craft lady, Mother of 4... She would work with all of the kids on the block as we folded Readers Digest magazines to make angels with a styrofoam heads. We made little dioramas in eggs that we blew the yolk out of and carefully cut with tiny scissors, we added colored wax inside and velvet and trims on the outside and a little figurine and some millinery flowers inside. We colored Queen Annes Lace flowers by placing them in a paper bag with powdered tempra paints... shaking them and then taking them out to place in a vase, tole painted, did string art and made Christmas ornaments by carefully adding pearls and sequins to pins and gluing them in place on Satin covered styrofoam ornaments... Can you imagine teaching 3 year olds to 10 year olds to do this, that woman had the patience of a Saint.. and I am thankful for the experiences. She is still alive and I should thank her for fostering my creativity! Thanks for the memories! @bellhorse too.

  • my2handsstudio

    Donna from my2handsstudio said 8 years ago

    Bases on the number of posts, this article evoked many memories! I loved them all, especially paint by number because that was "serious" art :)

  • lunahoo

    lunahoo from lunahoo said 8 years ago

    Beautiful article!! I remember all of these crafts and i love all :)

  • vegasblingrocks

    Judy Murphy from vegasblingrocks said 8 years ago

    I did it all back in the day except SAFETY PINS JEWELRY! ..... never heard of it as a child. I only recently started creating SP necklaces and actually thought I had come up with something original. How embarrassing, boy, do I feel dumb! Oh well, I'm loving it too much to quit.

  • maryklump

    Mary Klump from maryklump said 8 years ago

    loved all the memories as comments.... maybe you can add to your article...All us crafters really tried these ... or do't forget the dip flowers that we use to make.

  • sewkin

    Connie Classen from SewKin said 8 years ago

    Great article. My 27 year old daughter and her roomate have taken home the Bedazzler and the perler beads from my basement to use in their Apartment decorating. The Perler beads was also to make coasters of 'packman' for the roomates boyfriends birthday gift. The Bedazzler need I say anything more what a great thing. All good things keep coming back!

  • DGEnterprises

    Therese Magnani from DGEnterprises said 8 years ago

    Nice blast from the past! I did a few of those crafts.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 8 years ago

    What about pet rocks? I always thought they were a bit of a fad too, great post!

  • RedMarionette

    Kelli from RedMarionette said 8 years ago

    I remember a few of these fads! I know someone who still loves to bedazzle! Whew! :)

  • Overdue

    Kiova Staley from joyridevintage said 8 years ago

    I wonder how the hippies feel about saving the Rit Dye company with their tie- dye creations...corporations and counter culture collide to produce beautiful, chemical soaked creations.

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 8 years ago

    This is a great article! I actually remember doing some of these things! And my mom had an macrame owl on a wood paneled wall! Crazy....

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas said 8 years ago

    great about flash backs...

  • HeatherLucille

    Heather Atkinson from HeatherLucille said 8 years ago

    My tie dye experiments NEVER looked that good. That dress is a real showpiece!

  • auntsuesoldnewlovely

    auntsuesoldnewlovely from AuntSuesVintage said 8 years ago

    Oh I remember my mother and my neighbor lady going to Home Bureau meetings back in the 60's. They made lampshades with pinholed designs and many many other things. The neighbors daughter and I were both hippies (well you didn't have to be a hippie to do just added an extra perspective ;0) LOL) and we could be caught doing craft projects at any given time. We both were artsy and we did quilling, beading,quilting,painting,tie dying, wood burning,wood carving you name it we probably did it.

  • BeadLyss

    Alyssa from BeadLyss said 8 years ago Featured

    I love taking my kids to the arts and crafts store and introducing them to paint by number, friendship bracelets and all the other craft fads out there. To them, its a brand new concept and it makes me feel like I'm giving them a small piece of my own childhood memories.

  • CityMink

    Noel from MinkCouture said 8 years ago

    Shrinky Dinks are back in a big way now, Michael's had 7 different kinds of Shrinky Dink Paper to choose from and their Modge Podge aisle is *totally* insane now! I counted 10 different kinds of Modge Podge and they have "application kits....I just used a crappy paintbrush.

  • knitsbycaitlin

    Caitlin Edge from knitsbycaitlin said 8 years ago

    Wait, aren't bedazzlers popular today too? (Ed hardy, sigh...) on another ore paint by numbers is awesome!!

  • ParisCabinet

    JD Kohler from ParisCabinet said 8 years ago

    Wow, this was a trip down nostalgia lane! I have a cute little Perler bead bunny done by a niece and didn't know that's what it's called. And! I know someone in my neighborhood with a big painting of Elvis on velvet in her bedroom. :)

  • DeerfieldCottage

    Carol Henry said 8 years ago

    Decopage wooden purses. How clunky were they?

  • BlumeAndJensen

    Tina Jensen from BlumeAndJensen said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the memories. Here in Denmark I did some of the same crafts as described in the post and a few more. As a kid I remember making plates of candlewax by dripping wax from a burning candle in to a bowl filled with water. I made "primitive" clothes for my Barbie while my mother knitted and sewed for her. I still have the patterns she used. In the 90s I took up dried flowers as a hobby. They were quite modern (I think) and I dried some of the flowers myself. I also made wreaths with spices wrapped in little bundles of cling film. How could I do that? Horrible but very popular to have in kitchens. I wonder what hobbies of today we will be laughing at 20 years from now? Anyway.. I love to try things and that's what's it all about. Get the creativity flowing!

  • BlissfullyRandom

    BlissfullyRandom from BlissfullyRandom said 8 years ago

    Great article! Great comments! Fond memories!!

  • jillverbick

    Jill O'Leary from fiberluscious said 8 years ago

    How about those plastic flowers you made by dipping wire into this brightly colored toxic gel paint? How many crafters gave their lives to art?! My first business was making owls out of jute with macreme. Oh the many blisters from hours of knotting. All for $5 a pop! Oh one more fad, little mosaic coasters in those little tin trays. sad to say, I lived through all of those fads and loved them all!

  • xZOUix

    Zoui from XZOUIX said 8 years ago

    brutal research :D thanks for putting the history of "free time crafting" together and sharing with us ;)

  • whateverworks

    Andrea Nichole Still from WhateverWorks said 8 years ago

    I love kitchy culture! Thrift stores are filled with those brightly colored pamphlets of then-trendy crafts. I should know, sometimes I buy them! My favorite is probably the crocheted beer-can hats and flowerpots. My daughter loves plastic mesh needlepoint. How many skilled artisans groaned at the thought of their lovely bargello embroidery designs worked in plastic mesh and acrylic?

  • AutumnDamiana

    Autumn Damiana from AutumnDamiana said 8 years ago

    OMG, Friendly Plastic! I had forgotten all about that stuff! I'm also a little surprised that scrapbooking didn't make the list... it's been such a big deal since the end of the 90's.

  • ShirleyArt

    Debbie Shirley from ShirleyArt said 8 years ago

    Awesome article! I did almost all the crafts mentioned, and the ones in the comments, too. Great stroll down memory lane - I hadn't thought about a lot of that stuff in years! Thanks!

  • stevenminchin

    Steven Minchin from StevenMinchin said 8 years ago

    Great article, entertaining and intriquing (could something like paint by numbers really have influenced the approach to high art?) It also made me remember friendship pins decorated w beads....that i made as a kid.

  • ammcginty22

    ammcginty22 from AnnaCraftedWithHeart said 8 years ago

    I can top all of that I got a macrame Hanging Table and Hanging Lamp as a Wedding gift (no sheets or towels though). Some of my fondest memories are of crafting with my mom. We did just about everything, but one that stands out the most were trash cans that she made out of old Ice Cream tubs from a local shoppe and she would put rolled up magazines on the outside. I saw something like it in a retail store recently. Thanks for bringing back good memories.

  • wheatleypaperworks

    M Wheatley from wheatleypaperworks said 8 years ago

    Does anyone remember long hours carving and moulding FIMO? I made hundreds of objects from this bright bakeable modeling compound. In fact some of my first ever sales were hairclips made from FIMO that I sold from my Mom's craft table at the fair. I believe I sold them for $4.50 each with maybe 30 sales. A tidy bundle for a twelve year old. (Minus the materials loan from my Mom) Thanks Chappell for the tour through craftland.

  • Aurelas

    Christie Bradley from Aurelas said 8 years ago

    I have done so many of these! I had so many favorites as a kid (late 80s, 90s): making our own Barbie houses and furniture out of cardboard and various items like spools, decorating t-shirts with that dreadful puffy paint (why oh why did we love that stuff?) and appliques outlined with glitter paint, making napkin rings out of paper towel rolls...I could go on forever. And oh my goodness did I ever make woven potholders! lol I am 28 now and still using the potholders I made at about age 12 and was unable to sell. They keep surprisingly well in storage! Perler beads and tie-dye are the ones listed here that I am most interested in playing around with now. My husband and I tie-dyed a bunch of onesies for our baby and it was way too much fun! To me, tie-dye will never go out of style. Puffy glitter paint is another story lol

  • 1022SeaShellAve

    Kim Bauer from 1022SeaShellAve said 8 years ago

    Oh the memories! its been so fun reading all the comments here!

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 8 years ago

    Love this article!

  • SparxsDesigns

    Peggy Eldridge from SparxsDesigns said 8 years ago

    Loved this article, brought back memories. I have been crafting all my life began with ceramic painting, then gluing on straw hats, then painting shirts, tole painting, now I do jewelry and BOHO creations. Thanks for the memories.

  • moonula

    moonula from MoonulaVintage said 8 years ago

    This is the stuff that inspires my shop! I love finding things made by people during those craft crazes. I've got a couple of those Make-it and Bake-it frames from the 70s/80s listed right now----and that is a craft craze that is still around. We used to make "polish stars" for Christmas in the 70s. It was a spiky star made of pieces of paper that were shaped around the end of a pencil and glued to a styrofoam ball. I think people still make those too.

  • AxisMundiDesigns

    Axis Mundi from AxisMundiShop said 8 years ago

    I remember painting "pet rocks." Seems like today's crafts are much more polished. We have access to so many tools through specialized crafts stores and the internet (electric kilns, die cut machines, endless Martha Stewart gadgets)

  • scal12

    Payson A from SecondStarDesignCo said 8 years ago

    This is so cool! I definitely remember making some of those myself-- especially the friendship bracelets and the perler beads, those were so fun! And of course, tie-dye is one craft trend that I will always love. Thanks for sharing this fun post!

  • WillowandQuinn

    Kate from WillowandQuinn said 8 years ago

    Creating pictures with dried beans of all colors and shapes and string ~ remember that?

  • bodygroommulan

    bodygroom Mulan said 8 years ago

    The site is very useful crafts. Thank you.

  • cadreams

    one of a kind wearable art from cadreams said 8 years ago

    Fun article! Kindof related: Made me think back to Southern California in the early 60s (I was in grade school) when the high school girls who were ‘going steady’ would take baby pink mohair and wrap their boyfriend’s class rings, so it would fit their fingers. I was soooo envious –on the underside rings that looked like cotton candy!!! (or using dental floss and then painting them with pink nail polish).

  • Baloolah

    Claire Ong from BaloolahBunting said 8 years ago

    No one mentioned the nail art, my mum spent hours tapping nails onto velvet covered wood, then twisting lurex yarn around them to form Spirograph type thread art!

  • Hinasayani

    Hina Sayani from PeacockExpressions said 8 years ago

    Great article .. Thankyou.. It is so interesting to see how time flies but leaves precious crafty trends to carry on forward and generate new crafts out of them..

  • contrariety

    Amy King-Painter from contrariety said 8 years ago

    Love the trip down memory lane. My mother was into crafts, so I remember all of these passing through our house at one time. Also love the comments. Latch hook! I wonder where that unicorn went that I spent hours one summer making. I was so proud.

  • susanlloyd

    Susan Lloyd from susanlloyd said 8 years ago

    Great article and fascinating comments! I remember pushing beads and sequins into fake fruit.

  • Bonnie1025

    Bonnie from Bonnie1025 said 8 years ago

    My mom made hats and my dad taught himself to be a taxidermist. My mom sewed everything that we wore and in 7th grade I made a tan blouse with raglan sleeves and a straight skirt, which I was very proud of. My mom put in the zipper on the skirt and I finished everything myself. I have been making Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for over 35 years and continue to sew and do many crafts that I sell here on ETSY. I love this venue for selling!

  • Zaheroux

    Megan Weber from Zaheroux said 8 years ago

    This was a fantastic article! Such a fun read! I've painted on velvet before, it was fun but challenging. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • MullaneInk

    Molly Shannon from MullaneInk said 8 years ago

    so many fun memories came to mind as I read this article. Thank you!

  • TheEverlastingPosy

    TheEverlastingPosy from TheEverlastingPosy said 8 years ago

    Fun to see these again!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 8 years ago


  • myMountainStudio

    Nikki Weiss from myMountainStudio said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the glimpse back in time, it was fun! :) I've done a lot of those and more. One of my most fun preteen crafting memories was staying up all night 'til 6:30 in the morning with a friend making large pom-pom snakes from yarn with those google eyes. LOL!! We had a lot of fun!! :)

  • elizasteindesigns

    Eliza Stein from elizasteindesigns said 8 years ago

    I remember begging my parents for most of those 80s-90s things, especially the Bedazzler! But there were enough bean collages, macaroni necklaces, and popsicle stick houses to distract me for a few minutes. Oh, and lanyards!

  • lovelyfeverboutique

    Jessica from LovelyFever said 8 years ago Featured

    What a fascinating and well-researched article. The story of how tie dye came to be was quite surprising. I had no idea that the driving force behind it was a company trying to revitalize their product. And the macrame-- growing up, we had one of those macrame owls (they were a duo sitting on a branch) and a macrame plant holder as they were made by my Mom. In fact, they are still there :) I used to make and wear friendship bracelets when I was a kid, so its fun to see those included here too. This article made me want to learn more about other crafts of the decades.

  • InMaterial

    Peggy McCallum from InMaterial said 8 years ago

    What a fun story. As a baby boomer, I remember fondly the paint-by-number kits, tie dye, macrame (one of my favorites) and making hanging plant holders, and then there was embroidery. We embroidered everything in the late 60s. My favorite was the bell bottom jeans I embroidered with flowers up the leg. I wish I had kept some of the things I made. With no computers, video games, cell phones, only 5 tv channels and one tv in the home we spent so much time creating and learned so many different skills.

  • secondarycreations

    Trudy Shaw from secondarycreations said 8 years ago

    Glad to see this is still going. As I read all of these, I realize that my belief that I started crafting just a few years ago is ridiculous. We just didn't call it that. I don't know that we called it anything. We didn't have craft fairs, but I remember trying to sell my hand-drawn paper dolls around the neighborhood when I was about 8 (I don't remember selling any of them - Ha!). I think my mother actually wore some of the earrings I made out of small, pretty rocks I found. Had a hand-me-down tiny (but completely metal) sewing machine that I made doll clothes on. Did the looped potholders and blown-egg art. Something else I remember - but don't know if it was a "fad" - was a kind of mosaic equivalent of paint by numbers. Numbers told you what colors of the provided little plastic mosaic tiles to glue where. The kit even had grout that you applied at the end. Painted rocks and made macaroni art and woven mats with Girl Scouts. Made Christmas ornaments with Styrofoam and beads at school, as well as wreaths made by tying strips of plastic bags around a bent hanger. I don't know if it qualified as "crafting", but we had some pretty elaborate neighborhood projects, with about 10 kids of all different ages involved (no adults). We won prizes for our entries in our town's annual back-to-school parade. The epitome was a DIY garage production of "The Sound of Music" where we made all our own scenery. By the time i got to high school, my crafting (or whatever it was) died out. I think part of the problem was the developing feeling that what I made had to be recognized as "high quality" by other people. I also started writing, which became my main creative outlet.

  • secondarycreations

    Trudy Shaw from secondarycreations said 8 years ago

    I don't write many blog comments and didn't realize paragraphing doesn't work here. Sorry for the run-on post.

  • pezzazz

    pezzazz from pezzazz said 8 years ago

    I still remember my first "craft". My mom taught me how to fold a piece of paper into a "fortune teller". I've been DIY ever since. And I still make friendship bracelets <3

  • jadedgoats

    Judy Wright from JudithGayleDesigns said 8 years ago

    Fun article...LOL images! Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

  • jensdreamvintage

    Jen from jensdreamvintage said 8 years ago

    is it sad that I lived through all of these decades and did all of these crafts?? nope I don't think so....still love crafting!!

  • kristinasmiley

    Kristina Smiley from CreativeEndeavorsKS said 8 years ago

    I remember in high school during the late 1980's creating 'friendship pins' for my classmates. These were simply different sizes of safety pins with small czech beads put on them in different patterns. We would pin them to our jackets, backpacks, vests, hats, purses, etc.

  • myOlivette

    Angela Montgomery from WitandPepper said 8 years ago

    Friendly Plastic! metallic foil or plain colored strips of plastic. I made so many mismatched pairs of earrings but I swore I was going to sell them. I guess that was the beginning of my jewelry outlet.

  • Pixelation

    Pixelation from Pixelation said 8 years ago

    In the late 90's I "graduated" from tame friendship bracelets to the very sophisticated hemp necklaces. My mom teased me for the macrame-ness of them.

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique from RetroRevivalBoutique said 8 years ago

    I've done my share of paint by numbers, and I love 'em! :)

  • windycitynovelties

    Windy City Novelties said 8 years ago

    I will admit, I have fallen in love with most of those fads at some point and for some of them, I still have a love for them! Great share and bringing back the old times.

  • anjimarth

    paper anji from paperanji said 8 years ago

    hooray for macrame! and thanks for using my littler mexican love dog! xox

  • kikiparis

    Dominique Adeli from KidzCreationz said 8 years ago

    thats awesome all of this stuff is so beautiful

  • SeventhCloudStudio

    Courtney D. Williams from SeventhCloudStudio said 8 years ago

    Haha! Thanks for the awesome trip down memory lane...Paint by number and friendship bracelets were among my favorite crafts growing up, but add to that popsicle stick art, decorating white bags, and stickering the heck out of pint containers (yes, I grew up in the back room of my parents' ice cream shop!)

  • wwcsilverjewelry

    Lynda from Pintody said 8 years ago

    This story takes me back to my child hood. My Mom used to make those macrame plant holders. We had lot's of them. The black velvet paintings were the first things I tried to sell when I was 6 years old. An entire story in it's self.

  • EmSewCrazy

    Emily from EmSewCrazy said 8 years ago

    My brother's college mates were busy making friendship bracelets this year! Funny!

  • ElainaLouiseStudios

    Lisa Steiner from ElainaLouiseStudios said 8 years ago

    Love these! I remember doing so many of them.

  • lizhutnick

    Liz Hutnick from LizHutnick said 8 years ago

    Great article! Great crafts! My all time favorite is the most basic...Hand Art. You can draw more than just turkeys tracing the shapes your hand can make! Plus you can glue things like pom poms and googly eyes onto finished drawings to take your art to another level. :)

  • JessicaSherriff

    Jessica Sherriff from JessicaSherriff said 8 years ago

    What a great blog!!! Memories for me, although not sticktly by time these have been round a few times.... Painting by numbers, tie dye of some sort, made a Macramé pot holder at school, loved making Friendship Bracelets and think this was my first step into selling jewellery..... used to make loads them sell them to fellow school kids as they came off the bus in the morning before we went into school..... think I was about 11!! lol

  • iheartthehandmade

    stephanie from iheartthehandmade said 8 years ago

    i loved crochetting, making yarn hook rugs, embroidering, string art, and paint by number those things are always nostaligic for me i love to see them all on etsy for a taste of things to remember

  • Jampotbooks

    Janet Martin said 8 years ago

    Ahhhh!! Macramé, I remember it well, when my kids were little and EVERYONE received a proudly crafted pot plant holder from me. Sigh, thems were the days :)

  • bluegirl266

    Megan said 8 years ago

    Does anyone remember boondoggle keychains, like on Napoleon Dynamite? Those things were huge when I was in elementary school. Some girls even had their own Boondoggle buisinesses going and accepted custom commissions. Great article, I'd love to read more about craft trends.

  • BethiefliesToo

    Bethie from BethieFliesToo said 8 years ago

    Making candles in milk cartons with my Grandmother in the 70's... and a kiddie pottery wheel. Pet rocks and painting roller skates.

  • paisleybeading

    LuAnn Poli from PaisleyBeading said 8 years ago

    Thanks for this walk down memory lane! I've been crafting all my life, and was tickled to see so many of the crafting trends that I grew up with.

  • Pennyjanedesigns

    Penny Dixon from Pennyjanedesigns said 8 years ago

    I've tried a fair few of these over the years! I was a bit young for macrame though but I've always fancied a go at it - along with rag rug making - maybe with a 21st century twist?! Thanks for the article!

  • GardenofYve

    Danielle Yve from GardenofYve said 8 years ago

    This brings back lots of fond memories!!! Great insights!

  • JuJuEyeball

    Karyn & Chelsea from JuJuEyeball said 8 years ago

    I see no bad on this list. :)

  • billtresa

    Theresa from FlounceNecklaces said 8 years ago

    Oh wow these were hilarious!!! Love this post!

  • EnterpriseAmericana

    Enterprise Americana from EnterpriseAmericana said 8 years ago

    I wish I had the time for the paint by numbers. I was given a couple of kits when I was 10-12 (circa 1982) by my Uncle Howard who was in his 70's at that point and he said he used to do them when he was a kid. I never did finish them. My wife bought a small woodpecker painting which I'm convinced is a well done paint by numbers.

  • TheWayUmakeMeFeel

    Michele DeLintt-Greff from TheWayUmakeMeFeel said 8 years ago

    AMAZING ARTICLE! I remember my Mom doing a lot of crafting and we often crafted together and still do when we have a chance to visit each other. We live on opposite sides of the Country! Thank you for the walk down memory lane :0)

  • fizzscott

    fizz from Mollymoojewels said 8 years ago

    Fascinating article, made me smile and brought back so many childhood memories :)

  • sarahspeight

    Sarah Kathryn Speight from SarahsRose said 8 years ago

    Absolutely love this!!!! Love being reminded of them! I must confess, I do still love tiedye!! But where are the knitted ladies toilet roll holder?? My gran had a couple of them next to her lavender scented toiletries in her bathroom, v. Nostalgic. :)

  • muddywaterscc

    Diane Waters from muddywaterscc said 8 years ago

    A walk down memory lane. I've played around with most of these crafts at some point or other. This article really brings me back. Of course you can't include every single thing in an article like this, but how about the crocheted granny square vests?

  • MiriamHeddy

    Miriam Heddy said 8 years ago

    Lack of skill defines whether the medium gets a reputation for tackiness. The easier something looks--and the more everyone's encouraged to try it--the more diverse and hideous creations appear in the world, all of them looking like the beloved mess our children made (though, as made by adults, they're far less loveable.) At the moment, the glue gun seems to be the weapon of choice in terms of unnecessary adornment and attachment, bringing objects together that, in a sane world, would remain solitary (and more beautiful).

  • denimndaisydesigns

    denimndaisydesigns from denimndaisydesigns said 8 years ago

    Great article, but you didn't mention the shell creatures in the first photo! They're kind of like pet rocks, but with shells. I did an estate clean out for a family whose Aunt Betty had passed and she had a lot of these! I had never seen them before! She did the same thing with rocks. She glazed them, glued on googley eyes and bent beadcaps for legs. They're the cutest thing! I sold most of the stuff from that clean up, but I kept those lol. She also had a religious rice art picture of Jesus on the cross which kind of freaked me out a little lol. I didn't keep that one ;-)

  • FireIslandSoap

    Billy Bubbles from FireIslandSoap said 8 years ago

    MEMORIES GALORE! I wonder what our kids will say about our fads today - what ARE some of our fads anyway?

  • JuliePriv

    JuliePriv said 8 years ago

    Maybe "god's eyes" fall into the category of macramé? And then, a decade later, dream catchers.

  • LoveButtons

    Julia K Walton from FireHorseVintageHQ said 8 years ago

    Brought back some memories ... we also used to make a sort of corn dolly using paper straws .. haven't seen those about for many years.

  • ntjoy333

    Sordar Joy said 7 years ago

    Cute bench! Nice tiling job! ming green marble Tile

  • ntjoy333

    Sordar Joy said 7 years ago

    Thanks for the share. Great stuff, just nice! ming green marble Tile

  • EarthStokeNFire

    Ti Phillips from EarthStokeNFire said 5 years ago

    Oh my, I came across this blog and had to add to it. As an artist of over 40 years, I have an artist and pottery retreat where many of these crafty things still exist! I still have a very large macrame Tiki that I did when I was 17 years old. It is 8' in length and holds a light at the top and plant at the bottom. I took that same design and miniaturized it to 2' for a woman my mother worked for as a retirement gift. She loved it. I often wonder if it still exists. But something that wasn't mentioned in the comments or the article above was fake fur. When I was 14, I began using it to make toilet paper cover barbie dolls, complete with breasted covering and elaborate fur hats. In 1974, I sold them for $20 a piece and made quite a bit of money from them. Boy did I use a lot of hairspray back then to keep that fur in place. Unfortunately, hairspray turned out to be detrimental to the environment and fake fir became too expensive when the little shop I purchased it from quit selling it in scrap bags. But I sure loved making those dolls. And I really enjoyed reading the article and comments on all of the retro crafts we used to do.

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