Trying to Choose a Hobby or Research One?
Hobbies are an amazing way to pass time, meet people, learn new things, and have fun.
It’s difficult to overstate the benefits of taking on new hobbies. When you do something new your brain has to create new "maps" or neural pathways. The more new paths you make (instead of doing the same activities over and over and creating a "rut" of only one pathway) the less likely you are to experience dementia, the more creative you'll become, and the more successful you'll be. Who can say no to that?
But if you’re like me, the minute you have enough free time to take on a new project, your mind just goes completely blank and you can’t think of anything that sounds interesting. Well, I'm sure you'll be able to find something to pique your interest in the list below.
You’ll find an ever-expanding list of possible hobbies and resources about them to help you get started. You’ll find hobbies you can do both indoors and out, that will relax you and get your heart pumping, that are well-known and kinda strange, and that both children and seniors can do. This is one big hobbies list!
This sport is often pegged as preppy, but don’t let that stop you. It's too cool and fun to worry about stigmas like that! Archery can be a stress release, a form of exercise, and a fun social activity. And if you’ve seen The Hunger Games, you’d also know it can be a kick-ass form of self-defense.
Once you pick up a bow, you can probably hit a target after an hour's practice, but the fun only begins there. It takes years of mastery to fully master this neat skill.
Part of the reason it's often pegged as a preppy sport is because it's seen as expensive. Not so! You can get a small kit for under $50 or so if you get a youth sized one.
To get started, here are some handy resources. It's probably best to get involved with other people to learn this sport, but there are some tutorials below as well if you insist on going solo.
- There's one reason I'd try out archery: trick shots! Check out the sample video below for all the cool shots you can make and then just imagine all the cool ones you could come up with yourself. (Skip to 2:00 to see moving targets, etc.)
- Checkout this other Youtube video on how to aim your bow and arrow
- Here's a quick guide on choosing the right bow or the right arrows.
- If you’re in the UK, you can even join an archery guild.
BMXing is an incredibly cool sport where riders do some pretty amazing tricks. Despite being a pretty extreme hobby, it’s still a pretty great way to spend time with friends. Here's an awesome site with tons of videos, photos, tips, blogs and even desktop wallpaper about BMX riding. Watch the video below to see the kinds of tricks that BMXers are capable of.
Check out this page to watch videos on how to do BMX tricks.
Here's a video with some beginner tricks.
Here's an easy way to make dirt jumps for BMXing.
To start BMXing, you can just try a local park, a trail, or even a spot on your street to try things out. Check out some beginner tricks online and copy them. Eventually, you will find a style that you like and start going for bigger tricks. You can get a half-decent BMX Bike from a local shop in the $200-$300 range. If you're comfortable, the best way to learn is to start hanging out with other people that are riding.
If BMX seems a little too extreme for you, there are other ways to have fun on a bike. Cycling is a great way to stay fit and have fun. You can keep it simple and just jump on a bike to start exploring a nearby city or trial. But, there are also lots of other great activities you can do as a cyclist.
Mountain bikes are different from road or street bikes in that they have larger wheels, a sturdier frame and often shocks. Mountain biking doesn't necessarily require mountains, either; you just need to go off-road over some rough terrain.
You can go on a tour and really get to know you city, province, or country by bike. Many people have made travel guides that suggest routes for tours lasting just a day and upwards of several months!
If you want to nerd out on the mechanics of how a bike works, you can teach yourself how to build one from parts.
Even if you’re not Lance Armstrong, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the thrill and excitement of cycling races - or follow the world-class athletes that dominate the professional circuit. Here are some resources for the aspiring competitive cyclists!
- Cycling News: race scores etc. (road, mountain biking, track, cyclo-cross, triathlon)
- The Tour de France for enthusiasts
- Join the annual (in many places in the world) Ride to Conquer Cancer in your city.
Hand combat, sports with weapons, and mixed martial arts (MMA)
Combat sports are physical and competitive. While it doesn't mean you're going to get all beat up, it can be a great place to learn some self-defense. A number of martial arts fit in this category including both hand-to-hand contact and mixed martial arts.
The amazing thing about these sports is that they are literally for everyone and anyone. Many women now participate in these sports, and there are even classes solely for female fighters. You can even mix genders in some combat sports, like fencing, though one like grappling requires an opponent of a similar size.
Here are some resources for combat sports. Keep in mind that many of these sports are now Olympic sports too, so even if you don't want to join in you can enjoy watching.
There are too many combat sports to make a listing for each, so here are some of the possibilities.
Combat Sports with Striking Elements
- Fist Fighting: (Boxing); with Ancient Greek (Pygmachia), Russian (Kulachniy Boy), Historical English (Pugilism), Japanese (Shoot boxing), Thai (Muay Thai), Lao (Muay Lao) Olympic, and professional variations.
- Kickboxing: Japanese, American, European, and Indochinese, Korean (Choi Kwang Do), French (Savate) variations)
- Full Contact Karate
- Taekwondo (under WTF and ITF rules)
Combat Sports with Grappling Elements
- Wrestling: Ancient Greek (Pale), German (Ringen), Greco-Roman
- Beach Wrestling
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (under Gi & no Gi rules)
- Catch Wrestling (Western Submission Wrestling)
- Freestyle Wrestling
- Judo (Olympic Judo)
- Luta Livre Esportiva (Brazilian Submission Wrestling)
- Sport Sambo
- Scholastic Wrestling (American Folkstyle)
Hybrid martial arts, combining striking and grappling elements:
- Pankration (Ancient Greek Freestyle Fighting)
- Dambe: traditional form of boxing, including kicking and wrestling elements, practiced by the Hausa people.
- Combat Sambo: Russian sport introduced in the 1920s.
- Vale Tudo (No Rules Freestyle Fighting), derived from Brazilian circus shows of the 1920s.
- Sanshou: Chinese combat sport, institutionalized as part of modern Wushu since the 1950s.
- Sanshou (Sanda) (Chinese kickboxing within contemporary Wushu; includes some grappling techniques)
- Mixed Martial Arts (Freestyle Fighting)
Combat Sports with Weapons
- Kendo (Japanese fencing)
- Quarterstaff (historical English, 17th to 18th century)
- Gatka (Punjabi stick fighting)
- Modern Arnis (Filipino stick fighting)
Rock climbing is an exciting sport that can be done indoors or out. There are a variety of classes you can take to learn how to belay, (hold the rope for someone while they climb), do lead climbing (ascend the route while attaching clips and protection) and so on. There are amazing views you can see from the tops of walls and cliffs. It's a wonderful activity for strength and toning muscle.
You can set up a climbing wall of your own in your backyard, or even inside your home. Here are some items you will need for your own rock climbing gear.
Winter Mountain Sports
Skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, snow blading, skidooing, tubing, etc.
It might seem like a shame to pull these winter hobbies together under one title, but there are a lot of them out there to cover! Before you try any of these, make sure you're in good health and can deal not only with the physical impact, but also the cold.
A day out on the slopes is sure to be a memorable one, so if you're up for it, try renting equipment before you go out and buy all of your own. When you do decide to make a purchase, shop around, checking on used sites such as Craigslist.
This is also a great hobby to try when you are out traveling. Here are some famous places to practice these sports:
- Verbier, Switzerland
- Courcheval, France
- Voss, Norway
- Vail, USA
- Whistler, BC, Canada
- Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Get inspired by this great winter extreme sports compilation
Birdwatching or birding
A low cost, nature activity
Birdwatching is just one wonderful way of appreciating the great outdoors. It's very easy to get started with this activity: just head outside and start looking!
Being a birder is all about being mindful and aware of what bird movements look like, the types of sounds they make, and what species you’re likely to find in a given environment. You can find birds anywhere: in your backyard or on your street, but you'd be better off heading to a park. The most interesting places to find birds are away from cities since that's where most species of birds feel safe, and you're more likely to see more variety.
There a number of online resources for bird watching such as:
WhatBird (bird identifier by song, plumage, location, etc.)
Audubon National Society (bird conservation and resources)
Wild Bird Watching (backyard and wild bird watching)
Other activities you can do while appreciating birds include hiking, building bird houses and bird baths, and drawing. You can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count that happens annually (wherever you are!) When you're helping one species, though, it's important not to upset another. If you hang a bird house or bird feeder for example, try to get a squirrel-proof feeder, otherwise you'll end up having lots of squirrels scaring away your birds, and the squirrels in your area will get fat and multiply like rabbits! Also, keep in mind that different birds like different homes (and feeders). Hummingbirds build their own (tiny) nests, but you can attract them with a special hummingbird feeder.
Birdwatchers can benefit most from two things: a birdwatching book and binoculars. The first is pretty self-evident: when you start out birdwatching you probably only will recognize a few birds, and likely won’t be able to recognize any bird calls.
Second, while you can do a lot of birdwatching with the naked eye, binoculars will help you identify birds that are far away and appreciate each bird’s unique plumage.
Gardening has been popular for longer than anyone can remember. Now, growing your own food is becoming increasingly popular. If you don't have a lot of space, not to worry! There are incredibly creative people out there continually coming up with new ways to garden on your balcony, window ledge, and even inside. If you don't feel like growing food, you can grow flowers and leafy plants. When you’re gardening you’ll know that you’re not only positively affecting your mental health, but also helping the environment by eliminating carbon gases, formaldehyde, and all kinds of nasty stuff from the atmosphere.
If you’re interested in growing a garden in a balcony or other small space, check out this Better Homes and Gardens feature, which has the most incredible ideas and features on their website and in their magazine. There are also plenty of little projects like how to make a terrarium or a particular container garden.
You can also check out these indoor gardens for inspiration!
- An amazing indoor garden in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
- Beautiful Asian courtyard style gardens (Imagine having one of these in your home! Bliss!)
Easy gardening projects
- How to make a terrarium
- An easy upside down tomato planter
- How to grow potatoes in a container
- Use compost to make tea
- Try some Guerilla gardening! Sneakily beautify and better your community with your gardening.
While you're at it, don't forget that gardens are made up of things other than plants too, like birdhouses, bird baths, butterfly houses, bat houses, water gardens (like a huge barrel full of water with some lily pads), bee hives, chicken coops, and of course furniture like good old Adirondack chairs! You may even want to dine al fresco!
Help scientists, contribute online, and be the neighbourhood weather master.
Amateur meteorology is all about studying and tracking weather and creating helpful weather instruments. Buy a notebook to record the weather, install a few weather instruments, and learn about the different types of clouds. If you're interested in being an amateur meteorologist or just want to try a few things out, here are some starter tips.
- Become a certified storm spotter through the National Weather Service.
- Make an easy barometer to track atmospheric pressure (great project for kids).
- Take a tour of the nearest atmospheric organization, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
- Learn about severe weather.
- Track the path of an Atlantic hurricane using a computer simulation.
- Develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter. Create or refresh an emergency kit for needed food, supplies, and medication.
- Create a Backyard Weather Station Network (plug into Weather Underground with your findings).
- Check out lots more weather science projects for kids
Some good starter weather instruments include:
- Weather thermometer
- Wind vane
- Compass (usually comes with the anemometer),
- Atomic clock and
- Rain gauge
Use weather maps to compare your predictions and to note the weather of areas near you.
Backyard Weather Station Network
In an effort to provide more comprehensive weather data, there have been efforts to mobilize amateur meteorologists and encourage them to incorporate their backyard weather stations into a nationwide backyard weather station network.
Plugging your backyard weather station into a network such as Weather Underground's gives you a chance to flex your amateur meteorologist muscles and contribute your resources toward helping your community.
Nature conservation hobbies and projects
Giving nature an eco-friendly hand
This is an enormous category in which I'm placing all kinds of green, eco-friendly hobbies. Of course, many of these activities can be done indoors, but it's predominantly outdoors focused. There are some great summer hobby projects in here. You can volunteer at a zoo near you. Or participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count that happens annually (wherever you are!)
Changing your lifestyle:
- Composting your organic waste is an awesome way to cut back on materials gone to landfills. It's surprisingly easy: you don't even need a yard (or an outdoor space) if you want to try vermi-composting! There are many organizations that will collect your compost to distribute elsewhere if you can't use it all yourself (although even a few potted plants will thank you for it!)
- Grow air-filtering plants. Here's the list of best air-filtering plants according to NASA.
- Use alternative energy. You can build your own solar panels, even. Start small by using a solar panel to charge your cellphone or other USB device (iPod etc.), It's amazing that you just set it up and it does its thing. The only reason why people don't use these is because of the start up cost, but it pays for itself! You can even cover your whole roof with these things, or use them to heat your pool! I think they look really cool and futuristic.
- Build a rainwater collection system to water plants and use for landscaping, or even your toilet (if you're really handy). Be advised that in the US states of Washington, Colorado and Utah, it has been illegal to collect rainwater. You can read about how some big, ugly corporations did this on Natural News.
Tagging, making a masterpiece
Contrary to popular belief, graffiti isn’t always illegal, and I would encourage you not to graffiti anywhere you’re not allowed. In fact, it’s not too hard to find areas that permit graffiti.
"Graffiti" comes from the Greek "to etch” and, as an art form, graffiti has been around since even before ancient Greece. Anthropologists have found graffiti in lots of societies: cave men, ancient Egyptians, Native Americans and so on. It's a fascinating form of art that is very community oriented and, of course, a great way to show off your artistic talent.
Because it's so community oriented, it's a good idea to learn a bit about graffiti and graffiti subculture before even thinking about finding other graffiti artists or putting up a piece outside.
Graffiti artists are a proud bunch, so don't act like you amount to much at the beginning, or you'll just be the butt of everyone's jokes. Here are some important "rules" to keep in mind if you're interested in being taken seriously as a graffiti artist:
- Draw, sketch, doodle a LOT in your black book. You need to start developing a style before you even think of showing it to anyone.
- Learn the lingo. Here's a glossary.
- Don't steal others work, paint over someone else's piece, or copy someone's style to the letter.
To get started you're going to need gear, such as a mask for ventilation (especially if you are working indoors), spray paint, plywood for practicing, your black book of graffiti drawings and possibly some markers.
It's a good idea to practice at home on big plywood boards (after you start drawing and sketching first in your black book, of course).
Check out these amazing graffiti pictures for inspiration.
Turn your whole life into a hobby
Trying to capture artistic views of something you see is a wonderful way to record your life. It can keep you looking at the whole world in a new way.
Contrary to popular belief you don't need fancy equipment in order to take up photography. Try photography on a budget! You can find inexpensive film cameras on Amazon, or just use your smart phone!
If you want to do digital photography, there are a number of options there too, not just a fancy digital SLR. You can use your phone and try out a variety of photography apps, or buy a cheap or even a disposable digital camera.
Be sure to experiment with different lighting, lens filters (such as colored lens filters that tint the whole image), framing, underwater, nature, portrait, still life, action shots and so on.
Here's an incomplete list of types of photography you could try:
- Aerial photography
- Digital photography
- Portrait photography
- Fashion photography
- Boudoir photography
- Nature photography
- Fine art photography
- Wildlife photography
- Underwater photography
- Landscape photography
- Wedding photography
- Black-and-white photography
- Glamour photography
- Sports photography
- Architectural photography
- Still life photography
- Nude photography
- Infrared photography
When you've taken the photos, you can continue editing them and playing around with all kinds of free photo and image editing software. There are free downloadable photo editors and online versions. Try making images black and white, sepia, keeping only one colour, touching up blemishes, cropping and more!
When you're through taking and editing your photos, you can showcase them in a myriad of ways. You could make a professional looking coffee table book, a simple scrapbook or photo album, put up a few thematic photos in frames, or show them off online with photo sharing websites, slideshows, videos, blogs and more.
It's a pretty endless source of entertainment!
Street art and circus hobbies
Street performance like busking, juggling, magic, miming, etc.
Maybe you want to start performing for extra money or want to know how to do some cool things at a party. Or maybe you want to be "that guy" on campus (is that a good thing? I'll let you make that decision). These are some great hobby ideas because they take some time to learn and you can always figure out a way to make it flashier, funner, and more challenging. It can also be a good way to meet people, whether it be people that are into the same thing, or people that happen to see you showing off your skills in the park.
Here are some ways to get into street art:
- A guide on how to get a street performer permit
- A video series on how to start juggling and do a number of neat tricks.
- You'll probably also want to know how to recover from a drop during a juggling act.
- How to put together a great act and make money busking.
- Videos on how to apply mime and clown make up and how to mime.
- And last but not least: how to eat fire.
- And some other interesting resources:
- Busking World
- Street Arts and Buskers advocates
Getting started acting can be a bit daunting, but it is a fascinating, wonderful world. Here are some ways to get started.
- Join a theatre troupe
- Take an improv (improvisation) class
- Try writing your own play or screenplay
- Audition for a play, commercial, movie or musical in your town
- Take theatre classes (in theatrical sword fighting, speaking with an accent, dancing, choreography, scene studies, cold reading and so on)
- This is a really cool site on getting yourself set up as an actor or actress, including all the things you might need (headshots, classes, resume etc.)
- Tips on how to get a great headshot
- Or maybe you want to direct a play
- A video of Sir Ian McKellen "On Acting"
- 50 great acting quotes
- A video playlist of acting inspiration featuring actors giving lessons and talking about their techniques.
- 8 steps for acting on inspiration including such gems as "Don't wait too long to take action towards something that inspires you."
Historical, fantastical and habitat diorama projects
Making a diorama is kind of like making a historical or natural painting. You imagine what a specific moment in time was like, freeze it, and create your piece. The idea is that the scene looks like it was in motion: and you just stopped time to look at it more closely.
Some people make dioramas of battle scenes, ecosystems or biomes, city life, country life, animals in the wild, picturesque or culturally relevant scenes. Here you can see some artistic and amazing dioramas in museums. Anything that would make a neat landscape style image would make an even cooler diorama.
If you are especially interested in book publishing, you could create a diorama of a printing press workshop. If you are interested in boats, you could create a dock diorama complete with fishing boats, yachts and crab fishers. If you like kung fu movies, create a diorama of one of your favourite scenes, with characters posed on rooftops or a bamboo forest. Or make a scene from your favourite book! You see? The options are endless!
Many people think of dioramas as being miniature, but they could be any size! Consider all the neat dioramas you see in museums.
An easy way to make a diorama with kids and really simple materials is to build inside of a shoebox on its side. This makes a great class project. Consider ocean dioramas, desert dioramas, or dioramas of your own home! You can also buy a kit and arrange everything as you please (or add extra pieces!)
If your diorama is looked at from only one angle, using 2D figures (made out of paper, cardstock or cardboard) would be fine. Here's a quick tutorial on how to make paper characters. If your diorama is going to be looked at from overhead or side angles, you'll want to make or purchase 3D figures. Here is a gallery of figures someone made, it's incredible to think that these are all handmade! Here are some posts about diorama buildings.And of course, there're all kinds of super exciting features to add, like realistic water, snow or even a chain link fence.
Keep in mind that you can literally break out of the box with this hobby. Don't limit yourself to using wood platforms or creating realistic dioramas. Consider using unusual objects for bases or creating a fantasy or abstract art diorama.
Sketching, doodling, cartooning, scribbling
This is one of the most portable hobbies in the world. All you need is a writing tool. You don't necessarily even need a writing surface because you might find one while you're out and about! This is a hobby you can do while traveling, while on the phone, while at school (you will look like you are taking notes!), or during focused art time.
If you're like me you are probably a bit intimidated to start drawing, so here are some ideas and tutorials to get started with this artsy hobby:
- Drawingspace.com: an amazing resource with ALL the basics, and how to do particular styles, like cartoons, animals, faces, fantasy and more.
- Step by step drawing guides for kids.
- How to draw fabric folds
- Try looking up art projects or drawing projects on Pinterest for tutorials or ideas for drawing projects
- Try out one of these 50 tutorials of traditional drawing.
This guy does some great drawing tutorials
Musical Instruments and Music making
Learn a new instrument or musical skill
Think you can't learn a musical instrument late in life or that doing so will take too much time? Wrong and wrong!
While learning a new instrument does take time and commitment, you will be surprised at how much progress you can make in a short amount of time. Learning a new instrument is like learning a new language, so it’s especially good for adults because it helps create new synapses in the brain -- which coincidentally helps to stave off memory diseases later in life.
So where to start learning a new instrument or musical technique (such as mixing music)? The best thing, if you can afford it, is to get a teacher. A teacher will both help you improve much quickly than if you try to teach yourself. A teacher will also keep you committed to practicing, which can lose its appeal pretty quickly, especially in the first few weeks of learning a new instrument.
But there are other options too. Try searching for "teach yourself" books at your local music store. You can also look for tutorials online, such as video tutorials on youtube.
Here are a few tutorials to get started:
Here are a couple of other resources:
- 7 Websites for Music Lovers
- 5 Step Guide to learning any instrument without a teacher
- A Ted Talk on "Building the Musical Muscle"
Paper folding and paper sculptures
This is a great indoor, rainy day type of hobby that can be done with kids ages 7 and up.
Pure Origami is using one sheet of paper, using no cuts and no glue, and using no assistance other than your hands (not even putting it down on a table). But if you are not interested in being a purist, then you can use whatever extra bits you like to make a beautiful, intricate creation.
Origami satisfies all sorts of people because it is not only an artistic creation but a mathematical one. One of the current most famous origami experts is Robert Lang, and his Ted Talk about the magical science behind origami is pretty cool.
As you become more skilled, you will be able to make up fold sequences so you can create something without requiring directions. But until then, here are some directions/tutorials on how to make some cool origami things. Some of them have the lines on the paper (you could print them out) as guidelines, some of them you can use a regular sheet of paper or the specialized origami paper, which is thinner and better for folding.
A tip for making tiny folds with origami: if you find your hands are too big you can use a toothpick or a paper clip (gently, so as not to poke a hole) to straighten out the corners or even do the whole fold.
- Kids: Boat
- Kids: Owl
- Beginner: Crane
- Beginner: Rose
- Beginner: Fall leaves
- Intermediate: Mini book
- Intermediate: Dragon
- Intermediate: Cradle
- Advanced: Scorpion (7 video playlist!)
- Origami with dollar bills
- Bouquets with many types of flowers
Uses for Origami
- Wedding bouquet
- Storage boxes and baskets (tiny and larger)
- Paper bag
- Gift wrap (gift box or bag and decorations)
- Flag markers (like for place settings or mini banners)
- Paper dolls and doll clothes
- Cellphone stand
- Paper lanterns
And below you can flip through for some origami inspiration of amazing projects others have made.
Origami and Papercutting Inspiration Gallery
Pottery, Ceramics and Plaster
I didn't want to list this one for a while because I was afraid at how difficult it seemed. It turns out, though, that there are many, many ways of creating pottery and ceramics other than the typical fancy throwing wheel and enormous kiln.
Since it really depends on what type of pottery and ceramics you are interested in, it's worth taking a look at some of the options.
Painting on Already-Made Sculptures/Ceramics
This is something I have actually done before, and the main thing you need to know is to use a sealer of some kind before painting, as plaster is very porous, and your paint soaks right in. You can use something as simple as a mix of white glue and water or a commercially available product if you want something a bit sturdier.
You can also look for a ceramic piece to paint. This is a great thing to do with, say, a thrift store find that you want to redo to match your dishware or make a personal gift for someone. Use this gloss enamel paint. This blog post has a beautiful tutorial with pictures.Then you can embellish with either a very fine brush or these great little porcelain and ceramic paint pens. A project to consider with this is painting on ceramic tiles which you could then use as coasters or put into the kitchen or bathroom wall.
Creating Your Own Pieces without a Kiln
You can make your own piece with oven bake, air dry, or polymer clay
Polymer clay seems to be in having a heyday! It can be a bit finicky because it needs to be a fairly thin piece of clay so it doesn't burn the outside and leave the inside uncooked. But there are so many amazing projects you can do with this stuff.
The Essential Guide to Mold Making & Slip Casting
- Slipcasting is great for making multiples, or for making an object that's hollow on the inside (like a vase). This Instructables article tells you all about how to do it
- And then check out these amazing bowls made by slipcasting copies of real fruit and vegetables.
Creating Pottery and Ceramics With a Kiln AND Alternatives to Kilns
Handbuilding and Using a Kiln
- Other than needing a kiln, handbuilding is a fairly easy one to get started on because all you need is standard clay ($6-10 per 25 lb. bag).
- But the thing is you need a kiln. If you don't want to invest in one, I can completely understand why (they can cost around $700 for a tiny one!). If you do want to invest in a kiln, be sure to check out this list of things to understand and keep in mind when selecting a kiln. Happily, there are also alternatives to kilns (see below) and there are ways to borrow someone else's kiln. The best way is to find other potters, and a good article on how to do so can be found here. You could always post on a local forum such as Craigslist and ask if anyone has a kiln/pottery studio you could use.
- If you have never seen someone throwing pottery on a wheel, you should definitely check out a video (I like this one because there's no commentary), it is a beautiful, mesmerizing process that looks magical, gentle and like a vessel is growing right in the potter's hands.
- What does throwing on the potter's wheel mean? It sounds funny to the layman when you see it is literally called "throwing a vase" but it doesn't mean a vigourous, foreceful movement. It's precise and delicate. Here's another great pottery resource.
Sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidering and so on have seen a huge revival with the DIY revolution. There are so many amazing projects and tutorials on the web that it is almost impossible to know where to begin.
Consider starting small with a lap blanket or tea towel, and then move up to clothing and curtains and other home and personal accessories.
One of my favourite sites for these amazing DIY projects is Threadbanger. They post awesome videos and tutorials and even patterns on how to do their projects. Instructables is another great site with very basic demonstrations and tutorials on how to make a simple straight stitch, for example. If you aren't sewing by hand, you'll need to learn how to use a sewing machine.
This is my favourite embroidery book at the moment. It has a lot of modern and Scandinavian designs that you can use on all kinds of home and clothing items.
Once you have a few items made you might want to consider selling them! Etsy is an amazing site featuring homemade products. Start up a shop for free and start selling your items nationally or internationally! Some people have quit their jobs and become full-time Etsy sellers doing what they love!
One of the best parts about sewing and thread crafts is getting to choose your materials. It's addicting once you start collecting materials; you start feeling like a kid in a candy store when browsing all the options!
Many styles, many methods, and very portable
It hardly seems fair to lump painting together as one hobby, since really it is a category of hobbies. Watercolour painting is done with pigments in water. You can paint on a variety of media, including paper, papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood, and canvas.
Hobbyists often enjoy making watercolor journals. These can be used on car trips, in waiting rooms, in the park, and so on. You can make a small travel case that has a few pigments, a small container of water, some paper, a brush or two, and a pencil.
This is a pretty low-cost hobby, but it can be beneficial to get some training, whether just looking in a book, or taking a class. Learning some watercolour techniques can be very helpful and prevent you from getting discouraged.
Carpentry, woodcarving, building, etc.
Woodworking is a satisfying and creative hobby that people of all ages can do. It's a great activity for adults to work on with children, even, and can turn into a lifeskill or even a career! I just built a bench, thanks to an awesome youtube video I found. It's easy and amazingly satisfying to build and create with wood.
It may seem like this hobby is too complicated for most people: NOT TRUE! Check out these resources below, and be sure to watch the video to see just how easy it is to get started. Keep in mind that the most expensive part of any hobby is the start up cost, so you might be squeamish now, but just think that it doesn't stay that expensive. Once you have your main tools, everything is much cheaper.
- Safety Rules Every Woodworker Should Know
- Getting Started in Woodworking a multi-step (video) program designed to guide you through the basics of woodworking and furniture making.
- Fine Woodworking Videos plenty of basics
- Basic projects Bed, shelves, table, saw horse, coat hooks, etc.
Self-publish a mini magazine
Zines are often made based around a particular theme, such as poetry, activism, art, and is often done collaboratively with a group of friends or people of similar interests. It's a great project if you're looking for a creative hobby. Many zines are non-profit, but you can always try selling them online or at a local bookstore or cafe, or just hand them to people.
Here's my favourite zine site, We Make Zines. It's full of forums, tips, ideas, and ways to promote your zine. There are videos and zine events listed there too!
Don't be put off by the cut and paste look of a lot of zines. There are plenty of more professional looking zines, but you can also have it look as scrappy as you want. There's a zine culture going for that kind of look, but find your own niche!