If the darker, colder months leave you drained, you’re not alone — approximately 15 per cent of Canadians will experience at least a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in their lifetime, according to the Canadian Psychological Association. And although experts still debate on the true cause of SAD, the type of depression related to the changing seasons, most agree its a combination of lack of natural daylight and less time spent outdoors. When the weather is against us for the latter, we often turn to screens and social media for entertainment, which has been proven to increase levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Instead, we can reap the many health benefits of crafting if we choose to get creative with our own two hands via a DIY hobby kit.
If you think you’re not much of an artist, know that talent doesn’t impact the psychological benefits of creativity. According to a Journal of the American Art Therapy Association study, just 45 minutes of creativity can significantly reduce cortisol levels (markers for stress) and induce a positive mental state. Plus, your new crafting hobbies will inject the hygge decor touches your home craves this season.
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Embroidery is making a hard comeback and we are here for it. Try your hand at the popular 1800s hobby with Hook, Line & Tinker’s beginner-friendly embroidery kits. The modern, Scandi-inspired designs by Laurie Dolhan and simple instructions makes this a calming activity that turns into a beautiful piece of art each time. Plus, feel good about your crafting kit choice knowing five percent of your purchase from this Nova Scotia based small business goes to help alleviate homelessness in Canada — last year Hook, Line & Tinker raised over $10,000!
Saw Whet Owl Complete Embroidery Kit, Hook, Line & Tinker, $36.
Peaceful Perfection Pottery
Destress and take care of your mental health one little pot at a time with an at-home pottery kit from Club Terracotta. The Canadian, woman-owned company allows you to unbox everything you need to sculpt, paint and seal up to six pots or two large creations in the comfort of your home. While the self-drying clay comes with illustrated sculpting instructions, you are encouraged to go off a book or draw inspiration from their ever-growing, ever-awe-inspiring gallery.
DIY Pottery Kit, Club Terracotta, $75.
This hobby kit does double self-care duty. Create your own lavender, sage or rose soap topped with beautiful dried flowers, before soaking up their benefits in a well-deserved bubble bath. This Uncommon Goods kit requires no experience and makes five to eight round soaps, leaving you a few extra to gift to others needing some good R&R.
DIY Botanical Soap Making Kit, Uncommon Goods, $62.
Let your busy mind focus on the calming practice of basket weaving, which dates back over 10,000 years. With the help of The Woven Dream DIY kits, you’ll transform natural materials into beautiful baskets with each connecting stitch — and you might even transform your mood in the process.
Small Basket DIY Weaving Kit, The Woven Dream, AUD $52.
The Art of Letting Go
If you’ve been avoiding crafting because your perfectionist tendencies make the process anything but relaxing, the Buddha Board is for you. As you paint the board’s surface with water, you’ll watch your art come to life before watching it slowly evaporate and disappear. You’ll be left with a clean slate and a clear mind at the end of your no-expectations painting session.
Original Buddha Board, Amazon, $38.
The Calm Club
There are two things we want more of in life: Calmness and candles. Find both with the Classic Bubble Candle DIY kit by Studio Akiyo. Experience the therapeutic activity as you create two Pinterest-worthy candles with the help of the Alberta-based, candle making pros. The real question is, will your candles be too pretty to burn?
Classic Bubble Candle DIY Kit, Studio Akiyo, $45.
Choose from dozens of approachable DIY kits and create pieces that you were going to buy for your home anyways. Homeworks Etc. makes crafting practical with kits for charcuterie boards, tiered trays, doormats, and basically all the decor pieces you currently have saved on Pinterest board. First up? Add a touch of modern farmhouse to your curb appeal with the house number DIY sign kit.
DIY Farmhouse House Number Sign, Homeworks Etc., $95.
Host your friends for a punch needling party to create coasters for their cocktails. These fruit-inspired, colourful drink coasters are simple to recreate with a little help from Etsy. The easy-to-follow embroidery patterns make this the perfect winter activity to do while chatting with friends.
DIY Fruits Tufting Coaster Kit, Etsy, $19.
What if you could paint your favourite memory without having to think about your next brush stroke? Paint With Numbers Canada is helping you do just that with their custom option that turns any photo into easy-to-follow paint by numbers canvas. Simply paint in each numbered shape with the corresponding colour and watch as your memory comes to life on the canvas. This meditative DIY will result in a high-definition painting you’ll actually want to display in your home.
Custom Painting Kit, Paint With Numbers Canada, $40.
If you aren’t a fan of knitting, you clearly haven’t tried arm knitting with the help of Craft and Click’s DIY kits. The Canadian business born out of the events of 2020, focuses on mental health through creative expression, utilizing video tutorials to make dozens of crafts accessible at-home. Not only will you end up with a new chunky throw blanket to keep you cozy all season long, the process is sure to help you unwind after a long day.
The Cosy Blanket Chunky Yarn Kit, Craft and Click, $200.