On days like today, where my teens are arguing with each other over every trivial thing, my daughter is being a drama queen over cleaning up her bedroom, and my 4-year-old is trying to convince me that he’s too big for naps, it’s nice to dream about going on a vacation. Alone. Someplace quiet…and kid-free.
But we just took a vacation. And kid-free is not in my foreseeable future (and would I really want to vacation without the little darlings anyway?…probably not.) So instead I’m going to share the pin-trading lanyards I made for our recent trip to Disney World, and share my impressions on our pin-trading experience. Because locking myself in my bathroom and stuffing my face with chocolate is far less practical. Tempting, but less practical.
Six of my 7 kids (and I… ) participated in pin-trading on our trip last month. I didn’t want to purchase 7 $10+ lanyards, so I decided I could make some of them. I had a couple official Disney lanyards that I had found still sealed in their packages at a thrift store (yay!!!) so I used those as my guide. The D-ring I used has a clippy thing attached to it because I originally planned to sew them little pouches for their pressed pennies that could clip to the lanyards. But I ran out of time. In hindsight, plain D-rings would have worked as well and been cheaper.
The ribbon I bought was MUCH thinner than the official lanyards I had, so I bought some belt webbing stuff at Hobby Lobby to layer behind the ribbon. That might have been overkill. Next time I might just do 2 pieces of ribbon attached back to back, using the same method I’ll show below.
And finally, I don’t like to have anything in a loop around my child’s neck that won’t come off easily if it gets caught on something. Again maybe overkill, but I’m not willing to risk the strangulation hazard should they get it caught on anything, especially considering we were in big crowds and riding rides. The lanyard I was using as a model had velcro that the base of it so it could tear away, rather than having both ends sewn to the ring. So I went with that.
So here’s how I made them:
I measured the webbing stuff around each child’s neck and cut it the length I wanted. (This is another good reason to make your own…the ones you buy at the parks are all pretty long for little kids.) Then I cut a piece of ribbon about 1.5″ longer. I used temporary adhesive to glue them together (MUCH) easier than pinning) but you could pin them together as well. After spraying the webbing, I carefully lined up and pressed down the ribbon on top of it, leaving about 1/2″ overhang on one end and 1″ on the other.
The first picture in the group above is the end with 1″ of the ribbon overhanging (I’ve flipped the whole thing over here). I folded that ribbon end in once to meet the edge of the webbing, and then folded it over again to conceal the cut edge of the webbing. Then I flipped the whole thing over again and took the loop end of my Velcro and lined it up with the folded edge on the right side of the ribbon and used a little clip to hold it in place. Then I turned the whole thing around and started sewing from the other end.
I started sewing at the end with 1/2″ ribbon overhang. I folded that ribbon under the edge once (we don’t have to worry about the raw edge yet on this end) and proceeded to sew along the long edge of the ribbon as close to the edge as I could get it. I sewed all the way to the other end, and when I got within a couple inches of my clipped-on piece of Velcro, I removed the clip and held the Velcro in place with my hand until the needle caught it. Then I sewed to the end, raised my presser foot (with the needle still down) to pivot at both corners, and then sewed back up the other side. The last photo above shows the end with the velcro stitched. I cut it too wide so it’s easier to hold on to and it doesn’t have to be as precise…I just trim the sides flush with the ribbon when I’m done.
The first photo in the group above shows the end I started and stopped sewing at…the one without Velcro yet. I threaded about 1.5″ through the D-ring and folded the ribbon over on itself. Then I took the hook side of my Velcro and centered it over the overlapped edge. (It’s not really very centered there, but you get the idea…the Velcro is going to cover and hide the overlapped edge.) Then I sewed down that piece of Velcro and trimmed the edges. I just held it together with the clip shown until I got a few stitches on the opposite side, then took the clip off. It would be difficult to pin the thickness there.
And here’s the finished lanyard…held together at the bottom by the Velcro.
…And being modeled by Josiah, who was the recipient of this particular lanyard.
I was super excited to find a bunch of pins at our local Disney Store outlet for 75% off! I bought 11 packages…yes, they were all the same sets but since they were being traded, it really didn’t matter that we didn’t start off with more variety.
I know not everyone agrees, but it’s a big deal TO ME not to violate trademarks/intellectual property, etc. so buying a big lot of copies (or scrappers as they’re called) off eBay wasn’t something I was willing to do. But buying the clearance pins I paid $1.25 per pin which is still MUCH cheaper than the pins in the parks! (And yes, I’m fully aware that the majority of the pins my kiddos traded for in the parks are most likely the scrappers…but I feel better knowing I didn’t add any more to the mix. Again, just my perspective.)
Now for my thoughts on the pin trading experience. Everyone who participated had fun doing so and I would definitely do it again. As a mom, the biggest perk for me was that it satisfied my kids’ need to “shop” so they didn’t ask constantly to go into gift shops and actually buy stuff. All they had to do was find a cast member with a pin board or lanyard (and they are everywhere) and they’d get to select whatever they wanted off that cast member lanyard or board and “pay” with one of their own pins. So they made lots of little transactions with no money being begged from me. That’s a win, folks! And they could change their collecting focus whenever they wanted, with no buyer’s remorse. They could collect all Cars pins one day, and then change their minds and trade them all for Mickey Mouse pins the next. And they did.
There were two downsides in my opinion. With our family size, it would sometimes get time-consuming to stop and let everyone trade, especially in instances where we’d have to walk through a gift shop on the way out of an attraction and there would be 3-4 cast members to trade with. My husband and I did have to tell the kids “No!” several times because we’d just get so bogged down wasting time.
The other downside is that the little rubber Mickey-shaped pin backs are prone to falling off. Often we’d notice before the actual pin fell as well, but several times we didn’t and pins got lost. It turns out that the gift stores sell packages of replacement backs (which we bought) and packages of LOCKING pin backs. But after asking at several stores, we were told that they were sold out in every park so we were never able to get any of those. Next time I’ll track them down in advance. Several days into our trip we got the bright idea that if we were losing backs, everyone else probably was too. So my eagle-eyed Jordan started watching for them, and he’d find 2-3 a day on the ground. Turns out we could have skipped buying extra rubber backs after all. Because of the possibility of losing them, when my kids would get a pin they really wanted to keep, we’d leave it at the resort rather than wearing it on their lanyards.
Over all pin trading was enjoyable, and my kids now each have a self-curated collection of little Disney memories. I’m going to make something for each of them to display their pins on…right now they each have their pins in a zip lock bag. I’ll share the displays I make once they are done!
I’d love to hear others’ experience with pin trading, especially if you have any great tips to make it even better! Please let me know! And I hope y’all find the lanyard tutorial useful!