Finding easy yet satisfying crafts for the elderly can be challenging...
Especially for those who may need more help. 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.
We also sometimes offer other options and materials, and you may also get ideas of your own.
Some of our projects 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.
If you're looking for food activities in particular, see our special page!
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.” Crafts for the elderly can be even simpler. I put quite a few stars on mine, but you could just paint a few here and there.
When finished, dry thoroughly, at least a couple hours. Then paint on a coat of craft acrylic varnish, and dry again.
(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 squirt paint instead of using a brush is even easier. When finished and 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.
Burlap and Denim
Using both burlap or denim to decorate are classic ideas for crafts for the elderly. This sample shows a band of burlap glued around a red jar (with treats in the inside). And tied with a piece of raffia. You could use twine too.
Also attractive is making flowers from the burlap
or denim and gluing them on the band. Two layers of petals, one smaller
than the other, gives pizzazz. Using jars and vases make lovely
containers for real or dried flowers, and make nice gifts.
Try decorative sticks for plants or centerpieces, or even to hang as mobiles and door hangers. Bird, flower and heart shapes are easy. In this sample I used old wall paper pieces from a dollar store. But I often use wrapping paper or fabric in my projects.
See the full instructions on how to make these on our page on Spring Senior Activities. t also shows the full centerpiece the sticks were used in. The bird template is also provided.
You can use other templates for decorative sticks too, or just draw free-hand.
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. 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 really simple to assemble.
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.
– 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!
– 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.
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). We offer several easy designs to try. Or make up your own. Even painting on basic squiggles and shapes works well.
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
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 our page.
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 on that page.
Learn about dipped strawberries at how to make chocolate covered strawberries. We have loads of other decoration ideas too!
Our Craft Books
"Easy Crafts & Gifts"
Why hunt all over our web site? 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 -
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.