One of the things I’ve learned as I’ve begun this “Self Care” path is that I’ve actually been doing self care activities and didn’t even know it. Crafts are one of the things that I’ve been doing for a long time, but never really realized that they were an excellent self care activity.
I read an article from Psychology Today, Art as Self Care, and it talks about the effects that Art can have on stress levels. I didn’t really need to read that article to know that creating stuff makes me feel less stressed.
When I’m making something, I’m completely zoned in on whatever it is. My mind is clear and focused on the task. I’m usually biting my lip and not realizing it. There can be chaos going on all around me and I wouldn’t know.
There’s definitely something meditative, almost trance-like happening when I’m focused like that. It’s a pleasant state to be in. Making something feels good for me.
Now, don’t think that you have to be an artist or have any special creative skills to use art or crafts as part of your self care routine. You totally don’t. I don’t.
What you do need is just some simple instructions for making simple things. And I have plenty of those!
You can find tutorials for all of the crafts below right here on this blog. I’ve included links to each one.
OR, I’ve compiled my 10 Favorite Crafts in a pdf that is available for you to purchase. If you prefer the convenience of having them all in one easy to download file, rather than clicking all over the blog, then by all means, buy it! The polymer clay pens are not in that pdf, but the other projects in this post, plus 5 more that I love, are all in there.
Self Care Activities for the Creative: Crafts
These painted tiles are one of the easiest and most effective crafts for self care that I can think of. The supplies are minimal and fairly inexpensive. The process is exceedingly easy. Anyone can do this and make something that looks good.
There are lots of uses for painted tiles if you’re like me and like making things that are more than just pretty to look at. These can be made into coasters. Or trivets. Or wall art.
But what I like best about these painted tiles is that they definitely can get you into that meditative creative state. There’s a lot of creative decision making happening as you are painting the tiles. What colors to pick? Where to put those colors? Add more rubbing alcohol? Add more color? Dab the color more? Less?
Writing about these is making me want to go make more of them.
Polymer clay is most definitely one of my favorite, favorite things to work with when it comes to crafting. It’s very tactile and requires repetitive movements. And so very satisfying to work the clay and twist different colors together and then see an end product that is completely unique to you.
Those polymer clay pens are very easy to make. You need the polymer clay and the pens, but all of that is fairly inexpensive and the clay is something you can use over and over if you buy a big pack.
I’ve also made these trinket dishes with polymer clay:
Those little dishes are tons of fun to make. They are so simple AND they are great for gifting.
Why not make a craft that you can actually include in other parts of your self care routine?
Felted soap, if you’ve never used it, is one of life’s simple luxuries. It’s cozy soap. I bet you didn’t even think it was possible to make soap cozy.
Well, it is. There’s really just three things needed to make felted soap, and you can make it in less than 30 minutes. Way less. But I’m being generous.
Here’s another simple soap project that you make as part of your self care routine and then also USE as part of your self care routine.
This soap does not require any crazy ingredients or temperature measurements. It’s melt and pour with some style choices thrown in, basically. I did a delicious honey almond scent and added some oatmeal for the exfoliating.
If you’re more into traditional art, like watercolors, as opposed to crafts, you should try adding this simple watercolor art to your self care routine.
I loved making these so much. It was totally relaxing. There’s basically no chance of making a mistake. It’s just easy water and paint on a canvas.
Not a ton of supplies needed for this one either. And you know you’ll get compliments on that. You know that, right?
Self Care and Creativity
Here’s the thing with making stuff. There’s a great sense of control that you get as you do it. You start with a bunch of raw materials. You are probably following some type of instructions, but with anything creative, you never come out with an exact replica of the original.
Through the whole process, you’re making decisions. You’re deciding on colors, you’re adding parts here or there. You’re cultivating the look of this thing. It’s so basically human to make things.
There’s something to that. It’s like practice for other parts of your life where you have to make more difficult decisions. I trusted myself when I made those watercolor paintings. I picked the colors I wanted and I made something that I liked.
When I have to make a decision next time about something important, my brain will have that muscle memory of making a decision by myself and having a good outcome.
I’ll have built a little more trust in myself and my ability to make a good decision, even if that decision was adding a little more orange. It’s there. It’s a block in the building that is my decision making process.
So, start making stuff. See if you don’t love it as part of your self care routine. If you want that convenient pdf with all of my favorite craft tutorials (except the marbled clay pens!) but you don’t feel like scrolling up again, you can click here.
If you’d like to hear more about my thoughts on Self Care, I have a few of other posts on the topic: