Last Updated January 1, 2021
Crafts for seniors are one of the best ways for us to pass the time pleasurably. They are some of the best and most enjoyable activities for seniors.
Crafts of all kinds are also fun activities we can share with a friend or friends. They give us a sense of accomplishment, family, community and pride.
Crafts for seniors are an excellent way to keep our minds stimulated and happy.
When it comes to arts and crafts, there are almost endless possibilities. Arts and crafts for seniors that fit our ability level and interests are always the most enjoyable.
We have time now. Right? The gift we almost always seemed short of when we were younger and so busy.
So, let’s have fun with this time. We’ve all worked hard at our jobs, raising families, taking care of others, our home, etc...
Now, it’s our turn!
Turn off the TV and let’s have some real fun creating things. And, making things.
Common Questions and Answers:
That’s the first question most seniors ask.
Did you know, getting started is usually the hardest part? Are you asking yourself questions like these:
Well, you can relax! We’re going to cover all of that. And, a lot more.
Here we go!
Now, let’s see how we should choose our first project.
We seniors usually like to have crafts that are not too difficult to make. Especially in the beginning. Yes, some people enjoy the 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. The rest of us prefer the 500 piece one...
We also like things that don’t require extreme dexterity. Surgery is not a senior hobby. Right?
Our projects are not childish either. They are adult crafts that are simply fun and easy to make. That’s why millions of people do them.
Whatever your interests, desires, or skill level are, there are dozens and dozens of crafts for seniors at all ability levels. Hundreds of ways to have fun while keeping our hands busy and our creativity and joy flourishing.
If you click on that link, you’ll start to see just how many possibilities there are.
All you need is the skills you already have. You’ll actually develop much more skill as you craft. And, don't worry about your ability level. There are great crafts to fit all ability levels.
It’s a fact: Physical skills naturally diminish after age 25. By the time we’re 60 or 80 everybody is down a bit in physical skill level. Some more than others.
So what?! It’s natural. We all still have enough skills to have fun and be creative. That’s all that matters here.
Regardless of what skill level we now possess, there are a large variety of different crafts available for all of us.
Some crafts for seniors are super simple. Some, I think, are too much for Einstein.
Now that we are seniors, we have more time for things we always wanted to do. Those of us that always wanted to paint, now have time to paint. The poets and new authors can write. The musicians know what to do...
The rest of us... there are crafts! So many different ones.
The possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to crafts: Knitting, making cards, jewelry, center pieces, kit to build things, ceramics, sewing, scrapbooking,..... With so many options available, it's sometimes hard to find a starting place.
And, sometimes we can be intimidated by how difficult some may seem. Don't worry about it. Just pick something that catches your eye and get started.
Pick anything that sparks your interest. Or, something you always wanted to try, but never did. Don’t worry about being good at it. Especially in the beginning. You’ll get better and better at it as you go along.
Some of us seniors become so good at their new crafting skills that they actually start making money selling their creations. Crafts for seniors can become one of the most fun part time jobs for senior citizens and it's a great way to make some extra money once you become good at it. You do something you like. You work only as many hours as you care to.
Crafting is one of the great luxuries we seniors can have.
Remember when we were too busy taking care of our kids, our, jobs, our house, etc....?
Now we have one of the most precious gifts of all: TIME!!
But, too much empty time, as we all know, is just plain awful and miserable. We worry. Feel all our aches and pains. Get bored... UGH!!
We want to do things!
Crafting gives us wonderful and productive things to spend our time on. They keep us busy. Fun busy. And, here are some of the benefits we get while crafting:
Crafting, at first, may seem kind of strange sometimes. Like going to summer camp for the first time. Right?
But, these are adults creations. Filled with our own personalities and charm.
At first, we may not pick the craft or crafts that are just right for us. That’s OK. Don’t get discouraged if this happens. We’re here to explore and enjoy ourselves. After a while, we are drawn to different things. The more we explore, the more fun we have.
Remember: It doesn’t matter what craft you start with. You’re not making a career out of what you choose. The decision is not at all that serious. Just pick something that seems fun. Yes, FUN. And, take a simple one to begin with.
As you do your first one, you’ll either love it, get bored with it, or, find it’s too hard and decide you’d rather be doing something else. Like painting things more. Or, sewing more. Or, gluing things together more. Or, scrapbooking. Or building model cars or boats....It evolves. And, we do too. That’s Great!
Follow the fun.
You can pick as many things as you like. And, change your mind as often as you like.
The main thing is to enjoy the projects you pick. Don’t like one? Drop it and pick another.
Besides being lots of fun, and being productive, crafting is good for us.
"There's promising evidence coming out to support what a lot of crafters have known anecdotally for quite some time," says Catherine Carey Levisay, wife of Craftsy.com CEO John Levisay. "And that's that creating -- whether it be through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography (or) cake decorating -- is beneficial to us in a number of important ways."
Sometimes we can get upset and down because we can’t do some of the things we used to. Completing a new project ALWAYS cheers us up. Even a very simple one. And, there are so many new things we now have time to do. So, let's explore crafts for seniors. There are so many new things we now have time to learn.
This is why these are called “Our Golden Years”. We have time now to do all kinds of fun stuff.
Did you know, crafts can also provide a source of peaceful meditation like activity?
The repetitive mindfulness of knitting is like meditation.
By the time we get as old as we are now, many of us have developed some physical limitations. It’s natural. So what? There are still so many wonderful crafts for seniors all of us can get involved in.
For those of us with limitations, we can still experience the joys and delights of crafting by adapting the activities we are attracted to, and/or, by using special tools and equipment.
If wood working was your pleasure, but, you can’t stand or use power tools now, you can sit and assemble wonderful projects from kits that are available on line.
Knitters can use larger gauge needles and heavier gauges of yarn.
For seniors with vision problems, there are magnifiers on stands that leave your hands free to do your work.
Yep! There are all kinds of wonderful things we still can do. Even if we have some physical limitations.
Just because we may not be able to go sky diving doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a drive in the car. Right?
The same is true with crafts.
Remember: There are crafts available for everyone. Regardless of our abilities or inabilities.
I think most of us just never got involved in crafting earlier because out lives were too busy. That’s really unfortunate. Because crafts are fun.
Here’s one of my favorite QUOTES on CRAFTING by author Betsy Greer:
"To me, craft is combining creativity and process, using what we can do with our hands to make something with which to connect to others, our environment, or ourselves. My maternal grandmother’s work won’t be in museums or galleries but exists in memories and in the many items she made to keep people warm, just like the work of millions before her, made from love and skill and care." ~ Betsy Greer, author
reference: American Craft Council
It's very easy to do.
CRAFTING can also make it possible for us to get together with new people. Yes, we still have plenty of time in our lives to make new friends. Wherever we are.
You’ll be surprised how many people enjoy the same craft(s) you do. Or, are willing to try doing them with you.
My sister Charlotte is a knitter. I had no idea what a “society” that was. They get together and talk about, yarns, knitting needle sizes, patterns, the best shops.....
They often get together at many of these shops to sit and knit together as a group once a week. They discuss their “stash” (the yarns they keep in a special place that they seem to value more than gold). Did you know that? Did you? I surely didn’t. But, if you’re already a knitter, you know what I’m talking about.
The feeling of togetherness is so wonderful.
If you don’t leave the house much, you can even find groups on line. And, have live video meetings! You can make some nice new friends that way too.
This is even beginning to sounding fun now. Isn't it? It’s walking into a whole new adventure. How long has it been since we’ve done that?
Crafts for seniors come in all shapes and sizes. There is so much to choose from.
When we look for a senior craft project, we have to remember that our fingers may be a bit slower than they once were. Sometimes all that means is we will go at a slower pace. Sometimes it will mean we need to pick a different project.
So, pick something that you feel is right for you. It’s much more fun that way.
Remember: There are so very many things to choose from that any minor limitations you may have are really meaningless when it comes to being creative and enjoying a new project.
And here’s something else to keep in mind: Most of us, by this time in life, have numerous minor limitations. Most of us. So, don’t let these limitations keep you from getting started.
There are some of us who ready and able to try anything. God Bless Them! And, there are some of us that will hesitate because we worry that we won't be able to keep up.
Some Good Advice: If you want to give something a try, just go for it. If you find you can’t do it, so what? Try something else. It’s not a contest. And, there are so many other fun things to begin.
For most of us, when getting started, the best crafts for us seniors are those that are simple to understand and do not have any tiny pieces. We want to have fun. Not struggle. Right?
Patience is the magic word when it come to crafts for seniors. Especially: Patience with yourself.
We are going to be a little slower at everything these days. So what? Cut yourself some slack. Take all the time you need. We’re in no rush here. We have no deadline to meet. Right?
So, Take your time.
And, if we’re in a group, some of us will take longer than others. But, that’s been true sine we were kids and first started school. Right? Nothing has changed. We all have different abilities.
And, we all are able in one way or another.
If you take a bit longer than you’re neighbor, or, even a lot longer: So what? Right? We’re not in a race. And, if your neighbor takes a little longer than you, the gift of patience is always appreciated.
We want to have fun, AND, get results. Right? So, here are some simple ways to make sure your crafting is successful:
There are so many options out there. Let me list a few of the favorites we found:
Working with clay. This isn’t child’s play. You can make some great jewelry here. I personally love the feel of clay. It’s totally tactile. Sensual (admit it. Sensual is still fun...). Soothing. Relaxing. Working with clay is of my personal favorites. And, it makes my fingers feel great when I’ve finished.
Fabric and Needle Crafts. You’ll never get bored if you have have something to sew or knit. Plus, you wind up with lots of nice things to wear, use for decorations, and gifts. And, sewing crafts for seniors are especially nice to regain dexterity in our hands.
Needles with large split eyes, self stick velcro, and glue guns really help to make projects easier.
Getting into quilting is a Great social activity too. Many churches have quilting groups. You may find one nearby just by giving them a call.
Painting Old Stuff. My wife and I get totally into this one.
Now, we’re not talking about trying to paint a Renoir or Picasso. Not even painting a room.... No. No. No.
We have 3 small jars of gold paint. Three different shades of gold.
We paint over the chips on old frames. And, we paint accents on different items. It’s so easy, and, everything comes out looking very expensive!
We use water based paints, so that when we’re done, we just rinse the brushes under the bathroom tap.
Coloring Books for Seniors. Yes. Coloring books are fun!
Did you know there are many coloring books made especially for adults? You didn't know that. Did you?
No. This is not for the mentally challenged. Although it can be. Coloring books are just plain fun. If you try one out I'm sure you'll agree.
I am no artist with paint or brush. In fact, I am terrible with painting artwork. I mean, really bad. Like a second grader. I am, in no uncertain terms, Horrible at it. My sister is genius. Same parents. Hard to believe....
But, coloring is very satisfying for me. It’s soothing and very meditative. And, when I’m done with a piece, it is quite satisfying.
Complete an Easy Drawing. Now, if you are so inclined, drawing is really fun. Not as complex as painting. No set up. Just grab your pencil and a sheet of paper.
I can get you started right here. Anyone able to hold a pencil can complete this project. Even me. If I did it, you can too!
You’re going to draw a vase filled with roses....
Yeah. You can. It’s not as hard as it seems. Just grab a pencil and a blank sheet of paper and give this a try.
Here’s a slideshow tutorial. How to draw a rose. It will walk you through 10 steps to a nice drawing. (Unless you are me. Then you will have an OK drawing...) This is fun to do.
Give it try now. I think you may get hooked.
Mosaics. Really. They’re not as hard as they seem.
Mosaics can be made from any material broken into
small pieces. Only make/use the pieces that are an easy size for you to
Mosaics enhance eyesight and motor skills. PLUS, they look so good that people thing you’re quite Amazing!
A very simple and GREAT looking piece, that is really a lot simpler to make than it seems, is a mosaic tray DIY mosaic trays.
Make Your Own Postcards. These are so much fun because they can be so easy. All you really need is some nice card stock. You can write, draw, paint anything on these. AND, people love getting them because they are so person. Just from you.
Take a look at these simple examples. Those are actual cards that adults (not children) made and sent. You can easily do ones as good as those.
Are you getting the idea? Just think about what you may enjoy doing. There are most likely a number of instructional materials available on the internet for just about any topic you desire.
Heating Pads. This is probably the easiest, and, one of the most useful crafts ever.
This is a favorite first one to try. SUPER Easy. And, wonderful to use after you make them. They also save you a bundle on buying commercially made ones.
These Heating Pads are a GREAT little project that also make a wonderful inexpensive gift for friends: The RICE HEATING PAD. Whoever came up with this is genius!
These are so simple and easy to make. You don’t need any kind of real sewing machine skill. You just need to have a machine and the ability to sew straight forward and you’ll be up to speed.
I’m going to send you to some instructions here sew your own heating pads. But, if you have no real sewing skills, don’t fret. As long as you can sew two pieces of cloth together, you’ll be in business. You may not get the best looking item, but, it will work just fine.
For the extreme novice, here’s what you can do: Get a sock. Fill it about 3/4 full with rice. Sew the end closed. That’s it!! Simple. Right?
If you can’t sew at all, don’t fret. Get a nice piece of ribbon, or, even some strong twine. Once you get the rice in the sock, just tie off the end. That’s it!
And, wait until you try these babies out. You’ll be in love.
Here’s how you heat them up:
Place your heating pad on a plate that is safe in the microwave. Use full power and heat it in 30 second intervals until it gets as hot as you want it. When it’s the right temperature for you, squish the rice around inside to get rid of any possible hot spots. Then it’s ready to use. I LOVE these things.
Now, if you need a cold pac, just store a couple of these in the freezer and they will be ready anytime the need comes up. Nice. Huh?
If you like to change your home décor to match the season, these crafts are for you.
Autumn Crafts for Seniors:
Autumn is an especially nice time for seasonal crafts.
We’re inside a lot more as the weather is cooling down now. And, in autumn, there is such a wide variety of FREE foliage, etc... that we can use to create truly beautiful pieces that look so good in out own home AND that make Great Gifts for friends and family.
If you can go outside, just pick up any of the pretty leaves that have fallen. Pick some of the dried tall grasses and flowers. You may be amazed what you can do with these.
Here are 15 fall centerpiece ideas that were made with dry flowers and gourds, seasonal fruits like apples and pears, pumpkins, canning jars, nuts, candles and dry grasses of all kinds.
I know. Some of you are saying you haven’t gardened in years (if ever!). Or, you have no garden. Right?
But, what about your family and friends?
Do they have a plant or two on the window sill?
Do they have a walkway outside the house or apartment?
Garden markers are one of my very favorite crafts. And, so many of my very old senior friends still like to make them.
Garden markers made from stones and sticks and ice cream bar sticks are really cute. PLUS they are very useful. All they require for making is some waterproof markers and a small set of kids paints and you’re off to the races! Just use a smooth stone, a popsicle stick, or a stick you found on the ground and shaved the end of.
Write the name of whatever plant or herb you want on the shaved stick, stone, etc. Decorate it with a little paint. Even if you’re a terrible artist, as I am, these ALWAYS seem to come out surprisingly nice!
And, they are Great gifts! You can make them real personal: “Mom’s Violets”, “Becky’s Marigolds”, Dad’s Tomatoes”, etc....
Here's a Great Website that has loads of ideas for these: GardenTherapy
Paper Bag Crafts.
One of the things I like best about crafts is: you can use almost anything to make something that’s fun to make and really nice when you’re done.
Don’t have lots of spare cash for materials?
It’s time to discover paper bag crafts.
Yes Paper Bag Crafts. Really cool. Right? There are many things you can do with plain paper bags from the grocery.
Personal Greeting Cards.
Home made cards are ALWAYS appreciated. Even if you do a rather terrible job. I love these kinds of crafts.
I know, a lot of you are real artists. My sister Charlotte is. Anything she touches is Amazing.
I, on the other hand, tend to make things that look like a second grader made them. STILL, the fact that I made something especially for someone (with their name on it...) always seems to be received very well.
Such is the case with cards. Thank You cards are always a hit!
Here is a site, The Spruce Crafts, where you will find 25 Easy DIY Thank You Cards
Don’t be afraid to try these out. Or, even just use them as ideas for your own creations. I’m not sure why, but these are always appreciated.
All you need to make cards is some paper, a glue stick, and any kind of adornment (photo, flower, leaf, picture cut out, coin, etc...). Let your imagination go wild here. It’s almost impossible to make a bad one.
Beaded Hearts: These are a more advanced project. They take a bit more in the way of tools and materials. And, they need a bit of hand dexterity. BUT, if you have the time and inclination for these, they are fun to make and they are another Great Gift idea if you have granddaughters.
Those were just a handful of my personal favorite crafts for seniors that we enjoy making each year.
BUT, There are literally 100s of great crafts for seniors that I want to share with you. It would be all too much to put in this one article.
So, let me direct you to a wonderful web page from the folks over at goldencarers.com. The article is: “Craft Activity Ideas for Seniors"
On this page you’ll find 100s of great crafts for seniors that include things like:
Just give that link a click and you’ll be on your way!
Here are some great videos you may enjoy that are all about crafts for seniors:
The Art & Craft Classes at the Mastick Senior Center:
This crafts for seniors video is one of my favorites if you are looking for some great ideas and inspiration.
Origami: The Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures.
Scarves, Hats, and Afghans:
VIDEO: 5 DIY Craft Activities for Caregivers to do with Seniors:
Here you'll find a video with written instructions for 5 FUN CRAFTS that include:
Yes. Of course!
Crafts for seniors in assisted living can be very simple. Something as simple as coloring can brighten their day and assist with dexterity and coordination.
Creating a beautiful atmosphere for crafting time can work wonders for the spirit. This can be as simple as adding some music to give even more joy and pleasure to the activity. Having some tea while we craft. Maybe some cookies to nibble on....
Arts and crafts in assisted living homes vary from facility to facility. And, this is something to look for before you enroll.
Some arts and crafts to look for include:
If you find a facility you like ask if they offer any of the specific craft activities you’d like to take part in.
If these activities are not currently in their program, many places will make every effort to add the activities you are looking for into their program.
Did you know that photographs are actually one of almost everybody’s favorite crafts for seniors?
Our photos bring up great memories and they create very special gifts for loved ones. We ALL love photographs. And, we can have loads of fun with them.
Photo projects are an especially great craft for those who may be confined in bed.
Photo projects take up very little space. They can be stored in a small box.
For seniors who still enjoy making photos, the new digital cameras and smart phones are so easy to use and print from. And, there are wonderful little inexpensive home printers that are very inexpensive too. So you can have your new pictures right away.
Photos can be glued onto home made greeting and birthday cards.
Photos can be put together in a collage.
Or, made into photo magnets you can stick on the refrigerator.
This would include a lot of us. Right? Can those of us with this kind of limitation still get involved in crafts for seniors?
Dexterity is a problem for many seniors. And, it, unfortunately, makes them give up on anything that they have to do with their hands.
This often means they have given up hobbies they love like knitting, crocheting (my own granny), beading, model making, sewing, wood working, etc.... that used to bring them great joy.
Well, let’s get past that. Everyone can make something.
Here’s a great article on this topic by The Institute on Aging: Important Considerations for Crafting with Seniors with Limited Dexterity
PATIENCE is so necessary here. Not just yours, but, theirs. Encourage your seniors to be patient with them self. This will start the ball rolling in the best direction.
I was surprised at how difficult it could be for my own granny to complete very simple tasks when she got very old. Things like picking up a button. Holding a marker. Using glue. Crocheting was now impossible.
Things that used to bring her so much joy were now causing her a lot of frustration. This made her so frustrated that it could ruin her entire day.
The reality was, she could do most of these things, but, it was pains takingly slow.
When I realized this, I told her the point is not to get things done as quickly as before. The point is just to do something fun. No matter how long it takes. AND, that I would sit there with her for as long as it took because it didn’t matter.
Well, she loved my company. As I loved hers. So she was onboard with this idea.
I’d bring some small cakes sometimes. We’d make some together.
Eventually, with enough reminders, she became more patient with herself and more accepting of her limitations and decreased nimbleness.
And, while crafting together, we talked. And, laughed... A lot!
Well. Now, we had a whole new ball game, and, a whole new Granny!
We would talk, and laugh for an entire afternoon while we accomplished very little.
Some days she would just make me home made apple blueberry pancakes (that, for me, was crafting at it's best!).
BUT, at the end of the day, there was something on her table that wasn’t there in the morning. And, the joy it brought her was beyond any kind of monetary value. She began looking forward to each of our crafting days. With a smile.
AND, as the days passed, I noticed that when I came over, she was dressed better. Her hair was now combed neatly. She had a bigger smile on her face. She was putting out snacks. She was Happy again.
Patience is #1. If you are patient with yourself and patient with others, you’re going to have a great time. If you are not... it will be a disaster!
#2: Have fun. If you’re not having fun, what’s the point? Right? Pick things you like.
#3: Set aside enough time for the project. Not how much time you think it should take. But, how much time it may actually take. Then add an hour!
You don’t have to finish any project in a single day. An unfinished project keeps your senior happily anticipating your next visit. They have you AND something fun to do to look forward to.
#4: Don’t rush. Take your time. AND, give others all the time they need. It’s not about the project, the destination, it’s about all the fun you’re having on the way there.
Always keep that in mind. For your own pleasure as well. It’s the journey. NOT the destination. (How often have you heard that? Annoying. Right? But, T R U E!).
Enjoy yourselves and make the most of each wonderful moment. This is a very special time you have now. Make some tea. Put on some nice music. Take a leisurely pace that works for everyone involved. And, be ever so grateful for this time you get to enjoy together.
If you are new at senior care, as we all once were, here is a really Great Resource for you: Institute on Aging
There is an enormous amount of helpful information that can take a very trying situation and make it breeze easy!
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty: Where can we find all kinds of crafts for seniors? Right?
Here we go.
There are hundreds of crafts for seniors! Really. Many more than you probably imagined.
Inexpensive and fun.
Since we all have different tastes and desires and there are so many wonderful crafts for seniors and crafting ideas, we want to direct you now to some of the most popular websites that show you just how to make these popular crafts.
They give you easy to follow instructions and tell you what you’ll need to finish each project.
Most of them you can do at home. And, most of them are very inexpensive.
Here are our top 10 choices:
Craft Activity Ideas for Seniors & the Elderly
Crafts by Amanda
Great Senior Living
Let's Say Thanks
Senior Advisor .com
123 Easy Christmas Crafts for Adults
That’s the news on crafts for seniors. Now, it’s time for you to get started.
If you take a look at those websites (directly above) you’ll see literally hundreds of wonderful Crafts for Seniors of all skill levels.
For a Happy and More Independent Tomorrow ~ William