Printable Birthday Party Decor

Part of why I enjoy birthdays so much is because they’re an opportunity to do what you really want to do. If that means skydiving, go for it! It’s your birthday. If that means staying inside and watching The Holiday, 10 Things I Hate About You, or Roman Holiday on repeat, go for it! If that means eating a decadent cake that is not diet-friendly, by all means, go for it! Diets and I are have never been friendly anyways… 

At the moment, a huge bash might have to wait. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate!! Now more than ever we all deserve a chance to party. These printable birthday suites are the perfect solution when you want fun decoration without too much fuss. Since releasing our original printable birthday party decor, we have been dreaming up even more unique themes. Whether you are planning your own party, a dinner for your quarantine buddy, or baby’s first birthday, pick out the perfect printable suite below!

Rainbow Birthday Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Of course we started with a rainbow theme, and this one works for all ages! This rainbow birthday theme can go as many directions as there are colors in the rainbow. Planning for your miracle child? Plan a rainbow baby party! Your mom is turning 50? Ditch the dark “over the hill” cards and plan an “over the rainbow” party instead! We can

This Rainbow Party Decor Suite includes an invitation, bracelets for party favors, a birthday crown, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Lemon Birthday Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

The fun colors of the birthday suite printables make for the perfect theme, whether your birthday feels sweet or sour! The rest of the decor comes easily once you’ve got a theme down! In fact, we have a few other DIY projects from days past that would be darling with the birthday suite. This lemon wreath is one that stands out in my mind. Or, plop some freshly sliced citrus in the middle of the table for a citrusy centerpiece like we did here! And the colors of our original balloon kit have the perfect fruity feel!

This Lemon Party Decor Suite includes a banner, straw toppers, party hats, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Garden Party Decor

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Another thing that comes much easier when your party has a theme is planning the menu. Thanks, theme! When paired with this printable garden party decor, fruity desserts are always a hit. I went through a popsicle phase a few years back and wrote about three I loved: lemon creme, pineapple pink lemonade, and berry lemonade! These are perfect for when you want a treat but don’t want to turn the oven on. Who said every birthday party HAS to have a cake? 

We designed these themed set for a dreamy summer outdoor party (it doesn’t even have to be a birthday party, an excuse for a party is good excuse.) However, as we head into winter I am starting to daydream up an indoor garden party. Hear me out — paper flower garlands and greenery turning the living room into a summery dream. Sounds like just the thing for seasonal depression, right??

This Garden Party Decor Suite includes an invitation, name tags, cake toppers, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Animal Menagerie Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

This is our most classic birthday set, a colorful circus of animals! I cannot wait to use this one for a first birthday party for baby boy #2. For this party we also added some DIY felt pennants that can be customized for the birthday kid. Pssst, level up your party EVEN MORE with a simple balloon installation kit.

This Animal Menagerie Party Decor Suite includes party hats, bunting, an invitation, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Whether or not you love your birthdays, make this one special! Take time to decorate extravagantly (and easily) with a little help from your friend, Lars. Then do exactly what you want to do. Go to the grocery store and just buy snacks and flowers. Dance obnoxiously to Motown classics. Dress up in a formal gown and don’t bother styling your hair. Plan a fabulous meal for yourself and make someone else cook it/buy it. Eat ice cream straight out of the carton. I won’t tell. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Head to our Shop for even more printable birthday party decor and gift ideas! And you can find all of our Birthday DIY projects here

Our Great Artists! Course is live now!

A tool for parents and kids

If you’re like most parents, screen time is both your saving grace and your worst enemy. This Great Artists! Course is the perfect after-school activity that can replace some screen time while still allowing you to get some work done. Or if you are homeschooling, this course can be your art class! I have so much respect for teachers and parents who are homeschooling, and I’m eager to help out in the best way I can: by taking something off your plate. 

This hands-on learning course is full of crafting based projects, videos, printables and more that will simultaneously keep the kids creative and busy. The Great Artists! Course will teach them basic art principles and art history, all while making truly beautiful art for your home. The course program is so in-depth that you can honestly just log your child in and let them learn. All of the teaching components are done in the course itself (featuring a guest teacher, yours truly). You can be as involved as you want! If you’re a working parent, let your child’s Great Artists! Course time be time that you can use however you need to. If you’d like to be more involved, the classes are honestly engaging enough that you’ll learn something new. Honestly, you might even make something you can be proud of!

The Details

When we started out planning the Great Artists! Course, we designed it with kids ages 6-13 in mind. That’s a pretty wide age gap! We are confident that the projects are realistic and simple enough for young kids, but interesting enough to engage the older kids too! All of the projects are customizable. So if you need to tweak things a bit for your classroom, feel free to. It includes instruction on six famous artists, projects, supplies, and so much more. As we were planning this course, we wanted to make this a real resource you can feel good about. Because of this, we designed it with essential Learning Objectives in mind.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

In the Great Artists! Course, your child will:

  • Develop a love of art and history through relatable hands-on projects
  • Learn basic principles of art and design that they can apply to their own artwork/projects
  • Create multiple art pieces that develop fine motor skills, color pairing skills, concentration, and listening
  • Study Art History, including the lives of artists from different cultures, backgrounds and art movements
  • Develop a greater understanding of global cultures 
  • Be encouraged to think introspectively about their own lives, homes, and passions to help them cultivate self-understanding to expand their creative mind
  • Learn to initiate creative play

Art is something I feel really passionately about. Art can be therapeutic, it can train critical thinking skills, and help your child visualize creative solutions to problems they face. Art became real for me in my childhood classes about great artists, and led to my life-long creative projects.  Which is why I feel so passionate about offering this resource to your family! Whether or not you are an art-lover or a professionally trained art teacher, the Great Artists! Course can help your child develop the tools they need to enjoy art and make it.

FAQs about our Great Artists! Course

Click here to find answers to all of your questions, including what the course cost covers, what artists the course includes, and more!

When art became real for me

Art Course for Kids

We had an art course in elementary school that would introduce some of history’s great artists. I vividly recall sitting criss crossed in the multi purpose room with an overhead projector as the instructor taught us about Seurat and Picasso. She always wore fancy floral dresses and her hair was up in tight curls. The room was dark and our legs would fall asleep.

The lecture portion was followed up with a project in class where she would teach us how to create a project inspired by each of the artists. The pointilism assignment was great fun because we created figures and landscapes dots. DOTS! Art came ALIVE because we were doing it ourselves!

At the beginning of COVID as we shifted gears and started focusing even more on stay at home crafts and projects for both you and your kids, I was reminded of my grade school days and thought that we needed to create something that brought alive to kids in the same way that it did it for me.

Tomorrow, we are introducing this course and I cannot contain my excitement. I truly am thrilled to share this course with you and your children. It’s one of the best things that we as a team have ever produced. I believe that a passion for the arts can be instilled when your children are young and there is NO BETTER TIME than NOW to do so. Through clever craft and art projects, exercises, and beautiful printables, you’ll learn about some of the greatest artists, perhaps new to you artists who never received their proper recognition, that ever lived.

Are you homeschooling this school year?

Of course, I couldn’t have imagined that this upcoming school year would be such a mix of decisions and emotions and safety concerns. Homeschooling has become a reality for so many more families than ever before, whether desired or reluctant, and we’re hoping that this can be a great resource for you. We hope that whether you are a true home schooling family, this can be a great supplement for your curriculum. Likewise, if you are staying at home with your kids as they learn online, they can use our curriculum to fill their artistic void.

A bit about the course

There are videos and photos, prompts, journaling, and so much more. I really hope you like it. Stay tuned tomorrow for our early bird pricing for newsletter subscribers only through the weekend.

Back to school supplies for every kind of school year

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Resources for whatever the school year is throwing at you

Recently on Instagram, I asked whether you are sending your kids back to school, trying online classes, or making your own homeschool plan for the first time! With all these options and so many pros and cons, I get that this new school year is throwing a lot more at you than just dodgeballs at recess.

All of these options have even affected our priorities here at Lars. At the beginning of the year, we made a sudden turn and started focusing on #QuarantineCreativity and how to keep your hands busy and your mind clear despite the craziness of 2020. Projects like these, and our 78 homeschool activities for social distancing have kept us sane (so far.) And THIS WEEK we will be launching our biggest and most colorful resource yet! Our first ever kid’s course, all about great artists. More info will be dropping on the blog and instagram all week, and our newsletter subscribers will get exclusive early access to the course at a big BIG discount.

Whether you are sending your kids back to school, thanking the heavens for online classes streamed from the teacher, or creating your very own homeschool curriculum this year – WE SEE YOU. You are working so hard, and you are doing amazing! We hope any resources we are working hard to share can lighten the load even if just a little.

Kid’s face masks for back to school

If you are sending your kiddo’s back to school, you might need some help with the mask situation. A fun new kid’s face mask will be much more likely to make it through the school day!

If you are a teacher or parent in need of your own face mask, you can find our list of our favorite adult masks here!

The importance of learning

Starting a new school year is about a lot more than back-to-school shopping. “It’s about learning, obviously!,” said the imaginary reader of this post in my head. One of the most important processes I learned at school is something I hardly think about anymore: reading.

I bet that most of you learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, and haven’t thought much about it since you left elementary school. The act of reading at this point is close to second nature. You do it without even acknowledging it. Street signs, menus, text messages, even microwave messages are presented before my eyes. And through some miracle that started with a kindergarten teacher, I comprehend that a specific combination of twenty six scribbles (letters) means that my microwaved popcorn is done. Just think – sending your kid back-to-school means they could means they could make YOU a snack instead of the other way around.

For a long time I didn’t recognize the importance of being able to read until I became friends with someone with serious undiagnosed learning disabilities. Despite his challenges, he learned to read in high school. His world exploded! I met him a few years after he learned to read, and it was obvious how much this skill changed his life. 

Respect the process

This story is important for a couple of reasons. One reason is to make you consider the importance of something you do without thought, and appreciate it. Another reason is to acknowledge that learning takes time, and everyone goes at their own pace. This super relevant and encouraging as an adult. It feels like there is a socially-appointed time to learn, and once you pass that time, you’ve missed your window. That rhetoric is so not true!!

I had a class in college with a seventy-eight year old woman, and boy oh boy, she was determined to graduate. We studied together for a test once, and I can guarantee she did better on it than I did. If you are going back-to-school yourself, be proud!! If you have a child starting school again, don’t be upset if they didn’t master times tables or if you weren’t the perfect remote-teacher. No one was!

That is actually one reason why the thought of trying out homeschooling this year could feel like an excited new adventure instead of a last-resort you would never consider if it weren’t for a world pandemic.

Homeschool organization supplies

Have fun, duh!

Of course, learning at school is so important. But it also is supposed to be fun! I have a friend who moved states during the middle of lockdown, and her son has been in desperate need of a friend his age. He started school last week and had an incredible time! He was so tired after playing with new friends that he contentedly fell asleep in the car ride home. That is the dream. 

While you can’t exactly follow your child around the playground all day, you can help them feel loved, special, and excited about the new school year. One easy way to do this is to involve them in back-to-school shopping!! I loved it as a kid and love it still. A fresh pack of crayons is therapeutic, I swear. Sometimes we all need a little push to feel excitement. You, my dears, are perfectly situated to help your kids out in that category. Check out our back to school roundup of products we love for kids (and grownups) heading back to class!

Supplies to make learning fun

Books, games, and other colorful supplies to make learning exciting! If you have pre-school age kids to engage too, check out what books I am reading to my toddler right now.

 

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Other colorful back to school supplies

Backpacks

Notebooks

Lunchtime

 

 

DIY Apple Paper Lunch Sack for Back to School

Show your love with this DIY teacher’s gift

Did you ever hand your schoolteacher an apple? I don’t actually think I gave them apples, but I definitely did my fair share of brown-nosing teachers when I was in school. For most of the sixth grade, I ate lunch in the teacher’s lounge. I thought I was so cool. Those of you adept in middle school sociology know that this made me very uncool. Regardless, thanking the teachers in your life is an important thing to do! They do an incredibly important job, and now more than ever I recognize their value. Maybe you can send Junior to class with a teacher’s gift in an adorable DIY Paper Lunch Sack.

DIY teacher's gift for back to school

Homeschool? Hooray!

Shout out to any parents homeschooling for the first time this fall. Your students are certainly the apples of your eye, and they couldn’t have picked a more loving teacher! If you’re hesitant to dive back into the fray, relax for a moment with the kids and make this easy DIY Paper Lunch Sack! The activity itself is fun, relaxing, and great for connecting as a family. An added bonus is how excited you all will be to whip out your custom lunch bags!

Regardless of how your family approaches education, many of you are heading back to the books in the next few weeks. I apple-aud you! (If you are still deciding what to do, our 78 favorite homeschool activities might help you decide!) After the never-ending summer of heat, I’m tempted to head to a classroom myself for a dose of that frigid A/C. I hope this cute bag we came up with will make the first day of school special. And it’s honestly so simple and affordable. It’s super easy and is a great way to get into the school season. I’ve also used these DIY Paper Lunch Sacks as custom gift bags for teachers, friends, neighbors, whomever! We even have a cute video on our YouTube Channel to show you the ropes. (Have you subscribed yet?!) How ya like them apples?

DIY apple lunch sack for back to school

We were partly inspired by Rebecca Thuss’ cute paper cherry to create the adorable leaf perfect for topping the bag.

How to make your DIY Paper Lunch Sack

Materials:
Instructions:
  1. Draw an outline of an apple near the base of the lunch sack
  2. Fill in outline with red acrylic paint
  3. Add a curved line to look like a shiny reflection on the apple with white acrylic paint
  4. Cut out two leaf shapes from white crepe paper
  5. With black acrylic, paint leaf veins on both white crepe leaves
  6. Glue both crepe leaves together with floral wire sandwiched in the middle. Makes sure to leave enough wire on the bottom to poke leaf into bag
  7. Twist top of lunch sack and insert leaf
    DIY apple lunch sackDIY apple lunch sack for back to school for a DIY teacher's gift

Photography by Anna Killian

Hold up – it’s sticker time! Introducing our new colorful stickers

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

Stickers have been really popular on college campuses for the last few years. As the rest of us have warmed up to the sustainable water bottle trend, stickering the heck out of ‘em is a natural next step! Stickers a great way to personalize you stuff. Before you tell yourself that stickers look a little young, hear me out.

Who cares?? 

I’ve noticed something – little kid clothing is adorable. Like, so cute. I’ll look at clothing for adults from the same store, and it’s all completely stale. Sometimes it’s good to steal style cues from the kids! Truthfully, I do that a lot and I’m interested in helping you do the same. With the help of these new colorful stickers!

Color Lover Stickers

These are the first three colorful stickers of many – keep your eyes peeled for more! Find them here individually or available as a discounted set. We will continue to add more sticker options in the future, but for now we are starting with these cuties. Since I am who I am, COLOR is the official theme of this first sticker set. The rainbow, color wheel, and “Color Lover” designs are simple, bright, and share just a little bit about you. I want to put them on everything I own, like a calling card. Catch me acting like Oprah:

giving oprah - you get a sticker you get a sticker

 

Where to stick your colorful stickers

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

The possibilities are literally endless, but here are just some of our favorite options. A hydroflask is the classic choice! But think phone cases, laptops, anywhere you could use a creative reminder. Our team has been sticking ours all over our My Life in Color journals!

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

Check out our full sticker shop here!

DIY pool noodle recliner

How to make your own pool noodle recliner

We made this DIY recliner for a comfy way to rest poolside all summer long. It is incredibly simple to make, but so fun to personalize! Now you won’t have to worry about the kids spilling melting popsicles on your nice outdoor chairs.

When completed, this recliner lays out flat. So you can enjoy a nap or work on your tan. Or bundle it up anyway you like to create the way you prefer to rest. Stack just a few of the noodles at the end and make yourself a bed for an outdoor movie! Or stack up a full back rest. So you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your favorite magazine – just like Jasper.

Supplies:

Pool noodles – We used 17

Parachute cord – 128 feet total. We used 2 alternating colors.

Instructions:

  1. Line up your pool noodles. You can use alternating colors, or 3 or more colors to create any pattern you like! See the best color options we found here!

2. Cut your cord into 16 ft lengths. Fold one of the 16 ft lengths of rope in half. Take the loop end & lay it under the noodles, then pull the two loose ends through the loop to secure it around the first noodle.

3. Lay the length of the secured rope under the noodles. Fold another 16 ft length of rope in half and lay it on top of the noodles, tying it to the secured loop on the first noodle.

4. Weave the noodles together by taking the top and bottom lengths of rope and weaving them above and below the noodles, through the loops made by each rope. (The top rope will go below the noodle & bottom rope will come above the noodle, they will intersect & the two strands of one rope will go between the two strands of the second).

5. Continue weaving in this way all the way to the end & secure all 4 ties to the final noodle with a loop or a knot.

6. Weave 4 rows of rope to secure the noodles, with two 16 ft lengths of rope used to make each row.

7. After each row is secure, prop the noodle chair up against a wall or bend it in half to create a stable back. Enjoy your new outdoor pool noodle recliner!

DIY pool noodle recliner

Check out our similar tutorials

Here are some other comfy seating tutorials from Lars days past. Including our rainbow floor pouf, DIY camp chairs to level up your GLAMPING game,

Other summer staples

No pool? No problem! Check out our favorite pool floats here. And our full summer style guide here!

3 Pipe Cleaner Crowns (+ a Birthday Party Sale!)

DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party

DIY Pipe Cleaner Crown

You know us, we take any opportunity to wear a crown. We have been watching the delicate gold crown trend with wide eyes, and even made our own version here when our team member Hailey got married! And we have an entire e-book full of printable crowns for every holiday! Today’s crown is kid-friendly and YOU-friendly, easy to make for any (every) occasion, and ready to be personalized.

Supplies:

Pipe cleaners

Pom poms

Gems

Glue

DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party

Instructions:

  1. Start by creating the base of your crown with 1 or multiple pipe cleaners. You can create a headband type form or a circle crown form.
  2. Carefully shape the pipe cleaners to your desired shape. Be carefully not to make any sharp unwanted bends.
  3. Create the pipe cleaner crown shape you want, using any of the photos above for reference.
  4. Embellish your crown with gems, pom poms, and anything else your heart desires to add some sparkle!
  5. Plan a birthday party to wear your crown to

DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party

Birthday party supplies on sale now

In honor of naming June Birthday Month, all of our birthday party printables are 15% off for the entire month of June! Stock up now for a year’s worth of family birthdays.

Shop more crowns, invitation suites, banners, and everything you need to make all your 2020 birthday parties special! And keep an eye out for even more birthday items joining our shop all throughout this month!

All of the items below are 15% off now

 

What children’s books I’m reading to my toddler right now

 

favorite books for toddlers

My 31 Favorite Children’s Books for Toddlers

  1. King Bidgood’s In the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood. This one was gifted to us as a baby shower gift but it might be my favorite children’s book. Or one of my top 3. I LOVE reading it to Jasper. There are so many fun characters to play and it’s such a clever book. There’s always something to find hidden in the illustrations.
  2. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. We bought this one at the local used book store and I love the message. It encourages kids to go to sleep but in an empowering way.
  3. Moomin series. Jasper’s especially loving Moomin and the Wishing Star right now by Tove Jansson. Moomin books are all about a whimsical and Jasper
  4. Anything Dr. Seuss. We picked up a few compilations from Costco while we were on a grocery run and there are some unfamiliar stories in there to discover (some of them are a little odd or outdated so I get why they aren’t the most popular ones today, but Jasper still likes them!). The Big Orange Book of Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss and The Big Green Book of Beginning Books and The Big Red Book of Beginning Books by various authors.
  5. My First Book of Patterns by Bobby and June George and art by Boyoun Kim. This is a board book that is great for babies and growing toddlers , but I think it’s such a great way to introduce anyone to the elements of design.
  6. Curious George anything! Jasper cannot get enough of “ooo ah ahs” (aka: Monkies)
  7. Rex vs. Edna by Douglass Rees and illustrated by Jed Henry. This one was illustrated by our friend so we were lucky to snag a copy, but Jasper LOVES it. I mean, he loves dinosaurs in general but this is a funny t-rex story with a twist. For some reason I imagine Edna’s voice as Wanda Sykes.
  8. The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. LOVE this book. I love that it’s based on a true story. The rhyming is clever. And I really love the page where you have to find all the animals on one page. It’s so clever! Jasper loves pointing them all out!
  9. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Jasper is starting to want longer more narrative books so books like this one are great!
  10. Silly Sounds: Ready, Set, Go by Liza Lewis. We also picked this one up at Costco awhile ago, mostly because I wanted to see how Jasper would react to sounds book. He loves it! The story isn’t as prominent. It’s mostly for identifying the right buttons to press.
  11. Babar Learns to Cook by Laurent De Brunhoff. This one was one of Paul’s as a child and Jasper loves it!
  12. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. A personal favorite 🙂
  13. My First Book of Feminism by Julie Merberg and illustrated by Michele Brummer Everett and My First Book of Feminism for Boys. This series of books was illustrated by my dear friend (and Picture Hope illustrator.) and they’re fun to read together.
  14. Lola Dutch When I Grow Up by Kenneth and Sarah Jane Wright. This is another book written and illustrated by dear friends. It’s such a good one for encouraging imagination.
  15. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. Jasper’s babysitter got him this one and it contains all of Jasper’s favorite items: bananas, monkeys and a funny moment. It’s fun to read!
  16. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. It’s a little too long to read so I skip some pages still, but he loves looking at all the machinery.
  17. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. We have the slide and view version that he loves to interact with!
  18. Animals by Ingela P. Arrhenius. This one was a baby shower gift and I LOVE the illustrations and how large it is. We use it to identify animal sounds because it’s quite simple. If you’re looking for cheap artwork you could even cut out the pages.
  19. Alexander Girard Colors. I picked this one up when I was visiting the International Folk Museum in Santa Fe, which has a huge Alexander Girard room. Jasper loves identifying the colors.
  20. Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin. Such a beautiful, whimsical read!
  21. Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. OK, I hadn’t heard of this one before we bought it in Jackson Hole (we try to pick up a children’s book in whatever city we visit.) But I think this might be my favorite book ever. The pictures are amazing and the story is so good. It’s fun and meaningful and. I’m going to go leave a review on it!
  22. Where the Wild Things Are by Mauric Sendak. Jasper lOVES the monsters!
  23. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. A Jasper favorite.
  24. Are you My Mother? By P.D. Eastman. Another Jasper favorite.
  25. Good Night Baboon! By Sabrina Moyle and illustrated by Eunice Moyle. Great for identifying animals and also, Jasper is on a numbers kick right now.
  26. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. I didn’t super love the book until I listened to this song and now we love it!
  27. Baby Astrology: Dear Little Aquarius by Roxy Marj. My friend, Roxy Marj, just released this new collection of astrology children’s books. And even if you’re not into all the kumbaya stuff of astrology no need to fear. It’s a sweet book that identifies the wonderful qualities of each sign. Roxy was sweet to send us the collection and I had wanted to give them out as gifts. However, Jasper is obsessed with each one!
  28. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Ok, Jasper could spend SO much time looking for Goldbug and at each car and truck. It’s like this book was made for him! However,  I made the mistake of putting it in his crib last week so he’d have something to look at in the morning. Aaaand it kept him so occupied that, when I went in that morning, he had ripped up the book and it was completely shredded. I think my son is a nordic god.
  29. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury. Jasper can’t get enough of this one. He loves placing his fingers and toes on each page!
  30. Woody Pip and Hazel by Elsa Beskow. Once again, Jasper can’t get enough of this one!

DIY Block Printing with a Potato

DIY block printing stamping art with potato

Perhaps our favorite thing about this project is it is just as fun for kids or adults! The short material list and simple shapes make it a very kid-friendly craft. However, this is just a starting point for any design you want to try! Try out more intricate design at any skill level.

How to stamp with a potato

Supplies:

  • Potatoes
  • Acrylic or fabric paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Fabric or paper surface you want to print on

Steps:

  1. Cut your clean potatoes into the shape you would like to stamp. We used half circles but you can stamp in any shape!
  2. Apply paint evenly to one edge of potato stamp
  3. Press firmly down on your paper or fabric surface
  4. If you would like to combine two potato shapes to make one full color-blocked circle, place both potato stamps before lifting the first, as shown below.
  5. If desired, fill in design more fully after stamping the basic shape.

DIY block printing stamping art with potato DIY block printing stamping art with potato

What to block print on to

We choose to block print onto a canvas art supplies portfolio, we have holding our coloring pages and supplies!

In the past we have also stamped onto bandanas, napkins, wrapping paper, and more. The options are limitless! If you chose fabric, just make sure to use fabric paint.

DIY block printing stamping art with potato DIY block printing stamping art with potato

More block printing and stamping tutorials

DIY block printing on bandanaDIY block printing stamping on linen napkinsDIY block printing stamping art on ceramic plates

Read our interview with one of our favorite professional block print artists, Jen Hewett, here!

Once you start stamping you won’t want to stop. We know from experience. Though block printing is probably our favorite method, there are plenty of other fun ways to make your own design. Try this method for stamping onto a ceramic plate.

What other unexpected supplies have you used to block print? We would love to hear! Comment below

DIY Painted Blocks for Kids

Did you catch the #toddlertemptation I did with Jasper this weekend on Instastories? (You can see it saved in highlights) I set out a plate for his dinner and left the room for a bit (2 minutes max?) and asked him not to eat anything until I got back. Of course, I recorded the whole thing. Well, that little sneak totally snuck soooo many bites! He was very stealthy about it so I don’t know whether to be impressed or worried! 

While I am a little heartbroken about leaving the baby stage, watching him grow is the most amazing thing ever. And truthfully, he gets more fun to play with every day! 

You might remember this old post about his nursery. It’s crazy to think that was more than two years ago!! It’s pretty clear that I love to decorate and craft and change things all the time, so it should come as no surprise to you that I add and remove things from his room constantly. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

One thing that I am introducing to his menagerie of toys are hand-painted blocks! This is a project that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile and I finally scheduled it to make it happen (one of the perks of crafting for a living!). In fact, for my sister’s baby shower, we left out a ton of blank wooden blocks and guests could add their own pattern to it so you get a variety of handpainted blocks from your dear friends. I’ve been wanting a set for myself ever since.

 There are tons of cute and trendy wood blocks for sale right now, but I wanted ones that were more specific and personal for him. If you read my piece from March, Why I Feel Called to Craft, you’ll get why I wanted to paint my own blocks. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

All of my life, I’ve watched my great grandma, grandma, and mom crafting. You’ll recall my family’s famous fridge quote that “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Right now, I find myself pulled by those two opposites – do I want my home to be tidy or do I want to play and craft? Sure, painting Jasper’s blocks myself might have made a mess, but I made memories while doing it. 

When I initially set about decorating his room, I stuck with moody-but-airy colors like muted blues, greens, and greys, with red providing the pop of color and energy. Remember, whimsical color schemes always need some neutral hue to ground everything! For the blocks, I decided to deviate a bit from my original color scheme and go with ~summery~ colors. Pinks and aquas and yellows were too hard to resist!

How to make your own painted blocks

I found this great blank set of blocks that wasn’t too expensive. In addition, it’s even nicely sanded and comes with a box to put them away in.

Materials:

  • Set of wood blocks from here
  • Acrylic or house paints in a variety of colors
  • Paintbrushes
  • If you’re worried about your children eating the blocks, add a child proof sealant onto the paint
  • Blue tape 

Instructions:

  1. Start painting some wood blocks a solid color. Or stripes, or whatever you’d like. If you want super straight lines (I wanted mine to feel more handpainted) use blue tape (and follow the instructions on the tape!) to block off your colors.
  2. After that, let the blocks sit for the allotted time drying time.
  3. Finally, use child-friendly sealant if you’re worried about your children eating the blocks. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

Color scheme ideas for your painted blocks

Here are some ideas of color schemes we love!

Jasper’s colors

 

Circus colors

 

Spring colors

 

Bold colors

Quirky colors

 

Hopefully, Jasper will have as much fun with these blocks as I did! I want him to look back on his childhood the way I do mine; it was full of life and color and creativity and inspiration from the people I love. 

That’s it! Would love to see if you make some! To be featured, tag us on instagram with #LarsMakes or #LarsKids so we can see them! 

Other wood blocks we love

If you would rather purchase some beautiful wood blocks instead of painting your own, here are some of our favorites!

 

How to Display Your Picture Hope Coloring Pages

How to display adult coloring pages

How to spread hope

Join in the global cheering trends (clapping for healthcare professionals, rainbows in windows, etc.) with your own coloring pages from Picture Hope. Picture Hope is a downloadable/printable coloring book filled with inspirational artwork from artists all over the world! This global collaborative effort was inspired by the plight of children in need, and we have decided to donate all proceeds from this coloring book to charities. This time around, we’ve selected the humanitarian organization Save the Children. This excerpt is from their homepage: 

“The biggest global health crisis of our lifetime threatens children in every way. Your support can help children in unsafe households, help protect and prepare doctors and health clinics in refugee camps and help support distance learning in the face of school closures.” 

Try to imagine what this whole thing would be like without the internet. Now try and imagine it again without running water or a safe place to call home. Talk about perspective!! I don’t say this to depress you – rather, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that I need to turn OUT and show love however I can. For me, that means picturing hope. How to display adult coloring pages gallery wall

 

How to Picture Hope and Share:

Once you have thoroughly enjoyed coloring your masterpieces, the art of displaying them is a way you can spread some cheer! 

At home: simply the act of coloring by yourself or with family can be a way to relax, get some creative juices flowing, and spend quality time together. 

In the community: Share love with everyone who sees your pages! Tape them up in your windows, post photos online (tag us!), frame them on your gallery wall, send them to friends via mail (we <3 snail mail). This will spread encouragement to people who might not even know.  Trust me – they need it. We all do. 

Around the world: Your donations go directly towards helping children in desperate situations. Healthcare, safety, food, education, and more are threatened by the global pandemic and YOU can help without having to leave the safety of your home. 

We have made it easy – click this link, donate however much you can/want, starting at just $10, download the coloring book. Then, make your own masterpiece and the world a little brighter all in one fell swoop! Now that’s a way to spread some cheer. 

floral botanical folk art coloring pages

How to display your coloring pages

We want to challenge you to display your Picture Hope coloring pages in clever ways! Use #PictureHope and tag us so we can feature your ideas. This is about spreading the word and the HOPE as far and wide as possible. Save the Children is a coronavirus charity we are passionate about helping, and we can’t do it without you!

Here are some of our ideas:

  • Tape your coloring pages up in your front window for the neighborhood to enjoy!
  • Create a giant gallery wall you can add to all the time
  • Create frames for your coloring pages out of washi tape
  • Mix your coloring pages in with poloroids and photos of your other social distancing activities 
  • Compile all your Picture Hope pages together in a colorful book!

 

How to display coloring pages How to display coloring pages gallery wallHow to display coloring pages

We can’t wait to see what amazing display ideas you come up with!

Click here for other ways you can help Coronavirus relief charities.