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Make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids

Unbelievable that it´s soon Halloween again! Today I am showing you how to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids.

I don´t know about you, but I love Halloween even though for us it´s an imported holiday! Before the best time of the year used to be carnival. Everyone get´s dressed up, is in a good mood and we kids got tons of sweets. It´s a whole week of fun, normally starting with the women having their day, storming the town halls and taking over the regime. If you ever go to Germany on carnival Thursday as a man: do not wear a good tie, because it will be cut off! Men usually wear either their oldest ties or the ones they got as a present and don´t like at all. 🙂 The same day, we kids went from house to house singing and getting our bags filled with sweets. Then there are the street parades where they throw sweets, flowers for the women and some hand out hot red wine to the adults to warm up…

Then I moved to Spain and carnival here is totally different. Here it´s more like you see it on TV from Rio. It´s warmer, people can show more skin when dressing up and the only ones dancing are the ones taking part in the parade. And no sweets, they throw confetti instead. At least confetti doesn´t hurt when you get it on your head… But here, through a lot of British residents, Halloween get´s celebrated. And when my son started pre-school we got dressed up and joined others to go through the streets…

Back to subject. I didn´t want to write about carnival and Halloween, but how you can make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids!

Make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial

* Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything using them, I may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. I only provide links to products of which I think they are useful to you and I try to link to eco-friendly products at the same time. For more information please read my disclosure & privacy policy.

What´s needed:

  • A wooden slat (if possible reclaimed), big enough for you to write and decorate;
  • Sandpaper;
  • Wood stain dark; use one that is safe for earth and pets (like this one), I used Teak;
  • Acrylic paint: Black, red, white and green;
  • An old piece of cloth and gloves;
  • A piece of white chalk; optional
  • Artist brushes;
  • A few bits of inlet of an old cushion or cotton wool;
  • Liquid glue or glue gun and glue;
  • 2 screws, if your slat doesn´t have nails in like mine and
  • String or cable.
  • Optional to hang it outside: clear wood sealant.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids – step by step

I found this lovely, but very dirty piece by the bins and decided to take it home. We wanted to make some Halloween decorations for this year anyway, so this was ideal.

Looking at the slat, it had nails in which looked quite nice from the front, so I decided to just hammer them down instead of taking them out. This way, there was no need to put screws in at the back either and I could use the nails to attach the cable.

My piece was extremely dirty, so I had to give it an extremely good rub down. Even if your wood looks much better, still sand it and then clean all the dust off before starting with the next step.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - wood

I wanted to try something new with this sign, so I got an old cloth, the wood stain and the black acrylic paint out and covered the table with an old bed sheet. Next, I put some of the paint into a big bottle top, dipped the cloth into the stain and then into the paint.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - painting method

Now apply both with the cloth onto the wood in a circular motion. This way, you get an uneven coat of the colours over the wood you couldn´t achieve with a paint brush, which makes it look much better. Best, If you use a glove while doing this! I don´t like gloves, so I had stains under my fingernails for a few days after… 🙂

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - varnished

One other good side effect of this painting technique is that you don´t have to wait too long until you can continue, so your Halloween sign can be done in a day. Take the piece of chalk and pre-write the word Halloween to see if you are happy with the way it looks.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - chalk writing

Want to help protect the environment, but don´t know where to start? Download my FREE pdf 15 tips on starting a greener life“!

Then go over the chalk with the red paint. Apply at least 2 to 3 coats. The shaky lines make it look a bit more spooky.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - writing first coat

The decorating is totally down to your own and your kids imagination. We decided to add red scratch marks, green eyes and black bats. Last add the white lines to make everything stand out more and add a 3D effect.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - bat

Before we added the smaller details, I took out the inlet of an old cushion that I stored to make a new cushion one day or maybe use for padding furniture. If you don´t have any, just go in the bathroom and get out your cotton wool. I took a few pieces, spread them and then glued them onto the wood. We used normal glue, as this way my son could glue them hisself. Plus, It´s staying inside, so it was not important that it will stick for extremely long. If you have and want to put it outside, better use a hot glue gun.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - spider web

Staying with this: if you want your sign to be outside, do the above step last! Once you are happy with the painting and the details, then apply a coat of the sealant. Let everything dry and then add the “spider webs”.

You are nearly there! 🙂

The only thing left now is to screw the screws into the back, attach the string and hang it up! Voila: you have just managed to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids.

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial - finished

If you have enjoyed reading “Homemade shower gel for super soft and healthy skin” or know someone who might be interested in this subject: Please share this post! Thank you 🙂

How to make a Halloween sign from reclaimed wood with your kids. It´s always a lot of fun making your own decorations together with your kids. Learn how in this step by step tutorial

Interested in getting regular updates on DIY and recycling projects, plus posts on help protecting our environment? Sign up for my newsletter and receive a FREE pdf 15 tips on starting a greener life.

You might also be interested in our Boy´s room Minecraft makeover or my DIY mosquito repelling deodorantCoasters made from bottle topsand How to teach your kids the importance of green living.

How to teach your kids the importance of green living

The key on how to teach your kids the importance of green living as with a lot of things in life: be an example to them. If you do it, they will follow.

I give you one example: when I first started to go to playgrounds with my son I always started straight away to clean up all the rubbish laying around. Not only because I find it important to protect our environment, but also to protect my son from picking things up and putting them in his mouth… He was about 2 years old when he started doing the same: first “clean” the playground and then play.

This leads me to another important point: fun and encouragement. Kids learn best when they are having fun. And part of having fun for a kid is praise which leads to them feeling encouraged in continuing.

So, this post doesn’t contain only tips on how to teach your kids the importance of green living, but tips on how to make it fun as well.

How to teach your kids the importance of green living

* Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything using them, I may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. I only provide links to products of which I think they are useful to you and I try to link to eco-friendly products at the same time. For more information please read my disclosure & privacy policy.

How to teach your kids the importance of green living – some facts:

Why we need to save water:

70% of our planet is made up of water, but only 3% is not salty, so we could use it. BUT, of those 3% we cannot use 2% as these are in the form of ice. Try to get your head around this! So, when explaining this little fact to your kids, tell them as well that water is our most precious resource next to air and that it is very important to make sure that it lasts. And it´s not only us who need water: plants and animals need it as well. (source)

Climate change and it´s impacts:

This summer has been extremely hot in many countries. If you have followed the news with your kids or if you live in one of those countries, then here is a chance to explain to them the importance of us trying to make a positive change. With the heat came fires, water shortages, people and animals suffered, farmers could not get their crop to grow properly, so food shortage… Then now you can see a different impact we have on our climate in India. In case you havent seen the news: India had it´s worst flood in 100 years displacing about 800,000 people and more than 1,000 people have died. You don´t have to tell your kids these numbers, if you think they are still too young, but use the news as examples.

Climate change and it´s impact on the icecaps:

My son asked me the other day if polar bears could swim and I wanted to know why he was asking. Well, mum, if all the ice melts, can a polar bear swim or will it die? I explained, that they can swim, but not forever and that they need somewhere to go. Kids see things with different eyes than we do, but if it gives you a chance to explain or you see that they understood what you are trying to teach, then that´s brilliant. The ice melting will have an effect on many animals like polar bears, some seals, some penguins as they need ice to give birth…

Let´s get some facts together: Antarctica has about 90% of the world´s ice. It extends to almost 14 million square kilometers – this is about the size of Mexico and the US combined. If all of it´s ice melted, the sea level would rise by 200 feet! This would cause the disappearance of many mayor cities in the world. According to scientists at the US Center for Atmospheric Research the Arctic will be free of ice by 2040, if the current rate of global temperature rise continues. This is only 22 years from now! (source they have a counter as well showing the tons of ice melted this year so far)

Deforestation and it´s impact:

Every year a lot of trees get cut down which never get replaced. Those trees would be very important to clean our air and to give shelter, food etc. to animals. Did you know that bees are an endangered species now? Instead they get cut down to produce palm oil, furniture, paper or for building plots.

Although paper is not the main product from those trees, here are some facts to teach your kids not to waste it: a cord of wood 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet produces 90,000 sheets of bond-quality paper or 2,700 copies of a 35-page newspaper.

How to teach your kids the importance of green living

How to teach your kids the importance of green living – activities:

Get your kids involved in recycling:

Take or send them to the glass container, let them help you sort the recycling or give them the responsibility over one of the recycling bins. Make it fun and easy for them.

Visit a local farm:

If you live in the countryside, this should be very easy to do. A fun activity to plan in advance as well if you live in the city are visits to a farm where you can pick the produce yourself. Where I used to live, there were strawberry farms you could go and pick your own. You then pay by weight. Here it is oranges. This will not only be a lot of fun, but it also teaches your kids a lot about healthy eating, looking after plants and animals and nature.

Plan a green holiday:

Many hotels now offer green activities for kids, so look for one of those when you plan your next holiday. Or book a holiday on a farm, more and more farms are offering this option now too.

Donate:

Next time you are sorting things out to donate, involve your kids and take them with you to see where their toys, clothes etc. go. They will be much more willing to give them away when they see what they get used for.

Teach your kids that life is precious:

As an example: I hate spiders, but when we spot a spider in the house, I always find a way to get it out unharmed and alive. I want to give a good example to our son. I our house the only living things that get killed are mosquitoes. Anything else we try to get rid off naturally, no chemical sprays, nothing. Should we have a really big spider one day, chances are that me and my son will run out of the house instead of the spider…

Make your own bird feeder with your kids

Then watch the birds come to it in winter. You don´t even need a garden for this. Making it and then watching the birds will give your kids enthusiasm.

Grow a bean stork with them:

Cut a plastic bottle to make a pot, fill it with earth, place a bean, water the earth and cover it again with the rest of the bottle to keep the moisture in. Beans grow very quick, so it will keep their interest. Don´t forget to take the top off once you see your bean grow.

Find fun repurposing and upcycling projects to do with them:

I give you a few examples of easy to do crafts my son has done at summer camp:

  • They created a vertical garden out of bottles on the fence;
  • They made seed bombs;
  • From a plastic bottle, an old towel and a rubber band they created. All you need is a bowl of water with a drop of washing up liquid. Dip the cloth part in and then low through the other side.

How to teach your kids the importance of going green; bubble maker

  • Using bottle tops and toilet roll carton, they created fun animals like this one:

How to teach your kids the importance of going green; Cardboard animal

Another way on how to teach your kids the importance of green living: Food waste is a big problem today with us throwing away tons of good food every day. Need help in finding ideas on quickly made healthy school lunches? I´ve found many great ideas in this e-book. *Please not that this is an affiliate link and I may receiving a small commission if you purchase the e-book at NO extra cost to you. I only recommend it here as I found it extremely helpful.

Interested in getting regular updates on DIY and recycling projects, plus posts on help protecting our environment? Sign up for my newsletter and receive a FREE pdf 15 tips on starting a greener life.

You might also be interested in: 25 ways to protect the environment on a budget, Coasters made from bottle tops, our Boy´s room Minecraft makeover or my DIY mosquito repelling deodorant.

If you have enjoyed reading “How to teach your kids the importance of green living” or know someone who might be interested in this subject: Please share this post! Thank you

How to teach your kids the importance of green living

 

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part I

* Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything using them, I may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. I only provide links to products of which I think they are useful to you and I try to link to eco-friendly products at the same time. For more information please read my disclosure & privacy policy.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1; In this part I show you how to make your own Creeper lamp and Minecraft shelf

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part I

My son LOVES Minecraft and anything to do with it… That´s why we decided to give his room a Minecraft makeover.

It all started when my mum found a picture on Pinterest of a Minecraft crochet blanket. Unfortunately it was one of those that lead to absolutely nothing… One was leading to Google search from where it was leading us back to Pinterest. So my mum, brilliant as she is with anything knitting and crochet, decided to give it a try anyway. She made all the squares needed and laid them out in the order she thought looked best… but her grandson walked in and started to reorder them all straight away :o) Seeing that is was his, it stayed like that, so if you find it looking a bit odd with most red pieces together, blame my son :o)

I will have to get my mum to sit down with me and write down instructions on how to do the blanket… This will be Part II then. Same counts for the TNT cushion and the Enderman. And maybe some more things that we might have added until then. Curtains will be on part 2 as well, but they are not finished yet.

Now in summer I am extremely busy in my day job, so part 2 will most likely come in September. I will try to have it up sooner, if possible.

When my mum finished the blanket and the cushion, we started emptying the bedroom, because we wanted to change the position of the bed as well. For this, I took one of his shelves off as well. I wanted to apply a coat of clear paint to the top as it was terrible to dust… Here the idea was born of us painting the shelf together in a Minecraft theme. My son chose the creeper, the TNT, the diamond blocks and originally wanted a diamond sword and axe, but there wasn´t enough space left, so we changed it to parts of obsidian blocks.

But before we got to paint the shelf, we stumbled over a green light in a charity shop. Me and my mum straight away had the idea to make a creeper lamp!

How to make a creeper lamp yourself

You need:

  • an old lamp, best with a green base. If not, you can easily paint it.
  • green fabric,
  • black felt fabric,
  • needles,
  • hem tape and
  • an iron

Instructions:

Try and find some green fabric as leftover or maybe you have got some at home you can re-use/re-purpose… I get smaller bits of fabric often from the local market. There is one store selling curtain fabrics with a corner of “leftovers”. I think it is a very good idea, specially if you don´t need meters of it.

Wrap the green fabric around the lamp shade to measure how much you need and place the needles so you know where to cut if you have too much. Dont worry, if it overhangs at the bottom.

Now take the ham tape, measure the length you need to fold the top and bottom over, so they look good, and cut it. Next measure the height.

Lay the green cloth out in front of you and cut the squares you need for the creeper from the black felt fabric. Once cut, place them onto the green fabric, cut hem tape for the squares and warm up your iron according to the instructions of the tape. “Glue” the squares on, then do the top and bottom rim before closing the green cloth.

Once closed, all you need to do is pull it over the lamp shade and you got your own creeper lamp!

Pretty easy, wasn´t it? Plus, it looks great!

Next, I explain to you, how my son and I created the shelf for his Minecraft room.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1 Creeper lamp

Minecraft shelf

Now, you might have wondered, why we painted the bottom of the shelf and not the top. Painting the bottom seems outright crazy, doesn´t it?

The shelf is hanging pretty high in the bedroom and painting the top, nobody would have seen it. Plus, shelves normally are filled on the top. That´s why we decided to paint the underneath and showcase our work to everyone entering the room.

What you need:

  • Wooden shelf (Maybe you already have one in the room you can use or one stored away?),
  • Acrylic paint (colours depending on motives you choose), here is a set, if you don´t have any at home
  • Flat 3 inch (80 cm) paint brush,
  • Flat artist brush for the squares,
  • Ruler,
  • Soft pencil,
  • Clear sealant (I have linked to a water based eco-friendly, kids safe version here because I think, it is all round the best option)

Instructions

To start off, measure the width and length of your shelf and mark the middle lengthwise with a little dot. Now you can calculate how many squares you can paint onto the shelf. In our case it was 4 full squares and I decided, it would look better to have 2 small bits instead of 1 odd bit. Draw lines to mark your squares, but don´t press too hard with the pencil or the line will show through.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1 Minecraft shelf Step 1

Next decide what Minecraft characters and/or blocks you want to paint. It´s up to you, if you want to paint everything yourself or want to get your kid/s involved further than the decision on what to paint. I can only tell you that we had a lot of fun together and the excitement of putting it up was much bigger for both of us.

Want to help protect the environment, but don´t know where to start? Download my FREE pdf “15 tips on starting a greener life“!

First paint the base colour of your squares. We started with 2 coats of the bright blue, white and green. Then we painted the red for the TNT and then the black for the letters, the creeper and the obsidian. Here it´s up to you, if you want the base shining through a bit or if you paint 2 coats. Remember to wait a little before applying a second coat and other colours on top.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1 Minecraft shelf Step 2

Our lines are not totally straight and the letters are a bit off-center, but that´s okay. At least you can see that we done it together and I didn´t expect perfection.

Don´t forget to clean out your brushes when starting a new colour.

Last, we painted the dark blue and grey squares, although we started some dark blue squares before, but I recommend you to first finish the black. We didn´t have grey, so I mixed it. Looking at the pictures, I should have used a bit more white as the grey doesn´t really show on them… With the squares, remember that in the game they are not totally even and more shades than we paint. So try to go thicker and thinner with your coats in places. This seems to be easier for a kid than for an adult… ;o)

Once you finished the little squares, let all the paint dry and apply the sealant.

When the sealant is dry, you can put it up and start enjoying it.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1 Minecraft shelf finished

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Feel free to upload your own Minecraft versions either in the comments or send me a picture by email (tjalva tjalvasdiy.com). I would love to see them!

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

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Interested in getting regular updates on DIY and recycling projects, plus posts on helping to protect our environment? Sign up for my Newsletter and download my FREE pdf 15 tips on starting a greener life.

You might also be interested in: DVD-Shelves made from pallets, Coasters made from bottle tops or my doormat from plastic bags.

Boy´s room Minecraft makeover Part 1; In this part I show you how to make your own Creeper lamp and Minecraft shelf

How to make a doormat from plastic bags

How to make a doormat from plastic bags; In this post I explain to you how to make a door mat from plastic bags. One great way to recycle plastic bags into something useful. I will show you step by step how to do it

How to make a doormat from plastic bags

In this post I will explain to you how you can make your own doormat from plastic bags.

Before we had to pay for the shopping bags, I used to use them as bin bags. Ever since they started charging, this is not possible anymore as they got holes in the bottom… Very annoying as I don’t just want to throw them away. So I tried finding various uses for them. This here is one.

What you need:

– about 30 plastic bags (depending on size),

– scissors,

– crochet hook (I used n° 6)

– iron,

– baking paper,

– cardboard or cereal box,

– pencil,

– carpet knife,

– double-sided tape or clear tape,

– acrylic spray paint,

– acrylic outdoor sealant spray.

How it´s done:

First take 10 of the plastic bags to prepare your “yarn”. I really don’t recommend you to do all bags at once. It is a bit boring and seems to take forever, if you do too many and you will end up not making anything… If you don’t have a lot of patience, start with 5 bags. It’s easy to attach more when needed.

Fold each bag in half lengthwise, then half again. Cut the handles off, so that you end up with a straight top. Then cut the bottom part off as well. Now cut the rest into strips of about 2 cm (~ 0.8 inches) width. Unfold the strips, then lay one over another and pull a loop through. Pull carefully or the plastic will break. Repeat with the next strip…

On Blog A La Carte you can find a very good graphic on how to make the yarn.

Once you connected all strips and have made a ball from it, it should look more or less like this

How to make a doormat from plastic bags; In this post I explain to you how to make a door mat from plastic bags. One great way to recycle plastic bags into something useful. I will show you step by step how to do it

As you see, it is very easy to add more plastic bag strips when needed.

Now you make a slip knot and I made 40 chain stitches. Make sure to not work too “tight”, as this will make your work unnecessary hard.

Once you done the chain stitches, start adding rows with single crochet. In total you will have to make about 60 rows, depending on how tight or loose you work.

If you don’t know how to crochet, Sigoni from Sigoni Macaroni has got a very good tutorial.

How to make a doormat from plastic bags; In this post I explain to you how to make a door mat from plastic bags. One great way to recycle plastic bags into something useful. I will show you step by step how to do it

After you finished the 60 rows, it should be the size of a doormat. If not, then add more rows.

How to make a doormat from plastic bags; In this post I explain to you how to make a door mat from plastic bags. One great way to recycle plastic bags into something useful. I will show you step by step how to do it

Weave in any loose bits of string to improve the overall look.

Now get your baking paper and pre-heat the iron. Turn it to just underneath of the heat with steam. Do NOT use steam!

As the ironing board is too small, best chose a table or lay the mat on the floor. Place the baking paper over your mat and iron. Do not put too much pressure on or the mat will be uneven as a result. Repeat several times until the mat seems a bit harder and more stable. Repeat on the other side.

The baking paper is very important or the plastic will stick to your iron and ruin it!

How to make a doormat from plastic bags; In this post I explain to you how to make a door mat from plastic bags. One great way to recycle plastic bags into something useful. I will show you step by step how to do it

Get your cardboard and write the outlines of the letters you want. Check the sizes with your mat, if you are not sure. Cut them out with the carpet knife and place them on the mat. When you are happy with the positioning, tape them to the mat. If you shouldn’t have double-sided tape, make a hoop with clear tape, so it will stick to the mat and the cardboard letters.

How to make a doormat from plastic bags; In this post I explain to you how to make a door mat from plastic bags. One great way to recycle plastic bags into something useful. I will show you step by step how to do it

You are 2 steps away from finishing your doormat!

Apply 2 coats of the acrylic spray paint of your choice waiting the time indicated on the can between coats. I picked red as it’s my son’s favourite colour.

How to make a doormat from plastic bags; In this post I explain to you how to make a door mat from plastic bags. One great way to recycle plastic bags into something useful. I will show you step by step how to do it

If you are happy with the colour, let dry, then take the cardboard letters off and apply sealant.

Congratulations! You just made your own doormat from plastic bags ?

Should your floor be slippery, I recommend you to get a non-slip mat (for carpets) for underneath, as the doormat is a bit slippery.

How to make a doormat from plastic bags; In this post I explain to you how to make a door mat from plastic bags. One great way to recycle plastic bags into something useful. I will show you step by step how to do it

Feel free to share your own version in the comments or simply email them to me: tjalva tjalvasdiy.com

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You might also be interested in How to make coasters from bottle tops or in the DVD-shelves I made from a pallet

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