It’s scientifically proven that doing something creative makes people less sad. But there are so many ways to be artistic it can be a little overwhelming figuring out where to start. Crafting kits—like crocheting amigurumi animals or painting a model train set—give you something to work toward, but don’t give you a lot of room to change up the design. Here are four building blocks of a creative practice that allow you to explore multiple directions, discover hidden talents, and put your whole self into making something that reflects who you are.
A note-worthy notebook. Amazon
Many music notebooks are large and unwieldy, with all writing confined to staff paper. This 8.25-inch tall and 5-inch wide notebook is about half the size of a sheet of paper, and features a blank page on the left side and music staves on the right. If you’re just learning music notation, copy out some of your favorite songs and make up extra lyrics, or try writing down a melody you’ve got stuck in your head. Moleskine’s signature thick paper, storage folder, and elastic closure are an invitation to uncap a fountain pen by candlelight and compose the next great musical.
Stressful day? Try some clay. Amazon
If you want to work with your hands to sculpt objects from creatures to bowls, this modeling clay is a fun way to start. You don’t need a kiln for it to harden, and you can paint, varnish, polish, and cut it when it’s dry. We recommend getting a few packages at a time, since once each package is opened and the clay is exposed to air it will harden in 24 hours. Turn frustration into art by squeezing some clay into a ball, then shaping it into a pot you can use to grow a leafy plant. This clay is also non-toxic and gluten-free—but that doesn’t mean you should eat it.
Design your dreams. Amazon
With this stainless-steel drafting set and some paper you can create a tiny dream home, sketch out a kitchen remodeling project, or make your own sewing patterns. Two different sized triangles, a 12-inch ruler, and a 6-inch protractor make up this quality set for accurate measurement. To get the most out of these tools you might want to brush up on your math skills, but they can also be used to add steady straight and curved lines to artwork and handwritten letters.
Not just for Origami. Amazon
If you’ve always wanted to try the folding paper art of Origami, this set of three hundred sheets of paper in ten patterns and three designs comes with an instruction manual to get you started. But that’s really just the beginning of what you can do with all this beautiful paper. Snip out tiny pieces and glue them to scrapbooks to frame pictures, create the world’s most artistic ransom note (and hold the remote hostage in exchange for your housemate cooking you dinner), or fashion hats for your pet.