Feeling sad? Joyful? Anxious? Overwhelmed? There's a craft for that!
Anyone who's tried their hand at crafting can attest that getting creative works wonders for mental health and general wellness—it's why programs like art therapy exist! In fact, we've got a whole piece detailing the benefits of crafting while managing anxiety, depression and other emotional challenges. Whether you're looking for a way to express your positive feelings or a therapeutic outlet for navigating tough times, we've got you covered with a roundup of inventive art projects, self-care crafts and DIYs to suit your current emotion(s)—no matter what they might be.
Craft projects for when you’re feeling...
Felt Flower Bouquet
There's a reason flowers are common gifts for loved ones experiencing difficult times. When you're sad, it can be helpful to surround yourself with reminders of beautiful things—and that's where this DIY felt wildflower bouquet tutorial comes in handy. TikToker @resacurbocreative provides a step-by-step look at this expressive art project, which incorporates fine motor skills and plenty of repetitive movement to help you shift focus temporarily. The best part? You'll finish the craft project with a whimsical felt flower bouquet that will add a dash of color to an otherwise gloomy time.
Torn Paper Collage
When you're feeling irritated or annoyed, your first instinct might be to break something. Of course, we don't recommend smashing anything dangerous or valuable as you process any pent-up frustration, so here's a safe and satisfying alternative: Creating a torn paper collage! Take a cue from @tramontidicarta on Instagram and round up construction paper in various colors. Give each sheet plenty of gratifying rips before rearranging torn pieces into a beautiful collage. We love this hands-on, fun way to release irritation and turn it into something special.
Ready to let creativity and color be your guides? If you're like us, you enjoy expressing all sorts of emotions—including the positive ones—through arts and crafts. With TikToker @frey.artist's simple and easy swirl painting project, you can happily and mindlessly project joy onto a canvas. All you need is a paintbrush, acrylic paints in your favorite hues and paper. @frey.artist recommends using lots of paint for maximum joy.
Crochet Stress Balls
When anxiety strikes, this craft is hard to beat: A DIY crochet stress ball that's beginner-friendly, plenty distracting and just plain adorable. TikTok crafter @vanilla_gurumi shows us how to create simple yet effective stress balls (which would also function as fidget toys for those with particular sensory needs) using soft yarn and adorable button eyes. The best part? When the craft itself is completed, you'll have a stress ball to help keep those anxious feelings in check.
To combat loneliness through crafting, try creating a DIY terrarium jar. The benefits are countless: You'll bring new life into your home through the inclusion of plants while getting hands-on and embracing a fresh form of self-expression. TikToker @rooseveltspdx demonstrates his process for creating a fully self-sustaining, rainforest-inspired terrarium using a large glass jar, soil, terrarium-safe plants, rocks, water and even adorable mini frog figurines. While plants can't take the place of humans, they certainly provide companionship in their own way.
Wood Photo Coasters
In the mood to look back, reminisce and embrace memories? Take a cue from @well_shetried on TikTok, who demonstrates a great activity for anyone feeling a bit nostalgic. Using wood slices (these ones were recycled from her Christmas tree!), the crafter prints meaningful family photos, sands wood and uses Mod Podge to adhere pictures to each slice. The result is a set of functional, beautiful wood photo coasters that preserve memories for generations to come.
When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's helpful to seek out simple, soothing crafts that won't add unnecessary chaos or confusion to the mix. Enter: DIY clay flowers. The process demonstrated by TikToker @funartdiys is beginner-friendly, calling solely for clay and a bit of paint in any color you wish. If you can flatten clay and roll it into balls to form petals, you can complete this project! The result is a cute, chunky piece that works well as a jewelry dish or cheery work of art to enhance home decor. Even better? The creative process might just help those overwhelmed feelings settle—and you could even take this project up a notch by painting affirmations or inspiring words on the clay.
Are you in love and want the whole world to know it? And we don't just mean "in love" in the traditional romantic sense! You might be in love with your best friends in a platonic way, in love with your home, in love with nature or even in love with yourself. Whatever you're enamored with, wear your heart on your sleeve with a dainty heart embroidery project like the one demonstrated by @homesteadandthread on TikTok. Whether you're embroidering a piece of clothing for yourself or adding a personal touch to your sweetheart's sweater, this is a great activity to help embrace those loving vibes and enhance self-esteem.
And there you have it: A collection of eight soothing and fun activities to help you navigate all sorts of feelings. While crafts can't take the place of full-blown art therapy or professionally provided coping skills, they offer a fantastic and freeing supplement to any self-care routine.