Upcycled gifts for kids

This post is part of my Christmas in July 2015 series. You can find more posts by clicking here.

Todays’ post is written by Bele Masterman who runs the fab Blah Blah Magazine.  Blah Blah Magazine was born out of a desire to revolutionise our lives and create a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn’t cost the earth. Whether it is showing how to make your own vinegar from wine or how to dye fabric with tea bags, there is always something inspiring on her blog so be sure to check it out.


There’s something magical about homemade Christmas gifts. Maybe it’s the expression of love, maybe it’s more than that or maybe it’s just my love of Pinterest speaking.

Sadly, making a whole raft of Christmas gifts from scratch isn’t always possible. Every year, I have the best of intentions, but then again, I thought motherhood would involve a baby rocking itself to sleep under the lavender bush…

This is why upcycling is so awesome – often half the work is done for you. If you catch me on a high-minded day, I’d also say, I love how it shows kids that with a little creative thinking we can turn something unloved into something wonderful. And, I’d never, ever say my love of upcycling is because I’m a cheapskate…

Below are some ideas to get you thinking, but really it’s you and your kids’ creativity that will come up with the best ideas. For me, most of my ideas come in the midst of a de-cluttering frenzy and something hits me on the head and says, ‘Give me a new life, I’m still lovable.’

This is how our ‘Reinvention Box’ was born. However, the beloved Reinvention Box has a used by date and if projects aren’t done in a year they’re given to charity.

Onesies, singlets and t-shirts

Upcycled gifts for kids Baby suit
We do a lot of upcycled baby suits and t-shirts in this house. If a t-shirt is stained beyond redemption I might cut out the picture and hand stitch, using a bright coloured thread or fabric glue it on to a plain singlet, baby suit or t-shirt. The funny thing is that I often like it better the second time round. This is a post on decorating a baby suit using some old fabric scraps.

Drawstring bag

Upcycled gifts for kids Drawstring bag
This drawstring bag is made with a stray and lonely pillowcase, which means most of the sewing is already done. It’s really just attaching the rope and the decorating left to do. Stencils and fabric paint are one option and I’m a big fan of fabric pens.

Toy soap

Upcycled gifts for kids Fish soap
Kids seem to love revealing toys inside a soap. The melt and pour soap available at some of the big craft stores or from online soap suppliers makes it pretty easy too. Excess toys and figurines often find themselves trapped in soap in this house.
One Christmas, we did dinosaurs sticking heads out of green soaps as gifts for all the preschool mates, but the year we did this fish in a bag soap was the most popular.

Gifts in a recycled jar

Upcycled gifts for kids Sewing-jar
Decorating a recycled jar, by spray painting the lid to match the lollies inside or fitting a pin cushion onto the lid like we did in this sewing kit post makes a gift a that little bit more special.

Monster truck desk lamp

Upcycled gifts for kids Desk lamp
Perhaps one of your kids has outgrown a favourite toy, but just doesn’t want to give up on it yet? We did this monster truck lamp, but a dolls house with the doors open or an old crane could work too.

Monster truck
Light fitting from an old lamp or a work light with a protective guard (like this one) would be even better

Cable ties
Once you have all the ingredients, it’s a matter of attaching the light cord to the monster truck with cable ties.
Upcycled gifts for kids Desk-lamp-instructional

T-shirt bag

Upcycled gifts for kids Tshirt bag
Sometimes kids out grow a t-shirt they adore. This t-shirt bag takes about ten minutes to make and they can keep the love going. When I was a teenager, I did this with my grunge band t-shirts – yup, I was one of those. Now, I’m making ones with Bambi, go figure.

Upcycled gifts for kids Tshirt-bag-instructional
T-shirt bag instructions:

  1. Turn the t-shirt inside-out and pin the bottom of the t-shirt together and sew along the bottom of the t-shirt.
  2. Cut off the sleeves, so there is enough room to hold the bag, as this will form the bag handles.
  3. Cut a big v shape into the neck of t-shirt, deep enough so that things can be taken in and out of the bag and you’re done.

Enjoy x

belleCybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn’t cost the earth. Follow on: google: +blahblahmagazinetwitter: @blahblahzine,  Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

What were your favourite homemade gifts as a child? Have you done any upcycled gifts?


Slow road adSocial media tags

Belle and another lovely blogging friend of mine are running an in real life workshop in NSW later this month. They are both amazing ladies who have a philosophy on life I really admire. The Slow Road is a half-day workshop designed to help you create a slower, simpler life.

Co-hosted by Brooke McAlary from Slow Your Home and Bele Masterman of Blah Blah Magazine, they will be sharing gentle and practical ways to slow down and simplify in a world that values speed, consumption and constant connection.

You’ll walk away feeling refreshed, motivated and inspired, but just as importantly, you’ll also leave with a range of tools to use in your everyday life. You’ll learn how to uncover your priorities, live mindfully, create rhythms and escape the burden of your clutter. Hooray to that!

Date: Sunday 26th July, 11am – 3pm.

Venue: Lewers Gallery in Emu Plains.

Tickets: are limited and can be purchased here.

Or you can read a little more about the event here.