Crafting With Kids For The Unskilled: #PrintingDory

Last week I did something a little out of the ordinary – a wee bit out of my comfort zone. I travelled into London (OK) to speak at an event (fine so far) that was all about crafting with kids.

What the WHAT NOW?! Crafting?!!!

You see, a natural crafter I am not. My lovely friend Jessica (who is possibly the most creative person I know) will look at a couple of old loo rolls and some lolly sticks and just know it will make the most lovely kid-crafted bathroom ornament. I look at a couple of old loo rolls and some lolly sticks and head for the recycling bin. There’s just no originality in my brain when it comes to crafting: it’s like I’m missing the sticky backed plastic gene.

But the thing is, I think sitting down and doing some sort of creative art with your kids is one of the most important parts of parenting.

Observe: your kid gets home from a busy day at school.
“What did you do today?” you ask.
“Nothing” they grunt.
“What did you have for lunch?” you enquire.
“Dunno” they retort.
“What games did you play with your friends at breaktime?” you want to know.
“Can’t remember” they insist.

Like getting blood from a stone.

Yet if you sit down to a handsy activity with them it’s a whole other story. Their creativity seems to be the key to their chatty floodgates, words flowing with their busy fingers. All of a sudden it’s all, “we did English today! I wrote a story about a princess buying a new car! We had chicken for lunch and I ate a whole bowl of sweetcorn! I played handclapping with Ralph!”. It’s bloody crafty magic.

Which is why I’m so passionate about the work I’ve been doing with Epson’s EcoTank printers and their #PrintingDory campaign.

You see, Epson have recognised there are parents like me who just love getting crafty with their kids, but who struggle to do it the traditional way, with loo rool, washi tape and bloodshed (just me?). They are dedicated to helping us have that special one-on-one time, without the feelings of stress or cardboard-related inadequacy. Which is obviously why I am so excited to be involved.

To kick off their crafty campaign, Epson have teamed up with the creative heavyweights over at Disney to really make a splash. Quite literally, as they’re endorsing the new Finding Dory film.

Released fifteen years after the original Finding Nemo, (FIFTEEN YEARS! Feeling old yet?) Finding Dory brings back your favourite characters for another action-packed animated fun-fest that’s sure to go straight to the heart of both grown-ups and kids alike. And to celebrate it, Epson and Disney have together created some really family-friendly crafting activities, screenings and events.

Which is how last week, I was lucky enough to host the event to launch the Epson/Disney partnership to a big ol’ room of bloggers!


Photo thanks to lovely Kristina at Zeal.

I spent the night before not sleeping as I tossed and turned, worried I wouldn’t be able to perform the simple origami tasks I’d been practicing that weekend with Elfie (as we chatted beautifully, natch). But the event went swimmingly (pun intended), with perhaps more than one parent in their 30s having to ask for extra origami assistance ;)

The Epson EcoTank printer was the star of the show, here.

Now, I will hang around in the Apple store until they ask me to leave, and am the proud owner of far too many iPads, Apple Watches, MacBooks and iMacs than I care to mention. But sent me printer shopping and I’d rather take a nap. My general mode of operation is to head to John Lewis and purchase whichever printer looks nice for under 50 quid. Not an exacting science.

But then I’m left with the stress of the thing: I’ve never successfully connected a Wifi enabled printer to my home network – and I’m a pretty advanced home technology user – and I cursed some kind of tech god each and every time I’d spend another 50 quid purchasing yet MORE ink cartridges.

epson ET-4500 review

My mighty EcoTank hanging out in the ironing cupboard with the tumble dryer (and some booze)

The Epson EcoTank takes all these niggles away, though. It has these revolutionary ink reserves that you fill using bottles (though the average user won’t have to for at least 2 years), and though it’s more expensive than your everyday printer at £200, I worked out I’d get this money back in 6 months to a year. You see my review of the machine a few months ago here.

It’s also completely plug and play, so easy that my kids can print things off their iPads – one of our favourite games is to search for colouring sheets on a general theme, print them off and work on them together. Fun and games!

As I was saying to some of the lovely mums I met at the event, it sounds silly to talk about a printer simplifying your life, but this is really what it’s done for mine. As the Wifi connection on my old one never worked I’d be left hanging out by the printer with wires attached to my laptop whenever I needed to print things – annoying, as the printer is in the ironing cupboard – and having the knowledge that I don’t need to trouble myself with bothersome ink purchases really makes a difference. A few months down the line and the kids still think picking papers out of the printer is a real event, and I’m no longer emailing my mum asking her to print the more pressing documents on her own printer.

epson ET-4500 review

It really has helped me do crafts with my children in a way that is entirely not awful. And for that, I love it.

I’m re-creating the #PrintingDory crafts here with kind permission of Epson and Disney: so go on! The next time you want to know what your child ACTUALLY did that day at school, why not give them a try?


Origami Bailey

Origami Dory

Papercraft Hank

Pop-up Cards

Squirt 3d Papercraft

Thank you so much for Epson, Zeal and Disney for having me last week! 

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  1. Molly wrote:

    Hooray for doing things outside of your comfort zone! PS. That printer looks amazing (and I too struggle to get excited about such things.)

    Posted 7.18.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      it really is such a thrill every time I get to use it :)

      Posted 7.27.16 Reply
  2. Fritha wrote:

    wow well done Alice! I would have had a heart attack if I’ve had to do this, I bet you did an amazing job xx

    Posted 7.18.16 Reply
  3. Polly wrote:

    That printer looks amazing!!! we use ours loads and it’s pretty rubbish – I really should upgrade! p.s well done for standing up in front of everyone – I’d die doing that ;)

    Posted 7.18.16 Reply
  4. You are so right about the magic of crafting!! I always find my nanny kids open up the floodgates of school gossip and woes whilst making things together. This printer sounds brilliant. I really need to sort us out with one once our house (and my office!) is sorted. Will bookmark this post for the craft ideas too. Well done you on the presentation, I bet you smashed it ;) x

    Posted 7.20.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Thanks Katie!

      I’m a total convert to getting the kids to chat while crafting… and now we have the crafts to do it :) x

      Posted 7.21.16 Reply
  5. Lucy wrote:

    Did you actually make the Dory origami? I printed it off for my 6-year-old … after lots of whines it became clear there was no way he could do it, so we passed it onto my (engineer) husband who finally finished it after much grunting that it was impossible and with poor instructions. He made me throw the rest of the origami sheets I’d printed into the recycling bin. Sorry!

    Posted 7.26.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I did manage to do that one – with much cursing and maybe a little help from another grown-up. The origami Bailey is MUCH easier!

      Posted 7.27.16 Reply
      • Lucy wrote:

        Ah, okay – will rescue Bailey from the recycling and give that one a go then. Thanks!

        Posted 7.27.16 Reply
  6. Laura wrote:

    I know just what you mean and anything that makes crafting with kids more fun, colourful and easy for parents I am all about!

    Laura x

    Posted 8.19.16 Reply