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Topic: Crafts for Mentally Ill Adults?  (Read 26328 times)
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« on: June 01, 2008 04:49:29 PM »

I work in social housing for mentally ill adults who are unable to live on their own. . . and we're encouraged to do workshops (and outings, and all of that good stuff!).

I would love to do a crafty workshop sometime, and I'd love some suggestions of suitable crafts!

It couldn't be anything too intricate or time-consuming, because some of their  meds/illnesses affect their attention or balance (shaky hands are common!). And it also couldn't be anything with pricey materials, since we don't have much of a budget (er... any budget at all). We do have things like tempera paints, crayons, markers, construction paper though (makes it sound like a kids' camp!)

There usually ends up being about 3-7 people in the programs, mostly middle aged, and mostly women.


« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2008 07:33:32 AM »

Hmmm... tissue collage on glasses or jars? a bit little kid-ish but with nice colors on a good shaped glass or vase thay could be very contemporary and sophisticated. Also bypasses the need for precision Smiley Actually if you could get chunks of plexi or glass squares you could do pretty window hangar type things with the same technique. (provided none are violent or inclined to do bad things with glass).

Introduce them to ATC's?

Tiny books?

Simple journals like Weather, Visitors, TV, etc?

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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2008 08:09:01 AM »

Ooh.. the tissue paper vases are a great idea! I think that's a good route to go - "maybe a bit kid-ish"... but with a finished product that ends up looking quite nice!

And the ATCs idea is good too.. because there's just so many ways they good go with it (and nothing could be "wrong".. that's important too!).

Thanks for the ideas!

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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2008 06:28:08 AM »

Depending on what their situation is, and what type of illness, pretty much anything creative or fun is good.

What about if you bought some cheap brown cardboard boxes....? Like little boxes with lids, They could decorate them, paint, stick things on...

A techniques that looks really good is to use normal 'white' glue and tissue paper, but, put the tissue paper down first, then apply the glue on top, so it kind of gathers in places, apply a few layers with some thicker in some places so you can see them underneath. Also experiment with colours. I once scrunched up a long piece and made the outline of a heart, put glue over the top and then layed a thin piece over and glued down some more. Adding things like wool or felt and other textured things too to make a mini usable piece of arty storage for any further craft projects.

ATC's are a good idea. They could make a bunch of different ones showing different emotions, how they feel or how they would like to feel.

I've seen plenty of things too where the aim is to draw a "circle" full of things... Called a mandala, used as a form of non conscious drawing. Play some calming meditative music, do basic meditation to help them clear their minds and get them to draw or colour without thinking of what they are doing. Just do what ever comes to mind. A counsellor I had once did this with me and it was very effective, and also made some really pretty and cool images.

From wikipedia...
Other meanings of mandala

In the West, mandala is also used to refer to the "personal world" in which one lives, the various elements of the mandala or the activities and interests in which one engages, the most important being at the centre of the mandala and the least important at the periphery. Depicting one's personal mandala in pictorial form can give one a good indication of the state of one's spiritual life.[citation needed]

Any basic brown air dried clay work is good too, pretty cheap from a school's supply store too... They could make anything they can think of... Bowls, plates, plaques with their name's... A sign for their room, or their children's if they have any. You could literally make anything out of clay like this, with a little water they can smooth down any imperfections, and it doesn't have to be fiddly or precise either.Once the clay things are dry, they can then paint and seal them with a basic clear spray sealer.

I've made many things from clay, In high school we had to make an E.F.O or exaggerated functional object. I made a large purple cow with yellow spots and a large head with a hole in it's back to hold stuff. You could get them to make long 'snakes' of clay and layer them to make bowls, then smooth down the sides or leave them bumpy for effects.

This kind of thing also lets them be creative without any restraints. They can be influenced by others creativity and then come up with new ideas from that too.

If you only have limited time, spray each item with a spray bottle of water and cover in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out till next time.

Buy blank notebooks with a plain cardboard cover they can decorate, using anything... That way they can have a journal for writing in, writing is very theraputic too.

What about a large mixed media group art project? You could buy a cheap large canvas from a dollar store and let them go for gold with any type of media, they could brain storm ideas for where they want it to go, or juist go for it and see what turns out.

I think that you could do pretty much anything too.

And I think I may have inspired a few ideas for myself too.

What about group cooking projects too? Millions of ideas you could make there.


p.s. You have one of my dream jobs.... xxx

Personal integrity and being true to yourself. True keys to happiness.

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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2008 09:11:28 AM »

Thanks a lot! I really all the ideas. The box idea is good (we have a great selectino of plain wood boxes at the dollar store! We could even do paint with those. . .). And the journal too (there is also a journalling group that one of the other staff runs!). The clay I hadn't thought of, but that sound neat! and the mandala is interesting. I'll look more into that!

It's funny. Even though I'm so into craftiness, when I decided to try to do something with our tenants, I drew a total blank! I'm more in the job for the "support", and doign workshops scared me!

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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2008 09:18:57 AM »

clay projects would be good too..with air dry clay..that will help with fine motor skills..also any sort of painting,drawing,crayon work would be great..sometimes its just back to basics that makes it all fun..

having some collage work would be great..decorating shirts(so its something they could use)..

have fun and let us know what you come up with Smiley

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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2008 09:30:16 AM »

Ohh oh.! I just thought of something when smittenheart posted about the crayon stuff.

What about those crayon drawings...? where you cover the page in crayon then paint black paint over the top and scratch the paint away to show the colours underneath? Even simple lines and patterns look very effective with this type of thing.

Another thing I did when I volunteered at a primary school art class which the kids really loved. I got them to draw pictures with crayons really heavily, and then screw them up into balls or long tubes, anything really to get the crayon to crack, then, open and flatten it out and paint over with some kind of acrylic paint. Once the paint is on, before it dries very slowly run water over it and wash off the excess paint. Some seeps into the cracks in the pictures and gives it a nice effect. These could then be stuck onto blank cards they could use for birthdays. Christmas, just because type cards. or framed for a good look also.

Some of the ideas are very basic and "kid-ish" but still are fun and effective. I used to suffer from severe depression and psychosis/anxiety so I kind of understand how your tenants may be feeling to a degree. Sometimes just simple fun things are good too.


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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2008 11:03:09 AM »

sponge painting is fun and simple. If allowed, you could provide them a bunch of kitchen sponges, scissors, paint (various colors) and paper or the little boxes. They could cut our their own shapes and then decorate their boxes. They could be encouraged to share their shapes with others too.

Modge podging is always a good thing too. Get a bunch of old magazines, let the folks cut out pictures and decorate their boxes.  If they are not able to pick a theme then you could tell them to decorate their boxes like a forest or decorate a box to keep secrets or treasure in.

"Don't you let nobody tell you that you can't do nothin. You can do whatevah you put your mind to!" - wise words from my Granny when I was 5 years old.
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2008 01:48:45 PM »

We have a few crafts on our site that might be appropriate

Paper Flower Wreath

Flower Basket

Styrofoam Spring Hats

Giant Paper Flowers

Recycled Magazine Flowers

Woven Paper Fruit Basket Card

Hope some of these appeal to you.
Viva Handmade!
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2008 03:54:25 PM »

I noticed in the local hospital's psychiatric ward that many patients enjoyed cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them down on paper.  Simple, creative and apparently soothing. 
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