Homemade Craft Smock

I decided to make my nephew a little craft smock for his birthday this year and it was so easy that I wanted to share it. I am NOT a sewer – I can only do basic things. So, do not be intimidated by this project – you can make it probably way better than I did – it’s just a starting point.

Apron: Fabric – roughly 20 inches long by 12 inches wide, extra for pocket if desired
Apron Ties around waist: Fabric OR ribbon – roughly 20 inches long
Apron Ties around neck: Fabric OR ribbon – roughly 20 inches long
Thread to match
Puffy Paint for writing, if desired
Measure approximately 13 inches up from the bottom edge of the apron. This is where you can cut a curve to create the arm area on both sides. Mine curved in about 2 inches in from the edge, at most. Stitch all edges of the fabric to look nice (sorry for not using sewing lingo here!) Cut out a pocket if desired and stitch those edges to look finished. Stitch that onto the apron, wherever you want. Stitch the ties to the sides of the apron, right at the bottom of the arm area. Attach the neck ties to the top of the apron. Write their name or whatever with puffy paint…decorate as desired!

Basic Craft Supplies

I have been asked many times about craft supplies and what is best to have around for “craft time” with your kids at home. If I had a limitless budget and lots more time, my suggestions might be different. But, here are some of the things that we always have on tap and the kids seem to really enjoy.

Painting Supplies
– I got the plastic carrier at IKEA (called Samla) and it works great because there’s just enough space for all of the painting supplies…plus a handle in the middle for easy transporting.

– Paint…washable tempura paints, finger paints, watercolor paints
– Brushes…various sizes have been collected over the years – it’s nice to have a choice for different projects.
– Water Cup…recycled yogurt and cottage cheese plastic containers work perfectly!
– Paint Dish/Palette…we use the lids from recycled yogurt and cottage cheese containers to put the paint on AND recycled tin pie pans work great too.
– Craft smocks


Random Small Items

The blue container (called Glis) is also from IKEA – it has separators that can be taken out to fit something of a larger size.
It’s perfect for storing things like pom poms, google eyes, foam stickers, craft beads, cotton balls, anything small that you might use in a craft.
Play Doh
Over the years, we have purchased and been given lots of play doh – it’s such a great activity to pull out for 5 minutes or much longer…toddlers and school-aged kids always seem to enjoy
it…it’s always on-hand at my house. It took me a few years to figure out it’s best stored in an airtight, large container – we have so many play doh tools and accessories that it’s nice to just throw everything together when it’s time to clean up.
Mr. Potato Head
This is just a decorated, recycled ice cream bucket but it works great for all of Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head’s pieces! Complete with a handle, even my 15 month old can carry it around or help clean it up!
Markers and Crayons
I have been told that I am a little bold to allow my 2 year old access to markers. However, with the exception of just recently, he has respected the use of these fun crafting tools. I find that if the kids can get their own utensils for drawing and coloring, they spend a lot of quality time creating and imagining and growing in their fine motor skills. This nifty double drawer is either from Target or IKEA – nothing fancy but it does look somewhat pleasing to the eye since it’s black. I actually keep it on a shelf in the dining room right above our drawing paper – both within reach for anyone 2 and older. You know your kids and if this doesn’t seem like a wise decision, then find a better option…but it seems to work really well in our home.
Glue, Glitter Glue, Tape and Fancy Scissors
These items are stored in this recycled pretzel-rod plastic container (yummy things from Costco). It has a nice lid that can be taken off by most preschoolers but not the toddlers. I keep this bin on a higher shelf and only allow the “big” kids access to it. Enough said, right?
We love our Mala IKEA easel – in fact, we have two now. Kids have spent so much time drawing

on the white board and/or chalk board (it has both on this easel). Again, you’d have to decide what to do with the markers because there have been many times that the caps are left off or someone decides to test the waters and venture to places such as the wall nearby…but, I have used those are teachable moments. Side note: a sock works great for erasing!

Lego Organization

My 4 year old has officially joined the Lego-building-all-the-time club (if there is one). Thanks to the numerous relatives who gifted him some pretty awesome sets for Christmas. Also, thanks to my husband (and his mom for saving them all these years!) we have Legos from roughly a quarter of a century ago. My home hasn’t felt very “kid-friendly” since I am fearful of one of those itty-bitty pieces being choked on by my little Julia (and her 1-year old friends who come to play). So, we HAD to do something with all these Legos. I can bet many people have come up with better ways to organize them, but here’s what we did. Please, share your ideas if you feel moved!

  • Large dresser with drawers that are not super easy to open (HA! This sounds silly, but I mean it…the 4 year old can open them fine but the curious 1 year olds can’t!)
  • Ikea storage bins (we fit 3 bins in each drawer, making it 15 bins in total)
  • Labels attached by clear packing tape (nice and strong and can’t be picked off easily). I just drew a Lego on colored paper and wrote the color’s name.

Plan of Attack:
We have sorted the Legos according to color. But then, we have bins for “specialty parts” and “Lego People” and even “Instructions”. My husband’s thought process was that if the kids want to build something, they grab an empty bin and the instructions (if they are following something) and then they dig out all of the pieces they need and put them into the bin. Then, move to the “Lego building table” nearby and start their work. So far, it seems to be going well. I really don’t know how long they will stay sorted like this, but if things change, I will do a follow-up entry. Again, please share your ideas and thoughts if you’d like!

The Plastic Table Covering

When my husband and I lived in Mexico working for a children’s ministry, we learned this great trick of covering all work surfaces in plastic covering! In spanish, it’s called hule (pronounced “oo-lay”).  We still call it hule–Don’t forget to put the hule on!  I use the plastic covering for messy crafts in the kitchen, and then I just fold it up and put it in a basement cabinet when we’re done. Occasionally I let it air out.  When it gets too messy it’s time to buy a new one.   I even leave one on our dining table over the table cloth, so I can just wipe up the plastic when we’re done eating.  I only take the plastic off for royal company.

Craft time anybody?


Ready for dinner!

You can find this by-the-yard at Joann’s or any craft store.
Use with craft shirts, and you are ready to create all kinds of mess!

Crafting Smocks

Many projects call for paint and even when the kids help bake, they tend to get something on their clothes. Create less laundry for yourself and make some cute craft smocks for each child! A couple of ideas…Collect some large t-shirts (maybe Daddy’s old shirts) and make a project out of it. This is just one idea for you to start with, but see what else you can do for this fun and useful craft! The picture here is of an adult sized shirt my daughter tie-dyed. The orange smock is from my daughter’s birthday party – we found these at the Dollar Store (for yes, $1) and wrote each child’s name in puffy paint. Home Depot also has perfect sized ones that you get when you go to the free child’s crafting hour on Saturdays. They are the perfect size for toddlers to 1st or 2nd graders!

  • Old shirts (t-shirts or even long-sleeved old work shirts)
  • Apron (from Dollar Store or Home Depot craft hour)
  • Markers
  • Puffy paint
  • cardboard
  1. Round up enough shirts for each child. Make 2 or 3 extra so that you have some for your guests.
  2. Cut pieces of cardboard to fit inside each shirt. This just creates a harder surface and helps the marker not bleed through the shirt
  3. Start decorating! Write each child’s name or simply make it colorful with fun designs!

Featured Posts

Cheap Bunk Beds for Kids Reviews. Best Kids Bunk Beds Under $200

amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "thekidfriendlyhome-20"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "search"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_title = ""; amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = "Bunk Beds"; amzn_assoc_default_category = "All"; amzn_assoc_linkid = "25b2888f8fdcc68aca13ae2ca3ed7b2b"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_search_bar_position...