Get stuck into these easy, effective craft projects to help soothe a busy mind, challenge your creativity, and leave you with something to be proud of

If life is what you make of it, when you choose to make art, things get a little brighter. Of course, sometimes the things that knock us off course are out of our hands, and we need extra support to get through. But when it comes to our everyday wellness, there can be real joy to be found in getting creative.

And that’s a tip backed up by science. Research from University College London found that engaging in arts can reduce anxiety, while further studies also point to benefits including increased self-awareness and levels of the happy hormone dopamine, as well as a sense of pride and satisfaction.

So roll up your sleeves, because it’s time to get crafting as we share six projects to inspire you to harness your creativity, and get lost in mindful moments.

Cross stitch affirmations

Affirmations help us to visualise our goals, as well as harness positive and empowering mindsets. Cross stitch pieces are made up of a series of small – you guessed it – stitched crosses. These patterns will help you create beautiful, affirming pieces that you can hang in your home as reminders of the values you want to embody.

If you have never attempted cross stitch before, don’t be put off by the chart! We recommend watching Peacock & Fig’s ‘Cross stitch for beginners’ playlist on YouTube, to help you understand how to create the stitches.

You will need:
• 14-count fabric (common cross stitch fabric)
• One skein of thread in your chosen colour
• A needle
• A pin
• An embroidery hoop
• Scissors

Illustration of cross stitch

Illustration | Rosan Magar

How to:
• Mark the centre stitch on your pattern.
• Find the centre of your fabric by folding it in half twice and mark this with a pin.
• Attach your fabric to your hoop.
• Thread your needle with two threads from the skein.
• Remove your pin and begin stitching from the centre stitch.
• Follow the pattern.
• When you are finished, knot and carefully trim your threads.

You may want to display your cross-stitch affirmation in a frame – but if you want to keep it in the embroidery hoop for a rustic look, head over to Peacock & Fig’s YouTube channel to learn how to create a sturdy backing.

Monthly weather painting

These beautiful, effective pieces of art are so easy to do, and are a nice way of tapping into a creative space each day. The idea of this project is to paint a line a day in the colour that corresponds to the temperature. Assign your own colours to temperatures or use a guide.

Work in straight, blocked lines or blend colours together with watercolour paint. However you chose to do it, express yourself. Once you have completed a month, proudly display it in your home, or use it as a background to create a scrapbook or memory board by attaching photos or other pieces of memorabilia, like tickets or notes. Create a monthly series, or take it up a level by doing a whole year!

You will need:
• Canvas or card
• Paints in a selection of colours
• A paintbrush

You can also use this technique as a mood tracker, by assigning moods to different colours, and taking some time to assess how you felt that day before painting a line. This can be a great way to tune-in with yourself. Read more about creative journaling techniques in our October issue.

Quick DIY face mask Recipes

You don’t need to go out and spend a lot of money on shop-bought soothing face masks. These recipes use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. So whether you’re looking to wind-down at the end of a long day, or indulge your skin with some TLC, it’s time to mix-up your self-care routine.

Time oat

For oily skin
Whisk away excess oil with this soothing oat-based mask.

You will need:
45g cooked oatmeal
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Allow the cooked oatmeal to cool. Whisk the egg and mix all the ingredients together.

At its core, art and crafts is about self-expression, and taking on projects allows us the opportunity to explore who we are

Avo rest

For dry skin
Leave skin feeling soft and smooth with this creamy mix.

You will need:
1 avocado
1 tablespoon honey
A handful of oats

Blend the avocado and honey together, and then stir in the oats.

Mindful mash

For the minimalists out there, revitalise your skin with a mashed banana applied directly to your face. For a refreshing twist, blend up a frozen banana.

Recycled wooden gratitude jar

When we take the time each day to consider the things that we’re grateful for, we’re granted the opportunity to really reflect on the little joys in our lives. A gratitude jar is a great way to collect these pockets of happiness and return to them when we need them most.

The idea is to write down on a small piece of paper something that you are grateful for. Fold this up, and put it in the jar. Add to the jar whenever you like, and return to it to read the notes when you feel as though you need to. Plus you can make the process of creating this jar a mindful one, by going out on a slow walk to collect sticks for the project.

This recycled wood gratitude jar is easy to make, looks beautiful in your home, and is the perfect way to store the moments you want to hold on it.

You will need:
• A glass jar
• Wooden sticks
• Secateurs
• A hot glue gun or other strong adhesive glue

How to:
• Trim your sticks to the size of the jar.
• One by one, glue sticks in place.

Illustration of scissors and cotton reel

Illustration | Rosan Magar

Map coasters

Throughout our lives, we develop deep connections with the places we’ve lived and have visited. Create a reminder of a place that brings you joy with these coasters.

Think of an area where you remember feeling happiest, or which served as the setting for a pivotal moment in your life, and craft a practical piece of homeware that will transport you there on a daily basis.

You will need:
• An old coaster or one from a craft store
• A map
• Scissors
• A ruler
• A pencil
• Mod Podge (or PVA glue)
• A paintbrush

How to:
• Lay the coaster over the area of the map you want to use.
• Trace around the coaster with the pencil, then add on half an inch.
• Use the scissors to cut around your template.
• Stick the map to the coaster using the Mod Podge, folding the corners over the back and securing these down.
• Paint over the coaster with a thin layer of Mod Podge. Allow this to dry completely before repeating the process two more times.

At its core, art and crafts is about self-expression, and taking on projects allows us the opportunity to explore who we are. If you decide to try one of these ideas, be sure to share your results with us on social media. We can’t wait to see!

For more uplifting content, including how to build a better relationship with your body and tips to transform your mindset, pick up the October issue of Happiful in our shop now, or in supermarkets from Thursday 17 September, or subscribe to read for free online.

Happiful October 2020 cover

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Illustration | Rosan Magar