1. Paperclip Button Bookmarks
I’m picky about bookmarks because I’ve spent a pretty penny on my book collection and my children’s book collections. But these are adorable for using in journals and library books and they’re well thought out. Compliments of iheartnaptime.com.
Large vinyl-coated paperclip + Shank button + Hot glue + Felt backing = Paperclip Button Bookmark
2. Spoon Plant Markers
There are three things I look for in plant markers. (1) Simple enough a child can do it. (2) Reusable. That means the lettering should wash off so I can reuse the marker. (3) Durable. It should be able to withstand rain, wind, predators, and someone accidentally walking on it. These adorable markers do all three. Just use a Sharpie marker instead of metal stamps. Compliments of paperandplanes.wordpress.com.
You can find vintage spoons in the flatware section of any Goodwill and they’re really inexpensive. Home Depot and even most grocery stores sell rubber mallets in the hardware tool section.
Flattened vintage spoon + Sharpie marker = Vintage Spoon Plant Marker
3. Learn to Draw Trees
I love trees and so do my children. They give so much back to our environment. Trees are also one of the simplest things to draw and encourage children to think outside the box when it comes to drawing. Here’s a simple set of trees to practice with. For the truly reluctant child try printing this set of trees out and giving them tracing paper to trace them. Then color in with colored pencils. For the more enthusiastic artist, try drawing on rocks with a Sharpie marker, then painting with acrylic paints. Finish off with a clear varnish or topcoat. Compliments of iheartprintsandpatterns.blogspot.com.
4. Fairy Watercolor Castles
My children and I are into fairies and are fascinated with castles. This is a fun activity/craft for kids to do for moms for Mother’s Day. Start with a square, add a couple of columns and some triangles, a semicircle for a door, and maybe a few flags. Voila, you’re done. You can start with the hefty Strathmore watercolor paper, draw the castle, and then fill in with watercolor. Or you can clean a large rock, draw a castle with Sharpie marker, paint with acrylic paint, and seal with clear varnish. Either way, it’s a very adorable gift, one I would love to get for Mother’s Day (hint, hint). Compliments of deepspacesparkle.com.
5. Shell Mirrors
My children and I have a fondness for beaches and sea shells. We’ve been collecting them since my children were old enough to walk. One way to preserve those memories is to glue the shells to a wall mirror and hang it in their rooms. It also makes an incredibly thoughtful gift. The photo is compliments of bhg.com, but the idea has been around since my grandparents’ time (circa 1930s to 1940s).
Shells + Hot glue + Wall mirror = Shell Mirror
6. Styrofoam Printmaking 101
Printmaking is a very cool hobby. If you use styrofoam, it’s also very affordable. In this example, they used styrofoam from takeout, washed, rinsed, and dried before using. Compliments of theberry.com.
Styrofoam takeout container + Pencil + Acrylic paint or ink + Ink roller + Heavyweight art paper = Styrofoam Prints
7. Repurposed Crayons or Rainbow Crayons
Can you ever get enough crayons? I used to buy ten of the large boxes every time they went on sale and we still never had enough. Crayons make the coolest art projects. You can cover the artwork with a cloth or wax paper and heat it with an iron on low. The crayon melts and makes a beautiful faux watercolor drawing. In this craft project, take old crayon pieces, pop them into a silicone mini cake tray, and bake. Silicone works well in the oven but you should still use a vegetable oil spray first so your crayons pop out easily. You can wipe them down after they cool off. They have a lot of silicone trays now that are decorative and at least one is the shape of a chubby crayon. 😉 (Original source no longer findable as this was uploaded to Flickr.)
Crayon pieces + Silicone tray + Oven time = Rainbow Crayons
8. Lego Bowls and Containers
When your kids outgrow Legos what do you do with all those little blocks? Make something. In this case bowls, pencil cups, kitchen utensil holders, or even planters. After your child puts together a bowl, container, or holder, go back and connect the pieces permanently with silicone sealer (waterproof glue) or hot glue. Bowls compliments of catchhisheartbeat.com. Utensil holder and bowl compliments of Lenore Edman on Flickr.
Lego blocks + Hot glue = Lego Bowl/Container
9. Cork Boats
The most wonderful thing about these is that they really float! If you live near a small creek, it’s fun to make boats and sail them down the creek. If your children are older, you can play with them at the beach, but make sure they know the limits of how far they’re allowed to go into the surf. Compliments of krokotak.com.
Three wine corks + Two rubber bands + One toothpick + One plastic triangle sail = Cork Boat
10. Painted Cactus Rocks
Rock painting is inexpensive and very rewarding. The works of art your children create will last a lifetime. The easiest garden to maintain is a rock garden and this is no exception. These are not real cacti; they are painted rocks. Place them in a pot of white rocks and give them as a gift to someone with a black thumb. Original link no longer goes to the artist. 🙁
Clean rocks + Acrylic paints + Clear varnish topcoat = Painted Cactus Rocks