a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Monday, October 24, 2011

DIY Craft Kits for Gift-Giving

Once again I remind you to put your thinking caps on when you look through the gift catalogs that will shortly be filling your mail boxes, especially if . . .
Craft Kits are on your gift-giving list for kids or grandkids.

If you have been reading my posts for very long you know that I am a great believer in imagination, and opportunities for children to exercise theirs. 

The ready-made craft kits look like an easy answer to a great creative gift. At first glance!

Carefully note the contents and items of the kits you see in the mail-order catalogs and decide if you can do it cheaper, and probably better, without too much effort and without a shipping and handling charge. If you do not want to make up the kits yourself, it is often possible to find similar sets, for less money, at the large discount stores.

Following are a few kits from gift catalogs so you can "see" and decide for yourself. I have taken the information from one of my self-published bookettes, written 15 years ago. What that means is the current prices will be higher and there is a good chance the contents will be less and/or the quality lower. That is a sad but probably true assessment. 

Beginning Sewing Kit
This 1996 catalog kit costs $18.95 and contains six 9x12" felt squares (they cost about 20 cents each back then), four very small spools of thread, 2 pre-cut felt birds, a small pincushion, a few large head pins, two large-eye needles, a needle threader and poly fiberfill for stuffing the projects.

The kit does contain instructions (in rhyme) and patterns for making simply shaped animals and figures from the included felt. The projects look like the shapes you would trace using  large cookie cutters, of the simple shapes in a "my first coloring book."

The sewing is all overcast stitch around the edges of the cut-out felt. The catalog states "adult help may be needed" so that could eliminate the need for an instruction book if you were not up to making one.

Sponge Painting Kit
In 1996 this kit was priced at $19.95. It contains four 8-ounce plastic jars of washable, non-toxic paint, four small plastic bowls, a sponge brush and roller sponge, eight 2-1/2" simple sponge shapes and four plastic stencils. It is packaged in a 9x7x4" box---a little less than the size of a ream of copy paper.

It doesn't appear to contain instructions or paper. These supplies are available at discount or hobby stores. The small sponge shapes cost about 25 cents each in 1996.

Rubber Stamping Set
This set contains 8 rubber stamps, ranging in size from 1x1 inch to 1-1/2x3 inches, and one tri-color stamp pad. It cost $15.98 cents in the 1996 catalog. Construction paper, 100 sheets of 9x12 inch,  in assorted colors was available for an additional $8.98!

I am sure you can beat that price --- and you would even be able to select the rubber stamps you wanted.

Next post----Art Kits!

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