Time is winding down to get holiday gifts for all your geeky friends. If there is a crafty geek in your life, you may have been leaving them for last, unsure what to get them. Never fear, this crafty geek is here to help!
Buying gifts for crafters can be difficult, especially for a non-crafter. The temptation is strong to buy them craft supplies and call it a day. While no crafter I know would turn down a gift of supplies, most of us are rather particular about what we use. For example, I use only certain brands of crochet hooks, and can’t use any yarn made from animal fibers or I’ll break out in a rash. So while I’d be thrilled that you’d thought of me and bought me a box full of 100% wool yarn, I’d also be toting it back to the craft store to exchange it for something I could actually use. So unless you know the crafter so well that you know exactly which brands of paint or types of thread they prefer, I’d get them a craft store gift card instead of taking a chance on buying them the wrong thing.
But man, gift cards are decidedly not geeky. What’s Santa to do? Luckily, there are lots of geeky books and products out there for the crafter on your list. If you play your cards right, the recipient of your gift just might be so grateful that they make you something in return. Win-win!
Gifts To Inspire Geeky Projects
Books and magazines loaded with patterns, instructions, and ideas are a welcome gift to any crafter. Even the most creative ones, who make amazing things with seemingly no instructions other than their own imaginations, can get inspiration from project books, or find techniques for creating the great stuff they’ve been dreaming of. Or they might take a pattern and use it as a starting-off point to make something completely different
Speaking of patterns… There are a ton of talented guys and gals selling original patterns for sorts of crafts on Etsy and elsewhere on the web. While a few of them are physical paper patterns that will be mailed to you, most of them are in PDF format, sent via e-mail. If you’re buying the patterns as a gift, make sure you let the seller know so you can figure out how they want to go about it. Don’t just purchase the pattern and make a copy of the file for your friend (or worse, print it out for them). That’s file sharing, and it’s just not cool. The seller may want to e-mail the pattern directly to its intended recipient, and I’m sure they’ll be happy to hold off until you can present your friend with a “Patterns Incoming!” gift card in advance.
Since I’m primarily a needleworker, I know the most about resources for needle crafts. What about other crafts? Just check out the crafts and hobbies section of your favorite bookstore. There are tons of books out there, on everything from steampunk jewelry to woodworking. Even if you personally don’t know much about the craft, flip through the book to look at the projects. A good craft book will have awesome pictures and detailed instructions. If the projects in the book look like something that would interest or inspire your favorite crafter, go for it! The same thing goes for craft magazines. Giving the gift of several magazines with an assortment of projects and articles may help your crafter find a publication they love and want to subscribe to. (And then you can get them a gift subscription next year!)
Here are some suggestions to get you started (I own all of these and can vouch for their awesomeness).
Creepy Cute Crochet: Amigurumi are adorable little crocheted plushies, and patterns abound for them. Want to make a little Cthulhu, or a zombie, or a skeleton bride and groom? Creepy Cute Crochet has those patterns, among others. The book also has a great section on the basics of making amigurumi, so the crocheter can take what they’ve learned and create their own little monsters.
Charmed Knits: Knitters and crocheters around the world watch every new Harry Potter movie with baited breath, waiting to see what the new Hogwarts scarves look like, or what sweaters Molly Weasley has made for her clan that Christmas, so they can recreate them for themselves. If your favorite crafter is tired of winging it, or isn’t comfortable stitching without a pattern, get them a copy of Charmed Knits, chock-full of Potter-inspired patterns that even Dumbledore would love. While they’re all knitting patterns, crocheters can get plenty of ideas and inspiration from the book as well.
Manga Cross-Stitch: I won a copy of this book in a Twitter contest last year, and I’m still so delighted with it that I can’t say how! Cross-stitchers don’t have to be resigned to Thomas Kinkade landscapes and vases of flowers anymore – now they can make their own manga-inspired scenes to adorn their walls! The book comes with a CD containing the patterns in the book, as well as software to make your own patterns.
Sublime Stitching patterns: Sublime Stitching makes some fantastic embroidery patterns. Geeky selections include unicorns, fairies, zombies, pirates, and space robots. Don’t know anyone who embroiders? These patterns can be used for wood burning and painting too! You can buy transfer sheets (and use an iron to get the pattern to your fabric) or PDF versions of the patterns.
Dover Clip Art and Design Source books: More images for painters, carvers, embroiderers, and artists of all types! I have a number of these books and wish I could have them all. A large number of the Dover books come with a CD of the images, making them even easier to use.
Gifts To Help Make Geeky Things
Remember a few paragraphs up when I said to be careful about buying supplies? I haven’t changed my mind on that. However, there are some generic tools and a few supplies that you can give as gifts without much worry.
Cool scissors: If you have to cut stuff for your craft, you can never have too many scissors. For needlework, I’m in love with these Wicked Step Scissors and Gold Dragon Scissors, both available from Sublime Stitching. Your crafty geek has lots of cutting needs, and wants only the best? You can’t go wrong with anything from Gingher Scissors (“Scissors worth geeking out over” isn’t their motto, but it should be).
Tools appropriate for the ren faire: Jas. Townsend & Son, Inc., is one of my favorite sources for awesome historically accurate loot. Gifts for the ren faire or SCA geek abound here. Crafty-specific ones include spinning and weaving supplies, inks and writing implements, buttons and buckles, and more!
Geektastic work lights: Every crafter I know has experienced eye strain at some point, due to working in poor light. Save those eyes so you can see your character sheet! I am hopelessly pining away for an OttLite lamp, especially one of these cool spin and store lamps (because it spins and stores things!) or a POD lamp, which looks like a battle droid and can manage the wires for all my phone chargers while it provides sweet beautiful light.
Storage containers: Craft supplies need a place to call home, otherwise they will just lie together in a huge pile, start breeding, and take over your entire living room/bedroom/house. A crafter will find a use for any storage container they are given, whether it is craft-specific or not. So if you find a plastic tote decorated with unicorns, or a tin shaped like a Tardis, I guarantee the crafty geek in your life will squee and happily fill it with beads, yarn, or paint brushes.
Kits: Craft kits come with the complete supplies and instructions for a specific project. New and experienced crafters alike love the convenience and ease of crafting from a kit – no extra supplies to buy, no decisions to make. Sublime Stitching (have you noticed that I love them?) has a number of embroidery kits available, and you can pick the geeky patterns you want included. Etsy seller Midwest Maille has a wide selection of chain maille jewelry kits at several different price points (and levels of skill). And for the model builder on your gift list, it’s hard to go wrong with a kit for any Star Wars vehicle or Star Trek ship they don’t already have.
Need More Help?
Even if you don’t know a knitting needle from an ink pen, with just a little bit of research, you can make holiday magic for the crafty geek in your life. Still stumped, though, even after reading this post? Leave a question in the comments, or shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll do all I can to help out!
Have you given or received an awesome geeky and crafty gift? What was it? As a crafty geek, what would you love to unwrap this holiday season?