Why not use this free time to find and start a brand-new hobby? This is a great alternative to wasting time in front of a TV screen, watching repeats of Friends, Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory and being totally unproductive. Here are a few suggestions to get you started!

Start Doing Needlework

Since we are about to walk into winter, pick up some knitting needles and a skein of wool, and try your hand at needlework. Knitting and crocheting are a lot easier than you think, all you have to do is spend a little time practicing to perfect different types of stitches and techniques. The best part about this hobby is you can craft personalised accessories for yourself and loved ones! There's nothing better than wearing or gifting something that you made yourself. Click here to take a look at a few beginner-friendly knit projects to try.

woman knitting with blue wool

Zen Out With Meditation

We are dealing with a pandemic and it can be overwhelming, worrying and even saddening. During this time, focus on your well-being and mental health by doing daily meditation sessions. Not only is it great for helping you zen out during these tense and uncertain times, but it's good for your health. Meditation has proven to decrease stress, increase focus, control anxiety, regulate emotions and enhance self-awareness. If you're eager to incorporate meditation into your daily routine but don't know where to start, visit YouTube for beginner tutorials and guides. Namaste.

woman meditating on a yellow blanket on green grass in her garden

Pick Up A Paintbrush

Unleash your inner Picasso and get creative with painting. This is a fairly easy hobby to start, just get a few supplies, pick up a paintbrush and let your imagination run wild! However, if you're looking to take painting more seriously, learn from the professionals and get more in-depth theory on art, take a look at these online art courses. There's a course or class for all ages.

paint on a canvas with a paintbrush

Become A Baker

Bored and have a pantry full of staple ingredients? Throw on your apron, take a look at our list of beginner-friendly recipes and get baking! Not only will you end up with a dozen sweet treats to enjoy when you're feeling peckish, but you'll also find that baking can be quite a soothing and relaxing hobby! And as you get more confident and comfortable with the baking basics, you can move onto baking more difficult delights, like a croquembouche!

Baking butter, rolling pin, flour and a cookie cutter

How About Photography? 

Always wanted to learn how to take beautiful pictures? Or discover what all of the different buttons on your camera are used for? Why not improve your photography skills during lockdown? There are various tutorial videos on YouTube to help you cover the basics. And for some inspiration, tips and tricks from the industry professionals, visit Canon Connected. It's a free-to-access content hub designed to educate, inspire and entertain photography enthusiasts and videographers across the world.

black camera on a wooden table with a phone and laptop in the background

Grow A Green Thumb

Get your hands dirty and spend some time outside! Enjoy your afternoons weeding, pruning, planting your own veggie patch and getting some vitamin D while gardening. It might not seem like it, but gardening can be rather relaxing. Enjoy growing your own fresh produce, reconnecting with nature and unwinding with some digging!

gardening and planting

Master The Art Of Makeup

The more you practice and play with makeup, the better you get at it! So, why not make it a hobby and master the art and application of makeup? Instagram and YouTube have thousands of tutorials to help you learn various techniques, tips, tricks and best practices to include in your application. Before you know it, you'll be a makeup pro! And if you need inspiration and ideas to get practicing and trying different looks, check out a few of South Africa's very own beauty gurus.

woman wearing fuzzy pink jersey holding a makeup kit

What You Need

Knitting can be a fun and rewarding hobby! With a few video tutorials, a few balls of wool and lots of practice, you'll be well on your way to making scarves, beanies, baby booties and much more. Once you get the hang of various patterns, the possibilities are endless. But for now, lets start with a few easy beginner-friendly knit projects to get you practicing. All you need are:

A Few Basics

So, you'll also need to know how to do various stitches. We have found some of the best knit tutorials for you to follow, practice and master before you get started.

woman knitting with blue wool

A Basic Scarf

To get you started with a basic knit, we suggest you start off with the garter stitch. What makes this easy for beginners is the fact that it's the same knit pattern over and over. This gives you the perfect opportunity to figure out how to hold the knitting needles, master the stitch and start making your very own scarf! Head to All About Ami for the full written tutorial, images and a helpful video to help you through crafting your first scarf.

A Winter Beanie

With winter on the horizon, what's the bet you're looking for a cosy beanie to keep you warm? Why not make your own from scratch with this tutorial from Utopia.org? There are pictures for you to view as well as step-by-step instructions you can follow. And don't worry, knitting a beanie is far easier than you think it is. It will take a little bit of trial and error, but once you get the pattern down to a fine art, it becomes easier. And if you're looking for the simplest way to make a beanie without knitting needles, here's how to make a loom knit beanie! We've tried and tested this, and it's super easy!

scarves knitted in orange, turquoise, purple and blue

A Knitted Headband

Another simple and oh-so easy project you can get started on is making your own knitted headband. It's a must-have winter accessory to add to your seasonal wardrobe. Utopia.org has another step-by-step written tutorial and images to help you make your own. But just watch out at the end of the instructions, there's a twist waiting which might be tricky. Don't have a circular needle like they suggested? Then why not use your hands and finger knit this beautiful turban headband by Simply Maggie?

A Patchwork Blanket

Creating your own woolly, cuddly and cosy blanket is a simple project to get you crafting and making something useful for the upcoming colder winter months! Since you have some time on your hands due to the lockdown, why not get started on a patchwork blanket? Basically, knit a bundle of "patches" or squares in various colours, then sew them together to make a beautiful blanket. One of the best tutorials that we've tried comes from WikiHow! Choose your yarn and size of knitting needles and get started! A quick tip: the larger your needles, the looser the knit will be and the quicker it'll be to make the various squares.

WikiHow how to knit a patchwork blanket

Image sourced from WikiHow.

Cute Boot Cuffs

Winter is boot season, so why not accessorise your look with a pair of knitted cuffs to peek out from the top of your favourite pair? Not only are they cute, but they're super easy to make! Veronica Marie on YouTube has a chunky knit boot cuff video you can follow with your pair of knitting needles. And if you'd rather loom yourself a pair of boot cuffs, here's another YouTube tutorial by LoomaHat.com.

wool skiens in maroon and orange

Looking for more things to do during the national lockdown? Here are a few more suggestions: 

Dance is all about expression and liberation. You can say it's one of those things that speak on your behalf through your body - you move the way you feel. Sometimes, however it can be a bit difficult finding a suitable dance genre for you. Learn more by checking out The Best Dance Classes Around Joburg.

Why Dancing?

A Good Way To Express Yourself

One thing I'm certain about where dance is concerned is that it is one of the best medicines in helping you express what you are feeling. Whether you're stressed, happy, sad and many other emoji - you can use dance to shine them through and just release.

A Form Of Fitness

Dance has also become a fitness technique for many who don't necessarily love the idea of gym. Super cool innovations like Zumba and Rocking N Heels which teaches dance while wearing heels.

Dance has been known to be a good form of fitness to a point that, people join traditional genres for fitness too.

Hobby Meets Rhythm

There are many forms of dance from modern dance to salsa to ballroom, hip-hop and many more. All the dance has been perceived as a dance for the so-called right and left-footed but the two left feet have been deceived. You can learn to dance... Yes I have to confess they are people who just naturally don't have rhythm impact time is a very price position. Practice is the best thing you can do for yourself, because as the old saying goes "practice makes perfect".

So I am taking the courtesy of sharing these amazing dance schools you can look at and maybe join their classes, there is a stew in variety to choose from, let's take a look...

Dance Class

 

Moving Into Dance - Contemporary And Afro-Fusion

Better known as MID, this amazing school of dance situated in the very artistic and theatrical Newtown, sits inside the Market Lab.

Although they specialise in 'contemp' and afro-fusion, this amazing school also also offers lessons in hip-hop, ballet as well as creative dance so you can explore and find your kind of taste. They also have classes for the tween's and teen's so your children can start dance at an early age.

Dance Classes

Dance Junxion - All Round Ballroom And Latin

Dance Junxion has been around for a very long while, having stayed in Rosebank for years - their journey lead them to Bryanston.

They cater almost, if not all forms of ballroom dance and Latin, this including a personal favourite - Salsa. They have walk-in classes if you want a test drive first, but you will be hooked. The dance energy can be quite contagious and addictive.

Dance Classes

Dance Spirit - Kizomba, Bechata And Zouk

One thing that is hard to do at times when you are suppose to have a partner is trust, let go and allowing yourself to be lead. Dance Spirit is just the team that you need to help you get there - and through their dance genre, you really have no choice but allow yourself to trust.

If you want to join them, you can find them either at Sankayi Night Club or the Baalbek Lebanese Restaurant. Check out their page to see where they are. Alternatively, the Canteen Rooftop Sunday in Maboneng is always on fire.

Get up and dance Jozi!

Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking

Paper craft and scrapbooking is a hobby that has taken off in a big way over the last five to 10 years, and we’ve found some awesome resources to get you started or keep you inspired.

Shop-n-Scrap

For the best online range of patterned paper books, single sheets, glitter paper, balsa wood, stickers and stamps, Shop-n-Scrap is on point. They also keep specialised paper cutting machines and the blades and accessories that go with them, and they deliver in record time. Before you know it, you’ll be ordering half the shop. Click for paper joy.  

scrapbooking

Paper Café

If you’re looking for the perfect paper to print your wedding invitations, business cards or brochures on, you’ve come to the right place. It’s hard to tell how comprehensive their paper range is from their website, so we recommend you pay them a visit in Rosebank. Order a cup of tea and allow yourself some time to take in all the glitter, colour and card stock options. It’s a feast for the eyes! Here's the website link. 

The Scrapbook Den

For those of you who are keen to take up scrapbooking as a hobby, The Scrapbook Den provides classes for all ages and stages. Surrounded by a massive range of scrapbooking bits and bobs, you’re also bound to be super inspired to create something amazing. Pop in for a visit and to find out more about this creative pastime. Here's all the info.

Model Building

Don’t be fooled into thinking that model building is like playing with toys. Far from it. This hobby requires serious skill, dexterity and patience, which is why participants get such a thrill out of finishing a build. From exact replica model trains, cars, helicopters, jets and even battleships, there’s a model for every enthusiast, so check out one of these stores and start tinkering.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles

From off-road to on-road cars, monster trucks, high-speed boats and Scalextric sets, this physical and online store has loads of options for creating some healthy competition through racing. One test drive and you’ll be hooked. Check them out here.

model train hobby

Aerial Concepts

If you're already a bit of a model aficionado, this online store allows you to browse by manufacturer for everything from motors to decals, foams, blades, bearings, batteries and drive shafts. We suppose that only sounds like Greek if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here's the link for the professionals.

Model Train Shop

The man behind this hobby shop, Rinke Blok, is a well-known and respected authority on the subject of model train building. From Schlesien Modelle Locomotives to replicas of old South African train stations, he’s got it all and, even if he doesn’t, he’ll know where to find it. It’s totally worth paying him a visit for some coffee and advice on your first or next train build. Find all the info here.

Art, Craft, Decoupage, Mosaic

Everyone is an artist. Seriously. You’ve just got to sit down with the right supplies and let your inner creative take charge. Stock up on some art and craft accessories from these stores and let loose.

Jems

Having opened in 2010, Jems is a hobby store where everyone knows what they’re doing. Specialists in a range of crafts, including beading, decoupage, laser cutting and vinyl, they have a smaller range of supplies, but offer loads of expertise, which is why they’re worth visiting. If you’re looking for something specific, give them a phone call before you go, just in case they don’t stock the item – details on the Jems website.

paint hobby

Herbert Evans

If you’re an artist or crafter, a visit to Herbert Evans is like going to a candy store. There’s canvasses and paper in every shape and size, paint brushes that feel like velvet, paints, pens, charcoals, pastels, inks and pencils in every conceivable shade – it’s everything your creative heart could ever desire, all under one roof. Look out for their annual 50% off sale on their website and get stocked up.

Mosaic Madness

For wood trays, frames, mirrors and boxes, as well as 400-plus tiles to choose from, Mosaic Madness has goods for beginner and professional tilers. They also offer a range of mosaic classes and provide “starter packs” which can be used for children’s or adult art parties. As a side note, you can also have them transform your favourite photo into a mosaic artwork. How cool? Get all the details here.

Baking & Chocolate Making

Watch any cooking or bake-off show these days and you’ll agree that baking has become an art form. Whether you’re a puff-pastry professional or wanting to try your hand at rainbow-centred cakes or chocolate truffles, these baking supply shops have got the goods you need to take on the hobby.

The Chocolate Den

The Chocolate Den has been around since the 80s and, as a kid, it was the most exciting shop to visit – ever! Well, nothing much has changed. It’s still a thrill to dig through hundreds of chocolate moulds, gold glitters and slabs on slabs of pure heaven. They offer an extensive range of other baking supplies too, and they offer classes – here's their website.

baking

The Bakers Warehouse

Boasting everything you need for baking, including some of the ingredients, this one-stop shop has colourants, cookie cutters, candies and cake boards. There’s also baking trays, icing and plungers to create really personalised delights. Who knows, you might just be South Africa’s next best baker? Check out the link to baking heaven.

Kadies

At Kadies’ online store you can order all the baking equipment your pocket can handle, and then some. There’s spatulas and spoons for icing of cakes; cutters of all shapes and sizes; and spheres and tins for every edible creation you can conjure up. There’s also pre-mixes and other ingredients if you’re looking to make your baking experience a little easier. Click for the full experience.

Photography

One of our favourite hobbies, we recently reviewed the best camera shops around town ­– check out the article here.

Where are your favourite hobby shops in Joburg? Let us know below!

I drove past the studio every single day for six years when I finally moved to the bustling city. Never did I ever think I'd be one of those smiling faces I saw daily waltzing from window to window. I'm usually a hermit. The most in public I like to be is hustling to and from the office five days a week. But with the big 30th birthday on the horizon, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do something I've always wanted to do... dancing. And I was going to start with some help from Five6Seven8 Dance Studio.

Five6Seven8 Dance Studio is situated in the Fontainebleau Village Corner in Randburg (just before CityROCK). You can easily spot it from Republic or Rabie Road. This past weekend, I went for my very first session of my eight week Latin and Ballroom dance course. What I noticed from the moment I walked in is that this isn't just your typical dance studio. It's a home and sanctuary for those who want to indulge their inner dancer,  a fun and safe environment for dancers to build their dance education, a supportive space to learn and have fun. Everybody knew everybody, newcomers were welcomed by exceptionally friendly and helpful staff and the vibe was just happy and energetic! It was contagious.

Five6Seven8

Since I arrived early (as I ALWAYS do for EVERYTHING), I took the time to suss out the place a little bit. There are a few studios hiding in the vicinity in various sizes, perfect for rehearsals and private lessons. There are loads of comfy couches to get comfortable on while you wait for your class as well as trophies and pictures on display of their professionals. And then there's the massive studio where I was going to take my first steps as a wannabe dancer. Wooden floors, sound system, big open windows, lots of natural light... definitely loads of room to shuffle around while finding your dancers' feet.

As for the classes, there are a variety of lessons for you to choose from, whether you're looking to sign up the kids or want to take a class yourself. They have everything from African Dance, Ballet, Bollywood and Breakdancing to Burlesque, Contemporary, FlexiFit, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Tap and much more. Looking to learn a dance for your wedding day? They'll happily help you out with that too!

Five6Seven8

And the instructors... just wonderful! For Latin and Ballroom, we had Bianca and Andre who kicked off the beginners' course. They made the steps look super easy, gave super easy instructions to follow and helped each and every one of us newbies with their super easy attitudes. We spent an hour learning how to do the Boogie and the Rumba box step. I made plenty of mistakes (sorry Andre!), but I think I finally got it down by the end of the session. After the first session, I was already amped for the next one. I highly recommend this dance studio if you're looking to try something new or get moving.

One class down, seven more to go. This is going to be fun!

For More Information

For more information about Five6Seven8 Dance Studio and their classes, visit www.five6seven8.co.za. You can also contact them on 011 791 5997 or [email protected].

Also, check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Lifestyle Home Garden

One of the most popular nurseries in the city, Lifestyle Home Garden offers the biggest, brightest and best quality plant range, no matter the season. From lillies and succulents to garden features and gardening tools, they have absolutely everything you need to bring some zest to your garden. The centre also boasts the Silver Birch restaurant and Primi Piatti if you’re feeling a little parched or peckish; a frozen yoghurt spot to keep you cool, and a number of kiddies rides to keep the little ones entertained while you shop.

Detailshttp://lifestyle.co.za / [email protected] / 011 792 5616 / Cnr. Beyers Naudé Drive & Ysterhout Avenue, Randpark Ridge, Randburg

Garden World

Garden World out in Muldersdrift is far more than just a plant nursery! This unique garden doesn’t just offer shoppers everything they need when it comes to gardening, but also a great space for the whole family to have a fun day out. Kids will have a blast in the children’s playground and animal farm while parents do a little shopping. Also, this venue can be used as a unique wedding and function setting. Look out for the country tea garden if you’re looking to grab a cup of tea to relax, as well as the weekend arts and crafts market.

Detailshttp://www.gardenworld.co.za / [email protected] / 011 957 5955 / Beyers Naudé Drive, Muldersdrift, Johannesburg

Nu-Leaf Nursery

Whether you’re trying to figure out your shrubs from your hedges or are an absolute expert in all things green, Nu-Leaf is your one-stop shop. From advice and guidance to tools and necessities, their knowledgeable and friendly staff will be more than happy to help you in any way they can. Nu-Leaf is also one of the largest bedding plant nurseries in the country, offering gardeners a variety of summer and winter annuals and perennials.

Detailshttp://www.nuleaf.co.za / 011 794 1350 /  Corner Beyers Naude Drive and Peter Road, Honeydew, Johannesburg

Schäfflers Garden Nursery

From indoor and outdoor plants to landscaping accessories and bonsai, Schäfflers Garden Nursery offers an impressive range of everything green for you to check out. And if you’re a fan of indigenous, unusual and rare plants and want to add a few to your garden or home, be sure to chat to the staff, because if they don’t have it they will find it for you. They also have the Under The Trees Garden Café if you’d like to grab a bite between browsing, and also a florist if you’re looking to treat someone to something special.

Detailshttp://schafflers.co.za / [email protected] / 011 786 0323 / 28 Johannesburg Road, Lyndhurst, Johannesburg

Montrose Nursery

Nestled in the heart of Sandton, you’ll find one of Joburg’s oldest and established nurseries, Montrose Nursery. This family-owned business stocks a large variety of shrubs, trees, seedlings, herbs and organics that will make the perfect addition to your garden. Also on their property you will find the stunning little coffee shop, Gia’s on Montrose, that offers a beautiful setting to enjoy the stunning weather and tuck into delicious café meals.

Details: https://www.facebook.com/Montrose-Nursery-119333008129572 / [email protected] / 011 783 1252 / 66B South Road, Morningside, Sandton, Johannesburg

Sharondale Garden Centre

We had to add Sharondale Garden Centre to the list to make sure that we give you nothing but the best. It has been a family run and owned nursery for four generations and is considered one of the oldest nurseries in the city. So, yes, they know their plants pretty well. They are located in the south of Jozi, in Alberton. When you pop-in for a visit make sure you have a bite at their lovely coffee shop called Wendy's Cafe.

Details: https://www.facebook.com/sharondalegardencentre/ [email protected] /  011 867 8021 / Swartkoppies Road & Overbury Street, Brackenhurst, Alberton, Johannesburg.

Sharondale Garden Centre

Is there a plant nursery that we have missed? Let us know in the comments section below!

Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.