Grace's daycare is having a little party for the kids this week. Grace is very excited about the goodies in her future.
I'm less excited about buying a bunch of flimsy character-themed "cards" that will be trash in minutes or, just as bad, spending gobs of time and money on cute homemade cards that will also end up in the trash.
I don't think the other parents will mind if we skip the cards and candy that go with them, but I don't want to make Grace forgo the whole Valentine's tradition.
I considered making little stuffed Elmos for the other 7 kids in the daycare, but I wasn't confident in my Elmo-making skills.
I asked on Twitter what others were thinking about making/giving toddlers this year. My friend, Sarah, suggested crayon rolls. It was a perfect idea; I'd been thinking about making a couple for Grace anyway. They're handy.
A crayon roll tutorial
I found awesome instructions for making a crayon roll at Skip to My Lou. The first two crayon rolls I made were for Grace's cousins, and I made them exactly as Cindy's tutorial suggested. (I'd like to note that she has a second set of instructions in which she ironed vinyl onto the inside to keep it looking nicer. Brilliant!)
My crayon roll adjustments
Grace and her friends are younger than Cindy's intended audience. They are rougher on their stuff, and they use extra fat toddler crayons. As a result, I had to make some adjustments to Cindy's crayon roll.
- In order to make a crayon roll that would hold 16 of the fat crayons, I made the fabric pieces 24" long.
- Cindy's pockets were narrow, just big enough for the small crayons. I made my pockets 1 3/16" - just the right size for toddler crayons.
- The first time Grace got a hold of my prototype crayon roll, she shook it vigorously and made crayons fly all over the room. At that moment, I decided to make a flap that would fold down over the crayons and keep them locked inside. To create the flap, I made the fabric strips 9" tall.
My crayon roll
- 2 pieces of fabric, each 9" by 24" - one of these will make the outside of the roll and the other will make the inside of the roll. I made mine the same on the outside and the inside because the fabric was quite busy. Cindy made hers different on the outside and inside. I think both look really nice.
- 1 piece of fabric, 6" by 24" - this will make the pocket. I found fabric with rainbow stripes, and it makes perfect crayon pockets by sewing along the stripes.
- 1 yard of coordinating ribbon
- Coordinating thread
- First, fold the 6-inch piece of fabric in halfÃ‚ to form a 3-inch pocket. Pin it to the bottom of the piece of fabric that will become the inside of the crayon roll, and sew close to the edge.
- Starting at the bottom of the pocket (where you just sewed in step one), sew the individual crayon pockets into the larger pocket. Starting after the first full stripe, I sewed up the edge of every second stripe, back stitching at the top and the bottom of each seam. As you can see in the photo, I didn't bother to cut the thread after each seam because I would have to trim them anyway. Each pockets is two stripes wide - exactly 1 ⅜".
- Fold the ribbon in half and pin it into the short side of the roll, near the pocket, so that the loose ends are on top of the fabric and the crease is off the edge of the fabric.
- Keeping the right sides together (and paying attention to keep your designs all going the same way if they're directional, like mine were), stack the piece that will become the outside of the crayon roll on top of the inside and the pocket. Leaving a hole big enough for turning, sew the whole way around the edges using a ¼" seam allowance. I left the hole at the top so that the bottom would be nicely reinforced.
- Check to make sure the edge of the pocket and the ribbon are sewn into the side seam and that the seam you made in Step One is outside of the bottom seam. Resew if necessary.
- If they are wider than ¼", trim the excess material from the seam allowances. Clip the corners so that they'll be less bulky inside the finished roll.
- Turn the whole thing right side out through the hole you left earlier. Use your finger or a blunt object to push the corners out, and press so that the seams are flat. (I didn't press mine, and I don't think it mattered, but you really should press it.) Pin the turning hole shut so that all of the layers get sewn shut in Step Eight. I also pinned any stubborn places that didn't want to lay nicely.
- Top stitch around the edge of the crayon roll. You could use a fancy stitch like a zigzag or blanket stitch or just a plain straight stitch. Both will work, but the finished roll will look a little different. I used a smallzigzag for mine.
- Put the crayons in the pockets, fold the top down, and tie up the roll.
I love how the finished crayon rolls turned out!
I hope the kids (and parents) at day care like their crayon rolls as much as I do!