There’s no doubt about it. YouTube is an incredible resource for learning how to make something. We use YouTube ALL THE TIME. We have our own YouTube channel. We love it.
Here’s the big but. BUT YouTube isn’t the ONLY way to learn. There are many other resources makers can use. Sometimes, these resources are even better and more fitting for your needs.
So we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best resources that makers can put in their toolbelt. Here are other ways to find out how to make something besides YouTube.
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Table of Contents for Easy Navigation
1. Learn How to Make Something From Maker Bloggers
Bloggers have been around for quite awhile and they aren’t really going anywhere. Thankfully, there are a lot of maker blogs on the web that offer free content to makers.
You can learn how to make just about anything from blogs. You can also learn about communities of makers and the tools you need for your craft.
These bloggers offer their experience and can be a true inspiration for your art. Many bloggers provide free plans and guides. This can be an easy way to get into a new crafting hobby without shelling out a lot of cash.
At the Making Life, we’re passionate about helping makers make. We want to give people the confidence to try something new, or the inspiration to pick up a project they haven’t worked on in a while.
We certainly aren’t the only maker blog out there, so here are some of our favorite maker blogs:
The people over at WoodBrew are YouTubers, but they also provide blog posts for those who prefer to read. Sometimes I like reading more than watching a video because I can do things at my own pace. WoodBrew includes plenty of photos to help you follow along for a project. Some of their projects include making a DIY kid’s table, making a surfboard, and making a DIY outdoor sofa.
Young House Love
Sherry and John from Young House Love are interior designers, DIYers, and house remodelers. They’ve launched their own product lines at Target and published at least two books. So yeah, they’re uber popular. They have a blog AND podcast where they share their DIY projects, design insights, and daily life. What’s enjoyable about this couple is they’re down to Earth and despite being so successful, they’re also very relatable. My favorite part of their page is the before and after section. It’s really fun and worth checking out.
The Seasoned Homemaker
The Seasoned Homemaker, created by a woman named Leslie, is about a blog about crafting and sewing. She describes herself as the “Yoda” of sewing and encourages people to make time for making because it’s good for your soul. She says, “I believe everyone should make time to make things. I believe that sewing is good for the soul. It can help you filter out the noise and recenter. I believe making beautiful things is the best way to start Celebrating Your Creativity.”
Made Every Day with Dana
Admittedly the first time I came across Made Every Day, it was a YouTube video about making leggings for girls. Since then, I have come to enjoy Dana’s blog as much as her videos. She’s a posting machine with TONS of sewing and crafting tutorials. Her pictures are always bright and beautiful and even if I’m not making something I like to browse her pages. Just in the course of writing this page I also discovered that she blogs about baking and cooking things too — naturally the things she posts are gorgeous.
Jennie and Davis
Like us, Jennie and Davis are a husband and wife duo who are makers. Their primary focus is woodworking and they have their own business selling what they make. What I love about this blog is they have tutorials for making things, but they also offer programs to help people learn how to turn their art into a business.
The Crafty Gemini
I love the Crafty Gemini because she has a lot of tutorials that are really easy to follow. Her photos are bright and her page is just fun. You can purchase already made products on her site, and you can also buy additional PDF patterns to learn how to make things. She focuses on a variety of things including sewing, kid crafting, crocheting, knitting, soap making, and even woodworking.
2. Learn How to Make Something From Books
Ah, books. Remember when it was predicted that books would be replaced by the internet? There’s certainly a ton of information on the internet about a ton of things. But books are also really really valuable resources of information. For one thing, books are portable. If you’re headed to your woodshop you can take a woodworking book along.
Books are also full of knowledge. If someone has taken the time to put together a book then they more than likely have a lot of experience or they’ve done quite a bit of research. Here are some of the best books you can use to learn how to make something:
We’re kind of into woodworking at the Making Life, and here are some of our best book recommendations for woodworkers.
Hybrid Woodworking by Marc Spagnuolo
Ned is a big fan of woodworker Marc Spagnuolo, AKA the Wood Whisperer. He published his book Hybrid Woodworking in 2013. This book talks about the process of using hand and power tools to create quality furniture.
Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop
If you’re a fan of Parks and Recreation then you probably already know who Nick Offerman is. He was a woodworker on the TV show but it turns out he’s one in real life as well. His book Good Clean Fun includes storytelling as well as projects from other famous woodworkers and an introductory section that explains concepts for working with tools.
The Complete Manual of Woodworking: A Detailed Guide to Design, Techniques, and Tools for the Beginner and Expert
The Complete Manual of Woodworking is a great basic guide for woodworking. It’s good for both beginners and more advanced woodworkers and a great resource for all sorts of information.
Who here loves sewing? Who also loves sewing books? I’m about to share with you a couple of my faves.
This book is a great guide if you’re looking for projects that don’t require a lot of fabric. One-Yard Wonders has a lot of projects like a hanging laundry basket, a quilted lunch box, and a summer nightie.
Fat Quarters: Small Fabrics, More Than 50 Big Ideas
If you want to use even less fabric, try the Fat Quarter book. There are a lot of cute projects in this book like party hats, a starburst pillow cover, and a library tote.
Crocheting and Knitting Books
I also love crocheting and wish I was good at knitting. Here’s a round-up of some pretty neat books.
Knitting for the Absolute Beginner (Absolute Beginner Craft)
For those who want to learn the basics of knitting, Knitting for the Absolute Beginner is comprehensive and has a lot of good pictures. It also has a variety of beginner patterns.
Harry Potter Knitting Magic
I’m not a knitter, but I want to learn more just so I can use this Harry Potter Knitting Magic book. I could see making loads of HP inspired scarves.
Whimsical Stitches: A Modern Makers Book of Amigurumi Crochet Patterns
For those who are interested in Amigurumi, Whimsical Stitches has so many adorable crochet patterns. I think the jellyfish one is super cute.
Crochet Cute Critters
This is another really sweet Amigurumi book called Crochet Cute Critters. I like to imagine the little one who would snuggle one of the little critters.
Edward’s Menagerie: The New Collection: 50 Animal Patterns to Learn to Crochet
OK OK once I started looking for crochet books I couldn’t help myself. Edward’s Menagerie is super cute too. Now I want all the Amigurumi books.
Crochet 101: Master Basic Skills and Techniques Easily through Step-by-Step Instruction
Crochet 101 looks really good for teaching people how to start crocheting. I really like the pictures included in this one.
Painting is another one of my passions. Here are a couple books to help you learn the art of painting.
Acrylics for the Absolute Beginner
Acrylics for Absolute Beginners has a lot of good information like paints to choose, mixing colors, how to create depth and distance, brushes to use and more.
Modern Watercolor Botanicals: A Creative Workshop in Watercolor, Gouache, & Ink
Modern Watercolor Botanicals is beautiful and makes me want to pick up my watercolors right now. It teaches some basics and then dives into painting watercolor plants and flowers.
Eco-Friendly Crafting Books
When I was searching for books to include in this guide I came across a book that speaks to one of my passions — being an eco-friendly maker. I found one book that tells you how to craft green!
Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials: 60 Cool Projects that Reimagine Paper Rolls, Egg Cartons, Jars and More!
Fun and Easy Crafting With Recycled Materials gives 60 projects that use items that would probably end up in the trash. I love projects like this because you’re not adding any additional waste.
Beeswax and Honey Making
We love our honeybees and we can’t wait until the Spring when we can get in and check out little workers. Our beekeeping is one of our favorite hobbies and I’m also fascinated by the things you can do with honeybee byproducts. Here are a couple of books that give amazing ideas for what to do with
Beehive Alchemy: Projects and Recipes Using Honey, Beeswax, Propolis, and Pollen to Make Soap, Candles, Creams, Salves, and More
I picked up Beehive Alchemy at the library and I was impressed by how knowledgeable the writer Petra Ahnert is. She not only gave detailed tutorials about how to make various things with honey, beeswax, pollen, and propolis, but she also described the scientific process of creating apothecary type things. For example, she explained why some of her lotions had failed in the past because of the wrong mixture of ingredients. I would really recommend this book if you’re interested in making things related to your honeybees.
The Beeswax Workshop
If I absolutely had to choose between the two books, I’d probably choose the Beehive Alchemy. However, The Beeswax Worskhop has some cool projects that are not included in the other book. I was specifically interested in this one because it shares a recipe for making beeswax crayons. There are a lot of tutorials for a lot of different projects, so I think the two books complement each other well.
Soap Making Books
I’ve personally never made soap — but that doesn’t stop me from being fascinated by it. My friend Clarissa from Grunge Goddess Soapworks wrote a guest post for us about soap making back in September. It’s a great introduction to cold process soap making if you’re interested in learning more about the process. For additional information, here are some books to help you start your own soap making shop.
Pure Soapmaking: How to Create Nourishing Natural Skin Care Soaps
Pure Soap Making by Anne-Marie Faiola is, first of all, a really pretty book. I love the aesthetics of this book! Putting that aside, the book also shares important details about the soap making process. The chapters cover the soap making process, how to choose equipment, using additives to your soap and a lot more.
Simple & Natural Soapmaking: Create 100% Pure and Beautiful Soaps with The Nerdy Farm Wife’s Easy Recipes and Techniques
A lot of people are drawn to soap making because they want a more natural alternative to many commercial soaps that are available on the market. Simple and Natural Soapmaking by Jan Berry covers the topic of how to make soaps naturally. This is a good book for beginners and it gets amazing reviews on Amazon.
Canning and Preserving
Canning is not something we’ve covered on the Making Life yet, but it something we’ve been doing for years. We love being able to grow a garden and put back food for later. We also love doing in safely. That’s why I like to follow scientifically tested recipes like the ones that you’d find in many canning books.
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Ball is closely associated with canning and their book is a GREAT resource if you want to start learning the process of canning. The Ball Complete Guide of Home Preserving is probably one you’ll want to buy and keep on hand.
How to Make Something Books for Kids
If you love being a maker than it’s probably important to you to pass on that love to your kids. We enjoy including our kids on projects and teaching them about making. Here are some books to help teach your kids crafting and making skills.
How to Draw Unicorns, Mermaids, and Other Magical Friends
If our daughters are any indication, mermaids, unicorns, and fairies are still pretty popular. This adorable book teaches your kids how to draw these magical beings.
Scissor Skills a Preschool Workbook for Kids
Scissor Skills is an activity book for kids that teaches preschool to kindergarten age kids how to use scissors.
Sewing School: 21 Projects Kids Will Love to Make
Perhaps you have an aspiring seamstress in your midst. Sewing School is a sewing guide book geared just for kids. The book includes 21 sewing projects.
Easy Paper Projects
If you’re interested in doing projects with your kids that don’t require tons of supplies, paper crafting is a great avenue. Easy Paper Crafts include 60 crafts and they’re super cute.
3. Subscribe to Maker Magazines to Learn How to Make Something
Did we say magazine? I know. You probably have a stack of National Geographic magazines in your garage that was gifted to you from your Grandpa. Hey! They might be worth something someday!
No, but really. Magazines can be really helpful when it comes to learning how to make things.
Magazines are like books in many ways but they’re often more current. You can learn about trends in the maker world and about up-and-coming artists. You can subscribe to very niche magazines that write primarily about what you’re interested in.
Even cooler, many magazines come with free plans and tutorials to learn how to make something awesome.
Need more convincing? Here’s a round-up of some of the best magazines we’ve found for makers.
When I was searching for titles to include in my magazine round up Mollie Makes came up again and again. On their site they write, “We bring you the latest crafting trends in easy-to-follow how-tos, encouraging you to adapt and share your own crafty spin on things.” Since I haven’t subscribed personally to this magazine, I’d love to know what you think if you’ve subscribed to it in the past. It has received mixed reviews on Amazon.
Make Magazine is kind of a big deal in the maker world. They first launched in 2005 and actually claim to have coined the word “maker.” In an interview with Fast Company, founder Dale Daugherty explains, “We’re not going to call them readers or users, but makers…It was just a fairly neutral term that could mean lots of things. I still like it for that purpose.”
Their magazine includes ideas for projects, technology, and good old fashioned DIY.
Wood Magazine is one of the publications that we have subscribed to through the years. One of our favorite things about it is the actual plans that are included in the magazine.
Family Handyman is a magazine that focuses on DIYers working on their homes. In the publication, you can read about DIY projects, tool reviews, storage ideas, landscaping ideas and a lot more.
American Patchwork Quilt
Do we have any quilting fans that follow our blog? American Patchwork Quilt by the same publishers as Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine all about quilting. They offer full-size patterns as well as instructions for quilting. This magazine is good for both experienced and new quilters.
Do it Yourself Magazine
Do It Yourself is another Better Homes and Gardens publication. There are loads of project ideas, hacks, organization ideas, gardening ideas, and many other things. I’d like this particular magazine just for the flea market makeover ideas. We haven’t subscribed to this magazine personally, so I’m not 100% sure of the overall quality. It does have a low subscription cost which makes it worth a try.
Cook’s Illustrated, brought to you by Test Kitchen, is classy as well as informative. What’s fun about the magazine is the experimental nature of cooking — they don’t just share recipes, they share why the work. They also share what doesn’t work. They explore everything from cookies to grilled salmon and they also offer reviews of kitchen items.
4. Join a Local Makerspace to Find Out How to Make Something
For some, the word “makerspace” is very common. They hear it and they know exactly what it means. For others, the term may sound completely foreign.
If you’re not already familiar with the term maker space, we’ll introduce it to you. A makerspace is a community making center. The big appeal of makerspaces is they often provide equipment and resources that you may not have available to you in your home.
Not all makerspace have the same qualities or focus. Some makerspaces are primarily for children. Others focus on things like woodworking and metalwork. These makerspaces might provide heavy shop equipment that you may not have the funding to invest in.
Makerspaces can also be a space for photographers, knitters, sewers, potters, engineers, filmmakers, and every other type of maker niche you can imagine. In a makerspace you might find photoshop software, 3D printers, materials for making, laser cutters, paper cutting machines, LEGOs, pottery wheels, easels, and really anything creatives need to make something.
Most of all, a makerspace actual space to use your creativity. Some people join makerspaces primarily because they need room to make something. If you’re living in a small apartment you may find that it’s frustrating trying to work on projects of any size.
An additional benefit of a makerspace is the financial opportunity. A lot of people take advantage of the resources available at makerspaces to launch small businesses. They’re able to make things to sell using tools that would have been a huge upfront investment. This can be an incredible resource for people who want a place to develop, experiment, and play, but lack the upfront capital.
We don’t have a makerspace in our local community, but we often have daydreams of launching one. We’ll see if those dreams every come to fruition.
5. Find Someone Who Already Knows How to Make Something
This point is short — but is also one of the most important on the list.
If you want to learn how to make something, try to find someone in your community that already knows how to make it. When I was a teenager, I really wanted to learn how to make fresh baked bread.
I didn’t know very much about baking, but I knew it was something that I wanted to learn. I ended up arranging visits with a woman from my church. She was willing to show me her tried and true methods to make bread. Today, I am still using the same bread making recipe that she taught me all those years ago.
When Ned first became interested in woodworking, he would spend time with my Dad learning how to use different woodworking equipment. My Dad taught him a lot of his own techniques and problem-solving solutions. Ned has since been able to build on that foundation to create his own unique style of making.
Learning directly from someone is one of my favorite ways to learn how to make something.
6. Sign Up for Online Courses to Learn How to Make Something
Another option for learning how to make something is to take an online course. Online courses give you access to inside knowledge, comprehensive tutorials, and visual plans.
I searched the internet to find some of the best online courses I thought makers would be interested in. Full disclosure: We’ve not personally signed up for these classes and can only recommend them based on other people’s reviews. Let us know in the comments if you like these courses or if you have additional suggestions.
Blueprint is one that I’ve seen advertised on NBC’s show Making It. Blueprint has five major focuses: Quilting, Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, and Cake Making. They also explore other areas of making like woodworking, drawing, painting, photography, and more. The site is very well put together and very inspiring. You can take courses with real instructors and you can also read through tutorials.
You may already know them from YouTube, but some of your favorite woodworking YouTubers also have their own online courses that you can sign up for. If you like Jimmy Diresta, Jesse De Geest (the Samurai Carpenter), and Jon Peters, then you may be interested in their online courses.
The Makers Mob has content for beginner, hobbyist, and craftsman level woodworkers. Another fun bonus about the courses is the entrance into a private members community where you can connect with other woodworking enthusiasts.
The Weekend Woodworker
Another favorite YouTube woodworker of ours is Steve Ramsey. He’s one of the original woodworking YouTubers and he has loads of content that you can find on his channel. He ALSO offers a variety of online courses that give an even more in-depth look into woodworking. His courses provide printable plans and diagrams as well.
Creative Live describes themselves as a, “…community of innovators, doers, and hustlers made stronger by our diversity.” They offer over 1500 classes, 650 instructors, and teach more than 10 million students. They offer a wide range of classes from calligraphy to entrepreneurship to songwriting.
Skillshare is similar to Creative Live in the diversity of courses offered. Skillshare courses include illustration, animation, creative writing, fine art, marketing, leadership and management, graphic design, web development, photography and a lot more. This online learning community currently has millions of members and the courses are taught by real creators.
7. Go to Classes in Your Local Community to Learn How to Make Something
There are often classes available to learn how to make something right in your own community. Maybe you have an art club nearby that offers painting classes or perhaps you can sign up for a woodworking workshop close to home. I know that our local crafting box stores JoAnn Fabrics and Michael’s often offer classes that teach you how to make things from the supplies they have in the store. Some of these classes even include crafting time for kids.
You’ve probably heard of the painting parties where people get together and learn how to paint the same image. You can also try your local college and sign up for continuing education classes. I took a pottery class when I was in high school and it was offered by our local college.
Start asking people you know for opportunities to learn a new skill. There’s a good chance someone will be able to point you in the right direction.
Get Out Of Your Chair and Get Creative
Now that you have so many new tools in your arsenal, it’s time to get out of your computer chair or off your comfy couch and start making something.
If you have a class, course, book, blog, that you’d like to share we would love to hear about it. Please drop us a comment below and tell us anything that we may have missed in our guide.
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