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By Judith Zausner
Caring Crafts Inc.
ABOUT CRAFTS AND THERAPY
Craft therapy is healing and invigorates the mind as
well as the body. Robert Reiner, PhD, a New York University psychologist, says
that crafts reduce stress. "The act of performing a craft is incompatible with
worry, anger, obsession, and anxiety. They're stress-busters in the same way
that meditation, deep breathing, visual imagery, and watching fish
So whether the need to craft is because of an illness
or accident, crafting not only exercises physical skills but also reduces stress
and enhances well being and self esteem. It provides a sense of accomplishment
and pride that triggers positive feelings and promotes a can-do attitude toward
other situations. And that is a real benefit of crafts; feeling purposeful in
Benefits of therapeutic
In addition to a fun and creative leisure
experience, there are many therapeutic benefits of crafts such
- Increased cognitive functioning
- Increased self expression and decision
- Increased or maintenance of fine motor
- Improved ADL skills
- Enhanced hand-eye coordination
- Increased self esteem and emotional
- Increased opportunity for empowerment and
- Increased socialization
CRAFT PROJECT IDEAS
There are many projects that can be made with
materials that you probably have on site or in your home. Here are a few
projects for inspiration.
Unsure how I first thought of this one, but I have
everyone giggling when they realize the “green” source of my idea
- Empty toilet paper roll(s)
- Attractive paper or lightweight fabric for decoupage
(I use the attractive cotton fabric sold to quilters in fat quarters)
- Modge Podge glue
- Optional: trimming or fancy yarn
Measure the paper/fabric piece by wrapping it around
the paper roll so it can be cut where the material will slightly overlap. Take
this cut piece and now measure it for length, leaving about ½ in excess at each
end so the material can be tucked in the tube. You now have a piece that should
fit your toilet paper roll.
Spread the glue over the roll and place your material
over it. Make sure to give special attention to the joining of the fabric over
the roll and bend the edges over both ends of the roll and secure with glue. Now
slather the glue over the material to secure it in place. Let it dry and the
glue will be transparent.
I recommend an Acrylic fixative type of spray to give
the napkin ring a finishing touch and a more durable surface.
Optional: Once it is dry, measure
your trim around the paper roll and cut. Glue the trim in place.
There are many ways to make prints from the basic to
the complex. The following project is adapted from one that I did with my
children and is suitable for both children and adults.
- Potatoes (larger baking type) and thick carrots (if
you want to use only one vegetable, use the potato)
- Acrylic or poster paint
- Dish/tray for paint(s)
The good news is that you do not have to scrape the
vegetables clean! The vegetables are used for a shape silhouette. Cut the potato
in half; it can be cut lengthwise if you plan to use a larger surface to create
a design or in half horizontally if you need a bigger grip to hold the potato
during the printing process. Cut the end off the heaviest part of the
Optional: You can use a
melon scooper or other kitchen tool to carve out a pattern in the
Place your paint in a dish or tray. You can use a
different color for each surface. So if you have one potato and one carrot, you
have 3 surfaces and the opportunity to work with 3 different colors. Dip the
exposed surface of the vegetable in the paint and scrape off the excess against
the edge of the tray. Press firmly down on paper and lift off. Repeat this with
different colors/surfaces until you have the desired design.
You can choose to make designs on pre-cut cards
or on a large piece of oaktag paper which can be cut up into smaller units for
cards. The latter is fun and quick and sometimes makes more interesting
OFF THE LOOM
Understanding how to weave and setting up a loom can
be daunting for some people. However most understand the premise of weaving as
“over one and under one” repeated across the fabric. This can be done without
buying a loom or special tool, you just need 2 hard back chairs where you can
tie the yarn through and around the bar across the back.
- 2 hard back chairs that have an opening on the back.
Ladder type chairs or spindle chairs work well for this project.
- 2 balls of yarn which are visibly different from
each other (esp. a ribbon and a novelty) and have over 100 yds per ball
- Tape measure
Cut 12 pieces of each yarn in lengths of 80 inches.
Tie one end from ball “A” to one end of ball “B”. Repeat this so you have 12
pieces of yarn and each piece has both yarns attached.
Take one of the double yarn pieces and thread it
through the back of a chair, letting it hang down. Continue with the rest of the
yarn ends threading them equally across the back.
Take your other chair and with the back facing the
back of the other chair, tie each yarn around the open back of the second chair
to create a loop; there will be 12 loops in all. Be careful to maintain the
same yarn on top.
When it is all threaded and tied, move the 2 chairs
apart to create tension. This will be your “warp”. Use the remaining yarn as
your filler or “weft”.
The weaving process:
Thinking of Color “A” as ribbon and the novelty yarn
as Color “B”, as you weave, you will be alternating placing your yarn under
Color A and then the next row placing your yarn under Color “B”. It is
important to place the yarn over and then under consecutive warp yarns. If you
make a mistake, it will be easy to see and fix before you complete your next
row. However, if you make a mistake and do not see it until far into the
project, do not worry. The contrast of these 2 yarns is usually very forgiving
to the eye and will be hard to see the error.
Weaving with yarn on shuttles:
Yarn shuttles are optional and are simply a flat
holder for the yarn to be wrapped around. Before you weave across each row,
unwind enough yarn off the shuttle to be woven across the warp. You can weave
with only the novelty yarn or make stripes by alternating with the ribbon yarn.
Although the ribbon yarn occupies more weaving space because it is a flat yarn,
you will probably have fewer yards of the ribbon yarn available after setting up
Beginning the project:
Starting about 8 inches away from the chair knot,
take your yarn and go under all the Color “A” yarn (eg. ribbon). Let the first
end of this weft yarn hang a few inches over the warp as we will take care of it
For the next row, you will alternate now by weaving
under all the Color “B” (eg. novelty) yarns. This row requires your careful
watch. You gently lift the B warp yarns up as you place yarn under them. It is
important to pick up each “B” yarn consecutively as you gently push down. Repeat
this “over and under” weaving process and keep your weaving fairly loose across
the warp. Gently let your weft yarn slide next to the previous weft yarn but do
not push hard against the previous row. Also keep it somewhat loose at the edges
so it does not curl.
When you have finished weaving, you are ready to take
your beautiful new scarf off the chair backs. One at a time, untie the bow and
make a gentle knot against the fabric with the 2 ends but do not push it too
tight against the woven area. This will keep it from unraveling. Continue across
the chair back opening, one loop at a time- until all the yarn ties are knotted.
Then repeat this at the other chair.
Lay the scarf on a flat surface and cut the ends
(which are fringe) to make them even on each side. You will have some “tails” of
yarn from starting and ending the filling process and with your fingers, simply
weave them gently in place in the scarf fabric.
Remember that in weaving, the yarn color that you go
over in one row is the same color that you go underneath in the next row.
Try to be loose and consistent in your weaving. If
you pull too tight around the edges, the width of the scarf will shrink. Also,
do not “pack” in the yarn filling (weft), you may run out of yarn and your scarf
may be too bulky. Let the weft set gently against the preceding row.
There is no right or wrong way to use color as your
weft. You may choose to alternate colors or to use one yarn as a weft for half
the scarf and one color for the other half of the scarf. Changing colors in your
weft produces stripes.
If you alternate colors for each row of weft, make
sure that at the end of each row, the previous yarn lies next to the last warp
yarn so that it is held in place on the next row as you weave.
Judith Zausner is the owner of Caring
Crafts Inc., an online source that provides simple, yet elegant craft kits. For
more information, contact Judith at email@example.com
or visit www.caringcrafts.com.