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Monday, 23 December 2013

Last minute DIY Christmas gifts- from kids and for kids

Good morning gentle readers!

This is the last day I will see most of my daycare children before Christmas.  I have all their little gifts here ready and waiting for them.  In looking at them it occurred to me that many of you might be frantically looking for some quick easy and inexpensive gifts either for kids or from kids.  I will share on of each with you today.

Project 1: From kids to just about any adult
              Hand print coasters.

These are easy peasy lemon squeezy! First you will want to run out to Lowes or Rona and get yourself four white 4x4 ceramic or porcelain tiles. Apparently Home Depot no longer sells them, so save yourself a trip there.  They will cost roughly 30 cents each, so $1.20 for a set of four.  Then you'll need little rubber feet for the bottoms of the tiles (you don't want the tiles to scratch the very surface they are intended to protect) these can be found at the dollar store for $1.

Adhere a little rubber foot to each corner of the back of the tile.  Then paint your childs hand with acrylic craft paint and press their hand onto the tile.  I had one child who flat out refused to open her hand for me. So her parents got footprint tiles instead.  Its okay if the hand print smudges a little, the idea is to capture a moment in time with these kids and that kind of stuff happens with kids.

I like to write the childs name and current year underneath the hand print. This year I used Sharpie paint markers to do this. Last year I used regular Sharpies. Here is what I learned: If you use the paint markers you may finish your project right away.  If you use the regular Sharpie you need to let it dry for a few hours before your last step.  If you do not your writing will smudge and be illegible.

Finally I did a quick coat over the tile with a clear sealant spray paint (can be found at Lowes, Rona, Home Depot ect but I had some on hand).  Let that dry for a bit and....

 Not including clear coat dry time this project will take a total of about five minutes and less than $2.50.

Next is project 2:  From myself for kids.
                            DIY colouring book

This is something I have made for many children and something that has really been treasured and loved.  Every year I make a point to snap photos of my day care children doing some of the fun things we do. Then at the end of the year I compile these photos along with one photo of each child.  This year I ended up with a total of 17 photos to turn into a colouring book.

Once you have your digital photos taken you will want to get some folders to hold all the pages.  I got a four pack of duo tangs from the dollar store for $1, so 25 cents each.  I also picked up a 24 pack of Crayola crayons there for $1.25/pkg.  You could also make your own crayons (in fact I encourage it).  If I had more broken crayons kicking around thats exactly what I would have done (and have done in the past).
25 cents for a folder
 In order to change your photos into colouring book pages you'll likely want a copy of Photoshop. Or, make friends with someone who has a copy ;)

Open your photo in the Photoshop program. Make sure its on a 8.5x11 size. That's the default size so you're probably alright without fiddling around with anything.

Go up to the toolbar across the top and choose the Filter bar.  From the drop down menu choose Filter Gallery.

Once that opens I find that my photo has been zoomed in on so large I really can't see it.  If that's a problem for you as well go to the bottom left corner where it says 100% and change it to read 25%.

Next, on the right hand side of the page choose the Photocopy option. Now it's starting to look like a colouring book! Even further right you will notice options for Detail and Darkness.  Play with those slide bars until you like the look of your page.  I usually had mine somewhere around the 18-20 range but it will depend on the individual photo.   Click OK in the top right corner when you're done.

Usually I try to take out the "noise" of the background so the kids can just colour the subject.
To do this I go to the left hand side and choose the eraser option.  Once the eraser option is selected you will see the size dial for the eraser appear directly under the word Edit at the top of the page.  If your eraser doesn't have an outline around it you likely have Caps Lock on.  Once you're done erasing anything you don't like you're done!

Just print, hole punch and add to your folder.

Total cost here $1.50.

Here are some examples of the pages in this years colouring book:



The kids had coloured masks
 And that's it, folks!! Less than an hour of your time and $5 of your money and you too could have two pretty adorable gifts.

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