Category: DIY

Show Me a Story: low on tech, high on terrific

When my kids were really young, they loved to tell me long, adorably nonsensical stories about just about anything that crossed their minds. Now that they’re a bit older, I miss their elaborate tales. These days, it’s easy for tech-savvy kids to lose themselves in their electronic games and gadgets. But guess what? Armed with a new book packed with loads of interactive tips, crafts, and games, I’ve found a fun way to engage their imagination and encourage old-school play and storytelling, all over again. {Keep reading to learn how you can win a copy!} The beautifully designed magazine-style...

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DIY Crafts meets toys meets awesome

One of my son’s favorite activities is creating DIY roads and parking garages for his collection of Matchbox cars. So when I saw this super easy tutorial, I thought it would be a cool way to take his imaginative play to the next level. These DIY chalkboard city blocks from hellobee are brilliant, imaginative fun. Requiring only a few supplies (and crafty genes are NOT on the list of must-haves), you and your favorite car-lover can whip up an entire neighborhood in a couple of minutes. Vroom-vroom!   All you’ll need is chalkboard paint, sandpaper, and a bunch of old blocks...

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A Rosh Hashanah craft for kids that’s very sweet indeed

With Rosh Hashanah starting Sunday night, this is a perfect weekend to work on some New Year inspired crafts with your kids. In other words, if you’ve forgotten to send cards? No worries! Nothing inspires as much forgiveness as something handmade just from the kids. This Rosh Hashanah craft for kids by Brenda Ponnay at Alpha Mom is as sweet as apples dipped in honey, the symbol of the Jewish New Year. It’s not hard to make these honeybee cards either if you follow the instructions on the site and have a few basic tools on hand, like paint, Sharpies,...

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Can you help your favorite crafter or small business owner win $10,000?

Recently we introduced you to the wonderful Martha Stewart American Made Awards which is offering crafters and other small business owners a chance to win $10,000 to support their dreams. Well, we are just thrilled to find out that some of our very own readers and featured shops are among the finalists in the Audience Choice Awards! Ashley McCally of Lilly and Gus makes beautiful plush products made from upcycled fabrics from denim to wool. We’re so glad to hear she found out about the contest from Cool Mom Picks! Becky App of eCreamery has created a great business selling...

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Box Play Stickers turn trash into recycled toy treasure

I’ve always been envious of those crafty upcycle types who can turn a cardboard box or egg carton into an adorable toy or trinket holder. I just don’t have enough of the craft gene to make trash look like much more than…well, trash. But now that I’ve discovered these seriously adorable stickers, that’s all about to change. Eco-friendly craft stickers from Box Play for Kids give regular old recyclables like a quart of juice, a tissue box, or an egg carton a second life by turning them into a bright fire truck, a smiling kitty bank, or a clever place...

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Free recipe card printables that blend classic design with modern technology

On one hand, actual paper recipe cards seems like they could be going the way of the Betamax and the Rolodex. On the other hand, here comes a wonderful stationer creating lovely free (free!) printable recipe cards that actually make use of technology in the perfect way. Just download the free recipe card printable template from Love Vs Design and you can do much more than print them and then hand write your Grandma’s famous peach pie recipe. You can fill them out on your PC in Adobe Acrobat, meaning they become interactive templates; type in the instructions or...

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ABCs from a time when B was for Balloon, not Boy Band

My mother-in-law is amazing at keeping childhood treasures — we have everything from my husband’s toy car collection to original copies of his favorite children’s books — and we treasure this vintage ephemera so. I love that these old toys and books are just as beautiful and appropriate now as they were back then, because childhood is truly timeless. Sometimes I wonder if these books will still be around when my kids have children of their own. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Which is why, while we definitely hang onto these old toys and books, I simply cannot imagine tearing...

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DIY Free Printable Tooth Fairy Notes – oh the cuteness!

When we found this DIY project at one of our favorite design blogs, Handmade Charlotte, we nearly died. The best part is that the instructions do not include mentions of glue guns, professional equipment, or paper stock only found in the foothills of Sweden.   With as little as some basic card stock, a printer, a ruler and an old-fashioned X-Acto knife, you just print out her adorable designs and you’ve got both a mini card and envelope for scribbling a quick note to the taker of teeth; along with a thank you note from the sprite (complete with...

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A Ryan Gosling coloring book just for Mommy

I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a huge Ryan Gosling fan. I own the Ryan Gosling dish towel we recently found. (Enough said?) So if you love Ryan as much as I do, here’s an excuse to stare at him a little more. The Ryan Gosling coloring book might just be the most hilarious gift for the R-Go fan in your life. You’ll get 15 pages of all sorts of different Ryans from some of his best movies, each of which you can color to your heart’s content. Or, if you’re like me, attempt to draw yourself in next...

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Beautiful jewelry for tweens – buy them or make them yourself

My 8-year old is just starting to accessorize her outfits, which is probably no surprise considering I have a little addiction to accessories myself. If you’ve got a tween that’s ready for something better than play jewelry but not Tiffany, we’ve found the perfect, handmade option. This isn’t the first time we’ve featured the adorable children’s jewelry from Bloesem but since then, they’ve added a slew of limited edition kids’ necklaces that I’m actually coveting myself, each handmade with threads and beads to make a lovely gift for your tween girl.  Plus if you (or your tween) are crafty,...

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Letters from the tooth fairy – When you care enough to send the very tiniest

Need a little something more special from the tooth fairy than say a dollar under the pillow? We’ve got just the teeny-tiny thing. We fell in love with Leafcutter Designs teeny-tiny letters from the Easter Bunny a few years back, which would rock any child’s Easter basket even more than a 12-inch chocolate rabbit. Checking back with them, we’ve discovered that the duo now offers eleven different card designs with everything from a petite heart, ladybug, or kite imprinted on the front. Just type out your text and they’ll shrink it down to fit and fold it all up...

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You’ve got to know when to fold M.

“Free” is one of our favorite words. And now you can spell it out in three fancy dimensions, thanks to this clever series of papercraft templates. And did we mention that they’re totally free? And that M is for Monster? Digitprop is a website by parent and biochemist Markus, who offers free templates and papercraft project to entertain and amuse. We were struck by this amazing free printable paper craft alphabet, which includes PDF templates for all 26 letters. My favorite is the N for Ninja, which includes some fascinating information on why ninjas dress the way they do....

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Solar-powered crafting

I spend a lot of time lately telling my kids about the “dangers of the sun” as I apply yet another layer of SPF 30+. But this weekend, we spent a lot of time talking about the cool art that the sun can make with this creative new kit from CMP favorite Eye Can Art. Their new Fabric Sun Photo Kit is a great way to to flex those creative muscles in between beach days. What makes this kit so special is that, like so many of Eye Can Art’s kits, instead of telling kids what to make, it tells...

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8 free Olympics printables that deserve a medal

We’ve found a set of free Olympics printables that bring the excitement of the far-away Olympics a little closer, no passport required. Which is great because the closest we’re going to get to London for the Summer Olympics is through our television and laptop screens. New-to-the-U.S., personalized-gift shop, Tinyme, has an entire roster of cute and totally free Olympics Printables that will help keep the excitement going even when I need to shut off the television. Some can even be personalized. My family will love the Opening Ceremony Bingo Cards which we can play while we all stay up...

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Turning any table into the best playhouse ever

Its been a while since we first discovered Imaginative PlayToys, and the gorgeous handmade felt table covers she makes to turn your card table into oh…say, a pirate ship. Checking back again after awhile I discovered a new shop name and a ton of inspired new designs. In fact, while writing this post my kids saw the photo below and started shrieking WE WANT THAT! WE WANT THAT! CAN WE GET THAT? like nothing I’ve ever seen. Can you blame them? Red Double Delight Playhouse (at top) Under the Ocean Playhouse Paper Doll Boutique Playhouse   Outer space playhouse Animal sanctuary...

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Free printable French alphabet flashcards, from abeille to zèbre

Whether you are planning a trip to Paris or just want to sneak a little bilingual education into your day, I’m totally smitten by these adorable flashcards from our recent favorite freebie find, Mr. Printables.  With the same cute, colorful illustrations that we recently saw on their French Alphabet Poster, this set of French Alphabet flash cards can be in your hands today: Just print on card stock and cut out the set.  I love that each card includes the feminine and masculine articles “le/la” or “un/une” since this can be such a tricky thing for us English speakers. I only...

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Amazing kids’ craft kits that we might steal ourselves

This past week on a trip with a few families, I was so glad we had a few little art projects for rainy days or just quiet (forced) downtime. If you’re not familiar with Todd Oldham’s awesome craft collection, Kid Made Modern, it’s a wonderful one-stop-shop for that kind of stuff. Plus now, Target has a whole Kid Made Modern craft collection with some really creative, affordable ideas that expand the collection. I feel like a kid in a candy store browsing the Kid Made Modern craft kits–from basics like glitter paints, gorgeous colored pencils and even duct tape...

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A DIY puzzle that helps you keep the United States, united

Before the hamburgers are done, before the sparklers come out, and before it’s dark enough for fireworks, you can take a few minutes to put the United States back together with this easy printable from my favorite new DIY craft site. At Mr. Printables (cute name, right?) the Map of the USA Jigsaw Puzzle sneaks a bit of geography learning into your holiday with this totally customizable printable. Just print out the colorful map, mount onto a piece of cardboard and then cut out your pieces with a craft knife. Or do a shortcut version and just paste it...

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Fourth of July crafts and DIY projects for the family

Earlier this week it was fun finding some of the most beautiful Fourth of July printables and decor, and now for you DIY’ers, I’ve rounded up fun Fourth of July crafts so you can celebrate America’s 236th birthday party in style. Whether you’re firing up the grill or not. Independence Day is a great day for family fun: the kids are out of school, chances are there’s a parade nearby, and the sky will soon be filled with fireworks. Days like this only happen once a year–let’s make it special! –Roxanna I always suspected candy buttons were easy to...

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Free Father’s Day printables for last minute Father’s Day gifts

Father’s Day is Sunday, and while we’ve been giving you loads (and loads and loads of Father’s Day gift ideas, we understand that you may still be looking for that little special “something” that will pull it all together. Instead of scouring the stores, take a look at these awesome printables for Father’s Day, from custom gift cards to unique treat holders. Along with being unique and fun, they are all also totally free. –Christina Not surprisingly, the designers at Hello Lucky offer a few gorgeous Father’s Day Printables including the bottle labels and matching card (above) that you...

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DIY teacher gifts from the class? Reader Q+A

Help! We are trying to come up with an end of year DIY teacher gift from the whole classroom for our kindergarten teacher. Something every kid can participate in but won’t require too much work from the parents. I know Cool Mom Picks will have great ideas. Thank you so much! -Margaret B We totally understand. As easy as it is to just donate some money towards a gift card, there are some teachers who are so special to us that we really want to do something that truly comes from the heart of each and every kid. For those...

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A DIY Father’s Day gift, no crafty genes required

As much as I love to give my husband a handmade DIY Father’s Day gift from the kids, I’m not the craftiest person in the world. They make their own cards and we call it a day. But after discovering this awesome DIY gift idea, I think I might have the kids forgo the cards and help them make this instead.  This awesome photo book design project from Design Aglow is so simple even I can do it. Really. Using their Interactive Guest Book feature, designer Ashley Campbell created a unique photo book that I’m pretty sure any dad will love....

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Gorgeous Mothers Day printables – just hit print and end the angst

Thank goodness for Mother’s Day printables! With the big day right around the corner, if you haven’t ordered a thing yet, stop and take a deep breath because we’ve got you covered. First calculate expedited shipping rates on your favorite picks from our Mother’s Day Gift Guide. Next, check out these awesome free (or close to it) printables that can be ready in a flash. So perfect for that frequent-flyer mama, these printable Mothers Day gift tags from Hello Clementine look like cool luggage tags. They just need to be printed on white or kraft cardstock, cut out, and...

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If you can read this, make sure you thank a teacher this week

Though we sooooo appreciate our kids’ teachers every day of the school year, we make a special effort to thank those special ones during Teacher Appreciation Week, which happens to be right now. While a kind note goes far, we have rounded up a few delicious choices for your kids’ favorite educators to enjoy while they read that letter.  Want something you can DIY at home and have your child hand to the teacher in class? I love The Celebration Shoppe’s chevron-patterned free candy bar wrapper printables that can be customized, and would look equally cool on a healthier granola...

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You oughta draw on pictures

From the moment they could successfully maneuver a crayon, my kids have loved open-ended coloring books like Taro Gomi’s finish-the-picture Scribbles book. So, it’s no surprise that they adore a new rules-free coloring book with an interesting twist: Instead of finishing drawings, they are actually invited to draw around photos. {keep reading for your chance to win a copy} Created by photographer and teacher M.J. Bronstein, Fotoplay! is a fun blend of realism and fantasy, with enough pages to keep even the most productive artists busy for many rainy days or on long summer road trips. Each one of...

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3 new monthly gift subscriptions for kids that keep on giving

With three kids and an ever-growing number of nieces and nephews, it seems like I’m on the lookout for a “wow” birthday gift every month, and a monthly gift subscription is always a great idea. In the past, we’ve lauded the genius of Kiwi Crate craft projects, or the Little Passports “pen pal” subscription series for future travelers. Now, there are 3 more monthly gift subscriptions for kids as young as three that will have your recipient thinking you are the coolest gift-giver ever. Over and over again. -Christina BABBABOX SUBSCRIPTIONS The new BabbaBox from BabbaCo is a super-special...

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Personalized stamps that prettify anything. And everything.

Ever since my penpal days (I had 31 of them! At the same time!), I’ve loved personalized stamps. I was a preteen, so they were of the unicorn-and-rainbow variety–oh, and penguins. I had way too many penguin stamps. My tastes–and time–have obviously changed a little in the last 20 years, which is why I’m over the moon about these elegant new custom stamps. CMP favorite stationer Red Stamp has teamed up with Paper & Ink to create a line or gorgeous,  personalized self-inking stamps. They’re available in 24 different designs, from clean and contemporary to bold and beautiful. It’s really nice...

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Growing edibles just got easy. Like black-thumb-proof easy.

Grow-it-yourself is the new do-it-yourself. Unfortunately, I tend have the touch of death for plants. But you know what? I didn’t let looking awful in denim overalls stop me from wearing them throughout the 90’s, so I haven’t let being plant kryptonite stop me from growing my own juicy tomatoes and fresh herbs.  I’ve got a black-thumb-proof plan for growing edibles this season so that I can cook with homegrown herbs and produce. And, you know, hang with the GIY cool kids–also known as the hungry boy and his hungry brother. Determined to grow, too? Here’s what to do...

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Free bunny ears you’ll love to see in your Easter photos

On this Easter Sunday, may your own bunnies stay clean of melted chocolate and grass stains. . .at least until you can get a few great shots of them in their Easter finest. And while we’re sure your children will look adorable as is, we’ve found a couple of printables that will just up the “awwww” factor today. The free printable bunny and lamb ears from Ellinee Design House are the perfect topper for Easter; and they’ll probably stay on a toddler’s head a lot longer than a bonnet. With just a pair of scissors, a dot of glue...

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Making your own Easter bunny

I am not a crochet master (or even a crochet apprentice), but if I were, I would totally be buying the PDF so I could make an adorable amigurumi bunny like this one. So for all you crafty mamas, check out the amigurumi bunny crochet pattern from Etsy’s LuvlyGurumi. You pay $6 for the pattern and support a small artist, then the rest is up to you. I can’t think of a sweeter Easter gift than something made from the heart. And that includes red jellybeans. –Liz Download the amigurumi bunny crochet pattern from LuvlyGurumi – plus monkeys, birds,...

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