DIY Party in a Tin

Gift cards are such an easy gift to give to friends on their birthday, but we often have trouble coming up with a creative way to give it to someone we love without just handing over an envelope with a gift card inside and appearing to have not put much thought into the gift.

So the next time you turn up to a birthday dinner at a restaurant, or your child wants to take a fun gift to a birthday party or to school for their best friend or teacher, try this …

Create a fun gift around a gift card with this fun party in a tin.

This easy DIY project is also the perfect way to use up those extra candles, balloons and other party supplies you have leftover from birthday parties, and it’s a great gift idea that is fun and creative. If you don’t have odd supplies tucked away in drawers and cupboards, head to the Dollar Store, purchase a few bags of supplies for under $10, then you’ve got the perfect gift ready to go at a moments notice, just decorate your tin and add a gift card.

Supplies needed:

  • Tin
  • Gift wrap
  • Double-sided tape
  • Scrap supplies – twine, letters, ribbon etc
  • Party supplies
  • Gift card envelope

The first thing you will need is an old tin.

how to make a gift from a tin

Remove the lid and peel off the wrapper.

tin can crafts

Measure the tin and cut a piece of wrapping paper to fit all the way around. Note: Most scrapbook paper is too narrow to go all the way around a can (depending on the size).

creative gift giving idea

Attach a strip of double-sided tape across the tin and wrap the gift wrap all the way around, sealing it with a second strip of double-sided tape.

recycled tin can craft project

Using small pieces of double-sided tape, attach a few fun items to the outside of the tin to decorate it ie. twine, letters, ribbon – let your imagination run wild.

a tin can gift card holder

Fill your party tin with fun party items and a gift card.

creative gift card holder



7 Non-Candy Valentines

Valentine’s Day is this weekend and with it comes adorable valentines that kids from preschool through elementary school will take to school. In many school districts candy valentines are not allowed, or like me you may prefer your kids not get loaded up on sugary treats. So I found some ideas (including the ones my kids are using) that are easy to make, don’t have candy attached, and a lot more fun than those boxed character valentines.

7 Non-Candy Valentines

7 non-candy valentines for kids

1. Yoda Best printable

I found this adorable Yoda printable on Nerd Family. It’s super simple and perfect for your Star Wars fan. Just download the free valentines, print them, have your little Star Wars fan sign them, and then attach a small glow stick to each valentine.

Find glow sticks at craft stores, dollar stores, or on Amazon.

2. Rainbow Loom Creations

My daughter is a master creator with Rainbow Loom bands. She’s made the basics like bracelets and necklaces, but has also made rings, charms, and more. Find instructional videos on Rainbow Loom and purchase extra bands at Amazon or Michael’s. Need some ideas on how to package them? Try this adorable idea from Style Me Pretty.

Find Rainbow Looms and bands at Michael’s or Amazon.

3. LEGO friendship bracelets

LEGO Friendship Bracelets

These adorable LEGO friendship bracelets are easy to make and everyone will love them! While Tonya made this post for party favors they will work great as valentines, too. Just include a note that says, “I can’t LEGO of you, Valentine.”

Find LEGOS and string at Amazon.

4. Scratch Off Ticket Valentines


What a fun idea! Amy from shares a variety of scratch off valentines including tic tac toe and more.

See details on Amy’s site for all the supplies you’ll need.

5. Fortune Tellers

Fortune tellers are great for Valentine’s Day. My daughter hand-made her own last year, but you can also find printable versions like this one from DesignMom.

All you need for these is paper!

6. LEGO Mini Marble Maze

LEGO Mini Marble Maze Valentine for Kids

This one is part game, part LEGO awesomeness, and part Valentine. You’ll find a free printable and instructions on how to make it on the blog here.

You probably already have LEGOs, marbles, and paper on hand.

7. Paper Boxes

DIY Pretty Paper Roll Pillow Boxes

Fill these easy to make paper boxes with a love or friendship note and include a small trinket.

What non-candy valentines have you given out or received?


St. Patrick’s Day Craft: Leprechaun Pillow Box

There’s a long weekend coming up at the end of the week, so when you aren’t celebrating the ones you love on Valentine’s Day, and if you are looking for a little something to do with the kids, make something crafty for St. Patrick’s Day.

I’ve got a simple paper craft project for you that the kids will love to make, or receive.

St. Patrick's Day Craft: leprechaun pillow box

Here’s a few things you can do with these:

  • Make them for your kids and leave on their pillow St. Patrick’s Day morning when they wake up filled with small treats, lucky pennies, or a gold coin.
  • Have your kids make them for their friends or neighbors and pop a few lucky pennies in each or a little treat.
  • Make a few and hide them around the house or yard, each filled with a different treasure, and leave clues for the kids on where to find them. This could keep them occupied for hours.

Leprechaun Pillow Box

What you need:

  • paper roll
  • colored paper or card stock – green, orange, light brown, black, gold
  • glue
  • scissors
  • googly eyes
  • Sharpie
  • And of course treats or coins to fill them.

Here are the instructions to make them:

St. Patrick's Day: Paper Roll Leprechaun Craft

Step 1.

Roll green paper around the paper roll, attaching it using glue. Wrap a strip of patterned paper around just one end using glue.

Step 2.

Fold in the edges of your paper roll so that they overlap, turning your paper roll into a pillow box.

Step 3.

Trace around the end of a paper roll and cut out the circle, attaching it with glue to make the face. Using that same circle shape, sketch the shape of a beard to match, cutting that out, attaching it with glue, and then cutting the edge into a fringe (see pictures above).

Step 4:

Attach a black band and gold square to the top of the pillow box for the hat. Cut a thin green strip of paper, folding it in half and glue one side just above the face to make a small brim for the hat.

Step 5:

Attach googly eyes and draw on the nose and mouth using a Sharpie.

Step 6:

Fill your little leprechaun pillow box.

Hope you enjoy making this fun St. Patrick’s Day craft. 


How to Create a Disney World Surprise Word Puzzle and Riddle

We love to surprise our kids with fun and adventure, but sometimes you can’t surprise your kids completely. We had set plans that the kids knew about, but we still wanted to surprise them. We knew we’d be taking a trip to Disney World as part of the Disney Social Media Moms conference, but we didn’t want them to know exactly what or when we were going. The benefit of them knowing was that they helped us prepare, pack, and we were able to encourage them to save for their trip.

In order to keep the date and some other surprises under wraps they were given a false date for our departure. They had a countdown calendar and everything!

We wanted a way to surprise them on the way to the airport, so my husband landed on the idea of a riddle and word puzzle. The kids love them so it was a natural fit.

With kids that are elementary to high school age we knew we needed something more complicated, but wanted it to be easy enough for our youngest to get involved without making our older kids feel like it wasn’t hard, too. This fit the bill perfectly.

We sent them off to school on the morning of our departure, finished packing, and picked them up early for ‘a doctor’s appointment’. Somehow we managed to fool them long enough that when we handed them the clues they still had no idea what was going to happen.

Creating a Disney World Surprise:

Disney World Surprise Word Puzzle

It’s a simple concept-you create a riddle and then make a code they have to solve using a book as the key. The riddle is scrambled up so they have to sort out the sentences to be in the correct order. Lastly, there was a word puzzle with the answer. It’s a little time intensive, but only took us about a few hours to put together. My husband and I worked together while watching TV one night.

It goes like this:

Solve Code->Read Sentences->Unscramble Sentences->Read Riddle->Try to Solve Riddle->Get Final Answer Word Puzzle->Solve Word Puzzle->Read Word Puzzle->SURPRISE!

How it works:
It may seem complicated, but you can include all these steps or make it simpler based on your children’s ages.

Here’s how it breaks down: The riddle becomes the basis for the code. Each number in the code correlates to the first letter of on each page.

Each phrase is completed on a different clue, so the order of the sentences is mixed up. By doing it this way the kids don’t know what the order is until they have solved all the word puzzles.

Once all the word puzzles are solved they have to unscramble them to make the riddle.

After they solved the riddle they were allowed to guess, but then when they couldn’t figure it out we gave them the final clue-a word puzzle they had to solve and then figure out.

It was so fun! It took them about 30-40 minutes to figure it all out, and by that time we were nearing the airport! We had more surprises for them in store once we arrived in Florida and went to Disney World as well, so it really set the tone for our trip.

You can see a video of their reaction when they figured it out on YouTube. It’s embedded on the website, too.

How to make your own word puzzle surprise:

Whether you’re taking a trip to see our favorite Mouse or you’re headed on another adventure you can use this idea to create a fun game and surprise for your kids or adults alike!

Start with your riddle. Here is what ours riddle and the answer sentence looked like when completed.

Disney World Riddle Key

Download our riddle key here.

Since our key was very specific I’ve also created a blank one you can download below. Just make sure you keep it away from little eyes!
Disney World Surprise Riddle Key Blank

Download a blank riddle key here.
Next you need a book. Any one will do. We used a book we were reading as a family at the time, House of Secrets.

The instructions we gave verbally, but you can also write them out. They would say, “This book is your first clue. Use the below numeric code to find the letters. (if you want to add this you can) Use the first letter on the pages listed to read the riddle.”

The first sentence was in order from 1-4. The second sentence was completed by starting with clue 4 and then going in 1-2-3 order. It looked like this order: 1-2-3-4. 4-1-2-3.

Our clues looked like the below sequences.

Clue 1

149 | 39-222 | 39-17-195-39-149-3 | 31-105 | 88-39-V-105 | 222-246-97-235 |39-302-95-82-95-27-149-Z-105

235-88-105 | 39-210-97-31-105-195 | 235-88-149-97 | 195-149-3-105 | 3-95-105-97 149-210-V-95-82-V-105

Clue 2: 

You must work together.

222-95-222 | 39-210-3 | 3-39-3 | 88-39-V-105 | 97-95-222-105 | 82-149-105-97

31-149-82-82 | 235-105-82-82 | 235-88-105 | 235-195-246-235-88 | 95-17 | 31-88-105-210 | 149-235-97 | 3-246-105

Clue 3: 

The right order will rhyme.

235-95 | 3-149-97-210-105-191 | 31-95-195-82-3 | 149-210 | 17-149-V-105 | 3-39-191-97,

235-88-105 | 195-149-3-3-82-105 | 235-88-39-235 | 31-105 | 88-39-V-105 | 27-149-V-105-210 | 235-95 | 191-95-246,

Clue 4: 

The first one on each will solve.

149-97 | 210-95-235 | 235-88-105 | 31-39-191 | 95-246-195 | 97-235-95-195-191 | 302-82-39-191-97

235-88-149-97 | 149-97-235-88-105 | 302-46-Z-Z-82-105 | 191-95-246 | 222-246-97-235 | 97-95-82-V-105

Lastly, we used a visual clue for the last sentence.

Visual puzzle surprise

Download the visual puzzle here.

Disney Visual puzzle clues
Download the visual puzzle key here.

Have you ever created a surprise like this? If so how did you share the news?


Desk Chair Makeover for a Tween Girl

A long, loooong time ago I bought an old chair that needed refinishing at a local Salvation Army. A classic swivel desk chair it was a pretty pale yellow color with brassy wheels.

It had a split down the middle of the seat and needed some slight repairs but it also happened to be the perfect height for a small girl.

desk chair in process

The process was simple. I started with cleaning it well and using the Goo Gone to remove the sticker that was on it from the thrift store.

I took apart the swivel legs from the seat. I cleaned off the mechanism, but otherwise left it alone.

Next I wiped it down with a lightly damp cloth and some all-purpose cleaner.

Then I used wood filler to touch up some nicks and the crack. This was a process since it needed to dry, get sanded down, another layer was applied, sanded again, and then the same process was repeated.

Then I had to wipe it down thoroughly again and wait for a good day to spray paint it.

When we had a good weather day (not too windy, sunny, and warm) I was able to spray paint it lightly and following the directions did a second and then third coat waiting an hour in between each one.

I also removed the brassy wheels and spray painted them to match the swivel-a rusty brown color.

It took a lot of time from our purchase to the final result, but in the end the wait was worth it.

Desk Chair makeover

Desk Chair Makeover from top

Having a desk space of your own is such an important thing for kids as they get older. It’s not only a homework spot, but it allows her to set up her space to draw, paint, read, or sculpt without having to clean up the mess because it’s dinnertime.

Desk Chair Makeover for a tween

This project cost approximately $45. 

  • Chair $20
  • Paint $8.99
  • Cushion $14.99

Source list:

Does it take you a long time to DIY like me or are you a ‘get it done’ kind of DIYer?


LEGO Mini Marble Maze Valentine’s Day Gift for Kids

We love LEGO here on The Centsible Life, so it’s only fitting that we share a fun LEGO gift that you can give your kids, or your kids can make and give to their friends this Valentine’s Day.

LEGO Mini Marble Maze Valentine for Kids

These mini LEGO marble mazes take just a few minutes to make, require only four items, can can provide hours of fun. Plus, kids can create new mazes over and over again by just moving the pieces around, or adding new pieces of LEGO from their own collection at home.

What you need:

  • LEGO base plate – one base plate will make 4 mini LEGO marble mazes
  • LEGO – any color, and as you can see from the image above, you can use a few different ones
  • Scissors
  • Marble

Cut the LEGO base plate into quarters using the scissors – I counted 16 studs in each direction for center.

how to make a lego marble maze

lego base plate craft

Begin building your maze from the outside in, you need to leave two studs between LEGO pieces for the marble to run through.

lego marble maze valentine

Place a marble into the maze, and then wrap it in clear plastic if you like and attach a gift tag. I’ve made some for you to make it easier so feel free to download and print the gift tags below.

maze tags

Kids are going to love these fun mini LEGO marble mazes for Valentine’s Day.

LEGO marble maze

They would also make a great party favor for a LEGO themed birthday party, or pop one into a Christmas stocking.

lego for Valentine's Day

Have an ah-MAZE-ing good time with these.


Free Printable Game Day Paper Chain

The Super Bowl is just around the corner and if you are entertaining, then this paper chain is easy enough for the kids to make, and the perfect addition to your game day decor.


You can make this one of two ways, either use green and brown paper with white paint or a white paint marker, or download the free printables (links below), print them out and have the kids cut out the links and glue them together.

To make (if using the free printables):

Begin by cutting out each of the paper chain pieces. You will need to print four pages of football chains and two pages of yard lines to make the chain as pictured above that has the 50 yard line in the center.

Cut Game Day Paper Chains

Next, curl each paper link, applying a small amount of glue on one end and joining the ends together, linking them as you go.

Glue Game Day Paper Chains

Begin from the 50 yard line and then add links to either side until you’ve completed a chain down to the 10 yard line on each side.

SuperBowl Paper Chains

As you can see I added three football links in-between each yard line.

Hang your chain above your food table, or wherever you will be watching the big game.

SuperBowl Paper Chain Printables

And here are those free downloads as promised.

Football_paper_chain - free printableFootball Paper Chain Links – remember to print out four copies.

football_paper_chain_2 - free printableYard Line Paper Chain Links – remember to print out two copies.

Enjoy the Super Bowl!


Last Minute Gift Ideas from #YahooDIY & DIY Nutella Recipe {sponsored}

Sponsored post disclosure

There’s always a need for a last-minute gift at the holidays. You might find yourself needing a last-minute gift when you receive an unexpected invite, see someone you forgot to add to your list, or a friend or neighbor unexpectedly gifts you something. Even after the actual holidays are through you aren’t immune to the unexpected gifter, so instead of feeling unprepared be ready with some homemade DIY gifts.

Yahoo! DIY features all kinds of amazing last minute gift ideas including:

  • Homemade fruit leather-perfect for kids and adults alike this fruit leather recipe is simple and a welcome change from cookies and sugary treats.
  • Kids can get in on the gift giving with these 10 kid-friendly craft ideas. While some are more suited for a playdate or kid party such as making fake snow, others are perfect for gifting like snowman pretzel snacks!
  • Host gifts can go beyond a bottle of wine-check out these 10 unique host gifts including some awesome ideas like homemade hard cider, spiced nuts, and more.
  • Fruit is a great gift but you can make it even more special with these 15 ways to make fruit a gift worth giving this holiday season including DIY chocolate strawberries, fruit-infused spirits, and caramel apples in a jar!
  • DIY extract is a great gift idea! You can use this mint extract tutorial for all kinds of other extracts. While it needs 6 weeks to be ready you can still gift it now-just include a note that it needs some time to be ready to use. Be sure to include some recipes or even a bottle of booze with a cocktail recipe.

I came up with my own special DIY gift for the holidays perfect for nearly everyone on your list. Homemade chocolate hazelnut spread (AKA DIY Nutella) is a perfect hostess gift, a thoughtful present for friends, teachers, or neighbors, and it’s the perfect excuse to create some for yourself.

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread Recipe

DIY Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

What you need:


  • Glass container with lid (purchase at Amazon, Target, or kitchen store)
  • Food processor or Vitamix (read my review here)


DIY Chocolate Hazelnut spread ingredients

  • 2 cups hazelnuts (raw)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil


  • For a non-dairy version but non-dairy chocolate chips or see below.
  • For a sugar-free replace the chocolate chips with 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and add 1/4 cup (or less to taste) of the sweetener of your choice. Raw honey would be amazing!


DIY Chocolate Hazelnut Spread roast hazelnuts

1. Roast hazelnuts in oven at 350º for about 10-14 minutes until skin peels off easily. Test one by rolling it inside a dishtowel to see if the skin comes off, if it does remove and roll all hazelnuts to remove as much skin as possible.

2. Add roasted, skinned hazelnuts to your food processor or Vitamix. Pulse or process on low to medium to create hazelnut meal.

3. Add coconut oil. Pulse or blend until paste-like.

4. Add cocoa powder, sea salt, and chocolate chips and blend/process until smooth and creamy.*

5. Pour into glass containers and store at room temperature for one to two weeks. Or eat it all right away. ;)

Chocolate Hazelnut SpreadIf gifting you can add a label to make it even more special. I’m planning to gift this to someone special with a fresh loaf of bread and some fruit, too.

Happy holidays! 

*Note: I made this using the Vitamix so opted not to melt the chocolate chips, in a food processor I would recommend using melted chocolate chips.


Disclosure: Thank you Yahoo! for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Yahoo!, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Reindeer Lollipops

If you are looking for a last-minute gift idea that kids can make and gift this holiday season that uses mostly scrap materials (and a big bag of lollipops), then I’ve got the perfect one.

How to Make Reindeer Lollipops

reindeer lollipops

What you need:

  • scrap paper or card stock in brown, grey and/or black – it doesn’t matter if it’s not the same, as you can see different textures and patterns are fun to work with.
  • red lollipop
  • glue
  • googly eyes
  • scissors and an X-ACTO knife

how to make a reindeer lollipop for the holidays

Begin by drawing an oval shape on the back of a piece of paper and cut it out. It doesn’t need to be perfect and no two reindeer have to look alike and if they are more round, or even heart-shaped then that’s perfectly fine too, just remember you need to cut two identical shaped pieces per lollipop (a front and a back).

how to make a reindeer lollipop

Next, draw a circle in the middle of just the front piece and cut it out … adults may need to help here especially if using the X-ACTO knife for cutting.

how to make a reindeer lollipop for the holidays

Now, draw the antlers – as you can see, none of mine look alike. Glue them into place on the inside of the back piece of the reindeer’s head.

how to make a reindeer lollipop for the holidays

Glue the front piece over the top, allowing space at the bottom (about 2 inches) for the lollipop to be inserted between the two pieces of card.

how to make a reindeer lollipop

how to make a reindeer lollipop

Glue on your googly eyes. Set aside to dry completely, otherwise the front piece may start lifting off the back as you are putting the lollipop inside.

how to make a reindeer lollipop for the holidays

Once completely dry, pop your lollipop in to make Rudolph’s nose.

reindeer lollipop

Happy gifting!


Scarecrow Treat Jars using Leftover Halloween Candy

One of the many things I love about Halloween is all of the candy from trick or treating. Okay, my waistline doesn’t like it a single bit, but when you have children who don’t really like candy and are very particular with what candy they will consume, then guess who gets to enjoy most of it during late night snacking? That’s right, me.

However, in an attempt to help my waistline out just a little, without the need to join the gym, because anybody who knows me well knows how much I hate working out, I decided to get a little creative with some of our leftover Halloween candy.

Scarecrow treat jars using leftover Halloween candy

This project is great for kids to help out with too.

What you need:

  • Halloween candy
  • Jar
  • Baking cup
  • Googly eyes
  • Orange paper or card
  • Black tape
  • Cord
  • Scissors and glue

My daughter insisted that we start by filling the jar, and as you can see we had plenty of Whoppers.

how to use leftover Halloween candy

This is a great task for younger kids.

Food crafts to use leftover Halloween candy

Take the lid off the jar and lay the baking cup across the top. Press it into place and then replace the lid. Tie a couple of pieces of cord underneath the baking cup.

Food craft to use leftover Halloween candy

Cut a triangle nose out of the orange paper and attach with glue along with the googly eyes.

Cut strips of tape to make the scarecrow mouth. The reason I use tape is the candy inside the jar was so dark, but the white edge of the tape helps to define the mouth.

Scarecrow craft using leftover Halloween candy.

These scarecrow treat jars using leftover Halloween candy make great Thanksgiving gifts for neighbors, friends, family and teachers.