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Creative Corner

From “Trash” into Toys: DIY Repurposed Playsets for your Kids

From “Trash” into Toys: DIY Repurposed Playsets for your Kids

Isn’t it always the case when you buy expensive toys for your children that all they want to do is play with the box? That makes sense when you consider that they do not see a box: rather, it is a fort to keep the bad guys at bay or it is an enchanted cottage just waiting for some personal touches!

With that childlike creativity in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of DIY projects that you can tackle in an afternoon while you teach your children the value of recycling and saving money – all you need are a few repurposed materials and your imagination.

Barbie Doll Bistro Set

This ingenious idea for a sidewalk café set was created entirely from items you would have never thought to use in this way.

Go to your favorite home improvement store and purchase a can of textured spray paint like that of Rust-Oleum’s American Accents “stone” textured finish:

You’ll also need:

  • Empty, Clean Jell-O or Pudding Cups (2 for each table + 1 per chair)
  • Strips of Heavy-Duty or Duct Tape
  • Cardboard Circles – Different sized cut-outs for the tops and bottoms of your tables and chairs
  • Craft Glue
  • Paper for wrapping (old paper from the Yellow Pages directory works for the first layer and heavy brown packing paper applied for reinforcement)

For each table:

  • Tape together two of the empty cups, bottoms together
  • Glue together several cardboard circles of one size for the base (thicker) and several circles a bit larger in diameter for the table top (thinner – use fewer circles)
  • Encase both sets of circles in a sheet of the thin paper
  • Tape the thick set (centered) to the top of the cups and encase them all in brown wrapping paper
  • Flip the table over to apply the top in the same manner
  • Once the top and base have dried, spray the entire table on all sides with the stone texture spray paint

For each chair:

  • Follow the same steps as the table, but only use 1 cup

Here’s a shot of how the project looked at different stages.

From here, add your dolls and treat them to an afternoon glass of lemonade!

Pallet Playsets

The next time you come across a wooden pallet at your neighborhood home improvement or grocery store, ask them if you can have it. More often than not, a manager will be more than happy to have you take it off his hands for free!

Simply attach plywood legs to the bottom of the pallet and you now have a brand-new-to-you table for toys, puzzles – whatever!

What are some terrific toys you have seen constructed from repurposed materials?

Jay Harris is a Home Depot sales associate in the Chicago suburbs and a regular contributor to the Home Depot website. Jay’s interests include providing advice to parents on playsets, swingsets and other children’s activities around the home.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. isn’t that the truth re: kids preferring boxes over real toys. fun ideas.

  2. Great idea on the pallet!

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