From homeless wooden frame to family centerpiece: upcycle crafts!

Another craft complete, from start to finish!

A couple months ago I found a few naked, damaged wooden frames tossed by the trash and I took them home (cue huz’s eyeroll and kids’ nonstop questions).

This was a true team effort: I took the frames, daughter had been collecting flower petals on the side, huz got pinteresty and thought to hang photos.

So here’s what I did:

  1. Made my own mod podge, on the cheap, with as 15-NIS bottle of white glue and water (add 1 cup of water to 2 cups glue, and a veneer finish type material if you want gloss).
  2. Set down the petals and glued them (mother-daughter project) – I repeated this 3 or 4 times, covering over browner ones with fresh ones, adding tons of glue to make sure the petals wouldn’t crisp and fall off. You really can’t use too much glue for this. I do recommend collecting a ton of petals and using them soon after because they go brown.
  3. Staple-gunned string across the frame in the back.
  4. Got those cute little decorative clothespins ($6 for a pack of 100 on Amazon).
  5. Printed a bunch of photos in small squares so as not to crowd the frame background.

Win for upcycling! Win for teaching the kids about upcycling!

Win for annoying huz because now the kids insist on bringing impractical things home like giant broken tiles!

Homemade family magnets.

Don’t know about your kids, but mine loves to play with the fridge magnets. Well, with the fridge, period, but also, with the fridge magnets.

I combined that fact with a tip my mother (an early intervention specialist) gave me: show photos of family members to baby or toddler and teach them the names – mama, daddy, grandma, etc., to help him/her identify loved ones.

It’s especially important for us ex pats who left family behind. Half of my son’s extended family lives on one side of the globe, and half on the other. He has been fortunate enough to meet both great-grandmas twice now, but this is a way of incorporating them into his daily life. Same for his grandparents, uncles, and cousins.

It’s been on my to-do list for ages (it’s that kinda thing) and I finally got around to it this week. Here’s the recipe – cheap, easy, kid-friendly – if you’d like to give it a try.

Homemade family magnets

What you’ll need:

  • Photos
  • Colored paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Lamination machine/access to one
  • Stick-on magnets


  • Love of your family
  • Fridge

Step by step:

  1. Choose photos that show a nice-sized, clear view of the person’s face (that’s the most important part, right?). For me, that ended up being a lot of photos of great/grandparents holding Koala – all the better, as he’s starting to recognize himself.
  2. Get the photos printed. For-real printed, not ghetto inkjet-style.
  3. Trim the photos down into fun shapes (for the sake of space and, yeah, fun shapes!).
  4. Create a background for each photo with a different colored-paper. Cut it in the same way but leaving a little bit of a border.
  5. Lightly glue the photo on to the paper (lightly, because it won’t matter once it’s laminated and you don’t want it to be weighed down).
  6. Go to Office Depot to get them laminated (it’s around four shekel a page). Or if you own a lamination machine, well, you know what to do.
  7. Place a strip of stick-on magnet to the back of each photo.
  8. Stick on fridge, bring your baby over and start naming people!

P.S. It’s a great idea for a kid’s birthday party if you can borrow/invest in a lamination machine.

P.P.S. If you’re friends with me and have a kid the same age as Koala, you better not steal that birthday party idea.

P.P.P.S. I think I’m falling in love with lamination machines. That could get dangerous. Stay tuned.