I know I'm not alone in having to suppress a little wince when I hear "Christmas present handmade by my kid." Don't get me wrong: I am a huge proponent of art and creativity in kid's lives. My son and I make all kinds of fun things together. But I'm well aware that although our family and friends made give a genuine "Aww" of delight when they get a handmade toddler gift - these projects tend to be things that aren't exactly functional or fit into most people's decor. I acknowledge that not everyone wants to be surrounded by kooky toddler art projects like me :) That's why I'm so excited to help my son make these awesome handcrafted projects that will actually make great presents that recipients can proudly use and display. They're easy and fun to make - and also lovely! 1. Foot and hand print aprons For the one in the first image from Little Page Turners, you'll need: Craft aprons from Michael's or any other blank apron; acrylic paints in shades of green, pink, yellow, red and any other colors you'd like; black paint pen. Make the flowers with hand prints, the butterfly wings with foot prints, and the bee and ladybugs from thumbprints. Draw in the details with the black paint pen, and add the grass, flower stems and other details. Full tutorial: http://goo.gl/QpgFRB For the one in the second image, from Simply + Kierste (which is made for Mother's Day, but can easily be modified for the holidays), you'll need: A blank canvas apron; fabric paint (make sure it's washable!); fabric; matching thread; heat transfer (optional). What to do: - Add the embellishment first, such as a ruffle at the top and along the bottom of the apron, then stitch on a flower at the top using a coordinating fabric. You can embellish these aprons any way you like, such as making flower hand prints like the ones in the other tutorial. It's up to you! - (Optional) Cut out the names of the recipient and the names of the kids in the same font, using something like white flocked heat transfer. Don't iron them on until the hand prints are done. Another option, if you have tidy handwriting or know calligraphy, is to write the names on yourself using fabric paint in a bottle with a pointed tip, or a paint pen. - This is the hard part! (Because of the wiggles) Apply the white paint to the hands one at a time. Have a plan for where you want them to go. There's no take-backs. Dry for the length of time in the paint directions - often 24 hours. - (Optional) Once the handprints were dry, iron on the heat transfer names. Full tutorial: http://goo.gl/n4wpi0 2. Beautiful tie-dye bookmarks, from Happy Hooligans Full tutorial: http://goo.gl/Qk2pFF What you'll need: A plastic jug or something similar to cut the plastic from; Sharpie Fine-Tip Permanent Markers in your choice of colors. How about green and red for Christmas?; rubbing alcohol; spray varnish; medicine dropper or pipette; ribbon, twine or cording; button; scissors; hole punch. What to do: - Trace one of your own bookmarks on the plastic with a pencil, and used a pair of sharp scissors to cut it out. Repeat the process for as many as you can get out of the surface size. - Fill in the entire bookmark with the Sharpies. There's no right way - so just let your child be creative and choose how to color it. - Fill a dropper/pipette with rubbing alcohol and drip small drops on to your bookmark. - Let it sit. Don't move it around or the colors will run together. If you watch it happen together, you will the colors magically spread together. - Let the bookmark dry completely. - Lightly apply the spray varnish to set the color. Do not brush on a liquid varnish as it will likely dissolve your art. Don't spray too much, since it could activate the Sharpie ink like the alcohol did and make your colors bleed. Optionally, once it dries you can spray another coat of varnish. - Once your varnish has dried, punch a hole in the top of your bookmark, thread a ribbon or some cording through, and embellish with a pretty button. 3. Mosaic Picture Frames, from Pink Stripey Socks Full tutorial: http://goo.gl/Qk2pFF The mosaics are made of... wait for it... styrofoam plates! What you'll need: Styrofoam plates; cereal box; cardboard; tape; tacky glue; acrylic craft paint; paint brushes; scissors; Mod Podge What to do: - Wash and dry your Styrofoam plates. Then, paint them. Once your paint dries, cover the plates with a thin coat of Mod Podge to make them slightly shiny. - Create a frame by cutting out a rectangle out of cardboard that's slightly larger than your photo. Make an opening for the photo by cutting out a rectangle that's slightly smaller than your photo. Paint the frame. Once the paint dries, give your frame a coat of Mod Podge to also make it slightly shiny. - Cut out your mosaic tiles. Organize them by colors if you plan on making a certain design. - Place your tiles on your frame and play around with different ideas for designs. Once you're satisfied with how everything looks, use your tacky glue and glue the tiles down. - Tape your photo to the back of your frame. Then, trace out a rectangle that's the same shape as your frame from a cereal box. Tape it over your photo to cover the back of the frame. Create a simple stand by bending a long rectangular piece of cereal box into a triangle shape. Tape it to the back of your frame.