Great Crafty and DIY Books for Stress Relief: Stickers, Scratch Art and More

Posted by on Dec 03, 2018

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The adult coloring book craze proved a few things things. 1) Many people pine for a time when all they had to worry about was staying within the lines. 2) Plenty of crafters use hobbies as stress relievers. 3) Coloring is just one of many zen hobbies that can be found in new crafty books. Here are several recent books that allow you to zone out without the need for colored pencils or crayons.

Sticker Books

If the last time you focused on stickers you were adhering Lisa Frank unicorns to your Trapper Keeper, you’ll probably be taken aback by the Paint By Sticker and Stick-A-Pix series. These books are more like creating mosaics with hundreds of stickers of varying sizes.  

When you’re browsing through these sticker books online or in a store, a lot of them will look the same. There are small differences you should keep in mind. 

Paint By Sticker is best for the person who really enjoys “Where’s Waldo” searching. The cat pictures, still lifes and rock star portraits will having you hunting for numbers and letters in ways that can take you a couple of minutes to find. Most people will probably need more than one sitting to finish the pages, but finishing the images is extremely satisfying. Keep in mind, the user will likely need a good pair of eyes or strong prescription glasses to see some of numbers and place the stickers. That said, the resulting images are impressively detailed.

The mosaic-style images of Barron’s “Geometrics” book is similar in style to Paint By Sticker but the numbering system is a little simpler so users probably won’t need to do quite as much hunting for just the right sticker placement. 

Workman Publishing also makes “Paint By Sticker Kids,” in case you know someone who would be happy making smaller, less complicated images. It can be a great project to do with a kid of any age who can peel a sticker off a page. An older kid or adult will need to place the sticker in the lines. Of course, if no one is worrying about staying within the lines you can just stick the stickers anywhere. 

Sticka-Pix books are more freeform (see the lead image in the article). Creators are given a page of stickers to use on a particular image of a sailboat or ocean but there are no numbers or letters to match — you just need to match a sticker into the appropriately shaped outlines. A Sticka-Pix book outlines triangles, circles and rectangles of various sizes and you need to find corresponding outlines on the relevant page. This approach allows the reader to inject a little more personal creativity into the page. Some pages intentionally leave out all of the stickers with the expectation the user will finish the image by coloring with pencils. The “On the Move” book of images of trucks and submarines are definitely appropriate for older kids and teens. “In the Ocean” and “In the Jungle” can work for teens and animal loving adults.

Scratch Art

Have decades passed since you did any serious scratch art — scratching away a black layer to reveal a colors underneath? Something about etching away at a piece of paper is extremely satisfying even if the final result isn’t amazing, it can still be fun and relaxing. If you’re looking for an alternative to coloring that’s even more chill, scratch art is the way to go. Scratch Magic "Mandalas" and "Flowers" each include you 10 designs for the scratcher to reveal into colorful images. Don’t worry about making a mistake, you’ll still come up with something pretty if you scratch outside the lines. Plus you can use the scratching as art therapy to exorcise any ill will that’s been simmering. For scratchers who want to create original designs, Barrron’s makes the Magical Scratch Zen Doodling Kit which has 20 blank “scratch sheets.” 

Sterling also publishes themed series of super scratch art pads including “Under the Sea” and “Mythical Creatures.” The collections are geared toward an older kid to adult market.

3D Paper Art

pop up coloring pages
For adult coloring enthusiasts who want to take their work to the next level there are several 3D paper art books, including “Amazing Creatures” by the Craft Academy. Once colored, the perforated pages can be shaped to make the snake curl around the page, the crocodile pop-up at the reader and plenty more. “Pop-Up Cards” takes the approach further by enabling the creator to make cards.

Stress Relief Book

If you want a DIY book that focuses on stress relief, take a page from IDunnGoddess and fill a binder with bubble wrap, clay and other tactile mini-projects that can help you melt tension.

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