Book Review: Crafty Concoctions

February 12th, 2013 posted by Family Corner Staff

101 Shiny, Sparkly, Spooky, Wrinkly, Puffy, Funny, Easy (and Money-Saving) Craft Supplies You Can Make

Crafty Concoctions Only $7.95 at!

As the owner of a large website, which happens to have a bustling community of parents and grandparents, I though this was the perfect book to put to the test. A Craft Test Panel was formed and almost 20 parents and their children participated and turned their homes into craft test kitchens. The results are in and they were overwhelming, this book gets an A+ for fun and creativity!

Sue Hannah, author of “Crafty Concoctions: 101 Shiny, Sparkly, Spooky, Wrinkly, Puffy, Funny, Easy (and Money-Saving) Craft Supplies You Can Make ” has put together a large variety of crafts that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Our panel of parents and kids proved that! Sure, you can buy many of these items ready made in the store, but what’s the fun in that? Kids love to get messy, create things and to experiment. This is a perfect way to harvest that creativity.

Craft recipe categories include crayons, paints, play dough, clays, chalks, glues, inks, dyes, paper crafts, body art, special effects, edible concoctions and other favorites as well. But this isn’t just a book of recipes. You will also find very helpful information on safety, when to expect a mess and how to prepare for it, how to store your new concoction, and explanations of ingredients you may not have heard of. Wait, don’t panic! Most ingredients used in these recipes are already in your house, but there are a few that you may not have on hand (i.e. glycerin, liquid starch, etc.), and this book tells you where you can easily find them.

FamilyCorner’s Craft Panel members were asked to rate these crafts on several levels:

– Messiness – Fun factor – Ease of preparation – Directions easy to follow – Accessible ingredients – Frugality – low cost or not?

Panel members gave their crafts an overall rating as well, and the majority of these crafts passed with flying colors! To make things more fun, our panel members posted pictures of many of their finished crafts. You can see them and read their comments here . (you will need to be a registered member to view the photos, registering is free!) is happy to recommend this fun book to its readers and to all who see these words. Crafty Concoctions by Sue Hannah, published by Meadowbrook Press, ISBN 0-88166-462-6 is available in bookstores and online at for only $7.95 ! This is worth the mere pennies it costs for the book. Your kids will have hours of fun and be so proud of their accomplishments. Everyone at hopes that you enjoy this book as much as we have!

For your enjoyment, try this fun craft at home with your kids (reprinted with permission from Meadowbrook Press)!

Stiff-a-Craft (String Sculpture – page 66)

This stiff concoction will harden fabric, bows, string, and yarn. Use it to make string sculptures and other stiffened creations.

Here’s What You Need

Medium saucepan 2 1/2 cups cold water 3 tbsp sugar 1/2 cup cornstarch Mixing spoon Oven mitt Cotton fabric item (such as string, yarn, a bow, or a piece of bed sheet) Wax paper Balloon or mold (optional for the recipe, but needed for the craft pictured) Plastic bag

Here’s How You Make It

In the saucepan, mix the cold water, sugar, and cornstarch with a spoon. Ask a grown up to help you place the saucepan on a stove burner and bring the solution to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the setting to medium and heat the solution for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Ask the grown up to help you use an oven mitt to remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the solution cool slightly.

Here’s How You Use It

Select a fabric item you want to stiffen. The item should be 100% cotton or mostly cotton, such as string, yarn, a bow, or a piece of bed sheet.

Completely soak the item in the mixture. Remove as much excess mixture as you can by running your fingers along the item or by squeezing the item gently. Set the item on a sheet of wax paper to air dry overnight. Or if you want, drape or wrap the item over a balloon or other mold until it’s dry and stiff.

Here’s How You Store It

This mixture should be used up immediately after you make it. It does not store well. Put any leftover mixture in a plastic bag, then toss the bag into the garbage.

Variation: For extra sparkle, add 1-2 teaspoons of glitter to the glue mixture before soaking the item you want to stiffen.

Balloon Mold String Sculpture

Blow up a balloon and use your fingers to lightly coat it with petroleum jelly. Pour the glue mixture into a shallow bowl. Cut a long piece of thick cotton string or yarn and oak it in the glue mixture for a few second. Remove the string from the mixture and remove the excess glue by running your fingers along the string.

Wrap the string several times around the balloon in a random pattern. Hang the balloon and let the string air dry for 1-2 days.

When the string is completely dry, pop the balloon with a needle to reveal the unique sculpture. Immediately throw the popped balloon pieces into the garbage.

This craft received the following rating from the FamilyCorner Test Panel:

Overall rating : Excellent

Fun Factor

: Great

Ease of Prep

: Pretty simple to prepare


: Very messy!


: Easy to follow, no problems


: Had most ingredients on hand


: Very inexpensive

Comments : “Wow, what a mess! LOL It was fun though, my daughter and I made several of the balloon molds, they are still hanging to dry. Hopefully they’ll work!”

And as you can see from this photo, they did! Enjoy!


star star star star star

We give Crafty Concoctions 5 stars for creativity, fun, and an overall good time had by all!

Family Corner Staff (674 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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