20 Crafts for $20 - Part One

20 Crafts for $20 - Part One

I challenged myself to create 20 crafts using the "$20 Art Kit"- consisting of dollar store items. Here are the first five creations.

A few weeks ago, I gave myself a little challenge. I went to my local dollar store and purchased what I considered to be the essentials for a solid kid’s crafting kit.  From this kit, I committed to creating 20 different crafts, using only the kit and a few household items.  In the process of doing this, I discovered some important things:

#1.  The grade of white glue that you will find in a dollar store is thinner than an Elmers brand glue. Although it will dry and secure your items, it may need help while drying. Which is why I decided to take out the foil star stickers from my original kit, and replace them with a set of small binder clips.

#2.  Items such as the watercolor paint kit do not come with good quality brushes.  I found myself cursing the enclosed brush and actually turning to cotton swabs as an alternative.

#3.  The quality of crayon does not compare to Crayola.  They are waxier and their color doesn’t cover as well.  I really wanted to create “scratcher” art for you all (color a page with different colors, then cover the entire page with black crayon and use a skewer to scrape away the black and reveal the color below) but the black was too thin.

#4.  Sometimes the markers may be dried out, or the tips may be pushed in.  I found that placing the dried marker upside down in a little glass of water helped to revitalize the pen ink.

#5.  The scissors lack strength, so don’t try and cut too many layers of paper at one time.

Other than that, I found the quality on most items was pretty good - and for a starter kit, not bad.  You and your crafter(s) should be able to create a wide variety of projects using these supplies.  

And now, I present to you the first 5 of my 20 projects.


It goes without saying that you can use your water based markers to draw, color, and trace. However, I thought it would be fun to take them to the next level.


water based markers (preferably the large ones)
paper towels/napkins/or even toilet paper
a water source (eye dropper, squeeze bottle, sports top water bottle, spray bottle, sponge…)
protected work surface


Craft 1 - Step 1

Lay a single napkin or paper towel on your protected work surface

Craft 1 - Step 2

Color and scribble all over your paper using the water based markers, the more color the better.

Craft 1- Step 3

Slowly drip water onto the paper - watch the colors bleed, run, and mix.

Craft 1- Step 4

Let dry and enjoy (it makes great wrapping paper for little gifts) or proceed right away to craft number 2 below.

the finished product from the above craft

2 more sheets of absorbent paper (paper towel, napkin, tp, etc.)

Craft 2 - Step 1

Lay a fresh sheet of paper under your finished artwork. (note, if you know you want to do this project from the beginning, place this second sheet beneath your artwork before you begin spraying).

Craft 2 - step 2

Lay another clean sheet on top of the wet artwork to make a sandwich.

Craft 2- step 3

Using either your hands or a roller press the top sheet into the artwork to transfer the color.

Craft 2 - step 4

Peel apart the 3 sheets and let them dry.

You can use these sheets as wrapping paper, on art projects, or below in craft number 3.

3 full tie dye transfer sheets from craft #2.

1 pipe cleaner

craft 3 - step 2

Let your 3 sheets dry completely and peel apart to create 6 total sheets

Lay 6 sheets on top of each other 

Fan fold the 6 sheets 

Fold in half to make a central crease

Make pipe cleaner into letter “j” 

Slip pipe cleaner over crease 

Twist pipe cleaner multiple times to secure, make the stem and seal the paper

Slowly and gently start pulling layers of paper in towards the pipe cleaner center

Repeat step 8 for all layers, fluff, and display


Tie die paper flower


1 pipe cleaner

1 fat marker

5 or 6 puff balls

2 wiggle eyes

white glue

2 pony beads

puff ball caterpillar - step 1

Fold the end of your pipe cleaner up and down 1 inch to make a letter “z” or “n” with one long leg.

Pinch the long leg of pipe cleaner to the inner angled side of “z” and twist to secure (you should now how the letter “y”)

puff ball caterpillar - step 4

Wrap the long leg of the “y” around a fat marker (this will make a spring)

Slip the spring off the pen and flatten the straight end to make the spring sit without rolling

puff ball caterpillar - step 5

Glue puff balls between the twists of the spring

puff ball caterpillar - step 6 

Glue head puff ball in front of spring so “y” makes antennae.  Add google eyes, and slip two pony beads on either ends of “y” to top off antennae.  Let dry for at least 1 hour.

Craft 4 - puff ball caterpillar

Project 5

2 pipe cleaners (one, for body of butterfly made into “y” from above craft)

pony beads


thin marker (if you wish to make into spring)

Pipe Cleaner Butterfly - step 1

Make one pipe cleaner into “y”, cut second pipe cleaner in half

Pipe Cleaner Butterfly - step 2

Take halved pipe cleaner and loop into letter “o”, secure ends by twisting, repeat with second half of pipe cleaner

Pipe Cleaner Butterfly - step 3

Pinch 1 “o” in the middle and twist to make figure 8 - repeat with second “o”

Pipe Cleaner Butterfly - step 4

Lay the centers of both figure 8’s on top of each other, and twist to secure together to make wings

Pipe Cleaner Butterfly - step 5

Take one pony bead and slide onto “y” pipe cleaner.  Lay onto of wings and wrap once to secure “Y”.  Slip 5 more pony beads onto bottom of “y”.

Pipe Cleaner Butterfly - step 5


Wrap bottom of “y” around thin marker to make spring,



Pipe Cleaner Butterfly

cut pipe cleaner, leaving about ¼ inch.  Fold pipe cleaner up onto the outside of the bead to lock beads in place

Next week I’ll use this cute little butterfly to make a photo holder...so stay tuned.  More fun, from your $20.00 craft kit, to come!