Between 9 and 12 years of age, girls are more open to developing new skills and interests than they’ll likely be again at any time in the next ten years. Would the pre-teen princess in your life like to try something new, to explore her creative side? Beginner crochet, jewelry making, glass mosaic, tie dye, and woodburning art – here are 5 wonderful craft kits to help her jump in to creative fun.
5 Great Craft Kits for Creative Pre-Teen Girls
For a pre-teen or young teen girl, you really can’t go wrong with a jewelry-making kit, even if you’re not sure what her other interests may be. Wire and bead kits like this one are especially great for impatient or free-spirited artists, as there is no “right and wrong” to the creative act – the pictures in the included booklet are a starting point for inspiration, but her own handmade jewelry can be whatever she wants it to be.
The hardest part of your gift selection, with a jewelry kit, is likely to be choosing the right color theme. When it doubt, stick with a neutral set in earth tones, metallics, or the ever-popular blue tones shown here, which complement every shade of hair color and skin tone, and look amazing with both denim and dress-up outfits.
I’m a huge fan of all the craft kits in the Artterro line, and you’d almost think they must have a clutch of teenagers on their design board – that’s how very cool these kits are, both in the design of the kit itself and in the project ideas and materials that the kits are built around. Bonus – the kit is assembled in the United States by Goodwill, so you’re doing a little good with every purchase.
Made in the USA, this beginner tie-dye set contains red, yellow, and blue dyes; a mixing bottle; latex gloves; and rubber bands. T-shirts (or whatever other fabric items your young artist might want to dye in wild ’60s-inspired colors and patterns) are not included.
A couple things I really like about the Jacquard brand kit – you get 3 handy squirt bottles to use for applying the dye, so you can get good control for creating special effects, and they include a DVD with instructions and ideas. That’s on top of the Guide to Tie Dye video series on the company’s Vimeo channel, free for anyone to view, so your young textile artist will have lots of guidance and inspiration for her colorful clothing designs.
Adult supervision is recommended for this craft, especially for the younger crowd. These are the same kind of fabric dyes that are used by professional craftspeople, not the nontoxic “play” version, and the soda ash “fixer” is caustic on bare hands – which is where the latex gloves come in. I’d recommend picking up a few extra pairs of rubber gloves just in case, and a large plastic sheet (painter’s drop cloth or a cheap plastic picnic tablecloth) to make clean-up easy.
This kit is designed to let you dye between 10 and 15 T-shirts, and you can almost certainly dye that number of little-kid-sized shirts. For youth or adult sized tees, it will be more like 8 or 10 shirts, depending on the number of colors used and what kind of patterns she wants to create. Pick up a few low-cost white cotton T-shirts at your local discount store, and you’ve got the makings of a great activity for a memorably pre-teen party!
This beginner kit comes with 2 balls of 100-percent acrylic yarn (note that it’s a dusty rose pink color, not the purple shown on the package) along with a crochet hook in the required N-13 (9mm) size, and instructions to crochet a scarf.
Sure, there are other crochet kits out there, but a scarf is the best possible project for a preteen girl just starting to learn to work with yarn. The last thing you want is for the new yarn-crafter to get frustrated, and with a scarf kit it’s easy to make good progress once you get the hang of the basic stitches, so it gives a very satisfying sense of moving forward. With a scarf as her first crochet project, the beginner can see how well she’s keeping an even tension on the yarn and fine-tune her skills before moving onto a more challenging pattern. And when she’s done, she can wear her craft to show it off, very practical.
The special abbreviations used in crochet patterns can be confusing to a beginner, so a less patient crafter may need a bit of help to “decode” the instructions for the first few minutes. Visual learners often pick up a new skill like crochet more easily if they can watch it demonstrated. If you are not a crochet whiz yourself, you’ll find some very good crochet tutorials for beginners on Youtube, although the instructions that come with this kit are among the clearest and easiest to follow that I’ve seen. Well, we expect nothing less from Lion Brand, one of the leading suppliers to the yarn crafting world.
My beloved niece gave me her middle-school graduation photo mounted in a very cool mosaic picture frame she’d made herself, using a kit very similar to this one.
Lots of teenaged girls will appreciate the ability to put their own personal stamp on a crafty creation, rather than following step-by-step directions to the letter or having to follow a very detailed pattern. And what girl doesn’t have a special photo she wants to give pride of place on her dresser table or bookcase, in a one-of-a-kind artistic picture frame?
This particular kit includes a frame base (with an easel stand on the back) sized 7-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches, which will fit a 5 x 7 picture – a special photograph, or a painting or drawing perhaps. It comes complete with colorful stained glass and glass gems, tile grout and glue, even a pair of plastic gloves, a wooden stir stick, and of course the instructions for how to assemble the mosaic.
This kit contains everything you need to get started with woodburning – or simply to create a few beautiful pyrographic images on basswood plaques (two different sizes and shapes of wood plaques are included, approximately 7 by 5 and 8 by 10 inches). The hot point tool or woodburning pen that comes in this kit has a stand – my first one didn’t have a stand, and I had to remember to set up a metal object to place it on to keep it handy without rolling off my work table, so don’t underestimate what a great feature this is, simple as it may seem.
The other feature I like here, that you don’t always get on a beginner woodburning pen is the on/off switch, so you don’t always have to be reaching to unplug and plug it in again, whenever you need to take a break or let the tool cool down a little. Included are 4 different woodburning points, which you can think of a bit like the nibs of a pen in a calligraphy set, to give a different line effect: shading, flow, cone, and universal points. Along with the wood, the woodburning pen, colored pencils to enhance the art, and full instructions, the kit includes 8 patterns and 2 sets of alphabet styles, and even the transfer paper to get the images onto the wood to give a pattern to follow.
Teens with an artistic talent may want to draw their own images for woodburning, once they’ve got the hang of it, so you might want to add a few extra items for them to decorate – a small wooden trinket box to keep jewelry in or a set of wide wooden bangles would both be a good choice, but have a look around your local craft supplies store for woodburning “blanks” that look interesting. At the low price of this kit, even a girl who’s not sure if she wants to make a hobby of woodburning can go ahead and give it a try. And that’s the spirit of getting creative, after all.
Feeling Inspired to Inspire Your Pre-Teen Girl?
A well-designed craft kit can open a whole new world of creative activity for your pre-teen girl, in those tricky years between toys and boyfriends. A passion for crafting – instilled early and nurtured with quick fun project kits – will entertain the self-expressive girl on the cusp of teenager years for hours now and for years to come, help her to develop her confidence along with fine motor skills, and give your princess a little something more productive to do with her time than texting her friends every moment of the long school holidays.