Crafts!, Inspiration

DIY Birthday Gifts

Here is a glimpse back a little over a year ago at some fun DIY birthday gifts for my little girl.

For my daughter’s 3rd birthday, I wanted to keep it simple and home-made. I’m pretty sure that this will be the last ‘low-key’ birthday as she is already making plans for 2013!

I decided that she needed a puppet theater and after my Pinterest and Google searches turned up nothing that inspired me, I designed my own experiment. I finally found a use for those tri-fold science boards. For under $10 at Michaels, I got everything I needed: Science board (about $2.50 with coupon), 6+ bottles of acrylic craft paint, foam brushes and some decorative paper. I choose a pink/garden look but I did contemplate a barn which would be cute in red with some animals on the outside. I painted the ‘brown’ side of the board so the inside would be clean and white and the unit would stand in the correct direction.

puppet theater - paint. careful not to saturate

The true key to painting cardboard is NOT to oversaturate it. This will cause it to warp severely. It took me 2 tries because my original green paint was too wet. (so the price went up since I had to buy another board)

puppet theater - it can warp if over saturated

I happened to have the cut-out flowers left over from a recent birthday gift from my sister. There were plenty, so I had a lovely garden! She cut them out on a cricut and having these on hand probably saved me 2 hours of cutting them myself.

flowers - a lot of flowers from one of my birthdays

After the paint dried (overnight) I glued them on with craft glue.

puppet theater - re purposed flowers

You can create various openings. I wanted mine to look like windows, so I trimmed them in white scrapbook paper. Use a VERY sharp #11 exacto knife for this task.

puppet theater - add some decorative elements

My last homemade gift was a pillow bed inspired by Southern Disposition. This was too cute! I did find the .99 pillows at IKEA, and the Duvet was $15 or $20, I can’t remember…It was fun to sew and not be too concerned about measuring, etc. She loved it! She’s sleeping on it tonight and it gets a lot of use for naps. The .99 pillows are not exactly something that I want to sleep on, but 3-year-olds are pretty resilient.

puppet theater - ikea puppets

$10 worth of IKEA finger puppets topped off the gift and find their home in a cardboard ‘American Girl’ craft box. All of it stores away very compactly and it was so fun to make!

We linked up this project from The Girl Inspired blog so if you are visiting from there, welcome! If you want to check out their amazing link party, click on the image below.


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9 thoughts on “DIY Birthday Gifts

  1. I just love the creativity on this page. Makes me smarter just reading it. I know I don’t have the cartridge to make those flowers like that unless that is just two sizes of one cut out overlapped with some foam in between and then bent up a little bit?

    I know they started making 3D ones more recently. Either way, LOVE!

    1. Thanks Heather! I was lucky I got to re-purpose the flowers, my sister did all the work. They are two different sizes. You could improvise with one size. Just use a pencil or skewer to curl the ends for the dimensional effect. Double sided foam tape in the middle. 🙂

    1. I did! I used tempura paint the first time and it was really wet. It warped the cardboard. The acrylic paint dries faster. It’s better to do more layers with a dry brush and take your time.

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