Tot Tuesday: Make Your Own Lacing Cards


Tot Tuesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a special kids activity, frugal recipe for kids, kids tutorial, etc.

Noah has had some delays when it comes to fine motor skills. Nothing too bad, but enough that he needs a bit of a nudge and some practice. A therapist suggested we try lacing cards to increase his fine motor abilities with his hands and fingers.  So when I saw a sale on Melissa and Doug Lacing Cards, I jumped on it.

We gave him the cards for Christmas, and he couldn’t have been more unimpressed. At first I figured it was just because he didn’t know what they were or how to use them. So I sat down and excitedly showed him.

Still unimpressed.

I think part of the problem was that he couldn’t quite do it, which in Noah’s world means he won’t even try. So while brainstorming for a Tot Tuesday post, I tripped on one of the lacing cards while walking into the playroom (I’m quite clutzy)…and it hit me. He doesn’t care, and doesn’t want to try, because it’s not his idea. I needed to make him more invested in the lacing cards, needed to make them more about him and less about what I wanted him to do.

So through some trial and error I decided we’d make our own lacing cards (yep $7 down the drain….anyone want some Melissa and Doug Lacing Cards?), and allow him to be involved in the whole process.

I say a lot of trial and error because I still don’t have it all figured out. There’s still definitely room for improvement in this craft, but it has been successful with regard to its original purpose. Noah so enjoyed the process of making the lacing cards and getting to choose the things he wanted, that he finally successfully laced a card on his own!

Mission Accomplished.

So here’s the craft, improve upon it as you see fit!

Do It Yourself Lacing Cards


  • Construction paper or Cardstock
  • cardboard/foam board/something firm for the backing
  • glue
  • scissors
  • contact paper
  • hole punch (preferably NOT a 3 hole punch…my lack of a traditional hole puncher seemed to be the biggest flaw in this project)
  • ribbon or shoelace (if you use a shoe lace, you’ll want it to be extra long)
  • tape, if you decide to use ribbon


1. Decide on a shape and a color of construction paper. You want the shape to be small enough that your little one can easily hold it in their hands. Preferably you’ll trace the shape from something you already have in your house. Hey how about a Melissa and Doug Lacing Card?

You’ll want to cut out two…one for the front, one for the back.

2. Trace and cut out the same shape to use as the middle of your lacing card. I used way too heavy cardboard. I recommend something lighter and thinner. In fact, if you are using cardstock…you could potentially just cut out one shape and skip the rest. Seriously…this is a flawed craft tutorial.

3. Have your little one glue the front and the back shapes on the cardboard/cardstock/foam middle. Noah really enjoyed this part. He loves using glue sticks. At this point you could also let them decorate the shape with crayons as well. That will personalize it even more. I opted to just quickly write his name on one side and “circle” on the other because he didn’t want to color.

4. Now you need to cut out the same shape (pull out your trusty Melissa and Doug Lacing Cards…maybe they can be called Tracing Cards in our home?) from your contact paper. After you cut them out, peel the backing and place it on both sides of your lacing card.

5. Now here’s where our drama kicked in. You see, I only had a 3 hole punch…and it wouldn’t open up big enough to accomadate my cardboard lacing card. So I had to abandon that one and quickly make a new one. I opted to just use construction paper covered with contact paper, so my final product isn’t as firm as I’d like, but I’ll keep experimenting (or maybe I’ll buy a hole punch?). Noah actually seemed to like the more bend-y nature of his lacing card because his hands could hold it a bit better. We’ll keep working on it though.

My failed attempt to use a meat thermometer to poke holes. They ended up too small. I tried a Bedazzler to, but apparently that doesn't actually poke holes.

6. You can either use a shoe lace or you wrap tape around each end of a long piece of ribbon. Either way works, just make sure the ribbon/shoe lace is long enough to go all the way around your lacing card.

So there you have it. No need to spend big bucks on lacing cards when you can make your own at home. In addition, kids really do seem to value things much more (as do adults for that matter) if they put a little sweat and tears into it as well. Noah had a lot of fun using his new (flawed) lacing cards and his old (new) ones are still laying on the floor in the playroom. I think we’ll put them to use as tracing cards. What do you think?

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Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google +

3 thoughts on “Tot Tuesday: Make Your Own Lacing Cards”

  1. Great idea, Heather! You could have him make stuffed paper toys (cars, animals, etc) by lacing paper together and stuffing it with plastic grocery bags.

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