By Betsy Burnett of Aim Happy
Operation Christmas Child sends gift-filled shoeboxes to children in need all over the world. When packing your shoebox gift you decide on the age and the gender of the child you wish to pack your box for. Coming up with something new and different for boys shoebox gifts that doesn’t take up a lot of space is always a challenge. This simple fabric building set is a fun imaginative toy that allows kids to build “towers” and yet stores flat taking up little space, making it the perfect addition to a shoebox gift.
- 2- 8” x 20” pieces of fabric (cotton, or cotton-poly blend)
- 2- 8” x 20” pieces of Therm-o-Web Ultra Heat and Bond Ultra Hold (Red Label)
- #1- 8” x 20” piece of Therm-o-Web HeatnBond Non-Woven Craft Fusible Extra Firm Stabilizer
- *Silicone Mat-Plaid Crafts
- Template (click here, if desired)
- Note: # While the stabilizer is fusible, it is only a temporary hold, thus the need for the ultra hold permanent adhesive.
- Note: * a regular ironing board can be used, but due to the thickness of the stabilizer, I found a regular board and silicone mat worked best.
- Prewash/Dry and iron fabric.
- Using the board and the silicone mat as your ironing surface, lay first piece of fabric face side down, place the Ultra Heat and Bond adhesive side down on the back of the fabric. With your iron set to medium (no steam) press the adhesive to the fabric for 2 seconds, repeat until the entire surface is covered. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to make the project go faster. If you overheat the adhesive as it will “melt” into the fabric vs. adhering to the fabric. This is one time when it pays to be slow and methodical.
- Repeat with other piece of fabric.
- Lay stabilizer on your ironing surface. Remove paper backing from fabric. Fuse the fabric to the stabilizer pressing for 6 seconds, repeat until the entire surface is covered. Check to make sure the entire surface of the fabric is bonded to the stabilizer.
- Repeat with the 2nd piece of fabric on the other side of the stabilizer. Again heed the warning about being slow and methodical.
- Using a ruler and pencil to draw guidelines or the template, cut fused fabric into desired shapes Simple ones work best. Squares, rectangles, triangles, hexagons etc. See the template for ideas or come up with some of your own.
- Cut “slits” into the pieces. A slight “wedge” shape can be used for ease of putting together. The wider end of the wedge should be towards the outside of the piece. Be careful when cutting out the slits that you don’t go past the 1/2 way mark. (See photo)
To build: Join the pieces by inserting one into another at a 90-degree angle along the slits.
If you are creating this to put into a shoebox gift. Create a tower and snap a photo. Store the pieces in a large ziplock bag along with the photo to act as directions.
How to Get Involved
Readers can check out the Operation Christmas Child website. There they will find shoebox stories, information on how to pack a shoebox gift, find the nearest drop-off location, have free resources sent to them and more! Friend Operation Christmas Child on Facebook.
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