Arts and crafts can be a fun way to improve mental health and encourage self-expression.

Arts and crafts have been an important part of society for thousands of years.

Simple early etches on cave walls eventually evolved into masterwork paintings and the artistic functional decor found in many homes today.

The benefits of arts and crafts for mental health are wide and numerous. You can try various projects from your home with a few basic supplies, or join workshops and groups to enhance the benefits.

The best thing about arts and crafts is that you don’t need any special skills to start. The essence of art therapy is to express yourself in a way that feels right to you.

Arts and crafts are byproducts of the natural desire to express emotion creatively. This creative expression has helped unite society under a shared appreciation and admiration for beauty and the creative process.

A 2018 review of studies found that arts and crafts can help manage stress. Chronic stress is considered a gateway to many illnesses, and it can make you feel angry, anxious, or irritated.

Arts and crafts activities serve as an outlet to release these challenging emotions in a personal and expressive manner.

Performing arts and crafts with a group can also be beneficial. A 2021 study found that group craftwork encourages the sharing of ideas and perspectives and also strengthens your sense of connection to society.

The importance of social connectedness continues to be demonstrated as a key component of mental health. In fact, a 2017 study found that engaging more with society can play a crucial role in mental health and well-being.

The specific benefits of various arts and crafts for mental health have been richly explored for good reason.

A 2020 study suggested that arts and crafts can have favorable and diverse impacts on mental health for caregivers in need of support. These benefits included improvements in:

A 2019 review of studies found that even just the experience of going to an art museum to admire art can promote psychological well-being.

A 2020 review indicated that art therapies offer potential benefits for children in need of mental health services. These benefits included improved:

  • mood
  • quality of life
  • coping behaviors

The authors of the review also noted that the conclusions were limited by a lack of consistent data.

Various types of craftwork have been shown to have an effect on specific mental health conditions, such as:

Each of the following activities is associated with various mental health benefits and is fairly easy to try. You don’t need any special skills. All you need is a willingness to give it a try.

Fabric crafting

Fabric can be used to craft a number of creative projects, such as:

  • animal figures
  • decorative fans
  • iron-on patches

Although fabric crafting varies in difficulty, there are many beginner ideas you can try, such as making a:

  • bow tie
  • hair bow
  • bookmark

Research from 2019 found that these types of projects can enhance overall well-being, and the mental health benefits increase when working on them in a group setting.

You may consider getting together with a few friends or family members to host a fabric-crafting circle.

Painting and drawing

Painting and drawing can be a great start for beginners. You can buy a basic stencil or paint set from a local crafts store and start with simple colors, shapes, or anything that comes to mind.

A 2021 review found that painting and drawing may help you express your emotions and perspectives more freely and can be beneficial for a variety of mental health conditions. This includes:


Clay crafts can be fun, but expect to get a little dirty! Typically, you use your bare hands to shape the clay.

Clay art therapy can help emotional regulation and improve aspects of mental health, according to a 2017 study.

A 2018 study also found that creating clay art can increase happiness. It can be useful for those living with major depression and anxiety and for those who need a boost in their mood.


With a history spanning back to 4,000 B.C., calligraphy has been a part of many cultures.

Calligraphy refers to decorative handwriting and offers numerous benefitsfor mental health, according to a 2018 review. It can help improve brain function and ease symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

With many options to choose from, arts and crafts can be a great, fun way to improve your mental health.

Research continues to consistently demonstrate the overall benefits of arts and crafts, and working in group settings is encouraged.

It’s easy to get started with some projects like drawing or painting because there are basically no necessary skill, age, or talent requirements.

Try grabbing a paintbrush or pencil and letting your heart and creative mind run free.