Playdough Texture Tools

I was a big fan of Play-Doh when I was a kid. Specifically, I liked the play sets. My favorites were the barbershop, the ice cream maker, and the barbecue set. (These affiliate links go to the modern versions of the 1970's toys I loved.) I still like playing with doughs and clays, but it's been years since we've had any Play-Doh in the house. (Trevor played with it occasionally when he was little, but it just wasn't his thing.) Now I use Model Magic, Sculpey, or homemade salt dough when I am in the mood to play with clay.

The last time I had my clay out, I made myself a set of texture tools using random items from the craft room. I'm really happy with how they turned out. 

The first step was gathering craft sticks and a bunch of random stuff. I wasn't sure what would print well on clay, so I tried a wide variety of things. 

Next, I attached each item (pony beads, buttons, a wooden swan, a rubber band, yarn, a chipboard tree, pipe cleaner, a shiny trim, Twisteezwire, pennies, and a feather) to craft sticks. I used hot glue for everything except the rubber band, pipe cleaner, and Twisteezwire, which I just wrapped around their craft sticks. 

I pressed each into the clay....

.... lifted them up to see the results. Most of them printed very well! The only total failure is the feather. The clay stuck to it and it didn't print well. The thin trim isn't great, but it was better than expected. 

I am most happy with the pony beads and the buttons. They give great texture to the clay. My second favorites are rubber band, pipe cleaner, and Twisteezwire. 

Make your own set of texture tools for playdough! Kids will love ever step, from searching the house for items to use, to pressing their tools into dough to create textures. If you try anything that works particularly well (or particularly poorly!) let me know in the comments. 


Eagle Scout Card

COVID-19 meant that many Scouts who achieved the rank of Eagle were not able to hold in-person Court of Honor ceremonies. On Saturday, we attended our first Eagle Court of Honor in over two years. The recipient, Evan, is a family friend. He worked with Billion Graves for his Eagle Project. This is the card I made for Evan. 

Congratulations to Evan and all the other Eagle Scouts, particularly those whose projects were affected by COVID-19 restrictions. I'm so impressed with how you changed your plans and persevered despite the challenges. You truly represent what it means to be an Eagle Scout. 



Around the same time that the COVID pandemic reached the United States, a serious disease affecting wild and domesticated rabbits and hares began spreading rapidly across North America. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) was first identified in 1984, but was not seen in North America for 36 years. In March 2020, it appeared in the southwestern US and Mexico. By May 2021, it was killing rabbits in southern California. By June 2021, northern California had its first case. 

RHDV is highly contagious and deadly to rabbits. It has no known cure. Vaccines are not widely available in North America, though as states experience outbreaks, veterinarians can request special permission to import European vaccines. RHDV is spread through direct contact with other rabbits or their droppings, but it is also spread indirectly. Humans, other household pets, and insects can transmit the virus to healthy rabbits. 

Trouble used to enjoy occasional supervised backyard playtime, but he is an indoors-only rabbit now. This is the best way to keep him safe from flies, fleas, or other insects that could spread RHDV to him. The other way we can protect him is by removing our shoes before entering the house. To remind us (and any visitors), I made a sign:

Due to Trouble's age (nearly 11) and the difficulty in procuring vaccines, I don't think we'll be able to get him vaccinated. Fortunately, because we don't have any other pets and don't interact with other rabbits, his risk is very low as long as we don't track in anything on our shoes. 

For more information about RHDV or anything having to do with rabbits, visit rabbit.org


Puzzle Piece Monarch Butterfly

After you turn a puzzle piece into an alien, the next logical thing to do is to turn one into a butterfly. A monarch, to be specific. Affiliate links below. 

Puzzle Piece Monarch Butterfly



Prep the puzzle piece by painting a coat of gesso on the glossy surface. When the gesso has dried, add an orange base coat. Let it dry completely. 

Use a fine-tip Sharpie to color the sides and edges of the puzzle piece black. Then use an ultra-fine Sharpie to add lines that mimic the patterns of a monarch. 

With the white Uniball pen, add dots around the outside edges. 

Wrap a pipe cleaner around the puzzle piece to make the body of the butterfly. The top and bottom should extend beyond the puzzle piece, and the ends should be hidden on the back side. 

Cut a piece of Twisteezwire and wrap it around the the top of the pipe cleaner, twisting to secure it. Curl then ends around the body of the pen to create the curl.  

So far, I've turned puzzle pieces into a ladybug, crab, reindeer, girl, wreathalien, and now a butterfly. Trevor has made a spider and a bug. There are still several dozen pieces left from the terrible puzzle - what should I make next?


The Lastest Craft Roundups

Time to share another batch of craft roundups I've made for Fun Family Crafts! First, Barn Crafts for Kids. One is mine. Can you spot it?  

Cactus crafts are some of my favorites. One of the ones below is mine. As always, I made this graphic using PicMonkey (affiliate link). I've used it long enough that I'm developing some of my own hacks. For example, to make the sand for the title graphic, I started with a sand-colored rectangle, added a glitter texture, then faded the texture until it left just enough texture to mimic sand. Then I used the eraser tool to make an irregular edge. 

Next, Photo Crafts for Kids. Two of the ones below are mine, but neither one has photos of Trevor, Steve, or me. 

Next is Clown Crafts. Two of these are mine. 

Next, Pony Bead Crafts. None are mine. 

This roundup of Shark Crafts for Kids was my favorite to make. Two of the projects are mine. I really wish I'd thought up those socks. 

With the addition of these, we are up to more than 120 Craft Collections at Fun Family Crafts. It's fun seeing them all together. It also lets me see at a glance which graphics need updating (which remains my absolute favorite part of my job). Yea, PicMonkey!

Try PicMonkey's Photo Editor and Design Tool