Summer Trends Report

This Trends Report is brought to you by the AFCI Trends Committee.

The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) Trends Committee is always on the lookout for creative trends to keep your business in the know about what’s popular on the Internet, and with crafters, makers and DIYers.  Here are the current trends we are seeing.


Submitted by Candy Rosenberg, {a vintage girl}


Chipboard has been around for many years and has been a mainstay in mixed media art and layouts.  However, it is now showing up more in albums and junk journals due to its versatility; giving great dimension to these kinds of projects. The designs can range from simple shapes to very intricate designs, allowing for a full array of choices for your project. Chipboard can be altered in a variety of ways with mediums like paint, shimmer sprays and pastes – or, just leave them natural and use brown ink to keep the vintage look.


Submitted by Debra Quartermain, Debra Quartermain Design

Craft Work Look

The ‘craft work’ look coming down the runway for summer is very similar to the popular Boho style with fringe, lace and appliques used on everything from summer dresses to jeans and bags.  Hats and flip-flops are making a statement adorned with feathers, ribbons and other trims.  Summer is a time for playful creativity and with a pair of scissors, fabric adhesive and assorted trims. Trendy fashion items can be easily made and personalized.


Submitted by Kathy Cano-Murillo, Crafty Chica, LLC

Painted Flower Pots

Artfully painted flower pots have become part of DIY culture. We’re not talking about our beloved decoupage planters, but high-level techniques from gallery painters who are applying their visual messages in a functional and decorative way. And it’s not just about the planter; it’s also about what goes inside. Muralist Jeff Slim of Phoenix, Arizona, is an example. He is known for his collection of one-of-a-kind pieces that he sells in gallery shops and boutiques around the state.


Submitted by Lisa Kettell,

Embroidery Hoops.jpeg

Embroidery hoops and circular art are hitting hard this year. From florals, design to party, the hoop is where it’s at. Put a picture inside, weave it up or create a centerpiece.


Submitted by Lisa Kettell,

We are seeing a spike in rainbow love! Watch for unique color palettes and styles – especially warm hues such as beige, creams, spicy oranges, rose, muted blues, violets and garden greens.


Submitted by Lisa Kettell,


Narwhals are back and bigger than ever. They are the new unicorn for 2019, while sloths are becoming the new llama.


Submitted by Lisa Kettell,


Move over pink: Orange is taking over. The hot color palette this year is corals, tropical citrus and muted pastels.

Gear Up For Greatness! Make Art Your Business and Life

Guest post from AFCI Creator VIP, Carol Foldvary-Anderson /

Carol Foldvary-Anderson /

If you believe you have to be organized for the future, you are right! We make plans for a vacation, but do we make plans for our future art businesses? Make the mental and physical space so when our time comes, we will be ready and prepared to move forward with ease, accessibility and excitement.

Organizing, clearing out the old and embracing change: It is all about gearing up for what is to come and preparing ourselves for the new life and projects that are truly exciting and those that with which we want to be involved. 

It’s important that time is spent clearing and cleaning: Eliminating the old to prepare and make room for the new life that is ahead. Letting go is the first thing necessary to take place. Let go of those undone projects, those items and art materials that no longer serve you and take away your feelings of being an accomplished, productive human being and art business professional.

I came across a great article years ago that said the things and “stuff” that surround us are essentially representing a part of our past, our present and our future. Take a moment and access that thought. How many of us live in the past? Are you saving tons of dried out paints, crinkled and ripped textured papers, buttons, beads and fabrics that seem to be more in the way than they are inspiring?  Just think about it: How much space are they taking up not only in our studio but also in our mind?

If you are not truly where you wish to be or feel you should be in your life and career, it might be due to a lingering in the comfort zone. As we release and step out of our present comfort zone, we connect to the things and projects that stir our imagination and our inspiration. We are revitalized and given new energy to do that which we wish to be doing in the future. Start moving in the direction that excites you — that direction is the future.

This is your invitation to “Gear up and prepare for Greatness!” Clear out and let go of all of the “stuff” to make the space for the projects coming and for the new art creations to materialize.

It is a scary thought to step out of the past and into the unknown. It is difficult to give away or let go of that beautiful this or that, which is now fully dust laden. Once you embrace the idea, to review your life and studio, and renew yourself, you will find an abundance of new opportunities opening up for you that you had only dreamed of.

“Gear up for Greatness!” As it is in your grasp, give it all you’ve got and more by letting go!

‘Tis the Season for December Trends

This Trends Report is brought to you by the AFCI Trends Committee

The Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) Trends Committee is always on the lookout for creative trends to keep your business in the know about what’s popular on the Internet and with crafters, makers and DIYers. Here are the current trends we are seeing.

1. Lighted Christmas Trees

Submitted by Kathy Cano-Murillo,

This holiday season you’ll see these vintage style trees, reminiscent of the one Grandma used to have.  You can purchase them in retail outlets or better yet, make your own version at a paint your own pottery studio.   The motif is also used in illustrations, jewelry, wall art and more!


Mr. Christmas Ceramic Christmas Tree Figurine at Target

2. Fa la Llama

Submitted by Debra Quartermain,

The Llama icon trend continues with the fun “No Prob-llama” and “No Drama Llama” sayings on everything from pillows to signs. Images appear in holiday gift wrap, party decor and housewares. Of course the creative world is filled with adorable stuffies, ornaments and pillows. Expect to see many llamas wearing holiday attire this season!


Photo credit: Debra Quartermain,



Happy Llamakah Card from Paper Source

3. Pa Rum Pum Pom Pom

Submitted by Jennifer Priest, Smart Fun DIY

Pom pom crafts and felt ball crafts are everywhere this holiday season!  Pom pom garlands, trees and ornaments are showing up as holiday décor.  With multiple pom pom maker tools to choose from, crafters can make pom poms in any size to DIY their own pom pom holiday decor. Looking for a trendy gift?   Pom pom scarfs, pom pom edged blankets, pom pom wall hangings, and pom pom keychains are on point.


Pom Pom Christmas Tree found at Hobby Lobby


DIY Ice Cream Cone Ornaments by Jennifer Priest, Smart Fun DIY

Eclectic Products Launching TOP SECRET Product to make you come UNGLUED!

This is a sponsored post by Eclectic Products

Eclectic Products has a collection of brands and products consumers know and love, like E6000, Unicorn SPiT, Amazing Goop, Shoe Goo, Allure, and Glaze Coat.  We realize crafters spend a tremendous amount of time and creativity bringing inspirational visions to life, so we make sure all our products are made to the highest quality and performance standards to allow your creativity to flourish.

We want to kick off the New Year with our most loyal and creative supporters, get inspired, and let you in on our TOP SECRET product launch. Our chemists have been working around the clock to produce something SO innovative and SO elusive — we may have to “unglue” your jaw from the show room floor!

And speaking of something new…… if you come see us at booth #1013, we will let you in on some TOP SECRET information…… It’s a new product that we are VERY excited about sharing that is making everyone come UNGLUED!  We can’t reveal too much. The new product is part of our E6000 family and is almost limitless in its uses.  IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PLUS! – You’ll find out what that means when you visit us at our booth!


We are hosting our resident “Glue Guy” and expert, Mark Montano. Mark, designer extraordinaire, prolific author, and TV host, is determined to make crafting HIP! Come visit our booth and create a project with Mark using the newest product from his favorite adhesive brand – E6000!

One of the things we enjoy most at Creativation is meeting folks face to face and demonstrating what our products can do. This year we will have Unicorn SPiT inventor, Michelle Nicole, at your disposal to ask the “need to know” questions! Turn ordinary objects into holographic-like MASTERPIECES. We will be creating magic with Unicorn SPiT SPARKLiNG, and sharing ideas that will get your creative wheels rolling.  You will also have the ability to bring a little “Sparkle” back home with this year’s make-n-take project. Unicorn SPiT is ideal for creating beautiful jewelry, amazing craft furniture and tables, beautifying clocks, picture frames, embedding keepsakes, making bed trays, jewelry boxes, plaques & much more!

We are eager to see everyone at Creativation in Phoenix in January! Visit Eclectic Products at booth #1013 and let’s paint the town!  We promise to make you SPARKLE and leave a lasting impression that will STICK with you forever!

The Folklore Company – One of the Top 4 Creative Innovations of 2018

The Folklore Company launched with the vision of making embroidery more accessible to more people by delivering an inspiring website where people can design a personal cross stitch pattern in an easy, unique and modern way.

The Folklore Company was featured in the Innovations Center and was one of the top 4 innovations selected to participate in The Ultimate Pitch at Creativation 2018. We spoke to Sofia Magnusson, the founder, who shared more information about her innovation and her experience at Creativation.

What was your initial goal for participating in the Innovations Center and The Ultimate Pitch?

“Our initial goal was to get feedback on our software from the craft industry. We needed to know for sure that what we can offer is unique, and also what people working in the business thought of it. There’s only so much you can do online from home, so we felt that a visit to Creativation was needed.”

What was some valuable feedback you got out of this experience?

“We got some good suggestions on new features to develop for the software.”

What’s the next step for The Folklore Company?

“Full speed ahead! We’re going to develop the features that we got feedback about, but also kick off our marketing strategy and get more people to love what we offer.”

Who would you say is your ideal customer?

“Anyone who is curious about embroidery, or even those who aren’t, but by accident visits our website, gets inspired and wants to try! As our vision – and mission – is to get more people to embroider, we are thrilled for all our customers. (But we have seen that the majority who buys our products are women in the age of 25-45.)”

Where can people purchase a custom pattern?


D-Stash – The New Resell App for the Creative Community

Ja’De Hardiman invented D-Stash to give crafters who are searching for a specific item a simple solution. D-Stash is an easy-to-use app for the creative community that crafters can use to sell and buy products within minutes of downloading.

Ja’De launched D-Stash in the Innovations Center at Creativation 2018. How could your creative business benefit from D-Stash? Watch this video to learn more about Ja’De’s experience at Creativation and how you can use D-Stash.

Tapping into Attitudes, Emotions, and Values for Craft and Hobby Marketing


This article provided courtesy of Stitchcraft Marketing, a niche agency specializing in craft-centric small businesses. If you’d like more information about anything contained in this article, feel free to contact the owner of Stitchcraft Marketing, Leanne Pressly at for more information.

Annual sales of $36 billion. It describes the amount of money spent annually in the US on the major categories of crafts and hobbies, according to the 2016 Creative Products Size of the Industry Report Update created by MaritzCX for the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI). Among American households, 62% participated in some kind of craft activity in the preceding twelve months and almost a third participated in one to three different activities within that year. It’s a big market whose consumers have discretionary income to spend on the materials and tools associated with their preferred crafts and hobbies. Successful marketing will incorporate appeals to the attitudes, emotions, and values they associate with their crafting. Here, we share some insights from the MaritzCX study to help you find the best approach to market to your customers.

The study defined eleven broad categories of crafts:

  • Paper crafts
  • Beads and jewelry
  • Floral crafting
  • Edible arts
  • Wood crafts and home decor
  • Knitting and crochet
  • Needle arts
  • Sewing and fabric
  • Painting and drawing
  • Kids’ crafts
  • Other

Survey participants rated their emotions, values, and affinities about craft participation on a size-point scale from lowest to highest association over a range of keywords, which are highlighted in bold italics*. (Associated marketing concepts are also highlighted.) What emerged was a clear picture of positive associations that manufacturers and retailers can employ to market their products effectively to their intended audience. There’s enough consensus across the craft categories to make some general recommendations, but we will break out specific crafts when the differences are significant.


There’s no doubt crafting makes people feel good, but they give the highest associations to feeling relaxed and proud as they engage in their crafts. That means that crafting is an antidote to the other stresses in their lives, and they are willing to spend both time and money to access that sense of relaxation. In current terms, crafting is a form of self-care, not unlike a pedicure, a massage, or a new set of high thread-count sheets. Product marketing that appeals to a desire for accessible luxury also taps into the high association with relaxation.

The pride crafters feel in their work and the projects they produce suggests that they value the skills they have learned and the appearance and/or utility of their projects. The craft segment mostly highly associated with pride was painting and drawing; the sewing and fabric segment and the knitting and crochet segment gave it the second highest association assignment. Being proud to wear something a crafter has made puts fashion, style, and skill into the mix of positive associations for these craft categories.

We note, too, that the craft category of Edible Arts is an outlier in the survey of emotional associations. Participants in this craft associated it most highly with feeling joyful and excited. Coupling those emotions with food brings celebration to mind as a concept around which to appeal to crafters in this category.


Closely associated with the emotion of pride is the value of accomplishment, which received the highest or second-highest rating across 9 out of 11 craft categories. It’s clear that crafters value the end product of their efforts as well as the process of creating them. Crafting is not merely a pastime such as playing games or assembling jigsaw puzzles – rather, it’s an investment of mental and physical energy around an envisioned result. Crafters are makers, and making is a part of their self-identity. Whether they keep the things they make or give them to others, the association with accomplishment means that they intend their work to have a life beyond its completion. Heritage, memory, and legacy could be ways in which crafters think of their work in relationship to the rest of their lives.

Again, within the survey of values associations, the Edible Arts category stands out. According to participants, they strongly associate Edible Arts with warm relationships, as well as being fun and enjoyable. These are not surprising results, as they track closely with the emotional associations mentioned above. While crafters may engage in any of the craft categories on their own behalf, food, by both quantity and effort, is more likely to be shared or gifted and thus have an impact on relationships in a way the other craft categories do not. As for the fun and enjoyment aspect, eating the end result of a craft project might be more fun than wearing it or looking at it! So although Edible Arts as a craft category is directed toward appearance and presentation, deliciousness, flavor, and taste also matter to these crafters.


As we said earlier, crafting is a segment of the maker culture, and in this way creates a sense of cultural identity for its participants. By realizing that crafters, especially the millennials, see themselves as having as much in common with artisanal food producers (like beer or kombucha brewers) , the Maker Hacks community (such as those who share 3-D printers in their maker spaces), as well as traditional domestic arts, you can reach them by appealing to their affinity associations.

Across craft categories, survey respondents assigned the highest or second highest association rating to the idea that their craft makes them feel special. It is something they do that sets them apart from the general population and shows that they are people who are willing to value time and effort over convenience. Crafting is a way they express their individuality and creativity. It is also something that they strongly associate with missing if it were no longer a part of their lives. That missing has such a high association across craft categories suggest that an opportunity exists to reach out to crafters who used to (engage in a particular craft), reminding them of the enjoyment, fun, and relaxation crafting once brought to their lives. Remembering the pleasure of accomplishment and pride that one craft creates can provide a bridge to expanding a crafter’s repertoire.

Using the positive emotional, value, and affinity associations that crafters cite aligns your brand with the reasons they engage in crafts and need your products and materials. By incorporating these associations into your marketing campaigns such as blog posts, social media posts and e-newsletters you are more likely to reach those emotional touchpoints that are as strong as their practical needs.

*bolded words are directly from the survey or suggested marketing concepts to use in your marketing.

For more information about the 2016 Creative Products Size of the Industry Report Update and to obtain a copy, visit