ButYouDontLookSick.com Gift Guide: Easy Craft Projects and Art Supplies


It is a new year, it is the perfect time to try out a new hobby!
Creativity in any form is a wonderful way to express your emotions. Sometimes when you are not feeling well, it is hard to talk, or express to your friends and family how you feel. But it is important to have an outlet for your feelings. Sometimes art projects are just the perfect fit. No words, no rules, just colors and expressions. I have found products that I liked because of their quality, ease of use, or the fact that they are specifically made for beginners or people with hand disabilities. I even tried some products that are “quicker” or smaller projects that are good for those with low energy. See below for my latest crafty picks!

1. Want to feel like a fancy artist without the price of the fancy materials? Koi watercolor field sketch kits are perfect for anyone wanting to try watercolors without a huge investment, or without the space to buy a lot of supplies. So why not try something first before buying out the art store? Koi watercolor field sketch kits come in 12, 18 and 24 piece sets and are priced from $24.95- $31.95. You can use these kits to paint small scenes, or to make small greeting cards for your friends. I like the small size which is perfect for travel.
2. I think of pastels as the adult version of crayons. When kids want to create, unwind, or relax, they draw freely on a simple white paper with crayons and draw whatever their heart desires. Cray-Pas™ oil pastels are for adults who need a few moments to play. Using pastels makes everything look brighter and more “professional”. If you need to de-stress and need some time to play, I suggest you give them a try. There are so many oil pastel techniques and you can easily learn them on the internet or your local library. But the easiest way to begin is to buy a pack of Sakura Cray-Pas and just start!
3. Create and Treasure makes these super easy “Ready To Go” Blank Board books for you scrap bookers who want an easier, low energy project. Or, if you haven’t scrap booked before, this is a great way to start, without getting overwhelmed. At $7.95 these are a very affordable way to make unique shaped albums without having to cut out your own specialty papers. They come in a variety of shapes, from circles to doors and tags. They have many different sizes; 5×3, 5×7 and more. This makes the perfect size for “brag books” for moms and grandmas, or “memory books” for someone having memory issues. I think this is also a great idea to give as a gift. You can make a whole kit by just throwing in some markers, stickers, glue dots, etc. It is a perfect blank slate to get creatively inspired. Get yours at: creatandtreasure.com
4. I love paint Markers. You can use them for so many different projects, that they would make a great gift for anyone. If you are not that crafty you can just have them around to sign greeting cards, in something a little fancier then a plain ball point pen. If you are just getting into crafting, you can use opaque paint markers for scrap booking, card making, or any other projects. Moms and children can use them for school projects, posters and just for fun. Permapaque Paint Markers come in fine and dual points for variety. You can use these markers on a multitude of mediums, including the obvious like paper or plastic, but you can also use them on vellum, glass and ceramics. They are odorless, which is an important feature to consider when buying something for someone who has scent or chemical sensitivities. These markers are available in 20 colors including plain and metallic. You can buy them individually or in packs. I really think these markers are a great gift for the young, old, crafty and craftless! Get yours at your local art supply store.
5. I actually first heard of “Gelly Roll” metallic pens when I babysat for my younger cousins who where in there “tweens’. They used them to write in their journals, diaries and even passing notes in class. It seems what was once a fad item for highschoolers is now a fancy way to address Christmas cards, or write out birthday invitations or thank you cards with an extra pizazz. This is another great gift for any age or any level of artistic ability. They would make perfect get well gifts, or stocking stuffers for anyone. The cool thing about using gel ink is that you can write on any color paper, even dark colors like black. You can buy Gelly Roll pens in single packs or in multipacks.

These 5 crafty “finds” are just what I have discovered to be fun lately. By all means check out other craft sites, go to your local art store or craft store. Even “dollar stores” usually have a craft aisle, if you are looking to try an idea or art project out, without the financial commitment. Just have fun!
Article written by Christine Miserandino, butyoudontlooksick.com

  • Chloe Martin

    crochet allll the way for me. I have a very low energy level 20/6 so most of the time. I can crochet at anytime and make beautiful shawls, blankets, decor etc. even if I can’t do things others do I can still do something I love and relieves stress 🙂

  • I can’t imagine not having crafts at hand. It’s how I get through the evenings. And I get to make things!

  • Brian Jones

    Sculpey or other polymer clays can be a good fun project. Bright colors and the fished project can be either “recycled” into it’s component colors, or baked to make a more permanent object . Who didn’t love playing with clay as a child? If you get more advanced you can also use sculpey to make molds of other items like wax, moldable plastic, chocolate, or even pewter castings. Granted the pewter molds are short lived before the detail gets burned out of them.

  • Sue/minisue

    Great suggestions from Christine–and how lucky for additional suggestions from someone in the field (well-known…Professional? or “permanent amateur”?)!
    Thanks so much to both of you! I’ve never tried any of this, but I’m up for something new…so Internet art stores, here I come!

  • Thanks for info on new craft projects. Great to immersed in something that you can feel good about when not really feeling good yourself.

  • I love colouring with markers, too – no matter how old I get. There’s a real sense of accomplishment when you finish a project!

  • All of these suggestions are great, and I own some of them. Sakura Koi pocket watercolor sets are fantastic and much easier to handle for anyone disabled than other forms of watercolor — they take less cleanup. Pick up one or several small Canson Montval watercolor block with it online at ASW or Dick Blick to save money.
    Blick only has the 12 color set which is very tiny and literally fits in pocket. ASW — http://www.aswexpress.com has the 24 color set and I naturally upgraded as soon as it came out. That one is set up so the lid is an easel for a 4″ x 6″ pad or block — and you can get pads of watercolor postcards with preprinted backs too at the same place. The price is MUCH less online and ASW has flat $5.95 shipping per order.
    Oil Pastels are a fantastic clean medium for anyone who has breathing problems, because they are dustless. They do handle like crayons. Sakura Cray-pas Specialists are artist grade and have a colorless blender you can get. However, Cretacolor Aqua Stic watersoluble oil pastels may be an even better choice if you like wet effects, since the Specialists thin with turpentine, linseed oil and other oil painting mediums that can have toxic fumes. Aqua Stics come in sets of 10, 20, 40 and 80 from Blick and the two large sets run about $1 a stick, the smaller sets are a little more per stick but comparable — $22 and change for the 20 color set. Those can also be sharpened easily in a crayon sharpener if you handle more detail than you did when you were a kid.
    If you are on a painful tight budget, some student brands run a whole lot cheaper even for large sets. Pentel is $5.69 for a set of 50 and I’ve seen many Asian artists produce extraordinary paintings with them.
    For more information on brands of oil pastels, check out my website: http://www.explore-oil-pastels-with-robert-sloan.com — currently I have most of the artist grade pastels reviewed with examples but not the Cray pas products because I haven’t bought them for review yet.
    Next month I’m buying and reviewing the brands I have listed but haven’t reviewed yet, so watch for site updates or subscribe to the RSS blog feed. I have a new blog on the site too, it’s fun.
    Or if you already bought some Specialists, check out the rest of the site for free online art lessons and sundry other articles. You managed to touch on my topic in this article, so thanks a bunch!

  • lah

    thanks for a great article! I feel so far afield from the creative person I was years ago.
    A full time wife & mother with a full time job and full time chronic illness leave little time for me to blossom.
    One of the ideals for me this year,(resolution is to strong a word here) is to find my way back to sewing or drawing; and your timely article has just reminded me.
    I’m off the the nearest craft outlet!