In our magazine The Crafty Swedes, we listed things to make crafting at home easier, to craft smart. The magazine is available to download free here for those of you who have an iPad, but we love to share our tips with everyone, even those without an iPad.
Plan your projects
Help your child plan a project by only getting out relevant materials and helping them focus on the project at hand. If they like beading, leave the glitter in the cupboard. If they like paper crafts, don’t present them with yarn. Look out for easy projects in magazines, on television and blogs, check out what the kids do at preschool and junior clubs. The staff at the school are usually experts at finding easy and cheap crafts, which can also be done with several children at a time.
Make something you can use
To give away or use something that your child has done creates a wonderful sense of pride. I try not to steer my kids too much when we’re crafting, I prefer to suggest things we can make use of. It’s wonderful to have a stock of own-made thank you cards, Christmas decorations and notebooks. Or maybe you can find a new use for something you’ve already made. For example, we turned Freja’s ribbon braids into bracelets and we decorated matchboxes with bead artworks. To make something to play with is also very appreciated. For years a pair of binoculars, made out of two toilet rolls and a ribbon to wear around the neck, was the most used toy in our house. Who would have thought?
Not everyone has a craft room or special place set aside for crafts, most will use, just like we do, the kitchen table. We rarely have time to finish our projects between meals and we’re constantly cleaning the table. To make it easier we use a couple of large trays. On them we put our half finished project and associated materials. The trays can then quickly be put away and brought out again when it’s time to continue. Trays are also great when you have projects you need to carry around. We always spray paint outdoors, but the weather doesn’t always allow us to leave the project outside to dry.
To keep you craft materials in order helps both with the cleaning and with creativity. It is simply easier to choose materials if you see what is available. You don’t need to buy expensive storage units to create order among your the beads and colors. Old tins from flea markets make excellent storage for ribbons and yarns. Recycle pretty glass jars for beads and sequins. We bought cheap baskets to keep our fabrics in and from our local super-market we got empty plastic candy containers – for free! An old classic – the Dymo – made Freja want to label everything, so now we have no excuse for placing things in the wrong container!
You never know unless you try
When is it time to start using glue guns, sharp scissors and saws? You can’t know until you’ve tried, and you must try. But – safety first! No unattended children with sharp scissors, please. A good thing when using a glue gun, is to always have a glass of cold water nearby. That way a sore and warm finger, big or small, can be quickly cooled down.
Our iPad Magazine contains, besides these tips, also tips on books and blogs we like, lists of materials we recommend having at home and, of course, crafts! The Crafty Swede can be downloaded for free here.