When the stress of getting things done, meeting expectations (and deadlines), and planning for the next ones gets to be too much, few things restore a sense of relaxed well-being like time spent with creative hobbies.
To that end, we’ve curated a list of creative hobby ideas for you to try, no matter what your current mood is or how many demands you have on your time.
Many of the hobbies listed here have a way of giving you more time to breathe and to enjoy your creative gifts and potential. A few of them can even turn into a side business, but they don’t have to.
- 21 Creative Hobbies To Try
- 1. Quilting
- 2. Knitting or Crochet
- 3. Whittling and Woodcarving
- 4. Yoga
- 5. Sewing
- 6. Photography
- 7. Gardening
- 8. Doing puzzles (jigsaw, crossword, Sudoku)
- 9. Drawing or Painting
- 10. Writing and Journaling
- 11. Theater, Improv, and Public Speaking
- 12. Making Friendship Bracelets
- 13. Rock Collecting and Polishing
- 14. Cosplay
- 15. Cross-stitch
- 16. Playing a musical instrument
- 17. Nail Art
- 18. Learning a new language
- 19. Baking / Cooking
- 20. Origami
- 21. Calligraphy / Hand Lettering
21 Creative Hobbies To Try
If you’d love to be the relative known for creating heirloom-quality quilts — for family, friends, and fundraising raffles — it’s easy enough to get started.
Just to help you sift through the options for time-saving and user-friendly sewing and quilting machines, here’s one that has earned its place as a best-seller.
2. Knitting or Crochet
A knitting machine can help you speed things up if you have a long list of gift ideas.
If you’d rather go old-school, though, try this set of bamboo knitting needles.
While crochet doesn’t get as much celebrity love as knitting, it’s earned its place as one of the most popular creative hobbies.
Its devotees often prefer it to knitting (not that this is a competition. Okay, maybe it is, a little).
- Crochet Aluminum Hook Set
- Best Crochet Hook Set with Ergonomic Handles
- Mira Handcrafts 40 Assorted Colors, Acrylic Yarn Skeins
3. Whittling and Woodcarving
If you have a lot of spare wood lying around, or you have access to different types of wood and are interesting in finding a creative use for it, why not learn whittling and woodcarving?
Here are just some ideas for items you can create by whittling and carving wood:
And here are some tools and guides to get you started:
If you’ve always been curious about yoga, but you’re not sure where to start, you might be overwhelmed by all the instructional books and videos available — to say nothing of the variety of yoga mats, clothing, and other equipment.
So, we’ve created a short list of best-selling items with encouraging reviews:
- Yoga Socks for Women
- All-Purpose Extra Thick Exercise Yoga Mat with Carrying Strap
- Yoga: The Yoga Beginner’s Bible by Tai Morello
You don’t have to be Hollywood thin to benefit from yoga or to make it look good. Check out Jessamyn Stanley’s Every Body Yoga for a body-positive approach to an ancient practice.
Ever look in a store window at an outfit and think, “I could totally make that — if only I knew how to sew”?
Or maybe you’re more interested in making one of the following:
Whatever you think of whenever you catch sight of a sewing machine or a needle and thread, here are a few options for sewing tools that many others before you have bought and found worth recommending.
- Brother Lightweight Sewing Machine
- Seam Ripper and Thread Remover Kit
- Magnetic Sewing Pincushion with 50 Plastic Head Pins
Whether you use a professional camera or your smartphone’s camera, the better you are at taking great pictures, the more applications you can find for them.
And just looking at the pictures you take can be therapeutic.
Check out the following options to help get you started and ready for your first serious photo shoot.
- Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography (UDEMY Online Course)
- Canon EOS Rebel SL2 Digital SLR Camera Body — WiFi enabled
- AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
Finally, science has caught up with the wisdom of childhood: playing with dirt can actually make you feel happier.
When fed to mice, bacteria in the soil called Myobacterium vaccae actually stimulated their immune system and boosted serotonin production.
So, when you spend time outside planting, transplanting, cultivating, and weeding, you’re more likely to feel restored afterward than if you stayed indoors binge-watching your favorite series.
Here are some tools and guides to get you started (or back in the game):
- Finnhomy 5 Piece Gardening Tool Set
- The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith
- All New Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew and the Square Foot Gardening Foundation
8. Doing puzzles (jigsaw, crossword, Sudoku)
Indoor hobbies have their benefits, too, though puzzles don’t necessarily confine you to the indoors (any more than reading).
If you’re a puzzle fiend, your brain probably loves you for it. If you’d like to sharpen your mind, check out the following to get started on your puzzle of choice:
- Puzzle Presto! Peel & Stick Puzzle Saver: Preserve Your Finished Puzzle
- Funster Tons of Sudoku: 1000+ Easy to Hard Puzzles (paperback)
- Brain Games Crossword Puzzles: Large Print
9. Drawing or Painting
If you want a hobby that’s both artistic and hands-on, it doesn’t take much to get started with either drawing or painting.
The following tools and guides can help with this, and you don’t have to look hard for drawing and painting tutorials on YouTube.
- You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler
- Strathmore Series 400 Sketch Pads 9 in. x 12 in., 100 Sheets
- Pro Art 18-Piece Sketch/Draw Pencil Set
- Creative Joy Acrylic Paint Set & Brushes
10. Writing and Journaling
You won’t start off as an expert (any more than with any of the other creative hobbies listed here), but the more time and creative energy you put into articulating your thoughts as written words, the better you’ll get at it.
You don’t have to be a highly-skilled writer to benefit from journaling, though. And it doesn’t hurt to start with a great-looking journal.
- Effortless Journaling: How to Start a Journal, Make It a Habit, and Find Endless Writing Topics by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport
- Leather Writing Journal Notebook, Classic Spiral Bound Refillable Diary
- Antique Handmade Leather-Bound Daily Notepad
11. Theater, Improv, and Public Speaking
Whether you’re thinking of auditioning for a part in a community theater production or you’d like to join (or start) an improv group for therapy, there are a number of ways to develop the skill of improvising.
And this skill could serve you in a variety of situations.
If you dream of performing on the stage, there are plenty of improv, acting, and public speaking veterans who are happy to pass on what they’ve learned.
- Melissa & Doug Deluxe Puppet Theater
- How to Be the Greatest Improviser On Earth by Will Hines
- Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson
- Do You Talk Funny? 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speakerby David Nihill
12. Making Friendship Bracelets
Make bracelets for friends and family members using the tools and materials linked to, here.
Whatever your style, you’ll find a way to express it while creating wearable keepsakes.
- My Friendship Bracelet Maker Kit, Travel Edition
- Friendship Bracelets 101…Step-By-Step Instructions
- Premium Rainbow Color Embroidery Floss
13. Rock Collecting and Polishing
Maybe you can’t have a chest of diamonds and jewels like the ones found by pirates in the movies, but no one’s stopping you from collecting rocks, gems, and minerals and displaying them to advantage — in bowls, on stands, or in jewelry.
You can start with what you find on your property, on the beach, or in parks, or you can give your collection a headstart with the collection kit listed below.
- Dancing Bear Rock & Mineral Collection Activity Kit
- Collecting Rocks, Gems, and Minerals by Patti Polk
- National Geographic 10 Premium Geodes with Goggles, Learning Guide, and 2 Display Stands
This may be one of the more unique hobbies, though it makes use of others (like sewing and painting).
If you’re not sure where to begin, but you have a character in mind, check out the guides listed below. And it wouldn’t hurt to take a stroll through YouTube, either.
Once you’ve got your first cosplay outfit together, check out the events calendar on Cosplay.com and check one out with some of your new friends from the cosplay community.
- The Costume-Making Guide: Creating Armor and Props for Cosplay by Svetlana Quindt
- Make: Props and Costume Armor: Create Realistic Science & Fantasy Weapons, Armor, and Accessories by Shawn Thorsson
- The Hero’s Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming by Gillian Conahan
When you’re counting stitches, you take your mind off your work-related stress and focus on the present moment.
Stitch by stitch, you can create wearable (or frameable) works of art, embroidered pocket handkerchiefs, keepsake ornaments, or other small, handmade gifts.
When it’s handmade, it means more, because it’s something you put your love and creative energy into.
- Embroidery Starter Kit for Beginners
- Classic Reserve Aida Cloth / Cross Stitch Cloth
- Embroidery Transfer Pen, Blue
- Embroidery; A Step-By-Step Guide to More than 200 Stitches by DK
16. Playing a musical instrument
The cognitive effects of learning and playing musical instruments has already been the subject of one study after another, with encouraging results.
Many have argued that playing a musical instrument “can change brain structure and function for the better“ — far more effectively than brain games touted by companies like Lumosity or BrainHQ.
The corpus callosum, which connects both sides of the brain, is larger in musicians and in those who regularly play musical instruments as a hobby.
As a result, they’re more efficient at processing input from various senses.
Whatever your instrument of choice, there are plenty of resources online to help you get started or get reacquainted with your instrument.
- How to Play Keyboard: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners by Ben Parker
- Piano Stickers to Keep Your Eyes on the Notes, with Free Piano Ebook
- Learn-to-Play Tin Whistle Set: Book, CD, and Whistle
17. Nail Art
If you lean toward wearable art but you’d rather leave sewing to others, nail art is becoming a popular artistic outlet.
Since you have nails on both your hands and your feet, you have plenty to work with to build your skills and express your creative energy.
18. Learning a new language
Aside from the cognitive benefits of learning a new language, the most exciting benefit is being able to go to a different country (where the language you’ve learned is the native language) and easily communicate with others.
Learning new languages also increases your sense of connection with other humans.
With language no longer a barrier, you can learn things about them that you might never have learned (as well or as deeply) before.
But isn’t it hard to learn a new language? It doesn’t have to be. And you don’t have to be a linguistic genius to become fluent in another language.
- Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner
- Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World by Benny Lewis
19. Baking / Cooking
When you’re home and not at work, it can be therapeutic to cook or bake something you can then enjoy eating or sharing with someone you love.
But if you’re not used to cooking for yourself (or others), it can be daunting to get started — especially if you’ve been busy telling yourself, “I’m a terrible cook,” or “I’m useless in the kitchen.”
Stop undermining yourself and learn the basics of cooking and baking to quickly master even complicated recipes.
- The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen by The Editors of America’s Test Kitchen and Guy Crosby, Ph.D.
- How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know By Heart by Pam Anderson
- Bread Baking for Beginners by Bonnie O’Hara
Do yourself a favor, if you enjoy creating origami figures, and invest in some six-inch square, easy-fold paper.
Otherwise, you’ll spend way too much time trimming paper into squares, and the right paper (in a variety of colors) doesn’t cost much.
While you’re at it, pick up a handy case for holding your origami paper and a booklet of instructions for a variety of new origami projects.
It’s quicker than wood-carving, and you don’t need a knife. Just watch out for paper cuts.
- Origami Paper Double Sided Colors
- Daniel’s House Japanese Origami Folding Paper Case Box
- Easy Origami (Dover Origami Papercraft) Over 30 Simple Projects by John Montroll
21. Calligraphy / Hand Lettering
Whether you want to hand-letter your own wedding invitations or make your own personal greeting cards, you can easily learn basic calligraphy using one of the books listed below, as well as the right pens and paper.
Little Coffee Fox has a free “Hand Lettering Guide for Beginners“ to help get you started and point you in the direction of the best tools (some listed below).
- Dual Brush Pen Art Markers
- Lettering and Modern Calligraphy: A Beginner’s Guide: Learn Hand Lettering and Brush Lettering by Paper Peony Press
- Calligraphy Set, 33 Piece Set
What's your favorite creative hobby?
I hope you found at least one creative hobby to try.
Just getting started with it can be enough to boost your mood and open your mind to new possibilities today. So, dive in and enjoy it.
All the better if you can find others with whom you can enjoy your new creative hobby – an accountability partner to spark new ideas and celebrate each new creation.
Whatever you start with, may your creative fire and sense of fun influence everything you do today.