Crafts

Dried Flowers Useful for Year-Round Decorating

Many dried flower and foliage plants are easy to grown in the home garden. Strawflowers and status are particularly easy to grow and can be air dried by hanging in upside down in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. If you don’t have space to grow your own, look in florist or craft shops for attractive dried plant materials. Don’t forget, too, to balance the flowers with greenery or dried foliage.

Buying tips

For most city dwellers and late starters, the best option is to find a shop that carries large quantities of dried plant material. Look for sprays of flowers that are loosely bundled. Turn them upside down to judge their condition. If no loose pieces fall, the spray is in good condition. If a lot fall out, the dried flowers are not in prime condition and will deteriorate quicker. For wheat and other dried grasses, choose those with tight heads of grain. Alternatively, you can dry your own flowers.

Preserving leaves

Leaves may be pressed between the pages of a large book or between sheets of newspaper. However, you’ll get better results if you do not press the leaves under a great weight, there’s lots of ways to use real leaves.

If you want to preserve a spray of leaves, glue the joints between the leaves and stems and allow the glue to dry first. Then spread several layers of newspaper on the floor or on a table. Lay the leaves on top in a single layer; do not overlap them. Then cover them with more newspaper. You can alternate layers of paper and leaves to build a tall pile.

The pile should be loose enough to allow some air circulation, which is necessary to prevent mildew. The newspapers’ absorbency also helps prevent mildew from developing on the leaves. Coated papers such as freezer paper or waxed paper are unsuitable for pressing. 

These dried leaves are fragile and should be handled with care. Since they will still be mostly flat, they are most attractive when mixed with other types of dried plant matter – flowers, honey locust pods or dried grasses.

Preserving with glycerin

In many cases, sprays of foliage can be preserved with glycerin, which is available through florists, craft shops, and livestock supply stores. In order to absorb the glycerin solution, the leaves and branches must still be drawing moisture through their stems. By this time, outdoor plants have entered dormancy so they will probably just drop their leaves. English Ivy that is grown indoors might be preserved this way, too. Best results occur when the plants aren’t dormant, but are in a stage of active growth.

Such plants may be preserved year-round by pressing. English Ivy, unlike the colourful autumn foliage of oaks and maples, is best pressed under a heavy weight. Layers of newspapers, large books or sheets of absorbent paper will do, if they are weighted down carefully by a stack of books.

Oddballs

A few other examples of dried plant matter that can be gathered close to home whether you’re a city dweller or have a place in the country:

  • Honey locust pods – these brown pods resemble large, flat bean pods. They’re brittle and crush fairly easy, but they add texture and colour to an arrangement. They’re an excellent contrast to sprays of German statice.
  • Lily pods – Most gardeners remove the spent flowers from lilies before they can develop into pods. However, those that are allowed to follow their natural course develop interesting pods that pop open into intriguing shapes. A careful look around the Neighbourhood might reveal a few pods still standing in patches of late-blooming lilies.
  • Dried grasses – Inspect dried grass heads carefully when harvesting late in the year. They’re prone to shattering when brought indoors to heated rooms. If the heads are in good condition when they’re picked, you can spray them lightly with polyurethane lacquer spray, available through craft shops. This adds a glossy coating that highlights and protects dried material.
  • Woody material – when the leaves drop, all sorts of interesting twigs are revealed. Twigs and branches may be picked any time until early spring. They will dry in a couple of weeks if left in a warm place. Also look for pine cones for seasonal arrangements.
  • Evergreens – Now is a good time to get rid of an ageing evergreen bush or shrub. The needled branches may be made into wreaths or sprays and will stay fresh-looking for a long time outdoors. Even indoors, they will keep for a week or more.

If you didn’t want to use actual plants, you could also use paper flowers.

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Crafts

Unique Uses for Origami Flowers

Folded paper flowers are fun to create, and practice makes perfect, but what to do with these beautiful paper blossoms? There are plenty of ways to put origami flowers to use in home decorating and entertaining. A bonus: origami flowers never look droopy, and won’t require watering.

Paper Holiday Ornaments

Decorating for the holidays with origami ornaments is an inexpensive way to achieve a unique, custom look.

  • Nestle elegant origami lotuses onto the branches of a Christmas tree. Try metallic silver and gold paper to add some sparkle.
  • Accent a cluster of greenery with vibrant red paper roses. Arrange on a fireplace mantle or windowsill.
  • A cluster of scarlet paper roses contributes festive drama for Valentine’s Day. Place on a windowsill or hallway table.

Origami Wedding Flowers

Using origami flower arrangements in place or in addition to real wedding flowers is a unique take on a wedding tradition.

  • A wedding bouquet crafted from paper flowers is unexpected and elegant. Create an armful of gorgeous origami roses for a bride to carry down the aisle. Use all-white or white and silver papers and attach blossoms to thin wooden dowels. Wrap the dowels in green paper to act as stems. Gather the stems together and wrap with ribbon to create a classic hand-wrapped bouquet.
  • Origami roses, lilies, irises and other flowers can be used for boutonnieres and corsages. Attach a paper flower to an origami stem and simply pin to a lapel or tuck into a buttonhole.
  • Fill decorative holders with an assortment of origami flowers to decorate an altar, trellis, or canopy. The patterns and materials found in origami papers allow for endless possibilities with colour and even metallic accents.

Paper Flower Table Centrepieces

Origami flowers make for long-lasting and low-maintenance party and wedding table decorations and even add ribbons.

  • Use red, white, and blue paper to create a patriotic centrepiece for a Fourth of July celebration.
  • Fill slender, tall vases with origami lilies on long stems for an elegant wedding centrepiece. Try white, silver, or even purple and blue papers.
  • Fill a white or brown basket with a festive bouquet of origami flowers in spring or autumn colours to suit the season of any occasion.

Origami Online

Find resources online to create flowers for these projects.

  • The Origami Resource Centre online provides diagrams for dozens of origami flower styles.
  • Origami Instructions offers patterns for paper flowers ranging from simple 2D models to more advanced 3D models.

Whether new to the art of paper folding or an old hand, these ideas offer ways to put elegant origami flowers to unique and creative use. 

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Crafts

How to Dry Flowers

The art of how to dry flowers and plants is an old craft, dating back as far as Egyptian times. Today, dry flowers make wonderful indoor decorations, craft supplies and potpourri. Drying flowers is a simple process that can be done at home. Depending on the drying method, type of flower or plant and the surrounding environment, drying time can range between a few days to a few weeks.

Air Dry Flowers

One of the most common methods of drying flowers is the air dry method by hanging. The best type of flower for the hanging method is an everlasting flower, such as lavender, baby’s breath and larkspur.

Collect the stems of your desired flower to air dry into a bunch. Strip away any excess foliage and cut stems to the desired length. Avoid cutting shorter than six inches, as it will be difficult to hang if too short. Use a rubber band to bunch the flowers together. As the stems dry and shrink, a rubber band will prevent the stems from coming loose while hanging.

Choose a cool, dry and dark place to hang the flower bunch. A location away from sunlight minimises colour fading. A garage ceiling, barn, and closet are all suitable locations to dry flowers. After two to three weeks, check on the flowers to ensure that the bunch is completely dry. Remove hanging flowers and spray the bunch with hair spray or a floral sealer. For best results, keep the dried flowers from heat and sunlight.

Use Desiccant to Dry Flowers

The use of a desiccant, such as silica gel, will dry the flower while preserving its original form. The silica gel acts as a drying agent. Flowers such as marigolds, pansies, chrysanthemums and roses respond well to desiccant drying.

For optimum results, select well-formed flowers that are free from bruising or other damage. Cut off the stem, leaving approximately one inch from the base of the flower. Using a shallow container with a lid, place one to two inches of silica gel at the bottom of the container. Gently place the flowers on the silica, bloom side up. Then, carefully spoon additional amounts of silica over the flowers until the plant is completely covered. Place the lid on the container. Ensure that the container is covered tightly, or the silica will absorb moisture from the surrounding air. This will increase drying time. Wait two to three weeks before removing the flowers from the silica. A technique best used on delicate blossoms that are difficult to preserve, the art of pressing flowers became popular in the Victorian era. Pressed flowers are wonderful to use for a wide range of arts and crafts, who knows, you could even sell your crafts.

Pressing Flowers Dry

To press flowers, place the blossoms between two sheets of newsprint. This is very similar to press drying leaves. When placing flowers, be sure to avoid overlapping petals or leaves. Open a large dictionary or telephone book. Please the newsprint and blossoms between the book pages and press down. Place additional books or heavy objects on the dictionary or telephone book for additional weight and let dry for three to five days. Carefully remove the flowers, as the blossoms are delicate after the pressing process.

Preserve a flower’s beauty by drying it using the air dry method, desiccants or pressing. Create wreaths, greeting cards, arrangements and even jewellery with the preserved blooms. In this manner, the dried flower can be enjoyed far beyond its natural blooming period.

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Crafts, Reuse Reduce Recycle

Recycled Green Craft Projects: Original Creations Made with Repurposed Art and Craft Supplies

Recycled craft supplies not only provide less-expensive crafting solutions, but also help to enhance the uniqueness of each creation. One does not have to look far to find useful recycled materials. Many of them can be found in most households.

Sewing Crafts

Sewing is one of the most obvious ways to repurpose material in one’s home. Most people have old clothes or bed sheets that could be transformed into a new creation with a little imagination from your home or studio. With a few techniques, reusing these materials can be simple.

  • Cottons: Basic cottons, like bedsheets, can be dyed and sewn to make clothing or bags. The cloth can be dyed using tie dye techniques in which the fabric is tied with multiple rubber bands before being submerged in the dye. Crafters can also dye the fabric using the art of batik, in which melted wax is painted on the areas of the fabric that are not intended to absorb the dye. Many beautiful patterns can be painted with the wax before submerging the fabric in the dye. Then after drying the wax can be removed by ironing the fabric between two pieces of newspaper. The fabric can then be used with any patterns that can be purchased at a local fabric store.
  • Wools: Wool is an incredibly versatile material because it can be felted. Old wool sweaters can easily be turned into sturdy felt that can be used to make bags, hats, belts and even mug cosies. To create felt, simply wash any old wool sweater in a washing machine on high heat. Rinse with cool water and dry it in a clothes dryer at a high heat. When the sweater emerges from the dryer, it should be significantly smaller than it was before felting. The fibres in the sweater have now bonded and they can be cut into multiple shapes without fear of unraveling or fraying. Many felt projects can be found at a local fabric store. Some have also has created a wonderful thread with links to felt craft projects, just take a look at this kids art recycle project.

Wood and Paper Crafts

  • Paper Beads: Paper beads are incredibly easy to create but can be used in a number of ways. To create paper beads, simply cut long strips out of the pages of any magazine. Coat one side of the strip with white glue and use a skewer or small plastic stir stick to roll the paper tightly into a coil. The paper should look like a tube when rolled correctly. Seal the end of the bead with a light amount of white glue. Once the beads have dried, they can be used to embellish craft projects or to make original jewellery. Also try cutting the strips so that they taper at one end and roll them starting from the wide end to the narrow end. This creates another bead shape.
  • Cork Board: Wine corks can make a great cork board. Simply save any wine corks throughout the year until 50-100 corks have accumulated. Next arrange the corks on a piece of plywood by laying the corks on their sides and placing them next to each other. To complete the board, simply glue the corks to the plywood using industrial strength adhesive or hot glue.

Glass and Ceramic Crafts

  • Mosaics: Mosaics can be as elaborate or as simple as desired. To create a recycled mosaic, simply save any broken pieces of ceramic or glass. If necessary, break the glass or ceramic into more pieces by using glass and tile cutters. Next, arrange the pieces on the object on which the mosaic will appear. This could be a picture frame, a lamp, a table top or any object with a sturdy base. Coat the object with mortar and lay the pieces down so that they are partially submerged in the mortar. Let the mortar dry and then apply grout with a trowel, spreading it over the pieces and making sure that it recedes into the spaces between the pieces. Wipe off any excess grout from the tops of the glass and ceramic with a damp sponge. Let the mosaic dry and then coat with a grout sealer.

Eco-Friendly Crafts for Any Skill Level

Using creativity and resourcefulness, most people can create unique crafts with materials found around the house, even a simple craft material such as straw can be used for craft. Not only will crafters be reducing waste, they will also be making one of a kind creations that can be enjoyed for years.

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Crafts, Crafts for Kids

Gridding to Draw: Queen of Hearts Part

Making the Heart Cards

You will be making two. They will be worn like a sandwich board. For those of you not familiar with a sandwich board, restaurants used to hire someone to walk up and down the street with two signs hung over their shoulders front and back advertising a special deal. This is the same concept we are going to use for the heart.

You are now going to transfer the Queen of Hearts playing card onto the foam core board. Many people find the idea of transferring the image of the Queen of Hearts onto the foam board a little intimidating. I will give you a trick. It is called gridding. You can use this for many different projects and mediums.

I am going to go with the idea that we do not know the dimensions of the playing card because this will help you in other projects and someone printing it off the computer may be using a different size picture. I would actually recommend this method because it allows you to blow up the picture to really see the detail. Here is what I want you to do.

Measure the card across and find the centre. Mark with your pencil in several spots along this measure and draw a line connecting the dots.

Now find the centre of each of the halves. Mark and draw your line. Repeat this again for the quarters. Moving to the width you are going to use the same idea. Finding the centre, you will mark and connect the dots. Do the same for the half and the quarter.

If you are using a playing card, you may be able to divide each section one more time. If you’re using a computer image you will definitely be able to divide the sections at least one more time.

Now transfer the division lines onto the core board. Mark the same way as you did for the card. Begin marking along the centre length. Divide the core board only the number of times you divided the Queen of Hearts image. Repeat for the width until the card and the board have the exact same markings.

Now you are going to work one block at a time. The key is to focus on one block and one block only. Copy whatever is in that block into the corresponding block on the core board. Watch for where the line begins and ends in relation to the block. If it begins a third of the way up on one side, curves to about halfway, and ends about three quarters of the way up the block, that is what yours should do. Do not look at the whole picture when doing this. Do match up adjacent blocks so that lines have a continuous flow.

Use pencil to get the design in place. Then go back over it in marker. Fill in all of the blocks and then add colour. Repeat for the second card.

Use scissors to round the corners of the core board. Poke two holes in the top of each card. Draw the rope through and knot it. The ropes should go front to back over the shoulders. Alternatively, you can use Die Cut Machines or use dry flowers
 for decorate you cards. 

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Crafts

Make Spectacular Books: Book Review

Make Spectacular Books

Is this just the same old ideas dressed up to look updated?. I have bought those books that promised so much only to be disappointed. They don’t offer enough innovation to justify the purchase.

Not so with this book. There are so many original ideas. It gets you motivated to come up with twists and turns of your own.

Is this one of those books that shows you fabulous samples and then shows you how to make the stripped down amateur version that doesn’t look anything like the pictures in the book?

They have really beautiful examples and give you step by step directions for making the books you see.

Are the directions clear enough that any skill level can be successful?

Absolutely. This is one of the features of this book that I found so exciting. They instruct in clear and understandable language.

Is this one of those books that works you through the project with gaps where they assume you know how to end off or how to do a particular step so they leave out those directions?

Once again, this book comes through with flying colours. They carry the instruction through the sequence of steps from beginning to end. Where there is a need, they expanded on the directions without fail.

Do the pictures elaborate on the instruction or are they just there for visual impact?

The diagrams and photos are really well done to show the detail where language alone may have not been enough. At the same time the pictures do supply the visual impact to get you excited.

Another feature that I found set this book apart is the resource guide. It gives the list of suppliers for every item used in the book and the website to find them. So many books give great looking examples but it is impossible to find all of the embellishments or the exact paper. Sue Astroth (author) was really thinking about the crafter with this one.

I had to share this one with you. Let me know if you come up with your own original ideas. Personally, I want to make one now using chopsticks instead of skewers. For my friends who enjoy the outdoors, I am going to replace the skewers with birch twigs. See for yourself by visiting the C & T publishing website.

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Crafts, Crafts for Kids

Making a Memory Book for an Older Child: It’s Never too Late to Record Special Childhood Memories

Pressed for time, many parents leave baby book work at the bottom of a long to-do list. And for families formed after a child’s birth and infant years (such as step, foster and adoptive families) a traditional baby book won’t work. It’s never too late, however, to create a special memoir that tells each child’s unique story.

How to Get Started

Think about the important life stages through which the child already has passed. Don’t worry if exact dates can’t be recalled. Dates aren’t as important as the unique details. Consider the interesting minutiae surrounding not only milestones but also everyday routines. For example, what was the baby’s bedtime schedule?

What will matter most years from now is the people that shared milestones and daily activities with the child. Let the memory book reveal those colourful details. For example, who taught her to ride a bike and where did they practice? Place a special focus on the areas of life valued most by the family. Examples might include faith, education, family events, etc. Adoptive families should consider adding elements of a life book to their child’s story.

Suggested Topics to Include in a Child’s Memory Book

Here are some possible topics.

Firsts:

  • Home
  • Bedroom/nursery
  • Slept through the night
  • Words
  • Wave, other gestures
  • Art work
  • Teeth (new and lost)
  • Smile
  • Laugh
  • Bath
  • Outing
  • Worship time
  • Book
  • Drink from a cup
  • Solid foods
  • Restaurant meal
  • Time to roll over, crawl, sit up, stand and take steps
  • Stay with a babysitter
  • Birthday cake, party
  • Vacation
  • Shoes
  • Haircut
  • Movie at a theatre
  • Dressed without help
  • Tied own shoes
  • Pets
  • Bike ride without training wheels
  • Recited ABCs
  • Printed own name
  • Day of school
  • Slumber party, overnight with friends

Favorites:

  • Stories, books, nursery rhymes
  • Movies, cartoons, TV shows
  • Music, songs
  • Web sites
  • Colours
  • Toys, games
  • Blankets, stuffed animals
  • Clothing
  • Foods, drinks
  • Sports, hobbies
  • Seasons, holidays
  • School subjects
  • Friends, relatives
  • Teachers
  • Family activities

Common Questions:

  • What made her cry, laugh and smile?
  • What sights and sounds comforted her?
  • How was the child’s name chosen?
  • How did it feel to welcome her into the family?
  • What are the parents’ hopes and dreams for the child?
  • Who does she look like?
  • What is her personality?
  • What are her nicknames?

How to Organise the Memory Book

Narrative formats with paragraph headings titled by subject work well when describing events in detail. For one- or two-word answers, a colon between the subject and answer suffice. For example, favourite colour: pink. The memory book might also be divided into life stages such as baby years, toddlerhood, preschool, etc.

Publishing the Memoir

Several design alternatives exist. The least expensive option is a three-ring binder with clear sheet protectors. An already-bound portfolio with sheet sleeves is another affordable option. Web sites such as Pic-nic allow designers to create their own scrapbook pages. Another option: Visit a scrapbook store and choose the perfect binder, paper and embellishments, even recycled materials.

Dozens of scrapbook software options are available, ranging from free software such as Smile box to Adobe Photoshop CS4, which costs about £700 for the full version. Some computers already contain publishing software. Microsoft Publisher and Apple’s Pages provide easy layout options. And simpler word processing programs that allow insertion of photos and graphics also work.

Recording Special Memories

It’s never too late to create a meaningful account of a child’s life. The beauty of crafting a memory book from scratch is total control over what’s included and how much space is allotted per subject. Include a few or a lot of photos and decide exactly where to place them. No more baby books with empty pages and blank lines, your crafts can make income if you know “how to sell your crafts“.

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Crafts, Crafts for Kids

Sunday School Crafts: Get Creative with Your Bible Lessons

Animal Cracker Magnets – Memory Verse Activity

Materials:

  • Animal crackers
  • Markers
  • Clear fingernail polish
  • Self-adhesive magnetic tape

Directions:

  1. Choose animal crackers to decorate. Smooth crackers work best.
  2. Write one word from a memory verse on each animal. Add designs to the animal crackers, too.
  3. Paint one coat of clear nail polish onto the animals. Let them dry. Repeat with another coat.
  4. Cut a strip of self-adhesive magnetic tape. Attach to the back of each animal.

Activity: Mix the animals up and practice putting the verse in order.

Baggie Ice Cream Recipe – Thank God for Food

Materials:

  • Pint-sized and gallon-sized freezer bags
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • Tray of ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Fill the smaller bag with the ice cream mixture of milk, sugar, and vanilla. Seal the bag really good.
  2. Fill the larger bag half full with ice and add 6 tbsp. of salt.
  3. Put the sealed small bag into the large bag.
  4. Seal the large bag and shake for about 5 minutes until mixture looks like ice cream.
  5. Open the large bag and remove the smaller bag.
  6. Wipe bag off before opening.
  7. Remind children to thank God for food! Yum yum!

Totally Edible Bird Feeder – God Provides

Materials:

  • Plain Bagel
  • String
  • Peanut Butter
  • Shortening
  • Bird Seed

Directions:

  1. Slip the string through the bagel and tie a knot.
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon shortening with 2 tablespoons peanut butter.
  3. Spread the mixture onto the bagel.
  4. Roll the bagel in bird seed.

Christian Mouse Pad

Materials:

  • Assorted colours of craft foam
  • Sticky back craft foam
  • Pencils
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Give each child a 9X7½-inch sheet of sticky back craft foam. Have them choose a 9X7½-inch sheet of any colour plain craft foam.
  2. Have the kids cut out a Christian symbol such as a cross, fish, crown, or heart from a third piece of plain craft foam. The symbol must fit inside the 9X7½-inch sheet of craft foam.
  3. Have the kids trace the symbol onto the craft foam, then carefully cut out the symbol.
  4. Kids can press the cutout into the stencil, creating a contrasting design.
  5. Have the kids peel the backing off the sticky back craft foam, and then carefully place the sticky side on the bottom of the craft foam design, matching the edges.

Caterpillar to Butterfly Mobile

Materials:

  • Two wooden doll pins
  • Tempera paint
  • Tissue paper
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Chenille craft wire
  • Yarn
  • Pencil

Directions:

  1. For the caterpillar, cut one chenille wire into thirds. Have kids form legs by folding each third into a U-shape. Bend the tips out for feet. Arrange the legs between the prongs of one doll pin, and secure them with dots of glue.
  2. Decorate the caterpillar with tempera paint and chenille craft wire antennae.
  3. For the butterfly, have kids fold two layers of tissue paper accordion style. Wedge the tissue paper between the prongs of the doll pin, centring it. Spread the layers to create butterfly wings. Secure the wings with glue on each side.
  4. Have kids decorate the butterfly’s wings by dabbing them with glue and applying glitter. Kids can each paint their butterfly’s body. Have them make antennae by curling half-lengths of chenille wire around a pencil and attaching them to the butterfly’s head with glue.
  5. Use yarn to string the caterpillar and butterfly together once they’ve dried. Hang the mobiles in your classroom or send them home with kids.

If your looking for other activities why not take a look at weather art for your kids.

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Crafts, Crafts for Kids, Reuse Reduce Recycle

Kids Can Make Art From Recycled Materials: Go Green With Children’s Art Projects

Think before dumping household junk into the garbage can, as children may want to use it for art projects. Yes, junk! Believe it or not, many items that are otherwise known as trash can be used to create an array of arts and crafts projects – and if this trash is gathered neatly in a decorated “junk box”, they’ll be more accessible to young crafters.

Mosaic

Smaller pieces of junk can be used to create a colourful mosaic – a picture made of tiny items. Glue materials such as bottle caps, broken toy parts, or torn notebook covers, into a pattern on a piece of cardboard or sturdy paper. Dried foods, such as rice, seeds, beans, and even egg shells also make mosaics appealing.

Rather than a pattern, children may choose to make a representational mosaic of a dog or a house. Have them first draw the figure on the cardboard, then they can glue on the small junk pieces to fill inside the shape.

Mask

Masks can be made from cardboard and paper bags. A unique idea is to make masks from wire frames (coat hangers) and pantyhose. Construct the frame in any shape you wish. Slip the pantyhose leg up and around the frame and knot the cut end.

Encourage the kids to create whimsical faces and characters by gluing on recycled materials on the front surface. Think of things that will glue onto this soft nylon, such as felt, fabric scraps, construction paper, yarn and cotton. There are no safety issues with these masks as children can see through the nylon.

Collage

Collage making comes from the French, as the word means “to glue.” Using a piece of heavy cardboard as a backing, have the children glue items together to form a collage (flat on cardboard) or a collage sculpture.

For young children, provide a theme to work with, such as a shape collage, which would focus on squares, circles, and other geometric figures cut out of fabric, felt, construction paper, buttons and styrofoam. Another theme kids love are colour collages where they concentrate on one colour and add miscellaneous objects of that colour to the board.

The Perfect Junk Box

Design a special box to hold all these recyclables collected. This makes obtaining art materials easy for children. Keep it filled with materials such as, fabric, wallpaper samples, coloured paper, egg cartons, buttons, cardboard, packing peanuts, styrofoam, plastic water bottles, bottle caps (lids), yarn, felt, cotton, magazines, small boxes and broken toy pieces.

Think junk, when rainy days come around or the “I’m bored” situations happen. Just bring out the junk box and challenge the children to make a flat art project or sculpture with recycled materials. What a way to go green, save the Earth and have fun along the way. And when the masterpieces have long been forgotten, they can be recycled again in the nearest recycle bin

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Crafts, Crafts for Kids

Toddler Art Activities – Six Easy Crafts for Toddlers

Art is a vital part of human development. According to A Place of Our Own, an online and television channel for caregivers, toddler art activities help children develop fine motor control as well as early math skills and exercise their innate creativity.

This is all good and well, but, for parents who haven’t picked up a paintbrush in a while, it can be hard to branch out past crayons and markers. Here are six easy and inexpensive toddler craft ideas that kids will love.

Just remember, at this phase of development, art is about the process not the end product. Don’t expect a masterpiece just yet. Instead focus on feeling textures and experimenting not just with colour but cause and effect as well.

Make Foam Paint for Toddler Crafts

Homemade “foam” paint can be made with glue, paint, and shaving cream. Take equal amounts of glue and shaving cream (regular Barbasol shaving cream works well), mix and then add finger paint or tempura paint until desired colour is achieved.

Note that most shaving creams are heavily scented, so if that is an issue look for unscented shaving cream.This creates a really foamy finger paint that provides a fun sensory experience for budding artists. When it dries, it’s puffy and creates a three dimensional effect. 

Glue is the Key to Toddler Art Activities

Glue in general presents a variety of great childs play craft opportunities. The options are endless, but here are three to get parents started.

  • Squeeze a trail of glue on paper and have toddlers cover the glue with feathers, which are inexpensive and available at any craft store. The glue can even be used to “draw” a picture or the child’s name.
  • Take pinking shears and cut all sorts of different shapes (triangles, squares, rectangles, etc) out of construction paper or even old catalogs. Toddlers will enjoy selecting shapes to glue onto their paper.
  • Glue pom pom balls onto construction paper. Toddlers will love dipping the fluffy pom poms into glue and applying them to paper.

Finger Paint Without the Mess or Clean Up

Here’s a new twist on finger paints: Put the paint in gallon sized plastic storage bags and seal. Children can then draw on the bag with their finger, creating and erasing designs over and over again. Because there’s no mess to clean up, this is great for traveling in the car or for long waits at restaurants.

Mess Free Watercolours

Watercolours are relatively mess free and a fun toddler craft that many parents haven’t thought to try. The key is to skip the water, which is prone to spilling. Instead, simply run water over the paints and brushes until wet. This way toddlers will be able to paint freely and parents won’t have to worry about spills. Don’t forget to provide a variety of different brushes for toddlers to experiment with.

Stickers Combine Art and Academics

Use stickers for a variety of easy crafts for toddlers. Lots of stickers. Why? Stickers are a fun way to build vocabulary, explore new concepts and keep toddlers busy. Use them with crayons or paints or by themselves.

Many craft stores have a big selection of inexpensive stickers for £1.00 or less. Giant sticker books can also be found inexpensively at bookstores and are a great investment for parents looking to expand the repertoire of toddler art activities.

Make Toddler Crafts With Stamps

Stamps are a great toddler craft. The ink pad will be the biggest expense, but lasts for months and foam stamp cubes cost as little as 50 pence at craft stores. Work on creating a stamp library that covers major seasons, holidays and includes letter as well as number stamps.

The stamps will see years of use. Not only can toddlers create pictures, brown paper grocery bags can be recycled into gift wrap using the stamps for decoration.

All of these toddler art activities – foam paint, watercolours, stickers, stamps, finger painting and glue – use inexpensive items and there’s no goal other than the experience itself. This open ended approach to art takes pressure off parents and allows kids the freedom to express themselves with no expectations. Beyond that, the fine motor control, hand-eye coordination and academics fostered through toddler crafts will last a life time.

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