Many of you ladies out there have been asking about how to get your guys into crafting. Because of my arty upbringing, it was just natural for me but, of course, I'm not normal. I have, however, been a high school teacher and I have successfully convinced entire classes of teenage boys that knitting was both manly and cool (no, I didn't teach at a private school). Compared to that, your job should be relatively easy. Here are five tips to get him started and keep him interested...
1.Show him DudeCraft.com and other craft sites like Men Who Knit. No, really. He needs to know that there are other men out there who are spending their time making stuff with their hands, making friends with each other, recycling, upcycling, mending, and making do. He needs permission to do this weird, new stuff and it’s gotta come from another guy. It won’t work if it’s from you.
2.Let him walk his own path. Resist the urge to “help” unless you are asked for it. His ego is easily bruised when attempting a new activity, especially one that he knows you are more proficient at. Point him to supplies and tutorials, but go easy on the advice in the beginning. Soon his comfort level will be sufficient enough to ask for your help and it would make him feel really good if, occasionally, you asked his opinion on a crafty matter.
3.If he’s amenable, suggest that the two of you learn a new craft together. This works especially well if you make sure that the craft in question is somehow goal oriented. You could say something like: “Hey Honey, I saw this amazing wall stencil on apartment therapy that I think would look really cool in our bedroom. I don’t really know anything about stenciling something that big, and it kind of looks like a two person job, so I was wondering if you’d like to work on it together?”
4.Gentle encouragement goes a long way. Compliment his stuff without sounding disingenuous. His first attempts at craft will probably not be great, but try to find something good in the work he’s producing. i.e. “I really like the colors you chose.” or “ Wow! That row of seed stitch looks really even! Good job.” Just make sure you aren’t overly gushy. We know when things aren’t looking great. We aren’t little kids.
5.Get him to take pictures and share his attempts at crafting on the web. Let him know that sharing what he’s learned is a great service to others who are attempting to do the same, or similar projects. His mistakes are like gold to other newbies. I don’t usually learn nearly as much from someone’s “perfect” project as I do from an utter /craftfail.
Lastly, just remember to be gentle and empathetic. Remember what your first attempts were like and what you would have wanted someone to say to you when you realized you had dropped a stitch forty rows back. Good luck.