Looking for activities to fill the hours you’d usually spend having nice pints with pals in the pub? If you’re prepared to pivot to wholesome, we have a solution for you: loads of cool London makers have been bringing out DIY kits over the past few weeks, meaning you can get creative without leaving your sofa. There’s everything from brewing to pottery to collaging – and the best thing is that if it turns out you’re shit at whichever craft you pick, no one has to know (just shove the result of your making session to the back of a cupboard and forget about it forever).
1. Fill a terrarium
Not got a garden? Make your own tiny one in a jar. Wardian London and Botanical Boys’ terrarium kits come with plant materials, a glass vessel and courier delivery (starting price £28). Order the one you want and then join a virtual workshop (running on selected Mondays until June 22) to learn how to put it together.
2. Embroider some stuff
Shopping for new threads may not be high up on your list right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t customise what you already have. Get crafty with London Embroidery Studio’s beginners’ hand-embroidery kit (£29.99), which comes with needles, yarn and more. Once you’ve got your newly upcycled wardrobe, make sure you arrange a fashion show via Google Hangouts – it’s only right.
3. Make a whole bike
Although we’re all social distancing, you can still get active outside while following guidelines on non-essential contact. That means riding a bike is go. And what could be better than riding a bike you built yourself? Enter Bamboo Bicycle Club. Its cycle-construction experts send out everything you need to assemble a sustainable bamboo bike from home. From £270.
4. Make candles
Seeing as you’ll be spending plenty of time at home, you may as well make your surroundings atmospheric, and nothing says soothing-even-in-the-midst-of-a-pandemic quite like a candle. Fashion your own with the ultimate kit (£25) from The London Refinery, which comes complete with candle fragrances, glassware and a wax thermometer. Or try Earl of East’s (£45). It’s like recreating a GSCE science lesson but, you know, in your home.
5. Distil gin
Trying times call for hard spirits made by hand. The Village Haberdashery’s make your own gin kit (£34.99) will help you create a gin that suits your taste, thanks to the botanical blends that come with it. But be warned, the vodka that’s needed (because apparently gin is basically flavoured vodka!) isn’t included. But still well worth it for the boasting rights at your next video-call drinking sesh.
6. Do some pottery
London Fields workshop Kana London, known for its rustic, hand-shaped ceramics, has launched an online pottery course. The Stay Home Kana Clay Club has two elements. First you order a clay kit. Available to buy from the Kana website, each £35 box contains 3kg of clay and eight tools to shape and carve it with. Then, look out for a series of online masterclasses that’ll teach you to turn that hefty hunk of clay into bowls, vases and more. Or try Sculpd, which does air-dry clay kits for £39.
7. Paint ceramics
Once you’ve birthed your pottery babies, there’s only one thing to do: paint them nice colours and use them as wonky key holders for the rest of eternity. Arty Club provides a range of ceramic painting kits. You can buy art equipment from a tenner or sets featuring ceramic animals or crockery from £25. You paint them and then send them off to the kiln to get fired.
8. Brew kombucha
What’s more of a 2020 cliché than getting really into pottery during lockdown? Ahem, getting really into brewing your own kombucha. Fix8’s home-brewing set (£40) features the starter you need to get fermenting, tea bags, a jar to make it in and some taster bottles of the stuff in various flavours. You might not be able to have an exciting time while stuck at home but at least your gut can.
9. Get cutting and sticking
Collage Club is normally a meet-up where likeminded Londoners gather to turn pretty bits of paper into cool compositions in an extremely mindful way. Obviously, it can’t happen collectively at the moment, but the club’s selling fun paper packs for £6.50 – featuring loads of different textures and colours, some hand-painted bits, some stickers – that you can use to collage at home. The kits are currently sold out, but the club is doing regular drops so keep checking.
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