Mental and Physical Health

Use Odds and Ends for Fun Arts and Crafts for Seniors!

pink tissue paper daffodil

Craft activities are a great way to use scraps that might otherwise be thrown away. Pass time by keeping your hands busy without the pressure that comes with work or intense creative projects. In this article, I’ll give you my top three art projects and some resources for other arts and crafts projects.

Salt Dough Tea Candle Holders

What you need

  • flour
  • salt
  • water
  • colored beads from old jewelry or other crafts
  • food coloring, paints, etc.
  • tea candles


  1. Start by preheating your oven as low as it will go. Usually this is 170 degrees.
  2. Mix together four parts flour to two parts salt to one part water. Knead until a dry dough comes together, adding more water as needed. If you like, you can replace some of the water with paint or add a bit of food coloring.
  3. Once you’ve got the dough made, you can wrap it in plastic and keep it in the fridge or use it right away

When you’re ready to use the dough, it’s time to shape your candle holders! You can start with something as simple as a simple as a small mound and move up to more complex designs like flowers. Whatever shape you make, press the tea candle into the dough to make an indent. That way when the dough has dried, there is a perfectly-shaped divet for the tea candle to sit in.

While the craft in the video is pretty simple, you can use salt dough to create far more beautiful designs. Try pulling apart an old bracelet and imbedding the glass beads into the dough. Or use other colorful scraps like fabric and paper.

Once you’ve finished the craft, put it in the oven for about an hour to let it completely dry out. After it’s dry, you can paint it or varnish it with a clear coat. Then put in your tea candle and light!

This tea light craft comes from Red Tart Art, and you can find other tea light crafts from It’s Me, JD.

Tissue Paper Flowers

Tissue paper flowers are a great way to use up the tissue paper you receive in gifts. Once you’ve made them, they’ll last  pretty much forever. You can use them as table decorations or try covering a gift bag with flowers instead of plain tissue paper.

For a simple tissue paper flower, you’ll need colored tissue paper, scissors, and a stapler. You can create more complex flowers using craft wire, string, and pipe cleaner.

For tutorials to make any of the flowers above, just click on the image. You can find more tissue paper crafts on Wonderful DIY.

Orange Garland

These dried oranges are beautiful, especially around the holidays, and your house will smell wonderful when you make them. To make these, line a couple baking trays with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Slice your oranges as thinly and evenly as you can, blot the excess juice from them, and lay them out on your baking trays. You’ll need to bake them for about 2 hours, flipping them every 30 minutes and pulling them out as they finish. They don’t need to be perfectly dry when you remove them, they will harden as they sit out in the open air.

You can use these oranges for a variety of easy crafts including garlands and ornaments. Grab some twine in whatever color you like and be creative! Try using a cinnamon stick or some beads to make your craft even prettier. You can watch a video from This Lovely Little Farmhouse to see exactly how she does her beautiful dried orange garland.

Final Thoughts

Even if you don’t have the materials for these crafts, you’re sure to find tons of ideas online using whatever you do have on hand! Remember to show your friends and family your finished craft and consider inviting them to create along with you!