Duct Tape Watch – with a little extra Fathers Day Surprise!


Jon is a super fan of watches. Whenever we walk by a watch store he stops and has to go in, check out all the inner workings, picking out his favorite style, etc. He’d own one for every day of the week if he could I’m sure. SOoooo the kids and I decided to make him a watch! And one out of duct tape and a few other recycled materials of course!

To make this watch we used:

  • the lid of a large catsup bottle (for a fun flip top)
  • duct tape strips
  • paper for watch hands
  • 1 brad
  • black acrylic paint
  • hot glue


  1. Begin by folding and braiding three strips of duct tape. (See our headband tutorial for more directions on this step).
  2. Fold a strip of duct tape – sticky side out – to act as a “closure”. (You could also attach sticky velcro for longer use)
  3. Using a large catsup bottle lid paint on numbers to create a watch face
  4. Cut out two strips of card stock for watch hands. Punch holes into hands and attached through middle of the lid using a brad. Add a dab of hot glue to secure to the other side.
  5. Attach the face of the watch onto the duct tape band. We glued another square of tape under the watch face (not shown in the pic) to make it easier to glue onto the band. Then using hot glue, we attached the face to band.


The kids had a lot of fun giving their dad the watch and he loved it!

Little did he know…


That that wasn’t the last watch we’d be giving him for Father’s Day!


Shortly after we presented him with the duct tape watch, the kids had him close his eyes for another surprise. They then ran back to get out a wooden box and placed it in his hands.

After opening his eyes he found a gorgeous wooden box. And then proceeded to open it up to find a gorgeous wooden watch from Jord!! I picked out the Sully Series from maple and cherry and it’s exquisite.


Needless to say Jon flipped. It was gorgeous, perfectly his style and delivered in a beautiful wood box with heavenly woodsy scent.  MerMagFathersDayZordWoodenWatch3

He couldn’t love the kids play watch more but this was a pretty great cherry on the top.MerMagFathersDayZordWoodenWatch4

And a perfectly fitting gift for a dad who puts his family first all the TIME. MerMagFathersDayZordWoodenWatch1

We’re all sure lucky to have this guy around and are excited to celebrate him more this weekend!



Wooden Watches by JORD

Make a Simple Braided Duct Tape Headband

Braided Duct Tape Headband | Mer Mag

We had fun braiding duct tape and turning it into accessories to wear such as headbands and bracelets, etc. I think we’ll have to make a red white and blue one for the fourth of July!

Braided Duct Tape Headband | Mer Mag

Get the full tutorial on how to make these on Minted Julep today.

Instagram has a new look!


How pretty is Instagram’s new clean white look? I love it. Here’s just a sample of my feed (which you can follow here if you like. Lots of updates on the Banister House, my illustration, our daily comings and goings and as always – loads of good crafty fun!).


xo Mer

Playful French Industrial Picks of the Week


I’m back with more inspiring Playful French Industrial picks this week! Starting with this gorgeous George Morrison painting that I wish I could bid on. Gah!


And how sweet is this little peanut from Paul + Paula? My daughter loves putting socks on and off so this reminds me of her a bit. Se looks like she’d be right at home in Le Dans La dreamy space below. I just want to lie down and take a wee nap on the floor right where the sliver of light creeps in.


My boys are getting older and I’m always looking for inspiring ways to encourage them to dress. I love this little lad below. Looks to be both comfy and effortlessly stylish. Swap the top for a short sleeve shirt and the pants for shorts and you’ve got a perfect ensemble for a summer evening – heart scarf and all!


I’ve had an obsession with children’s spaces and playground design since I was a kid. I would go with my dad to library and we’d pick out a number of books on the matter all from the 70’s. I don’t know if it is because of this but I’ve got quite an affinity for children’s spacial design from this era.



A lot of great creative stuff was happing in in the 60’s and 70’s (like this Herman Miller Playscape below!) that really get my happy juices going (including their cover designs). And this site is full of some of those old books!!! Squeal!

WHY_NoguchiAtlanta_18 WHY_NoguchiAtlanta_12

And finally this photo just says NYC summer to me! Love.



Make a Set of Totem Pole Banks from Cans and Duct Tape

Duct Tape Totem Banks | Mer Mag

We like to up the earning in the summer time for the kids so that they can have opportunities to purchase souvenirs on trips as well as learn a bit more about money, saving and giving. It also helps to fill the days with productivity a bit more as they are trying to earn “tickets” (which then are cashed in for money at the end of the week) by doing chores and errands.


To make this experience more fun we recently made a set or totem pole banks for the kids (something I’ve wanted to do ever since this post) and they have been so fun! The kids have also enjoyed learning about the origin of totem poles as well (something they have been curious about ever since our trip to Disneyland and the Tiki Room).


We made it so that each can on the pole had a different spot for money to be divided into. 1. To Spend, 2. To Save 3. To Give. It’s helped to get the idea of saving for the future as well as charitable giving across a bit better – something that is great for kids to learn. We’ve also loved watching how an item means more to them when purchased with money they earned from hard work. (Jon has them vacuuming up every little crack in the house and it’s great!).


To make these you will need:

  • 3 cans (I find that a majority of grocery cans come in standard sizes and can be stacked)
  • duct tape
  • utility knife for cutting
  • low temp hot glue and gun (for glueing on wings, noses, etc.)

Duct Tape Totem Banks | Mer Mag

  1. Begin by taking off the label from your can and choosing an assortment of duct tape colors
  2. Have an adult cut a slit from the top of the can lid – large enough to insert dollars and coins into
  3. Cover your can with a solid color of duct tape and then create a face with additional duct tape, paper, cardboard, etc. for wings, noses, ears and the like.
  4. You now have one bank ready for saving!
  5. Continue to decorate 2 more cans in fun and silly ways for spending and giving. When you are done it’s time to stack your totem pole!

Duct Tape Totem Banks | Mer Mag

As a theater teacher Jon’s off for the summer (the silver lining to a teachers salary :)) so he’s helped to start a full blown work routine for the kids in the morning. It’s not been without it’s moments (whining, crying, full blown protests on the floor) but the kids are starting to see the benefit of work (at least the spending it and fun play after work part) and are slowing getting used to a routine that asks a bit more from then than they originally wanted for summer break. Don’t get me wrong – we’re all about the slow parenting thing and want to take our summer easy but we also want our kids to value work and learn about money and think summer is a great time for this. And then after the floors are mopped there’s plenty of time for lazy naps in the grass, fishing, and eating cotton candy and zooming on rids at our Art City small town fair!

Make these Silly Marionette Puppets in Kids Craft Camp!

Wooden Bead Puppet | Mer Mag & Kids Craft Camp

Summer sun is shining and kids are in swim lessons, making stuffed animal forts, dripping popsicles all over the place, playing tag and then dramatically draping themselves on the floor and the couch announcing “I’m BORED” – all by 9 AM!!! Time for an online Kids Craft Camp! Where you can put a set of 8 videos & a few simple supplies in front of them and let them go at it. Great projects are included like this marionette puppet who is sure to provide hours of giggles and creative performances. I know my kids are obsessed. Sign up here and share your creations with the hash tag #kidscraftcamp!

Wooden Bead Puppet | Mer Mag & Kids Craft Camp Wooden Bead Puppet | Mer Mag & Kids Craft Camp Wooden Bead Puppet | Mer Mag & Kids Craft Camp

Marionette Puppet Theater | Mer Mag Kids Craft Camp

Make-a-Face! Apron Pattern


We’re knee deep in Kids Craft Camp planning and I’m in the process of sewing a set of Make-A-Face aprons for all the campers to wear while getting creatively messy. I thought other artsy kiddos would be interested and wanted share the pattern with you too! We’re really loving them here so far. You can make this for your child or have them help with some of the steps as a sewing project).


Materials Needed to make this Apron:

  • 3/4 yard of Thick cloth such as canvas
  • 1 pkg of 1/4″ double fold bias tape
  • thread to match apron fabric and color of bias tape


To Make the Apron:

  1. You can download the template/pattern for the apron here.
  2. Print out the pattern. I would suggest emailing or taking it to your local printers and having it printed out on large paper (blue print prints are very affordable) or you could also print it out in tiles on your home printer and tape together. Cut out pattern.
  3. Pin pattern to fabric and cut out.
  4. Pin and cut out apron pockets.
  5. Fold under and stitch the top and bottom of pocket strips. Sew pockets onto the top of the apron. Use pattern to see where to sew pocket dividers.
  6. Repeat for the bottom pocket.
  7. Fold under the sides and bottom of the apron and stitch.
  8. Using your child as a reference, decide how long you want the apron strings and neck loop to be.
  9. Sew a strip of bias tap to top of the apron.
  10. Sew remaining bias tape to the under arms of the apron, continuing over the head and then back down the other side (using the pic below as reference).
  11. Now for the fun part! Paint on a simple face (bring your kids in on this part – maybe even have them stamp out a face using these silly face stamps!)



Have fun making more aprons with a variety of faces! These are also great for cooking in the kitchen our outside gardening. All the pockets are so handy for so many uses!

It’s Friday! (and apparently we need to go get some donuts)

Playful Boy Blowing Horn

Happy Friday friends! Has this week gone by too too fast for anyone else? I’m up to my neck in Kids Craft Camp prep and I’m so inspired! I can’t wait for the creative messy and playful projects your little ones will be doing. If you’re local (Utah county) and still want you little one to attend, we still have a couple of slots open. Just email me at merrilee liddiard at hotmail dot com.


And if you’re in need of more inspiration to get your weekend going check out these Weekend Links:


I want to make THESE COOKIES to go with our cardboard lollipops!

and speaking of which, I want to live in Gina’s serene, creative Swedish world

I’m only slightly obsessed with how she dresses

this has me giggling (and I sort of want to do it to our claw foot tub when we get one!)

can someone please tell me where i can find one of these shelves? NEED

EVERYTHING in this post. everything.

I could swing in sheets for days

having an itch to go blonde. am i crazy?

this guy. a legend who did his most iconic work when others would have quit. continues to inspire us all today.

oh and apparently it’s national donut day? I won’t fight it. so I guess my kids and i are off stuff our faces with these!



Interview and Playful spotlight in the Bloesom Gazette

Bloesem Gazette - Mer Mag Cover

So excited to see that the new issue of the Bloesem Gazette is out! And an image of our Duct Tape Trucks from Playful is on the cover (This is craft is a fav around our house)! It’s full of fun great design and diy’s for kids from the likes of talented ladies from My Cakies, A Merry Mishap and more. You can find a little interview at the end where I share why I think Play is so important for kids and a bit about one unforgettable behind the scenes moment with Playful!

You can pick it up for free in Singapore or browse it online here.

Make a Set of DIY Cardboard Lollipops and Play Sweetshop!


We made a set of sweet make-believe lollipops out of cardboard the other day and it was so fun! They are perfect for playing candy shop or using and invites to a birthday party (just put the info on the back, wrap in plastic, tie with string and present to your guests!). You could even use them as cute cake toppers at the party.MerMagCardboardLollipops

Head on over to Minted today to get the full DIY. Perfect weekend activity to do with your little ones!

lollipopDIY Cardboard LollipopsDIY Cardboard Lollipop(Sweetest summer dress from Olive Juice Kids. )