Thursday, 20 February 2020

The Big Blue Egg Carton Whale

This is a great craft because it's more than just a whale! It's somewhere to keep tiny treasures,  or pieces for simple games you can play with your little ones.

You will need:
An egg carton
Cereal box card
Craft glue
Black marker pen
Plain paper
Nail scissors (*to be used by an adult)

1. The first thing you need to do is paint your egg carton. We used ordinary ready-mixed poster paints. Add some white paint to the blue as this helps cover up any print and pictures on the box.

Paint some spare cereal box card blue too, for the tail and fins. We painted the bottom half of the egg carton a lighter blue, but it doesn't look very different in the pictures!

2. You could cut the tail out freehand, but we decided to make a template - fold a piece of thin card or paper and draw half a tail on the fold, then open up. Make it long enough so there's plenty of card to glue inside the egg carton. We cut a triangle shape template for the fins.

3. For the mouth, carefully run a brush with some black paint along the bottom edge at one end (see photo below) Take it around both corners of the carton so you get a nice wide smile. When the paint is dry use a black pen to finish off, lifting the corners of the smile.

4. When cutting out the fins, make sure you turn the template over for the second fin on the other side of your whale. Glue just under the lid of the carton on one side, and under the join on the other side.

Use a black pen to draw on eyes and finish off the mouth. You could use googly eyes if you prefer.

5. For the water spray, take a piece of plain paper, about 8cm wide and 16cm long, and roll it into a tube. Don't make it too tight - you want to be able to get the arm of your scissors inside the tube so you can cut down. Dab a little glue on the end corner  or edge of the paper, to hold the tube together. Then cut about halfway down the tube, at roughly even spaced intervals, all the way around.

6. Find a strand of paper right in the middle of the tube and give it a gentle tug, to pull it up a little. Don't pull too hard though, as you don't want the inside to pop out completely. (This part reminds me of making palm trees from newspaper tubes, do you ever remember doing that?) Splay out the paper strands a little by pressing down lightly with your hand. This makes it look a bit more splashy!

7. Use something like nail scissors* to make a hole for the spray on top of your whale. (Keep the scissors closed, press down and twist from side to side) Then cut a cross that's a little bigger than the width of your paper tube, and push the corners down. Brush a little glue in the hole and push the spray into it.

8. If you'd like to make some waves, squirt some blue, green and white paint onto a plate or palette and use a big brush to mix and swirl the colours together - this is great fun and looks really effective.

Cut some wavy lines and fold each piece roughly in half to prop them up.

There are all kinds of things you could put inside your whale. We made some little pine cone fish and painted them lots of bright colours. You could use them to help your little ones learn colours, or help with counting.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Egg carton Father Christmas

egg carton father Christmas Santa

Ho, ho, ho! Can't quite believe this is the first time I've Father Christmased an egg carton! All these years.. 

He is very simple to make and I'm sure you'll recognise a lot of the techniques, if you've tried any of my other egg carton projects.

You will need:
Egg carton
Craft glue
Cotton wool
Black pen (gel or felt-tip)
Small piece of yellow paper or plain, coloured in
Thread and needle (optional)

1. First of all, roughly cut out as much of the two middle cones from the carton as you can, so they're easier to work with. 

2. For the body cone, cut around the base, just above any cardboard joins to neaten up the edge so it sit flat. 

3. For the hat, squeeze the other cone flat and snip off the top part - about 2cm. It'll probably have wonky edges, so trim until they're even. 

4. Paint the top third of the body cone pink and the bottom part, plus the hat red.

5. For the beard and hair, stretch out a small piece of cotton wool (bearing in mind the size of your Santa's head). Make a little hole for the eyes, making sure you have enough to cover the back of his head.

6. Brush glue on top and back of the head and where you want the beard to go, making sure to leave a glue-free gap for the eyes. Pull and tease the cotton wool around the back of the head. Pull away any extra you don't need or add more if you're short.

Roll a little ball of cotton wool for the top of the hat.

7. Dot on eyes with a black pen and draw a belt. Cut out a small square of yellow paper (or colour-in some plain paper) and colour in the middle black. Dab glue in the centre of the belt and stick the buckle in place.

8. For the snow-capped trees, cut out two more cones, just above the cardboard join. Shorten one of them and cut zigzags around it. Paint it white and the tree green.

9. If you'd like to make your Santa into a Christmas tree decoration (this part needs to be done by a grown up), before gluing the hat in place, cut a piece of thread (about 30cm long), fold it in half and thread through a needle. Then move the needle close to the loose ends end. 

Push the needle carefully through the bobble, leaving the big loop of thread above the hat and the loose ends below it. Remove the needle and tie a knot or two, near the loose ends. Trim the threads.

Brush glue inside the hat, pull the thread loop up, into place. Stick the hat back on.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Father Christmas potato print

Really enjoyed potato printing at Halloween, so thought we'd make some festive ones!

And we've stuck to simple shapes again.

First, cut a potato in half and slice a thin sliver off the bottom, so it sits flat and is easier to work with.

Use a ruler and a sharp pencil to score a triangle - start with the base line of the triangle and take it right to the edges. Roughly mark the midpoint of the base line at the top of the potato, and score lines up to this mark.

You could draw the triangle on first with a pen if you want, and then score. 

Don't make your triangle too fat and wide.

Use some kitchen roll to remove little potato bits and moisture.

Score a line across your triangle, near the top, to define the hat, and then another one just below for the face. Use your thumb nails to pinch off a sliver of the face strip, either side, so it's not quite a wide as the hat brim.

Below the face, score an upside down triangle for the beard.

Cut away the sides of the triangle and your Santa is ready!

TIP: (To be done by an adult) Cut two wedges away, either side, at back, leaving a ridge of potato in the middle to hold onto. A sort of potato handle! Easier for little hands.

Brush pink paint on the thin face strip and red on the hat and body. Leave the beard clear.

When the paint is dry, use a black pen to draw on eyes and buttons.

Try some practice prints first, and when you're happy with the paint quantity, why not design your own Christmas paper or gift tags?

Add in a Christmas tree too if you want - another triangle, with a small square at the bottom. You could cut out a triangle and separate small square if you prefer.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Egg carton bunny burrow bank!

This little bank of burrows is great fun to play with and a handy place to keep your egg carton bunnies.

You'll find the bunny project HERE.

For the rabbit warren, snip the middle cones off inside the carton and use cotton wool or fold some kitchen roll to make it cosy inside. Paint the outside green.

While that's drying, cut an egg cup from another egg carton, and trim above any cardboard joins or gaps, so you end up with a short cup. This is going to be the tree stump.

Make up a brown colour (mix yellow and red, then add a dab or two of blue), add a little to some white to make light brown and paint the top of the stump. Use the brown to paint the around the side, plus a little around the top edge.

Cut a strip of green paper, about 2cm wide, long enough to wrap around about two thirds of the bottom of your stump.

Fold it in half longways, and snip zigzags along one side, up to the fold, for the grass.

On the other side of the fold make a few snips along the strip - this makes it easier to glue under the edge of the egg carton. Brush glue along the edge and inside the egg cup, and press the paper into it.

Make some burrows in your egg carton bunny bank (we used nail scissors to pierce a hole - keep them closed, press down and twist from side to side - then cut a burrow.

Glue the tree stump in place and add some bunnies!