Does Anyone have any Inexpensive Craft Ideas?


I'm thinking about taking a day each month, to start, and spending it with the neighbor kids (6 girls & 3 boys, all 12 and younger. Lol The 1st group was just the 6 girls.) doing some kind of craft. I live among very low income families.

My 3 sons are all over 18, and I miss this kind of stuff with my boys. We tried slime on Labor Day, without Borax or laundry soap, but.. this girl (me) ran out of school glue. Lol So we tried using Tacky Glue (these girls were determined!) I went and bought some more, so this time we have enough. Haha.

But I REALLY need some inexpensive craft ideas! Even if it is recycling something! We have in the past tried to paint rocks. They want to redo the slime.. but after that, we are going to be making windchimes out of shells, fishing line (or yarn), beads and pieces of driftwood. (I just got back from a camping trip on the coast.. lol)

The whole point of this activity is to teach them to share, be nice to one another (this part isnt easy all the time..), no bullying, be creative, learn some new skills and how to follow directions. At the end, we ALL clean up and that is teaching them about team work.

I'm the one either collecting or buying the needed supplies. Since there are so many kids, I want to keep the cost to a minimum, so we can keep doing this (and my husband doesnt freak out. Lol).

Sooo PLEASE share ANY ideas you may have!!! Thank you in advance!


PS. This all started because one of the girl's mom had just had a baby (a month ago). Mom needed a nap and the 8 y.o. was 'bored'. Lol We decorated coffee mugs from the Dollar Tree with Oil Based Permanent markers and I 'baked' them. Mom was sooo thankful and she cried over her new gift. ;-)

  7 answers
  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Sep 05, 2018

    Hi Mandie, I love doing crafts with kids. I did them with mine until they didn't want to do them as often (13 & 17) and was the room parent for their classrooms for parties. I would love to share any ideas I have with you and I have worked with a tight budget as well. I have a blog I started about a year ago and I have some crafts on that site that might get you started, you can also contact me through it and I'm happy to send you a ton of ideas... Here is a link to a few projects they might enjoy with the fall season (look under DIY/Fall and DIY/Halloween for more) (could do on regular paper)

  • Lisa Lisa on Sep 05, 2018

    I'm thinking you are one wonderful neighbor! You might want to buy your glue by the gallon - it's much less expensive that way. Michael's carries it, as do big box stores, or you can make it easy on yourself and order it on Amazon. (delivery!) Watch Michael's and other craft stores for their clearance items. Decoupage onto old thrift store plates. Make flowers and/or dragons from plastic plates and spoons. Mosaics out of beans. I'll keep thinking, but I know there's a ton more out there. You might check the book section in your local thrift store or library for more ideas.

    • Mandie Mandie on Sep 05, 2018

      Omgosh! Yes! I LOVE the mosaic one! I even have the thin canvases that they can use! (You can always get those at the Dollar Tree!)

      And thank you. Some of the kids dont really have 'involved' parents, sooo they really like the positive attention. Plus we are outside (with a pop up canopy over us) and making messes. lol

      I actually found the glue on clearance at Walmart! .50 a bottle! They need 10 oz each, so its gonna take about 2.5 bottles of glue per kid. But.. after the calculations, it ended up being cheaper than getting the big jug or bigger individual bottles. (I need to get to the Dollar tree and get more measuring spoons and cups! Lol)

  • Pamela Pamela on Sep 05, 2018

    Focus on up coming holidays ! Start saving things ( and asking the parents of the kid, as well ) like toilet paper & towel paper tubes , baby food jars, you can always find crafts to do with those items... Also keep an eye out for craft items in your dollar store , like glue sticks , construction paper , glitter ... My son brought home a snowglobe that he made in kindergarten , the kids made small snowman out of clay , the teacher hot glued it to the inside of a baby food jar cap , then put white glitter in the baby food had and filled it most of the way with water, then screwed on the cap (with the snowman ) she hot glued around the cap to seal it sticking a thin ribbon around it...a mini snowglobe.!!!!

    I still have it , and put it on my shelf in the winter. My son is now 37 years old !!!!

    • See 1 previous
    • Pamela Pamela on Sep 05, 2018

      No, I don't think she did...but it was 30 yrs ago !!!

      I didn't see or read your whole post until just a minute ago.

      What an awesome neighbor you are. Not only helping the moms , but giving time to local kids...and doing crafts gets their creative juices going. So much better than watching tv or playing on a phone !!!! When I grew up we were rarely allowed to watch tv , mostly for educational reasons...but reading and artwork were my outlet, and we were never allowed to say " I'm bored " , if you said that , you were given housework, or told to clean the garage I learned to keep myself busy !

  • Awe, I love crafting with kids. Mine aren't into it so much, but i used to do Sunday school with the kids at church, we've moved and it's just too far away to try to get there on time so early (3 hour drive) the church was mostly poor people or addicts using church as free child care. I'd hit the thrift stores and buy everything I could find, button and ribbons, lace, leftover paints. Anything I could get my hands on really. I asked church members to bring in some things we could recycle, boxes, toilet paper rolls. We did some seedlings in paper cups, they really like to watch their little plants grow. Grass seed for "hair" and painted faces on the cups. We made homemade sidewalk chalk by mixing cornstarch with water and a few drops of food coloring and the kids just painted with it but it rinsed away like chalk. If you just google "crafts for kids" or "crafts for kids with recyclables" you'll find something to inspire you and you may find something to use supplies you already have at home. Check this out

  • Mandie Mandie on Sep 05, 2018

    I LOVE all of these ideas! I'm starting a list now! ;-) Thank you all soo much!

  • Flo33439067 Flo33439067 on Sep 05, 2018

    Yes, go to the Dollar Tree stores and they have tons of $1 crafts for your DIY Projects.

    You can even go online at and watch their videos for a variety of crafts done by different people. I hope I was able to help you.

  • Kc Kc on Sep 05, 2018

    Crafting with purchased goods can be very expensive.

    Send the kids home with a note asking parents to hold on to project materials like oatmeal containers, milk jugs and yogurt tubs , egg cartons, tissue boxes, old greeting cards, crayon bits, newspaper... gosh...if it can be cleaned and recycled it can be a future craft.

    Hopefully you have room to stockpile donated stuff until you have enough for crafting. Plan your craft around an item that you have in the most quantities.

    *Plastic yogurt cups aplenty? Decorate the cups, pop a hole in the bottom, add soil and seeds You can plan ahead and germinate the seeds so the kids have a living plant to nurture.

    *Loads of oatmeal canisters and newspaper taking up space? Paper mache pinatas!!

    As you get multiples of certain items but can't think of how to use them, just google.

    Going beyond crafts, you might explore with field trips. Are there interesting things within walking distance? "Interesting" for kids can be as simple as getting a tour of a restaurant kitchen or the grocery store stockroom. Find out where the parents work and see if they can do a tour. "Interesting" can be as simple as walking around the block and looking for nature in unexpected places...a pretty weed in the crack of the sidewalk, a bird's nest in a fence...a pretty rock coated in clear shellac that makes a great paper weight gift.

    You have a great opportunity to spark creative and imaginative minds. Instead of planning every craft project, let them think of something. Try a craft by committee. Be prepared to guide them if the process bogs down.