styrofoam relief print

written by tammy

foam print

Using the trash twice is a very special skill… Here’s another really addictive project that reuses those styrofoam trays they strap our food to in the supermarkets.

Printing is a fun & easy way to make your own birthday party invitations, holiday and thank you cards. Styrofoam relief printing is great for young kids because no major cutting is required, only drawing and tracing. Scribble-scrabble even looks cool when it’s printed with this technique.

You Need:

  • a rubber brayer
  • water-soluble block printing ink
  • styrofoam tray
  • old magazine
  • aluminum foil
  • paper & pencil
  • recycled paper to print on

  1. Start by cutting off the rounded corners of your styrofoam tray so that it lays flat. This is the size of the surface you have to work with.
  2. On a piece or scratch paper, draw a sketch to use for your print. Tip: Keep it simple… tiny details do not show up very well with this type of print.
  3. Tape your drawing onto the foam plate. Transfer the image to the foam by tracing over your picture using a firm and steady pressure. When you have gone over the whole image, remove the tape and picture. You will need to go over the foam plate one more time with your pencil to carefully carve out the details.
  4. Get your work area ready! Cover your work area. Wrap an old magazine with aluminum foil to make a palate for your ink. Squeeze a finger sized amount onto your palate and roll back and forth and up and down with your rubber brayer until it is evenly covered.
  5. Roll ink onto your foam printing plate.
  6. Flip printing plate over onto a clean sheet of recycled paper.
  7. Press firmly all around. Then carefully peel the paper off.
  8. Allow to dry.

To use a new color, wash the brayer and printing plate. Re-cover the same magazine with a new layer of foil, and apply new printing ink.

Clean-up is easy, just wash right away with soap and water! Wash your printing plate and you can use it again and again.

Here are a few more pictures of what we did…

printing pics


plastic bag dispenser

written by tammy

plastic bag holder

While we’re finally starting to notice a shift away from plastic bags and bottles, they do still end up in our lives. The important thing, is what we do with them next… don’t toss them, reuse them!!

This is a simple project, inspired by an old Girl Scout camping trick, and it’s a great way to keep all those annoying plastic bags tucked neatly away.

Using an empty plastic bottle, cut off the top. We used a sharp kitchen knife to slice ours. Next, you need to trim the sharp, newly exposed plastic edge with some masking tape (so you don’t hurt yourself putting the bags in and out). And that’s it!

If you’re doing this with kids, have them stuff the dispenser with your plastic bags. We fit about 20 bags into each bottle. WOW! Under the sink looks so neat.


old clothes pillows

written by tammy

When clearing out the closet to make room for all the unbelievable after-holiday finds, be sure to put aside a few graphic-T’s and interesting fabrics for sewing projects like this one…

old clothes pillows

Old Clothes Pillows is also an amazing way to hang on to a part of a favorite old shirt, or kids outfit that is never going to fit again. Tween girls will love filling up their beds with these tiny little pillows, and boys can turn their favorite old sports shirts into team pillows. Sewing skills are required (but not professional!)

some pictures

1. Using sharp scissors, cut out the shape you are going to use for the front of your pillow. Then, choose and cut a contrasting color or pattern for the pillow back.

2. Pin the fabric together inside-out, and then sew. We used our sewing machine (because practice is good) but, for the most part, these pillows are not that large and can also be sewn by hand. Be sure to leave an opening for stuffing the pillow

3. Flip your pillow case right-side-out and stuff! Since these were to toss around my house, I used poly-fill from an old (clean) dog bed. I also suggest shredding the remainder of the clothing fabric you did not use for stuffing or, stray sock stuffing.

4. Hand-sew the stuffing hole and you’re done! Enjoy! …but watch out, they’re totally addictive!

clothes pillows


too many boxes(2) pirate island

written by tammy

Save a box and make a toy!

This is a great gloomy-day/sick-day activity for children because it takes up a lot of time, but you’re having so much fun you don’t really notice it pass. It’s so easy to get wrapped up collecting tidbits from around the house and adding the little details that will make playing with your finished project so much fun!

All you need to get started is an old box, scissors, some glue or modge-podge, magazine clippings & paint. Where you go from there is up to you…

Help kids get started by deciding on a theme… Castle, Jungle, City, or Pirate Island (like us!) Draw a simple outline in pencil, cut-out any shapes then let them go.

The steps in this project are outlined visually, below.


pant-leg pillows

written by tammy

What you Need

With the holidays encroaching, this is a great time for getting busy with some arts-n-crafts… and Pant-Leg Pillows make the perfect gift. They are easy to make, customizable and recycled!

This is a easy project for any child or teen. Younger children will need help cutting and tying, but because this project requires no sewing,a child of about 7 or 8 with good cutting skills & who can tie their shoes, could do this project on their own!

To get started all you really need are an old pair of pants or jeans, some polly-fill stuffing, and ribbon or string to tie the ends. To add some more flair, we suggest rhinestones, decorative fabric swatches, or fabric paint (in our example).

reuse idea#2: Keep a bag in the closet for old tights, stockings and pairless socks… these make great stuffing for pillows and dolls!


1. Choose an old pair of pants of jeans and cut off both legs close to the top. These leg-tubes are going to be the outer shell of your pillow, cut to the desired length.

2. If you are going to decorate the pillow, do it now! It is much tougher to work on a stuffed-surface. Keep all artwork 2 or 3 inches from each side.

Note: Young children can use sponge shapes or paint brushes to spread paints on the fabric. Let them make a big mess, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as they have fun doing it. If you want, when they’re done, write their name in the center in the colors they choose.

3. When your artwork is completely dry, gather one end of the tube and secure it tightly with a strong piece of string or ribbon. We tied ours first with string, then added different color ribbon and rick-rack to jazz it up.

4. Once one end is secure, stuff the pillow to your desired firmness. Kids of all ages love this part!

5. Repeat step 3, tie the other end, and you’re done! So easy to make… they’re addictive.


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