It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Father’s Day Craft

I had a brilliant idea for a father’s day gift two or three weeks ago. Simply brilliant. No ties, nothing to do with golf or sports or barbecuing. Have you ever noticed how LIMITED gifts for dads are? And how many of them are totally and completely useless? Clutter, by any other name, something that will sit on a shelf and collect dust until the child has forgotten about it and can be safely tossed. This is how we thank dad for his efforts? Given my life-long campaign accruing clutter in my own life, I just can’t do that to someone else. You’ll recall that my mother’s day gifts this were year nicely consumable. Two or three baths, and it’s GONE.

Useful. The mark of a Good Gift.

So… what to do for the dads? I mulled and thought and contemplated… and then my Moment of Brilliance struck. They ALL RIDE BIKES. More times than not, the children are ferried to and from my home in baby-cabanas, towed behind daddy (or mommy’s) bike. Bikes, bikes, bikes… what can we make for a bike?

Bicycle License Plates!

Then the hunt for materials. “Make them of tin foil pie plates!” a neighbour suggested. “They can press designs into them with a pencil. It’ll be so CUTE!”

Tin foil? Even the sturdier pie plates are awfully flimsy. If they’re malleable enough for the tots to draw on them, we’re not looking at particularly sturdy. I pictured dented and wrinkled bits of aluminum fluttering off the daddy’s bicycle. Cute for about a week, perhaps, and after that — CLUTTER.

Nope. No tin foil.

So… picture frames, maybe? So they could draw a picture and then have it enclosed? Because these things not only have to be sturdy, but weather-proof. But though I hunted, I couldn’t find anything the right size and sturdiness — and in my price range. Which is to say, CHEAP. I have five of these to purchase. I can’t be spending $35 on each one!

Picture frames were out. But then, what? Time was flying by. If I didn’t hurry, the dads would be getting some dorky piece of clutter out of desperation. So I decided to take a meander through a hardware store. I love hardware stores in the same way and to the same degree that I love fabric and craft stores, so this was no trial. Even better, since I don’t know what to DO with 90% of the stuff I see, a trip to the hardware store is much, much less expensive than craft or fabric stores…

And there, in the hardware store, I found these:

We have five solid steel disk-thingies and a can of glossy white metal paint. My lovely husband, who doesn’t consider himself ‘handy’ at all, recognized the disk-thingies immediately. I had gathered, given their placement in the store, that they had to do with lighting and wiring, but to identify them? Ha.

But it doesn’t matter what they’re really for! Because for us, they are now license plates! They’re steel, so they’re sturdy. They even have a little hole at the top to hang them from daddy’s bike! Covered with metal paint, they’ll be protected against rust. And they cost $1.16 each. (Take THAT, perfect-but-outrageous $35 picture frame!)

Total expenditure for five gifts: less than ten dollars. 🙂

Now, this craft is largely adult-made. The children watched and had some input, but just this once, it’s not free-form totwork.

After I painted the disks — given the toxicity of metal paint, I did this on the weekend when the kids weren’t even here — my idea was to use acrylic paint to paint the children’s palms, and press a hand-print onto the disk. Their hands are small enough that they still fit in that circle. (Small enough to fit. Isn’t that just so damned cute?) Except that the acrylic paint didn’t make a nice, clean imprint on the glossy metal paint. More of an indistinct smoodge. Tried several times, and got nothing but smoodges.


Back to the drawing board. My next thought was shelf paper. Something bright! I could trace their hands on some bright red or blue shelf paper, and just peel and stick it to the disk.

Except it seems that people in this city like their shelf paper in muted tones of cream and grey. A pale pastel at best. A white disk with a pale grey handprint was NOT what I had in mind…


Not sure what I’d find, I meandered through Grand and Toy… and found it!! “Poly Index Dividers“, they’re called, and you may call them that, too, if you like. To my craft-centric mind, they are bright, durable sheets of plastic.

Trace the tots’ hands on this, cut it out and glue it to the disk. I traced — which they found interesting — I cut, they spread the glue. After the glue had dried, I added the words, we covered it all, front and back, with packing tape (for water-resistance) and…


And here’s one on my husband’s bike. Yes, this one is hanging sideways rather than across the back. BOOOOO. But I have a fix for that! Hose clamps! Two hose clamps, in fact. One will make a large loop through supports on the rear underside of the bike seat. The other will make a small loop through the hole at the top of the disk, then grab onto the large loop attached to the bike seat. I will post a picture when I’ve found the clamps. I know we have some. We have a whole big package of them in the basement. Somewhere.

Cute, no?

June 9, 2010 Posted by | commemoration, crafts | , , | 7 Comments