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10 DIY Projects to Make Summer a Breeze


You know that feeling when you step back from a completed DIY project, stunned that your fingers aren’t glued together? Yeah, me either. For most parents, DIY with the kids start with grandiose visions of homemade teddy bears and end with a sad sock puppet the dog won’t chew on. And then for parents like Denise Chaudhari who has an appetite for the art form, it’s an exciting way to get involved in creative activities and include her 8-year-old daughter Owyn Wyatt.

“Crafting with her is the best thing ever,” Chaudhari said. “She is learning value, the pride of making it herself and more importantly, I see in her mind her starting to understand how things are constructed, how things are made.”

The Rhode Island School of Design graduate who teaches at Factory MADE, the Boulder store that hosts DIY workshops and sells locally-made crafts, is constantly on the lookout for creative new projects. In addition to her teaching job, Chaudhari designs duds for her kiddie clothing line, Dandy Social Club. But when she’s not piecing together cool clothes or teaching projects at Factory MADE, she’s crafting with Owyn. And more recently, she crafted with YS, showing us 10 simple DIY projects that will take any summer to the next level. These crafts are perfect for the hotter months, as they’re guaranteed meltdown-free. And even better: some can actually cool you off. Take for example the soda fountain.  It’ll give your kids a jolt of energy without all that caffeine.

1. Soda Fountain 

2-Liter Bottle  • Hose

Recycle a 2-liter bottle the cool way by poking holes in the bottom and screwing the lid into your hose. Turn on the water and make it rain. Hang it from up high so the kids can run under it, or put it on the ground for them to jump over.  Either way, it’ll put some pop in
their step.

2. Try Dye, it’s easier than you think

White T-Shirt • Permanent Markers • Rubbing Alcohol • Jar • Rubber Band

Tie-dye strikes fear into any parent looking to avoid messes.  Even more fearful: permanent markers. However, put the two together, and you have a mess-free project that yields striking results. Stretch part of the T-shirt over the lid of a jar and keep it in place with a rubber band.  Get the kids to draw colorful flowers  or radial line on the surface. Spray rubbing alcohol over the design and watch your flower bloom. Best part: it’s machine washable.

3. T-shirt with a twist 

Tie Dyed T-shirt  • Scissors • Thread and Needle

Take the T-shirt you just tie dyed, cut off the arms, and cut the neck to make it deeper. Sew the bottom together so that the seam is on the inside, and then throw it over your shoulder. This is a quick and beautiful re-usable shopping bag or purse that showcases your child’s art, and it makes great gifts.

4. Cheep bird feeder

Plastic 20 Oz. Bottle  • Two Wooden Spoons • Scissors

Some might say an empty 20 oz. bottle is for the birds, and they’d be right. So give the worms a day off by making your own bird feeder. Cut holes near the bottom for the spoons to go through, which will serve as a place for the birds to stand. Fill the bottle with seed. Cut holes above that so they can peck the seeds, and screw on the cap, tie a ribbon on it and hang it outside. Worms will be grateful, and birds will love the sweet tweetment.

5. Boa Constructor

Old Tie • Rice  • Needle And String

Buttons, Ribbon  • 2 Pieces Of Fabric

A snake without clothes is nothing short of snaked. So get it dressed the sly way by recycling an old tie in an easy DIY project. It will have your kids slithering around the house in style. Sew up the bottom of the tie, then pour rice up to the top. Sew up the opening with spare fabric, leaving a small slit to pour more rice into. Once full, sew up the slit and add buttons for eyes and a ribbon for the tongue. The weight of the rice makes the snake look real. It might even leave unsuspecting family members running for the hills (as it did for a graphic designer at a certain magazine).