5 Easy and Affordable Japanese Arts and Crafts Ideas
Japan is renowned all over the world for its numerous and varied arts and crafts. From traditional handicrafts such as paper and sword making to artistic techniques like calligraphy and woodblock printing, Japanese arts and crafts are as diverse as they are well known. If you would like to try some of them yourself, these five great Japanese arts and crafts ideas are fun, affordable and easy to do at home.
Origami is one of the best known Japanese crafts in the West – and also one of the cheapest. It’s perfect for making gifts and decorations – for example, roses as a gift for a loved one, boxes for homemade goodies, or cranes as table decorations. All you need is a pack of Japanese origami paper and a little inspiration, and you’re set. Simply order your origami paper, find a guide online (origami-instructions.com has loads of ideas) and get folding!
Also used for origami, washi origami paper is softer and more textured than standard origami paper. Thanks to this unique texture and the beautiful colours and patterns available, washi paper is a great material for a whole host of Japanese crafts besides origami, including card making, jazzing up stationery, and even advanced crafts like jewellery making. Online resources are fairly limited; I recommend either buying this book or scouring Pinterest for inspiration.
Kanji (calligraphy) art is one of the best known Japanese art forms. And like washi paper crafts, once you’ve mastered it, you can use your newfound skill for all sorts of things – decorating stationery, making cards, even painting a canvas for your home. All you need to do is find a decent Japanese calligraphy set, look online for characters that you particularly like (in terms of appearance and/or meaning), and recreate them.
It may not be so well known in the West, but Mizuhiki is one of Japan’s most ancient crafts. A special kind of decorative cord made from rice paper, Mizuhiki is used to decorate things like gifts, cards and envelopes. It is twisted and knotted to create flowers and animals, as well as elaborate designs similar to the bows that are made using ribbons in western culture. Click here to see examples.
When you think of Japanese art, one of the first things that springs to mind is ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), in particular the works of Hiroshige and Hokusai. Traditionally, woodblock printing involves etching a design into a wooden block, rolling ink over the image and pressing this onto canvas. However, etching a design into solid wood is no mean feat without the correct skills and tools, so why not make your own blocks using Styrofoam instead? A step-by-step guide can be found here.
I hope this post has given you plenty of Japanese arts and crafts ideas to be getting on with. If you’re after any materials, tools or equipment for your project, you can find everything you need at The Japanese Shop.