Millennials are making calligraphy and carpentry great again

For so long, skills like calligraphy, carpentry and framing pictures were associated with pensioners. With the rise of the digital age, these skills looked destined for the history books but a new study has revealed that they are making a comeback.

A new study commissioned by notonthehighstreet found that young adults (aged between 22 and 38) are adept at skills such as framing pictures and calligraphy, as well as crafting handwritten letters to keep in touch with loved ones. Thirteen per cent said they were learning woodwork and carpentry - and hand-making items such as tables, chairs and bookshelves.

Along with the revival of these traditional skills, the study also found that fathers are generally a positive influence on young adults for learning new skills. For example, a fifth of millennials said they were growing their own vegetables, one in 10 like to write poems, while a further 16 per cent enjoying baking cakes inspired by dad’s passion and skill.

Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, 8 out of 10 believed the younger generation have fewer practical skills than previous generations. However, 25 per cent of millennials want to learn a new skill, such as how to make furniture, in the next 12 months – compared to just four per cent over the age of 66.

Apart from dads, social media has also played a significant role in the renaissance of these traditional skills. One third of those under the age of 38 have at some point watched a YouTube tutorial to learn how to do something, and a further 21 per cent have been taught by a teacher.

According to Ella d’Amato, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer for notonthehighstreet, “this study is reassurance that practical artisan skills are very much alive – despite a common assumption that young adults don’t have time to be very ‘hands on’. And what’s really nice is that a large percentage of men and women have learnt much of what they know from their dad, as this shows traditional past-times, crafts and activities are continuing to make their way through generations.''

“We love to see dads of all ages passing their skills onto their sons and daughters. In fact, many of the small creative businesses that sell on our platform are using these skills to run successful businesses.

“There is something really lovely about having a skill learnt from dad – as well as spending time together, it can also be a really great way of keeping a certain practical or traditional talent alive for years to come.”


  • Cook an evening meal 29%
  • Put up a tent 28%
  • Tie a knot 28%
  • Shine your shoes 28%
  • Tie a necktie 26%
  • Hang a picture properly 26%
  • Grow your own vegetables 23%
  • Frame a picture 20%
  • Read a compass 20%
  • Take a good photograph 19%

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