Category Archives: Kids’ Crafts

Junk Mail Paper – Part One

I love it when you can take something completely useless that you would otherwise throw away and make it into something functional and beautiful!  One of those useless items is junk mail!  Usually it’s covered in print, so it doesn’t make good scrap paper, especially if it has personal information on it.  Then it’s straight to the shredder or rip it up before tossing it.  You COULD give it to your little ones and let them have fun scrunching it and tearing it up, but that’s about all it’s good for, right?  Well….. I’m going to show you a few awesome things you can do with your unwanted mail.  This also includes any used scrap paper, old bills to be shredded, leftover homework, tissue paper that no longer looks pretty, toilet paper (unused!), paper towels (unused!), and almost any type of paper that you would otherwise throw away.  I’m going to do this as a series of posts, so this doesn’t get super long!

First off, we’re going to recycle that paper into new paper!  Already recycle your unwanted paper? Awesome!  Unfortunately, we don’t have recycling pick up services in our area, and recycling ANYTHING means hoarding big piles, lugging it to the recycle bins at the dump, and waiting in line since everyone seems to do it on the weekends! So, to be honest, we don’t recycle as much as we used to since living here.

Junk Mail Paper - Part 1 of a series.  Paper making and other ways to recycle junk mail!
Have you ever seen that pretty homemade paper that looks like linen?  Or has colorful thread or dried flowers in it? Or maybe you received a wedding invitation on plantable paper with seeds in it?  Most of the time what you’re looking at is homemade paper.  And what is homemade paper?  It’s just the process of recycling old paper!  And that’s what I’m going to show you how to do.

Don’t get overwhelmed by this.  It is very easy.  Once you have all of your tools and supplies assembled, it’s really easy to pull them out each time you want to make paper.

First of all, you will need a mold and deckle.  Huh? What’s that?  For your benefit, I’ve included a glossary of terms at the very end of this post. Go check it out.  I’ll still be here! You can purchase a mold and deckle kit at most craft stores.  However, I’m going to show you how to make one for a fraction of the cost.  If you would rather buy one,  skip down 3 pictures, and start reading where it says, The Supplies.

paper1
The Supplies
1.
two empty wooden frames – one bigger than the other (check your thrift stores and yard sales!) I recommend small frames for beginners and then working up to a full size sheet of paper.
2.
window screen
3.
hammer and short nails or a staple gun
4.
scissors

The Directions
paper2
Place the window screen on top of the larger frame.  Nail it down or staple it while pulling the screen tight in all directions.
You can see in my picture that this frame once had a screen on it.  It got a lot of use and wasn’t as tight as I wanted, so I put a new screen on.

paper3
Using a scissors, cut the window screen around the frame.  You now have a mold!  Easy right?  Put the mold and deckle (smaller frame) off to the side while we get our paper making supplies together.

The Supplies
1.
paper to be recycled
2.
a plastic tub that is wider and longer than your mold and deckle and preferably has a lid
3.
large spoon
4.
a blender
5.
heavy towels (like bath towels)
6.
several thick sponges
7.
several pieces of white felt
8.
water
9.
heavy books or equivalent (optional)
10.
a paper shredder (optional)
11.
an iron and ironing board (optional)
12. wire kitchen sieve (optional)
13. Ziploc bags or similar (optional)

The Directions
I recommend doing this outside. You can do it inside. Just pick a place that has water friendly surfaces.

paper4
If you have a paper shredder, awesome! If not, you can tear your paper into small pieces.  I would try to stay away from really thick paper especially if it has shiny print.  Remove the plastic from envelope windows. Magazines and newspaper are ok!  The mix of paper you use will determine what your new paper will be like.  You can mix different kinds to get different thicknesses and textures.  What I’m going to show you is the SIMPLEST form of paper making.  There are so many fun ways you can do this and things you can add to your vat or mold.  Let’s keep it simple for now.

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Fill your tub with warm to hot water.  A lot of people skip this step and go straight to the blender.  Trust me, it’s worth it.  Your blender won’t have to work so hard and you’ll get smoother pulp.  Add your shredded paper. This is an awesome kid activity!  M did a lot of this himself.  Obviously, children should not use a paper shredder, and young children should not use a blender.

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So I’m going to stray one step from simple, but it’s still easy.  One of the easy ways to color your paper is to add a little bit of shredded, colored tissue paper.  This batch will produce lime green paper.  I have a lot of junk mail envelopes with the blue security print in this batch.  Basic color mixing: blue + yellow (tissue paper) = green. If you use white printer paper with a lot of black print on it, your paper will usually result in an off white color (linen).  Just like most things that are wet, your pulp will be a lot darker in color than what your finished dry paper will be. Use a large spoon to push all of the paper under the water.  You can definitely use your hands if your water isn’t too hot.  M loved this!  The paper will stick all over you though.  Let the paper shreds soak in the hot water until they are soft.  This only takes minutes for regular printer paper. Thicker paper will take longer.

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This batch will come out gray and will be featured in other parts of this paper making series.

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Scoop your softened paper into the blender.  M’s open mouth expression.. “Ohhh, cool!”

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Add some of the hot water.  There are no specifics to this.  You just need enough liquid to help puree the paper. You don’t need to add anything else.  The bonding materials in the original paper are enough to bond new sheets of paper. Blend it up. Yay for outdoor outlets! For beginners, I suggest blending it as smooth as you can.  Add more hot water as needed and stir it once in a while (while it’s off). If you’re worried about dulling your blades, use a separate blender just for paper making (again, check your thrift stores and yard sales). Keep the leftover water in the tub.

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I’m not going to lie to you.  The pulp is going to look pretty disgusting. Especially if you’re not using fun, bright colors. This is the gray batch again and will be in the pictures from here on out.

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Pour the pulp back into the tub.  Don’t worry if you have a few leftover shreds of unblended paper in there.  It will just add character to your new paper.  Just pour a little at a time.  You’re going to have to experiment with how much you need when you make your first piece of paper.  I always add more warm water at this point too.  It helps to have several inches of the water/pulp mixture in the tub.  You’re going to be sticking your hands in this, so warm verses cool water is a personal choice. Put a thick towel folded in half next to your tub.  Have your felt and sponges ready.

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Get your mold and deckle.  Put the deckle on the center of the screen on the mold.  Hold it by its sides so you’re pinching the 2 frames together. Try not to touch the screen.

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This next part might be hard to understand.  So if you have questions, please ask in the comments below.  While holding your mold and deckle, submerge your hands into the vat.  Gently swirl and stir the pulp to try to evenly distribute and suspend the fibers in the water.  Don’t create large waves. Now lift your hands out, and with the water moving, scoop the mold and deckle down to the bottom of the tub. In other words, start with the mold and deckle at a 90 degree angle with the deckle facing away from you.  Insert it into the water starting at the side of the tub closest to you, and using a scooping motion, move it to the bottom of the tub so it is flat again.  The goal is to get underneath as many of the fibers as you can.  Then gently stir the water again, moving your hands towards you and away from you.  Take the slightest pause in the middle of the tub and immediately, but gently, pull your mold and deckle straight up out of the water while keeping it level.  Whew! Did you get all of that?  Again, if you have questions, please ask!

It’s actually really easy!  That whole process only takes 5 – 10 seconds. If you can get your pulp evenly distributed, and pull straight up, you’ll have an even sheet of paper on your mold.  This is where you’ll need to decide if you should add or take away pulp to get the desired thickness of your paper.  The more paper you make from one vat, the more pulp you’ll need to add.

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Let the excess water drip off of the mold while you hold it over the tub.  You can tip it slightly to let water run off the corner.  While keeping it straight, lift the deckle straight up and off of the mold.  Put a piece of felt on top of your newly formed sheet of paper. If you’re making small paper, put it close to the edge so you can fold the felt on top of it in a later step. You can also turn your mold upside down and put it on felt that way.  The paper won’t fall off and will stick to the mold.  Put it on the towel.  The felt should be in between the towel and mold so the back of the mold is facing up.  Take your sponges and start sponging up excess water.  Squeeze them out periodically into your tub.  Switch to dry sponges and let the damp ones dry to speed up the process.

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Next is to couch the paper.  For beginners, the easiest way is to keep sponging and replacing the towel if needed until the mold pulls away leaving the paper on the felt.  If you have little patience like me, you can sponge it to a point where you can peel the paper off the mold.  This is a little bit risky.  The wet paper will easily tear and it might fall wrinkled onto your felt.

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Here is a fully couched paper.  See the wrinkles?  Oh well.  It’s also normal for some to stay behind on the edges of your mold.  This is especially true if your deckle wasn’t flush with your mold.  In this case, my nails were too long and prevented the deckle from completely touching the screen. Once you get the hang of it, you can really produce a lot of paper fast.

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All that’s left is the drying process!  You can let it dry naturally or do a few things to speed it up.  I like to fold my felt over the paper.  I can usually fit two pieces of paper per piece of felt.  If your paper is bigger, just place another sheet of felt over it.  With an iron on low – and I stress LOW! – you can  iron over the felt to dry more of the water. Craft felt sheets are synthetic and will toast if your iron is too hot.  Ask me how I know!

From here you can leave it in the felt to dry.  You can also stack the felt and put heavy books on top to help them dry flat.  Let me tell you, your paper will take days or even weeks to dry this way! So another option is to open up the felt, tip it over, and let them peel off onto a water safe surface to dry.  I like to use my ironing board, because once they are dry, I iron them flat (iron on low!).  This is similar to ironing sewing patterns if you’re a sewer.

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(This picture shows wet verses dry)
You could really speed up the drying process by using the iron directly on the wet paper.  This takes practice and skill.  At all costs you want to avoid actually ironing the paper, but instead press it with the iron (again on low!).  Trust me, your paper will crumble and stick to your iron if you at all rub the iron on it while it’s wet. Always leave a corner peeking out of the iron so you have something to grab onto to pull it off.  Your paper won’t evenly dry this way and you may end up with some scorch marks.  But it’s a good method for the brave and impatient!

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Experiment with different colors and textures.  Veer away from the simple and add embellishments to your paper!  You’ll have a nice pile of paper like this with natural deckle edges! Some of these have some yellow thread in them.

Now, don’t throw away your vat of pulp!! First of all, you can save it and make more paper with it in the future or mix it in with other vats.  Second of all, I’m going to show you some awesome things you can do with that pulp in other installments of this series. I’m also going to show you what you can do with your new paper.

To save your pulp, you can just cover it up, but only do this for the short-term.  Otherwise, pour the contents of your tub into a wire sieve.   Do this outside and NOT over your drain please.  The sieve will collect the pulp the same way the screen on the mold does.  You can use your fist to squeeze a lot of the water out.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Store your wet pulp in an airtight Ziploc bag or something similar.  So far, I’ve had batches of mine keep this way for 3 years and counting.  I just use what I need when I want it.

If you’re not already following me or subscribed by email, make sure you are so you are notified of other installments of this series!  You can find the email subscription link on the top right side of this page. And one more reminder: if you have questions about this project, PLEASE ask, and I will do my best to answer them.  Now start recycling your junk mail and I’ll meet you back here for Part 2!

Glossary of Terms
Mold and Deckle
– A 2 part frame used to make the paper.  The bottom part is the mold.  It is larger and has a screen on it.  The upper part is the deckle.  It determines the shape and size of the paper.
Pulp
– A mix of plant fibers and water.
Vat
– The container that holds the pulp from which the paper is produced.
Couch
– (pronounced “cooch”) The process of transferring a newly formed sheet of paper from the mold to felt.
Deckle Edge
– The natural, untrimmed edge formed on the paper by the deckle.

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!

Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

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Filed under DIY - Do It Yourself, Free Tutorials, Kids' Crafts, Paper, Upcycled

Featuring: M! Edition #1

M really loves to sit next to me and watch me do my crafts.  A lot of the time he’ll ask to do his own craft, and we’ll sit side-by-side in a crafty zone!  Just about every day I hear, “Can we paint something?”  I thought it would be fun to feature some of his artwork and crafts every once in a while.
Just, Dinosaur Picture
I‘m calling this one:  Abstract Dinosaur Art.  But keep reading and you’ll see what name he gave it. He really explored color mixing with this one, and it was his first time painting with stencils. He painted this about a month ago when he was 3. He just recently had a birthday.  I was painting my canvas for the DIY Wall Art – Textured Mixed Media post at the time.

I should mention, when you ask him to smile for pictures, he gives a big cheesy smile with a scrunched up nose. So I told him to do a little smile.  It’s better, but not his natural smile. He’s still cute, though!

Just, Dinosaur Picture
Look at that awesome stenciling talent for a first-timer.  I really think it was creative how he stenciled them in one color and then went over it in another to create the green outlines.

Just, Dinosaur Picture
Love the layering of colors.

Just, Dinosaur Picture
Awesome!

And here’s a little interview with M, talking about his painting in his own words:

What is your favorite thing about your painting?
I like all the dinosaurs.
What’s your favorite color in the painting?
Blue, red, green.  I like three.
What is your painting called?
Just, Dinosaur Picture
How did you make it?
I painted it with colors… and made it with the stencils.
Do you remember painting it with me?

Yeah.  I like painting with you, not by myself.
What else do you want to tell me about your painting?
Hang it up!

And that I will do!

Here are some other wall art projects you may want to check out!
DIY Wall Art - Textured Mixed Media DIY Wall Art - You Don't Have to be an Artist DIY Sticker Stenciled Wall Art

Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

3 Comments

Filed under Featuring: M!, Kids' Crafts, Wall Art

DIY Popsicle Soap Crayons – Glycerin Soap from Oriental Trading Company

 www.craftandrepeat.wordpress.com

My kids love to color!  Especially, M, my four-year-old.  Anytime he sees me doing something crafty he asks if he can help me or color/paint something of his own.  L, my one-year-old, just recently discovered his love for crayons and markers, and while he’s pretty good at keeping it on the paper, that doesn’t stop me from finding marks on our furniture and walls!

Let me interrupt myself for a moment to say that I LOVE that both of my boys are showing an interest in crafty things!  Proud Mama! Ok, back to the post…

I love it when I can let them be creative, but not have a big mess to clean up in the end.  Have you seen those soap crayons in the store?  They are marketed toward bath time.  Talk about easy clean up since they are made of soap!

Here’s the issue I have though that really makes me go, “hmmm….” – we all know that soap is slippery when wet!  Try to grab it from a bathtub full of warm water and good luck!  Ask a toddler, and you might have a temper tantrum on your hands.

Lots of people are making these crayons on their own, because it saves a lot compared to the store price, but every one I’ve seen is just some shape of soap that would be hard to hold onto, let alone color with when wet.

So, I’m going to show you a VERY easy solution to this problem, with a bonus storage solution! Instead of using soap molds, muffin tins, ice cube trays, etc…. use popsicle molds with big handles!

I have these awesome molds with big, chunky handles, that make it easy for little hands to hold onto!

I’ve been wanting to make these for a while, and when Oriental Trading Company (OTC) generously gave me the chance to review some of their products, I knew their glycerin soap was going to be first on the list!

These soap crayons are so easy to make!

The Supplies

The Supplies
1. glycerin soap
2. popsicle molds with large handles
3. bright soap dye or food coloring
4. soap scents or essential oils
5. sharp knife
6. cutting board
7. plastic spoon or knife for stirring
8. wax paper
9. double boiler or microwave safe glass measuring dish with a spout (like Pyrex)
10. stove or microwave
11. vegetable cooking spray or petroleum jelly (optional)
12. rubbing alcohol in a spritzer or spray bottle (optional)

The Directions
1. Decide if you’re going to make layered colors or one solid color per mold.  If you’re making layers, you will make your soap in small batches.  You will make the same color several times to alternate the colors so that the end of each popsicle won’t all be the same.
2. Cover your work surface in wax paper, waxy side up.  This will make clean up a breeze if you accidentally drip any soap.  It also works well as a place to set your used stirring utensils.  They won’t stick to the wax paper.  You may line your molds with cooking spray or petroleum jelly to make demolding the soap crayons easier.
3. Get your dyes, scents, stirring utensils, and molds ready before you start melting your glycerin soap.  Have everything opened, lined up, and ready to go! You’ll have to work fast once the soap is melted.
4. Cut your soap into slices or cubes.  Put the desired amount into your double boiler, or microwave safe bowl.OTC Glycerin Soap

OTC Glycerin Soap

Double Boiler Method
Put the desired amount of soap in the double boiler and let it melt.  You can stir it once in a while to help it along, but over stirring is not recommended.

Microwave Method
Put the desired amount of soap in your microwave safe, glass container. Microwave on high in SHORT bursts.  I recommend 10 seconds at a time unless you’re making a huge batch, then do 30 seconds.  Watch it closely.  It can go from unmelted, to boiling over in a matter of seconds. Lightly stir it just enough to push the unmelted parts around in between each burst.  Shorten your microwave time when it gets close to being completely melted.

5. Once it’s all melted, add in your dye and scent/oil.  Stir until it is just mixed in.
DIY Soap Crayons

6. Immediately pour it into your molds.  If you are layering colors, the prep time between each color is enough to let the previous layer set up.
7. Gently tap the sides of your molds to prevent bubbles.  If you can’t get your bubbles to disappear, lightly spritz them with rubbing alcohol.  Silly me, even with my background in making soap from scratch I completely forgot about this step in my excitement of making these!  So mine have some bubbles.. err.. character!
8. Gently glide the handle part of your mold straight in so you don’t mix colors if you layered your crayons.
9. Let them sit for a minimum of 4 hours.
DIY Soap Crayons

10. Slowly pull the soap crayons out.  If they don’t budge with just a little bit of pulling, do not force them.  Try these two demolding tricks:

~Freeze your popsicle molds for 30 minutes to an hour (oh the irony!).  Let them sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes and try again.
~If that doesn’t work, run all sides of your molds under warm water, or dip them in a warm water bath.  This method usually works, but if you get them too warm, you risk melting them some.

As a last resort, use a plastic knife to loosen the edges of the crayon from the mold.  You’ll mark up your crayons this way, so try the other methods first.

A Few Tips
1.
For writing on white surfaces, make sure to select really bold colors and add a lot to your melted soap.
2. Use them wet or dry.
3. Put some thought into your scent choice.  I have a huge collection of soap scents since I make soap from scratch.  I was all ready to match up fun scents to colors.  For example: apple jack scent to a green and orange crayon.  But I also have a large collection of essential oils.  Since bath time usually happens before bed time in our household, I decided to put a combination of lavender and peppermint oils in each crayon.  They aid in relaxation, just like those nighttime body washes you can buy for kids.
4. Clean up is easy! Just use warm water to wash the excess soap away.
5. Use the popsicle tray to hold the crayons when they aren’t in use.
6. When you get to the end of the crayon and that hard-to-use stub, just melt it off of the popsicle stick in a microwave safe glass dish and pour it into a new mold.
7. Get your kids involved in the making process!  M really enjoyed helping me make these.  While most of this project should be done by an adult, he had fun putting the sliced soap into the containers, picking out what color to do next, and stirring in the scents and colors.  When kids are involved in making something, they will take pride in it.  It will make for good conversation when it comes time to use them.

DIY Soap Crayons
Now start coloring!  Don’t limit yourself to the bathtub.  These crayons work great on many other things.  My favorite being the kitchen appliances!  I can plop my child in front of the refrigerator and let him color while I do the dishes!  And the added bonus is that when you go to wipe up their artwork, your refrigerator gets a good cleaning!  Extra bonus: give your child a wet rag, and make cleanup part of the fun!  You could write out reminders and grocery lists this way, too and save some paper!

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Besides making awesome crayons this soap is really good for cleaning!  I wanted to test these crayons out on a window (works awesome by the way!).  First, I cleaned the window really well with Windex.  Then I wrote my message on the window, snapped this picture, and wiped it away with a damp towel.  I wish I had taken a picture of the towel.  The soap cleaned up everything the Windex missed (which was a lot!) and made my window extra shiny!  How fun would it be to completely color a window stained glass style, and make a sun catcher out of it?!

DIY Soap Crayons
Don’t they look good enough to eat?!

I really enjoyed making these crayons, and coloring with them too!  Oriental Trading’s glycerin soap worked perfectly for this project.  It works great just as soap, too!  They have some fun molds, colors, and scents you can use!  Another neat way to use this soap is to encase small plastic toys in it.  Well, I KNOW OTC has no shortage of fun toys and party favors!

I’ve been a long time fan of Oriental Trading Company.  I was given their products as a child when I attended Sunday School.  I used their products during high school when I taught Sunday School and VBS.  And now as an adult, they are my go-to place for my crafting supplies.

Oriental Trading

They offer over 30,000 products including: craft supplies, scrapbooking supplies, teaching supplies, kids’ crafts and kits, party supplies, wedding supplies, Sunday School and VBS supplies, and SO MUCH MORE!  They even offer personalization for many products. You can also find craft ideas and a list of supplies needed to complete them! Everything is affordable, and they have a Lowest Price Guarantee.

If you haven’t heard of Oriental Trading Company before, they are definitely worth a visit!  While you’re there, make sure to sign up for savings, request a free catalog, and sign up for their rewards program so you can earn money toward your purchases.

**This post is sponsored by Oriental Trading Company.  I received a gift card to put toward products for review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions and reviews are written with complete honesty.  The entirety of this post is comprised of my own thoughts and words.**

Oriental Trading

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!

Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!



12 Comments

Filed under DIY - Do It Yourself, Kids' Crafts, Reviews

Sensory Jars

jars1
These fun little jars are so easy to make and provide endless fun for the kiddos! I love how it’s a way for them to explore things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to touch.
From left to right: Rain Jar, Calm Jar, Oil and Water Jar, Look and See Jar, and Static Electricity Jar.

There are all kinds of fun things you can put in these, but I narrowed it down to five jars.  Keep reading to learn how to make these.

You could definitely upcycle water or juice bottles to make these.  That was my original plan, but the water bottles we use have lots of ridges on them.  They weren’t the best for viewing.  I found these plastic jars at Oriental Trading that I just love! They are the perfect size for little hands.  They have that fishbowl effect, so everything looks bigger and more amazing.  Each jar can also tilt on its front.

**While these jars are sealed tight, this does not make them child proof and 100% child safe.  Adult supervision is highly recommended.**

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RAIN JAR

The Supplies
1.
jar
2.
uncooked rice
3.
toothpicks
4. super glue

The Directions
1.
Put the toothpicks in the jar at many different angles. Don’t over pack it.
2.
Put the rice in the jar.  The amount is up to you!
3.
Super glue the lid on and let it dry per the instructions on the glue packaging.

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Let the rice fall through the toothpicks and it will sound like a rain stick! This is L’s favorite one! I dyed my rice to give it more visual appeal.  I used the vinegar version HERE.  The only difference is that rice should be removed immediately from the solution and shouldn’t soak in it.  You could also use colored toothpicks!

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CALM JAR

The Supplies
1. jar
2.
light corn syrup
3.
sequins, shiny confetti, shiny gift ribbon cut into small pieces, and/or small plastic toys
4.
super glue

The Directions
1.
Fill the jar with corn syrup, leaving a small space on top.
2.
Add your items.
3. 
Super glue the lid on and let it dry per the instructions on the glue packaging.

jar8
Turn the jar upside down and watch the items slowly and calmly move through the syrup.  The space at the top will create a bubble that moves through the syrup.  I dyed my syrup bright orange, but you could leave it clear and let the colors of the items be more prominent.
If you’re going to color the syrup, here’s a fun tip: put a couple drops of 2 different colors in the jar and seal it up WITHOUT mixing it.  Let the kids have fun watching the colors slowly mix in and create a new color!  The syrup really slows down the mixing process, so you’ll have fun streaks of color to look at! 🙂

jar4
OIL AND WATER JAR

The Supplies
1. jar
2.
water
3.
baby oil or any clear oil
4.
glitter
5.
super glue

The Directions
1.
Fill the jar about 2/3 the way with water.
2.
Fill the rest of the way with baby oil.
3.
Add glitter.
4. 
Super glue the lid on and let it dry per the instructions on the glue packaging.

jar9
Gently shake and rock the jar to produce waves.  Shake it up to demonstrate how oil and water don’t mix.  This close up picture (click to enlarge) shows cool little ridges and mountains you can make by keeping the jar standing up straight and spinning it left and right a few times.  I colored my water with food coloring.  Since it is water based, it will not mix into the oil. I also didn’t have regular glitter on hand, so I used superfine cosmetic grade glitter that I use to make cosmetics and soap.  I think I like it better that way! This is my favorite one!

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Look and See Jar

The Supplies
1. jar
2.
water
3.
bright, colorful water resistant objects that will float and/or sink
4.
super glue

The Directions
1.
Fill the jar with water.
2.
Add your objects.
3. 
Super glue the lid on and let it dry per the instructions on the glue packaging.

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Use this jar to demonstrate colors, float vs sink, or just to let little ones play with objects they normally wouldn’t be allowed to!  I cut up some kitchen sponges for this one.

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STATIC ELECTRICITY JAR

The Supplies
1. jar
2.
tissue paper cut up into small pieces
3.
styrofoam or packing peanuts cut up into small pieces
4.
super glue

The Directions
1.
Put everything into the jar.
2. 
Super glue the lid on and let it dry per the instructions on the glue packaging.

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Rub the jar on the carpet, your clothes, or hair and watch the items stick to the side of the jar. You might even see some lightening bolts!  Take it in a dark room for an even more fun experience.

Like I said, I chose to make just five of the MANY types of jars you can make. The possibilities are endless!  I mostly made ones geared at young kids.  You can use many mediums to fill your jar: water, oil, hair gel, soap, shampoo, syrup, glue, sand, rice, dirt.. and more.  You could make jars that appeal to other senses, too. What’s that smell jar?  What’s that Noise Jar?  Look and Find Jar (fill a jar with rice and small objects and have a list of the objects to find in the rice).  Density Jar.  Rust Jar.  Holiday Theme Jar. And so many more!

Of course I couldn’t pass up sharing pictures of L loving these jars!
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**While these jars are sealed tight, this does not make them child proof and 100% child safe.  Adult supervision is highly recommended.**

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!
Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

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Filed under Kids' Crafts

Pasta Play!

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When I was making my Knife Garden the other day, I couldn’t resist coloring some pasta for my boys, M and L.  Look at how vibrant and fun they are!  The directions for dying the pasta are almost the same as the spaghetti for the Knife Garden, but these take a lot less time.

The Supplies
1. pasta – pick fun shapes and ones that can be strung!
2. rubbing alcohol or vinegar
3. liquid food coloring
4. Ziploc type bags
5. cookie sheet
6. aluminum foil
7. paper towels

The Directions
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Put your pasta into Ziploc type bags.  Use one bag for each color you want to make.  If you’re using more than one type of pasta, you could do one color per type, or have a mix of them all per bag.
Next, add rubbing alcohol or vinegar to the bag.  It doesn’t have to completely cover the pasta, but should at least cover half of it.  I used rubbing alcohol, because it was what I had on hand.  Vinegar would be a safer option for younger kids who still explore items by putting them in their mouths.
Add food coloring to each bag.  Make sure to add it to the rubbing alcohol and NOT directly on the pasta. Use about 10 drops per snack/sandwich size bag. Use more if it’s a very light color, like yellow.
At this point, you might want to double your bags to prevent leaks.  Mine stood up really nice on the counter, so I decided it wasn’t worth wasting the extra bags. Now gently shake your bags until the color is evenly mixed in the rubbing alcohol and each piece of pasta has been saturated.  Let them sit for 5-10 minutes.  Give them another shake.  Repeat this until you achieve the desired color.  Mine only took about 30 minutes.

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Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil to protect it from the food coloring. Then lay down a couple layers of paper towels on top of the aluminum foil (all of my cookie sheets were occupied at the time with piles of spaghetti, so I improvised and used a muffin tin). Take your pasta out of the bags (you can use gloves).  Let excess coloring solution drip into the bag before placing them on the paper towels. It’s best if you can lay them out flat in a single layer. They will dry faster and won’t clump together. Let them dry completely.

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I found this pack of 4 food safe containers for less than $2.  I LOVE the bright lids.  I divided the pasta between two containers, put scooping utensils and stringing shoelaces in another, and left the fourth empty to dump the pasta into!

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I taped the middle of two shoelaces to the inside bottom of one container.  This solved the problem of tying a knot at the end.  It also makes it easier to string the pasta on when the shoelaces are anchored.  AND I won’t find stray shoelaces in some random corner of the house – it’s easy clean up!

Now the FUN part!  Let the kids play, and watch their brains go to work!  Just think about all the learning opportunities here:  color sorting, shape sorting, patterns, fine motors skills… and to them it’s just playing!

My boys loved this!
Get ready for a picture parade!

M staying up past bedtime to try out the new activity!
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L enjoying it the next day – he only tried to eat them twice 🙂 but I stopped him in time.
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This is an awesome sit-down activity that will keep the kids focused for a long time!
Don’t those vibrant colors make you want to sit down and play too? 😉

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!

14 Comments

Filed under DIY - Do It Yourself, Free Tutorials, Kids' Crafts