Sunday, December 29, 2013

Craftiness Double Whammy!: Pickle Listening Phones and Chalkboard Rekenreks

My winter break is half over *sigh* and I was finally able to do a few crafty, productive projects for my classroom for when we return in a week :'( So today I'm linking up with Preserving Life's Awesome Things blog hop:
I have been meaning to make both of these items for a while but, being both OCD and ADD (or so I think I am), I had to think for quite a while about how I wanted to do both of them and came up with the following results.
Voila! My Pickle Listening Phone and Chalkboard Rekenrek!! I'm so super excited about how these turned out that it almost makes me excited for winter break to be over so I can use them with my kiddos. Almost...
Anyhoo, Pickle Phones first...

These were so insanely easy that I was tempted to just post the pictures and leave it at that as they kind of speak for themselves but then I thought "Why deprive you all of my witty and clever commentary?!?" ;)
So, all you need is 4" lengths of 3/4" PVC pipe, 90 degree PVC elbows, and some duct tape. I was so excited when I found this adorable pickle tape. It's actually what got me motivated to make the phones to begin with! Plus, it helps that the guy at Home Depot cut the pipe into 4" pieces for me.
*Note: I chose to get my supplies from Home Depot because they actually had a professional plumber's pack of the elbow joints. It had 25 pieces in a bag so, to make 25 phones, I just had to get 2 $5 bags of elbow joints and one 10 foot length of pipe totaling a whole $15 in cost!

Alright, first thing's first. Shove an elbow piece onto each end of the pipe piece. It takes quite a bit of elbow grease and I won't lie, my arms hurt a bit after assembling 25!

Check to make sure the two elbow pieces are even (I just eyeballed it).

Ta da! It's a phone! But kind of a boring looking one.

Plus the majority of my pieces had print on them. The solution? Super cute duct tape!

Simply put one end on, wrap, snip, and smooth! And yes, the pickle is saying "Dill with it!" hehe

And done!! Easy peasy!

You gotta love the look of a completely finished project! Especially when it only takes an hour or so for a set of 25. And they only ended up costing about 80 cents a piece!!!
Now on to the rekenreks. These are MUCH more time consuming than the snap-together phones.

I used all the items in the picture above: hobby wood from Home Depot, a miter box saw, power drill with 1/8" drill bit, sandpaper block, rekenrek template (link below), green paint, chalkboard paint, paintbrushes, pipecleaners, and red and white pony beads (not pictured).

I thought I would give you a shot of the tag on the wood since I was able to get 4 perfectly sized rekenreks out of one board. The one board measures 1/4" thick and 2/5" by 2 feet long.

Also, the paint is all available at local craft stores. I've even seen it at Walmart!

The miter box is probably not a necessity as I'm sure the wonderful guys at Home Depot probably would have cut this for me too but I wasn't sure of how big I wanted them until I got home and did some more thinking.

I ended up cutting the board into fourths making each rekenrek 2.5"x6".

Set it in the miter box and saw away.

Once you're done, you'll probably have a rough edge on the end.

Just attack it with the sandpaper block and it will take care of that in no time.

Next, cut out your template (or you can just wing it but my OCD brain would never go for that). I just used a hole punch for the big holes. If you would like my template, you can find it here. I included two versions, one with a space for an answer box like the one I made and one with just the 4 holes.

Put the template on the wood and mark the holes with a marker.

Then use your drill to make the 4 holes.

Grab that trusty sanding block and clean up the holes on the front and back sides.

Then you get to paint! I started with the sides and back then the front.

Once dry, I chopped the answer box portion off the template and cut out the middle to use as a stencil. (I was going to use a teeny tiny paper punch I have but left it at work and I'll be darned if I'm going to work for a paper punch!)

Once you're done with all the painting, you're ready for the beads. Simply add 5 of one color and 5 of another (I chose the traditional red and white) to your pipecleaner.

Thread the ends of the pipecleaner through your drilled holes as evenly as possible.

Twist and wrap the ends together.
And you're done!

And my kiddos will love that they can write an answer in the space on the right and still be able to erase and change as necessary!


  1. That is the most awesome thing I have ever seen!! Sadly there is no Hobbycraft here or Walmart or any of the places listed above and I seriously doubt I'll find chalkboard paint anywhere. I'm going to have to harass my husband to get wood and will have to hit the online stores for other supplies as necessary because I SERIOUSLY want these things!!! :)

  2. Oh my goodness you weren't kidding when you said craftiness! I have a whole new respect for you!

    Thanks for linking up!
    Simply Kinder

  3. Fun ideas. And you made 25! We'd love you to link up over at our Awesome Things Tuesday link up party.

    Jessica @ Preserving Life's Moments