Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Easy flower posy - crafts for kids

There are plenty of lovely flower crafts about at this time of year and we've tried quite a few, but think this might be a favourite. Maybe because it's a new one for us, and new is always good, and maybe because you can get a great result quickly, with very little fuss. Just a toilet paper tube and some coloured tissue and you're on your way to a sweet bouquet!

You'll need:
Toilet paper tube (or part of a kitchen paper tube)
3 Sheets coloured tissue paper (can be same or different colours)
Craft scissors
Glue stick
Green paint (or mix blue and yellow)

1. Paint the tube green and paint the top half of the inside too.
When the paint's dry, cut straight down from the green-inside-end to about halfway down the tube. Do the same opposite your first cut. 
(Or you could squeeze the top end of the tube flat and cut down the two creases)

2. Next, cut down the tube again, halfway between the cuts you've just made, on both sides. Make the cuts roughly the same length. So you end up with 4, hopefully evenly spaced cuts. But don't worry if the spacing isn't perfect, it'll still look lovely!

3. To make the stems, cut down the tube again, just to the right of one of your original four cuts. You don't want the stems to be too thick (between 0.5 and 1cm/1/4in. to 1/2in.). Repeat, to the right of the next cut. Try to make it roughly the same width as the first one. Do the same to the right of the other cuts, so you end up with four stems and 4 wider bits between (these are going to be the leaves).

4. Bend these wider pieces out,  and cut them into a long, leafy triangle shapes (cut down from the middle to the bottom corners)

5. For the flowers, fold the 3 sheets of coloured tissue paper in half (using just one colour looks great too), and cut a strip off the open end - make it about 4cm (11/2in.) wide, and once you've cut across the sheets, trim the strip so it's about 16cm (6in.) long.

6. Keeping all the pieces of tissue paper roughly together, fold this strip in half and press along the crease, then open up and cut in half. Now fold the two pieces in half again and cut along the crease.
You should end up with four piles of 6 squares... or squarish squares...that's fine!

7. Rub some glue stick at the top of a stem and stick the middle of a tissue paper square to it. We wanted to use yellow in the centre, so started with the darker colour, but choose any order you like.

 Rub more glue in the middle of the first piece of tissue paper and stick the second one on top, but turn it so the angle is different from the one below.

8. Keep adding the squares, turning every time. Do the same for the other three flowers.

9. Once the glue has dried, get hold of a whole flower in your fingertips and give it a gentle squeeze forward, all the way around, to shape it. Give the the middle two pieces a separate squeeze, to get a tighter centre. Do the same with the other flowers.

10. You could tie a bow around the bottom, to finish off your posy - or, pop it into a yogurt pot 'pot'. Stick pieces of wrapping paper on the pot to cover up any writing.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Curly wurly snakes!

Wrap them wherever you like!

These spirally snakes are sssssssimple to make and they're really good for scissor practice too.

You'll need:
2 toilet paper tubes (or a kitchen paper tube cut in half)
Craft glue
Glue stick
Plain paper
Yellow felt-tip or highlighter

1.  Paint stripes up one tube using any colours you like. It looks good if you keep to a set pattern, so if you paint yellow, green then blue do the same around the rest of the tube. Try to keep the stripes a similar size.
On the second tube, paint the same colour pattern around the tube, leaving a space near one end. Make the stripes a little thinner this time. Paint the bit you've left black, or whatever colour you'd like for your snakes tongue! Paint the inside of this end black too.

2. When the paint's dry, carefully cut the tube to make a spiral. Take your time and make small snips with the tips of the scissors. Don't make the angle too steep at the beginning - just a gentle rise. When you've been round once, the important thing is to keep the width of the spiral (your snake's body) the same all the way up. Keep checking to see if it looks right. This can be tricky and needs concentration but it's great scissor practice. If it helps, you could try drawing a spiral on first with a pencil, or, for younger makers, start it off for them, as this is really the trickiest part. Let them have a go at cutting the rest of the spiral. It doesn't matter if it's a bit wiggly!

3. Snip the end off so you have a nice straight bit to stick the head to.

4. Use a pencil to draw a diamond shaped head on your other tube ( make sure it's not too small)

5. Use sticky tape to attach it to the twisty body.

6. Cut out an eye shape from the spare tube. We tried two different shapes. Draw around it twice on some plain paper and colour in with a yellow felt-tip pen or a highlighter. Add a black pen line down the middle. Cut them out and use a glue stick to glue them to the head.

7. Cut a thin strip from the black end of the tube for your snake's tongue. Straighten off both ends and cut a 'V' in one of them.

8. Use sticky tape or glue to stick the tongue to the back of the head. Add two black nostrils and any other detail you like. Now your snake is ready to explore!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Easy bunny project from 'Make your own farm animals'

Looking for something crafty to do with the kids over the hols? What about making a farm? All the projects in this book are simple to follow, and they use easy to get hold of cardboard bits and bobs, like egg cartons, cereal packets and tubes - so you should have just about everything you need to get started..

None of the book projects have made an appearance on the blog yet, so, as it's a kind of bunny time of year, thought I'd share this one :)

You'll need:
Egg carton
Red, yellow, blue and white paint
Fine paintbrush
Kids' craft scissors
Craft glue
Black felt-tip or gel pen
Cotton wool ball

1 Roughly cut out a whole middle cone from the egg carton so it's easier to work with.

2. Use a pencil and ruler to measure and mark 2cm (3/4in.) from the top on one side of the cone, and draw a line across here. On the opposite side, measure and mark 3cm (11/4in.) from the top and draw another line.
Join them with sloping lines either side.

3. Cut out your bunny's body. A handy way to do this is to snip up two adjacent cone corners to the pencil line, then fold back the flap and cut it off - now it's easier to cut along the rest of the line.

4. For the ears, draw a petal shape on card from the egg carton lid. As a guide - make it no more than about 4cm (11/2in.) long and not too wide. Cut this out. If you want to make more bunnies, you could keep it to use as a template to draw around.

5. To form the ears, draw a long, slightly curvy 'V' in the middle of your petal shape - don't take it down as far as the pointy end. Snip out the card piece between the ears.

6. Brush glue on the bottom part of the ears and stick them just behind the top of the cone (on the longer cone side).

7. When the glue's dry, pinch hold of the cone where the ears are attached and bend the ears back. Paint the bunny whatever colour you like, remembering to paint both sides of the ears. This brown colour is made by mixing yellow with a little red and a dab of blue - lighten with some white.

8. When it's touch dry, use a fine paint brush to add a white fluffy chest, then mix a touch of red with the white to make pink and paint a stripe inside each ear.

9. For the tail, pull off a small amount of cotton wool, roll it between into a little ball between your finger and thumb and glue to the back of your bunny near the base.Use a black felt-tip or gel pen to draw a face. Do the twitchy nose first, right on the edge of the cone top and add the eyes just above.

TIP: If your egg carton has cones with holes in the top, brush some glue inside them and push a little scrunched up ball of newspaper up, to fill the hole.

There are some good deals on Amazon, and noticed 'Make your own farm animals is only £3.99 on the UK Book People site at the moment. Free postage too if you spend over £25.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Cork crafts with a twist for Easter

cork cat

cork chick

I'm not sure where this idea came from... but hey, why not a chick on an Easter bonnet or a cat on a hat?? Probably has something to do with the amount of time I've spent looking at corks! I wanted to come up with a quick project that involved simple painting and was possibly a bit quirky? The bottom part of the cork below the rounded top just made me think HAT.

You'll need:
Cork (from something fizzy)
Coloured paper
Craft glue
Glue stick
Spice jar to draw around
3 feathers (for the chick)
Small stickers/sequins (optional)
Spare card (for the cat)
Black felt-tip or gel pen

1. First, paint the rounded top part of the cork yellow for the chick, then decide what colour hat you want, and paint the bottom part. You could paint it the same colour as the paper for the hat rim (like we did) or make it completely different.

2. For the rim of the hat, find a circle shape that's bigger than the bottom of the cork (we used a small spice jar), draw around it with a pencil and cut out. Cut a thin strip of paper for a hat band.

3. Put a thin layer of glue on the hat band strip (a glue stick is best for this) and wrap it around the bottom of the cork - don't worry if it doesn't go all the way around (like ours) - the gap can be covered by the rim of the hat. Glue the bottom of the cork to the paper circle - place it a little off centre, and then glue the wider part of the rim to the side of the cork to make a turn up. If you need to, lean a book on the hat turn up while it dries.

4. To decorate, we made little paper flowers, but if you have some pretty small stickers or shiny sequins these would be an easier option and would look so lovely too.

(To make the paper flowers, cut a very small square of paper, fold it in half then half again. It helps if you draw a petal shape on top, starting from the corner that's the middle of the square (centre of your flower). Do a few practice ones - sometimes they can end up looking more like butterflies, which is good too! Cut out a circle for the middle, or use a hole punch to make circles, or paint the centre)

5. Use a black felt tip or gel pen to draw eyes on your chick, near the top, and straight above the hat turn-up.

6. Cut a small orange triangle for the beak (if you don't have orange paper, colour in some plain paper or draw a beak straight onto your chick with an orange felt-tip). Dab the tiniest bit of glue just below the eyes (or use a glue stick), wet your finger to pick up the tiny beak and stick it in place.

7. Glue feathers either side, for the wings.

- and, if you want, add a head plume. Make a hole on top, near the front, just above the eyes, using a small screw (screw it in until the hole is deep enough) - put some glue on the bottom of the feather and push it into the hole.

8. For the Cat, follow the instructions above to Step 4, making sure you also paint a small piece of spare card (or paper) the same colour as your cat's body (for the tail and ears).

9. When the paint's dry, draw and cut out a tail and a small square (that will be the ears) - make sure it's no wider than the top of the cork.

10. Fold the small square in half and on one side of the fold line, draw pointy ears. Carefully cut around them, bending the piece between the ears back so it's easier to snip off.

11. Glue the bottom part of the folded ear piece to the top of the cork, straight above the hat turn-up.

12. Use a black felt-tip or gel pen to add the face detail and then paint a lighter shade on the cat's tummy.

Now's the time to paint on pen on more detail if you like. We added some stripes (don't forget to paint them on the tail too!), but leave your cat plain if you prefer.

13. Glue the tail in place so it wraps around the front.

Let me know if you have any other thoughts about what to put on the hat!!