Rewiring includes exploring new interests, and there’s real benefit to include activities that enable us to make, create and build. When we make things we create a perfect symphony between our mind and our hands, keeping our brains healthy and promoting psychological well-being. And, above all, it’s downright fun and can be relaxing, when we don’t take it too seriously!
Sometimes you want to try a new craft or hobby without making a huge investment in supplies. Dabbling, if you will. I learned the hard way when I signed up for an oil painting class with great enthusiasm, making sure I purchased every item on the supply list. Over $300 later, I was ready for class. After six weeks, my colorful beach umbrella looked like a blob, my instructor started getting impatient, and I just wasn’t having fun. I may have come from a family of painting artists, but the apple didn’t fall close to the tree. It rolled and rolled away.
I knew I wasn’t alone in my desire to experiment and discover. There’s a whole world out there of crafts, hobbies and arts. It’s just a matter of finding one that gets you excited and inspired. Here are five kits that offer an awesome place to start.
“When we make things we create a perfect symphony between our mind and our hands, keeping our brains healthy and promoting psychological well-being.”
I remember my first embroidery. My mother guided me and I gave it to my grandparents for Christmas. I made it with a scrap of red fabric and I stitched a pot of flowers and a very prominent bumble bee. They hung it on their wall and I was so proud.
Embroidery is the craft of decorating fabric using a needle to apply thread or yarn. And, no, guys, it’s not just for women. Embroidery artists, like Richard Saja and Jordan Nassar, provide inspiring examples that break down this misconception.
Embroidery is making a comeback, with a plethora of modern kits on creative sites like Etsy and Jenny Blair. I discovered a simple, attractive bee and honeycomb kit that’s quite popular. The kit contains detailed directions, stitch guides, and everything you need to create this fresh design. The included hoop can be used to frame your creation in a contemporary manner. Jenny Blair also offers a stitch library, tips and tutorials, and helpful videos.
If you get stuck and can’t quite master a new stitch, DIY Stitching on YouTube has some of the best tutorials for learning new embroidery stitches and techniques.
I discovered Let’s Make Art on my Instagram feed. (Yes, social media advertising apparently works!) I failed at oil painting, but figured I’d give watercolors a try. Let’s Make Art offers a wide array of simple, beautiful watercolor kits (and lettering kits), available individually or as part of a monthly subscription.
Each kit contains a step-by-step guide, two sheets of watercolor paper, a reference photo, and all the paints you need. Their website provides video tutorials to walk you through the steps to create each watercolor. Only two brushes are required for most kits. If you need them, brushes are sold separately at a reasonable price.
Talk with a woodworker and you’ll discover that this craft can be a blast. Often the equipment is a bit intimidating for a beginner, but there are a variety of kits to build before investing in expensive tools and equipment.
Woodcraft offers various kits that are fun and easy to build. The Sawdust Brothers Bird Feeder Kit is a super place to start and includes quality hardwoods (all precut), real Cedar shakes for the roof, Plexiglas, trim for the windows, fasteners, and detailed instructions. The birdhouse can be painted or decorated.
Mosaics have been around for over 4,000 years and have inspired artists everywhere. A mosaic piece of art is made by assembling small pieces of colored glass, stone, ceramics, or other materials. If you enjoy puzzles and love color, this may be your passion.
To dabble with mosaics, I recommend getting a starter kit from Mosaic Art Supply and a backer board from Skeew. The starter kit contains high-quality tools, 300 glass mosaic tiles, Wellbond glue, and safety glasses. Mosaic Art Supply also offers resources for beginners, including instructions, examples of mosaic art, a how-to mosaic blog, and a listing of mosaic art classes.
Skeew also has instructional videos and I love their Skeewbackers because they are waterproof, lightweight, and easy to work with. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and have optional hanging kits.
I’ve always wanted to draw, but my talent is limited to stick people. Drawing is the foundation for so many arts, particularly in the planning phase. Drawing is also an art in itself, and one that can be enjoyable and relaxing.
Learning to draw is about two things: controlling your hand, and seeing. To begin, read and practice with Ralph Ammer’s online A Quick Beginner’s Guide to Drawing. He provides six drawing exercises to get your head and hand around drawing. Another great resource is Art Ignition. This website provides a plethora of resources to improve your skillset, including tutorials, inspiration and tools. There’s an awesome beginner’s guide for drawing effectively that is a good place to start.
Next, assemble your drawing “kit” by purchasing You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler, How To Draw Almost Everything by Chika Miyata, and Prismacolor Premier Graphite Drawing Pencils. Collectively, these super resources provide everything you need to begin your journey into the world of drawing. If you want to draw in color, Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils are a popular choice and include 72 yummy colors to play with.
In the words of poet and diplomat Abhay Kumar, “There is no greater joy in life than the joy of creating something.” So, here’s to creativity, trying something new, and finding a fun, inspiring hobby!
Product links in this post are to assist readers. North of 52 receives no compensation for these products and does not participate in any affiliate programs. Photo credit to Let’s Make Art for the watercolor photos and to Jenny Blair for the embroidery photo.
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