The Ultimate Art and Craft Box / Kit !

How to diy art and craft kitThis is a simple post about helping Moms, new Moms, creative and Non-creative Moms understand, how you can get alittle organized beforehand and make beautiful memories while your little one enjoys spending that special time with you.

I’ve been a craft artist for nearly two decades. I love crafting. It is not only my passion, but it also completes me.

“Crafts” is a tiny term which encompasses a whole range of activities.  Unfortunately most of us, tend to associate it with painting or drawing or probably alittle bit of cutting.  But that’s not necessarily all that there’s to it.

I’ve taught in a couple of schools but several prestigious art institutes.  I’ve held Mother & Toddler classes, Workshop for ladies and classes for youngsters as well.

Today, in this post, I will address one concern that most moms have echoed over the years to me, how they find themselves all over the place when it comes to having some craft time with the kids.

There are 4 things, I’d like for you to remember before we address the craft dilemma :-

  • Please hold your ‘fun craft time’ – as a time to explore new activities TOGETHER. It is a time when you actually MAKE MEMORIES – its supposed to be FUN. Not a task.
  • Please know, that NO ART WORK is ever “COMPLETE OR PERFECT” – it is ALL in THE PROCESS.
  • Please remember, appreciate your child’s effort, no matter how tiny. He is trying to please YOU as well.
  • Long after they have grown, they will still cherish these priceless moments. So don’t try to work on making it “Perfect”.  Remember, “its the imperfection that adds character.”

Here are some of the issues  :-

  1. Insufficient tools
  2. Inadequate know-how
  3. Unaware of places to shop at for supplies
  4. lack of energy to drive around to places for supplies
  5. Packed craft kits are expensive
  6. Packed craft kits have limited supplies

So, I’ve decided to address all of these 6 issues one by one.

FYI, One of my most visited blog post is where-do-you-buy-craft-supplies-from-in-dubai

Moms who have toddlers in their troublesome twos, realize that children need various activities besides toys, to keep them stimulated.  Hence in a desperate attempt to help the little one, they grab the first craft kit that they come across in the supermarket aisle.  However, I agree that most craft kits are aimed at a specific activity and supplies are really limited.

I’m going to advise you on how you can ease the process of crafting with your toddler/little one.

Please remember, children are not just visual learners. They learn by touch, feel, smell, sight, sound and THE PROCESS !

For the first 5 years of their life, they are still getting the hang of the hand and eye coordination – gross motor skills.

They are virtually charged 10 hours of the day to play, practice and have fun.  Thru it all, they are LEARNING.

Adapting to their environment and understanding their own movements.

Let us consider a routine scenario.

Our young first-time-Mum watches this youtube video about 5 easy crafts to try out with little Sarah.  (point2 addressed) [Google and Youtube videos ‘can be” a new Mom’s best friend since they can guide you tremendously around the process of crafting with kids]

She thinks its easy enough to try it out with her little one.  She rushes to the nearest Toy store and searches high & low for a craft kit for toddlers ! { point3 – this mom had the strength and enthusiasm to drive to the Toy store. Full marks to her but (point4) not all of us drive or have a store close by, hence we can buy online as well } Refer here

Realization – most crafts kits are aimed at children older than 5 years !!  Heaps of toys are available – but not craft kits !

FYI – one of the reasons for this is that alot of craft supplies have small objects which can cause choking hazard for little ones and companies do not want to risk getting into such waters.

Ofcourse you can opt out and buy one of those ridiculously expensive painting kits with sponges and fancy brushes (Point 5 is valid and real)  But then of course, Mom can splurge over little Sarah.

So Mom buys it and brings it at home – 2 days of fun and mess later, chances are a few of the brushes ‘may’ have gone missing under the sofa, the paint tub is all but nearly over and our little Sarah has decided, she’s had enough of Mona Lisa. (point6) Most little children have a short attention span. Give them easy crafts to work with. They may work with one painting but once its over, they need something different. 

This is where little Sarah is restless and Mom is getting frustrated too as her she realizes these craft activities are probably not her cup of tea !!

THIS IS WHERE I STEP IN !! Don’t fret and fume Mama.  Read on …. there is relief for you.

We’re going to assemble the ULTIMATE ART AND CRAFT BOX for you so that every time, you want to try out an activity with your child, all you have to do is, spread the ‘drip sheet’ on your table or work space and get the supplies you need, out and voila ! Start your crafting adventure !! You never know – you might discover you really like crafts 🙂

First thing –  Chances are, you might already be having a plastic box, bucket, basket or a large container at home. Its best if it could be large and preferably with a lid. In fact, the large transparent bin with wheels from IKEA is most ideal for this purpose.  Here are a few options :

Here are some of the most basic supplies :-

I highly encourage little children who are still developing their gross motor skills to use crayons or color pencils rather than colored markers.

Please remember, a scribble made by a 2 year old, might be an entire story from his imagination. Hence please appreciate it and ask him/her questions relating to that. See how his/her eyes sparkle as he describes 3 stories from one picture !!

Avoid buying large A3 size drawing books becoz children tend to use only a partial amount of space. Infact, I keep photocopier sheets handy, which can later be framed or placed in protector sleeves and hung up on the fridge or their study desks.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the humble rubberband.  Also remember to pack a few of the large black paper clips.

Alot of crafts ask for pipecleaners too. From acting as the stem of a flower, to the antenae of a butterfly, pipecleaners/chenille have plenty of uses.

Several crafts require drinking straws. They are colorful, they are easy to manipulate and children associate blowing air or making bubbles with them.

Long after the clothes have been dried, these clothespin will be super handy in the craft box. From the body of an insect to decorating a recycled jam jar, there are endless uses of this innovative creation. An absolute Must-have for our craft box.

Styrofoam balls come in various sizes. Apart from the easy snow man, you will find several sites full of ideas on how to use these, creatively.

Below, you will find tiny sparkling stars in packets,  pipecleaners which are plain and sparkly, styrofoam balls, childproof scissors and glitter tubes.  I would definitely include all of these EXCEPT GLITTER tubes.  They are a highly messy idea and I would prefer the children to be atleast 6 years old  before they get their hands on glitter.

I absolutely LOVE this bumper kit. You could buy the items individually or just add 2 packets of these in our craft box and Voila !  Tip – These could be included as return gifts for birthday parties too !!

If you are not able to get crepe paper, the below tissue gift wrap paper will do the trick just as well. Most crafts for tiny toddlers revolves around tearing bits of pieces of these sheets and sticking it to various items.

I don’t think, any craft kit can be complete without a Sharpie marker. Although the below marker is NOT a sharpie, I think, it might do the job ! Traditionally these are alcohol based hence you can use these to draw on plastic and metal.

The value pack with 25 pieces is ideal.  It is always advisable to use the thicker paint brushes for children.  Don’t expect little fingers to hold tiny brushes. These kits with sponge faces are also fun for little ones. Just drop alittle paint in a paper plate and dab the sponge for endless hours of fun !!

These alphabet stampers are good when you want kindergarten children to practice remembering their alphabets OR sounds. It takes the stress off, from having to write. But they are optional.

 

  • Every mothers nightmare is the aftermath of an art and craft activity – This drop sheet should be able to solve that issue, Mom !

Just spread it on the table or floor and use the spring clamp (in the below picture) to hold it tight to an object, alternatively, you can use the white and blue striped sheet rolls, available in supermarkets. They too are efficient.
One fun item I would include would have to be these Ketchup dispenser bottles.

Use ? – You can find several recipes for puffy paint and these bottles are perfect for squeezing the paint and designing with.

Here are some more tips.

  • A glue gun is a handy tool (almost an essential item for every Crafter) . However, it can be introduced to  children once they are over 10 or 11 years of age.
  • When working with little children, use only paper masking tape. Not the plastic kind.
  • Please don’t buy the plastic scissors for toddlers. It practically NEVER works.
  • If you want to know which is the best brand for erasers and sharpners, kindly subscribe to my blog for the next post which will have details on various brands.
  • Over the years, I have realized, aprons don’t help all that much. It inhibits their movement and if anything, the plastic rubbing against eachother is a bother to most kids. Just get them dressed in one of your husband’s old Tshirts !
  • Red, blue and yellow are primary colors, inorder to attain any other color, you just have to mix, any two of these two colors.  So you don’t need a dozen tubs of colors. A few will do.
  • I have compiled this list considering almost all homes have paper staplers and paper punches !

So there you have it !

All the pictures in this post were taken at Dollar Plus. *However please note,  this post is not in affiliation with them. I am NOT being compensated by ANY Dollar store for this post.

When I share my experience or any information with you over here – it is done purely to help, moms, teachers, crafters, students and people who don’t have the time or energy to research these avenues.  I have NOTHING to gain from it except perhaps some appreciation from people who leave kind words of gratitude in the comments.

I am sharing this post at the following parties :-

 

 

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12 Ways with Salt Dough !

Hi Friends !!

As the year is coming to a close, I pray, mother nature does not give us all any more, unexpected unpleasant surprises !!

My post today is about the many ways to use Salt Dough.  Salt dough and I go a long way back. When Buddy was 3, nearly 11 years back, I came across a recipe for salt-dough and got hooked to it !!    I find salt-dough as the easiest and most economic way of teaching children and adults to sculpt.  There are several recipes for salt dough if you google it but I prefer to keep the ingredients to the bare minimum.

For my, every 4-Week- workshop, that I conduct, I always keep atleast half a class for salt dough molding and sculpturing. Salt dough can be easily mixed and very easily made.  You can coat a layer of modge podge and then paint it with acrylic paints. If you want it to last longer, and don’t want the paint to fade, I suggest giving it one more coat of modge podge.

Today, I am sharing with you a dozen ways in which you can use Salt Dough.

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Salt Dough designs can be shaped either by cookie cutters or freely by modeling and sculpturing the dough.

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Oven baked salt dough designs come out, looking like this :-

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1:  Bookmarks :-  A simple design can be hot glued to a tongue depressor and used as a bookmark !!! Doesn’t get easier than that !!

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2 :  Fridge Magnets

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3:  Ear rings :- A pair in the same shape with a tiny hole on one of the edges ~ attach a ear ring loop and you have a pair of inexpensive earing to go with every dress you own !!!

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 4:  Pendant The same can be done for a pendant as well.

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5:  Hair clip :- Adding a hair clip to the base of a flower or heart shaped flat surfaced salt dough = hair clip. Ofcourse you can embellish your hair clip with pearls, glitter, beads etc.

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6:  Christmas tree ornament :-  Come Christmas and most households encourage their kids making their own ornaments for the tree.

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7:  Fancy Gift tags:- If you want to make a dramatic statement on the precious gifts you give away ~ why not top up the wrapping with a salt dough tag ??!

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8:   Figurines for art and craft OR DIY toys. Keep a small blob for every child in birthday party and see them make silly and creative critters from it !

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9:   Plant markers

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10:   Key Chain :- What a lovely mothers day or fathers day or teachers day gift !!

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 11:  Broach :- the same can be made in the above manner but with a round pin clip.

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12  Embellishments for :-

  • decorating photoframes,
  • mixed media projects,
  • to dress naprings
  • even table cloth weights !!

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I have shared more than 15 uses of salt dough but ofcourse there are many more ways to use it.  I hope you found some inspiration and would like to give it a try.

I am joining the following parties and sharing these ideas with them :-

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Easy Salt dough Recipe.

One of my all-time favorite craft medium would have to be the humble salt-dough. Its one of those easy to make mediums where you almost always have the ingredients at home and the kids can not have enough fun with the endless possibilities. Ofcourse there are several variations to this recipe on the internet but I stick to my tried and tested recipe which has worked for me for over a decade. Here it is.


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Ingredients : Salt : 1 cup Flour (all purpose) : 4 cups Water : 1 1/2 to 2 cups

In a large bowl, blend the salt with flour and gradually keep adding the water until a thick palable ball of dough is formed. Knead the dough firmly for a couple of minutes until it can stand on its own and no salt is left in the container.Wrap the dough tIghtly in plastic or put it in a plastic bag secured with a twist tie. Let it sit for a few minutes.

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You are now, ready to play with your dough. This is the best part of the entire process for little ones. You could let the little ones play freeform or hand them a bucket of cookie cutter and let them have a blast.

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After items are formed, set them on a baking sheet. Bake in 250 degree oven until items are completely hard. This can be from half an hour for small items to several hours for large ones.

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Ofcourse, there are variations again.

* You can add a bit of vanilla essense or cinnamon powder at this stage. It will leave a beautiful fragrance long after baking.

* You could also roll the dough in a cylinder shape and cut 2 inch batches and add a drop or two of cooking color. That way, you dont have to color them once you have decided to mould it into your desired shape.

Once out of the oven, let it rest for a while on the wire.

And then begins the second best part of this activity : Painting The kids absolutely love painting their prized creations.

Spread some cling film or newspaper on the kitchen table or where you intend to conduct this activity ~ lots of paint brushes with pots of water , some acrylic paints and some poster paints. Voila ! BTW, dont be surprised if the kids nag you again next weekend for this activity

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Some tips :-

Keep all pieces of dough not-in-use wrapped tightly in plastic.

Store leftover dough in the refrigerator and use it within one week.

Bring the refrigerated dough to room temperature before working with it.

As much as you’d like to grab a bit into these “cookies” ~ DON’T ~ Not a good idea

Enjoy the salt dough and enjoy making memories.

Linking the recipe with the following parties :-
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Thirty Handmade Days
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Simply Sweet Home
Simply Designing
The Answer is Chocolate
Not Your Ordinary Recipes
The Best Blog Recipes
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Frugal Friday – Life As Mom
Friday
Remodelaholics Anonymous What’s Your Story Fridays at Remodelaholic
Frugal Friday at the Shabby Nest
Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous
Show and Tell;
Fancy This;
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Inspiration Spotlight;
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One Creative Weekend at One Creative Mommy
Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday at Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum
Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home
I’m Lovin’ It at Tidy Mom {requires backlink in post}
For the Kids Fridays at Sun Scholars
Weekend Wander at While He Was Napping
Lovely Crafty Weekend at Lovely Crafty Home
Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now
 Friday Favs at Nap Time Crafters
 Party Mindie Style at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo
 Free for All at Young and Crafty
 Dare to Share at Pam’s Party Planning
 Feature Friday at Blissful and Domestic
 Shine on Friday at Happy Go Lucky
 Show Off Friday at What-About
The Shabby Nest,
Tatertots & Jello,
Simply Sweet Home,
30 Handmade Days,
WhipperBerry,
Simply Designing,
French Country Cottage,
The Answer is Chocolate,
See Vanessa Craft,
One Artsy Mama,
So You Think You’re Crafty,
It’s a Hodgepodge Life,
Tidy Mom,
Craftionary,
Five Days… Five Ways,
Release Me Creations

Thank you for visiting me today. Have a beautiful and thankful day.

I would love if you could share your salt dough experience with me too !!

Naush