Arts & crafts ideas for the elderly

Arts and crafts projects provide outlets for people of all ages and may be especially helpful for the elderly. Passing the time creating scrapbook pages or making a photo collage with cherished family photos is a way for them to showcase their memories, as well as engage in activities that aren't too strenuous.

Photo Tray

Favourite family photos can easily be highlighted on a wooden tray with découpage medium. Paint or stain the tray first with spray paint if possible, but some elderly people may find it easier to use a brush or a sponge. Faces and people may be cut from the photos before being glued to the tray to create a collage effect. It's easy to work with découpage medium. Just spread it on the tray with a paint sponge, press the photos in place and cover the images with more découpage glue. The glue goes on white, but dries clear after about 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the application. The glue also provides protection for the photos and the tray so they may be used for meals, crafting or home decor

Decorate a Mirror Frame

Another arts and crafts project that elderly people may enjoy is to decorate photo frames with sea glass, cabochons, flower blossoms, seashells and other small decorative craft supplies. Simple wooden frames available from the dollar store work well as long as they have a rim that's 1.5 to 2 inches wide. Clear liquid nail or E-6000 craft glue will hold the objects in place best, but may be difficult for some elderly people to squeeze from the tube. In these cases, hot glue and a glue gun or white liquid craft glue will also work.


Scrapbooking is an ongoing arts and crafts project that's perfectly suited for elderly people. Card stock is easy to cut and glue onto scrapbook pages as backing for photos of the grandkids. Expressing creativity on the pages of a scrapbook includes embellishments such as stickers, ribbons, cutouts and rubber stamps. Combining inspirational verses or notations of events also makes creating a scrapbook special. With a lifetime of memories and accompanying photos, elderly people have a wealth of material to work with and can create scrapbooks based on individual years, events or people in their lives.