Arts and crafts describe a broad range of activities that involve making things with one’s own hands. It is usually considered a hobby. Some crafts/art skills have been practiced since prehistoric times, while others are more recent inventions. John Ruskin, William Morris, and others promoted an ‘arts and crafts movement in the late 19th century, which popularized the phrase.
Both children and adults enjoy arts and crafts. Children in schools may learn arts and crafts skills, such as sewing, wood carving, woodworking, or making things with all sorts of material. Further, many schools and community centers have day or evening classes and workshops where one can learn arts and craft skills.
If you’re interested in arts and crafts – whether you’re looking for arts and crafts ideas to do at home (for kids and adults), or if you’re interested in learning about the different arts and crafts in different countries (specifically, Central and Southeast Asia), keep reading!
Arts and Crafts Ideas: For Kids and Adults
As mentioned, both children and adults enjoy arts and crafts. If you’re looking for arts and crafts ideas for both adults and kids – ones that you can do at home – check out the list below!
- Arts and Crafts for Kids
Looking for appropriate arts and crafts activities for kids? Here are some ideas and inspiration that you can try:
- Bubble Painting
This is a fun way to create art with your children! Easily craft your artwork into bookmarks, notecards, and more for fun homemade gift ideas.
- Paper Dream Catchers
These Paper Dream Catchers are really cool and a great way to chase those scary dreams away!
- Cardboard Tube Telescope
Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! This play-pretend telescope will help your kids look at things in a whole new way!
- Soda Bottle Flower Stamped Art
Before you recycle those plastic bottles, use them to make Soda Bottle Flower Stamped Art!
This toy camera is perfect for little ones who are not quite ready for the real thing.
- Recycled Watering Can
Don’t let empty milk jugs/juice bottles/soda bottles go to waste. Instead, turn them into cute and eco-friendly watering cans! Just poke some holes in the cap, maybe even use some paint or washi tape to decorate, and you’re all set for some gardening fun!
- Arts and Crafts for Adults
Who says adults can’t have fun with arts and crafts? If you’re looking for easy arts and crafts for adults, here are some ideas to try!
- Wine Corkboard
Do you have a bunch of wine corks? Then you have what you need to make this DIY wine cork board! Perfect for a calendar, notes, or your favorite family photos.
- DIY Hanging Shelf
This DIY small hanging shelf has many uses around the house: in a bedroom, kitchen, a bathroom, or hallway above a small table. To make it, all you need is a piece of poplar wood, a macrame cording, and a drill. Modify it to any sizes and specs you like.
- Pulled String Art
Create fascinating visuals with this fun art activity that uses string and watercolors! You can make this pulled string art painting with paint, paper, liquid watercolors, and string. The process is captivating and the results are beautiful.
- Embroidered Denim Jacket
Nothing is cooler than a customized denim jacket — whether new or vintage. Take your look to the next level by embroidering a set of cheerful flowers (or some other cool designs) on the back panel of your denim jacket!
- Pounded Flower Art
Flowers are really beautiful, but they never last as long as we’d like. By using this simple technique, you can transform your favorite blooms into more permanent works of art! You simply need to cut and arrange flowers face down on a piece of watercolor paper.
Then, use a hammer to pound around the circumference of the flower, applying pressure to the pedal area but avoiding the center (otherwise moisture and pollen will stick to the paper as well, which doesn’t look as pretty). Repeat this process until you’re happy with the way the hammered flower art look! After, you can frame it to make it even more elegant and pretty and display it around your home.
- Marbled Pencils
Have you ever thought about other things you could tie-dye that aren’t t-shirts? Why not brighten up your desk with some marbled pencils! By using simple household items like nail polish, Tupperware, and water you can have your own tie-dyed pencils in no time! To make this, simply follow the steps for tie-dyeing shirts, and you’ll be good to go!
Arts and Crafts to Do at Home
You don’t have to be arts and crafts expert to create beautiful art and DIY crafts to decorate your home. All you need? A few extra hours and a few simple supplies. Here are some ideas for arts and crafts to do at home.
- Printable Coloring Cards
Everyone loves coloring (yes, even adults!). You can download free, printable coloring card templates online and schedule a virtual craft night party with family and friends! Send the link to your family and friends as an interactive gift, but trust us — you’re going to want to print a few copies for yourself.
- Newspaper Seed-Starter Pots
You can grow dozens of new plants to fill your garden with beautiful flowers and plants for the cost of just a few packets of seed. And you don’t even need to buy new seed trays or planting pots! Just use your old newspapers – you simply need to fold the newspaper strips up and around the outside of a small glass to make a miniature pot, remove the glass, and turn them into perfect containers for starting seeds.
- Simple Ombre Artwork
Even novice artists can recreate this eye-catching artwork. Just choose gradient shades you love and brush them onto a canvas – it’s that easy!
- Easy Candle Sand Art
If you loved playing with sand as a kid, here’s a grown-up-friendly twist on this easy craft you’ll want to try. Just add a candle, and you’ve got a stylish centerpiece or accessory for your home!
Arts and Crafts Design / Arts and Crafts Products
There is a variety of arts and crafts design, as well as arts and crafts products made from different materials. Listed below are some of them.
- Arts and Crafts Involving Textiles
- T-shirt art
- String art
- Rug making
- Arts and Crafts Involving Paper or Canvas
- Parchment craft
- Stamping (with a rubber stamp)
- Arts and Crafts Involving Clay, Wood, or Metal
- Cabinet making
- Wood burning
- Other Arts and Crafts Designs / Products
- Balloon animal
- Doll making
- Egg decorating
- Stained glass
Arts and Crafts Central and South East Asia
The huge Asian continent has given birth to various types of art that predate anything seen in the West. For example, ancient pottery first appeared in China, as did sericulture, large-scale bronze sculpture, as well as jade carving and lacquerware, and also calligraphy.
In other fields – such as terracotta sculpture, for instance – Chinese creativity is unmatched, while in the arts of painting and metalwork the contribution of Chinese artists has been outstanding. The gigantism of Chinese statues is also well known.
The Chinese culture has had a major impact on the arts and crafts of other East Asian countries like Japan and Korea, although Japanese artists and craftsmen have also achieved worldwide renown in disciplines as diverse as origami, paper-folding, ink-and-wash painting ceramic art, woodcuts, and wood-carving.
Moreover, art on the Indian subcontinent – distinguished above all by its exceptional longevity – has developed more independently of China, although it was strongly influenced by Greek sculpture during the era of Hellenistic art, and latterly by Islamic art of the Persian Mughal Empire.
On the mainland, south-east Asian culture is exemplified by Khmer temple architecture, as well as Buddhist sculpture, batik textiles, and certain types of metallurgy, while on the archipelagos of Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, it shares many characteristics with the Oceanic art of the South Pacific.
Unfortunately, with the exception of certain types of stone and metalwork, most art of south-east Asia has – like much of the tribal art of Africa – disintegrated due to the effects of the climate. However, following the amazing find of a cave painting in the Maros-Pangkep caves near Maros, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, experts believe there is a great deal more prehistoric art there, waiting to be discovered.
Here are some examples of arts and crafts from Central and southeast Asian countries:
- Pottery (Thailand)
Pottery in Thailand is generally for domestic use, including earthenware and ceramics. Originally, earthenware was influenced by the Mon people or Burmese made of red clay. It has a plain pattern and an unglazed surface. Ceramics were heavily influenced by the Chinese, yet developed with unique patterns by Thai craftsmen. Thai ceramics have a glossy surface and more neat and delicate details.
- Lacquerware (Vietnam)
Vietnamese lacquerware stands apart for its layered workmanship. A complex and intricate art form, it entails an extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive process that can take around 100 days and 20 stages to complete! High-gloss lacquer (a resin of the lacquer tree) is usually applied to a wooden base with inlays such as mother-of-pearl, duck eggshells, gold or silver leaves.
Specialized lacquerware products were made by artisans in the Nam Ngu District of Hanoi since as early as the 18th century. Lacquered items have also been discovered in ancient tombs in Vietnam dating as far back as the 3rd – 4th centuries BC.
While initially lacquerware colors were restricted to black, red, and brown, more pigments were introduced over time, and today one can find a range of home décor accessories such as vases, decorative accents, tableware, and more, in a multitude of vibrant colors!
- Calligraphy (China)
In China, calligraphy occupies a distinguished position in the field of traditional art. It is not only a form of communication but also a means of expressing a person’s inner world in an aesthetic sense. Calligraphy, a highly stylized form of writing – has been developed by many eminent calligraphers of many different dynasties. Referred to as the ‘four treasures of study’ (writing brush, ink stick, xuan paper, and ink slab) are regarded as indispensable tools when writing.
- Ikebana (Japan)
Ikebana, also known as kado, is the Japanese form of flower arrangement. Westerners are often surprised at how complex Japanese ikebana is compared to the typical western flower arrangement. Ikebana not only focuses on the flower and the bloom, but also on the stems, leaves, and vase.
Simplicity is also an important feature in ikebana, contrary to western flower arrangements where flowers are layered and layered to create a full look. Also important in ikebana is the shape, lines, and form of the arrangement.
During ikebana, silence is a must. The spiritual nature of ikebana in which one should relax the mind, body, and soul and appreciate life requires a silent space when creating these works of art. Today, different types of schools of ikebana exist, each with different origins and differing styles.
Arts and Crafts in the Philippines
Arts and crafts in the Philippines date back thousands of years, with jade carving being among some of the earliest examples found dating from around 2,000 BC. While many indigenous crafts still thrive from weaving to pottery, others, such as the religious wood carvings, are relative newcomers to the arts and crafts scene, brought to the Philippines by settlers from other counties.
The variety of arts and crafts in the Philippines is not only a result of its rich cultural diversity, it also owes thanks to the wealth of natural materials readily available including rattan, bamboo, and coconut shells, to name but a few. The sea has also lent its bounty to the craft industry in the country!
Below are some examples of unique arts and crafts found in different parts of the Philippines:
- Dream Weavers
While some crafts are fairly common throughout the Philippines, others are very unique to specific ethnic groups. For instance, in the South of the archipelago by Lake Sebu in the province of South Cotabato, the women of the T’boli people are known as Dream Weavers.
They create a hand-woven cloth called T’nalak using the fibers of the native plant, Abaca. Both the cloth and the women who create it are held in high regard. Interestingly, the patterns they weave have not been designed by the women themselves or even their ancestors. The designs have been brought to them in their dreams by Fu Dalu, the spirit of the Abaca, and are reproduced entirely from memory.
- Capiz Shell Lampshades
Capiz, for example, comes from the shell of the Placuna placenta mollusk, found in the seas around the Philippines. Fishermen harvest these edible mollusks for food and use the shells in handicrafts. Nothing is wasted!
Capiz is delicate, translucent, and naturally iridescent. In the 16th century, Spanish settlers in the Philippines made stained glass windows in their churches out of capiz shells giving rise to the mollusks nickname of ‘windowpane oyster’. Today, capiz shell lampshades daggling from trees in parks and gardens are a common sight.
- Cloth Weaving
One of the most precious living traditions that are still kept today is cloth weaving. Originating in pre-colonial times, the art of weaving of the Cordillera tribal groups in the North still exists, despite the threat of the more practical mass production of cloth. The natives use backstrap looms to produce blankets and articles of clothing.
Piña cloth is also produced in looms throughout the province of Antique. It is a delicate and exquisite handwoven cloth that is made from the fibers which you can get in the leaves of pineapple plants. It is popularly used in Barong Tagalog, our traditional clothes. Having its organic and airy textile, it is becoming more popular now around the world.