So this past week, Thing One came home from school with an assignment. Upcycle something old into something new. They’ve been reading a book at school about a girl who builds a robot out of the things her family plans to throw away. Our task, if we chose to accept it, was to find things in our house that would otherwise get thrown away and turn them into something new.
Now, there were three problems with this scenario.
1) We’d just had a huge bonfire and burned all our leftover cardboard from Christmas.
2) We only had one free night to work on the project.
3) Pinterest decided to temporarily remove the search bar from their site. (Made worse by the fact that even when I tried to manually write up a URL that would search, it malfunctioned after the second attempt.)
That meant we had to do things the old fashioned way. With our imagination. (Oh the horror!)
So yesterday, I sent Thing One off to school with the promise that I’d come up with a few options for her by the time she got home. Then I mentally started to think of what we might have lying around the house that we could turn into something new.
My first thought was the good old “melt down crayons into new shapes” option that’s so popular on the web right now. The problem was we didn’t have any silicon ice cube molds to work from. That meant using individual mini silicone pans from our bento sets, which sounded kind of messy.
My second thought was to let her go ahead and build something from the small amount of cardboard boxes we do have left…but transporting it to and from school without it breaking seemed like a bigger challenge than it was worth. (Plus, let’s be honest…we’d then have a big old cardboard robot being added to the mix of things for a child who won’t throw out so much as a single paper that comes home from school.)
The next thought that popped into my mind was her absolute love of all things small and cute. (She gets that from me.) That led to wondering what type of pocket size recycling options we could come up with. I knew we had a nearly empty Altoid tin sitting around somewhere and she loves magnets. That led me to our box of leftover wedding stuff where I found some of those small glass beads people use in floral arrangements. I had a box of 1/2″ round magnets in with my crafts and plenty of scrapbooking paper, so I thought we could put together a pocket sized Tic Tac Toe game.
She came home, I gave her her options and Tic Tac Toe it was. (She adore Tic Tac Toe…so the chance to have a portable version for the car and the bus wasn’t lost on her.)
This was a very simple project. I had to promise Mr. W I wouldn’t “Jen it” on the label, so please know how much it kills me that this is just a plain old text based print out…but we WERE operating on a time limit and it was her project not mine.
Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- 1 empty Altoid tin, washed and dried
- 10 small glass flat bottomed pebbles
- 10 small magnets
- Crazy glue (We used Elmers, but I’m not confident it will hold up long term)
- 2 sheets of patterned scrapbooking paper
- 1 exacto knife
- Scissors or a paper cutter
- Corner rounder (optional)
I sent Thing One to go wash and dry the Altoid Tin while I gathered up all our supplies. When she returned, we took a few moments to go through some scrapbooking papers to find two different patterns she liked. I suppose we could have just as easily printed out some X’s and O’s on standard paper, but she’s a girl and patterns are more fun.
I measured out a 2″ wide strip of each pattern of paper and she used my paper cutter on them. Then I applied glue around the flower spots on the paper and she pressed the glass beads down onto them.
Once they were all lined up, we gave them about 10 minutes to dry. (The perfect time to take a break to do the reading assignment she brought home.)
While she finished up her homework, I used the exacto knife to slice around the bottom of each bead. They have rounded edges, so you’ve got to be able to angle the blade in a bit. Plus, she’s 7, which is not yet old enough for exacto knife fun.
Once they were all cut out, it was magnet time. Mr W. applied small drops of glue to the back of the beads and Thing One pressed the magnets down on top of them. It took only a few minutes to do the entire batch.
We then moved the beads to my desk to sit and dry while we set the table and had dinner.
After dinner, I sat down and whipped up a quick print out on the computer for the lid and the inside of the box. Again, I would have loved to have paper crafted the snot out of this thing…but it wasn’t my project. (Though it would make a fun favor for a game themed birthday party…so I’m filing away the idea for down the road)
Once I got them printed out, Thing One helped me cut them to size and then used my corner round punch to take care of the four corners. Then she and Mr. W applied glue to the backs and put them in place.
Younger ones will need a bit of help with this step to keep from making a mess, but she lined everything up quite well and gently smoothed it into place while Mr. W wiped up the drips.
From there, we tested the magnets and found they weren’t quite as dry as they needed to be. Thing One agreed it was best to let them dry overnight. When she got up this morning, we flipped the magnets over and gave them a test run. They store perfectly in the box and can be moved to the lid for a good game of Tic Tac Toe.
Easy, portable, and made almost entirely of things we would have thrown away anyways.