Show Guide for Novices:
Handicraft Classes

These interpretations are based on guidance within;
The RHS Horticultural Show Handbook and
The NFWI On With The Show publication.
Both can be referenced at the Show Recorder's table.
Be aware the HIHS Rules for Exhibitors take precedence.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so final judgement
of craft elements is always at the discression
of the individual judges.

Links to articles posted below:
Handicraft General Art / Painting Bead work/weaving
Collage Crochet Cross Stitch
Cushions Decoupage Embroidery
Greetings Card Hand Knitting Halloween Lantern
Papercraft Pressed Flowers A Toy
Woodwork Entries

Handicraft Classes

Judges of handicraft entries generally consider these
elements, listed in descending order of importance:

Workmanship skills and techniques.
Design and colour harmony.
Are the materials suitable and applicable.
The general presentation, effect and finish.

Each entry is judged on its own 'stand alone' merit.

Art / Painting

Judges of these classes generally consider these elements for:

Eye appeal and balance of composition.
Sense of space and shape.
Work holding and encouraging viewers interest.
Focal point and depth of perspective.
Choice and tonal value of colours.
Level of flair and skills in execution.
Finished work well stretched and mounted.
Presentation to enhance visual appreciation.

The emotional impact of an art work is subjective,
introducing an unavoidable personal preference into judging.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

Beadwork / Beadweaving

Judges of beadwork entries generally consider:

Designs appropriate for the purpose.
Suitability of beads, wire and threads.
Consistency of beads.
Threads and wires neat, tension consistent and hidden.
Fringing or tassel beads without gap or thread visible.
Bead size in proportion.
Beads double locked on purses, fringe or necklaces.
Loom beading with side edges even and threads discreet.
Embroider work appropriate, without pulling to fabric.
Findings in proportion to the item.


Collage is an art form of elements fixed to a background.
Anything can be incorporated, fabric, paper, plant materials,
beads, shells, pasta and/or mixed media.

The elements can be padded, decorated or constructed to effect.

Judges generally consider:
A balanced composition with sense of pattern, space and shape.
Purposeful, harmonious or complimentary backing.
Background wrinkle and pucker free.
A constructive mix of surface textures.
Quality and craftsmanship in execution.
Adhesives suited to elements.
If to be wall mounted, hanging arrangement
well considered and take full weight.


Judges of crochet entries generally consider.

Showing craft to best advantage.
Colour, pattern, texture, yarns and suitability.

Overall Craftsmanship:
Tension hook to yarn demonstrating competence.
Edges neat, correct turning chains and accurate.
Finishing edges continuous, turning at each round and
increasing/decreasing at the corners.
Seams neatly grafted or crocheted together.
Stitches collected two threads at bands to avoid holes.
All ribs worked in crochet.
Light blocking is advised.

New and unworn displayed to best advantage.

Cross Stitch

cross stich
Judges of cross stitch entries consider.

Showing craft to best advantage.
Of pleasing appearance, eye catching.

Overall Craftsmanship:
Stitches even and accurately formed.
Stitches of consistent quality in same direction.
Thread centred and filling each hole.
Even texture indicating strands separated before
combining in the needle.
Strands laying neatly during stitch formation.
No visable trailing threads.
Stretching straight horizontal and perpendicular.
Frame complimentary and aligned with stitching.


Cushions can be either for pins or chairs
all as a complete ready to use item.

Judges will be looking for:

Fitting tight for tension without creasing.
If with opening it being suitable with ideal fastening.
Pad completely filled by cover and remaing firm.
Binding, piping, edgings, decorations to show extra skills.
Creativity and artistic flair.
Purposeful choice of colours and suitable materials.


Judges of decoupage generally consider.

Good design and suitability to defined subject.

Overall Craftsmanship:
Cut edges coloured appropriately and matched.
Work clean with no visible silicone.
If flat decoupage sealing and smoothing of finish.
If 3D the quality of work in achieving realistic effect.

Artistic flair and choice of colours and materials.

Elements You May Wish To Consider:
Flower petals individually cut, moulded, shaped,
and re-assembled for realistic effect.
Flowers perhaps varnished to appear like porcelain.
Clothing elements on figures individually cut.
Figures dressed to appear life like.
Feathering with birds and animals to best
resemble fur or feathers and
left unvarnished.


Judges of embroidery generally consider.

Effective combinations of fabric, thread, stitchery and material.
Colour and texture appropriate to shape and defined use.

Overall Craftsmanship:
Skill in use and difficulty of stiches.
Worked in, well chosen threads.
Edge of work suitable for the design and appropriate
if traditional Hardanger or Ruskin Lace techniques employed.

Artistic flair in choice of stitching, colours and materials,
all to achieve an integrated and imaginative result.

New and unsoiled, displayed to best advantage.
Shape not distorted with no design makings visible.

Greetings Card

Judges of greetings cards generally consider.

Good design and suitability to defined subject.

Overall Craftsmanship:
Number of individual skills utilized and competence.

Artistic flair and choice of colours and materials.

Hand Knitting Entries

Judges of knitting entries consider these elements:

Design and yarns taking full account of intended use.
Higher consideration to an original design.

Finishing techniques are important:
Tension consistant to fabric and texture.
Best chosen methord of casting on and off.
No dropped stiches.
Shoulder seams and similar well crafted.
Any buttons and holes positioned to best efect.
Yarns joined at edge and loose ends darned neatly.

Blocking is best for most natural yarns.
Sinthetics are best finished without pressing.
Garments should be unworn.
Attractivly arrangement on the show bench.

Baby Garments:
No lacey patterns or fabrics.
No ribbons at the neck or around face.

Halloween Lantern

Halloween Lanterns
Judges of Halloween lantern entries consider these elements:

Fit for purpose and fire safety.
Craftsmanship and creativity appropriate to Halloween.
Originality of overall presentation and use of colour.
Effectiveness of illumination, contrast, highlighting and shading.
Balance of design in relation to shape and proportion.

Guide on making a scarecrow lantern: Link to pdf.

Papercraft Entries

This is a wide specification and can include:
Origami, Scrapbooking, Cardcrafting, Decoupage flat or 3D.

Judges are likely to take into consideration:

Overall appearance (Hand made, not home made).
Confident use of materials, clean, crisp and neat.
Artistic flair of composition and construction.
Appropriate colour, design and element combination.
The range of skills employed.
Adhesives suited to individual elements.
Wrinkle and pucker free.

Pressed Flowers

pressed flowers
General guidance when using pressed flowers:

Plant material to be in pristine condition.
Well pressed without wrinkle or damage.
Endeavour that any variety is in good harmony.
Design is appropriate and fitting for the purpose.
Flower sizes are in proportion to the object.
Use of butterflys is not generally appropriate.

A Toy

This is a wide specification and can include:
Soft, Stuffed, Knitted, Rag Dolls, Wood.

Judges of toy entries are looking at:
Safety and suitability for use by a child.
Design suitable for intended child's age group.
Good play, imaginative or comfort value.
Skill and craftmanship of constuction and finish.

Soft, Stuffed, Knitted, Rag Dolls should be:
Made from washable fillings and fabrics.
Closure of seams, neat and unobtrusive.
Attachment of limbs etc. fully secure and robust.
Asymmetry of features and limbs.

Wooden toys should be:
Robust with smooth rounded corners.
Wheels even size and turn with ease.
Screws countersunk.
Finishes non toxic.

Woodwork Entries

Judges of woodwork entries consider these elements:

Craftsmanship and woodworking skills.
Wood choice to compliment composition.
Sense of balance and scale.
Any natural faults and knots integrated into design.
Grain showing element to best advantage.
No vice or saw marks.
Finished smooth, well polished
Robustness and form in keeping with use.

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