Here are some creative techniques to try that will help reduce stress and benefit your overall health. Not every technique is for everyone and these are only a handful of suggestions on ways to be creative, so take your time and explore different options. Find what works best for you and helps you relax. If it's not relaxing, that's a sign to move on to something else. Good luck!
Adult coloring is a great place to start if you are mostly interested in relaxing and want inspiration and direction immediately. It seems weird - why is adult coloring such a big deal and why has it exploded into such an industry? You may have notice over the years, although the fad has died down somewhat, that there are adult coloring books and options all over stores and the internet. It's a fad here to stay for a reason!
The psychology of it is best researched personally, but the bottom line is that it was discovered that creating in such a focused way helps center most individuals, children and adults alike. If you have ever tried it, you probably have experienced how it can suck you in and keep you focused and separate from outside distractions, sort of like meditating. It takes concentration to color in the lines and choose the best colors and create aesthetically pleasing works of art. Even if the end product doesn't seem like art to you, it surely is and you should be proud. And think of it this way - the end product, if there is indeed a final end product, is not what's important - it's more about the process anyway.
Anybody trying any kind of coloring really needs to find their niche and what pleases them more than what stresses them out. One person may love coloring landscapes, another animals, and yet another may mostly enjoy intricate mandala, mehndi, or zentangle designs. Browse for coloring books at your local store and thumb through the designs before committing to something specific. Try out different designs and different coloring mediums - crayons, colored pencils, gel pens, markers, etc. to help you decide what works best for you. The more creating appeals to you, the more beneficial and stress-relieving it will prove to be. Good luck!
Mandalas are designs that are usually circles that are concentric and symmetrical. I personally find them relaxing to color because it's important to focus to maintain the design. To make the colors look good together and be even, one must put in effort, which makes it especially hard to think about other things. However, the effort needed might frustrate some and would not be the best option.
For advanced creators of mandalas, there are now mandala maker stamps and die-cuts that can help us die-hards make our own uniquely beautiful designs. I still find the basic mandalas in coloring books, especially ones that are not too intricate or so detailed that it takes forever to complete, are still the most satisfying for me.
Gel printing is the process of transferring a medium from a gelly like plate onto a piece of paper. The plates can be made at home with store bought gelatin, but I find it easier to just buy a pre-made gel plate at any arts and crafts stores. It is an artistic tool more than a crafting tool so that might determine where it can be found.
Gel plates come in a variety of sizes, from big to small. I have a couple sizes and find I like my 4" x 5" size the best for most projects. I particularly like to use my prints for small abstract pieces of art or backgrounds for cards and other mixed media projects.
The gel plate is non-porous but very flexible and squishy, so when a medium such as acrylic paint is rolled over it with a roller, the paint sticks to it, but then comes off easily when removed with porous paper. The term for removing the medium is "pulling a print" because the paper pulls off whatever it sticks to. Therefore, each print is called a "mono-print" because it is almost impossible to replicate.
If you want picture perfect prints, this is not the technique for you. But if you're like me and discover you like taking chances and being risky or that you also love mixing colors and making abstract prints, gel printing might be a great technique for you too!
Once I made a lot of gel printing backgrounds, along with other designs made with distress oxide inks and alcohol inks, I thought - what am I going to do with all these beautiful designs? Well, first I learned of glass gem cabochons that I found would magnify the abstract prints and make all the colors pop! These glass gems are found usually in the gardening section of a craft store because they are often used to fill up vases and gardening pots. I was psyched I had a cool way to display my abstract art.
Then I learned of something that blew my mind! I had now figured out that I like to display my art in a way that brings focus to a central design. I realized I liked things framed in a way so that the backing shines through. I found a die-cut machine at my local craft store and started experimenting. My first major design were Easter eggs for treat boxes for my family on Easter. All my family loved them and said I should make more of the same type of crafts and sell them. I was sold!
Soon after that Easter, I started making tons of crafts using my die-cutting machine, stamps, stencils, and embossing folders. Without any experience, I prepared myself to exhibit my creations at a local craft show. It was so much fun!
You never know what you will get into until you try, so why not try a new creative hobby such as paper-crafting? Be careful, though, if it is indeed the kind of hobby that is for you, it can be very therapeutic but it can also become highly addictive!