8 Craft Projects to Keep The Kids Busy This Summer!

21 06 2017

Today is the longest day of the year, and that means that summer has officially arrived! It also means that school is out and kids need something to keep them entertained. We mined our Summer Fun Pinterest Board to bring you some of the best DIY projects to keep those kiddos busy.


  1. Make You Own Fidget Spinner

Make Your Own Fidget Spinner

You probably know that fidget spinners are taking over the internet, but did you know that you can make your own out of popsicle sticks and a skate bearing? Bonus: the kids will continue to play with the fidget spinner after the craft project so you get extra time with them entertained.


2. Squirt Gun Painting For Kids

Squirt gun painting for kids

All of the best summer fun happens outside, and squirt gun painting is no exception! The kids will love creating their own unique works of art via Super Soaker.


3. Foam Ball Octopus Craft

Foam Ball Octopus Craft

This would be a good one to pair with a viewing of Finding Dory. You could also sub out the foam balls for pom poms if you don’t want to have to mess around with paint!


4. Shoebox Table Foosball

Shoebox Table Football

This is another one that provides lots of entertainment even after the project is finished! Set up a tournament bracket for the whole family.


5. Bored Jar

Bored jar and activity ideas

This is an easy one! Whenever one of the kids says they are bored, make them take a slip from the “I’m Bored” jar and then they have to do the activity on the slip!


6. DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets

DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets

This is one of our own DIY With A.I. Friedman projects and it’s perfect for summer fun. Boil popsicle sticks, let them dry in cups, then let the kids paint and decorate them!


7. DIY Lawn Dominoes

DIY Lawn Dominoes

Make these giant lawn dominoes for backyard board game fun!  Extra Difficult Mode: Turn the sprinklers on.


8. Tie Dye

20 Summer Tie Dye Techniques

A classic summer activity, tie dye! Make your own rainbow of t-shirts, tote bags, hats, flags… basically tie dye all the things!

What are your favorite craft projects for summer fun?


Cross Stitch Heart Valentine Box

8 02 2017

Cross Stitch Heart Valentine Box DIY With A.I. Friedman

Valentine’s Day is only a week away, it’s time to break out the hearts. We have an easy project for you that takes less than an hour but is a great way to add a handmade touch to a Valentine.

The only things you need are:Materials needed to make Cross Stitch Heart Box

  • A paper box (ours is a 3″ square)
  • Red embroidery floss
  • An Xacto knife (or pushpin)
  • Sewing needle
  • Pencil
  • Ruler



The heart design we are using is 7 squares wide so you need to divide your box into 7 equal sections. If you have a 3″ square box like us, then you can just use centimeters! Make lines across the box (we are making a grid). Remember to use a pencil, we are going to be erasing these lines later!

Marking seven equal sections on your box

Then turn your box 90 degrees and make lines perpendicular to the ones you just made. You will now have a grid set up on your box.

Grid set up on box


We are going to use this simple heart design as our cross stitch pattern. The next step is to take your pencil and mark off where the heart is going on your grid. This way we won’t make holes across our entire grid, just where we need them for the heart.

Cross Stitch Heart PatternMarking where the heart will go on our grid

The box we’re using is pretty sturdy cardboard so I had to use an Xacto to cut the holes. If your box is a little flimsier than ours you can use a pushpin to make holes really easily.

Poke holes in your box so we can cross stitch along the top

Once you have all your holes poked, make sure you look at the back of the lid to make sure they got all the way through, it’s better do that now than have to do it while you are cross stitching.

Holes poked in the lid of the box

Now you can erase all of our pencil grid lines and where you marked off the outline of the heart.

Erase all pencil lines off the box

Thread your needle and get stitching! If you have never cross stitched before, the important thing to remember is to always start your stitches the same way. So come up with the needle from the bottom right corner then go down through the top left corner.

Starting to cross stitch on the box

Then to form the “X” come up from the bottom left corner and go back down through the top right.

The first cross stitch on the box!

Continue doing this in the same way until you have completed your heart pattern. It’s good to not have to deal with too long of a thread, 18″ is a good starting point. You will run out of thread but that’s okay just rethread your needle and keep stitching.

Creating the heart out of cross stitch

Once you finish, trim any long ends hanging off the back of the lid and then sit back and admire your work.

Cross Stitch Heart Valentine Box

You can put a small gift like jewelry or chocolate in your cute new box. It’s also a great way to deliver a love note. And if you couldn’t think of anything to get your Valentine aside from a gift card, one of those will totally fit in as well. Plus, no one can call you lazy or thoughtless if you took the time to make a custom handmade box.

DIY Cross Stitch Valentine Box

Be sure to tag any projects you make with #DIYwithAIF and happy stitching!





Make Your Own Candy Cane Ornaments

19 12 2016

Make Your Own Candy Cane Ornaments

Christmas is just around the corner, and time is running out to make handmade presents! If you know you are short on crafting time, but still want to make something, give these Candy Cane Ornaments a try! The only materials you need are polymer clay, tin foil, an oven and a baking sheet. You can make them in between all of your caroling, wrapping, and cookie eating.

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Fun Kid’s Name Decoration Project

27 10 2016

Fun Kid's Name Decoration

It’s always cute and fun to decorate kid’s rooms with personalized items.  These letters are easy to paint up and add a whimsical touch to a shelf! We carry these paper mache letters at both of our stores and if you aren’t in the area you can find something similar at your local craft store.

Materials needed for decorated lettersYou Need:



The first step is to mark our stripes, so they will be even. Using your ruler and a pencil, make a line that is a 45 degree angle from the top edge of your letters.

Make a 45 degree angle

Then you are going to make lines that are perpendicular to your 45 degree line evenly across the letters.  I originally drew these lines a half inch apart but then discovered that my painter’s tape was 1 inch wide. This meant that half my lines weren’t necessary  unless I cut my tape in half.  So, go ahead and make your lines as far apart as your painter’s tape’s width.

Make lines perpendicular to the first line

Repeat this process for all of the letters you are going to be painting.

Letters are all marked up and ready for painting!

Grab your painter’s tape and make stripes using the lines you drew as guides.  It should be easy to make nice even stripes.

Make stripes with the painter's tape

Now you can paint in-between the tape and know that you will have beautiful clean lines when you peel the tape off!

The painter's tape will give you perfect clean lines!

Feel free to go crazy with color options here.  Use the favorite colors of the child the sign is for.  You can even set up the lines and tape and then let your kid do the actual painting part. Get all your letters painted then peel your tape off!

Halfway done with the stripes!

Make sure you let this paint dry, then go ahead and tape over what you just painted.  Now you can paint the parts of the letter that were covered by the tape before.

More tape!

Paint your second color and then give your beautiful new stripes some time to dry!

Freshly striped letters

It’s time to paint the sides of your letters.  I didn’t use painter’s tape for this step because I felt confident I could avoid painting on the front side, but if you are having assistance from a child you probably are going to want some extra tape insurance.

Almost done with the letters!

After your paint is dry, you are all done! These letters look really cute sitting on a bookshelf or wall shelf.  You could also mount them directly to the wall using some Command Strips. It could be really fun to make a “Happy Birthday” sign with these or even “Merry Christmas” and then paint them with candy cane stripes!  We would love to see your unique creations, use #DIYwithAIF to show off your projects on social media.  Happy crafting!

All finished! Fun Kid's Name Decoration DIY Project

DIY Stamped Clay Coasters

21 09 2016

DIY Stamped Clay Coasters

I don’t know about you but I always feel like I don’t have enough coasters.  I am always sitting down at the table and then having to go grab a coaster off the coffee table or vice versa. These DIY Stamped Clay Coasters are easy and fun to make, so stop hunting for more coasters and get crafting.

Things You Need:

  • DAS Air Dry Clay
  • A rolling pin
  • A knife
  • Stamp
  • Ink pad
  • Sand paper
  • Mod Podge (I used matte)
  • Felt

First you need to open your clay, and get it into a ball.  I just rolled around a while with my hands to get some of the wrinkles and air bubbles out.

Get your air dry clay ready

Next, roll your clay out with your rolling pin so it is about 1/4″ thick.

Roll your clay out with a rolling pin

After your clay is rolled out, cut a 4 1/4″ square out of the clay with the knife.  Or, you can use a coaster you already like the size of as a template.  Then you can use your first clay square as a template for the next.

Cut out your coaster shape from the clay

I was able to get 4 coasters out of my 1.1 lb bag of DAS clay.  If you cut out a square and still have lots of leftover clay, just roll the leftovers up into a ball and then roll them out with the rolling pin again.

Air dry clay squares

Once all of your squares are cut out, grab your stamp and ink pad.  Get the stamp nice and inked up.

Stamp with ink

Then place your stamp on your clay and push down lightly, but hard enough that you are making an impression.

Stamping the clay

You can play around with the placement of your stamp to make different patterns on your coasters.  Mix it up with different shapes and ink colors!

Make patterns with your stamp

Once all of your coasters are stamped, they are going to need to dry.  It can take anywhere from 24-72 hours for them to totally dry depending on the temperature and humidity.  I made my coasters on a Friday afternoon and let them dry out all weekend just to be safe.


When they are totally dry, sand the edges and corners down a little bit so they are nice and smooth.

Sand the edges of the coasters

Wipe the excess sanded clay away with a paper towel. Then, seal the coasters using Mod Podge.  Air dry clay is not going to hold up well with condensation on it all the time so this sealing process is really important.  I used two coats on my coasters.

Seal your coasters with Mod Podge

After your Mod Podge is dry, grab a piece of felt and cut a square that is just slightly smaller than your coaster.  Then hot glue the felt to the bottom of the coasters.  This will protect your table from getting scratched.

Attach felt to the back of the coaster

You’re all done now! Pour yourself a drink and use one of your fancy new coasters! These coasters make great gifts too, you can use a Fall or Winter themed stamp and tie them up with a ribbon for a hostess gift, gift them with a mug and some hot cocoa, or just make more for yourself! We’d love to see your coaster projects, use #DIYwithAIF on social media.  Happy crafting!

Finished Stamped Clay Coasters

DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets

30 08 2016

DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets Tutorial

We haven’t done any kids crafts yet for DIY With A.I. Friedman and it’s time to change that.  Kids will have fun designing their own bracelets and it’s cool to see the popsicle sticks bend over time!  You don’t need that much:Materials needed for DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets

  • Jumbo Popsicle Sticks
  • Glasses or cups
  • Craft paint
  • Paint brushes
  • A pot to boil the sticks in
  • Time:
    • 15 minutes to boil
    • 24 hours to set

You are going to want to supervise young children because we are going to be bringing the water to a boil and retrieving the sticks from it.  If you have super young kids you could boil the sticks ahead of time and just let them paint the finished bracelet shapes later!  Go ahead fill your pot about half way and bring it to a boil.

Boiling water for DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelet Craft

Grab your popsicle sticks and pop them in the boiling water. You are definitely going to want to boil extra sticks because some WILL break in the bending process. If you are somehow a magically perfect being who doesn’t break any sticks, then bonus; you have extra bracelets.  Let the popsicle sticks boil for 15 minutes.

Boiling popsicle sticks for DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets

When the 15 minutes are up have your glasses or cups (they should be around the same size as the wrist you want the bracelets to fit!) ready and take the sticks out of the water with kitchen tongs. Shake of the extra water a little bit. Because wood is such a poor heat conductor the popsicle sticks will be ready for you to hold with your hands right after coming out of the water.  This is the hardest part, gently bend your sticks into a round shape and slip them inside of the cups.

Popsicle sticks inside of glass

Broken popsicle sticks

Like I said before, don’t be too concerned about breaking a few popsicle sticks, it’s going to happen.  Those sticks just couldn’t live up to the high pressure fashion world.  I had a few popsicle stick casualties myself.

The key is: don’t get frustrated just take it slow.  I found it easiest to start getting a bend going at the middle and then slowly bringing the ends closer together.  As soon as you can fit your bracelet in the glass, slip it in there, it will help you bend the stick!  Once you have all your sticks inside the glasses, pat yourself on the back, then let them dry for 24 hours.  It’s really important to leave them to dry for this amount of time so they hold their shape when you take them out!

Drying popsicle sticks in glasses

After all of your patient waiting, it’s time to get painting. Paint them however your want and get creative!  I used a pencil eraser as a “stamp” to make some polka dots on a few of my bracelets.

Using a pencil eraser as a stamp to make polka dots

After your paint has dried your bracelets are all set to be the perfect kids fashion accessory! Because this is such an easy project, it’s a great one to make again and again. Share your bracelet creations using #DIYwithAIF and happy crafting!

Finished popsicle stick bracelets





Make Your Own Geometric Tote Bag

20 07 2016

Make Your Own Geometric Tote Bag - DIY With A.I. Friedman

I feel like you can never have too many tote bags. I have a pile of them in my closet, in my car, in my other closet and yet there are still times that I find myself thinking, “I wish I had a tote bag right now.” This week, we are going to learn how to upgrade a basic boring tote bag into a cute geometric print tote bag. You only need a few things:Supplies needed to make a geometric tote bag

  • Plain Tote Bag
  • Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape
  • Jacquard Textile Color in 3 Colors
    • (I used 109 Maroon, 114 Turquoise, and 113 Navy Blue)
  • Foam Brush
  • Time: about an hour



First step, take your Blue Painter’s Tape and make a border around your tote bag. I put the tape on about half an inch from the edge. Make sure you smooth down all of the tape to make sure no paint leaks underneath later!

Blue tape border around tote bag - DIY With A.I. Friedman

Now is the fun part, making triangles! There is really no method to my madness here, just make triangles with the painter’s tape as big or as small as you like. I didn’t worry about keeping them consistent sizes or angles.

Making triangles with the painter's tape - DIY With A.I. Friedman

I stopped my triangles before I got all the way to the top right corner of my bag. It gives the bag a more modern look if the pattern doesn’t cover the entire thing. Again, don’t forget to smooth down your tape really well so you don’t have to worry about touch ups later!

Finished tape triangle pattern - DIY With A.I. Friedman

It’s time to paint those triangles! Shake up your Jacquard Textile Color before using it, then dab some on your foam brush. Then, go ahead and dab the paint in your triangle!

Paint you triangles inside the tape lines - DIY With A.I. Friedman

I counted how many triangles I had before I started painting, 23, so I decided to make my number of each colored triangles close to even by doing 9 Maroon, 7 Turquoise and 7 Navy Blue. Be sure to totally wash your foam brush in-between each color.


Painted triangles drying - DIY With A.I. Friedman

Let your paint air dry before you pull of the tape. Mine took around 20 minutes before I felt comfortable peeling the tape off.

Peeling off the painter's tape - DIY With A.I. Friedman

If you have some gloppy triangles because your tape didn’t stick down, don’t stress, it’s a really easy fix! Just take a piece of painter’s tape and place it at the lowest point of the messy line. Then fill in that area with paint, peel off your tape, and it’s like it never even happened! You can see in this picture that I did not follow my own tape smoothing advice from before, so I had a few spots to clean up.

How to fix uneven lines - DIY With A.I. Friedman

You are almost done, but there is one last step! You need to heat set your paint. So make sure your bag is totally and completely dry before doing this. Then grab your iron and set it to the appropriate fabric setting for your bag (mine was cotton). Put your iron on the inside of the bag and run it over the back of your painted area for 30 seconds. Now your bag is heatset, so you can wash it, dry clean it and the colors won’t fade!

Heatset your paint by ironing the back of it - DIY With A.I. Friedman

Your Geometric Tote Bag is now finished! It makes a great gift or you can just keep it for yourself, you did all the hard work after all. If you make a Geometric Tote Bag of your own be sure to share it on social media with #DIYwithAIF we would love to see it! We’ll be back next week with more creative DIY projects, happy crafting!

Completed Geometric Totebag Project - DIY With A.I. Friedman