Tag Archives: kids

DIY Recycled Alphabet Book Wall Art


We recently moved our daughter to a new room, and of course one of the first things that came to mind was ‘yay, we get to decorate again!!!’

What has been so fun about decorating this time around is that I can actually respond to her personality and likes, in addition to just doing what I want to do.

The fact is, our daughter, nearly three now (!) LOVES books. Ok, she’s a book-worm.  So, I wanted to do some wall decor that reflected that.  Normally, I would not “ruin” a perfectly good book for the sake of art, but I don’t believe I have done that here, mostly because it is actually the complete book up there on the wall, just in a different format.


So without further ado, here is how I did it.

First, I had to find two alphabet books that were identical (since of course the book is printed with letters on the front and back of each page).  I really loved the illustrations in this book, called Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet.  Honestly, these letters are so great it’s almost a shame NOT to hang them on the wall to enjoy all the time!  I was really lucky to find both of my copies at a book sale run by my local library (for just 10 cents a piece!).  They were booth canceled copies from the library’s collection, so they had already had a long life of enriching children.


This is a board book, so the pages are made from a thick, card stock material, which is perfect for this application.

Using an exacto knife, I very carefully cut each page from the binding.  With a sharp knife this is not hard to do.  Once I did that I had a page that had two nice rounded corners and two sharp 90 degree corners.  To make the corners look uniform I just cut the sharp corners so that they matched the rounded ones then ran some fine grit sand paper across it give it a nice, finished, and smooth look.


When it came to hanging the letters on the wall I knew I didn’t want to do any unnecessary damage to the pages by puncturing them with tacks or or by using tape, so I found some cute binder clips in a rainbow of colors and then hung those by the smallest nails I could find.

The hardest part of the entire project was actually putting them on the wall so that they were spaced evenly.  Luckily, with the binder clips you have a little wiggle room in this area.  It didn’t help that my wall is actually an inch wider at the top than it is at the bottom.  I found it best to work from the center of the design to the outside and from top to bottom.  In the close up photos you can see my registration lines.  I still have to paint over these.

Over all I am so pleased with how this project turned out and my daughter is too!


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Filed under Book Reviews, Home, Tutorials, Upcycled

Crafting family fun; DIY cardboard box maze


If you are a parent, but even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard the age-old adage that a child will enjoy playing with the box that a toy comes in more than the toy itself.

Today I’d like to share some photos of a little family craft project (well, not so little actually) that we started one rainy, dreary morning this week.  It’s a giant maze made from recycled cardboard boxes that encompasses our entire dining room (I knew there was a reason we’ve been dragging our feet finding a dining room table).



All you need is several cardboard boxes (ours were complements of Trader Joe’s, thanks to my husband, our insider connection) and some packing tape or even duct tape.  Just fit the boxes together in whatever configuration you like and tape them together where needed to keep the structure stable.


Virginia is just a couple of weeks from her first birthday now (!!!!) and isn’t yet walking.  She LOVES crawling around this maze.  We’ve had it up for about four days now and it’s been good for HOURS of entertainment!  She just loves to chase momma around the maze and be chased herself!  Papa got in on the action too of course, but at over six feet tall, he had some maneuverability issues.  By the way, as an adult, army crawling through a cardboard maze is quite the workout!  Sometimes we mix it up and place rattles, balls, and other small toys around the maze for her to find, but mostly she’s content to crawl in and out, squealing in delight all the way.


This is a great project for those days when you just can’t get out and I’m sure would work great with older kids as well.

If this post has inspired you to create your own box maze I’d love to hear about it!  Write about it in the comments below or on the zween facebook page.  Happy crafting!



Filed under Home, Just For Fun, Upcycled

Two new friends for baby


Meet the two new softies that I recently made my future baby girl.  Both were made from free patterns that I found online.

The doll pattern is by Emily Martin of The Black Apple.  I’ve admired Emily’s work for some time and first learned about her through my favorite craft podcast CraftSanity (check out Episode 75).  Emily even demonstrated how to make this doll on the Martha Stewart Show and you can still find the pattern, tutorial and video on the Martha Stewart site.  For my own doll I made a couple of adjustments.  Instead of painting on the facial features I embroidered them and I also added some pigtails.


I’m really happy with how she turned out, but I do admit that the pattern was a little challenging to use.  It was a free pattern after all, so I’m not complaining, but if I were to make this doll again I would re-draw the head and body pattern pieces with a seam allowance.  There are no seam allowances in this pattern.  Emily addresses this briefly on the video and suggests tracing the arm or leg right onto the fabric than stitching on the line before cutting it out.  Well, this works great when dealing with the small arms and legs.  But when it comes to putting the whole doll together at the end I would have had an easier time lining things up had there been a seam allowance given.

The owl was created from a free pattern by Ruth over on Hammer & Thread.  The pattern along with the tutorial was very easy to understand and follow, so my owl came together much more easily than the doll, that is until I got to attaching the tail section.  To be fair, Ruth clearly warns that this is the most challenging part of the project and she isn’t lying!


So if you’re looking for a softie project I would suggest that you put these two on your to do list.  They are cute little items that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.  And although I really enjoy creating my own patterns and designs, I am a newbie when it comes to sewing three dimensional items like this, and I feel that following patterns can be enough of a challenge in this area.

Thank you for stopping by.  Happy crafting!


This post has been linked to:
Sew Cute Tuesday (6.5.12) on Creative Itch

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Filed under Pattern