Learning to make handicrafts does not have to mean a trip to the craft store. In fact, old-school crafting was all about turning one thing at the end of usefulness into something else. A worn dress or shirt could become an apron or part of a quilt. An old jar could become a potpourri jar, a storage container, or a snow globe.

Fabric Ideas

You do not have to be able to sew to create remarkable fabric items. For example, you can create simple curtains with

  • café curtain clips
  • a rod or dowel
  • bandanas, placemats, or a pretty scarf

Such curtains can be used in your kitchen or in a cardboard puppet theatre.

If you have fabrics that you have saved over time and a child who needs a project, get them started braiding fabric for a rag rug. Braided rag rugs can be made from almost any fabric, so before you discard an old shirt, consider cutting up the portions that are still salvageable. Even better, if you have cotton fabric to add to the mix, it can be torn instead of cut. Tearing fabric into strips can be very soothing.

Paper Marvels

Bright, colorful paper from magazines can be rolled into beads for jewelry-making projects. this is a great project for any child who can handle a scissor and follow a basic pattern. If your child is not quite that dexterous, make paper beads from their coloring book art and get even littler children involved in creating vibrant images to slice up, roll and glue.

Older children may love the chance to make a lovely and long-lasting paper flowers bouquet. These can actually be quite lovely and can be made over days. You can assembly line the cutting, folding, and gluing if you have several children who want to be in on the project.

Wood Projects

A collection of popsicle sticks can be turned into candy canes to hang on the Christmas tree, or a tiny fence to put around the nativity display. The candy canes will take a little white paint, some glue, and red glitter or glitter paint. You can also take the red fabric you already have and cut it into ribbons, wrapping it around your popsicle stick and creating a loop of fabric and glue on one end.

To use the glitter you have without getting it everywhere, use

  • a sheet cake pan
  • parchment paper to line

Lay down what you are going to apply the glitter to on the paper. Apply the glue, then sprinkle the glitter from a salt shaker over the glue until covered. Let everything dry, then move your finished items. Roll the paper into a funnel and pour the loose glitter back into the salt shaker before discarding the parchment paper.

Jar Creations

If you have baby food jars and even more glitter, or if your colored glitter has gotten all mixed up, you can create a tiny snow globe. Glue a small toy or figure to the inside of the baby food jar lid. Fill the jar within one-quarter inch of the top with water. Add glitter to the water and glue the lid to the jar, twisting the lid on as tight as you can.

Give the jar an hour to seal and you have a homemade snow globe. Decorate the lid with felt, fabric, or paper for a seasonal treat. You can also cut a circle of fabric with pinking shears to prevent fraying. Make sure the circle is bigger than the lid by at least an inch all around, then wrap the fabric snugly around the lid with a ponytail holder.

Yarn Crafts

If you have a potholder loom and leftover yarn, you can weave yarn on the loom for a traditional basket weave look. These woven squares can be joined with just a bit of crocheting, or you can use a darning needle and yarn to just loop them together in a contrasting color.

This pin loom pattern creates a yarn quilt that you can work on at almost any time. Because the joining yarn can be in a variety of colors, you can create a yarn crazy quilt and use up tiny bits of leftover yarn

Learning to make new things out of worn or old items is a wonderful skill that your children will benefit from for years to come. They do not have to have something new to come up with something really remarkable.