Lynn posted a link to a site that gives instructions for "casting" chocolate using brown sugar in place of greensand. (When I was a junior high school student in metals shop - we all had to take metals shop and woods shop, just as we all had to take cooking and sewing, they did a unit on metals casting. I thought it was extremely cool but I was so scared of the idea of working with molten metal (I think they used iron? I can't remember. I know lead melts at a low-ish temperature but I wonder if even back then they would let kids work with lead) that I never tried it and stuck instead to spot-welded boxes and using the acetylene torch.)
Anyway, I noted that you could also cast candles in odd shapes (My Little Pony candles, anyone?) using sand as the medium and wax to pour.
And suddenly, I flashed back to my childhood in the 1970s. Crafting was HUGE. Especially Americana crafting, because of the Bicentennial. Candles were very popular (though that may also have been a holdover from the hippie days; I remember lots of owl-shaped and mushroom-shaped candles). I remember my mom had several candle making kits, one with molds that you poured the wax into. (One mold was, in fact, of an owl, which was one of the iconic 70s household symbols).
There were other crafts, too: "naturecrafting," where you went and collected pine cones and dried seed pods and made them into wreaths and stuff (we never had too many of those as we had a cat who liked to gnaw on dried things and then bring them back up afterward).
And quilting began its resurgence.
And knitting and crochet were big. (In fact, the simple garter-stitch slippers I have as my invigilating project are based on a 1970s era pattern). And granny squares! Granny squares were EVERYWHERE. And those multicolored Red Heart afghans.
I remember most of the "women's magazines" had craft projects. (Woman's Day, in particular: if you were lucky the Christmas or Easter issue would have a Joan Russell soft toy pattern in it - in fact, I have a book that compiles many of the patterns (but not all of the published ones were in the book, to my sadness)). It was kind of assumed that people DID crafts, that people knew how to knit and crochet and sew and even more esoteric things like sizing up a soft toy pattern on grid squares. (They would print a wee tiny version of it with a grid overlaid, and some kind of legend like "One square equals one inch" and the idea was you drew up your own pattern in full scale using the grid as a guide. You don't see that any more; more likely you get a craft book with the instructions, "Photocopy on a 200% enlargement." Oh, easy - easy if you have simple access to an enlarging photocopier. I admit sometimes I liked the old "size it up using squares" method better, it was lower-tech).
Needlepoint was also popular. I remember trying it but not getting into it that much; it took more attention to detail than I wanted as a child. And crewelwork was popular - this was the era when the Erica Wilson books were published. My mom did some crewelwork, the kind with the thicker-than-floss yarn, yarn that was almost like really thin, loosely-plied sockyarn. (Tapestry wool, maybe that's what they called it?)
There were also some "recycling" crafts, like making detergent bottles into piggy banks, and they weren't always "just for children" crafts either.
I'm sure there were other things. I think a friend of my family dabbled in stained glass work.
And it seems to me - though maybe I'm seeing this through a nostalgic lens, remembering my childhood - there seemed to be more of an ethos of doing it yourself or figuring it out for yourself. There was, as I said, the assumption that people had certain basic skills (no need to reprint the "how to knit" instructions in every knitting book). There seem to have been a lot more specialist hobby shops (like suppliers to stained-glass workers. However, that may have been more a function of living in a larger and more prosperous area than I have recently). And there was, I don't know....less worrying about status, or something? I can't quite put my finger on it. More individuality? More willingness to experiment? Maybe.
There were some crafts - the candlemaking, the stained glass - that don't seem to be as popular now. (And macrame, but it's almost a kitschy stereotype of the 70s. But macrame could be kind of fun to do....I didn't always like the scratchy cord that some projects called for, but on a smaller scale with crochet cotton, it made rather nice delicate things).
It does seem to me there's a different attitude towards craftmaking now, I can't quite put my finger on what it is. In some cases, the popular-magazine crafting has become much more "prescriptive" - instead of saying, "Here's a pattern for a toy cat. The original was made using dressweight cotton, but you can use whatever scraps you have on hand, you need x number of inches of fabric," the crafts tend to be less involved and more often call for specific products, with a hint of "if you try to substitute, do so at your own peril." Maybe in some ways it's been more "corporatized"? And just as some of the weird quirky hobbyist shops have been replaced by chain megastores (as much as I love shopping at my JoAnn's, it doesn't have the same feeling that a "real" quilt or sewing shop does) and that maybe some people are less comfortable with their skills and less comfortable experimenting? Or maybe there is more recognition of the "casual" crafter, who might want do etch some drinking glasses for a Christmas present one year, but who probably won't get into doing it a lot....or crafters have become more specialized, and the really hardcore people now concentrate on one or two crafts? I don't know. But there does seem to be something different. Although, then again, that could be the difference in my view of things as a child and as an adult.