Stash-busters! 45 easy arts and crafts to do at home
Crafting is known to benefit our mental wellbeing and can soothe and occupy us during times of turmoil, so curl up and enjoy our list of favourite stash-busting makes to use up your craft stash while you wait for online backup supplies to arrive!
As more and more crafters find themselves stuck inside in the weeks to come, whatever the reason, we'll be bringing you everything from stash-busting free patterns you can make using your existing craft kit (below) to crafty podcasts to try and ideas for refashioning craft supplies from household items (watch this space).
Whether you're housebound through self-isolating, you're unwell or are just looking for new crafts that you can try without much expense, this list of ideas is for you.
Here on team Gathered we often hear from our readers and followers that crafting has helped them navigate tough times, so we've also included therapeutic projects in this list that you can easily make with your hands to help calm your mind if you're finding the news unsettling at the moment.
For more on the benefits of crafting, check out this post by Mollie Makes on Why crafting is good for your mental health.
These easy-patterns don't require much fabric, yarn or thread to make. In this section we've listed free cross stitch patterns that just need a small piece of aida for example, or sewing projects that only need one piece of fabric from your stash.
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1. Make your own bow ties
If you're stuck at home, you may as well get ahead and craft up some gifts for the coming months while you're at it (especially if it's tricky getting out to the shops to buy them). We'll show you how to make bow ties using just one fat quarter of fabric.
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2. Fold easy origami boats
It's official – there is nothing more happy-making than folding small pieces of paper into satisfying shapes. Find out how to make origami boats from small pieces of patterned paper you have at home with our tutorial. If you're looking for stash-busters to do with your little ones then check out our paper crafts for kids round up.
3. DIY Macrame plant hanger
Turn old yarn into an on-trend knotted macrame plant hanger with Mollie Makes' free tutorial. They teach you how to make a macrame plant hanger using just your hands, some yarn, and an old curtain ring!
4. Knit your own Easter eggs
Grab a few favourite yarns and our free pattern by Kirstie McLeod and you can whip up a batch of Easter Eggs that are calorie free and can be used again and again for Easter Egg hunts without melting!
5. Fast fat quarter: DIY tablet holder
If you're going to be stuck at home watching Netflix you may as well do it in handmade style. All you need is 1 fat quarter of fabric, some filling and basic sewing supplies to make this quick and easy project to make binge watching your favourite series or cooking to online recipes so much easier!
6. The joy of pom poms
Is there a more happy-making mini make than a pom-pom? Not only do they barely need any supplies (just some cardboard, a small amount of yarn and some scissors), but you can whip up a batch in an evening or two and string them together to form a garland to brighten up your home. Can't remember how you made them in school? Refresh your skills with our step-by-step guide.
7. Make simple fabric hearts
Take a few small fabric scraps, some ribbon and a bit of stuffing and you can whip up these simple but super-cute heart decorations in just an hour or two!
8. Add a cheery update to your home with DIY bunting
Bunting flags are the ultimate stash buster as they suit using a variety of different fabrics in clash-happy prints – it just adds to the homespun vibe! Raid your fabric stash for those favourite scraps you couldn't bare to throw out from old projects and show them off in style.
9. Knit a pair of slippers
The beauty of these me-made slippers is that they don't take much yarn to make and they'll keep you feeling cosy all year round. "Each pair only takes a ball or two from your yarn stash, so they’re great for using up odd skeins from other projects, and they’re washable too," says designer Kirstie McLeod.
10. Add cats to your cardigan pockets
What's not to love about this cool embroidery idea? Cut some scrap fabric from an unwanted garment to embroider your cats on to, then add him to a plain cardi with our free tutorial and cat design.
11. Crochet amigurumi heart balloons
Hooks at the ready, our free balloon heart pattern doesn't need much yarn but is sure to fill your heart with the joy of cute crochet!
12. Turn fabric scraps into a zip pouch
Even the tiniest scraps of fabric can find a new home with the right sewing project. Sarah Ashford and the Mollie Makes team show you how to turn small fabric pieces from past projects into this sweet zip-pouch.
13. Turn spare fabric into a face mask
What's one thing you can't leave the house without? A face mask! And if you're anything like us you're constantly losing them, leaving them in the car or they're in the wash. Use up your spare fabric to create several easy face masks and never be caught without one again. We teach you how to make a face mask in our post but we also have a Youtube video for you to sew along too.
Watch our how to make a face mask video below...
14. Sew a scrap-busting pin-cushion
In the second part of our stash-busting pair of projects for Mollie Makes, Sarah Ashford shows you how to make a simple pincushion from small fabric leftovers in your stash. We'll be whipping up a batch of these as gifts for fellow makers when we're stuck at home in the weeks to come...
15. Hook up a granny square or two
Ah the humble granny square, we salute you! Not only do you not need much yarn to make these most-comforting of crochet treats, you can mix and match different leftover yarns from past projects to create dazzling new designs and then sew the results together to make blankets or cushions.
Dive into our free granny square patterns and give it a go
16. Sew sweet gift bags
What do you get when you cross a fat quarter of fabric, a small piece of interfacing and a button? Why the cutest handmade gift packaging ever known of course! Jennie Jones and Simply Sewing magazine bring you this cute DIY gift idea – whip up a batch and fill them with sweets or small gifts to send to friends and family to brighten their days.
17. Sew a seldvedge travel case
Sew a pretty patchwork pouch which is made up of all the scrappy edges of fabric from your past projects. It'll set you up for sewing on the go as it includes a needle case and handy pockets to store fabric markers, threads or your favourite notions.
18. Knit teeny tiny animal bobble hats
These super cute miniature hats were created by Knit Today magazine for The Innocent Smoothie campaign but you can still make them as a fun little dress-up toy for children's toys – they'll fit everyone from Barbie to the Care Bears.
19. Papercraft Easter baskets
All you need is some paper or card and basic craft supplies to make these fun Easter baskets – hide some eggs around the house or garden and you can have your very own Easter Egg hunt without even leaving the house.
20. Cross stitch for crafters
Reach for your stitching stash, grab an off cut of aida and some left-over threads and you can whip up these cute cross stitch motifs for fellow makers. Each one only measures a few centimetres high so they're also satisfyingly speedy to stitch.
21. DIY pencil case
Just because you can't leave the house to shop for pretty stationary, doesn't mean you can't treat yourself to a desktop boost, especially welcome if you're working from home. Our pencil case tutorial only needs 1 fat quarter of fabric, a zip and a few basic sewing supplies to make.
22. Easy-sew sunglasses case
Reach for your favourite fabric prints in your stash and treat your sunnies to a me-made accessories case with our beginner-friendly tutorial.
23. Under the sea plushies
What can you make with a few small scraps of fabric, basic sewing stash and the odd bead or button? Why these sealife softies of course! Turn them into keyrings or toys for nature-loving kids in the family!
24. Crochet a necklace with just 1 ball of yarn
This lacy necklace by Carol Meldrum has been one of our most popular free patterns and it's a great way to use up neutral yarns in your stash.
25. Crochet a super cute bow
This mini bow will only take you an evening to make and whichever yarns you have lying around in your stash and makes a great last-minute gift. We've added ours to a headband but you could also turn into a brooch or use to dress up a plain pair of shoes.
26. Crochet rainbow flag pencil topper
Simply Crochet magazine created this fun pattern to celebrate Pride, and whether you’re proudly flying your flag on parade or just want to brighten up your stationery, this little rainbow flag pencil topper will help you show your colours!
27. 20 minute tote bag
Yep you heard us right – these simple yet stylish tote bags by The Purl Bee over on the Mollie Makes blog are one of the speediest projects in this round up. They use about 1/2 yard of fabric but you could make them smaller if you don't have that much.
28. Why grow your own when you can knit a cactus?
Knitting your own plants makes for great gifts plus you never have to worry about them needing watering. Choose from three different designs with our free patterns.
29. Handmade headbands
Grab a couple of fat quarters of pretty print fabrics and our step-by-step guide to me-made hair accessories.
30. Crochet a rose
Use up leftover yarn to make the prettiest of petals with our free crochet rose pattern.
31. Cook up some sweet stitches
It only takes an hour or two, and leftover threads to stitch this baking-inspired gift tag...
32. Make a rag rug
You will need to splash out on a matt to make this but a rag rug is the ultimate in stash-busting craft projects. Start one now and you can add to it every time you or your family outgrow clothing, turning your unwanted wardrobe into a cosy treat for the toes. Ragged Life shows you how in her step by step tutorial.
33. Easy crochet coin purse
Make a cute-as-a-button coin purse from yarn scraps for a fun make that's a great gift too.
34. DIY salt spoons
Use up all your scrap clay bits to create these super cute clay spoons! We also have a DIY coasters tutorial which will use up all spare plastics and clay.
35. Upgrade your totes with embroidery
Add some extra sparkle to your plain tote bags with Stacie Bloomfield's bunny embroidery pattern. It's a small design so you should be able to use threads already in your crafty stash.
36. Friendship bracelets
Use all your spare threads from your embroidery projects to create your own friendship bracelets.
37. Tshirt yarn
Turn old t-shirts into funky new projects using our tutorial. We've also rounded up the top t shirt yarn projects so you can use your newly made yarn to make some beautiful items.
38. Visible mending tutorial
Fix old jumpers or holey socks with Flora Collingwood-Norris' colourful how to do visible mending tutorial. She shows you how you can use spare threads from your crafty stash to mend clothes in a striking way.
39. Crochet butterflies from your crafty stash!
Gather up all those tiny pieces of yarn and crochet Sara Huntington’s pretty butterflies. Her free crochet butterfly pattern is right here on Gathered waiting for you to make.
40. Stitch your own table runners
We all have those fat squares in our stash that aren't quite big enough for a full project but we still love them anyway. Well, this is the perfect project for you to show off those fabrics! Sheila Donnachie’s easy to follow how to make a table runner tutorial is not only a stash buster but can also be completed in just one a weekend.
41. Woven bookmarks
How cute are these tassel bookmarks? Lucy Rowan shows you how you can transform old threads and yarns into handy bookmarks. Follow her how to make your own weaving bookmarks tutorial and never loose your place again.
42. DIY paper rose
Use up spare card or paper to make yourself a rose that will never die. The amazing Holly Spanner created this how to make a paper rose tutorial and even created a step-by-step video to go alongside it. Watch the video below and make your very own beauty and the beast rose.
43. Bring the moon into your room
If you have some spare linen hanging around (old bedsheets or shirts) then make bring some magic indoors with Lucy Crick of Eclectic Eccentricity's DIY lino printing tutorial.
44. Paint perfection
Save up those tins of beans and get out those old, mini paints because we've got a colourful tutorial for you! Jemma Bursnell shows you how to make DIY painted plant pots out of a few simple materials.
45. Felt friends
Search your crafty stash for those little scraps of felt, thread and stuffing because we've got a project for them! The Felted Fox shared her DIY felt squirrel brooch tutorial with us so that you could whip up these cute critters.
Zoe is the launch Editor of Gathered.how. She has over a decade of craft publishing experience under her belt. She's a quilter and sewist who works with the UK’s best-selling craft magazines including Today’s Quilter, Love Patchwork & Quilting, Simply Sewing and The World of Cross Stitching. Zoe loves being immersed in Gathered’s quilting content, tweaking our tutorials and publishing new patterns. Zoe has previously written for radiotimes.com, Simply Knitting and The World of Cross Stitching and was previously Deputy Editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine. She has guest-lectured at Bath Spa University. She’s a keen quilter with 5 projects in progress at any one time and another 12 or so planned.