Whether it’s singing or sewing, learning a new skill isn’t only entertaining, but it’s hugely rewarding and can help boost your mood and wellbeing.
If you’re thinking about learning a new skill from home but would like some guidance to help you get started, then with the number of e-learning opportunities out there, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
We’ve put together a list of nine creative skills you can learn from home – from drawing and baking to creative writing and photography. So, whether you’re serious about learning or just on the lookout for something fun to do in your spare time, here are some practical suggestions for how to get started.
1. Creative writing
Writing a book is a dream for many – with getting started often being the hardest part. Today might just be the perfect time to get stuck into writing a story, but what if you need a helping hand or a bit of inspiration before you start?
Luckily, there are all kinds of online writing courses to help you brush up your skills, but first, why not kick off with a fun creative writing exercise?
Writing exercises may seem silly as you’re doing them, but you’ll be left with a new perspective on the art of writing – and often a fresh dose of inspiration. You can have a look at some other effective creative writing exercises from Bookfox here.
Reedsy Learning also offers a selection of free online writing courses you can do from the comfort of your home. Taught by experienced authors, these courses are a fun and lightweight way to learn.
Each morning with Reedsy, you’ll get a five-minute lesson delivered to your inbox on a subject of your choosing. With 50+ writing topics – including the mechanics of writing dialogue, how to write an irresistible romance, and how to edit your story – the only hard part will be choosing which course to do first.
The Open University’s free online creative writing courses are also popular options for beginners. For example, the Start Writing Fiction course covers characters, settings, and genre – and is helpful for those who’ve always wanted to write but lacked the initial courage to get started.
If you’re a fan of esteemed author Margaret Atwood, you might want to check out her Masterclass. It’s not the cheapest course around, but it’s extraordinarily thorough and gives you access to 23 video lessons taught by Atwood herself.
Covering key components of creative writing like story and plot, structuring your novel, and creating compelling characters – this class from the author of The Handmaid’s Tale is a chance to learn from someone at the top of the field.
Alternatively, you can check out the wide range of creative writing courses we have on offer on our site. For example, this course from Knowledge Door will set you up with a solid foundation to become a confident creative writer.
If you’re ready to start writing, you could also read our guide on how to publish a book, which draws from my own experience of getting published.
Start your literary journey today…
Whether you’ve always had a flair for the arts or haven’t picked up a brush since school, improving your artistic skills is as rewarding as it is relaxing.
Like many creative endeavours, there are plenty of other perks to painting. For example, it can help sharpen fine motor skills, build problem-solving skills, improve memory and concentration, and nurture emotional growth.
And if that wasn’t enough, painting can also help relieve stress and is incredibly meditative. Do you need any more reasons to get that easel out?
If you want to paint but aren’t sure where to start, why not visit YouTube channel WowArt’s YouTube Channel and try their fun daily challenges?
You can make toothbrush paintings, aluminium foil paintings, and cotton swab paintings. No special tools or skills are required, but you’ll need acrylic paint for many of the challenges. These can be purchased for little expense online, along with oil paints, watercolours, brushes, and any other equipment you need to develop your skills.
If you want to paint with watercolours, there are also two popular free classes on Skillshare that you might want to try: Learning to Paint Watercolour Flowers and Painting with Layered Washes.
Meanwhile, over on YouTube, there are plenty of free videos that’ll help you master other paint techniques. For example, you can learn the basics of oil painting with artist Lena Danya, be shown how to mix acrylic paints with the Will Kemp Art School channel, and brush up on your watercolour techniques with Mr Otter Art Studio.
Or, if none of these classes takes your fancy, you can browse the wide range of painting courses available on our website – such as Knowledge Door’s Ultimate Acrylic Painting course and the International Open Academy’s Start Watercolour Painting course.
Our article, Learn to paint, will also give you a complete overview of how to get started.
Want to inject a bit of colour into your day?
Aside from being able to make cosy hats, scarves, and jumpers for loved ones (and yourself), needlework has several other powerful benefits. It’s been proven to reduce stress, help with addiction, and could potentially prevent memory loss.
Anyone can learn to sew or knit; it doesn’t require any special skills or dexterity – just patience and a willingness to learn.
If you’re a beginner, All Free Knitting is a good place to start. You can download the beginner’s knitting booklet and familiarise yourself with the resources you need to kick things off, knitting vocabulary, and s brief overview of the actual knitting technique and process.
Then you can simply move through the tutorials at your own pace. The classes cover casting on, the knit stitch, binding off, the purl stitch, fixing mistakes, and your first knitting pattern. And, as the site name suggests, this course is entirely free.
Instructables also has 11 free knitting classes that are very well-reviewed. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never knitted before – these classes will show you how to make a stretchy ribbed scarf, a striped hat, and a pair of mittens.
Alternatively, over on Skillshare, for a small fee, you can receive tutorials on how to make specific items, such as a clutch bag or a slouchy hat. You can even learn to hand crochet a blanket.
Or for an overview of how to get started on your knitting journey, you might want to read our article; Learn how to knit.
Alternatively, if knitting isn’t for you and you’d rather learn to crochet, why not check out our upcoming Introduction to Crochet session over on Rest Less Events?
Few things can comfort us like the smell of freshly baked bread – and being able to bake your own is a great way to save money, learn some new skills, and have fun. Plus, if you have a sweet tooth, being able to knock up cakes, muffins, brownies, and macaroons whenever you like will be a lifelong investment.
If you’re mostly interested in baking cakes and sweet treats, top cooking website Bon Appétit has a great cake-baking YouTube tutorial series. In this five-part video series, pastry chef Claire Saffitz shows you the basics of the baking process, explains the art of cake filling and frosting, demonstrates how you assemble cakes, and explains everything you need to know about cake decoration.
YouTube also has lots of free bread-making tutorials. Depending on what type of bread you want to make, check out some of the following…
- Baking with Paul Hollywood, where The Great British Bake Off judge shows you how to make a white bloomer.
- An easy guide to making simple wholewheat bread.
- How to make French bread with Mary’s Test Kitchen.
- A quick and general bread-making overview from Jamie Oliver.
If you’re serious about developing your bread-making skills and want to bake more complex loaves like sourdough, then Udemy has a good selection of artisan bread-making courses too.
These in-depth courses will teach you all about fermentation, hydration, and autolysis (technical terms every baker worth their salt – or yeast? – should know) as well as how to make crusty and delicious sourdough loaves that’ll go down a treat.
For more learning options, check out the baking courses we have on offer on our site. You’ll find classes that’ll give you a wide, solid foundational skill set – such as the Knowledge Door’s Baking – Mother Dough – as well as more specific courses – like French Croissant – Baking.
Start whipping up baked treats
If you want to improve your drawing and sketching skills, why not head over to Drawspace, where there are lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels?
Free guided drawing courses include Getting Started with Drawing, Traditional Drawing (a five-week course), and Drawing People (a three-week course). Drawspace also has over 500+ self-directed drawing lessons, which are ideal for people who prefer to take their own route and set their own goals.
For something different – or to add something unique to your CV – you might want to have a look at the Skillshare Visual Thinking course, which is all about drawing data to communicate ideas. This type of functional drawing can help you communicate ideas faster, better, and stronger. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to share stories in a visual way, communicate, collaborate faster, and add an extra something to a pitch. Even better, it’s totally free!
If you’re willing to pay to advance your skills, the Ultimate Drawing Course from Udemy promises to take you from beginner to advanced. You’ll learn to draw perspective, realistic light and shadow, and the human face and figure. By the end of the course, you’ll understand the fundamentals of the art of drawing. All you need is paper, a pencil, an eraser, a ruler…and, of course, a good amount of motivation.
Or, if you want to learn painting skills as well as drawing, you could check out the upcoming Introduction to Ink Course over on Rest Less Events. Over the course of four sessions, London-based artist Caitlin Heslop will show you use ink and pencils to create still life and botanical pieces.
Alternatively, for a general overview, have a read of our article; Learn how to draw.
Start drawing today
Whether you’re a photography rookie or consider yourself a bit of a natural, there’s never been a better time to dust off that old camera and get snapping.
A decent free online learning resource is this course from Stanford University professor Marc Levoy. It’s aimed at complete beginners and covers information on lenses and optics, light and sensors, image processing and editing, and much more.
This course is available via a Youtube playlist and was taught to actual Stanford students, so you know it’s high quality!
If you want to learn from one of the best, world-renowned photographers, Annie Leibovitz has her own photography Masterclass, which you can access for a fee.
Over the course of 15 video lessons you can study topics including portrait photography, working with light, studio vs. location, and the technical side of photography. If you’ve ever wanted to take professional-looking portraits of your friends and family, this might be the course for you.
Even if you only use your phone to take photos, that doesn’t mean you can’t work on developing your photography skills. Udemy’s iPhone Photography course will show you how to replicate professional digital photography on your phone – including how to utilise shot composition, how to optimise iPhone settings to take the best pictures, and how to edit your final product.
You can browse more photography courses on our website. And to learn more about photography, why not read our articles; 8 fun photography projects that you can start today, How to take better photos with your phone, and A beginner’s guide to photography?
Improve your photography skills
It’s never too late to hone your cooking skills. Whether you’re already a dab hand in the kitchen or you struggle to boil an egg, cooking is one of those skills that needs very little investment. Whatever your taste preferences, budget, or diet, there are dozens of ways you can improve your cooking skills at home.
The most simple method is, of course, to learn from a cookbook – just as we’ve done for hundreds of years. However, if you want a bit more practical advice, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the number of free videos at your disposal.
Skillshare has some great ones. Brush up on your chopping skills with their free knife skills video tutorial, learn to make perfect thin-crust pizza, or take your time and learn the secrets of slow cooking.
If you want to learn from the pros and are happy to pay, Gordon Ramsay’s Cooking Masterclass will show you how to cook 13 restaurant-inspired dishes. Over eight different videos, you’ll learn how to make several delectable appetisers, mains, and desserts.
Meanwhile, fans of pasta should head over to Nonna Live to take part in virtual cooking classes with Nonna Nerina, an 84-year-old Italian Grandmother. During these live two-hour cooking classes, you’ll learn to make classic Italian dishes like lasagne, ravioli, fettuccine, and gnocchi, as well as which wines to pair each dish with.
For those of you looking for some new recipes to try out, you can visit the food and drink section of our website. And if you’re on the lookout for more culinary learning opportunities, you might be interested in our article, 9 of the UK’s best cooking classes, or the range of courses available through our website.
Whip up a storm in the kitchen
Just like art, research has shown that music can take your mind off your troubles and help lift your mood. It’s never too late to learn a musical instrument or even if you want to improve your singing voice.
There are thousands of musical tutorials on YouTube. From the drums to the cello and violin, there are too many free online tutorials on the internet to even try to list, but you can find 21 of the best on Acadoceo’s website.
Of course, while learning to play a musical instrument is absolutely something you can do yourself, many people benefit from a teacher.
You might want to try Yousician, which combines teaching with award-winning technology to give you instant feedback while you learn to sing or play the guitar, bass, ukulele, or piano. Signing up gives you access to more than 1,500 popular songs, lessons, and exercises across multiple music genres, and the huge video library covers all abilities – from total beginner to advanced. It isn’t free, but you can try it out for free for seven days to see if it’s for you.
Over on imusic-school, you can also learn to play 12 instruments including the harmonica, flute, drums, and clarinet – and you’ll be paired with a top teacher to guide you through the process. Again, signing up isn’t free, but it gives you unlimited access to all lessons and instruments, wherever and whenever you want. You can learn at your own pace, and with expert teachers at your service, you know you’re in good hands.
For more musical learning opportunities, why not take a look at the wide range of music courses we have on offer on our site? The general music section of our website might also give you some extra inspiration.
Browse all music courses available through Rest Less
9. Learn a language
Learning a language has many benefits. Discovering new cultures and being able to share stories with people in other countries are just a few of the obvious ones. Language learning also helps develop cognitive skills like mental flexibility, multitasking, listening, and problem-solving – and can significantly improve your job prospects too. But without going to a class, how can you pick up an entirely new language?
If you have a smartphone, you could try downloading Duolingo, a free language app where you can learn more than 30 languages – including Latin, for the history buffs among us.
You can spend as little as 10 minutes a day practising your speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, and these bite-sized lessons are seriously effective; you’ll be surprised at how quickly you progress.
Lessons are personalised and fun – you can race against the clock and earn points for each correct answer. You might even find yourself becoming somewhat addicted.
For something more in-depth, why not consider signing up for Rosetta Stone? With their interactive program, you can access online lessons, audio stories, and a phrasebook – either on your desktop or on their award-winning app. The first three days are free, and after that, you can choose whether you’d like to commit to a paid subscription for a fixed number of months.
Alternatively, we have a wide selection of free and paid-for courses on the Rest Less website that you can browse below. Because you only take online lessons at a time that works for you, courses are a super flexible way to learn a language, and perfect if you’re committed to learning seriously.
If you’d like more suggestions on how to get started on your language learning journey, it’s worth checking out our article on the benefits of learning a new language. You can also search our site for more language courses. Knowledge Door offers some great ones for beginners in French, Spanish, Italian, and many other languages.
Start your language-learning journey today
Or, if you’re not sure what language to start learning, why not check out our articles; 9 most spoken languages that are useful to learn and 6 languages that are easier for English speakers to learn, for some ideas?
It’s true that developing skills takes effort, patience, and motivation. But you’ll be able to enjoy the rewards and results long after. Plus, impressing friends, family, and your work colleagues with your new skills is just another thing to look forward to.
If you’re keen to learn but haven’t found something you like above, you could try heading over to the courses section of our website. There are currently 80,000 courses to choose from with a mix of free and paid-for learning opportunities.
Ready to get creative?