Creative Ideas and Resources

Written by Jeanna, staff member, Halifax Central Library; and Sarah, staff member, Alderney Gate Public Library

Are you looking to add some creativity to your day but aren’t sure where to start? Have you always wanted to write a novel, or do you have an empty sketchbook you've been trying to fill up? Would you like to learn how to knit? Or how to play the guitar?

Anyone can learn a new skill or hobby. You don't need fancy tools or supplies; all you need is the willingness to try something new and be a little silly. Whether you're just getting started, or you're looking for fresh ideas and techniques, check out these activities, or our E-Library for some creative inspiration.


Creative projects at home

Doodle on it

Do you have any fliers, magazines, or newspapers lying around? Make sure that no one else wants them and then pull out your pens, pencils, crayons, markers (whatever you have around the house) and doodle. Give someone a moustache or a pirate hat; change headlines by blacking out words or adding them. Make this discarded piece of paper your own. It doesn’t have to be beautiful; it just has to be fun. Try this on cereal boxes–it's the perfect breakfast activity! 

Design your own BINGO/scavenger hunt

Create themed BINGOs for friends and family to play. There are so many to choose from: highway bingo, bus bingo, urban walk bingo, around the house bingo, and so much more. All you need to do is brainstorm 24 things to fill in a 5x5 grid (minus one free space). Then, see how long it takes to find them all. It's just as fun to design BINGO as it is to play. 

Make your own liquid watercolour

Do you have dried up markers or markers that you never use? Did you know that you can make your own watercolour with just jars of water and these markers? Dunk the markers, tip first, into the water and wait. Start with a little bit of water and add more later if you want to lighten the colour. Just make sure you only put similar-coloured markers into the same jar.

Creative mapping

There are so many ways to have fun with maps. Add new places or fanciful names, or you can decorate the route to your favourite place. Draw a map to something in your home and see if someone else can figure out where it leads. Make a treasure map! Hide something in your home and create a map to find it. The possibilities are endless. 

Blackout poetry

Blackout poetry is when a page of text is completely coloured over so only a few select words remain. Take a piece of an old magazine, newspaper, or book (or take a screenshot from your Libby or hoopla app!) and see if you can create a message using only a few words on the page. Then take a black marker, a Sharpie, or your photo edit skills to mark out all the other words. Blackout poetry is similar to scribble art because you are making something new from what is already there. It can be a challenge, but it forces you to think creatively. 

Here are some examples made by our staff members. (Click to expand images)


E-Books and Online Resources

Looking for some digital resources to help you tackle a new skill? Take a look below at what the Library can offer you. We've also rounded up these resources and more in one handy blog post.

Available on OverDrive:

If you've always wanted to draw or paint but haven't been able to find the time, try Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to Be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory. Through short lessons, drawing prompts and lots of visual inspiration, Gregory encourages readers to have fun with art and to make it a daily habit. 

Art Before Breakfast

New to crafting? Knit It! Learn the Basics and Knit 22 Beautiful Projects by Melissa Leapman covers everything you need to get started - from how to read patterns to fixing mistakes. Or try Macramé for Beginners and Beyond: 24 Easy Macramé Projects for Home and Garden by Amy Mullins and Marnia Ryan-Raison. 

Knit It!

Maybe you're bored with making the same old projects and you'd like to try something new. Learn how to make paper objects like a picture frame or pencil holder with Better Living Through Origami: 20 Creative Paper Projects for a Beautiful Home by Nellianna van den Baard and Kenneth Veenenbos. Or create your own art supplies from natural materials with The Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments and Prints from Nature by Nick Neddo. 

Better Living Through Origami

Online courses: Lynda.com

Lynda.com gives you access to a wide range of free courses that can help you develop your creative skills. You can learn how to make a film, play blues guitar, or compose a compelling photograph. Start sketching with Drawing Foundations: Fundamentals with Will Kemp, or take a course in digital painting. 

Interested in writing? The two-hour class, Writing: The Craft of Story with Lisa Cron could be a great place to start. Or if you're feeling stuck, try Conquering Writer's Block with Jessica Brody. Want to write a screenplay? There's a course for that. A blog post? A song? There are courses for those too. 

Learn more about using Lynda, here.

RBdigital Magazines

For experienced creators and those starting out, digital magazines can be a fun place to look for new ideas and inspiration. 

If you're a textile artist, there are lots of great magazines to choose from. Knitters can find a wealth of new projects in Creative Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knitscene, and The Knitter. For quilters, there's Love of Quilting and Quilting Arts Magazine. Others might like Interweave Crochet or Handwoven.  

For photographers, issues of Digital SLR Photography and Digital Photo Pro offer tips and ideas. Painters might want to browse a copy of The Artist's Magazine or Creative Artist. Woodworkers can find new projects in Popular Woodworking and Woodcraft Magazine

Learn more about using RBdigital, here.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Halifax Public Libraries