Painter’s Tape Stenciled Tshirt: FamilyFun Test Drive

What do you do with your kids’ T-shirts that have impossible stains? Throw them out? Turn them into rags? I have a way better idea for you—paint them! I know it seems like a stenciled T-shirt is a pain-in-the-you-know-what, but today’s FamilyFun Test Drive proves otherwise. I swear. And you know what? This project is so much fun (and easy) to do, that you don’t even have to save it for a stained tee.

When I saw this cute shirt in the June/July issue of Family Fun, I was excited to try it. It uses 2 things that I have a ton of—paint and tape. Because I know my son and his fashion preferences (yes, a 4-year-old has fashion preferences), I knew that he wouldn’t necessarily get excited about an abstract pattern. So I taped-out this little character, what we are calling a Robot Bunny. Oliver’s color of choice these days is green, so we went with that (and the green tape was just an added bonus). It’s best to use fabric paint because it stays soft and washes well. You can buy the Tulip brand at Michaels.com.

First I put a piece of cardboard inside the T-shirt to avoid any bleed-through. I used a thin painter’s tape and taped off the body of the Robot Bunny. I really just eyeballed the design and pressed down really hard on the inside edges of the tape.

Then, with a sponge brush, I let Oliver dab on the paint. (Dab is the key technique here; you don’t want to brush or else you might find yourself with some blurred lines.) Of course the waiting to peel the tape was the hardest part! We waited about 2 hours (a bit shy of the bottle’s instructions but things dry faster in the summer!) and then pulled the tape!

Now Oliver just needs to practice is Robotic Bunny Hop moves.

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City-Streets Felt Craft: FamilyFun Test Drive

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but my 4-year-old son Oliver is of the wheel-loving variety. Cars, trucks, trains…he loves it all. When I was flipping through the June/July issue of FamilyFun and saw this felt road project, I knew this was a must-do. It’s basically 2 materials—felt and duct tape— and no drying time. Gotta love crafts that simple. The photo in the magazine had yellow roads with black lines, but I didn’t have black duct tape, so I reversed it. (They also recommend using thinner tape that you don’t have to cut, but I discovered a work-around for that! Read on…)

What you’ll need:

  • Cereal or cracker box
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Black felt
  • Yellow duct tape
  • Parchment paper

 

So the first thing to do is to measure and draw a 5″ by 5″ square onto the cardboard and cut it out.

Then, take this square and lay it on your felt to trace. You can make straight lines by just moving that cardboard piece or you can make an intersection like this one. Basically, I kept tracing and cutting until I ran out of black felt. Flip the felt over before the next step so any pencil lines are on the back.

The last step is to put the street lines on. Have you ever tried cutting duct tape? It’s a total pain in the rear—it sticks to the scissors, curls up, sticks to itself; basically, it’s a nightmare. So I came up with this quick technique. Ready? Rip off a piece of duct tape and stick it to parchment paper. Then, cut 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide strips. They peel right off and stick to the felt really well. Now it’s time to play!

Oliver and his friend Elias loved driving his cars around the streets! (Then Sommer came home from ballet, and joined in. Why not?) Bonus: It’s a great (read: lightweight), portable toy to take on trips.

Just as one extra added step, I made this little handy storage bag. I’m on a constant toy-organization rampage, and I figured it would be the easiest way to get Oliver and Sommer to put these pieces away. (It’s totally worth having a stash of these cotton bags to store small toy parts and pieces in!)

Home Organization: Organizing Toys
Home Organization: Organizing Toys
Home Organization: Organizing Toys

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Prince George’s First Birthday Party Hats: FamilyFun Test Drive

Oh, I do love a good birthday party! And better yet, I love crafting for birthday parties. Probably one of the biggest first birthday celebrations of our time is coming up on July 22nd…that of Prince George Alexander Louis Mountbatten-Windsor, son of Prince William and Kate. Yes in about 10 days or so, #GeorgeTurns1. It’s hard to even fathom how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will commemorate this momentous occasion. Will there be royal pony rides? A cake in the shape of Buckingham Palace? And what will the favors be? Chocolate Big Ben’s on a stick? Personalized teabags? Knighthood?

The one thing I know will be VERY important is the party hat. Perhaps little George will don a fancy birthday crown, as many first birthday honorees do, but what will the party goers wear? Party-Hat Fascinators, but of course! You must recall the creative fascinator showing that emerged when William and Kate got married—I feel like the world really learned the extent of what head-wear could be. Here are a few gems from Kate Middleton’s time in the spotlight:

Inspired by FamilyFun’s July 4th party hats, Oliver, Sommer, and I got to work on souped-up versions of our own. I decided to use white paper party cups—they have a dull surface (no shine) so they are perfect for crafting. We started with paint—and it got messy fast. But it was super-fun. Sommer lost focus, but Oliver was down with making another hat, this time using washi tape (a crafter after my own heart).

I had pre-cut the circle brims (you can download the template here), and I let them decide what materials to use to accessorize their fascinator party hats. Feathers were a natural choice, and Oliver chose yarn pom-poms (I love these from eeBoo), and Sommer couldn’t help herself; she needed to add some bling to bring her hat to the level of royalty. (At just past two-years-old, she is firmly convinced she’s a princess. Not sure how that happened.)

For my own, I used washi tape, feathers, and then I added a fringed cupcake liner carnation—a craft from my book, Project Kid.

My favorite part of making these paper-party-hat fascinators is that there are no rules when it comes to embellishments. The more supplies, the more the merrier! And once your kids put them on, their goofy sides will really come out!

Happy Birthday, Prince George!

 

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Sweet and Salty July 4th Pretzel Sticks: FamilyFun Test Drive

Ever since I can remember (all 4 years of his life), my son Oliver has loved to cook and bake. When I’m doing anything in the kitchen, he pulls his little red chair over to help, even dropping a piece of bread into the toaster. When I suggested that he help road-test these Sweet & Salty Sparklers from the June/July issue of FamilyFun, I’ve never seen him hop to anything faster. And then when I said they involved chocolate and M&Ms, he nearly fell over. I decided to really let him do each step (brave, I know), so here’s what we got…

As far as ingredients go, it couldn’t be any easier. All you need is red and blue M&Ms, pretzel rods, and white chocolate chips. (You can also add red and blue sprinkles, but I had to draw the line on the sugar.)

1. First, line a tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Then, the fun begins. It’s time to sort M&Ms—red in one bowl, blue in the other. Sommer joined in the fun on this step, mostly enjoying the taste of the yellow, orange, green, and brown ones.

3. Next melt the white chocolate until its runny enough to drizzle. (Hint: follow melting instructions on the package.)

4. Drizzle white chocolate on each pretzel rod, one at a time. I must admit that I took over the step because I saw the impending disaster!

5. And lastly, decorate the sticks with the blue and red candies. Put these in the fridge for about 15 minutes until they set.

As per usual, and this is evident from the photo above, both my kids licked these like lollipops, ate off the M&Ms, then asked for the next one.

If you want to see what they should REALLY look like, check out this great photo. These are quick and easy to make—a festive, sweet, and salty snack to celebrate the Fourth of July!

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July 4th Confetti Popper
July 4th Confetti Popper
July 4th Confetti Popper

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Tags: , | Categories: DIY, Family, Food, Fun, Holiday

FamilyFun Test Drive: July 4th Wreath Decoration

People have been asking me lately why I think that crafting for July 4th has become so popular. I think there are a few things working here…

  1. All kids are out of school, so there’s a collective need for something to do!
  2. It’s the ultimate celebration of summer since the season officially begins just about 2 weeks before.
  3. There’s no decision-making about the color scheme. Its red, white, and blue or bust. There something nice about crafting with a universal color palette.
I made this wreath by myself, but my 4-year-old son Oliver could definitely have helped with the gluing of the straws. My daughter Sommer was ready for the parade…after she marched up and down the block with the wreath, I was thinking it would be cute to replace a straw with a 1/2-inch-wide dowel for parade-marching or lawn ornamentation. (Just print 2 of the templates and glue them on either side if you’re not hanging it on your door or against a wall!)

What you’ll need:

  • Template printed onto card stock
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Tacky glue
  • Paper straws
  • Fishing line
  • Glue stick
1. Print out the adorable template from Parents.com
2. Trace the template onto regular cardboard twice, and cut out both circles.
3. Make several rings of tacky glue on one cardboard circle and lay the straws in the glue. You can alternate red and blue or let it be random. Make sure to leave about a 2″ circle in the center. 
4. Cut a 1-inch piece of straw and thread a long length of fishing line through that piece and knot the ends. Glue that small straw piece into the center of the cardboard circle with tacky glue. 
5. Apply a generous amount of glue on top of the straws and then cover with the second cardboard circle.
6. With a glue stick, attach the card stock center.
7. Trim the straws to different lengths (I chose to trim my red ones only).

 

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