Cold winter months usually mean long cozy evenings inside. Hot cocoa, the scent of cinnamon or pine and twinkling lights. With outdoor activities being short and limited due to the low temperatures in many parts of our country, a winter hobby to occupy your evenings can be just the thing!
Below we have a few hobbies we think are great to try in winter time along with some holiday-themed project ideas.
The holidays mean lots of opportunities to see family and celebrate together. This also means lots of photos and keepsakes! Scrapbooking is the perfect hobby to get all photographs and mementos in one place. Express your creativity by decorating and personalizing each page. We have a large assortment of tools perfect for scrapbooking, like craft knives, scissors, specialty blades and more! Read more about our scrapbooking tools in our earlier article: Must-Have Paper Cutting Tools.
2. Model Trains
What do model trains, pine trees and fake snow have in common? They’re another long-time Christmas tradition. Nothing says holiday spirit like the steam locomotive on a round track under the Christmas tree. Add a snow-covered holiday village and enjoy the twinkling lights.
Building train sets can be a relaxing hobby. You’ll need time and patience, but the rewards can be worth it! You can build the perfect town, it can be traditional, like a sleepy Swiss hamlet in a mountain valley, or totally original with wild trees and landscapes. The possibilities are endless with a model railroad tool set, a model railroad ruler and a few unique trinkets to make it your own.
3. Antique Restoration
This is a one project at a time kind of hobby and depending on the size of the antique, it may require a large work area. Restoring a beautiful wooden piece, an old frame or a lamp can be very rewarding. This, of course, follows with bragging rights once you show off the final restoration. Some people have even turned this hobby into a business.
If antique restoration sounds like something you’d be interested in exploring and trying, start small. Watch lots of tutorials and get yourself the right tools and equipment.
4. Collage Art
Collage art can be very relaxing, expressive and not take up a lot of your time or table space. All you need is a few supplies and your imagination.
- Cutting mat - You definitely need a good self healing cutting mat. You’ll be cutting a lot. A 24x36” mat provides a larger working area.
- Hobby knife - This is your main tool, so make it a good one. There are many options to choose from like the K26 Fit Grip Knife, which features an ergonomic soft rubberized handle made for grip and comfort. For index finger control, try the K71 Index Finger Knife.
- Sharp blades - The most popular blade is the #11, it’s an all around great blade. Keeping spare blades while you’re working on collages is good practice so that you’re less likely to run out and have to wait a day or two for the new ones to deliver.
- Glue - use a clear drying paper glue to avoid unwanted glue gobs.
- Magazine scraps, wrapping paper, old calendars, clip art books - Anything you are willing to cut up for your art.
5. Felt Decorations
Decorating for the holidays is a great hobby to pick up and do as a family. Gathering around the kitchen table to craft fun and original decorations is a wonderful and time-honored Christmas tradition.
Below are a few ideas for decorations you can make this year. Read on!
What you need:
- Craft felt
- Embroidery needle and thread
- Soft stuffing for crafting
- Fabric glue
How to make the ornaments:
- Cut two of the same shape, like a circle, star or a heart.
- Cut a 4” piece of ribbon, fold it in half and glue it to one side of one of the shapes. Let the glue dry.
- Using a blanket stitch, sew the two pieces of felt together. Pause once there is about a 1.5” opening left.
- Insert the stuffing in between the two layers. Make sure it’s evenly distributed.
- Finish the stitch.
Winter Holly Leaf Felt Wreath
What you need:
- Craft felt - not too flimsy in your choice of colors
- Craft wire
- Needle nose pliers w/ side cutter
- Scissors or a craft knife
- Fabric glue
- Cutting mat
How to make the wreaths:
- Using the craft knife or scissors cut out enough leaves and berries from the felt. Leaves should be 3 to 4” long. Cut bigger leaves for larger wreaths. Berries should be approximately ½” circles.
- Using the wire cutter on the pliers, cut wire into 5” long pieces. Dab some glue to the bottom of each leaf, place the wire over the glue, about ½”, then pinch closed. Let dry. For the berries, glue one end of the wire to the back side of the felt circle.
- Start arranging by twisting the wires of two felt leaves together, then add them one by one until you’re happy with the size of the wreath.
- Make a 1” loop from the wire and attach it to the back side of the wreath for hanging.
Felt Scrap Garland
Crafting leaves us with lots of scraps, felt crafts included. This garland repurposes scraps so all you need is a needle and some thread. Use a strong thread like bonded nylon.
How to make this garland:
- Loosely arrange your scraps by size, the garland will work best if the scraps are all a similar size.
- Double-ply the thread, about 20” long to prevent tangling.
- Start threading the felt scraps in alternating colors or a color pattern. For a fuller effect, twist or fold the felt pieces. Secure in place with an overcast stitch as needed.
- Once you run out of thread, simply attach the next thread section to the last felt piece and continue.
6. Polymer Clay Art
Another fun hobby to try during the holidays is polymer clay art. Polymer clay is a versatile material and can be used to make many fun and beautiful creations.
Polymer clay earrings are here to stay, probably because they’re so expressive and relatively simple to make. Sure it takes practice, but the long winter evenings can be a good time to start. Tutorials are available at the touch of a button from other hobbyists on TikTok or Instagram as well as professionals and polymer artists like Donna Kato, who’s even got her own brand of polymer clay.
Other fun things to try in polymer clay: wall hangings, custom buttons, charms, flowers, miniatures and Christmas ornaments. Below is one idea. Have fun!
Polymer Clay Ornaments
Inspired by the beautiful Scandinavian folk art, these ornaments are chic and can be fun to make and personalize.
What you need:
- Polymer clay in white and a deep vibrant color like red, electric blue or hunter green
- Cutting mat
- Parchment paper
- Craft knife
- Pounce wheel
- Glass rolling pin
How to make this ornament:
- Soften a large piece of the white clay by working it in your hands, then roll flat to about ⅛” slab. Do the same with a smaller amount of the color clay. Don’t worry about the edges being perfect. Wash your hands in between each color to prevent color transfer.
- Using the craft knife, cut out the ornament shape like a star, circle or a heart. You can use a template so it’s easier. Next, cut out motifs for the ornament from the color slab.
- Arrange the small color pieces on the white base shape. Gently roll the piece flat. Do this slowly so the ornament base shape is not distorted.
- Using a pounce wheel, outline the edge of the ornament and the motifs. Lastly, use the awl to create an opening for the ribbon. Bake the ornaments at the recommended temperature on the polymer clay packaging.
- With the awl, you can also inscribe the date, initials or a sweet message.
- Finish with a ribbon tied to a bow at the top of the ornament.
We hope this article inspires you to try new hobbies and new ideas this coming winter. So turn on your favorite Netflix show or Podcast and create away!