How to be creative: A guide for the non-artistic

Paints - 2 by dominicotine (CC BY-SA 2.0)

brushes by Mae Chevrette (CC BY 2.0)

“I’m not very creative,” is something we may have admitted at one point or another. Whether it’s out of fear or lack of motivation, our creativity is often stunted before it’s unleashed. With so many apps, streaming programs and instant results, many of us are losing touch with our five-year old self that loved playing with finger paints. Moreover, as temperatures drop outside we find we are struggling with feelings of despondency, some may even have to cope with a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Can exploring your creativity help counter those winter blues?

It’s no coincidence January is Creativity Month. With a new year come new resolutions and a better you. Why not start with a more creative you? Forget what you think art should be and just create. After all being creative basically means your are “creating.” The simple act of your hands making something is empowering. Accomplishing a project can also fill us with a sense of pride. Before you know it, your emotions will find an outlet in each brush stroke or through whatever medium you choose. The key is not to worry so much about the result and focus more on the process. I’ve compiled a list of fun indoor DIY art projects from Pinterest that require no prior artistic skills. Pick your favorite or try them all and jumpstart your creativity.

  1. Get creative with Swipe Art

Easy swipe art via Megan Campbell Designs
Image via Megan Campbell Designs

There is no right way or wrong way to do swipe art. It’s pure expression. With a few materials, you can transform a few spots of paint into an abstract painting for your wall. Start by squeezing different colors of paint directly on the surface or creating blots of paint with a wine cork. Then with a brush, your finger or a piece of cardboard, swipe the paint in a specific direction and voila! Frame your favorite combination or create one for each season. Find the easy instructions on Remodelaholic.  

  1. String Art

Image via

If you’re not ready to commit to paper and paint, string art is the project for you. You can find most of the materials for string art around the house. Start by finding an inspiring silhouetted image that fills you with joy. It can be anything from a monogram, an outline of your home state or just a simple heart. Print the image out and tape it to a piece of wood. Use small nails to trace an outline, tear the paper out from under the nails and start wrapping your strings. The repetitive motions of stringing the lines can be very therapeutic. For more detailed instructions check out this post.

3. Plywood Silhouette

Image via

If you’re not quite ready to work with colors then this is a good place to start. Print a black and white side portrait of yourself, a loved one or even a pet your desired size. Cut out the background and tape the remaining image to a piece of plywood. Trace the outline with pencil. Then paint the negative space around the outline. Once you have a handle on it you can even make a gallery wall of family silhouettes! Here’s a step by step guide that’s easy to follow.

  1. Veggie Stamps

Image via monpetitmondeartesanato

There is nothing more inspiring than nature, including the vegetables in our fridge. Pick a few of your favorites and discover their innate design. From the stems of a celery to a sliced head of cabbage the natural design inside these vegetables make awesome stamps. If you have your own stamp in mind use a sliced potato and carve your design into the soft part. With some paint and paper you can create a great pattern. Check out more detailed instructions here. 

Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Forget the art critics, turn up your favorite music, pour yourself a glass of wine and you’ll find getting creative is really fun. January 31st is National Inspire your heart with art day! So be sure to get creative. I’d love to hear about your creations in the comments in the section below.