I began calling this the ‘Piggy Bank’ project, but now I prefer ‘Bling Bank’ as a more appropriate title for what we created!
The reason behind this project was simple: My son and daughter revel in their vast accumulation of change: pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters; random coins, tokens, and small coin-like disks. These monetary items and those without value were squirreled away in various locations in our house, sometimes never to be found again. The normal ‘piggy’ banks were full, and a number of other vessels were being recruited for the storage of treasure.
I don’t know about your house, but my children have been given numerous child-themed ‘piggy’ banks over the years. We have a Noah’s Ark, even though we’re not religious. We have a cheaply made tin bank with the Dutch children’s characters Jip en Janneke painted on its surface. We have two banks in the shape of my husband’s company’s mascott logo–some of the latest additions to their gifts of household items, all endowed with the company’s branding, that they seem to think their employees want. And we have an actual Piggy bank, a God-awful representation of a vertical pink pig with large popping eyes. The functional problem with all of these kiddy banks is that they’re too small, a handful of change and they’re already half-full. But the biggest problem is that they’re butt ugly! (I know what you’re thinking… what makes your bling banks so different? And I answer with this cliche: Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. And with one of my father’s classics: Opinions are like assholes; Everybody’s got one.
All joking aside, I tried to find a prefabricated ‘piggy’ bank that was of reasonable size and reasonable price…. and if it was beautiful, that would have been a huge bonus as well. The problem is, I found nothing that fit my criteria. Then the idea of the ‘Bling Bank’ came upon me. It would be cheap. It would be fun. It would be a hand’s on activity for my children. The vessels could be large. They could be personal expressions. And if years down the road, they lose their visual appeal, they could easily be repurposed and replaced.
The banks are made of $4 two-quart glass cracker jars with thin metal screw on lids. I bought an inexpensive set of sun catcher paint and a cheap package of adhesive acrylic jewels. But the possibilities are endless and the project can be adapted to any age or any level of attention deficit. My daughter is two and my son is six, so I kept it simple with only the two craft items.
The kids began by painting the glass with the sun catcher paint. After letting the paint dry completely, the kids then decorated their painted vessels with the stick-on jewels (which is a big hit with younger kids!). To make the slits in the lids, I perforated the metal by pounding nails through in a line. With needle-nose pliers, I rolled the sharp edges underneath. We then turned the lids upside down and pounded the folded-under metal edges flat. In this manner the metal edges also lost their sharpness.
My children had a lot of fun doing this project. We all think they’re beautiful, especially when placed in a sunny location. Most importantly, there exists a sense of ownership and pride in creating something one’s self. The ‘Bling Banks’ might seem gaudy to you and me, but they’re not ours to judge! To my children, they are perfect–the outcome of child-led decision making. I think it’s too easy sometimes to take over and help “perfect”, but when we do that we take so much away from our kids.