Friday, February 6, 2015

DIY Baby Play Mat (Toy Stand) for $8!

The first thing people would say to me when they found out I was pregnant with my fourth boy is: "Wow, you have your hands full!" I don't get offended and I don't let it bother me, I just smile and say, "Yep.  And they are dang good boys too!"  Then they'd say something like, "Well, at least you already have all the stuff, right?"

Wrong.

This is the big myth about boy #4.  No, you don't have "all the stuff" and I will tell you why.

With boy #1 you have all your showers and family members and friends shower you with new stuff.  You can't help but load up on onsies and other cute stuff yourself.  And when baby boy #1 grows out of it, everything is "gently used" from clothes to toys to blankets and burp cloths.

Then comes boy #2, you pull out all your "gently used" items and reuse it all.  But by the time it goes through kid #2, it starts to become a little hashed... and definitely well used looking.  However, it's all still good!!  Right?

Along comes boy #3.  By the time all your baby stuff makes it through kid #3 it's garbage.  Total trash.  Clothes and toys are so stained and nasty even thrift stores won't accept them.  Jake doesn't even know that most of his toys used to work with batteries... Not even kidding, Crap.

Poor little #4 comes... and no one thinks to get the little any gifts, because hey, after 3 boys I should have everything right?  And a shower in this situation is taboo. Well, we pulled out our pack-in-play to see if it could be saved and found dead mice in it.  Yeah, GROSS!  The only clothes we have are those we got new with Jake -- some onsies and a couple PJ's.  I just have to say that I am very thankful for my neighbor who brought me a bag of gently used baby boy clothes.  She totally saved us!  We had to buy a new baby carrier, a new pack-in-play, a new crib... we still have a good stroller that a friend gave me with Jake.  But basically it was like we were starting with #1 with very little help.

I'm not complaining.  We feel extremely blessed.  Especially, having a blast finding new ways to save money.  One of the things we wanted was a new play mat for Jake.  Our last one had been trashed. But they range from $35-150!!  It's a total rip off.

Anyway, I was talking to my mom and she suggested I try making one.  So for about a week I mulled it over in my mind and came up with a design.  I went to Home Depot and got the parts and then Ben helped me put it together.  It turned out GREAT!!  And the best part, it only cost me $8!!!

I looked on Pintrest and have seen some homemade ones, but nothing like mine, so I feel cool.  Here is how you can make one and save a bundle!

Supplies:
8 Feet of 1/2 in PVC pipe.  (I bought 4 pre-cut 2 footers)
2 T connectors (1/2 slip ones -- not threaded)
2 90 degree Elbow connectors (1/2 in slip ones -- not threaded)
1 Insulator tube thing -- looks like a gray pool noodle (these ones came in a 4 pack for $3 -- but you only need one)
Something to cut the PVC
Optional: 1/2 in end caps -- I didn't use them, I used pieces of the foam noodle on the ends of the feet.

Instructions:
We left one PVC the two feet for the top.  Then cut a 1/3 of 2 PVC lengths off for the legs (we used one of the cut offs for one of the feet).  Then cut the last one into 1/3rds and used them for the other 3 feet.

We cut the insulator noodle up and slid it in place along the top so there there spaces in between so the toys wouldn't slide around.

Ben glued the elbows on and the bottom part of the T's onto the PVC... but we left the top of the T unglued so we could turn it and store it like this:
We also put chunks of the noodle on the ends of the feet so it wouldn't scratch our floor.

Now I think I might pop over to Hobby Lobby and use my 40% off coupon to get some of that cool designer tape and tape this up to look cooler.

But that's it!
It's sturdy (Jake tried to ride it like a horse and it survived), movable, easy to store, cheap to make, AND you can set it on top of any of your child's favorite cozy blankets!

Let me know if you have any questions!

-Cat

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