Make do and trend: From Etsy's booming sales to Tori Spelling's hit new show, why we're all getting hands-on with crafting
19:30 GMT, 23 July 2012
It may have been years, if not decades, since you last picked up a glue gun. But the DIY-shy should prepare to start getting their hands dirty again, as crafting has emerged as a booming new industry.
Thanks to online platforms such as Etsy, sales of handmade products are helping crafters turn the hobby into a business that is worth $29billion in the U.S.
Celebrity interest has also helped fuel the revival, from the popularity of Tori Spelling's new TLC show Craft Wars, to recent photos of Katie Holmes and daughter Suri painting pottery in New York.
Scroll down for an exclusive sneak preview of the next episode of Craft Wars
Fashioning a new look: One inspired crafter customises an old plaid shirt by spritzing it with bleach. She is part of a growing number of people getting involved in crafting and repurposing
Even the fashion industry is getting in on the action, with luxury knit-your-own woollies from Wool and the Gang and the latest issue of achingly cool style bible Wallpaper* dedicated to all things handmade.
Erica Domesek, founder of PS I Made This, has been integral to the crafting boom, since launching her blog and subsequent book in 2010.
Now a judge on Craft Wars, she
represents a younger, cooler crafter that is a far cry from the people who typically identify the hobby.
Though, for example, she has a supply
closet to make the most avid enthusiast green with envy, she turns to
familiar items that most girls own to complete her projects. One
tutorial sees her smooth out a strip of ribbon with her hair
straighteners and seal frayed ends with clear nail polish.
'It's the modern girl being inventive,' Erica tells MailOnline. 'She thinks on her toes.'
Crafty crew: The Craft Wars panel, from left: Tori Spelling, Erica Domesek, Jo Pearson and Stephen Brown
The appeal of crafting for a new generation runs deeper than that, though. It is a modern way of life that is the antithesis of fast fashion and mass-produced goods.
'It speaks to a young audience,' she says. 'People are
interested in making their lives more beautiful, more fun.
'Crafting speaks to a young audience. People are interested in making their lives more beautiful, more fun'
TV fashion expert Louise Roe agrees. For her, crafting allows us to put a personal stamp on a look, and create something unique.
'Fast fashion, weekly magazines and blogs mean we see what's on the High Street immediately,' she told MailOnline. 'So there's the desire to stand out and be different… But those blogs also stand as a source of inspiration, because street style is now massive!
'In my opinion, seeing what people all over the world are doing with their wardrobes and accessories – tweaking, embellishing, tailoring, cutting, mixing – is a huge factor in the popularity of crafting. It's unleashing all this creativity in people, I love to see it!'
Soaring sales: Etsy, which saw revenues last year of $72million, allows independent crafters to profit from their designs, without committing to the overheads of a traditional store
Cashing in on craft: Luxury label Wool and the Gang allows fashionistas to knit their own woollies (left), while the latest issue of achingly cool style bible Wallpaper* is dedicated to all things handmade (right)
But those who have been crafting for years are surprised to hear the hobby described as a trend at all.
As Stephen Brown, founder of Glitterville Studios, remarked in a post on the Craft & Hobby Association blog: 'Where had it gone For myself and most of the creative people I
know, it’s been alive and well, and has asked for no permission to leave
There is no question, though, that more people than ever are hankering to get in on the crafting act – including the A-list.
Erica, who now has a loyal celebrity following of her own, reveals that Kristen Wiig loves
to collage, and GMA's Lara Spencer loves repurposing flea market finds. Even Kris Jenner, she says, takes time out from her busy
Kardashian-promoting schedule to enjoy a few hours of crafting fun.
Hands-on approach: Erica Domesek, founder of PS I Made This, has been integral to the crafting boom
And online platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are enabling people to share their works more widely than ever before.
Indeed, Erica admits the former is the number one source of traffic back to her site.
'We’re able to curate out own inspiration feed,' she explains.
Etsy opens up further possibilities still, allowing independent crafters and artisans to profit from their designs, without committing to the overheads of a traditional store, which can be prohibitively expensive.
And with revenues last year of $72million, there is no doubting the site's popularity.
Bright ideas: Among the how-to guides on the PS I
Made This site are a rainbow lace top made from a simple white tank and
coloured fabric spray (left) and cat eye sunglasses made with scraps of
black leather (right)
Erica insists crafting is not a pasttime limited to creative types alone. In fact, it is lack of confidence, not ability that she finds limits people the most.
'I love finding the people who say, “I can’t”' she admits. And embracing the hobby can be therapeutic.
unique stamp on something is empowering,' she adds. 'It’s therapy for your hands, heart and head – and eyes I’d say. The idea of repurposing is exciting.'
Craft Wars airs on Tuesdays at 8pm EST on TLC. Click below for an exclusive preview of the next episode: Christmas in July, which will feature a live Twitter feed from Tori Spelling