Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pen Block

This is a fantastic and inexpensive home made gift for a two to five year old. We use pen blocks like this at home and at school. They help kids to keep track of their pens and caps, make markers last longer, and are easy to carry from table to floor to easel.

I've been meaning to post a detailed tutorial on this for a while, but I thought I'd just show it to you today, in case you want to figure it out on your own.

You will need:

A well-sanded block of wood (2x2 or 2x4 are great)

Fat washable markers

A drill with a 1/2" bit (if your pen caps are 1/2" across!)

A wood-burning tool or permanent marker (optional)

I just looked through my photos for a picture of our pen block, but then realized that one of our artists-in-residence was using it just five feet away. So this is a picture of our home version with all of the pens in a row right at this very moment:

Some quick tips:

My holes were all 3/4" deep and at least 1 1/4" apart.

I hammered the caps into holes. In order to do that without damaging them or the pens, I put an old dried out marker in the cap, and hammered the end of the old pen. No glue was needed.

Personalizing or putting shellac on the pen block can make it fancier, but even a plain one made in an old scrap of wood will be loved for years.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Freezer-Paper-Snowflake-Stencil-T-Shirt

We love decorating our front window with paper snowflakes, so today we decided to try decorating some t-shirts with them. With just a little adult supervision, this is a great gift that a kid can make for his cousin. (You can stop reading this now, Anna.)

If this is your first time using freezer paper stencils, there is a good tutorial here.
And, here is a great place to learn how to cut some six-pointed snowflakes.