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8 Things You Can Make Using Basic Stuff at Home

Wind chimes made from silverware.
Bryan Bailey/Shutterstock

Stuck at home without any crafting supplies? No worries. Here are some easy and fun projects that require super basic stuff—like old toilet paper rolls, unloved T-shirts, or a jar of pennies.

If your kids (and you!) are going stir crazy due to a coronavirus stay-at-home order, or it’s a gloomy rainy day out, here are some ideas to spark your creativity. They’re geared towards all ages, although some require adult supervision. You can even save a project for after the kids go to bed. (Hint: your next date night idea.)

We’re sure you have a few of these supplies lying around, just waiting to be repurposed into a creative craft. There’s no need to take a trip to the store when you can make a gorgeous necklace out of penne pasta tonight. (That’s right, it’s time to get fancy.)

Wind Chimes

If you have a stick and some string, you can transform practically anything into a whimsical wind chime. Just string up some objects, hang it outside, and let the wind make some music. Really, it’s that easy.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • CDs: Have a box of old CDs collecting dust in the attic? Glue on strips of aluminum foil and beads to transform them into a shimmery glittery wind chime. Read the full tutorial at DIY Enthusiasts.
  • Tin cans: Upcycle those used tin cans by painting and stringing them up. The final product makes an excellent music station for your kiddos. Get inspired at Hands On As We Grow.
  • Old silverware: Forks and spoons are the perfect utensils needed to create a bright and shiny wind chime. Learn how to drill holes at WikiHow.
  • Old keys: Wondering what to do with old keys? Thread some fishing line through their holes, hang them on a piece of driftwood, and you’re done! Just double-check you don’t need that key first. Inner Child Fun has an easy tutorial worth checking out.

Marble Run

So, we’re well aware that there’s a toilet paper shortage due to Covid-19. However, if you happen to be fortunate enough to have an adequate supply, you can put those empty rolls to use with this creative project.

This DIY marble run takes a bit of time and patience, but your hard work will pay off because kids love it! But beware, the end product is a bit fragile, so watch out for those destructive toddlers—they may crush it within seconds.

Here’s what you need:

  • 11 toilet paper rolls
  • Cardboard base
  • Tape
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Marbles (you can also use pom poms or rolled up balls of Play-Doh).

Read the full tutorial at Powerful Mothering.

Paper Fidget Spinners

There’s something addictive about spinning these things, and almost meditative at the same time. So, if you or your kids need a physical way to channel anxiety or stress right now, we suggest making this DIY spinner.

It does requires some ninja-folding skills, but you’ll quickly master it with the detailed video tutorial.

Here’s what you need:

  • Colored paper
  • Cardboard
  • 1 toothpick
  • 1 coin
  • Glue
  • X-Acto knife

Penny Vase

If you’ve been saving your pennies for a rainy day, now’s the perfect time to put them to use. Sure, those pennies may add up to something (maybe $5?). But this beautiful shiny vase will last a lifetime.

You can definitely make this one with your kids. They can cover the entire vase, write their name out, or create a cool unique pattern. Just make sure they’re old enough to not be tempted to swallow a penny!

Here’s what you need:

  • Vase
  • Glue
  • Pennies

And while you can use other coins, like nickels and dimes, just know that this will increase your vase’s overall value. In that case, you might consider storing the vase high on a shelf—in case your kids decide to trade it for candy.

Read the full tutorial at Handimania.

Friendship Bracelets with Cardboard Loom

Making friendship bracelets is a great way to keep little hands busy. It’ll also help your child stay connected with family and friends, both close and afar. Thinking of the person while making the bracelet transforms the project into a more meaningful activity.

Your child can then mail the bracelet, or save it for future gift, such as when the family is all together at Christmas.

Here’s what you need:

  • A piece of cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Colorful yarn

Watch the video tutorial to get started.

Pasta Jewelry

You may have memories of making gaudy pasta necklaces from your childhood. However, this project has an important twist: using nail polish to radically transform the pasta. Ignore the memories of your past and give this classy penne necklace a chance.

Here’s what you need:

  • Penne pasta (dry)
  • Nail polish (your favorite colors)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Simple chain necklace (or string)

Read the full tutorial at Don’t Mind if I Do.


If you have a printer and some paper, you’re all set for some serious fun.

Try making a cubeecraft (pronounced “kyoob-ee”), which is a paper toy with interlocking tabs. Just print, cut, fold the tabs, and you’ve got an adorable paper toy. There are hundreds of unique designs and patterns to choose from.

Looking for more printable crafts? Check out Mr. Printables for a wide selection of easy and fun projects. There’s something for every age.

Upcycle Your T-Shirt

Chances are your family has some old, unloved T-shirts lying around. In fact, there’s probably a box full of them in the garage, waiting to go to the thrift store. Well, go dig them out! There are so many cool ways to repurpose an old T-shirt.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Check out 39 T-Shirt Crafts for even more ideas.

Having your kids stuck at home for days on end can be daunting. But before you let them zone out on screens, have them try one of these fun projects. May as well put those toilet paper rolls and old T-shirts to use, right? And, remember, all ages can participate—including you!

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »
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