Thinking outside the box: Unusual DIY crafts to try in your spare time

Oct 23, 2019
DIY crafts are definitely the best way to spend your spare time! Source: Pexels.

Whether it’s knitting, card-making or scrapbooking, crafting is one of the best ways to spend your free time. Not only does it help calm you down and keep your productivity levels high, but it’s also a chance to share your handmade pieces with your family and friends as a thoughtful and inexpensive gift.

If you’re stuck on what to make next, these super unique homemade crafts were suggested to us by Starts at 60 readers and members of the Starts at 60 Crafters Club. Join the club to get even more crafty DIY ideas!

Rock painting

painted rocks
Source: Facebook/Narelle Hulme.

Narelle Hulme started this hobby a few years ago when she found a painted rock on her travels in Western Australia. She said the kids love to get involved in the process and it can become a fun activity for the whole family.

“The idea is to paint them and then hide for others to find, keep or re-hide. These rocks can travel the world and put a smile on so many faces,” she explained.

Unpolished rocks found in creeks or beaches are the best to use. Wash and prep each rock with a base coat of acrylic paint before going in on the detail. Narelle suggests using acrylic paint, permanent markers or paint pens to get the best effect and then setting them with a gloss spray sealer to make sure the patterns stay on.

Shopping bags

shopping bag
Source: Facebook/Debra Trayler

With no more plastic bags in shopping centres, Debra Trayler decided to make her own! She finally found the simplest pattern and said these string bags have been absolutely perfect.

“Nobody ever has a supermarket bag for those spontaneous ‘just popping in for milk and something for dinner’ shops. It’s a quick and handy knit, squishes into a tiny space in your handbag and holds heaps!” she said.

Debra has loved knitting all of her life and volunteers as a tutor at her local U3A (University of the Third Age), teaching a Knitting for Adult Beginners course. She said she had seen people overcomplicate knitting for years and wanted to teach a much simpler form.

“I wanted to inspire people, demystify the abbreviations, show how relaxing and soothing knitting is, but also offer a usable outcome where the owner is happy to respond to compliments, saying with pride: ‘Oh thank you, I made that’,” she added.

Debra’s Pattern:

“Row 1: *yo twice, k2tog; rep from*
“Row 2: – slip the first loop off the needle and knit into the second. Repeat to end of row.

“That’s it. Repeat these two rounds to your desired length then start decreasing – *k2tog* ; rep to end of row. Continue until eight stitches remain. Leaving a long tail, break the yarn, and run through the remaining stitches, drawing up tightly and knotting securely. Weave in ends.

“There are many ways of making cords but in this instance I took the easy way … Using double-pointed needles, cast on three stitches. Knit them, turn, knit them, turn, knit them, turn etc. until your desired length. Cast off, thread through and tie ends.”


Source: Facebook/Debra Williams.

There’s nothing better than making a sweet gift for your grandkids and Debra Williams has definitely mastered this with her amazing handmade puppets! She’s been crafting the pieces since 1991 and as a children’s author, Debra said that many of her ideas come from bringing storybook characters to life for children.

Recently, Debra has started recycling pre-loved plush toys into brand new puppets. With a few tweaks here and there, these used toys now have a new lease on life! She explained: “That came about from my current husband who brought home toys from local second-hand shops. They were going to be discarded, so I decided to make them into new creations.”

Woodwork and painting

tool box and crib
Source: Facebook/Annette Blair.

Annette Blair and her husband team together to make their grandkids the most memorable of presents. Annette’s husband uses recycled timber he has lying around from previous building projects to make cribs for the children’s toys and boxes to carry their belongings in.

Annette then decorates the pieces using books and papers she find in op shops. Not only is this an incredibly cheap way to fix something up for the grandkids, but it’s a great way to get rid of any left over items you wouldn’t be able to use on anything else.

Sue's sassy!

She became a member of Starts at 60 and got access to amazing travel deals, free masterclasses, exclusive news and features and hot member discounts!

And she entered to win a $10K trip for four people to Norfolk Island in 2021. Join now, it’s free to become a member. Members get more.


What are your favourite crafts? Is there something in particular you want to learn to make?

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