crafts made from everyday items

Crafting With Everyday Items

Glimmer Paints

A puffy, glossy paint that sparkles when dry.


  • cup salt
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cup water
  • food coloring

Mix salt, flour, and water. The mixture should be about the consistency of pudding. Add food coloring until the desired shade is reached, then use a funnel to transfer the paint to a squeeze bottle. You can also transfer the paints to ziplock bags, then snip off one tiny corner of each bag,

Use these paints on heavy paper (cut a paper bag apart into one big sheet) and allow paintings to air-dry overnight.

Store leftover paints in the refrigerator in airtight containers for up to three days; stir or shake before using.

Beautiful Butterflies


  • pipe cleaners (assorted colors)
  • coffee filters (large size)
  • water-based markers
  • small spray bottle filled with water (optional)

Give each child a coffee filter and have them color on it with markers.

Hold up the coffee filter, and spray with water or dip fingers in water and shake them at the coffee filter. Watch as the colors spread and run together.

Once the filter is dry, bunch it in the middle and wrap a pipe cleaner around it. Make sure you leave a little extra pipe cleaner to make two antennas.

Secret Pictures

With the stub of a white candle or a white crayon, draw a picture, pressing hard. Your picture will be invisible until you paint over it with a watercolor wash.

Put a few drops of water on your chosen watercolor. While the paint is getting soft, use your brush and clean water to stroke across your paper to make it completely wet. Be careful not to scrub the paper.

Load your paintbrush with color and, starting at the top, stroke from one edge of the paper across to the other, all the way. Continue loading and stroking until the whole paper is covered with paint.

Look at your drawing now. Was it a success? Did you press hard enough with the crayon or wax to make the lines show through the paint? Was your paint dark enough so that the lines were clearly visible?

Bread Art


  • white bread
  • food coloring
  • 1 drinking cup for each color
  • milk
  • new or very clean paintbrush
  • toaster

Pour a small amount of milk into each cup. Add a few drops of food coloring to the cups (a different color in each cup).

Using a paintbrush, paint designs or pictures onto the bread. Don't soak the bread. Use just enough "paint" for the picture to show. Now toast the bread for edible art!

Crystal Rock Garden


  • water
  • alum (found in the spice section of supermarkets)
  • clear glass bowl
  • clean rocks and pebbles

Step 1: Bring cup of water to a boil. Add 2 ounces of alum, stirring until the alum is dissolved.

Step 2: Pour the solution into a clear glass bowl half filled with assorted clean rocks and pebbles. Within hours you should be able to see alum crystals forming as glasslike squares. Within several days you should have a number of crystals to look at.

Lifesaver "Glass"

Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Sort several rolls of clear Lifesavers candies by color into plastic bags, and crush with a rolling pin or roll a bottle over them.

Using refrigerated sugar cookie dough, have kids roll balls of dough into ropes, then shape the ropes into shapes that are hollow in the middle (circle, triangle, heart, etc.). Place on cookie sheet and fill in blank spaces with crushed candies. Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 375 degrees. When completely cool, peel off aluminum foil. These are called "stained glass" cookies.

If you wish to hang your ornaments, after removing from oven and while the "glass" is still warm, push a straw into the "glass" to make a hole which you can string a ribbon through after the ornament cools.

Remove the straw when the cookies are cool enough to touch but not completely hardened.

Foil Family

Unlike your average tin men, these foil characters have plenty of heart. All it takes is a pinch here and there to make them strike any pose you like.

Step 1: Tear a rectangular sheet (about 10 by 15 inches) from a roll of aluminum foil. Then make two cuts down from the top of the sheet and one cut up from the bottom. (For a pet, make two cuts up from the bottom.)

Step 2: Scrunch together the center of the sheet to form a torso. Pinch and mold the upper corners into arms, and the lower corners into legs and feet. Shape the upper midsection into a head and neck. (The lower midsection makes the tail of the pet.)

Plastic Berry Baskets

There are lots of fun things you can do with those green plastic baskets that strawberries and other berries come in.

Bubble Blower: Fill a bucket with water and a squirt of two of liquid soap. Dip bottom of basket into the soap solution and wave slowly in the air to make hundreds of tiny bubbles.

Crazy Paint: Press the bottom of the basket into one or more colors of paint. Using the basket like a stamp, press it onto fabric, or a home made book cover, or furniture such as a table, stool or chair.

Snowflakes: Cut out the bottom of the basket. Use as is or make extra snips to get your desired shape. Dip in glue, dip in glitter and attach a hanger.

Doll Houses: Cut up to make fencing, lattice, garden arbors …

Snowflakes: Cut away the sides of the basket so that you have 3 flat sections of basket material. Use scissors to snip away portions of the basket to get your desired shape. Dip in glue, dip in glitter and attach ribbon or string to hang your snowflake.

Cardboard Tube Crafts

Toilet paper and paper towel tubes make inexpensive crafts.

Bracelets: Cut tube down one side, then cut into sections (same size as napkin rings). Spread glue onto wrong side of paper (magazine page, comic, art project …) and wrap around each bracelet, tucking ends over to inside of tube.

Children's Binoculars: Let child decorate two toilet paper tubes however they like. Staple or tape the two rolls together side by side. Punch holes in the top sides of the rolls and string yarn or string through to hang around the child's neck. Use two rubberbands to hold saran wrap on the ends of the binoculars.

Paint Circles: Dip one end of a toilet paper tube into paint. Press gently down on paper to paint a perfect circle.

Humming Flute: Using a pencil poke 3 or 4 holes in the cardboard roll about 1 inch apart. Using a rubber band secure a 4 inch square of wax paper over one end of the cardboard roll. Gently hum into the open end of the flute.

Indian Bead Bracelets: Cut tubes into 3 or 4 inch sections. Cut down the length of each section to enable tube to fit over wrist. Optional: paint tube sections before proceeding.

Glue beans onto tube in whatever pattern you desire.

Optional: you can further the illusion by dabbing beans with paint and a sponge to make them look like turquoise, jade or other stones. Spread beans out on wax paper, a paper plate or saran wrap. Dab with a sponge dipped in paint. Let paint dry before gluing beads to bracelet.

Shrink Art

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Draw simple pictures on the bottom of a Styrofoam meat tray. Color your pictures with permanent markers, cut them out with scissors or a knife and put them on a cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil in the oven for a few minutes. When you see them curl and shrink take them out of the oven.

You can make your shrink art into jewelry by punching or cutting a hole in the top of each shape before putting them into the oven. When your shapes have cooled thread them onto yarn or colored string.

Note: You can use a Styrofoam plate instead of a meat tray however it will curl up so that your picture is inside. You can cut away the turned up edge of the plate before placing it in the oven and it will not curl up.

Sandwich Shapes

Children can use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches or toast into interesting shapes.

Paper Beads

Decorate a piece of paper by stamping, coloring or applying glitter. Cut paper into triangles, as large or as small as you like. Triangles don't have to be perfect.

Roll a triangle tightly around a pencil, starting with the large end. Use a small piece of tape to secure. Slip off pencil. Repeat until all triangles have been made into beads.

String beads on a piece of string or ribbon to make a necklace, bracelet or garland.

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