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Art Project Ideas to Aid in Recovery

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Table of Content

Art therapy, which is overseen by a trained therapist, is an effective therapeutic technique. This form of therapy has the potential to positively impact the creator’s well-being by alleviating and improving mental, emotional and physical challenges. Creating art is especially effective for individuals dealing with mental disorders as well as drug and alcohol addictions.

Art Projects to Try

There are endless techniques and methods you can use to take advantage of the benefits of art therapy. Here are some art project ideas that you might find beneficial during your recovery process:

Words-to-Live-By Collage

Paste together inspirational words or phrases onto cardboard or thick paper to make these collages. You can find words to cut out in old magazines, newspapers or picture books. You can even search for words online and print them out.

Memory Jar

To make a memory jar, first craft a jar out of clay. The process of mixing and molding the clay into a shape can feel very calming. Once you complete the jar, you can fill it with items that help you recall pleasant memories such as tickets or letters from a loved one.

Self-Care Box

Similar to a memory jar, a self-care box holds small trinkets or scraps of paper. You can make one by creating, painting and decorating a wood box. Then, you can add items that represent your idea of self-care. This can be anything from positive affirmations to notes that list goals you want to achieve.


Zentagles are patterns created inside of “tiles” on a sheet of paper. Creating these structured patterns can feel relaxing, and you can even color them in with pens or pencils once you’re done.

Watercolor Your Emotions

Certain colors can be strongly associated with particular moods and feelings. Watercoloring your emotions lets you select colors that illustrate current emotions so that you can express them in a very personal art piece.

Create Thank-You Cards

Recovery can spark feelings of gratitude for those who helped you get where you are. Making your own thank-you cards by painting, drawing or embellishing a stack of blank cards will make a lasting impact on you and recipient.

Make Your Own Affirmation

Use art therapy to make something you can carry with you that will encourage you when you need it. Whether it’s a piece of jewelry, a keychain or clothing, you can add images, words or colors that remind you of how you want to feel.

Benefits of Art for Recovery

Communicating through art has several benefits for individuals in recovery. When you take part in art therapy, you can reduce stress and express your emotions positively and safely. If you have a hard time quieting your mind or thoughts of your substance abuse, art can help you slow down the world and make you feel present.

How Gateway Foundation Can Help You Achieve Freedom From Addiction

Whether you are struggling with substance abuse, a mental disorder or both, our team of experts can help you get your life back on track. For over 50 years, the Gateway Foundation has been serving patients at all stages of recovery by offering evidence-based and individualized treatment programs.

We remain with our patients for life through programs such as our alumni group. To learn more about our specialized and personalized treatment options, please contact us today.

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