Upcycling for Kids (Using Teeshirts) Part 3: No-Sew Multilayered Necklace

Here’s a super quick and very simple no-sew tutorial to turn an old teeshirt into a pretty cute multilayered necklace or infinity scarf – and it’s an easy one to do with the kids too!

Materials:

  1. Old Teeshirt (a seamless tee is best)
  2. Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Lay Teeshirt flat
  2. Cut off the bottom hem of the teeshirt and put it aside.
  3. Cut your teeshirt into 1-2 inch strips across the width of the tee. I used 2 inch strips because it was easier for Little E to manage, but I think the necklace will probably look nicer with thinner 1 inch strips. You should end up with a bunch of loops.
  4. Stretch out each loop as far as they will go until the fabric rolls inward.teeshirt-necklace-kids-craft-upcycle-recycle
  5. Join all the the loops together, doubling them up if necessary to create that multilayered effect. Make sure that you can still pull the loops over your head easily. I used three loops doubled up to make a necklace for Little E but you can use more to make more complex-looking necklace.
  6. Cut the bottom hem of shirt that you saved in half to make a long flat ribbon at least 10 inches long.
  7. Using this ribbon, tie a knot around the necklace loops to hold them in place.
  8. Wrap the rest of the ribbon tightly around the loops a few times. I made the wrapped portion a few inches wide.
  9. Tie off the ends of the ribbon with a knot.
  10. Trim the ends to look like a little bow or tuck them under the rest of the ribbon to hide it.
  11. Enjoy your new necklace!

necklace-teeshirt-upcycle

If you are particularly handy, you can experiment with braiding or knotting the teeshirt strands together, or mixing loops of different colours and textures!

P.S. Check out our other Teeshirt Upcycling posts here.

Upcycling For Kids (Using Teeshirts) Part 2: No-Sew Tasselled Tunic

As I said in my previous Upcycling For Kids post, Singapore generates an embarrassing amount of textile waste, which is why I am trying to think of ways to give old clothes a new lease of life instead of discarding them.

Whilst clearing out my wardrobe, I found a few teeshirts that have pretty cute designs on them but really do not suit me anymore. These shirts, although beloved, weren’t really fancy enough to be worth putting aside for Little E for the future. So I decided to repurpose them into cute outfits for Little E to wear right now!

Due to the fact I have the Midas Touch when it comes to sewing machines (i.e. I turn them into blocks of inert metal), this will be a no-sew tutorial.

How to Upcycle Old Teeshirts into a No-Sew Tasselled Tunic (2 versions)

Materials:

  1. Old Teeshirt
  2. Tunic Top That Already Fits
  3. Scissors
upcycle-teeshirt-kids-tassel

Cutting around the teeshirt to make it the correct size

Instructions:

  1. Lay Old Teeshirt flat
  2. Place Tunic Top That Already Fits on top of teeshirt to act as a guide
  3. Cut the teeshirt into 1 inch strips all around the sides, bottom and sleeves), leaving a 1 – 2 inch border around the Tunic Top That Already Fits (depending on how tight you want the final result to be)
  4. Trim off the tassels on the sleeves, leaving just one pair of tassels in the centre, which you can tie off with a knot. This makes cute, new fluttery sleeves for your new garment!

    tee-shirt-upcycle-kids-clothes-recycle

    Knotting the sleeves, sides and bottom of the teeshirt

  5. Cut the side seams of the teeshirt, then stretch the tassels as long as they will go, until the fabric rolls in on itself. If you don’t use a seamless teeshirt, cut off the seams entirely for a nicer look
  6. On the sides of the teeshirt, tie each pair of tassels (one front and one back) tightly together with a knot, to make a row of knots and tassels down each side of the tunic top.
  7. For the bottom of the teeshirt, stretch the tassels until the fabric rolls in on itself, then knot each pair of tassels (side by side) tightly together. When you are done, you should have created a hem of knots around the bottom of your tunic.
  8. Then, create a second row of knots by tying pairs of knots together. Don’t worry about the tassels looking uneven – you can trim them to equal lengths once you are done. I left our uneven because I thought it looked nicer that way.
  9. Your new and improved tunic is ready to wear!

    upcycle-top-shirt-tunic-kids

    Little E wearing the No-Sew Tasseled Tunic (With Sleeves)

  10. If you think that the neckline and sleeves of the Tasseled Tunic are too big (especially if you’re trying to make it fit a tiny tot), you can turn the whole thing into a sassy sleeveless number. Cut the sleeves off at the seams and at the tops of the shoulders, then tie them off with a knot.
  11. Wear your new Tasseled Tunic with pride!
upcycled-tunic-top-girls-teeshirt-no-sew

Little E wearing the No-Sew Tasseled Tunic (Without Sleeves)

P.S. Check out my No-Sew Hobo Bag Tutorial here.

12 Ideas for Last Minute Crafty Christmas Joy

It’s Christmas Eve and there are Christmas parties, Christmas presents and Christmas cheer that needs to go round, and if you are anything like me, you haven’t done a thing about it yet.

Don’t Panic!!!

Owls Well is here with a round up of a dozen last minute Christmas crafts and general activity for Funtimes And Merriment from around the web!

Christmas Cards

1.Try these quick and simple ideas for gorgeous Christmas cards using washi tape by A Pancake Princess

Picture Credit: A Pancake Princess

Picture Credit: A Pancake Princess

2. I really like these three kid-friendly christmas card ideas over at PeiPeiHaoHao

Picture Credit: PeiPeiHaoHao

Picture Credit: PeiPeiHaoHao

3. If you’ve got a ton of Christmas scrapbooking paper to destash, here’s a pretty, sparkly Christmas tree card by Xavvy-licious

Picture Credit: Xavvy-licious

Picture Credit: Xavvy-licious

Christmas Decorations

4. Welcome guests to your home with a beautiful Christmas window display made from sticks and string like this one from MalMal Our Inspiration

Picture Credit: MalMal Our Inspiration

Picture Credit: MalMal Our Inspiration

5. Spruce up your party with a lovely table centrepiece by A Million Little Echoes

Picture Credit: A Million Little Echoes

Picture Credit: A Million Little Echoes

6. Destash your collection of felt scraps (or get some more from Daiso) with these cute felt ornaments from Hello, Mrs Tan

Picture Credit: Hello, Mrs Tan

Picture Credit: Hello, Mrs Tan

7. Entertain the kids all day and get them to make a paper plate and pinwheel tree from Simply Me

Picture Credit: Simply Me

Picture Credit: Simply Me

Stocking Stuffers

8. If you have some airline tube socks from your last trip abroad, why not upcycle them into a super cute Tube Sock Totoro 

Cute!

Cute!

9. These Upcycled Snow Globes are a brilliant idea by Life is in the Small Things

Picture Credit: Life is in the Small Things

Picture Credit: Life is in the Small Things

10. I love these wooden hand lettered ornaments over at Daprayer

Picture Credit: Daprayer

Picture Credit: Daprayer

Christmas Treats

11. Make a few glasses of this delicious and refreshing Christmas Drink and impress your friends

So Sophisticated!

So Sophisticated!

12. Check out this collection of delicious food art ideas put together by The Hooting Post

P.S. For more great ideas, check out these 35 Simple and Foolproof Christmas Crafts and Free Printables

P.P.S. Also, here’s the Owls Well Christmas Party Playlist!

50 Shades of Ick

It goes without saying that rats need exercise and that the most popular form of rat exercise is the wheel.  Since rats have fairly delicate paws, it’s not suitable for them to be running in a wire wheel.  Thus, my rats have a Transoniq Wodent Wheel to run in, a specially designed wheel that is both easy to clean and prevents them from hurting their paws.  I bought the wheel and some assorted toys from The Dapper Rat and immediately installed the wheel in the rat cage when it arrived.

There was just one problem.

Wodent Wheels have a metal base for stability, but if you have particularly robust rats like I do, the wheel shakes when they run in it.  The resulting noise is not unlike a neverending hammering against the base of the cage.

After suffering several nights of noise, I decided to secure the wheel to the ceiling of the cage both to increase stability and also to get some peace and quiet.  After all, if the base couldn’t move, the rattling would stop.  So, I went down to the nearest hardware store and requested the smallest available cable ties for the job.

And was refused sale.

In fact, I was refused sale at the next few hardware stores as well.  Some of the salespeople didn’t even want to help me or look at me the moment the words “Cable” and “Tie” left my mouth.  It wasn’t until the third store when I found out why I was being refused sale.

It was because this movie had just come out (link NSFW!).  For obvious reasons, the remainder of this post will be behind a cut.

Continue reading

Upcycling for kids: Make Captain America’s Shield using MATH

All those who choose to oppose his shield must yield!

All those who choose to oppose his shield must yield!

J is seriously into superheroes right now, and I mean seriously, mummy I’m really serious about superheroes. Earlier this year he attended a party and was given a bright blue domino mask to bring home, which he immediately dubbed his ‘Captain America’ helmet.

Which is why we decided to make him a shield to go along with it, out of some cardboard boxes that I have been hoarding in the storeroom for such a purpose.

Instead of making a flat shield using a single piece of cardboard, we decided to give it more shape and depth by stacking the circles of cardboard on top each other to approximate the concave-convex appearance of Captain America’s circular shield. As a guide, we decided to use the shield design from this old copy of the Avengers comic.

Materials:

  1. Large Cardboard Box
  2. String
  3. Pushpin
  4. Pencil
  5. Stanley knife or box cutter
  6. Glue (we used PVC glue for this)
  7. Red and blue paint (we used tempera paints for this project)

Instructions:

The red, white and blue'll come through

The red, white and blue’ll come through

1. Draw five circles of diminishing circumference sizes on the large cardboard box: To get the round circles, I had J draw the circles using a length of string with one end pinned to the cardboard and the other end tied to a pencil. Then we shortened the string by an inch and repeated the process five times. This is a great way to physically demonstrate the concept of a circle’s radius, diameter and circumference, as well as the relationships between them.

2. Use a sharp Stanley knife to carefully cut out each circle.

3. Use blue paint to cover the entire surface of the smallest circle. We used tempera paints as they are kid-friendly and washable, but you can get a much nicer, brighter colour using spray paint or acrylic paint, or by adding a layer of varnish or ModPodge to get a nice glossy finish.

4. Use red paint to cover the entire surface of the biggest circle and the middle-sized circle.

5. For the 2nd largest and 2nd smallest circle, we decided not to paint them white. This is because white tempera paint tends to disappear into the brown cardboard and you need many layers of tempera paint to get a good white finish, which will soak into the cardboard and weaken it’s structure. Instead, we peeled off the top layer of cardboard to expose the corrugated centre, in order to give it a contrasting texture.

You are my star

You are my star

6. Next, we drew a five pointed star onto the small blue circle. This is a great way to demonstrate the relationship between a convex polygon (in this case, a pentagon) and a regular star polygon! Using a stanley knife, J carefully traced the outline of the star, then peeled off the cardboard to expose the cardboard centre.

7. Using PVC glue, we glued the circles one on top of the other, making sure to line up the exposed pleats of the corrugated board so that the pleats are all in the same direction.

Double strap time

Double strap time

8. For straps, we cut out two long strips of cardboard around 5cm or 3inches wide and glued them to the reverse surface of the shield, making sure there is plenty of room to comfortably pass one’s arm through the straps. (If you want to be super fancy, you could use thick cotton or felt strips and space them further apart so that the shield can be worn like a backpack!)

9. Prepare the men to do battle!

Upcycling for kids: Houses from boxes

A little village

A little village

So, I had a couple of little empty cartons, so we decided to turn them into a little box village for all of J and Little E’s Lego minifigs.

Materials:

  1. Empty cardboard boxes of whatever size you fancy
  2. Ruler
  3. Pen
  4. Scissors
  5. Double sided tape or glue
  6. Crayons or oil pastels
  7. Tempera paint

Instructions:

The more you turn me inside out

1. Start out by dismantling the boxes. Carefully tear apart the flap on the inside of the box using your finger, so that the box is now completely flattened.

2. Using a ruler or straight edge, draw a line down the centre of the box using a pen.

3. Use scissors to cut along the two narrow panels of the box, stopping at exactly at the line.

4. Crease the two narrow panels along the line.

tape-cardboard-house-base

5. Turn the box inside out so that the blank part is facing out, and then glue or tape the sides and bottom of the box back together. (We used double sided tape). Make sure the cut narrow panels at the top are left free. As you can see, we chose a box that had a perforated hole, and we left that at the bottom as the door of the house.

roof-paper-cardboard-house

6. Fold the two narrow panels towards each other to form the roof of the house and fix together with tape or glue (we used double sided tape).

7. Using a pen, trace the outline of your roof onto the two wide panels.

fixing-roof-cardboard-house

8. Trim the spare cardboard straight across the top of two wide panels.

9. Crease the two wide panels along the pen outline, and tuck them into underneath the roof or on top of the roof, whichever is easier. You can fix them with glue or tape if you wish!

SONY DSC

10. Draw in windows using black wax crayons or oil pastels, then cover your little houses with paint!

Let’s Build a Newspaper Fort using Math!

There is no better way to spend a rainy afternoon than in constructing a fort!

Usually, I just drape a blanket over two chairs but we decided to go bigger this time and make a fort out of newspaper, using the POWER OF MATH!

Basically, I have been observing that the most stable and economical shape used in general construction is a triangle, and a triangulated structure (like the famous Mathematical Bridge in Cambridge) is able to withstand both compressive and stretching forces to maintain its shape.

This concept is quite a simple one to demonstrate in the playground, where many standing structures like swings, slides and climbing frames will consist of beams, ropes or cables fixed together in triangular patterns. Hence, I decided that the best way to demonstrate this principle of geometry and mechanics would be to build an fort using a space frame truss – that is, using triangular units to build a 3-D frame.

What you’ll need:

  1. Newspaper
  2. Tape (I used masking tape)
  3. Stapler
truss-modular-triangle-geometry-mechanics-construction

Step One: Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

We started out by rolling up newspapers and stapling them together into triangles. (This is a great way to put idle little hands to good use.) Fold each newspaper sheet into half and roll it up into a stick starting from one corner, so that you only need a tiny piece of masking tape to hold the whole stick together.

To start out with, we made five triangles and taped them together like this:

Step 2: Make a roof

Step 2: Make a roof

If your kids are pretty small, you can stop there, but we wanted to go BIGGER and BOLDER! 

A full igloo!

So we made another 10 triangles and joined them together like this:

geometry-mechanics-modular-truss-triangles-math

Step 3: Complete base of fort

The whole structure turned out to be pretty stable! I covered the whole fort with a flat sheet to give the kids some privacy and they played together quietly in their little igloo for the rest of the afternoon…giving me some time to lie down and have a well-deserved nap on the couch.

See?

MATH IS FUN AND REWARDING!