These tips are oriented toward making handmade items for charity, but many of them are applicable to making items as gifts or for yourself.

Research Your Charity

There are many charities that are keen to receive your handmade craft items. Do your homework before beginning. For example, The American Red Cross will only accept monetary donations; on the other hand, Save The Children accepts both monetary and “in kind” donations. There are many charities helping newborns, the elderly, the homeless or those facing some crisis. The most commonly made items are knitted, crocheted or sewn, but there is a need for toys and religious tokens, too.

Ask around close to home. Your local hospital’s neonatal unit, a retirement home, a homeless shelter, even your church, may be only too pleased to receive your donations. You may also find a local knitting or sewing club that is involved with charity work. Many people enjoy the camaraderie and friendships these offer, in addition to the satisfaction of crafting for charity. You will be able to find out about these at your library or community center.

Once you have selected your charity, check how to donate. They may have specific requirements, such as the size or color. They may ask you to tog your items. Some charities have a central “clearing house” and require you to mail your package; others have local drop-off sites.

These tips are oriented toward making handmade items for charity, but many of them are applicable to making items as gifts or for yourself.

Well-made Crafts For Charity

When you make items for charity, it is important that they are well-constructed because the recipient may not treat them as gently as you would or be knowledgeable about proper care. If you can include care instructions, do so. If you knit, crochet or sew, stick to materials that are easily machine washed and dried.


If you are reusing materials, or have bought them at a garage sale, or on eBay, be sure to clean them thoroughly. Yarn or fabric should be washed. Other materials should be cleaned and disinfected appropriately.

For yarn and fabric, polyester and acrylic are good choices. Easy-care cotton is also easily tolerated. Avoid wool blends or anything that feels “itchy” and may irritate delicate skin.

If you are making toys, they should be made of safe materials. Use soft yarn or fabric; avoid paint containing lead; ensure seams and finishes will be safe for a child. Avoid protruding nails or screws and loose ties. It is not unheard of for amputation to be needed after a loose tie got wrapped around a toddler’s finger.


Do the best work you can! Just because you plan to donate your item is not a reason to skimp on craftsmanship! Secure any thread or yarn ends and finish off any nails or screws. Make the item as if it is for your child or grandparent.


As a general rule, crafters who make for babies tend to make more for girls than for boys. A possible theory is that most crafters who donate to charity are women, and women like pink, lace and frills! However, there are generally more boys born than girls (although the difference is small). It is a good idea to make either non-gender specific items or one masculine for every one feminine item. When making items for the elderly, the natural gender bias is towards females.


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