Relaxing Crafts For Adults: What Are Some Options?

Crafts are usually something that we think of for kids, but crafts are also good hobbies for adults who are stressed out and need to relax!

Crafting can be very calming, and crafts that involve repetitious movements and that require focus can be very meditative.

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photo of Paper quilling supplies as a relaxing craft for adults to try
Paper quilling supplies.

What are some relaxing crafts?

As a general rule, any craft that involves repetitive motions or that requires focus on details will create a calming effect. This is because focusing on the task will create what is referred to as a “flow state,” where external stimuli aren’t as noticeable as the work becomes the center of the individual’s attention. Artists often refer to this as “being in the zone,” and that being interrupted while in this mental state feels extremely jarring.

Repetitive crafts that involve a lot of counting are also very meditative, so they can be very relaxing. I decorated custom wedding cakes for 20 years, and there were certain tasks that were very zone-inducing.

Some of those were things like piping intricate patterns, and making gumpaste flowers that involved doing the same motions over and over.

I would usually find myself counting to myself as I did those things, and the patterns would make me lose track of time.

Photo of vintage Christmas cards that could be used to make a junk journal.
Use old cards and paper to make a junk journal.

Ideas for some relaxing crafts include:

  1. KnittingOpens in a new tab.
  2. CrochetingOpens in a new tab.
  3. Sewing
  4. Quilting
  5. Cross stitch and embroidery
  6. Needle feltingOpens in a new tab.
  7. Wet feltingOpens in a new tab.
  8. Bead embroidery
  9. Drawing
  10. Coloring
  11. Cardmaking
  12. Junk Journaling (and making the journals)
  13. Making Jewelry
  14. Cake decorating and making sugar flowers
  15. PaintingOpens in a new tab.
  16. Origami
  17. CalligraphyOpens in a new tab.
  18. Digital art
  19. Making dollhouse furnitureOpens in a new tab.
  20. Making paper flowersOpens in a new tab.
  21. Making beaded ornamentsOpens in a new tab. (and click here for a demo postOpens in a new tab.)
  22. Macrame Opens in a new tab.
  23. String art
  24. Arranging flowers or dried flowers
  25. Mixed media collage making
  26. Woodburning and carving
  27. Linoleum cutting and printmaking
  28. Metal stamping
  29. Scrapbooking
  30. Glass painting
  31. Quilling
  32. Making ribbon flowers
  33. Mini loom weaving
  34. Doll making
  35. Nail art
  36. Needle punch art
  37. Latch hooking
  38. Bible journaling
  39. Weaving rag rugsOpens in a new tab.
  40. Knotted rag rugsOpens in a new tab.
  41. Cookie decoratingOpens in a new tab.
  42. Making wreaths
  43. Gel plate printingOpens in a new tab.
  44. Fulling old wool sweaters/Felting wool sweatersOpens in a new tab.
  45. Making paper beadsOpens in a new tab.
  46. Glass fusing
  47. Dollhouses and miniatures (Check out my dollhouse blog here: Decoratesmall.comOpens in a new tab.)

Image with text saying relaxing crafts for adults

Making a junk journal with Ila and Alice.

How to keep your new hobby fun!

If you’re looking for some stress relief, the first thing to remember is that when you’re doing artwork and crafting, it doesn’t have to be perfect. This is the joke among crafters who make things to sell, because we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything perfectly, and we don’t consider selling handmade items relaxing as a result!

If you’re going to start a new hobby or craft, you need to take being perfect out of the equation and remind yourself that you’re doing this for fun, and not for profit.

I promise that you’ll have people tell you that you should start a business when they see things that you make.

I also promise that if you go that route it won’t be a fun hobby anymore, it will be work. So if you want to do something for fun, do it for fun and keep it that way!

Making sugar flowers is a lot easier to learn than you think!

Choose the right hobby for you

Which craft hobby is right for you? It can depend on how much space you have, and whether you want to be social or solitary with your hobby.

How much space do you have available for crafting?

If you don’t have much space for your crafting, you could choose a needlework hobby like knitting, crochet, embroidery, cross stitch, or needle felting that don’t require a lot of “spreading out” space. Your materials can be held in a tote bag and carried with you, and you can store them out of the way on a shelf or in a drawer while you’re not working on them.

If you have a table that you can work at and a little space to spread out, paper crafts, journaling, mixed media art, jewelry making, drawing, miniatures, or working with beads could be good options. Those types of arts and crafts need a little more space to spread out in, and if you’re beading or making beaded jewelry you’ll need a flat surface to put your materials on.

If you have a lot of space available, or a sturdy worktable, you can do something that involves more equipment and stress on the work surface. Sewing, quilting, and metal stamping are some examples of crafts that require more space for the machine and a stronger work surface that can stand up to a little more punishment!

Sewing machines create vibrations when they’re running, so you need a sturdy surface for them. Metal stamping requires you to really hit the dies into the metal, so that involves a good amount of force. A fold-up card table isn’t going to be the best solution for either of those crafts!

needleoint unicorn kit from the notorious needle dot com
Needlepoint and needle crafts Opens in a new tab.are simple to carry around with you.

Do you want a solo or a social hobby?

If you want to get away from everyone and just be alone while you do your hobby, you can pretty much do anything from the list above. It’s just a matter of declaring “me time” and banning visitors and assistants.

This can be difficult to do, especially if you have young children who want to take part. If that’s your situation, take advantage of the fact that they’re interested and give them their own kid-friendly crafts to do while you work on yours, then take MORE time for yours later when they’re in bed for the night!

For more social interaction, hobbies like glass painting go well with craft (and wine) parties. You can do many paper crafts with friends, including making paper flowers or scrapbooking, since everyone can work on their own project while still having a conversation.

dollhouse for miniature hobbies
Dollhouses and miniatures are fun but can take up a lot of space!

Keep in mind that if you really want to be alone to de-stress while you do your crafting, it might be a good idea to not advertise the fact that you’re trying a new hobby.

If the idea is to zone out, you won’t be able to do that while you’re chatting, and there will always be someone who wants to make it into a social occasion if they hear that you’re trying a new craft. As an introvert, I am not in favor of this, and I’ve learned that the easiest way to avoid it is to not chat about it.

If you want a hobby that you can do both by yourself and when you’re around other people, knitting or crocheting are good choices because they’re so portable. Other types of needlework would also be good for the same reason.

Remember that regardless of what craft you choose to try in order to relax, the best ones are the ones that you can immerse yourself in.

You might have to try a few before you find one that allows you to get into a mental flow, so choose one and if that doesn’t work try another that appeals to you.

Don’t go crazy buying supplies until you’re sure that you like the craft that you chose…Kits that include all of the materials are a good way to minimize your spending!


Kara Buntin has run a home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 49,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO.

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A list of relaxing crafts for adults