100 Best Art Therapy Ideas – Incredible Art Therapy Activities For Everyone

art therapy

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent van Gogh

Can you do art therapy on your own?

Of course, some art therapists say an individual can do self-art therapy exercises at home.

What are some art therapy activities?

First off, art therapy is a distinct discipline that incorporates creative methods of expression through visual art media. The approach is used as a means to believe invite stress, increase self-esteem and awareness, and for post-traumatic recovery aims. Mostly, other forms of therapy use verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles. On the contrary, art therapy allows for more abstract forms of communication. 

You don’t need to be an artist to benefit from art therapy. Most of the exercises do not rely on the result that you create but on the therapeutic effect of the ritual of the creative process itself. 

Still clueless on the list of art therapy ideas to go for? Here’s a list of100 art therapy ideas carefully sorted out for you:

1. Design a postcard:

Are you still angry or upset with someone in your life? Create a postcard that expresses this, though you don’t have to ever send it.

2. Make an art journal:

Journals don’t have to just be based around words. You can make an art journal as well, that lets you visually express your emotions.

3. Put your emotions into painting:

In this exercise, you’ll focus entirely on painting what you’re feeling.

4. Draw your feelings in a heart formation.

You could use objects to pierce a few parts of the heart if you are hurting and want to keep it simple

5. Design colors:

Sometimes, the simple act of coloring can be a great way to relax. Find a coloring book or use this mandala for coloring.

6. Make a drawing in :

Like a Zen garden, this activity will have you drawing shapes and scenes in the sand, which can be immensely relaxing and a great way to clear your mind.

7. Display your best colors:

Create a drawing or a painting using only colors that you find calming.

8. Collage:

Colors often come with a lot of emotions attached. Choose several paint chips to work with and collage, paint and glue until you’ve created a colorful masterpiece.

9. Make a blind painting:

Not being able to see what you are drawing intensifies fluidity, intuition, touch, and sensitivity.

10. Make it big:

Getting your body involved and moving around can help release emotion as you’re drawing.

11. Take it outdoor:

Working en Plein air can be a fun way to relax and get in touch with nature while you’re working on art.

12. Meditative painting:

Have trouble sitting still to meditate?  Meditative painting might be just the thing you’re looking for.  No painting skill or experience is necessary – only a desire to relax and become more creative.

13. Egg mosaic:

Add some crushed eggshells in several glasses with multi-colored paint. Draw a picture, sprinkle it with eggshell mosaic. This exercise develops fine motor skills.

14. Illustrate your best fairy tale:

The exercise provides an opportunity to become aware of your real experiences.

15. Sketch a rainbow:

When doing this, apply each strip with a partner in turn. The exercise develops the emotional world, communication skills.

16. Memorial alter

Creation of the altar exercise. Build an altar for someone important to you (this could be a deceased relative, your first school love, or a brother with whom you quarreled. Decorate it with shared memories: photos, souvenirs, gifts, letters, and crafts. This activity helps you to understand the value of human relationships, as well as helps to heal wounds and find comfort in difficult times.

17. Building a safe space

Art therapy exercises extend beyond creation, so make sure to engage in self-reflection during and after. “What’s going on in your body as you make it?” asks Farber. “Why do you associate safety with the colors, materials, and symbols you choose? What does your safe space defend against?”

18. Express your Favorite song lyrics

Chances are you have a song lyric, poem, prose passage, or quote that you connect with in some way. Farber suggests choosing one and using it as a basis to create art.

Respond to it however feels right, whether through scribbling with a pencil, coloring with crayons or colored pencils, or whipping out some watercolors or clay. The point is to make physical your emotional response to the words.

19. Represent your zodiac sign to your mood

If you have figured out which month is which zodiac signs, then it is possible to create amazing art with your personality traits. 

20. Embroidery

There is a long record of people using crafted handmade themes such as quilting and embroidery as a way to advocate for positive change, revolt, and to assert their values. 

21. Incorporate nature into your therapy

Incorporating nature into your art therapy practice is pretty much a two-for-one deal. Farber suggests going for a walk (safely with a mask and keeping a distance from others!. and collecting things you find that are interesting to you.

That could be leaves, sticks, pine cones, rocks, or other found objects. When you return home, use your bounty to create a sculpture or an altar while concentrating on your senses. What does each material feel like? What drew you to it?

22. Draw figures with repeated patterns

This is good for regulating emotions and the nervous system. It can help kids focus their attention and calm down. After drawing them, they can color them in! 

23. Renovate something

Turning something ugly into something beautiful. 

24. Magazine picture mashup

A simple way to do this at home is to have your child cut out images from magazines that catch their eye. Then give them a piece of paper and glue and have them arrange the images in a collection. If they are willing, ask them to narrate their process as they go.    

25. Make a family sculpture

 To create a family sculpture out of clay. The size, shape, and arrangement of family sculpture bring about conversations about the important people and relationships in their life.

26. Give your child a pre-formed

Give your kid a pre-formed mask or make one out of paper and give them free rein to embellish it however they’d like. When they are finished, ask them to tell you the story of the mask. 

27. Create a totem of a loved one

Building a totem to another person awakens memories and creates a physical manifestation of a relationship that can provide comfort in tough times.

28. Create a forgiveness box

If there is a certain person — including yourself — you don’t want to harbor negative emotions toward any longer, try making him or her a forgiveness box. 

29. Art therapy challenge

Create an art therapy challenge for kids and don’t give them the space to be self-conscious

30. Draw in the dark

Try creating artwork in total darkness to make art free from that art critic inside your head. Think of it as a form of blind contour drawing. You’re suddenly freed up to create lines, shapes, and patterns simply because you feel like you should. When you turn back on the lights, we suspect you’ll be surprised by what you find.

31. Blind contour drawing

Ensure all participants have a pen and paper. Everyone in the group then draws their partner, but without looking down at the page. 

‍It’s more fun to instruct everyone to wait to look down until all members have finished their drawing to allow for a grand reveal.

32. The five senses

Try to source objects that have vibrant expressions to the senses that include some contrast. If you are trying it as a group, allow them to experience every sense as a focal point. Then, everyone draws their object using color and shape, keeping in mind the feeling the object invokes as they create.

33. Bank of affirmations

While it certainly can work as an exercise for individuals, we think it’s more powerful done with others to foster that sense of accountability than a group. Write down a list of affirmations they want to embody or adopt as their own belief. Everyone can read their list out loud. Then, let everyone write their affirmation and decorate the cards to put in their decorated “bank”.

34. Group cake decorating

I’m quite sure you didn’t know art therapy could involve cake? 

This exercise is deliciously fun. Reflect on what themes were chosen and how people felt in the group (did they want to lead, or perhaps did they feel more comfortable letting others decorate.

35. Who listens to you

 As a group, reflect on the importance of communicating with others and having your voice heard.

36. Visualize the release

Stress is just an experience passing through. It’s not who you are deep down. Hopefully, you’ll gain a better understanding of yourself and your feelings through this art therapy technique.

37. Self-esteem in clay

Work to create different representations of what self-esteem means to you in clay. 

What traits do you highlight? If you chose to work with representations of insecurities, is it helpful to see these as outside of you? How do they look? 

38. Draw your armor

Think about what protects you. Reflect on what outside forces are interfering with you. What is your armor? How does it look? Create a piece based on your armor. It can be literal or abstract

39. Smile collage

Make a collage of all the things that make you smile, or perhaps of smiles themselves. The goal here is to reconnect with your own deepest desires, the inherent things, and part of what makes you.

40. Body scan

Scan all through every part of the body, mentally seeing these parts starting to release and relax. Feel free to play calming music during this exercise. Take either two sheets of paper or one sheet folded in half and draw yourself before and after the body scan. See how your piece may represent the process of relaxation. 

This exercise will highlight the importance of learning how to self-soothe.

‍41. Papier-mache masks

Description: Blow up the balloon and cut out strips of newspaper. Dip the strips into the paste and place them to cover the space needed to make a mask (roughly 3/4th the way around. Let it dry for about 24 hours (more if still not hardened. Then, pop the balloon and cut out eye and mouth holes to make the hardened papier-mache resemble a mash.

Reflect on your feelings as you create and decorate your mask. See how you feel at the end.

42. Make a drawing of yourself

Draw yourself trying to get out of a hole, which is a representation of your depression.

Describe the feelings and specifics of your depression and draw the inside of what the hole looks like to you.

One of the goals of this exercise is problem-solving. Think about how you process your depression.

‍43. Draw your depression

We suggest starting with a brief meditation or mindful check-in. Then, when you are a bit more relaxed, reflect on the experience of your depression. And draw or paint a visual representation of that depression. 

The goal is to get the energy of the depression out of you.

44. The worry tree

You can also print out an outline of a tree if you prefer not to draw it. Then, use words, symbols, figures, shapes to capture the essence of your worries and concerns and place them where the leaves would be.

45. meditation painting

Start with a light breathwork exercise to start to transition out of your busy day into a state of mindfulness.

Express yourself without falling into the criticism or praise of your work.  Trust the process, and mindfully check in at the end to see how you feel. Notice any shifts.

46. Paint flicking:

Set up a protected area with plastic dropcloths and a cardboard box.  Cut out the top at one side and place it on top of the drop-cloths. Now place paper or canvas on the bottom of the box. Flick paint onto the canvas in a controlled manner (you can strike the paintbrush against your other hand. Let loose and have fun!

This method is great for releasing anger or energizing yourself out of a state of apathy. 

47. designs with tape

This activity pushes you to experiment. Reflect on if you felt the urge to fill the entire space of the canvas, or if you were comfortable with the negative space. The main objective here is to express yourself. So let go of any judgments, and get creative.

48. Draw a pet

Your child may already do this by nature, but invite your kid to draw a pet, real or imaginary, current or of the past. 

 Ask the child to think about what that pet means to him or her. This is a great way to facilitate a moment around positivity and love and proves a great chance to reflect on relationships.

49. like mood pyramid

Ask the kids to draw a large pyramid or triangle. Then, have the participants fill in the triangle with colors that represent their different moods. Have them start with colors that represent negative moods and gradually fade into a representation of positive feelings. 

50. draw yourself as a superhero

Chat with the children about superheroes. Now, ask the kids to reflect on the strengths of those heroes, and then ask them about their unique strengths. Then, invite the kids to draw themselves as a superhero.

51. Finger puppets

If you use a pair of old gloves, you can cut off the fingers and tape or sew the base of the fingers to prevent them from falling apart. Add features and decorations to the puppets. You can dress them in fabric and give them wiggly eyes to come to life.

After the puppets are made, let the kids play with them. This gives the child the opportunity to express themselves without worry.

52. Zentangle

Description: Create a messy line doodle, allowing the lines to overlap in certain areas. Then, fill in certain chunks of your design with a unique pattern.       The goal is to achieve a state of focus and flow. Experiment with patterns, and express yourself freely. Get lost in the act.

53. Words and pictures

Let everyone in the group write a few nouns onto the index cards. Then, place the index cards face down onto a table. Pass out the drawing paper. One player then picks up an index card and has to draw whatever is written on the card in one minute. 

If someone gets it right, the artist and the person who guessed properly get a point. If no one is correct, the artist can either take no points or get an additional 30 seconds to draw. But, if no one guesses correctly after the additional 30 seconds, the artist subtracts one point from his or her score.

54. Mimic famous artist

Review the works of a famous artist. Discuss the work of that artist, and get inspired. Using your style, create a piece inspired by one of their works. 

This is also a great way to educate teens about certain artists in an engaging, interactive setting.

55. Value beads

Ask the group to think about what values they care about. Write out the values and let a certain type of bead (color, size, or shape. represent each value. Make a piece of jewelry inspired by the selection.

56. macramé play

This activity is great to challenge critical thinking, problem-solving, spatial awareness, dexterity, and focus. You really will be surprised how the kids will lose track of time and get into a mindful state of being with the artistic medium.

57. Meditative painting:

Use Meditation While Painting To Overcome Creative Blocks

58. mirror drawing

Your task is to draw yourself. Set up your mirror so you can see yourself clearly, making sure your mirror is large enough to allow for this. Make sure you are physically comfortable and strained to see your reflection.

Remind yourself of all of your unique qualities. Refrain from judging. Reflect on the miracle of being human, and wish yourself peace in the enjoyment of being human.

‍59. Candle or invisible art therapy exercise 

This therapeutic art activity can make you feel great again. It is an art therapy exercise for adults too, to handle trauma, anxiety, and emotions.

60. Sketching in pair activity 

Do this, because sometimes, it is best to stop talking and start drawing.

61. Walk in the forest activity

There are plenty of ways to make a forest walk fun, one of them is taking a close look at the beautiful art nature made, and getting inspiration from such arts is really amazing.

62. Circles sketching activity 

It doesn’t really matter if you have special pencil shading techniques, competent to make Kandinsky art or not. What matters the most is how connected you’re with the processes involved in making your own circle art.

63. A fantasy of a butterfly and a fantasy workout 

Remember all your fantasies about butterflies and make a piece around them.

64. Spontaneous representation therapy 

A great way to achieve spontaneous and creative engagements.

65. My planet exercise. 

Close your eyes and envision a planet in space. Sketch this planet. This activity and comparative instances of workmanship treatment foster a creative mind, fine engine abilities, lessen pressure. 

66. Sketching on folded sheet activity. 

Exercise prepares the creative mind, serves to overcome anxiety. 

67. Paint striking activity. 

This activity sharpens hand coordination, assists with conquering pressure. 

68. Rainbow therapy. 

When doing this, apply each strip with an accomplice accordingly. The activity fosters the passionate world and relational abilities. 

69. Finger pulling activity. 

Draw a plot noticeable all around with your fingers. Your competitor should try to figure out what you sketched. 

70. Sketch your mandala activity.

 Use a pencil to draw a circle with a width that conforms with the size of your head. This activity alleviates pressure, weakness, strain. 

71. Inner world directory activity.

 In the resemblance of a geographic guide, make a guide of your internal world. The activity shapes a thought of yourself, assists with understanding, and helps you express your sentiments. 

72. Flower activity. 

Close your eyes and envision a lovely bloom. What does it look and smell like? Make your extraordinary bloom utilizing shaded paper, paste, and scissors. 

73.  Fingers recreation. 

Put your fingers in bright paints and make an example that coordinates with your state of mind. The objective of such an activity is to quench pressure, train fine engine abilities, and have a creative mind. 

74. Allow yourself a slip-up exercise. 

Think about the characteristics you don’t fancy about yourself, the disappointments or slip-ups you have made. Zero in on one of these botches and attract your craftsmanship. Consequently, you give yourself the option to commit an error and pardon all your defaults. 

75. Poetic collection activity. 

Cut out motivating expressions from old letters, papers, or handouts and make a composition from them. 

76. My great flanks activity. 

To unwind, alleviate pressure and weariness, you can utilize light craftsmanship works out. Sketch your great personal characteristics. 

77. Fingerprint activity.

Outline your hand and make special examples inside. 

78. Childhood recollections activity.

Sketch a memory of you from childhood. This will assist with subsiding pressure and weakness. 

79. Happy minutes of therapy. 

Sketch a reflection of the positive minutes in your day-to-day existence. 

80. Kindness long-distance race activity. 

Paint a stone or a block, participate in the Benevolence rocks long-distance race. 

81. Aper activity. 

Create your understanding of well-known artwork. 

82. Dream sketching activity.

Draw your fantasies utilizing precisely the shapes and pictures in which they strike a chord. 

83. Image and mindset plastic activity. 

Each member is approached to pick a piece of plasticine of a specific tone and give it an appropriate shape that is pertinent to the subject. This activity is valuable when managing hostility, damaging conduct, and fears. 

84. Series of drawings exercise. 

3 or more craftsmanship practices are performed on the double. Try not to dissect or condemn your drawings, permit yourself to do anything you desire. 

85. Sketching a name activity. 

With a wide brush and oil paint in your grasp, compose your name so it occupies however much room as could be expected. Draw your name on a piece of paper with imagery. 

86. Duo random cities activity. 

Take a word reference and pick two arbitrary ideas at irregular. Match them up, concoct an insane story with these ideas, and draw an image.

87.  Geneticist activity. 

Draw something that consolidates whatever number of elements of the multitude of creatures you know as could be allowed. The objective of the treatment is to wind down rationale by zeroing in on innovativeness. 

88. Crazy designer activity. 

Choose any 10 words. Envision that you are a draftsman and your customer has set these 10 necessities. While drawing on paper, at the same time envision what it may resemble, all things considered. 

89. Naming activity. 

Every time you are keen on an item, think of a name and creative image for it. Draw the image utilizing paints. 

90. Salt batter activity.

 Such paint treatment thoughts change pictures, supplement them with new subtleties, obliterate, and make once more. 

91. Day experiences activity. 

Pick a day you might want to recall and sketch everything you recall about that day. 

92. Emotional body map-book activity. 

Write down five feelings on a piece of paper: dread, happiness, outrage, misery, disgrace. To one side of the title, you need to make a note with paints of the shading with which you partner these feelings. 

93. “Define me” activity  

Everyone thinks o  expressions that depict the person in question and illustrates it as an image. The reason for the activity is to assist the members with self-improvement and to build up collaboration. 

94. What’s on your mental activity. 

Take your time, use craftsmanship materials you lik. Replenish the drawn heart with those feelings, sentiments, encounters that live in your heart. 

95. The letter of fury activity. 

Spill out on paper all contrary feelings corresponding to any individual or occasion. This assists with eliminating cynicism and encourages you to comprehend your enthusiastic state. 

96. Give the resentment to paper activity. 

Use a straw to victory your aggravation. Spot weakened watercolor paint in a mixed drink straw and blow onto a piece of paper. 

97. Geometric sketches activity. 

Draw your aggravation in mathematical shapes in various shading ranges. 

98. Cast sketch therapy. 

One of the straightforward and viable helpful workmanship thoughts is fluid paint cast. This activity makes it conceivable to obscure the significance of psycho passionate encounters emblematically. 

99. Colored papers activity. 

Sketch in any tone however many pieces of paper as many negative words you can use to portray the aggravation. 

100. Depth projects activity. 

Completing monotypic projects on a different sheet with a quest for profound saving implications is extremely successful art therapy. Take a word reference and pick two arbitrary ideas randomly. Match them up, concoct an insane story with these ideas, and draw an image. 

I hope this helps

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