I like upcycling, repurposing and crafting with my kids

Archive for the tag “toys”

Kids’ craft: Milk bottle boats

This was a fun afternoon in the school holidays – making boats from recycling scraps! This craft is easy for children of any age and a great rainy day boredom-buster – plus when it brightens up you can go and float your boats in a stream!

For this project we used the following (washed!) items from the recycling bin:-

  • plastic milk cartons
  • lids from liquid laundry detergent
  • lolly sticks
  • fabric scraps (from my huge mountain of scraps, including some old shirts!)

From our craft supplies, we used:-

  • PVA glue
  • hot glue (to glue plastic and wood)
  • pom poms
  • pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  • sellotape
  • felt tip pens

plastic milk cartons repurposed as boatsAs you can see, the larger milk cartons (in this case, 4 pints) make an excellent “hull” if you cut them lengthways. A responsible adult really needs to do this part, but as none was available I did it 😉

decorating milk carton boats

We had three children for this activity (my two plus a friend) and it was great to see 3 different approaches to decoration. Here, pipe cleaners were attached to the hull to make a mast and flag pole.

milk carton boat with scrap fabric carpet

My daughter decided hers needed a purple carpet, pink pennant flag and several pompoms!

making sails for milk bottle boats using lolly sticks and scrap fabric

This upcycled shirt fabric made a great sail, along with some lolly sticks 🙂

Scrap recycling toy boats

I particularly love the ingenuity that went into this craft – the main boat was a plastic detergent bottle cap, extended with pieces of milk carton, lolly sticks, pipe cleaners and a milk lid for the crow’s nest.

milk carton and detergent bottle lid repurposed as a boat

Don’t you just love it when kids really get into an idea and make it their own? A great way to spend a rainy day, which we followed up with a sailing contest in the stream!

What ingenious uses do you put your recyclables to? Comment below or tweet me @ShabbySheUK 🙂



Upcycled Clothing Tooth Fairy Pillow Toys

Upcycling clothes - tights into toys

Q: What to do with daughter’s cute stripy tights when they’re outgrown?

Tooth pillow toys from upcycled clothes

A: Upcycle them into Tooth Fairy pillow toys!

How cute are these little toys?? They’re made from two pairs of woolly tights which were otherwise due for the fabric scrap heap. There’s also a small amount of felt, some toy stuffing, embroidery thread and a recycled cloth nappy liner (which looks just like white felt).

My daughter’s Owl Soft Toy…started out as me not wanting to throw out these gorgeous navy & pink tights. But once I’d cut the foot off them, stuffed and stitched it up, it just looked like a foot…!

Recycling clothing into toys

Stuffed foot of tights, but what to do next?

I decided to fold the footy part in on itself and the owl shape just evolved from there! Then it was just a case of cutting out eyes and a belly and embroidering owly designs on them.

The more observant amongst you will notice that the finished item has an embroidered beak instead of the yellow felt I originally cut out. I just preferred the homemade look of embroidery, plus I thought a felt beak might get in the way of the pocket. The owl’s belly is a tiny pouch (unstitched at the top) for the all important Tooth to go in, ready for the tooth fairy to collect 🙂

For my son’s Monster Tooth Cushion…it was a little more complicated (but not much more).

Tooth fairy toy - monster

Tooth fairy pocket monster

I wanted to make the monster’s mouth a pouch or pocket for the tooth, so I sewed a sausage shape for the body and folded the fabric up a bit, sewing in the teeth and stitching the sides to hold it in place. The arms and legs are made in a similar way and tacked on rather haphazardly to the body.

There are some lovely tutorials on Pinterest for sock monkeys, which this is roughly based on, but with several short-cuts as you can probably see from the pictures! But “homemade” and “rustic” are badges of honour here at ShabbyShe. We don’t do perfect 😉

This was my third foray into making toys for the children from their old outgrown clothes – see this post and this one from last summer.

The kids love them and I have to regularly put them back on a higher shelf so they don’t fall to pieces before another tooth fairy visit is due!

Tech Bag for a Boy – Upcycled Clothing

How about this for a great upcycling project: a bag to carry little man’s essential tech around when we are out and about?

Manbag made using recycled clothes

Cool upcycled t-shirt man-bag – every kid should have one!

This project came about after I was presented with two problems which are, I’m sure, familiar to many a mum…

  1.  My son is old enough to prize his own “tablet” (a DS) but still young enough to most likely drop and break it
  2.  He hates getting rid of old outgrown clothes.

Solution: an upcycled T-shirt Tech Man-Bag!

Upcycled T-shirt project

We started with a much-loved outgrown t-shirt

Having established there was a top in need of repurposing and a need to make a bag, I then did some highly technical (ahem!) measuring – ie. plonking the game console onto the item of clothing to make sure it will fit!

[As you can see from the picture, my daughter’s old jumper is soon to get a similar treatment!]

Upcycling old clothing into bags

T-shirt and jumper are “measured” – yes, their consoles will fit!

The next step was to cut a piece from the front and back of the t-shirt using a template – I just measured the DS in its case and added a generous seam allowance, as I wanted to pad the bag with felt for added structure and protection.

I cut a piece of paper and made sure I lined it up straight so the stripes front and back on the bag would match up (this is highly out of character – I usually take a more slapdash approach but I’m learning to be more patient…slightly!).

I also wanted to ensure I could get the whole shark motif onto the bag (this is called fussy cutting I believe.) My trusty rotary cutter tool was perfect for this!

I sewed 3 sides of the bag by turning it right sides together and popping it on the sewing machine, then I did the same with the felt. I used 2 colours of felt here so it wouldn’t look too red (his fave colour, but we don’t need to overload it!)

I then put the bag together and stitched around the top to finish it. I probably should have hemmed the top, but as it’s t-shirt fabric it won’t fray…and this is ShabbyShe after all 😉

The straps were from another pair of outgrown children’s jeans, which I just stitched madly together to get to the right length (32″ for my son’s frame) – just a simple zigzag stitch on the sewing machine to join the pieces together, and then I stitched it to the front and back of the bag for a cross-body strap.

Upcycled t-shirt bag for tablet

I think he likes it!

Shabby Teddy Part 2: Upcycled spotty t-shirt

Teddy made from recycled clothes and buttons

Hi there, I’m Spotty! I’m 99.9% recycled 🙂

This craft is so easy, it’s just a case of drawing the right teddy shape and stitching around the picture onto the fabric. I’m very pleased with how Spotty turned out and now both my children have favourite toys made for almost 0 pence! 😀

Shabby Teddy: Upcycling Clothes

Sometimes it’s really hard to part with little items of clothing that the children have outgrown, especially girls’ clothes which are so cute. I really loved my daughter’s stripy jumper but she was starting to moan when I yanked it over her head so it was time to move on to jumpers new (I would love to say t-shirts but Summer can’t be relied upon sadly!) I didn’t want to donate the jumper so I decided to make a soft toy with it instead.

Meet the newest member of the Shabby Family –Stripy. My daughter named him I hasten to add!

Jumper repurposed into a soft toy

Much-loved item of clothing is now even more loved as a boggle-eyed Shabby Teddy!

I just drew a picture of a teddy on some paper and pinned it to the jumper (turned inside out) before cutting it roughly and sewing the two halves together on the sewing machine. Then I turned it right side out, stuffed it and hand-stitched the gap. The eyes are black buttons on larger white ones – I have decided it’s charming to have odd-sized eyes, as I couldn’t match the buttons – and a pink button for the nose. The ribbon at the neck served to finish the look off and also give a bit more shape to the head as it all turned out a bit wider and shabbier than I anticipated.

But my little one loves him, and that’s what counts…♥

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: