Fun On a Budget

Clothespin-2459eCrafting may seem like an expensive hobby, especially if you have a house full of kids who want in on the action.  Fortunately, frugal families don’t have to put the kibosh on creating handmade masterpieces.  Rather, with a little ingenuity you can make priceless crafts on a tight budget.

Clothespin Pinwheel


  • Double-sided patterned paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Thumbtack
  • Wooden clothespin with spring


  1. Cut a five-inch square from a sheet of patterned paper.
  2. Draw an “X” on the paper from corner to corner.
  3. Cut three inches along each line.
  4. Fold every other point toward the center of the paper, and then secure with a drop of glue.
  5. Attach the paper pinwheel to the clothespin with thumbtack.

Mod Podge Pencils

Mod Podge is an affordable all-in-one glue, sealer and finisher that makes decoupaging a piece of cake.  It’s also a great tool to customize plain pencils.


  • Plain wooden pencils
  • Foam paint brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Block of florist foam or Styrofoam


  1. Use the end of the pencil to make a few holes in your foam block.
  2. Tear or cut the tissue paper into one-inch squares.
  3. Gently brush Mod Podge over the entire pencil, and then cover with the tissue paper squares, slightly overlapping each one.
  4. When the entire pencil is covered, add another coat of Mod Podge.
  5. Place the decorated pencils into the floral foam block, eraser side down.  Let the pencils dry completely before sharpening.

Homemade Beads:  Have your children cut-up pages from old magazines or tear up junk mail, used greeting cards or wrapping paper.  You could also use scraps of construction paper or scrapbook paper.  Next, have an adult roll the paper tightly around a thin needle.  Then, while a grown-up holds the paper, have the kids coat it with Mod Podge.  Once the beads are dry, you can make jewelry or attach them to bookmarks.


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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.