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Looking for a creative way to express yourself? This ultimate list of creative hobbies has tons of ideas to get you started. From painting to upcycling, crafting to playing music, there are loads of creative outlets for you to dabble in!
Trying a new hobby is a great way to help you discover your passions and explore your creativity. Start here and discover the multitude of options available!
What Do We Mean by Creative Hobbies?
There are two ways to think about creative hobbies. They could either be hobbies that you use to express your creativity or unique hobbies that you would never have considered.
We’re going to explore both types of creative hobbies, from the traditional to the rare. Anyone who wants to enhance their creativity in any way can get awesome ideas from this list!
Traditional Creative Hobby Ideas
If you are looking for a creative outlet, try some of the traditional creative activities people know and love. These include painting, crafting, writing, and other activities that help you explore your creative side.
Painting is the classic form of expression. It’s a hobby that goes back centuries, with old masters creating masterpieces from the beginning of human civilization.
There are so many ways you can embrace painting as a creative hobby. You can study painting techniques and dive into the construction of a painting with color theory, which can help you learn how to paint forms and figures. Or, you could use painting as a form of complete and total expression and just throw paint on canvas and see what wonderful abstract paintings your inner artist can produce.
Abstract art is the creative side of painting, whereas traditional form and figure painting are more structured and formal, but everyone is different. Some love showcasing their creativity by transferring what they see to a canvas so that everyone can experience the world the way they do. There is no right or wrong way to paint, so grab a canvas (or paper if you want to explore painting in watercolors), some brushes, and some paints, and get to creating!
Everyone has a phone nowadays, and with apps like Instagram, it may seem like photos are a dime a dozen. While that’s true, photography as an art form is still rare.
Most folks just snap and shoot. They don’t take the time to frame the perfect image or spend hours scoping a scene to determine the perfect angle for a shot. True photography takes creativity.
Rohan Gillet is a photographer who specializes in pictures of Tokyo. His images showcase different aspects of the city, from ancient shrines to vast city landscapes. In his opinion, all anyone needs to get started is what they already have – a phone with a built-in camera.
Zim from New York Photo Safari loves photography so much that he specializes in photography tours of the iconic New York City. He advises that those who want to get started should start small, in their homes. Look at everyday items, and try to shoot them from angles. This strategy may help you find beauty in the mundane. He’s also a huge advocate of the “Photo a Day” photography challenge, which forces you to take at least one artistic photo every day. This will help you get into the habit of seeing things from a photographer’s eye and help you cultivate your hobby.
These hobby photographers are right both right. Anyone can do it with the tools they already have available, and looking for the beauty in the every day is a great way to spark your creative genius.
Digital art is the modern way of expressing yourself through painting. Rather than oil and canvas as your medium, digital art allows you to create masterpieces with the power of technology.
Digital art is graphic design. You can use many programs to create these graphics, some are free, and others can be incredibly expensive. The most commonly known are photoshop and Adobe’s suite of design software. Some people have made amazing designs in programs as simple as Paint.
If you want to try your hand at graphic design without paying for expensive software, try GIMP. It’s open-source digital design software that can help you create graphic art for a much lower startup cost.
Writing is a great way to express your creativity with pen and paper. Creative writing allows you to dive deep into your subconscious and create stories, worlds, characters, and prose that the world has never seen.
Writing is the easiest hobby to start. You don’t need any fancy equipment or specialized training unless you want to turn it into a side hustle. Although it is a hobby that can make you good money, you don’t have to monetize it. You can write for yourself without any intentions of publishing. This can give you the freedom to experiment with words in fun and creative ways. Make words up, add suffixes to make random words rhyme, play with different character archetypes. Have fun with it, and let your creativity soar.
If you want to write but need some help in getting started, try creative writing prompts. These are story starters or writing exercises designed to help you with your writing. They can either give you the creative boost you need to get started or help you flesh out your ideas and guide you on the path to story development.
A subset of writing is journaling. Renee, from Draw Paint Color, loves journaling as a way to combine some of her creative hobbies. She makes her journal feel like home with doodles, drawings, and writing out her thoughts and feelings. She uses colored pens (like I do!) to highlight certain portions or match her mood. Journaling is a great way to document your life and express your thoughts.
If you want to give journaling a try but aren’t sure where to start, try using journaling prompts. These are designed to give you the little push that you need to start writing in your journal.
Acting is an incredible way to explore your creativity in an exaggerated and outgoing way. It’s an explosion of energy from you to the audience.
Some will argue that acting isn’t creative because you’re just reciting lines written by another. But I’ve been in plays; I know that it takes something special to become someone else. To not only feel the emotions in the lines that are written, but ensure that the viewer feels them as well. It takes a special kind of emotional creativity to pull something like that off.
Acting is a hard field to get into. But if you just want to do it as a hobby, not a career, there are a few options you can pursue. First, check out your local community theater. They often put on plays for the community and usually have open additions a few times per year.
If you don’t want to perform live, you can get a camera and record yourself acting out famous monologues and soliloquies. Dress up like Hamlet and recite the famous Shakespearean “To Be, or Not to Be.” Throw it on YouTube if you want to show off your skills.
There are thousands of other famous speeches that you could recreate if you are going solo. However, if you have friends who want to engage in this hobby with you, you can act out scenes from various plays. If you’re just doing it for fun, you don’t have to worry about copy-write laws, but if you want to monetize this hobby, be sure to know what you can legally use and what you can’t.
Film making is an excellent way to portray your creativity in movie format. You don’t have to make a full-length motion picture to engage in cinematography. Many film festival winners are short films designed specifically for artistic expression.
Modern technology has put filmmaking into the reach of millions of people. In the not-too-distant past, only studios could afford the equipment needed to make movies. Now, anyone with a smartphone can shoot video, and you can download editing software like Blender for free. You can even use an app that allows you to add green-screen-like backgrounds without a green screen.
Dabbling in Green Screen Film Making
Film making is a blend of writing, directing, and photography. Although some filmmakers hire someone else to write a script, many write their own (or film something that doesn’t require a script, like the iconic floating bag scene in the 2002 movie “The Good Girl.”)
All you need to get started with filmmaking is an idea and a recording device. You can upload your short films to apps like Tick Tok, which allows you to add green screen effects and filters with the click of a button. You can upload longer videos to YouTube, but that platform doesn’t have the same editing capabilities, so you will need to download and learn a video editing program to add cinematic effects.
The last of the “traditional” creative hobbies is music. Musicians of all kinds turn to crafting musical pieces of their own or covering artists’ work throughout time.
Allen, from Really Simple Guitar, finds playing a song on his guitar and singing along intrinsically fulfilling. He also loves seeing the joy in his friends’ and families’ faces when he plays for them. His recommendation is to start with a cheap acoustic guitar or ukulele and practice the most basic cords. From there, start learning simple pop songs that everyone loves. Soon, you will be the biggest hit at get-togethers!
Peter, from All Guitar Stuff, is another guitarist who praises the virtue of using music as a creative outlet. He’s convinced that learning an instrument will fill you with joy for the rest of your life. He recommends starting with easy online courses.
Guitars are fun and the instrument of choice for most rockstars, but there are many other ways to explore your musical creativity. There are hundreds of different instruments, ranging from string to percussion to wind. You could even sing, dance or mix sounds like a DJ!
What are Crafty Hobbies?
The next set of hobby ideas that you can explore to develop your creativity are crafty hobbies. These hobbies are all about making something. Many of them are traditionally seen on a list of creative hobbies, but some are unique. If you want to get creative by making something, check these out.
Needlework is a broad hobby that comes in many forms. There are so many amazing things you can do with a needle and thread. Working with needles is a rewarding and relaxing pastime that many turn to relieve stress and get creative.
Knitting and sewing are most people’s first thoughts when they think of needlework. If you’re interested in giving it a try, Marissa from Stich Clinic recommends starting small. Learn how to finger knit or braid first, then move on to small sewing projects, like a little pillow. These small projects will help you learn the basics and get you into the habit of sewing regularly.
Kaitlin, from Originally Lovely, loves knitting and crocheting. It doesn’t take much to start. All you need is yarn and either a hook needle for crochet or knitting needles. You should start with simple tutorials and research the different types of yarns, as different fabrics can create vastly different results. Once you get the hang of it, you can let your imagination run wild and adjust patterns to create anything you want!
There are other things you can do with needles as well. You can try embroidery and sew fun logos or designs into fabrics. Or you can try your hand at Needlepoint and use a screen and thread to create works of art with string. You could go old school and learn how to weave with a loom as they did before the industrial revolution. I never cease to be amazed at the huge detailed tapestries that women of the Middle Ages created.
Upcycling is the art of creating something new out of broken or discarded items. Kris, founder of Bycurated, loves upcycling. She says that anything can be upcycled, from furniture to home décor. To get started, she recommends collecting some common crafting items, like fabrics, glass, beads, cables, and anything else that might spark your creativity.
Once you have some supplies, you can start upcycling stuff! Add jewels to an old mirror to jazz it up and give it new life. Refinish old furniture. Use book pages to create origami. The possibilities with upcycling are limited only by your imagination.
Woodworking is a creative and difficult hobby, but the results can be outstanding. Some woodworkers carve amazing sculptures out of tree trunks with chain saws, while others make amazing small wooden figures by whittling a stick with a tiny knife.
Others use wood as their medium to craft useful objects, like birdhouses, memory boxes, and even furniture. Learning to use carpentry tools and how to construct small items out of wood is a great way to spark your creativity and design something unique.
In general, building things can be a fun and creative hobby. However, If you don’t want to start from scratch, you can use models. Model railroads were all the rage about 30 years ago, but now there are tons of different types of models you can build. You can purchase model planes, model boats, and many other types of models that you can build and construct at your leisure. I even consider Legos a form of building models!
Many people prefer to paint the models rather than build them, and that’s fine too. Numerous fantasy games offer blank figurines for you to design on your own. You can also purchase blank memory boxes, garden gnomes, and other decorative items at craft stores like Michaels. There are thousands of options when it comes to models!
Unique Hobby Ideas
I get it – you probably could have come up with most of the traditional hobbies on your own. While they are great ways to get your creative juices flowing, they aren’t that unique. Everyone is doing them.
So here are some creative hobbies that not everyone is doing. Some are creative, while others help you get outside and do stuff.
The decorative arts are things like pottery and ceramics, glass blowing, and metalworking. These are classic art forms where you can create beautiful items out of source materials.
The problem with the decorative arts is that there is a high barrier to entry. The intense heat needed to work with these art forms can be hard to find and expensive to access. There is also an inherent danger with working with these heat forms – blacksmithing to create metal works is a fire hazard if not handled correctly.
If you want to dabble in any of these creative hobbies, find a local art center near you. Most of them have kilns available for their members, and they may even offer classes on how to start with these art forms.
Calligraphy is the art of fancy lettering. Learn how to trace the immaculate curves of fancy cursive scripts, or dive into a different culture and learn the art of making Chinese or Japanese characters.
With calligraphy, style and structure are important. It’s an art form more than a study of language. The great thing is that it’s easy to get started. You can purchase a calligraphy kit at most bookstores. These kits generally include different inks and practice booklets which are sure to help you get started.
Gardening is a relaxing hobby that allows you to create things differently. This hobby allows you to create new life and cultivate the fruits of your labor.
Many people garden for sustainability, growing their own food, and reducing their costs at the grocery store. However, some garden for the joy of seeing gorgeous plants bloom or to create the perfect oasis right in their own backyard.
Flying a kite is probably the most relaxing hobby on this list. Take your kite out to an open field or beach, launch it into the air, and watch it float among the clouds. Frolic along with it in hand and watch how it moves with you.
If you really get into kite flying, it can be a great creative hobby. Not only can you purchase a ton of unique and fun designs from a kite store, but you can get crafty and start building your own! Learn about aerodynamics and the physics of flying while you try to create the perfect flying machine!
Have you ever been taking a relaxing stroll along a beach and encountered someone with a metal detector roaming the shores? Didn’t that look like fun?
Many people only think of metal detecting as a way to make money. They think they’re going to buy a metal detector, hit the beach, and find those Medieval Spanish gold coins that were lost in a 14th-century shipwreck. That’s not the reality. More often than not, you will find discarded aluminum and rusty steel, items that aren’t worth anything.
However, don’t let that deter you. There’s a lot of value in metal detecting. First, you can help keep our beaches clean by picking up the discarded metal scraps. Next, you can find some cool stuff! You may not make a ton of money, but it’s interesting to uncover the things that have been buried. You may even want to combine your metal detecting hobby with upcycling to create cool new works of art!
Antiquing is such a fun hobby. You never know what treasures you will find at the local community garage sale!
Antiques are interesting because some can be worth a ton of money, while others don’t hold their value at all. If you are looking for a hobby that makes money, antiquing can be extremely lucrative if you know what you are looking for.
However, antiquing can be fun even if you aren’t looking to monetize or resell. You may want to decorate your home with items from a certain time period or artistic movement. There’s no better way to find the best authentic art nouveau pieces than by hitting up the antique stores everywhere you go!
Another fun perk of antiquing is that it gives you the opportunity to learn the history of the decorative arts. It’s a hidden peek into the culture of a specific moment in time. Historians and artists can both agree that learning about antiques can be a rewarding pastime.
Studying martial arts is a fun and unique way to stay in shape and learn about different cultures. There are a variety of different martial art styles that each originate from different countries. Some are designed to assist you with physical combat, while others are made more to keep the body healthy and centered.
Getting started with martial arts can be as easy as watching YouTube. I’ve done quite a few Tai Chi exercises from the platform, and they help keep me grounded and give me a little workout. Those who want to deep dive into it can join a dojo and get instruction from a master.
Do you want to learn more about your family history and where you came from? Genealogy might be a great hobby for you. Some people can trace their family histories back to the Revolutionary War and beyond, while others find that their families came to the US via Ellis Island in the 1920s.
A fun thing about genealogy is that there is always more discover. As you go back in time, your family expands, and you may find rabbit holes of distant relatives or nefarious characters in your family’s past. You never know what you will discover.
Scrapbooking is a creative way to document your life. You can use photos, stickers, sketches, and interesting scraps from all the fun things you do to build your scrapbook.
Scrapbooks are a great hobby because they combine many different things. You can get creative with the photos and design of your scrapbook, but also use journaling and creative writing to highlight the most important parts. It also doubles as a photo album and a memory box! You can’t beat getting all these great things in one. You can get everything you need to get started at a craft store like Michaels.
Dancing is a great hobby because you get to be creative and work out at the same time. Some dances, like ballroom dancing, are extremely formal. You can take classes to learn the exact steps and moves and learn the difference between a waltz and a tango.
Other dances are a little freer and let you get loose and creative. Belly dancing is a great workout, and it’s fun to learn to move your body in ways you aren’t used to. There are thousands of dances you can learn, from jazz to salsa, swing to country line dancing. If you want a hobby that gets you moving, dancing is a great idea.
Linda, from Burlap and Blue, is a master crafter, but she thinks the best hobbies for beginners should involve the outdoors and movement. Visiting botanical gardens, getting some exercise outside, and even just setting up a yoga mat on the back porch are all things that keep her grounded and help spark her creative endeavors.
She finds that both the movement and the outdoor atmosphere keep her grounded, and help her focus on her other creative pursuits as well.
Thousands of Other Creative Hobbies
This post is only meant to get you started and spark your creativity. The truth is, there are thousands of niche hobbies out there that you can pursue. You can make candles, race RC airplanes, build box cars, collect stamps, make collages out of melted plastic, collect rocks – there is absolutely no limit to finding interesting activities to occupy your time.
Some of the things on this list may speak to you, and others may not. Everyone is different, and everyone has different interests. There should be enough here to help you get started, though!
What Are Some Creative Activities to do for Adults?
Many people think of arts and crafts as activities for children, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. All of the hobbies on this list are wonderful activities for kids of all ages to enjoy.
Where in the rulebook does it say adults can no longer engage in creative activities? That they can’t cut out construction paper stars, make paper mâché crafts, or even play with Lego building kits? Nowhere, that’s where!
And culture is catching up. Legos are now made for adults. Adult coloring books can be found on bookshelves across the country and online. More and more adults are finding ways to embrace their creativity, and you can too.
Get Out There And Get Creative!
What are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring your creativity, whether with something on this list or something different. There’s no limit to the creative hobbies you can pursue!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.