This past weekend we went to my niece’s fifth birthday party! Truthfully, I am not a huge fan of gifts at birthdays or the holidays (I prefer to give gifts when I find something special, not because it is an unwritten social expectation that we bring gifts to parties). My feelings are that we are so blessed already, we don’t need more plastic junk toys in our homes, and maybe some of you have seen this next reason firsthand – when you watch a child have so many presents to open, they get this kind of crazy, eyes glazed over look and are on gift overload and the joy stops being about what the gift actually is and more about rushing through the explosion of gift wrap. So when we do give gifts around here, we try to be extra thoughtful about the gift, and who it is for, what they love. I would hate to think that a not-well-thought-out gift may instead end up in a giveaway pile sooner than later or worse yet, the landfill. Yuck.
Anyway, back to the birthday girl! My niece Cecelia loves to color and do art projects so we (me with my kids when they were interested in helping) decided to make a special personalized travel-sized arts & crafts binder for her to call her own.
This was a super simple project and I’ll break it down for you. I thought this would make a great little binder to use in the car, or to put in a child sized backpack, or just to use around the house.
1. Mini kraftboard three ring binder – this one is from Guided Products. You can’t really tell the size well here but it’s about 6″ x 9″. I got them when they were on sale for $5.59 (you have to buy them in minimum sets of six binders, but I use these and the regular sized kraft board binders to keep my photography business organized, so I had this one already).
2. Paper. This scrapbook paper I added was part of my paper collection. The ones I picked out I have likely had for at least 8 years. I decided I wouldn’t buy any more paper until I dwindle down my current stock. I’m trying! If you don’t have any scrapbook paper on hand, you can easily use white printer paper or print out free coloring pages. You could even cut up brown paper bags to size. I just cut down my paper to fit and hole punched them once they were cut. The extra pieces I didn’t use I stuck in the pocket I created so she can cut them up and use the scraps for art projects. Cost: $0.00.
3. Add crafting supplies. I added the following:
…single hole puncher: $2.19 (so Cece’s mom can add more things to the binder anytime)
…sheet protectors (I don’t have a picture of it but I have a clear sheet protector behind the paper for holding a bunch of stickers): $6.25 but I only used 1 of the 15 in the pack (and I’ll use the rest in my office). So $0.42.
…kid scissors: $1.89 but it had two in the pack and I kept one for my kids, so $0.95.
…striped pencils: $2.99 (I was planning to buy a cheaper set but these were so cute and they swirl the colors as you draw)
…pencil bag: $0.99
4. I added a simple pocket to the back inside flap using some leftover paper and wash tape I have already. It’s not a very sturdy pocket but it should be ok for holding a few things. And for heavier things, Cece can use the clear sheet protectors that are at the back. Cost = free.
5. Decorate and personalize the front. I used some chipboard letters I had on hand that I glued on (I find you can never have enough letter sets. I am always making things with letters on them). With a five year old using this notebook (and a younger brother who they call “bulldozer”) I am not sure how durable they will be but I hope the letters will stay on for a while at least. You could also use a marker and write their name on the front or stencil or stamp it. There are plenty of options here. Cost = free.
6. Wrap something around the outside to keep the contents contained. It’s not full right now but I imagine with art projects or other things added in there, it could get that way. So I added a large rubber band around the binder. It is from a super cute, though pricey, company called Russell + Hazel. I happened to find it on clearance at one of their stores for a whopping $1.50 for a set of two. Hooray for deals! So $0.75.
TOTAL COST: $13.88
Now, think about what kind of toy in the toy aisle you could get for less than $15 that’s actually cool and long lasting. My hope is that she’ll be using her binder for a long time. It’s refillable, portable, she can color directly on it if she wants – that’s why I love the kraft binders, and it’s simple. We had fun making it anyway, and hopefully she’ll have fun using it!
I’d love to hear your comments! Think you’ll make one? I am planning to make one for each of my kiddos.