Its that time of year…
By far the hardest time of the year when my children were little, was between camp and school or school and camp, especially because I raised my children with no TV, and computers, iPads and smartphones had yet to be invented. Since I know how you feel during these last dog days of summer, I am going to try to give you a couple of duct tape projects over the next few days to keep your children busy and productive. You will have to judge what your children are capable of, given their unique set of fine motor skills and frustration tolerance. There are always ways to make a project easier or more challenging. As a pediatric occupational therapist, that is my area of expertise; so if you have a question about upgrading and downgrading an activity, just ask!
The first bunch of projects will only require duct tape (DT), basic tools that you can purchase when you buy the tape, and household items. AC Moore, Target, Michaels, Walmart, Amazon.com and some other stores/sites carry all the basics. When you are comfortable, I will move on to projects that are larger, more time consuming and require specialty items such as belt buckles and suspender hooks
- Duct tape. Duck Brand and 3M are my favorites
- Non-stick scissors; I have had good experience with Fiskars for adults
- X-acto knife. Look for one with a cap, for safety
- Self-healing cutting mat. As a quilter, my favorite is Olfa, but for DT, you can purchase an inexpensive 11”x17” Fiskars. For larger projects you will need a larger mat, but we will start small
- Velcro sticky back tapes in dots or strips
- Ruler (metal is best, but for starters, anything will do)
- Paper (my alternative to the more complex “rip, stick and flip” method of construction)
Optional for decorating:
- Ribbon, Funky laces or fat yarn
- Stick on jewels. Large sizes work best for little hands
Today’s project: Coin purse (girl talk)/wallet (boy talk).
Finished size approximately 4”x 4”, but any size will do!
Measure and cut a 4 ½” vertical strip of printer paper, so that you are left with a 4½ “x 11” inch strip of paper. Save the rest for another project. No more measuring with a ruler!
Cut 3 strips of (mustache) DT the same length as the paper.
Note: do not trim any edges until the end. It is a waste of time. To cut, use non-stick scissors (I have not found any kid-size ones that work reliably) or use an Exacto knife using the ruler as a guide.
Place the first strip along the edge of the paper
With the second strip, overlap the first strip about ¼“.
DT Principle #1: For stability, always overlap tape. Never place pieces side by side.
Place third strip along the other edge of the paper. There will be a large overlap.
Repeat the same process on the other side with your black DT. Needless to say, I could have used different tape for each strip.
Trim to 4” wide, especially if the sides are uneven, or leave it 4½” if you like. Do not worry about messy sides. You are going to cover them with more DT. Straighten out the top and bottom with the scissors or X-acto knife. I use a ruler or the guides on the mat rather than eye-balling, but then again I’m a quilter and have been trained to be deathly afraid of the “quilting police.”
STEP 8: (OPTIONAL)
Slice a 4” piece of black tape lengthwise to seal the top and bottom. NOTE: to the chagrin of all except the DT manufacturers, DT is 1 7/8” wide, not an even 2”, so don’t ever expect to slice it lengthwise perfectly. If I were an entrepreneurial duct taper, I would invent a ruler for this!
STEP 9 & 10:
Positioning the paper lengthwise, fold up the bottom 4”.
Cut a piece of tape about 7”, a bit longer than the length of the paper with the bottom folded up. Slice vertically. If you like a wider border, cut 2 pieces of tape instead of slicing one in half
Place 2 pairs of Velcro dots on the inner side of the flap. Press down and voila! Your Velcro dots will magically match
Optional: decorate with stick-on rhinestones
Optional: Poke holes below the flap, and string through ribbon or a lace, so that you can turn it into a necklace or “pocketbook.”
*You are now officially done*
If placing straight lines of duct tape is over the top for you or your child, there is always the collage method. Check back later this week for a tutorial on the collage version!