Posts Tagged ‘MOPS creative activity ideas’

A Father’s day gift that pre-schoolers can craft!  It takes some prep work, but once that’s done, you can let the little ones loose with fabric markers and some supervision and they can make a pretty nice looking father’s day gift by themselves.  Even better, the gift keeps on giving, as they can interact with dad and play “with” him (even if he’s tired!) later.

I ran across the awesome idea for a back rub shirt over at The Blue Basket (via pinterest).  She painted hers with fabric paint, and there’s a print-able template you can use if you really don’t think you can handle drawing something yourself.  (The template would need to be simplified a bit for my version.)  Other’s have printed iron on print-ables, used puff paint for outlines and filled in, or used fabric markers.  Check down through the comments for ideas and to see what others have done.

I wanted to be able to do a craft with the kids in children’s church (age 3-5) this Sunday for Father’s day and thought this would be great!  Except I like to do crafts that need minimal adult “do it for me” time, and this is a bit above pre-school abilities.  So I decided to finally try Freezer Paper Stenciling.  It’s been on my list of things to try for WAY too long.  There’s plenty of tutorials/ info available about freezer paper stenciling around if you need to know more than the beginners info I give below.

I did a trial shirt with my girls (twins approaching 4 and little sister 2 1/2).  It turned out impressively well (although it looks a little scary while they’re coloring) and they really were pretty self sufficient once I got them on task.  I prepped and applied the stencil and traced around the edges with a black fabric marker.  Then I let them loose with the markers (all colors but black to keep the edges distinct) and tried to keep them from drawing over the edge of the paper too much.  I encouraged them to select some roughly appropriate colors, but it was really up to them.  Some places it’s helpful to assist in holding the shirt/stencil for them to color easier.  They needed a little help to finish the roads- I think they were tiring of the experiment by then.  And this is how the first shirt turned out.  Not quite as cute as The Blue Basket’s, but cute enough!

With that success, I picked up a 6-pack of men’s undershirts and cut some more freezer paper to length.  Just put it on the back of your shirt to size it.

For multiple stencils, here’s what I did: Sketch one to make your “map”.  Remember that it’s a stencil, so nothing complicated.  Shade in the area you want to cut out, especially if you’re concerned you might cut the wrong parts.

Attach all your papers together with several paperclips around the outside edge (i only had to do 4 shirts.  If you’re making more than 5, I’d suggest doing them in batches of no more than 5, unless you’re really good at cutting through lots of layers of paper).


Make sure you have a cutting board or other surface that doesn’t matter if it’s cut underneath your paper, and get out the Xacto knife or utility knife or scissors- any and all will work.  I cut my sample out with scissors, but for multiples, the cutting board and knife/knives make it a lot quicker.  Cut out the small details first for multiples using the Xacto knife.

Then get the bigger details (buildings) with the utility knife.

Then just make a starting slit on your road and you can cut out the roads with scissors (quicker).  Cut out the center islands from the road before cutting the road away from the frame (or plan to line things back up and cut the road of the island).  Number your islands if you think you’ll have trouble remembering where they went.


Move on to ironing on your stencil.  Make sure the back of the shirt is wrinkle free.  Make sure your freezer paper is shiny side DOWN- the shiny is what bonds to the shirt.  Then set on the stencil, place your islands, and start adhering it to the shirt.


It’s a forgiving process- if you get a wrinkle or place the stencil incorrectly, you CAN lift it and re-iron.

Once stencils are in place, trace around the edges.


To color, insert a chunk of cardboard inside the shirt to prevent bleed-through and stiffen the surface.  You can expand the edge of the stencil and increase the protected area with additional freezer paper or tape (masking/painters).   If you don’t, you may end up with overflow from your stencil, like this:


Your artists may end up with colored hands from ink rubbing off of the paper and/or the shirt.

Remove the stencil when they’ve finished coloring and admire!  Fill in any details if needed- I had to draw swing ropes on to connect to the seats and barn doors.

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I’m only doing one set of these for my Busy bag project since it should be something that can be an all-play.

The idea I saw here at My Magic Mom.  She drew on hers.  I could draw on mine (with some mistakes, I’m sure) but if it’s got possibilities of a MOPS craft, I have to look different directions.

My blocks are 3/4″ cubes from scrap wood- thank you my wonderful carpenter husband!  If you don’t have one of those, you could also cut a square wooden dowel into cubes or buy the pre-cut ones at Michaels or another craft store or online.  My backup plan was to use the little square tiles at the hardware store/Home Depot/wherever and do 2 sided tiles, but I like the cubes better.  Another cute way to do it I’ve seen is story stones, seen over at Red Bird Crafts.

I used free clip art images from free clipart pictures and Arthur’s clip art  and a few objects are the odd texts on my computer sized to a 48 or larger font and the color changed.  I’m sure there’s other free clip art available if you search.  I had trouble finding much that didn’t require signups or yearly membership fees when I searched under images.  You might have better luck just searching for “royalty free clip art” in general, rather than in images.

I finally gave up getting pictures at 80.  I also wanted to put our family’s names on some of the blocks.  I made a total of 14 blocks and only had one of my images that I didn’t use.  If we use this for MOPS I’m figuring on 10 blocks and they can pick and choose their choice of images and if they want to do names.  I’m not sure of the details yet- our steering team is tomorrow and I should finalize some details then.  Here’s what 10 look like instead of 14.

I copied and pasted pictures onto a word/pages document and shrunk each image so it was only about 1/2″ at it’s largest dimension.  They easily all fit on a single page to print.  If we do this project for MOPS I’ll either make color copies or have them printed off at the church- 1 copy for each lady.

Cut out all those little squares.  You could do stickers, stamps, or drawing to get your images onto the blocks.  I glued on my little squares then did Mod-Podge over top.  It was the easiest way for me to find images I liked without buying a gazillion packs of stickers.  I have seen where you can get your images and print them on adhesive paper in a craft over here at Creative Holiday Gift Ideas.  I may still go for that with MOPS- yet to be determined.  I’d just have to print the images I found onto the sticker paper, I think.  Either way, it will get a coat of Mod-Podge for a clear, durable coating, and so the kids can’t peel off the stickers, since I know mine will otherwise.  There are other sealers you could use, too.  I did 3 sides  of the block at a time and set each aside as I completed it.  By the time I got through 10 blocks this way, the first ones were getting dry and easy to handle again, so the other 3 sides were done then.  You may need to do a brief wait for things to dry, or get out the hair dryer to help them dry more quickly if needed.

I did one coat of Mod-Podge.  Another coat might make them look nicer, but they’re fine as is.  I’m thinking for MOPS to make the bags first, then do blocks, and send a small container (like the cheap 10 for a dollar at the dollar store) of the Mod-Podge home with everyone if they want to do more.  We’ll need little containers to put it in for everyone to use for this project anyhow, so they might as well go into a container they can take home.

Now for the bags.  I like a sewn bag, but I sew so that’s not intimidating to me.  For those who don’t get along with sewing machines, this is a bag for you.  Just a simple circle cut from T-shirt fabric (I have LOTS of scraps from this and other projects)  Fleece would also be ideal- either are fine since the edges won’t fray.  I traced a circle a bit bigger than a saucer and cut out.  Little snips near the edge give easy holes to thread a safety pin on the end of some ribbon through the holes for an easy drawstring bag.  It will lay flat when it’s opened (unless your ribbon is too short- spread it all out before you cut if you’re not sure!).  So it can also be the place where you roll your story dice.


So what do you do with them?  Roll the dice and use what images come up to make up a story.

ETA:  We did these for our MOPS creative activity for January.  There’s a few more details on my MOPS 2011-2012 Creative activities page.  I used mailing labels to print on for a cost effective way to speed up the process a bit.

I also just ran across 2 more ways to do these over at Stitch-Craft.  One way is a package tape transfer (warning- this way would take even longer than cut out from paper and glue on like I did above) and the other way is with temporary tattoo paper (although it’s much more expensive- she found it at Michaels for $10 a sheet, less with a coupon).

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So, since I’m just starting this and still figuring things out, I’ve changed my last post about MOPS creative activities into it’s own page.  I’ve also started a cloth diapering page.  I plan to be adding to my MOPS and Cloth diapering info, but don’t want them to get lost.  So they are now in their own pages, with sub-pages- so it shouldn’t be an overwhelming amount of info that you have to scroll down forever.   I’ll plan to just make short post to update if I’ve added info to other pages.

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