...Especially for those who may have limitations. The crafts for the elderly that you choose, the craft supplies you use and the way you modify our ideas will depend on your group. Crafts are some of the most requested activities for seniors, and we have lots of ideas for you here.
The projects on this page and the links we provide to other pages can be modified as needed. As with all
elderly activities, extra help can be given for particular parts of a
We also try to offer alternative options and materials when possible, and you may also come up with unique ideas of your own. Some of our suggestions on crafts for the elderly may be for a particular season or holiday, but that is just an example. In most cases the ideas can be used for almost any time frame or event.
Patriotic Picture Frame
Patriotic themes and colors seem to be quite popular with crafts for the elderly. This could include national flag colors and symbols, as well as local. Here we used red, white and blue, including squiggly stripes for fun. I got the frame (already painted dark blue) in a thrift store. Use a frame with a flat, broad edges.
If you need to paint it a
base color, I found the easiest way to cover a surface quickly is by
dipping a dampened sponge square in acrylic paint and then patting the
project with the sponge until covered. Make sure the surface is clean
and dry. Usually you do not need 2 coats.
You will need:
Acrylic paint in your choice of colors
3-D paint (aka “puffy paint”) to make squiggles and outline stars
Water-base craft varnish
Star stencil, if you are not painting free-hand
Plastic picnic plate to use as a palette, unless paints are in a jar
Piece of sponge about ½ inch square, if you are going to sponge paint
Paint the frame your base color with a sponge. If you are using it as is, make sure it is clean and dry. I then painted free-hand white stars of different sizes randomly around the frame, in groups of two to four stars. A stencil could be used instead. Then I added the squiggly red stripes with 3-D paint at various intervals. Plus blue dots with 3-D paint. I also make circular spiral shapes in the inside of the largest stars for fun. Some spirals also have a dot in the center.
The entire design is very informal and playful, so it is hard to make a “mistake.” Again, a stencil can be used for the stars. I put quite a few stars on mine, but if you want your crafts for the elderly to be very simple, just paint a few here and there.
When finished, let it dry thoroughly, at least a couple hours. Then paint on a coat of craft acrylic varnish, and let it dry.
(And ornaments are not just for Christmas and winter holidays!)
This one follows the same theme as the frame, and I used the same paints. This time I did sponge paint the ornament a navy blue base coat. You will use the same materials, except a non-breakable ornament instead of a frame.
It’s hard to hold a stencil against a curved surface, so it’s best to just paint the stars on yourself. In fact, drawing them on with 3-D paint instead of painting them on with a brush is even easier. When finished and the paint is dry, brush on a coat of craft water-base acrylic varnish.
(When I was drying these ornaments, I
used an old pill bottle or bottle cap as a drying stand.) Decorating ornaments makes
nice crafts for the elderly, and they can be used for all kinds of
holidays and events (such as the Fourth of July). You can also make ornaments for birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St.
Patrick’s Day, etc.
This is a very festive project, and many elderly may need a little help with it. Use other colors for different holidays -- Halloween, 4th of July, Valentine's Day. A candy wreath can also be done with a small group of 2 to 3 people together.
I used a small styrofoam wreath shape for the above sample.
Using candy in crafts for the elderly is very cheerful and colorful, and
lots of fun. You can get a bag inexpensively at a dollar store, or have
people bring some from home and share.You can also make one with wrapped candy (still colorful) if you prefer.
It is real candy on this sample. (You could also consider plastic candies from the craft store). To help preserve it, it's
coated with both spray varnish to first set it, and then a couple coats of
craft water-base varnish as well. I used Tacky glue to attach the candy
onto a styrofoam wreath which I’d painted first. (You can also use a glue gun, but most elderly will need someone to help with it).
This project does take
drying time, so the two coats of finishing varnish will need to be done
on two separate days. The results are worth the extra effort! (And although it lasts for a long time -- many months -- it most likely will not last "forever.")
You will need:
Small Styrofoam wreath (you can get them in a green color too)
Spray paint to paint it (optional - you can also use it white). Green colored Styrofoam is ideal
Newspapers to cover surface
Variety of hard candies
Tacky craft glue
Spray varnish to set it
Water-base craft varnish for final coating
First spray paint the styrofoam (if you're going to) whatever color you choose, and let it dry. Then just glue on the candies randomly, both large and small pieces, which ever way you want to.
When the glue is dry, spray on a coat of varnish. Let it dry thoroughly. The reason I use spray-on varnish first is that it coats the candy, so that when you paint on the liquid varnish, the colors of the candy do not bleed as much – such as the peppermints. That can sometimes happen, but it is very slight and still looks fine. If you carefully dab the varnish onto the candy, any bleeding will be kept at a minimum.
Make sure to get varnish into all the cracks around the candies. This helps doubly secure them in place. You should use two coats of varnish, and each coat should be allowed to dry for at lease 24 hours between. After 24 hours it may still feel a little sticky, but can be handled to put on a bow. Eventually the sticky feeling will dry out.
The wreath can also be laid flat and used as a candle ring instead. These make great gifts too, as well as centerpieces. For elderly, I recommend a flameless candle, or a candle in a protective glass container or vase.
Easy Affordable Centerpieces - Our "centerpiece central" page has lots easy centerpiece crafts for the elderly, some that can easily be assembled. Such as the attractive but simple seashell piece below. See other variations too. And most of these can include plastic items rather than glass. Take a look and see how you can modify or use them for your group.
Really Easy Apple Craft Ideas - Apples are an item you can use in your crafts for the elderly year round. They're always available in stores and are inexpensive as well.
Change out the decorations and types of treats and use these ideas for any season or festivity. This particular candle is so simple to assembly.
Some participants may need a little help scooping out the apple pulp so as to insert the tea light candle.
Get this and other apple ideas at the link. (Like easy ways to draw flowers on apples with a white opaque marker).
Fabulous Fall Crafts for the Elderly -- From elegant to whimsical, we have a variety of crafts for the elderly that are perfect for (but not limited to!) fall.
Such as these fanciful colored corn characters. We show easy pumpkin characters too. And even a couple of special treats.
Besides all new crafts on the fall page, we will also link you to a variety of seasonal crafts in various places on our web site, and pull them all together for easy access.
And they may also give you ideas on how to modify them to use for other seasons as well.
Aromatic Apple Wreaths
-- Aah, the nostalgia!
These spicy old-fashioned apple wreaths are not just a craft of days gone by. We show two methods: the longer but more authentic version; and then the one that's very easy. This craft has an added bonus -- it is fun to make just because of its delicious aroma. Almost like baking apple pie. And excellent for many ability levels.
The apple wreath has many uses too, and we share some on its page. Be sure to check this one out, it's been one of the favorite crafts for the elderly.
Feather Angel Craft – This is one of our most simple crafts for the elderly, yet charming. They “fly” in the air whenever there is an air current, such as an open window or a fan.Make several and hang them together, or perhaps make a simple mobile. You can even attach one to a gift. These feather angels also frequently used as Christmas tree ornaments, and have also been included in wreaths.
Bookworm Bookmark – This cute craft can be made to go along with a book gift. Or to use yourself. It just takes a few basic materials and is very fast to do. These are especially unique if made with large beads from colorful or sparkly costume jewelry!
Lavender Pillow – These crafts for the elderly are both soothing and fragrant. They can be made in any size, from large to small, and are easy to warm up in the microwave.You may know lavender is one of the most popular scents used in aromatherapy. And these are easy – you can use fabric glue instead of sewing them for those who can no longer use a needle and thread. Learn the details here.
Wood Angel Ornament – The wooden angel project on this page has a little more challenge, yet is still very simple. Participants will need to be able to handle small pieces, although extra assistance could be given. The process for making them is very easy.
You can get the wooden pieces from a lumber or
hardware store, and if they have scraps around, they may just give them
to you. It's also fun to add beads and rhinestones from old jewelry. If
you like painting, these angels are easy to paint with acrylics.
Gourd Craft Ideas - Gifts, Ghouls & Grannies – Those lumpy, bumpy gourds in the grocery store can be found almost any time of year (not just fall), and make fabulous, funny crafts for the elderly. The possibilities are endless.
Every time I see a different type of gourd I get an new idea for a character. Take a look at our samples and you're sure to come up with something of your own.
We have also used making funny gourd crafts as a project for memory care patients (with a little help of course) and they were a really big hit.
How To Paint Glass (or Plastic too) – Whether elegant wine glasses or a pretty vase, painting on a clear surface such as glass or a quality plastic piece can make a special project, and can be used as gifts and prizes, or at events such as silent auctions. Or if you have a craft fair, these are popular.
Many elderly are able to paint, and this page shows easy methods to paint wine glasses, vases, jars and more -- whether on plastic or glass.
This basic technique can be used on ceramic pieces also, as well as ornaments. This page shows several designs to get your own imagination going, from simple to more fancy.
Hershey Kiss Mouse Chocolate Crafts – A whimsical way to make a mouse, and we have a unique idea of what to do with it when you’re done – give it with a keepsake teacup (or bowl, plate, etc.) Atop a bit of cheese, of course. They are also used traditionally as ornaments. Since Hershey Kisses come in colors for every season and holiday it seems, these can be made any time.
Make A Gift Basket – It’s easy to make a gift basket, and a very satisfying project. Our easy, imaginative ideas will make it simple. There are so many possibilities, whether making money or helping others. This make a great group project too.
Painting Clay Pots -- Painting terra cotta clay pots is a very versatile project, and the colorful pots have so many different uses. (Planting, being just one of them). And they make a great pick-me-up, cheerful activity any time of year. You can also do the same process on plastic pots, should you not be able to use the breakable kind. See our easy samples.
Fancy Purse Planter – For the ladies. It seems just about everyone has, or knows someone who has an old-fashioned purse or a purse with pizzazz. Here’s a really fun way to put it to a new use. And if you have any teenagers in your life, they may definitely have an unusual purse or two. Fun purses are also easily available and thrift stores and garage sales. Or have staff, family and friends bring their old purses over. You can make a planter to give them too!
Painting Pumpkins or Gourds – Another project for all year round, not just in the fall. You can usually find small pumpkin shaped gourds in the grocery store all year round, or various types of smooth squash. In the fall, this is a great alternative to carving, and they’re quite colorful! Designs can be a simple or fancy as you’d like so they make really good crafts for the elderly (we also have templates on our web site you can use for ideas). See the link here.
Soap Decoupage – There are many excellent decoupage crafts for the elderly, and doing soap is one of them. Our sample uses a flower, but for a more masculine or generic look, choose a different soap scent and use an image with a bird, a scene, farm, fish, wildlife, fall leaves, etc. You’ll get the idea when you take a look at our instructions. Once you get the knack of decoupage, you'll probably get all kinds of ideas on using it for other projects.
Easy Halloween Crafts – This ghost made out of a white pumpkin type gourd and a simple white paper napkin couldn't be easier for your crafts for the elderly. Get this and more Halloween ideas (we have a similar ghost made with lace) on ourpage.
Valentines Crafts – This page has several ideas that could be used as crafts for the elderly, and not just for Valentine’s Day. Think in terms of switching out colors, kinds of garlands, candies, shapes, etc., and use these as a general basis for activities for any holiday or season.
Simple Christmas Crafts - Holiday napkins and a white gourd (or styro ball) are basic items we used in this very easy Santa.
We have more ideas on our Christmas page
to choose from and modify as needed too, including snowmen. And colorful projects to make with old scraps of holiday wrapping paper, and cardboard paper towel rolls (and who doesn't have those).
And if you need a snowflake pattern, we have a couple possibilities.
"Easy Crafts & Gifts"
We do have lots of crafts for seniors in many places on our web site. Those mentioned on this page are just some. But why hunt all over? Many of our crafts are consolidated and organized, along with dozens of new never-seen-before projects, in our e-book! You get over 120 projects, plus a FREE booklet of more than 30 new templates.
Two books for one -
“Easy Crafts and Gifts,” - plus - “Bonus Templates & Patterns.”
Click here for a Peek!
So consider the crafts for the elderly here, to be a springboard for projects you can tailor specifically to the needs of your older group or loved ones.
”200 Template Drawings”
Be sure to see loads of other ideas for activities and crafts for the elderly, using our handy little e-book called “200 Template Drawings – For Arts and Activities,” with 239 pages of nature patterns and templates. It’s 200+ pre-drawn pictures of all kinds of subjects to give you a hand with the art part of any project. They range from silhouettes, to simple, to fancy for endless possibilities. Perfect for crafts for the elderly. See some Sneak Peeks of the templates in the book.