At the time I’m publishing this post, we’re in a pandemic, which is finding many of us unemployed and spending more time at home. While there’s no better time to start a new hobby, they can be expensive and add up quickly. I’ve rounded up five crafting hobbies with low startup costs that you can pick up today.
I include a total approximate startup cost for each of these, based on material costs as of the publishing of this post and assumptions about what you may already have versus what you’d need to buy specifically for the hobby. For instance, you probably already have a pencil or scissors, but you might not have a felt-tip pen or cardstock. Let’s get into it!
This first one is one of the most affordable because you likely have all the supplies on-hand already! As I touched on in a previous post, hand-lettering is the art of drawing letters. To do hand-lettering, like in my example above, all you need are:
- paper – any kind will work, even regular copy paper or scratch paper
- a pencil
- an eraser
- a ruler or a straight edge
- a felt-tip pen for going back over your pencil sketches – I like Micron pens
You can obviously enhance your lettering with other materials, like colored pencils or markers, but to get started, literally all you need are paper and pencil! There are tons of free resources available online to help get you started or inspired.
Total approximate cost: $3-5
2. Brush pen calligraphy
It should come as no surprise that this is on the list! I do want to mention, though, that while I focus on modern calligraphy on this blog, you can do either traditional or modern calligraphy with a brush pen. You will need some more specialized supplies, though, which I’ve posted about in-depth here and here. As a quick refresher, you will need:
- a brush pen (obviously ;))
- smooth paper
Check out the posts I linked above for specific pens and papers. The paper is going to be the more expensive item, so if you’re in a pinch, you can use any paper you have already, just know that it will ruin your brush pen more quickly.
Total approximate cost: $15
This is the most expensive of the five, but I wanted to include it anyway since I think this is the most affordable and beginner-friendly sewing hobby to start with. You will need:
- Embroidery floss
- Embroidery hoops
- Something to embroider. To practice, you can use fabric scraps or an old t-shirt. If you don’t have either of those, pick up some cocktail napkins as a starting point!
I included links to specific supplies because not all sewing tools are alike. You’ll want to use embroidery-specific needles and floss. I linked to the exact products I have, which I purchased on Amazon last year, but feel free to google the products or attributes and purchase somewhere small or local. (That’s something I’ve been making more of an effort to do recently.)
Total approximate cost: $25
4. Bullet journaling
You may already have all of the supplies for this one as well – there’s a good chance it will cost nothing for you to start. If you don’t know, bullet journaling (affectionately shortened to ‘bujo’) is a minimal and simplistic method of planning, journaling, and keeping track of your life. You start with a blank journal and run with it! This has become a popular method of planning, partly because it is literally entirely customized by you. There are some beautiful and functional bullet journal pages, formats, and layouts out there to use as inspiration. All you need to get started are:
- a notebook
- a pen
- a ruler or a straight edge
Easy, right? What’s great about bujo is that while the startup costs and requirements are low, they generally remain on the low side compared to other hobbies. If you enjoy bullet journaling, you can invest in higher-quality journals and more pens … and that’s pretty much it! If you want to get really fancy, you could incorporate washi tape, stamps, and stickers, but the beauty of bujo is that it’s completely flexible depending on what your personal planning needs and aesthetic are.
Total approximate cost: $0-3 (if you grab a new notebook or a fresh pen)
I feel like quilling is one of those art forms that have been around forever and is recently making a comeback! Quilling involves using strips of paper to create artwork, so it’s really simple and affordable to start. Once again, you likely have some of these supplies at home already. All you need are:
- a pack of colorful cardstock
- fine-pointed glue (like this), or in a pinch, you can use a toothpick to apply a liquid or gel glue
To create the curves and swirls that hallmark quilling, you bend and manipulate the paper to naturally re-shape it. There are tools specifically designed for this, but you can use your fingers, and some quilling artists prefer that method.
Total approximate cost: $10
As we spend more time at home and possibly with fewer financial resources than anticipated, I hope you found some inspiration and motivation to start up a new crafting hobby that is feasible to do on a budget!