Wednesday, June 13, 2012

handmaking with kids : DIY lacing beads

fresh off her 2012 Handmade Olympics GOLD medal (where her gorgeous wooden stacking bowls were voted favourite eco-goodie!) , gail of *bright life toys* is sharing a fun & fabulous lacing beads DIY with us today! you'll just love this easy & charming project, as well as adoring the creative play for creative kids toys in gail's gorgeous, bright & beautiful handmade shop. too!

yay to handmaking with kids!
and yay to beautiful handcrafted toys for kiddies, too!

bright life toys

Materials Needed - (these can all be found at your local craft store)
-non toxic craft paint in a variety of colors
-paint brushes
-wooden beads in a variety of sizes
-a length of ribbon, shoe string or yarn
-someplace to set the beads while they dry (I used an old pie plate)
-plate (or palette, if you want to get fancy)
-nontoxic wood sealer*

Lacing beads help a child to learn colors, shapes and sizes. They help to develop fine motor skills and coordination. Your little one will enjoy learning to sort, count and thread while playing with his / her lacing beads!

Due to the sizes of the pieces, I recommend this set for children 3+ or those that no longer mouth their toys. If the chosen beads are small, they can pose a choking hazard.

Wooden beads come in all shapes and sizes. For an easier set, use larger beads with a larger threading hole. For a more challenging set for older children, use smaller beads with a smaller threading hole.

ONE: To begin this project, open the paint, and squirt a little of each color onto the plate, allowing plenty of room between colors. (Not that it will matter, because if your child is like mine, they will all get mixed together anyway.)
TWO: Dip the brush in the paint, and begin to paint each wooden bead. Allow your child's creativity to truly shine! 

THREE: When the bead is painted, set it on its end on the pie plate to allow it to dry.

FOUR: Allow the beads to dry for 3 hours, or until paint is dry to the touch.

FIVE: When the beads are dry, it is time to seal them. You have a couple of options - you can use a nontoxic wood sealer, which will make your paint shiny and protect it from color transfer or you can use beeswax wood polish. The choice is yours. The wood sealer can be found at local craft shops in the craft paint section.

If choosing to use a wood sealer, gently brush it on using a paint brush. This should be a grown-up job, as it can be messy. Set the beads on their ends once again to dry. Let dry overnight.
SIX: Once they are dry, it is time to play! Depending on your child's age and skill, you can use several things for the lacing part of this toy. Beginners (younger children) can start out with a shoestring. The end is easy to thread through the beads. More advanced / older children can use a ribbon or length of yarn. It will be more difficult to thread the bead onto.

For ease, you can tie a knot around one bead to prevent the others from slipping off.

Enjoy stringing the beads with your child!
thanks so much, bright life toys! be sure to visit gail's other creations around the web, too!

made anything fun with kiddies lately?
tell us about it!

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