Crafted Golden Seat in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image: Austin Voigt

Although not entirely new to Animal Crossing (let us not forget dear old Cyrus), crafting has certainly become an unprecedentedly huge part of the game in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Specifically, crafting DIY recipes is an entirely new concept for the series — one which we all agree has been an extremely addictive addition.

However, because it is so new, DIY projects are still something even seasoned veterans are learning more about each day in the game. Therefore, we've crafted a comprehensive guide to all things DIY — from workbenches to recipes to customisation — to help everyone enjoy this new in-game activity to its fullest.

DIY Recipes and Workbenches in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Explained

What is crafting in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

DIY recipes and crafting are a brand-new addition to the newest game in the Animal Crossing series - and a vital component to island life. Because the player is starting out on a deserted island, there are very few resources to be had at the beginning of the game - besides raw materials such as sticks and stones.

Therefore, the concept of crafting is introduced to allow players to make anything from tools (like the axe and shovel) to clothing to furniture - an expansive new element to the game.

The player gathers what are called "DIY recipes" - which can be acquired both from predictable sources such as Tom Nook, and randomised origins like bottles on the beach and floating balloon presents. Once in hand, players simply select the recipes in their inventories, "learn" them, and then choose them the next time they're at a workbench. Combined with the right materials, this allows everyone to craft to their heart's content.

Recipe for Golden Seat in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image: Austin Voigt

How do you get DIY workbenches for crafting?

In order to craft any DIY recipes, the player must have access to a DIY workbench. From the beginning of the game, a workbench is provided at Resident Services, where users can craft as much as they would like, for free - thanks to the ever-benevolent Tom Nook.

However, an early game update from Nintendo also provided players with a recipe to craft their own Simple DIY Workbench via mail - requiring a measly five pieces of hardwood and one iron nugget. Building a personal workbench at Resident Services allows players early in the game to have their own source for crafting, which can be placed or carried around the island for easier access.

Luckily - for those who are as obsessed as we are with variety - there are many different types of workbenches that can be acquired throughout the game, often from random sources. Taking a peek inside villagers' homes will provide previews of some of the various workbench designs up for grabs - you may even be lucky enough to acquire a desired workbench from a neighbor's home by plying them with gifts of furniture that they may put in its place.

So far, these are the types of workbenches we've seen in New Horizons (all in varying styles and colors - some customisable):

  • Simple DIY workbench
  • Mini DIY workbench
  • [Standard] DIY workbench
  • Cute DIY table
  • Ironwood DIY workbench
Cute DIY table in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image: Austin Voigt

How do you find DIY recipes to craft?

Speaking of popping in on your neighbors to take a peek at their DIY setups - maybe you're a seasoned crafting connoisseur who simply wants to know how you can get your hands on more recipes? If so, this section is for you.

Of course, many of the key recipes - such as tools - are provided to players near the start of the game. However, once you start crafting, it can be hard to stop. Below is a comprehensive list of all of the various ways players can access additional DIY recipes for crafting in New Horizons:

  • Find messages in bottles on the beach (randomised)
    • One message per player, per day will appear on your island's beach
    • Generally, most mystery island tours will also contain one message in a bottle on their beaches
  • Shoot down floating balloon presents (randomised)
  • Walk in on neighbors by chance while they're crafting in their homes (randomised)
    • If you see smoke coming from an islander's house, stop in and say hi - they may have a new recipe for you (once per day, per crafting resident)
    • Even friends visiting your island can get in on this action! Invite them over to acquire recipes from your neighbors, as well
  • Invite villagers to your campsite using amiibo Cards (randomised)
    • If you use the kiosk in Resident Services you can invite someone over to your campsite using their respective amiibo Card
    • When they arrive (immediately) you can talk to them repeatedly until they express an interest in taking something home with them that was made on the island, and if you don't know how to make what they want, they'll give you the DIY recipe for it
    • You can only invite one character per day
  • Redeem recipes with Nook Miles at the Resident Services kiosk (set list)
  • Purchase recipes with Bells in the cabinet at Nook's Cranny (set list)
    • This is also the place to purchase customisation kits for your crafts

How do you customise furniture?

While you're perusing the cabinet of supplies at Timmy & Tommy's, you'll likely want to pick up some customisation kits to take your DIY crafting to the next level.

While some are content to simply build a bed and leave it as is, others may prefer a different type of wood, color, or even fabric. For those obsessed with coordination - or filling out their catalogue - they can take their DIY recipes one step further with the use of customisation kits from Nook's Cranny.

In order to begin customising furniture, the player must accomplish the following (in this order):

  1. Unlock the museum on their island
  2. Have three new villagers move to the island
  3. Attend Tom Nook's customisation workshop (which will also net you 50 customisation kits - worth 30,000 Bells)

Once these tasks have been completed, players can not only customise furniture with preset options - such as color, wood type, or design - but they can also add their own custom designs and special patterns from Sable to many pieces with fabric.

Customising furniture with patterns from Sable in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image: Austin Voigt

One (unfortunate) note: if you customise any item with a handmade design, you will be unable to pass this item along to friends or anyone else playing with you outside of your island (likely due to safety concerns). You will only be able to place these items around your own island - not drop them for another to pick up, give as gifts to an islander or attach to a letter.

However, simply sharing said item with a friend, as well as the QR code for the design, will allow them to add it to the furniture themselves - slightly more work, but worth it if you're determined!

And there you have it - everything you could ever possibly want to know (and more) about DIY crafting, workbenches, recipes and customisation in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Have you been crafting up a storm, or are there other island activities you prefer to focus on? Let us know down below!

This article is part of our Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough, which includes a Complete Fish List, Complete Bug List and Complete Sea Creatures List. If you're looking for specific fish or bugs, we can tell you how to catch the elusive Coelacanth, Mahi-Mahi, Giant Trevally, Stringfish, Golden Trout and all the Sharks and Beetles, along with a full list of critters leaving at the end of the month (unless you visit Kapp'n's Boat Tour islands, of course!).

We can also help with How to Spot Redd's Fake Paintings and Statues, How to Make Bells Fast, How to Breed Flowers, How to Get more DIY Recipes, How to Upgrade Nook's Cranny, where and when to find special characters like Gulliver, Sable, Label, Wisp, Celeste, Pirate Gulliver and Jack, plus tips on using the Star Wand, Tool Ring, Rock Trick, Cutting Down and Moving Trees, using amiibo on Harv's Island, How to Back Up Your Island Data, How to Time Travel, How to Get a 5-Star Island Rating and a whole lot more.

If it's new content you're looking for help with, we can help you find gyroids, unlock Brewster's café, use the new Pro Camera App for selfies, enact new ordinances, get the beloved Froggy Chair, and even learn How to Cook.

And finally, Where to Buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch, if for some reason you haven't yet picked up the game, and How To Buy The Happy Home Paradise DLC, too!