There are hundreds if not thousands of different varieties of handicrafts. Crafting includes a variety of art forms, from sculpture and metalwork to knitting and printing. The following list of crafts is included merely for illustrative purposes.
These crafts can all be divided into five basic types based on their form and purpose: textile, decorative, paper, functional, and fashion crafts.
- TEXTILE CRAFTS
These include any type of craft where you work with fabric, yarn, or surface design. Some examples are knitting, quilting, appliqué, weaving, and dyeing. Many of these could obviously also fall into the decorative or fashion crafts categories since the finished goods are often sold as sweaters or wall hangings. However, they are technically textile crafts since they all start with the fabric.
Popular textile handicrafts also include Doll making, Toy-making, Crocheting, Embroidery, Felt-making, Lace-making, Macramé, Tapestry art, Millinery (hat making), Rug making, Shoe making (cordwaining), etc.
- PAPER CRAFTS
As the name implies, paper crafts have to do with paper. Many kids get their first introduction to paper crafts in pre-school when they use carved potatoes, lady fingers to hand print designs on construction paper. The grown-up version of this is wood and linoleum engraving.
Other paper crafts include Papier-Mache, Calligraphy, Papermaking, Paper Modelling, Collage, Decoupage, Origami paper folding, Book-binding, Assemblage, Pop-up books, Quilling or paper filigree,Rubber/acrylic stamping, Scrapbooking, etc.
- DECORATIVE CRAFTS
Furniture making, metalwork, stencilling, stained glass, gilding, spongeware, and basketry all fall into the category of decorative crafts. This category also includes toy making and other arts—anything where the final product is a piece of decor. Unlike fine art, decorative art typically has some element of utility to it. A piece of furniture, for example, may be beautiful in its own right—but its main function is to provide a place to sit.
Combining furniture-making with metalwork is a popular trend. Arts and crafts and home décor magazines often showcase furniture constructed from wood but with metalwork legs or trim. The metalwork tends to be very industrial-looking but there is a good amount of ornate metalwork included as well. Other crafts include Wood-carving, Wood-turning, Cabinet making, Furniture making, Lacquerware, Ceramics (earthenware, stoneware, porcelain), Mosaic Art, Glass Beadmaking, Glass Blowing, Glass Etching, Metalwork involving processes like Embossing, Repoussé work, Engraving, Enamelling, granulation and filigree decoration.
- FASHION CRAFTS
This craft encompasses all the elements of dressing the human body: jewellery, hats, leatherwork (shoes, belts, handbags), and garments. It will naturally intersect with other craft types since jewellery can be made through metalworking and garments are fabricated by sewing—which can be classified as a textile craft.
Fashion crafts involve a variety of materials, from soft fabrics such as cotton, linen, and wool to sturdier materials such as nylon, canvas, and leather. Sewing is just one part of making a garment; design and construction of clothing is a multi-step process that requires precise technique and careful attention to detail.
- FUNCTIONAL CRAFTS
Obviously, to attract the widest possible customer base, it’s good to have functionality built into your art or craft. Many times customers who won’t shell out the big bucks for an original creation just because of its good looks will justify the cost because it can also be used in day-to-day life. Basket weaving, Knife-making (cutler), etc are also functional crafts.
Many of the four other types of crafts can also be classified as functional. For example, decorative pottery—including serving platters and utensils—is often made with components that are okay for people to eat from. Many furniture crafts are primarily functional but can also be quite decorative.