Don’t Buy, Just DIY: Easy Bake Oven Mixes

Shhhh. My son doesn’t know it, but he’s getting an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas. I’m so glad I found these DIY (trans fat-free!) mixes before I shelled out major dough for them at the store. You can make them ahead and store them in labeled ZipLocs in the freezer. Sweet!

  • At, you’ll find the how tos for white frosting, brownies, chocolate cake and quick cake.
  • Want more? There are 32 different recipes at Peanut Butter Fudge, anyone? has a bunch, too.
  • Commercial cake mixes can also be used in the Easy Bake Oven. You’ll find tips at Baby Toolkit and

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BC Essentials: DIY Baby Stuff

Browse the DIY articles featured on Baby Cheapskate:


Sew Your Own (Wipes and Covers, too!)


Make Your Own Crib Mobile: Idea Roundup

DIY Dresser Ideas for the Nursery

Decoupage a Dresser: A Tutorial

More DIY: Changing Table, Bedding, More

Creating Inexpensive Custom Wall Art for the Nursery

DIY Nursery Storage: Curtained Shelving

DIY: Easy and Cheap Swaddling Blankets


Make an Under-the-Bed Train Table


Save Money with At-Home Kiddie Hair Cuts

DIY Halloween Costumes

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Make Your Own Crib Mobile: Idea Roundup

Wowie, crib mobiles can be expensive! These handmade mobiles cost much less. They may not spin or play music, but I think you’ll agree that they’re so cute they don’t need to. You’ll find tutorials for making these mobiles, along with more pics, at the links below.

Top row, left to right:
IKEA hanging lamp turned bird mobile at Gather and Nest.
Felt butterflies at Bugs and Fishes by Lupin.
Mobile made from painted wooden pieces at The Artful Abode

Bottom row, left to right:
Butterfly mobile made from gift wrap at One Crafty Place.
“Birds” mobile at Spool Sewing.
Flower mobile at Offbeat Mama.

This post is part of BC’s Nursery on a Budget Series. See more posts in the series.

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Decoupage a Dresser: A Tutorial

This guest post is from Samantha, a 30 year old mom who works in marketing from home. Samantha shows us how she decoupaged a dresser for her daughter’s nursery. I love that she’s planning to have her daughter add to the design when she’s older.

As a frugalista, I would see friends’ nurseries and marvel at how put together they looked, but once I started researching the cost, I would cringe. I did not want to spend the money on anything but items that could be used again and would grow up with our daughter. We received a hand-me-down dresser from my brother’s fraternity house that was in decent shape, and I hadn’t found a place for it in our home. I saw an idea in a magazine to decoupage the front of the drawers and inspiration struck me. If you’ve ever been in a sorority, you are very familiar with Mod Podge. Every year I would buy a 16 oz. container and proceed to put my sorority letters on everything I owned.

Since the farm life was such a huge part of my husband’s upbringing, we decided that a modern, girly, farm nursery would be best. I found animal silhouettes on the internet and cut out the pieces from scrapbook paper (card stock will work too, anything that’s a little thicker than regular paper to stand up to the moisture of the glue).

First, lay out the pieces. I tried several different versions before settling on one I felt worked.

Next, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge glue (available at any craft store for $3-$5) with a sponge-tip paint brush ($1 at the craft store) to the area where your piece will go.

If you have pieces next to each other, apply one long stroke rather than a bunch of little ones. You want to go for consistent strokes.

Place the piece on top of the glue and press down until the piece is relatively secure. Let air dry about 5-10 minutes. Apply a thin layer of glue on top of the area, again going for one long consistent stroke over the pieces. Make sure you get the edges really good. You want each layer of glue to start to build up so the pieces will never peel away from the surface. Let dry about 20 minutes, until it’s dry to the touch. Repeat the process of applying a thin layer and drying 4-5 times. Let fully dry over night.

The next day, apply one layer of Clear Gloss Sealer, usually available next to the Mod Podge at the craft store. Let fully dry. Congrats! You’re done!

I believe ours turned out well, and I think she’ll be able to use it for several years. I hope to have her help me paint some designs on the sides when she’s old enough.

The total cost was about $8 with all the supplies since we already had the dresser. Now I just have to refrain from reverting back to my sorority girl days and decoupaging everything in sight.

This post is part of BC’s Nursery on a Budget Series. See more posts in the series.

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More DIY: Changing Table, Bedding, More

Changing Table
Check out this tutorial on how to make a space-saving, crib-top changing table (left) at Requires a bit of cutting, gluing, screwing, sanding, and staining.

Get instructions on how to make a fold-away changing table (right) at DIY network. Do note the “moderate to hard” difficulty level, however.

Learn how to make your own fitted crib sheets at the promising-sounding You’ll find patterns and how-tos on making quilts, fleece blankets and more here.

There’s another pattern for fitted crib sheets at Prudent Baby. I love the site’s tag line, “DIYs for Small Fries”. Check it out; you’ll also find out how to make everything from changing pad covers to shoes to bibs.

I’ve got a whole post on DIY mobiles coming up, so check back soon!

This post is part of BC’s Nursery on a Budget Series. See more posts in the series.

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Creating Inexpensive Custom Wall Art for the Nursery

This guest post, part of our Nursery on a Budget series, is from reader Holly. Find out how to easily add the finishing touches to your nursery without spending big:

You’ve done it! You have finally chosen the perfect bedding for your nursery. Or maybe, just maybe, you haven’t. Either way, art work is a great way to make that bedding pop or provide a much needed change to those recycled linens. There are so many options for art work! Personalize your room with a monogram, tailor those gender-neutral textiles, or add a dash of fun. The possibilities are endless!

Most parents automatically assume that there is no way they can actually make the artwork for their newest bundle’s room. I promise, you CAN! There are a few simple things that you need to consider first:

Look at the size of your room. Large open rooms with taller ceilings are a great fit for larger pieces of work. I have found that smaller rooms are the perfect backdrop for several smaller pieces of art that help define the spaces in the room.

Think color. Take your bedding in consideration. Do you want similar colors or something that provides more contrast? Either way, you may want to consult a color wheel. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to visit your local paint shop. Take a sample of your bedding. They will easily be able to show you complimentary, contrast, or tonal colors to go with what you already have. If this is just too much for you, check out some of the websites or magazines of home décor stores. Look for something with similar colors, not similar function or furniture. Take on one aspect at a time.

Go with a theme. This is probably my favorite part! I have had the opportunity to create several complete nurseries for friends. Each one has a very specific theme or feel that matches the parents. If you love being outside, choose a lighter, airy theme. If cuddling in with a good book is more your speed, add child-friendly characters to your room. Many moms even use their sorority’s mascot! Don’t be afraid to take a leap, paint is easy to change! Pairing color and theme make the next few steps so much fun!!

Design!! Yup, I said it—design. You really can do it yourself. Most children’s art is based on basic shapes. Still a little scared? Use royalty-free clipart and carbon tracing paper (available at most craft stores). Print the picture to the size you want, place the picture on top of the canvas with the carbon paper sandwiched in between. Trace the major lines. One important thing to remember though—prime the canvas first!! Just use a basis white acrylic paint, cover the canvas completely, and let it dry overnight. After priming, add the major lines of your print using the carbon method or free hand drawing. Use acrylic paints to fill it in. And, ta-da, you’ve done it! One of the easiest ways to finish of a painting is to use a sharpie instead of trying to use a small paintbrush to add the finishing details.

Add the little touches. I like to use a coordinating ribbon around the edges of my canvases. This is just one way to finish off the picture. I also like to hang them in creative ways. One of my favorites is to use a cabinet door knob. Most hardware stores sell a two-sided screw just for this. I know Home Depot does! Just put one of those plastic anchors in the wall, put the two sided screw into the knob, then screw the knob into the anchor. Add ribbon or tulle to the top of your picture. Hang it and you’re done! However, I do suggest adding a small nail just under the top edge because some ribbons or tulle can stretch.

Another important thing to consider is what other options you have. Sometimes you might want something a little more original that just the standard canvas. One option that’s popular right now is a feather wreath. Just use a foam floral wreath, several feather boas in your color choice, and some straight pins. Add a loop of ribbon for hanging before you begin wrapping the boas around the form.

Another idea that I love as a teacher is to use the dust jackets from children’s books as a room border. Not big into books? Use family photos!

Old window panes are also an option. Add these to walls where your child will not have access to because they are so heavy! Canvases are a much better choice for over the crib, and possibly over the changing table depending on how active your baby is.

Also consider using the quilt to your bedding as artwork. Use small nails to hold it to the wall. If the nails pull through, add a decorative button as a “washer.”

The most important thing to remember when doing art work for your little one’s nursery is this: you have to like it! You are the one that will be seeing at all hours of the day and night. Make it fun or make family focused. Use color and theme. And remember, paint is cheap! Use canvases instead of painting straight on the wall. That way, if you don’t like, you only have to repaint the canvas, not the entire wall or room!!

Whew! I think that’s a pretty good start! I would love for ya’ll to reply with what you have used as themes and color combinations.

This post is part of BC’s Nursery on a Budget Series. See more posts in the series.

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DIY: Easy and Cheap Swaddling Blankets

Swaddling isn’t for every baby, but it sure helped my son (and us!) get some rest. The swaddling blankets a neighbor hand made for us before my son was born worked soooo much better than anything we found at the store. They were the right size and shape (square) and not too stretchy.

Rookie Moms has a super-easy tutorial up today about how to make your own swaddling blankets for $5 or less. Harvey Karp would be proud!

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