Hit Peak '70s Aesthetic With These 9 Popular '70s Crafts

Some of the techniques might look familiar, but with modern twists

Macrame hanging chair in a living room

The Spruce / Photo Illustration by Amy Sheehan / Getty Images

If you are feeling nostalgic for “the good old days,” whenever they might have been, take heart. Everything under the sun comes back sometime, and right now, it’s the 1970s’ time to shine bright. From crafts to decor and even plants, a quick spin around social media will prove things are far out again! Here are nine craft styles that have found new life, and not necessarily the same one they had 50 or so years ago.

1. Tie-dye

When you think of this cloth dying technique, you probably think about t-shirts. Yes, you will still find a fair number of tops swirled in a variety of colors in that distinctive pattern, and even more with a modern twist of other geometric patterns, overlaid with mandalas and other updated ideas. But tie-dye is red hot in one of everyone’s favorite pandemic togs: sweatsuits. Hoodies, crop top sweats, comfy fleet pants and crops are all popping up on Instagram in some eye-popping color combinations. 

2. Macrame

Who among us didn’t have (or even make) a hanging macrame plant holder at some point? You can still find the planters, albeit with updated knotting designs and some very modern color combos. One of the biggest crazes in the craft is weaving strands of whatever you dig into art such as wall hangings.

Khrystyne Jamerson, the owner of Knotting and Nature, sells her ‘70s-inspired pieces in her Etsy store. Jamerson says she bought an RV in 2019 and in the process of renovating it, she was looking through Instagram for ideas for the trailer itself and she kept seeing macrame popping up. “I like the whole boho kind of style, and I knew that’s how I wanted to decorate the RV,” she says. “The cool thing is that you can make macrame with just about anything. You can use rope, burlap, whatever you want.”

Jamerson uses cord from a company that uses only recycled material from the fashion industry. Her background is in wildlife biology, so that made sense to her. What’s one of her favorite pieces? She has a soft spot for this antler wall hanging!

Antler macrame wall hanging

@knottingandnature / Instagram

3. Patchwork

This craft involves taking different pieces of fabric, which look like patches, and sewing them together to form another fabric. Then the resulting fabric is used to make the final product,  everything from quilts to clothing. Rebecca Caulford of Honeybea Heirloom Textile Collections uses upcycled and vintage fabrics to create her wares. In fact she calls herself a “pioneer of the upcycle movement and passionate circular fashion advocate.” She believes taking old fabrics and lovingly using them to create an entirely new item infuses the product with a new life, filled with the stories they were originally created to tell. So, the patchwork quilts of our grandmothers’ days live on! This Patchwork Quilt Story Coat is one Caulford’s company created with a mixture of hand stitching and machine stitching. All of her quilt coats are as unique as the fabrics used to make them.

Patchwork jacket

@honeybeadesignhive / Instagram

4. Weaving

Many types of materials can be used for weaving, but the hottest style going right now is tightly woven patterns, created by using a loom, that turn into works of art. Lindsey Campbell of Hello Hydrangea is a next-level weaver who has written two books on the craft, teaches online classes and has created two lines of woven housewares for Anthropologie. She says she starts and stops projects from time to time, and found this beautiful green-and-white wall hanging only partially done and pushed forward. She loved it so much she gave it a prominent spot near the entry of her family’s home. Traditional style weaving—the kind shown in Campbell’s creation here—isn’t the only game in town, though. She and others also are creating beautiful decor with basket-weaving supplies, ending up with some unexpected and unique heirlooms-to-be. 

Woven wall hanging

@hellohydrangea / Instagram

5. String Art

If string is your thing but you don’t feel like weaving, maybe this craft is right up your alley. I vividly remember the string art of yore, represented by a wooden rooster adorned with string wrapped around tacks, hanging proudly in someone’s living room back in the day. Thankfully, this craft has grown and matured into intricate and beautiful pieces, some with a bit of whimsy and more reflective of current times. This strung-up succulent gem is a prime example. Kaly of String Art by Kaly has created this style in several colors, which should thrill the growing throngs of fans of the easy-to-grow plants. 

Succulent string art wall hanging

@stringartbykaly / Instagram

6. Decoupage

As you might surmise, the word decoupage is from the French word for to cut up or cut out something. Traditionally, crafters would take various pictures from magazines or whatever struck the creator’s fancy and glue them on to another object, adding decorative touches and layers of a varnish to make the finished item look almost like a painting. Envision French-chic style tea trays or jewelry boxes.

Today’s crafters have taken decoupage more than a step farther. Meg of Salvage Made Chic loves to take furniture that has seen better days and save it from the dump by adding her own vision to the piece. That is the case with this gorgeous dresser, which she repainted and then used decoupage for the now-funky fronts of the doors, keeping the pattern aligned from drawer to drawer instead using a more traditional mashed-up look.  

Decoupage dresser

@salvagemadechic / Instagram

7. Granny Squares

These knitted pieces—squares, obviously—are laid out in a pattern (or not) and then knit together to form the final product, generally a quilt or a handbag. But these are definitely not your granny’s squares! Today’s take on the old craft is bold and goes beyond an accessory. For example, Ashley Lee Zhong of Snapdragon Brand took a common modern look of leggings and some platforms and somehow went back in time and back to the future all at once.

Granny square leggings and platform shoes

@snapdragonbrand / Instagram

8. Needlepoint

If just the word “needlepoint” conjures a vision of Jo and the rest of the Little Women huddled together, passing the time, take a spin around Instagram. Yes, you will find some of some of the old-school designs, school samplers, and maybe a few toadstools from the ‘70s, but today’s crafters manage to go all out and still keep the overall vibe of the craft recognizable. You can find needlepoint on pillows and purses with designs ranging from cute animals to edgy anime. There really is a design for everyone.

9. Hooked Rugs

Similar to needlepoint (sort of), creating hooked rugs also involved pulling a thread through a canvas. In the case of the rugs, the canvas is very sturdy, sometimes burlap or rug warp, and the “thread” could be yard or even pieces of fabric. If you are thinking “This sounds a lot like latch-hooking,” yes it does. The concept is very similar, but the final designs of hooked rugs tend to be less shaggy and have more defined pattern and lower pile. Then again, anything goes when you are taking an old-school craft and making it modern!