A person holding origami

Stuck-at-Home: Crafts That Build Skills

It can be easy to fill your time with less-than-healthy habits like streaming video and scrolling on social media. COVID-19 has made that boredom urge a safe solution. To combat that habit, I decided to make it my mission to learn to appreciate certain crafts. I have historically hated crafty things – (I’m looking at you, crocheting!) — but, I’ve found some easy-ish solutions that changed my mind.

As a not-very-crafty type of person, I can attest that these crafts are simple and fun to do. Plus, they’re all budget-friendly, require little space for storage and can come with you on the road when you PCS. You might just find that they’re useful skills to have in MilLife, too!

Embroidery and Cross-Stitch
Embroidery and cross-stitch are great for personalizing cloth items. You can monogram blouses, add details to pillowcases and sheets, and make cute gifts for friends. Plus, it’s a great idea as a MilSpouse to know how to use a needle and thread! I have sewed many uniform items for my sailor. Buttons and patches on uniforms can require attention at very inconvenient times. This skill can save you in a pinch from visiting a seamstress. This DIY solution comes in very handy during times like the COVID-19 crisis when you can’t get to one!

I learned embroidery with a kit that I ordered off of the internet. But you really only need a few things to get started. There are a bunch of cool stitches that you can learn for free on craft and video-sharing websites.

What you need:

  • Embroidery needle
  • Thread
  • Embroidery fabric or a piece of clothing
  • Scissors

Hand Lettering

It can be tough to personalize a new home without a big budget. That’s why hand lettering quickly became one of my favorite crafts. You can purchase low-cost items and customize them easily. Plus, exceptional handwriting is a great skill to have!

Although hand lettering can seem like a daunting craft to explore, it’s easier than you think. Once you get the hang of it, you can customize letters, cards and home décor in a breeze! Some of my favorite things to make are seasonal signs for our home and pretty Christmas card envelopes.

For my first hand lettering project, I bought a cute sign in the dollar section of a big-box store and used a permanent marker to customize it. There are lots of free guides on the internet that can help you to get started.

What you need:

  • A permanent marker or washable craft markers
  • A blank sign or paper


Origami is a fun way to get crafty with only one thing necessary — paper! This is a fun activity to do solo or with your little ones!

Some of my creations have become little display pieces on my husband’s computer desk. But, there are tons of ways to give your origami skills purpose. Keep up with your loved ones back home by sending lovely origami greeting cards! Fold your towels into resort-style creations for your houseguests. Give your spouse a bouquet of origami roses that will last forever. The more you practice origami, the more that your skills will in‘crease.’

What you need:

  • Paper (origami paper works best)
  • Scissors

Crafting can provide tangible, meaningful things that make your house feel like more of a home. This is especially important for military families because we have to make new places feel like home quite frequently. Plus, we are all spending more time at home than ever due to the restrictions of COVID-19.

Find a crafty outlet that works for you. There are no right or wrong answers here! There are tons of craft resources available through the MWR digital library. Access books, magazines and video content on the subjects that interest you — and get to crafting!

What’s your favorite cheap-and-easy craft? Share it in the comments below!

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