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  • Crafting with paper. Photo: Pexels

7 easy ways to get crafting to boost your mental health

Find the right activity for you

With the positive links between making and mental wellbeing becoming increasingly clear, we explore the wealth of free or low-cost creative craft activities across the UK that are open to all. One in four adults in England is being diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lives, so there’s no better time to start making.

Hey Clay! Photo: Iona Wolf

Get potting with free Hey Clay! workshops

Ever wanted to try your hand at ceramics? Now’s your chance, as the national festival Hey Clay! brings together classes across the country, offering free pottery workshops for all during the weekend of 17–19 May in partnership with Get Creative Festival, the annual celebration of creativity across the UK. You can choose from over a hundred listings nationwide to find the event for you.

Find your local Craft Club…

Craft Club is a national network of making groups supported by the Crafts Council. Its groups give you a great chance to get making, meet people and gain new skills for free. Participants say it boosts their mood, and nearly a third attend for therapeutic reasons. Each club takes place in a different community setting – from libraries and schools, to cafés and pubs. Browse this list to discover Craft Clubs in your region:

South West
South East
London
West Midlands
East Midlands 
North West
North East
Wales

…Or set up your own

If you’re enthusiastic about making and want to build connections in your community, why not create your own­ Craft Club? Discover the full range of giveaways, competitions, events and resources available to Craft Club members. To get yours added to the national list, register your new club.

Balls of yarn. Photo: Pixnio

Drop in to your local museum

Studies show that taking part in art programmes in galleries improves mental wellbeing and increases interest in art. Many museums offer free, family-friendly events, talks and courses. Look out for ways to participate by checking your local institution’s website, signing up to their newsletters, and following them on social media.

Explore resources tailored to you

If you’re facing specific mental health issues, there may be a specialised group for you. Arts 4 Dementia provides creative support for people living with early-stage dementia; Combat Stress offers craft activities as part of its therapeutic support for veterans with PTSD; and Arts Sisterhood UK give low-cost workshops focused on women’s wellbeing.

A participant at Hey Clay! Photo: Iona Wolf

Discover over 1000 events with Get Creative

Keen to explore crafting and culture in your local community? From 11 to 19 May, Get Creative festival will offer over a thousand events across the country. All events are free or cost only a small fee. Explore the Get Creative map to find out what’s happening near you.

Get crafting at home

Not everyone is able to get out and about. Thankfully, there’s lots of ways to reap the benefits of crafting without leaving the house. Search for free tutorials on Youtube and Facebook for ideas and guidance – there’s plenty to discover. From easy guides to making cardboard automata and finger knitting, to upcycling woodwork and dyeing fabric using kitchen waste: there’s something for everyone.

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