Doodle Crate is a member of the KiwiCo family geared toward kids 9+. It inspires young makers to learn new skills and gain creative confidence through craft and art projects by teaching them basic and intermediate techniques of a new artistic medium each month. The sky is the limit, and crafts made from the same kit can be kept simple, or they can be made as intricate as the artist desires.
Though geared toward kids, Doodle Crate is gender neutral and also excellent for anyone (even adults) wanting a craft subscription. In our experience, this is the best “arts and crafts” box for older kids, tweens, teens, and adults – the end result is nearly always something you will want to save!
This month’s project: HANDWOVEN BASKETS!
DEAL: Use this link to save 40% on your first month of Doodle Crate! (or Kiwi Crate and the KiwiCo family subscriptions Tinker Crate and Koala Crate).
Every crate comes with everything you need to complete the project (except for a few basic items from your home), as well as a booklet.
Doodle Crate tends to focus on a single craft and contains only what you’ll need for the project.
The booklet has excellent, textbook quality background on the subject matter of the project. Every Crate is a project and a lesson in technique – when your are finished, you should have a usable hand-made item and a new skill.
It’s loaded with high-quality pictures and illustrations to both give you ideas and help you along, and they produce a video tutorial for each project, too. Doodle Crate is great at providing perspective and inspiration for their projects, showing examples of the medium in real life settings.
The booklet proceeds step-by-step, from start to finish, with detailed guidance the whole way. The numerous diagrams explain every step clearly and make it practically impossible to go off track. At every phase of the project, Doodle Crate presents several options to bring added personality to your work – and you are always free to do something completely original. After all, it is YOUR creation.
The guidance is always thorough enough to allow you to create a polished looking piece.
Handy tips are located throughout the instructions, and they always include some options for customizing your work using alternate techniques or additional details.
This Crate is suitable for a wide range of ages, and older kids and adults can bring as much complexity to their projects as they want. For this project, you could adjust the timing of soak on different parts of the yarn to create an ombre effect, or you could use capillary action to gently blend two or more colors on different portions of the yarn.
My son was really excited about the dyeing portion of this activity. At his age, a big part of any artistic endeavor is mixing colors (usually until everything is brown), so he was all about that.
The Crate came with 5 tubs of dye — purple, blue, red, and two yellows. We decided to use the purple and blue unadulterated, but we wanted to make a very vibrant orange with the remaining dye.
We used two tubs of yellow to make our orange.
The yarn soaked for a short while, then we rinsed it out.
The finished yarn, shown here drying, is much lighter in color than the vibrant dye itself, but it is still very lovely.
It took us a while to get back to weaving the baskets after preparing our yarn (cotton strips), but the weaving is actually very simple and goes quickly. The card stock frames take the place of the vertical reeds in a basket, and they have little holes in the top of each to make finishing work easier. We finished each basket with a pre-cut felt pad on the bottom.
Our three baskets turned out great! I really love the colors. We pulled our rim a little tight on the first basket (blue), so it ended up with a rounded, slightly constricted opening that looked quite cool.
Doodle Crate is a really great project subscription for tweens, teens, and even adults. Some projects can get fairly complex, but the thorough instructions and guidance never leave us confused, and most projects can be done by pre-teens without adult assistance. This project was very accessible for kids on the younger end of the suggested age range, but there were tons of options for altering the dyeing process to create your own distinct look. The card stock patterns made weaving much simpler than working with reeds or other inserts.