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Friday, 27 September 2013

DIY LEGO gift for under $5

DIY LEGO gift for boy birthday- under $5

Today is a short work day for me.  I am closing day care early because we will be headed to visit some friends and celebrate their sons third birthday.  It might sound like closing work early for a childs birthday party is overkill, but it is very important to us that we make time to celebrate in our lives. And who better to celebrate with than good friends and great people?

Yet, that also meant another DIY gift I would have to make.
First I was going to make him a superhero cape complete with mask and cuffs.  Then I went through my fabric stash and found out I did not have enough fabric on hand to complete that project. So I joyously announced to That Guy that I would be making a trip to the fabric store. He was much less joyous about it.  He reminded me that our wedding anniversary (seven years) is on Monday and our entire allotted entertainment and gifts budget for the week was going to celebrate that milestone. Oh yeah. Okay, so scrap that.   Not only could I not go to the fabric store, but I still had to make a gift with only the small change I had in my wallet, so as not to affect our entertainment budget.  $5.43 - still some pennies floating around in my wallet. That was the grand total I could spend on a gift.

Finally I decided on a LEGO themed gift.  Why? Because back in January when I was on a trip to Calgary I had gone into a LEGO store.  Inside the store I saw the cutest little ice cube tray that made little ice LEGO men. Although my frugal heart cried a bit to pay $8.49 for an ice cube tray, I chalked it up to being on vacation and bought it anyways.  So, long story short, I decided on a LEGO themed gift because I had a LEGO themed ice cube tray. (But I also knew that LEGO was too expensive for me to buy him any real building bricks.)

"You're going to make a three year old ICE for his birthday, Rylan?! Really? No wonder DIY gifts have a bad reputation!" (This is what I imagine you, my gentle readers, are thinking.)

No! I made him  LEGO gift pack. LEGO crayons, LEGO colouring book and even LEGO chocolates.

First I used my ice tray to make crayons.  This is such a simple gift but it comes out looking awesome.  First, go through the crayons in your house and pick out all the broken ones.  No one uses the broken crayons anyways so take them and give them new life. I chose to do eight solid coloured crayons but it would be cute to do multi coloured ones too.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Then unwrap your broken crayons and cut them into bits. Place the bits into the cavities of the ice cube tray, then the tray on a cookie sheet.  Put the cookie sheet in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.  Once they are done just take them out and let them cool completely. Pop the crayons out of the ice cube tray and you have totally adorable crayon LEGO men. Of course this very same method could be used with any silicon ice cube tray, and IKEA often sells them in adorable shapes.
Cut up your crayons stubs
crayon bits in the ice cube tray cavities

melted crayon fresh from the oven
Next I needed a colouring book for him to use his crayons in.  I certainly wasn't about to buy  one.  So I googled "free LEGO coloring sheet" and found myself at this page. I was pretty happy because I got fully licensed LEGO pages totally for free. I printed out all the sheet s but I certainly did not want to give this little guy a stack of loose pages. I thought briefly of putting all the sheets in a duo tang but that just didn't feel right. Finally I decided I would "bind" the book as best I could.  I broke out some washi tape I had picked up on a recent trip to the dollar store and figured I would tape a colouring book together.  With the colouring side of one sheet down and the colouring side of another sheet up I taped the sheets together trimming the edges. The page that had been "up" was now the page that laid face down as I taped the next sheet. So so it went until I had taped each sheet to the sheet before it and after it.
Using washi tape to "bind" my book

The I printed out a simple LEGO logo in black and white and grabbed a blank piece of printer paper.  Using a similar method of taping I attached the books front and back covers with washi tape almost creating a book spine of sorts.  I was pretty thrilled with my resourcefulness. Up to this point everything had come in at $0.
Making the "spine" with washi tape
Crayons and a colouring book.... it was okay but I kept feeling like it needed something more.   Then I remembered That Guy had a chocolate mold that looked like LEGO bricks.  I  decided I would add a few molded coloured LEGO brick chcoclates to the gift, really drive the theme home.

At the local bulk foods store I was able to buy chocolate melting wafers in an array of colours. Since the bricks in the mold are not big I did not need many wafers at all.  Which is good because they can get expensive.  I got five different colours (we had purple on hand at home from a previous project) for a little under $1 per colour.  I love that at the bulk foods store I only have to buy what I need and I don't have to buy a whole pre packaged amount of wafers. Right on budget!

Once home I melted my wafers and spooned the melted chocolate into the mold.  I lightly but firmly tapped the mold against the tabletop to get out any air bubbles.  Then just let the chocolate cool.  Repeat with each desired colour.  Once cool pop out of the mold. I put them into some on hand boxes and volia!


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