15 Fun Ways to Get Inspired & Find Fresh Ideas for Crafts

15 Fun Ways to Get Inspired & Find Fresh Ideas for Crafts

Artists and writers often talk about a “muse” that gives them inspiration for their work. When the muse is present, new ideas and artwork seem to flow almost effortlessly. But when the muse is away, coming up with new ideas can feel slow and even difficult.

Have you felt the same way in your crafting practice? Sometimes, it feels like ideas and inspiration flow like a river and you enjoy the process so much you lose track of time. Other times, you sit down in your chair and realize the river of creative inspiration has run dry.

But what if you could channel your “muse” anytime and anywhere? What if you could come up with creative ideas at the drop of a hat, as soon as you needed them?

The truth is, you can — with a few helpful strategies in your toolkit.

In this article, you’ll find 15 of those strategies, perfect for finding inspiration anywhere you go and whenever you need.

#1 - Look at Trends

 fashion magazine

Looking at what’s trending in the outside world is an excellent place to start when searching for inspiration.

Will you follow the trend and spin off your own creation? Or will you choose to buck the trend and do the opposite? The choice is yours.

Where to find trends:

  • TikTok! This is where trends first show up online.
  • Look through runway shows and beauty and fashion mags like Vogue.
  • Keep an eye on Pantone’s color of the year, which sets new trends in fashion and design (the 2024 pick is Peach Fuzz).
  • Check out creative networks like Behance, which showcases the best in graphic design.
  • Visit sites like Trend Hunter, which curates trending ideas and products.

#2 - Do Something Out of the Ordinary

coffee shop

Sometimes we fall into a creative rut because we’re doing the same things every day. One way to break free from a tired routine is to do one small thing you don’t usually do.

This could look like:

  • Taking a different route home
  • Buying a new brand of breakfast cereal
  • Working in an unfamiliar café

You’ll be surprised how a simple action like this helps you to see the world in a different way, make new connections in your mind, and experience a creative boost—all of which you can translate into your next project.

#3 - Browse Facebook Groups & Forums

woman on computer

You might not have a community of like-minded crafters in your corner of the world. But because we draw so much inspiration from the people in our circles, it’s so helpful to have a supportive group to belong to.

Where to find your people? Spend a few minutes browsing through Facebook Groups and forums like Reddit and you’ll find more than a few places to join.

For starters, try the MakerFlo Facebook Group, with thousands of crafters asking and answering questions and sharing their creations on a regular basis.

#4 - Observe Other Works of Art

art museum gallery

You’re not limited to the crafting world when searching for a boost of creativity. Take a trip to a local art museum, buy a beautiful coffee table book, watch a play, or view an art film and see what cues you can take for your own art.

Canadian watercolor artist Miranda Balogh advises to “brainstorm the types of media that you enjoy and think about the kinds of emotions that they stir up in you.” Then “consider the different visual elements that capture your attention.”

When you channel these emotions and visual elements into your preferred art form, you’ll come up with new ideas that you find exciting.

#5 - Eavesdrop

eavesdropping gif bert

No, we’re not advocating that you listen in as people divulge their secrets. But listening to the conversations around you will help you understand common themes that the public is talking about, often before they’re named a “trend.”

This habit can help you as a business owner, too. If you listen to the problems people share and figure out how your crafts might help solve their problems in a new way, you can get ahead of the competition and make your products a must-have in your industry.

#6 - Pay Attention to Social Media

tiktok on phone

As much as we’d all like to spend LESS time on social media, the truth is we spend a huge chunk of our day online. It’s where people hang out, where conversations happen around all the topics we care about.

So why not use it as a source of inspiration while you’re at it? Paying attention to what’s trending on social media, what topics are being discussed, and what colors and styles are becoming more common can give you new inspiration. (Plus, projects inspired by social media trends have a chance of going viral on those very same platforms.)

#7 - Adopt an Experimental Mindset

dexter scientist gif

What you believe about your ideas is just as important as the number of ideas you have. If you believe your ideas aren’t good enough, you won’t take action on them.

Instead of judging the quality of your ideas before you try them, we recommend taking on the role of a scientist in your crafting hobby or business.

Instead of predicting how something might fail, ask yourself, “What might happen if I try this?” If you treat everything as a learning experience, nothing is a failure.

We operate with this mindset at MakerFlo. Not only has it contributed to our success as a business, but it makes everything we do way more fun!

#8 - Travel for Inspiration

woman traveling with suitcase

If you’ve ever traveled to a new country or city, you’ve felt that burst of inspiration you get when you step foot in a totally new place. Something about having a completely new set of surroundings gives your brain a creative jolt that can make everything feel fresh and fun again.

But you don’t need to purchase a plane ticket to Paris to get this feeling. You could walk to an unfamiliar part of your town, go into a new shop, or drive to a nearby landmark instead.

#9 - Keep a Journal

writing in a journal with coffee

We’ve talked a lot about finding inspiration from trends and paying attention to your surroundings, but there’s one more source of creativity that we can’t ignore: yourself.

That’s right—you’ve already got a gold mine of memories, thoughts, and experiences that can combine to give you new ideas for your art. You just need to bring them out and give them some air. Free-writing in a journal, whether paper-based or digital, is a great way to do this.

#10 - Start With a Craft Tutorial

hydro dipping a mug

The internet has no shortage of craft tutorials made by other inspired crafters, which you can use as a starting point for your own projects. As you follow them, you’ll not only learn new techniques, but also think of ways to put your own spin on the original and create something new.

Here are some of our favorite tutorials that we’ve made so far:

#11 - Read More Books

lots of books on shelves

A good fiction book can take you to another time and place and put you in the shoes of a totally different person. And a good non-fiction book puts you in front of a great teacher, sharing their wisdom and knowledge as you read.

Even if you don’t like to read, a book of photographs or artwork can have the same inspirational effect. Same with looking at book covers, which often reflect current trends themselves.

So the next time you want to find a new creative spark, a trip to your local library or bookstore might be just what you need.

#12 - Start With Free Designs

free sublimation designs screenshot

Most creative people feel intimidated by the blank page. So if you have trouble getting started with a new design, you’re not alone.

Instead of struggling to come up with everything by yourself, you can save time and energy by starting with a pre-made design or template.

In fact, we’ve got another article highlighting where to find over 1000 free sublimation designs—head over there and download away!

#13 - Take More Pictures

woman taking a photo of a leaf

You never know when you might get a spark of inspiration. The light might hit your coffee cup just right or you might see a funny dog in a sweater on the way to work.

Why not capture those moments with your phone camera and save them in an album so you can refer to them whenever you need a fresh idea? Doing a 30-day challenge to take one photo a day might also help you find more creative moments in your daily life.

#14 - Give Yourself Constraints

mixing paint with a brush on an easel

Putting constraints on yourself might sound uncomfortable, but it’s one of the best ways to push yourself to come up with new ideas.

A report in the Harvard Business Review concluded that when there are no constraints, “complacency sets in” and people follow the “path of least resistance.” On the other hand, constraints “provide focus and a creative challenge” to come up with solutions no one has seen before.

Think of Picasso’s Blue Period or this book written without the letter ‘e’. What kind of interesting constraints could you put on your projects that would push your creativity to the next level?

#15 - Just. Keep. Creating.

woman looking at computer sitting on couch

Finally, if we could give you a single piece of advice on finding inspiration and creativity when you’re stuck, it would be this: Just. Keep. Creating.

That’s not to say that you should go so hard to burn out. Rest when you need to rest, and take breaks when you need to, but don’t give up the act of creating if it’s what you really love to do.

You are a creative, and creating is what you do. As long as you’re enjoying the process, that’s all that matters.

Now it’s your turn! Challenge yourself to commit try 3 of these creative exercises this week. Journal your experience and write down the new ideas you discover!

We’re cheering you on! Now let us know in the comments — are you using any of these methods, or were they new to you? What else would you add to the list? 👇

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Shop Sublimation Crafts

1 of 4