Ask Crafty Chica: Crafts for Older Folks


Need your kindness and expertise with this question. Do you have a craft (or crafts) idea(s) that would lend themselves well for older folks in a nursing home to make and sell for their craft fair? It would need to be easy enough for their precious, older hands, but something that doesn’t seem totally childish. Something that is easily glued or pasted. I was looking for a birdhouse they could make out of a pop bottle–but the “cutting” part might be too difficult, or something fresh and different. My Google search landed me on your page and I know it was by more than an accident. :o) Please help. Your input and thoughts…and thoughtfulness are so appreciated.
Thank you so much, much, MUCH!!!

– Crafter in need

Dear E. – what a great project! I would say something easy would be wood magnets or decorated cigar boxes. I’m going to post this to summon help from the craft community!

OK, crafters, what ideas can we offer her, this sounds like a fun opportunity!

Peace, love, and glitter!
Kathy 🙂

P.S. Check out my new book and product line!

Love & light,

10 Responses

  1. There are all kinds of items at craft stores that are already made and all they need to do is paint.
    Paint letters that spell out words for the season — or just paint letters and let people pick out their own words. This would be quick and easy and would help with motor skills.

    Also there are premade birdhouses – they are made from a formed pulp kind of material. The gentle hands could turn these into masterpieces just with a little glue. They could probably also do some boxes (same material) and use Crafty chica’s fabu glitter and make something fun for a lady or teen girl.

    Those are my thoughts.

  2. I was also going to suggest the marble magnets. You can buy the ones with a round front/flat back at the dollar tree and they can paint the backs-flip it over and it looks magnified. Glue on a magnet & you’re good to go.

    Also decoupaging vases, etc with old magazine photos could be easy and fun.

  3. Painting picture frames would be fun and easy. Or using ceramic pens on blank plates and cups (those could even be thrifted) Or making ATCs. felt ornaments (could be sewn of glued) Or as a collaborative effort, they could combine talents to paint a chair or small table.
    I liked Dede’s comment about the letters. The wood aisle does have tons of fun little things. I often paint animals and such and then attach them to greeting cards, the mixed effect has been pretty popular for me.

  4. Hi Kathy, If you have a friend with a handy scroll saw you can cut out gingerbread man/woman shapes (very easy) just follow a pattern that you draw. Make them about 9 or 10 inches tall. Have the elderly person paint the figure entirely (front only)with a gingerbread brown acrylic paint, let dry, then have them glue googly eyes and paint a smile on them. After that you can purchase small note pads and pencils. Glue note pad to middle of gingerbread man/woman. Use a piece of yarn (maybe 15″ to 18″ long) and tie one end of the yarn to the pencil the other to one of the gingerbread man/woman’s hand. Purchase magnet squares, attach on the back of gingerbread man with glue or you may buy the magnet squares that are self adhesive. And there you have it, a perfect Christmas note pad (with attached pencil) to put on the fridge! I used to work in a Nursing Home and the residents did very well making these and they all sold out at a craft fair there at the home. It is a very do-able project and cute to boot! Hope you can use this project.

  5. Sorry, I left something out of the comment I made earlier regarding the Gingerbread man cutout……it has to be cut out of really thin wood, maybe a little thicker that Balsa wood. It’s like really thin Plywood. You can get it at places like Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

  6. I love picture frames that are decorated with buttons. You know, layered multi-color buttons. Big ones, small ones, all mixed up?

    The base wooden frames can be purchased anywhere, and then they can be painted to hide the plain wood, and buttons glued on top.

    AND, most of my favorite buttons have come from collections from elderly sewers.

  7. What about painting some terra cotta pots? You could even have them glue on the flat marbles or small tiles or buttons. They could cover the rim or make flower patterns or other random patterns. I used liquid nails and did the marbles on a few pots and they’ve been in the AZ sun for 5 years and just at the end of this summer a couple of the marbles popped off.
    If you have some people who are able, they could make some flowers from craft foam or cardboard covered with patterend paper. Then you can glue them to skewers and if you stick some styrofoam into the pots, you can put some fake leaves/flowers and the ones that are made and you have a little centerpiece.

    Also, rubber stamping and making cards might be a good activity.
    Hope that helps!

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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