5 Craft Projects Using Things From Your Yard


Pet Rocks

Stones found at the beach that have been worn smooth by the waves are ideal pet-rock candidates.
Stones found at the beach that have been worn smooth by the waves are ideal pet-rock candidates.
iStockphoto/Amanda Rohde

Placemat crafts might provide you with an afternoon of fun, but what if you want a craft with a little more staying power? Why not create a nature-inspired craft that can provide days, months -- maybe even years -- of entertainment.

Long before children played with Tamagotchis, today's virtual pets, children (and many adults) had Pet Rocks. Traditional pets can be high maintenance with the added expense of food and health care. Pet Rocks, like other virtual pets, bypass these issues altogether.

Originating in the 1970s, Pet Rocks were designed as a clean, inexpensive and obedient pet for kids. California Advertising Executive Gary Dahl created the idea when his children wanted a dog for Christmas. Not interested in the care and cost of a regular pet, Dahl created this stone pet as an alternative, and even created the "Pet Rock Training Manual" [source: Mondout].

The Pet Rocks of the 1970s were created from stones from Baja, Mexico and sold for $3.95 each [source: Mondout]. A pet of stone stature today does not have to be that complicated.

To create your very own stone companions, grab the family and go in search of the perfect pets to be. Once each member of your family has found the rock of his or her dreams, wash it and let it air dry. Meanwhile, gather every imaginable craft supply you have on hand -- markers, glitter glue, yarn, string, eyes, pipe cleaners, sequins, beads, paint -- the options are almost endless [source: Formaro]. Cover your workspace with newspaper, grab the dried stones and start crafting. When all the stones are sufficiently decorated, spray them with a clear-drying spray varnish; this will protect your new pets.

Though not all of these crafts will last a lifetime, you've no doubt had fun creating them. And who knows -- maybe raking won't seem like such a chore when you're on the prowl for the perfect leaves for your next project.

To learn more, visit the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Links


  • Beal, Susan. "Holiday Button Napkin Rings." Craftstylish. 11/23/08. (Accessed 4/20/09)http://craftstylish.com/item/26031/holiday-button-napkin-rings.htm
  • Bowling, Mary Jo. "Natural Napkin Rings." Goliath. 11/01/03. (Accessed 4/49/09)http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-1175556/Natural-napkin-rings-Tabletop-Ideas.html
  • Clement, Jennifer. "Make a Picture Frame from Nature." 3/22/08. (Accessed 4/20/09)http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/426629/make_a_picture_frame_from_nature.htm
  • Fedder, J. Ellen. "Make a Peanut Butter Pine Cone Bird Feeder." 3/30/09. (Accessed 4/20/09) http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1596490/make_a_peanut_butter_pine_cone_bird.html?singlepage=true&cat=24
  • Formaro, Amanda. "Pet Rocks." Kaboose. 2009. (Accessed 4/20/09) http://crafts.kaboose.com/pet-rocks.html
  • Mondout, Patrick. "1970s Fads: Pet Rocks." Super70s.com. 2009. (Accessed 4/20/09) http://www.super70s.com/super70s/Cultue/Fads/Pet_Rocks.aspx
  • Nick Jr. "Nature Placemats." Nickelodeon. 2009. (Accessed 4/20/09)http://www.nickjr.com/parenting/activity_finder/crafts/seasonal-crafts/leaf_placemats.jhtml
  • Show Kids the Fun. "Homemade Nature Placemats." ShowKidstheFun.com. 2/21/09. (Accessed 4/20/09)http://www.showkidsthefun.com/activity/homemade-nature-placemats.htm


Raid the Recycling Bin: 10 Recycled Crafts

Raid the Recycling Bin: 10 Recycled Crafts

Are you looking for some fun recycled craft ideas? Check out these 10 recycled craft ideas in this article.