Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fun Craft Projects Using Old Clothes and Material

Many children enjoy playing dress up with old clothes. However, you can do so much more with old clothes than allow children to play in them. Reuse old clothes or material by creating useful crafts with them if you can’t pass them along to someone else.

1. T-shirt quilt

T-shirts are one of the more difficult types of clothing to get rid of. They may hold sentimental value if they were from a concert you attended. Perhaps you ran in a marathon and were given a t-shirt for participating. Why not cut the logos off of the t-shirts in large squares and create a quilt from them?

Using a piece of fabric as a base to get the proper size, sew the t-shirt squares together making a rectangle the same size as the base. Place batting, which can be purchased at fabric or craft stores, between the layers and then sew the layers together. Complete the quilt by sewing along the squares to keep the batting in place. Then sew edging around the quilt, ensuring the raw edges are completely covered.

This gives you a way to keep the memories of events from your life and have something to keep you warm in the winter. You can use a similar idea with baby clothes you simply can’t bear to part with.

2. Bags and purses

Do you have old jeans that have sentimental value? You can create a wonderful bag or purse from those jeans. Using the waistband as the opening for the purse, cut the legs off a little longer than what you want the purse to be. If the length includes part of the legs, split the inseam.

You may have to use a triangle of fabric to close the leg area to make it straight across. Turning the material wrong side out, sew across the bottom to make a bag. Then, cut strips from the remaining fabric to make the straps. Sew the straps to the waist band and you have a purse or bag.

3. Bean bag toys

Make children’s bean bag toys out of old or unmatched socks. Create an animal by sewing the socks together. Then fill them with beans, dried peas, or rice. Sew yarn on them to create a mane for zebras, horses or giraffes. You can also use buttons for eyes.

4. Sock puppets

Another use for socks you can’t find a match for is to make sock puppets from them. Sew or glue yarn on the top. Sew buttons on for eyes along the sole of the sock. Make clothing for it from old pieces of fabric.

If you think about it, you can probably come up with other fun ideas of craft projects using old clothes and material. Why not use a couple of these ideas to start you off? Depending upon what you come up with, and how you make them, you can remember things from your past while reducing the clutter in your home.

So, it is possible to do crafts with your kids by buying what you need such as Alex Toys Super Knot A Quilt or Alex Toys Happily Ever Crafter or you can use what you have at hand and have a lot of fun.

Friday, July 15, 2011

“Down by the Sea” Craft for Kids

During the summer it is a good idea to bring the sea into the crafts you do with kids. Just as Kids KnittingProjects are a good idea in the winter, “Down By The Sea” crafts are a good idea during the summer.

For families who travel to the beach, it’s not unusual to come home with a bucket full of shells or other found items from the trip. The problem becomes what to do with all those shells. Here are two “down by the sea” crafts for kids to be able to keep their treasures and give them some function.

Sea shell paper weights

Help your children make sea shell paper weights. This will enable them to keep the shells and make something which can be kept out in view. You’ll need the following items:

  • Found shells or other items from your trip
  • White tacky craft glue
  • Sand
  • Paint (optional)
  • Plastic tubes (similar to Wilson tennis ball containers or some potato chip containers)
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Fun foam
  • Clear gloss spray paint

Begin by making a base for the paperweight. Parents can cut the bottom from the plastic containers. Then cut down about another inch, leaving two or three tabs sticking up. This will be the mold for the base for the paperweight and can be reused.

Parents will want to follow the instructions on the plaster of Paris and mix it according to those instructions. Pour the plaster into the base and allow it to dry thoroughly. When it is dry, turn it upside down and tap it onto a table. This should cause the base to fall out.

While you’re waiting for bases to dry, you’ll want to cut a three-inch circle from the fun foam for each base you make. These will be glued to the plaster base using tacky craft glue.

Paint the plaster base and allow it to dry unless you’re using water color; water color paint won’t require drying time. You can go to the next step which is mixing craft glue with sand to make it moist. The base will have an impression; fill the impression with the glue and sand mixture, making a mound.

Press several sea shells into the sand. When the sand has dried, you can spray the paperweight with clear gloss spray paint to keep the sand from coming off.


For something less time consuming, you can create a seascape using a glass fish bowl. You’ll need the following items:

  • Glass fish bowl
  • Photos of the day you spent at the beach
  • Clear tape
  • Sand from the beach
  • Treasures found at the beach (shells, sea glass, driftwood, etc.)
  • Wooden skewers
  • Nautical pictures or stickers

Begin by carefully taping a photo of your family at the beach onto the inside of the fish bowl. Be sure to tape along the edges to keep sand from getting behind the photo. Then pour enough beach sand (or play sand) into the fish bowl to fill it about halfway full or until it covers the bottom of the picture.

When the sand is arranged the way you want it, start adding the sea shells or other items collected on the trip. Using stickers or images cut from magazines, tape the images on a wooden skewer and then trim them so the images will rest on the sand when pushed in.

There are many other ways your children can use their treasures from “down by the sea” to create crafts, but you may want to start with these two ideas. The point is to allow the children to enjoy the items they found and make them functional so they can see them and remember the fun of the day.