The insider: How to do crafts (even if you're a needle novice)

When I was small, my grandma tried to teach me to crochet. The memory of the ensuing "Cant do it!" tantrum remains embarrassingly vivid. If, like me, the idea of making your own appeals, but the sight of needles makes you sweat, read on...

Twinkle, twinkle...

My friend Holly's candles really sparkle, thanks to a super simple craft trick. De-label empty food cans and pierce holes in the aluminum with a metal kebab skewer. Put a tealight inside. Repeat.

Shoot 'em up

Make friends with a staple-gun: fab fabrics (love stretched over a canvas (try Amazon) look lovely.

Join the press gang

Try a screen-printing class at thepapered (London) or (Yorkshire) – and take home your own art.

If you're beat... cheat

Well – a bit. fully prepped tapestry or Rob Ryan cushions are peasy. Similarly, try

Plate up

Stylish chef Arno Maasdorp does clever things on – and with – plates: buy a charity shop patterned platter, lay an alphabet letter on top (try and, using aerosol paint, spray it. Matt black is striking. Now hang it.

Sit on it

Revamp an old wooden chair with a collage. Pick a theme – torn-up newspapers, maps, ornithology books... and, using PVA glue, cover the chair with your cuttings artfully, then varnish over and over for durability.

Further reading

Learn how to make Eames-esque shelves with ReadyMade by Shoshana Berger and Grace Hawthorne (Thames & Hudson) or speed-reupholster a dull office chair with

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at