Nostalgia, getting back to nature, stress reduction and an emphasis on tactile sensations – these are some of the forces driving today’s hottest design trends for makers. Sound like a blast from the past? You’re on the right track. Most of today’s consumer design trends harken back to simpler times, but with a decidedly twenty-teens twist. Here’s our trend guide for 9 of the most popular themes you can incorporate into your work in the coming year.
#1: Horoscopes, Galaxy Designs & Mysticism
Constellation necklaces, galaxy jars and homemade perfumes based on horoscope signs- the zodiac craze is approaching ’60s scale.
In addition to making galaxy- themed wearables and wood wall hangings that display the phases of the moon, use tarot cards and crystals to overcome your own creative blocks. “It’s a way of working mindfulness into daily life,” says Nicole Stevenson, co-founder of Dear Handmade Life, which produces craft shows, online workshops and podcasts about crafting.
#2: Mac is Back
No, not computers- macrame, another throwback to the era of tie-dyes and bell bottoms. Only this time around, beads, metal pieces and mirrors are making the knotted designs shine. Incorporate extra- large or double hoops to give wall hangings an updated look ( if you are up for building your own loom that is). Or use black cord instead of traditional white.
#3: Garden Decor
“Anything ‘plant’ will sell,” says Liz Wright, co-founder of Assembly PDX, a provider of craft workshops. Plants in ceramic containers have become mainstays of home decor, and plant imagery is fashionable in papercrafting and scrapbooking. Mounting ferns and other air plants on wood boards creates a “living work of art,” Wright says.
The trend also extends to faux plants, especially succulents which are gaining popularity as house plants and staples of fairy gardens. Those who prefer living greens but lack a green thumb are trying cacti or staghorn ferns, which don’t require much sunlight or water to thrive.
#4: Unfinished surfaces
Unfinished wood and clay are prized for their natural look. Unfinished wood crates can be transformed into crafting tables or stacked to store books, knickknacks or kids’ toys.
Unglazed ceramics make a decorative statement as plant pots, pencil jars, coasters and jewelry containers. And unvarnished wood adds a cool factor to your standard shelving, picture frames or catch- all boxes for keys and pocket change.
To create rustic signage or artwork, use a wood burning tool to etch words or designs onto unfinished wood slats or slices cut from a tree.
#5: All-natural Relaxation
Scented soaps, fizzy bath bombs and aromatherapy concoctions provide fun and fragrant ways to relax, detox and step back from today’s always-on culture. And now, the more natural the product, the better.
“People are not interested in dyes and preservatives- they want essential oils and Epsom salts,”, suggests Lauren Skunta, the owner of Elbowgrease Design, which creates custom decor and window displays. For customers who don’t have time for a bath, make “shower melts”- small aromatherapy disks that you place on the shower floor or on a ledge, sprinkling them with a few drops of water.
Who misses the ’80s and ’90s? It’s not just adults who grew up then, but also anyone who wants to get in touch with their inner rainbow, mermaid or unicorn.
Kidulting started with Japan’s “kawaii” craze for cute animals, preferably pink and sparkling with glitter. The new kidulting crowd is interested in everything from unicorn hand puppets to pink mule sandals with multicolored tassels.
Food imagery is big, too. Think comfort-food goodies including donuts with icing and sprinkles, ice cream cones or multilayered rainbow cakes.
#7: ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response)
Ever get a tingling down in your spine from cutting paper, carving wood or hearing whispered voices? If so, you may have what scientists call an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).
ASMR crafts are building a passionate following, with tens of thousands tuning into view videos of artisans cutting and decorating paper flowers or molding clay as they whisper instructions.
ASMR-inclined makers might enjoy crushing floral foam and submerging it in water.
Or maybe you’d like to try pouring paint into a mold, freezing it, extracting it, then slicing it with a palette knife. Now, just make a video of your activity, and who knows- you might become the next Youtube star.
#8: Friendsgiving & Galentines
Not everyone can make it home for Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s Day can be a drag in the aftermath of a breakup. But instead of whining, today’s millennials are making lemonade- or rather, funny valentines and pumpkin-shaped candles.
There is no limit on creativity for nontraditional holiday celebrations, giving party planners free reign to have fun with quirky decor. Turkey or pilgrim hats for Friendsgiving? How about disposable paper tablecloths dotted with stars? Or gilded pumpkins and pine cones, or fall leaf-mobiles? For Galentine’s day, curled ribbons, garlands and pink picture frames all have a place at the table.
Some makers want to use their creativity to make the world a better, brighter place. Their activities are known as “Craftivism” (crafts + activism) and include stenciling designs on asphalt roads or “yarn bombing” light posts, utility poles and trees with colorful knitted collars.
Much of the movement centers around sewing, from making quilts for charities to creating needlepoint affirmations to lean against a wall. Others engage in what they call “knitting for good” – making blankets for the homeless or vests for penguins affected by an oil spill.
“If we want our world to be more beautiful, kind and fair, then shouldn’t some of our activism be beautiful, kind and fair?” says British craftivist Sarah Corbett.
Whether you’re an astrology devotee, a plant lady or a nostalgic parent, there’s something for everyone to love in this trend guide. So what are you waiting for? As the craftivists say, spread your wings and soar!