Like tie-dye, only not. Party crafting for grown-ups!
March 14, 2015 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Last year for my birthday, my family came over for dinner and cake, and we tie-dyed. It was THE BEST. I'd like to do something similar this year - fun for all ages (4 year old - 60 year old, 8-10 people), easy to do, somewhat quick, doesn't require everyone sitting down at the same time and "doing a craft", not too "lame" for the adults, but not too complex that the 4 1/2 year old can't do it without a little help. Tie-dying was fun for everyone, but I'd don't want to do it two years in a row. I've got two weeks and can get pretty much anything in store or from the internet. Willing to spend a bit of cash. Thanks!
posted by firei to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
I've had big fun with coloring books. Crayons work better than laundry markers "sharpies" and crayons won't stain your furniture.

One could make coloring blanks of borders: color them on and then make name tents.
posted by Jesse the K at 8:09 AM on March 14, 2015

Bleach Shirts
posted by saucysault at 8:20 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Decorating sugar cookies or cupcakes.

posted by amelioration at 8:24 AM on March 14, 2015

I had success with a group of upper elementary kids decorating these paperboard book boxes. They went at it with acrylic paints and stickers and scrapbook/collage paper, and at the end we coated each one with Mod Podge to preserve it. Fun for any age, reasonably cheap, and now you have a secret hideaway hollow book to put on your shelf just like in a cheesy detective novel.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:25 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Okay, doing stuff that's appropriate for a 4-year-old is probably not my area of expertise. I'd probably just leave it at crayons and Legos. Or collage. Or egg dyeing.

But I can think of a few other crafts that are really easy for everyone else, or are fun if you have a little adult supervision when it comes to cutting or microwaving.
Rolled beeswax candles. You may need to order the materials online for that.
Glycerin soap. I've seen supplies at Michael's, and you can always use cookie molds.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:35 AM on March 14, 2015

Bleach shirts is good as long as you make the mask/template ahead of time. Don't forget the need to wash/dry them when you're finished.

A simpler thing is to tye chain knots in 550 cord (a.k.a. paracord) so everyone has a key fob in colors they like. Here's what it looks like with a spiraling chain sinnet: You can also tie the Solomon bar knot instead: My kids can do these; the knots only take a little time to learn, and you need some super glue and a lighter to finish them off.

Don't forget some split rings from the hardware store for the keys to go on. You can buy paracord at craft stores or big box home repair stores now, and there are a million (cheaper) sources online, if you have enough time.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:36 AM on March 14, 2015

Oh, and beading. Get some giant beads and memory wire and a pair of craft pliers and have everyone string bracelets onto wire. Have someone make a little loop on the end of one wire, string beads on, make a loop on the other end to finish it off. Had a lot of luck with that one at public events.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:39 AM on March 14, 2015

Beeswax candles are a great idea. When my kid was 3 or 4, we made those for Christmas presents using metal cookie cutters - cut out 4 of a shape, press them together with a wick in the middle, and flatten the bottom a little so they stand up.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:40 AM on March 14, 2015

Also: ice candles! Totally doable as long as grownups pour the wax. The school lunchroom saved a bag of the small milk cartons for us and those worked really well.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:48 AM on March 14, 2015

What about getting herb seedlings, plant pots and potting soil and letting people pot up a mini herb garden to take home?
posted by sciencegeek at 8:50 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Depending on the size of your kitchen, cooking a big slap-up meal together?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:51 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Paint-your-own suncatchers? (Link is just an example.) The supplies are cheap enough and you can find all kinds of designs in craft stores/online to suit your age group (and it should be fine -- with a bit of supervision -- for the 4 1/2 year old). It's something everyone can be doing at once and would take up enough time.

Fun things can be done with shrink plastic, but that may be too advanced for the littlest one.
posted by darksong at 9:33 AM on March 14, 2015

T-shirts, spray paint, and leaves (or other stencils). I recommend rolling tape to hold the stencils in place while the spray paint is applied.
posted by amtho at 9:42 AM on March 14, 2015

You could also do jeans (or other sturdy canvas pants) and/or scarves instead of t-shirts.

You could also use bleach in a sprayer instead of paint.

Be sure to warn your guests to wear or bring something they don't mind getting stained.
posted by amtho at 9:44 AM on March 14, 2015

How about marbling paper? I did this on my own as a pre-teen but I think it can be scaled up or down to make it interesting for anyone.
posted by peacheater at 9:59 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Book making is a lot of fun and can be as easy or as complicated as you like.
posted by InkaLomax at 10:17 AM on March 14, 2015

Stamping tea towels - you can make stamps or get pre-made stamps.

Here is one that uses citrus fruit, here is another pre-made stamp one, here is a tutorial with hand-made geometric stamps. I'm also sure you could find fabric paint markers if you wanted to let them go free-style by hand.

For the tea towels - If you're handy and looking to be thrifty, you could buy some white cotton fabric and sew a bunch in advance. Or you could just buy some plain white/colored ones somewhere.
posted by lizbunny at 10:34 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Exquisite Corpse.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:22 AM on March 14, 2015

Perler beads!
posted by mogget at 12:46 PM on March 14, 2015

shrinky dinks!! there's lots of neat things adults and kids can make
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:33 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

darn, that second link was supposed to go here, sorry
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:41 PM on March 14, 2015

Best answer: DIY stepping stones could be really fun!
You can find lots of tutorials online for help, but basically-
1. Collect tiles, pebbles, broken plate pieces or pretty stones.
2. You can buy stepping stone molds for pretty inexpensive, use plastic planter lids, or even use baking pans with lots of petroleum jelly inside.
3. Cut contact paper to fit inside the mold. Arrange the tiles/pebbles/whatever in the pattern you want against the contact paper with the side you want up sticking to the paper.
4. Lay the paper inside the mold.
5. Mix the concrete and pour into the mold.
6. Let it set! When it's all dry, you can flip the mold and pop out the stone.
posted by jaksemas at 2:03 PM on March 14, 2015

Glass painting - the Martha Stewart glass paint at Michael's is reasonable (with a coupon) and works well. I bought dollar store glasses and a select set of paint colors that went together (all opaque by the way). I poured dollops of each paint color on paper plates and provided toothpicks and cotton swabs to create various dot shapes or even hearts. Everyone sat around and could talk and dab and ended up with a nice glass or two at the end of the night. There are some good examples on pinterest of course. The paints (not the metallic! that needs to air dry for several days) can be baked on to the glass in a low oven on a cookie sheet then even the dishwasher doesn't remove the paint. If your audience is more artistic and creative then more colors and more offerings such as sponges and paintbrushes might work well. In my case a simple palette of colors that all go together and a suggested theme of dots/hearts worked well. The wet or dry paint can be wiped or scraped off if mistakes are made to very easy to work with. Various glassware makes the project even more flexible.
posted by RoadScholar at 2:27 PM on March 14, 2015

Salt water taffy

Mosaic art
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:38 PM on March 14, 2015

At Christmastime a friend invited a group to come to her house and make rum balls. No cooking, just mixing and rolling into balls. A four year old would have a blast getting his hands into some sticky chocolate dough, nonalcoholic for him of course, and rolling it into balls. Have rum for the grownups.
posted by islandeady at 12:32 AM on March 15, 2015

Duct tape.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:51 PM on March 15, 2015

Pottery painting? There is probably a local store that would sell you the blank pieces, lend you the paints and fire them overnight at the end.

Or make fairy gardens?
posted by superfish at 12:39 AM on March 16, 2015

What about some kind of abstract painting? Like that scene in The Princess Diaries where they're wearing rain ponchos and throwing darts at balloons filled with paint.

I saw a project on Pinterest where somebody took a canvas and put vinyl letter stickers on, then let their toddler go nuts finger painting over it. When they removed the letters they had a cute little quote in white surrounded by colorful swirls.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:42 PM on March 16, 2015

"Rock and Roll" party; decorating rocks and baked goods.
posted by tilde at 10:31 AM on March 18, 2015

« Older how do you Connect and Understand Stuff you've...   |   Flat Stanley would be perfect for this Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.