Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DIY Painted Wooden Alphabet Magnet Set

This is one of those projects that was way simpler in my head. Painting projects always are!  I set out thinking it'll be simple but then I'm faced with tiny crevices, edges, dry time, UGH! And yet I continue to pick painting projects.  I guess I like the struggle, on some level. 

I intended for Rhys to make these magnets, but since I really wanted them to look finished I used my toddler-proofing trick of pre-painting all the pieces a solid color. That way, Rhys was able to decorate them all and the end magnets were still fully coated in paint, with no bare wooden bits showing through.  Toddler happy, OCD mama happy. Everyone won.

The setup process took DAYS, you guys. No exaggeration. I bought a bag of wooden letters ($3.99) and a zillion paints at Michael's, took them home and let Toddles pick four colors.  Then I pre-painted each letter, including the edges, with two coats of paint, which took about 90 minutes. 

Once the initial paint was dry, I used sticky back magnetic tape ($1 for a roll at Michael's), three small pieces per letter to make the letters magnetic. The sticky back tape wasn't adhering very well, though, so I did go back over and re-glue each magnetic piece with hot glue.  26 letters x 3 magnet pieces per letter  = 78 opportunities to burn my fingers.  The whole magnet cutting/gluing process took about another hour.

FINALLY, it was time for the fun part. I set Rhys loose with the pre-painted wooden magnets and more paints and brushes.  I expected him to make designs or "scribbles" on the letters, but he surprised me by wanting to fully coat each letter with paint.  My pre-painting was maybe not so necessary in retrospect, but I still really like how the letters looked with one color on the face and a different color on the edges.  The toddler painting typhoon took about 20 minutes, with a little help from mama.

I sprayed clear coat over  the dry magnets, let that dry overnight, and, at long last, here are our finished magnets:

I think they came out super cute. SUPER cute. It was a long process, spanning almost 3 hours over several days, but it was a VERY inexpensive project ($5 for materials, a few bucks more if you don't already have paint, brushes, clear spray paint and hot glue).  As to whether I'd do this again, I fully intend to make a few sets as holiday gifts.  I'll probably complain the whole time but I'll make them and I know my kid will be proud to give them!

Friday, June 7, 2013

More Supercrafts for SuperRhys

Now that he has his cape all sorted, I figured Rhys could use some superhero masks as well.  He REALLY likes Spiderman and Batman, so I decided to make those two to start.  There are a plethora of toddler mask patterns out there in internet-land, but I started with this one.  I cut out the patterns on paper first and I'm glad I did, because they were actually pretty small on Rhys so I was able to freehand cut out larger masks using these patterns as a guide. 

I had hoped to make these out of existing stash materials and I didn't have quite enough red felt to do both sides of the Spiderman mask. In fiddling around with my stash though, I realized that I actually preferred to make these reversible so that Rhys can choose a color when he wears them.  So Batman wound up being black on one side and yellow on the other and Spiderman became red on the outside, blue on the inside. I still used the "traditional" colors for each superhero, but I like how the reversible aspect gives Rhys options. 

Sewing tiny objects with curves isn't a strong suit of mine, so I wanted to "idiotproof" these before I started sewing.  I didn't feel capable of keeping the two pieces of each mask perfectly aligned while sewing over all those little bends and twists, so I decided to iron in a layer of Wonder Under between the two halves before sewing. This worked out really well! I used pins to hold the elastic in place, but the rest of each mask I was able to leave unpinned. 

Also, to avoid having to sew a bunch of curves, I spidey-fied the Spiderman mask with black fabric paint, rather than machine sewn web lines.  I think it worked out pretty well!

I love when projects like this one come together and I'm able to make them entirely from stash materials.  These were fun to make and took only about half an hour each.  I think I'll be making more as Rhys' superhero interests expand. I might even try to design Rhys his own mask, to match his cape.