DIY or die

You’re crafty, you get around. One of the things that makes living in PDX so great to me is our DIY history. Even now, as the Pearl and her minions are swallowing up our once vital burg, Portlanders keep making it true. From local designers in a bevy of locally themed boutiques, to rummage and trunk sales, cheap art and craft shows, Portlanders are making their living off making original objects reeking with cred. And that’s why, as a back-to-craft movement grabs hold of the nation’s hipsters and knitting circles pop up faster than Isaac Brock side projects, Portland is at the forefront of getting you ready to make your own shit. And who knows, some people say it’s any day now that the apocalypse is coming, so all that weaving and crocheting is going to come in mighty handy when China’s factories are struck down by the vengeful hand of Jesus. Here are some ideas on getting crafty at home. DIY or die, son.



The bible of hipster DIY, ReadyMade does its best to stay viable and exciting while offering up dynamic projects you can do in your back yard. From bed frames to space-saving techniques to wedding cakes, the magazine always covers aspects of our every day. Too bad so many of them are really lame, but it’s cheap and every issue has at least a couple of really good ideas. And the instructions are easy and straightforward, which is really, really nice for those of us who never made it to wood shop. Check out ReadyMade’s “How to Make {Almost} Everything” book for a quick primer on how not to cut off your hand with a table saw and some easy useful projects.


The DIY Lounge

The DIY Lounge is a dedicated group teaching you how to make your life, and doing so hands on. Classes range from ideas and legal advice for small-business startups to making ‘zines or mandalas on old LPs. Classes are usually a one-shot deal and really nice if you’ve found yourself really stuck on a style, and the range of ideas is pretty amazing, although paying $20 to learn how to better use your digital camera seems a little silly to me. Visit for class information.


Church of Craft

Crafting can be a lonely hobby – knitting away in front of the TV, binding books by candlelight – it can be easy to get lost in your own world. And local craft groups are nice, but if you’re anything like me, friends can be flakey, and beer can get distracting. That’s why “the church of craft” seems like such a good idea. We’re all secular people anyway so why not get together one Sunday a month and rock our individual projects together. Make the event at Rimsky-Korsacoffeehouse (707 S.E. 12th Ave.) and the desserts and coffee will do the rest. Go to to find out when and where you can worship the front twist and purl.


PDX Super Crafty

This quartet of self-proclaimed craft superheroes are battling the wares of Wal-Mart and generic evil doers at IKEA by not only working as a team to produce amazing wares throughout P-town, but by teaching you how to do it. Their book “Super Crafty,” which is a little more textile and a little less wood shop than the ReadyMade book, covers everything from shrinky-dinks and sock monkeys to your charming undergarments. And their web site,, has an amazing links page with everything you need to make your own way in the world.