DIY Bean Bag Tutorial

Beanbags are a childhood staple. As a teacher, I often used bean bags in my elementary classroom for lots of different learning activities. The possibilities are truly endless! Homemade Bean Bags are a perfect easy beginner sewing project and can help use up fabric scraps. The materials are practically free, and even if you have to buy a bag of beans for the filler, each beanbag only costs pennies to make. Make a set for the kids in your life and enjoy hours of fun!

DIY Bean Bag Tutorial

 

DIY Beanbag Tutorial

Sewing level: Beginner
Time: 5 minutes
Cost: $0-$5

*Affiliate Links are present in this post.*

Materials:

Square scrap fabric
Sewing machine
Thread
Beans (any will do!)
Hand Sewing Needle (optional)

How to Sew a Beanbag

  1. Cut your fabric to a 4×4 square. You will need 2 squares per bean bag. (Mine were 3.5 inches square in the photo. They were fine, but a little smaller than I wanted.)
    Cute two squares for DIY beanbags
  2. With right sides together, sew around the square. Make sure to start halfway down one side and stop sewing early, leaving a 2 inch space.
    Sew two squares together to make beanbags.
  3. Clip corners, making sure not to clip the thread.
    Clip corners before turning beanbag right side out
  4. Turn the bean bag right side out through the hole. Use a pencil to push the corners out.
    Use a pencil to push corners out when you turn the beanbag right side out.
  5. Place beans inside the bean bag. I used regular dry pinto beans that I’ve had in my cabinet forever, but whatever kind of beans you have at your house will work.
    add dry beans to the bean bags
  6. Sew the small opening shut. I used a needle and did a quick whipstitch by hand, but you can also use a sewing machine.
    whipstitch the beanbag opening shut

That’s it! So easy. Now, you’re ready to hand these to the kids and make up a game!

Easy Sewing Projects

DIY Door Draft Stopper {Easy Sewing Project}
DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer {Beginner Sewing Project}
Ribbon Tag Blanket
How to Applique Without an Embroidery Machine

Follow Sara @ Happy Brown House’s board Sewing Tutorials to Try on Pinterest.

DIY Door Draft Stopper {Easy Sewing Project}

As I quietly creep through the house to the coffee maker, I catch a chill as soon as my feet hit the hardwood floor in our entryway. It sends a shiver through me and I make a quick detour to look at the thermostat. It’s holding strong and steady where it was set, but it’s winter and the cold air still finds its way in through the tiniest cracks. A draft stopper, or a draft snake as we called it growing up, is a quick and easy fix for stopping cold air from coming in through door cracks. Using a Door Draft Stopper or a Draft Snake is a great way to lower your heating bill and make sure your home is energy efficient. It just so happens that a door draft stopper is also a very easy DIY sewing project. With some scrap fabric and fifteen minutes, you can stop drafts in your house, too.

DIY Door Draft Stopper or Draft Snake to keep the chilly air from sneaking in the door cracks and helping your heating bill

DIY Door Draft Stopper/Draft Snake Tutorial

Sewing Level: Beginner
Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $0-$10

Materials:

Fabric (mine was from my stash)
Thread
Sewing machine
Measuring Tape
Rice
Twill Tape (optional)

 

How to Make a DIY Door Draft Stopper/Draft Snake

  1. Measure your door and add a few inches. Cut Fabric. I found a piece of fabric in my stash that was perfect, so I didn’t even cut the length.
    Use scrap fabric to make a DIY Door Draft Stopper
  2. Fold in half lengthwise (hotdog fold). Pin the long edge and one short end closed.
    sewing scrap fabric into a DIY Draft Stopper
  3. Sew one short end. Lift your presser foot, turn, and sew all the way down the long side. Clip corners, being careful not to cut the seam.
  4. Turn the tube inside out. Use a pencil to gently help you poke the corners out if you need to.
    turning scrap fabric tube inside out for DIY Draft Snake
  5. Fill 3/4  of the way with rice. My husband helped me with this part.
    DIY Draft Stopper made from rice and scrap fabric
  6. Fold the rough edges on the open end of the tube inside about an inch.
  7. Optional: If you want to add a handle loop for easy storage when not in use, cut a piece of twill tape. Insert it in the opening to form a loop. Pin in place.
    Sew a loop at one end of your DIY Door Draft Stopper for easy storage
  8. Sew shut. Reinforce the opening with more than one stitch. (I scooted my sewing machine all the over to the edge of the table and asked my husband to hold the rice tube while I sewed the opening shut.)
    sewing end of the rice tube for a DIY draft snake

Note: I store mine hanging on a hook in my laundry room when not in use.

I’ve made draft stoppers for all of our exterior doors in our house, especially the door between the garage and our new basement homeschool room. They keep the cold air out and the warm air in. I’d say that’s a pretty fantastic frugal winter sewing project that will keep you warm.

DIY Door Draft Stopper or draft snake

Want more DIY Projects? Buy the Ultimate DIY Bundle and get busy!

DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer {Beginner Sewing Project}

In my quest for pantry organization, I have a love/hate relationship with plastic grocery bags. On one hand, we reuse them for easy disposal of stinky diapers, mini trash can liners, and more. On the other hand, they seem to multiply faster than rabbits. Even with the use of reusable canvas shopping bags, we STILL end up with a lot of plastic grocery bags that need to be recycled or reused. That’s where my kids come in—one of their chores is to put the plastic grocery bags into the grocery bag holder. It works well for us and even the 3-year-old can do it. The problem is, our plastic bag holder has seen better days. I’ve had it for at least 15 years and it is falling apart. It was literally holding on by a thread and wasn’t really doing its job anymore. The plastic bags were overflowing and falling out, which led to even more clutter. It was time for a new Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer to contain the plastic shopping bag clutter.

 

Use a tea towel to sew a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer. This beginner sewing project is an easy way to organize plastic shopping bags and cut down on pantry clutter!

Making a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer is an easy sewing project. If you can sew a straight line, you can tackle this—it’s a perfect beginner sewing project. By using a tea towel instead of fabric, I eliminated the need to finish seams and save some time. Or, if you want to use some fabric, it is a great fabric stash busting project. This sewing project took me less than 15 minutes from start to finish and made a big impact in my pantry organization efforts. Ready to get started on your own? Let’s sew!

 DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer Sewing Tutorial

Sewing Level: Beginner
Time: 15 minutes
Cost: Less than $5 (I had everything on hand, so this was FREE for me)

*affiliate links are included in this post

sewing materials for an easy to sew plastic grocery bag holder

Materials:

Tea Towel (mine is from the Dollar Tree!)
Sewing Machine
Thread
Skinny Elastic (mine was 1/4 inch)
Safety Pin
Twill Tape (you can buy this in a package or in at the cutting table. You’ll only need about 8 1/2 inches, so you could ask them to cut some to be extra frugal)

How to Sew a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer

 

  1. Fold the tea towel in half, bringing the two long sides together to make a long, skinny rectangle. (Or as I tell my kids, a hot dog fold.)
    a folded tea towel can be sewn into a plastic grocery bag holder. Easy DIY project for a beginning sewer.
  2. Pin along the long side (or if you are a sewing rebel like me you could totally skip this step)
    pin your tea towel plastic grocery bag holder before sewing to make a straight line
  3. Sew a straight line on the long side. (FYI: the top corner was really thick, so I moved over a little and used the seam from the towel as my sewing foot guide.)
    with only a few straight seams, you can make a DIY plastic Grocery Bag Holder  to organize all those extra plastic bags from shopping trips
  4. Trim if you need to to remove bulk along the seam. Make sure not to cut over your sewing line.
  5. Fold the top and bottom of the tube down. Iron and pin in place. I eyeballed this part using my elastic as my guide. 1 inch was plenty for me.
    sew a plastic grocery bag organizer from a tea towel
  6. Stretch your tube on the sewing machine ( I removed part of my machine so I would have more control.) If yours won’t fit around your sewing machine arm, push the bulk out of the way.
    removable sewing arm on a sewing machine
  7. Sew around the tube, leaving a 1-2 inch gap from your starting point and ending point.
    grocery bag holder top seam
  8. Lay your tube flat. Cut two pieces of elastic about the length of the short side of your tube. (I totally eyeballed this.) Using a safety pin on the end of the elastic, thread the elastic through the hole, working it through the mini tube. If this is your first time making an elastic seam like this, make sure to hold onto the other end of your elastic, or pin the loose end close to the opening. This will ensure you won’t pull the elastic all the way through. If you mess up and the elastic pulls through, just do it again.
    safety pin on elastic
    easy to make plastic shopping bag organizer
    making an elastic seam
  9. Pull elastic through and overlap the ends to make the elastic like a continuous circle. Sew.
    elastic seam for plastic shopping bag organizer
    sewing elastic seam
  10. Place the tube on the sewing machine again. Sew the 1-2 inch gap closed on the top and bottom seam.
  11. Turn the tube inside out.
    elastic seam
  12. Trim any loose strings you might have hanging.
  13. Measure the twill tape. I measured about 8 1/2 inches. Once again, you can eyeball this. Trust me.
    use twill tape to make a loop for the DIY plastic bag holder
  14. To make a loop, I folded the twill tape in half, then moved one end down a 1/2 inch. After that, I folded the longer edge over to make sure my edges were clean and didn’t fray. If you didn’t want to do this, you could put some Fray Check on the raw edges.
    twill tape
    twill tape 2
  15. Stretch one of the elastic ends over the sewing machine again and sew the twill tape loop onto the plastic grocery bag organizer. Since my kids will be tugging on it frequently, I reinforced my stitching on the loop a few times.
    sewing a loop on the plastic shopping bag organizer

And that’s it! Hang it up in your pantry or laundry room to organize all those pesky plastic grocery bags that are cluttering up your space.

 

Make a plastic grocery bag organizer made out of tea towels. Perfect for beginner sewing project.

Rainbow Fish Ornament

The Rainbow Fish is a simple story about a beautiful fish who learns to make friends by sharing his most prized possessions–his sparkly scales. While Rainbow Fish starts out prideful, he learns a lesson in giving and friendship. It’s one of my favorite books for talking about how to be a good friend and sharing. The Rainbow Fish isn’t a Christmas book, however, we were inspired to make a Rainbow Fish Ornament to remind us to give freely and as a kid-made gift for little friends. {This post contains affiliate links.}

The Rainbow Fish book inspired Kid-made ornament #kidmadeornaments #kidsmadechristmas

Rainbow Fish Ornament Supplies

  • Perler Beads {affiliate}–Perler beads are very small beads that are placed on small pegboards. After making a design, you use an iron to melt the beads and fuse the design together. My kids are addicted to these “melty beads”.
  • Perler Bead Fish Pegboard {affiliate}
  • Perler Bead Ironing Paper (comes in the Perler Bead kit)
  • Iron {affiliate}
  • Googly Eye {affiliate}
  • Hot Glue Gun {affiliate}
  • Small, shiny rhinestone or sequin {affiliate}

How to Make a Rainbow Fish Ornament

  1. Using the fish shaped pegboard, place the perler beads in your desired pattern. We tried to mimic the Rainbow Fish illustrations with the light blue face and the blue, green and purple scales, but the great part about this project is that kids get to fill up the pegboard however they want.
    Perler Bead Rainbow Fish inspired ornament
    Rainbow Fish Inspired Perler Bead Ornament
  2. Once the pegboard is full of beads, very carefully transfer the pegboard to a towel. Place the ironing paper on top of the beads and iron with a medium iron setting until the beads are melted and fused together. {Please Note: This is a grown-up job! You will see my child’s hand on the iron in the photo below, but the iron was not plugged in and was only for the tutorial photo.}
    Rainbow Fish Perler Bead Ornament
    perler bead ornament inspired by The Rainbow Fish children's book
  3. Allow to cool completely. Then, peel the ironing paper off the top.
    perler bead fish ornament
  4. Remove the cooled perler bead shape from the pegboard.
    perler bead fish
  5. Hot glue the googly eye and the small rhinestone on the fish. Poke an ornament hanger through the top of the ornament (what I did) or you can hot glue a piece of ribbon to the back.
    rainbow fish perler bead ornament
    rainbow fish inspired perler beads
  6. Hang on the tree or give as a gift to a friend!
    Rainbow Fish Ornament made from perler beads
    Rainbow Fish Ornament gift for a friend

70+ Kid-Made Ornaments Inspired By Children’s Books

A bunch of my blogging friends have gotten together to make kid-book inspired ornaments and I bet your favorite book is in the list!  It’s a 10 day long party of gorgeous kid-made art and Melissa over at Mama Miss is hosting the big party for us.  So go on over and check it out.

10 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas featuring 70+ ornaments inspired by children's books

Here are the rest of today’s Kid-Made Ornament bloggers, so stop on by and start pinning:

Stained Glass Gingerbread Man Ornament | The Educators’ Spin On It

 Sugar Plum Fairies Ornament | Made with Happy

Legend of the Pointsettia Ornament| Growing Book by Book

Stickman Ornament | One Time Through

Russell’s Christmas Magic Ornament | Adventures of Adam

Want to see them all in one place? Check out the 10 Days of Kid-Made Christmas page!

Viking Ship Craft for Kids

While learning about Vikings during our Viking Unit Study, the kids wanted to make a Viking boat. Using some common household materials and some recycled materials, we came up with a viking boat that has been played with over and over and extended their learning through small world play. I often find the kids, mainly Jonah, pretending Lego men are Erik the Red on a voyage or Leif Erickson on his way to North America.

Viking Ship Craft for Kids: how to make a Viking Boat using recycled household items.

To make the base of our viking boat, we recycled an orange juice carton. Using a box cutter, I cut the orange juice carton in half.

Make a viking boat out of a recycled orange juice carton

Using brown paint, the kids painted the orange juice carton half.

Make a viking boat from a recycled orange juice carton

While the paint was drying, Jonah was in charge of measuring lines with a ruler on a piece of cardstock and coloring the red stripes on the viking boat sail. (See how I snuck that math measurement skill in there?) When he was finished, I cut the paper in half and trimmed the sail to 7 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches wide. Using hot glue along the top and bottom edges, I reinforced the viking sail with barbeque skewers.

Making a red striped viking boat sail for a viking boat craft for kids.

Once the edges were reinforced, I used my scissors to poke a hole through the top and bottom in the center of the sail. I used a skinny, but sturdy cardboard tube that was recycled from a package of glow sticks. It was the perfect size for the mast.

Making a viking boat for kids with recycled materials

Using the skinny cardboard tube, I threaded the tube through both holes in the paper sail. Then, I hot glued the mast in the center of the boat.

viking ship craft for kids mast assembly

To make the oars, I used a single hole punch to punch three holes in each side of the boat.

How to make a viking ship for kids

Next, we threaded three barbeque skewers into the holes and used some brown craft foam hot glued to each end to form the paddle on the oar.

how to make a viking boat craft for kids

The craft foam was wrapped around both sides of the skewer and hot glued together.

viking ship craft for kids

To make the dragon head on the front of the viking boat, I folded a piece of brown craft foam in half and roughly cut a dragon profile. Using hot glue, I attached the dragon head to the front of the boat. The picture below shows the dragon head unfolded.

how to make a viking boat for kids

And that’s it! A Viking Boat Craft for Kids to pretend and engage in small world play.

Viking Ship Craft for Kids

Viking Ship Craft for Kids

Other Viking Activities for Kids

Enjoy a Viking Lunch during your Viking Unit Study and snuggle up with some Viking Books!

Read This Make That (Viking Snack Edition)

*Affiliate links are present

 Voyage with the Vikings (Imagination Station Series)Voyage with the Vikings (Imagination Station Series)

vikingViking (DK Eyewitness Books)

Leif the LuckLeif the Lucky

Are you following me on Pinterest? I like pretty things and fun kids activities.

Visit Sara @ Happy Brown House’s profile on Pinterest.

Kid Crafts with Kiwi Crate

Kid Crafts with Kiwi Crate-perfect for busy moms!

Disclosure: I received this product for free. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are honest and I was not required to post a positive review.

What is Kiwi Crate?

Kiwi Crate is a monthly kid crafts subscription. They deliver hands-on fun right to your mailbox. Designed for ages 3-8, projects can include arts and crafts, science activities, imaginative play, and more. Everything for 2-3 projects is included in the crate, and there are a variety of Kiwi Crate themes to choose from.

Opening our Kiwi Crate Box

Our Kiwi Crate Experience

We received the “Around the World” Kiwi Crate. (I can’t find a direct link for you on their site since their available themes rotate.) The kids were so excited to get a package just for them and immediately wanted to open it.

Around the World Kiwi Crate

The main craft was a World Flag Banner and the main game was a World Map Game. We chose to make the flag banner on the back porch during a cool morning and waited to play the map game later that evening with daddy.The kids followed the directions for making the flag banner (written and picture directions) without much assistance from me.

Kiwi Crate World Flag Banner Craft

The flag banner was cute and we will hang it in our homeschool room above our world map. We looked at our map to find all the countries represented in our banner. Kiwi Crate Flag Craft

The World Map Game was a great introduction to continents and famous landmarks with a bingo twist. It was perfect for a family game night after dinner! The game was easy enough for our youngest to participate thanks to the color-coded cards, but it was still educational for our oldest who is reading well. He was able to read the quick facts about the landmarks for us. And yes, Asher is walking around saying “Machu Pichu” now. What 2 year old does that?

Kiwi Crate World Map Game

What I Thought of Kiwi Crate

As a naturally crafty mom, I was a bit skeptical of a kid crafts subscription. I wondered if it would be something I could’ve come up with on my own using materials I already had at home. However, Kiwi Crate totally knocked my socks off. Yes, I could’ve made up the craft with materials we already had, but the Kiwi Crate was so much more than just a craft. Our particular Kiwi Crate came with a craft, a game, and an activity book/magazine for further learning exploration, craft ideas, and games.

Kiwi Crate Activities Collage

With three kids, homeschool, extracurricular activities, and just an overall crazy schedule, I appreciated the time Kiwi Crate gave back to me. All I had to do was open the box for the kids and interact. I didn’t have to come up with an idea. I didn’t have to gather or prepare materials. (Let’s face it, that is half the battle!) Kiwi Crate was truly open and go. I was glad to put the time saved in gathering materials to use in other important areas, like prepping dinner.

On a personal note, I haven’t had the time or the energy during the adoption attachment period to put together things like this, so I was excited to have an activity for the kids to do that didn’t require much of me. I’m stretched too thin right now and Kiwi Crate was a lifesaver this month!

Some things I was really impressed with about Kiwi Crate

They thought of everything. Seriously. I was so impressed with everything: peel-and-stick felt, providing scissors, and even a special sticker to wrap around the end of the rope to make threading the rope through the flags easier.

Kiwi Crate thinks of everything!

The activities were fun, engaging, and educational. You know how much that impresses this homeschool momma!

The packaging. Y’all, their packaging is so cute and creative! For example, you can even cut the box down and use it for play with the puppets printed on the packaging. They really pack a lot of fun into one little green box!

Kiwi Crate packaging is even designed for kid crafts and activities

Some things I wish were a little different about Kiwi Crate

We had one meltdown over who was going to make a particular flag and I immediately wished we had more materials so the kids could each make their own flag buntings. After looking on the Kiwi Crate website, I found out there is an option to add-on a sibling set of materials for an extra fee. I am glad for that option, although I probably wouldn’t spend an extra $10 on that option just to avoid a tantrum driven by selfishness.

I loved the clever world map game and wanted to use it over and over. I wish the game pieces were made of cardstock or thicker paper. The game cards were very thin and wouldn’t handle a lot of wear and tear from children. I will laminate these to use in the future and modify the game pieces if needed.

What My Kids Thought of Kiwi Crate

Ultimately, the kids’ opinions are what counts here since it was for them. I asked my kids to talk to me about Kiwi Crate.

What was your favorite thing about Kiwi Crate?
Jonah (7): I liked all of the activities. I can’t pick a favorite!
Lily (5): I liked making the flags.
Asher (a week from 3): I like making da fwags, Momma.

What didn’t you like about Kiwi Crate?
Jonah (7): I had to share it with the others.
Lily (5): I looooved everything! (insert dramatics and jazz hands here)
Asher (a week from 3): Huh? What momma?

Would you like to get another Kiwi Crate?
Jonah (7): YES! Can I have my own this time?
Lily (5): YES! Do they have a princess one?
Asher (a week from 3): YES! Again!

Is a Kiwi Crate Subscription worth it?

Is a Kiwi Crate Subscription Worth It?

I think Kiwi Crate is worth it. I really surprised myself with that statement since I’m such a DIY and frugal girl, but I think boxed craft/activity sets can be beneficial, too. Kiwi Crate is perfect for busy moms or moms that feel planning kid crafts is not their strength. The activities were top-notch and fun for my three kids. I think Kiwi Crate would make a perfect gift! If you like to give “experience gifts” instead of toys, Kiwi Crate would be a hit!

Want to try them yourself?

Use code BTS25 for 25% off 1st month subscription to Kiwi Crate. New subscribers also receive free shipping PLUS a bonus welcome kit.

Kiwi Crate is on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+. Be sure to follow them! They share great kid crafts ideas on their social media accounts and their newsletter.

Caterpillar/Butterfly Finger Puppets {Flip Dolls Pattern Hop & Giveaway}

I first “met” Laura while I was pregnant with Asher. If you were a reader during that time, you’ll remember I was SO sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum and the entire house was a little down in the dumps. During that time, Laura sent us a package with hand-drawn artwork from her daughter and a homemade crown for Jonah. It was a slice of sunshine during a rather rough time in our lives and we were touched by her kindness.

homemade crown

While the crown was a nice surprise, I was also drawn to Laura’s fabulously creative blog. She comes up with some of the most clever patterns that just beg to be replicated.

And then she gathered all of those clever projects into a book! A real book! It’s the most delightful thing to flip through.

When Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go arrived on my doorstep, my boys piled up on my lap. As we flipped through every page, they made a list of sewing projects for me….pretty much every project from the book!

Flip Dolls Pattern Hop & Giveaway

Laura asked if I’d join in the Flip Dolls Pattern Hop and I couldn’t resist! I knew immediately I wanted to master the art of flip dolls, but honestly, the flip dolls intimidated me a little. I decided to start small.

Caterpillar/Butterfly Flip Doll

Caterpillar Flip Doll finger puppet reversible finger puppet

For my first attempt at flip dolls, I chose the Caterpillar/Butterfly pattern. With adorable pom-pom trim for the legs and a simple handstitched smile, I’m somewhat smitten.

Tucked inside, there is a small surprise…

Caterpillar Butterfly Reversible Finger Puppets Flip Doll

An adorable butterfly–perfect for little ones to use as a finger puppet!

Butterfly flip doll finger puppet

I’ll be honest, the butterfly pictured in this post was my second attempt. It took me a little while to picture how things were supposed to work and I was a little too sloppy on my 1/4 inch seams. It made for a tight squeeze! Another thing that I think contributed to the tight fight inside was that I added another layer of felt on the underside of the wings to hide my stitches from the wing details.

After completing the Caterpillar & Butterfly flip doll, I immediately started on another!

Flip Dolls & Other Toys that Zip, Stack,  Hide, Grab and Go Review and Giveaway. These adorable dolls are reversible and can be used as puppets!

Giveaway

Would you like to win your own book and give sewing flip dolls a try? Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Then, visit the first 5 links in the blog hop below for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you made a Flip Doll? Use the linkup below to show off your creations! The first five links are part of the Flip Dolls Pattern Hop and each have book giveaways! Visit them for more chances to win!

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