DIY Montessori Dressing Frames - On the Cheap ($5 each)
We recently published a guide to dressing frames and what to look for when buying them. You can find that article here: Dressing Frames Post
While writing that article we did a lot of research and looked at a lot of DIY options as alternatives, since quality dressing frames are generally $20+ each. There were no easy and cheap DIY options that could match the quality of purchased dressing frames, so we came up with our own method to construct Montessori dressing frames that rival the high quality ones you can purchase at Neinhuis or Amazon.
As an added bonus, this is an activity your child can help you with, making the dressing frames is a Montessori activity in itself. Double whammy! These are perfect for homeschooling, keeping a toddler busy, kindergarten prep and just downright fun.
Here is the guide step by step. We also have a video at the end that shows our whole process! It is our first upload to YouTube. If you like it, please subscribe as that will keep us pumping out new stuff.
Step 1. Go and buy the parts, Here is our list.
4 - 90 degree 1/2 inch copper elbows
1 - 48 inch long 5/8 inch diameter dowel rod
1 - old piece of clothing that has the fasteners you like.
1 - staple gun
1 - small tube of super glue.
That is it. These are super simple to make.
Here is a list if you want to order it all on Amazon:
Step 2. Fold
Fold the clothing item as pictured. Make sure to get it even on both sides.
Step 3. Measure
Measure the width of of the folded shirt as pictured. Try to land this about 8 inches wide.
Step 4. Saw
Cut the dowel rod into two 8 inch lengths, or whatever width your clothing item wound up being. Cut the remainder of the rod in half. In our case this yielded two 8 inch pieces and two 16 inch pieces.
Step 5. Assemble
Assemble the frame into a rectangle with the copper elbows and slide it into your folded shirt. If it fits, remove it and super glue all of the copper elbows to the dowel rods.
Step 6. Staple
Once the glue has dried on the connections, slide the frame back into the folded shirt and flip it buttons down. Pull the shirt where it is tight across the button side and begin to staple it to the frame. Be generous with the staples here.
Step 7. Tie
Once everything is stapled together, take the sleeves and tie them into a knot as shown. This is keep them out of the way. Alternatively, you could cut the sleeves off at this point as they are no longer useful.
Step 8. Play
That is all there is to it. These frames can be completed for around $5 each and will stand up to toddler abuse. Also, if they happen to rip the clothing, a couple more staples should mend it.
Let us know what you think.
Thanks for reading!