Our house is the pit of despair when it comes to keeping track of the myriad game pieces, small toys and party-bag loot that come with the modern child’s life. If they don’t get accidentally vacuumed up, they get lost. If they aren’t lost, they get stepped on. Until recently, a sad fate awaited playland pieces when they arrived at our doorstep. But now, instead of filling our garbage with misfit toys, we go by the motto: “Don’t trash ’em, stash ’em!” A collection of rogue trinkets can be a veritable crafty gold mine—and provide the raw materials for a fantastic Father’s Day present. Try sending the kids on an indoor scavenger hunt (also known as “cleaning your rooms”), round up an old frame and turn that toy trash into picture-perfect treasure!
- Wooden frame (preferably a used one)
- Light sandpaper (optional)
- Craft paint
- Sponge brush
- An assortment of small toys, party favors, game pieces, etc.
- Liquid Fusion
- 2 small eye hooks
- 16″ (or desired length) necklace
- Jewelry pliers (optional)
- Masking tape
- Choose a frame with a smooth, flat front. This is a great time to resuscitate a defunct frame with broken glass or a missing back!
- Lightly sand the frame, if necessary. Using a sponge brush, paint the front and sides of the frame (you’ll probably need at least two coats). Let dry.
Pick Up the Pieces
- Gather a variety of toy parts, game pieces, marbles—basically anything remotely cute that might otherwise end up in your vacuum cleaner. You can follow a theme (for example, game pieces, robots, puzzle pieces, doll accessories, a certain color, etc.) or mix it up a bit, as I did here.
- Arrange pieces as desired on frame. Glue toys in place using Liquid Fusion or other strong adhesive. Let dry for at least 4-6 hours.
- Measure one inch in from each side on the top edge of the frame. Screw in eye hooks (depending on the type of wood, you may need to use a small drill).
- With jewelry pliers or your fingers, pry open a necklace chain link and slide it through one of the eye hooks. Close it back up and repeat on opposite side with the other end of the chain.
- Tape your favorite family picture to the back of the frame with masking tape. Hang it up and admire your handy work, your photogenic offspring and your spring cleaning!