Softies: A craft book for the (relatively) non-crafty

Ok, so this book called to me from the front table at Powell’s City of Books. I happen to have a little thing for items made of felt. I don’t sew, I don’t craft (really), but something about the bold shapes and colors, and precise stitches, and yes, the soft squeezability of little hand-sewn creatures appeals to me. So when I saw Softies: Simple Instructions for 25 Plush Pals beckoning to me from the table, I pretty much grabbed it and headed to the checkout.

Inside, you’ll find more than felt. Projects range from easy to challenging, but it’s all so clearly laid-out it feels doable. You’ll have to do a few basic stitches, there’s some machine sewing in there, along with needle felting and one adorable crochet project, but boy are the results gorgeous. Plenty of gift and ornament ideas, although this book is in no way Christmas-y. One of my favorites: The Lonely Dollop. Ask yourself why it might be lonely.

The folks at Chronicle were kind enough to send me a giveaway copy, and I’m thrilled to pass it along to a lucky Parenthacker! To enter, answer the following question in the comments:

What’s your favorite source (website or book) for simple kids’ crafts?

I’ll choose a winner tomorrow at 5pm. Good luck!


  1. regandbabe says

    the muppets big book of crafts!!
    amazing range of crafts in many materials and skill levels, plus small glimpses into the Henson Workshop

  2. redheadedhowler says

    I love for ideas and inspiration — but while some of the ideas are “simple” there are many other projects she does that I would classify as “not simple”. Her book Bend the Rules Sewing is also amazing.

  3. says

    Is it too pandering-y to say I get a lot of my ideas here? Or at least links to other sites that have great ideas. I’ve also pulled a lot from my own childhood, which is fun for me, too.

  4. mel says

    Ooooh, softies! Just like other posters, my picks are Kiddley (oh how I miss them!), Family Fun (magazine and website), and Trish Kuffner’s series of books.

  5. Zed says

    Family Fun, for sure. Plus, if the “craft” is simple enough. They have some totally cool Halloween crafts at her site.

  6. Peggy says

    I found through the girl scouts and I think their printable paper dolls are simple, but wonderful. They also organize their craft ideas by material, potential gift receiver, theme, or season, so it’s easy to find something that will work for you.

  7. Natalie says

    I love The Toddler’s Busy Book by Trish Kuffner for crafts and activities for my 3-year-old and 1-year-old.

  8. says

    I use family fun the most, if they don’t have what I’m looking for then I just do a google search & usually pull up something good in the first couple hits.

  9. says

    The Family Fun website has some great kids crafts. Also, there is a blog – me and my girl that has some neat ideas to do with your girl. Too bad I have boys.

  10. SJ says

    This may be too lame, but Michaels, JoAnns, and Hobby Lobby have tons of ideas that can be super easy, super fun, and super cheap.

  11. Alex says

    OMG I really wanted that book and my library system doesn’t have it! Miss Baby is too young to make stuff but I make stuff for her. Either I make it up or look at pictures online and try to figure out how things are made.

  12. says

    I adore everything by Klutz Press. Their books are presented in ways that are useful but not patronizing.

    They’re great for grownups, too–their teaching style taught me to crochet when other books couldn’t.

  13. Ticia says

    Kid’s Craft Weekly is AWESOME! I love getting their weekly emails, and loved the gift giving guide sent out a few weeks ago.

  14. Samantha says

    have to admit I like to check out martha stewart’s web site and modify as needed for budget and my child’s age.

  15. Darienne says

    Kids Crafty Weekly: simple, sweet, thrifty. I love that nearly all the crafts are things for kids to *play* with, not just send to grandma or hang on the wall. Love it.

  16. Cindi Hoppes says

    Hello, Isn’t it amazing how the cover of a book can call out to us?!
    The book sounds wonderful. “Klutz” is a favorite company whose books I buy for crafts. Please enter me in your contest. Thanks, Cindi

  17. says

    Family Fun and other parenting magazines, though I haven’t really started crafting for my baby yet… I’m hoping to get started soon! I used to be a good little crafter. :)

  18. says has people displaying all kinds of projects. Some are great with kids (though the site isn’t designed for that).

    I also like for food & food crafts (they have a great set of holiday gifts right now). Their series of video tutorials by kids are SO GOOD!

  19. Joyce says

    We like ” The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions”. Not really a craft book, exactly, but lots of fun!

  20. says

    I don’t have any one favorite site! I used to love Kiddley…I use Family Fun a lot…I subscribe to Kids Craft Weekly….and I read lots of crafty blogs for ideas!

  21. says

    I like to use Family Fun or Disney’s family site. Martha is always a good go to. Actually, Michaels’ has some craft tutorials as well. I love the Softies book and WANT it!

  22. Renae H says

    Looks like I’m not alone! I really like They have tons of cool craft ideas.

  23. Cathi says

    My daughter and I would have so much fun with this book.

    We love Family Fun magazine for craft and ideas of that sort.

  24. Cheri says They have craft projects, kits, tips, and cover pre-school up to 6th grade, as well as sunday school and scouts!

  25. Elizabeth says

    I also love crafts discussion forum. But I also find inspiration from a Yahoo group called Waldorf_craft. Those momma’s are so talented. Wondertime magazine is always great too. :)

  26. Tisha says

    Kids craft weekly.

    Easy crafts, even for preschoolers. And I like the weekly themes (though for me, they tend to last for weeks. or months)

  27. tulip says

    Add another log on the fire for Kiddley! We are also big fans of the Martha Stewart Good Things for Kids.

  28. says

    Web is my favorite, although I always used to use Family Fun Magazine. My grandma ran a daycare for over 40 so she was always a great resource too.

  29. Sarah says

    I love the craft books in the Kids Can! series, especially the Little Hands Art Book (Crafts for 2-6 year olds) and Hand Print Animal Art.

  30. says is the best and most inspirational website for parenting and living in a natural and meaningful way. The art she enables her kids to create is fantastic and really helsp me to allow the creativity in my own children. Amanda (soulemama) has also just published a book!

  31. says

    Oh, I love it! And I’ve just come into a nice bunch of felt… I keep thinking I should do more crafty stuff with my girl, and this might be a good start, where she can decorate them.

  32. says

    Many of the places already mentioned, plus Blair’s blog Wisecraft has been great for inspiration and links to various fun places and books. I also find Amazon great with the reader reviews.

  33. Mary Wells Pope says

    I love Kids’ Craft Weekly! I am NOT crafty, yet always inspired by the easy-to-do-with-what’s-lying-around-the-house crafts she comes up with. We’re having a puppet-making birthday party this weekend with all her ideas- can’t wait!

  34. Emmy says

    I’m loving Parent Hacks and getting so many ideas! Thanks!!!

    I loved Kiddley and still browse it looking for this I might have missed. FamilyFun, Better Homes and Gardens website has some fun ideas too.

  35. says

    I actually use the Oriental Trading Company mailers for ideas for crafts. I don’t buy their kits, but I use their ideas and buy my own supplies cheaper elsewhere.

  36. Stacie says

    I am personally a fan of There are so many creative people out there and it only takes a few minutes to modify any craft project to make it kid-friendly.

  37. says

    I love Rookie Moms for fun parenting activities. Here are some of my favorite simple crafty ideas on there:
    How to make baby/toddler pants out of a t-shirt. Minimal sewing involved, but cute

    Neat idea for putting kid’s name on clothes or whatever

    Altering board books!

    Making a scrapbook out of memorable baby clothes

  38. Lacey says

    i have used the little pre-k waldorf currculums at little acorn learning and a little flower garden. they incorporate crafts into seasonal themes, using lots of lovely objects from nature. also, ilove searching flickr for craft ideas.

  39. says

    I have a vintage Disney print book that details all sorts of crafts for kids. Flibbers and other such items that I enjoyed making as a child.

    We’ve made pinwheels, and racing catiplillers as well as walnut boats and yes, flibbers. So much fun and everything is kid friendly. ^-^