Photo: These string candle holders can be made by creating knots. Credit: Shutterstock
8. Origami Animals
Origami is the ancient Japanese art of folding paper to create shapes. All you need are pieces of paper that have been cut into perfect squares. There is no glue or anything else involved to make origami. So this is one of the cheapest crafts you can make from home. Follow YouTube tutorials online or find an instruction book to learn how to fold the paper in a certain pattern. This will create an infinite number of different shapes. As time goes on, it’s possible to create more complex origami. If you buy a stack of square origami paper from the craft store, it will provide multiple hours of fun. Some of the packs online even come with animal print patterns, which makes it easy to create lions and tigers.
If you’re teaching origami to kids, it’s a great idea to make animal shapes. One of the easiest shapes for kids to create is the face of a dog or cat, using a market to draw the eyes and whiskers. A more advanced animal is the crane, which is one of the most popular shapes seen in origami. According to Japanese legend, if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will be granted by the gods. People will gather these 1,000 cranes on a string, and carry it to the temple to pray. Normally, this wish is usually done on behalf of others, like when a loved one is seriously ill, and they wish for them to get well.
Over the past couple years, wooden beads have come back in style. They are used for garland, bracelets, and necklaces. Stores like Pottery Barn want to charge upwards of $80 for a strand of beads. But believe it or not, you can find wooden beads at the Dollar Tree and make a DIY version of almost anything you find in the store. Even if you can’t find the exact color you are looking for, it’s easy enough to paint beads.
Some examples of what you can make are garland on Christmas trees painted in red and green. Another great use for wooden beads are strands of wooden beads used as decor sitting on top of your dresser or coffee table. Then, of course, you could find wooden beads of all shapes and sizes to create a chunky necklace. This is a very cheap and fun craft that should be easy to make as an adult, or with kids.
When you go to the store, you might choose to buy something purely because it has tassels on it. Believe it or not, making tassels at home is actually very easy. All you need is a ball of yarn, a piece of cardboard, and a pair of scissors to get started. Wrap the yarn around the piece of cardboard over and over again, until you have the thickness you desire. Use a piece of yarn to tie the bunch together, and cut off the tassel. For a full tutorial on how to make tassels, check out this blog post from HGTV here.
Tassels are fun to make on their own, and can be attached to a blanket or pillow. (Check out our Ikea Hack list to see an example of how you can add tassels to a blanket to make it look like an Anthropologie knockoff.) But if you’re trying to make a craft with your kids, you can use these yarn tassels and turn them into little ghosts. This is perfect for Halloween, and your kids can hang these around the house as decorations. The same concept could be applied to Christmas, with a Santa tassel having a long white beard.
For the sake of sustainability, we should try to create as little waste as possible. By creating less trash, we can help save the planet. So if you’re thinking about doing DIY projects, it’s always a good idea to try to recycle items that you already used and turn them into crafts. If you drink 2 liter bottles of soda on a regular basis, start collecting the caps in a jar instead of throwing them away. After collecting them for a few weeks, they can be transformed into great crafts for kids.
For example, the bottle caps in the image above have been transformed into a caterpillar. This is a great craft to do with a toddler who is around 2 to 3 years old. In the second example, you can see how they glued bottle caps onto a piece of construction paper and used pom-poms to help with counting. There are a number of variations that can be done with this, especially if you have bottle caps in multiple colors. When you’re done with this craft, you can always recycle everything instead of throwing it away.
Toddlers under the age of 3 can’t do complicated crafts, because they are still developing their motor skills. There are very few crafts that they can handle making with you, but you can still create DIY projects that they will absolutely love. This next craft is designed specifically for helping toddlers use their hands. improve motor skills, and learn about organization. If you’re keeping your kids home instead of sending them to preschool, this is a great activity to create your own, and then play together with them.
All you need are paper towels or toilet paper rolls, cardboard, construction paper, and small pom poms. These items are all available from your local dollar store, or it might be something that you already have in your crafting supplies. Trace out the shape of a turtle on construction paper, and glue it down to cardboard base. The cut paper towel or toilet rolls help to create little cups on the back of the turtle’s shell. Now, your kids can drop pom-poms into the holes. Challenge them to place one of each color into each hole, or organize the pom-poms by color.
If you celebrate Mardi Gras, consider making some of these carnival masks. All you need are cardboard, colorful paper, ribbons, and beads. Glue the pieces together, and you have some cute masks ready to celebrate at home. New Orleans is famous for their Mardi Gras parade, where people wear strands of purple, gold, and green beads. Obviously, we can’t go to a crowded parade any time soon. The color purple represents justice, green for faith, and gold for power.
In case you didn’t know, Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday”, is a holiday that is also known as Three Kings Day. This is the day before the Catholic tradition of Ash Wednesday, which begins fasting during a period called Lent. On Easter, everyone is allowed to break the fast. But since a lot of people abstain from alcohol, sugar, or fatty foods during the month of Lent, Mardi Gras meant to be a celebration for people embracing everything sinful before they take several weeks off. That’s why it’s full of eating fattening foods and indulging in physical pleasure.
Most people in the world hoarded toilet paper last year. If you’re one of them, you may want to start saving the toilet rolls once they are done. These cardboard rolls can be recycled and turned into cute toys for your kids. The greatest benefit of this one-hour craft is that it could potentially be free for you to make when you use art supplies you already have at home. Decorate the characters with googly eyes, markers, glitter, stamps, or whatever you already have in your supply closet.
Encourage your children to paint the toilet paper rolls to look like any character they want. Your kids will feel like they received a new toy without spending any money. In the example shown in the photos, people used both construction paper and paint to create monsters. However, you could create any character you want. Check out Pinterest for ideas on making characters for any holiday or occasion. Some parents have helped their kids make entire towns out of toilet paper rolls. Once they get tired of using these crafts as toys, disposing of them is as simple as putting it in the recycling bin.
When your kids are very young, it’s not likely that you are going to give them their own wallet. It’s too easy for them to accidentally lose it when they go to the store. However, as they get older, it might be good to get them used to carrying a wallet like a grown up. This next DIY is a very simple craft in making a wallet out of felt. All you need is a piece of colored felt, thread, and a button. Some free patterns online also make felt wallets a bit more complex, using hot glue to add pockets.
If you grew up learning how to sew, you probably want to pass down that skill to your own children. Once your kids are around the age of eight or nine, they should be able to handle making one of these wallets on their own, with adult supervision. This could be a great project for you to introduce hand sewing to your kids so that they get used to the process. Since this is so quick and easy to make, it is instant gratification that will make them feel proud of making something.