Round up those antsy kids for a Sharpie Tie Dye from The Art Girl Jackie.

Get ready for the sun shine with this colorful DIY.

 

Please click here to visit The Art Girl Jackie and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 – Alicia

Mission: To create a tie-dyed effect shirt with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Very strange, but we will try it!

 

Details:

This project is pretty straight forward. I really did not want to go out and buy materials for this so I used what I had at home.

  • The Rubbing Alcohol I used was 70% and worked fine.
  • We had 4 Sharpie colors to work with: Orange, Red, Blue and Silver
  • I found a cotton dress shirt at Target for $2 and thought, if this turns out to be a bust, it only cost $2 bucks.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Make sure to use a newspaper or wax paper and place inside the shirt to prevent running or staining. The original post suggest making your pictures very small because it will spread like gangbusters. I let the kids go crazy with it.

Make sure that the rubber band and shirt is secure and tight- you will get a crisper image.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Pros:

My kids loved it and was so quick to make.

Cons:

The design is not as cool as it is in the original post.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Conclusion:

I did not have a high expectations with this project and it actually turned out really cute. Such a creative way besides using the traditional tie-dye kits.  The final result is very cool!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Maren

Mission: Get some tie-dye action without the hassle of… tie dye.

 

Details:

  • I had 70% Rubbing Alcohol at home, so I went with it.
  • I always have Sharpies on hand!
  • I tested this project out on a 79¢ dishtowel that I picked up at IKEA.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Instead of an eye dropper, I channeled my inner 8 year old and did the straw trick that would always get me yelled at at restaurants.

Some of my Sharpies worked much better than others.  Maybe because some of them were newer?  Regardless, you may want to test them out beforehand so that you get the best results.

When I was done, I blotted the dishtowel with paper towels to pick up any excess rubbing alcohol and then hung it on the clothesline to dry out.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Pros:

Incredibly easy.  Not too stinky!

Cons:

Not quite the real thing.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Conclusion:

This project was super easy and quick.  I think that if they can handle the smell, that it would be right up most kid’s alley.

As a gal with a little granola in her blood though, there’s nothing like the real thing!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Sheri

Mission: My son is always asking me to make tie-dye shirts… I just don’t have the patience for it. When I saw this simple “tie-die” solution, I knew we just had to try it.

 

Details:

There is something about a fresh set of colored markers that makes me happy.

  • I grabbed a full 12-pack of Sharpies, even knowing my son would probably stick with just the greens and blues.

This was a learn as you go/trial and error project. The directions state to make a design the size of a quarter or half dollar using colors that are near each other on the color wheel, which make a nice transition into one another.

The first design my son made didn’t spread well. As we moved along the shirt we found that if you placed your colors a little closer together and made bolder lines and dot, they blended much more nicely together. We even added some color to the outside rim of the cup as suggested in the original post.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

If you don’t have a dropper, use a straw!  Simply immerse the straw into the rubbing alcohol and then block off the top.  This worked well.

Larger blots of color placed closely together, makes for the best “blend.”  I also recommend using different sized cups or Tupperware containers.

Don’t forget to heat set the color by tossing the shirt in the dryer for a while.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Pros:

Cute and easy!

Cons:

My son was very turned off by the smell of the rubbing alcohol and I ended up finishing the project.

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!

Conclusion:

My son’s only complaint was that the shirt was “not filled up.” I got put back to work making more circles of fun color. He loved the fun colors and the variation of design.

I loved the easy clean up! I just tossed the solo cups into the trash and put my markers away. I know for sure that my niece is going to love doing this project on her next visit.

 

We Tried It - Sharpie Tie-Dye!


The darling
Sharpie Tie Dye and photo by The Art Girl Jackie

 


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This Little Life of Mine has the cure to the ever popular, “Mom, I’m bored” heard from time to time in homes across the entire universe. 
Her darling Sandpaper and Crayon Transfer Designs use only one electronic device, and it’s not a computer!

 

We are always on the hunt for creative and fun activities to do with our little ones.  As the summer hours tick away, we thought we better test this clever project out stat!

 

Please click here to visit This Little Life of Mine and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 – Alicia

Mission: Who knew that sandpaper, crayons and an iron would create a fun project for my crazy kiddos?! What a creative idea!

 

Details:

We rolled up our sleeves and dove right into this project.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I would recommend using old crayons like Amnah mentioned, because the sandpaper will really wear them down.

Make sure you push down on the crayons and color hard on the sandpaper to make sure the transfer is vibrant.

Also, remember to run the iron over the sandpaper and cloth a few times to make sure image has transferred. I made the mistake of not doing this and had to go back and re-do it.

Caution- sandpaper and shirt are hot!!!!

Alicia - Sandpaper 1
Pros:

What a great idea!

The kids were super excited to see their masterpieces. In fact, my Son told me that we need to make “Hundreds” of them.

Cons:

If your coloring is light, it is hard to see it on the shirt.

Alicia - Sandpaper 2

Conclusion:

This is a great craft project for any age! My kids had a blast creating their T-shirts and have been hounding me to make more. They also informed me that they prefer to wear these shirts to bed over their regular PJ’s.  Oh boy!!! (Insert eye roll). I might also mention that they are still currently wearing their T-Shirts and it is the next day. This will be a long, stinky week!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Amanda

Mission: Keep my daughter busy with a craft she can proudly wear!

 

 

Details:

  • I purchased a white, cotton V-neck shirt from Target (my favorite place to find cheap but quality kids clothes).
  • We used Crayola Crayons and medium grit sandpaper.

I instructed my daughter to choose a design that didn’t have any letters or numbers (since they would be backwards) but let her have creative freedom over the design otherwise. She went at it!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Choose crayon colors that are deep and vibrant. It seemed like the lighter and even medium tones didn’t really show as well.

I cannot stress enough that it is really important to color heavily on the sandpaper in order for the transfer to come out clear.

Amanda - Sandpaper 1

Pros:

This project is SO perfect for a rainy day or a project on the fly.

We almost always have sandpaper on hand and you could really use any lightly colored shirt or surface (think pillow cases or canvas bags).

Cons:

Our design wasn’t as bright as expected and even though I did the additional blotting with the paper towel and 20 minutes in the dryer to “set” the color, it still ended up on the sleeve and back of the shirt.

Amanda - Sandpaper 2

Conclusion:

This would be a really fun activity for a birthday party and then the kids could take them home as the favor. We will definitely do this again!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Sarah

Mission: To find a fun craft project the kiddos and I can do together!

 

Details:

sandpaper_6_afterironThis project called for minimal elements, which always makes for a good kid project.

With the three kiddos, we have a TON of crayons in this house, so it was a given that we’d try this one out. My husband said we had sandpaper in the garage, but I could find it NOWHERE – go figure! And, the kids and I decided we’d do the project on canvas bags, so we visited our local JoAnn Fabrics store to find blank canvas bags and sand paper.

  • We chose tan canvas bags and found 240 grit sand paper – who knew you can find sand paper at a craft store!

The kids began the project by coloring on their sheets of sand paper – the only ones that JoAnn Fabrics had were pretty small, so the art area wasn’t too large.

I used the third sheet of sand paper to color an “M” and “S” for the kids bags.

When the kids were done with their images, I set to work ironing them onto the bags.

I had my iron on the hottest setting and set a piece of cardboard under the bag as recommended. I also used an old t-shirt on top to protect the sand paper from the heat. After about a full minute of ironing over the image area, I removed the sand paper to see how the image transferred. It wasn’t as amazing as we all had hoped. The colors were very muted and the image wasn’t very crisp.

After we were done, the kids set to work on stuffing their new bags with goodies. They are obsessed with bags these days – always filling them with toys, books, and trinkets and taking them with us everywhere!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

In hindsight, the kids didn’t push very hard when coloring, so maybe that would have helped?

Sarah - Sandpaper 1

Pros:

Purposeful item when complete – who can’t use a bag!

If the kids get tired of these, they are great for heading to the grocery store.

Cons:

The colors were very muted and the image wasn’t very crisp.

Sarah - Sandpaper 2

Conclusion:

Though a fun project for the kids to try, we didn’t have great end results, so I’m not sure that I’ll have us try it again.

I am curious as to whether using a different sand paper grit weight would bring about a better end result.

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Sheri

Mission:  I love finding fun crafts for the kids that inspire their creativity. This looked like the perfect little project, most especially for my oldest who LOVES to draw.

 

Details:

One thing I loved about this project is that it was very inexpensive and it gave the kids the chance to express themselves.

They were first surprised about sandpaper. “You mean it’s like sand on paper?”

My son decided to draw a sting ray. He was excited for our upcoming trip to the aquarium. I made sure he pressed down with above moderate force to get the crayon wax embedded into the sand.  As noted in the post, letters and numbers get transposed, do them backwards.

After he did all of his work, I went forth and did mine. I warmed the iron up on the highest setting. I found some cardboard and followed Amnah’s directions precisely. I did at least ten strokes with the iron over the design.

It transferred better than I thought it would. I then set it by putting two paper towels over the design and ironing it again. This really does help pull up any extra wax.

Into the dryer it went for 20 minutes and then onto my boy. He was thrilled to see his own design on his shirt.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Press down and really get the wax into sandpaper.

Sheri - Sandpaper 1

Pros:

The smiles were priceless.

The fact that it wasn’t a messy project, even better.

Cons:

Not sure how many washes it will hold up to (one wash and we’re still good).

Sheri - Sandpaper 2

Conclusion:

This was a fun project. My oldest already has more ideas of designs he wants to make. I better get some more sandpaper.

What I personally love about it the project is that it was inexpensive and it wasn’t messy. I also love seeing the creativity and the personal representations of themselves in their artwork.

 

 Sandpaper Conclusion


The darling
Sandpaper and Crayon Transfer Designs and photos by This Little Life of Mine


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Do you remember making forts when you were a kid like we do?  Our hearts fluttered when we saw the A-Frame Pup Tent by Lindsay & Drew thinking about how much fun it would have been to have a fun little spot like that!

 

Time to bust out some power tools and make a tent!  Next stop, a campfire with cowboys in the desert, or maybe we’ll be astronauts building a house on the Moon!

 

Please click here to visit Lindsay & Drew and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Amanda

Mission: Put my hubby to work (and his power tools) to create a playful little hide out that my kids will enjoy and will be easy to store.

 

Details:

  • I busted out an old flannel flat sheet of my daughter’s for this project. In our house flat sheets are not our friends so we put it to good use. It was twin size and perfect for this project.
  • I put my hubby in charge of purchasing the other supplies and although I was VERY specific he still felt the need to deviate and purchased a larger PVC tube. He of course gave that a try and realized that as usual I was correct in my original request. Never cross a momma on a mission!
  • We ended with the same materials used in the original post plus a little coupling to hold the wood in place and keep the tent a little more stable.

Amanda - Tent 1

Tips & Tricks Learned:

The coupling made a huge difference! I highly suggest it.

Also, it is key that you attach the inner wood piece to the inside of the A-frame and not the bottom. It will keep the whole thing more stable and may actually reduce the need for the coupling.

You may need to sand the inside of the whole slightly in order to fit the PVC inside it. That was our experience anyway.

Amanda - Tent 2

Pros:

The materials needed are fairly cheap and easy to find.

I felt it was such a bonus to use old sheets but I bet you could find them on the cheap at a second-hand store!

Think of all the fun your kids could have inside on a rainy day or outside when it is hot.

Cons:

I am not all that comfy with power tools so I left that part up to my hubby.

I would be very interested in learning how to use them…maybe in my next life.

Amanda - Tent 3

Conclusion:

This was a huge success.  Now to build two more so my kids will stop fighting over the one we have already built.

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #2 – Alicia

Mission: Create a cool, foldable tent for my kids!

 

Details:

I was super excited to give this a try- how hard could it be to make an A-frame tent?! Apparently HARD!!! Holy-heck this project was a pain in my rear.

I carefully read all the directions and set out to Home Depot for supplies.

  • I guess I was totally not paying attention and purchased 3 1×1” boards (which required 1×2),
  • ¾” PVC pipe, caps and my hubby’s brawn to saw and attach. Yeah right!

So we begin to drill and noticed that the PVC pipe is ¾” in the middle and about 1” total in diameter. My hubby has a ¾’ drill bit and there was no way, even with wiggling the drill bit back and forth, it would fit. Back to Home Depot to purchase a 1” drill bit at $15 bucks- oh gesh! At this point I think Mark is about to leave me- seriously!

Alicia - Tent 1

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Make sure, absolutely sure that you get all the correct boards and measurements for this job. It is pretty intense.

If you do purchase smaller boards, be careful not to split the wood with your drill (which totally happened to us). Home Depot loved us that week.

Alicia - Tent 2

Pros:

The final product is really cool.

Cons:

It is a little advanced for me. Not as easy as I thought.

Also, this tent is huge. I mean 5 feet long HUGE, but it does fold up.

Alicia - Tent 3

Conclusion:

I think I bit off a little more than I could chew with this project. Mark pretty much took this project over from start to finish. I think I attached the caps and helped staple on the fabric. My kids’ absolutely love it, though. My son has been under this thing for days; he has even been sleeping under it.

 

 Tent Conclusion


The darling
A-Frame Pup Tent and photo by Lindsay & Drew


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A love for fruit snacks is almost mandatory in the kid world these days, but what’s in those things anyway? 
Mama Mouse Says
has shared her own recipe for homemade Gummy Fruit Snacks made with easy ingredients that may already be in your refrigerator!

 

Always searching for healthy treats to feed to our little ones, we were eager to give this clever recipe a try!

 

Please click here to visit Mama Mouse Says and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #1 – Alicia

Mission: I have always wanted to try and tackle a homemade fruit snack recipe but had been a bit discouraged by the lack of easy-to-follow recipes. This recipe was super simple and I am all about fast and easy, and kid approved or course!

Details:

I followed the recipe exactly.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

You definitely need a food processor to create this recipe. I suppose you could use a blender and get the same results. I did find that by blending/pulsing the mixture, I got a lot of air bubbles. Let your mixture settle a bit before pouring into your pan and LEAVE in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.

Also, being the goofball that I am, I purchased 6 full packages of the gelatin at the store not realizing that one package contains 4 pouches inside. DUH! You don’t have to twist my arm to make more.
Alicia - Snacks 1

Pros:

Very healthy and delicious.

Cons:

By using a small fondant/cookie cutter, you have a lot of wasted product, although it looks so pretty.

Alicia - Snacks 2

Conclusion:

My kids loved these snacks so much, that they gobbled up my first batch before I even noticed. I am so thrilled on how easy it was to make and that I know exactly what is in them. No artificial flavors or colors- YES!!!!!

This is a must try recipe. 2 sticky-thumbs up!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Amanda

Mission: Make a yummy and healthy treat for the kiddos.

 

 

Details:DSCN7948

I followed Mama Mouse’s recipe exactly with the exception of needing slightly more juice as I was a little shy on fruit juice.

  • I chose a little Mott’s apple juice with veggies. It worked like a charm!
  • I also used a sweet little cutter to made quarter sized flowers. They were very pretty but a little fussy.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

As soon as I poured the liquid puree into my cookie sheet I decided that I needed a smaller pan for next time. My gummies ended up being a little bit thinner than I wanted.

I also lined the pan with a layer of Glad Press’n Seal for ease of removing the gummies.

Amanda - Snacks 1

Pros:

This really was a great sweet treat packed with fruit and very little sugar.

Cons:

I would have liked for them to be a little more like fruit leather rather than slightly tacky like they were.

Also, if I make these again I will just cut little squares instead of using a cutter.

Amanda - Snacks 2

Conclusion:

This was a fun experiment with VERY edible results. My kids thought they were very fun to eat too.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Sheri

Mission: My kids are crazy for fruit snacks but I recently cut them out of their diet and now I’m the bad guy. Maybe this all-natural homemade fruit snack recipe will fill the void and make me “Awesome Mom” again.

 

Details:

This was a very easy recipe to follow.

  • I chose to use strawberries because it’s a fruit that all three of my boys love.
  • For juice I used Newman’s Pomegranate Lemonade, another winner in our house and it also provided the citric component the recipe called for.

The first thing I did was line the tray with plastic so I would be ready. I then poured the juice into the blender. I quickly heated up the diced strawberries and honey. While they were heating up I added the 5 packets of gelatin.

I combined all of the ingredients as directed and poured it onto the try. It looked a bit frothy. I let them set overnight. When I took the tray out in the morning it still didn’t look hard enough. I left it there a few more hours and it was still strange looking. It was an odd combination of spongy and rubbery. Honestly, it reminded me of the nasty gel-like ring when you open a can of wet dog food. Blech.

I cut them up and passed them onto my taste-testers. It got a 1 out of 3. My oldest was thrilled; the other two guys spit them out. I think it was just a texture thing.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I think adding a 6th packet of gelatin might give it a better texture.

Sheri - Snacks 1

Pros:

They’re not as sticky as store-bought gummies which stick to their teeth.

Cons:

The texture isn’t quite right and a little repulsive.

Sheri - Snacks 2

Conclusion:

One out of three boys enjoyed these strawberry bites.

I love that it was a really easy recipe using real fruit and no artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup. There just has to be some sort of way to get the texture a little better. Honestly, I’m not sure I would try this again.

 

 

Fruit Snack Conclusion


The lovely
Gummy Fruit Snacks and photo by Mama Mouse Says


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Move over Pottery BarnThe Crafting Chicks have made the most adorable Felt Valentine Envelopes to fill with sweets for their sweeties this Valentine’s Day.

 

Since we a.) love felt b.) love holidays and c.) love our sweeties, this project was right up our alley!

 

Please click here to visit The Crafting Chicks and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Amanda

Mission: Get my hot glue gun out and make something purdy that my kids will love year after year.

 

Details:

This little project was fun because I recently finished another felt project (mermaid tails for my kiddos) and it inspired me to go wild and pick up some embellishments like sequins,  ric rac, felt hearts and felt heart stickers.

  • I purchased all of my supplies at Joann and since some of them were purchased previously I could only estimate that I spent roughly $15.00.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

HelpersA toothpick will save your life. Okay maybe not your life but for sure your fingertips! I decided after the first few lines of rick-rac that my fingers were not going to make it through this project so I busted out one of my fancy appetizer toothpicks (they are thicker and more sturdy). It worked beautifully and allowed me to really push the embellishments into the felt without severe burns.

I also advise that if you have not worked with felt and a hot glue gun before beware of the amount of glue you use. Less is more! You will find that if you have too much glue when putting your envelope together it will show through and you will then be forced to cover it with some kind of decorative embellishment.

I used my handy Rotary Cutter whenever possible and it worked SO WELL! I am really anal about this and found that it created the easiest straight line with little effort and zero frustration. After the first round of measuring and cutting I had it down pat but since I had two helpers my concentration was limited. Good thing this was pretty easy to fudge if I measured incorrectly in some areas. I ended up cutting one of the envelopes down just a little to get everything to line up and it was just fine!

Amanda - Valentine 1

Pros:

Cheap, cheerful and really just a sweet tradition to fill every year for Valentine’s Day.

I am considering making one for each of my kids teachers too, since I still have felt and embellishments left over.

Cons:

The only con I can come up with is just the hot glue gun being a little messy but I think if I upgraded to a proper crafting glue gun, things would be so much easier!

Amanda - Valentine 2

Conclusion:

Loved this project and the idea behind it. I think it would have been nice to have had stiffer felt but using some that I already had was just so handy.

I recommend this to anyone with a loved one that they like to give goodies to on Valentine’s or any holiday really. You could change up the colors and embellishments. It would be fun to do a birthday envelope too!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sheri

Mission: I always find wonderful and fun things for the kids when I am skimming through the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. They always have the best holiday gifts. I always tell the boys that the best gift ever is love. Not toys…just love. We like to have a little valentine celebration each year to remember that. These envelopes are perfect for our party. Much like Christmas stockings and Easter baskets, I can fill these envelopes with notes of love, and remind them how special they are. I might even sneak in a couple of chocolates.

Details:

While embarking on this project I really wanted to make my envelopes a little more masculine. I found this great red felt that had an alligator skin texture. The boys loved it!

The instructions provided by The Crafting Chicks were easy to follow. A bit tedious having to measure everything seeing I was making 3 envelopes, but it went by faster than I presumed.

Once the envelopes were put together (thank you hot glue!), we got to be creative. I let the kids pick out their own decorations.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Don’t try gluing the entire envelop at once… one half at a time so the glue stays hot.

Sheri - Valentine 1

Pros:

Now need to sew! Thank you hot glue gun.

Cons:

Pulling all the little spare hot glue strands off everything! Darn you hot glue gun.

Sheri - Valentine 2Conclusion:

I actually really enjoyed making these and the kids love them! They can’t wait for our Valentine’s Day party. The project actually got me missing cross-stitching. I haven’t done that since I was kid. I can’t wait to hang them and fill them with little notes and some Hershey Kisses. They are now requesting I get more alligator felt to make stuffed animals…I’m frightened, that requires sewing.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Sarah

Mission: To create a darling Valentine envelope for my kiddos’ sweet valentines.

 

Details:

inprocessI LOVE felt! So, this project was one I was pumped about from the beginning! And, I LOVE using my glue gun, so again, a great project!

  • I picked up all of my felt supplies and adornments at Joann. I grabbed the traditional Valentine colors for the felt and I found some great gold sequins, felt sticker embellishments and ric rac.
  • I began the process by cutting out my felt to the correct shapes according to the directions. I was unable to find the larger sheets of felt, so our envelopes were made of three 9 x 12” felt sheets, which worked great!
  • After prepping the envelope forms, I let the kids go to town with the felt stickers – they would place them and then I would adhere them with the hot glue gun. The kids then picked out what ric-rack and sequin details they wanted and I helped by gluing them on as well.
  • These were done in no time, though the kids wanted to continue to add stickers to theirs which is why some of them turned out a bit chaotic. After we were finished, I added lace to the back so they could be hung in our home.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Felt is very forgiving, so don’t stress if things are cutting perfectly.

If you want to do this with your children, pick up some of the felt stickers – this allowed the kids to have a big part in the creation.

Sarah's Sweeties

Pros:

You can use your hot glue gun – I have an addiction to mine!!

And, these turn out adorable and are a great parent & kid craft project!

The kids had a BLAST with this project and have been toting them around the house since we made them. Though my kids won’t receive many Valentines this year since they aren’t school age, it was a great project!

Cons:

I honestly can’t think of any. If I were more skilled in hand sewing, I would have tried the hand-stitch for another cute finished look.

Sarah Valentine 2

Conclusion:

I absolutely LOVE the end result and even made an extra one to send to my niece for Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #4 – Alicia

Mission: Felt project again? My lucky day!

 

envelope openDetails:

This project came together very quickly and very inexpensive.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

This project is pretty straightforward. You could certainly use your sewing machine to create smooth edges, but not necessary.

Pros:

Quick and easy and the different possibilities are endless!

Cons:

None! Although I am not great at making a straight line with hot glue.

Alicia Valentine 2

Conclusion:

What a great project! Who doesn’t love getting mail, especially in a cute envelope! I have decided to make one of these envelopes for each of my kids, 4 Nieces and 2 Nephews. 8 total! Well, maybe that might be a lot of work.

 

Valentine Conclusion

 

The lovely Felt Valentine Envelopes and it’s photo by The Crafting Chicks


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PlaydoughRecipe.org has a nearly 20 recipes for homemade playdough to share.  We were excited to learn about their Jello Playdough which uses the fruity gelatin to add light color and a yummy aroma.

 

With cold temps outside and antsy kids inside, this sounded like a recipe for a fun afternoon!

 

Please click here to visit PlaydoughRecipe.org and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sheri

Mission: Attempting to make my own play-dough for the first time ever. The boys’ school has sent a homemade play-dough recipe home with us every year but we’ve never made it. However, this recipe was different, this recipe called for Jello. It’s going to smell yummy. I must admit I was a bit frightened after our disappointment when we made our own finger paints.

Details:

I read the instructions multiple times before starting. I decided NOT to include the kids in this one. The recipe scared me a bit. It let me know that there was a large margin for failure. What I got out of it…keep stirring and don’t burn it!

  • I chose Melon-Burst Jello. It smelled good and was a light color that let me make the dough blue and green dough, as the kids requested.
  • I first combined all of the ingredients in a bowl.
  • I then put the ingredients in a sauce pan and kept stirring, and stirring, and stirring some more. Sip of wine, stir some more. Finally it started to tighten up and form a ball.
  • I dumped it onto wax paper to cool. As I examined the blob I began to think I should have let it cook a little bit more, it looked a bit sticky. Well it didn’t just look sticky, it was sticky. I ended up adding quite a bit of flour to it to tighten it up.
  • Then I added gel food coloring. I was worried that this would end up staining the kids’ hands when they played with it, but it didn’t.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Adding flour while kneading will help to tighten it up, also gel food coloring works fantastic for this project.

Sheri - Playdough 1

Pros:

It smells really good and it wasn’t difficult to make.

Cons:

If you don’t get it just right, it’s rather sticky and a waste.

Sheri - Playdough 2

Conclusion:

Well we definitely have some great melon smelling play-dough! Logan keeps putting it up to his nose.

I’m not thrilled with the consistency, I think I should have left it on the heat a little longer, but they don’t seem to mind. They were able to work with it and build their snowmen and reptiles.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sarah

Mission: To create some fun with my kids and have an activity to entertain them.

 

Details:

This household LOVES playdough – seriously, my kids are infatuated with it! We have made lots of homemade playdough before and I always keep some in the fridge on-hand for them to play with. My tried and true playdough recipe uses Kool-Aid as a color addition – and it adds great flavor for those kids that eat it! Come on, who hasn’t tried it before?!? I was excited to try this version using Jello instead of Kool-Aid

  • I had everything on-hand already the day we made this, which always gets a project going on the right foot.
  • We had Black Cherry Jello, so our playdough turned a deep pink hue.
  • The steps were very easy to follow and it came together very quickly and easily. My kids were playing with their new playdough in no time!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Let your playdough sit a bit to cool before you begin kneading it into the floured surface – it is very hot!

Sarah - Playdough 1

Pros:

Quick, easy, cheap and a fun activity for you and your kids.

Cons:

The use of Jello made our playdough a bit softer than we are used to.

This isn’t necessarily a con, but something I noticed as a difference to our previous playdough.

Sarah - Playdough 2

Conclusion:

So much fun! My kids played with it for at least an hour using their fun rolling pin, cookie cutters and their darling imaginations. We will be making it again!

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Amanda

Mission: Try out a new playdough recipe that the kiddos can enjoy and that isn’t too much work to make.

 

Details:

  • I used Strawberry Jello, although the flavor really didn’t matter since I was already planning to add food coloring, too.
  • My kids (and by “kids” I mean me) LOVE color so I kicked it up a notch by adding a couple drops of Wilton Neon Gel Food Color in Magenta. As you can see we are talking BRIGHT folks!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I did not dirty an additional bowl by pre-mixing all of my ingredients before putting them in the pan and deeply regret this. I think it added a lot of extra stirring in the cooking process. I definitely suggest following the instructions precisely!

Amanda - Playdough 1

Pros:

The texture was lovely as was the smell! Sweet and fruity thank to the Strawberry Jello.

Cons:

I did not enjoy the stirring process that cooking on the stove required.

My go-to playdough recipe involves the microwave and my KitchenAid mixer. I do prefer that method but really wanted to give this one a shot.

Also, after only a couple of weeks the playdough grew some fiercely disgusting mold and I had to toss it. My go-to recipe has NEVER molded.

Amanda - Playdough 2

Conclusion:

I do not think I will be making this one again only because I already have a recipe that I have had great success with in the past with much less work.

I did like the idea that all of the ingredients were edible. My go-to recipe happens to call for baby oil, so that would be a point for the Jello version!

 

Playdough Conclusion

 

The lovely Jello Playdough and it’s photo by PlaydoughRecipe.org


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Finding a great kid-friendly project is always a win-win, so we were excited to test out Homemade Finger Paints by Easie Peasie!

 

Please click here to visit Easie Peasie and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission:  To do a fun craft project that both my kids and I could enjoy!
 
 

Details:

  • This project started out great – the ingredients and finishing items were inexpensive (less than $8) and it seemed to be going great from the beginning.
  • We followed the recipe exactly and I ended up making two batches (each separately) so that I could fill up the four darling Ball Jars I had purchased.
    The mixture firmed up quickly and was ready for the food coloring to be added soon after it was done. I opted for yellow, green, a vibrant orange and a deep purple shade.
  • We waited until the next day to try out the paint – my kiddos didn’t nap the day we made them, so were both down for the count by 7:00 pm. They were pining to try these out since I mentioned making them!!
  • When we opened up the paint to get going, it was very apparent that it was going to be clumpy. I did try thinning one of the colors out at this point, but that only made it more clumpy and didn’t do what I was hoping for – turned more into a mashed potato type texture. Needless to say, this was frustrating, but I honestly didn’t know what to expect for the final texture.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I used the gel food coloring tubes and they worked great – the colors were vibrant and we had no problems with staining.

Due to the final texture of our paints, we tried using Sponges for painting, which worked fairly well.

Pros:

Looks beautiful and we were so excited to give them a try!

Cons:

Ended up being very clumpy/goopy and didn’t work like actual paint. We were really bummed.

Conclusion:

I want to love these, but have to say that I can’t.  I do want to try this again and maybe cut the amount of cornstarch a bit or add some additional water during the initial preparation process. The colors are great and the idea is fantastic – my kids were going batty just wanting to try it out!! All in all, we had fun giving these a try!

 
 

Reviewer #2 – Sheri

Mission: I must admit I was a little apprehensive with this project. I usually have to put my brave face on when doing a “messy” kids project. However, after reading the simple ingredients I figured how hard can it be? My kids normally don’t finger paint; we’re a tempura and watercolor kind of household, so I figured this would be a fun change.

Details:

  • Simple ingredients. Heat them up together. Stir, cool, add color and transfer into jars.
  • Well! Very simple but the consistency is Vaseline goop.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Cut down on the corn starch so the consistency isn’t such a goopy mess.

Also, transfer the mixture to a separate bowl to speed up the cooling process or your kids are going to drive you bananas!

Pros:

It was fun and they look cute in the little jars.

Cons:

They don’t work well. The consistency is goopy and slick. The kids weren’t too pleased.

Conclusion:

Well I think this project was a fail for me. Although we had fun, the resulting product just isn’t what I imagined it would be.

Cutting down the corn starch produces a better consistency, but it’s still not the consistency I expected. The boys basically ran some colored Vaseline on the paper and then walked away. Deacon looked at me crossed and said, “Mom this is NOT finger paints.”

On the flip side, my boys now have an obsession with food coloring and want me to color everything! Last night’s request was for green and blue ice cream.
 
 

 

The colorful photo of Homemade Finger Paints taken by Easie Peasie


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The Imagination Tree suggested their absolutely cute Salt Dough Footprint Keepsakefor a quick and cost effective Father’s Day present!

Intrigued by the allure of a personal and thrifty gift, the girls of The Crafty Collaborative rolled up their sleeves and dove in!

 

Please click here to visit The Imagination Tree and the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Mandy

Mission:  Bond with my nephews and make a cute (and cheap) keepsake that they can give to mom, dad, grandma and grandpa!

 

Details:

  • I followed the recipe as written except for being strict on the time. Well, actually used Kosher salt as that’s what I had available. 

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I used more water than the recipe called for so make sure you plan accordingly.

Mine didn’t look as smooth as the photos in the original recipe did. Maybe it was the Kosher salt?? It is a bit grittier than normal table salt.

Pros:

Easy and kid-friendly! Plus, when I put my pup’s (Ruthie) paw in it, she totally didn’t mind as I think it tasted good to her when she got to lick it.

Cons:

Takes awhile to cook. Make sure you are not in a rush and can be at home while it’s cooking. Also, don’t forget about it like I did.

With such a long cooking time, I totally spaced on watching the time! Whoops.

Conclusion:

When I finally remembered to take the creations out (which I still think ended up being around 3 hours later), they cooked up just fine and didn’t burn at all. They could have maybe even gone longer as the centers were still a little moist. Definitely will make these again with my nephews for fun, affordable gifts for the fam!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sarah

Mission:  To create a keepsake of my children’s footprints with salt dough.

 

Details:

  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Darling kiddos!
  • Acrylic paint

Tips & Tricks Learned:

You have to push the kids hand or foot into the salt dough a bit firmer than you may think to make a good impression of their print.

Pros:

SUPER easy to do and we had all of the materials on-hand.

Awesome keepsake for yourself or a gift for a loved one. 🙂

Cons:

My kids are a bit young to really understand the acrylic painting technique – but it all turned out great.

This project is somewhat time consuming – due to the bake time and then paint and dry time. We did the project over the course of two days.

Conclusion:

The kids and I had a great time making the salt dough forms – they turned out really cute too!

This is a sweet family project that you can cherish for years to come – and you could even do this as a yearly project. It would be a great project to do as a new mom with your infant as a keepsake of those cute tiny hands and feet 🙂

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Amanda

Mission: To turn dough into art! I am creating shapes for my kids to paint on a rainy day.

 
 

Details:

  • I went into this craft knowing there would be some things I would change and may do differently.
  • I decided that I would use my KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer
    instead of doing the work manually. At first this seemed like a great idea but then I could tell that no amount of mixing, adding flour and water was going to make it smooth. So I opted to take the dough out of the bowl and knead it like bread dough. This was the trick!
  • I lightly floured the counter and kneaded for about a minute and then used the roller to make it smooth and about 1/4 inch thick so I could cut out shapes.
  • I used small cookie cutter in various shapes. 3 of each to keep it fair with my kids of course!
  • I also used Kosher salt since the recipe didn’t call for specifics. I wonder if that may make a slight difference in texture.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Hand kneading is key and adding just a little water and just a little flour at a time is best. I only ended up adding about 1 tablespoon of water and about 2 tablespoons of flour to get the desired texture.

Pros:

This recipe requires cheap ingredients in small amounts so it is extremely economical and fairly readily available if you need a rainy day project.

Cons:

It is clear that you need to perfect the amounts and your kneading technique to make this a “quick” project.

Plus the amount of time it has to bake might make the waiting unbearable for little ones.

Conclusion:

I still think this will be a fun project to surprise my kids with and I KNOW they will love decorating them. I even cut out some small shapes that we could add magnets to.

I will definitely try this again but may try heating the water and salt together to make the dough smoother. Much like you would with a playdough recipe.

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Maren

Mission: The second I saw this project there was just one thing was one my mind.  Pawprints!  I couldn’t wait to stick my pup’s paw in some dough!

 

Details:

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I don’t think that there really is an exact recipe to make this stuff.  Having said that, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to make it work.  You just have to wing it.  I tried to keep track, but in the end, I have no idea how much salt, water or flour was in the bowl.  I did use warmer water though, in hopes that it would help the salt dissolve.

After over-thinking everything, I finally just approached the dough as if I were making cookies.  I floured my work surface, and rolled the dough out to an even thickness.

Make sure that you wipe your pups paw off after pressing into the dough.  I think that Rosie’s paw was like a mini salt-lick in the end.

My paw print ornaments were not more than 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick, however they felt moist and soft in the center of the underside after baking for 3 hours.  I decided to bake for another hour, and then leave in the oven overnight.  The following morning they still felt damp on the underside’s center (I wonder if it’s because I used parchment paper?).  Since the top part was totally dried out, I flipped them upside down and baked them for another hour at 200 degrees.  Wa-lah!  Perfect!

When they were done baking, the ornaments looked like they were a little grainy, but they were totally smooth to the touch.

Upon painting my little paw prints, I noticed the dough sucking the paint into tiny air holes, the surface was pretty porous in some areas.  Lightbulb!  A porous surface should be sealed first with gesso!  After this brilliant idea, and after trying one with and one without… it was determined that they looked almost exactly the same in the end.  Damn it.

In terms of these bad boys being kid-friendly – it should be noted that I dropped one of mine [unpainted] onto the granite countertop from about 2 feet above, and another one [painted] from my hands onto the wood floor and neither one of them broke.  Yay!

Pros:

Totally easy.  Super cute!

My doggie was a good sport.  We were both happy about this being a pet-safe activity.

Cons:

There was a lot of guesswork in the bake time, but since it was such a low heat – it wasn’t a scary thing.

Conclusion:

This was an easy, fun project!  I am happy with how my puppy keepsake turned out, too!  I am already thinking of other things that I can make with this quick and easy dough!  I think that I might have to steal my nephew’s hand or foot to make a keepsake like The Imagination Tree’s!

 

 

Reviewer #5 – Sheri

Mission: Okay here’s that word that I’m not too comfortable with… “Dough.”

Dough needs the right flour to water ratio to work right. Dough gets sticky. You add more flour and then dough get crumbly. I often have a problem with dough. This project should be interesting…especially seeing the boys will be helping me.

Details:

  • After reading the instructions I was a little more at ease. 1 cup salt, 1 cup of flour, and half a cup of water. Easy. I let the boys help. They were super excited.
  • You simply combine the three ingredients and form a ball of dough.
  • The boys flattened their dough and of course wanted to make dinosaurs instead of handprint keepsakes.
  • We put them in the oven at 200°F for two and a half hours.
  • Logan decided to get creative and make a dinosaur egg fossil. Seeing he put plastic bones in it we couldn’t put it in the oven. I think it’s going to take weeks to dry.
  • The following day, they painted.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I found that the dough was a little too sticky. The predicament I hate to be in.  I added a quarter cup of flour and the consistency was much better.

Also, don’t use your kids tempera paints…you really should use acrylic.

Pros:

First and foremost the kids had fun. Clean-up was easy. Only 3 ingredients!

Cons:

Kids asking if they’re ready yet 50 times over a span of 2.5 hours.

Conclusion:

I have to admit it was a really easy dough to make. They boys had fun. Big bonus was that the clean-up was easy. I’m already thinking of things we can make with the stuff as gifts.

 

Adorable shot of the Salt Dough Footprint Keepsakes taken by The Imagination Tree


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Sueños Encantados has shown us how to Make Your Own Crayons!

Where there are Crafty Collaborators, there are often Crafty Kids!  We’re always on the hunt for fun projects to do together!

 

Please click here to visit Sueños Encantados and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission:  Utilize broken crayons and make them new again.

 

Details:

  • Broken crayons
  • Mini cupcake pan(s)
  • Olive oil
  • Kids

Tips & Tricks Learned:

If some broken crayon pieces are still too big to fit in the mini cupcake pan, use a knife to cut vs. painfully hurting your fingersJ

Pros:

A great way to re-use broken crayons vs. tossing them out.

Cons:

Breaking the crayons into smaller pieces was a bit hard on the fingers, but nothing this lady couldn’t handle. We had included some broken Melissa and Doug brand crayons as well, but they did not melt as well as the Crayola crayon pieces.

Conclusion:

The make your own crayon project was a hit! My kids and I had a great time getting the crayons ready for melting and found the directions easy to follow. Overall a great activity!

My son was so excited about them after we were done that he took them to show his friends at daycare!

In addition, the final size of these crayons are great for younger toddlers as they are much easier to hold.

 

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sheri

Mission:  Today’s project…I just call it the Melted Crayon Thing…you can call it whatever you want. You see it all over Pinterest, mostly as school gift ideas for classmates.

 

Details:

  • The first step, aside from pre-heating the oven to 250°, is peeling the paper off the crayons. Let me tell you Crayola crayons paper sticks the best. It was easier to get the paper off the cheap crayons we got from the restaurant. After about 5 minutes of peeling crayons I had to grab the wine. This SUCKED, and it wasn’t even something I had thought of. I was too worried about my pan and oven.
  • A few sips of wine and then there was clarity. Pocket knife!! Worked like a charm. I plowed right through that pile of crayons.
  • Major thing to NOT forget is to liberally oil the muffin tin. I just used regular vegetable oil. After the pan is oiled you pile in the crayons like so. Make up any color combo you like. I tend to like the warm colors with the warm colors, cool with cool. You get it, right?
  • Put them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. I kept an eye on them because as I stated previously I was very afraid of the “blub-blub-blub” and having to scrape melted crayon out of my oven.
  • When they were done aka melted completely I let them cool. Then came the moment of truth…would they be stuck in my muffin pan… please no. I took a deep breath, flipped the pan and plop, plop, plop, everyone single one of them came dropping out onto the counter. Success!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

This looked like a cute idea. What home of kids doesn’t have broken crayons? I mean my three-year-old his breaking the things all.the.time! Maybe it makes him feel like Superman? I always end up with a pile of broken crayon pieces, for which my other two boys refuse to use.

I finally started buying the twist ones and still seem to end up with some broken pieces of crayon because they often twist the crayon up too high. However, for this project I needed more than just a couple of broken crayons so I snuck into Grammie’s stash.

I figured this would be an easy project that wouldn’t take much thought and time to come out great. My only worry was my muffin pan…would it get ruined? Oh, and the “blub-blub-blub” factor. If crayon bubbled over and melted all over my oven I would be in tears.

Pros:

Really easy and not very time consuming. You can’t really fail esthetically; Martha’s would look the same way!

Cons:

Peeling the paper off the crayons was a pain in the butt, but if you use my little tip it makes it less painfully tedious.

 

Conclusion:

I might actually do this with the kids come the next school year. It really wasn’t difficult and you can make a ton at once. Big factor for me was that my pan and oven survived and clean-up was a super easy. The “melted crayon thing” – a success.

 

Adorable Handmade Crayon photos taken by Providence Handmade


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