Animal Crossing: New Horizons - How to craft

Animal Crossing New Horizons Crafting
Animal Crossing New Horizons Crafting (Image credit: iMore)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out now, and the addition of crafting in this iteration of the franchise has evolved the game from great to one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch. The ability to craft and customize your own items works as both a natural progression system for the game, as well as a way to add more variety and player choice to design and decoration. Since you can put furniture outdoors now, the possibilities for island design are seemingly endless.

You'll get the ability to craft pretty early in the game, but if you're wondering what it's all about, here's a quick guide to crafting in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Unlock DIY recipes

Animal Crossing New Horizons Crafting

Animal Crossing New Horizons Crafting (Image credit: iMore)

DIY or Do It Yourself projects are the equivalent of crafting in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Unlocking them is incredibly easy — in fact, you can do it on the very first day of the game.

Simply begin the game and follow the tutorial. Once you sleep in-game and start the first official "day," Tom Nook announces that he is doing DIY workshops for residents in his tent. Visit him there and ask to take the workshop.

Nook will teach you the fundamentals of crafting, having you make your very first fishing rod. From there, you'll be given some essential recipes and the ability to craft anything, so long as you have the DIY recipe and required materials for it. The sky's the limit from there!

Getting the materials

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Peaches

Animal Crossing New Horizons Island Peaches (Image credit: iMore)

To make items with DIY recipes, you'll need their required materials. There are several different materials you can use to craft. Here they are, as well as how to find them:

  • Weeds — At the start of the game, these will be everywhere. It's the green grassy stuff on the ground, appearing in varying lengths from little clovers to full stalks. Just press Y in front of a patch to pick it.
  • Tree Branches — These are small sticks. You can find them on the ground under trees (more will respawn each day), but you can get an infinite supply simply by shaking trees. They won't always drop, but keep shaking and you'll get more.
  • Stone — Small grey rocks. These will respawn daily like tree branches next to the large, grey boulders on the island. You can get more by hitting rocks with a shovel, which you'll need to craft as a DIY recipe or buy from the Nooklings.
  • Wood — Brown logs, only obtainable by hitting trees with an ax.
  • Softwood — Similar to regular Wood, but lighter colored. Also obtained by hitting trees with an axe.
  • Hardwood — Similar to regular Wood, but darker colored. Also obtained by hitting trees with an axe.
  • Clay — Light brown blobs. Only obtained from hitting rocks with a shovel.
  • Iron Ore — Black, blocky rocks. Only obtained from hitting rocks with a shovel. Can be somewhat rare.
  • Gold Ore — Gold, blocky rocks. Only obtained from hitting rocks with a shovel. Very rare.
  • Flowers — Everyone will start with different flowers in their town, and these can be picked once every few days without harming the plant. If you want other flowers, you can either plant seeds purchased from the Nooklings, or dig up plants on other islands and replant them on yours.
  • Fruit — Your island will start with one type of fruit "native" to it that you can get by shaking trees where it appears. More fruit trees can be planted by obtaining new fruits from other islands, digging a hole, and placing the fruit inside.

There are other, rarer crafting materials you'll encounter later in the game, but these are the basic ones to be aware of to start with.

Getting more recipes

Animal Crossing New Horizons Crafting

Animal Crossing New Horizons Crafting (Image credit: iMore)

When you first unlock crafting, you won't have very many recipes to work with. You'll want to acquire a lot more if you want to design more furniture and fully decorate your home and town. Here are several ways to get more DIY recipes:

  • Continue progressing your town. If Tom Nook has asked you to do something, try to accomplish it quickly. You'll obtain a lot of important new DIY recipes just from growing your town and building new facilities.
  • Check what the Nooklings are selling, either in the Resident Services tent or in Nook's Cranny. They sell some recipes you can't get anywhere else.
  • Shoot down balloons with a crafted Slingshot. These will often contain new recipes.
  • Talk to the villagers. Sometimes, they'll have a recipe to give you. As more villagers move to your island, you can earn around three recipes a day by visiting them in their homes while they're crafting.
  • Check the beaches daily. Often, new recipes will wash up in bottles.
  • Pick up lots of different kinds of items. Sometimes, your character will be inspired just by holding a shell or an old tire and will come up with a new recipe.
  • Keep playing the game! A lot of new recipes will become available just through natural progression.


Animal Crossing New Horizons Crafting

Animal Crossing New Horizons Crafting (Image credit: iMore)

After you've unlocked new villager homes, Nook's Cranny, and several other amenities, Tom Nook will invite you to a special customization workshop. Talk to him to initiate it and follow his instructions. You'll learn how to customize furniture with different colors and patterns through the use of customization kits!

Nook will give you a lot of customization kits to start with, and you can buy more from the Nooklings whenever you want. Customization doesn't work for every furniture item, and you'll have to enter the customization menu to see if an item can be customized. Also, every item can only be customized in specific, set ways — it'll have a set of colors available to you that are preset, and you have to pick from those.

However, some items can receive custom designs, which you can make via the Nook Phone Custom Designs app and then apply to items. This can be a fun way to personalize furniture and other items if you're a creative type.

Customization relies heavily on experimentation — you'll have to play around with it to see what items can be customized, and how. But it's a fun way to get a lot of DIY items that look unique or match the aesthetic you're going for. Be sure to try it out!

Reb Valentine