If your kid tends to get attached to his or her toys, there's probably a box full of old action figures or plastic dolls lying around the house somewhere.
Taking these over-the-hill heroes to the trash or Goodwill can be a recipe for tears, but a playroom that's overflowing with ratty toys isn't so great, either.
Fear not, there's a way to put those toys to use without tossing them. Make a lamp! In about an hour, you can give your kid's favorite toys a new life and give yourself a leg up on organization.
You'll need: Lamp with a small- or medium-sized base, shade, hot glue gun, plastic toys (40-50 is best), spray paint (optional).
1. Prepare your toys. Dust those toys off and -- if they seem really gunky -- give them a spritz with disinfectant spray to get rid of any germs. Place the toys in piles according to size: small, medium and large.
2. Create the base. Place three or four large toys at the base of the lamp and glue them down. These larger pieces will act as a base you can build upon with smaller toys.
3. Fill gaps with medium toys. Work your way up the lamp, using medium-sized toys to fill the open areas. At this stage, focus on covering the base and neck of the lamp -- save the smaller and most interesting toys for the final layer.
4. Add the final layer. Now that you have the basic shape of the lamp ready, it's time to get creative with the finishing touches. This is also a great time to have your little helper choose the location of his or her favorite toys. Tip: Try having your kid arrange the toys so they tell a story!
5. Spray paint (optional). We decided to spray paint our lamp with a metallic color to create a sleek, modern look that can be used anywhere in the house. But your little dude or dudette may want their superhero lamp to keep its original colors. That's cool, too! Note: If you go sans paint, you may need to be a little more strategic with your gluing so that it's not visible. If you choose to paint the lamp, be sure to wear protective eye goggles and a mask and paint in a well-ventilated area! For some more tips, read: Spray Paint Like a Pro.