Get Crafty with the Kids this Summer

By JulieChats
JulieChats Blog
Oregon’s Scrapbook Expert

When I think about the days of summer, they seeming to be flying by, packed with all sorts of fun.  But then when I stop to think about each individual day, I start to think about my daughter and her pleas of “What are we doing today?” and “I’m bored!” Well, if you’ve been hearing the same things, I’ve got some simple, fun kids’ craft suggestions for you.

Crafting with kids can be a lot of fun.  But it does require some planning.  So read over my projects and suggestions before you head to your local scrapbook store or crafting center for supplies.  To me, crafting is a lot like cooking.  The recipes seem to go together quicker and easier when I assemble all my ingredients and tools before I start mixing things.

Start a couple days before you want to get started on your project, read through the instructions and make a list of all the supplies you’ll need.  Before heading off to the store, check the list and see if you already have any of the items in your craft stash.  It’s always nice to be able to use up something you already have at home and save a little money too.

Once you have all the supplies, tuck them away to wait for one of those lazy afternoons or maybe a rainy day.  When the time is right, pull all your supplies together and prep your crafting space.

Personally, I love to craft with or without my kids, but I always hate to clean up.  So if the day is a nice one, without much wind, I like to set up the craft area on a table out on my patio.  I cover the table with old newspapers, using masking tape to tape them together and to the table.  If we’re crafting inside, I cover the table in the same way and also put newspapers on the floor to catch any stray glitter, glue or paint.  It’s always better to think ahead than be stuck trying to scrape paint off your dining room floor later.

Now that your space is all ready to go, here are a few fun crafts to try with the kids.

1-Marbled paper


3 or 4 colors of SMOOCH Inks (find them at your local scrapbook store or search for them online) – The darkest colors work best for this project.

Textured White Cardstock – Cut it into small squares, rectangles or other shapes.  You can also use punches to create tags and other shapes.

Flat white dish or bowl – Large enough to fit your biggest shapes.  Fill with about 2” of water.

Paper Towels


Be sure to read all the directions carefully for this project before you begin.  Working quickly creates the most vibrant marbling on the paper.  It is probably best for you to try this technique on your own (without “help” from the kids) the first couple times.  After you’ve got the technique down, it will be easier to teach it to the kids.

To begin, touch the surface of the water with the tip of the ink’s brush.  You will barely see any ink in the water, but it is there.  You can see that the further you dip the brush into the water, the larger the floating circle of ink will be in that color.  A small circle is fine for this project.  Touch the surface of the water 3 times with each ink color.

Place the brushes back onto the bottles.  Using the tip of the black lid, slowly, gently draw a small figure “8” in the water.  The ink will swirl and marble on top of the water.

Quickly grab your textured cardstock shape and lay it, textured side down, on the surface of the water, plunging it to the bottom with your finger.  As soon as it’s submerged, grab it carefully by the edges and remove it from the water.

Lay it ink side up on a paper towel.  Let it dry naturally.  If you aren’t satisfied with the finished product, the paper can be re-dunked after it dries.  But remember, this project has no “correct” outcome.  Everyone’s creation will be different and all are equally beautiful.

Use your shapes to decorate cards, gift bags or other projects.  Use glitter glue, stamps and inks to decorate your marbled paper shapes and tags.

2-Decorate a Mini Album


Mini Scrapbook Album with Chipboard Cover – I use small 3” x 2” albums, bound with metal binding on the side.  You can use any album with a chipboard cover for this project.

Cardstock and Patterned Scrapbook Paper – Small pieces and scraps work great for this project.

Adhesive – Glue stick, glue runner or other scrapbook adhesive.  Glue Dots work well for applying embellishments.

Small Embellishments – Rhinestones, brads, buttons, paper flowers and more.  If you aren’t a scrapbooker with extras of these items lying around, the bulk embellishment section at your local scrapbook store is the perfect place to find an assortment of them.


This project is a great way to teach your child to use new papercrafting tools.  Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these tools.  Your child can create a beautiful album with just a pair of regular scissors.  These are suggestions of tools you might want to share with your children or get to know better yourself.  Remember to use your judgment when it comes to crafting safely with your kids.  Watch them and guide them with new or sharp tools.  This project can be modified to include tools you feel are age-appropriate for your kids.

Some tools to try:

Scrapbook paper cutters

Scissors – Regular and shaped

Punches – any shape will do

Sanding Tools – Special sanding tools are available for crafters or just use a piece of sandpaper from your work bench.  Sanding away from you around the edges of your cover will create a nice smooth edge even if the paper wasn’t originally cut to the exact size of your cover.


Use the cover of the mini album as your canvas.  Cover all or part of it with patterned paper or cardstock.

Tear, cut or punch out shapes from coordinating papers to decorate the cover.

If you have sanding tools or sand paper, sand the edges of the cover for a smooth look.

Use a bunch of those bulk embellishments to finish your cover and give it a little sparkle.

Let your kids use their imaginations on these covers.  If you’ve got ink & stamps, set them out along with the other supplies for even more variety.

Have your kids decide how they will use their mini album.  Some may want to draw pictures on the pages.  Others may want to use it as a journal or photo album for a trip this summer.  The journals can also be used as fun gifts for Grandma and Grandpa or other relatives.

3-Creative photo frame


Chipboard or Wood Photo Frame – There are several sources for these frames including your local scrapbook store, framing shop or local crafting center.

Modge Podge – Use regular matte and/or glitter Modge Podge.  It acts as the adhesive and top coat for this project.

Patterned Scrapbook Papers – Find a group of coordinating papers that will look nice where you plan to display your frame, whether that place is your living room or your child’s bedroom.

Embellishments – Choose a few embellishments that coordinate with your patterned papers, die cuts, buttons, rhinestones, 3D stickers, etc.

Adhesive – If your 3D embellishments (buttons, rhinestones, stickers, etc.) are not self adhesive, Glue Dots will be helpful to adhere these items in the final step.

Acrylic Paint – Use a color that coordinates with your papers and embellishments.


Foam Brushes – for applying paint and Modge Podge

Paper Plates – I use paper plates all the time for many different projects.  Use them here as palettes for your paint and Modge Podge.

Wax Paper – Use it to create a space for your frame while using paint and Modge Podge.  You will be able to easily remove your project even if the paint sticks a bit to the paper and no newsprint will be lifted onto your project.

Scissors and Punches


Just a quick note before I get on with the instructions for your frame.  My daughter and I created these frames for her 9th birthday party.  All the children had a great time making them after I had completed the first two steps for them.  If you’re only making one frame and not ten, like I did, go ahead and let older children complete all the steps themselves.  Allow an afternoon to create this project, as the paint and Modge Podge will require time to dry in between each step.

Start out by opening your frame up (removing any backing and/or glass) and placing it face down on the reverse side of a piece of patterned paper large enough cover it.  This paper will be the background for all your embellishments, so be sure it’s a pattern you love.  Use a pen to trace around the outside and inside of the frame.  Next, use scissors to cut about ½” inside each of your marks.  The end result will be a doughnut sort of shape. Cutting inside will create a shape slightly smaller than your frame.  In the next step, you’ll be painting the frame and you will want to see some of your paint around the edges of your paper.

Using a paper plate as your palette, apply the acrylic paint to your frame with the foam brush.  Paint around the edges and center and then onto the face of the frame about 1” all around.   Take the background paper you cut in the last step and hold it over the painted surface, just to be sure you don’t have any unpainted part of the frame showing through.

Allow the paint about an hour to dry.

Once the paint is dry, use a second paper plate as a palette for your Modge Podge.  You can use either matte or glitter Modge Podge for this step.  But if you have both varieties, use the matte, since most of it will be covered by your paper.  Since it’s slightly more expensive, you can save the glitter variety to use as the top coat for the project.  Paint the Modge Podge onto the face of the frame.  Gently place the background paper onto the Modge Podge.  Try to place the paper as close as you can to where you want it.  You can move the paper around to center it, but do it quickly.  The paper will soak up the Modge Podge as soon as it’s placed and will tear easily after that, so be careful.  Once the paper is centered, use your fingers to gently smooth out any bubbles on its surface.

Allow about an hour for the project to dry.

Before adhering the flat embellishments in this step, it’s best to choose the ones you plan to use and then place them on the dry surface of the frame.  Arrange them how you like, being sure to allow some of the background design to show through. These embellishments can be placed entirely on the surface of your frame or allowed to extend past the surface of the frame.  In this step, use only flat, one-dimensional embellishments.  Save your buttons, rhinestones, 3D stickers, etc. for the final step.  The embellishments added in this step will be covered over with Modge Podge.  Take your arranged embellishments and lay them down around the outside of your frame, near where you will place them.  Paint Modge Podge over the area where you will place an embellishment, being sure to paint a space slightly larger than your embellishment.  Place the embellishment into the Modge Podge.  Repeat, painting the Modge Podge and placing the embellishment for each embellishment you have left to decorate the frame’s surface.

You do not need to wait or allow drying time before moving on to the next step.

Once your flat embellishments are placed in the Modge Podge, put a top coat of Modge Podge over the entire surface and edges of your frame.  Now is the time to use the glitter Modge Podge, if you have it, and were using matte to apply your paper and embellishments.  After you have covered the edges and surface of your frame with Modge Podge, run your brush through the Modge Podge, one last time, in one direction.  This step will create a smooth surface for your frame, removing any random streaking from your top coat.

Allow at least an hour for this surface to dry.

After your project is completely dry, apply your 3D embellishments, either with their own self adhesive backing or with Glue Dots.  Placing these items on top of your last coat of Modge Podge will give your frame and extra, fun layer.

Fill your frame with a fun photo and display it where you will enjoy it most!

(For photos of this project, check my blog, Julie Chats , later this week.)

A Few Last Notes

As far as the sources for the supplies used in these projects, I always look to my local scrapbook store first when I’m looking for craft supplies.  If you usually shop at a big box craft store, you’ll be surprised at the variety of products and personal service you’ll find when shopping at a small local business.  Most of the staff of these shops have children or grandchildren and will offer lot’s of advice on crafting with your kids and even help you learn more about different crafting techniques you can share with your kids.  Also, be sure to ask about craft classes for kids.  If you’re nervous or wonder how to get started crafting with your kids, these classes will allow you to craft with your child, with help from an experienced instructor.

Whatever types of crafts you try with your kids, remember that there is no “wrong” way to craft.  Give the kids free reign of the crafting supplies (always keeping safety in mind, of course).  I’m sure you’ll be surprised at their natural creativity.  I’m always amazed at the wonderful creations that come from the imagination of my nine year old daughter.

Don’t forget to tell your kids how great you think their creations are, even if they might not seem like “art” to you!  And be sure to shoot a few photos of them while they work on their projects and one of them with their creation after it’s complete!  These photos will make great scrapbook layouts and will live long after those prized creations have made their way to the recycle bin.

Happy Crafting!

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