I am the queen of attempting DIY. By this, I mean that I love to get started on an activity. Truly, the preparation might be my favorite part: amassing materials, researching patterns, thinking about how beautiful the piece I’ll make will be.
And then, somewhere along the way, I just start to … dip out.
Maybe it’s because of how intimidating a lot of DIY projects feel when I actually sit down to begin, or maybe it’s because I can’t convince myself to actually devote the time — who knows? What I do know is that by now I’ve learned that if I’m going to start a DIY project, it needs to be something that (a) requires very little actual skill, and (b) is still entertaining or interesting enough that my mind is engaged and I actually want to commit to the experience.
A friend introduced me to paint-by-sticker books a few weeks ago, and I immediately fell in love. The books are so immediately satisfying. In about 30 minutes, you can come away from the experience with a beautifully decorated fish, cat, or iconic piece of art. The process is super straightforward: If you ever worked on a paint-by-number project as a child, it’s the same, except less messy. Win-win.
I was surprised by how chilled out I felt after spending time stickering together a bird … so then I wondered what other easy DIY activities I could try. Here are a few that I extra love:
1. Painting Rocks
A friend of mine told me that she and her daughters paint rocks together, and the idea has really taken hold of my imagination! For starters, it’s pretty easy: You can find rocks around your home or a favorite park. After that, all you need is some multisurface paint, paintbrushes, and a little time.
Whenever I ask anyone I know for recommendations for things I can do to have fun and chill out, puzzles always come up. I am frequently frustrated by puzzles, but so many people I know and love recommend them. I think the trick might be to not focus so much on finishing the puzzle in a timely fashion …¯\_(ツ)_/¯
When I do think of doing puzzles, I almost always look at the ones by New York Puzzle Company, simply because they’re stunning.
3. Decorating Envelopes for Pen Pals
Hello: The idea of having pen pals as an adult sounds really fun to me! I have tried this a little over the years, but I haven’t yet committed to making the idea stick. I was pretty happy when a friend suggested simply decorating envelopes as a way to creatively pass time. You could arm yourself with a few gel pens and stickers and have a lovely hour or so. And who knows? You might even actually write letters and send them.
4. Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles are the gift that you can keep on giving to YOURSELF. They vary in difficulty, are sold in bulk, and are such a great way to pass time. You can even download crossword puzzle apps! I’m kind of old-school and love a great paper crossword puzzle book, like the ones you can still sometimes find in the checkout line at grocery stores.
5. Coloring Books
6. Making Lists
This one takes a second to wrap your head around, but once you get it, it’s kind of brilliant. A friend told me that when she has downtime, she just … makes lists. “I also like making random lists, but I feel like that doesn’t require skill, just weirdness. I’ll list everything I see that is green or something.”
OK, listen. This one is at the bottom of the list because I cannot personally attest to the fact that cross-stitch is easy and/or will chill you out, but when I asked my friends what they do that’s easy and brings them a little bit of peace, so many of them said cross-stitch that I knew I had to mention it.
As someone who has attempted to start cross-stitching, twice, I … am a little skeptical, but they’re so convincing that I might pick it back up again.