Creative Arts Ideas for Grownups
November 3, 2011 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find resources on the web or in print for great art-making and unique crafty ideas for adults?

I oversee adult programs at a museum and we've been introducing some more young-adult-friendly programming over the past year. DIY art projects are a central component. However, the staff here doesn't have much experience developing simple yet interesting drop-in art activities for adults. I've subscribed to Make magazine and know about the resources at ReadyMade,and of course Martha and Not Martha have some good crafty ideas.

Where else could I be looking for art project inspiration for adults? I am hoping not so much for specific projects, though they are welcome too, as to compile a list of resources we can troll regularly for new ideas. Some criteria for our type of artwork:

-needs to be able to be done in a shorter time frame, anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour
-can use novel materials but not exorbitantly expensive, since we usually do 200 people at a go
-pretty much low-tech, though digital photography might be workable
-one or two people can facilitate a bunch of people working on the project
-allows for creative experimentation and personalizing, not just "make a copy of this thing we already made"

posted by Miko to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
a lovely site for inspiration and sites and blogs that might meet your criteria is craftgawker.
posted by mirileh at 9:15 AM on November 3, 2011

Lately I've taken to making my own earrings out of polymer clay. Mostly they're food (because I like food). The clay is premo sculpey, available for not too much money at any big box craft store; jewelry findings are similarly widely available and very cheap. They need at least 30 minutes in an oven to cure, but outside of that, how long you spend on them is up to you.
posted by phunniemee at 9:24 AM on November 3, 2011

I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, but it might be too random for your taste. You can just look at the DIY & Craft section to narrow things down.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:25 AM on November 3, 2011

Nthing Pinterest! You've got a treasure trove to look at. It's a "pinboard" of links from around the internet but once you get comfortable with it, you'll find a ton of people you want to follow who are finding new craft projects. Here are some I've saved here and here and here.

If you want specific blogs, I check Poppytalk. Go to the top and look under "DIY" and "Tutorials." You'll find a ton of projects there and links to other crafty blogs.
posted by biscuits at 9:31 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, and I got the idea years ago from the very awesome Polymer Clay Techniques Book.
posted by phunniemee at 9:35 AM on November 3, 2011

I'm dying to do an activity about reconstructing ancient art from this site. It could be fun to offer everyone different images to start out, the same images, or have a selection of 5-10 to choose from. Then everyone can compare how different or similar their creations are! Plus, you can talk about conservation and interpretation in art which some people are pretty fascinated by.

I'm also kind of obsessed with cave art, which is a kind of art I think of as being both individual and communal. If you have access to a big roll of paper everyone can contribute to one or more giant pieces, or they could make their own to take home if they'd rather. You could have materials out for them to construct what they think prehistoric brushes would have looked like. And maybe have some pigments they can mix together (although I'm not sure what the cost associated with that would be)? Maybe a Cave of Hands section could be cool because you actually blow the paint on (or we used spray bottles with kids).
posted by Mouse Army at 10:02 AM on November 3, 2011

Response by poster: I've already found half a dozen great ideas. Thank you...and keep'em coming!
posted by Miko at 11:36 AM on November 3, 2011

Oh Happy Day posts lots of craft projects.
posted by grapesaresour at 12:22 PM on November 3, 2011

I like to browse through Craftzine for fun projects. And as others pointed out, Pinterest has lots of great options!
posted by southpaw at 1:22 PM on November 3, 2011

I've done workshops where we make collage pins, magnets or earrings out of recycled stuff. The base is matboard, and I have lots of glitter, wrapping paper, magazines and catalogs for collaging, bits of fabric, lace, netting, doodads, puzzle pieces, etc., to add. The glitter shapes that people put in cards sometimes are fun. Some people bring stuff, my favorite was an iconic pink Barbie high heel. Make a collage, coat with varnish, esp. if it looks fragile. Add a pin back, magnet or wires with your hot glue gun.

We did a similar project with old, unwanted strips of RAM as the base, and gliiter, and shiny stuff layered on. We used them as gifts for attendees at a tech training.

Here's a good

Glass blob magnets. So easy, and hard to go wrong.

This place in my area does fun craft events that are quite social. Haven't been on their mailing list for a while, but it was worth reading.
posted by theora55 at 3:07 PM on November 3, 2011

Jewelry from old bike parts. You can get the old bike parts from your local bike collective or a bike shop's metal recycling. There are all sorts of lovely small obscure parts, like the inside of a schrader valve. The clasps and earring hooks come from a bead store.

There are a ton of possibilities. Necklaces and bracelets out of spoke nipples (from expired wheels), earrings out of chain links or parts of disassembled chain links or wheel axle springs, hoop earrings from those ball bearing holders. You can do a google image search for bike parts jewelry to see the variety.
posted by aniola at 9:44 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

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