Document your DIY and craft projects with these 8 simple ideas that will help you keep track of finished projects, record supplies and tools and even record what you’ve learned!
I have been crafting and doing DIY projects since I was a kid. But before I accidentally started this website, I didn’t really document craft projects in any meaningful way. I did do some photography of some projects as part of my portfolio for grad school but that was really it. Unless I still physically HAVE the project, I have no record of it. There are probably tons of projects I made and lost or gifted that I don’t even remember.
So that got me thinking, surely I’m not the only one out there like this. NOW I document everything I make since that turned out to be my job. But before I went to grad school for design, I didn’t do that. Wouldn’t it be neat to see a record of all of the crafty things you’ve made in your lifetime?
In fact, I recently saw a news story about a memorial service held for grandma who was a quilter. Her family displayed the many many quilts she had made for them at the service and I thought that was just so meaningful. That is truly why so many of us craft right, to express ourselves, to leave a little beauty behind in the world? So I thought that’s what we would chat about today, some simple ways to document your DIY and craft projects!
Why should I document craft projects?
- To see how far you’ve come. You may not be able to truly see how your crafting skills develop over time if you can’t compare your newer craft projects to older ones. That’s really motivating and a great reason to document your crafts right there. You never even have to show it to anyone if you don’t want to.
- To remember craft projects that you gave as gifts. Sometimes we put a lot of time and effort into crafting gifts and it can be a little bittersweet to send them to their new home. If you document your projects you’l have a record of what you made, who you made it for and when/why!
- To learn from our mistakes. I’ve talked about this before, but mistakes are how we learn things. If you have a craft fail, it can be really really helpful to identify what went wrong and then DOCUMENT what you learned so you don’t make that mistake again. I know I sometimes forget things and would absolutely screw things up twice if I didn’t write things down.
- To learn from our successes. On the other hand, if something really works well, it’s great to make a note of that as well so you can use that again in the future!
- Document materials. I love to write down what materials I used for craft projects. That way if I’m ever like oh, I really liked that scrapbook paper I used on that earring hanger….I can look it up and see what brand it was and where I bought it.
- Document tools or techniques. Did I cut those shapes for my wreath with a paper punch, a cricut, with scissors? Which one of those options worked the best? How exactly did I mix that fabric dye and how hot was the water? Documenting tools and techniques will only be helpful to future you.
- Document colors. Seriously, much like painting your house, documenting what colors you use in your craft projects, whether it’s an acrylic paint color, a spray paint color, a yarn color, etc. will be super super helpful especially if you tend to order supplies and materials online and need to replenish.
- To feel a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes you just need to pat yourself on the back!
8 Simple Ways to Document your DIY and Craft Projects
- Use a sketchbook. Maybe this is an architecture school thing but I have kept a constant sketchbook since about 2004. And I have them all. They document every creative idea I have and sometimes include random life stuff like trip packing lists as well. I don’t keep a journal, but this is my alternative. Sketchbooks are great because they are completely blank and you can use them in literally any way that you want to. You can tape in photos, you can draw, you can write, you can collage or stick down yarn labels. Whatever you want, the options are endless.
- Use a notebook or journal. If a sketchbook is TOO open ended, you might benefit from a more structured journal or even a dated calendar with your daily ideas and projects.
- Use a Craft planner. Me: craft planner pages would really helpful. Also me: Oh wait! I already have a set on my website! Talk about a “duh” moment. I have an entire set of free printable craft planner pages designed totally for the purpose of planning and documenting your craft projects. (There is a knit and crochet planner page set also)
- Use a 3 ring binder with sleeves. If you like to tear things out of magazines, print tutorials, save random scraps or labels from your craft projects, a 3-ring binder with clear plastic sleeves might work well for you.
- File folders. Accordion file folders are another option if you like to keep a lot of bits and pieces of your craft projects. You could have a slot for each project or a slot for each type of craft, there are lots of different ways you could organize them.
- Document digitally. You can simply take photos of your craft projects and store them in a folder on your phone or computer. This doesn’t have to be rocket science.
- Start a blog. Whether it’s a hobby or becomes an income stream, a blog or website is a great way to document craft projects if you have any interest in sharing what you make with other.
- Use social media. A lower stakes version of a blog, documenting your craft projects on Instagram or other social media is incredibly easy. You can document any of the techniques, colors, materials or tools in the caption and choose to share it or keep it private.
How to Document your Craft Projects- What to Include:
- brainstormed ideas
- inspirational pictures (with credit to the creator/photographer)
- concept sketch or sketches of what it will look like
- swatches (paint swatches or gauge swatches)
- instructions or link to instructions
- polaroid or printed photo of finished project
- The actual finished project (optional, of course)
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