Toy With Your Decor

By Gen Cohen

Update your child's room with these playful projects.

Bright Idea

Finally, a place for the contents of goody bags from parties past! Fill a glass lamp base ($99; lampsplus.com) with bouncy balls, toy cars, Legos, or small plastic animals. Bonus: You'll never have to step on those !&?#$ things again.

 

 

A-door-able Stopper

Chances are you have a stuffed animal that hasn't gotten some love in a while, so give it a new job -- as a doorstop! Any large, flat-bottomed cuddly toy will work.

What you'll need: Large stuffed animal, dry rice, seam ripper, needle, and thread.

 

  1. Open stitches along a bottom seam and gently pull stuffing out.
  2. Replace stuffing with dry rice until toy regains its shape.
  3. To reseal, double up thread and close hole with a whipstitch. If you're worried about leakage, go over seam again with a second line of stitching.

 

Teeth Rex

There will be more brushing and less whining, thanks to this easy project inspired by our friends at our sister magazine Family Fun. Use a craft knife to cut square holes (big enough to fit the bottom of a toothbrush handle) into a hollow plastic dinosaur. Let Mom or Dad wield the knife.

 

 

Skater Shelving

Remove the wheels and hardware from an old skateboard, then mount it on basic shelf brackets ($4 each; IKEA stores) to create a totally rad space for all of your kid's odds and ends.

 

 

Jungle Bookends

A coat of paint turns plastic animals and wooden blocks into bright bookends. We used Learning Resources' Jumbo Jungle Animals ($30 for a set of five; learningresources.com).

What you'll need: Large plastic animals (Learning Resources Jumbo Jungle Animals/Jumbo Dinosaurs, $30 for set of five; learningresources.com), 4x4s cut to size (the ones shown are 81/2" long), sandpaper (100 grit), drop cloth, spray-on primer suitable for plastic, spray paint (gloss finish), and superglue.

 

  1. Sand ends of 4x4s to smooth.
  2. Using the spray-on primer suitable for plastic and following instructions on the can, prime plastic animals and 4x4s. Take extra care with animals; their shape makes it very easy to miss spots. Let dry completely.
  3. Using spray paint as instructed, paint plastic animals and 4x4s. More than one coat will be needed. Let dry thoroughly.
  4. Use superglue on feet or body parts that will touch wood and place animal on top of 4x4. Let dry overnight.

 

Hip Hanger

Attach that little-used xylophone to the wall with screw-in eye hooks. It makes organizing your daughter's jewelry child's play.