Crafting trends of the 1970s you might want to revisit

From macramé to Shrinky Dinks, the 1970s were a golden age for crafts.

Everyone who lived through the 1970s has a memory of a craft they did, whether it was the macramé owl hanging on your living room wall or the Shrinky Dink necklace you loved as a child. The '70s were a crazy time for crafting. Take a look back at some nifty crafting trends you've probably forgotten about — and might want to try again. 

1. Crochet clothing

Crocheting has been popular for a while, but the 1970s is when the craft hit it big. Normally reserved for items like gloves and scarves, crocheting briefly became popular for everyday wear. Women could find anything crocheted — from vests and hats to dresses and hot pants. With the saturation of crocheted clothing, it's hard to believe how it could've ever gone out of style. 

Image credit: Pinterest

2. Love beads

A traditional symbol for hippies, love beads became an easy way for anyone to accessorize in the late '60s and early '70s. Although people could buy the necklaces and bracelets already made, people could customize them by buying different colored beads. The colorful accessories matched perfectly with tie-dye. Even Chet Atkins released a single called "Love Beads" in 1970.

Image credit: Pinterest

3. Macramé

A home wasn't complete in the 1970s if it didn't have at least one piece of macramé hanging from the wall. The crafting fad is thought to have roots in ancient Afghanistan, and it was big in the Victorian era as well. But for some reason, people just couldn't get enough of it during the 1970s! Homes were covered in everything macramé, from tablecloths to plant hangers, and even decorative owls. 

Image credit: awfullibrarybooks.net

4. Needlepoint... for men!

Women didn't have all the fun when it came to crafting. In 1973, football legend Rosey Grier became somewhat of a homemaker when he wrote the book Needlepoint for Men. In it, he professes his love for the craft and urges men to pick up a needle and get to work. "It started out as a joke," wrote Grier. And that's probably how many guys felt when the book was published. But the book showed it was okay for men to get in touch with their crafty side.

Image credit: Flickr

5. Pebble pets

Pet Rocks were one of the defining fads of the 1970s. But why settle for one plain Pet Rock when you can have a host of pebble pets? During the brief time the rocks were popular, people found fun and creative ways to personalize their prized possessions. Want your Pet Rock to be a clown? No problem! Just grab some paint, googly eyes and glue. 

Image credit: goretro.com

6. Shrinky Dinks

A craft that really struck a chord with kids during the 1970s was Shrinky Dinks. Created by two housewives in 1973, the pint-size craft let kids decorate a thin piece of plastic. When they put it in the oven, the plastic shrunk several inches while still maintaining the original design. Although the fad died down, kids can still find the activity in stores today. 

Image credit: vintagenewscast.com

7. Tie-dye

Everyone knows it as the psychedelic pattern that is synonymous with '60s and '70s counter culture. But the fashion trend became mainstream thanks to the introduction of affordable dyes. Soon enough, people everywhere could express themselves by customizing their shirts and dresses with bright colors and peace signs. 

Image credit: Found in Mom's Basement

8. Velvet paintings

Known for using stark, bright images against a black background, velvet paintings took off in the 1970s thanks to Edgar Leeteg. The painter started creating beautiful tropical images in the 1930s and '40s. But in the '60s and '70s, kitsch images were mass-produced in Mexico, leading to the craft's popularity and ultimate decline. Today, you won't find many of them in art museums. 

 
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Mama5 2 months ago
My Mom taught me knitting and crochet. We did macrame once in Girl Scouts but I wasn't very good at it. I might try again sometime.
LeolaLaroche 2 months ago
does anyone remember the dove soap craft made with a rubbery or soft plastic swan head and neck? The swan neck was attached to the soap bar and decorated.
My problem is I can't find those swan head/necks anywhere!
Does anyone out there know what I'm talking about?
Donna 2 months ago
Does anyone remember the craft kits that had string to outline the picture on a plastic base and different materials to fill in the picture (colored gravel, sequins, etc.)?
RichLorn 3 months ago
Shrinky Dinks! ...... Originally named for members of the Polar Bear swim club.
GradivaOlive 3 months ago
These were all great craft things, but in the mid-'70's I myself had one of those Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture kits (as pitched by Vincent Price); thought it would be junk, but man did the final products actually look like they were right out of Vincent's movies (yes, I've been watching Svengoolie portrayals since Screaming Yellow Theater in Chicago since 1969, no effect on me....).
gockionni 3 months ago
Grama made us girls crocheted vests, red, white and blue - they were awesome! My 40-something daughter makes shrinky dinks from the clear plastic tops of baked goods boxes (grocery store); she didn’t know that there used to be a shrinky dinks kit we used as kids.
FlaFeral 3 months ago
Shrinky Dinks! My brother & I made alot of those..tough to punch a hole after shrinking to hang em...had to use oversize hole before shrinking..which never turned out correct..But they were fun to make!
MichaelFields 3 months ago
You forgot String Art, where you take string and nails to make a picture, It was HUGE back in the day and I did it then, and then about a year or so again I tried it again, it was pretty fun to do even after all this time
Gossemer MichaelFields 3 months ago
Wow, ya hit me with that one M. I loved those, we did them in art at my school. And they looked awesome
Andy 3 months ago
Never had a Shrinky Dink set work out. I got two or three kits and each one had at least two that curled up completely and you couldn't flatten them out.
JHP 3 months ago
beware folks - what goes around comes around:)

back in the 70's it seemed all women were so so pretty (watch Match Game)

also the music was 10000x's better than the tripe today ; if it wasn't explain the dearth of OTA radio and other sources to hear those songs

and yes I still think somewhere I got one of those silky shirts that was seen at the local discos (YIKES!)

time to watch Barnaby Jones (the older ones:)
Patsy JHP 3 months ago
I just watched an rised this morning💞✌️
tootsieg 3 months ago
OMG!!! Macramé and Crochet clothing was so popular in the 70’s.
JHP tootsieg 3 months ago
lost my rear end investing in yarn:)
elizabethfh 3 months ago
Gosh I was a compulsive needle pointer in the 1970s. Now I’m a compulsive knitter.
CouchPotato19 elizabethfh 3 months ago
The only thing I knit is my brow.
Kelley1 3 months ago
Thanks for this...I needed the laugh! But seriously, I come from a long line of handcrafters on both sides. They never made any of these things. I don't remember even seeing anyone wearing them either. As a teen, I do remember seeing pet rocks when a store went out of business though.
justjeff 3 months ago
I had NONE of that stuff... and seemed to have survived the 70s just fine, thank you!
Runeshaper 3 months ago
Pet Rocks ROCK! Had to say that LOL (-:
Kenner 3 months ago
Shrinky Dinks? Ummm, ok….
peterm Kenner 3 months ago
little pieces of plastic you colored then put in the oven and they shrank
KJExpress peterm 3 months ago
It was so cool to see them curl up and shrink in the oven.
JHP Kenner 3 months ago
there were creepy crawlers also - can you imagine the hula-ba-loo trying to sell those units to todays kids and parents?
gockionni JHP 3 months ago
And Incredible Edibles!! The gastronomic version of Creepy Crawlers
JHP gockionni 3 months ago
the pre-cursor to gummy worms:)
Donna gockionni 2 months ago
I remember those, but couldn't remeber the name. Thanks!
bnichols23 3 months ago
Gawd.... Every now & then I email my "kid" (34) with 70s fashions to let him know we really were that dumb back then.
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JHP bnichols23 3 months ago
you got me totally wrong - I love the match game:) - wont ever diss that show or any of the ones I listed above:)
JHP justjeff 3 months ago
ah so you looked like David Byrne ? (Minus the beard) Love that band:)
justjeff JHP 3 months ago
If he looked like me during my senior year of high school, my sympathies go out to him...
JHP justjeff 3 months ago
he might have:)

:is this my beautiful house? Is this my beautiful wife?" ( line from one of his songs)
KawiVulc 3 months ago
Rosey's still around. Last of the Rams Fearsome Foursome. They don't make em like that any more.
UTZAAKE KawiVulc 3 months ago
Rosey Grier is a Penn State man who originally starred with the New York Football Giants and was ubiquitous as Wolfman Jack and Muhammad Ali during the 1970s.
JHP UTZAAKE 3 months ago
and his son was an Edmonton Oiler (NHL)
Pacificsun 3 months ago
OMH, people didn't have enough to do in the 70's did they.

I used to see crocheted deely-bobs in people's homes. One was a cover for a roll of toilet paper.

My mom used to say, "why?"
daDoctah Pacificsun 3 months ago
When I decided I needed to hang the computer speakers up instead of placing them on a shelf that would rattle from the vibrations, I headed to a nearby Goodwill and found two macrame plant hangers. They're now in the closet of the spare room, hanging from the clothes pole.
bnichols23 daDoctah 3 months ago
I'd separate them. Leave them together in the dark like that & one day you're going to open that closet & be deluged with 783 little macrames!
justjeff daDoctah 3 months ago
Macrame doilies...macrame coasters...macrame pot holders... knit one...bury two!
daDoctah bnichols23 3 months ago
Well, they are at opposite ends of the closet rod for maximum stereo separation.

I still wear tie-dye. Long before the pandemic and the resultant need to mask, I found a place online that sells bandanas so I had a supply of various tie-dye color combinations that I fasten around my lower face every day before I leave the house.
Sway 3 months ago
I remember tie dying T shirts with Rit Dye. Always liked the tie-dye look.
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