If you are a crafter/DIYer or you read a lot of DIY blogs, then you know that not every project turns out quite right. And beyond just those infamous #projectfails, there are others that start out great and even make it to the blog…but as time goes on, they too ultimately end up as fails and/or sold at the next garage sale. You guys know I like to keep things real here on the blog; and while it’s hard for me to pull back the curtain and admit that not every project turns out right or quite how it looked on the blog, you guys seem to love this behind-the-scenes reality check. I’ve done a few of these Hits and Misses re-caps, and today, we’re looking at my kid projects of the past!
Catch up on past Hits & Misses here:
I love creating projects for Henry. Whether it’s breathing new life into something old or creating a new item or toy for him to wear, play with or use, there is just something so wonderful about making something and seeing your kid love it. Now that Henry has gotten older, he is much more aware of where things come from and often sees me making things for him. The best is when he specifically asks me to make him something. As I looked back through my kid projects, I was pleased to see that so many worked out. Yes, there have been some pretty good fails as well…but overall, we have used and loved most things I’ve made over the years! Let’s get to it!
1 – Chalkboard Play Table I found this IKEA play table at a thrift store and then gave it a good bit of TLC and a fun paint treatment, including a chalkboard tabletop. I was concerned that my then 2-year-old Henry would ruin the chalkboard paint job with all of his banging and car crashing and coloring. Much to my surprise, the paint treatment held up great despite years of toddler love. We sold this little table before our move last summer, and it’s actually one of the few things I regret selling…this little set is just so handy!
2 – Spray Painted High Chair When I found the perfect sized- and shaped-high chair at a consignment store, I quickly overlooked its horrible paint job, knowing I could spray paint it (my answer to almost everything). The chair indeed looked fabulous painted lime green, but I worried it wouldn’t hold up to meal after meal of wiping, spilling, banging against the table, shoes on the foot board, etc. Honestly, the chair looks almost as pristine as it did the day I snapped this picture..bright, clean and practically chip free! Now only if Henry still liked to sit in it!
3 – DIY Car Ramp We made this car ramp for Henry’s 2nd birthday party as a simple and fun activity for the kids to do during the party. It was cheap, came together quickly, and folded up nicely for easy storage. Most of all, the kids loved it. Especially those in the 18mo-2.5 year old range. Admittedly, I didn’t want to keep it, but every time I tried to put it out for a garage sale, Henry would renew his love for it all over again. We did end up selling it to a friend before we moved, but Henry still asks about it every now and then!
4 – Doll-Sized China Hutch I don’t get to do too many little girl projects, so when I got to makeover some “furniture” for my niece’s American Girl dolls, I really had a good time. Yes…staging it with all the adorable food was my favorite part, but it really was so fun to make something unique yet totally budget-friendly for her dolls. I just checked in with my sister and she said it’s still in the same great shape as when I made it 4 years ago!
5 – DIY Baby Sensory Toys When Henry was a little guy, I made him a bunch of DIY sensory toys. Some of them were total hits, and others were complete misses! We’ll get to the misses in a bit, but these two were winners. Sorting the pom-poms by color proved challenging and exciting for a long period, and Henry STILL plays with those darn glitter bottles. Isn’t it funny what kids attach to!
6 – See-Through Toy Bags The whole family loves these see-through toy bags, and I keep meaning to make some more! Not only are they a perfectly compact size, but being able to see what’s inside is incredibly helpful for Henry now that he’s at an age where he’s always looking for something very specific. The Velcro originally was a bit hard for him to open, but now he can open and seal them up without any issues! I love that all the little bits and pieces in the playroom are corralled and contained!
7 – Hooded Baby Towel I probably should have put this one as my all-time #1 for kids. This hooded towel is my go-to gift for any friend or family member having a new baby, and they always rave about them once baby arrives and they start using it! I made one for Henry before he was born, and we still use the exact same one each and every day after bath. I was actually just thinking I should make him a new one. They are honestly simple and quick to make and just so practical!
8 – Toy Storage Solutions. Although this isn’t an organization-focused round-up, I can’t help but give a quick shout out to the toy storage solutions that are still working so well for us. (Well, we sold the train storage with the train table…more on that below…but it was working great while we had it!) Each one of these systems keeps toys sorted and stored in ways that are both easy for Henry to access and clean up all on his own.
9 – Image-Labeled Toy Bins Last, but certainly not least, one of my best kid projects was the image-labeled toy bins in our IKEA shelves. This is a shot from our last home, but we are still using those baskets and labels in our new home. Not only do I LOVE the way they look, but Henry was really able to understand what went into each bin at a very young age. This made finding things AND cleaning up so much easier!
1 – Sandbox from a Bookcase Oh my gosh, you guys, I am hanging my head in shame. This project is one of my most popular posts; but as I shared in the Home Decor Hits & Misses, this one turned out a complete disaster over time. The concept and execution were both so solid, but the MDF wood really couldn’t hold up to the elements and it eventually rotted and practically disintegrated. Further, the cute lid we made for it did nothing to keep rain or creatures out. Putting it up on feet and/or keeping it in the garage would have likely prolonged its life and kept the creatures at bay!
2 – Train Table. Oh the train table. What a saga it was. This one was a Craig’s List find that took us not one but two attempts to get right (you can read how we made it over in Part I and Part II.) The table was great for a while (when Henry was little and REALLY into his trains); but once he moved beyond trains OR wanted to make really big layouts, it became an excessively large and mostly un-used anchor in the middle of our tiny playroom. When the trains weren’t in use, we would clear it off and use the table for puzzle or games, but most often Henry seemed to always prefer the floor or kitchen table. We learned that a dedicated train table in such a little space wasn’t really necessary. And while the makeover we did stayed strong and looked great until the end, we wished we had forgone the dedicated table and just played with the trains on the floor or coffee table. We sold the train table before moving to Kansas; we now store all the trains and track in the playroom trunk and build on the floor whenever the mood strikes.
3 – Magnetic Learning Station This is another project that was really great in concept and execution. Our only issue was that I made it when Henry was just too young for it (18 months-2.5 years). Sure he liked to put things up on the magnetic surface (letters mostly), but he never really used it the way I intended. Now that he’s four, I could actually see him playing with the letters and faces more. Instead of this wall-mounted system, we now have a smaller magnetic board that tucks away behind the bookcases and can be pulled out when he wants it. I did keep all those silly faces because they were so much work and I know he’ll enjoy them eventually. Maybe!
4 – DIY Baby Sensory Toys The DIY Sensory toys listed in the last section turned out so great, but there were a few others I made that didn’t turn out as well. Both the I-Spy Pouch and the Pipe Cleaner Sorter couldn’t stand up to rough toddler play. Rather quickly, the vinyl pouch quickly became deformed, and the pipe cleaners didn’t hold their shape (making them quite difficult for a toddler to put into the holes). In making DIY toys for toddlers, I would stick to more sturdy and solid items that can stand up to busy little ones!
5 – Dotted Bulletin Board. So this one is a little hard for me to include, but I’m trying to tell it how it is! I LOVE this project so much, and this board still hangs in Henry’s room right this very minute. There are two little design flaws, however, that caused me to put this one into the fail category. First, the super glue hasn’t held all the dots in place that well. There are currently two rounds missing, and I’ve re-glued at least 3 or 4 others in recent months. Second, the cork rounds are adorable, but they are also very thin…so a standard thumb tack doesn’t push all the way in. We are still able to pin up projects and papers (and boy, do we), but I wish the corks were a bit thicker to hold things in place better!
6 – Bubble Wand Airplanes For Henry’s 4th birthday party, I transformed bubble wands into adorable paper airplanes as the party favors. Admittedly, all the different cuts and sizing took me forever to figure out; and in the end, they just didn’t stay together well enough to make them worth my time. Yes, they looked awesome and everyone complimented them. But the propellors often ripped or fell off, as did the tails. Plus, the kids were much more enthused about the bubbles than the airplane! Again…strong, sturdy, and durable is the key to kid-friendly DIYs!
7 – PVC Pipe Art Caddy This is another project I loved so much while it lasted…which was actually pretty long. But like many of these other fails, consistent use and abuse from lots of little energetic hands ultimately dislodged all the PVC holders from the base, spilling all the art supplies everywhere…every time. No amount of re-glueing was keeping these suckers in place, so the whole thing ultimately went into the trash. With stronger glue and older kids, this is still a really viable storage solution for art supplies and more!
For my long-time readers, I hope this was a fun walk down memory lane and you enjoyed learning a bit more about what became of many of these DIYs. For my new friends, I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the curtain, and I encourage you to check out my other Hits & Misses posts! For all of us who like to create yet hold ourselves to an impossibly high standard, it’s important to remember that not every project is going to work out right, and it’s okay to let go of and move on from things that just aren’t working. I hate acknowledging that not everything I do turns out right; but for each fail, there is an equal or greater success! And that’s what keeps me creating…for myself, for Henry, and for our family!
I know I promised a planner reveal today, but two straight days of fighting with my printer has delayed me a bit. Fingers crossed I’ve got everything worked out now, and I’ll share all the details back here on Tuesday! Happy weekend, my friends!