Friday flashback: Tie-dye for tots... and older kids, too

I've been publishing Grandma's Briefs for eight years. Which means I have an archive jam-packed with activities and other grandparenting goodies I posted long ago that deserve to be shared again for those grandmothers and others who may have missed them the first time around.

The following is one of my favorite — most simple and most colorful — crafts I've done with my grandsons. Which is why I've chosen it for my first Friday flashback feature.


Originally published April 23, 2013

My youngest grandson, Mac, doesn't have the penchant for craft-making that his older brother does. Bubby's attention span can handle a craft that has, say, six or eight steps, knowing there's a grand payoff at the end. Mac, on the other hand — because he's younger and always on the go, go, go — can handle a craft with one quarter that number of steps, and instant payoff of some sort is key.

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), finding a craft that pleases both can be a challenge. This one, though — a tie-dye project of sorts — was a success. Mac created one or two and was done; Bubby made one after another until the food coloring bottles were nearly empty. Yes, success!


What you need:

• Coffee filters

• Food coloring...

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Thursday triple-play: Getting crafty

I'm not the most crafty of grandmas. I used to enjoy making things from scratch, sewing up this and that, trying my hand at crochet and paper mâché and more.

easy homemade holiday gifts

Long and involved do-it-yourself projects no longer appeal to me, though. So I tend to go for crafts and homemade gifts that are relatively simple, don't require a whole heckuva lot of know-how and nimbleness. 

I've shared a few...

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FAMILY photo frame: A crafty craft for the non-crafty

Not long ago, I shared directions for making a pillow chaise for kids. I claimed it was easy, something even those with minimal crafting experience could pull off with ease.

Well, I was wrong in making that claim. I immediately received comments on the difficulty of the chaise pillows for anyone who doesn't sew—which I hadn't really considered.

I have considered the non-sewers this time, and I offer you this: a craft that truly is easy and requires absolutely no sewing at all.

Can you spray spray paint? Then you can do this.

Can you use a glue gun? Then you can do this.

The "this" is a unique photo frame that looks far more crafty than it really is. If you can operate a can of spray paint and operate a glue gun, this is the craft for you.

The craft is a FAMILY photo frame. I made one for each of my daughters for Christmas, and they looked like this:


That's the one I made for Megan. Each frame I made was the same yet different, to match the different personalities and decor of my daughters. Bonus: Each featured buttons from Granny's button tin, bits from their paternal grandmother that I've pledged to share with my daughters in myriad ways.

Here is how to make a similar FAMILY photo frame for yourself or as a gift.

How to make a FAMILY photo frame

Here's what you need:

BRIANNA'S FRAME• 1 8X10 black wood photo frame

• unpainted wood letters: F A M I L Y (mine are 1 1/2 inch)

• 5 unpainted mini clothespins

• 1 8X10 scrapbook paper page — choose one in a pattern befitting the recipient's decor and interests, keeping in mind the frame will be displayed horizontally

• 5 buttons — I choose buttons to match the scrapbook paper, all from Granny's button tin but new buttons would work, too

• black spray paint

• glue gun and glue sticks

• 4X6 photos to display

Here's what you do:

1. Spread newspaper in an outdoor area where you can spray paint the letters and the mini clothespins. Spray one side of letters and clothespins, making sure all visible surfaces are painted. Don't worry about the wire clothespin clasps getting paint on them for they will work even when painted. Allow to dry.

2. Remove the back of the photo frame and place the scrapbook paper where a photo would go. Replace back.

3. Evenly center the dried FAMILY letters about an inch or so from the top of the horizontally positioned frame. Use glue gun to carefully glue letters in place.

4. Carefully position the five clothespins along the bottom frame, centering on edge so they won't break off when adding or removing photos. Use glue gun to glue each clothespin in its spot.

5. Once clothespins are securely glued and dried, carefully glue a button to the top of each clothespin. Ensure the top edge of the button meets the top edge of the clothespin so the entire button is backed by the clothespin stick. (If you don't have the entire button on the stick, the button will come off when subjected to the pressure of opening and closing the pin when adding or removing photos.)

6. Ensure glue has dried and all letters, clothespins, and buttons are securely in place, then add photos. (Vertical photos work best if using all five pins.)


Ready to hang and enjoy!

Of course, you can always create the frame vertically, just use fewer clothespins and letters in a size that ensures the word FAMILY fits.

There you go: A crafty craft for the non-crafty—with not a single stitch of sewing involved!

Today's question:

How many photo frames do you guesstimate are on display in your house?