I've been remiss lately with the Five Dollar Decor posts, I admit. You'd be surprised how tough it can be to come up with ideas when there's nothing that I find immediately inspiring.
I still wasn't terribly inspired when I chose this theme, but I got more and more excited as I went, and now I'm really sad that it hasn't got any applicability for Mr. Scrimp and I at this time.
We don't have kids of our own yet, but I started working in childcare around the same time I started high school and have been doing it ever since. Babysitting, nannying, teaching preschool--you name it, I've done it. If I ever teach preschool again, I'll use these ideas in my classroom. If not, I'll use them when Mr. Scrimp and I manage to successfully make a Tiny Scrimp. Scrimpette? Mini-Scrimp? Well, the point is, someday we'll have one, and I will be ready.
1. Colored Streamers
Crepe paper streamers are such ephemeral things. You tape them up and soon they're falling down, tearing, and giving everything an air of dilapidation instead of decoration.
But with a couple of rolls of streamers and a sewing machine, you can make something much sturdier, that lasts longer, and add quick and easy color to a bedroom or playroom. I want an excuse to decorate with these in my room. Hmm, maybe when I finish getting the guest room set up..
From My Paper Crane via Dollar Store Crafts
2. Dinosaur Hamper
I love this modified hamper from Smile and Wave. At one point, it was a kitschy potato box. Now? A Clothesasaur!
With a few coats of paint and any hinged box or hamper, you, too, can move a perpetually hungry dirty-clothes-eating dinosaur into your child's room.
You can see more photos and get DIY instructions here.
3. Permanent Puppet Theater
When I was growing up, my best friend had a fairly ancient puppet theater and box of even more ancient hand puppets. We would take it out and unfold it and set it up and put on puppet shows for her cat, or her mom, or each other.
I am in love with this puppet theater how-to at infarrantly creative. All it takes is some chalkboard paint (or regular paint, if you don't care about making the front of it into a chalkboard), a small bookshelf or hutch (she found hers on the side of the road!) and a little fabric for curtains. If you're a dedicated crafter and/or have been doing a lot of the projects from past Five Dollar Decor weeks, you probably will have most of the materials on hand.
4. Wall Art
I know a lot of people with kids, and I don't know anybody who is any good at throwing away their child's artwork. My mom still has boxes of drawings that my brothers and I made over 20 years go.
Over time, though, those really pile up. What are you saving them for? Ok, in 20 years you might take them out and look over them and shed a nostalgic tear, it's true. In the meantime, though, why not pick your favorites, scan them into your computer (if you don't have a scanner, a lot of Wal-Mart type stores have scanners that you can use for a few cents a picture), resize them into a collage, and either print them on your home printer or have them printed in a larger format?
It's a win-win. You get to display all those precocious portraits, and archive them for posterity, while creating a unique piece of art for your child's bedroom.
You can see the full how-to here at How Does She (via OhDeeDoh)
5. DIY Road Rug
I had brothers, so when I was little, I was just as likely to be found playing with cars as with anything else. I was also very into trains, horses, playmobil, and lego, and so naturally I thought road rugs--those nifty area rugs with a road and neighborhood printed on them--were awesome.
Well, you can buy a road rug, of course. But prices for a new one run around $30 and just go up from there... and what fun is that when you could make one?
There are a couple of ways to go about this. For instance, I found a really cute pattern for a crocheted race track rug at Made By Cynthia.
My brother was hoping to get a road rug for my nephew for Christmas. If he wasn't able to get his hands on one, I think I'm going to try my own idea, which is to buy a $5 canvas drop cloth at Lowe's or Home Depot and just paint it myself. The great thing about that is that you don't end up with the generic rug--you can make one that reflects your neighborhood (with appropriate local labels and place names!), your favorite vacation spot, or your child's favorite imaginary landscape. An urban scene might not be very inspiring to a six-year-old who is really into knights and dragons, but I bet a whimsical castle surrounded by fields, forests, and cobblestone pathways would be.
Painting a canvas road rug would also make a great weekend, spring break, or summer project to do with your child.
If you prefer sewing to painting, you can also make your own out of felt, like this one by Them Crazy Davises:
Bonus: I cannot refrain from mentioning this adorable heart-shaped rug from Ikea. It is super girly, and just $3.99! The only problem with it is that you have to actually live near an Ikea to get one. If you could buy it online, there would already be one in a box on its way to my niece.