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The Five Types of Crafts

Textile, Decorative, Paper, Functional and Fashion

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Maybe you’re been working in the crafts field for awhile and would like to branch out into a different or complimentary type of craft. Perhaps you’re thinking about starting a craft business as a sideline or would like to quit your day job and work for yourself. To help you along, I’ve compiled a basic list of different types of crafts.

1. Textile Crafts

These include any type of craft where you work with fabric, yarn or surface design. Some examples are knitting, quilting, appliqué, weaving and dyeing. Many of these could obviously also fall into the decorative or fashion crafts categories, since the finished good is sold as a sweater or wall hanging. However, they are technically textile crafts since it all starts with the fabric.

In my career as a crafter, I’ve done just about all textile crafts. My favorite? Dyeing. I find silk fabric dyeing very appealing to the creative mind as the dye can either flow freely across the fabric or you can use resist to make the dye form different shapes.

Examples of textile crafts:

2. Paper Crafts

As the name implies, paper crafts have to do with well – paper! My son got his first introduction to paper crafts in pre-school when he used carved potatoes to hand print designs on a card for Mother’s Day. The grown up version of this is wood engraving. Other paper crafts include papier-mache, calligraphy, and papermaking.

In the past, I’ve carved linoleum instead of wood to block print. Many people also hand cut their own stencils from plastic to create the same effect on paper.

Paper Craft Information:

3. Decorative Crafts

Furniture making, metalwork, stenciling, stained glass, gilding, spongeware, surface design of walls such as trompe l'oeil, basketry and dried flowers fall into the category of decorative crafts. This category also includes toy making.

Lately, I’ve seen a trend in combining furniture making with metalwork. Arts and crafts and home décor magazines are showcasing a lot of furniture constructed from wood but with metalwork legs or trim. The metalwork tends to be very industrial looking but there is a good amount of ornate metalwork added in as well.

Here are some recommended articles on the topic:

Making Holiday-Themed Decorations for Sale at Craft Shows

Using Polymer Clay to Make Dolls and Other Figures

4. Fashion Crafts

This type of crafts encompasses all the elements of dressing the human body: jewelry, hats, leatherwork (shoes, belts, handbags) and garments. This craft type will naturally intersect other craft types since jewelry can be made through metalworking and garments are fabricated by sewing – which can be classified as a textile craft.

If you’re looking to have your craft work showcased in magazines such as In Style magazine, this is your area of craft discipline. Pursuing a fashion magazine with relevant press releases or kits is a great way to get free attention that should turn into a sizable increase in sales.

Examples of fashion crafts:

5. Functional Crafts

Many of the four other types of crafts can also be classfied as functional. For example, decorative pottery is made with components that are okay for your customers to eat from such as serving platters or utensils. Many furniture crafts are primarily functional but can also be quite decorative.

Obviously, to attract the widest possible customer base, it's good to have functionality built into your art or craft. Many times customers who won't shell out the big bucks for an original creation just because of it's good looks will justify the cost because it can also be used in day-to-day life.

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