10 simple ideas for new ‘mini’ craft hobbies to learn

by Claire

As a New Year gets underway, it’s the perfect time to start a new hobby. As an avid crafter I’m sharing 10 simple ideas for ‘mini’ craft hobbies to help you decide what new hobbies you could take up this year. The easiest mistake to make with starting a new craft is to be overambitious and that’s what’s so great about small scale ‘mini’ crafting – you can start small and if you like it, you can try the ‘grown up’ version! So learn to sew a doll’s dress or knit a doll’s jumper and if you enjoy it, you may end up making yourself a new outfit. Read on to find out what you can try and how to get started.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn an affiliate commission.

1. Sewing doll clothes

If you ever wanted to become a fashion designer but missed your chance, then sewing doll clothes will help you live your dream – just at a smaller scale! I love creating patterns for doll clothes, making them, doing photo shoots and sharing everything on this Blog and on Instagram. Here are some of my favourite creations from last year:

What you need:

  • A doll to sew for – a good size for a sewing beginner is an 18″ doll – like an American Girl or Our Generation doll. Other dolls that are popular with adult collectors are Barbie, Sindy, Blythe and Ball Jointed Dolls. I also sew outfits for Licca dolls and Lottie dolls.
  • A sewing pattern – there are lots of free patterns for all sizes of dolls on the web (and some on this Blog!). You can also buy Pdf patterns to download and print at home. Here are some of my favourite pattern shops and books:
    • Requiem Art Design – Pdf patterns for Barbie, Monster High, BJD, Blythe and more doll sizes.
    • GailsDollEPatterns – vintage patterns which can be downloaded and printed at home. Lots to choose from.
    • Pomadour24 – stock my favourite Licca and Blythe sewing books (in Japanese but Google translate works just fine).
    • Pixie Faire Patterns – Pdf patterns. Best known for 18″ doll clothes patterns but also do other size doll patterns.
  • Fabric – stick to lightweight fabrics like cotton and polycotton, and avoid knit fabrics if you’re a beginner. Small pattern designs work best. Check out these shops for inspiration:
    • Mimi and Bee – stock Liberty, Dashwood Studio, Riley Blake, Robert Kaufman – all gorgeous fabrics
    • The Eternal Maker – one of my favourite local shops – great fabric choice
  • Trimmings and fastenings – e.g. ribbon, zips, snap fasteners. My favourite supplier for tiny haberdashery is CharleneluDesign.
  • A sewing machine – I sew larger doll clothes using a sewing machine and anything small or fiddly I sew by hand
  • Needle, thread and pins
  • Fray stop – is a liquid which is applied to seams to stop them fraying. Apply before you sew.
  • Iron – you can buy special small irons but I’ve found my normal iron is fine.
CharleneluDesign – specialist doll sewing supplies
YGDollstyle Doll clothes patterns

2. Knitting doll clothes

I’ve recently taken up knitting as I wanted to knit some Christmas jumpers for my dolls – I managed to make two jumpers just in time for Christmas! I tend to get bored knitting anything too big which is why I love miniature size knitting. It’s satisfying to make something new in a weekend.

My first doll Christmas jumpers

What you need:

  • A doll to knit for – a word of advice – the smaller the doll, the smaller the knitting needles and the harder the knitting! If it says 1mm needles and you have poor eyesight you may want to give it a miss.
  • A knitting pattern – I’ve decided that vintage patterns are a good bet for beginners. You can knit entire outfits for dolls but I like to stick to jumpers, cardigans, hats etc. I wouldn’t wear a knitted dress, so I don’t want my dolls to wear one either! The red jumper is made using a vintage pattern from Carolrosa Designs. The stripy jumper is made using another vintage pattern from Toy Pattern Land. They are both pdf patterns.
  • Yarn – this will depend on the pattern. For smaller dolls, you will likely be using a thinner weight yarn, such as 4 ply. Sock yarn works well – I used Yorkshire Spinners Sock Yarn in Fairy Lights for the stripy jumper.
  • Knitting needles – this will depend on the pattern. I find charity shops are good for picking up cheap knitting needles. Or you can buy online – check out the Pony knitting needles from Sew Pro Crafts.

3. Crochet doll clothes / dolls and toys

I learned to crochet again as an adult because I found it easier than knitting – as you only have one hook to work with and I find it easier to correct mistakes. It’s not all about blankets made from granny squares, it is a great method for making clothes, dolls and toys. The downside of crochet is that there are less patterns for crochet dolls clothes available. However, you can find lots of patterns for crocheted dolls which come with clothes to make as well, or cute amigurumi animals.

What you need:

  • A doll to crochet for if you’re making clothes.
  • Crochet pattern – there are lots of books and pdf patterns available for cute dolls and toys. Small toys like the Kawaii ones below are quick to make, which is good if you’re short on time. The Purple Valley Yarn shop on Etsy has a lovely selection of Crochet books – including dolls, animals and even gnomes!
  • Yarn – this depends on the pattern. I like patterns that use cotton yarn, like the Ricorumi yarn. It comes in small balls and lots of different colours which are perfect for small toys and dolls.
  • Crochet hooks – you can either by them individually or buy a set. Whilst I’ve always used simple metal hooks, you can now get hooks with ergonomic handles which are more colourful and easier to hold. I love this set by Prym.
Lou the Unicorn Doll by Amalou Designs – I was easily persuaded to buy this, just have to find time to make it now!

4. Needle felting

If you haven’t tried needle felting, I would recommend it – it’s very satisfying and great for stress relief. It’s not the best craft for doing whilst watching TV – unless you want a trip to the hospital. It requires all your attention, which makes it a great mindful activity. I love seeing a ball of fluff transform into an animal or bird as you stab away with the needles. It’s also good for making miniature teddies or pets for dolls.

Japanese Wool Felt Poodle Kit from Sweet Pea Dolls

What you need:

  • A needlefelting kit (like the Deer pictured below) is a good way to get started with this hobby – as it’ll have everything you need to get started. Or you can buy a beginners kit with everything you need from shops like Heidifeathers or Sues Country Creations.
  • Wool roving
  • Needle felting needles and/ or a felting tool
  • A felting mat
  • Instructions / tutorials/ book on how to make something
Deer Needle Felting Kit from Lincolnshire Fenn

5. Dolls’ house

You are never to old to have a dolls house. I had one as a child which I loved and spent hours playing with it. My Grandma got one when she retired and spent many happy hours decorating and furnishing it. You can either make furniture and furnishings yourself or buy things ready made. I like the challenge of turning a bottle lid into a side table, so usually make things myself. There are plenty of You Tube tutorials for crafting a world of miniature items.

Dolls houses are usually 1/12 scale but I have seen amazing Barbie size dolls houses (which are 1/6 or ‘play’ scale) and even houses for 18″ dolls – which are very big! You could even get inspired by the talented woodworkers on Channel 4’s show ‘Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker‘ – episode 2 saw them make intricate dolls’ houses. The Tiny Tree House Shop makes the most adorable miniature tree houses with lots of gorgeous details – just magical!

Brambly Hedge Crabapple Cottage by Tiny Tree House Shop

What you need:

  • A dolls’ house – you can get all sorts of different sizes, shapes and styles (modern, traditional etc). Go for one you love! Always Hobbies have a good selection of houses.
  • Exterior decorations – dolls house paper with brick effect, tile effect, paint, windows and doors etc. Melody Jane Dolls House shop supplies exterior paper.
  • Interior fixtures and fittings – lighting, interior trim (e.g. stair rails), carpet (sticky backed felt) etc. Dolls House Direct has lots of mini DIY supplies.
  • Interior decorations – wallpaper, paint, tile effect etc.
  • Furniture – depends on the style of your house – I like the modern, minimalist look. YouTube is a great source of instructions for making miniature furniture. If you want to buy furniture or need some inspiration, have a look at Pretty Miniatures Shop
  • Soft furnishing – curtains, bedding, rugs etc. Good for practicing sewing skills.
You could try this Dolls’ House Bed and Shelf DIY
Adorable mini furniture from Pretty Little Minis

6. Crafting with felt

Felt is a great material for crafting and especially for making toys and dolls. It’s easy to sew and doesn’t fray. It’s good material for children to learn to sew with. I like making small figures, dolls and toys from felt. Small toys can be easily sewn by hand.

Bear sewing pattern from Amuru Toys

What you need:

  • Felt and matching thread – there are two types of felt. The craft felt from most craft shops, which a usually synthetic fibres, and wool felt which less widely available but you can find it in good fabric stores or online. Wool felt is more expensive but does have a lovely feel to it and if you prefer natural materials it’s a good choice. You also get a wider range of colours. My favourite supplier of wool felt is Cloud Craft.
  • Toy stuffing
  • Pattern or pattern book. If you want to make a doll, the Pocket Poppets by Gingermelon are really cute and easy to make.
Pocket Poppets by Gingermelon
Gorgeous wool felt from Cloud Craft

7. Make a Waldorf Doll

A Waldorf Doll is a very special type of doll with simple features to allow creative, imaginative play. They are expensive to buy because of the time it takes to make them and the natural materials used, but don’t let this put you off. I really enjoyed the process of making the dolls – you feel like you’re making a character rather than just a doll. If you follow clear instructions, it is not hard to make one yourself and the end result is very satisfying.

Little Fig Doll Pattern from Fig and Me

What you need:

  • Doll Pattern. I used the Wildflower Doll Pattern from Lali Dolls to make my first Waldorf Doll. The instructions are really detailed and helpful. See how I got on here.
  • Materials as specified by the pattern. I get my supplies from Little Oke Dolls which is a specialist doll making supplier.
‘Lucky’ – my first Waldorf Doll

8. Make a soft cloth Doll

If you don’t want the challenge of a Waldorf doll but want to make a doll (they make lovely handmade gifts), then why not try making a soft cloth doll. There are two ways of making dolls – making them from scratch or using a printed panel. The printed panel option is a quick and easy way to get a finished doll. Some will also come with clothes to make. Cloth dolls (or ‘rag dolls’) come in all shapes and sizes and I love making them as they have so much personality. One of my goals for this year is to develop a new pattern for a cloth doll, then design outfits for her – so watch this space!

DIY Kit Dolly and Hedgehog from Miss Ella

What you need:

  • A cloth doll printed panel and stuffing OR
  • A cloth doll pattern or book. My current favourites are the cute animal patterns from Bon Patterns and the Sparkle Starlight Dolls from Gingermelon
  • Fabric for doll and clothes
  • Matching thread
  • Yarn for hair – but this will depend on the pattern as there are other options (e.g. material, embroidered, wool roving)
  • Sewing machine
Bunny with Overalls and Beanie from Bon Patterns

9. Make anything with pompoms

I’m not sure if this counts as a hobby or specific craft but pompoms are quick and easy to make by most ages and can be turned into all sorts of beautiful creations. It’s a budget friendly craft activity which is great for using up odd balls of yarn which seem to multiply when you’re not looking! They can be made into garlands, animals, wreaths and used on doll clothes.

Pompom Kit from That Crafty Stitch

What you need:

  • Yarn – pompoms are a great way of using up odd balls of yarn.
  • Pompom maker (or cardboard circles with a hole in the middle!).
Stitches and String – Blythe pompom scarf

10. Wooden and peg dolls

I loved making peg dolls when I was a kid – it’s great fun turning a clothes peg into a character using scraps of fabric, wool and ribbon – add a face and they come to life. Painted wooden peg dolls have also become popular recently – creating cute characters from a wooden ‘pegs’ (which are a different shape to clothes pegs). They are great for imaginative play as they can be kept simple.

My ‘American Girl’ peg doll characters

What you need:

  • Wooden peg dolls – Lotty Lollipop sell a range of different size dolls
  • Paint – acrylic paint works well.
  • Paintbrushes – the very fine ones from model shops are the best for detailed painting
I love these personalised peg dolls from Lu’s Letter Craft

So that’s my list of 10 simple ideas for mini craft hobbies. I hope it’s provided lots of inspiration and advice to get you started with a new mini hobby for the New Year! Happy New Year Crafting!

Claire x

If you like my Blog and want to support me to create more dolly content – buy me a coffee!

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More