Category Archives: children’s crafts (recycled materials)

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Mosaic

This project is simple enough for even very little hands, although, you might need to draw out the rainbow strips in which they are to fill.

For a more tile-like look use thin cardboard which is thicker than tiles made from regular paper.

For more information on paper mosaics see my post: Recycle Your Cereal Boxes and More Into Pretty Paper Mosaics

Recycle Your Cereal Boxes and More Into Pretty Paper Mosaics

You probably have all the supplies you will need for this project right in your recycle bin. Cereal boxes and salvaged note book covers become art when cut into pieces and cleverly arranged.

How to tips:

Design your mosaic and sketch it lightly on a stiff piece of paper. I use foam board pieces and mat board scraps from a framing shop. These scrapes would otherwise be wasted. Call around to see what might be donated to you.

Save scrap paper (such as colored handouts form school, phone book covers, magazine pages…) or thin cardboard (such as cereal boxes, crackers and other food boxes, non-food boxes, notebook and coloring book covers…).

Cut the boxes in strips ½ inch thick. Focus on the parts with the most pure color. I like to use a paper cutter. More advanced students might want thinner strips in order to achieve finer details.

Here I have organized the scraps by setting ice cream containers into Clementine boxes.

Artists will cut up the strips to make their own mosaic tiles. It isn’t necessary to cut all the pieces in squares. Sometimes you will need more of a triangular shape to fill the space. Besides, you want to have a broken tile look.

Work one area at a time. Fill in the areas by gluing your “tiles” on one by one. Paste works well and is environmentally friendly. Glue sticks work nice but create a lot of plastic waste. If using white glue, I recommend using an old paint brush to apply the glue.

When done and the glue/ paste is dry, apply a layer of Modge Podge or an equivalent product.

*The butterfly mosaic above was a collaborative effort by young artists whose ages ranged from 6 to 11.

To see an example of a paper mosaic made from recycled thin cardboard such as cereal boxes, see my post: St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Mosaic

Playing Pretend: Reuse For Non-Working Or Outdated Electronics

play pretend with not working computer parts

Is it really necessary to buy plastic versions of the things we have? Children want to play with your cell phone or type on the computer because they see you do it. Pass down your non-working or outdated electronics. Playing pretend is great fun for boys and girls alike.

My kids and their friends were always happy to play with an old cell phone, broken computer key board, even a non functioning remote control. Reusing these hand-me downs can entertain little ones who may not be ready to use the real thing yet. Children might want to play Office. Furthermore, if the kids are into theatre, then reuse these things as props.

play Laptop Notebook Computer

This is my daughter’s version of a laptop notebook computer she made a few years ago.

The above play computer is made from reusing non-working computer parts. The monitor was made from a cardboard try. Any magazine picture can be put on it for the wallpaper. The toolbar and other features can be drawn on by hand.

Use good parental judgment. Some items would not be safe to play with. Also, I’m not suggesting these items be given to very young children.

Bedroom Blizzard: Paper Snowflake Decor

Paper Snowflakes; Snowing in bedroom.

 

Add a little fun to your life by making a winter wonderland in the comfort of your own home.

Pretty Paper SnowFlake

This snowflake was made from an invoice I received. I’ve been collecting these invoices and instead of sending them to be recycled (which is good too) I saved them to make a blizzard. Invoices work because the little bit of writing on the back isn’t overly noticeable. Also, I try to work with the whitest parts.

Paper Snow Flakes

Put a few of the snowflakes directly on the wall. Also, you can hang one snowflake under another.

Bedroom Blizzard: Paper Snowflakes

Hang snowflakes at different levels for a more natural snowing affect. I used salvaged fishing wire to hang some of the snowflakes. I have some fishing wire found during beach clean-ups. Parts that aren’t too tangled can be washed and reused.

Falling Paper Snow Flakes

It’s so lovely to go in that room and look up (or if you are lying on the bed and looking up); it makes you feel like the snow is really falling down all around. I couldn’t capture it in a picture so you’ll have to make it to see for yourself.

How to tips:

Paper snowflakes can be made with scrap paper, invoices, and used printer paper that still has a lot of white left. Have you ever printed stuff from the internet and the last page that prints only has the web address on it?

I save my favorite snowflakes to use again. Store them where they can stay flat such as in an unwanted (salvaged) book. The added benefit is that pressing them in a book flattens them out nicely.

Note: I tried ironing my snowflakes. (That’s not a sentence you see too often.) What I discovered is that some invoices such as from Amazon are printed with a heat printer of some kind; thus, rendering one side of the snowflake black when ironed. Best to test your paper first if ironing.

Make Your Own Simple Yet Adorable Tea Cup Mouse

Making your own charming Tea Cup Mouse is easier than you think. I designed this project to be suitable for even beginner sewers. And you can adjust the project according to skill level.

This is a sweet way to use a lovely tea cup that has no matches. A cup with a chip or crack would be undesirable for drinking tea but these signs of wear would only add character to these little beds.

Sewing workshop: if you live locally (Southern Maryland) you might be interested in my Tea Cup mouse workshops for children (and adults too). Click on the Classes link above.

Tea Cup Mouse takes a break

This is Leo. He was made from a retired linen shirt. His bedside table was made from a slice of a tree branch and an old wooden spool of thread. The rug was made by cutting a rectangle from an old sweater. The tea cup was from a second-hand store.

Tea Cup Mouse snuggles under handkerchief

Leo loves his super soft handkerchief blanket. The handkerchief is vintage and the tea cup was a thrift store find.

Playful Tea Cup Mouse On The Move

This adorable mouse loves to play!

 MYO Tea Cup Mouse Kit

Three ways to give.

1. Make and give the finished mouse for a special gift.

2. Give a kit with pre-cut pieces and all the rest of the supplies, tea cup and all for a child to make for his or her self. Precutting the pieces might be necessary for younger children. Work together with him or her.

3. Give a kit with the pattern and all the rest of the supplies and let them have the fun of making a mouse friend just the way they want it. You might supply a few different pieces of scrap fabric for them to choose from. Give support as needed.

How to:

The first thing you will need to do is gather supplies.

You will need:

Salvaged fabric for the head and body of the mouse. No need to go out and buy any fabric; you only need a little from a past project or salvaged from an old pair of pants or shirt…

A washable marker for tracing your stencil on fabric.

Scissors for cutting the fabric.

Scrap pieces of felt for the mouse’s hands, feet and ears.

Embroidery floss of some type to embroider on the whiskers, nose and eyes and an embroidery needle. Or a black permanent marker to draw on the face. Tiny black pompoms could also be used for the nose and eyes.

Tea Cup Mouse can't wait until Christmas

This is Leo’s friend Lola. She can’t wait until Christmas! Her mouth, whiskers, and nose were drawn on and the eyes are pins that have the tip cut off. The pins make cute eyes but are not appropriate to use as a toy. Ears, hands and feet can be glued on for easier construction but I like to sew on pieces for a more secure attachment. Her scarf was made from a sweater that I felted. Just snip the ends to make the ends fringed. I included a felted wool blanket as well. She snuggles in a second-hand cup.

Some piece of thin rope or leather cord to use as a tail.

Some kind of stuffing. I used dryer lint and a little dry rice.

Needle and thread for hand sewing.

A sewing machine for sewing the main body and head pieces.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse cutting fabric

Cutting out the pieces.

You will need a Tea Cup Mouse pattern.*

*Because it takes a tremendous amount of time for me to develop projects like this, design and draw a pattern, test ideas, make, take pictures, edit pictures, write the how to, etc… I’m asking for a mere 2 dollars (see side donation button for quick payment with paypal). Send me an e-mail and I’ll send a pdf file with the pattern right out to you.

Use stencil to make your own card board stencil. A cereal box works well. Trace the body and head on your fabric. Cut two at a time if possible.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse machine sewing

Sew the head. Sew the two head pieces (right sides together) using a sewing machine. Use the edge of your foot (sewing machine foot) as a guide. Keep the edges of the fabric running along the edge of the foot. You only want a narrow seam.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse body and head

Sew the body. Again with right sides together, sew around the body leaving a hole for the head. You will want a narrow seam allowance here too (not to exceed 1/4 inch). 

Trim the corners (A’s in the picture). Be careful not to cut your stitching. Also, clip the inner curve a few times (at B in picture).

Turn the pieces right side out.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding tail

Add the tail. Use a mechanical pencil or other sharp object to make a hole on the backside of the mouse. Tie a knot in the cord. Put the tail through the hole you just made. The knot should be on the inside of the mouse and the tail should extend out the back of the mouse.

Stuff the body. Next add some rice into the body of the mouse until it is about 1/4th full. The rice isn’t necessary but I like the way it gives the mouse weight and help it stand. Loosely fill the rest of the mouse and the head with dryer lint.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding a head

Connect head to body. Tuck in the raw edges of the body and stick in the head. Pin in place. Hand sew together sewing around the head.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding hands...

Sew on the hands, feet, and ears.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding smile

Embroider facial features. Use an embroidery needle and some black embroidery floss to make the mouth, nose and eyes. Use a French knot for each eye. Alternatively use a permanent marker to draw on the mouth, nose, eyes and whiskers.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse complete

Have a blast making the mouse a quilt, pillow, clothes, scarf, hat, whatever.