I've been scouring the internet for $1 per bag swap friendly ideas for the upcoming busy bag swap, which by the way, I hope to have organized and posted by next Monday night. I'm
finding a lot of ideas. However, some of them require recycling "junk"... bottle caps, milk
lids, egg cartons, juice cans, etc. This works great if you're making one set for yourself,
but multiply that by the number of bags for a swap, and it would take you years to collect
Take for example, these very clever milk cap letter tiles from Totschool. Very awesome idea to reuse
something that you would otherwise throw away. But you would need 26 caps for the entire
alphabet. Multiply that by 30 sets, and you would need 780 milk caps. If your family goes
through two gallons of milk a week, it would take you 7 and a half years to collect enough
milk caps for a swap.
So I racked my brain for a better idea, and here's what I came up with...
For 30 sets, you will need:
8 EZ Felt Sheets (for alphabet tiles) OR
6 EZ Felt Sheets (for 1-20 number tiles)
4 (?) small bottles of white Puffy Paint
The EZ Felt is a very stiff felt that comes in 12x16 sheets and costs 79 cents a sheet at
Hobby Lobby. You can get 108, 1.25" tiles from each sheet. That's a little over 4
alphabets or a little over 5 number sets (1-20) per sheet.
I love the look of circles, but knowing that, if I were cutting 30 sets of tiles, I'd rather
not have to cut all those circles, I decided on 1.25" squares.
I tried to use my little Fiskars paper trimmer to cut the squares. The blade was not long
enough to cut all the way through, but it did an awesome job scoring straight lines. I
barely had to open and close the scissors... just slide it along the scored lines. If you
have a more heavy duty paper cutter, I'm sure it would slice right through the felt nicely.
Once I had my squares cut, I got out my puffy paint and started handwriting class all over
again. You may want to practice a tiny bit on a sheet of paper before you dive in, just to
get a feel for how fast the paint will squeeze out.
You'll want to lay these out in a place where you can leave them for several hours (or
overnight) to dry.
Once completed, try not to stack them puffy paint to puffy paint, as it will take several
days for the paint to cure completely, and you don't want them sticking to each other.
So there you have it, alphabet and number tiles inexpensively created without having to
save milk caps for the rest of your life.
You can use these tiles with the printable alphabet, counting, and spelling cards available on my printables page, under "Busy Bags".