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Pretty Prudent Cross-Stick Pencil Case

Back-to-School Crafts to Make for Kids

Send your children into the classroom with chic, homemade essentials

Crafting an elegant leather and canvas lunch bag from scratch is the 2014 version of popping a little note into your kid’s plastic lunchbox. Blame it on Pinterest (or just an incredibly crafty generation?), but times are changing.

That’s not to say that small touches don’t make a big difference to children, but if you’re interested in hopping on the DIY bandwagon without having ever so much as pasted two doilies together, you’re going to need some help. That’s where crafting connoisseur Jaime Morrison Curtis of Pretty Prudent comes in.

The seasoned—and exceptionally talented—creator of all things do-it-yourself is here to help beginners get comfortable with crafting. Below, she reveals her top tips for starting a kit of essentials, learning to sew and more. Then, she’s sharing a few ideas for creating back-to-school crafts for your kids!

Canvas and Leather Lunch Bag

Pretty Prudent’s Canvas and Leather Lunch Bag

What’s your advice for someone who would like to start crafting but feels intimidated by all of the beautiful pieces they see on sites like Pinterest?

Just try! Pinterest is amazing for inspiration, but it can also intimidating to even the most experienced of crafters (myself included). A lot of that daunting feeling comes from the beautiful photography—just remember that it’s only a picture! Your project doesn’t need to be perfectly photographed hanging off a just-weathered-enough ladder in a field of poppies at dusk. Your project will be used, touched, felt and adored by people who love you. Give yourself a chance to create something meaningful and don’t worry about the end result.

When did you start crafting?

I was an art major in college and have always been a creative person, but I didn’t really start crafting as a hobby or a business until my daughter was born in 2008. Something about the “nesting” urge clicked in me, and I just felt compelled to make things. The truth is, before I launched Pretty Prudent (then called Prudent Baby), I didn’t know how to sew at all! My husband would sew things (because he is distinctively tall and skinny, so he needed to tailor his own clothing), and when the nesting urge kicked in, I sat down at the machine and taught myself. You are never too old to learn a new skill.

What do you think is the best way to learn how to sew if you’ve never done it before?

Get out a sewing machine, read the manual and start sewing. Nothing can teach you to sew better than just doing it. The bottom line is that sewing with a sewing machine is actually very simple—it just seems daunting because the machine appears complicated. Once you learn the basics of how a sewing machine is operated, which is very easy to do, the rest is just a matter of trial-and-error and practice makes perfect, just like your grandparents told you.

Pretty Prudent's Backpack

Pretty Prudent’s Backpack

What are a few basic supplies that someone getting into crafting should always have on-hand?

This really depends on what craft you are drawn too, but if you just feel the urge to make something every now and then, a few wise things to have in the house, so you can just jump up and attack any project that strikes your fancy, are:

Adhesives (everything needs to stick together somehow), and my basics are: Alene’s Tacky Glue (best universal glue), E6000 (power glue that works on pretty much everything), a hot glue gun and glue sticks. Get more info on adhesives we love here.

Basic sewing supplies: Pins, needles and cotton thread, fabric scissors (don’t use them on paper!) and a bundle of fat quarters or half yards of coordinating decorative or solid fabrics (we love the ones from Fabricworm. Get more info on what to include in a basic sewing kit here.

Basic paper crafting supplies: Card stock in a variety of colors, a book or two or 12×12 decorative paper, Mod Podge decoupage medium, foam brushes, paper scissors and a self-healing cutting mat.

Where do you find inspiration for all of your crafting ideas?

Jacinda (my partner and BFF), Colleen (our Managing Editor) and I keep a running inspiration list that we come back to whenever we feel inspired to start “making” but don’t know what to actually make. If we have an idea, we add it to the list when it hits us (don’t tell yourself you will remember it later—you won’t), and then when we need inspiration we just scroll down the spreadsheet until we find the project we are most in the mood to do at that moment. I also have a somewhat strange tendency to wake up in the middle of the night and send myself emails. In the morning I don’t remember sending them, so when I open my computer and read them at least 70 percent of them make no sense, but I forward them to Jacinda and Colleen anyway and we try to figure out what I meant. So I guess the answer to your question is, in my dreams? That sounds silly, but it’s pretty much true.

Pretty Prudent's Crayon Roll

Pretty Prudent’s Crayon Roll

Feeling inspired? Check out these Pretty Prudent crafts perfect for sending your kids back to school, and pre-order Jaime’s newest book, Prudent Advice for Every Woman, now.

Create a Canvas and Leather Lunch Bag

Craft a DIY Nap Matbed Roll

Build a Cross-Stitch Leather Pencil Case from scratch

Sew a Crayon Roll

Design a Drawstring Backpack



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