Funny thing is, although the name of this craft is a mouthful, it really couldn’t be easier.

A while back I demonstrated one of my favorite t-shirt designing techniques using sandpaper and regular old crayons.  Here’s the whole trick: you draw on sandpaper with crayons, and then you iron the sandpaper onto a shirt.  Your image transfers, and it turns out looking super cool because the sandpaper gives it a kind of pebbly texture.  Believe it or not, regular crayons work great—although well-pigmented ones, like Crayolas, work best—and the shirts wash (in cold water) fine and keep their color well.

So, all you need for this craft is:

  • coarse grain sandpaper (I usually use 60 grit)
  • crayons
  • a t-shirt
  • an iron
  • a rag
  • a piece of cardboard

Give your little one a piece of sandpaper and some crayons, and let him or her get to it!  They can draw whatever they want.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Darker color crayons work better.  For the pumpkin, for example, I recommend Sunset Orange or Scarlet, instead of regular Orange or a lighter orange.
  • Stay away from text.  If you are thinking of doing text, make sure it’s done mirror image.  For an adult this is more easily accomplished than for a kid, so I usually just avoid text.
  • Do keep in mind, though, that your design will come out on your shirt as a mirror image, in case you have anything special in your drawing that needs a particular orientation.
  • Press relatively hard and go over your lines and shading.  You want to actually leave bits of the crayon on the sandpaper, which will in turn melt into the shirt.  Don’t be afraid to really work some crayon into the grain.
  • Brush off the blank spots.  You’ll inevitably end up with some stray pieces of crayon that have jumped to other parts of the sandpaper.  If you don’t brush them off, you’ll end up with some little dots all around the shirt.  Not a huge problem, but you might not want excess marks on your shirt.
  • Keep in mind that you may use up a half a crayon drawing on the sandpaper; you will almost certainly need to peel it, and you may even get halfway down.

When the design is finished, it’ll look like this:

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a sweet little face like this to boot.

To iron the design on, you’ll need to put a piece of cardboard in between the layers of shirt, so that your image doesn’t transfer all the way through.  Place the sandpaper crayon-side down on your t-shirt.  Then, put a rag over the sandpaper to iron—otherwise the grit can come through the back of the paper and scratch your iron, so you want something there protecting it.  Iron on high heat for about 30 seconds or so; you can check the image carefully by peeling up the sandpaper.  If it hasn’t transferred enough, simply replace it and iron some more.

When you’re done, peel the paper off and your t-shirt is ready!  You may want to wash it before wearing, since the texture of the sandpaper kind of embeds itself in the shirt until it’s washed.  (The 5 year old claimed it was “scratchy” until it got washed.)

He’s pensive, showing off his design.

Have you ever done crayon transfer t-shirts?  They’re super fun.  Try it out!

I’m linking up to some fun craft round ups!  Check out some fun stuff at Crazy Cute . Skip To My Lou and…

Somewhat Simple

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While out doing some fruitless shopping for a Martha project, I happened to come across this brilliant product:

Eraser clay!  An oven-bake clay, once you’ve baked it, it turns into an eraser.  I thought it was such a fantastic idea that I bought a set and the kids and I set to work making our own erasers.  (Well, the kids set to work making erasers, and I set to work taking photos of it.)

It’s super easy to work with; the clay is very moldable and simple for the kids to sculpt.  My only complaint would be the colors; I’d love to see some more primary colors.  We didn’t try mixing colors together, but the clay is soft enough that I think you could do that pretty easily.

The 8 year old decided he wanted to make a penguin.  He loves Club Penguin.

The 5 year old made a ninja, since he wants to be a ninja when he grows up.  You can see how the colors that come in this eraser clay pack aren’t really that conducive to penguins or ninjas.

You bake them for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick your erasers are.  The package gives pretty thorough instructions.

And when they are done, they actually erase!  It’s pretty amazing.

Once the 8 year old made a penguin, the 5 year old had to, also.

 

 

Frog and Penguin

Pretty neat.  And a good craft for boys, too.

You can get this clay at craft supply stores and on Amazon.  This is my first foray into Amazon Affiliates, peeps, so here’s a link for you if you are interested in checking it out.  Full disclosure, though; it is an affiliate link so I get twopence or something if you buy it.

You got any good kid crafts lately?

 

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If you’ve already exhausted all your good ideas to keep your kids busy this summer, then you might enjoy this little project.  It’s easy, fast, and could entertain them for at least twenty minutes.

Enjoy!  Bloopers to come soon.

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Our entire trip to Orlando this summer was based around visiting the new Harry Potter world at Universal Studios Florida’s Islands of Adventure park.  We exhausted that place, so I thought I’d give y’all some tips on navigating the park with kids.

First?  Don’t go in the summer.

Ok, now, I know that’s not reasonable, as most people will probably go during the summer.  But folks, have you BEEN to Orlando in the summer?  We were there in the middle of June, and the weather was absolute misery.  It was about 100º every day and humid as all get out.  You almost feel like you can’t breathe, and your body simply drips with sweat.  I wore a sundress the first two days, but at that point my shoulders were so fried—with layers and layers of sunscreen!—that I had to switch to shorts/skort and tshirt to cover my overexposed flesh.

At any rate, I did think you should know what you’re in for if you go in the hot months.  Many of you probably are used to summers in the south, or at least more humidity than we get here in L.A. (that is, practically none), so you are all probably playing your miniature finger violins for me right now.

You will find the Wizarding World at the Islands of Adventure park, which is just adjacent to the standard Universal Studios Florida park, along the City Walk area.  It’s all the way in the back of the park, so you’re in for a small hike to get there.

We tried several different approaches to beating the crowds, none of which was all that effective.  We went first thing in the morning, and, surprisingly (?), that was the busiest time of day.  We weren’t staying at a Universal-”approved” hotel, so we didn’t get early entrance.  By the time we got there, lines were already at least 60 minutes long.  So, I’d recommend either staying in a hotel that will get you early entrance (usually an hour early), or planning to do Harry Potter later in the day.  Lines seemed to get significantly shorter later in the day (in the afternoon), although that pattern wasn’t entirely consistent.

Your first stop, though, should probably be Ollivander’s Wand Shop.

You’ll notice a line outside the shop and some gatekeepers at the entrance.  (If you are a true fan, like my now-eight year old, you will also point out that Ollivander’s shop is actually in Daigon Alley, NOT in Hogsmeade, so shame on you, Universal.)  We waited nearly an hour to get in, but I must tell you it was worth it.  Once inside, you essentially experience what Harry does when he goes to the shop.  They take about 20 people at a time since the “shop” is very, very small.  It’s stacked floor to ceiling with boxes of wands, and Ollivander himself is waiting to help a few lucky kids choose a wand.  Thankfully, both our kids got chosen; we were lucky that they were really the only kids in our group, and we got in the front so they were chosen right away.  Ollivander performs a little scene with your kid(s), where he talks to them about their need for a wand, and then chooses a few specimens.  When your child performs a spell that Ollivander asks him to do, on the first two tries the spells go awry– I won’t spoil the magic for you, but it’s pretty amazing.  Finally, when the proper wands find the proper wizards or witches, all is right in the wand shop.  Here’s a brief preview of what happened to my boys at the end of the “show”; if you want to be entirely surprised by Ollivanders, feel free to skip this short video.  Also, sorry it’s so dark, but it’s DARK in that shop.

Ollivander then packages up your wands and hands them to his assistant, who will take them to a cashier in the next area for you, where you have the privilege of purchasing them for about thirty bucks a pop.  It’s expensive, but totally worth it in my opinion, since they are well-made and make the perfect souvenir.  If you haven’t been a participant in the drama in the wand shop, you can now choose your own wand from the gift shop, as well as tons of other stuff.  If you’re lucky, you can even get a glimpse of the Monster Book of Monsters:

It’s caged, so you’re safe, although the four year old was terrified of it.

Universal really got the details right with this section of the park.  Look at everything, because they’ve really included some fun minutiae.  Outside Ollivanders, the “gatekeeper” who lets people in keeps a record in a totally authentic Harry Potter-type journal:

I don’t know what’s being recorded here; maybe numbers of people entering the shop?  But it’s the kind of thing that adds to the atmosphere and makes it really special.

There are essentially three rides in this area: Dragon Challenge, which is a hard-core roller coaster that mimicks the first event in the Tri Wizard Tournament; Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is a combination of an indoor roller coaster and a simulated 3D ride (à la Star Tours) that takes you on a broomstick journey and whose line winds you through Hogwarts castle; and the Flight of the Hippogriff, which is a kiddie coaster that flies past Hagrid’s Hut and a hippogriff nest.  Here’s a breakdown of each:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

This ride was always the longest wait; I never saw the line shorter than 30 minutes.  It’s well worth riding, though, although if you get motion sickness you might want to think twice.  There are serious warnings posted where you wait:

Do you see this???  You have to remove your prosthetic limbs before riding?  Sheesh!  You should also be aware that you might find yourself:

They are not kidding around.

  • Dragon Challenge

Here you have a for reals coaster.  You have to be 54″ to ride; the seven-turning-eight year old was just tall enough to ride by about an inch or so.  The track used to belong to another coaster, I think, back in the day, which they re-fashioned into the dragon challenge.  What’s fun is that you get to choose which dragon you want to ride, the Hungarian Horntail (blue) or the Chinese Fireball (red).  There are two tracks here, and two cars run simultaneously and adjacent, so you can see your “competitors” on the other dragon as you ascend.  And then, at several key points, you think you are going to be flung headlong into the other car.  It’s pretty fun.  This is one of those rides where you hang below the track, and if you are wearing flip flops they will ask you to take them off and sit on them while you ride, for fear of you losing them.  It’s a wise choice, I think.  But it’s kind of funky to see all these barefoot people riding a roller coaster.  I was one of them.

  • Flight of the Hippogriff

An easier but fun little roller coaster that became the four year old’s favorite ride.  The last day, he rode it six times in a row.  You’ll see Hagrid’s Hut:

And his hippogriff, Buckbeak:

Besides these three rides, you’ll really want to spend some time soaking in the atmosphere.  When you first arrive, you’ll enter Hogsmeade,

where you’ll please respect the spell limits, and you’ll get a chance to meet the conductor of the Hogwarts Express.

A few other things you cannot miss:

  • BUTTERBEER. Oh good grief, it is so delicious.  There are two types, “cold” and “frozen.”  I am very, very partial to frozen, but cold is quite good, too.  It’s hard to describe, but I’d say butterscotch-flavored cream soda with butterscotch cream on top.  There are two carts in Hogsmeade that sell the Butterbeer, but you can also get it if you eat at the Three Broomsticks, which I don’t really recommend.  Pretty standard fare nasty theme park food.

  • Honeydukes

Yes, yes, the candy and sweets store!  You can get Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Botts’ Every Flavored Beans, Fizzing Whizzbees, Cauldron Cakes, Peppermint Toads, Liquorice Wands and a ton of other magical treats.  It’s fun.

  • The Tri Wizard Tournament Spirit Rally

Just outside the gates to Hogwarts castle, several shows take place regularly.  The best one, I think, is the Tri Wizard Spirit Rally.  A few Durmstrangs and a few Beaux Batons show up to do a little show in honor of the tournament.  It’s really worth watching; it only lasts about ten minutes.  Afterwards, you get can a photo with the group:

  • Hogwarts Frog Choir

Well, yes.  Not quite as fun as the spirit rally, but here you have a quartet of Hogwarts students singing with their—frogs.  Really, I could’ve done without the frogs since they don’t add much, but the singing is pretty good.  Here’s a sample:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNMhorrExjo[/youtube]

They sing regular songs, too, but I thought you’d appreciate the homage to John Williams’ masterpiece.

The main thing you can probably skip is the Three Broomsticks restaurant.  It’s worth taking a look inside…

but really, the food is pretty unimpressive.

It really is a fantastic time.  We spent three days there; not all the time in the Harry Potter section, but we visited it every day.  If you are fans of the book, you will, like me, probably want to live there.

You can do that, right?

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