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Great Affordable Home Craft Ideas for the Summer

Record high temperatures in states all across America? There's no mistaking it! We've reached the dreaded "dog days."With the kids out of school and with the summer half over, everyone is really beginning to feel the burn (terrible pun intended). The good news is that keeping cool and staying entertained in the weeks when AC bills skyrocket is definitely not as expensive as you think it is. Here are some great affordable crafts for you and the chickadees to do to stay cool and keep things fun!

Make Your Own Muffin Tin Popscicles!

This chilly treat is super easy and can be made in an infinite number of ways! The best part is that the kids take so much pride in making it that they won't turn their noses up at them even if they are (don't tell anyone) healthy. All it takes is your favorite juice or tea and a few household items, and you can hit the beaches as happy as a clam!

What you need:  Your favorite juice or tea, some sliced fruit (if you want it), popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, plastic or butter knife, a muffin tin, and free space in your freezer.

Note: This project can be done several different ways. If you have more than one favorite juice, you can make popsicles with more than one flavor or if you like fruit, you can add that in too! Here is how to do all three!

Classic Pop Steps (one flavor, no fruit):

1.) Take out your muffin tin and your favorite juice.

2.) Pour the juice into each tin almost all of the way up (Each tin = One popsicle). Its best to not fill the tins up all the way because the juice might spill when you go to put the tin in the freezer.

3.) Cover the whole tin with aluminum foil tightly.

4.) Use the knife to make a thin slit in the aluminum foil over the center of each muffin tin. It can't be any bigger than the width of your popsicle sticks.

5.) Insert a single popsicle stick into each slit that you made in the aluminum foil. Make sure they are standing up straight.

6.) Carefully place in the freezer for about 4 hours or until frozen.

7.) Remove from freezer. Popsicle sticks should be frozen in place. Remove pops by running a plastic/metal butter knife around the edge of the pop. If that doesn't work, place the entire muffin tin in a    shallow pan of warm water for about 20 seconds until the edges come loose. Enjoy!

Fruit Pop Steps:

1.) Cut up some your favorite fruit and place into the muffin tin, making sure that none of the fruit sticks out of the top of each tin.

2.) Pour your favorite juice into each tin. The juice should cover any exposed fruit.

3.) Follow steps 3 to 7 of the Classic Pop Steps above. Freezing time may take a bit longer since the fruit is solid. Enjoy!

Multi-Flavor Pop (Can be made many flavors):

1.) Follow all the steps of the Classic Pop, but remember that each layer of juice must be frozen separately. Freezing usually takes about two hours per layer depending on the amount of juice used.

2.) For each additional layer following the first layer, carefully remove the aluminum foil over the top of the popsicle sticks, then pour in the additional layer. If any popsicle sticks were dislodged, replace the aluminum foil first, then insert the sticks into their rightful slits in the foil.

3.) Fruit may be added during the middle layers. Just make sure the liquid always covers the fruit, and remember freezing time may take a bit longer.

4.) When all desired layers have been added and frozen, remove from freezer and follow step 7 of Classic Pop Steps. Enjoy!

Summer Bubble Bash!

Bubbles are spectacular for outdoor fun in the sun! Here is a special trick recipe that will help you and your munchkins make beyond-huge bubbles perfect for any birthday party, family carwash, or hot summer day! Its completely safe for people and pets, so get out the sprinklers, water balloons, the kiddie-pool, the neighbor's kids, and the dog 'cause this bubbly fiesta will definitely attract attention!

Big Bubble Recipe:
12 cups of water
5 cups Dawn dishwashing liquid
1 cup glycerin (you can usually find it at craft stores) or corn syrup
Note: For best results, let the mixture sit uncovered overnight.

Bubble Makers:
This part just takes some creative ingenuity. There are tons of things around the house that can be used as bubble blowers. Here are some great bubblers:

 Big Bubble Loop
 Most big bubble makers are created by attatching a big loop of string to the end of a thin wooden rod, dipping the string in the solution, and then using a second rod to open the loop of string now that its been doused with the solution. Just walk backwards to get the bubbles flowing.

 Water Bottle Bubbler
Cut off the bottom of a water bottle, dip the cut-off open end into the solution, and blow through the mouthpiece

Straw-String Bubbler
Cut a long piece of string and thread it through two drinking straws then tie the ends of the string together. Make bubbles by holding the straws vertically, one in each hand, so the straws and string make a square. Dip the square in the bubble solution and blow.


This craft is a schoolhouse favorite, and a great opportunity to use the hot summer rays to grow plants! Kids and parents alike both love this project because it manages to blend affordable, decorative, educational, and fun together in a jar! Here is a kid-friendly "open" terrarium that will look great in any home office or kitchen, and teach your kiddos about responsibility!

What You Need: A glass jar or cheap fish bowl, potting soil, gravel, charcoal, small plants (herbs such as basil or parsley are great since they are often used in the kitchen), water, and tiny plastic animals for extra fun!


1.) Fill the bottom of the jar or fishbowl with about an inch or so of gravel.

2.) Decide on an arrangement and remove your plants from their plastic pots.

3.) Gently break up the only the bottom of the ball of soil over the top of the terrarium to prevent messes and allow the plants to accept the potting soil more easily. Then, place them on top of the gravel (don't press the plants down into it as the gravel layer is important for water drainage.)

4.) Carefully fill the area surrounding the plants with potting soil until it meets the bottom of the plant. (Younger kids may need help with this part).

5.) Look at the tags that come with the plants for information on how much water they need and water them accordingly. Since the terrariums don't drain completely, the plants may not need as much water as the tag says. Let the plants' health control how much water you give it.

6.) Finally, let the kiddies add some cool plastic critters for the wild look, and voila! the terrarium is complete!

Pressed Flower Jars!

Remember all those beautiful leaves and flowers you collected and pressed with the kids last fall and found no use for? Want a way to remember all the beautiful summer flowers when the autumn returns?
Well, here is a craft for you! Sometimes, in the dog days of summer, nothing is better than sitting in the air conditioning reminiscing about the cooler months. This all-seasons craft perfect for decorating and will keep a little bit of each season with you all year round!

What you need: A jar or glass container, pressed flowers or leaves, mod podge, cheap paintbrush, water, and acrylic varnish.

How to press flowers:

1.) Get a big dictionary and some tissues or tissue paper.

2.) Flatten out the flowers you want to press. Its best not to use thick, frilly, or moist flowers because the dehydration process can be messy. Simple flowers and leaves are best.

3.) Place the flowers on in the book between two tissues or 2 sheets of tissue paper.

4.) Close the book, weight it with heavier books, and leave it alone for 2 to 4 weeks.

How to make a pressed flower jar:

1.) Decide on how you want your flowers arranged on the jar.

2.) Dip your paintbrush into the mod podge and paint it onto the jar. You may wish to water it down a bit before painting depending on how delicate your flowers are.

3.) Carefully arrange flowers on the jar. Be careful about tearing the leaves as they may be quite delicate.

4.) Gently paint another layer of mod podge over the flowers to help them form to the shape of the glass.

5.) When the mod podge dries, add a second coat.

6.) Add two coats of acrylic varnish over the top of the mod podge if you plan to use and wash the jar frequently. Mod podge is not water resistant and acrylic varnish is much more protective. When it dries, fill the jar with coffee beans, sugar, tea, or just leave it near a window to let the sunlight shine through your beautiful new creation!

Beaded Straps for Sunglasses

What says summer like cool new shades? Little kids are notorious for losing their things, especially sunglasses. With this killer craft, you and your kids can create beautiful beaded strands for your sunglasses so they never get lost again. Perfect for gifts, parties, upcoming vacation trips, or just chilling  by the pool, these clever little straps will make your summer shades shine!

What You Need: Beads, plastic string or sturdy fishline, two plastic eyeglass holders per sunglass pair (you can find them at craft or drug stores).

How to make them:

1.) Tie one end of the fishline to one of the eyeglass holders.

2.) String on the beads in any way you like!

3.) Tie off the other end of the string to the remaining eyeglass holder.

4.) Loop each side of your new sunglasses strap onto your sunglasses.

5.) Put them on look in the mirror and admire your beautiful self!

Summer is definitely no time to just sit around doing nothing, so parents, get up out of that office chair while you can! Teenagers get off the sofas, and kids, make use of your free time quick! Now is the time to hit the lounge chairs before they're back in the sheds! Summer is waiting for you and it won't wait for long. The dog days are here, but it doesn't mean you have to wait. Fun is everywhere! Sometimes you just have to make it yourself. We hope these easy trendy tricks will keep you cool and carefree while the hot rays are shining! Happy Summer!



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