Category: DIY

Free printables for happy campers.

With my girls heading off to sleepaway camp in a few weeks, getting everything together has been definitely consuming many brain cells. And with a few of our writers in the same boat, that explains why you’ve been seeing recent posts here for awesome care package treats, camp labels, and cool camp stationery. Now here’s one more — and it’s free! Our friends at Tiny Me have created this super cute new updated 2015 free printable, personalized camp journal that I totally love. Related: 6 cool sets of summer camp labels for kids There are two beautifully designed cover options, each...

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Enjoy safer sparklers with 6 fun Fourth of July crafts for kids

We expect to hear plenty of  ooh’s and ahh’s to accompany all the bright and sparkly things we’ll see on the Fourth of July, but I hope to eliminate any ow’s with these safera alternatives to sparklers that they can enjoy on Independence Day. Or heck, all summer long. I hope these 6 fun Fourth of July crafts for kids help create a safer holiday for all. Related: Free printable Fourth of July temporary tattoos   Pipe Cleaner Sparkler Craft for Fourth of July (tutorial, Kix Cereal) Metallic pipe cleaners make great faux sparklers, especially in red, white, and blue colors. Follow the easy Pipe Cleaner Sparklers tutorial at...

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Nature Bingo! A free printable project to keep the kids busy all summer

We’re all about helping you with summer boredom busters for kids this week. First, there’s that awesome giant coloring poster for indoor creativity when the weather gets icky. But when the sun is shining and you need one more trick up your sleeve to lure the kids outside, you have to check out these smart free printable nature Bingo cards found on Handmade Charlotte. Related: 13 fun summery crafts for kids to keep away the boredom   It think this would be fantastic to send off to the whole bunk in a summer camp care package. Or, just use it at home. Now of course...

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Free Fourth of July temporary tattoos! Because you may not want those stars and stripes forever.

Before you go to the Fourth of July parade, fire up the grill, or lay out the blanket to watch the fireworks fall from the sky, I like the idea of getting inked up with some beautifully designed DIY Fourth of July tattoos. Just like fireworks, these tattoos are temporary, but sure look pretty while they’re around. Created by crafter, creator, and talented handwriting illustrator Alexis of Persia Lou, her Watercolor Fourth of July Tattoos are so nicely designed, I want to wear them just as much as the children do.   Related: 9 fun, easy, no-bake 4th of July party treats...

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Fight boredom with the huge, and hugely fun, coloring poster from Pirasta

I’ve been fighting boredom this summer with a bunch of magic markers and one really huge (like, seriously huge) and cleverly illustrated coloring poster for kids from a new company called Pirasta. And the beauty of these posters is that there’s room for everyone to get in on the action. The recycled-content paper is sturdy enough to let it take over the dining room table for a while, spread it out at a birthday party, or hang it on the wall. And at a whopping 63″ x 36″there is plenty of room for multiple people to color together. We’ve even rolled up...

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Tons of beautifully designed, free printable bookmarks to get kids just a little more excited about cracking a book.

We’re always looking for ways to keep kids reading, especially once the school year ends and those 20 or 30 or 45 minutes a day aren’t exactly “required” any more. (Well, depending on your house rules.)  Plus, that lure of all that extra daylight after dinner can be pretty tempting. So hey, why not use it get a little more reading time in before bedtime? Related: 14 smart ways to get your young kids excited about reading this summer One of the most simple things I’ve done to get my kids excited about books is giving them their own bookmarks. No...

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Calling all makers and other indie businesses: American Made nominations are open

We love supporting Martha Stewart American Made competition each year, in part because we’ve always had the mission of helping small local brands get to the next level; and in part because it’s how we’ve discovered so many of our favorite makers over the last three years that we feature here. And now it’s back! If you’re a maker, the Audience Choice Award is open for nominations in categories of crafts, design, food and style. Win and you get a whole lot of press, a trip to NYC to attend the big MSL kickoff event, $10,000 to grow your business, and...

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Fab free Father’s Day printables for fans of great design. And making him cry.

We just keep finding more and more fun, free Father’s Day printables for you all. Which is good news whether you’re looking for a token that’s sweet but not spendy, or even if you already have some big splurgy gift, but really want something a little personal to go along with it. In this case, this free printable Father’s Day survey comes from our friend Lonela at the Tiny Me blog, who we can always count on for just gorgeous, thoughtfully designed printables that she is kind enough to offer up free to her readers. No comic sans here, my friends. This is the good stuff....

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7 Father’s Day photo shoot ideas of the kids that you can totally do.

If you missed the boat on photo gifts…no, wait! You didn’t! We all live in the land of the Smartphone Camera, after all, and if you’ve got a camera and a place to print a photo, you’ve got the makings of a wonderful surprise Father’s Day gift. Here are just a few Father’s Day photo shoot ideas I’ve found from crafty parents around the web that don’t require a $6000 camera or any crazy skills. Which is just how I like it. Hey, I love that photo within a photo within a photo multi-generation portrait as much as anyone, but...

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Turn your kids into toymakers this summer

Wow, is our email box and social media feed getting packed with parents stressing out about what to do with kids during downtime this summer. Seeing as how we can’t let kids play in the park by themselves without 8 “concerned” neighbors calling 911 (grrr…but that’s another post for another time), we’ve been actively seeking out fun crafts, projects, and educational activities that keep them busy until you can get out with them. Or even just let them have a little fun time indoor on a rainy or zillion percent humidity day. Related: summer fun Now our friends at Cate +...

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A clever, very simple reward system to keep kids reading this summer.

We just finished putting together a ton of great educational activities for kids to keep them sharp over the summer, and now of course I find one more I’d love to add to the list. This free printable paper chain reading log from Eighteen25 is so brilliant! It combines so many of the things my kids love most: reading, crafts, hanging random stuff on their walls, and reward systems. Related: The year’s best children’s books: all the lists, all in one place The idea is really simple: Print out these cute reading log strips, fill them out, and tape them...

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Educational activities for children this summer? Reader Q & A

Hi Cool Mom Picks! Any suggestions for workbooks or activities to help prepare my child–and keep them out of my hair (ha)–for the summer between kindergarten and first grade? -Chaitali   Ahhhh, summer! No school lunches to pack, no buses to catch, and yet, now you have a curious, energetic, and sometimes b-o-r-e-d child to entertain for weeks on end. We love that you want to keep your child busy and engaged with educational activities that will help them get ready for the next year of school. We’re all big believers in tucking in some fun learning activities in between beach...

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7 of the coolest printable birthday crowns for the true ruler of the household

We’ve got a lot of summer birthdays for the kids in my family, so party planning is definitely top of mind for me these days. But I realized, as I’ve looked around the web, that while there are lots of gorgeous handmade birthday crowns on Etsy or instructions for making your own out of felt if you’re super crafty, it’s really hard to find printable paper birthday crowns that are fun, modern and well-designed. In other words, Crafting Lite™. So, I kept looking. And behold! some great options, from free to just a little bit extra. But totally worth it. Related:...

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Retro-cool printable gift boxes full of summer fun. And yummy treats.

We’ve been smitten by Claudine Hellmuth’s clever gift boxes that look like ovens and popsicles for a while now. So we just visited her Etsy shop again, and wow, she has so many fun printable gift boxes at her site now that I’m tempted to give away little treats all summer. What I love best about these is that she’s made it possible for a small treat to be really memorable. With dozens of kid birthday parties and teacher-appreciation gifts to give, that’s something I really appreciate. Of course, your kids could just print these and make them as a fun DIY project that they can use for imaginative...

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13 fun summery crafts for kids that can keep the boredom away.

Oh, summer. The kids wait and wait and wait for it, and then, how many minutes in are they complaining about how hot it is? Or how you won’t take them to the pool (for the second time that day)? Or that they’re simply bored? So I’ve tracked down a whole bunch of really cool summer crafts for kids from around the web that you can bookmark, and stash away for those very moments. Some take a little planning and a few supplies, while others are as simple as printables. Which means print out a whole bunch now for...

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Free summer printables that make you want to get crafty. Or eat ice cream.

I am so digging these adorable free summer printables that I just spotted at Oh Happy Day, courtesy of talented designer Amy Moss. I love the idea of printing a whole bunch on card stock and stockpiling gift tags for summer birthday parties — which will also save us a ton of money and hassle buying those teeny ones that are like $2.50 at the local toy store. But I bet you crafty mamas can think of all kinds of fun things to do with the two page PDF of ice cream cones, popsicles, and watermelons. Click over and you’ll...

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What’s better than custom portraits of your kids? Free custom portraits of your kids.

I always feel so grateful to those amazingly talented illustrators and graphic designers who create free printables that we get to share with you. We’ve found so many cool ones over the years. But the one I’m really excited to have discovered are the custom illustrated portraits of your child from designer Susie Ostrowski of The Little Umbrella, because they’re totally 100% free. Seriously. She happens to be the designer of some of my favorite free printable Valentines cards so I shouldn’t be surprised at her lovely, customizable selection of both boy portraits and girl portraits. There’s an impressive diversity in the looks of the kids...

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12 fantastically messy projects for kids that let you be That Fun Parent

They may be growing up oh-so-fast, but our elementary-school aged kids are more than happy to get as messy as their toddler selves used to, especially when it’s all in good fun. Our tip: Every so often, it’s okay to get messy. So throw on the play clothes, hold your breath, and get ready for them to get head-to-toe covered in paint, mud, or whatever ooey, gooey substance you have on hand. If all this talk about messy play makes you feel a little squeamish, then remember that the nice weather of spring and summer make the perfect time to take that mess outside....

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7 of the best DIY teacher gift ideas to make gift cards more personal

Back in December, when we asked teachers for the Best Teacher Gift Ideas, by far the most cherished gift mentioned was a handwritten note or card from their students. Just a few words to let them know that all their hard work made a difference to our kids; according to our Very Important Teachers, this small gesture goes a long way. But the other idea that received a lot of thumbs-up for its usefulness was a gift card to either a local establishment or national chain, where teachers could treat themselves or buy something for the classroom.  Turns out, what some think of...

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18 of the most fabulous Mother’s Day printables for last-minute thoughts that still count a lot

When it comes to showing moms our unending appreciation for all the hard work they’ve put in for us over the years—especially now that we get it a little better ourselves—we always want to make Mother’s Day incredibly special. And yet, sometimes…we get a little busy. Which isn’t the same as forgetting, of course! So we’ve tracked down some really wonderful free Mother’s Day printables just for you. Because the right card can make that perfect Mother’s Day present look special, a fun banner can make a home-cooked brunch more festive, and pretty printable gift wrap can amp up the homemade gift from the kids. The...

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May Day: One holiday worth bringing back

Yes there are about a zillion so-called Hallmark holidays out there, but hearing stories from my own mom about May Day celebrations of her childhood make me yearn just a little for it. Dancing? Singing? Cake? Pretty ribbons? What’s not to love? So it seems Mari from Small for Big and Smallful is once again a woman after my own heart, offering these sweet printable May Day paper baskets in her lovely shop. It doesn’t have to be a big shopping experience in the least; fill it with flowers from the garden, candies around the house, or the printable paper...

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7 of the coolest affordable photo gifts for Mother’s Day, all under $50

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, you may be like us, thinking hm, I have 8 bazillion amazing photos on my computer and my smart phone — maybe I can finally do something with them? Like say turning them into some really cool but affordable photo gifts for Mom or Grandma. That’s where Pinhole Press comes in, a family-run photo gift company we’ve loved and supported for many years now. Which is why we’re so happy to welcome back them back as a sponsor. They’ve got no shortage of wonderfully spectacular but still affordable keepsake photo gift ideas for Mother’s Day, all...

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11 messy projects for preschoolers that let you be The Fun Parent

If you find yourself saying Don’t make a mess! to your curious, imaginative, and, yeah, messy preschooler more times than you care to count, we’re going to challenge you to say Let’s make a mess for a change. Wait til you see how good that feels. Oh sure, we couldn’t do this every day, but sometimes it’s fun to let loose and be the fun parent who doesn’t really care how dirty, sticky, painty, or glittery our kids get during no-holds-barred play. Especially as the weather gets warmer, and sending them to hose off outside is one viable option.     Remember, clean-up time...

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5 gorgeous photo gifts for Mother’s Day that are worthy of the photos

We’ve always said that some of our favorite Mother’s Day gifts are personalized, and well, you can’t get more personalized than photos of your own kids and family. Of course, not all photo gifts are created equal. (Sorry, badly printed photo mugs.) That’s where Artifact Uprising comes in, a wonderful small company that we — and our readers! — have truly loved even before they became our newest sponsor. And we are so thrilled to continue to support them. These are folks who are driven by the belief that everyone has a story to tell, and we couldn’t agree...

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The most fun printable Haggadah for kids we’ve ever seen

While mostly what kids look forward to in a Passover Seder is finding the matzoh, reading the four questions and stuffing their faces with as many macaroons or chocolate-covered Matzoh as possible, a few years back we discovered a clever Passover Haggadah for kids that I think gives them one more reason to look forward to the holiday. And now, what’s better, it’s been turned into a printable Haggadah so it’s even easier to get your hands on it. Equal parts conversation starter and interactive activity book in the style of Taro Gomi, My Haggadah: Made it Myself by Francine Hermelin Levite is a remarkably...

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10 cool free printable Easter coloring pages for kids who’ve moved past fat washable markers

If you’re looking for some last minute Easter crafts for your kids, and making your own hand-stitched Easter bunny doll from vintage fabrics you scavenged from estate sales isn’t quite on the agenda, printable coloring pages are always a hit. At least in my home. (See also: My front door. Any time of year.) Unfortunately, most of the Easter printables I see are kind of cutesie for my own kids, who have outgrown the whole connect-the-dots to make an egg and chick. So taking a cue from the coloring mandalas that they love, I found some more intricate, advanced, free printable Easter coloring pages that will...

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How to dye Easter eggs with food coloring and get just the right shade? Ask the experts.

I am imagining that the McCormick’s website must get more traffic this time of year than any other, considering that it’s pretty much homebase for anyone wanting to know just how to dye Easter eggs with food coloring, and just which exact combo of those teeny little drops will yield the perfect hues. While we’ve shared some cool natural ways to dye your Easter eggs, I also understand that when it comes to kids, sometimes a pale kinda-yellow-brown isn’t going to cut it when what they really want is bright neon orange. And that a kid like mine who loves turquoise (this year) will probably...

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17 of the coolest bunny crafts for Easter we can’t resist. Oh, the kids too, of course.

Many of us are going to turn the calendar over to April and realize, with a start, that Easter is a blink away on April 5. Or today, it’s a week away. So use this last week to decorate eggs, make Eastery treats, and finish shopping for those baskets. And if you need to keep your little bunnies’ hands busy too, we’ve pulled together 17sweet bunny crafts for Easter that your kids and you can make, eat, or play with while you jump around getting everything done. Related: 15 easy Easter crafts for kids and fun printables. No glitter required!   Easter Bunny...

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17 of the most incredibly clever pop culture Easter eggs, from Star Wars to Frozen to Minecraft and beyond.

Looking for your Easter eggs to have a little more personality this year? We’ve got lots of amazingly creative ideas for pop culture Easter eggs that give a nod to those characters and creatures we all know and love, like our favorite superheroes, more than a few Star Wars characters, and of course, Minecraft. While some of these ideas are so spectacular, only the most artistic among us should attempt, several ideas are totally doable. In fact, good luck to those of you who are about to end up with two dozen Minecraft Creeper eggs. Related: 17 super cool Easter egg decorating ideas that...

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6 easy St. Patrick’s Day crafts for kids that look pretty darn cute.

As we all know, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, so even my family dons the green and plays some jigs on March 17th. And though we don’t go crazy decorating our house with shamrocks or setting up leprechaun traps, there are plenty of easy, kid-friendly crafts we can do to celebrate the Emerald Isles on this day. I pared it down to six cool craft ideas that go beyond sticking shamrock stickers on green plastic hats. (Not that that can’t be fun for kids too!) DIY Green Clay Bead Necklace (tutorial, Tuts+) Okay so this definitely is the least easy...

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