Category: DIY

The Ultimate Star Wars Guide: Dozens of geeky gifts, party ideas, DIY projects, recipes, and random Force-inspired insanity.

Okay, so the world is obsessed with Star Wars right now in light of the premier of The Force Awakens. And hey, we count ourselves among you all. Now we can’t exactly say we’ve covered Star Wars “since before it was cool” because 1.) no such thing and 2.) we were not blogging in 1978. But we have put together an awesome Star Wars guide, filled with so many fun finds from over the years — gifts, guides, party ideas, recipes (Chewbacca donuts!) and just random awesome stuff. It’s so fun seeing them all here in one place. Or, you can always...

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A great big list of 20 of the best free printable gift tags and gift wrap for the holidays

It’s beginning to look like it’s time to start wrapping the gifts, so we’re coming to the rescue with 20 of the cutest, coolest, and most beautifully designed printable gift tags and gift wrap for the holidays, from all over the internet. This list should make it clear that we’re picky — we’ve really spent a lot of time finding just the very best ones. Because hey, we get it…it’s totally disheartening to realize Christmas eve that you don’t have enough gift tags or wrapping paper to get the job done, and then have to scour the web for something that fits your standards. So...

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More than 20 seriously cool snowflake patterns to make with your kids, or just to blow their minds.

Oh, bless you paper snowflakes! For all we need to make them are scissors, paper, and if you want to get fancy, some very cool snowflake patterns. It’s the perfect holiday craft for those of you, like me, who are enthusiastic about doing crafts with the kids over the holidays but you know that trip to the craft supply store is not going to happen. And don’t even get me started on glitter. I hope you love these awesome patterns as much as I do. From festive, wintry imagery to amazing pop culture icons, we want to try them all. And we...

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Easy DIY ornaments for kids: 9 terrific ideas for turning those plain ornaments into something special

I have had such a great time this week looking for ideas for DIY ornaments for the kids. After all, one of my favorite parts about decorating for the holidays is seeing the Christmas tree ornaments my kids have made over the years and hey, we’re always open to new ideas. So here are 9 really easy, fun ways to turn those plain round ornaments into holiday keepsakes for anyone in your family, their favorite teachers, or even a BFF. I really like that these DIY ornament ideas make great group projects too, if you’re looking for a classroom or playdate project for a bunch of creative...

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4 fun paper jewelry kits for kids that make great holiday gifts

Paper jewelry kits are a pretty awesome gift, giving your crafty kids something wonderful they can make and wear — even when you’re sure you want one more little bead, button, or plastic charm strewn about your house. I adore paper jewelry kits as much as my kids because they are fun and can turn out some pretty cool-looking pieces. Plus, they can go right in the recycling bin once my kids have moved on to something else, unlike the cheap jewelry that they covet by the counters of clothing stores. So for a great jewelry-making gift that uses paper as its medium of choice, I’ve got four fun...

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A perfect gift for hard-to-shop-for tween girls: DIY craft kits from The Make Arcade

Shopping for my tween niece can be hard. She’s not a little girl any more, but she’s not fully a teenager either. She wants cool stuff that’s still sweet and cute. So, I’m excited to have discovered The Make Arcade on Etsy (thanks to Liz). These adorable but still cool DIY kits are going to be perfect Christmas gifts for her. And she’s going to love making her own jewelry and lampshades and plush donuts. Because plush donuts are awesome. As any girl will tell you these days. Related: Super cool craft gifts for kids who should have their own...

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The best Hanukkah coloring pages: 8 options that are beautiful, artful and free.

Do you know how hard it is to find good free Hanukkah coloring pages for kids? Like, really hard. Who knew that tracking 8 of them down would be another Hanukkah miracle! I searched a long time to find what I think are some of the best Hanukkah coloring pages on the web, wanting them to be artful, nicely illustrated, not uploaded to virus-laden sites (oy) , and that don’t require you to watch 16 ads before having the ability to download. Tall order, but, I’ve found 8 great free options. Or, one for each night. (Above: Adult Hanukkah Mandala by Emerlye Arts) Best of all, some of...

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Little Loving Hands reimagines monthly craft kits for kids in the most amazing way

My kids’ holiday gift requests are coming in fast and while I’m sure Santa appreciates the early input, I want to make sure my kids don’t forget how it feels to give to others as well. That’s why Little Loving Hands is one of my favorite new gift ideas: It not only makes a wonderful monthly gift for kids who enjoy arts and crafts, but their creations become gifts for others who are going through a difficult time. Much like other monthly craft kits we love like Kiwi Crate or Green Kid Crafts, Little Loving Hands sends a boxed project...

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Counting down to Christmas with acts of kindness

We’ve covered lots of cool Advent calendar over the years, because what kid doesn’t want to countdown to the big day of toys and treats with…well, okay. A lot of little toys and treats. So I was really touched by this sweet Acts of Kindness countdown to Christmas printable calendar at She Lives Free. Her post has more than just the free printable — there are some lovely thoughts about small actions that help children (and all of us, really) to be more mindful about others and how we all fit in together. I mean, hopefully you are holding a...

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The kids’ table will be the place to be this Thanksgiving with these 11 great ideas to make it more fun

We’ve come a long way since the “kids’ table” of my youth, when a rickety card table in the kitchen corner was where all of us little ones were banished for Thanksgiving dinner. Now, there are so many ways to make the Thanksgiving kids’ table fun and interesting, everyone is going to want to be sent to eat there. And even if you don’t formally set up a separate kids’ table, a lot of these ideas can be incorporated into your family’s table decor where the kids are seated. I’ve even found some great ideas that will give the kids something to keep them occupied...

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11 really fun Thanksgiving printables, from activity books and coloring pages for the kids, to table decor that makes you smile.

Even though Thanksgiving is a pretty low-key holiday for a lot of us — more about food, friends and family and football than anything too fancy — I love how kids tend to get excited about celebrating every holiday. And about decorating everything and anything for any reason at all. That’s why I’m grateful for these 11 fun Thanksgiving printables, including coloring pages and craft projects, to keep the kids entertained (and out of the kitchen) over the coming week. We also found some festive decorations for the table and walls so you can focus on more important things like the turkey, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and deciding...

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10 easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids that also make great table decor

Since I’ll be busy in the kitchen (i.e. my happy place) next week, cooking and baking and getting ready for our big family dinner, I’m going to put my kids in charge of the Thanksgiving table decorations, which is not my happy place. Craft projects and art are usually a fun way for them to fill their down time when they’re home from school, and what I like about these fairly easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids is that I think they can double as adorable table decorations to make dinner more festive. There’s something really nice about the kids’ table feeling kid-like, or, if you all sit...

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6 fun, easy ideas for making a custom photo memory game a more memorable gift.

Our kids are usually pretty clear about what they want for their big gifts for Christmas, so I often have the most fun thinking about those smaller gifts that are total surprises for our kids. So, we wanted to share one of our favorite affordable gifts our kids actually love: custom photo memory games from our super cool partner, Pinhole Press. – Don’t miss a special discount from Pinhole Press for our readers below – In fact, we shared this idea last year and our readers totally went nuts for it. So we’re thrilled to have such a wonderful sponsor that we know you all like...

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15 of the coolest Advent calendars to make waiting for Christmas more fun.

Even though I’m still finding Halloween candy wrappers hidden under the couch (kids!), I’m keenly aware that December isn’t that far away. Which means that it’s time to start thinking about which Advent calendar we want in our home to help us count down the days to Christmas. As we’ve done for the past seven (wow!) years on Cool Mom Picks, in 2015 we’ve searched high and low for all kinds of options for your home. From clever DIY calendars, to fun kid-like designs, to gorgeous pieces you can reuse each year and treasure, here are 15 of the best Advent calendars I really love this year....

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What to do with extra Halloween candy: 9 ideas you may not have considered.

After the fun of trick-of-treating and the trading of the candy, we are pretty sure that your kids are still going to have piles of candy leftover that weighs about as much as a toddler. Now is the time to think of a good plan for what to do with all that extra Halloween candy. Oh, sure, the kids can eat some of their hard-earned snacks. But, instead of throwing the rest of it in the trash, we have a bunch of great ideas that will turn that candy into something more than a messy pile of wrappers. Related: 10 delicious recipes that use...

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Our ultimate last-minute Halloween help guide: Fun costumes, delicious treats, free printables and crafts, pumpkin decorating ideas and more!

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and probably yours too, if you’re one of those people pinning Halloween costume ideas and treat recipes back in July. (You know who you are!) But you know, best intentions and all. And hey, we’re all busy parents! So if you need some last minute inspiration for Halloween costumes, treats for an upcoming party, printables and Halloween crafts to keep the kids busy, even apps to bring a techy element to the fun, we’ve got you covered! And hey, whether you’re going the DIY route or the Target-help-me-quickly path, it’s all good. All...

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Easy, fun Halloween papercrafts for kids that don’t require anything you don’t have in the house already. (You have scissors, right?)

If your kids are like mine and Kristen’s, they started counting down to Halloween…oh, November 1 of last year. Now that they’re in full Halloween commando mode, I’ve been looking for some easy crafts to distract them from asking me for the hundredth time to just open one of the bags of candy now please please please. Oh, and when I say easy, I mean I don’t have to go out and buy one more thing. While we’ve shared quite a few crafts this year already, I like all of these last-minute Halloween papercrafts that I’ve found recently and bookmarked for my own kids, not just because...

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20 non-candy Halloween treats to buy or DIY. Because they are going to get a boatload of candy anyway.

I wish my kids had more candy this Halloween is not something you’ll hear from our lips because–wow–candy is everywhere. And, while we’re not against our kids collecting sugary treats (In fact, I’ll be taking- um, sneaking – all of their Mounds), we’re also in favor of mixing up the selection with some great non-candy treats to hand out at a Halloween party, or as a no-sugar option to give out to trick-or-treaters. Yes, it is ok to be that house. So, we’ve pulled together 20 non-candy Halloween treats that you can either buy or DIY as a project to do...

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A free printable to help with Halloween milestones and mommybrain, all at once.

We all know that as your kids get older, it can be tough to remember their milestones, like which Halloween your kid was a vampire bride and which year they were the Arthurian knight with the helmet that wouldn’t stay on. Hopefully, I’m not alone in having a case of selective Halloween memory. It’s a real thing. Related: 25 of the most adorably creative DIY baby costumes for Halloween…that you can actually make. Also a real thing: Every parent online these days seems to be into those cute printable milestone cards, like the ones for first day of school pictures. So I am digging...

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A ton of empowering Halloween costume ideas for women and girls. In other words, no sexy cop, sexy nurse, or sexy serial killer.

I knew the whole sexy Halloween costumes for women thing had jumped the shark (the sexy shark?) when I saw a sexy Freddy Krueger costume in our local costume shop. Not even kidding; we talked about it on a recent episode of Spawned. So if you — or your girls — are  still trying to figure out a costume to wear on Halloween that doesn’t require a bustier, you may be as thrilled as I was to discover Take Back Halloween, a site to inspire women with costumes that honors their heroines or heritage. a very clever site with the subhead, for...

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10 scary Halloween decorations that you can DIY… if you dare

Now that my kids are a little older—and a little braver—we can finally bump up the fear factor when it comes to decorating our home for Halloween. That means that the smiling cartoon ghosts and friendly pumpkin faces are about to be replaced with decorations that are a bit scarier. However, I’m making sure that the decorations that we use aren’t too creepy since I still need my kids to go upstairs without a personal escort.  So, I’m aiming for DIY Halloween projects that we can work on together, which will hopefully make them a little less scary since they’ll have a hand in creating...

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The ultimate source for hip, hand-knit hats and accessories. Whether you are the one hand-knitting them or no freaking way.

First, you have to laugh at a shop called Wool and the Gang. (Take a sec…okay, there you go.) But when you look at their amazing selection of hand-knit accessories, and the knitting patterns you can buy, it turns out it’s a massive resource for hip, cheeky accessories that can update your wardrobe for winter. While they have all kinds of scarves, sweaters, and other goodies for men, women, and kids, I’ve mainly got my eye on the funky hand-knit hats to help me beat the winter chill with a smile. The thing that’s exceptionally cool about this company is that...

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9 super easy DIY Halloween treat bags for kids that beat carrying a boring pillow case

The house is decorated, there’s candy in the pantry for trick-or-treaters, and your children’s Halloween costumes have been planned for a month. Think you’re set for October 31? Well, have you considered what your kids will use for Halloween treat bags? Plastic pumpkin-shaped pumpkins and spare pillowcases from the linen closet are fine, but if you’re putting in all that effort to make creative costumes for your kids, I think it’s kind of nice to make their bags just as special. Also, good way keep the kids busy when the pre-Halloween excitement hits a fevered pitch. I’m not suggesting you splurge on some designer...

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9 really creative but still easy last-minute Halloween costumes for kids. Hey, we’re busy too.

I like to think of Halloween as an equal opportunity holiday; you don’t actually need to be a crafting maven to come up with the best costume. Even procrastinators can throw together last-minute Halloween costumes using (mostly) everyday items around your house, and the results can be equally funny, clever, or scary as any other. All it takes is a good idea, and as I discovered while putting together this collection of 9 last-minute costumes for kids, there’s no shortage of fun and original ideas out there to inspire you this Halloween. Of course there’s always a ghost under a white sheet. But I like these...

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10 creative Zombie party ideas that are more creepy-fun than outright disgusting.

If cackling witches and spiders that drop from doorways aren’t quite creepy enough for you for Halloween, perhaps a zombie-themed party is more your speed. I started looking for some fun zombie party ideas now that my kids are getting older, but I realized so many of them are absolutely gross. As in brain cakes, that look so realistic I couldn’t even eat one. So I pared it down to the party ideas that are more fun and creative; hey, we don’t want your guests to lose their appetites for all the delicious food you’re serving at your party. Before you invite the undead to your...

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4 free kawaii Halloween printable craft projects make super cute happy girl!

We love when our own readers share cool things with us, and in the case of Nicola Pravato of Next to Nicx, I’m so happy she brought to our attention her squee-cute kawaii Halloween printables that are awesome for upcoming Halloween parties. She is one talented designer — we fell in love with her Stormtrooper easter eggs earlier this year — and I absolutely adore her style. Check out the free downloadable templates and comprehensive instructions on her blog; they’re not your basic crafting 101 stuff, and you will need an X-Acto knife and some good quality paper to print on, but...

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17 cool DIY Star Wars costumes for kids that you can make, from Han and Leia, to baby Ewoks, to the droids you’re looking for.

If your kids are begging to be a Star Wars character this Halloween–or if you are just dying to turn your baby into Yoda for their first trick-or-treating–we’ve rounded up an entire galaxy of DIY Star Wars costumes that cover a variety of characters and ages. From the not-too-difficult, to the Whoa, you made that?, I think your young Padawan, Leia, or Droid will be thrilled with any of these out-of-this-world Star Wars costumes that you can totally pull together yourself, thanks to some incredibly crafty — and dedicated — parents. Related: More than 40 of the coolest Star Wars party ideas for...

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13 fabulously easy no-carve pumpkin ideas for the kids. (Yes, they really are easy.)

Last year we found 6 impressive no-carve pumpkin ideas for the seriously crafty and I still look at them longingly, knowing I will probably never make them. As awesome as they are. So this year I’m looking for something a little more easy. A little more DIY-able. As in, no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas that I know we could actually do. Because geez, internets — some of you bloggers call something an “easy” craft but if it requires a zillion special supplies and advanced crafting skills, I’m going to call you out on your definition of easy. Now you can always just...

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14 wildly cool, creative sibling Halloween costumes to inspire you beyond superheroes and princesses.

It may not be fair — or the best system — but I admit I give out a little more candy to the kids who come to my door in creative and clever themed Halloween costumes. And when they’re cool sibling Halloween costumes that work together, well I kind of want to toss in some extra Reese’s just for the parents who took the time to get it together. Since my kids haven’t decided what to be yet, I’ve been doing some searching (and by some, I mean hours and hours) for the coolest, smartest sibling Halloween costumes around, and coming...

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21 of the coolest free Halloween printables for kids. Because we’re all for fun that costs zero dollars.

As we start to get excited for Halloween around here — as in, endless costume discussions considering my girls have a new idea every 17 minutes or so — I’ve been distracting them with Halloween crafts projects, front door decor request, and coloring pages. In other words, I’ve spent a whole lot of time scouring the web lately for free Halloween printables that can keep them busy. While we’ve covered plenty over the years, there’s so much great new stuff I’m coming across that I figured I’d put together some of my favorite new Halloween printables, all thanks to some generous...

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