The 11 Best Apps For Crafters And DIY Enthusiasts

by JR Thorpe

Crafty types may often look at technology with a thoroughly suspicious, borderline-Luddite eye — but just because you're into DIY and arts and crafts hobbies like embroidery, woodworking, or knitting doesn't mean that tech is totally irrelevant to your pursuits. Far from it — while some particularly advanced crafters may invest in serious machinery to help them further their goals, you don't need to throw down for an embroidery machine or other heavy-duty supplies to get some assitance with your hobbies. With crafting apps, you have access to help and inspiration of all sorts, right at your double-tapping fingertips.

There are apps to help us with everything these days, it seems, but apps are particularly useful for people who like hands-on hobbies — because they're such an easy way to transfer information about projects, share ideas or patterns, or crowd-source help about why your dry felting projects keep coming out all lumpy. The most basic and well-known craft-related apps, like Pinterest and Etsy, belong firmly on every crafter's phone, whether you're into stripping furniture or upholstering a cushion. But there are many other helpful craft apps that you may not know about, which offer tutorials, assistance, inspiration, and a way to keep track of how much thread you have left.

So man your toolboxes and prep your washi tape — your phone's app page is about to become more overflowing than a quilter's scrap pile (sorry, sorry — I just get so few opportunities to break out the crafting humor).

1. Animated Easy Origami for iPad

This is admittedly a very specific craft app — but origami is one of the craft hobbies where a little technological help can go a long way. Running into trouble with that origami crane? The Animated Easy Origami app ($0.99) offers animated how-to videos that can show you how to make a huge range of classic origami creations — so you'll never again have to follow origami book instructions with all those confusing dotted lines everywhere.

2. ColorSnap by Shermin-Williams

This app by paint masters Shermin-Williams, available for free on both iPhone and Android, is the color-sourcer chromatic queens have always dreamed of. It can identify any color in a photograph or image and match it to a paint hue, as well as customize color saturations and put whatever you've chosen into a sample room to check out later.

3. CraftGawker

Think of it as Pinterest crossed with a personal art gallery: Craftgawker is a free curated crafts photo gallery that shows off the best of craft blogging around the world. You can browse by most popular posts or craft type, save your favorite images, and even submit your own photos for possible inclusion.

4. Craftsy Tutorials

If you've always wanted to learn how to weave, make jewelry or carve a flute out of wood, but haven't been able to find the time to take a class, this is the app for you. Craftsy is a free craft tutorials app that has a vast library of lessons on how to master any chosen craft skill — plus an attached community where fellow craft students can share their projects (or finally find someone to commiserate with about weaving problems ).

5. Knitting And Crochet Buddy

All you need to know about this one is in the name: those who like spending their time fiddling, knitting and purling will be fans of Knitting And Crochet Buddy, which is free for both iPhone and Android. It keeps track of your projects, needles, stitches, hooks and yarn, and even comes with a sock chart for basic sock patterns.

6. KnitCompanion

This free app is for in-depth knitters who want their PDF patterns collected and managed all in one place. If you've got a bunch of patterns lying around, scan them in and KnitCompanion will provide visual models, highlight important parts, issue reminders and keep track of all your different projects.

7. Houzz Interior Design Ideas

If you're obsessed with the houses of the rich and famous, get ready to get obsessed with this app. Houzz is the app offshoot of the popular site of the same name, where designers gather to nab interior design inspiration. The app offers a free photo gallery of drool-worthy real estate and interior design ideas, which will be very helpful for planning your future mansion (or current dorm room, whatever).

8. How Much Thread

How Much Thread can calculate the approximate amount of thread you'll need to complete your quilting project, allowing you to be prepared (rather than scrabbling all over the floor, looking for scraps of thread, when you suddenly realize that you're nearly out).

9. iHandy Carpenter App

Woodworkers who are ready to streamline their workshop will like the iHandy Carpenter — the app offers virtual carpentry tools like a plumb bob, protractor, surface level, bubble level bar and ruler — and once calibrated, it's extremely accurate. Get it and get in touch with your inner Ron Swanson.

10. Makr

This free, multi-use design and print app truly lives up to its name — Makr lets you create original logos and designs, and then allows you to transfer them to your own printer or have them custom-printed on T-shirts, temporary tattoos or bags. Or all three, if you want to wear them all at once for supreme matchy-matchiness.

11. Stitchminder

Stitchminder is a resource for all kinds of sewing projects. It's basically a free friend who watches you sew and remembers every stitch you make, so that you don't have to try to remember where you were in your sewing project, or organize scraps of paper or notebooks where you keep track of your projects. It can also keep track of multiple sewing projects at once, in case you're one of those multi-tasking crafty types.

Images: Animated Easy Origami, ColorSnap, Craftsy, CraftGawker, Knitting And Crochet Buddy, KnitCompanion, Houzz, How Much Thread, iHandy, Makr, Stitchminder