Five ways to get him, and keep him, crafting.

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 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.


  1. My husband joins me once in awhile long enough to make whatever I'm making, but with a superman logo on it! :)

  2. Heather - Nice! That should probably be number six!

  3. nice post. i'll have to forward it on to my dude. ;-)

  4. Here's the deal. I am a dude and I craft. I can't get enough of how stuff really works. How did I get my break into this? My wife. She's awesome and I can't let anything she want go by the wayside. I love her. I know... I am hopeless. Anyway, she was looking for certain crocheted head scarf that was sold at Old Navy a few years ago. After having scouring the intarwebs I found that they no longer sold such a creation but I did find the crochet pattern.

    After understanding the basics of crotchet thanks to so many at Youtube... I found that crochet was not that much different than piecing together chainmaille. Trust me ladies, there is nothing more manly than making armor. So the jump between metal wire and yarn was small. All this to say, if you want to ease your dude into craft, tell him this... "I can make my own because I am great but it would me so much more to me because I know what it will would put you through to learn this." I made the triangle head scarf for her. Yes, it took 4 days. No, it was not perfect. But she loved it and wears it proudly. I have had to make a few for her friends (much to the chagrin of their dudes). Ladies we like to impress you no matter what otherwise evolution would not have made so many male birds more flamboyant than females.

    Mind you, my wife does not crochet, knit, weld, woodwork or anything. But I knew what she wanted and could not let her desires go fettered by simple stereotypes. Give your dude that permission to do ANYTHING creative to express his emotion. Whatever it may be. If he's feeling angry ... try blacksmithing. Nothing like smacking malleable hot metal into something that means something. Of course it doesn't have to be perfect. Creativity and emotion don't have to be perfect. It's all about the journey and learning.

    As a dude. I will tell you. Paul has hit the nail on the head. Moreover, we need more guys like him. Someone that will call us a douche ( because what we give you is not worth crap if the gift wrap is not as great as the gift itself. Gift wrap is part of the gift. I made this for you because I love you and you deserve this.

    We are pretty simple. "Can you do this to impress me?" That is really all you have to ask. But do it in a loving manner. Our egos are bruised easily. But we can't say no to a challenge. But once you get him to stand up to his friends. Yeah... I know the between a french knot and a whipstitch and you are douche because you aren't strong enough to do what I do and still be considered a "Man". Wuss. Just let him know that it's ok. Give him that permission. Empower him.

  5. Wow, Joel! Thanks for the passionate post!

  6. I will try it...but I wont hold my breath, he's crafty but not in the way I would like lol Sarah