by Brandy D. Anderson
When it comes to kids, there are very few activities that they enjoy more than making things. It can be difficult to keep crafting projects fresh, so it’s always nice to find affordable crafy ideas that don’t require a ton of special skills or tools. I’ve found the three coolest Facebook accounts where parents can find amazing ideas.
About: “An online community for the most awesome kids in the galaxy. Use DIY to learn new skills and meet kids just like you. Learn more at diy.org/about
Their mission statement is “Any kid, anywhere, can learn any skill”. They go to say, “Build. Make. Hack. Share. An online community for the most awesome kids in the galaxy”. There’s a pinned post that gives you information on the newest updates to the massive site: “We added more than 1,000 hands-on projects and how-to videos to our library, plus we’re introducing subscriptions. Legacy DIY.org members, check your email for a link to activate your upgraded account!” They explain what members now have access to, which includes: “12 in-depth courses for our most popular topics like drawing, photography, animation, inventing, and science. Over 2,000 projects covering 120 topics, many of them STEAM-related. More than 1,000 videos that we produced ourselves to show kids step-by-step how to complete select projects. All of these updates are part of our effort to ensure any kid anywhere can learn any skill!”
You can learn how to make pancake art and turn it into a fun family event. In addition to the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, eggs, milk, and butter (or, honestly, you could ‘cheat’ and use a mix), you will also need squeeze bottles, food colouring, and a funnel. The instructional video is wonderful and shows everything step-by-step, including images of the ingredients and prep tools. You’ll learn how to make some awesome colourful shapes like ice cream cones, triangles, flowers, pizza, and my personal favourite, a very cute cat.
Another project video teaches you how to make slime out of water, baking soda, and saline solution. There are more in-depth activities that you can do, and these include a number of projects involving the perpetually popular dinosaur crafts. The dino post begins by saying, “Paleontologists study fossils to learn the history of natural life on Earth. They examine the remains of plants, animals, and microscopic organisms to reconstruct the past and learn where we came from. Check out some of the challenges you can do on DIY.org: Invent a Prehistoric Creature, Draw a Geologic Timeline, Assemble a Fossil Hunting Kit”. When you click on the link it brings you to their principle website where you’ll find individual thumbnails to direct you to each project. There are also difficulty indicators on the top of each one. Be aware that some DIY.org projects and features do require a paid membership, but they also have a “Try For Free” option that should give you enough access to complete some neat stuff and then see if you want to sign up. However, the Facebook page is full of free ideas.
About: “If you like crafting and being creative then this is the place to be…A place where you can find great ideas, links, post and share your ideas…We welcome craft ideas such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, Kids Crafts, Painting, Beading, Jewelry, Needlepoint, Floral Designs, Pottery, Garden Decor and much more…We welcome new ideas…”
This is a very neat page because it’s actually a group where any member can post cool DIY projects they find, so you encounter a wide range of imaginative art and ideas. One recent post shows the work of an artist who uses doilies with clay, and there’s a video tutorial on how she makes them. There’s an idea from “Creative Ideas for Artsy Mommas” which teaches you how to make a Fall Agamography paper craft (agamograph is a painting or drawing that reveals different images when it is viewed from various angles). To make this project, you print the agamograph template, colour the printout, and then precisely cut the image out from the full page if it’s bigger than the paper it’s printed out. Now it’s time to fold each column in an accordion fashion, fold it tightly together before you then pull it out just enough that you see one image when you view it from the left, and you see the other image when you view it from the right.
For Autumn decor, you can get two large clear glass bottles. Fill them with craft straw, and drape some straw from the top to look like hair. Wrap some festive ribbon a few times around each bottle top, with the straw hair sticking out to keep it in place, and you’ve instantly got a hat for each one. Then, you paint large eyes, a nose, and a smiling mouth and you’ve got two strawpeople. If you have an old tire, you can paint it forest green, paint some pretty stencil flowers and accents along it, then you can add a big red bow, made from either ribbon, felt, or rubber, garnish it with sprigs of holly and it all turns into a really cool and offbeat Christmas wreath.
What do you do when you have a bunch of broken crayons? You can make them into creative candles: “Here’s a fun way to recycle some of those old and broken crayons! This is a really good tutorial on how to colour candle wax and create a super “block” pattern to give your candles some additional visual appeal. I can’t wait to try this little craft project out with my kiddos!” The post includes a pictorial tutorial, but there’s also a link with more detailed instructions. Another tutorial teaches you to make your very own pumpkin spice room spray. There’s a video that illustrates how to create your own fairy gardens. Another post shows you how to make colourful french macaron ornaments.
About: “Home decor, gifts.100% Handmade. Made in Italy”
This is a DIY account that is a little more sophisticated, so this one would work better for parents with older kids. The projects are beautiful and some of them are quite intricate, they look like they’d be a lot of fun to bond over. One project features an old window painted in crackled white. A homemade wreath with a ribbon attached hangs over the top middle, and there’s a wooden sigh above with the phrase, written in chalk, “Welcome to the porch”. Another wreath is adorned with little plastic green shrubs, there’s a hand painted sign attached to the middle reading, “hello”, a cotton bow finishes the top.
There’s a pictorial tutorial on how to make fuzzy pompom fruit including oranges, strawberries, cherries, and apples. Another gorgeous crafting project features snow globes. There’s a pictorial tutorial for this one with easy to follow steps (be forewarned, however, that some of the crafts on this page don’t provide step-by-step guides, but most of those are easy to figure out by examining the photos). For snow globes, you will need the following materials: a small figure or two of your choice, water-resistant glue, glitter, jar and one (one with smooth sides), and water. The tutorial then shows you how to glue the jar lid in the middle, or wherever you wish to place your figurine/s, then you firmly press the figurine onto the glue – an added note reminds ou to “keep everything centered”).
The next step instructs you to cover the entire bottom of the jar with glitter, then you add water into the jar, now it’s time to border the circular edge of the lid with glue – now you carefully turn the lid upset, the figurine should, of course, be dried and set to the lid, you place the upside down lid on the jar so the figurine is now immersed into the glitter water an you close the jar tightly before turning it back right-side-up. You can use bunny figurines or deer or minions or anything your heart desires to create a magical scene. If you’re handy at sewing, you’ll find cute ideas of personalizing gloves. You sew words across the fingers (with a letter embroidered on each finger), some examples here include: “LADY LIKE”, “BOOK WORM”, “HOME BODY”, and “HAND MADE”.
Do you like candle and table displays for holidays and different seasons? There are a few ideas here for each season, but my favourite is for Autumn. One idea is to dry oranges an attach them to large motive orange and white candles. Another photo features large clear glasses, and each contains a small white candle in the middle, kernels of corn encircle each candle. You know paper snowflakes? How about making paper spider webs, the idea and the execution are the same, you just vary the shapes a little bit. Have you ever thought about making mandarin oranges into tiny jack-o-lanterns? Or using yarn to spin elaborate decorative webs? Are you looking for a good summer idea? You can re-purpose old coffee mugs into plant pots. Here’s a really neat idea: take a plain white mug, get masking tape, black paint, and a paint brush. Then, tape the top of the mug (the photo shows that you leave about two inches blank, but it’s up to you and depends on how tall your mug is), and paint the rest of the mug black all around (the photo shows painting part of the handle). Remove the tape and wait for the paint to dry. Now, you chalk up the black painted part, just scribble all around, and you bake the mug for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. When it’s done, you remove the mug and allow it to cool. Wipe off the chalk and you now have a writable chalk coffee mug. Pretty neat.