Monday, December 2, 2013

Free printables to make DIY nutcracker kits for gift-giving

I have some young boys on my Christmas list--young boys I  see only during the holidays. So it's hard to know what to buy. I know their interests but not the things they already have.

We exchange gifts with these relatives a few days before Christmas. I remember well what those last days before the Big Day were like with young boys--school is out, anticipation is high and boredom is a given.

So I decided to give them a gift that would break that boredom: A paint-your-own nutcracker kit.

I bought a set of six unpainted nutcrackers at Hobby Lobby, then bought some empty tiny paint canisters in the art supply section.

I bought a set of brushes (I can't stand the super-cheap brushes that always come with kids' art kits). I also got some clear plastic containers from Pick Your Plum.  Then I designed some labels for the various parts of the kit.

The last and most frustrating part was finding a container that could fit the whole kit. I  could have avoided some of the pain by simply measuring everything and figuring it out. Instead, I kept ordering containers only to have them delivered and discover they wouldn't hold the kit. Then, I saw these cardboard suitcases in one of the Christmas sections of Target. They were perfect--and exactly the kind of thing a young boy would like to have to store treasures in long after the kit was used.

To make sure they could continue to use the suitcases, I affixed the outer label with temporary adhesive. I printed the other labels onto sticker paper, then cut them out and stuck them on the containers.

The containers include--a long, skinny one to keep the paints in and two short, square ones. One of those has two stocking stuffer toys (a small car and a Christmas kaleidoscope) and the other has Christmas gum drops (hence the "goody goody" label).

I can't wait to give these presents--although I kinda wish I'd made one for my own kids (and myself). They look like a lot of fun, and I bet they'd work well for boys and girls of many different ages. If you'd like to make a kit, you can download the labels here (one outer label and the "oh what fun!" and "goody goody" circles), here (just the outer label) and here (the labels for the paint containers, plus different circle labels).

What are some great ideas you have for the kids on your list?


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