Milkbox Blog

Upcycle project - Turn a T-shirt into a toddler romper February 05 2017, 0 Comments

T-shirt upcycle to toddler romper

I bought this T-shirt when my littlest was still teeny. A friend pulled off a similar T, layered for breastfeeding and made it look trendy. Unfortunately, me not so much :( But on the positive side (I always try to find that!) it meant the T was now free game for a makeover into this super-cute romper for littlest. And he looks much better in it than me so it's win/win really!

Harpas nest harem style romper

I decided on a harem style romper so I used this gorgeous tie-dye romper from the fabulous Harpa`s Nest as a bit of a rough guide. And I do mean rough... I tend to be a bit free-hand with these projects so if you want something a bit more specific, you can use this free pattern on Craftsy by Feathers Fights. Using the existing neckline, I placed the romper over the top of the T and cut down the sides and around the section at the bottom to form the legs.

adult t-shirt upcycled into toddler romper

I overlocked and hemmed the armholes (if you prefer you can just trim them neatly and leave them as stretch fabric won't fray), overlocked and stitched down the sides and around the harem crotch. (Make sure you use a stretch stitch or at least a zig-zag so it won't pull apart when it's worn!) It's a bit hard to see on black but for the legs I decided to turn it right-way-out and fold the hems over to give a cuff effect for stitching them down.

toddler romper from adult t-shirt upcycle project

Littlest looks pretty pleased I think :)

Paper plate ghosts - kids Halloween craft activity October 30 2016, 0 Comments

paper plate ghost kids halloween craft activity

These ghosts are super cute and lots of fun to make. Best of all they are simple and you can easily prepare the activity for younger kids by pre-cutting the pieces for them while older kids can do it themselves. I did this activity with my duaghter's year 1 class last year and not only did the kids love it but I loved seeing just how different all of the finished ghosts were - despite them all starting with the same materials. That individual expression of creativity is exactly what these kind of craft projects are all about!

Make a few of these friendly (or not, if you prefer!) ghosts to hang around your windows or door on Halloween to welcome trick or treaters (or perhaps scare them away!)

You will need:
White paper plates
White streamers
Black card
White card

For each ghost, cut arms from the white card and eye and mouth shapes from the black card*. Glue the eyes and mouth to the underside of the paper plate and staple the arms to the rim.
Cut or tear lengths of white streamer, fold them in half and glue at the fold to the back of your ghost. Attache the string to the top of your ghost to hang it.

paper plate ghost kids halloween craft activity

* Creative Tip: When encouraging kids to be creative it's best to try not to give too many instructions such as 'cut 2 arms, 2 eyes and 1 mouth'. When we do this we can unintentionally place limits on their creativity and discourage them from using their imagination. Plus, it's interesting to see what they come up with themselves when they're given free reign ;)

paper plate ghost kids halloween craft activity

How to make handmade soft toys from kids drawings! July 05 2016, 0 Comments

My friend Rebecca over at Blue Radish posted this fabulous fox softie tutorial last school holidays and I couldn't wait to try it out. I knew Miss 6 would be mad for this activity and she absolutely was. Best of all, it was great fun for me too. Win, win!

Make your own soft toy fox with fabric markers - kids activity via blue radish

I downloaded the pattern Bec provided (I heart foxes <3 ) although I confess I'm one of those crafters who tend to cut corners (on my own stuff) whenever I can so I cut out a step or two. For the full tutorial, make sure you check out Bec's post.

We decided I would make the fox for Miss 6 and she would make a design of her own for her baby brother. I used mini bulldog clips to pin the fabric tight around magazines so we could draw on it (for the fox, I had the pattern sheet underneath the fabric so I could trace the design).

Then we got drawing & colouring. Let me tell you, this is much more therapeutic than colouring in a book ;)
Miss 6 drew her design freehand... 

Kids craft activity draw your own soft toy

Isn't it fab? I LOVE seeing little ones express their creativity freely. And she loved it so much, she asked to make another one for herself.
After our designs were finished, I ironed the drawings to set them (A big deal for me - people who know me well know I pretty much do anything to avoid using an iron but in this case it was totally worth it ;). I cut around the designs, leaving about an inch extra of fabric all round for sewing (Cut the front and back pieces together to save time), then stitched it up leaving a gap for stuffing. Once stuffed you can hand-stitch the opening for a polished finish or fold the edges in & use a sewing machine.
No prizes for guessing which option I took!

Fun kids craft activity, make your own fabric soft toy tutorial

As long as you stitch them nice & tight, they make a great toy for babies. Or make a large one to use as a cushion or bed pillow.
Plus they're a brilliant - and different - way to display your little one's artwork.
Looking for fun sewing projects? Check out the Sweetie Petite range - A set of super-sweet dolls, and their little friend, to stitch & stuff yourself.
Going to try it out? Upload your pics to Facebook or Instagram and tag @milkboxcrafts so I can check them out.
And make sure you check out Blue Radish for more great tutorials and amazing handmade textile products.
Thanks again Rebecca for a great activity!

You can find more tutorials and fun kids craft activities here.
make your own soft toy with fabric markers - kids craft activity


 For more fun craft ideas, check out our great range of quality, handmade kits.

Road Tripping with Small Children April 25 2016, 0 Comments

Earlier this year we closed up the shop and went on a 3 week long road trip around Tasmania. We did a similar trip a couple of years ago and it was one of the best holidays we'd ever had.
This time? Not so much.
It turns out that road-tripping with a 9 month old kinda sucks.
Who woulda thought?
Ok, ok so maybe it should have been obvious. Call me a dreamer.
But it got me thinking about what we could have done to make the trip more 'summer holiday' and less 'highway to hell' so here are my top tips for road-tripping with small children.
Tips road trips camping with small children

1. Leave them behind!
Ok so I'm kinda joking here although, you know, maybe it is the ideal time for them to really get to know Nan and Pop?? Seriously though, consider whether a road trip is going to work well at this point in your lives and if you're still keen, consider staying a little closer to home while the kids are tiny.
2. Plan, plan and plan a little more.
Remember how much fun it was to take off on a journey with just a loose idea of where you were headed and what you wanted to do (ah, hello Hanoi!)? Where the road stretched ahead of you and you felt free and unhindered?
Yeah those days are over.
For now at least. It just doesn't work with small children.
It might sound contradictory but your best chance of relaxing at all is to prepare as much as possible in advance so you don't have to worry about it when you're in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal, down to your last nappy and getting a whiff of something rotten. 
Also, start preparing aaaages before you think you need to.
Trust me on this.
3. Write lists.
Hell, write lists for your lists. Following on from point 2 - record your planning. That way when you're in the depths of sleep deprivation - or find yourself in a lively discussion with the other half about what you'd each agreed to do - it's all there written down for you. Plus you might avoid getting 4 hours into a 3 week trip and realising you've left your laptop (aka lifeline to the world and all business resources) sitting on the couch at home.
Start well in advance and list the places you want to go and things you want to see and do; clothes and other items to pack; and any arrangements that need to be made for your absence (pets, mail, bills?)
4. Slow Down.
We thought we were doing this by spending 2 nights at most places. We were wrong. With hindsight, we should have chosen a few locations and spent 4 nights at each one. Not only does this eliminate all the time spent packing/unpacking/setting up camp/hunting out all the items the 6 year old has inevitably managed to lose under the bed, in cupboards or hanging from the ceiling fans, it also takes the pressure off. 
Feel like you really need a day to just chill and recharge and let the baby sleep somewhere other than a car? No probs, there's always tomorrow.
5. Take ALLLL the entertainment options.
I know some people are against ipads/movies/nintendos etc in the car. These people are crazy. Seriously. There's only so much 'I Spy' you can play with someone who can't spell before you want to throw yourself out of the moving car. I'm not suggesting you let them watch movies endlessly but on long journeys it gave us all some much-needed quiet time and, with headphones, let the baby sleep. 
Of course kids get bored easily, which is why you need alllll the options. Thankfully this is one area I was all over as I also hate not having every possible option available to me on road-trip (hence really missing my laptop!).
For Miss 6, along with the ipad and headphones, I packed: Art compendium with sketch book, colours and colouring-in book; these very cool colour-on stickers; and the Samitomato drawing game (if you don't know what this is, go check it out when you're finished here); Guess Who and UNO card games; and a Mr Mystery magic ink book (great for cafes etc when we could help her with it).
 guess who card game   uno card game    Mr Mystery        Samitomato drawing game for kids
We went on our trip during school time (um-ma!) so we also took along plenty of home reader books, activity books (Star Wars so she'd have at least some interest in doing them) and we made a journal for her to write about places we visited and stick in maps, brochures and pictures. Most of her activities were kept in a library bag so they were easy to cart in and out of the car.
Babies are a lot harder. 
Given they maintain interest in any one thing for approximately 7 seconds it's really not feasible to bring lots of stuff for them. Instead focus on bringing the items that will provide them the most comfort and remind them of home. Another option if, like me, you enjoy op shopping is to pick up some cheap toys along the way, donate them when they're bored of them and replace them with some more from the next town.
6. Don't expect it to be a holiday.
Just don't. 
You'll be sorely disappointed.
Every time someone asks me how my holiday was I firmly tell them it was most definitely a 'trip' and not a holiday. When you're road tripping, there's no Kids Club. There's no highchair or playpen to contain tiny people. There's dirt and sticks and rocks instead of comparatively-clean carpet with less enamel-damaging things for baby to chew on. Bathing the kids is at least twice as difficult, messy and time consuming. And - when they're teething and decide to cry the whole night through, it's actually even more unbearable when you're all in a confined space, freezing cold and it's raining .
It's not all bad though. Really.
Breathtaking scenery goes some way to making up for the hardships...
the nut tasmania
lake st clair tasmania
and occasionally you hit that Nirvana when both kids are asleep at once and all is right with the world :)
both kids asleep at once

How to make a Tutu Skirt - Easy Tutorial April 15 2016, 0 Comments

Did you know our Fairy Tutu kits don't involve any sewing?

Nope. None!

Our elastic waistbands come pre-stitched to fit girls size 5-8 (Australian sizing) and all of the tulle is pre-cut into equal length strips, ready to use (trust me - this is the most time consuming part!). Also included in the kit is a coordinating ribbon and a beautiful, sparkly, heart-shaped rhinestone buckle to give your tutu a gorgeous, luxe finish.

The kits are so easy to use, my six-year old now makes them herself with only a little help if she gets one really twisted.

how to make your own rainbow fairy tutu skirt

Here's how to make one yourself...

You will need:
~ Elastic
~ Strips of tulle 6" wide 
~ Ribbon 
~ Buckle 
(Our kits contain all of these, cut to size and ready to get making!)

To make the skirt:

Take a strip of tulle and fold it in half so you have a loop at one end and two 'tails' at the other. Thread the loop under the elastic waistband.

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

Fold the loop down over the front of the waistband and feed the 'tails' through the loop. If necessary, adjust the tulle so the 'tails' are the same length.

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

Pull the tails firmly to knot the tulle in place.

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

Repeat with the remaining strips, sliding each knot along to sit alongside the others, and until the skirt is nice and full.

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

Then put it on and twirl!

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls


What's your favourite colour combo? Our kits are available in a great range of colour combinations or we can custom make one for you in whichever colours you like.

milkbox rainbow fairy tutu craft kit milkbox daydream fairy tutu craft kit milkbox cotton candy fairy tutu craft kit milkbox peacock fairy tutu craft kit 

And if you want the reaaaaally easy option, we also sell them ready-made ;) 

milkbox handmade girls tutu skirt custom made

Happy crafting!

Tash xo


Faux Snow! Easy fake snow for fun sensory play. January 11 2016, 0 Comments

Do you wanna build a snowman?
In Australia?
In Summer?

snowman faux fake snow easy fun kids activity school holidays bored

Okay so it might have to be a little snowman but this fun activity is just like the real thing - only there's no risk of frostbite. Winning!

You will need:
3 cups Baking Soda (Bi-Carb Soda)
1/2 cup hair conditioner
Tray or shallow container
Buttons, ribbon, beads, toothpick etc (optional)

Mix together the baking soda and conditioner in a bowl until well combined. That's it. Easy huh? put it on the tray with an assortment of objects for the kids to make snowmen (or snow monsters or whatever they like really!) This is best suited to the outdoors as it can get a little messy although it's easy to clean up.

For other play options try using cookie cutters, plastic knives for cutting or make a winter landscape with rocks, leaves etc to decorate. Have fun and let me know if you try it out, I'd love to see some of the creations!

* I imagine this stuff tastes pretty horrid but young children should be supervised just in case as conditioner is probably best not ingested.

I first saw this activity on the Huckleberry Love blog. Check them out, they also have some great furniture makeover projects.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark - easy Christmas recipe January 06 2016, 0 Comments

Happy New Year!

Did you indulge much over Christmas? It always seems, despite my best intentions, the snacks win out and portion control blows out over Christmas and leave me with what I (not-so-fondly) call my Christmas kilo. Hey, just add it to the baby kilos right?

christmas chocolate leftover candy cane peppermint bark sweet treat gift

This post will not help shift that Christmas kilo. But it tastes great and it's a good way to use up leftover candy canes. (Does anyone actually enjoy eating candy canes??)

You will need:

1x bag of choc melts (white, dark or milk are all good)
Candy canes

Unwrap any canes and put them in a zip-loc bag. Then use a rolling pin to gently break them into small pieces, whatever size you like but try not to turn them to dust or you'll have a sticky mess everywhere.

christmas chocolate leftover candy cane peppermint bark sweet treat

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals at 70% power, stirring in between. Make sure you stir as the chocolate will look like it hasn't melted at first until you stir it around. When the chocolate is completely melted but not too runny, spread baking paper on a bench top. Pour the chocolate onto the baking paper and spread it out evenly to about 3-5mm thickness. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the chocolate and leave to set.

When hard, break up the bark into small pieces and share it around. It tastes surprisingly good - even if, like me, you're not a fan of candy canes.

Or hide from the kids and eat it. I won't tell  :)

Do you have leftovers? And how do you use them up?

Felt Christmas tree ornament tutorial December 15 2015, 0 Comments

Keen to get your Christmas craft on?
These cute little Christmas trees add a whimsical, handmade touch to your Christmas tree and are so much more interesting than plain old baubles!

You will need:
Green felt
A variety of coloured buttons
Small piece of ribbon
Needle and thread
Toy stuffing or cotton wool balls

Cut two identical triangles from the felt.
On one (or both if you want it to be double sided) stitch an assortment of buttons to represent baubles.
Fold the ribbon in a loop and stitch the two ends firmly between the top points of the two felt pieces.
Stitch all around the edges of the triangles (I used a blanket stitch but any stitch will do), pausing at the end to fill your tree with wadding or cotton wool before stitching closed.

felt Christmas tree decoration handmade tutorial

Want more ideas for how to use your trees?
- The trees make a cute addition to a gift - wrap your present, tie with ribbon and attach a tree in place of a gift card.
- Turn your trees into a festive bunting. Simply leave out the ribbon loops and instead stitch the tops of the trees to a long length of ribbon at regular intervals.

If you make one of these I'd love to see your creations. Post a photo or link in the comments or upload a photo to Instagram with #milkboxmaker :)

Interested in more Christmas crafting? Why not try one of our Christmas craft kits.

Happy crafting!

Tash xo

Christmas crafting - easy hanging star tutorial (kids) December 11 2015, 0 Comments

I must admit, for a long time there, Christmas lost a lot of it's appeal for me. Once you stop being a kid the magic wears off and add to that years of working every Christmas day and it's not hard to see how I lost my festive mojo. Of course what brought it all back (and then some) was having kids of my own and experiencing the magic all over again but from a new perspective.

Kids love Christmas with a passion that seems to exceed pretty much everything else in their lives and provides countless opportunities for fun - and behaviour modification (good old Santa, always keeping an eye out for the naughty or nice list ;) )

Crafting is a great way to let kids enjoy the anticipation of Christmas while working off a little of the mania that often comes with it. We currently stock two Christmas kits - a Christmas Craft kit and a Christmas Decorations kit. This fun and easy hanging star is part of our Christmas Decorations kit.

milkbox christmas decoration craft kit box


You will need:
6 popsticks
Markers or paint
Rhinestones, stickers or anything else you like to decorate
String for hanging

Take 3 popsticks and use glue on the ends to make a triangle shape. Do the same with the remaining 3 popsticks.
When the glue has dried a little, glue the two triangles together to make a star, leave to dry.
When dry, decorate the star with markers and rhinestones, try string to one of the star's points and hang.

 diy handmade star popstick Christmas decoration ornament kids craft

diy handmade hanging popstick star tutorial Christmas Decoration ornament kids craft

If you make one of these I'd love to see your creations. Post a photo or link in the comments or upload a photo to Instagram and tag @milkboxcrafts :)

Happy crafting!

Tash xo

Easy personalised clay Christmas ornaments or bunting tutorial December 07 2015, 0 Comments

How are your Christmas preparations going? Every year I decide I'll be super organised and have a stress-free lead up to Christmas but of course that never eventuates, and even less so now with a small business to run (and small people to manage!) BUT... is it not the best time of year? I swear the atmosphere changes around Christmastime - there seems to be more love and caring in the world which is always a good thing.

If you're stuck for a present for that person who has everything, this handmade bunting and/or ornaments is just the thing. After all you can never have too many Christmas decorations (amiright??)

clay diy Christmas Decoration star hanging ornament Bunting

You will need:
Air dry clay (white)
Rolling pin
Baking paper
Cookie cutters
Small alphabet stamps
Paint or marker pen
Clear gloss/varnish

Work a lump of clay in your hands until soft then roll out between two sheets of baking paper to stop it sticking to your work surface (you want it around 3mm thick, keeping in mind the thicker the clay the longer it will take to harden).
Use cookie cutters to cut out the star (or other) shapes and use the straw to punch a hole in each ornament for hanging.
Stamp a word, name or other design onto the front of each ornament.
Leave ornaments to dry completely (this will take several days - alternatively, you can use make & bake / polymer clay)
When dry, use paint or marker pen to colour the letters/stamping then give the whole ornament a coat or two of gloss varnish.
Thread ribbon through the hole to hang.
If you want to make bunting, tie a knot in the ribbon front and back of each ornament to hold each one in place.

clay diy Christmas Decoration star hanging ornament Bunting

Not sure what to stamp? How about family members names (don't forget the pets!), General Christmas words (Merry, Joy, Peace, Hope) or why not take inspiration from the lyrics of your favourite Christmas song, carol or story?

clay diy Christmas Decoration star hanging ornament Bunting

diy handmade clay Christmas Decoration ornament

If you make one of these I'd love to see your creations. Post a photo or link in the comments or upload a photo to Instagram and tag @milkboxcrafts :)

Don't want the hassle of gathering your own supplies? We have great Christmas craft kits available with everything you need for some fun Yuletide crafting. Available in two great designs - Christmas craft kit and Christmas Decorations craft kit.

Happy crafting!

Tash xo