A few years ago I was travelling with my husband on holiday and we had to sit separately on the plane. It was a last minute change so I hadn't planned anything to occupy myself. Although I am an absolute craft'o'holic, I tended to leave craft things at home to give my husband some time off from hearing about craft. He has never asked me to leave it at home, but he is so patient with my obsession that I feel it is the least I can do.
So there I was, squished in the middle of two strangers, half expecting my usual anxiety which creeps up in these types of situations. The flight was not long enough for films to be provided, but it was long enough to bore me to sleep. There was a strong risk of me drinking my boredom away and ending up snoring while resting on the poor chaps shoulder next to me. I needed a better plan. It was then that I remembered a Dream Catcher kit which I brought from the airport shop. I had already glanced at the Emergency Evacuation Cards for longer than one human needs to, so I thought I would give it ago. I learnt on that flight that although preparation would have made some things easier, doing craft while flying is a relaxing way to pass the time. It can even be done when you are tired, in mild turbulence and unintentionally snuggling up with two strangers. I now highly recommend a small craft SOS pack, especially since it could even be useful if you are waiting for a delayed flight.
Airport Security Checks
Before you zip up your craft supplies into your hand luggage, here is some food-for-thought about preparing for Airport Security checks. Consider what you need for your crafty in-flight entertainment and check this against your airlines restricted items because having to leave your favourite stork embroidery scissors with an unforgiving security guard is a bad way to start your hols.
Airlines will not appreciate you rocking up to the airport with a knife, folding blade, your trusty scalpel or scissors with blades that exceed 6cm. Most model glues, rubber cements, and industrial-strength adhesives are flammable and are therefore not allowed in your hand luggage. You also have to come to terms with the fact that there will be nowhere to plug your glue gun into.
Some airlines will accept scissors which have blades which do not exceed 6cm or scissors with rounded points. However, if you find yourself with thread but no cutting tool allowed, there are some handy trick available. Most likely, you will be able to take on nail clippers so this can be your snipping hack. Another item you can use, is the small cutting blade on floss packets.
Other items you are allowed (though so check with your airline):
Tweezers - Useful for paper crafts
If you are after a creative way to spend the time which is relatively subtle, grab a sketchbook or colouring book. Give yourself doodle challenges, practise drawing faces or add to a creative journal planner. You could even start the basics of a travel journal which can hold your memories and adventures from the trip.
This also gives you the opportunity to play a cheeky game of Noughts & Crosses if you are in a group.
I now know that this is a very achievable craft on a flight while sandwiched between two people that you do not know. Take a couple of pre-wrapped hoops and complete the inside pattern while flying. When you get home, add all the accessories to the bottom. You can even pick up feathers, ribbons or charms from your trip to include in your design.
Knitting, Crochet or Cross Stitch
If you've not tried your hand at these crafts before, or you have been meaning to try a new stitch, use this as valuable time to learn. It is amazing how much it will keep your attention, even when you are tired. Keep the patterns/ books at a simple level so you do not get chucked out the plane for foul language and inappropriate use of knitting needles when the patterns get too complex.
Read or Listen to Craft
Reading Prima Magazine or the latest Kirstie Allsopp book on a flight will come as no revolution. They are both good choices, but here are some other ideas, especially if you are on a budget.
Being prepared with your laptop, tablet or phone can give you hours of entertainment. Download podcasts, save blog pages or store YouTube videos for offline viewing. If your flight is a little longer, download films such as Frida to watch when flight mode is turned on.
Small Paper Crafts
Paper cutting may be off the cards but quilling or origami is easily do able. Just remember that you need to get it home - so think about something which is not too delicate or needs a lot of glue drying time.
It is worth leaving your oil paints at home, but watercolours dry quickly and come in small containers. Many airports are allowing people to bring their own bottles to fill water up, so avoid buying plastic water bottles and come prepared with a bottle or two.
So that is our list of sky worthy crafts and some handy tips on what you can pack. Now all that is left to do, is grab your bag, head to the craft room and fill it up.