Saturday, 3 August 2019

Eric Carle inspired Butterfly! (and cocoon)

This project was inspired by an Eric Carle Instagram craft challenge - they're so great for coming up with new ideas! It's a very simple project - younger makers will need some help with the folding and cutting. I've laid out a simplified pattern for Eric Carle's butterfly, but feel free to design your own butterfly!

You will need:
A4 sheet of plain paper
Two pipe cleaners

Small plastic bottle and cut up pieces of newspaper for the Cocoon

1. First, fold your piece of paper in half lengthways, then fold each half into the middle, open up and you should have four evenly spaced creases.

2. For our Eric Carle inspired butterfly, we used the creases as a guide to paint a purple, then green, then greeny-blue, followed by a blue stripe. We used poster paints and watered them down so they were more of a wash, and went on quickly with a big brush. (I often use a pastry brush, great for painting bigger areas quickly)

We painted the back the same way too, but this really is optional.

3. Once dry, fold the piece of paper in half the other way, so you can clearly see the middle of your butterfly.

We then used thick yellow poster paint to splodge on two round shapes at either end of the purple stripe, and yellow lines between the purple and green, the blue and greeny-blue stripe, and a thick one across the middle of the greeny-blue stripe. Then three dots on either edge of the green stripe.

4. We added a few dots at the top of the blue stripe, then mixed a little red into the yellow for some orange dots on either edge of the greeny-blue stripe.

5. Next, red circles in the corners and small dots in the middle of the orange ones. A red line and a dot on half of the bottom yellow line, and another dot above it on the greeny-blue stripe. Add a dab of orange to the top red circles.

6. Then thick purple lines in the middle of the green and the blue stripes, plus purple dots in the bottom circles. Last but not least a short green line in the middle of the purple stripe and some green dots at either end of the top purple line.

7. When dry, start folding or pleating your piece of painted paper longways, as if you're making a fan. If you're crafting with little ones, maybe make the pleats bigger, so they can be more involved with the folding.

8. In order for the pipe cleaner to be wrapped around the centre of your butterfly more easily, you need to cut a triangle from the middle of your fan - making sure you don't cut all the way through! Aim for a small triangle that's at least half the width of your folds. Make sure you cut it on the non-decorated side too.

Cutting through the paper fan can be hard, so best done by an adult.

9. Pipe cleaner time! We made some antennae with a piece of black pipe cleaner and then used a whole yellow one and made a hook shape at one end (the length we wanted our butterfly's body to be).

10. Hook it over the antennae, then hook the whole thing over the centre of your butterfly wings.

11. Start wrapping the rest of the pipe cleaner tightly around the body, and then over and around the wings to secure them. Wrap the remaining part of the pipe cleaner around the head part, so the antennae are secure too.

12. We wrapped a small piece of red pipe cleaner around the top part to keep our butterfly looking as EC as possible, but this is totally up to you. Dot on eyes with a black marker pen.

13. For the cocoon, you need a small plastic bottle that's at least as tall as the length of one of the butterfly wings.

Cut up some newspaper, water down some PVA (craft) glue, soak the paper pieces in the watery glue and cover the bottle in papier mache. Messy but fun! It really doesn't need to be neat.

14. Once dry, paint it brown, orange and yellow stripes. Have the colours on one plate and let them mix together a bit, so you get a mix of colours in the stripes, and they meld into each other.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Paper plate mermaid

Magical mermaids! Always thought the bumpy rim on a paper plate would make a good scaly tail, so that's how this project started..
We used small pieces of sponge to paint her too, which was super quick, great fun and added a bit more texture.

You will need:
Two paper plates (ours were 15cm)
Craft glue or a glue stick
Old sponge
Black felt tip or gel pen

1. Draw a pencil line in one of the grooves on the plate rim and roughly mark the middle point of the plate. Count about 10 bumps along and draw another line in the groove. Join the top of these two lines to the dot in the middle of the plate, but curve the lines out a bit, so they're not completely straight (this top part is going to be your mermaid's body)

2. Cut this piece out and then cut the rim away from the centre of the plate. 

Cut five pieces from the rim that are about the same size as the rim on the body piece (10 bumps). 

Glue FOUR of these pieces to the body (leave one for the end of the tail). Glue them underneath, with the bumps showing. Just concentrate on lining up the top edge, and making a nice curve here for the tail. 
Don't worry about the sticky out bits at the bottom! We'll sort those out when the glue dries.

3. While the glue dries, make the head by drawing around the bottom of something like a small spice jar on a spare piece of paper plate centre. Cut it out, and if you want, trim two sides to make a more oval shape (optional).

4. For the mermaid's hair, cut out the middle of the second paper plate - we trimmed it all round, cutting more away on two sides, to make it oval shaped (again, this is optional) Ours ended up about 12cm long and 10cm wide.

5. Cut about a third off the head and place it on the hair, so she looks like she's got a fringe (bangs). When you're happy with the position, draw a pencil line right along the top of the head.

Then, roughly halfway along this line, fold the hair piece longways. and either cut straight along the folded line for a straight fringe, OR, as we did, start cutting just above the line, aiming for the end of the line, to make a centre parting!
Make sure the head piece fits in the slot, but don't stick it down yet.

6. To make the arms, draw around the top part of the mermaid's body on some spare paper plate middle. Make sure it's just the top of the body, so only go as far as the first ridge (see picture below). Then join the two ends with a gently curved line.

7. Draw a pencil line inside, mirroring the shape, so it's about 1cm wide (it doesn't have to be perfect!)
Cut the piece out and then snip through the pointy end of the shape, and follow the inside line.

8. Time to finish off the tail! cut away the sticky out bits at the bottom (I've drawn a pencil line, so you can see more clearly what I mean). Then draw a pencil line from the bottom of the second piece of plate rim to the end of the tail, tapering and making it thinner as you do, to make a nice curve. Keep it about a 1cm wide at the end.

9. To make an even looking tail end, draw a pencil line roughly in the middle of the remaining piece of plate rim. Cut away the sides at an angle, so it's the right size to fit on the end of the tail. Then cut out the curvy tail end, using the middle line as a guide. Glue in place.

10.  Painting time and we cut small pieces from an old sponge, about 2 to 3cm square. Press them in the paint and get sponging! Use one piece for each different colour.

First we painted the body, head and arms. We mixed lots of white with a little red, dab of yellow and tiny spot of blue.

The hair is a mix of yellow and orange splodges, but do the body and hair whatever colour you prefer.

The tail is green and blue splodges. 

Leave your mermaid pieces to dry.

11. Once dry, assemble your mermaid. Slide the arm piece over the body and angle it to one side. Trim the nearest arm, so it doesn't look too long. Make sure the arm piece is 1cm or so below the pointy top and glue in place. Glue the head to the top of the body, and then the body to the hair, sliding the head into the fringe slot. 

12. Cut small triangles for the bikini from some leftover rim, and glue them on. Use a black pen to draw on her face.

Obviously add glitter if you want to!
And hang on to the leftover rim pieces. I have some other ideas for them...

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Mr Croc - egg carton crocodile

This craft is very similar to the lizard we made last time, so it's all about cutting and stacking, the tricky part is finding enough egg cartons!!

You will need:
3 x Large (dozen) egg cartons or
6 Regular (half a dozen) egg cartons
Craft glue
Glue stick (optional)
Green paint
Sheet of plain paper
Black felt-tip or gel pen

1. Mr Croc is made from twelve of the middle cones you find in egg cartons.

If you can get hold a few of the larger cartons, you'll get 5 cones per box, rather than the usual two. 

Of course you could always make a smaller crocodile with less, and spread the cones out more, or add in extra cones (if you have them) for a really long tail!

1. We painted our cones first, while they were still in the egg cartons, but you could assemble your croc and paint him at the end if you prefer. 

If you're painting at the start, remember to paint some of the egg box lid green too, for the feet.

2. Cut the cones out roughly, in a strip, then separate them by snipping a part. We cut out 12 altogether. 


3. Then cut around the bottom of the 11 remaining cones, just above the cardboard joins - so the sides are smooth, the edges are even and the cone sits straight on a flat surface. (I've used a pencil to mark above the card join on this cone, to show where to cut).

4. Aim to make them look the same size (but don't worry if they're not exactly alike! And you can always tidy them up if you feel you need to, at the stacking stage)

Put one of these trimmed cones aside too (for the end of the tail) so you're now left with 10. 

Then chop about 1cm off the top of 10 remaining cones, by squeezing the cone flat between your fingers and snipping across the top. The cut will look a bit wonky when you squeeze the cone back into shape, but that's fine as you won't see this bit when you put your Croc together.

5. Now the fun part, the stacking! We stacked 5 cones together for the body.

Brush glue around the inside edges of the first cone, then push the next one in, but don't push it in too far, you want to have gaps between the ridges (and this stretches out the body too). Brush glue around the inside edge of the second cone and add the third, and so on. Keep the gaps looking even (keep trying different cones to get a good fit).

6. The next cone is going to go in the opposite way round (so you can attach the tail), but it's too big as it is, so you need to shorten it by cutting about 1cm off the bottom edge, (see photo above), then glue inside the end of your stacked cones.

7. Cut about 1cm off the bottom of the remaining 4 cones too. This will make the tail look less bulky.

(You should still have 2 cones left aside, for the head and bottom of the tail)

8. Glue these four pieces to the body, but make the gaps wider apart than those on the body - this will allow you to extend the tail and to curve it slightly, if you want to. Brush glue inside the pieces you're adding to the tail, concentrating on where the cones are most in contact with each other.

9. For the end of the tail, take the trimmed cone (from step 4) that you've been saving, and cut it in half lengthways, so the end has more of a point, before gluing one half in place.

10. For the head, take the last remaining cone you cut out roughly at the very beginning, and hold it so you're looking at one of the flat sides. This will be the top of your croc's head. 

On the top of the head, close to the edge of the cone, use a pencil to draw two semi-circles for the eyes, starting from each corner. Join with a line. (See the photo) Roughly draw around the rest of the cone, from the bottom of one eye to the bottom of the other. 

When cutting out, it might help to cut down each corner first, to the pencil line, fold all but the front flap out, and cut these three side and back flaps off.

On the front, cut between Mr Croc's eyes first, to the line, before snipping this little piece away (or tucking it inside the head). Then round off the eyes.

11. Paint them yellow.

12. While they're drying, draw a thin strip on some plain paper (for the teeth) - about 15cm long and roughly 0.5mm wide.

With a fine black pen, draw a zigzag line from the top to the bottom line, before cutting this strip out.

Use the pen to finish off the eyes and to add nostrils. We drew long, thin triangles for the pupils.

13. Snip one end into a tapered 'V', rub with glue stick, or brush on a thin layer of glue, and stick the start of the teeth in place. Wrap around his face, until it looks even with the other side. Cut away the extra and snip the other side of his mouth into a 'V' shape too.

Glue the head to the body.

14. For the feet, cut a 2-3cm strip and round it at one end. Use this as a template to draw around, and cut out four. Draw on claws and glue them at angles, under the body.