Top Ten Craft Supplies You Should Never Give As Gifts

I have to admit that I’m a pretty laid back mom when it comes to making a mess. I let my kids drag out most craft supplies without complaint. In fact, I tend to think that kids can be more creative when given a little freedom to make a mess.

There are some craft supplies, however, that I just want to avoid. And I’m sure, if you’re honest, you probably have to admit that there are some craft supplies you don’t want your kids to have either.

And so I’ve compiled this list. I’m counting down the top ten craft supplies that you should avoid giving your friends’ kids.

Don't buy these craft supplies for kids

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10. Play doh

I’ve personally never minded play doh- as long as we can keep it off of the carpet. But I’ve had friends who hate the stuff.

I’ve never really liked the play doh sets that involve squishing play doh out of various holes. You know what I mean. After one or two uses, there is so much dried play doh stuck in the holes that you have to spend ten minutes operating on the toy while your frustrated child waits.

Bad crafts

Play doh: It’s questionable. Just avoid it to be safe.

9. Fingerpaint

“Yes, honey, rub your hands all around in the paint and then rub them on the paper to make a picture. No, honey, the paper. No, no, not your hair. Oh no! The baby doesn’t need to play with the paint. Paint the paper. THE PAPER!”

Messy crafts

I did occasionally allow my children fingerpaint in very controlled situations. But I wouldn’t force that experience on another parent. I’ll let her decide if she’s ready to brave fingerpaints.

8. Stamping Sets

Perhaps stamps might be an okay craft for older children- much older. But when my guys were little, stamps were trouble waiting to happen.

Stamping on the floor or the wall or the baby, leaving the self-inking pad lying open on the floor- facedown-, trying to use stamps whose ink pads were dried out: stamps were not fun.

Kids crafting

If the child is under sixteen or so, avoid the stamp sets.

7. Shrinky Dinks

I’ll admit that these little plastic pieces that you color and then shrink in the oven are cute- if they work. But that is a big if.

Too many times I’ve sent children away in tears after I ruined a set of Shrinky Dinks.

Maybe it’s my overall struggle with anything slightly resembling cooking, but I tend to melt these little things more often than not.

Bad kids crafts

Unless you know the child’s parent is a whiz with the oven, avoid the Shrinky Dinks.

6. Foam pieces without sticky backs

I love foam crafts as much as the next person. But I find it next to impossible to stick on the foam pieces that aren’t stickers. Glue sticks don’t hold, and white glue makes a huge mess as the foam pieces slide back and forth against each other.

Kids crafts

Give lovely foam stickers if you wish, but avoid those with no sticky backs.

5. Sequins

Yes, yes, sequins are beautiful. My kids want to use them to “bedazzle” their crafts.

But sequins can also pour out and make a huge mess. And they can cause extreme frustration when you’re trying to stick them on to a surface where they just won’t stick.

Craft supplies

Sequins are a beautiful craft supply, perhaps. But they’re not one you should give as a gift.

4. Sand art

It’s hard to imagine who might have come up with sand art and thought it a good idea. “Let’s just put dye into this sand and make it pretty colors and then pour it into containers in designs.” Who thinks of this?

In our experience, sand art involves lots of fine sand in lots of places besides the bottles it is supposed to be in. It also typically involves a child dropping his- or even worse, a sibling’s- bottle and mixing up all the sand as soon as the design is finished.

Messy crafts

Avoid the mess and the tears. Don’t give sand art as a gift.

3. Feathers

Oh, how beautiful to glue pretty colored feathers to our crafts. The problem is that these pretty feathers have the ability to somehow multiply, escape their holding place, and spread over my entire house.

When we’ve received feathers or any feathered creation, I find myself spending hours picking feathers off the floor, the furniture, the children.

Bad kids crafts

Feathers might seem like a beautiful, fun craft supply. But avoid giving them as a gift.

2. Perler Beads

At first glance, these seem to be a fun and harmless craft, right? Wrong!

Perler bead sets involve sticking small plastic beads on to a plastic shape and then ironing the beads so that they fuse together, creating this lovely plastic multi-colored shape.

If you have one child working on these, and you can stand for hours ready with iron in hand, perler beads may be “fun.” The problem arises when you have multiple children or more to do with your life than stand ready with iron in hand.

In one particular incident at out house, an older child had three or four shapes ready for ironing, and a younger sibling decided to “pick them up” for a closer look.

After much, much weeping and wailing- theirs and mine- I decided perler beads were on the no-no list for our house.

Save other parents the heartache. Don’t give perler beads.

1. Glitter

I hate glitter. I’ll just come out and say it. I hate it. It sticks to everything and everybody in the room, but curiously doesn’t stick to the craft we’re trying to make. It spreads and multiplies like magic. How can one tiny plastic glitter bottle hold enough glitter to cover an entire room?!

After doing some research, I found out that glitter started out as an accidental product of recycling trash. Trash. And people thought it so bad, they considered dropping it in bombs on Germany in World War 2. Really.

Why do we consider this a craft product?

Messy crafts

Please. Love your friends. Don’t give glitter!

More craft ideas- that don’t use the banned supplies:

Kids' craft supplies

Craft ideas for kids

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