DIY Bean Bag Tutorial

Bean Bags 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! DIY 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!

How to Make DIY Bean Bags

 

DIY Bean Bags 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 Make DIY Bean Bags

  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 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.

DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Storage

 

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

How I Use YouTube Playlists in our Homeschool

Friday night I cracked open my laptop and my teacher’s manual for the next school year. With my feet propped up, I started planning. I know…so nerdy of me to plan on a Friday night. However, I was setting up my YouTube playlists and I was just so excited to get started! When I shared on my personal Facebook page what I had done on my Friday night, I got several questions about YouTube playlists and how I use them in our Homeschool. Instead of typing the same thing over and over, I thought I’d share it here on the blog. Chances are, someone else will find this helpful, too!

Why Use YouTube Playlists?

YouTube is so much more than goofy people doing goofy things. While there is plenty of that available on YouTube, there is also a large group of really great videos just begging to be used in the classroom!

  • Using a playlist keeps out some of the junk. Seriously. I tried to search for a video with my son and I was disappointed at some of the results that popped up. I NEVER watch videos with the kids without previewing them first. A playlist is an easy way to bookmark good videos.
  • YouTube videos are a great way to give young children a visual frame of reference for a variety of topics. If they’ve never seen a team of sled dogs racing across the snow, there’s a video available at your fingertips. In educational terms, we call this building schema. It’s a quick and easy way to introduce them to things visually.
  • YouTube videos are a way to take a field trip….virtually! We can’t hop onto a plane and visit all the places we are learning about, but we can find video and go there in our minds.
  • Technology is just plain fun. Kids love it and it captures their attention. Enough said.

How to make a YouTube Playlist for Homeschool or your classroom. Perfect for unit studies!

 

How to Make a YouTube Playlist:

It’s super simple! A blog post about using YouTube wouldn’t be complete without an actual YouTube video, so I made one for you to walk you through the steps and help you build your own!

My YouTube Playlists:

Want to see my playlists in action? I have several YouTube Playlists for My Father’s World homeschool curriculum.

As always, if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Tell me: Have you ever made a YouTube playlist?

Simple Science: How to Make a Volcano with Kids

While we were studying rocks and volcanoes during one of our homeschool units, we made a simple volcano using household items. Making a volcano with kids is an easy and fun science activity. Little ones are fascinated by the fizzy “lava” and can’t wait to do the activity again.

How to Make a Volcano with Kids

Materials

  • small disposable paper cup
  • playdough
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • food coloring

There are lots of ways you can make a volcano, but I have found it easiest to have something you can place the baking soda in. I cut the small disposable paper cup in half, about 2 inches from the bottom.

Cut the cup

Next Jonah used some old playdough that was starting to dry out to make a base for the volcano. He placed the bottom part of the cup on top of the playdough blob.

build the volcano1

He used more playdough to build up around the base and make it look more like a volcano.

build the volcano2

Once the volcano is ready, take it outside. Pour a little baking soda into the top of the volcano.

baking soda

Pour vinegar in a cup.

pour vinegar

Add a drop or two of red food coloring.

red food coloring

Pour the red vinegar into the top of the volcano and watch what happens!

volcano explosion

Jonah loved this! He has worked with baking soda and vinegar before, but he didn’t remember how the two react to each other. He was excited because he was allowed to do all the steps by himself and took ownership of his learning. He wanted to see the fizzing volcano more than once, which led to an afternoon of giggles.

 Volcano Books to Read


Volcanoes! (National Geographic Readers)


The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes


Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens


Volcanoes For Kids: Fun Facts And Pictures Of Volcanoes

Want more Simple Science Activity Ideas? Follow my Easy Science Activities Pinterest Board!

Want more fizzy fun? Visit Teaching Mama for 5 Baking Soda Experiments.

Mommy & Me: Pretty Paper Factory

We love Eric Carle books. Alot. They are the books that we return to over and over and over again.

One of the things that make Eric Carle books so unique are the way he makes his illustrations. They are made from paper that he has painted and added texture to himself. (You can see more about his process by watching this video.) Once he paints his tissue paper, he uses it to create collages. (You can see more about his process by watching this video.) I think his process is fascinating.

Or, maybe I’m drawn to his creation process because it is attainable for even the youngest of artists…

Jonah and I had some fun during the “Plague of 2012″. I mean, there are only so many movies a kid can watch when he is sick and it’s raining outside, right?!?! As we were painting with watercolors, I took a white crayon and made a pattern on some paper when he wasn’t looking. When he painted over the white crayon, he thought it was magic.

“Mommy, look! How did it do that?!?!?!”

I explained how, this time showing him the process. He painted over it again just as bright-eyed as before.

“Mommy, can we make more?”

And so it began…The Pretty Paper Factory.

The only problem with the Pretty Paper Factory is that eventually, papers are drying on every flat surface. And then, once they are dry, I have a stack of treasures that Jonah won’t part with.

My solution: The Collage Box

Yes, I really cut up his watercolor pages into 4 smaller rectangles. I asked permission first.

To read about the Collage Box, you’ll have to visit Totally Tots. I’m sharing about The Collage Box over there today!

Want some other Pretty Paper Factory ideas? I’ll be back with more! Subscribe so you don’t miss them!

Mommy & Me: Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Snow is a precious commodity around our region. We get snow, just not very often. Nor does it stay around very long once it finally snows. So, we often have to make our own. Enter…Coffee Filter Snowflakes.

Coffe Filter Snowflake

Jonah still needs LOTS of practice with scissors. LOTS. He keeps wanting to rotate his hand like a contortionist to try to cut paper. The only way I know to help him is to provide plenty of opportunities to let him practice and continue to guide his hands in the right direction. Literally. There is still lots of hand-over-hand help from me in this area. The problem with doing something that can be frustrating for a preschooler (or any age, really) is that when it isn’t fun or purposeful, they don’t want to do it. So, I masked the sometimes frustrating task of cutting with making Coffee Filter Snowflakes. Instant interest from Jonah. Mommy Score!

Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Materials Needed:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Fold the coffee filter in half several times. (Remember the more you fold, the thicker the layers to cut through. I found that Jonah had a hard time with it folded in sixths.)
  2. Cut designs on the foldsPreschool Cutting Practice: Coffee Filter Snowflakes
  3. Unfold! Jonah loved the anticipation of this step, and couldn’t wait to see the designs!
  4. Display somewhere that makes you happy. We made a bunch and taped them to our large picture window in our kitchen.Taping Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Coincidentally, letting Jonah use the tape himself was also a fine-motor skill hidden in disguise. Jonah thinks tape is fun, so he is super motivated to use it. Little does he know I was giving his little hand muscles a workout! Sneaky Mommy! We had so much fun with this activity that we actually extended snowflake cutting over a few days. Jonah kept asking to make more. That is a success in my book!

We also read lots of books about snow. Here are a few of our favorites:

Snow by Manya Stojic


Snip…Snip…Snow! by Nancy Poydar


S Is for Snowman by Kathy-jo Wargin

If you’d like to see more of our snow book “picks” you can check out our list!

We’d love to see your Coffee Filter Snowflakes! Let us know if you make some~send us the link or post them to our Happy Brown House Facebook page. Happy cutting!

Boutique Baby Series: No-Sew Pacifier Clip Tutorial {Guest Post}

Note from Sara: My friend Jenny from The Southern Institute is here today to share a tutorial with you while I snuggle up with my newest little guy. Let’s give her a warm welcome to the Happy Brown House!
Hello, everyone! It’s so good to be here today as a guest… my first time at Happy Brown House!  Sara asked if I would share a project with you and I thought this was the perfect thing.  This pacifier clip requires no sewing and it takes about 15 minutes!  It’s perfect for baby showers.

What you’ll need:
  • 1/2 inch velcro
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • grosgrain ribbon (about 12 inches)
  • one mitten clip (they come in packs of two)
Step One: Cut a piece of velcro to match the width of your ribbon.
Step Two: Apply hot glue to the edge of one end of the ribbon and fold over about 1/2 inch.  Press firmly to adhere.  This creates a “hem” of sorts.
Step Three: Take the velcro (both sides stuck together) and glue one side to the edge of the “hem”.  Place hot glue on the second side and fold the ribbon over about 1 1/2 inches.  Press firmly.
This is the side that will be attached to the pacifier.
Step Four: On the other end of the ribbon, place hot glue along the edge and fold over 1/4 inch, just as you did the first side.  Feed the ribbon up through the back side of the mitten clip.  Place hot glue along the edge, fold over, and press firmly to secure the mitten clip to the ribbon.
You now have a completed No-Sew Pacifier Clip!
Your friends will be so impressed!

Disclaimer: Please, use common sense and DO NOT leave your baby unattended with a pacifier clip attached to them.