Simple Vintage Crafts for Kids

The following post is by contributor Christen Babb.

My family and I are in the middle of a move across town. While a bit chaotic, it’s fostered the opportunity to sift through years of accumulated things to determine what is trash and what is indeed treasure.

Amidst the clutter, I re-discovered a true, vintage gem – the McCall’s Make-It Book. My grandmother purchased this book in the early 1950’s to craft with my mom. It was then passed down to my mom to craft with me.

Today, I’m delighted to re-create these third-generation crafts with my kids while also sharing with you.

Wrought with authentic charm and old-fashioned expressions, I loved riffling through its well-worn pages to pick out crafts to suit both my daughter and son. Beyond the nostalgia, I love these two crafts because they are honest, simple, and timeless.

Make a paper rose

Taken straight from the pages of the Make-It Book, here’s a delightful tutorial on how to make a paper rose.

You will need:

  • Construction Paper (red, pink, or yellow and green)
  • Scissors
  • Wire (or pipe cleaners)
  • Green Crepe Paper

1.) Trace the red pattern on this page into a piece of pink, red, or yellow paper. Then cut the rose all the way down the spiral. Roll the full length of the spiral over a pair of scissors until paper becomes very flexible.

2.) Roll the spiral by hand starting from the outer end. Now push the the outside edge of the rolled spiral down through the center so that the original inside curve forms the outer petal of a rose. Paste or staple the base together. You can get many different effects by varying the size and shape of the original spiral.

3.) To make the leaves for rose, trace the green pattern at bottom of page 34 onto green paper and fold along dotted line. Cut out and roll edges slightly.

4.) Fasten several leaves and a rose bloom onto a piece of wire for a stem. Cover stem by winding a long strip of green crepe paper along full length of stem.

Handkerchief Parachute

And an easy, straightforward craft for your lil’ adventurer, here’s how to make a Handkerchief Parachute. You will need:

  • String
  • Handkerchief
  • Clothespin
  • Poster Paints/Acrylic Paints

1.) Cut four lengths of string, about 12 inches long. Tie one piece of string to each corner of the handkerchief.

2.) For the person who jumps, paint design on the wooden clothespin using poster paints (or acrylic paints). Then tie the loose ends of all four strings to the top of the clothespin.

3.) Roll up the parachute and throw it as high as you can. As it comes down, it ill open up just like the real ones!

Do you have any crafts you did with your mom or grandmother that you do with your kids today?

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  1. I love doing things with my kids that I did with my mom and grandma. Some of my v=favorites with my really little guys right now are shaping bread dough and watercolor painting.
    Anna@The DIY Mom´s latest post: DIY Lemon Cake

  2. What a precious book! I recently was given another vintage craft book 1975 Sunset Crafts for Children which reminded me of a number of nature crafts I worked on as a young child in the seventies, painting sticks, decorating pine cones, and making mobiles.
    KJ@letsgoflyakite´s latest post: How does your garden roar?

  3. Hey these are really nice stuff .. i would like some for my youger brother .. he would love these …
    Laura´s latest post: 360 hdmi

  4. Just yesterday my husband and I were going though books and he suggested we toss my 1960 edition, then renamed the Do-It Book. Of course I couldn’t part with it – it was one of my favorite craft books as a kid, and all of my sibling’s names were written inside. I have made crafts out of it with my children, too!
    Casey´s latest post: Car Seat Transformation

  5. Love the idea of this post. There are so many lost things of old. My mom and grandma helped me learn how to cross-stitch. I have done a little bit of that with both my girls.
    Paula´s latest post: Journey to a Healthier Me: Buying New Summer Clothes

    • Christen says:

      Couldn’t agree more. With all the competing technology, many crafts have become a lost art. Love the idea of teaching your girls to cross stitch. I remember cross-stitching with my mom, too. 🙂

  6. I would buy this book just for the artwork alone! What a cute book!

  7. I love the illustrations on these! I don’t remember doing much crafts with my mom (love her, but she isn’t the crafty type), so no. I’m starting new crafts with my own kiddo 🙂
    Sleeping Should Be Easy´s latest post: What to do when your child misses a parent

  8. They are simple yet very marvelous. Where can you avail of this book? Thank you very much for sharing this idae to everyone.

    Maria´s latest post:

  9. I love this! I just went to etsy and bought one. There are a few more for sale there, too, and not expensive.
    Visty´s latest post: 385 a birthday

    • Christen says:

      Thank you for sharing, Visty! So glad you found a book for yourself…you will love for the illustrations alone!

  10. What a fabulous book and now a family heirloom! Great!
    Debbye´s latest post: Why the Time Magazine Cover “Are You Mom Enough?” Should Inspire You

  11. This brought back memories. Although I had forgotten about this book (or perhaps a later versions of it), I clearly remember these images! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    I remember always wanting to make those flowers but I don’t think we every did. Just may have to do it now 🙂


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