Having been brought up in a very crafty family, I’ve had a ‘make-do-and-mend’ attitude for as long as I can remember. Upcycling furniture, tie-dying old clothes to make them feel new, and stitching back together favourite jeans when they’ve gone past their best. I even completed a Fashion Diploma inspired by my family of craftspeople.
But I have to hold my hands up to the fact that I’m simply not blessed with the same amount of patience as my father, mother, and grandmother. In fact, I have the most vivid childhood memory of having a ‘crafternoon’ at my Grandmothers where I insisted on creating outfits for my then junior school girl group I was putting together. While my poor Grandmother kept trying to teach me to sew, my impatient 9-year-old self decided to staple the fabric together because it was much quicker. As you can imagine, the outfits lasted about as long as the girl group.
As you can tell, while I have all the best intentions, I often fall short of creating any great masterpieces.
An example of this heritage of craftiness is a tapestry my mother began after marrying my father. Vibrantly stitched on it, is every significant milestone in their lives. All of our births with our weights, dates and times, pets, and homes.
It is the material version of my mother’s love for her family, and I adore having it in my home now as an adult.
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to attempt a heartfelt piece such as this, as I either don’t have the patience, or the classic excuse, the time.
But getting crafty and using my hands for creation, is something that I’ve made a pact with myself to embrace this year. In case you didn’t read it, I even added knitting a jumper to my 30 Before 30 list. Something I’m determined to accomplish, even if it ends-up only fitting a doll.
The simple fact is, creating something with our hands can pull our minds away from worry and can significantly help us to reduce stress and live a happier life.
I can certainly vouch for this myself, as when I’ve been quite literally wrapped up in creating pompoms, all the little niggles of the day that were pestering me have fallen away.
It’s a form of therapy, or ‘active meditation’ that we forget is not only good for our wellbeing but something that can also be rather rewarding.
The pompom feature I created from DIY blogger Caroline Burke, hangs proudly in my living room, and every time I have a visitor it instantly gains all the comments. Which makes me feel rather great – like some kind of pompom Picasso.
I know for many people like myself, crafting can be a rather intimidating act, especially if your skills are far beyond that of craft Queen Kirsty Allsop.
But who said you have to be amazing at it to gain the benefits that it brings? And luckily, there are some crafts that need barely any effort – hence this post.
So from one wannabe crafter to another, here’s my list of easy crafts that will beat away the anxiety and not end-up as a Pinterest fail.
To say I have an obsession with pompoms would probably be a massive understatement. I will make any excuse to be able to adorn the little fluffy balls of colour anywhere in my home. From creating a feature of them in my living room to adding them to my stepdaughter’s bedroom and using them as gift tags. I can create any reason for a good pompom.
Plus, the beauty of creating them makes it so simple. You don’t need to be great at anything technical, it’s as simple as wrapping colourful wool around a piece of plastic.
These pompom makers I purchased were a collection from eBay, and have lasted me so well. I can’t even begin to tell you how many I’ve made with them.
One of my favourite things about making pompoms is that you don’t really need to focus, so it’s a fantastic craft so sitting down in front of the TV with, or as I often do, taking on the train during a commute. (Yes, I’m one of those people.)
My father has an incredible natural ability to paint, and whenever he travels he paints things in his journal to remind him of some the sights and sounds. It’s a bit like taking pictures, but a far more personal and immersive way to record your memories.
Many people feel that just because they’re no Van Gogh that they ‘can’t’ paint, but painting in any form is a wonderfully freeing form of therapy and a way to express deep emotions that we perhaps don’t feel confident in talking about.
An example of this would be my dear friend Amy, who took up painting after her father passed away, as she found a form of therapy that enabled her to connect with her father and release emotions that were very strong.
I’m lucky enough to now have my father’s easel in my shed, but I take great joy in sitting down sometimes and just getting the watercolours out to play.
Whatever you do, don’t pressure yourself into creating something, expression is completely personal to you, so just pick-up the paints and see where it takes you.
I was lucky enough to learn a number of different tie-dye techniques while studying for my Fashion Diploma, and since this introduction, I have fallen quite in love with creating unique dye combinations.
While I know many people will follow the traditional tie-dye techniques, I simply enjoy seeing what can be created and seeing how the colours develop.
The best part about tie-dye is not only the fun of playing with colours, but also adding them to old clothes to make something feel new again. Giving it a new lease of life and purpose within your wardrobe.
Tie-dye may not seem like an obvious craft to help you destress, but trust me, getting in my scruffs and experimenting in the kitchen is form of play that many of us forget in adulthood, and sometimes it’s good to go back to just having fun without any preconceptions or pressure of how it’s going to turn out.
I personally always use Dylon fabric dyes, as their colour range and ability to stay are second to none.
I colour while watching TV, while commuting on the train and most often with my step-daughter around the kitchen table. It’s fast becoming the one thing we can all do on rainy days that doesn’t end up with us all hating being indoors. And personally, I could quite happily sit and colour all day long.
There is something so therapeutic about colouring, and it often helps to stimulate my creative thinking, which is why I even colour if I’m struggling to think of new blog ideas.
The act of colouring has an array of mental health benefits, some of which include helping us to destress and relax, which is why this craft method has grown in popularity.
Adult colouring books are now as popular as children’s, and I’ve seen quite a variety. From the incredibly intricate and arty colouring books to the downright rude, but no matter your taste and style there is a colouring book for you.
I know that there are many more crafts out there, but these are my personal four that work really well for me when I need help in feeling more relaxed and grounded. I hope my four easy crafts have given you some ideas of the ways in which you can incorporate more play into your life. Remember that you don’t need to be amazing, it’s just about enjoying the art of it.
Shake off any negative thoughts and just pick something that makes you feel good.
If you’ve got any crafty ways that you like destress or any art projects you’re working on that’s helped your wellbeing, I would love for you to share below.