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4 NICU Craft Ideas To Make And Donate

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Here are four NICU craft ideas you can make and donate if you are looking for an opportunity to try your hand at something new.

I mean, I don’t know about you, but while Spring is a hopeful time of year, the pandemic still has us keeping our distance.

Plus, in a lot of places, the adage “April showers bring May flowers” is a reality.

So for those days where being outside isn’t an option, I like to have some new, straightforward projects on my “to do” list.

Nothing on this list is too complex so that you don’t need to worry about doing the “right” thing and instead can use the time purely to enjoy crafting for a cause.

These Nonprofits Support Parents And NICU Preemies

Preemies of the Carolinas

Image credit: Preemies of the Carolinas Instagram

Preemies of the Carolinas was founded to help children of both North and South Carolina, who have any type of stay in the children’s hospital.

They typically provide blankets and hats to preemies in the NICU but also offer costumes and outfits celebrating various holidays and seasons throughout the year.

When possible, Preemies of the Carolinas also gifts “NICU graduate” bodysuits to babies who have finished their stay in the NICU and are able to leave the hospital and return home with their parents.

If you are unable to make something to donate right now, they also welcome your 100% acrylic yarn or flannel fabric of any size.

You can send donations to:

Preemies of the Carolinas
2764 Pleasant Road #10803
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29708

Project NICU

Donate handmade crafts to Project NICU
Image Credit: Project NICU web page

Project NICU (originally called Project Preemie) offers, “connection, support and community to all involved in the NICU Journey.

From NICU Care Packages, Peer Support, Graduate Programming, events and more we are here for every step of the journey.

Led by NICU Parents, our programs are designed with first hand experience with support by NICU medical professionals on our advisory board to truly create an environment where families and NICU Teams can feel supported.”

Some of the services offered by Project NICU are virtual support groups, a private Facebook group, and a parent mentor program. They are located in Cleveland, OH.

Mother and her small baby to showecase NICU craft ideas to make and donate.

4 Helpful Handmade Crafts For NICU Preemies

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of making things that are not only thoughtful, but also SUPER useful.

More importantly, when it comes to preemies and their parents, I imagine that gifts that support their NICU stay are greatly appreciated.

After all, even the smallest of gestures really do have a big impact.

So each of these handmade donation ideas for NICU preemies supports the comfort and connection of the babies and their parents.

NICU Craft #1: Sew a simple flannel blanket or basic quilt.

Close up of quilt for preemies. Maroon, yellow, and animal fabrics.

As NICU craft ideas go, sewing a simple blanket or quilt is one of the easiest things you can do to support an organization that serves preemies and their families.

If you’re looking for pure straight-line sewing, just make a simple flannel blanket that should range anywhere from 20″ x 20″ to 36″ x 40″.

It really is an easy 4-step process:

– Cutting two pieces of fabric to your desired size.

– Placing the fabric right sides together and clip.

– Sew the fabric together using a 1/4″ seam allowance. (Don’t forget to leave a 2 -3″ turning hole in the center of one edge.)

– Turn the fabric right sides out, finger press edges down then top stitch edges to close the turning hole and give it a finished look.

Using flannel for these blankets is nice because it’s cotton (a natural fiber) and breathable. Plus, it’s a soft and cozy fabric for people of all ages.

You can also find flannel with in various prints and patterns at the big box fabric stores.

Flannel can also be very cost effective because not only does it go on sale regularly, but there are likely some remnants you could purchase inexpensively especially around various holidays.

NICU Craft #2: Sew a G-tube cover

G-tube covers, also know as button pads, are placed around the g-tube to help absorb any leakage from the tube. This helps to reduce irritation around and under the tube.

G-tube covers are a great scrap buster for any of your smaller flannel and terry cloth pieces.

You can secure the button pad with a plastic snap or hook-and-loop tape, depending on what you have in your stash.

PRO TIP: A plastic snap is preferable because the hook-and-loop is scratchy if it touches the baby’s skin by mistake.

If you’re new to making these covers, Create To Donate offers a free template (click the “Download” button below) and a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a g-tube cover.

Free G-Tube Pattern

G-tube Donations Aren’t Only For The NICU

As you may imagine, g-tube covers aren’t just for preemies. Anyone who needs a g-tube for feeding will benefit from one of these button pads.

So, if you want to see your flannel scraps go to good use, please consider reaching out to your small, local hospitals or clinics to see they could benefit a donation of these useful

NICU Craft #3: Make a “NICU Graduate” bodysuit

You only need two materials to make a “NICU graduate” bodysuit: a newborn-sized cotton bodysuit and a 5″ x 7″ piece of heat transfer vinyl (HTV).

Create To Donate offers a free NICU graduate cut file (download below) to get you started immediately. Simply upload it to your Silhouette or Cricut and start cutting.

When designing this file, I made sure not to have too many difficult places to weed. The only place you should monitor closely is the small tassel on the graduation cap.

How To Make A NICU Grad Bodysuit by createtodonate on Jumprope.

Free NICU Grad Cut File

To download the free cut file, click the black download button.

NICU Craft #4: Sew a flannel inspirational heart

Sew flannel hearts for preemies

Flannel inspirational hearts are also called “scent” hearts by some preemie and NICU-focused nonprofits.

When these hearts are “worn” by the parents (i.e., placed on their skin for an extended period of time), the natural fibers of cotton hold on to the scent. (Yet another reason why flannel is awesome for projects like these.)

When the parent leaves the NICU, the heart is placed in the bassinet with baby so that they have the comfort of the parent’s scent with them.

For more details on how to make and donate these, read my inspirational hearts for preemies tutorial.

Looking For More Crafts For A Cause?

If you want immediate inspiration, check out some of the ideas on this Craft For A Cause Pinterest board.

https://www.pinterest.com/createtodonate/craft-for-a-cause/

Top view of a variety of bath products to demonstrate things you put in a toiletry bag.
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