This summer, it's not just kids who are moaning about being bored. Adults are faced with an unusual amount of time on our hands, too. And along with this extra time at home, we've got a double helping of stress. How can we fill the time and soothe our nerves? Here's an idea: Learn a new hobby or skill. Amazon has lots of DIY hobby products that'll get you started.
For example, instead of watching more TV (not that I'm judging; I think I've decimated Netflix), why not take up painting, playing the keyboard or shooting hoops? Or maybe you want to learn something that'll help you in your job, like speaking a second language or learning to build a website. Not only will these activities keep you occupied, but they'll decrease your stress level and boost your mood.
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Speaking of mood, this book on mindfulness is what we all need right about now. It's an eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Yes, please!
We hope you find these handy products as awesome as we do. Just an FYI: We participate in affiliate programs, and may receive a share of sales from links on this page.
Creating art is therapeutic. I mean, there's even a term for it: art therapy. And the therapeutic value doesn't come from the finished product itself (so don't go worrying you have to be good
at it). The benefit comes from the process. When you have these gorgeous oil pastels
in your hand and are spilling color all over the page, you'll feel free. And that's one of the best feelings in the world. Grab yourself some paper or a canvas and log on to YouTube for the millions of free videos that'll give you some fun exercises to do with your new pastels. Or, skip the tutorials and just let inspiration strike!
Learn a new language from home with fun lessons from Babbel
Learning a new language is so much fun
, and it can benefit you both personally and professionally. With an online subscription to Babbel
, you get convenient 10- to 15-minute lessons that'll teach you to speak, listen, read and write. Just log on from your cell phone or computer and you can personalize your learning experience by choosing the type of vocabulary you want to focus on (business, travel, culture, etc.). Select from 14 languages! Why not start now with the plan of taking a trip to the country of your choice once things settle down a bit in the world?
Get outside and practice shooting hoops with this portable basketball hoop
When I'm looking for something to break up the monotony at home, I like to do something physical to get my heart rate up. This portable basketball hoop
would be a super fun way to get in some exercise while honing skills. Learn to dunk, block, or sink those long shots right there in your driveway. You can adjust the height of the hoop from just over six-and-a-half feet to 10 feet, and the 44-inch backboard is impact-resistant and shatterproof. For extra stability, just add water or sand to the base.
Try out a delicious form of art: cake decorating!
Want to make one of those gorgeous three-layers cakes covered in creamy pink roses and delicate swirls of icing? Of course you do! Not only is cake decorating fun, but it's delicious too. With this 150-piece kit
, you'll get all the tools you need to make stunning cakes, plus an ebook user's guide and recipes. You get an 11-inch turntable, 48 numbered icing tips, three Russian piping tips, 50 disposable icing bags, a decorating pen, a cake leveler and so much more!
Be the queen (or king) of mood lighting! Learn to make candles in your own home.
How fun does this look?! Try your hand at making your own scented soy candles using this all-inclusive kit
. You get four colored dyes (red, orange, lavender, green), four scents (clean cotton, lavender, coconut lime and cinnamon vanilla), and all the tools you need to hand craft these beauties. And of course you get instructions on how to make the magic happen.
Personalize your stuff with iron-on designs using this handheld heat press
Folks love this little machine, giving it 4.8 stars on nearly 5,000 reviews! What does it do? The Circut EasyPress Mini
is a handheld heat press for imprinting designs on your hats, shirts, toys and more. It has three heat settings and works for heat transfers and infusible ink. The small size is great for compact objects or hard-to-reach spots. Shop Circut's huge array of vinyl and iron-on materials to pick your favorite color or pattern to decorate your gear.
Try this one
if my main pick is out of stock!
Try your hand at sculpting with this modeling clay
One of the things that can be daunting about learning ceramics is that you need a kiln to finish off your creations. What if you want to try working with clay without investing in a bunch of equipment? That's where this air-dry clay
comes in handy. It's easy to use -- and it requires no baking! Just take it out of the package and go to work pinching, pulling and molding your way to a work of art. It'll dry in 24 hours.
There may not be a handier skill to learn than that of cooking. This cookbook by Chrissy Teigen
is loved by reviewers (4.7 stars) and is chock full of yummy recipes: from breakfast all day to her husband John Legend's famous fried chicken with spicy honey butter to her mom’s Thai classics. Personally, I'm dying to try her cheesy jalapeño bacon cornbread.
Learn to crochet with this buyer-fave crochet hook set
Rated 4.8 on nearly 5,000 reviews, this crochet hook set
is beloved. The soft rubber handles are designed to reduce fatigue and prevent cramping. The kit comes with everything you need to make your first project (except the yarn). You get nine hooks in all the key sizes, a stitch marker, knitting markers and sewing needles -- plus a cute carrying case. Pull up an easy starter pattern online (there are tons of free ones) and make yourself a washcloth or scarf. Before you know it, you'll be hooked (pun intended).
If my main pick is out, try this excellent alternative
This waterslide decal paper makes it easy to transfer a design onto mugs, dishes and lots more
Take an ordinary white cup and turn it into an adorable personalized gift with this waterslide decal paper
. You just pop it in your inkjet printer and you're on your way to home design. The only other thing you need is acrylic spray, which is going to coat your printout three times before you cut it out, soak it and adhere it to your item. It's that easy! Try printing out photos and making personalized gifts for family and friends.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
took the world by storm, turning author Marie Kondo into a worldwide name and star of her own Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
. In this tiny, tidy book, Kondo explains how you can pare down your possessions by tuning in to which ones "spark joy" and which ones don't. It's a smart and surprisingly fun way to let go of things you don't need and focus on those that fuel you most. CNN called it "one of the most influential books of the decade."
Make your own diamond painting and brighten up your room
Want to try something totally different? Diamond painting
is a bit like beading and paint-by-numbers combined. The kit comes with everything you need. You get a big linen canvas with a pattern printed on it, plus a ton of tiny shiny flat beads. Just use the Diamond Dotz tool to dip a bead into the clay glue and then place it in the corresponding spot on the canvas. In time, a glistening image will spring to life, and your gorgeous tactile artwork will be ready to hang on the wall.
You see beautiful hand-embroidered patterns on everything from tote bags to haute couture. This starter kit
is a great way to try your hand at it. If you like it, you can move on to more complex projects. This kit comes with a bamboo embroidery hoop, a cloth with a pattern stamped on it, embroidery needles, all the colored thread you need, and of course instructions. When you're done, you'll have a lovely modern portrait of three houseplants hanging from decorative holders. Or, choose from more than 20 other patterns!
Whether you're a believer in the mystic or just want to try tarot cards for the first time, this modern tarot deck
is a beautiful choice. The 78 brightly-colored cards offer fresh interpretations of each of the cards in a standard tarot deck. They've got cool, modern designs and holographic card edges -- plus they come with a full-color guidebook that describes the symbolism of each card. Amazon buyers absolutely love these cards, giving them 4.8 stars on more than 2,000 reviews. And Refinery29
calls them "the deck that will get you into tarot cards."
One of my best friends has been working through this watercolor painting guide
during quarantine and she raves about it! (As do the 1,000+ people who've rated it a 4.6.) Every day I get to see a new watercolor exercise posted to her Instagram, and it's amazing how great they look. She says she has no natural artistic talent, but it's super easy and fun to follow the exercises. I'm definitely going to buy one of these and try it out myself. You learn basic strokes and shapes, and move from there to trees, birds and more.
Soothe your soul as you tend to your garden with this 12-piece hand tool kit
Study after study shows that being outdoors and immersed in nature makes people happier, healthier and calmer. And since public spaces are restricted right now, spending some time in your own private garden (or starting
a garden) has never been a better option. With this 12-piece hand tool kit
, you can plant flowers, prune the bushes, weed the planters and more. Plus, you get a handy apron with pockets for holding your tools, and a pair of garden genie gloves that are so powerful you can even prune a rose bush with them (using no additional tools).
Learn to face each day with strength using this daily gratitude journal
In the most challenging times (and let's face it, 2020 is a challenging year), a key to staying strong is gratitude. When you're well centered in appreciation for all the good things in your life, it's much harder to get dragged down by the bad things. This journal
helps you stay centered by starting each day with an inspirational quote and space to write three things you're thankful for. Make this your morning ritual and you'll set each day off on the right foot.
Make learning feel like a party with this 54-key electric keyboard with speakers and microphone
Nothing rejuvenates the spirits like music. Why not learn to play some tunes while you've got extra downtime on your hands? This 54-key electric keyboard
makes it super fun to get creative. It has 300 built-in tones -- piano, trumpet, clarinet, drums and tons more -- plus 300 built-in accompanying rhythms. You even get a microphone so you can sing along! There are 40 included songs for you to learn and perform, when you're not busy making up your own music.
When you learn a new skill, it's best to start off with baby steps. In the case of knitting, a great baby step is a simple washcloth. That may not sound very exciting, but trust me, when you finish your first one, you'll be waving it in everyone's face shouting, "Look what I made!" It's just so much fun to take a ball of yarn and turn it into an actual piece of cloth. And these dishcloths will be useful, too. You'll be making them with high-absorbency yarn that'll stay bright and colorful wash after wash. Soon you'll be moving on to bigger projects, like scarves and hats. This kit
comes with three balls of yarn, a pair of US size 8 straight knitting needles, a yarn needle and an instruction booklet made just for beginners.
Make stylish faux-leather earrings with this kit that has everything you need
Long leather dangle earrings have been all the rage for some time now. Not only do they look super cool, but they're so lightweight and comfortable to wear! Now you can design your own using this kit
. It has 30 faux-leather sheets of all different colors and patterns -- 17 colors of matte, five metallics, six glitter and two leopard print. You also get 225 earring hooks in five different colors, 500 jump rings (plus an opener) to connect them to the leather, and one pair each of pliers, scissors and tweezers. Just sit down, pull up a chair and start making some jewelry!
This mindfulness book gives you an easy-to-follow plan for finding peace in a frantic world
Let's face it: 2020 has been nuts, and (as of this writing) it's only halfway over. There's a worldwide pandemic that's completely changed the way we live. Here in the U.S., we've also had tremendous political and racial struggles. Now, more than ever, we could all use the power of mindfulness. What is mindfulness? At its root, it's being present and fully engaged in the moment. (Depression and anxiety come from living in the past or future.) But it's more than that, and I'm not qualified to teach you all about it -- but the authors of this book are. In this international bestseller
, they give you a simple form of mindfulness meditation that takes just a few minutes a day. In eight weeks, their plan helps you find peace in a frantic world. And that sounds fabulous right about now, doesn't it?
This 24-color acrylic paint
set is perfect for beginners. You get vibrant, non-toxic colors that dry quickly, plus three free paintbrushes to get started. Just grab a canvas and start playing with paint, or pull up some YouTube videos and do a step-by-step tutorial. And if you don't want to be boxed in, use these paints on something other than canvas, like wood, glass, ceramic, or a scrapbook.
Brighten your decor and have some hands-on fun with these mosaic tiles
During quarantine, a lot of us have been spending time doing home improvement projects. These mosaic tiles
are a fun way to spruce up your decor while learning a new craft. Choose from blue, pink, purple, green and multicolor -- each with a glittery shine. There are lots of videos online that'll walk you through turning these tiles into a gorgeous design on a platter, photo frame, candle holder or countertop.
Make an adorable little puppy with this needle felting kit
I've done one of these needle felting kits
, and it's really fun! Mine made a frog, but this puppy is even cuter. The whole process is super easy, with a step-by-step photo tutorial and videos to help you along. You get wool, needles and a foam pad. Believe it or not, you form the dog by stabbing the wool repeatedly with the needles and shaping it into its final cuddly form. (Just be careful not to stab your own fingers, which I did about 10 times.)
The cool kaleidoscope pattern on this origami paper makes your homemade figures pop
There's something so satisfying about taking a flat piece of paper and turning it into a three-dimensional object. Origami scratches that itch to create, and gives you a soothing project to focus on. With this stylish patterned paper
, your origami cranes, dragons and starbursts will pop with color. After you're done shaping them, hang them around the room as decoration. They'll brighten everyone's mood! This paper comes with eight easy origami projects to get you started.
Boost your career by learning web design for non-programmers
This is a great time to learn a new job skill, and what could be more marketable than knowing how to build websites
? Now, this isn't a way for you to move your career into programming. If you want that, there are books that'll give you a more direct path. This book is specifically for those of us looking to understand how it all works and learn to do a bit of code work to update a content management system or e-commerce store. This book is your guide to getting the big-picture view and knowing how to do all the basics that'll give you an edge in the job market and make your day-to-day work that much easier.
I love a lesson plan that leads to quick results! In just 20 minutes a day for one month, Emmy-winning PBS host Mark Kistler will guide you along the path to artistry. This book
has easy step-by-step instructions for drawing everything from simple spheres to apples, trees, buildings and human faces. Just grab yourself some art pencils and a sketchbook and unleash your creativity.
Hand-paint mugs, coasters and other objects using these acrylic paint markers
You don't always need a brush to apply paint. I'm not talking spray cans here. I'm talking paint pens, like these acrylic paint markers
with fine tips. These are great for carefully painting designs on ceramic, glass, wood, canvas or stone. Amazon is chock full of small accessories you can paint, like coffee mugs, decorative rocks and tile coasters. Order this 12-set of colors and start practicing your hand at making your own designs on your jewelry, pottery and more.
This pasta machine will have you making your own linguini in no time
Homemade pasta is one of the most delicious things on earth. If you're in the market to learn a new skill, why not take up pasta making? This machine is made of heavy-duty stainless steel and has two different cutting blades and seven different thickness settings. To get started, there's a recipe right on the Amazon page for this pasta maker
. Now, let's have a lasagna party!
Strengthen, stretch and invigorate your body with this guide to learning pilates
I always feel so great after I've done pilates
. It loosens everything up and makes me feel strong and lean. This book, written by the owner of New York's top studio for pilates training, gives step-by-step instructions for mat exercises, each illustrated with photos and drawings. Other than your mat, you won't need any equipment, and you can do these moves anytime and anywhere.
Make colorful jewelry, ornaments, paintings and more with this epoxy resin kit
There are so many cool projects you can do with epoxy resin
. Tons of the latest jewelry designs are made with epoxy resin poured into molds. You can get all kinds of beautiful swirly colors, with a hard, shiny finish. You can also use it on canvas to create those stylish modern paintings that look like a psychedelic oil spill. Scroll through the customer images on Amazon and you'll be amazed by the projects -- and excited to give it a go yourself!
Create a scrapbook for family, friends or that special someone
When the world is in chaos, it can help to have a project to focus on, and scrapbooking is a great way to direct your attention to the things you're thankful for. This scrapbooking kit
gives you everything you need to get started -- a beautiful 80-page photo album with gold ribbon closure, photo corners, stickers, and three metallic markers. Get artsy and write memories about the photos when you paste them in the book. The finished product will make a great keepsake for you or the lucky recipient.
This sewing machine is perfect for beginners and will have you hemming your own pants in no time
Want to make your own face masks? How about taking an inch off that skirt that's always been just a bit too long? Learning to make simple alterations will totally change the way you look at clothes. And when you're ready, you can step up your skills and start making your own garments and accessories. This Singer sewing machine
is easy to use thanks to 57 stitch applications, all with pre-set stitch width and length. Plus, it's lightweight and portable, so you can take it with you to sewing class or move it around the house to wherever you like to work.
Fix electronics, jewelry and so much more using this soldering iron kit
How do you fix an earring when the post breaks off? You solder it back on! This handy soldering kit
is good for that and so much more. Reviewers have used it for everything from fixing oven parts to engraving a signature into metalwork. The kit comes with the soldering iron and stand, a desoldering pump, five soldering tips, tweezers and more. It's everything you need to get started on small projects.
Make beautiful cards, signs and more when you learn hand lettering
The skills you learn in Hand Lettering 101
can be used alongside several of the other projects in this article. Use beautiful hand lettering on your scrapbook pages. Hand letter a message to transfer onto a t-shirt using a heat press. There are all kinds of ways you can use hand lettering, and it's fun to learn. This book gives you step-by-step instructions, with space to practice what you learn.
Learn to create beautiful designs on wood using this deluxe wood burning kit
If you're looking for a hands-on hobby that isn't the same old thing everyone is doing, pyrography may be for you! Also known as woodburning
, this is the art of etching beautiful designs in wood using heat. This kit comes with everything you need to give it a go, including the woodburning tool, four different tips, two wooden plaques, eight patterns, two alphabet/number sets, transfer paper and colored pencils so you can brighten up those designs.
Brush up on geography with this large world map
I hate to admit it, but I've more than once met someone who's from a country I couldn't even remotely place on a map. When that happened, I made a bee-line to a world map and fixed my mental geography. Then I got smart and actually invested (a whopping $9) in a world map
for my wall. Now, when I'm watching the news, it's easy to place the stories in a geographic context, and I feel a little clearer on what's going on. If you too want to have a big-picture view, I can wholeheartedly recommend this wall map.
Already Learned Everything You Can Handle? Here Are Some Great Picks That Are Just Pure Fun.
Learning is great and all...but occasionally it's just time to zonk out and entertain ourselves the best we can. After all, life is EXHAUSTING sometimes. The following picks
are some of our best to just keep that smile on your face.