Little places for little things
My daughter has a lovely collection of little fairies, trinkets and other ornaments that she has been given over the years. They take pride of place on her shelves, along with a vast selection of aged Enid Blyton books and
dusty cuddly toys. This means the ornaments often get knocked off the shelves and also they are within easy reach of her younger brother’s sticky little fingers. I decided she could do with somewhere special to keep these ornaments, to free up space on the shelves and keep them safe. Being a thrifty mum, I didn’t want to spend much money on this and I turned to shoeboxes for a space-saving solution!
This is what I started with. Basically a collection of shoeboxes and cereal boxes.
I glued some of the boxes together using a hot glue gun. I also used some white masking tape to add a little more stability. The next stage looked like this.
I then used pieces of quite thick cardboard to make some dividers for the shelving. Again, I secured these with white masking tape. I also used the masking tape to make sure that there were no gaps between the shelving. When the shelving and dividers were all in place I used papier mache to cover everything. I did about 3 coats of papier mache (the children enjoyed helping with this). I started off using a traditional papier mache paste. To do this mix one part of flour with one part of warm water. When it is smooth and you have got rid of any lumps you can pour it into another four parts water. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens. Leave it to cool before you use it. You can store this for a couple of days in an airtight container.
The children didn’t really like using the papier mache paste so I did the last two coats using a watered-down PVA mix. This was much less messy for the children and resulted in less complaints about having sticky, gooey fingers!
Completed shelving, just waiting for the paint!
Finally, I applied three layers of paint. This was just a normal matt emulsion which came from our shed. The remains of some decorating project years ago. I left each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next one. I’m quite happy with the finished result. It looks a bit wibbly wobbly, (due to the fact I didn’t have boxes of the same size) but I think this is part of it’s charm. This custom storage basically cost me nothing… result!
Little places for little things
Do you have a favourite recycled craft you can share with us? We love to see what people have made and are always looking for new ideas!
This is an easy peasy homemade gift that children can make! My 6 and 3 year old loved making these and they will make lovely gifts for grandparents. You DO need to be careful which bits you let the children do as you are using hot soap but mine were happy to watch me do the actual pouring bit and it was their job to shout STOP when the soap got to the top of the mould.
You will need:
- Melt and Pour soap – I bought 500g and we still have some left to make more. You can buy it online, I couldn’t find it in any local shops. We bought ours from Bee Beautiful. They have a good selection and even have an organic option.
- Dried Flowers or glitter. We already had some dried flowers that we pressed in the summer but I understand not everyone is going to have these to hand! Glitter will work just as well.
Place your dried flowers (very small ones work best) into the bottom of your chocolate moulds.
Place around 100g of soap into a pyrex jug and pop them into the microwave for around 20 seconds at a time. Watch the soap carefully and stir it occasionally. You want the soap to be a nice melted liquid but you don’t want it to get to the point where it is bubbling. Ours took about 40 seconds but obviously it will depend on how much soap you are using and also on the power of your microwave.
When the soap has melted, pour it into your chocolate moulds (on top of the flowers or glitter)
Place your moulds into the fridge for about 30 minutes until they are set.
Remove them from the moulds. They pop out really easily.
We took this a step further and made our own little gift boxes to put these in. You can find lots of free printable templates on google. There are loads on the Don’t Eat the Paste website. Once you have found the design you want to use you can draw around this template onto white card giving your little one a blank canvas to draw on.
Lily came up with a lovely design on this box and we then attached a lovely Russian Doll gift tag which came free with a crafty magazine.
This is such a simple crafty gift and we loved doing this! Have you made any handmade gifts for Christmas? Do add a comment and a link, we would love to see them.
Children seem to have loads of toys these days. We may be living in a recession, but cheap, plastic toys are still pretty easy to come by for most of us. The giant toy stores are already offering special deals to tempt us through their doors. I find a lot of these toys a bit depressing, they just don’t seem to last for more than 5 minutes before they get broken. I’ve been trawling the web today looking for some lovely gifts that I would have liked as a little girl – here are some of my favourites! They don’t break the bank as they are all under £10
The Hungry Caterpillar Watering Can
Perfect for helping Mummy and Daddy with the garden. This lovely watering can is only £9.95 from The Handpicked Collection
Pretty bead kit, sure to provide hours of amusement!
I love this bead kit. It comes in a gorgeous little case that my daughter could find a million uses for when the beads are all gone! At £9 I think this is very good value. Available from Notonthehighstreet.com
Belle and Boo Tea Party Lunchbox
How sweet is this?! Ooh, I want one too please….£8.99 from The Gifted Penguin
Fawn Water Bottle
We got one of these for Lily last year. She was four and I did wonder if a water bottle would get much of a reaction from her but she LOVED it! £8.50 from Cox and Cox
Keep your little mermaid dry with this gorgeous umbrella!
I love the sea-horse handle on this umbrella. Very, very cute! I think we might have to ask Santa for one of these. Available from Brollies Galore at £7.99
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little selection. If you have any to add, please do comment below. It will help us all in the search for the perfect Christmas present!