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12 Retro Craft Kits With a Fresh Take on Familiar Favorites

The best things never really go out of style, and that’s especially true when it comes to crafting!

Sarah Burns · 2 months ago

  • toy

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Looking to revisit your old favorites, or introduce them to a new crowd? Crafting kits are totally the way to go, because you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips, taking the guesswork out of what you’ll need to get started. It’s easy – just pick out a craft, pick up a kit, and get to creating!

Ann Williams Loopdedoo Friendship Bracelet Maker

I loved making friendship bracelets as a kid and almost always had a bracelet-in-progress safety pinned to my Jncos. With this loom you’ll be showing off your friendship in style without getting a weird little hole in the giant jeans you just begged your mom to buy. 

The kit includes 18 colors of embroidery floss, but if you run out, no worries, because this patented spinning loom design will work with any brand. The built-in storage drawer, and compact design mean you can pack it up and make bracelets for friends you meet on all your travels — no safety pins required.

Klutz Punch Yarn Pillow

Yarn punch pillows were all the rage in the ’70s. They were usually brown/yellow/pea green creations in geometric or organic leaf patterns, and they were usually pretty horrendous. 

But this yarn punch sweet treat bears very little resemblance to the scratchy wool creations that lived on your grandma’s plastic-covered sofa well through the mid-80s! The kit includes eight different brightly hued, totally adorable patterns. Even the classic yarn punching needle has been updated from the torture-device-looking contraption of the ’70s to a kid-friendly design for ages 10 and up.

Dan&Darci Rock Painting Kit

OK, I admit it: At first I was like, “A kit? To paint rocks???” But logistically, a lot of us live in cities where rocks are really just busted chunks of asphalt, or chipped concrete. It's already challenging enough finding the time to try a new hobby — let alone also having to skip off to the shore to search for beautifully smooth, perfectly paintable rocks, and then buy all the cute transfers, paints, glitter, and everything else separately? Kit, please! 

If you’ve already got a rockin’ rock collection started, this is the perfect artistic addition. Each kit comes packed with enough embellishments for all the rocks included, plus plenty leftover to spiff up your sedimentaries, makeover your metamorphics, and improve your igneouses! 

Gift Republic Tie Dye DIY Kit

A quintessential classic craft that’s been groovy since the 60s! Intimidated by dye? Don’t be! With this handy little tin, you have the start of a colorful new wardrobe, and all you really need is a bucket of water, a couple bottles to hold the dye (pro tip: squeeze bottles work super well, and make for minimal mess) and a place to let your creation hang dry. The kit contains dye, gloves (a must), and rubber bands, as well as instructions to help you achieve that iconic, colorful swirl. The hardest part will be deciding what to dye! 

Elle Cree “Blooming Succulent” Paint-By-Number Kit

Paint-by-number designs used to fall mainly into two camps: subdued landscapes with sweeping mountains and snowy wildlife scenes, and garish, overly adorable kittens or puppies with bells and bows around their necks. Thankfully, Elle Cree offers a stylish middle ground with a line of paint-by-numbers designed to look lovely and timeless with pretty much any decor. 

Think you “succ” at painting? Paint-by-numbers are an excellent way to learn how to use and hold a paintbrush, gain artistic confidence, and learn color mixing skills — and the end result is always a masterpiece! 

MacraWish Macrame Keychain Kit

MacraWish Macrame Keychain  Kit

Macrame Kit for beginners; includes materials for three projects.

Tried knitting and crochet and found it’s just knot your style? You and macrame might be a marvelous match! This kit by MacraWish contains instructions and materials for three keychains, but the techniques the patterns teach are also a great starting point for anyone interested in larger projects, like a macrame bag, a plant hanger, or if you get really good, maybe even Neptune’s Throne

Gift Republic DIY Flower Press

You really know how to pick ’em, but then what to do with ’em all? Save your favorite blossoms by turning them into works of art! Traditionally, flower pressing was accomplished by flattening favorite flowers in the pages of a heavy book close to the spine, but this can cause pages to stain and put strain on the binding. So this tiny tin will save your flowers and your books. Completed flowers look lovely on gift tags, cards, and stationary, and your friends will be so impressed

Harrisville Designs 7" Potholder Deluxe Loom Kit

Harrisville Designs 7" Potholder Deluxe Loom

Potholder loom kit with rainbow loops.

This plastic peg-loom design has served as an introduction to basic weaving for generations, because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s a fun, relaxing, and creative hobby, and when you’re finished, you’ll have a super useful kitchen helper. They’re great as trivets under hot dishes at the table, or under potted plants in case of overwatering. You could even sew several together for a unique, colorful, and functional table runner. Plus, they make fabulous gifts, especially for that hard-to-buy-for friend who’s always the hostess with the mostess. The kit includes enough materials for six potholders, but extra loops are readily available when you’re ready to make more.

Joy Sunday Cross Stitch Kits

Joy Sunday Fox Cross Stitch Kit

Joy Sunday Fox Cross Stitch Kit

If needlepoint makes you think of grandmas in rocking chairs hunched over floral patterns, check out the fresh, brightly colored Joy Sunday Cross Stitch kits. The patterns and colors are printed directly onto the fabric in a water soluble ink, eliminating the need to interpret complicated design charts, so you can literally just pick it up, crack it open, and start stitching! No need for a thimble, because this kit includes round-headed needles to save your fingers from being poked. When you’ve finished your design, wash gently to remove the dye, leaving behind only your handy stitch work. 

STMT D.I.Y. Journaling Set

Journals and scrapbooks used to be a vital way to hold onto important keepsakes and share memories with the next generation. Social media, and the ability to store these memories digitally, have made recording and storing them in an actual book seem super old-school — but there’s something unquestionably powerful about being able to physically hold and touch something from the past that just isn’t the same when you’re scrolling through digital albums. 

This kit will provide the gift of being able to physically hold your favorite memories! Accent them with frames, patterned papers, and glittering highlights, and share them with friends and family during reunions, during holiday celebrations, or just any old rainy day. 

Fashion Angels DIY Scrunchie Kit

Fashion Angels DIY Scrunchie Kit

Fashion Angels DIY Scrunchie Kit

I don’t know how many scrunchies could be considered “too many,” but I can say there was a point in my life where I felt strongly enough about them that I needed  at least 2 for each pigtail (in different colors, obv), several around each wrist to match my jelly bracelet collection, and at least one to gather to bottom of my gigantic t-shirts into a fashionable, sassy side knot.

In retrospect, that might have been a bit much, but they’re just so fun and useful! And with this kit, they’re super easy to make. Includes pre-dyed fabric in neon colors, and enough elastic to make six scrunchies, but if you’re pretty crafty, you could easily grab a roll of elastic and a stack of fat quarters to make as many as you like in the patterns and colors of your choosing! 

Kid Made Modern Shrink Art Jewelry Kit

Crowding around a hot oven with the light on inside to watch something you just drew shrink down to size was part of the magic of growing up in an analogue childhood. Could we have just made these drawings super teeny to begin with? Sure, I guess, but have you ever tried drawing — or coloring in — something really small? It’s not that easy, and truth be told, not as much fun as watching something you made condense itself into a sturdier piece with richer colors.

Kid Made Modern reimagined this childhood favorite, and paired it up with a collection of jewelry findings, strings, and beads, so you can use your colorful, shrunken works of art to create unique, wearable creations!