101 Idea “I’m Bored” Jar

Summer is fast approaching, and I have small(ish) kids in my family that I usually end up babysitting (but don’t tell them that) during summer vacation. Definitely fun times. Except when they approach me with dreary faces and dully pronounce the two most irksome words known to mom (and babysitter)-kind:

“I’m bored.

My usual response is, “Hi Bored. I’m Nicole.” However, that didn’t solve the problem. So I moved on to playing the Wicked Witch every time I heard those dreaded words and would use them as slaves for their free child labor give them housework and chores that needed doing. Good for me – not so cool for them. Plus, I didn’t really like playing the Wicked Witch… That’s just not how I roll.

So I did what I always do when I’m looking for ideas: I skipped merrily off to Pinterest Land. ^_^ And this is what I came up with:

A popsicle stick “I’m Bored” jar!! Brilliant, eh? Gotta give credit where credit is due, though.

I was totally inspired by the following brilliance:

Shayna from "Shades of Life"
Steph from "Somewhat Simple" (via "Skip to My Lou")
Audrey from "Miss Audrey Sue"

However, there was also someone else that I stumbled upon, someone who’s ideas I’ve used many times before, and who once again inspired me with her creativity and cleverness:

Alison from "How Does She?"

Those popsicle sticks are UH. MAZ. ING, and I knew from the start that I wanted to incorporate her idea. And seriously, how does she?! Genius, I tell ya.

So here’s what I did to prepare (and hopefully eliminate) the summer induced “I’m bored”-itis (characterized by whining, complaining, and possibly staring blankly at walls):

You can also download the 101 ideas (made to fit tongue depressors, not popsicle sticks) here. There are mainly fun, crafty, and creativity-inducing ideas included, but I did throw some quick and easy chores into the bunch, just to help mom out. ^_-

I have also included a blank sheet at the end of this PDF file in case you’d like to add your own ideas!! =] Also, this document comes as a 14 page PDF, so make sure you have Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat installed.

step 1: Scale the pages from the “101 Idea” PDF file to 90% before you print them. I’m not sure if the tongue depressors I bought at the craft store are true to size, which might be my problem here. However, it’s also possible that I may have gotten the wrong dimensions for tongue depressors. I can’t be perfect 100% of the time, after all (pfff… yeah right). =P

step 2: Print your pages. I used some extra scrapbook paper I had laying around, and used a regular piece of printer paper to trim it to size.

step 3: Cut your 101 ideas out.

step 4: Using your paint brush, brush your Mod Podge onto the back of one of your ideas.

step 5: It’s a bit hard to see in this picture, but place your tongue depressor on the side of the idea with glue on it. Then hold it up against a bright light so you can see the outline of the tongue depressor and even out the placement.

step 6: When the tongue depressor is in the correct position, place it on a hard surface and press down along the back to make sure it adheres to the paper well.

step 7: Repeat steps 4 – 6 for all 101 ideas, and allow them to dry (which shouldn’t take more than a half hour or so).

step 8: Trim the excess paper from around the outside of the tongue depressor.

step 9: Use a piece of sandpaper or a sanding block to sand around the edges of the paper and the tongue depressor. This step is completely optional – I just like the look of it. ^_^

Here’s a comparison shot so you can see the difference of sanded (bottom) vs. not sanded (top).

Also, be sure to do this in a place that you don’t mind dust, as the sanding can get messy, lol. Although it’s nothing that a damp cloth and a quick once-over with the vacuum couldn’t fix.

You might have noticed that I had a stamp/aging pad included in the “Materials” shot. This is also optional. I ended up trying it on an extra blank tongue depressor strip that I had made for exactly this reason, and I ended up not liking how it looked. However, that could very well be because I’m too brainless to age them correctly.

Once you’ve decided how you like things, simply pretty up your container (in my case it’s a mason jar wrapped with burlap, ribbon, lace, and tied with a jute bow), and you’ve got yourself a summer vacation lifesaver!

Thanks for crafting with me, everyone!! I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying being a part of your lives. ^_^ I’d LOVE to hear how these worked out for you!! Until next time.

Linking to all the amazing parties on my “Links” page, as well as these lovely websites:

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  1. Rae says:

    What a brilliant idea… I have twin 7 year old nephews and this would make a fab summer gift for them! Plus it’d be fun for me to make as well… win-win situation :-)

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks for the sweet comment, Rae!! I tried to include ideas for kids of all ages (and to keep the ideas on the cheaper side – gotta cut Mom a break during those long summer months). I’d LOVE to hear how your nephews liked them!! ^_^ Have fun, and thanks again.

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks Christine. ^_^ I like how it came out too, for although it’s a project that’s technically for my daughter, it fits in with my home decor perfectly. No reason it can’t be pretty, right?

  2. Molly says:

    I love, love, love how you made this. I am absolutely putting this on my summer to-do list. Thanks for including the printable as well. You’re entire project just turned out great. I love that you even took the time to sand down the sticks for a little added touch.
    I host a Creative Party on my blog I’d love to invite you to come link up at if you’d like.
    Hope to see you there :)

  3. Vicky says:

    LOVE the idea, and as stated above, really like how you made it your own! I have a 16 year old so her version of “I’m Bored” also follows with “Can I borrow the car?” Ha!

    Newest follower! Come see me if you get a chance. I am not very crafty, but I have lots of funny stories to share!

    Vicky @ sleeping in an unmade bed

  4. Karla Jones says:

    what a great idea. would have been nice when my kids were little. I am sharing it with my children for my grandchildren. thanks for the post.

  5. Nancy says:

    Love these ideas. My children are grown but I am a nanny and I think it would be nice for the family to keep the jar at their home for the summer and weekends. I will definitely make use of it there!

  6. Amy Bateman says:

    I love this idea! My kids NEED this! One little thing, I noticed in the PDF file that “illustrate” is spelled incorrectly on several sticks on page 11. :)

    • Nicole says:

      lol, Yeah, I guess I rely to much on spell check. That’s what I get for typing everything directly into Photoshop, instead of using Word first, lol. (“See Honey, this is why you need to pay attention in school.”) lol. =} Extra allowance for any kid that can point these spelling mistakes out!!

  7. Love this and need this. Will do this!!!:) Thanks for the inspiration and the downloads too!! Nothing worse than, “I’m bored” – makes for a very loooooong summer. btw – found you at nifty thrifty linky.

  8. Kristin says:

    You have some typos on the printable. “Finish” and “illustrate” are misspelled on five sticks on page 11. They can be rewritten on the blank ones, but I thought you might want to know. This is a great idea and I will definitely be making these for this summer! :)

    • Nicole says:

      lol, Yep – you caught me. Although I love to write, spelling is not my strong point. If only they would add spell check into Photoshop… ^_- Thanks for letting me know, and for the sweet comments!!

  9. Allie says:

    Hey Nicole! I was stumbling through some blogs, blogs after blogs after blogs, because I’m completely addicted, and I came across your site! Let me tell you, you’ve got me hooked! I make fondant cakes for a living and recently just got into crafting and DIY and this project just made my To Do list! Although I don’t have kids of my own, I will definitely be making this for my boyfriend and I. There are some nights where we just sit and watch TV, and that’s not acceptable! So, thank you so much for the idea, and the printables are just an added bonus!

  10. KCoake says:

    What a cute and great idea! I am pinning this in case I want to make it in the near future…which will probably occur after the 2nd, “I’m bored.”

  11. jody says:

    Just wanted you to know you got the highest views for this project on Simple & Sweet Fridays. Congrats!
    Thanks for sharing.


  12. Tina Peterson says:

    Yesterday the kids got the smart(stupid) idea that running across my tiny living room and jumping on the couch was an appropriate idea – out cam my I’m Bored Jar and Connor picked out Make Bubble Solution while Madison had to read books to Gianna (18 mo)…. I wish I could show you a picture but they had so much fun with the bubbles (we used Happy Hooligans recipe) all morning long. I have told so many people about this idea. Thank You!

    I will be sharing this idea and a link to your website on my blog this weekend :)

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