Maybe you’ve heard of plastic canvas; maybe you haven’t. It’s a craft item that’s used to make assorted yarn-embellished decor pieces for your home. The canvas itself looks similar to a screen but it’s made of plastic instead of strands of metal. The grid pattern is much larger than household door screen and ordinary yarn is generally used to sew the various pieces together. The canvas, as well as matching yarn, is sold at most any craft store. It’s available in a wide assortment of colors and is not expensive. If you’ve never done a plastic canvas project you might be interested to know that you don’t necessarily have to use yarn when working with it. There are other methods you can use, along with the canvas, to create things for yourself, your home or your family. As a matter of fact, if you have a baby, you can easily make an assortment of toys that he or she will love.
Cut a strip of plastic canvas to be the length of a yardstick – more or less. The strip should be a little wider than the average yardstick. Use plastic tape to cover the edges so they are no longer scratchy. Use quality tape that will hold. Go all the way around the perimeter with the tape, folding it over the edges, so that the tape covers the front and back edges. After the entire perimeter is covered with tape you can then attach various toys to the strip. Poke a hole in each end of the strip and use ribbon to tie it to the crib. Or, use velcro dots to attach it. Tie on rattles, bells, a shatter-proof mirror and other toys to entertain the child.
Cut a piece of canvas which is twelve inches long and three inches wide. Cut two more pieces, each three inches by three inches. Fold the piece over three inches, then crease the fold well. Do this again and again until the long piece of canvas is folded into four equal sections. Use hot glue or another non-toxic adhesive to hold the ends shut. Glue one of the three by three squares over one open section of the cube. Now place a large bell inside. Glue the second three by three square onto the cube. You can use colored, plastic tape to cover the raw edges or, if you want, you can use yarn. Just take a length of yarn and weave it in and out of the squares of the plastic grid, at the edges. To do this, tie a knot around one square of the grid. Take the yarn up and over the edge, through a hole on each side of the seam, then back up and over and through the next set of holes. Continue doing this as you work your way across each seam. Tie in a knot at the end of each seam. You can make large or smaller cube toys simply by cutting larger or smaller pieces of plastic canvas.
If your baby is already crawling he or she will love a rolling tube they can chase around the room. Cut a piece of canvas that is twenty inches by eighteen inches. You can adjust this size to make the finished toy a little larger or a little smaller. Use colored, plastic tape to cover the edges on the two longest sides of the grid. Twist the canvas into a tube shape and use the tape to secure the seam. You can first glue the seam, if you want, then use a length of tape to cover the raw edges. The tape should stretch the length of the seam with several extra inches on each end to tuck inside the tube. A crawling child will have hours of fun trying to “catch” the tube, but each time he or she does, it only rolls again. They’ll love this toy which only takes a few minutes to make.
Make something similar by starting with a piece of plastic canvas which is ten inches by six inches. Use Plastic tape to cover the edges of the two longest sides. Fold the canvas into a tube shape and use glue and/or tape to secure. If using glue, allow it to dry or set, then cover the edges with plastic tape to protect the child from scratches. Stand the tube on one end and draw around it. Do this twice. Cut the two disk shapes out and set one aside. Glue one disk onto one open end of the tube. Drop in a couple of bells or other noisemakers then glue the second disk over the open area of the tube. Now use yarn to weave in and out of the disk and tube edges to cover the raw edges. If you want, tie a ribbon to the ends so the child can pick up the tube much easier. This step is optional.
Make a wrist rattle by cutting a small square of the plastic canvas. Use plastic tape to go around the edges of the perimeter. Now tie, sew or glue on a piece of elastic that will hold the square piece to the child’s wrist. On the top side of the canvas square tie or otherwise attach a small bell. When the child moves his arm around the bell will tinkle and the child will love it. The elastic can easily be cut away, and a longer piece added, if the child outgrows the first wrist band.
You don’t have to have any plastic canvas lessons to learn how to make cool things out of it. It’s not expensive so you can afford to make many different toys for your child. You’ll be so thrilled with what you have made you might decide to take those plastic canvas lessons after all! Soon, you’ll have all sorts of new things for your entire family!