Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Poppy egg carton craft for Remembrance Day

egg carton poppy

This craft project is close to my heart. As an army wife I can't think about Remembrance Day without getting a lump in my throat. Such a mix of emotions, as we honour those who died in the First and Second World Wars and all the conflicts since, and I remember family and friends in the Forces. Some here, some not.

These poppies are made from egg cartons, and I've gone for three petals instead of four because I thought they looked more poppy-like. I've added a little paper centre too, for the spikey stamens, but you can leave this part out if you like.

You will need:

Egg carton
Craft glue(we used PVA)
Black paper (optional)
Paper plate (for the wreath)

Egg cartons come in all shapes and sizes and this does make a difference when you're trying to make flowers. If the cups are nice and round, then it's easy enough to cut one out like this, with an even edge and make three roughly evenly spaced marks.

The thing is, most egg carton won't have nice round cups, they'll probably look a bit more like this when you cut them out, with a split where the cup joined the middle part of the carton.

So, we're going to work with the split and use it as one of our marks, adding two more so they'll all as evenly spaced as possible. (Cut off the rough edges at the top if they're in the way.)

With the scissors, cut down to the base of the egg cup where you've made your two marks.

Then cut and gently curve each of the three petals.

Carefully round off the edges of each petal by snipping the corners. And then very gently, while holding the flower in the middle, carefully push the petals back. This needs to be done with care or the cardboard will rip.

In the picture below I'm snipping off the corners of the round shaped egg carton cup.

In the end the round egg carton cup and the one with the splits look pretty similar!

Paint your poppies, remember to do the back of the petals as well, and add a black blob in the middle - this looks much better if it's not too perfect and round.

To make the wreath, paint the rim of a paper plate green. When it's dry, make a hole in the centre of the plate (best down by an adult) and cut out the middle section.

This next step is optional as the poppies look lovely as they are, but the little paper stamens gives them a bit more detail.
Cut a strip of black paper about 0.5-1cm wide and cut into 5cm pieces.

Roll one of the short pieces up, then open it and snip a fringe along one side - roll it up again, but loosely this time.

Brush a good layer of glue in the middle of black centre of your poppy and add the rolled up paper. Let it unfurl a little, but make sure it stays in the glue. Give it a light press and then leave your poppy to dry.

Once dry, press the fringed paper out with your finger. We made 15 for our wreath.

Make a hole in your paper plate wreath and thread through some string so you can hang it up.  Then glue on your poppies.

egg carton poppy wreatn

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Pop-up matchboxes

I love a matchbox - any tiny box really, and I bought a job-lot of them for a pound in Home Bargains the other day. I've been wanting to try a simple pop-up matchbox idea, and Halloween seemed like the perfect time!

It took a few attempts to work out where to cut and where to stick... but we got there in the end! And once you've made the pop-up mechanism, you can add any ghostly, ghastly ghoul you like..

1. Rather handily, our matchbox had lines on it already, but basically you need to draw two lines, a few cms apart, down the middle of your box top.

Take them really close to one end, and draw a line across (this is important! See above), leaving the other open (about 0.5cm from the edge). We've coloured this open end with the black pen so it's a bit easier to see which end's which. (And this black mark will become dracula's shoes later!)

2. Adult help is needed for this next part - use some nail scissors or similar to pierce a hole through the line on the matchbox top (keep the scissors closed, press down firmly and twist from side to side). Once you've pierced through, cut carefully along the 3 lines you've drawn, leaving the end with the space (or the thick black mark in the picture).

3. Fold this flap of card right back and press firmly.

4. Then fold the flap of card in half and press the crease firmly again.

5. Cut a strip of paper, about the same width as the card strip, and roughly 4cm long.

6. Glue a good section of it under the card flap and let the glue dry.

7. Now the more fiddly bit, because you need to glue the other end of the paper strip to the end of the matchbox drawer.

Take the match box drawer out of the cover and dab some glue at the end and bottom of the cardboard drawer. Then push it back in from the thick black mark side (not the paper strip side), gluey end first, until it's half in, and

Take the match box drawer out of the cover and dab some glue at one end of the cardboard drawer (end side and bottom). Then gluey end first, push it back in from the thick black mark side (not the paper strip side), until it's half in, and you can see the gluey end through the hole in the top of the matchbox cover.

8. You need to stick the paper strip to the glue, this is tricky, so we used the end of a pencil to push the paper strip into the glue (end side and bottom).

It is really important to get the cardboard strip as close as you can to the edge of the drawer - there should be a small gap, but it must be small, or the mechanism won't pull back properly. (See how close it is in the photo. We've drawn a black line along the top edge of the matchbox drawer, so you can see how close it is to the edge of card strip.)

9. Once it's dry you can try out your pop-up box! When you push the drawer back into the cover,  the middle section should go flat. If it doesn't, then the card strip needs to be glued closer to the end of the drawer. If the box is too tight and won't shut properly then the card strip has been glued too close to the end of the drawer and needs more of a gap.

11. Draw your Halloween figure on some paper - make it roughly the same size as the matchbox.

12. Make sure the matchbox is open so the mechanism is sticking up, and glue your ghoul to the side of the folded card strip that isn't attached to the paper strip, lining up the bottom edge of your figure with the crease.

 13. To make an easy pop-up match box surprise, cut a thin strip of cereal box card or similar and fold it a few times to make a spring mechanism. Glue or stick this inside the drawer part of the matchbox, near one end. Draw your bat, spider or ghost or whatever you like and glue to the top of your cardboard spring. We also made a ghost from some tissue paper!

You could decorate the matchbo too - draw around the box on some paper, and design a spooky cover! Cut out and glue on top of the matchbox.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Clarissa the Cow - from 'Make Your Own Farm Animals'

I haven't shared many projects from 'Make Your Own Farm Animals' and thought it was about time I did! I'm really fond of this one, because the head shape is already there, in the shape of an egg carton, all you need to do is cut it out. 
The body is made the same way as many other animals you'll find in 'Make Your Own Farm Animals' and 'Make Your Own Zoo'. 

You will need:
Two toilet paper rolls
Egg carton
Sheet of newspaper
Craft glue
Nail scissors or similar (with adult supervision)
Black pen

1. To make the legs, flatten one of the toilet paper rolls with your hand, press down firmly, then cut along the creases so you end up with two pieces of card. Keep one piece for later.

2. Take the other piece and fold it in half lengthways, again pressing down firmly, before cutting along the crease.

3. Fold each of these card strips in half lengthways again, pressing firmly along the fold. You will now have two folded strips for the legs.

4. Shorten the other toilet paper tube to about 8cm/3in. for the body (either estimate roughly or use the ruler the measure and mark 8cm on the tube, squeeze the sides together near the mark and then cut across the tube on the mark).

5. Hold a ruler along the length of the body tube and draw two lines about 1cm (1/4in.) in from each end. Make each line about 2cm (3/4in.) long.

6. Repeat this about 3cm (1in.) further round the tube, so you have four marks for the leg slots.
Then make a hole in one of the pencil lines with the nail scissors* (keep them closed, press down firmly, twisting from side to side). Once the scissor have pierced through, cut along the line. Repeat for the others.

*This should be done by an adult, or under careful supervision)

7. Wiggle the closed scissors in the slots to open them up a bit, before threading a leg strip in a slot and out the opposite one. Repeat with the second leg piece. Once they look level, hold the tube tightly near a slot and firmly fold the the legs down.  

8. Trim the legs so they're not too long and your cow body doesn't wobble!

9. The head is simply cut out of the end of an egg carton - the moulded cardboard shape is perfect for a cow's muzzle. Use the picture below as a guide and draw either side of the moulded part that separates the eggs, draw ears in the egg cup sections either side of the muzzle and take the top of the head up as far as you can go, so it's right on the join with a middle cone.

10. Roughly cut out the head shape first and then cut carefully along the line - keep some of the cardboard join at the top of the head if you can, as it makes a good fluffy forelock of hair. (Apologies for carton colour change!)

11. Cut a piece of newspaper (roughly 20x20cm/8x8in.) and scrunch it up so it just fits in the end of the tube. Take it out and brush glue inside the end of the tube, before pressing the ball of newspaper back in, making sure it protrudes slightly. Glue the head onto the newspaper.

12. Cut a strip of card for the tail, from the spare piece of toilet paper roll from earlier, and glue it under the top end of your cow. Leave to dry.

13. Once dry, paint your cow. If you would like to do a black and white one, like ours, then paint the whole thing white first, before adding the black markings. 
(The wet paint will make the legs go floppy - don't worry, when dry just bend them back into place.)

14. For the head, you could draw circles where you want the eyes to be and then paint around them. Paint the snout pink and when dry use a black pen to add nostrils. Bend the tail down, into place. 
(if your cow is a little head heavy and tipping forward, scrunch up another piece of newspaper and stick it in the tail end).

If you enjoyed this project, there are many, many more in 'Make Your Own Farm Animals'