Crafts For The Elderly
Finding easy yet satisfying crafts for the elderly can be challenging
Especially for those who may have limited ability levels or elderly issues that cause restrictions. Crafts are some of the most requested activities for seniors, and we have lots of ideas for you here.
The crafts on this page and the links we provide to our many other easy craft idea pages can also be modified as needed. As with all elderly activities, extra help can be given for particular parts of a given craft. 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.
Our Easy Crafts Book
We do have lots of crafts in many places on our web site, many suitable for the elderly or that can be modified. Those mentioned on this page are just some. But why hunt all over? Our crafts are all consolidated and organized, along with dozens of new never-seen-before projects, in our e-book! You get over 120 projects, with plenty of tips on different ways to make them! Plus, bundled with a free booklet of more than 30 brand new templates. Two books for one:
“Easy Crafts and Gifts – For Little Money & Lots of Fun,” - plus -
“Bonus Templates & Patterns.”
Click here to get more information!
So consider these crafts for the elderly to be a springboard for projects you can tailor specifically to the needs of your elderly group or loved ones. For instance, if one of our samples was done on a glass vase, you can use unbreakable plastic instead. Or use Tacky glue instead of a glue gun; or do any glue gunning for them.
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.
This 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 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) not just in December! Make ornaments for birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.
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. This is real candy, and is coated with both spray varnish to 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. 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!
You will need:
Small Styrofoam wreath
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. This step is not absolutely necessary – you could just paint on the water-base craft varnish right away. The reason I spray on some first is that it coats the candy so when you paint on the liquid varnish, the colors of the candy do not bleed – such as the peppermints. That can sometimes happen, but it is very slight. 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 the candy in place. You should use two coats of varnish, and each coat should be allowed to dry for 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.
More Crafts For The Elderly:
Here are more easy craft ideas specially selected from the many pages throughout our web site, that would be suitable for the elderly.
Fabulous Fall Crafts for the Elderly -- From elegant to whimsical, we have a variety of projects just for fall. 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 -- These spicy old-fashioned apple wreaths are easy, and fun to make just because of the delicious aroma -- like baking apple pie. And excellent for many ability levels. Many uses too. Be sure to check this one out, it's been one of the favorite crafts for the elderly.
Paper Plate Picture Frame Craft -- Make and use paper plate frames for parties, especially birthdays, anniversaries, weddings or showers, any holdiays - and showcase the photos of the Star(s) of the party ro group! If you are having fancy paper plates at a party or get-together, save a few out of the package to use in this picture frame craft. These also make a fun project to do right at the party with the guests.
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.
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.
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!
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 .
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, prizes, or at events. 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.
Elegant Beaded Picture Frame Crafts – If any of your participants have costume jewelry they never wear (or know someone who has some), this is a perfect project. The sparklier or more unique, the better. Costume jewelry can be used in all kinds of crafts for the elderly. You can always pick up old jewelry at a thrift store or garage sale too. (And for the guys, use fun stuff like fishing tackle and bobbers; or nuts, bolts and the like. They may not be “elegant,” but the outcome is very interesting).
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.
”200 Template Drawings” Book
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.
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