Monday, December 29, 2008

Everyday Supermarket buys that can transform into hours of Creative FUN

As a parent you could use your weekly shopping trip wisely. Yes, it need not only sustain your children's healthy bodies but also play an important part to fuel their imagination and spark their creativity. Every week as you stock up the pantry, you could add to your kids' "Imagination Treasure Chest".

The supermarket aisles are simply bursting with potential craft material to keep little hands busy and minds imagining. Even better, you won't bust the household budget paying for craft supplies.

Try out these wonderful ideas NOW!

1. Cardboard boxes from cereal, tissues, biscuits, yogurt or eggs all form the building blocks for big-project sculptures. Of course, really big boxes, such as from fridge or washing machines will be ideal for cubby house, but I've yet to find them in supermarket aisles.

2. Paper plates are not just for eating off. They transform easily into masks, hats, groovy handbags, clock faces, train wheels, steering wheels and spiralling snakes and much more.

3. Empty ice-cream containers covered in aluminium foil become knights' or astronauts helmets.

4. Pasta such as macaroni and penne are great for threading on ribbons or lengths of elastic to make fun necklaces or bracelets.

5. Dried beans and lentils create colorful mosaic pictures. Use a paper plate as a canvas and add pasta such as fusilli (twists) or farfalle (bow ties) for variety. Alternatively, make a musical shaker by placing dried beans and lentils in plastic baby bottle or between two paper plates that are stapled and decorated.

6. Cotton wools makes woolly sheep, wonderful clouds or beards on a mask, and really bushy eyebrows, too.

7. Used toilet rolls become binoculars for safaris, kazoos for making music and periscopes for submarines.
Play dough FUN

8. Plain flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil and food coloring are all you need for playdough. Add in Glitter for the sparkly touch!

9. Cornflour mixed with water and a few drops of food coloring makes "goop", a gooey
alternative to paint that toddlers will love.
Bubbles away

10. Detergent and a splash of glycerine added to water makes a fabulous bubble mix for hours of bubbly FUN.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun Halloween Costumes

Make these cool costumes for your kids for this Halloween.

Astronaut Costume
Astronaut Costume

CRAFT MATERIALS:
Pencil
Plastic bucket (3½- gallon, 14-quart, or 12-quart sizes work well)
Hammer and nail
Wire cutters
Craft knife
8- by 12-inch piece of foam board
White duct tape
Dish towel
2 white 1-gallon plastic milk jugs
White plastic utensil tray
Adhesive-backed Velcro
¾-inch-wide clear plastic tube cut into two 3-foot lengths (sold in many hardware stores)
Blind-spot mirrors and reflectors (sold in many hardware stores)
White turtleneck and sweatpants
Flag and letter stickers
Rubber boots

Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. To make an astronaut helmet, draw an oval face opening (at least 7 inches wide by 5 inches high) in pencil on the plastic bucket. Use a hammer and a nail to make a pilot hole in the plastic, then cut out the oval with wire cutters. With a craft knife, cut out two 2- by 9-inch foam-board rectangles to use as helmet braces (a parent or other adult's job). Round off the lower corners and duct-tape the tops against the inside of the helmet.

2. Roll up a dish towel, wrap it around your child's head, and tape it closed to form a ring. Remove the towel ring from your child's head and tape it inside the top of the helmet. (When it's time to wear the helmet, lower it straight down so the towel ring fits onto your child's head and the foam braces slide between the space pack and his back.)

3. For a space pack, wrap white duct tape around two empty milk jug air tanks to hold them together. Then fashion four 17-inch-long duct tape straps (as described in the Slime Bucket directions). Use two of the straps as suspenders to connect the air tanks to the plastic utensil tray control panel, taping the ends securely. Have your child try on the space pack, and adjust the suspender lengths if necessary.

4. Use the remaining two straps as side bindings that extend from the air tanks to the sides of the control panel. Once you've taped them to the back of the jugs, have your child try on the pack again to determine the right strap length (there should be little slack). Trim the straps if needed and attach the free ends to the inside of the utensil tray with adhesive-backed Velcro.

5. Use a craft knife to cut an asterisk shape in both sides of the utensil tray (adults only). Push one end of one of the clear plastic tubes through each hole and insert the opposite ends into the milk jug tops, taping them in place. Finally, decorate the space pack with mirrors and reflectors, and attach stickers to the turtleneck, sweatpants, boots, and helmet.

Wicked Witch Costume
Wicked Witch Costume

CRAFT MATERIALS:
Newspaper
Masking tape
Scissors
Skein of gray yarn
Black electrical tape
Black paint
Cardboard
Tinfoil
1x2 yard piece of black gauze fabric
Black ribbon
10 water picks (available at florists)

Time needed: About 2 to 3 Hours

1. For the hat: Roll a tall newspaper cone (ours is 15 inches high) and tape it to hold. Roll up the bottom edge until it fits comfortably on your child's head.



2. For the hair: Cut a slew of 20-inch strands of yarn. Cut a 6-inch strip of electrical tape and press a bunch of the yarn strands onto it. Tape the yarn bunch to the rim of the cone. Continue making yarn bunches until the rim -- minus a section near the face -- is covered.

3. To finish the hat: Use three sheets of newspaper to form the hat brim. Roll in the outer edges, taping them in place, so that you create a circle with a rolled edge. Trace around the cone bottom onto the center of the brim, then divide the circle like a pie, cutting along the center lines. Push the cone up through the brim and tape in place. Paint the hat black. Cut out a cardboard buckle, cover with foil and tape to the front of the hat.

4. For the robe: Fold the fabric in half so the short ends meet, then cut an approximately 7-inch hole for her head. Have your child slip on the robe; then cut a fringy edge on the bottom. Belt the robe with a black ribbon.

5. For fingernails: Your child can press the water picks onto her fingers.

6. For spooky accessories: you could add a plastic snake necklace, striped tights, and black lipstick and many more .....


Clown Costume
Clown Costume

CRAFT MATERIALS:
Colored face paints
Makeup brush and sponge
Nylon tulle
String
Curly wig

Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. With a damp sponge, apply white face paint to your child's entire face, including his eyebrows. Use a small makeup brush to paint his upper and lower eyelids white.

2. Once the base coat dries (it usually takes just a few minutes), brush on facial features: a green diamond and blue star to accentuate his eyes, a round red nose and full red lips. Finish up with pointy red eyebrows about an inch above his real brows.

3. To make a clown collar, start with a 7- by 36-inch piece of nylon tulle (available at fabric stores). Thread string through the mesh along one long edge, gathering the collar as you go. Then tie the string ends into a bow behind your child's neck.

4. To complete the look, add a curly wig and baggy clothes (overalls or pajamas will do the trick) to the collar

Sunflowers Costume
Sunflowers Costume

CRAFT MATERIALS:
9- by 12-inch sheets of craft foam (3 yellow, 4 green, and 1 orange)
Scissors
Low-temperature hot glue gun
Cloth tape
Velcro fasteners
Pen
Sewing elastic
Red and black face paints

Time needed: Afternoon or Evening
1. For the flower petal headband, cut out 12 yellow craft foam petals that measure approximately 7 inches high and 3 inches wide, tapering to 1 1/4 inches at the base. Snip a 1/2-inch slit in the bottom center of each one. Glue together 1 1/2-inch-wide strips of orange craft foam, overlapping the ends a half inch to create a 23-inch-long headband. Starting 1 1/4 inches in from one end of the headband, cut 12 1 1/4-inch slits spaced a half inch apart.

2. Push the base of each petal through a slit, then bend each petal's tabs in opposite directions and secure them to the headband with cloth tape. Glue a Velcro fastener to the ends of the headband. To help hold the headband on your child's head, have her try it on and use a pen to mark a point above each ear. Make holes at the marks. Thread through the ends of a long piece of sewing elastic, adjust the length to fit around the back of your child's head, and knot the ends so they won't slip back through.

3. To make the leafy bib, cut out 10 green craft foam leaves that measure about 3 inches wide and 5 inches long. Hot-glue them by their tips, as shown, to a 1/2- by 18-inch strip of green craft foam. Glue a Velcro fastener to the ends. Use the same method to make leafy wrist and ankle cuffs.

4. Paint a ladybug on your little flower's cheek for good luck.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Make your own latern

Paper Lanterns


A fun paper lantern to decorate your home for Chinese New Year. Make many lanterns of different colors or decorations and hang them around your home.


What you'll need:

Construction paper
Scissors
Tape
Stapler
Ruler
Pencil
Glue, glitter, sequins, if desired to decorate your lantern



How to make it:

Use your ruler to measure and cut one inch off the short end of your paper. Set aside to use as the handle.
Fold your paper in half lengthwise.
Draw a line one inch from the end of the long edge of the paper opposite the folded edge. This will be the line where you stop cutting.
Measure and mark lines one inch apart starting at the folded edge and moving towards the "stop cutting" line. (see photo)
Cut on the marked lines up to the "stop cutting" line.
Unfold the paper.
Re-crease the paper in the opposite direction. This will hide any pencil marks.
Match the long edges together on the lantern and use tape to hold it in place.
Staple the handle to the top of the lantern. (see photo)
Make as many lanterns as you wish and display them around your home.
If you wish, add glue, glitter, sequins or other things to decorate your lanterns.



Soda Bottle Lanterns

What you’ll need:
One 2-liter soda bottle
Utility knife
Pair of scissors
Assorted colors of tissue paper
Elmer’s glue
Water
Small paintbrush
Single-hole punch
Wire
Newspaper
Glow sticks
Tree branches or dowels (optional)

What to do:
Cover your work area with newspaper or a tablecloth (vinyl protects best) and lay out your supplies.

Wash, rinse, and dry the soda bottle to make sure it is clean. (For large groups you may want to clean all bottles in advance.)

Take a 2-liter soda bottle and pierce a slot in the cone-shaped top of the bottle with a utility knife. Make sure the slot is large enough to insert the blade from a pair of scissors. (Please note: an adult should assist younger children with this step.) For large groups we suggest that a few adults cut the tops off all bottles in advance to save time.

Insert scissors into the slot and cut off the top of the soda bottle and discard (recycle, if possible) the top.

Take the bottom half of the soda bottle and punch two holes directly across from each other approximately one-quarter of an inch from the rim. (You will later string a piece of wire across to act as a handle.)

Select the pieces of tissue paper you’d like to use. Cut or tear tissue paper into desired shapes. (Some participants may want to sketch an idea or a pattern to use when making their lanterns. Others work without a sketch.)

Fill a small glass or jar with 2-3 ounces of water and add an equal amount of glue. Stir the mixture until the glue dissolves into the water. At SADD we like to call this the “magic mixture.”

Dip a small-sized paintbrush into the mixture, hold a piece of your tissue paper against the outside of your soda bottle lantern, and paint the magic mixture onto your tissue paper, sticking it to the soda bottle lantern. The tissue paper should be completely covered in the magic mixture and stick to the soda bottle lantern.

Continue to place pieces of tissue paper onto the soda bottle lantern and cover them with magic mixture. You can overlap pieces of tissue paper to create a design and experiment with different techniques by layering colors of tissue paper to create different colors. Make a collage with your tissue paper until your lantern is completely covered with colors or your desired design.

Once you’ve covered your soda bottle lantern completely, continue to apply small amounts of magic mixture over any pieces of tissue paper that appear to be dry or not sticking to the soda bottle.

Once your lantern is complete, set it out to dry overnight.

When you are sure your soda bottle lantern is dry, cut a 12” length of wire (any type of wire that you can bend with your hands is fine). Thread the wire through the two holes punched across from each other. Twist the wire around itself to secure it on each side, leaving a little bit of slack in the middle to make your lantern handle.

Hook the wire handle of your lantern onto the end of a small branch or a wooden dowel, or you can simply carry the lantern by its wire handle.

When it comes time to light your lantern, for safety reasons it is recommended to use glow sticks. Most schools, city buildings, community centers, etc. will not allow open flames inside buildings.



Glowing Lantern

What You'll Need:



16 regular craft sticks
1 sheet patterned tissue paper
Glow stick
Tools:

Craft glue
Scissors

Step 1: Place a sheet of tissue paper on your work surface, printed side up. Smooth out all wrinkles.

Step 2: Beginning at the lower left corner of the paper, glue a craft stick along the bottom edge, lining up the stick with the bottom of the tissue paper. Glue a craft stick up along the left side, perpendicular to the bottom stick. Glue two more sticks to complete the square, making sure all the angles are square.




Arrange craft sticks as shown.



Step 3: Glue on four more craft sticks to create another square that touches the right side of the one you just made. Repeat two more times so you have a total of four boxes in a row. Let dry.

Step 4: Trim the tissue paper that extends above the top edge of the squares. Also trim the right side of the paper 1/4 inch beyond the edge of the craft stick.

Step 5: Stand the shape on its side, and fold it into a cube shape without a top or bottom. Glue the tissue-paper flap to the first stick to secure the cube.

To make your lantern glow, place a lighted glow stick in the middle of the lantern. Never use a candle or fire of any sort, as the paper may burn.


Paper Mache Lanterns
Paper Mache Lanterns

These are easy and beautiful paper mache balloon lanterns. They work great as party decorations, house decorations and out door lanterns for the summer time.
Material
Tissue paper in desired colors
balloon
Glue
Leaves (optional)
Encouraging words, printed out on paper and cut(optional)
Wire for hanging
Instructions
Tear the tissue paper into strips (about 1 inch wide). Blow up your balloon to around the size you would like your lantern to be.

Mix glue and water, 2 parts glue to one part water, it should be a milky consistency. Slide a piece of tissue paper in and out of the glue mixture. Tissue paper is delicate and will rip easily when it gets wet, try to keep it straight, not twisted, and place in on the balloon. Continue this with each piece of tissue paper until the balloon is well covered.



Let dry, you may want to put one more layer of tissue paper on it once the first has dried.

Pop the balloon and cut the jagged edge off, cut this down far enough so the heat of the candle will have a place to escape out the top. Punch two holes in either side of the balloon.

Make a hanger with copper wire or an old wire hanger. I twisted the wire to make a spiral which keeps the wire from falling off the lantern.

Place a tea light in a glass candle holder then place that in the lantern. Or to be safe you could place a battery operated fake candle inside.

WARNING: Do not leave this candle unattended. This lantern is made off paper and is highly flammable. When you place the candle inside, feel around the lantern and make sure you can not feel heat on it, just coming out the top. Battery operated tea lights would work as well and be safer.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fun Crafts ideas for your pre-schoolers

Memory Book
Memory Book

Create a new tradition by making a memory book together with your kids. Then update it once a year as a mini time capsule keepsake.
Prep time: 30 min.

What you'll need:
Felt
Construction paper
Yarn, string, thread or cord
Needle
Scissors
Glue
Crayons, markers or colored pencils

What to do:
Cut felt or paper to the desired size (these will be the pages of the memory book) and bind by sewing with yarn, string or cord.
Glue-in pieces of construction paper or felt to create pockets for keepsakes and souvenirs.
Each year, a new "chapter" is created, items and information are added to the book, and parents and kids can look back on their past

Alphabet Book
Alphabet Book

Materials
Construction paper
Hole-puncher
String or yarn
Markers
Crayons

Instructions
Ask a grown-up to help you punch holes along one edge of the pieces of construction paper.

Stack the paper together so that the holes line up.

Thread pieces of string or yarn through the holes and tie knots to create a book.

Write a title on the front of the book, like 'A-B-C' or 'My Alphabet Book'.

Write each letter of the alphabet on the pages of the book and draw pictures of things that begin with each letter.

Flip through your book and practice your ABC’s!

Envelope Art
Envelope Art

This project requires very little set up or clean up.
Total craft time is about 30 minutes.

You'll Need:
envelopes
crayons
markers
glue
paper
Envelope Art
What to do:
First you'll need to seal the envelope.
Draw a nose, whiskers or other features.
Cut construction paper ears, hat, or hair


"My Favorite Things" - Homemade Placemat Craft for Kids

You'll Need:
construction paper, cardstock, or poster board
one roll of contact paper or laminate sheets
glue Stick
photos, magazine images etc.
optional craft supplies; stickers, markers, crayons etc.

Directions
First have your children select and cut photographs
and/or magazine pictures. Attach the pictures to the
paper using a glue stick. Finish decorating the placemat
with markers, stickers and drawings.
Don't forget to write your name with bold letters.

When everything is attached and dry...cover the placemat
on both sides using the laminate paper, following the directions on the package.

Edible Jewelry

Ingredients
3 ounces shoestring licorice (red &, black)
1 cup checkerboard pretzel
1 cup Fruit Loops cereal
2 cups assorted varieties Cheerios toasted oat cereal
1 cup gummy Lifesavers candy, use your imagination

Directions
1Use the licorice as your"string" and thread the other ingredients onto it.
2Use various lengths to create necklaces, bracelets,& rings.
3Wear your creations with pride, then eat them when the mood strikes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Versatile Punch

Punches come is so many shapes, sizes and types. They range from mini/baby to Mega or Super Giant. They are so many types available such as Corner, Border, Tile, Square, Oval and Circles, Profile (where the results look like stencil), Word range and many more.
For individual punches, there is such a variety available you will be at a loss to choose from the many different floral, animal, shapes,etc.

As a matter of fact, once you start making crafts and cards using punches you are very likely to get hooked into using Punches as they are very addictive. Its so simple to use and with good color coordination and creativity the the type of craft or card you can make is endless.

Bookmarks

Use 2 contrasting colored papers. Cut out 1 of the colored paper as a slightly larger rectangle ( give a border of 1 cm) than the other paper. Punch out 3-4 shapes of your desired shapes in a row from the centre of the smaller rectangle. (Use the punched out shapes for other projects). Paste the smaller rectangle onto the larger rectangle. Decorate with colors or glitters if desired. Punch a small hole on the top of the larger paper. Insert a lace, ribbon etc and tie it up.

Tile Punches


For a classic look use tile punches to make cards. These are great for Christmas or Father's day cards.
Choose a card stock. Next choose 2 complementing colors that contrast with the card stock. Punch 2 squares each. Paste them alternatively to create a double colored square. Write or stencil your message such as "Merry Christmas" on the bottom.

Corner Punches


Have fun and mix and match. Corner punches need not be for corners after all. Create a lovely checkered card using a corner punch.
Use a square card stock. Cut out about Eight 2cm squares from a contrasting or complementing colored paper. Fold each square diagonally and punch with your favorite corner punch. Paste the squares onto the card stock to form a checker board.

Variation - Instead of a Corner punch, use a shape punch such as a flower, teddy bear etc.

Below are some pictures of more complicated cards for you to try out and have fun. Enjoy



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Have Fun with Sand


While on vacation this summer, take home some sand from the beach. Sand art is very easy to make and pretty too.

Try to collect clean, fine sand. You should strain the sand you have collected to remove any large pieces from it.

Carefully mix the sand with powder paint - choose a variety of different colours. Keep the different colours of sand separate.



Once you have your coloured sand made you can carefully pour sand into a glass jar in layers to make a pretty decoration.You could use different and creative containers to pour the different coloured sand. If you add a layer of soil on top of your layers of coloured sand, you can grow small cactus plants in the jar. These make lovely decorations, and gifts for your loved ones.






While away long summer afternoons with sand art. Also called sand painting, this is a simple but satisfying craft that's good for Earth Day in the springtime or any dry summer day that follows.

What you'll need:
Construction paper
Glue
Sand

How to make it:
Give each child a piece of construction paper, and allow them to draw a picture or write words with the glue. Make sure that they do not put globs of glue in any one spot.
Before the glue dries take the picture over to dry sand and with your hand pour sand onto the glue.
Let it sit for a few minutes and then shake off the excess sand.
Let it dry flat for about a half an hour depending on how much glue was used.

Tips:
This can also be done with colored sand, but, for those on a budget, regular sand works just as well.

For older children or those who have more budget or have made different colored sands:

Sketch a pattern or picture on a piece of paper.
Carefully apply glue to the sections of your pattern that will be covered with the same colour sand.
Make a paper funnel and slowly spread the coloured sand on the glued areas.
Allow the glue to dry and carefully brush away any excess sand. Continue filling in your pattern or picture using only one colour of sand at a time.

Tip 1: You could use large label stickers to draw patterns and cut out.
After pouring one colored sand, brush away excess sand, then peel the next area and continue with another color.

Tip 2: You could use fine salt instead of sand. Use food colouring to colour the salt instead of powdered paint.


Sand Art on Glass

Material

Clean sand. (beach sand, toy sand box sand or even construction sand will do. )Note: sift out any unwanted particles, like rocks or pebbles.
Small plastic bags
Food Colouring
Picture frame with glass (Old ones work great.)
Drawing or Colouring book picture (not too detailed)
Permanent Marker
Elmer's white glue

Instructions

Coloured sand

Divide the sand into small plastic bags, according to how many colors you want in the picture.

Add food coloring to the sand in a bag, one drop at a time until the color is what you want.

Pour the sand out into a small butter bowls to dry .

Picture

Remove the glass from the picture frame and clean.

Pick out a favorite picture or drawing.

Lay the piece of frame glass on the top of the picture.

Use a black permanent marker to trace the picture onto the glass.

Have the kids place clear drying glue on the glass where they want the same color. (One colour at a time) For instance, blue - Fill in all the areas of the picture on glass that they want to be blue with glue.

Sprinkle the coloured sand onto the wet glue.

Tap the glass to settle the sand and to loosen any that is not glued down.

Pour off excess sand back into bowl.

Repeat for next color next color until the picture is all filled in.

Allow the glue to dry overnight. Place the picture back into the frame with black marker showing forward. BEAUTIFUL !



If you don't want the hassle or the mess involved in creating beautiful Sand Art Painting, do check out this site, "Sand Art Painting"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rubber Stamping - Fun Way to make Multiple cards

Stamped Cards
Would you like to make lots of handmade cards for for the big party, or lovely and personalised cards for Teachers day?

What started out as a great idea for some very special cards can turn out into a disaster and add unwanted Stress into your live.

Use these ten simple steps to maximize your time and free up your creativity when making multiple cards for any size project.

1. Determine and plan your cardmaking schedule. Do you want to set aside a few hours or just 30 minutes at a time? Pick a design suitable for the available time. Make a simple "assembly line" schedule to maximize the time you have to spend on the project.

2. Work on individual elements, individually. It may sound silly, but working on one element of the cards will retain the "look" of the cards while creating a "unity" among them. Start by stamping all of the impressions, then work on cutting out all of the backgrounds, folding all of the paper, tearing all of the sheets simultaneously. You don't want to spend too much time on any one card.

3. Have a party! Kids and relatives love to involved. Make the work fun and don't be overly concerned about the smaller details of the project. You will ultimately put all of the individual components together, giving you plenty of time to add any special touches. Working together with other people will also add a new level of uniqueness to your cards.
Bears Stamps

4. Stop writing. One of the most frustrating tasks of mass producing cards is hand writing messages. Find "handwriting fonts" available online, at your nearest craft supply store, or your local computer store. Sign the finished card or pen in any details or RSVP information as you would with a store purchased card.

5. Use a paper trimmer. If you need a fast way to make background frames or trim down embellishments, scissors just won't cut it! Stacking paper in 5-10 sheet groups and trimming all at once will provide perfect multiple shapes. Often, your scraps can be stacked in such a way to trim them into useable pieces with a trimmer. Rotary trimmers will also allow you to add perfect "scalloped" edges to the base of the card(s).

Craft puncher

6. Punch It. Remember your time is valuable. Whether it's a heart, circle, flower, even a fork and spoon, your local craft store will have a perfect punch for the card. Cutting out shapes by hand is tedious and rarely looks well. Circles can be particularly difficult.

7. Stamp, Stamp, Stamp. When placing stamped images on a card, use one stamp at a time and make as many impressions as needed. Don't clean stamps or switch colors until all of the cards have been stamped. This keeps your ink pads from becoming "mixed" and makes the impressions uniform.

8. Avoid difficult embellishments. I am sure that rows of bows, lines of brads, or glued dots would look wonderful on each card. Finding a simpler alternative will save you hours. Paper tears, taped bows, even stylish stickers can be just as attractive without the hours of difficult handy work.
Cute Embellishments

9. Customize backgrounds. If you absolutely must have a "look" provided by a stamped background, make a "master" copy on white paper EXACTLY how it should look. Scan the paper design into a computer at 300 dpi. (If you're already confused, spend a minute with the scanner manual.) Print onto colored cardstock or paper. When done properly, no one will even notice!

10. Have fun with a budget. These are the two biggest factors when mass producing cards. You don't want to get partway through the project only to realize you have far overspent your intended budget. That special patterned paper and those cute hologram stickers can max out the cost of the cards. Alternatively, when the project simply becomes a duty, it is unlikely you will ever finish. Remember to always plan lots of time. After all, this is by far the greatest hobby in the world!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Candle Crafts and Gifts

Candle Gifts

If you are looking for a fun gift to make for any occasion, then personalized candle making may be something you would like to consider. There are many ways to make personalized candles, depending on how much time and money you are willing to spend. With just a little extra time and effort, you can make a personalized candle out of an otherwise ordinary candle gift that the lucky recipient will love.

1. The simplest way to make a personalized candle is get a normal candle at your local candle store. Even general retail stores like Walmart sometimes have candles for sale. Candles come in all shapes and sizes, but almost any candle can be personalized.

2. Anything smaller than a tea light will be difficult to personalize. For tea light candles, you can normally purchase a big bag for a low price. These candles are great as favors for guests at a wedding or baby shower. The easiest way to personalize is to use either a graphics program on your computer or a word processor. We'll stick with the Word processor since it is easier. First, draw a circle the same dimensions as the lid on the tea light, or better yet use a circular label sheet. Then select a nice font, like cursive script or Corsiva. You can enter then names and date of the event into the circle. Print out a sample on plain paper to make sure the look and size is right. Once you have the desired result, you can print your tea light label stickers. Finally, apply the sticker onto the top of the tea light.
Square candles

3. For jar candles, you can create a square-shaped personalized label. Since you have more area to work with, you can download free graphics from the Internet. Search the web for "free clip art" and download the images you want. Once again print out a sample on plain paper and then print the label. If you don't have a color printer, you can go to a local copier and they can make a nice label for you. Stick the label on the jar. Now you have created a unique gift personalized just for that special person.
textured candles
4. For tall pillar candles, you can get those engraved at an engraving shop (look in the phone book under engravers). The artwork and text can come in different colors. If you are artistic, you can even buy candle-engraving kits online and do it yourself.

5. How about those 1oz votive candles? For a professional looking gift, get cellophane bags and colored ribbon. Wrap the candle in the cello bag and tie it up with the ribbon. Then attach a personalized tag to the ribbon. These candles can also be engraved.
heart candles

6. If you can make candles, then there are limitless possibilities. You can use different fragrances oils to create scented candles. You can use embeds for decoration. Cookie cutters and molds are also useful for designing the right shape.
In summary, you can take an ordinary store candle and make it a very special gift with just a little more effort. Your friends and loved ones will cherish these gifts for years to come.

wonderful candle crafts

Friday, May 9, 2008

Frame up your Love this Mother's Day

Every Mother loves to get a gift of love - things made from the little hands of her loved ones. Make it doubly sweet by framing a picture of you and mom or the entire Happy Family with these creative yet easy to make frames.

Twig Frame
Twig Frame

Supplies needed:
Twigs
Twine or string
Glue (hot glue works well)
A photo for framing

Collect 2 bunches of twigs. One bunch (about 6 to 8) should be about 2 inches longer than your photo. The other bunch of twigs should be about 2 inches wider than your photo.

Arrange the twigs so that they surround the photo and extend outward about an inch in each direction. Tie the twigs at each corner using twine or string, making an "X" pattern.

Glue the photo onto the back of your twig frame. Hot glue works the best.

Glue a small loop of string to the top batch of twigs for hanging the photo.

Fun Foam Picture Frame
Fun Foam Picture Frame

Supplies needed:

A piece of fun foam a few inches larger than the photo
a photo to frame
a hole punch
scissors
glue (like Elmer's glue or a glue stick)
about 6 inches of thin ribbon or yarn (for hanging the frame)
fabric paint, sequins, buttons, yarn, ribbon, feathers, etc. (all are optional decorations)

Choose a photo to frame.

Decide on a shape for your frame and draw it on a piece of foam. Cut a piece of foam that is at least 1 inch larger than the photo on all sides.

All sorts of shapes look good. To cut an oval or heart shape, draw half the shape on a folded piece of paper, then cut it. Use this template for cutting the plastic.

Cut a display hole in the other piece of foam (the piece that will be the front). This hole can be any shape you like, just make sure that it is smaller than the entire photo and is big enough to show the important parts of the photograph.

Put glue on the BACK of the frame. Glue the back of the frame and glue your picture in place. Cut a thick piece of paper for the back of the frame (it should be slightly bigger than your picture but smaller than the frame). Glue it to the back of the frame.

Using a hole punch, punch a hole towards the top of the frame.

Decorate with foam cut-outs, yarn, buttons, feathers, ribbon, fabric paint, sequins, etc.

Tie a thin, short ribbon (about 6 inches long) through the hole punch hole. This will be used for hanging the frame.


Plastic and Yarn Picture Frame
Plastic and Yarn Picture Frame

Supplies needed:
thick, flexible, clear plastic
a photo to frame
a hole punch
yarn, twine, or other thick thread
scissors
glue
stickers (optional)
thick needle (optional)

Choose a shape for your frame. Cut 2 pieces of plastic; one for the front and one for the back of the frame. Make sure the plastic is about 1 inch larger than the photo on all sides.

All sorts of shapes look good. To cut an oval or heart shape, draw half the shape on a folded piece of paper, then cut it. Use this template for cutting the plastic.

Put the 2 pieces of plastic together (without the photograph).

Using a hole punch, make a series of holes all around the edge of the frame.

Place the photo on one piece of plastic and position it where it will look best. You may need to trim the photo. A dab of glue on the back of the photo will keep it in place.

Decorate with stickers or labels.

Put the second piece of plastic on top of the first, matching the holes exactly.

Using yarn, twine, embroidery floss, or other thick thread, "sew" up the edges of the frame. Older children can use an upholstery needle. For younger ones, a bit of nail polish put on the end of the string (let it dry first) will act like a needle.

Attach a short loop of yarn for hanging the frame.


Flower Picture Frame
Flower Picture Frame

Supplies:
A rectangular piece of cardboard
scissors
paint, markers or crayons
A picture

Directions:


Draw a flower with stem on the cardboard.
Cut the flower out.
Have fun decorating it. You could use poster paint, shiny sticker etc.
Paste your favourite picture in the center of the flower.

Hand Mom this lovely flower with a BIG Smile :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Impressive Crafts - These Pressing Methods create tons of fun and wonderful crafts

Wonderful crafts can be made using many different ways of pressing, rubbing, tracing images etc.

Make your own stamps

Potato Printer Stamp

Amaze your kids by turning a pantry staple into a great potato printer stamp! They can use the stamp to transform ordinary paper into decorative gift wrap, book covers, or stationery.


The Potato Printer Stamp is easy and fun!
Potato Printer Stamp


What You'll Need:


Newspaper
Potato
Knife
Ballpoint pen
Poster paints
Clean foam food tray (from fruits or vegetables only)
Drawing or brown mailing paper
How to Make a Pattern Printer Stamp:

Step 1: Cover your work surface with newspaper. Clean a potato, and help kids cut it in half.

Step 2: Draw a shape on the cut surface with a pen. Assist kids by cutting away the edges so that the shape stands out.

Step 3: Place some poster paint on a clean foam food tray. Dip the potato shape in the paint, and then press it on a piece of paper.

Step 4: Continue stamping the paper until you've created a pattern you like. Let the paint dry.

Craft Foam Stampers

These craft foam stampers are ideal for making holiday greeting cards or invitations to your kids' birthday parties.

What You'll Need:

Craft foam (available at craft stores)
Blunt scissors
Fabric glue
Blocks of wood
Poster paints or stamp pads

How to Make Craft Foam Stampers:

Step 1: Cut out shapes from craft foam. Glue each shape on a block of wood.

Step 2: Use poster paints or stamp pads to ink your stampers. Wash your stamps after each use.

You can make 1 large stamp to decorate the front of a birthday card or small stamps to create repeating shapes on wrapping paper or gift bags.

Combine 2 or 3 small shapes on a single block of wood to make interesting repeating patterns. Try hearts, circles, squares, or stars.

You can also make letter or word stamps. Cut out letters or words that you want to print, and glue them to a block in a mirror image.

Custom Stencil Pillowcase
Custom Stencil Pillowcase


Turn a plain pillowcase into a special custom stencil pillowcase for your child's room. Design and paint your own floral border!


Dress up any bed with the Custom Stencil Pillowcase.


What You'll Need:


Pencil
Plastic coffee can lids
Scissors
Plain pillowcase
Plastic garbage bag
Binder clips
Acrylic paints
Paper plates
Stencil brush

How to Make a Custom Stencil Pillowcase:

Step 1: Draw a flower shape on one plastic coffee can lid. Draw leaf shapes on another coffee can lid. Help kids cut the shapes out to create a flower stencil and a leaf stencil.

Step 2: Put the plain pillowcase flat on your work surface, and place a plastic garbage bag inside the pillowcase. Place the flower stencil on the edge of the pillowcase, and secure it with a binder clip.

Step 3: Pour some acrylic paint on a paper plate. Dip a stencil brush in the paint, and dab off the excess paint on a piece of paper. Dab the brush inside the stencil shape until it is filled in.

Step 4: Continue stenciling the flower design along the edge of the pillowcase to make a border.

Step 5: Once the paint has dried, repeat the stenciling process using the leaf stencil and a different color paint. Let the paint dry.

If you want, stencil the same border on the bed's dust ruffle or curtains to match your child's bedroom.

Cookie Cutter Stamps
This is a great way to make stamped bags, stationery and greeting cards.

You will need:

Acrylic Paint:
Assorted Cookie Cutters
1" Styrofoam sheet
Black permanent pen
Assorted paper bags, cards, and envelopes
A new pencil with a new eraser
Decorative Scissors


Instructions:

Press cookie cutters into Styrofoam to cut out shape. If some Styrofoam bits remain around the design, remove them with a plastic knife rubbed with an old candle.
Dip Styrofoam shape into a fresh puddle of paint that has been poured onto a paper plate and stamp onto surface. Once stamping of design is completed, let all paint dry. Use your imagination and have fun creating cool designs.
Here are some shapes you can use:
The following colors were used with the following shapes:
Moon, Stars,Flowers, Leaves, Butterflies, Apples etc.

You could also dip a pencil eraser into a vibrant and contrasting paint and then use it to stamp dots on flowers. Add smaller dots using a paintbrush handle or a toothpick.
With this method you could add details to your colourful butterflies or ladybugs. After all dots have dried, add outlines and curly vines with the black pen.

(Optional) Tie with colored ribbons and fill with assorted tissue papers to make festive designs. Use paper edgers and corner edgers on cards to create pretty designs.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool Tricks to make and play

Hahaha - April Fool's day is here. So lets have some fun and make some pranks!

THE MAGICAL BANANA
Make a magical banana that will really surprise your friends! Tell them that you've discovered a brand new, genetically-altered banana that grows pre-sliced. This is the best invention since sliced bread.

SUPPLIES NEEDED:
One banana
A toothpick

Stick a toothpick into a banana somewhere along a seam. Rotate the toothpick left and right inside the banana, cutting all the way through the fruit, but not through the peel. Try to keep the hole the toothpick makes as small as possible.

Take the toothpick out and repeat at another spot on the banana. Keep making internal slices until you have at least five or six.

Now offer the banana to an unsuspecting friend (maybe even telling them some odd story about mutant bananas from Ecuador). When your friend peels the banana, they will be VERY surprised to find that it is already sliced!


Wiggle-Woggle Balloon
Slightly tricky to make, April Fool's Day wiggle-woggle balloons are worth the effort -- teach your friends how to make this April Fool's Day crafty balloon and host a game of catch.

What You'll Need:

Two 10-inch balloons
Water
(Balloons are choking hazards -- keep them and any broken pieces away from little children.)

To make your tricky balloon, roll one balloon lengthwise and slide it inside the other, leaving only the stem (mouthpiece) sticking out.

Place the mouthpiece of the inside balloon over the faucet, and fill the balloon with water until it is about 4-inches across. Tie the stem, and push the balloon the rest of the way inside the outer balloon.

Blow up the outer balloon, leaving it a little soft, and tie it. Watch out! This balloon will wiggle-woggle when you toss it.

If you start the water balloon rolling around inside before you toss it, the balloon will wiggle-woggle even more.

Play wiggle-woggle balloon outside on the grass, away from stickers and thorns.


April Fool's Can
Take some time to make this tricky April Fool's can on your own, then show the trick to your parents and friends. The fun April Fool's Day craft will amaze and delight your audience.

What You'll Need:
Can opener
1-pound coffee can (empty)
Two plastic coffee can lids
Scissors
Large medium-weight rubber band
2-ounce fishing sinker


April Fool's Can


Create a coffee can that moves this April Fool's Day.

Use the can opener to remove both ends of the can. Lay the plastic lids on top of each other.
Punch two holes about 1-inch apart through both of the lids. Put one lid on the can.

Cut the rubber band. Thread the ends through the holes in the lid. Slip the fishing weight on one of the pieces of rubber band inside the can.

Thread the rubber band ends through the holes on the other plastic lid, and tie the ends of the rubber band together.

Put the lid on the can. When you push the can, it will roll across the floor -- then it will stop and roll back!

You may have to experiment with the tension of the rubber band. It should not be so loose that the weight touches the side of the can or so tight that the weight cannot flip around and 'wind up' the toy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hatventures - Fun and Creative Hat Crafts

Here is a variety of Fun Hats that you can make and add to your collection of "Dress Up" fun!

Lincoln Hat
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the USA, used to wear a black stovepipe hat.




Supplies needed:
Black construction paper
Toilet paper tube (1 tube makes two hats)
Scissors
A pencil
Glue
Tape

Direction:
1. Cut a toilet paper tube in half, making two short tubes.

2. Cut out a 2 inch by 6 inch rectangle of black construction paper.



3. Trace a circle on black construction paper, using a tube as your guide. Draw four small rectangles around the edges of the circle.
Cut this out (this will be the top of the hat).




4. Trace another circle on a piece of black construction paper, using the tube as your guide. Draw a larger circle around this circle, about 1/2 inch outside the first circle. Cut out along the larger circle (this will be the hat's brim).




5. Continuing with the brim, cut a series of lines through the inner circle. Fold these triangular pieces upwards.





6. Glue or tape the triangular pieces of the hat's brim inside the half toilet tube.

7. Now, for the top on the hat, use the circle with tabs. Fold the tabs where they meet the circle. Put the small black paper circle on the top of the hat, taping the rectangular tabs to the tube.




8. Place the rectangle of black paper around the central part of the hat. Glue it securely.

Graduation hat



Supplies needed:
Poster board (One piece of poster board (2 ft by 3 ft) will make 6 children's hats. )
Scissors
Glue
Brass paper fasteners
Yarn (for tassels)

Direction:

1. Cut one piece of poster board into 6 squares (each measuring 8 inches by 8 inches) and 6 strips (each measuring 2 feet by 3 1/4 inches).

2. Make a series of V-shaped marks in each strip. The V-shaped notch should go about halfway through the strip.

3. Cut out the V-shaped notches in the strip.

4. Fold the strip in half (along the dotted line).

5. Form the strip into a circle with the notched part facing into the circle. Adjust the size to fit the child's head. Glue the ends to form the hat band.


6. Glue the hat band to the mortar board (one of the squares).





7.Make a tassel by winding yarn around a 6 inch piece of cardboard. Wind the yarn around the cardboard about 5 or 6 times.




8. Slip the tassel off the cardboard. Wrap a piece of yarn around one end and tie it securely. Cut the long end of the tassel.




9. Attach the tassel to the hat using a brass paper fastener


PAPIER-MÂCHÉ DINOSAUR HAT
This activity creates papier-mâché dinosaur hats. Each step takes about an hour or less. A few days drying time is required between the papier-mâché part, the application of decorations, and the painting part. It is also messy, involving tearing paper, gluing it, decorating, and painting.


SUPPLIES NEEDED:
One large balloon for each hat
A lot of old newspaper and/or brown-bag paper
Flour-water glue (instructions follow)
Scissors
Hole punch (or just use the tip of a scissors to make holes)
Assorted paper, cardboard scraps, styrofoam scraps, egg cartons
Paint
String or elastic for chin straps

Direction:

1. Choose the type of dinosaur hat(s) you want to make. Species with interesting heads include
Styracosaurus,


Triceratops,

Dilophosaurus,


Lambeosaurus,


and T. rex.






2. Make a simple, thin glue from flour and water (boiling gives it a nice consistency). A good recipe is: Mix 1 cup of flour into 1 cup of water until the mixture is thin and runny. Stir into 4 cups of boiling water. Simmer for about 3 minutes, then cool.

3. Tear a lot of strips of newspaper and/or brown bag paper. Strips should be about 1 inch wide; the length doesn't really matter.

4. Blow up a balloon for each child. Each hat is molded over a large balloon.

5. Dip each strips of paper in the flour glue and put on the balloon. Put the balloon sideways because most dinosaurs had long heads. Apply the papier-mâché strips to cover about half of each balloon . About 3 layers of paper are necessary for a hat thick enough to decorate later. You can do all the layers at one time, or wait between layers. Let dry for a few days.



6. Pop the balloon when the hat's dry and remove. Trim the hat, depending on the dinosaur species chosen. Using glue or staples, add horns, frills, crests, beaks, teeth, and more, made of paper, cardboard, styrofoam, egg cartons, etc. Let dry.

7. When the hats are dry, punch holes for chin straps and paint the eyes, nostrils, beaks, skin color, etc. Let paint dry.



8. Add string or elastic to use as a chin strap.


Flower Crown



Supplies:

A paper plate
Colored construction paper or tissue paper
Paint, markers, or crayons
Scissors
Glue
Optional - glitter, crepe paper or other ribbons

Direction:

Cut a slit through the center of the paper plate, leaving about an inch at the edges of the plate. Cut three more slits.

Bend the triangles formed by the cuts upwards, forming leaf-like shapes.
Paint the crown light green (or use markers or crayons to color it). Let the paint dry.





Cut out some construction paper or tissue paper flowers for your hat. Any shapes will do - let your imagination run wild and invent your own flowers. Glue flowers to the crown.


Optional: Decorate it with glitter and/or staple two long ribbons of crepe paper to your beautiful hat.

Variation: Instead of flowers, make paper eggs, decorate them, and put them on your hat.




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