10 Easy DIY Design Projects You Can Do with Kids

When it comes to home improvement projects, they don’t have to be complicated or require multiple trips for supplies. In fact, for these beginner design projects, you most likely already have the materials you need lying around, plus, they’re so easy, kids of any age can lend a hand (or two). The best part? You’ll get an interior design upgrade while spending some quality time with your kiddos without spending a ton of cash. Talk about a win-win scenario. Keep reading to see them all.

DIY Tissue Paper Covered Pots

Brown terracotta pots can be so, well, boring. Give those beloved plants a brag-worthy container with materials you most likely already have laying around your house—think scissors, tissue paper and glue. Who would have thought that these basic materials could have you and your kids quickly transforming those ho-hum planters into their very own design statement?

Good to Know: While you can use plain white glue, grab Mod Podge if you can. It's an all-in-one type of glue that not only acts as a binding agent, it also seals and finishes your projects, makes them waterproof, and safe for outdoor use.

Project length: A few hours to let the coats of glue dry between applications.

Click here for the full how-to.

Painted Rainbow Fan Blades

Part science experiment part boredom buster, this spin-art-inspired project will cast rainbow rays on hot summer days. And if rainbows aren't your thing, choose a color scheme that matches your room decor—alternating black and white or blue and white stripes will look super chic. 

Good to Know: You'll need to remove the grill front of the fan, which may require a screwdriver, and you'll thank us later, but please let the paint dry fully before checking out your handiwork.

Project Length: A couple of hours to let the paint fully dry before re-assembling the fan.

Click here for the full how-to.

Handprint Alphabet Artwork

We understand the struggle—you have a blank wall in your home that is calling out for some artwork, but you want something personal and meaningful rather than a poster print you can find on Amazon. Well, nothing is more personal than using those little hands in your home to create a colorful alphabet art piece. If the whole alphabet seems overwhelming, just pick one or a couple of your favorite letters and collage them together.

Good to Know: If you are going to complete the whole alphabet, handprint the same colors at the same time. So, if you are starting with red, handprint all the red-based letters first.

Length of Project: A couple of "letters" can be finished in under an hour, but the whole alphabet may take a couple of days to complete depending on your kid's patience level.

Click here for the full how-to.

DIY Ombre Lampshade

For less than $15, your kids can customize and transform a basic white lampshade into a stunning conversation piece—bonus points for matching it to their decor.

Good to Know: The trick to achieving the ombre look is to saturate the top of the lampshade with spray paint and then let the paint disperse down the shade, where it will fade to white.

Length of Project: Less than an hour.

Click here for the full how-to.

DIY Painted Game Table

If you have a kid, you probably have an IKEA LACK table in your life. But this workhorse of a furniture piece (arts and crafts table, snack and dinner table) doesn't have to look like it came from a big-box store. Brainstorm with your kids about which game they love the most, and transform this piece of furniture by using self-adhesive vinyl in classic game board colors.

Good to Know: Plan to seal the vinyl with a clear topcoat to protect the vinyl from getting torn or rolling up at the edges.

Length of Project: A couple of hours to measure, adhere vinyl and seal.

Click here for the how-to. (Tip, the IKEA directions for this project default to Swedish but just click translate and you'll get the easy how-to in English). 

DIY Chair Makeover

Before you donate that used piece of furniture, see if you and your home improvement kids can breathe new life into the piece by upcycling it with this clever DIY painting project. Decide which colors and what type of design you'll use, and then with just a sponge brush and fabric paint, you'll miraculously have a new chair in the house the kids can fight over. 

Good to Know: Kids can design and cut a sponge into a shape—a star, a heart or a cloud are all good ideas—and use that to create a pattern on the chair. 

Length of Project: A few hours to let the paint dry. 

Click here for the full how-to.

DIY T-Shirt Rag Rug

This project combines all the things we love about an easy home improvement project—learning a new skill and recycling materials you already own to create something new. This t-shirt rag rug is ideal for someone who has been saving (or refusing to depart with) their t-shirts for nostalgic reasons. You can keep the color palette tight by choosing t-shirts in just two-to-three colors or you can use everything you have—there are no rules here.

Good to Know: A combination of 15 men's and women's t-shirts makes about a 30-inch rug. 

Length of Project: Depending on how quickly the braiding is done, plan for this project to take a couple of hours over a couple of days.

Click here for the full how-to.

DIY Cork Board

Everyone needs a spot in the house to hang their favorite pictures, awards and artwork. Enlist the kids to help create their own memo board above their desk. They can help measure, cut the cork to fit the space and glue them into place. 

Good to Know: While these bloggers choose to back the cork with a wood backing to minimize pinholes in the drywall, you can skip that step if you are okay with potentially having to fix the wall down the road from overzealous pinners. 

Length of Project: Less than an hour.

Click here for the full how-to.

Ice Dye Pillows

You've heard of tie-dye but have you tried ice dye? This DIY project is more like a science experiment, but whoever said home improvement and science don't mix? The cool effect is part watercolor, part marbleization, part tie-dye, and we couldn't be more excited to try this with our kids. First on our project list? A couple of throw pillows and then a plain white duvet cover. 

Good to Know: This project can be messy and dusty—plastic gloves and a mask are essential for everyone involved in this project.

Length of Project: A couple of hours.

Click here for the full how-to. 


Rain Barrel Makeover

Nothing improves a home more than some good old curb appeal. But those unsightly rain barrels, while a good thing for the environment and your plants, are typically not so pleasing to look at—until now, that is. You can make your own if you don't have one already, but don't stop at just a plain old barrel. Grab the kids and paint, and decorate your container to be a bright spot—rather than an eyesore—in your yard.

Good to Know: Choose exterior paints and think about sealing the outside so your design can last season after season. 

Length of Project: A couple of hours.

Click here for the full how-to.

—Andie Huber

Featured photo: iStock 



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