Just call it New Craft City. These days, the town seems draped in yarn, pom-poms, ribbon, and felt; everyone is getting in on the crafty action. But except for the time we hot-glued acorns to a paper plate in a really sad attempt at an autumn wreath—and then watched dozens of maggots crawl out of our "creation"—my family and I have not participated in the craft craze. However, that ends today. I want to make a macramé wall hanging! I want to bond with my kids over pipe cleaners and Mason jars! I want to make a door wreath that doesn't start decomposing before we've finished it!
I solicited the help of my friend—and crafting diva—Dari Litchman, owner of the Craft Salon in Brooklyn and the artist behind Dot + Loop Ceramics, for some NYC craft-spiration. Pick one or two of the craftivities below and spend this cold weekend getting cozy and crafty.
Photo courtesy of the Craft Salon/Facebook
1. Stock up on supplies: You don't have to go further than your local dollar store to find all the Popsicle sticks, Styrofoam balls, feathers, and dowels you could need, says Litchman.
2. But if you want a bigger selection, higher-end tools, or some quality crafting kits, head to the mother(craft)ships: Michaels (Flatiron, Upper West Side, Cobble Hill, and Woodside), Blick Art Materials (six locations in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn), Artist & Craftsman Supply (Park Slope, Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Long Island City), and DaVinci Artist Supply (Chelsea, Gramercy, and the New York School of Interior Design on the Upper East Side).
3. Take an arm-knitting or loom-weaving workshop at Brooklyn Craft Company in Greenpoint.
Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Craft Company/Facebook
4. Scavenge for sea glass and vintage glass bottles to use in your crafts at Glass Bottle Beach (it’s really called that!) in Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn. Maybe wear gloves.
5. Sign the kids up for the After School Knitting Club at Brooklyn General in Cobble Hill.
6. Get ideas from garbage at the secret Treasures in the Trash museum, a fascinating collection of throwaways salvaged by a former trash collector and housed on the second floor of a Department of Sanitation garage on East 99th Street in Manhattan. (Tours are led by appointment only, through the New York Adventure Club.) Maybe you'll think twice before throwing out your kid's armless action figures?
Photo courtesy of Inside the Secret Treasures in the Trash Museum/Facebook
7. Visit the Tenement Museum, where Litchman finds inspiration in the lives of 19th-century garment workers. "Many were tailors, dressmakers, and milliners, and I love that I am keeping the traditions of many of these handicrafts alive."
8. Check out the incredible quilt collection at the American Folk Art Museum.
Photo courtesy of American Folk Art Museum
9. Want to make your own quilt? Save your kids' baby clothes and blankets, then learn to hand-stitch them together at Gotham Quilts in midtown.
10. Browse the Chelsea Flea Market (open year-round on weekends) for ideas and vintage items to incorporate in your own crafts.
11. Hit up Economy Candy to buy M&M’s, jelly beans, Runts, Skittles, and Jolly Ranchers; use them to make a very sweet candy mosaic (and for more candy craft inspo, check out this artist).
12. Drop in at Taro's Origami Studio in Park Slope for some folding fun. Kids as young as 5 can follow the simple iPad instructions.
Photo courtesy of Taro’s Origami Studio-Park Slope/Facebook
13. Stroll through the exhibition “Jewelry: The Body Transformed” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then head to Beads World in the Garment District or Beads of Paradise in Union Square to craft your own adornments.
14. The fiber arts—weaving, macramé, knitting, crocheting, dyeing—are superhot right now, says Litchman. Learn how to do any or all of them at Textile Arts Center in Gowanus or the West Village.
Photo courtesy of Textile Arts Center/Facebook
15. Create a nature-inspired craft with the kids every Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., at the Bronx's bucolic Wave Hill.
16. Binge-watch a season or two of Project Runway, then storm Mood Fabrics for your own fashion challenge. Make it work, people!
17. Pack up your pom-poms and go on a Catskills Craft Retreat with the Craft Salon, April 26–28, for two full days of textile printing, weaving, knitting, and natural lip balm–making (and, oh yeah, a hike or two!).
18. Save a ton on yarn, fabric, and sewing machines at a Save-a-Thon Store—and take a free sewing class while you're there.
21. Go back in time at this most charming button shop. Decorate a throw pillow with your one-of-a-kind finds.
22. Take a seat at the Paint and Craft Table at the Craft Studio on the Upper East Side or Tribeca and get to work on a pillow pal, a cosmetics bag, or a terra-cotta flowerpot.
23. Book a private, three-hour Mommy + Me Knitting session at Make Workshop.