15 Arts And Crafts We Should Bring Back Besides Adult Coloring Books

by Josette Plank
Originally Published: 
Four differently-colored coloring pencils on top of a colored paper for arts and crafts activities

Coloring books for adults are the new yoga—faddish, relaxing and accessible even to beginners.

Well, of course coloring books are accessible to beginners. You first started coloring back when you were a little kid sitting in poopy pants. There’s a certain nostalgic sentimentality to finishing out your adult years the same way.

RELATED: Stunning Free Printable Coloring Pages For Adults

In case staying between the lines was never your thing, we’ve resurrected a few other crafts from days gone by. Don’t forget the wine and cookies for snack time!

1. Rug Hooking

No one ever had the patience to make an entire rug. But you can make some pretty awesome shag pillow covers or wall hangings. Just don’t tell anyone that you’re into adult rug hooking for relaxation. They kick people out of the PTA for that kind of thing.

2. Paper Dolls

I have the 1980s MTV VJs set. I like to swap Nina Blackwood and Mark Goodman’s outfits. Also, their hair.

3. Masterclass Paint by Number

As a kid, you painted horses and farm landscapes; as an adult, you can tackle the masterpieces. Try Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” or a simplified version of Vermeer’s “Lady Seated at a Virginal.” Feeling kinky? Buy the Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” kit. Not up for a challenge? Jackson Pollock or Piet Mondrian paint by numbers might be more your speed.

4. Environmentally Responsible Looming

Update your adult potholder looming with organic hemp and textiles made from free-range alpaca wool. Alternately, use fabric strips from the pile of unmatched socks in your laundry room.

5. Yes Sir, Ceramics

Remember all the ashtrays and big-eyed hobo figurines you painted in ceramics class? Well, today’s DIY ceramics are updated to include trente latte mugs and wine coolers. Popular figurines include Big-Eyed Javier Bardem and Hobo Chris Hemsworth.

6. Fifty Shades of Perler Beads

Perler beads are those tiny oblong beads that you placed on a shaped form and then set with a hot iron. As a kid, the second-degree burns from hot, melted plastic were not part of the fun. For adults, the E.L. James Perler collection makes for a naughty second honeymoon gift.

7. Shrinky Stinky Dinks

The toxic smell that comes with super-heating the plastic film is…unfortunate. But think of all the far-out “I’m a Cumberbitch” keychain charms you can make!

8. Painting Rocks

Paint is cheap. Rocks are free. Something, something. Profit!

9. Gum Wrapper Chains

If you don’t chew gum, you can use Clif Bar wrappers. Or Ex-Lax wrappers, either way.

10. Friendship Bracelets

Make friendship bracelets the same way you made them in middle school—put on your favorite jeans, pin the embroidery thread to the knee of your jeans, and then sit under a shady tree and weave the bracelets. For added stress relief, listen to hits from the ’70s on an AM radio while drinking a Tab.

11. Spirograph

Spirograph is part science, part art, part hypnotic repetition of spinning motions. Spirograph is the Sufism of childhood crafts. For the full mystical experience, listen to Madonna reciting Rumi’s poetry while Spirographing.

12. Lite-Brite

Designing art with light can be especially groovy if you live in Colorado or Washington. If you live in any of the other 48 states and your neighbors aren’t cool, you’ll have to make your Lite-Brite art while burning hemp and listening to Mumford & Sons.

13. Masking Tape Art

Find a bottle. Cover it with pieces of masking tape. Swab bottle with shoe polish and then pat off excess. Voila! A vase! Repeat. Voila! Another vase!

Yeah, I don’t know what to do with all these vases either. But I hear that peeling masking tape off bottles is also very meditative.

14. Decoupage

In fifth grade, your artistic expression via decoupage was limited to photos from Good Housekeeping and National Geographic. Every piece was sort of an homage to “The Brady Bunch Meets Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”

But just think of the neato pencil holders you could make with photos from magazines like Juxtapoz or Entertainment Weekly.

I recently made a decoupage HRH Prince Harry desk set. Don’t judge.

15. Play-Doh and Silly Putty

Finally, what’s more relaxing than playing with squishy stuff? Nothing, that’s what.

When the kids ask you to share, tell them “This is the Mommy Play-Doh. It’s not for sharing.”

Your kids can use the Play-Doh app on their iPads.

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