Creative crafts to make with items from your kids' memory box |

Creative crafts to make with items from your kids’ memory box

November 6th, 2013
Get gel medium at Walmart.

Get gel medium at Walmart.

Turn old children's books into decorative altered books.

Turn old children’s books into decorative altered books.

By Aimee Heckel

As your kids grow older, that pile of “important things” that you want to keep grows bigger. First, it’s the outfits you brought your children home in. Then it’s the first shoes they walked in. Their favorite bedtime books. Their first birthday outfits. Their birthday cards. That lock of hair from their first haircuts.

It’s totally easy to become a hoarder when you’re a sentimental parent.

Instead of keeping a big box (or 10) of memories in your basement that you’ll maybe go through every few years, turn those objects into art for your walls to enjoy every day. Do the projects with your kids to create memories on top of memories.

Here are a few of our favorite crafty projects using items from your kids’ memory boxes.

1. Make a quilt out of old baby clothes. Include the blanket you brought her home from the hospital in. Those adorable pajamas. Lace from her first birthday’s party dress. calls this a “memory quilt.” Check her website for instructions on how to make your own memory quilt.

You could even add photos to your memory quilt using these guidelines. Maybe put a photo of your child wearing the outfit next to its fabric in the quilt.

2. Make an “altered book” out of old books. Accent with those beautiful pearl buttons from your daughter’s church cardigan, her flower hair clips, the glitter from her Halloween costume and photographs.

If you don’t know what an altered book is, read about them here. They’re basically old books that have been turned into art; the possibilities are as big as your imagination. Cut them, fold them, sew, glue, collage, tear, bedazzle and burn them.

Here are a few of our favorite altered book inspirations:

  • Glue several pages together using PVA Glue or Gel Medium, to turn them into a thicker canvas. Find matte gel medium at Walmart.
  • Prep the pages with Gesso to keep them strong.
  • Look for books with sewn, not glued, spines.
  • Remove about half of the pages, if you want the book to be able to close.
  • Transfer images using contact paper.
  • You can also transfer images using gel medium.

3. Make other crafts out of old books, such as easy bookmarks, decorative garlands, a lamp base, vintage buttons, a butterfly book, a book purse – the list goes on.

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Aimee's passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning news articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University. When she's not writing stories for a Colorado newspaper, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees and disadvantaged people in Africa. She's also a mom, a wife and a furious bargain-hunter. Reach out to her at, find her travel board on Pinterest, follow her on Twitter, or ping her on Google+.

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