The Importance of Homestead Handicrafts

Homesteading is synonymous with gardening, raising livestock, preserving, and living life as far off-grid as possible. One thing that many new and aspiring homesteaders overlook however is the importance of handicrafts. For those with a self-reliant mindset, homestead handicrafts offer practicality, usefulness, and even the chance to make a little extra money on the side. What are handicrafts and what purpose do they serve in your homesteading efforts? Let’s take a closer look!

What Are Handicrafts?

The term “handicrafts” refers to the process of making items by hand. Usually, these are useful things that you’ll need around the homestead, like blankets or baskets. However, it can also include hand-carved items, jewelry, and more. These items are made with simple tools rather than through mass production. They’re also designed to serve a function while also being decorative.

The Most Common Types of Handicrafts

Before the introduction of mass production, most of the items humans used daily were made by hand. That includes everything from the containers we used to carry and store foods to the clothing on our backs.  All of the handicrafts have a free resource link in the description.

Using Hand Tools with Yarn & Materials

  • Knitting: Knitting is a time-honored craft that allows you to create knitted garments, like sweaters and mittens. These come in very handy during colder weather, but they can also add warmth and beauty to your home, or you can sell them.
  • Crocheting: Crocheting allows you to create decorative but useful throw blankets, doilies, and other items for use around the home. Crocheted items are also popular ways to generate additional income for your homestead.
  • Sewing: Sewing allows you to create durable clothing, but also other cloth items like curtains and valences for use around your home. You can also create and sell garments to support your homesteading efforts.
  • Embroidery: Embroidery is the art of adding visual beauty and/or personalization to cloth items. You can create images, monograms, phrases, and more for things like shirts, dresses, jackets, sweaters, jeans, and even tablecloths.
  • Spinning: Spinning is the art of transforming organic fibers into usable yarn or thread. You can then use that in your other handicrafts, including knitting, crocheting, and sewing.
  • Weaving: Weaving allows you to create woven cloth items ranging from clothing to blankets. You’ll use two or more sets of yarns or threads and interlace them to create both the body of the cloth and the visual pattern or embellishment (think of serapes, Pendleton blankets, and Navajo blankets called diyugí).
  • Quilting: Quilting is an important craft that allows you to make quilts and quilted items, using up scrap pieces of fabric while also producing useful things for the household. Handmade quilts and quilted items are also very popular with the public and can make great additions to your efforts to generate income.

Using Materials with Wheels and Knives

  • Basket weaving: Baskets are essential to homesteading, serving roles that range from bringing in garden produce to organizing stuff in the home. Basket weaving relies on natural materials like grass and vines to create baskets of all sizes and types.
  • Wood carving: Wood carving can be used to make purely decorative items, but it can also be used to create utilitarian things like utensils and wood bowls.
  • Pottery: Pottery allows you to make anything from clay plates and bowls to works of ceramic art depending on your skill level and available equipment, like a potter’s wheel or kiln.

Using Materials for Use in the Home or Gifts

  • Soap and lotion making: Soaps and lotions can incorporate items from your garden, like herbs and fruit, and help keep the skin clean and smelling nice. They’re very useful around the homestead, but you can also sell them to create additional income.
  • Papermaking: Papermaking is a time-honored craft that allows you to create paper for use around the homestead and in papercrafts like decoupage, papier-mâché, collages, and cardmaking.
  • Candle making: Homemade candles can be utilitarian, or they can be beautiful works of art. You can learn how to craft candles that you’ll use every day in your homestead in place of electric lights, but you can also sell them to the public.

Why Should You Learn Handicrafts?

Why learn handicrafts? First, they’re great ways to add both beauty and utility to daily life on your homestead. Using a basket you wove yourself to bring in vegetables from the garden can be incredibly fulfilling. It’s also an important step toward being more self or community-reliant and moving away from the disposable, commodity-based nature of modern society. Using handicrafts is a great way to ensure that the items you use in your daily life are 100% natural and don’t contain hidden dangers, like potentially dangerous chemicals.

The challenge comes in finding ways to learn these handicrafts. Most people don’t know anyone who can teach them how to weave a blanket or carve a wooden bowl, much less weave thread from fibers gathered from plants around the homestead.

At Stoney Creek Farm, we believe that everyone should have the chance to be at least a little more self-reliant and that those skills should be imbued at a young age. We teach important handicrafts during our weekly Nature Explorers classes for kids.

Every Thursday, we’ll explore handcrafts and art, and Friday (an optional third day) allows your children to get to know woodworking. We have pricing for two-day tutorials, our two-day tutorial plus Fridays, and Fridays only. You can learn more about our classes and curriculum and register your child here.

It’s a Handmade World

Handicrafts have been around as long as human beings. They offer traditional ways to create functional, beautiful items for use around the homestead. Mastering a handicraft also teaches discipline and instills pride. While we recommend that any adult interested in homesteading explores handicrafts, we also believe that true mastery requires a lifetime, and teaching our children from a young age how to be self-reliant will make a major difference in their lives down the road.

From basket weaving to knitting and crocheting, there’s a craft to fit every interest and every need. Have fun exploring the wide world of handicrafts and finding something that resonates with you!